Orman Guidance: Want useful consumer data? Meet consumers on their own terms

Aug 11, 2015, 10:01 ET from Orman Guidance

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's corporations increasingly rely on raw data pulled from various online sources to inform business decisions. The practice of big data collection lets advertisers gather demographic and behavioral information. But without actually engaging the audience, the richest consumer insights are left on the table.

It is self-evident that leaving consumers out of the conversation hurts business in the long run. That's what Rosemary Sundin, president of consumer insights company Orman Guidance, wants the marketplace to understand. Sundin has spent more than 25 years studying myriad forms of data collection and consumer engagement with market research, and she believes respecting and involving consumers is crucial.

"Big data can tell us what customers have done in the past and offer predictions," Sundin says. "But it cannot reveal what consumers are thinking or why they behave the way they do. It does not have the power to uncover unmet needs. Or poorly met needs."

Market research uncovers the opportunities big data can't reach. "Since market research must be hypothesis driven, it avoids the noise and clutter of big data, letting companies focus on what they really need to know about consumers," Sundin says.

Consumer engagement with market research is under constant analysis at Orman Guidance. Over the years, the company has invested in many of its own studies that provide the formula for how consumers want to be engaged and queried.

On February 25, 2015, Orman Guidance conducted qualitative and quantitative research that focused on engagement preferences of the millennial generation. The study found that millennials are hesitant to engage in market research – but are willing to if they're informed and compensated transparently and fairly.

It is clear that millennials desire authentic forums for opinion sharing. "If I see that a survey is ridiculously long or hard to navigate, I'm not always going to be honest," a participant said. "You want me to buy your product, so act like you respect me and my time. I'd also be more likely to share my information if you tell me what you're doing with it. I want to feel that my information is safe, and that it is in fact worth something."

Another highlight of the Orman Guidance analysis is the desired level of involvement among millennials for co-created products, services and delivery mechanisms. Social media plays a significant role, but millennials are skeptical if the company's social media-scape feels inauthentic or robotic.

For Orman Guidance's Sundin, this study of millennials reinforces the need to pair big data with market research methodologies that approach consumers on their own terms.

"The opportunity for the industry has to be in the way we engage consumers, being mindful of the time we're asking them to give us, and making sure they understand how important they are in the process," Sundin says. "That includes rewarding them for meaningful, authentic participation."

Orman Guidance, founded in 1975 and based in Minneapolis, MN, has achieved longevity and trust of major clients like Optum and Target, by putting consumers first.

For more details about this consumer engagement study, please contact William Bornhoft at wbornhoft@ormanguidance.com.  Or call +1-952-857-0124.

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SOURCE Orman Guidance