A Fast-Changing Consumer-Driven World Demands An Even Faster Consumer-Driven Brand Tracker.
In the 1990s, e-commerce exploded - consumers could buy without leaving their homes. In the early 2000s, consumers started communicating with brands via social media. In 2021, there were 7.1 billion mobile device users across the world.
Add it up and it means consumers never sleep - they’re always on. Consumers are constantly being influenced by brands, changing their minds about brands, and deciding to buy (or not) from brands.
Digital marketing has driven consumer attitude & behavior at scale. Data analytics has evolved to keep pace with the ever-changing digital world to help us measure and optimize campaigns and sales funnels.
But amongst this continuously changing marketing landscape and an ever-evolving consumer-driven world, you know what hasn’t changed or evolved in decades? Brand performance tracking.
While marketing efforts are planned and measured on a weekly and even daily basis, brand performance tracking is still measured on a monthly and quarterly basis (at best) - and not because brand management isn’t important or that it doesn’t drive real ROI. Quite the contrary.
Did you know a 1 point gain in brand metrics such as awareness and consideration equates to a 1% increase in sales?
The fact is, brand tracking hasn’t evolved because until recently, it really hasn’t needed to.
But in an always-on consumer-driven world, an always-on brand tracking system that aligns with your marketing and retail operations is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s now a must-have.
A high-frequency brand tracker can keep your brand management and insights team on top of emerging trends as they happen instead of months after the fact is invaluable. But how is that possible if brand tracking is still measured so infrequently - on a monthly or quarterly basis? Glad you asked.
At its core, brand tracking is simply the process of fielding the same market research study on a regular basis to uncover trends about your brand health and your competitors. The concept is straightforward - ask consumers questions, get responses, track responses over time.
The advancement of technology - phone systems, computers, the internet, and mobile phones - has changed the way we collect consumer feedback, but the concept remains the same.
And this new technology has contributed to an explosion of online market research and brand tracking platforms. Yet, while most of these platforms come with unique bells and whistles, what powers them remains the same - paid professional panelists and 3rd-party data.
Let’s take a look at how consumer feedback is solicited to feed brand tracking studies.
Syndicated Research - usually conducted by a third-party market research firm that is often funded by multiple collaborating companies. While there are some benefits to syndicated research like the potential to save money and the ability to identify industry trends, there are a few not-so-small issues when it comes to considering syndicated research.
The market research firm owns the data
The methodology and direction of the study are dictated by the firm
Competitors can purchase the same data
Very high-level research with little to no granular insights
Of course, syndicated research is possible via surveying consumers or survey panels.
Survey Panels - a survey panel is a group of pre-recruited participants who have signed up to participate in online surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. Survey panels certainly have some benefits like improving project feasibility and ease of sampling. However, survey panels have some major pitfalls to look out for.
Cash-based incentives create “professional panelists” who learn to game the system to make money
Duplicate respondents lead to duplicate data and skewed insights
Over-surveyed panelists get bored & rush through surveys - skipping questions & answering "don’t know"
Typical survey environments are not natural and do not lend themselves to
Many brand tracking surveys on average have 30 questions, with some surveys including 50+ questions, making them expensive and slow to field.
Consequently, traditional brand tracking studies require lots of time and resources to set up, and conducting them on a regular enough basis is so cost-prohibitive, that they’re usually only done annually, semi-annually, or quarterly - if you're lucky. But even a 3-month brand tracking cadence makes it impossible for marketing and brand insights teams to spot consumer trends and identify business-changing opportunities.
Unfortunately, this is how market research and brand tracking have been done for decades.
Market Research & Brand Tracking - A Brief Timeline
1940s - Focus groups are created
1950s - In-depth interviews are conducted
1970s - Postal surveys & face-to-face interviews become primary qualitative research methods
1970s - Ad & brand tracking is developed by Gordon Brown and Maurice Millward in the UK
1980s - Wide area telephone service (W.A.T.S.) increases capability for research & surveys conducted
1990s - The Internet is created which leads to online focus groups & Computer Aided Web Interviewing (CAWI)
2000s - Insight communities, social media, and big data emerge as the newest forms of market research
2010s - Online and mobile-based market research explodes onto the scene
Since their inception and proliferation in the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, consumer panels, market research, and brand performance tracking have certainly proven useful. And while they’ve evolved from slow and non-scalable focus groups and in-person interviews to more scalable, user-friendly online panel platforms, brand tracking studies still have 3 significant flaws. They are still:
That’s why TapResearch set out to turn the market research industry on its head and put traditional brand trackers on notice. With its Market Insights and Brand Insights solutions, a new era of brand tracking was born.
From connecting brands directly with consumers to fielding market research studies in record time with high-quality data and actionable insights, TapResearch has completely revolutionized the market research and brand tracking industry. Let’s take a closer look.
Traditional Brand Tracking vs TapResearch Brand Tracking
The need for continuous, real-time tracking of your key health metrics can’t be overstated. Consumer preferences and sentiment are changing on a seemingly daily basis and without a viable way to keep pace with those changes, you’re undoubtedly missing time-sensitive opportunities to build brand equity, drive ROI, and realize market growth.