Attracted by promises of speed, reach, and significant savings, businesses and corporations are increasingly turning Web-wards to collect consumer opinions and responses. The accuracy of Web-based market research is no longer in question. "We put to rest the notion that accurate marketing research couldn't be conducted via the Internet," stated Dan Hucko, a spokesperson for Harris Interactive - a company who conducted extensive online polling during the 2000 U.S. Presidential election results. "The Web offers many advantages," he continued. "It gives you the ability to collect responses 24 hours a day, and to show pictures and even video to respondents." These days anyone from automakers and clothing chains to fast-food restaurants and software providers are turning to the Net for consumer research. Frequently, the responses garnered from online research helps in driving sales and understanding buyer motivation.
"Of all the areas of business that have been changed by the Web, marketing research may have been changed the most," noted Rich Nadler, CEO of Perseus Development, which runs Web-based marketing research for MSN. Of late, Microsoft has relied on extensive Web surveys - up to 50 a month - to gauge user attitudes about its MSN site. "Our goal is continuous improvement, not point-in-time improvement," said Deepak Agrawal, vice president of MSN. "To do that, we need the ability to collect and analyse data quickly." According to Nadler the Internet has made it possible for businesses of every size to conduct meaningful and speedy market research. In addition, he believes that the dynamics of the Net has brought marketing and research closer together. "Market research and marketing online are becoming the same thing," concurs Rachel Honig Peters, a spokesperson for MyPoints.com - a company that conducts extensive online surveys for US clothing manufacturers. Experts all seem to agree that the Web is less costly and faster than traditional marketing research methodologies (such as mail and telephone surveys). "Online market research is a burgeoning field and there are numerous advances still to come," promises Nadler.
Reprinted from sa.internet.com.