Although market research firms strive to be more integral to their client's business process, several fundamental characteristics inherent to the way market research is conducted today represent barriers to this integration. New technologies are closing the gap between traditional market research methodologies, such as customer satisfaction surveys, and highly targeted one-to-one CRM. Increasingly, consumer learning happens in real-time and is used to immediately re-orientate outbound marketing efforts. Japan has the world's most advanced mobile telecommunications infrastructure and unsurprisingly leads the world in this domain. Around half of the Japanese population is connected to the Internet 24/7 via their mobile phones. This paper will consider the recent use of mobile phones for market research, CRM and marketing in Japan. It draws upon four specific case studies to provide an early indication of how by overcoming current market research limitations, consumer understanding may become more fully integrated into the business process in the future. It also discusses how recent advances in peripheral, mobile-related technologies lend themselves to the evolutionary move from CS to CRM.
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