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How market research is the ‘oil’ that fuels advertising

DECEMBER 12, 2011 – Technology has increased companies’ ability to collect data and conduct market research on their customers, but as David Buckingham – general manager of intelligent shopping solutions for Aimia UK – tells MarketingWeek, corporations have to provide value to consumers as well.

Buckingham says that brands cannot just gather customer data without giving them something in return. It isn’t a one-way street, he adds.

Currently, mobile marketing looks to be the next big thing in advertising and consumer engagement. However, brands will have to gain people’s trust by sending them emails and SMS messages that resonate – they will push back against something that is irrelevant, Buckingham notes. Eventually, this will encourage them to connect with the product or company through mobile channels.

He also comments on how data is increasing in value in the eyes of retailers and brand owners.

“Companies understand that there is a great deal of information out there about what people are doing, and customers are prepared to give up details in order to get something back,” Buckingham says. He adds that there is certainly an opportunity to “make data easy to digest so marketers can create communications off the back of that information.”

But conducting market research – through social media, online communities, surveys and other channels – is much more complicated than just jotting down a few numbers and names. Buckingham compares data to oil, something that offers a lot of power but that cannot be used in is raw, most basic state. It must be processed and combined with other chemicals, and the same goes for market research. He says that his own company, Aimia, has data and is seeking to collaborate with business partners that have their own industry insights.

Knowing what kind of data a company needs to be looking for is also important. For instance, an ecommerce business would benefit from knowing how many people visited a certain webpage, how long they spent on it and how they found the website, among other details.

As NEBusiness reports, tools such as Google Analytics can help an ecommerce website keep tabs on its revenue, not just traffic. With those details on hand, companies can determine which of their products are outperforming the others, and can also gain insight into conversion rates and which marketing is effective.