On January 1st of every new year, market research industry professionals can anticipate exciting new methods to better understand their target customers and develop successful products for the marketplace. Market research trends in 2018 are progressing swiftly and promising great results.

As was true when 2017 began, artificial intelligence holds great promise, and it’s possible that an AI breakthrough could forever disrupt marketing. In addition, the following three trends should have a profound influence on how your company executes market research in 2018 and beyond.

1. A New Paradigm

At the start of 2018, a long-dominant marketing model appears to be all but obsolete. Since the dawn of mass production, commerce has stuck to a basic pattern. First, a company or an entrepreneur would devise and create a certain item. It might be a completely new invention, or it might be an existing product with some twist or improvement. It was then up to market researchers to figure out how to tell consumers about that item and persuade them to buy it.

However, in recent years, the explosion of digital sales and social media has given rise to different expectations among the public. People now presume that brands will interact with them and listen to their ideas. As a result, a new commercial paradigm has been taking shape. It’s the market-driven approach.

Under this model, companies must take the time to really understand their consumers from the outset. Thus, instead of devising new products on your own, you should figure out exactly what your customers are looking for. And, of course, you should craft your goods according to those needs and desires.

These days, market research takes place before, during and after the development of a new product. Going forward, this research will be central to the conceptualization and creation of all new consumer products.

When it comes to learning everything you can about your potential customers, co-creation can be invaluable. After all, this process involves a vigorous and ongoing dialogue with a group of knowledgeable consumers while a product is conceived, tested, reworked, patented, finalized and sold.

2. Social Media Insight Software

Last year, we said that social media listening programs would be one of the major market research industry trends in 2017. Such software analyzes how people talk about your company on the internet. Given the primacy of the market-driven paradigm, 2018 will call for even more expansive and precise social media research techniques.

You should keep purchasing the latest available insight software programs. They’re growing more sophisticated all the time, and they’ll let you sift through the vast collections of opinions, ideas and complaints that social media channels contain.

These programs will also spot trends and patterns, and they’ll collate comments that pertain to your company and its activities. In so doing, they’ll help your team turn that raw data into designs and blueprints.

Your co-creators can assist you in evaluating the tips and criticisms you glean from social media platforms. Which points do they agree and disagree with? Which ideas do they feel are practical? Which are outlandish?

3. The Lifecycle Technique

With online shopping, customers can patronize just about any store or company anywhere in the world. How, then, do you make sure that people choose yours and keep buying from it again and again? One answer is to depend on lifecycle marketing, which should prove crucial in the decades ahead.

This holistic form of marketing involves a continuing conversation with consumers. Market researchers must develop clear, concise, convincing and integrated messages, and as time goes on, they must keep repeating them in creative ways on various platforms.

As soon as people have purchased something from you, you can start to earn their loyalty and repeat business through a range of tactics. Those strategies include emailing and texting them discount codes and using automated programs to send personalized social media messages on holidays, birthdays and other special occasions.

To ensure you’re using the best possible marketing tactics, you should first lean on your co-creation participants as you organize your lifecycle marketing methodologies. Find out what might attract them to a company and what kinds of online materials they would view as appealing and credible. Further, what types of messages and deals would entice those individuals to become repeat customers?

In short, there’s never been a more exhilarating time to keep up with market research trends. With any number of dazzling digital tools at your disposal, you’ll always have a vivid sense of what shoppers wish for and dream about. Here’s to a prosperous and insightful 2018.

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