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5 Marketing Research Trends to Look for in 2019

The close of 2018 is near, strongly evidenced by the level of late Q4 activity as we wrap up end-of-year research projects for our clients. The coming of the New Year always prompts informed speculation as to what trends will be prevalent and how they will be embraced by the industry. At Focus Pointe Global we continually look for ways to enhance the user experience for our clients and respondents alike. Here are some of the trends that we feel are worth paying close attention to in 2019.

1. Understanding the Voice of the Customer (VOC) through AI

VOC is certainly nothing new. The more brands understand their customers, the better they are able to create products and services that meet their needs, gain competitive intelligence, and identify shifts in purchasing intent and behavior.

Artificial intelligence and automation are increasingly unlocking new and exciting types of VOC data that is more actionable for decision makers. Through the adoption of AI and machine learning, companies can gather data from all their customers, not just a small sampling that has interacted with their brand through a survey. AI enables a much deeper understanding of customer behavior and satisfaction, including voice, facial analysis, and chatbot technology. AI technology for VOC insights will continue to grow in 2019, along with the software companies who are bringing to market new and better methods to measure and analyze data and predict consumer behavior.

2. Authentic & Searchable Content

Authentic content is an indispensable component of branding. When content is honest and transparent it sparks deep reflection and conversation. Authenticity is the key to customer engagement, and the ways that people locate that content is evolving rapidly. The bar for SEO is being raised, and increasingly includes voice and visual search.

Voice Search – The impact of voice technologies are many, but what is really interesting is the fact that artificial intelligence-based systems such as Google Home and Amazon Echo (and others) can now focus specifically on interactions between consumers and brands. Recognizing the potential for optimizing websites for voice search is something to consider for 2019.

Visual Search – While voice search usage has been increasing over the last couple of years, so has visual search. With new, intelligent, visual search technology being incorporated into branded apps and websites as well as improved visual search functionality being built into platforms such as Pinterest, Bing, and Google Lens, visual search is changing the search marketing landscape. Where previously optimizing images has been an afterthought, image-based SEO will receive increased attention in 2019.

3. Immersive Storytelling

AR & VR – The cost of AR and VR continues to become more affordable for brands and consumers alike, so it’s no wonder that adoption is soaring. Virtual reality immerses viewers in a 360° environment. Once associated largely with gaming and military training, now – thanks to available technology from Google, Oculus, Samsung, and others – VR has many different applications, including immersive storytelling.

Consumers no longer want to merely be told a story; they want to participate in the story. Whether it’s recreating virtual product tours in AR, looking to leverage existing technologies to make product videos available in 3D or 360, or simply recording users interacting with brands through existing VR products—the opportunities are endless to engage users in a more meaningful way in 2019.

Video capture: With ever-evolving technology that allows for the fast and efficient storage and analysis of images and video, the prevalence of smart phone cameras, and the use of geo-location, in-the-moment video capture will increasingly take center stage in providing an unprecedented view into the daily lives of consumers. The era of self-directed and observational mobile ethnography has arrived, including more intuitive reporting dashboards and mining technologies.

4. Data Privacy

While born in the EU, the GDPR became everybody’s baby in 2018. GDPR compliance impacted (and disrupted) the way we collect and store personally identifiable data, and pushed forward the possibility of establishing similar, US-based, privacy regulations. Let’s face it – Americans are keenly concerned about privacy, and rightly so.

This year, California signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a stringent “GDPR-like” data privacy bill — the first of its kind in the US. Because of California’s size and influence, the law is likely to set the standard for states’ data privacy laws moving forward.

It appears a sure thing that other states will follow California’s lead and implement new, stricter laws that are closer in line with GDPR, if not in 2019, sometime in the not too distant future.

5. Strong Partnerships

We can bank on the fact that our industry will continue to evolve as we shift toward creatively combining new methods and technologies that lead to more meaningful insights and actionable data. The application of AI will continue to allow researchers to better identify emotions and personalities and evolve at breakneck speed.

That being said, as marketers it is important to remember that serving as a true research partner means working hand-in-hand with our clients to discover the underlying WHY, regardless of the technique used. At FPG, we believe that a commitment to exemplary customer service and project execution is equally, if not more, important as the data collection technique leveraged. It is the people and the service behind the technology that create strong partnerships. We look forward to a mutually successful 2019!

By Laura Livers, FPG Chief Executive Officer

About the author

Laura Livers is Chief Executive Officer of Focus Pointe Global (FPG), which provides high-quality marketing research data collection services by leveraging new techniques and technologies to make market insights more accessible, accurate, and affordable. Laura has 34 years of experience partnering with Fortune 500 companies in the marketing research arena. Prior to joining FPG in 2009, Laura was president of mystery shopping firm Shop ‘n Chek Worldwide.