Monthly Archives: July 2011

Online Qualitative Helps Healthcare Research Company Unlock Reasons Why Patients Don’t Take Their Medicine

We posted a new case study over at and we encourage you to check it out. It provides a glimpse at just one of the many outside-of-the-box ways you can use our online qualitative research tools. In this case, we’re talking about QualBoard, but the project wasn’t your typical bulletin board focus group.

Our client, GfK Healthcare, approached us because they wanted to get to the bottom of medication adherence — an issue that can be life or death for patients living with chronic illnesses. But because a chronic illness can be manageable one day and out-of-control the next, they knew a typical bulletin board focus group wouldn’t provide the depth of insight they were seeking: “The reactions could be very different over a period of time where factors beyond point-in-time emotions drive their behavior,” explains Carla Penel, GfK Healthcare’s director of research and consulting. “[We wanted to record] things in daily life that affect them physically and emotionally.”

Instead of an interactive board, GfK wanted participants to share the moments of their daily lives with a moderator. Participants were sent Flip video cameras to express themselves in that medium. Penel and her team checked in and monitored the daily feedback, including what was required of each participant, which was at least one video per day.

The project was a success, giving respondents the ability to express a depth of emotion they might not have been able to convey in writing and giving GfK helpful insights that were used to develop an adherence program.

“We came out with some very actionable results,” Penel says. “We’ve already proposed two additional studies with other clients.”

Live From Day One of the MRMW Conference

Isaac Rogers, our director of innovation, is in Kennesaw, Ga., this week for the 2011 Market Research in the Mobile World (MRMW) Conference. Here are his thoughts on day one:

The format so far has been really stimulating; each presenter gets 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. I’m impressed not only by the quality of the presentations, but also the breadth of viewpoints; tech vendors, researchers, end-clients all have a place at the podium.

It seems that everyone in the audience has some experience with mobile research, so most of the conversations are leaning away from “Is it possible?” and more towards “How do we ensure we’re best utilizing mobile research methods?” But nobody has a great answer yet. It seems the consensus is that we simply haven’t arrived at the point where we can see where mobile research is going to end up. But I think everyone in the room agrees we should all commit to figuring this out—quickly—or the market research industry will be left as dumbfounded as we were when the Internet first emerged.

As a company with an existing mobile qualitative research platform already in the marketplace (QualAnywhere), I couldn’t agree more. All of us (both quant and qual) are figuring out where to go next, and we feel we’ve only taken the first timid steps on this new path.

There were actually several heated exchanges over one issue: Are we, as an industry, moving fast enough to survive? Some in the room (most maybe?) felt we just aren’t pushing new methods fast enough, and that we didn’t learn the lessons from the first wave of online methods and are doomed to repeat them.

On this side of the argument, many researchers voiced an opinion that we didn’t put enough energy into adoption (especially in online qualitative), and that it put us behind our potential for the better part of a decade. I think several times it was mentioned that online qualitative “just caught up.” and here we are, easily 5-7 years behind the needs of our client base. The fear is that if we don’t react quickly enough to mobile methods, and we don’t put enough effort into discovering and understanding this new medium then we’ll again be struggling to keep up with the demands of tomorrow.

The group on the other side of the argument believe we should push forward on mobile, but cautiously. These folks seem to think that, in our rush to adopt new methods, we actually make early missteps that slow the overall adoption of new methods. Instead, we should thorough in when and how we adopt new research methods.

I can see both sides of the argument, but I have to agree with the “more innovation, faster” side of the discussion. I don’t think we need to be sloppy in our adoption of mobile, but we do need to develop a culture that allows new methods to be tested, evaluated and understood much faster than we have in the past. This means there will be some messiness, some mis-steps, but we need to see this as part of the process and learn from it. Otherwise, let’s just hide in our offices and let the world pass us by.

All in all, congrats to Leonard Murphy and crew for a great kickoff to this conference.

Rise of Online Qualitative Research: An Evolution Not a Revolution

The marketing research industry is changing. No one can dispute that fact. But it’s not cause for panic, as Michelle Finzel of Maryland Marketing Source points out in this post on Quirk’s. Take, for example, our business. Here at 20|20 Research, we’re known for our robust but easy-to-use online qualitative research tools, but we also still run some very successful focus group facilities (in Nashville, Miami and Charlotte). See? We didn’t shut those down as soon as online qualitative research entered the picture.

Finzel says it well: “The eruption of new methods does not mean that our other ones just get covered over, buried and left for dead. On the contrary, not only do telephone interviews and in-person focus groups remain research methodology staples, they only stand to benefit from advances in technology and communication.”

In other words, research is an evolution not a revolution. The rise of one new method does not mean the elimination of all others. Research is continuing a process that it always has, evolving into better and better methods.

So don’t fear the change, embrace it. I love this quote from Michelle: “Until researchers have the opportunity to step out there and risk moderating their first online bulletin board group…such methodologies will remain scary, distant and ‘next-gen’ instead of ‘now-gen’ to many of us.”

What’s Keeping Researchers Awake at Night? The Threat of DIY Research

In this month’s issue of Quirk’s are the findings from an annual salary survey. While it’s always interesting to take a look at what people are making, what struck us as most compelling about this piece were some of the open-ended, qualitative responses from respondents. The responses offer insight into what researchers are feeling challenged by and what they see as a threat to their, well, salaries.

One of the common themes among these open-ended responses was DIY research—in particular, how DIY research is threatening their jobs more than it probably should. In a sidebar to the salary survey, Quirk’s editor Joseph Rydholm does the dirty work for us, digging into some of these insights about DIY research and finding some real gems of responses. Among them:

“Just because data collection tools have become so readily available doesn’t mean using them assures good research. In my mind, it’s like saying that we are all qualified CPAs because we know how to use Excel!”

Or how about this one?

“We need to address the onslaught of ‘cheap and fast’ research that is often convenient but leads to completely incorrect assumptions. We must demonstrate the return on investment of thoughtful and considered research.”

So what does this say about DIY research? Two things: It’s definitely becoming a popular way to go. Client-side researchers often contact to 20/20 Research to develop and execute their own research projects using our suite of easy-to-use online qualitative research software platforms. But at the same time, there’s a real warning that clients eager to do their own research should heed: Be careful! Unless you know what you’re doing, your results (and your job) could be in jeopardy.

Join the Debate on the Future of Mobile Research

Thursday’s Webinar on Mobile Research: Great Hope or False Dawn that was conceived by Leonard Murphy over at GreenBook Blog was a lively debate for the “soul of the future of research.”

The following participants were moderated by Roxana Strohmenger of Forrester Research:

Michael Alioto, Vice President, Marketing Sciences, Gongos Research
Reg Baker, COO, Market Strategies International
Leonard Murphy, Editor-in-Chief, GreenBook Blog
Ray Poynter, author of the Handbook of Online & Social Media Research

The Webinar grew out of the release of a survey by Alioto’s firm, Gongos Research, “Smartphone Surveys Prove Their Validity in Marketing Research.”

The key positions, according to Jeff Henning’s recap, were, either: “1. Smart phones are strategic enhancements to online,” or “2. Smart phones are a different methodology that could well be the next evolutionary platform of research and quantitative analysis.”

Murphy was expressing the view that research firms need to approach mobile differently, as it’s “radically different from how we think of research today.”

Poynter and Baker didn’t embrace the revolution that Murphy sees taking place. They were more in the camp that mobile was more of a “niche” part of qualititative research to date, and perhaps, will be for some time to come.

20|20’s own Jim Bryson notes that the bright predictions for mobile qualitative, for all it’s promises, has been disappointing up to this point. This perspective comes from 20|20’s experience of working on a number of innovative mobile qualitative projects in the past year.

Baker notes that it’s early yet to see the value of mobile qualitative, and much more research is required to see its value to marketers. Bryson tends to agree, noting that there is much still to be developed.

“We continue to look for ways to help researchers perform better research and gain deeper insights, wherever that means that mobile takes us,” says Bryson.

Where do you stand in the debate? We’d love to hear from you.

Mobile Ad Spending Will Drive Qualitative Research

The forecast for advertising spending aimed at reaching users on mobile devices is expected to grow dramatically over the next five years. And with it, is likely to come the need for more qualitative research related to mobile usage.

According to an article in DigiDayDaily, research conducted by Gartner Research pegs worldwide spending on mobile advertising at $3.3 billion in 2011, double the $1.6 billion spent last year. In North America alone, spending is forecasted at $701.7 million in 2011, up from $304 million last year.

Gartner’s projections for the rise in mobile advertising expenditures are to a whopping $20.6 billion worldwide in 2015, and up to $5.8 billion in North American mobile advertising spends.

The growth in spending, according to Gartner, is not because of the rise of tablet devices like the iPad, as much as it is growth in online usage of search and mapping.

What would a marketplace that is 15 times larger than it is today mean for your company?

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