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Marketing Research And The Internet: Until Death Do They Part

Jan 31, 2008
The twentieth century saw a great deal of innovation and invention in the field of marketing but the most recent and significant spike on the radar has been the emergence of the internet. Now almost thirty years old in terms of casual consumer use, the internet has reached out and touched people all over the globe, and when it comes to marketing, the process of gathering data to find out what people are interested in buying and why, will never be the same.

The internet added a new element of immediacy to market research. Suddenly, companies no longer had to send out review cards and wait with bated breath until the return of perhaps a quarter of the cards they sent out, if they were lucky. With the presence of the internet, feedback was amazingly quick and moreover, more honest than it had ever been given the anonymity of the medium. Suddenly, they could go to sites like Amazon and check consumer reviews and they could Google their own product names in order to get an idea about what was being said.

This veritable rush of information was addictive and at its first emergence, there was some contention among researchers as to whether or not to take it seriously. The people using the Internet, no matter how numerous, still represented a fairly small group of people. With the fact that even almost thirty years after the inception of this tool that more and more people are signing on every year, this demographic is one that everyone realized could not be ignored.

Early adapters started sending out surveys online and collecting information in this way. At this point, there was an issue with the immediacy of the medium; many of the responses that the researchers were trash, but more importantly, there was a great deal in terms of volume. A firm that might receive no more than twenty responses from a batch of 100 cards sent out could expect to receive hundreds of responses to a survey posted in the right place. In this way, market research took a whole new turn as the industry re-oriented itself to account for the internet.

The use of the internet also made responses highly personalized, both in terms of sending and receiving. People writing surveys could do a great deal to make them more personalized and given the ability to target specific demographics on sites such as MySpace and Facebook, this became quite an important tool indeed. Furthermore, the use of the internet dramatically reduced the operating costs of running marketing surveys and studies. Instead of paying for postage or the space to conduct focus group work, the researchers can now fire off a survey that costs a fraction of what was spent previously, if it cost anything at all.

Marketing research is and will always be an important factor in any business decision that is made and that will affect the customers, so make sure when doing your market research take every venue into account.
About the Author
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents many UK businesses. For marketing research and the internet, he recommends Impact Media Ltd, one of the UK's leading suppliers of Marketing Research .
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