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Tag: marketing

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.

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.

different researchers

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.