As time is passing by, generations gain new and quite different features from older ones. Especially millennials (also known as Generation Y born between 1980 and 2000) and Gen Z (born after 2000) can be seen as leading actors of digital age. Millennials who are between ages 16-36 now will have spending power of an estimated $200 billion annually by 2017 according to a research conducted in 2015. Although latter generation, Gen-Zers don’t have credit cards, they play a big role in household purchasing and spending decisions that their parents make. As they are real and potential customers for brands now, it is getting more and more important to understand their lifestyle, behaviors, consuming patterns and shopping habits for marketers. To reach and analyze them, it may also mean that there is a need to change shell for market research. For this reason, it is necessary to know what has changed in the first place. Then, it can be discussed over useful practices to be applied for new generations.
Unlike Baby Boomers and Gen X, millennials grew up with latest technology. Even, Gen Z-ers are called first digital natives as they were born into a complete digital world. They both don’t know a world without Internet, smart phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets and mostly use their smartphones to get information and for other activities all day long. They buy things online rather than going stores; they use social media platforms actively to be up to date, to watch funny videos and to share their opinions and experiences; they search to make decisions about brands online by reading comments and watching videos and they follow them every time; they do online surveys; they participate in online communities. Because of the role they play and their differences, market research is also trying to approach them in a way following innovations. According to these features, market research need to apply up-to-date practices like mobile market research, social media research and other qualitative research performed through videos and audiovisual assisted research.
Mostly applicable, mobile market research widely makes use of smart phones, tablets and mobile web browsers. It includes mobile surveys, SMS surveys, online communities and bulletin boards. Millennials and Gen-Zers want to be easy to engage things whenever and wherever they wish. As they tend to multitask and Internet is like a part of their entity, they don’t run away from taking mobile surveys while being online at the same time. These surveys could be web-based, phone-optimized or directly designed applications for different mobile operating systems. As it is quite challenging to keep up with new generations, online communities and bulletin boards may be also good options for market researchers analyzing them. Online communities are portable and flawless platform to take part in conversations about their opinions, preferences, objectives and brands or services they use. They provide immediate access 7/24 to millennials via their laptops, mobiles and tablets.
As another option, there is a considerable focus on social media for market research. Millennials and Gen Z-ers use a series of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube, Instagram etc. In these kinds of social media platforms, a market research can be effectively carried out by searching hashtags, tracking trends, popular terms, comments and recent posts about related brand, product or service. For this kind of research, social media monitoring and business intelligence can be used to monitor contents for needed areas. Unlike traditional research methods taking so much time to plan, execute and get results, utilizing social media for market research will not only provide updated information but also help saving time to addressing Millenials and Gen Z-ers.
Lastly, market research benefits from videos in recent times. Millennials and Gen Z-ers may be voluntary to participate in market research if they do it interactively by using live streams and creating audiovisual contents. They have already been using platforms like Periscope, Snapchat, Vine and Scorp to express their opinions, share experiences and comments about a product or something else. To get feedback or know using patterns of consumers, market research wants them to create videos as it is known that this is an entertaining activity to show what they think and see. For example, they may be asked to show the product they use, their profile and their living environment in the video and to explain their ideas about related product or service. So, it can provide contextual information as visual evidence supports information they give.
In a nutshell, market research should be up-to-date to address and follow up Millennials and Gen Z-ers. By integrating with mobile optimization, social media and audiovisual means, it is possible to analyze and understand these divergent generations easily. It shouldn’t be also overlooked that they are changing day by day.