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Tag: market research

Interviewing Hard-to-Reach Respondents During Difficult Times

Interviewing Hard-to-Reach Respondents During Difficult Times
By Arundati Dandapani

Door to door sampling was the truest, recall the veterans, who are still grappling with the challenges of an industry that has fast moved towards automation and programmatic designs. Research reveals that operational efficiency and costs have brought down the overall quality of the respondent experience, leading to a general distrust in the industry. Poor experiences have led to declining participation rates, leading to even lower response and completion rates.

Incidence rate is defined as the number or percentage of qualified people from a sample that are eligible to participate in a study. Since the onset of one of the most disruptive global health crisis in recent decades has changed the way we work, suppliers across the board report no change in IR (ease of finding qualified respondents/targetable population) or Response Rates (completion), and in some cases observing even higher response rates than before. Meeting respondents for specific market research studies however remains an ongoing challenge and difficulty for many reasons.

Are these Difficult Times?

Twelve weeks ago, there was no COVID-19 to talk about. Today, how we are doing business and market research has changed completely owing to the economic, social, and public health impacts of the current global pandemic.

“In times of COVID-19, we need to be hyper-sensitive on user experience as everyone has heightened emotions. When we poll our audience about ‘what questions do you have today’, Covid related questions are becoming major top of mind questions,” said Paul Neto of Measure Protocol. Rand Market Research confirms that nearly 80% of Canadians are concerned about the Coronavirus and are changing their behaviour due to it. “While many companies focus on Incidence Rates, the critical metric is its conversion to completion rates, as in many cases (70-90% of all surveys), participants do not complete them because of poor experiences. The industry has moved away from responsible interaction with the participant,” reminded Neto.

Jackie Lorch of Dynata wrote that, “Consumers can still provide generalizable data and think objectively about their cars, TVs, household goods and other products and services, but their answers on many topics will be different while the Coronavirus crisis lasts. This reflects the reality of your customers’ experience. It is more vital than ever to keep in touch with them and not risk being left with a data “black hole” as the world recovers.”

Business as Usual Despite the Crisis

The major reported or observed change in research operations has been in the shifting of real-person fieldwork to virtual operations, affecting offline qualitative work the most (including face-to-face interviews, and focus groups). The best way to measure change is by tracking respondents over time, for example, comparing the IR in studies in the last month with the past three months of studies in field.

Whether times are good or bad, maintaining respondent interest can be a challenge for many reasons. Factors range from the source of sample (e.g., banks that use highly targeted client lists for surveys seeing higher participation), mode of survey (online is a better medium for some demographics, and has little barriers for use in difficult times like COVID-19), quality of profilers (the rarer the qualifications or behaviours, the feasibility of that sample is lower) among others.

While there are different reasons for low respondent participation, panel participation is often dependent on how the survey question is worded, and what the qualification times and windows are. Qualification includes the criteria that respondents are required to fulfill at the recruiting stage, and qualification times and windows often determine how tracking studies will be impacted, opening unique opportunities to benchmark and observe targeted respondent behaviour over time.

The potential of mode must not be overlooked. According to Randa Bell of ASDE Survey Sampler, “IVR (interactive Voice Response) presents an interesting opportunity to reach respondents in a cheaper or faster way than traditional telephone surveys, when your interviewing capacity is lowered due to physical distancing in call centers. Also, there’s the added ability to reach cell phones via IVR or SMS text messages to the younger age groups who might be sitting at home and bored with all the news and lock-down. All surveys at these times should be introduced knowing that COVID-19 is on the minds of everyone and acknowledged in the introduction.”

Doing More to Earn Respondent Trust and Retention

Businesses need to keep conducting mitigation tests to check that their field studies are on track to optimize their incidence rates. The qualifications for studies and project timelines must reflect the new reality and new needs, whether that means keeping a close tab on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, and being adaptive in response as governments and citizens work to contain the outbreak, or introducing new measures that protect the public and companies investment in the ongoing health of their respondents.

Incidence rates are reflective of the effort it takes to convert qualified persons to participate in a study. Research fieldwork and data collection methods must be adaptive to create better experiences that improve participation rates. If that in the current environment means substituting / migrating all face-to-face qualitative work with other user-friendly virtual, mobile and safe alternatives, businesses must prepare. Targeting lists and respondents effectively involves employing the optimal mix of traditional and new technologies including AI, the internet of things and blockchain to ensure user-intuitive experiences that convert to the highest participation of qualified respondents.


About Arundati

Arundati Arundati Dandapani, CMRP (@itadnura) advises non-profits and businesses with insights and storytelling. She is the founder of Generation1.ca, an online cross-sectoral resource and outlet for Canada’s newest residents, chief editor of MRIA-ARIM, and has been honoured with industry awards like the inaugural GRIT Future List Honour along with the 2020 AAPOR Burns Bud Roper Fellow and QRCA’s 2020 Young Professionals Grant. She can be reached at arundati@generation1.ca.

Keeping Your Market Research Data Safe and Secure

Market research companies are faced with varying challenges and security threats when it comes to protecting their data. Over the last two years, there have been many breaches exposing millions of data records as cybercriminals have been targeting both the public and private sectors. According to IBM’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach worldwide is $3.9 million. For the United States, that number soars to $7.91 million.

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The burden of responsibility is widening as many international regulators are now holding organizations liable for any privacy or security breaches. As custodians of sensitive client data, market research companies have a responsibility to minimize the security risk for data both in motion and at rest.

Data in motion, as its name suggests, refers to information being moved from one location to another across the internet, along networks, or from storage devices or the cloud. Protection methods are particularly critical because this data in transit tends to be thought of as less secure than data at rest, which is information simply stored or archived on hard drives, devices, or networks.

Protecting data is critical not only for its own obvious sake, but also to reassure potential survey participants who might be apprehensive about participating in your market research project due to being aware of recent data breaches in other sectors.

Some recommended measures to be implemented include:

• providing staff with cybersecurity tools to ensure ongoing compliance with best practice policies and procedures;
• lowering risk exposure by implementing technology such as intrusion detection systems (IDS), intrusion protection systems (IPS), honeypots, and firewalls;
• regularly monitoring and auditing security procedures to meet developing cyber threats;
• implementing detailed security policies that entail procedures, rules, and roles so all staff members understand that data privacy and security are priorities (e.g. policies like handling procedures, usage, privacy, social media, and user responsibilities);
• keeping informed with all cyber-threat news, updates, and applicable security patches;
• investing in data-breach or cyber-security insurance; and
• conducting penetration testing—also known as “ethical hacking,” this the practice of testing a computer system or network to find security vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

Perhaps one of the most important data security recommendations comes down to always ensuring you are working with people whose approaches and practices you can trust. The Logit Group is continually implementing new measures that comply with industry best practices and address client concerns and requirements about data security and privacy while adhering to data protection laws.

 

Forbes graph: https://www.statista.com/chart/9918/the-price-tag-attached-to-data-breaches/


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About Shane Scott

Shane Scott has over 17 years of notable success leading a broad range of corporate and government IT initiatives while participating in the planning, analysis, and implementation of solutions in support of business objectives. As the Logit System Administrator and Support Specialist, Shane has been championed to enhance the Security, Infrastructure and System administration as the company growth continues.

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

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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.

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
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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.

Trust, But Verify: Using Online Panels for B2B Research

Conducting B2B research via online panels is an increasingly attractive option. Its more efficient cost model translates to roughly 30% of the price of running the same project by telephone. Incentives are lower online and you’re able to cast a much wider net to accomplish goals far more quickly.

While this may sound great, serious questions can arise over how respondents are recruited… and to how to ensure those answering your surveys are in fact qualified to do so (and are who they say they are).

The survey-taking experience is recruited under the guise that it is completely anonymous. As such, respondents aren’t recruited with a phone number and can’t be validated with telephone verification. This means you need to have a certain level of faith in your panel-of-choice company, and this trust needs to be cemented by a history of successful projects together and the power of their name within the industry.

While trust is important, so is a little common sense. Regardless of past performance, there are additional steps to take across each survey as safeguards to help ensure the content of the report comes from qualified B2B online respondents.

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Picking the right partner

Client relationships are carefully constructed; they need care, attention, and acknowledgement that years of hard work have taken place prior. It’s important to pick a partner that not only respects this philosophy, but also has the experience and courage to tell you the possible pitfalls, preparing you for the reality of the project at hand. This enables you to more reasonably predict the end result, using experience and asking the right clarifying questions to give everyone confidence and a platform from which to build.

With data collection, an account manager will often work on the viability/feasibility and costs for a project, but then passes it along to a project team for execution. Effective B2B research is accomplished when the account manager is tethered to the project from start to finish, and can frame expectations, ensure the team is on target, and work with the client on the fly if necessary to adjust and implement backup plans. B2B research can be nuanced and fraught with challenges that require foresight, experience, and the ability to jump in, correct, and sometimes change tact.

 

b2b

Pre-screening and ensuring B2B panelists are who they say

 “You’re only as good as your last book” is a smart adage to adopt when working with panel sources.

Panels are expected to adhere to the ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline on Online Sample Quality, which sets out best practices in:

  • Research participant validation, to ensure the respondent falls within the description of the research sample;
  • Survey fraud prevention, to ensure the same person doesn’t try to receive more incentives by completing a survey more than once;
  • Survey engagement, to ensure that the respondent is paying sufficient attention;
  • Category and other types of exclusions, to ensure the sample does not include respondents who might bias the results; and
  • Sampling (including sample selection, sample blending, weighting, survey routers, profiling, and screening) to provide transparency.

While these are the cornerstones of panel sampling businesses, it’s important to ensure they do this and acknowledge that respondent profiling isn’t as advanced as it needs to be in B2B sampling.

B2B profilers are sent out, of course, but the completion rates are low and panel companies will often steer consumer respondent traffic that they know is employed within a general business sector.

Most proprietary panel companies have partner sources they introduce. Although vetted appropriately, new sources in the mix can increase the probability for errors based on each source’s ability to control the fraudulent behaviour appearing from time to time. Some of these partner sources can also skew results, with the base of answers really off the expected norms or what other sources in aggregate are showing.

To mitigate this, pre-screening becomes very important even among panel sources that have sufficient profiling for B2B respondents in place. Screening questions for the targeted respondent to go through before entering your survey are ideal for ensuring a respondent is truly qualified to participate.

About half of the incoming panel traffic fails for some reason or another, but this is still an important piece to put in place to ensure that those entering the survey are in fact who you need to answer the survey.

Trust, but verify

“Trust, but verify,” is a useful way to describe how best to manage and monitor a B2B market research panel project and ensure a high-quality data set.

Given the absence of exact profiling, many panels sources need to be tethered together to accomplish ambitious goals or to look for a subsection of respondents within a certain industry.

Whether or not there has been that additional layer of pre-screening, it is critical to embed security conditions (e.g. time to complete, straight-lining) and pepper red herring questions into the survey. (These can be monitored in your daily field disposition, with fails tied to the panel source). Reviewing verbatim for gibberish is another measure for discarding cases that don’t meet quality criteria.

When blending multiple panel sources, it is important to measure the sources against each other and focus on the “quality fails” that arise from the security conditions set, the red herrings, and verbatim review to arrive at pass-back rate percentage by panel. Additionally, you should review responses by panel across each other to identify blips and skews in data. If any are present, they should be isolated and removed from the data set, and passed back to the panel for replacement at no charge. Further, after a pre-test of 10% of the quota is completed, the panel source(s) showing pass-back rates higher than 30 to 40% should be investigated for legitimacy. If necessary, they should be removed from the sampling, forwarded, and removed from the data set.

While all these quality review metrics are important, they must be reasonable—typical pass-back rates on security fails in the industry range between 10 and 20%. (With a pre-screener employed, it tends to be much less). When it is above 20%, there is either a quality source issue or it is overly stringent and the project at hand may not be appropriate for the online methodology. It is important to investigate both possibilities.

Conclusion

Human beings are creatures of comfort, and we prefer to put a lot of faith and trust in proven panel providers. While I think trust is key, it is also important to be vigilant and to employ your own reasonable security metrics that make sense each time. You also need to understand that with panel sources, issues with respondent quality can arise and fraudulent sources (e.g. bots) can break though. With these extra steps and an experienced partner, you’re able to avoid issues and ensure that your report is based purely on respondents that belong.


John Wulff started at Logit Group as its first salesperson in 2008 and has a 30-year career focused on B2B/B2C online, telephone, and onsite data collection. He has held senior positions representing some of the largest and best quantitative phone and panel companies with operations based in North/Central America, Europe, and Asia.

John’s areas of expertise within B2B/B2C data collection are focused on financial, automotive, health-care, entertainment, and information technology segments. In addition to data collection business development efforts for Logit, he leads business development for Logit Group’s technology company—QFI Solutions, a survey software programming/reporting platform.