Any company/business official or executive worth his salt knows that when releasing a new product, he or she must undergo a number of steps. Perhaps the most important of these steps – and consequently the most time-consuming – is market research, described simply by Edward McQuarrie in his 2005 book The Market Research Toolbox: A Concise Guide for Beginners as “any effort to gather information about markets or customers.”
Market research, in a nutshell, is essentially directly talking with the target audience of a certain product and getting their suggestions, opinions, thoughts, and the like in order to further refine their products and outsell competitors in the market. This is conducted through somewhat indirect methods such as surveys and questionnaires, and more frequently, through more direct methods such as interviews and focus group discussions. It can be done by staff of the company itself or it may be subcontracted to third-party market research firms that do all the proverbial dirty work, from getting survey samples to phoning potential respondents and interviewees to conducting interviews and focus group discussions and the like.
The need to thoroughly assess a given target audience’s likes and dislikes and needs and preferences means that market research often takes weeks, if not months or even years depending on the complexity of the data needed, to finish. The problem market researchers face, then, is how to thoroughly sort out and interpret the data gathered in such long periods of time within a given deadline, a task that is virtually impossible to accomplish without that something that would make it easier, or at least bearable, for them to wade through this veritable sea of data.
And what is that something? Market research transcriptions.
Market research transcriptions are basically the audio data gathered during the course of market research converted into word form. This kind of work is typically sub-contracted to transcription services, wherein skilled transcribers and quality checkers transcribe audio using a variety of different tools and software in order to deliver the highest-quality transcription possible.
There exists different types of market research transcriptions, all of which may not seem impressive at first glance, but make no mistake: market research transcriptions do offer several advantages for market researchers.
One, it makes quoting a lot easier. No longer would a market researcher be stuck listening to audio again and again trying to find the quotations that matter, because he or she has the transcript on hand and ready to be searched with but a single click or two.
Second, it allows for an accurate collation of data that allows for pinpoint accuracy in data-gathering. Say, a company developing beauty products decided, midway into their product development, that they wanted to hone in on a specific demographic – middle-aged women – yet they had already conducted focus group discussions with women of all ages. With transcripts, they would not need to undergo the hassle of trying to identify who’s who themselves – or worse, having to repeat their interviews or find new respondents – for they could simply request that their chosen transcription service put in labels differentiating their target demographic from the other interviewees. Tools such as timestamps and subtitles further enhance the capability of researchers to quickly and efficiently classify data.
Lastly, market research transcriptions leave little room for errors in data-gathering arising from wrong understanding of respondents’ answers. With transcriptions on hand, market researchers can scan through the contents of a respondent’s answers easily, thus furthering their understanding of context and of the thought processes of respondents.
Market research transcriptions provide all of the above-mentioned benefits and much more, consequently lightening the workload of market researchers and allowing them to focus on the more important aspects of their job. Without transcriptions, market researchers would no doubt flounder and lose sight of irreplaceable data.