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Unleashing the Full Potential of Market Research by Adding Web & Mobile Tracking

By Becky Wu
Senior Vice President of Luth Research

Crisis or Opportunity

Facing the rise of digital audience measurement, should we in the traditional market research profession consider it a crisis or opportunity? For more than a decade, Web-based analytics have been operating in parallel to market research, which primarily relies on surveys and inquiries into consumer minds and behaviors. We have expected for these two disciplines to coexist but not mingle. However, the prevalence of Internet and mobile devices in consumer life and the increasing accessibility of behavior tracking technologies make it imperative to rethink the integration of tools with established market research practices.

How Digital Behavior Tracking Fits In

Digital behavior tracking commonly refers to computer-based tracking of Internet activities and mobile device-based tracking of both mobile Internet and on-device activities. Measurement of user traffics from the perspectives of websites and mobile apps continues to be relevant. Web analytics and social media analytics are the prime examples. In the meantime, the market is seeing a strong effort and demand for “singlesource” cross-platform measurement solutions. This tracking hinges on using a research panel where individuals agree to install software to track their digital activities across computers, mobile phones and tablets.

The value of “single-source” cross-platform tracking lies in its ability to provide a 360-degree view of a consumer’s digital life, going far beyond the limited number of websites embedded with tracking mechanisms. By doing so, it not only enables the determination of unique and overlapped audience estimates, but also allows researchers to decipher true correlations between consumer behaviors in all channels

These evident benefits are now easily attainable to market researchers through Luth Research’s ZQ Intelligence technology, tracking both Web and mobile behaviors. ZQ Intelligence provides a fresh approach to integrating digital behavior tracking with quantitative and qualitative survey research.

ZQ Intelligence has three distinct advantages. First, the technology unifies tracking on all three device types (i.e., computer, mobile phone and tablet) onto a single individual. Furthermore, it enables surveys and in-depth research (e.g., focus groups or IDIs) to be conducted with the tracked individuals, maximizing the opportunity to garner consumer attitudinal and profiling data. This combination overcomes the leading issues with Big Data, which center around the inability to link data at the level of individual customers, the latency of data capturing and the pain of too little consumer/customer data (Source: Columbia Business School and New York American Marketing Association “Marketing ROI in the Era of Big Data,” March 4, 2012).

Secondly, the technology is rooted in Luth’s strong legacy and knowledge of research best practices in sampling and respondent cooperation. ZQ Intelligence empowers clients to tailor the observation of digital behaviors based on specific audience criteria consisting of brand affinity, product ownership and attitudinal propensities in addition to demographic variables. That way, you can be sure you are monitoring the exact market segments you are pursuing, rather than similar demographic groups as proxy

Lastly, the technology is engineered to capture and develop granular data and metrics that are readily compatible with well-established statistical analysis techniques that market researchers use to tell true insights from data noise.

Digital behavior data offers powerful benefits in data precision, breadth and depth that we cannot overlook. With the right choice of tools, market researchers can achieve significant gains without compromising established research practices.

The Path to Win All Moments of Truth (AMOT)

The notion of Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) was coined by Google to add to P&G executive A.G. Lafley’s two moments of truth, the first of which is when the consumer sees a product on the shelf (FMOT), and second is when the consumer experiences it at home. ZMOT expands the consumer journey, encompassing all the interactions between the brand and consumer before the arrival of the FMOT.

If traditional market research has been indispensable in helping marketers succeed in the first and second moments of truth, then it is time to embrace digital behavior tracking to win all moments of truth. As a profession, would we settle for the familiar territory or be open to explore the new synergy afforded by the evolving technologies? President John F. Kennedy once keenly observed: “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger—but recognize the opportunity.” Let’s seek the opportunity.

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