5 Reasons Wearable Tech Has Become A Crucial Tool for Market Researchers

This month Jason Davies wrote for Huffington Post Canada: ‘Not so many years ago the idea of monitoring blood sugar levels on your watch, checking your email via glasses, or using a winter glove to pay for a cup of coffee seemed like the impossible. But rapid growth in the Internet of Things and innovations in wearable technology have made all those things a reality.’

It looks like wearable tech has finally hit the mainstream. What does it now mean for market researchers? Here are the top five ways market researchers can use wearables to solve key problems, compiled from market research bloggers and other experts in the industry.

  • Integration of data to see the complete picture. One of the major challenges in market research right now is figuring out which data sets are important, and stringing multiple sets together to tell a story. Even with all the software available, market researchers still find gaps in the data and difficulty telling the whole story. Cathy Harrison, Project Director for Forbes Consulting had this to say about wearables and new technologies to MarketResearch.com: ‘Some of the most exciting technological advances in marketing research involve the integration of multiple data sources, permitting a holistic view of the person or situation. Unconscious motivational-emotional data can now be integrated with passively collected data, such as biometric measurements via wearable devices or smartphones, and social media or other digital data. Market research will continue to evolve as we shift toward creatively combining new data inputs and developing models that lead to more meaningful insights and practical applications.’  

  • Real world data is more authentic. Medical market research agency GKA explains in their blog: ‘Wearables remove the need for a researcher to be physically present; for example, ‘always on’ head-mounted displays that send a live stream of video and audio could transform the way we understand both the behaviour of patients and healthcare practitioners. In healthcare market research, smart wearables have the potential to give companies far greater insight into how a patient uses a device or their attitude to their medication or how a doctor reaches a diagnosis, for example.’ In fact Bob Relihan, Senior Vice President of C+R Research sees wearables changing not only the way we track consumers, but the methodology of how we track them: ‘If consumers want to track and monitor themselves and they have the technology in the near future to do that seamlessly, insight professionals should be able to tap into that stream of self-reflection. But in this world, the consumer and the response are one; we will be less able to ask direct questions. Rather, we will need to align what consumers are “tracking” about themselves with the questions we might want to ask.’

  • Wearables can allow you to get to the ‘whys’ not just the ‘whats’. Adam Rossow, CMO of iModerate had this to say at the MarketingProfs blog last year: ‘For the marketer, wearables provide research without “doing” research, which allows you to layer on other enlightening methodologies, including qualitative questions, without it being too much. Beyond that, you can get a total picture of the customer journey that’s clear and concise. You can discover where someone was before and after he or she visited your store or restaurant, as well as how much time was spent in each place. Perhaps even how his or her heart rate changed as the person moved from location to location.’ .

  • Get closer to real-time brick and mortar data. 92% of retail purchases still happen in retail stores. Market research helps brands to know what’s going on with that brick and mortar data. Wearable tech, such as the way consumers are paying or otherwise interacting with products in the store can allow researchers to collect data in real-time and at a deeper level, providing brands and retailers much more thorough insight.

  • It will bring advanced neuromarketing research out of the lab and into the real world. Readwrite wrote in their Neuromarketing Primer late last year: ‘As more companies seek to study the phenomenon (neuromarketing), wearables will become an important tool in gathering the necessary data to inspire the desired reaction from a target audience.’ Neuromarketing expert Darren Bridger had this to say to readwrite about wearables increasing in use for market researchers: ‘I see neuroresearch tech at a point analogous to computing in the late 1970s: poised to move from being a big/expensive lab application to something more accessible to a far wider range of organizations.’

By 2020, the typical U.S. consumer will have eight wearables - that’s less than 4 years away! Are you incorporating wearable tech into your market research strategies?

Don’t miss The Market Research Event this October 17-20 where some of the largest companies in the world will share their insights on everything from apps to big data as they apply to market research.