By Patrick Comer, Lucid, Founder and CEO
In my last blog, I introduced the concept of Research Technology, which we now affectionately know as ResTech. Like any innovative technology, research has evolved to become a tool that is vital to nearly every industry.
But any new concept needs a clear definition that we can rally behind, so here goes:
ResTech (short for research technology) is the umbrella term for the software and tools that help platforms, agencies, and brands target, deliver, and analyze their insights initiatives. Discussions about ResTech often revolve around the extensive and complex systems used to collect survey data from specific target audiences and deliver insights to brands.
About ten years ago, programmatic technology completely transformed research. In a move that greatly improved a notoriously clunky and expensive process for researchers. Suddenly, survey data became easier to procure, at a faster rate, and at a lower cost.
The impact? Insights became democratized. Now, more researchers (or people who don’t even consider themselves researchers) are able to run more studies because it’s fast, easy and they can afford it. Consider that Survey Monkey now runs over 30 million surveys each month.
Now, I realize that a term like “research” may seem vague, too comprehensive, or even irrelevant to some of you. Here’s the truth, though: ResTech has been behind the scenes, informing the articles you read on the news, the products you buy, the political polls you see, and the ads you engage with. Its reach is truly expansive and growing quickly.
So, for the uninitiated, I’m going to identify how ResTech impacts your life every day, in ways you may not even realize.
ResTech and Market Research
Before ResTech entered the scene, market research was typically used by businesses that had the time and budget to pay an agency to do it. Now, that doesn’t mean other businesses didn’t want to utilize market research; it was simply too expensive, slow, and unattainable for many.
But now, that’s changed. ResTech has made market research more accessible, with exponentially faster results. Given the need for companies to deploy agile decision-making, research has become even more important as consumers and the market are evolving quickly.
And businesses can do so many things with the survey data. You can use it to develop new products — including testing product names and concepts, gauging demand for your product, and more. Determine how feasible new business opportunities are. Are you thinking of expanding your business to a new city? ResTech can help you survey your target market to see how likely they are to use your product or services.
You can also use it for a competitive edge; survey consumers to see how they feel about your offering versus your competitors.
Marketers and Advertisers
ResTech has made it possible for marketers to (essentially) have a customer in the room at all times — ready to give you their thoughts, sentiments, and opinions on your products and services.
The marketing industry is all about getting the right message to the right people at the right time, and ResTech helps to make that possible. It also ensures that you are reaching your intended audience. Plus, if you want to test marketing ideas or see how your ads are performing, ResTech is the most efficient and affordable way to do it.
It’s no secret that the growing demand for data privacy and control from consumers, as well as the expanding regulatory environment, fully consented and self-reported data is becoming more important. ResTech provides a secure and quality controlled data environment.
Polling and News Outlets Rely on ResTech
For industries that rely on opinion research, ResTech has taken their capabilities to a new level. Public sentiment is constantly changing, and pollsters and journalists need to be in the know as opinions shift.
Rather than relying on phone polling or door-to-door surveys, you can now launch surveys online and get immediate feedback on the issues that are most important to specific audiences. That means pollsters have more control over the pool of respondents they can access, with a more streamlined process, and lower sampling costs.
Particularly in this election cycle, ResTech is at the center of how pollsters and campaigns are collecting data in this election at a scale that is unprecedented in the volume of surveys fielded.
Academia and the Shift Toward Research Technology
In the academic world, your capabilities as a researcher are determined by the funding you receive and the scope of your research. The two are often reliant on each other.
Now, with ResTech making online research easier and more affordable, academic researchers are increasingly leveraging it for their studies. Sourcing the right participants is easy, and results are received quickly. That means you can conduct more research, author more academic papers, and potentially gain even more funding as a result.
This is especially significant for researchers who are facing budget cuts and uncertainty in the university environment.
Beyond Traditional Research
Another benefit of ResTech is that it’s brought the use of survey data far beyond traditional research. Bloggers and Content Creators now use ResTech to generate content ideas and learn more about what topics matter most to their readers.
As ResTech expands, the application of insights will continue to grow because it enables key strategic insights and offers a means for identifying and tracking success metrics.
Change is happening quickly, and we need to evolve with it. You must change your assumptions: conducting research (and, thus, gaining insights) into how your customers think, feel, and behave, is easy, fast, and inexpensive. Don’t get left behind; start asking questions now.