Posts Tagged ‘qualitative’

I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE…8 easy ways to get closer to your customer on a tiny budget, or less!

Posted on: October 2nd, 2017 by doyle


From the desk of Carole Schmidt

Steve Jobs famously quipped: “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need, well before they realize it themselves.”  

We understand that budgets are tight and time is pressured. When full research projects aren’t in the mix, here are 8 underutilized ways to engage with your customer for depth and breadth and possibly your next “big idea”:

  1. Do the CX “presearch”/ Observe your customer in situ, where decisions are made. Get out of the office. Ask 3 customers if you can shadow them for one morning each. Whether it’s a business customer who owns a busy distribution center, or a single dad juggling his job, the kids, the shopping and the transport for his husband, or a construction worker on the site, most people are happy to have you walk in their shoes if you just ask. Take pictures. Take notes. Pin them up in front of you.
  2. Check the mail / Read unsolicited customer emails, letters, contact comments. There is a wealth of product or service refinement opportunities over in the PR department, underutilized by insights teams. Tap into this rich resource. Then move it to your department. Then post it on your walls.
  3. Explore the buzz / Conduct qualitative social media analysis of your customers’ category, brands, competitors to see what’s being said behind the trendlines. It’s not expensive, and there’s likely to be a trove of fodder there. (See
  4. See it to believe it / Ask for customer-generated video: Everyone’s carrying a smartphone these days, making your customers’ experience—including those small annoyances or pesky tasks–easier than ever to capture in the moment. Ask your customers to do a 30-second video about…insert topic (complaint, excitement, process need, etc.)…and have them send it to you. Today. Then watch it. Have 20+ of those? We’ll watch them and tell you what they mean and what you might do about it!
  5. What you already know may help you—again! / Discover new insights from old research using Meta Analysis! If you have research reports less than two years old, get some coffee and settle in to read them again, cover to cover. Have dozens? We’ll help you tap your customer’s voice by reviewing your existing research with fresh eyes and a different objective, so you get more out of the research dollars you’re already spending. Bosses love the efficiency, and you will love the “aha’s” buried inside.
  6. Become your competitors’ good customer. / Conduct the intelligence for smarter business decisions. Eat their pizza. Install their app. Test drive or rent their cars. Open an account at their online store. Understanding your competitors’ CX instantly makes you sharper about what distinction and benefits you should be promoting, and what refinements you should be considering.
  7. Ask for specifics. / Pay for more open ends and analysis on your customer satisfaction surveys. Then personally read the responses so you can hear the ideas, but also gauge the more subtle tone and feel and particular language your customer uses.
  8. Invite ideas and suggestions. / Create a formal channel or forum for customers to share ideas and creativity. Then reward them for it to keep the pipeline full! Whether its gamification or simply thanking customers with an inexpensive sampling of free product or discounted service, these efforts go a long way to encourage a customer partnership.

What’s on your qualitative wish list? How can Doyle Research do a better job for you?  We welcome your input!


Qualitative Design: Utilizing Positive Affect Techniques

Posted on: May 8th, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Laura Duguid

Positive AffectTraditionally, positive affect techniques have been used in the context of brainstorming sessions, helping to free minds and encourage divergent thinking. Often overlooked however is how inducing positive affect in qualitative design can be beneficial.

Positive affect refers to the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness. Research shows that by inducing positive affect, one can improve a person’s verbal fluency.1 What’s more, positive affect has been associated with generating increased dopamine levels in the brain, which in turn has been shown to improve cognitive flexibility.2

Practically, inducing positive affect is all about establishing and maintaining an affirming, comfortable environment where respondents feel relaxed and completely free to express their thoughts and opinions. Telling them is not enough. The moderator, the room set-up, and the discussion guide all must contribute. For example:

  • A comfortable, living-room type environment rather than a formal conference table set-up
  • Ease into the discussion more slowly by doing an extra ice breaker, going beyond only respondent introductions
  • Humor! One idea is to find an appropriate yet comical video on YouTube that’s related to the discussion topic as a means of inciting laughter. Humor is one of THE most powerful, efficient ways to induce positive affect.
  • Incorporate movement. Halfway through the group, direct respondents to get up and move around or change seats. This helps literally and figuratively change their perspective, alleviating stale, repetitious responses.
  • Integrate highly engaging, respondent tasks into the discussion guide. Think of creative ways to garner information that require respondents to draw, assemble something, get up and walk to images posted in the room, do brief creative writing exercises, etc.

For research purposes, it’s important to understand that respondents can express negative opinions about a discussion topic without putting a damper on the positive affect. How? Through positive reinforcement from the moderator. Once a respondent has shared information – positive or negative – complimentary encouragement by the moderator (for ALL respondents) is key. In fact, according to Professor Norihiro Sadato, study lead and professor at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, “To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We’ve been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise.”3

While it’s highly unlikely respondents will trade their participation honorarium for compliments, the power of the two together, along with other positive affect influences will certainly assure rich, prolific qualitative results.


1 Science Direct, L.H. Philips, R. Bull, E. Adams, L. Fraser, Positive mood and executive function: Evidence from stroop and fluency tasks

2 Psychological Review, 106 (3) (1999), pp. 529-550, A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition, F.G. Ashby, A.M. Isen, A.U. Turken

3Forbes Online, November 9, 2012, David DiSalvo

Working from Home, Qualitatively

Posted on: September 29th, 2016 by doyle

image1From the desk of Natanya Rubin

It’s 12:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday, and my assistant project manager and I are wearing matching XXL Kideation tee shirts and borrowed shorts, waiting for our work clothes to come out of the dryer. This is my first day working out of our temporary Doyle Research headquarters in a private residence in the Chicago suburbs, a stop-over as we transition to a co-working space downtown, and I must say, it’s started with a bang, or rather, a downpour.

Our moderators are used to working in all kinds of locations, and under all kinds of conditions. When they’re on the road, a hotel room, focus group facility, coffee shop, classroom, or living room can all serve as a mobile qualitative office. For the field team, the transition from the office to an offsite location has been full of unexpected benefits. Being caught in a thunderstorm during a lunchtime walk and returning to the office soaking wet would normally be an uncomfortable experience, but not if your office comes equipped with a dryer!

Of course, there are challenges to setting up in temporary quarters as well. Our IT department has been working non-stop to make sure we’re all connected to the resources we need to do our jobs wherever we are. Shared spaces create opportunities for collaboration, but also raise the eternal question, Where am I going to take this 90 minute conference call without making my colleagues want to kill me?

Our sojourn at DRA North will be brief, but I’ll miss it when we move into our new, more traditional office space. This time has been a lesson in flexibility, creative problem solving, and, in nice weather, precisely how many feet of firewire cord is needed to take the conference phone out to the back deck.

Costing Qualitative, Part 3: Hidden or Forgotten Costs

Posted on: July 20th, 2016 by doyle

key-selection-criteria-writing-serviceFrom the desk of Kathy Doyle

This is the 3rd of four blog posts with the goal of de-mystifying the process of obtaining and evaluating a qualitative bid.

Hidden or Forgotten Costs

Before securing a P.O. number for a project, make sure that the project’s cost estimate is all-inclusive.   Services like translation or transcription might not be needed for every project and therefore may not be top of mind.

To avoid surprises, we suggest that you create a checklist to ensure you haven’t forgotten the services that can make a project run smoothly.   Checklist items might include…

•Translation fees
•Video editing fees
•Equipment such as cameras, recording devices
•Car and driver for transportation to/from ethnographic interviews
•Travel-related costs
•Production costs (Development of mood boards, animatics, concept boards, product prototypes, etc.)
•Product purchase costs
•Client/respondent food.

Forgetting any of these line items (some of them with significant costs attached) could put you in a position where the budget approved in your P.O. is not adequate to cover the costs of your project.     And no one wants to deal with the fallout from that situation!

Courtside Lessons: What AAU Basketball Reminds Us about Marketing

Posted on: July 12th, 2016 by doyle

From the desk of Chris Efken

As the mother of an AAU high school basketball player, I spend nearly every weekend traveling across the country watching my son play in tournaments.   Yes, it’s a glamorous life!


This past weekend, a fellow parent asked about my career outside of player management and chief chauffer. When I explained how I help my clients make smarter business decisions, I quickly realized that what my son does on court is not all that different from our lives as marketers and researchers.   Like basketball players, we assess the competition, decide to shoot (i.e., take action) or pass and strategize about the next series of plays.

As my son and I traveled home, we talked about additional courtside lessons that he could apply to his future in business. Here are a few other lessons and analogies we discussed:

  • Though we are all watching the same game, there are several different stories unfolding at any one time and great players pay attention to all of them—Similarly, as marketers we need to uncover these different stories and employ both offensive and defensive strategies to build awareness, market share…and to win!
  • And, with so much action taking place at any given moment, we are still likely to miss something—Reviewing the game film (i.e., consumer video and past research reports) and data can uncover additional insights needed to revise strategies, play up our strengths and capitalize on our opponents weaknesses.
  • Follow-through and rebounding are everything—Following the shot (e.g., brand plan) and anticipating where the ball will bounce (e.g., retailers’ reactions), allows you an abundance of opportunities to employ alternate plans to modify and again try to score.
  • Flashy names, uniforms and shoes can only go so far—There must be quality to back up the image created by the packaging. Otherwise, the Young Phenoms or Dynamic Disciples lose their following and are quickly replaced by teams or products that consistently deliver quality.

With just 4 tournaments left in my son’s AAU career, we both look forward to the ultimate lesson: hard work pays off.   I now look forward to learning more lessons watching him play college basketball.   Stay tuned! I’m sensing there will be several updates to this blog post and perhaps even an e-book of Courtside Lessons for Marketing Professionals.