Wrong management decisions can leave the company as an outsider, and the right ones can lead to a market leader. The head of the company has a lot of questions: where to invest money? Does it make sense to launch a new product on the market right now? Who are his main competitors? Who will buy the product and how much?
To minimize uncertainty and make the right decision, it is important to choose the right method for conducting marketing research. The internet is a good platform for this. The target audience of many companies constantly uses Internet resources, so online marketing for b2b will help increase revenues and stand out from competitors.
Online Marketing Research Techniques
Marketing research that is carried out on the Internet is the collection, high-quality processing, accumulation and complete analysis of the obtained data that characterize the external environment of marketing (consumers, suppliers, competitors, market). Such a tool connects the company with the market using data obtained from Internet sources.
Online marketing research has a number of specific features that need to be considered when choosing how to conduct it. Data collection methods will differ depending on the type of research. They can be primary (interviews, polls, focus groups, experiments, and observation) or secondary – aimed at using methods of searching for information using the Internet, using catalogs, search engines.
The most popular such methods of online marketing research:
Internet polls – are carried out using a survey of users. To organize such a study, you can make a mailing of questionnaires for a specific group of buyers or surveys directly on the website of the company itself, which initiated or independently conducts this type of research online. Everyone uses the Internet today, so you can easily get information from all over the country and from the right category of people. Many companies have their own database of respondents. There are also surveys in which you need to download a questionnaire in order to fill it out on your own and send the finished version by e-mail.
Online interviews are like a survey. The respondent is presented with a list of questions that can be answered offline or online. There is an asynchronous form of polling (special chat in mail or other programs) and a synchronous form (configured video chats). Online surveys and interviews are the most technologically advanced quantitative research methods in online marketing. The respondent can respond in a comfortable environment.
An online focus group has many advantages when compared to a traditional focus group. It is easy to organize and find through the Internet the required category of people who meet all the parameters. Moreover, there is no need to look for a place to gather everyone. Focus groups that are held online are psychologically “freer”, this is due to a person’s habitual location and comfortable environment. At the same time, the answers to the proposed questions will be honest and frank. Compared to a conventional focus group, the online format minimizes the impact of group members on each other. It is also possible to conduct such a focus group in writing. In this case, the moderator will ask an online question, and the survey participants send their answer. On the other hand, there are also disadvantages to this format of qualitative research. First of all, it is difficult to trace the main motives of the participants who take part in the survey without eye contact.
Modern Internet technologies make it possible to program questionnaires and ensure the required representativeness in the sample. The online form is suitable for various research objects, for example, such as a logo, brand, slogan. It is better to test a new product, its packaging “manually” so that you can visually study its advantages and disadvantages.
Types of online research
Also, marketing research, depending on the time of collection of information, can be primary, when data is collected through direct communication with a person, or secondary – when analysis and data collection is carried out on the basis of already published information.
Primary research is divided into 2 types:
quantitative – polls are conducted among respondents on the basis of a special questionnaire.
qualitative – implies deeper research, which helps to make decisions).
To conduct a high-quality Internet research, it is important to work out well each question, the scenario for communicating with the respondents, and also provide appropriate technical training.
Online research can solve a wide range of problems and open up many opportunities. For example, videos, audio advertisements, and useful materials that are necessary for testing can be embedded in a questionnaire. The respondent can study the complete information and then provide answers. When conducting online research, it is important to respect the rights of respondents who are users of the world wide web.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Conducting Online Marketing Research
The main benefits of online research include:
high speed of conducting surveys, as well as processing data received from respondents;
remoteness of respondents, which allows you to survey an unlimited number of people;
low cost of research due to the absence of the need to rent premises, pay salaries to interviewers, this will help save the company’s budget;
anonymity that allows the respondent to feel comfortable and free.
On the positive side, there are also downsides to online research. The most important among them is non-representativeness; it is not always possible to track exactly who exactly answers the list of questions and how true they are. Key characteristics are especially important: gender, age. People can be completely irresponsible to this procedure. When preparing questions, you need to be creative in order to attract attention and interest the respondent to provide the necessary information. It is important to correctly identify the target audience in accordance with the research topic.
Why do we need internet panels?
Special communities of respondents who have given their consent to regularly participate in research via the Internet are called online panels. Depending on their purpose, they are divided into three large groups:
business panels (B2B);
specialized (when the public is engaged in a specific field, for example, education, medicine);
When creating an Internet panel, you need to make sure that different respondents are registered in it by age, sex and social status. Therefore, the attraction must be random in a sense. This is usually done through banner advertising on the Internet on sites of various topics.
There are now a large number of companies providing their own dashboards, making life a lot easier for marketers. In accordance with the research requests, a set of people is selected from portals, forums, Internet communities. All information about prospective respondents is taken into account, as well as the motives of the company, research methods. It’s important not to get caught up in experienced and professional respondents. At the same time, the motives of people who decide to take part in surveys or interviews will be completely different. Is it monetary, personal motivation, or simple curiosity.
Online surveys are an important step in developing a marketing strategy
Drawing up an online marketing strategy is impossible without conducting various types of marketing research. Depending on the object of research, they can be: market, product, competitive. You can also analyze your customer’s marketing database and conduct focus groups or customer surveys.
Online research helps you not only analyze customer opinions, but also “tune” product lifecycle management. In the process of conducting a survey, you can find out how customers know the product and are ready to buy it. The result can be unformed or increased demand for the product.
The collected data will help to understand the reasons for making a purchase decision. This data will form the basis of a marketing strategy, on the successful implementation of which the company’s profit will depend.
Online marketing research is one of the best ways to get both qualitative and quantitative information. Many marketers and social scientists recommend alternating between traditional and online methods. This will provide more accurate results and help you make smart and effective marketing and social decisions.