The timing for research has never been better

Marketing and communication teams had the rug pulled out from under them when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Some marketing programs went dark. Some went to mission-based messaging and communication. Some are still asking themselves where to go from here. It might feel strange to be promoting goods and services when there are pressing issues on the minds of Americans.

But we have seen one strategic marketing area that makes sense to continue now: consumer research. Why? We are seeing record responses to online surveys, focus groups, online panels, and key informant interview participation. We recently closed an online survey two weeks prior to our deadline because of the immediate responses we got in the field. We’re seeing this across all research formats and market verticals.

Consumers want to share their opinions, talk and engage now. According to Qualtrics (an online research platform utilized by KW2), approximately “86% of people were happy to take part in research during the pandemic. With many people out of work and staying at home, researchers have found that survey participation is up across modes while online panel providers have reported above normal daily completion rates and a decrease in fraudulent response worldwide.”

This is good news for marketers. It means that they can obtain fresh insight into the emotional and functional connection that consumers have to their brands, issues, services and products, and recent communication regarding COVID-19. Nearly 6 in 10 consumers (58%) say the COVID-19 situation has impacted their view of brands, according to the recent COVID-19 Brand Sentiment Navigator Report released by engagement technology company, Vesta. If you had some hypothesis regarding your brand perception prior to COVID-19, revisiting the impact of the crisis is critical in moving forward.

Consumers are also choosing relationships with brands and organizations that reflect their values. They are doing so through a new lens of equality, inclusion and the actions companies and organizations did during the pandemic crisis. "This is a critical time for brands to imprint themselves in consumers' minds that will ensure staying power through the crisis and beyond," says Susan Frech, CEO, Vesta. "This survey suggests now is the time for brands to show, not tell, how much they live out their brand promise and values."

What research can you do right now?

  • Online Panels - We have access to hundreds of existing online panels through Wisconsin and nationwide. Panel participants can be segmented by any number of demographics. 
  • Key Informant Interviews - Partners critical to your organization are willing to share their opinion and advice, now more than ever. We have found these useful in the marketing planning stage.
  • Online Surveys - Track purchasing intent and determine awareness and perceptions in a condensed time period.
  • Online Focus Groups - This is rich territory right now for gaining deeper understanding to the emotional connection people have with your organization. Zoom makes it easy to connect and we’re seeing record numbers of participants willing to share their thoughts and opinions.

There’s a lot of uncertainty that we’re experiencing right now, but research allows you to hear from consumers and influencers to help give your marketing programs important, timely and relevant direction. Your audiences are waiting to share.For more on how research can quickly benefit your organization, contact KW2 co-owner, Jennifer Savino.