The Mobile Revolution

What most intrigued me about the future of market research is the mobile revolution and all the new opportunities this creates. Mobile technology can give us access to people to whom we traditionally wouldn’t have access to, and maybe just as important, gives people access to us when they normally couldn’t!
Give mobile research a minute of your thought and several possible uses easily come to mind:

  • Sending pictures and movies via phones (what’s in your fridge today?)
  • Filling the gaps in the day: asking people to take short surveys while they’re waiting for the train, the general practitioner, the cash register, during breaks, etc.
  • But my favorite of all is location-based research (having people respond to a text while they are still at a location or event instead of asking them later through another survey form).

The location-based social network Foursquare has published an infographic representing the total number of check-ins: 381.576.305. These come from almost every country in the world (the only exception is North Korea). What strikes me about the graph is the part where they show the check-ins by category throughout the day.

This brings me to a following thought: think about the potential for ‘Mobile diary’ usage of mobile devices combined with location-based social networks. Among other things, this could be a great way to collect travel patterns information, where people can enter brief updates as they move around throughout the day. It can also be used to track (potential) media exposures (did a person pass by a billboard or not), progress on purchasing decisions or any other behavioural issue without asking!
I think another powerful use may come in the future as more and more phones can identify where you are (as opposed to having to identify your location by a text).
For those in Belgium or around: the Belgian Association for Quantitative & Qualitative Marketing Research (BAQMaR) organises a seminar on Mobile Marketing and Research next February 17 (14h-18h) in Antwerp. More information here.

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