What Are TripleScoop's Flavor Options?
No, TripleScoop does not make or sell ice cream. Yes, sometimes we wish we did. Because if we did, it would be amazing.
TripleScoop delivers market research. In fact, our mission is to save the world from bad market research. Pretty lofty goal, we admit. But we are doing our part to make the world a better place through better market research.
Ted, the founder of TripleScoop, spent many years on the client-side and saw far too many awful market research studies. Most of the stuff was horrible because it abused respondents, what we are learning is a non-renewable resource. This phone call is a perfect example of some of the stuff that went on back in the day (and still does today). (It is based on a real call overheard by our founder. Actually some of the best parts were left out to save time.)
We Use Technology for Research Communities
In setting out to make the respondent experience better and get at better insights, we leveraged technology and innovative ideas to develop our own methods to better engage respondents and drive better insights.
We set out to make the world a better place with more respondent friendly research. We didn’t set out to do research communities, but as we innovated to meet client needs, we discovered that communities naturally delivered on speed, deeper insights, lower costs and decreased complexity. Communities sound like a soft and fuzzy, kum-bay-yah around the campfire method, when in fact they are really the turbo-charged, energy drink of market research.
So, what do we do? We do communities. We do them well. In fact, we are your community leaders.
TripleScoop: Your Community Leaders
There are so many new methods and technologies for market research that sometimes it feels almost overwhelming. Why not just go back to surveys and focus groups and let it rest?
We love surveys and focus groups. And there is a time and a place where both are extremely useful.
Then there are all the new techniques or methods that have come along in recent years. One you may have heard about is the idea of a Research Community. It goes by many names--advisory groups, MROCs, panels and, yes, communities.
Personally, we think that communities is sort of a soft name for this method. It’s a little too warm and fuzzy: we believe that communities can result in some pretty hardcore insights.
According to the 2014 GRIT survey of researchers, 49% of researchers are using online communities and 33% are considering them. Among newer methods, that makes communities the leader--even more so than mobile survey and social media analytics.
We know communities. When Ted, the founder of TripleScoop, was on the client-side back in 1997, he ran his first community. Back then it was just a group of 10 customers on MediaOne’s cable-modem product who were connected to each other and to Ted via email. For about 3 months it was very useful for bouncing ideas off customers and provided some little bit of the voice of the customer into the decision-making process.
Of course, back then, we didn’t know what to call it. It was just something that worked. Since then communities have taken on many new and different sizes and shapes and have been used in many different ways. Over the years we have also conducted a variety of communities--for the likes of TV Guide, Kraft Foods, Tahitian Noni, SC Johnson, American Express and others.
Some were quantitative, some were qualitative and most were a combination. All were platform agnostic--we don’t use any specific platform so that we are free to choose that which will best benefit our clients.
The benefits of communities have not changed much since 1997. Yes, the approaches, the technologies and the expertise have certainly improved but the key benefits remain the same.
Timeliness: One of the causes of lead times in ad hoc projects is the time it takes to acquire sample. Sure, there are always those who can field a survey in 24 hours. But a community provides a ready pool of the right people to tap into quickly.
More VOC: With surveys and focus groups, you have to balance the importance of the research questions against the budget--seek an ROI. Thus, many questions that would be well served by the voice of the customer don’t get researched. With a community, even the smaller questions can find their way to the customer and provide you with their feedback.
Iterative approaches: Communities lend themselves well to iterative approaches. How often have you conducted focus groups on advertising messages and wished you could go back to the participants with the revised artwork to validate their feedback. It is very easy to have participants help you build a concept to a certain point, evaluate your interpretation of their feedback, refine the concept more, evaluate and validate, and so forth. It’s a process. We have even used an iterative approach to segment a customer base.
Cost effectiveness: One of the greatest costs to surveys and focus groups is in the sample acquisition. A community only does that once, so that cost is amortized across activities. While the whole of a community may be more than you might want to spend on one survey, it is typically a fraction of what you would spend on the number of surveys and focus groups it would take to cover the same ground.
Respect: Too often consumers and respondents are shown no respect at all. After all, how would you characterize a 32 minute long survey with massive grid questions? We started communities as a way to respect the respondent. And when you respect the respondent, the respondent performs and you get more accurate, more meaningful insights.
There are other benefits, some of them are unique to the organization doing the research. (One of our clients refers to their community as “crack” for their clients--they can’t get enough of it.)
What does a community look like?
It depends. (I know, I hate that answer too. But it really does.)
Common elements tend to be:
Community Platform: We have used tools like Revelation, Dub, Focus Forums, QualBoards and even Facebook to name a few. The key is that this is a “place” where community members can mingle. Typically, regardless of the size of the community, you will engage members in the platform with activities and qualitative questions or polls in this area. (This makes it a great area for some of the more surprising and organic insights.) For example, in one of our recent communities, every Tuesday and Thursday we posted a topic for discussion among the 60 plus participants. Sometimes that topic required picture taking.
Regular Schedule: Community members love predictability. If they learn to expect a survey on Thursday, their response rates go up. We try to keep activities on a schedule that participants can get used to. Not that we aren’t flexible--just that regularity is good in communities too.
Host: A real person, a real face, a real voice and a real personality is the glue that holds a community together. The host’s rapport can dramatically impact engagement in a community. We always try to match the demographics of the community itself in our selection of our host. A Millennial makes a much better host for Millennials.
Participant support: Participants will have questions or there may be technical glitches. That’s when having a host handy to hold their hand is helpful.
- Expectations and rewards: Clear expectations about what participants will need to do help set the stage for a successful community. There is also a fine balance to make between monetary incentives and engagement. Too much and your participants become mercenaries. Too little and they lose interest. We have found that one of the best incentives is to show that you are really listening. So when participants’ feedback impacts an ad, show them the ad after it is finished.
When should you consider a community?
Product development: The traditional method for product development is often do focus groups then a survey and live off the results for the next few months as you develop the product. But so much changes--in the market and internally. A community provides you the opportunity to tap into the market each step along the way. Some communities are more collaborative--where customers actually drive some of the development process. Others are more focused on validating decisions.
Marketing development: Like with product development, getting the voice of the prospect or customer into the development process can smooth things out and often help open up the possibilities for your internal team. You can get quick, quality feedback on language, creative ideas, support materials, branding, etc.
Dynamic markets: If your market has a lot going on--and what markets don’t these days, then a community becomes a valuable way to keep tabs on changes in the marketplace.
Quick turnaround needs: If you know you will have a crazy schedule because your internal team will be, well, crazy--a community may be helpful. What helps with quick turnaround are two things--no lead time for a recruit is needed and typically your activities (surveys, discussions) are very focused. That focus leads to greater focus in terms of building the survey or guide and in conducting the analysis and ultimately in more concise and to the point reporting. (Read more about how we can help here)
Are there reasons not to do communities? Of course. As with any method, there are times and reasons to avoid them. Low category involvement is one big area to avoid. If your product or product category is just not that important to customers--or at least engaging--you might strain a hamstring trying to keep them invovled. (It can be done, but it’s not easy.) Additionally, communities typically require some level of engagement from your organization--especially if you are using them well. Some organizations are just not built to be that engaged in the research. (Some real helps on this are turnkey service from your provider--like we do. You can also integrate your provider more fully into the internal team to lighten your load.)
You don’t have to step off the cliff and do a year long community your first time out. If the research needs fit the need for a community, often it is a good idea to do a shorter community--like 6 or 8 weeks, to get your feet wet and see how they work for you.
We hope you pick us. You will find that we know communities and can make them as good as ice cream.