Archive for the ‘Insights’ Category

The Role of the Qualitative Strategist in Mobile Research

Posted on: January 16th, 2019 by doyle No Comments

The widespread adoption of mobile phones is a great advantage for marketing researchers.  Mobile qualitative research gives us the ability to observe the customer experience when and where it occurs, providing in-the-moment reporting that helps surface rich insights. How much better to have the consumer record themselves each time they get a midnight snack than the alternative of waiting days or weeks and relying on recall when discussing their behavior with more traditional techniques.

Of course, mobile qualitative relies on participants operating somewhat independently of the researcher and outside of a research facility. So, what do we – as researchers – actually DO now that respondents are completing assignments without us?

In reality, respondents aren’t completing assignments without us. The role of the researcher in mobile qualitative is even more important precisely because the respondents are more independent. To complete qualitative research without losing participants midway through, and to keep participants engaged and thoughtful, researchers are needed to:

  • Design effective assignments that optimize the capture of critical moments. Identifying and then reacting to these moments is the key to successful mobile qualitative.
  • Provide instructions and guidelines for participation that keep the participant interested, willing and able to complete the research.
  • Build rapport and trust with the respondent. We have learned that it is always best to talk to the respondent before sending them out to complete the research assignment.  This creates a personal connection and encourages more robust engagement for the participants.
  • Capture and observe mobile responses (videos, photos, texts) from respondents and probe for additional information or modify subsequent assignments to reflect new learning.
  • Actively monitor responses for depth, accuracy and quality – and skillfully encourage maximum participation.
  • Engage stakeholders with highlights from ongoing respondent input. Periodic topline reports, daily briefings, or even high-level interim reports (depending on the length of engagement) can all be used to develop optimal outcomes.
  • Conduct follow-up interviews. After the mobile data collection, a follow-up phone or webcam interview to debrief with each respondent, as well as ask general follow-up questions, provides the opportunity to probe into specific observed behaviors.
  • Analyze responses to identify findings, implications, and meaningful insights.
  • Provide rich, multi-media final reports that bring the insights to life.

So while we are no longer in the presence of the respondent, or interacting with them in real time, our engagement is still significant and critical to the success of any mobile research study.  Questions? Contact

Key Elements of a Report That Delights

Posted on: December 17th, 2018 by doyle

When I speak to clients about potential projects, one of the questions I am most often asked is about the final deliverable – what will it look like, what will it include? And that’s fair. Research is an investment, and it’s reasonable to want to know how the insights will be delivered. And yet many researchers and insights professionals have been burned by a lackluster report. 

Here are a few key rules our team follows to make sure we consistently provide quality deliverables for our clients.

  1. Be concise. Directly state findings and avoid wordiness and exaggeration. Summarize what respondents said that is significant to the original research questions and objectives. Unrelated details such as responses from warm-up questions or irrelevant tangents should be omitted.
  2. Focus on a point of view. Insights should be an interpretation and analysis of the findings and have a clear voice in the report. Connect each result back to the objectives and answer the research questions. The story inside the report should have a clear beginning, middle and end.
  3. Make thoughtful recommendations. Implications should clearly state what to do with the insights in a way that is relevant and sensitive to the client’s business questions. Illuminate opportunities, considerations, and next steps.
  4. Create visual interest. Communicate key insights with photos, video clips, and respondent quotes. Use graphics to tell the story rather than paragraphs. In other words, jazz it up! A little spark emphasizes the main points and reiterates how research can provide solutions to business goals but also makes for an enjoyable read.

If you need to rant about your experiences when the report simply didn’t deliver, or just want to talk further about elements of an effective report, drop us a line. We’d love to chat.

Proposals: Is It Time to Rethink the RFP Process?

Posted on: November 27th, 2018 by doyle

I recently found myself in the unique position of being on the client side of an RFP process. As a member of the review committee for the QRCA Qually Award, I had the opportunity to evaluate a number of outstanding proposals.  The top three will be presented to the QRCA membership for a vote at our annual conference in Savannah in January 2019. 

I had three thoughts as I was reviewing the submissions:

  1. What a smart group of researchers we have as members of the QRCA, and what outstanding thinking was demonstrated in each proposal!
  2. Admiration for the beautifully designed presentation decks submitted by each of the entrants and the skill it took to produce them; and,
  3. I got to wondering if the industry’s established RFP process is unintentionally hindering our ability to put in upfront muscle with our clients and, instead, causing us to focus more on visual delivery as a means of differentiating ourselves.

More and more, we are receiving formal RFPs that construct a barrier between the end client and the researcher.  A formal document arrives, and we are asked to review it and submit questions in writing as a Q&A that will be distributed to everyone.

Philosophically, I have two problems with the process:

  1. I feel like the questions we ask during the formal Q&A are a demonstration of how we think about our clients’ research objectives, and I’d rather not share that thinking with our competitors (I know…bah humbug).
  2. The inability to directly interact with the researcher we will be working with on the project, should we be awarded the business, is detrimental to great research design, which is the critical component to great research learning.

I wonder…would we ALL (clients and researchers) be better served, and more productive, if we re-imagined the RFP process and, instead, had a conversation with each other about the project, debated various study designs together, agreed on a course of action, and pulled together pricing to be delivered in a beautifully designed one-page document?

I see multiple benefits to making these changes:

  • It would take no more time on the client’s part to have a conversation with each of three carefully chosen research companies than it takes to create, disseminate and manage the RFP process and,
  • During the course of the conversations all parties would benefit from the dialogue, get a sense of whether they would work well together, and a better study design would be the result.
  • The time spent on the process would be focused on the upfront dialogue rather than on the back-end deliverable.

I think there is value in producing a beautiful presentation proposal like the ones I reviewed, particularly if it’s our first time working with a company.  A detailed proposal is a way to showcase our ability to translate research into insights in a professional, visually appealing final report.

But let’s put as much muscle into upfront conversation – all of us – as is spent on back-end design. Great research will be the result!







Mining the Depths: Unlocking System 1 Responses

Posted on: October 23rd, 2018 by doyle

When talking to clients, I continually hear concern that traditional qualitative research methods may not be helping them understand what really drives human behaviors. And it’s a legitimate concern.

Many qualitative (and for that matter, quantitative) methods involve asking questions and waiting for answers (“look at this, and tell me what you think”).  And what we get are rational, considered responses, but that is only a portion of what really drives human behavior.  It is therefore critical to use qualitative approaches that can tap into System 1 thinking in order to better understand the subconscious influencers and drivers of human behavior.

Here are three ideas to consider:

  • Utilize projective techniques. Personification exercises, brand obituaries, picture sorts, collages, word associations, deprivation exercises, and a whole host of other projective techniques are designed to get below surface responses to uncover subconscious attitudes, feelings, and behaviors. When thoughtfully incorporated into a group session or interview, they can break down barriers, foster communication, and mine emotional depths that simply wouldn’t surface with a basic Q&A approach.
  • Incorporate an observational component. This allows you to observe discrepancies in behavior between what someone says they do and what they actually do. Many behaviors, particularly those that are repeated day after day, are automatic and sometimes totally subconscious. By discussing what we have observed after the fact, more nuanced answers are elicited.
  • Capture “in-the-moment” behaviors using mobile technology. For example, we’ve used mobile intercepts with panel members whose location services are on and who enter a geo-fenced location. This allows us to capture respondents’ reactions to an experience as it takes place and before they’ve had a chance to consider their response.

It is our responsibility as qualitative researchers to continually seek ways to get below surface responses, uncover a more complete story, and gain insights that are grounded in consumers’ actual behaviors rather than their reported ones.

Decoding Disruption: A New Research Series from 20|20 Research

Posted on: October 2nd, 2018 by doyle

“A disruption isn’t an improvement or advancement, but a radically different approach to a consumer need.” – Female, 22-35

We can all think of some buzzwords we use without even thinking, whether we’re rattling them off during meetings or chatting with a colleague over lunch. Sometimes we use them and hear them so much they become almost meaningless – just filler. 

The word on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days is “disruption.” Which made my colleagues at 20|20 Research wonder – what exactly does “disruption” mean to consumers? Is it a meaningful term? Or is it just a term that we market researchers and marketers toss around among ourselves?

Being curious by nature, the 20|20 Insights team set out to do more than just define disruption – we set out to demystify it. The following is a sneak peek of the findings from our new research series Decoding Disruption, which will be released in phases over the next several months.
To kick things off, we asked 500 consumers from 20|20’s nationwide panel to weigh in on the topic of disruption. Our survey findings show that while consumers may not know the textbook definition of disruption, they know it when they see it, and it’s beginning to impact how they think about brands.

Initial findings reveal three key insights:

  1. Disruptive brands are here to stay. Nearly 7 in 10 consumers do not believe they are just fads, although they acknowledge that the majority of brands still do not rise to the level of being disruptive.
  2. The majority of consumers believe disruptive brands care more about creating products and services for “people like me.” Agreement with this statement is consistent across gender and income levels, making the case for brands to prioritize identifying and aligning with consumer needs.
  3. “Innovation” and “risk” are the key ingredients that signal to consumers that a company is disruptive. They believe that these elements, along with technology, are critical to a brand’s ability to think outside the box and build more customized solutions – particularly those products and services that meet the needs the consumer may not even know they have.

Our findings have also revealed that consumers value and have distinct expectations for both disruptive and traditional brands. Disentangling these expectations along with brand preferences will be the next focus of 20|20’s findings about disruption.

If disruption is here to stay and consumers have unique expectations for disruptive companies, what does it mean for your own brand or the brands you work with? Stayed tuned as we tackle this question and others in our research series, Decoding Disruption.