I found this interesting press release in my Twitter feed today: Levi's and P&G Champion New Strategies.
It seems that the big brands are taking interactive market research to heart and creating real time data sets with which to make better and smarter brand marketing decisions.
P&G "has created a meeting room housing two 30 feet wide screens showing all this data, which is also made available remotely, in real-time. "The key business benefit is the speed of decision making," Guy Peri, head of P&G's business analytics unit, said."
They also cite examples from Eli Lilly and FedEx where each company has found unique ways to interact and connect with customers in real time.
These aren't really surveys or polls, instead they are engagement activities that can now be measured WHILE the service is happening.
Will Market Research Become Embedded or Transparent?
I've heard it said that when technology is fully embraced by a population, it becomes transparent. For example, notice how computer chips have become embedded into so many devices in our daily lives. So far, the only thing that doesn't have a computer chip in it is my coffee cup. OK, I'm exaggerating a bit, but just take a moment to notice how transparent technology has become in our lives.
Given this line of thought, it stands to reason that decisions that required extensive market research in the past, may now require a completely different way of engaging customers and gathering information about their preferences.
If and when market research becomes transparent -- as it's becoming today, you can count on more complexity in the process. Just because social media gives us immediate feedback - doesn't make it statistically significant enough to make multi-million dollar branding decisions.