Behavioral Data Improves Marketing Research

Marketers have it tough. It’s always been challenging to understand the intrinsic values and motivations that drive consumer behavior, but now we are faced with nearly constant change in the touchpoints and interactions available to the consumer in the marketplace. The result? Consumer behavior, which used to be fairly consistent (remember A-I-D-A?), is now a kaleidoscope of ever-changing behaviors as consumers adapt to new and emerging technologies.

The sheer volume of possibilities poses complex challenges for marketers, as well as for marketing researchers. Consumers are distracted, and less likely to follow a linear, consistent purchase path (much less answer a traditional survey). Additionally, the consumer experience is extremely fragmented, with multiple devices, information sources, and interfaces. The more complex the journey, the less likely the consumer is to accurately recall specific touchpoints, especially for less salient purchases.

Behavioral data lets marketing researchers get a handle on this chaotic purchase environment. In addition to learning how consumers actually behave online, by using this information about consumers’ online behavior, marketing researchers save money and time, deliver a better research experience to respondents, and deliver better insight to clients.

Marketing Research Benefits

Observational data relies on passive data collection or metering. The consumer does not have to take an active role in this data collection. This has many benefits, not the least of which is that you don’t have to rely on consumers’ often less-than-perfect memories. You can also collect a lot of data at a very low-cost. Moreover, if you have all of this behavioral data, surveys can focus on the information that cannot be learned from observation, making surveys shorter and more engaging to potential respondents.

A study by the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona describes an experiment conducted to compare a randomly selected sample to a sample that was identified through behavioral data (website visitors). The same survey was sent to both samples, and the respondents who were identified through their behavior were significantly more likely to complete the survey (89% compared to 46% for the random sample) and were more satisfied with the survey experience (80% compared to 60% for the random sample). Additionally, behaviorally-recruited respondents had fewer incomplete surveys and comparable “don’t know” responses. While all of these factors improve the quality of data collected, they also reduce the cost of the survey and make data collection faster.

Better Marketing Insights

By having the consumer or marketplace context as illustrated by behavioral data, marketing research can focus scarce resources on what we do best: understanding consumer attitudes, opinions, and perceptions. Because we are not asking respondents what they did, we can devote our research time to understanding why they did it, and uncovering those motivations and values are critical to creating breakthrough marketing and innovative new product development.

Marketers and marketing researchers alike are best served by combining behavioral and survey data to understand consumers. By leveraging the strengths of both tools, we can make the best use of time and money as well as create better and more actionable insights to our clients. Further, once action is taken from those insights, behavioral data makes the impact of those decisions and action quite clear. The combination of behavioral and survey data brings a powerful new perspective to marketing research.

Learn more about Combining Behavioral and Survey Data! Check out our recent blogs: Behavioral Data: What is it? & Combining Behavioral and Survey Data for Better Insights

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