Research the users, too.

15th September, 2014

User Research Meme LOTRUtilising user research in market research continues to provide excellent insight into certain consumer and participant patterns. The data collection aspect of market research remains ‘simple’ for many thousands of individuals engaged in the industry. Deriving detailed, interesting and precise insight into participant lifestyles through data analysis provides ample working information for many businesses. Others need more from their data; data unfortunately cannot provide all the answers, in one sense.

In another sense, data holds the key. Conducting dedicated user research alongside traditional market research techniques can steadily provide the additional insight into behavioural traits, truly unlocking the thought processes behind participants and consumer actions, and the effect they have on the data collected itself.

User research perfectly complements market research. In unison, they can enable market researchers to deliver insight above the call of duty, with the data required being collected almost simultaneously with the standard market research. As mobile market research continues to sweep the market and as samples become larger because of the inherent ease of access mobile delivers, market researchers are under increasing pressure to deliver statistically precise survey panels to ensure client data is representative of their contemporary market.

Similarities exist, but there are many subtle differences:

  • Market research: what people say, what they buy, large samples, sweeping insights
  • User research: what people do, how they use, small samples, deep, focused insights

The similarities observed clarify how each brand of research can complement the other and where researchers can seek to benefit. Understanding user research, understanding the behaviours behind participants and consumers allows us to identify aspects of a piece of research previously missed, be that insight, solution, cause or issue. As it the behaviours of our participants that underpin the very core of market research, discovering and enhancing our understanding through concise, contextualised feedback should only strengthen delivery potential.

More than anything, when used together to approach a market research proposition, utilising user research as a follow-up to traditional market research can deliver important messages previously unearthed by surveying. Consider the market research insight of more than 60% of respondents stated they were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to buy a kitchen appliance in the next three months; after 8 months, only 12% had parted with their cash.

User research allows market researchers to engage with concise consumer or participant data in an advantageous environment. That is not to say that market research is wrong, or indeed needs massively improving in any sector. Year on year global revenue increases and rapidly emerging markets around the globe are testament to the outstanding market research being conducted around the globe. Conversely, there are always situations where additional industry insight could deliver an advantage for an organisation and user research data, used alongside market research, can provide the additional depth of insight required to truly understand a user ecosystem.