Market research is considered as a vital part for any organization, be it new or old, small or large. To understand the market and to connect with their target audience market research is a must. The methodologies we rely on gives us insights to empower your business strategy and to make correct decisions based on data collected. Although market research started developing in the Golden Age of Radio, the conceptualization of Market research is traced way back to 1900s. To understand the origins of today’s methodology and approach it is necessary to know the pioneers of history of Market research.
Era 1920s -1930s:
American Psychologist Daniel Starch is the first person to professionalize market research in Advertising. Starch stated that for advertising to be effective it must be seen, read, believed, remembered and acted upon. Starch Test was conducted to measure the effectiveness of ads in newspapers and magazines.
He is considered as the pioneer of Survey sampling and scientific public polling techniques. He created a method called “aided recall”. In this method, people were asked to recall the ads without actually showing them the publications but by providing them with few relevant cues. This method was further developed to measure the effectiveness of ads on TV and radio.
Era 1940s – 1960s
Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert Melton:
Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert Melton two faculty members at Columbia University introduced a technique which was called as Focused Group Interviews helped in understanding the need of consumers. Today method of Focus Group is used to obtain Qualitative data.
Ernest Dichter is considered as Father of Motivational Research. He applied Freudian concept to understand consumer’s mind and behavior. He was of the opinion that every product had an image, even a ‘soul’, and was bought not merely for the purpose it served but for the values and symbolic meanings underlying to it. For example: one of his studies explained why people use cigarette lighters. Lighters are used to light the cigarettes but the underlying meaning of it symbolizes, summoning fire which means a power to control fire. Post world war-II Dichter’s insights into consumer behavior made companies like Chrysler, Procter & Gamble, Exxon, General Mills change their methods of advertising.
Era 1970s to 1990s
Researchers were curious in understanding the entire consumer experience –like buying products but also the experience of owning and consuming. Considering factors like feelings and moods associated with consumption. Methods like face-to-face interviews, video-recorded focus groups and computer assisted telephone interviews becoming the primary methods for qualitative research. In the 1970s this approach and desire for deeper understanding led marketers back towards qualitative market research methods.
The advent of World Wide Web made a great impact on consumer behavior online. In 1991 the first website went live on the internet and it soon became possible to start tracking consumer behavior online.