Reasoned action and planned behavior:
In the 1980’s theories on the link between attitudes and behaviors started emerging. Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen pioneered the theories of reasoned action (TRA) and theory of planned behavior (TPB) which formed the conceptual framework for predicting, explaining, and changing human social behavior. According to the TRA and TPB, there is a strong relationship between attitudes, intentions, behaviors, and changes in attitudes and attention which result in behavior change. Fishbein later developed the muli-attribute attitude model, which states that a consumer’s attitude toward an object is a function of the consumer’s perception and belief of the object’s key attributes. The model measures three components resulting in a measurable score representing a customer’s attitude toward brands. This gives brands the ability to measure consumer attitudes and gain insight into what drives their behavior.
Then came the internet:
One of the most profound changes in the history of market research came with the advent of the world wide web. The first website launched in 1991, and soon thereafter, we were tracking consumer behaviors online. Dr. Stephen Turner released Analog as a research project while working at the University of Cambridge in 1995. It was launched as freeware to do reverse domain name system (DNS) lookups to see where site hits originate and were used to count website visitors and where in the world views were coming from. This information which had previously only been available to computer scientists could now be used in the marketing sphere.
Now and next:
With the advent of the internet and the ability to gather data more rapidly, market research has begun to develop equally rapidly. In 2003, Frederick Reichheld developed the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to assess customer loyalty and advocacy to a brand. Within the past decade, we have been able to gain on-demand insights as we have had more access to consumer data. The field has been using social media, expanding research channels with online and mobile research, and we are now experimenting with new technology such as eye-trackers and automation. When market research began to gain popularity in the ’20s, any market research of any kind was a substantial undertaking. Trying to garner responses from even a small group was tricky, but now we can gather data from around the world with comparative ease. Because things are constantly changing and developing in the field, it is an exciting time to be in market research. Imagine how much more we can learn in the next decade.