Interview: "Consumer Insights: Internet & Market Research"

13 Apr 2009|Added Value

Interview in the w&v-magazine about the tension zone between “Internet and Market research” with Dr. Hildegard Keller-Kern, Managing Director Icon Added Value Germany. Published in April 2009

w&v: Which consumer information and insight views do you collect with traditional market research and which through web monitoring?

Classical market research generates information and findings on different topics via various survey methodologies – by using defined samples we reach exactly those respondents we want to interview. Often we ask about perceptions and behaviour, for e.g. brand evaluation, usage, advertising awareness etc. Web monitoring seeks for information on the web – mostly so called ‘User Generated Content’ – from various sources such as forums, blogs, newsgroups, consumer portals, corporate portals etc. These opinions and ratings are proactively provided by “interested” people. Companies can observe what people think and share about brands, products, services, CSR or real life experiences.

w&v: Is it possible to determine that market research and web monitoring have different aptitudes in regard to consumer behaviour or opinions about brands? And what are those differences?

Just looking at the main difference, the initial source of information, indicates that results are different. On one hand „people I want to interview” , on the other “people that share their opinion proactively”.In the web we have a much faster and less transparent penetration of information and opinions. In its core it is a modern ‘word of mouth’ process not controllable by companies, often by opinion leaders with specific interests. Those published opinions, reports about their experiences and particularly the exchange of views can become critical for a company.

w&v: How valid are such “consumer insights” obtained via market research or web monitoring?

They are different groups and therefore will generate different types of consumer insights – and that must be taken into account. Monitoring the web can gain insights about strengths and weaknesses or lead to information on new ideas. Of course that is more relevant for “high involvement” themes, categories, brands and products than for the so-called “low involvement” areas: there will be more information to find on a car brand like BMW or about the financial crisis than on toilet paper. Of course this information needs to be critically assessed by experts– often enough information found in web 2.0 is irrelevant or meaningless. What marketing really wants to know, like for e.g. simple information such as details about usage or comparison to certain competitors are often is often not available or not in the necessary detail. That’s when classical market research comes into place – which can make use of the internet respectively web 2.0 – via online surveys, via forums covering for specific topics etc.

w&v: To what extent does web monitoring change, complement or replace classical market research (eg in regards to consumer portals)?

It is certainly a useful complement. If – as mentioned before – brands or products are interesting enough to get the necessary attention. If it is clear what you’re looking for. And if the information is assessed critically.

w&v: 5. Do you have one or two concrete complex examples at hand to visualize the topic?

There are many examples: we have analysed the launch event of a new car model to reveal strengths and weaknesses of the event and whether it has achieved the intended goals.  Or an innovation project for a clothing company among trendsetters – where we used “AV-id“, our interactive research tool, based on web 2.0 technology.

For more information contact: Anne-Kathrin.Kirchhof@icon-added-value.com

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