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 Given advances in technology, business is moving faster than ever before. New and improved technologies are enabling faster decisions, more rapid product development, new category innovations, and a much speedier path to market for new ideas.


Where marketers once had a 30-second television spot to focus their energies around, today, they are responsible for managing hundreds of creative executions splattered across potentially thousands of placements in a complex and fragmented universe of media channels. Understandably, advertisers are trying to understand which messages are working, and which are not, so that they can quickly react and optimize their campaigns on the fly. 


But, securing accurate, real-time insights can be time-consuming and costly. While digital campaign results data can be shared in real-time and often allows for automated campaign optimization rules, gaining primary research insights still tends to be a time-consuming, multi-step process. Survey research still relies on consumers to provide their responses and requires reaching the right people quickly, in order to get insights straight from the horse’s mouth. 


Gaining Insights at the Speed of Business

Thanks to technology, we’re seeing the democratization of research, providing access to more information for organizations of all sizes to use when making business decisions. Small and mid-sized businesses especially are gaining access to faster and more efficient ways to conduct research. These approaches address the prior hurdles of prohibitive costs and lack of access to infrastructure and skilled staff. Democratizing research is a net-positive for the industry because it enables more insights for marketers and a broader and deeper addressable market for suppliers.

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If you don’t have access to the full suite of research experts, you can still get timely feedback.


Ask the right questions

Coming up with the right questions to ask can be a time-consuming process. What makes a good survey question? What makes a survey flow? How to get the answers you need in an effective way? You may do this yourself without a research background, but you should do your homework to ensure a high-quality survey vs jumping into the process without a plan.


Here are some quick recommendations for creating a survey:


  1. Define your objective and what you want to learn.
  2. Define who you want to learn from and what criteria they should meet.
  3. Write questions using simple language and sentences, avoiding anything too formal or academic.
  4. Put yourself in the respondents’ shoes. Think if they would answer the questions honestly or with bias.
  5. Check the survey flow. Make sure the order of the questions make sense, peels back the layers and achieves your objective.

Reach the Right People with Right Platform

A big consideration is reaching enough of the “right” people to provide representative data and feedback. Given time is of the essence, you can look into options for self-service platforms that allow automated samples from a robust sampling network. 


Self-serve platforms allow marketers familiar with technology and research to unlock insights faster, without needing to brief a third-party research firm. They also tend to be extremely cost-effective, as they tend to rely on technology-driven automation. By removing historically manual tasks from the process, self-service platforms are able to save you both time and money.

When choosing a self-service platform, ensure that it is optimized for simplicity and speed but also your budget.  Some platforms offer only some of these benefits, but others do a good job of optimizing the entire process and user journey.


Know Thyself

Whether you need proven, repeatable, cost-effective studies, or have your own sample and want to contact your own customers to do research, primary research is not just for big businesses anymore. If you’re comfortable with a self-service approach, you can give it a try and learn from the experience. Or, if your comfort-level is not quite there, you can always leverage staff-supported research solutions using proven frameworks. Either way, the democratization of research is happening with more options than ever available to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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