8th May, 2014
We must exploit mobile. That is not to say we should relieve ourselves from the traditional. The onus must be on researchers to evolve their practice to incorporate the constant mobile presence. It is exactly this presence that demands our attention, drawing on the engagement advantages mobile provides through multiple approaches toward consumers via smart devices. Leveraging the potential of constant feedback loops remains a vital consideration of how to extract sufficient value for you whilst ensuring the consumer – the provider – mutually benefits through personally valuable experiences.
The requirements begin with optimisation. A staggering 36% of the top 100 brand sites are not optimised for mobile users. There is a difference between mobile sales and mobile research, but considering the transition from desktop browsing to mobile devices, and the rise in mobile search completing the optimisation of digital branding is surely a must. The same must be said for mobile research. To drive engagement and provide sufficient value in user experience the package offered must be impeccable, and unified throughout the brand. Ensuring that content development is integrated and accessible for users who may wish to switch between mobile and desktop presents a seamless experience, encouraging interaction, driving feedback.
User experience could hold the key. Our demands for interaction have been morphed by access to social media and the associated communicative benefits. User experience is now driven by consumer relationships and the development of cohabiting narratives. Understanding how mobile fits into this narrative is important, just as is learning how to truly exploit mobile for the best results. The data derived from mobile operations is set to expand and as such the knowledge required of researchers to fully engage with mobile operations is required. User experience could experience a total paradigm shift where data collection is humanist lead – researchers are no longer required to continuously question participants for 15 minutes or more at a time (causing attention deficits, lack of interest in later questionnaires, memory recall problems and overall data quality issues), in favour of participatory events that can be both more autonomous and advanced with an onus on short, interactive surveying techniques that allow users to enjoy their engagement experience.
From the above unification of brand, content and communications, focusing on the development of a dedicated mobile app should be considered. The capabilities of applications are outstanding, their reach can be extensive throughout multiple markets across both developed and developing markets, panel communication can be managed seamlessly and substantial assortment of direct qual can be carried out using the app and phone capabilities. Our engagement with social and media outlets is primarily conducted through an app when we are mobile with many transcending the traditional by syncing data from mobile to desktop and back again. As the developed and developing smartphone markets rapidly expand (across all varieties of smartphones/devices) it is not unfeasible to expect to see direct market research functionality embedded within 3rd party apps to unify user experience across multiple medium.
The transition to mobile has happened. The role of market researchers now is to evaluate how engagement strategies are best served utilising disruptive mobile technology. Evidence illustrates smartphone penetration in worldwide markets; tried and tested mobile research methods and engagement strategies are still developing. If mobile can provide the answer to dropping market research panel levels, to memory recall issues and to direct consumer/researcher engagement the platforms relevance at the forefront of market research is assured for years to come.