In addition to the internet and mobile technologies, marketing research has benefited from a number of other technologies including:
Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
GPS enables marketers to track inventory and even track sales and service personnel. GPS is also becoming a common feature of customers’ communication devices, such as smartphones, offering marketers the potential to locate and track customers.
Virtual Reality and Simulations
Marketers can use computer-developed virtual worlds to simulate real-world customer activity, such as in-store shopping. While this research is mostly performed in a controlled laboratory setting, there are emerging research applications involving virtual reality that enable marketers to test new product concepts and gain more insight into customer buying behavior.
Technologies that track eye movement have been around for some time, and most notably have been used in evaluating customer response to advertising and website layout. Recent advancements have led to the development of special glasses that offer the advantage of conducting research in real-world environments, such as in real stores, rather than in a controlled laboratory setting.
Data Analysis Software
As we will see in the Planning for Market Research Tutorial, the research process not only includes gathering information, it also involves a full analysis of what is collected. A number of software and statistical programs have been refined to give marketers greater insight into what the data really means. In fact, everyday spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel, now offer advanced statistical tools that previously were only available with more expensive computer programs.
Companies have begun to explore the use of brain-imaging technology for marketing research. Using such technologies as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors, researchers scan the brains of research subjects as they are exposed to neuro-stimuli, such as imagery and sound, in order to detect the effect the stimuli.