By Kyle Hawke
For my own business and my clients, I am all about quick, cheap, and informative market research. So when I recently came across a blog post on crowdsourcing market research, I was immediately interested. I stumbled on the blog post via article on Mashable titled, “Why Marketers Should Invest in Crowdsourced Market Research” that talked about the value of crowdsourcing market research. Mashable could have just copied the article above and been better off but they decided to put their own flare on it.
The article talks about how a research can use social media networks alone and do a good portion of their market research. It’s a great article with an even better summary.
There is value in stopping there, but I decided to try using photo-sharing sites to do an Anthropologic Study (e.g., Ethnographic research). The test was on a current project that seeks to reclaim life inside the airport. The company is called The Third Space. We are looking at not only the airport waiting experience, but the travelers activities pre- and post-flight.
So, I headed over to Flickr and set my Search parameters to only return Creative Commons licensed work. Note: This is a good practice to make sure you are not violating any copyright laws by using the photographs and is typically necessary to be able to download the photographs and put them in some sensible form.
After about 30 minutes, I had a broader and deeper sample of market research than I would have ever been capture on my own, no matter how long I may have or how deep my pockets. The wisdom of the crowd – traveling photographers from all over the world – really shined through. The pictures can communicate a lot, but the photographer’s picture titles/descriptions and the reader’s comments are even more rich. For example:
Arsheffield talks about the pains of getting cabs in foreign countries where you don’t know the language or the custom. (Click the image below to see his rich recount of the experience.) This is a post-flight experience that is a reality for international travelers.
Toastforbrekkie shared a photo from Chicago O’Hare baggage claim but didn’t document how it made him feel. But those who commented on the photo said it all (click the image below to see what I mean.)
Jim Nix, on the other hand, shared a photo of Tampa’s baggage claim that shares a much more pleasant baggage claim experience.
A few final lessons to make your crowdsourced market research experience an even
- Narrow your research demographics to individuals or groups of people who fit your target market segment. The same goes for locations.
- Compare and contrast positive and negative experiences. What makes the difference? You can learn the most from differences.
- Contact those who have interesting photographs or stories. They can then serve as the subject for more detailed discussions, observations, trials or prototypes.
Bottom line: Try to use Flickr to gather primary market research. It’s fast, free and extremely informative. If you don’t have the time, know-how, or want help, let us know. We can help.