Research Trends: Internet Technologies
To address the need for more information, marketing companies are developing new methods for collecting data. This has led to the introduction of several new technologies to assist in the information gathering process. Many of these developments are Internet-based technologies that include:
- Enhanced Tracking - The Internet offers an unparalleled ability to track and monitor customers. Each time a visitor accesses a website they provide marketers with extensive information including how they arrived at the website (e.g., via a search engine) and what they did when on the website (e.g., what products were investigated). In many ways the vast data available through Internet tracking has yet to be used by the majority of marketers. However, as tracking software becomes more sophisticated the use of tracking data will be a routinely used research tool.
- Improved Communication – Not only is the Internet enabling marketers to monitor customers’ website activity, it also offers significant improvement in customer-to-company communication which is vital for marketing research. For instance, the ability to encourage customers to offer feedback on the company’s products and service is easy using website popup notices and email reminders. Also, as we discuss in the Planning for Market Research Tutorial, the use of the Internet for conducting online focus group research is expanding.
- Research Tools – A large number of Internet services have added options for conducting research. These include the ubiquitous search engines, tools for conducting online surveys, and access to large databases containing previous research studies (i.e., secondary research).