Archive for October, 2014

Focus Groups: the New Black

Posted on: October 27th, 2014 by doyle

From the desk of Chris Efken

Focus groups are back and hotter than ever!  In today’s digital world, where insights are gleaned from social media, text messages and 45-second video uploads, it appears that focus group discussions are still a key way for brand and R&D teams to get the insights needed to take ideas to the next level.04

It’s hard to think back to the time when a moderator’s arsenal of methods included only focus groups and in-depth interviews. For many, qualitative research and focus groups were synonymous terms. Yet, as marketers’ need to better understand consumers wants, desires and decision-making behaviors increased, new methods were created making it quicker, easier and more affordable to gather information.

Today, online platforms, webcams, GoPro cameras, social media listening platforms, mobile phones, tablets, geo-locators and even Google glasses have been added to our qualitative toolbox. However, though we continue to add methods to our toolbox, it doesn’t mean that focus groups have been removed.  Rather, focus groups now play a different role–the one they were always intended to play.

Groups are best used to:

  • Explore perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, language, drivers and barriers
  • Add texture to client’s current understanding of a consumer segment
  • Aid in the ideation and brainstorming process
  • Observe consumers interaction when discussing a topic or process
  • Uncover, through the use of projective behaviors, the emotional and psychological reasons behind consumers’ behaviors
  • And, of course, to single handedly keep the M&Ms franchise going strong.

Like all methods, focus groups have and will continue to evolve over time: the length of the sessions has increased, while the number of participants per session has decreased.  And today, focus groups often go far beyond just the discussion. Pre-research tasks are included in nearly all projects as a means of getting deeper, richer insights from more engaged, committed participants.  So, while focus groups may comprise a smaller portion of marketers’ overall research budget, when used correctly  group discussions continue to deliver the insights needed to make smarter business decisions.

I like to think of focus group discussions as being “the new black” – classic, intriguing, but never disappointing.

Wearing Your Opinion: The Impact of Wearables on Qualitative Research

Posted on: October 13th, 2014 by doyle

 how-were-all-going-to-be-using-wearable-technologyFrom the desk of Kathy Doyle

As the pace of change continues unabated, a rapidly emerging trend is the development of “wearable technology,” clothing and accessories that deliver and capture data while the user is wearing them.   According to the NPD Group’s new Wearable Technology Study, “52% of consumers say they’ve heard of wearable technology devices… (and) among those aware of the devices, one-in-three say they are likely to buy one of them.“ As consumer adoption increases, the potential applications for market research are exciting.

As a qualitative researcher, I am intrigued by the possibilities of incorporating wearables into our study designs to increase the impact and value of the work we do. Wearables will allow us to collect some data passively, reducing self-report biases, increasing compliance, and saving moderator time to focus on the whys of the behaviors captured via technology.

Some possible applications include:

  •  Health and Wellness: activity monitors, drug monitors and smart clothes will eliminate the need to spend time asking the question “when was the last time you…” or asking respondents to keep a diary of their behaviors over a period of time. Instead, we will be able to get straight to the “why’s” of a consumer’s behavior, leading to insights that are grounded in actual data and not self-reported behaviors
  • Shopper Insights: video glasses will allow us to gather data on exactly what a consumer is looking at while they shop, and then combine it with the “why’s” behind the behavior, to provide really powerful insights.   Another emerging technology, iBeacons, will pinpoint precisely where the shopper is standing within a particular store, allowing us to talk to someone who is in exactly the aisle we are interested in exploring, and capture in-the-moment insights while the authentic shopper behavior is taking place.

For a perspective on how wearables will impact survey research, here is an interesting article by Madhav Mirani, Chief Marketing Officer at Ugam Solutions.

At Doyle Research we are embracing the chance to pilot some of these exciting new technologies with our clients.   Contact us if you are interested in exploring how the use of wearables might benefit your research efforts.