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Why web-based search engines don’t cut it for market research

By January 25, 2019July 14th, 2023No Comments
search engine

Our recent blog post Why is it so hard to find your past research?
discussed why you need a solution that can easily get you to the
relevant data point in a document. So why not just load your studies
into a document or content management system and slap on an internal
site search? Then you’ll be able to retrieve every relevant document
with every relevant data point right? Hold up…It’s not that easy. There
are all sorts of problems relating to words, vocabulary, and language
that must be overcome.

Let’s say you’re looking for data on what keeps people from
purchasing jumbo-sized candy bars for your brand. It’s a pretty
straightforward question, but it could be asked in several different

Why don’t people buy jumbo-sized candy bars?

Reasons why not buy jumbo bars

Barriers to jumbo

How does a search engine ensure that these questions match up to the
right results, however they may be worded? An internet search engine
uses statistical techniques that take advantage of the fact that they
are probing the entire internet. And the “corpus” comprising all of the
language on the internet includes vocabulary from a myriad of domains,
such as techie terminology, business jargon, sports idioms, you name it.
In this way, they are drawing from a huge repository of words,
sentences, and phrases that make it easy to detect patterns.

In your case, the corpus comprising your market research data isn’t
nearly as robust. Add to that all of the jargon, acronyms, and other
terminology that are specific to market research, your company, or even
your brand, and you’ll find that a web-based search solution just won’t
cut it.

That’s why your knowledge management solution needs a search engine
that can understand the structure and meaning of the language it’s
working with. For example, your search engine should account for the
different ways market research study questions can be asked, along with
the ways in which a search term can be phrased so that it knows that
phrases like “Why don’t people buy…” and “Reasons why not buy…” are
essentially the same question.

You should also make sure that market research terminology is
programmed into your search engine. For example, you want it to know
that “Barriers to…” refers to why something isn’t purchased. In
addition, you want your search engine to be customizable to suit your
specific vocabulary. Does your brand use the word “jumbo” to refer
exclusively to “jumbo-sized candy bars”? Make sure that’s programmed
into your search engine so that your users can search using the
terminology that’s most natural to them.

Most people assume that search is a one-size-fits all solution — it’s
certainly not. Make sure your knowledge management system has a search
engine that’s designed around your needs. At KnowledgeHound we know that
the data you’re often looking for is in the study questions, and that’s
why our search engine is designed to match up your search terms with
the studies that contain the questions you’re looking for.