The Evolution of Polling and Marketing Research


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Marketing research and polling provides valuable insight into the public’s opinions, viewpoints, and thoughts on products, services, politics, and much more. This is why it is so pivotal to most businesses and public bodies. With the advances in technology, and the majority of the world having access to the internet, polling and marketing research is now easier to conduct than ever, and makes it easier for companies to gather data from a wider demographic.

Evolution of Marketing Research

Marketing research began as a concept in the 1920s with the advent of advertising in the US. Daniel Starch has been credited with pioneering marketing research. Starch was a psychologist who was one of the first to examine the effects of advertising on the population, and how to devise effective advertising. This eventually evolved into the very early stages of marketing research. Starch originally developed a company whose employees took to the streets to ask the general population about their reading habits, whether they read particular publications.

It was Arthur Nielsen who established marketing research as a viable industry with the creation of his company, ACNielsen, in 1923. Nielsen’s company focused not only on canvassing the general population on the streets, but also finding groups of consumers and presenting them with new and innovative products to gain their thoughts and opinions before the product went into production.

With the advances in technology like hyper converged infrastructure and web activity, marketing research became much more than just focus groups, endless street canvassing, and filling out paper surveys. Many retailers set up online stores and wanted to find out what sort of traffic their websites were attracting. This also gave them a chance to gather the opinions of their consumers. Increasing numbers of online marketing research companies also expanded access to data. These market research companies often offer incentives for individuals to sign up, and then based on their living situation, age, and other factors, they are sent surveys and sample products, or asked to watch commercials and provide their feedback.

A further benefit of the digital age for marketing research is the gathering and use of big data. Big data is exactly as the name suggests: a collection of massive data sets which would be time consuming and expensive for an individual company to gather themselves. Big data analytics has also become big business, as companies require specific sets of data for different purposes, and in varying volumes. Companies are employed to manage and present big data for other companies. Big data analytics are a great resource for retailers and businesses looking to expand.

The Evolution of Polling

Polling most commonly has political connotations. Originally polling was used as a way for newspapers to collect voting opinions and preferences of the voting populous. Since the 1920s polling has been used to gather opinions from consumer markets and also as a tool for reaching potential new customers. Polling was commonplace in publications and, as with marketing research, the increase in internet presence has meant that many websites now conduct their own polls, or are given incentives to host polls for others, to reach a wider audience and gain a wider spectrum of results. Polling still plays a large part in political elections, with parties using opinion polls to gauge the mood of voters and to attempt to determine which party is likely to win the election. Big data is particularly useful in polling as it allows for massive opinions to be considered at once, and is often used by governments when making decisions that affect their countries.

In conclusion, marketing research and polling have evolved massively since their conception. Big data analytics play an important role in both as it provides a means of gathering huge volumes of information that is accessible much more rapidly than traditional forms of research and polling, like street canvassing or paper surveys.

Rick Delgado
Freelance Writer
I've been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I've started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet. I also occasionally write for tech companies like Dell.


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