The global lockdown due to COVID-19 has put a strain on several businesses. This may have led to budget cuts across teams, including that of Consumer Insights’ teams. However, understanding the consumer is even more important in today’s context. The lockdown has resulted in consumers adopting new and potentially permanent behaviors. For instance, Baby Boomers who were traditionally seen as digital ‘laggards’, are embracing online shopping in times of social distancing.
In such a scenario, businesses are realizing that they cannot base their decisions on pre-COVID insights. They are exploring ways to stay abreast of changing consumer preferences while optimizing budgets for maximum value.
Here are two ways Consumer Insights teams can plan their research spends:
1. Prioritizing research that provides key consumer insights
Consumer Insights teams would need to identify and undertake projects that support better decision-making in the COVID-19 context. At such a time, spending on long-term, strategic research should be paused, while instead continuing to invest in (in order of importance):
- Customer pulse research to continuously track and evaluate the evolving preferences of your customers during uncertain times.
- Brand tracking programs to understand consumer sentiment towards your brand during this crisis. This research is helpful in predicting revenue and comparing your brand equity versus competitors’.
- User experience research for your digital websites, supporting systems, etc. With consumers increasingly turning to digital, this is a good opportunity to retain customers and attract new ones.
- Ad testing is critical during uncertain and sensitive times. In addition to increased ROI, ad testing helps ensure your ads resonate with your audience.
2. Optimizing research spend for extreme value
After prioritizing their research, Consumer Insights teams must seek to optimize and reduce spends for Tracking programs, UX programs, Net Promoter Score surveys, etc. These can be carried out at a 30% lower cost by:
- Leveraging technology & automation to improve efficiency and speed. Support your research with modern technologies, Robotic Process Automation, AI/ML.
- Offshoring your research operations without compromising on your research quality.
The uncertainty of COVID-19 has put a strain on several businesses. However, businesses are spending to understand changing consumer preferences. Leveraging these two ways can help businesses gather relevant consumer insights to guide business decisions during these uncertain times.