The consumer is king

Editor’s note: Mike Billingsley is CEO, OnePulse, a London-based market research firm. 

Gamification, real-time data, mobile apps … Whether you are managing an existing brand or launching a new product or service, tapping into consumer sentiment before making big decisions should always be the first step. This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of how your customers think and feel about your ideas, and what your next steps should be.

But the process of getting consumer insight can seem daunting. Where do you start? What questions should you ask? And what channels should you use? If you are new to the game, conducting market research can feel like an endless maze, and as people embrace new technologies the options begin stacking up.

Here are six critical trends to pay attention to in 2022 when surveying your consumers.

1. Mobile app surveys will overtake web surveys.

According to WARC, 5.5 billion people will be using mobile devices by 2022. What’s more, recent research shows that 90% of mobile time is spent in apps, and only 10% browsing the rest of the internet. This is only expected to increase because apps are quick to use and provide optimal user experience. 

Apps have also been found to harness several benefits, including the following: 

  • Customer efficiency – completing surveys quickly and easily without the need for an internet connection. 
  • Customer-centricity – addressing your audience directly as an individual, and placing them right at the heart of your brand philosophy and development. 
  • Cost-effectiveness – using a mobile app is typically far less expensive than hiring a market research team.

2. Whole-team involvement will be more essential.  

Traditionally, market and insights research has stayed within the brand’s market research division. However, as the customer voice has continued to grow exponentially – particularly due to the coronavirus pandemic – teams across organizations are now looking to get involved as well. 

In 2022, I expect DIY market research surveys will be created and reviewed in a more holistic and collaborative way.  

Choose a survey solution that can be accessed by your entire team, and not just the research department, to achieve the best success with your projects in the new year.

3. Over-choice is overrated.

Today’s consumers are busy people but they want their individual opinions to be heard more than ever before. 

Human attention spans have also markedly decreased over the years, and as we see more people embrace technology, attention spans are predicted to decrease even further. 

With this in mind – and knowing that shorter surveys have higher completion rates – we can conclude that surveys that are shorter and more straightforward, while focusing on consumer needs, will be more common in 2022. 

Many of the available survey solutions out there offer an unlimited number of questions. Choose a solution that will only enable you to send out shorter surveys to combat survey fatigue. 

This will help your team to resist the temptation of writing longer surveys and encourage a greater focus on the quality of the questions you send out, rather than the quantity. 


4. Ready, set, gamify!

As well as surveys getting shorter to increase completion rates, we also predict that gamification as a means of encouraging respondent engagement will also increase. 

Gamification elements include aspects such as changing how questions are worded to be more creative, including a survey completion bar, and providing rewards.  

5. Cause a stir and mix things up.

From ranking choice, sliders and multiple select options, there are numerous question types that brands can use as part of their surveys. 

As we venture into the new year, brands will need to think about the variety of question types they use to accommodate the consumers who want to connect with them and share their thoughts and feelings on their products and services. 

For example, it is likely that, with individualism at the forefront and people wanting to share their unique thoughts more than ever before, open-ended questions in surveys will be just as prominent as closed-ended ones.  

Whichever survey solution you choose to use in 2022, look to see if it includes a wide scope of question types that can provide both qualitative and quantitative data for analysis.

6. Real-time data will play a larger role.

Real-time data is becoming more important in business development than ever before. 

In a world of connectivity and instantaneous communications, real-time data can give brands a powerful understanding of their customers and their behavior, and better respond to those needs. 

With many brands becoming more consumer-centric, they must understand that customer centricity begins during the data collection phase.

When collecting information and insights from consumers, the first thing one needs to remember is that they are human. Most consumer surveys gather insights in a robotic way, instead of considering how people actually live their lives. 

As we move forward into 2022, there will likely be a greater need for brands and businesses to collect and analyze data in real-time, rather than retrospectively. 

Is the customer at the heart of your brand strategy?

There are several methods for brands to ensure they keep their finger on the pulse of consumer sentiment, and with further technological advances more options will become available. While we don’t expect there to ever be a method that fits all, what we do know is that the customer should always remain at the heart of your brand strategy if you want to achieve long-term success.