The History of Essential Market Research

A Brief Timeline

What is Market Research?
● Process of determining whether or not a product or service is viable in the current time
period through research conducted directly with potential customers
Timeline of Market Research
Quantitative Questionnaire Era – 1900s-1940s
● “Understanding the Masses”
● 1920s, man named Daniel Starch theorized that advertising had to be seen, read,
believed, remembered & acted upon in order to be considered effective
● George Gallup developed theory of aided recall
○ prompted people interviewed to recall an ad seen in a publication without actually
showing it to them, used to measure effectiveness

Qualitative Consumer Era – 1940s-1960s
● “Understanding the Individual”
● The term “consumer” became much more prevalent; this led to businesses
understanding their market on deeper and more personal levels
● Ernest Dichter created a new form of research: Motivational Research
○ believed that consumer’s held hidden realm of desires, taboos, repressions, and
secrets in their minds
○ His advice to the advertisers was to understand the personality of the product,
which leads to understanding how to market it
○ Relied on “Depth interviews” – therapy sessions used to observe consumers
interacting with products in simulated or real environments

Refining the Process – 1960s-1980s
● “Understanding Consumers Mindsets”
● Qualitative methods returned due to incorporation of new technology such as computers,
phone systems, and the Internet
● Researchers focused on the experiential part of being a consumer; Both the process of
buying and the actual experience of owning and consuming a product/service
○ Role of emotions, feelings, moods, and other affective aspects of consumption
were used in order to understand customers

The Digital Era – Present
● “Understanding Context”
● Since technology is so advanced in today’s world, this allows market research agencies
to pull from a large ecosystem of methodologies and tools that provide a more accurate
view of consumers.
● The Internet has allowed us to conduct surveys on much larger scales, such as:
○ research news
○ communications

○ culture
○ create hyper-segmentations

From quantitative measuring to the advancements of AI (Artificial Intelligence) the way we
research is rapidly evolving. Connecting with people on the most organic levels has become as
easy as clicking a button. As much as marketing and advertising evolves, the way that
marketers connect stays the same-real engagements.

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