Millennials Part Ways with Traditional Research Methods

Today, when market research professionals go about their work, the phrase that is often top of mind is: What about the Millennials? This large, young generation has become the most sought-after market, as this is the group currently shaping the future and guiding social norms. They are changing the very way in which we shop, advertise, communicate, and even think.

Much of this is due to the influence that new technology has had on their lifestyle. Spending, according to research consultancy TNS, approximately three hours a day on their mobile phones, Millennials are immersed in technology and live much of their lives online – which, of course, has a profound effect on their buying decisions.

This leaves market researchers wondering, do traditional research methods work with Millennials?

Yes, but there may be a better way

The reality is that Millennials may respond better to digital methods compared to traditional research methods. One reason could be because those methods don’t speak to their creativity as much as more recently developed methodologies like market research online communities, online forums, and online groups do. Traditional research methods such as in-home interviews or telephone interviews are comparatively unappealing, striking some Millennials as old-fashioned, dull, and also restrictive. They tend to prefer the flexibility that comes with remote market research studies like online qual, which doesn’t tie them to a specific date and time the way a traditional focus group would.

The decreasing attention span of humans also plays a role. A recent Microsoft study found that attention spans have fallen from 12 down to 8 seconds since 2000, when the “mobile revolution” began, and that has particularly affected Millennials who were coming of age at that time. With less ability to focus for prolonged periods of time, Millennials are less likely to have the time or head space to spend in a traditional two-hour market research discussion group.

Digital Methods Preferred

If traditional research methods aren’t working with that coveted Millennial market, then what should researchers do? Well, fortunately, there are many new digital market research methodologies being adopted that are very effective with this demographic. Using digital methods with Millennials just makes sense because digital is their “language” and in many ways feels more natural to them than face-to-face communication. The easy accessibility of online research is appreciated by this free-spirited generation, and they also like that the online space allows them to better express creativity through the uploading of photos and other images.

How to Maximise Millennial Engagement

There are a number of useful strategies that market researchers can implement if they want to encourage active Millennial participation in their studies. Consider trying the following:

Millennials and traditional research methods

  • Give Them Flexibility – Research studies that don’t have rigid schedules and that are accessible at all times are ideal for Millennials who are always on-the-go and frequently glued to their smartphones.
  • Allow Them to Co-Create – Online research communities, especially those that engage participants in more visual content, are often appreciated by Millennials who enjoy exercising their creativity.
  • Provide a Variety of Tasks – Blogging, uploading photos, recording video diaries, and taking part in idea generation are a few of the different types of activities you might offer them.
  • Keep Activities Short and Sweet – Millennials tend to prefer short, sharp bursts of activity, so less time-intensive tasks will keep them better engaged.
  • Make Them Feel Valued – Millennials typically have a high level of self-worth, so be sure to reiterate that their feedback is important and let them know why their input is valued by market researchers.

These techniques, along with more modern methodologies, will make it much easier for you to reach this influential Millennial generation rather than relying on traditional research methods. Those methods certainly still have their place in the world of market research, but for Millennials, digital is always best. 

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