3 Recent Research Topics That Every Market Researcher Should Understand
Research topics are difficult to narrow down into the three most important to understand. In this article, we will take a look at 3 areas of exploration for market researchers to “consider,” because we feel strongly that understanding these research topic areas will make you a better market researcher.
Research topic 1 – usafacts.org
Steve Ballmer (former Microsoft CEO) started a nonprofit company called usafacts.org with the purpose of simplifying the US Government (federal, state & local) using a statistical approach. What a project! I was reading through it and thought market researchers might consider this a valuable resource. There are great visuals to snip for your PowerPoint, the methodology is bullet proof, the sourcing is from publicly available data and it will be continually updated as information becomes available. Three insights that caught my attention when looking at this information:
- The US population has grown by 100,000,000 since I graduated high school. STOP – no subtracting allowed in trying to calculate my age!
- In 2015, there were 3,977,745 births in the US and 2,746,013 deaths. A great foundation to grows brands is when we have more births than deaths.
- There are 23,269,407 government (federal, state and local) employees in the US and 11 million of those employees work in Education.
Research topic 2 – “Pay” as a strategy
- Alibaba and Amazon are both running full throttle implementing “pay” as a strategy. Amazon has launched pay in France, Italy and Spain over the last 30 days, which allows shoppers to pay in different websites using their Amazon accounts (similar to PayPal), while Alibaba has introduced credit card payment for purchases through the AliExpress online platform in Russia. (sources: Amazon and tass.ru respectively).
- 3 important reasons “pay” is a smart strategy are:
- Money – Alibaba and Amazon both want to be the “middlemen” between paying bills and processing transactions because they collect a fee for each transaction.
- Information & Insights – Understanding what consumers & shoppers are buying outside of their domains, similar to PayPal, provides valuable insights which can be used for countless strategies.
- End to end control – According to a Bloomberg article written by Spencer Soper titled Amazon Building Global Delivery Business To Take On Alibaba, FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) is aggressively expanding storage, packing and shipping for independent merchants selling products on their website. The project called Dragon Boat, will turn FedEx and UPS into Amazon rivals and will allow Amazon to bypass these brokers, amassing inventory from thousands of merchants around the world and then buying space on trucks, planes and ships at reduced rates, creating what Amazon describes as a “one click-ship for seamless international trade and shipping.”
Research topic 3 – Alexa Who is she? What is it?
Staying on top of current research topics is important for market researchers and Alexa is another area to ensure you understand. Digital trends does a nice job explaining Alexa in a very simple way and who doesn’t appreciate simple? We certainly do at http://netizeninsights.com/
- What is Alexa?
- Alexa is the name of Amazon’s virtual assistant and is the Amazon version of Apple’s Siri. When you ask Alexa (or Siri) a question, you are actually communicating with a cloud-based service that Amazon designed to mimic conversations. “Alexa” wakes up the service to start listening to your voice. Amazon executives describe that “Alexa” was chosen because it harkens back to the library of Alexandria and more importantly because it contains an “X” sound which prevents Amazon’s cloud service from being confused and waking up unintentionally.
Where can you use Alexa?
- First you will need a device that can access the cloud-based service such as Echo, Dot or Tap from Amazon. Of interest Ford announced that three of its car models will be able to talk to Amazon’s assistant. According to digitaltrends.com, someone even programmed Alexa to work with a Big Mouth Billy Bass!
- Alexa is also becoming the center of many smart-home systems like Wink, Logitech Harmony and the Nest thermostats.
What can Alexa do?
- Alexa can understand well over 3200 commands and this is growing continually. If you want to find out the newest commands, all you have to do is say “Alexa, what’s new with you?”
- Here are a few commands that are popular:
- Track your Amazon packages
- Pay your bills
- Order pizza
- Narrate a book
- Find recipes
- Source: http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/what-is-amazons-alexa-and-what-can-it-do/
Staying abreast of key research topics will make you a more valued research professional with your team. When you find yourself wanting very exact demographic numbers, give http://usafacts.org/ a try. It will ensure data accuracy and simplification on putting your story together. Take a few minutes while drinking your morning coffee or tea and dig into Amazon and Alibaba’s “Pay” strategies. Will their strategies affect Visa, MasterCard, American Express and PayPal? Are these traditional pay systems losing their moat which protects their stock prices from downward risk? And in the spirit of AI (artificial intelligence), spend a few minutes thinking about the virtual assistant. This technology is penetrating homes all over the world. How will Alexa or Siri affect your brand orders? Will they guide shoppers to other products beside your brands? Could Alexa or Siri negatively or positively affect your company sales?