Archive for the New MR Category

Why Brands Need Online Research More Than Ever

Blockbuster USAWe live in a world where we are more connected than ever. We can pick up a phone and speak to family and friends on the other side of the world, video conference them or just update them on what’s going on in our lives. But it isn’t just friends we can contact. We can play online games with complete strangers, ask political leaders questions and join global movements. The Internet has enabled a human connectivity like never before. Conversations are happening on a global scale. They offer hope of greater connection, education and understanding.

But despite this connectivity, the vast majority of newly launched products and services fail – in fact some estimates are 95%. 

 

How Brian Cox Can Help Online Qualitative Research Win in the Battle Between ‘Science’ and ‘Engagement’

One of the biggest battles in the world of research is being fought out between the ‘engagement’ and ‘science’ schools of thought. I believe that the best technology partners are the ones who can keep them both happy, by facilitating engaging experiences for participants and granting sufficient control to researchers.

Brian Cox

The conflict raises questions about how scientific online qualitative researchers should be.  For example, should they present stimulus in a controlled, private way?  Or should they instead focus on getting more value out of participants by making the experience engaging, open and social?

In the scientific corner we have the traditionalists, dedicated to techniques that control the group effect.  For example they might insist on getting private responses before exposing a piece of stimulus to the whole group. In general, they want online qualitative platforms that give them control and therefore produce higher levels of confidence in the results.  That’s all well and good but it makes the experience less interesting for the participants (which in turn means they need to be paid more to take part).

How Online Qual Can Sharpen the ‘Fuzzy-Front End’ of the NPD Process

The evocatively titled ‘fuzzy-front-end’ of the NPD process has been coined to reflect the general messiness and lack of clarity that goes into the initial ideas phase of new product design (Kim and Wilemon1 , 2002, Koen et al. 2, 2001). It can often be the lengthiest phase, taking up to 50% of the total development time3. Online qualitative conversations can help companies wipe the fuzz from their brows, by providing fast-flowing, on-going and inspiring insights.

Some of the most seminal models mapping the optimal NPD process have tended to gloss this early idea-creation phase (Katz 2011)4. Urban and Hauser’s Design and Marketing of New Products (1980)focuses more on marketing. Similarly, the discovery phase in Cooper’s “Winning at New Products” (1986, 1993, 2001) 6, is less concerned with the evaluation of the early concepts and more focused on reviews at later stages in the cycle. A similar assessment can be made of Wheelwright and Clark’s ‘Revolutionizing Product Development’ (1992) 7, Michael McGrath’s ‘Setting the PACE in Product Development’ (1996) 8 and MITS ‘Center for Innovation in Product Development’ (2005) 9. All these models focus on the process after the initial ideas have already been had.

How Online Qual Can Help Humanise Data…

The word ‘data’ (said in a robotic voice) was once the preserve of geeks, number-crunchers and tech-bods. Now ‘data’ (said with optimistic excitement) is said to be the new oil for business and the soil in which ideas can grow. However, despite the clamour around the power of data, it too often remains impenetrable and lacking in humanity. Online qualitative research can help humanise data by adding context through verbatims and video. Numbers can be brought to life through words.

How Online Qualitative Research Can Stop Death by PowerPoint

No doubt at some point in your career you have either killed or been killed by power-point. There’s nothing quite as fatal to attention spans as a text-heavy, image-light debrief. I believe that online qualitative methods put researchers in a much stronger position to make presentations that engage rather than enrage, simply because of the richness of the content that they allow researchers to gather.

Building Rapport With Participants Is Key to Good Moderation

A good online moderator will always ensure they build a rapport with their participants, largely because they know that a good rapport is key to getting more information and ultimately more meaningful insight from each participant.

The nature of asynchronous online research makes building a good rapport more challenging than in traditional research methods. The face to face social interactions are removed and one cannot rely on a friendly smile or shared laugh to ‘warm’ participants.

However, a good rapport is easily established when a few simple steps are taken.

The Foundations for Ensuring Successful Online Qualitative Research

Over the years we’ve conducted and overseen hundreds of online qualitative research projects, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly! From our experience we’ve learned that by putting certain foundations in place prior and during research programmes you can go a long way towards ensuring your project is successful and your insight is meaningful.

So, what are these foundations and how will they help?

The Value of Online Research

A quarter of our time online is spent chatting, learning, and playing on social networks.  The modern consumer is now as comfortable online, and often more so, as they are in face to face encounters. With this in mind it is hard not to get excited by the value that online research brings to the industry. A methodology that once seemed a bit alien is now recognised as a natural way of capturing consumer insight.

The shift in time spent online, coupled with advances in web technology means that the value of online research is growing by the day.

If you are still considering whether its time to get your agency online,  or are trying to persuade your boss that the time has come, here are some of the key benefits of online research. These apply equally whether you use it as a standalone methodology or as a compliment to traditional market research.

Your Toolkit of Online Qual Research Methodologies

Any uncertainty surrounding the value of online qual as a methodology has been long since put to bed. Though there is still caution amongst some researchers who aren’t yet completely comfortable with putting their trade to practice online, by and large the industry is beginning to embrace the online methodology, and rightly so.

Modern technology coupled with increasing consumer savvyness means that we now have the ability to obtain an unbelievable amount of insight from consumers online. The benefits of using online qual research are no longer limited to the ‘convenience factor’ or the ability to overcome peer group pressure and conquer geographical barriers. Instead market researchers are turning to online for the trade tools that it adds to their research toolbox.

Will Online Qualitative Research Replace Face-to-Face? (Please Don’t Ask)

How many times in recent years have you been party to debates amongst market researchers and clients about whether online qualitative discussions will replace face-to-face research?  No doubt the answer is many.  In my view, this is the wrong debate for us to be having.  I think the industry should instead focus its energy on how online qual can complement rather than replace face-to-face research.

It’s difficult to browse a linked-in debate or attend a market research conference these days, without hearing comments like: “I’m sorry but you just can’t get the same depth in online qual as you can in face-to-face”.  While I largely agree with this idea, I believe it wastes a lot of energy and in fact inhibits the progress of what is clearly becoming an important element in many progressive market research methodologies.  Why do people insist on looking at online and face-to-face qual in opposition, when they in fact make perfect companions?