With so much new media plus changes in entertainment and communications, as well as a revolution in our measurement systems we have many more questions than answers. Asking the same old questions to a sample gathered in the ancient days of land line phones in a format that takes lots of precious time to execute will make it real hard to find the answers to so many questions.
We have the tools and opportunity to blaze new trails in researching the audience. But, like so much in radio we have to get our heads out of the 80s and welcome the new world. Hopefully as we roll out of the recession some of the gains will find their way into learning about the audience in their new world.
The keys lie in moving more towards managed panels for our research base, moving more towards on-line resources with their rich databases. The next step is to overhaul our questions to learn more about behavior instead of just reciting recalled images. To learn more about the audience on these levels we need to look at new data gathering systems to get past the surface levels and also use new analysis techniques to get to the core of real audience actions. We'll also need to move away from talking to them on the phone and interact with them in their world which as moved to the digital world of the web, cell phones, and smart phones/tablets.
It's not like we are really blazing a new trail here by ourselves. A lot of other marketing research and industries have already started down this path. Let's learn from them and start looking at the audience's behavior and how we can be a stronger part of it.