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Category: Methodology

Top 5 Market Research Predictions for 2020

Top 5 Market Research Predictions for 2020

This is the time of year when everybody seems to be making predictions. Within the realm of market research, I’ve seen quite a few articles forecasting methodologies and the impact of data privacy. From my own experience, here are five trends or changes the industry will experience in 2020.

1. Outcome- and strategy-first methodologies will be embraced.
In the coming year, business outcomes from research and insight will become even more important to drive results and profit from the data gathered. Success will be achieved through the increased integration of people, data, and technology. The combination of different data sources should enable businesses to move from insight-driven to result-driven, enabling the insight team to be one of the most important functions. For this to work in 2020, we need curious individuals who can answer the “why” question, working hand in hand with best-practice technology solutions.

2. DIY research will come into its own.
With so many start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses, there seems to be even more use cases for “do it yourself” research. Companies like SurveyMonkey, Typeform, and Zappi offer a DIY research format, allowing individuals to create their own research program without needing to discuss anything with an actual person or agency. For 2020 to be the year for DIY research, though, there must be more go-to-guides and information to help individuals conduct market research by themselves.

3. Unlocking privacy compliance will be key.
Yes, this one is probably on every prediction list over the last few years, but there’s a reason for it. Data privacy continues to be a big deal, and we are just beginning to feel the impact of the various global legislative initiatives that relate to this topic. As I like to say: “The bigger the company, the bigger the threat.”

At the moment, there seems to be no standard way of working with privacy-related requirements—different businesses are seeking different solutions for the variety of compliance issues. In 2020, I firmly believe we will see standard protocols emerge that will lead us to a less-fragmented market (and less-fragmented privacy rules, in general). However, the real value will be seen by organizations that look for ways to address compliance needs while also unlocking new potential value for data stakeholders.

4. Data science will overtake insights.
Market research has historically focused on data collection, and analysis has typically been simple. This applies to qualitative as well. In some ways, however, the market research industry was ahead of its time—the ability of decision-makers to use data to guide their decisions has lagged the capacity to collect it.

Now that the data industry is much larger, you could argue that market research is being absorbed into data science. There are huge amounts of programmers and software developers in our industry—while many are adept at selling, they know little about marketing or research. (To be fair, they usually do not refer to themselves as “marketing researchers.”)

For market research to be the golden industry, we have to go beyond mechanical data collection, simple analysis, and interpretation. Instead, we must work closely with AI, machine learning, and data scientists. However, I still feel that a market researcher with sound experience will still have an amazing career in the industry. Those able to design primary quantitative research who have a good grasp of statistics—as well as marketing and business in general—will be at an advantage, as will top-notch qualitative researchers.

5. We will reach peak innovation.
Innovation is a word I hear a lot, but it can sometime feel like people are only saying it because it’s a great marketing buzz term that makes you sound amazing and at the top of your game. The desire for market research agencies and boutiques to pump out faster and more reactive products has never been so strong. In 2020, I feel like we may well reach peak innovation, but the technology that is available today will continue to get better. This means new tools will be able to deliver timely insights that provide business results and outcome-first approaches to market research and data.

Conclusion
Overall, I feel that outcome-first methodologies will come out on top while the inclusion of DIY research will become prominent in the sector, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Better yet, I feel like the industry hasn’t reached its summit. While it might have peaked in terms of innovation, it can still grow and improve with respect to the value it adds.

While January is a time for predictions, it’s also a time for resolutions. There are many people who still don’t see the value of market research, so I challenge you to set a goal for this year—go and change one person’s opinion of this important sector. If all those reading this can do that, our field will be off to a great 2020. Have a great year!

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About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400  

Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.

The Importance of a Blended Methodology

Everyone thinks you need a certain personality to be a market researcher, but you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes for a successful career in this field. Of course, some skill in observation and investigation—and a keen interest in people—can certainly go a long way.

Many people can get a bit lost when it comes to choosing which research methodology to use between qualitative and quantitative strategies. In some cases, blending the two can be a good approach. However, it’s important to know when and how this works in the real world.

While blended research is neither new nor extraordinary, it is often overlooked when designing a research study because clients are requiring cost-effective research conducted 24/7. However, one of the appeals of a blended methodology is that it can help triangulate our measurement strategy, using different measures of the same concept to provide a more robust overall sense of understanding.

But what if the results are not consistent?

One of the major challenges for using a blended methodology is the different types of expertise required. Most social researchers can manage adding some qualitative questions to a primarily quantitative survey, or can collect some quantitative indicators in a qualitative project and then analyze the results. That said, given the time and training required to develop advanced expertise in ethnography, in-depth interviewing, survey research, statistical analysis, or any advanced method, most researchers are going to specialize.

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This means developing a strong blended methodology often demands collaboration of different researchers with different types of expertise. It requires more time and more attention to project design and management than may be necessary in a single-method project. Researchers with different methodological commitments may also have different research philosophies—potentially making collaboration more challenging.

Overall, it doesn’t actually matter if you choose quantitative or qualitative research or a blend of the two. The most important questions to answer are why are you conducting market research and what would you like to understand? Then, you can create a research study that answers your questions while putting the audience at the heart of it all.

It’s important to mention that whichever methodology you pick, blended or not, good research needs excellent recruitment. Being successful means never forgetting that the respondents you recruit are people first and participants second.

Depending on your methodology and techniques, you should go and visit the respondent in person. You will see where and how they live and observe their environment and habits, while getting to know them better. Even more importantly, the respondent meets you, too. This builds trust and respect for each other and your research—two items even more important than being Sherlock Holmes.


About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400  Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.

Multicultural Research: Top 3 Things You Should Know

Multicultural Research: Top 3 Things You Should Know

According to a 2017 American Community Survey, one in seven US residents are foreign born. In Canada, that number is even higher. At the time of the 2011 National Household Survey, 1 in 5 Canadians were born outside Canada. This large influx of new US and Canadian citizens represents a prime marketing and sales opportunity for North American brands looking to grow their market share in an established and at times crowded market.

The increased importance of brand visibility and awareness amongst newcomers has turned multicultural marketing into somewhat of an arms race. Brands now seek out new advertising and marketing channels that provide high levels of exposure to newly landed or soon to arrive immigrants. Airports, Visa offices, and even partnerships with brands abroad are all opportunities that have been pursued in recent years to varying levels of success.

Brands are now understanding the importance of being first to market, and that making an impression with newly landed immigrants can have a noticeable impact on market share. However, what’s being lost in the mix is messaging and value.  Does the message of your advertising correlate with newcomers’ values and belief systems? Is the messaging relatable and does it speak culturally to those viewing the ad?

In order to create a great marketing campaign, you need the insights to support it.  That’s why multicultural research has become more important than ever.  Here are 3 things to consider when designing and executing your research campaign.
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Consider your sample makeup.

We tend to think of newcomers holistically, but every immigrant has a story, a different path to North America and background with his or her own set of beliefs and cultural shopping behaviours.  That’s why it’s important that your sample set is as representative of the newcomer population as possible.  Things to consider include tenure and acculturation levels, country of origin and regional segmentations within country.  The closer you mirror your sample to representation, the more accurate your results.

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Think about regional and cultural biases

Each country is unique and even within country there are regional and cultural biases.  The opinions and cultural beliefs of someone from the North of India is different than someone from the south, and someone who speaks Mandarin from mainland China will have vastly differently shopping behaviours than a Cantonese speaker from Hong Kong or Macau.  It’s important to take this into account when designing your questionnaire, ensuring that you provide different language options for those taking part in the study and that you’re tailoring parts of your questionnaire to speak to respondents on a regional basis.

Traditional Roles are Localized

In North America, we tend to view traditional gender roles as a thing of the past.  It’s now common place for both heads of the household to have full time jobs and to help around the house.  Although we view this to be true in North America, the same can’t be said for some other countries around the world.  It’s important to give consideration to who your intended purchaser is and how the roles of ultimate purchaser and decision maker vary from region to region.  For example, in most cases traditionally the man of the house has been the breadwinner for South Asian households, but the female is the ultimate decision maker for food prep and purchase.

A well thought out questionnaire and sample plan will go a long way in ensuring your study is as representative as possible, and that you’re gaining meaningful insights into your target audience.  As newcomers to North American continue to grow in size and they become a larger part of our population, we as market researchers need to do a better job of tailoring our studies to their individuality and to think about them more as specific sub segments as opposed to one large conglomerated audience.  Doing this will create opportunities for additional products and services to benefit those who are currently underserved, and in turn will aid brands in growing their market share in a crowded marketplace.

CATI IN 2019: Battling Declining Response Rates

The transition away from telephone interviewing is well underway. Online polls now make up the principal source of data on consumer opinion surveys, with CATI projects largely being relegated to B2B audiences, historic tracking studies and geographic areas that lack online representation.

online polling Although online has now become the preferred methodology for most due to its attractive price point, it still poses a lot of questions in the subjects of quality and representation. The absence of a clear set of standards for online research, in particular online polling, has led to many questions about the reliability of the results that are shared.

Whilst journalists are now more likely to cite online polls as a reliable source of data, it is still unclear in many cases how these polls are fielded, and if the sample composition is entirely dependable.

Of course, traditional live-interviewing telephone polls have been facing their own challenges as of late. As the cost of labor has increased, so too has the average cost per telephone survey, and as consumers turn away from landline phones in favour of cell phones, response rates continue to decline. To further complicate matters, phone response can vary greatly within different demographic groups.

phone survey There is substantial evidence that phone interviewing is inherently less biased than opt-in panels. For one, randomly dialling both landline and cell phones puts you in touch with a consumer that may or may not know about market research and hasn’t voluntarily opted into a research-based panel. Secondly, a phone approach provides access to segments of the population that are traditionally under-represented on online panels including younger males, visible minorities and senior citizens.

As consumers continue the trend of ditching their landline in favour of a cell phone only household, sample and interviewing techniques must keep pace in order to ensure that a CATI methodology remains representative and that response rates remain high.

Here are three things to consider when conducting your CATI project.

 

Cell Phone vs Landline

An RDD (Random digit dialling) approach is effective in some cases, but as households move away from having a landline in their home it’s now more important than ever to ensure cell phone sample is included in your sample mix. Based on the latest data, a 60% land line, 40% cell phone sample split is ideal. This blend will ensure that you’re reaching cell phone only households which tend to skew younger in age.

 

Maximizing Your Success with Targeted Audiences

Does your project contain visible minorities, or perhaps those who are considered to be affluent? You can dial blindly amongst the general population in the hopes that these individuals will fall out naturally. However, chances are that these audiences are more likely to have unlisted numbers which would not be included in general landline dialling. For these groups a targeted sample list approach might be best. Targeted sample lists contain appended demographic data which is sourced from 3rd party consumer lists and databases. This increases your chances of connecting with your desired audience and you can boost your overall target numbers.

 

Making Your Survey Relatable and User Friendly

In addition to targeted sample, it’s also important to consider the overall framework of your project to ensure that you are making it as easy as possible for participants to take part. If you’re dialling visible minorities are you using interviewers that speak the language? Are you dialling from a local number as opposed to a toll free number. Is the survey itself accessible?  The more relatable you make your survey to participants the higher participation and cooperation rates will be.

 

Some people say phone is dying. I prefer to look at is as a metamorphosis.  As consumers habits change, so too must our research practices and approach. At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure high quality response rates and by following the 3 steps above you’ll ensure that your phone projects continue to be well rounded and balanced.

 


About Chris Connolly

2018 Color headshot Chris Connolly, Vice President of Research Services at The Logit Group is persistently focused on providing superior value and experience for each client relationship. With over 20 years of industry experience serving in leadership roles for both technical groups and project management teams, he has a proven track record of success.

Top Three Research Lessons From Election Season Polling

With the Canadian Federal Election taking place on October 21st and the US Presidential election slated for 2020, it’s a perfect time for us researchers to reflect upon sampling, declining response rates, margins of error, and questionnaire wording for federal election polling surveys.

Those of you who are not researchers or analysts have probably been wondering, how truly representative are election polls, and can they still lend credibility to predicted election results in a world of declining response rates?

Looking back on previous elections and their results, it’s clear that there are important takeaways and learnings from how election polls are conducted.  These takeaways not only ensure that future election work is as representative as possible, but they also lend themselves to takeaways that can be transposed to other research projects.

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  1. Ask the right questions to the right audience.

Political polling highlights the importance of asking the right questions. The wording of both the questions and answers will affect the outcome in different ways. For example, here are some considerations:

  • Should you ask respondents for whom they will most likely vote for when the election takes place? Or who they would vote for if the election was held tomorrow?
    • Should your question use the first names of the candidates, as they will appear on the ballots, and/or should you refer to each candidate’s party affiliation?
    • Who are the intended respondents? (All registered voters? All adults of voting age? Anyone intending to vote? Only registered voters who voted in the past election?)

To answer any of these questions, you need to have some clear goals and objectives of why you are conducting the research. There are many types of political polls, and multiple reasons for conducting them. Trying to measure consumer or voter attitudes is different than trying to predict behaviour, which in turn is different from trying to forecast voter turnout.

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  1. First know the why, then determine which method will get you there.
    Most political polls are subjected to a huge amount of methodological analysis and critique. Was the poll conducted online or by phone? Did the pollster use live interviewers or automated dialing with interactive voice recordings? Was the sample selected through random digit dial (RDD) or targeted listings?

    Questions like these offer insights into the most important methodological challenges facing the research industry in a time of rapid technological and social change. It reminds everyone that the method is so important. The challenges are not just about qualitative versus quantitative or surveys versus focus groups, but also about design, fieldwork, respondent recruitment, data collection, statistical analysis, and interpretation.

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  1. Think about the story rather than the numbers.
    Search online for “elections results” and you’ll find a multitude of different polls released on a weekly basis. Most of the results are in alignment with each other, but a handful are notable in their approach because they make the story just as important as the outcomes.

    In those cases, the content is relevant, interest is high, and the stakes are made to feel huge. The story is moving, and it feels like you are one of those individuals they were reporting on. While every poll has the support from PR, marketing, and communication campaigns, it is always nice to see those select few polls that report on things, or from angles, that nobody else has explored yet.

    Conclusion

    When it comes to political polling, the aims and goals are so important that you need to know your approach before you even begin to start thinking about the method and the potential questions. However, once you have your direction, it becomes critical to do more than show the numbers—you must also show the story behind those numbers to make your content relevant and interesting… and to really resonate with your audience.


About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400 Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.

Things to Think About When Conducting DIY Research

Smaller companies, especially start-ups, often face challenges because they lack financial security or specialist resources such as research leads. To make matters worse, when it comes to cutting costs, it’s the marketing and research budgets that are frequently the first to be reduced. Fortunately, however, the range of cost-effective tools now available should mean a lack of money and experience is no longer an excuse for even the smallest company to not conduct market research.

Across this industry, DIY (i.e. do it yourself) research tools are accessible, widespread, and sometimes even free! From designing a survey for your customers to programs for data report visualizations, there are automated programs online for you to use. However, as with any DIY project, there is still a number of things you need to think about when conducting your own market research.

Quick Results

With the right DIY tools, you don’t need to hire a research company or wait several months for results. Online research platforms mean the various tools and resources are at your fingertips—all you require is a bit of patience, time, and effort to create your own research. Thankfully, there are loads of different examples to help you to get started.

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Further, many organisations who work in the DIY research space are now moving into a SaaS (i.e. software as a service) type of model. This means they can offer their services and tools at cost-effective prices and speed.

Some things are ready for you already
Many survey tools now provide ready-made templates for different industries and scenarios, as well as automated reporting; they can also offer preselected panels for which you can pay online. All these companies have also invested a lot of money into the user experience, so it is simple and easy to conduct your own research in one place.

It can be cheaper (sometimes)
Did you notice the “sometimes” in brackets above? This qualifier is because you do have to take your time with DIY research, and you also have to think about what you really want to understand from your target audience. Without this patience or nuance, you could end up rushing the process and ultimately needing to spend more money to fix the issues you caused.

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When organizations or individuals know what they would like to understand, DIY market research can actually provide plenty of opportunities to be creative at a low price. The question is: Do you truly know what you’re looking for?

Being a step in front of your competitors
Not conducting proper market research is one of the main reasons why so many start-ups fail in their first five years. This is because they haven’t bothered to truly understand the audience to whom they wish to sell. Of course, the fact that not everyone conducts market research can be an advantage for you. To be honest, even thinking about conducting market research puts you a step forward of your competitors who don’t.

The information and insights you can gain from conducting your own market research will help you more even more steps ahead of your competition, if you frame your approach correctly. It’s the difference between a company that conducts market research to understand consumer thoughts and opinions… and a company that just goes off on a hunch or a rough idea.

Overall
More and more vendor partnerships are now being brokered in the DIY space, and the possibilities continue to be exciting as services and tools evolve.

For small companies (or even larger ones with limited budgets), it is important to remember that just because many tools are now automated, you need not rush through the process to find your answer. In fact, it actually means you need to take the same amount of time as you would have done if there was no automation—the speed will come in to play when you are collecting the data and then finding out the results that matter to you.

However, despite all the possibilities associated with DIY research, it should still ultimately be viewed as a complement to traditional full-service research. DIY is a great starting point and offers all the advantages mentioned above, but make sure you do not lose sight of your ultimate goal in exchange for using DIY methods.



About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400  Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.

Getting the Best Out of Your Customer Satisfaction Program

In the last decade, there have been significant changes to how researchers define “customer satisfaction,” as well as how they use this metric.

Also known as CSAT, customer satisfaction measurement has evolved over time, largely spurred on by technology. It has moved from point-in-time to real-time, from anonymous to linked, and from brick-and-mortar to multi-channel. Throughout these changes, the basics behind a customer satisfaction program have remained essential—gather data to help a client turn opinions into actionable learnings and insight.

At Logit, we collect data in different ways, depending on the client’s customer database or research requirements. We offer the capabilities to execute different methodologies to reach different customer audiences, including phone interviews, online surveys, onsite interviews, and mail surveys.

When considering customer satisfaction surveys, you first have to think about the customer journey and put yourselves in their shoes. For example, how would you like to receive a survey? When would you like to complete a survey?

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The telephone interview has always been an in-demand service from clients who have contact lists. Nevertheless, we see declining participation rates. Fewer people want to take part in comparison to a number of years ago.

On the other hand, online surveys are rapidly gaining momentum. Depending on the survey length, this methodology can be relatively quick and error-free for the client and the participants. It’s similar when thinking about onsite interviews—we always recommend the survey length be no longer than five minutes. These types of interviews are great for clients who may not have a customer list, or for clients who want to understand the opinions of consumers who may not actually purchase a product from the store.

Depending on your data collection instrument (i.e. phone or on-site), it is always important to think carefully about the identity of the client and the values of the brand. At Logit Group, we ensure all interviewers are trained to represent the brand well.

Making it work
Once you have decided on your methodology, you still need to ensure that it is actionable for your customer satisfaction program.

Connect the dots
Consumer responses and their data must be connected to the specific transaction, if one was made. This means each function of the business can receive specific feedback.

Ask yourself: Are you being clear?
When I look at reports, I always think: “Is this data actionable, and is it written in language that easily understood?”

Data and reporting should be clear and simple to understand. Many clients actually provide real-time shared customer experience information to their internal staff because experiences can change from day to day, month to month, or season to season.

Pause for reflection
A customer satisfaction program should not be left alone for years but reviewed every six to 12 months to ensure it is generating ROI and actionability across the entire organization. You need to ask your internal stakeholders what they think of the tools and the dashboards offered. Their feedback allows you to make effective changes to your approach, making certain it is always relevant to the current state of business.

Things to think about…
Almost all organizations have a customer satisfaction program. From my experience, no two are the same and the ideal approach will be unique to each company and its stakeholders, both internal and external.

Once the CSAT program is in place, the data is used to help evolve your products or services, you still need to ensure your customers understand what is being changed and why. Again: Never forget the customer journey. They are taking time out of their day to help you, so if you have altered something because of their feedback, then you need to make sure you not only tell them what actions have taken place because of their opinions and close the loop, but also thank them for their participation and feedback.

 


About Oscar
oscar

Oscar Fernandes serves as the VP of Sales & Client Services at Logit. For over 25 years he has helped his clients execute successful CSAT programs, both online and over the phone.

Top Four Tips for Boosting Sampling Response Rates

It might sound obvious, but your sample is the most important part of your market research project.

Too often, it seems like the survey participants’ experiences and opinions of market research are somewhat overlooked. However, our industry relies heavily on individuals giving up their own time and effort to respond to long questionnaires. If they don’t enjoy the experience or gain any benefit, then why should they bother participating?

Businesses rely on customer data to guide their decision making and provide a sense of direction when making a change in terms of a product enhancement, service overview, or even a new product range. Therefore, reduced response rates ultimately mean less insight or fewer data-driven outcomes.

How can you help your participants enjoy the experience of giving you feedback?

 

1. Treat people the way you would want to be treated

It is important to ensure your research invitations and reminders clearly outline what you are asking. This may include information on why you are conducting the research, incentives on offer (e.g. gift cards), and an explanation why their feedback will be so valuable.

You should try to personalize communication to an individual as far as possible with the resources you have available. For example, most email marketing tools allow you to directly customize how you address emails to individuals rather than impersonal form letters.

Far too often, researchers leave participant communication to the bottom of their list of priorities. I think this is totally wrong. Ask yourself whether you would complete a particular survey if you yourself received the email you’re about to send.

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2. Go mobile

So many people in the industry mention the use of mobile surveys that it must get boring to always read about it! Still, the reason we all say it so much is because we still continually find surveys that have not been mobile-optimized and are not responsive to being answered on a phone or tablet. It can be challenging to get participants to complete a survey while they are watching TV, and an even bigger task to convince them to answer your questions when they are hard to read on a cellphone screen.

We know a high proportion of individuals are “second-screen watchers,” which means they may be watching TV while also texting on their phone. By making a survey mobile-optimized, you increase the likelihood of someone completing it as a second-screen experience instead of never bothering to take part.

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3. Never be boring

Can you remember the last time you wanted to complete a survey that consisted of 40 questions? I can’t… and I am sure your participants feel the same way.

Neither researcher nor participant benefits from excessively lengthy and tedious questioning in either qual or quant research. When survey participants are bored, they are more likely to flip through the survey questions, rush and give false answers just to complete it. Having a seemingly endless list of questions also increases the likelihood of dropouts throughout the survey, negatively affecting your representative sample.

You should be developing short and lean surveys that take participants less than five minutes to complete. This can give you the essential information you require while also increasing the likelihood of a large sample size because of the short length.

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4. Don’t sit on your feedback

After completing a quantitative survey that has a sample size of 1,000+, the worst thing you could do is just ignore all that feedback and not act on any of the new intelligence.

Participants want to feel valued—not just from a gift or reward point of view, but also emotionally. They want to know whether or not their feedback has truly helped, and they really want to see what you, as a brand, will do with the insight and opinions they shared. Offering participants feedback allows them to see the true value of completing a survey or a piece of research for you. It means they will be far more likely to take five or 10 minutes of their own time to complete something for you again.

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Conclusion

By making surveys short, sharp and to the point, you give participants less work to do and your business still gains valuable data and information. The four tips outlined in this article are only a handful of ways to boost response rates. However, implementing even one of these suggestions will help improve the research experience for your participants. Happy and rewarded participants mean quality data outcomes for you that can lead to data-driven decision making.


About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400 Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.

5 Top Ways To Build An Effective Online Research Sample!

So you have googled different research methodologies available and have decided that online research is your chosen golden nugget. In particular, you are interested in using an online sample because you wish to ask the same or similar individuals questions about your business and products.

Online sampling can be a crazy world and very difficult to start if you don’t have a set process to follow. This is why I have put together my top 5 things you should look out for when creating or using an online sample!

My top 5 tips are for those who want to build a unique online market research sample, because like I said, it can be a tricky task to even start. I’m hoping these 5 takeaways will help you to breakdown the process so its much more manageable.

  1. What Do You Want to Understand?

The first question you must ask yourself is – What would you like to understand from your research? You need to first define your research objectives. Your objectives will affect what research sample you wish to create and promote. Especially if you’re focusing questions to a set persona or type of individual.

For example, if you are looking to change some your core products, or add to your existing product range. You will need to understand which groups this will affect and how you want them to be represented in your research. Customers, potential customers, mar-comm audiences and stakeholders all need to be represented in a way which reflects their opinion.

On the other hand, let’s say you have a targeted marketing campaign that is on Facebook and other social media platforms, then you would actually what to understand the opinions and thoughts from that specific target audience who you have targeted.

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  1. Leverage Existing Networks

Recruiting participants for research can actually become very expensive especially when taking into account the size of your sample. Yet, the best place to start for any size or scale of research is your own networks. Whether that is using LinkedIn, social media and even your own email lists, customer databases and any other existing connections you have built. People on these lists will be those most valuable to you which means they will also have an opinion.

Current customer opinions is crucial and actually more relevant in some ways than a panel because they are familiar with your brand.

They will be motivated by a desire to improve the brand and experience, rather than the financial incentive.

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  1. Get Yourself on Social!

There has been a lot of buzz recently about social market research with the likes of Brandwatch and SproutSocial dominating the space. Social media listening tools have driven this discussion and market researchers have been quick to adopt such processes. Whilst it would be difficult to use social media from a sample perspective, it is still important to think about social in its broadest sense.

Social media can complement market research through the entire process, from introducing community-based elements during the project, to driving participant recruitment. A subset of snowball sampling methodologies, social media recruitment leverages the personal connections of individuals to reach a wider potential audience. By combining this with your organization’s own networks, it is possible to build a large (and representative) sample in a short space of time.

Then you can think about social media influencers in your area of work to help generate interest and spark a conversation about your new sample. With the use of social media, you can grow your sample size as well as understand what your target audience are actually talking about online. Which will help when creating topics, tasks and surveys for your participants to answer during your sample journey.

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Screen Participants

When you promote a sample on social media the danger is sample quality. There are many dangers to look out for, including speeders, professional research participants, no-shows and more. The best way to eliminate these is through an invitation questionnaire to understand who the individual is and whether they are a best fit for the sample you need.

This will then serve two things. The first is to ensure that your sample fits the profile you are looking for, as there is no point in sending questions to a group of individuals who may not even know what you are on about. The second is to drop participants that would reduce your data quality. Speeders are participants that complete research tasks as quickly as possible and do the bare minimum. Their responses are not always reflective of their own thoughts, often writing the first thing that comes to mind.

The easiest way to catch a speeder out is by asking them a particular question which you ask them to select a particular answer. Speeders will unlikely even read the question before making a choice.

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  1. Manage Your Lists and Participants

At the end of the day, your list are your participants and potential customers. So treat them how you would like to be treated. Over time, some participants will drop out, it is only natural. As more and more drop out this can have an overall negative impact on your research results and sampling quality. To ensure your research doesn’t suffer, you should regularly monitor active and inactive participants and also those on the verge of leaving. The latter could be sent some new information or you could seek to understand how you could help them from not leaving.

 

So by following these quick 5 steps you will be on your way to creating a high-quality panel of research participants. Obviously there are pro’s and con’s to using samples, however, by controlling the different processes that are there to see, it is possible to create a high-quality sample that will help your business in the short and long term.


About Jake

Jake-Pryszlak_avatar_1546770824-400x400 Jake Pryszlak, commonly known as the Research Geek, is a 3-time award-winning market researcher, blogger and speaker. He’s a current Forbes columnist who is active across a plethora of social media channels. His aim is to share his market research knowledge with others in the industry. You can find his blog and social media channels here.