Archive for July, 2014

Sex in the (MR) City

Posted on: July 24th, 2014 by doyle

sex-and-the-citySex sells. We all know that. We see it in TV, movies, advertising, social media. But does it help sell market research? It appears so!

In the past 10-12 years, the market research world has been revolutionized by technology.  Technology has allowed us to access consumers’ worlds in ways we could never have imagined, and led to consumer insights that were both new and cost or time-effective.  But there is a trend I’ve observed that is bothering me, and that is the growing call for “sexy” (which usually  means digital) whether or not it makes sense for the project. “What could we do that’s new and sexy? “ “We called you because we don’t want plain old focus groups and interviews.” “Let us know when you have something new to offer.”

Clients are asking for it; I’m hearing calls for it at conferences. Innovation is great. And it’s about time market research embraced it. But is it always appropriate? The saying “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” comes to mind.

We offer a broad range of methods at Doyle. And we are committed to staying abreast of trends, and leading the way with innovative methods. So it’s not sour grapes which inspires this blog post. We can deliver new; we can deliver sexy. But what we want to deliver is RIGHT – the right method for the research objectives at hand.

In selecting the right method(s) for a given study, we take a number of things into account:

  • Target consumers: Are they likely to be comfortable communicating via webcam? On a bulletin board? Using a smartphone app? Do they even own a smartphone?
  • Product category: is this a high engagement category? If so, digital may work well. If not, it can be harder to engage digitally. And really, research on diapers is just not sexy no matter the method!
  • Geography: If geographic diversity is important, or out of the way locations are needed, digital makes that possible, and for a reasonable cost. If your research is going to be conducted in one location, it makes all the sense in the world to talk to your consumers face-to-face.
  • Research objectives: Do you want respondents to have a high level of interaction with each other? Would it benefit the research if they could conduct product sorts, or physically handle the product? Yes, there are digital workarounds, but quite frankly nothing replaces a focus group in these circumstances.
  •  Team engagement: let’s face it, no matter what we’ve tried to keep clients engaged, when the research is being conducted digitally it is often “out of sight, out of mind”. Sometimes not a single client dials in to observe the research.

At Doyle Research, we love “new and sexy” just as much as the next person, but in its time and place!

Our Chicago: there’s more than one way to tell a story

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 by doyle

Chicago List Essay GroupFrom the desk of Carolyn Jillson.  We all have stories to tell. And it can be surprising how many different ways there are to describe an experience. We see this all the time in qualitative market research. Everyone has a unique perspective and so each individual interview is an exercise in storytelling and allows us to gain a better understanding of the big picture.

This also became evident in a recent writing project in which I was involved. Inspired by Aleksandar Hemon’s essay “Reasons Why I Do Not Wish to Leave Chicago: An Incomplete, Random List,” the Advanced Memoir Workshop at The Story Studio in Chicago, led by Annette Gendler, decided to write a collection of list essays about Chicago. The criteria was straightforward – the story needed to be about Chicago and be in a list essay format. Each of ten students wrote about what Chicago means to them. It was fun to discover what each memoir writer chose as their focus and to see Chicago from their perspectives.

Our writing project resulted in a diverse collection of essays written in varied styles that highlighted different perspectives of our shared city. While the essays are packed with personal connections, themes emerge and the reader is left with a deeper understanding of Chicago.

One essay reveals the city through the EL stops nearest to the places where the writer has lived over the years; another first imagined the Chicago Loop like a loop on a roller coaster ride; another describes a lifetime in Chicago as a decoupage. My essay is titled “15 Reasons I find Chicago an exceptionally livable place” and my list includes things such as…

1. Chicago appeals to my sense of direction and my Midwestern sensibility for order and helpfulness. The grid system of street numbering is like an open code to navigate the city, superimposed upon the easy geography of traveling east to the lake and north and south along the shore.

2. Chicago is a city of alleys. The alleyways run like arteries, past our back doors, behind the scenes, just under the skin, carrying away our trash and recycling. They are the city’s veins lined with cables tying each building to another in a physical tangle the Internet attempts to deny. The web of communication cables keeps us connected and keeps our front streets clear of wires. In the summer, weeds push through cracks in the pavement like busted seams.

3. Chicago has transportation options. It has the public transportation system of a great metropolis without leaving out the automobile.

10. Pizza is a food group in Chicago.

11. Chicago has imposing weather conditions that remind me to respect mother nature.

If you’re curious, you can find the book here and you can check out other offerings at The Story Studio here.

As with essay writing,  qualitative research is a form of storytelling — soliciting consumers’ stories, and weaving them into an “essay” that provides direction and insights for our clients.