Surviving and Thriving: Market Research Matters in Tumultuous Times


As seismic shifts radically alter the face of business, many organizations are grappling with the decision to move forward with market research efforts. Should we pause our research, and wait for things to settle down? Are response rates fluctuating? Are there specific subject matter concerns we should take into account? 

During the economic downturn of 2008, many brands saw a long-term shift in consumer sentiment and habits. Awareness, usage, and product loyalty can alter dramatically in times of crisis. Identifying patterns in buyer behavior can be vital to positioning your organization for recovery. Market research enables businesses to navigate change and meet emerging opportunities. To help guide your efforts, we’ve put together answers to the top questions that might be on your mind during this period:


How are response rates being impacted?

Innovate’s commitment to a world-class participant experience has helped us weather this storm, and we’ve seen a 40% increase in consumer panel traffic over the past two months. Minor regional differences may exist, please contact us to discuss how we can meet your specific research needs. Numerous participants from our PointClub panel report finding a sense of normalcy by continuing to provide input and feedback via surveys. For many, a rise in time spent at home has allowed for increased survey participation. We’re continuing to engage with participants and monitor the situation as it develops, and will keep our partners abreast of any areas of concern or expected disruptions.


What shifts are you seeing in consumer behavior due to the crisis?

Our research indicates that over 60% of Americans report feeling a high level of anxiety and fear about the economy. This fear is likely to impact consumer priorities, causing some purchase categories to shift from “must-have” to “nice to have.” Brand loyalty may also see long-term shifts; 34% of participants expect to continue purchasing a product by a brand that they would have otherwise not chosen pre-pandemic. These findings suggest areas for organizations to create value and succeed in a changing environment. View the results of our recent research on the consumer mindset here.


How has B2B research been impacted?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a palpable impact on business globally. Leaders across many sectors are focused on navigating these changes and supporting organizational health. Certain job titles and industries may require extra time in field to achieve proper representation. We also strongly advise ensuring that your survey is concise and mobile-friendly to support the highest levels of data quality and engagement from this difficult-to-reach audience. We’re currently researching the business, social, and economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) among B2B respondents; contact us today, and we’ll make sure you’re on the list to receive results from this critical research.


How can we tailor our research with sensitivity to the current state of affairs?

Consider acknowledging coronavirus (COVID-19) in your survey and including attitudinal scales on the crisis to help identify outliers and balance/weight data against this metric. Avoid emotionally charged wording such as viral, collapse, and outbreak. Revisit standard questions, such as household income, through the lens of current events to ensure they align with your research objectives. For example, will recent events have impacted household income? Perhaps inquiring about last year’s or next year’s expected income may better suit your needs. Make sure your question instructions are clear and specific to participants. When possible, have a colleague outside of your immediate project team review the questionnaire – you may be surprised what a fresh set of eyes can find!


Should we continue longitudinal (tracking) projects?

Longitudinal research can be instrumental in helping your firm recalibrate to meet the needs of a changing market. Collecting a continuous record of benchmarks can help illuminate the impact of market experimentation, and chart a path forward.  Scaling back longitudinal work may lead to short-term financial savings; however, it is at the risk of developing long-term blind spots that can impede the success of your business. We recommend continuing longitudinal research to help avoid unnecessary spending and hone in on strategies that work for your target audience.


Now more than ever, market research is critical for businesses to understand consumer perceptions, the impact on purchasing, as well as planning for the future. If you have additional questions or would like to chat about a specific need or project, please e-mail info@innovatemr.com