Online discussion groups can provide more information on sensitive topics than face-to-face meetings.
Developing and implementing an online marketing research plan is similar to research conducted offline. The main difference is that online surveys can be used to collect data on sensitive issues and reach a wider range of potential respondents. Some survey takers may view online marketing survey methods, such as email surveys and online focus groups, as less intrusive. This can be to the company’s advantage when trying to locate individuals who are likely to represent the desired target market.
There are several companies that specialize in helping other companies develop online marketing surveys.
For an online marketing research plan to be effective, a business needs to know who it is trying to reach and how to reach them. The main purpose of marketing research is to gather data that helps discover why consumers behave in certain ways. It can also be used to identify who the consumer is, including identifiable attributes such as age, income, and recreational interests. Market analysis is conducted in the hope that a company will be able to find more efficient ways to attract the consumer in order to increase sales volume.
There are several companies that specialize in helping other companies develop and execute online marketing research. Employing one of these companies can be extremely helpful as they tend to have experience in designing surveys and locating potential respondents. When conducting research, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each method. For example, online surveys that appear as a “pop-up” ad on web pages do not always provide searchers with an adequate amount of responses.
Email-targeted surveys can be more effective as potential respondents have already indicated a willingness to receive communications. Email surveys can be distributed through market research companies that request questionnaires and active participants. Many of these companies reward active survey participants with points that can be used towards the purchase of goods or they may even give small cash rewards that can be accumulated in the researcher’s account. Using these companies to run online marketing surveys can be more effective than trying to set up an independent, permission-based survey system.
Online focus groups are an innovative use of Internet technology that can be beneficial. These groups can be used to collect data on more sensitive issues that respondents are unlikely to give honest answers to in a face-to-face setting. The main problem with online focus groups is finding individuals who want to participate. Typically, it is necessary to grant some sort of reward to induce respondents to give up some of their time.
One of the challenges associated with online marketing research is that it is easier for potential respondents to delete an email or ignore a survey request. Since there is no face-to-face interaction, potential respondents may feel less guilty about ignoring requests. Furthermore, the amount of controls over spam and unsolicited email has increased rapidly in recent years, which can result in online communication “disappearing”.