Weathering COVID-19 – Business Development Strategy During a Difficult Time
I often thought the world would be a much better place if all politicians were, by law, required to have a history degree. The relevant knowledge and trends they could draw from to help shape insights, process and a successful path forward would really serve us all. As researchers, this is language that’s all too familiar to us…
With Covid-19, we’re in an unprecedented time, but we are uniquely qualified to handle this challenge.
With a growing trend towards sensationalized data and soundbites, we as a society are constantly inundated by main stream media with sobering assessments and un-fact checked hypotheses that drive fear and further enflame the situation. Covid-19 has become commoditized, making it easy to get caught up in the vortex around the pandemic. It’s important to understand that in these times, the best way to thrive is to think outside the box and to adopt a fresh perspective.
We need to focus on what we can control in an environment that has taken so much of it away. It’s difficult to develop business while managing our own personal feelings and worry for our families and colleagues, but we’re objective thinkers. We make decisions and recommend directions based on market conditions. We need to employ this thinking for ourselves and understand that there are growth areas, and in fact, it’s never been more important and a better time to conduct most lines of research.
The New York Times recently published this article that portrays the realities we’re seeing in field:
Surprising Poll Results: People Are Now Happy to Pick Up the Phone
Pollsters are used to having their calls screened. But when everyone is stuck at home, a stranger with some survey questions can be a lifeline.
The article focuses on the realities we’re finding on how ‘response rates have risen amongst people in typically tough-to-reach demographics, such as young people and those without college degrees, who are typically less likely to use landlines. Increased participation is also reported amongst cell phone users – particularly in the daytime, when in the past many respondents would most likely have been at work and unwilling to answer a call from an unknown number.’
The striking tone of the article and as those in CATI data collection research know, traditionally, older age groups take more time and are more receptive to research, more so than any other age group. With Covid-19 in our midst, we’re seeing increased cooperation across the board across all ages and ethnic groups. It’s incumbent on us to take the responsibility to continue research outreach and to help the population right itself. This example of an empowering reality can mobilize a lot of business decision makers into quick action. The question we all hear posed by Decision Makers is… ‘Is this the right time to do research?’ Yes in fact, it is.
Increased response rates are being reported across the board and span over all methodologies. Online survey response rates have surged, interactive IDI/Focus Groups are becoming the new norm and plans for onsite social distancing compliance for research are well underway and gathering momentum.
As business leaders, it’s our job to approach the emotional toll of a terrible pandemic in a clinical fashion as we’re revenue drivers. We acknowledge it’s our responsibility to create stability to ensure the health and growth of our clients. It’s also important for those who work for our Companies. It can feel heavy but I have found that shifting my focus to the emotional business needs of our clients has been helpful and very productive.
In times like this, we trust ourselves, trust the future and take charge of what we can control. Now, more than ever, it’s important to create a ‘diamond’ level experience routed in creativity and case examples that truly illustrate the state of the industry which is driven by respondents. Tasking yourself to this challenge will serve not only you, but us collectively as an industry well.
About John Wulff