We are living in the digital age. Everything we do, from checking our email to editing documents to shopping for the best deals, has been changed by technology. Technology is great – especially when it makes the lives of people like you and I easier. It helps you, me and just about everyone else keep up on the news and global events, maximises productivity and helps us all stay connected with the world around us.

Every so often, and increasingly more, technological advancements are so disruptive that they change the ways that the world operates. Some recent examples of this are smart mobile phones, laptop computers and tablets. In order to be successful in today’s day and age, businesses must adapt to these ever-changing technological rays of light. Market research is just one of many aspects of business that is forever evolving due to breakthroughs in technology. In many respects these breakthroughs have made the jobs of those involved in market research much easier.

Laborious & Time Consuming

Over the past few years, technology has been changing the way market research is conducted. In the past, it was surveys conducted with paper and a no. 2 pencil combined with focus-groups that was the norm. This made the market research experience labour and time intensive – needing labourers not only to conduct the surveys and lead the focus groups but also to analyse the results. Below I cover a few ways in which technology has changed the face of market research.

The Live Effect

During presentations and conferences, presenters are challenged with interacting with their audience. There are tools out there that facilitate the interaction between presenters and audiences via live audience response systems. One such company that utilises an app approach for live audience response is Eventmobi. The technology allows attendees to interact with the presenters via surveys and polls from right within the app. The real-time results and accurate data are just a few of the things that presenters love about this option.

Research Role Creation

With the advance in technology, a fresh set of skilled personnel are usually needed. New roles will be created to specialise in specific areas. For instance, roles that were never filled before will be filled by personnel to make sure that data extracted from mobile devices and social media are converted to data that can be used.

Mobile & Tablet

While technology advances at breakneck speeds, there are huge parts of the developing world, that are for the most part, left out. With the advancement of the tablet, emerging economies can find themselves evolving with rest of the world in the area of market research.

In developed economies, web or via phone is the method of choice to conduct market research surveys. In emerging economies surveys are still conducted face-to-face using pen and paper. Collecting market data face to face is very much a cultural tradition in these economies. Online surveys conducted in much of the developed world provided by such companies as Survey Monkey do the job but the human element is missing.

Mobile technology companies such as Survey2Go have excelled in working with emerging markets because of their focus on using technology that complements and doesn’t contradict cultural norms inherent in emerging markets. They empower market research staff to continue those traditions of face to face, negating the use of pen and paper, resulting in higher data accuracy, positively impacting the environment, thereby realising a lower cost of labour and the necessity to hire more workers and purchase more paper.

This mobile technology can be conducted off-line, which negates the need for a WiFi connection (which is not easy to come by in emerging economies). Because of this, Survey2Go has found a lot of success in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. The service is offered as a pay as you go system instead of a monthly or annual subscription because of inconsistent work patterns.

Tech Touches Everything

We’ve already seen how the internet, mobile phones and hand-held tablets have started to change the way market research is conducted worldwide. This has resulted in more precise methods, that are more cost effective and environmentally sustainable that have led to more encompassing results. What does the future hold? Will computers and intelligent robots take the human aspect out of market research altogether? The future is here and mobile technology will continue to disrupt the way things get done in emerging economies.