Every organization aspires to be at the top of their industry. It won’t surprise you that the companies that climb those coveted ranks excel by driving innovation and offering the best customer experience. To compete, your organization needs to run research that exposes your customers’ experience gaps and respond with innovations that close those gaps.
This is where agile market research comes into play.
First Thing’s First: What is Agile?
On a basic level, agile methodology aims to produce incremental value for end users by creating a continuous stream of innovation. This progressive approach to development allows companies to be nimble and move forward with the ideas that show promise while quickly identifying and tossing ideas that don’t. Agile initially began in the software development world about 30 years ago but has since transformed entire industries.
Modern business demands require modern market research methodologies.
Traditional market research tools have a few glaring shortcomings when it comes to supporting an agile infrastructure.
The Problems with Traditional Tools
At the core, traditional market research tools simply require too much time to yield actionable results. Insights often lie deep in a mountain of data and the daunting task of analyzing all this raw information slows down the entire research process. To add insult to injury, research is often restricted to single team or department. With the increasing demand for more consumer insights, research teams can become a bottleneck slowing down initiatives company-wide.
The Promise of Modern Tools
Modern market research tools like those offered in the Fuel Cycle Market Research Cloud empower you to uncover insights more efficiently and keep up with the pace that agile demands. Some of the most time-consuming elements of the research process lie in survey design and programming. Qualtrics’s XM Automated Solutions for instance, offers expert-designed project templates spanning common use cases for product, brand, customer, and employee research. When it comes to analysis, today’s modern machine learning tools take the tedium and guesswork out of unearthing insights by doing the heavy lifting. Solutions like sentiment analysis make it easy to decipher topic and sentiment from rich qualitative data, ultimately enabling you to internally communicate insights faster, resulting in faster change across the whole organization.
You may be thinking, “This sounds great! But at which stage in the agile process should we run research exactly?” The answer: all of them. Let’s break it down.
Using existing customer knowledge and running preliminary research to further flesh out customer pain points will set you on the right path for design and development. After all, if you’re not addressing the right problems, you’re wasting your time.
Design, Develop + Test
Data from the planning stage will directly inform the design and how you execute on that design. Once you have a prototype, test it with your customers. They are your best resource for deciphering whether the new concept is working or if it needs further refinement. An online community is ideal for work like this, because it allows you to consult with the same individuals over time and gain progressive feedback upon each iteration.
Deploy, Review + Launch
After a few iterations of the concept through the design, development, and testing stages, your product is ready for the big time. After deploying and reviewing the final product internally, you may choose to conduct a soft launch with your most loyal customers, who you identified in earlier stages of research. Closing the feedback loop and continuing a dialogue with your customers will help you further hone your product and build brand loyalty long after the initial launch.
In a Nutshell
Agile is a proven methodology that can help you innovate faster than your competitors by identifying and closing experience gaps quickly. Research plays an essential role in all stages of the agile process by providing you with a constant stream of feedback that guides you to systematically address consumer pain points. With the right platform, modern researchers can keep up with today’s demands and help drive breakthroughs for their organization.