Monthly Archives: October 2009

How to use SMS for qualitative research

I recently wrote an article for Mobile Marketer about the use of text messaging in qualitative research.  The article provides an overview of uses to give those not familiar with the use of text messaging in research a taste of the possibilities.  The article was published today.  Here is a brief excerpt:

More of these researchers who seek to understand the motivations behind decisions and behavior are using text messaging as a tool and finding it holds exciting promise.

No longer must the research be conducted at a time convenient to the researcher. Now the research query can come to the participants in real-time through their mobile devices to glean more reliable and complete information.

Why social media can provide key brand insights

ESOMAR Online Conference

The conference is taking place today and tomorrow in Chicago.  The first morning has been heavily focused on social media with several good papers.  I will post more about social media later.  
Annelies Verhaeghe of InSites Consulting in Belgium made an interesting presentation making the case for “netnography.”  Netnography is essentially the practice of mining social media and other online sites to see what people are saying about a specific brand.  I have heard it also called “scraping” or “mining” social media.  Though netnography is not a new term to QualBlog, the presentation clearly outlined the case for conducting it.  Ms. Verhaeghe provided a short list of  5 reasons netnography is an important, emerging research field.
  1. Consumers control the conversation — Researchers can “hear” what consumers say without the researcher bias.
  2. Discover natural language — Marketers can know linguistic conventions consumers use to refer to the brand.
  3. Find unexpected golden nuggets — Since the conversation is not controlled, sometimes the findings are more surprising than in a tightly controlled research design.
  4. Back in Time — the researcher can search the online history to better understand the evolution of a brand from the consumers’ perspectives.
  5. Emotions revealed naturally — consumers are very good at expressing their emotions online, especially when they are talking to “friends.”  Researchers can mine these emotions from those conversations.

You Can’t be Brilliant Alone: Effective Collaboration

Last week, I attended the AMA Research Conference in Palm Springs.  One of the better presentations I witnessed was by Chris Frank, VP of Global Insights for AmEx.  He presented on “Tricks and Techniques” to be a brilliant researcher.  These techniques are built on two trends he sees as pervasive in research.

  1. Research Control becoming Research Collaboration
  2. Education about research becoming Evangelism about research implications

Here are Chris Frank’s 7 “Tips and Tricks” to be “Brilliant!”

  1. Be explicitly clear on the essential business question.
  2. Develop hypotheses, test them in the research and report on them.
  3. Practice Smoke Jumping.  Be willing to change the research design at any point to accomodate new findings or explore new questions so that the final report includes complete understanding of the findings and issues.
  4. Reveal surprises.  Ask the question, “What surprised you the most?”
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Miniscule changes are just that miniscule.  Focus on the important findings that are important enough to change decisions. 
  6. Plan and be sprecific in your research meetings.
  7. Make the bottom line the top line.  Put conclusions up front.  Leave the detail for those who want to dig through it.  Display the data to drive the point home.  Be compelling.

These points are changing the way research is designed, managed, reported and used throughout American Express. 

If we all focused on our research in this way, we would be more valuable to the decision-makers in our firm or our client’s firms.  This process makes complete sense and focuses everyone on the game-changing research results.


Breaking in New Clients

Have you ever had an internal or external client who was skeptical about the value of online research, or even research in general?  Chris Kann has recorded a podcast for QRCA that outlines how she used quantitative and online qualitative research to nurture a client relationship that grew to be strong and exciting. 

Chris is the owner of CSK Marketing, Inc. in Racine, Wisconsin.  She has been very active in QRCA having served 4 years on the Board, including one year as President. 

In the podcast, Chris describes how she started the client with small quantitative studies which led to valuable discoveries.  Then she moved them to online qualitative which led to greater discoveries.  Now she has a strong client relationship that benefits her and her client. 

You can find the podcast at:

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