Consumer research is often considered the Holy Grail of marketing. But the manner in which researchers learn customer preferences, shopping habits and other trends is constantly shifting and subject to market differences.
Over the past decade, the web has offered an unrivaled research venue for marketers, as consumers are much more willing to spend a moment or two filling out a brief survey than they are answering lengthy mail-based questionnaires. However, it now appears consumers are also embracing an even more concise alternative: texting.
Increasingly, restaurants, storefronts, real estate agents and other business types are gathering real-time customer feedback via text.
However, it is important that businesses balance their customer research strategies with in-person and storefront studies. While texting may be more immediate and accessible, its accuracy is often in question. Customers tend to offer more honest appraisals in person, while hired mystery shoppers can be trusted to deliver extensive feedback and data, as they are being paid to do so.
As communication methods become increasingly digital, it's important for businesses to remain tethered to the physical world through diligent market research tools and techniques.