Archive for February, 2019

Quick-Turn Qualitative

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by doyle No Comments

Think of the last time you purchased a brand-new pair of shoes. How many different stores did you go to – or did you buy online? Did you try them on, or just grab your size? Were there particular brands you were looking for?  Now think of the process of purchasing a new house. Would those same questions be applicable? They are both purchases, so why is this such a ludicrous comparison? 

Both instances certainly require information to make a decision, but the depth of information you need to feel comfortable is quite different. Not all purchases require the same level of product knowledge to make an informed decision, and likewise not all business objectives require the same level of research to answer their questions.

Typically, we think of a research project as a long, detailed assignment requiring a multitude of resources, with the largest of those being time and money. But in reality, needs evolve every day. In a market driven by ever changing consumer expectations, often you don’t have the capability to capture an answer to a business question or formulate a response through a traditional six-month study, or even a one-month one. So, what happens when you run across this situation; do you just go without?

That is when we look to a more agile, nimble solution: quick-turn qualitative. Quick-turn qualitative approaches provide enough information to make an informed decision without the traditional time and efforts associated with more traditional research.

What is Quick-Turn Qualitative?

The lean, pragmatic methodology is based on improving your decision-making process by adding just enough information to justify your decisions when otherwise you might act on faith alone. It is intended to address straightforward, simple objectives, so you can quickly get the insights in a fast and affordable fashion. This constraint-driven research is meant to be completed in less than two weeks without depleting your resources.

It isn’t a substitute for traditional research methods, but rather a complementary approach. It shouldn’t aim to provide a complete understanding, or give you conclusive, statistically significant, exhaustive information. Just as a shoe purchase doesn’t require the same amount of effort as a home purchase, it’s meant for those research questions that simply don’t need as much in-depth research.

When Should You Use Quick-Turn Qualitative (QtQ)?

  • When you have a tight timeline, QtQ allows you to strictly focus on answering the business question.
  • When you have historically not conducted research, QtQ can be used instead of “going with your gut,” only to miss an imperative aspect that could’ve been avoided by a fact check.
  • When something is better than nothing. QtQ serves those instances of gray areas, where any type of clarifying information can steer you in the right direction.

Below are real-world instances that illustrate when quick-turn qualitative is most effective.

Concept Validation. Quick-turn qualitative aligns with lean startup thinking and a desire to fail faster. Innovation groups in R&D are constantly rolling out new product ideas and enhancements. With quick-turn research, you can conduct a pre-test on the ideas in the beginning stage. This approach allows you to fact check your hypothesis and confirm you are on the right path. Validated product concepts are more likely to thrive and result in a higher return on investment.

Crisis Intervention. Quick-turn qualitative can be utilized as a means of crisis intervention. We live in a world where our consumer market is incredibly reactive; therefore, businesses must be incredibly responsive. When crisis strikes, not only does a brand need to know how to respond, but they need to execute their message quickly. In this situation, confident, swift application of a quick-turn qualitative methodology can provide answers and give a directional sense of how to respond most effectively.

Ad Testing & Brand Perception. Quick-turn qualitative is ideal for stimuli testing, whether it’s a concept, creative, ad, message, or package. The direct questions and a head-to-head comparison provide actionable insights on how the stimuli measure up to one another, and how they impact the brand perception and business overall. This type of testing can be done in the early stages, to get directional insight, or later, to get a confirmation that the winning creative will drive the necessary results.

If you’d like to learn more about quick-turn qualitative, and how it can serve as an effective solution to your business needs, feel free to contact me.




QRCA 2019: Inspiration and Connection

Posted on: February 4th, 2019 by doyle

Once again, the QRCA Annual Conference delivered. Situated in the lovely Hyatt Regency Hotel on the riverfront in Savannah, GA, the conference was jam-packed with member presentations, roundtable discussions, and a dynamic keynote speaker. Many thanks to Anya Zadrozny and Sidney Clewe, Conference Co-Chairs, for a job well done! 

This year we had over 80 first-time attendees who were embraced by the membership in typically warm, welcoming fashion.  They were each assigned an Ambassador – a returning member to show them how to get the most out of the conference and to be a friendly face to check in with periodically. Additionally, new attendees were treated to a speed-dating event to introduce them to a broad range of members, and they were encouraged to participate in a bingo game during Thursday night’s social event, overseen by the inimitable Pascal Patenaude in his French bullfrog hat, that required them to interact with other attendees in order to complete the game.

Beyond the fun of networking at the event, there were three sessions that were personal highlights for me:

1. The keynote presentation —The Neuroscience of Memorable Messages— by Carmen Simon, a consultant with doctorate degrees in instructional technology and cognitive psychology. With increased emphasis in our industry on communicating insights, she made the point that audiences typically remember only 10% of the content you share after just two days, so it’s critical to control that 10%. Some suggestions include:

  • SIMPLIFY your message; avoid jargon and unnecessary words.
  • Frame your message with something FAMILIAR before launching into new insights (we pay more attention to what we already know). But twist the familiar slightly to keep your audience from tuning out.
  • Create ANTICIPATION – when you take away anticipation, engagement plummets.
  • Throw in a tiny bit of UNCERTAINTY to increase the anticipation.

2. Easy to Use Theater Games for Energy, Insights and Ideas, by Laurie Tema-Lyn. Laurie thoughtfully makes the case for incorporating role play, improv and other theater games into your qualitative practice to:

  • Energize the group (or clients) midway through a long session, or series of groups.
  • Get people out of their comfort zone.
  • Enhance teamwork.
  • Engage system 1 thinking.

Laurie demonstrated a variety of games using audience volunteers and showed how each approach helped get below surface/expected responses and to a deeper level of insight both quickly and entertainingly. Laurie is the consummate professional and sets up her games with great intent and unconditional positive regard for the participants. Laurie has written a book, Stir It Up!  Recipes for Robust Insights and Red Hot Ideas, available on Amazon.

3. Let’s Cut the Judgment! Tricks and Tips for Helping your Clients Connect with Respondents, by Rob Volpe. Rob talked about the need to prepare clients (and ourselves) for our very human tendency to be judgmental of others (in this case, research participants) simply because they do not look or sound like us or like who we envision as our customers.  Judgment is like putting on a blindfold, something that can be very detrimental to the research process and the ability to glean truly powerful insights.  In order to practice empathy, and withhold judgment, it is important to respect and embrace your respondents’ stories.  Humanize them by referring to them by name, by recounting stories about what made them real, and by helping your team to make a “heart connection” that will help build empathy and make room for the powerful insights that come from empathy.

While these three sessions were standouts for me, I learned a lot from each and every session I attended.  I walked away from the conference feeling energized and with a renewed sense of pride at the professionalism, creativity and dedication of the qualitative research community.