The diffusion of the Internet in our lives has not only enabled the free & instant access to all kind of information, but, it has also affected the way people express themselves and communicate today.Consumes - citizens are not passive observers and recipients of information.
People today flirt with the more active and dynamic role of commentators, influencers and co-creators.
At the same time, people find themselves sharing their everydayness between the on line and off line world, to the extent that it is becoming hard to discern between the two. The psychology of the consumer-citizen is changing, along with the perception on his own image, his role in the “universe” and of course his behavior.
It’s been quite a while since researchers started questioning whether research, as we know it, can effectively incorporate the new emerging role of the consumer – citizen and to what extent existing research approaches grasp the new means of expression and communication, reaction and behavior of consumers
One has to wonder if traditional research continues to face respondents as passive transmitters of information, disregarding their new empowered status; whether it places focus on the playback of past experiences and interact with respondents with the intervention of the researcher.
Could it be that we are missing opportunities which emerge from this new more expanded and empowered role of respondents, who act as conscious researchers of their own behavior, seeking info and responding to stimuli, using a vast range of expressive means, from videos and pics, to symbols and abbreviations?
One thing is certain. If we continue ignoring respondents’ new role, we distance ourselves from the wealth of experiences and emotions which can be shared only through direct and continuous interaction with the consumer in his own environment.
Research can no longer be a snapshot of the past. Research owes to itself to become a continuous, systematic and direct form of interaction with the consumer, an imprint of many smaller moments in people’s lives eagerly shared between respondents and researchers.
It is of ultimate importance to enrich our methodologies so as to grasp the new reality. Market research is challenged not only to adjust to the new reality, but to take things a step forward, develop new methodologies and software that can more effectively deal with the new consumer reality.
As more and more consumers enthusiastically embrace Internet in their everydayness and immerse in the on line world, barriers against on line and experiential approaches lose ground and the need for researchers to become more resourceful becomes imperative.