The 12 Tweets of Market Research Christmas
Follow us on Twitter to get them right in your feed (@TripleScoopPMR). We’ll tweet a new “gift” every day before Christmas. Come what may.
Here we go:
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my Market Researcher gave to me….
Months of Insights
One of the greatest benefits of using communities for research is that you can keep your finger on the pulse 12 months of the year. A survey or set of focus groups gives you a snapshot of the market. Nothing wrong with that. I love a good photograph. (In fact, I fancy myself a photographer. You can see some on my Pinterest board.)
Today’s world is dynamic. So much is going on and so quickly. And often those small decisions that will make all the difference don’t justify a stand-alone survey or qualitative project. A community approach is called for in those situations. And who better to go to than a company (that would be us, TripleScoop), that started doing online communities as long ago as 2003.
Community Members Talking
Insight communities, panels, MROCs, co-creation communities, or advisory groups. Whatever you want to call it, putting together a group, large or small, of the right people provides you an opportunity to tap into their wisdom continuously. Think about it. Regular surveys or focus groups, while good, are static: they capture the market at a certain point. But markets are dynamic, constantly shifting and changing. And the decisions you need to support are often dynamic as well. A community approach is like going from oil painting to video. A good community, whether qualitative or quantitative (or a mix) helps you stay on top of the market and integrate the voice of the customer into decision making much more dynamically.
Participants Participating (in a bulletin board discussion)
Have you ever tried a bulletin board to explore qualitative issues? Bulletin boards are a fantastic alternative to focus groups or depth interviews. They are perfect for getting rich, in-depth conversation and insights around complex issues or decision processes. So that makes them particularly well-suited for B2B, though there are complex issues in the consumer world too. And the depth of insights, the richness of what they reveal in a bulletin board setting is fantastic. And we know our bulletin boards--TripleScoop’s founder ran his first bulletin board discussion in 1997 and has moderated hundreds since.
If you aren’t trying to understand Millennials, you are probably painting pictures in a cave in France. Millennials are eclipsing Boomers in importance and spending. What are you doing to better understand them as your prospects or customers?
Here’s the good news. TripleScoop has been studying Millennials for a decade. And now we have Millennials studying Millennials. It doesn’t get much better than that. (Meet Sidney and Jaimee--our outstanding Generation Y researchers.)
Our Millennial Christmas Wish List
Trends from Social Networking
What if your customers and prospects were holding a focus group and didn’t invite you to watch? Well, they are actually doing exactly that. Social media has a ton of chatter going on and sometimes your product or brand is the subject of the chatter. Sometimes consumers talk about problems and unmet needs. They discuss trends before you know to ask.
You might have thought your only choice was expensive and unreliable data mining methods--those that get you automated, robotic and sometimes hilarious results. But we come from a researcher’s point of view, and realize you could just think of all this chatter as an unmoderated--yet very dynamic--focus group. When you approach the analysis in the same way you do any other focus group, you can tease out relevant insights: identify trends early on, spot product problems, understand consumer needs and language, gauge competitive pressures and even get ideas for new products or product refinements.
Before social media was big, TripleScoop tapped grassroots discussions (message boards and that type of thing) to monitor the consumer and food trends for a F500 consumer food company. Using this approach--treating the chatter like a focus group--we discovered some relevant and usable new insights and trends very cost effectively.
Maybe this could work for you.
Multiple ideas and not enough budget to test each concept discretely? Our Compass hybrid method is a cost effective way to deal with multiple concepts. And it provides a qualitative element to the testing--so you don’t just get the score to compare, but also the why behind it.
In addition to Compass, we have developed more realistic ways to test concepts that incorporate behavorial economics and crowdsourcing techniques to better get to the reality behind consumer intentions. The closer you can make the concept test fit the consumer’s reality and capture the emotional components of their purchase decision--not just the rational--the more accurate your testing will be.
T-tests are the most basic of statistics we use. They help tease out significant differences. Sometimes people erroneously believe that if a survey has lots of respondents or if any sort of significance testing or complex analysis is conducted, then it must be “scientific.” But science is not about the numbers or the complexity of the statistics. Scientific really means the scientific process is used: coming up with a hypothesis (a theory), then putting it to the test. Statistics are used to prove or disprove the theory. Sometimes the statistical tests used can be quite simple, sometimes they can be quite complex. Always remember, its the not the test that helps you make better decisions, it’s how well it proves or disproves your theories and leads you to greater insights.
2014 is predicted to be the year mobile internet usage overtakes desktop internet usage. 41% of Millennials are mobile only*.
Are your surveys mobile friendly? Grid questions--won’t work. Lengthy instructions and detailed questions? No dice. Mobile is a whole new world for survey research--and respondents are already going mobile while you are designing for the desktop.
But it’s not just about keeping up with respondents. Mobile brings you and your business right into the heart, mind and hands of the consumer. Mobile brings you a whole new world of immediacy and insights.
Get mobile and get moving.
* (See Pew Research's Report, pg 25-32)
Sure TripleScoop specializes in online methods. And Ted pioneered the use of bulletin boards in research. But sometimes old school is the best way to go. Focus groups aren’t dead, Malcolm. They may be old, but trust me, old is not bad.
With all the innovation in qualitative research, especially on the technology side, and with the growth of ethnography as a research tool, it would seem focus groups are on the way out. I would say that there are definite weaknesses to groups, and I agree that they are often used in inappropriate ways that stifle creativity and do other negative things. But that is blaming the tool for the shortcomings of those in charge. Sometimes you need to see real people in a room talking about your product to get it.
Overloaded with work? Need help identifying with a particular market segment? Nervous about taking your in person focus group moderating into the online realm?
Well, in our office we have three capable and experienced moderators ready to start listenin’ (and talkin’). We can take notes, interact with consumers, write reports, and find insights. We’re the all-in-one, full package and big (if big means small… we’ve got the personal touch with three moderators) kahuna of research companies comfortable with the online realm and always ready to learn and adapt to new online environments. We enjoy getting consumers to open up and we strongly believe in the online platforms that we use to gain valuable insights for research and businesses. Don’t be shy. Give us a call. We’ll help in the most wonderful of fashions and get you online in a jiffy.
May I complain about something? I am a market researcher, yet too many times I quit in the middle of a survey that is just too long or has too many matrix questions. And I am not alone. We are seeing a rise in Survey Engagement Deficit Disorder (SEDD). And it’s only going to get worse. ADHD diagnoses in children--your future survey respondents--have gone up 46% in the last decade. We think micro surveys (surveys kept short and focused) are the long-term answer. And we have been successfully using them for almost a decade ourselves.
Awesome Report Presented in a Completely New Way
Have you suffered enough death by PowerPoint to make the nine lives of a cat seem like a paltry sum? That’s what happens when researchers focus on the vehicle--PowerPoint--rather than the insights. And it happens all too often anymore. We have nothing against PowerPoint. It’s a great tool. But that’s all it is: a tool. And tools are meant to help create end products, not be the end product.
That’s why we don’t automatically assume that your insights will end up in a PowerPoint. We approach the analysis and reporting looking for the compelling story. Then once we feel comfortable with what needs to be communicated, we figure out the best vehicle for communicating the story to you. We have used Excel as a presentation tool (not for just a data dump--it was for focus group results). We have even used a whiteboard. And video. And Prezi. And, of course, PowerPoint. There are endless possibilities (we have never used mime though...). To us, ultimately, it’s not the tool that is important, it’s the insights.
Here are some cool links to blogs about PowerPoint, Prezi and, my favorite presentation format (which is sadly often too difficult to pull off). an animated whiteboard presentation. Enjoy.