Technology

Technology Evangelist Organizes Qual Event

Charlie Rader is a technology evangelist.  Officially, he is the “Digital Insights Tools Leader” at P&G.  I have seen a lot of evangelists, and Charlie is one.  Not only did he organize today’s “Online and Mobile Research Vendor Fair,” he spent the day running from place to place and literally shouting over the crowd to keep the event on schedule.  He is a bundle of enthusiastic energy for online qualitative and mobile research.  Thank you Charlie, for a great event and for inviting me and 20|20 to participate.

2012 is obviously the year of mobile qual as discussed in the GRIT report and a recent post on this site.  In past years, panel firms have dominated, then social media firms.  Now virtually every technology company has some sort of mobile offering.  Quant research moved into mobile but qual lagged behind for several years.  The proliferation of smart phones has eclipsed the problems qual had with the limited nature of text messaging.  Now that smart phones comprise 46% of the total US mobile phone market, qual platforms have the platform “space” to get deep insights anywhere and everywhere.  Its amazing that just a few years ago, researchers required respondents to come to facilities.  Then we figured out how to take the research into their homes via online.  Now we are with them everywhere via smart phones.  Its been a fast transition.

The P&G researchers were excited about mobile too.  Our QualBoard Mobile collateral was the first to fly off our table.  These researchers were hungry for ways to understand those moments in a user’s day when they made decisions or interacted with their product.  Mobile can provide that answer.

Thank you Charlie for all your hard work.  You pulled together a terrific set of companies who are pushing the envelope of qualitative technology.  It was a true honor to be a part of it and to enjoy your enthusiasm for online and mobile qual.

 

Mobile phone use while shopping is taking off

The habit of using cell phones while shopping — calling a friend, checking product reviews and comparing prices — is on the rise. Mobile usage has become an integral part of shopping in stores (the brick and mortar ones), according to Pew Research conducted in the month leading up to and in the month following Christmas.

More than 50 percent of Americans used their cell phones for one of those three activities: calling a friend, checking reviews or comparing prices. Unsurprisingly, the habit was more prevalent in Americans under the age of 50. Only 4 percent of Americans 65 and older were likely to use their cell phone while shopping.

This news raises interesting implications for mobile qualitative research. The ability to be engaged with shoppers in a manner that is truly natural and authentic to the way they shop, while they are shopping, is surely of massive interest to marketers.

What shoppers are doing after they read reviews or checking prices online is fascinating. In the study, about one-third (35 percent) bought from the store. Another third (37 percent) decided not to buy. The study revealed that 27 percent either bought online or at another store.

Mobile qualitative research will not be about reaching people while they are watching TV on the couch, clearly. It is increasingly used by researchers to analyze experiences, from seeing concerts to analyzing retail options.

Do you have stories about using mobile qualitative for dynamic experiences? Or do you have a client that you need to help with that type of research? In either case, we’d love to hear from you.

QualBoard Mobile…Born-On Date: February 1, 2012

Sometimes introducing a new product is a little like birthing a baby. There is a lot of excitement and expectation followed by some intense pain leading to pure joy and pride at the result.

Today, 20|20 Research has “birthed” QualBoard Mobile. It has been in development for a while, caused some pain as it came to fruition and has created tremendous pride here at 20|20 in the end product. QualBoard Mobile (QBM) is an innovation that delivers on the promise and expectations we have anticipated for mobile qualitative research.

QualBoard Mobile has two primary functions.

1. QBM allows mobile access for QualBoards. Using the QBM app, respondents participate in a QualBoard bulletin board discussion from anywhere using their mobile phone. This capability alone dramatically increases QualBoard’s research functionality. Participants can make entries from anywhere. More importantly, researchers can design projects that respondents can complete untethered from their PC.

2. QBM includes LifeNotes. LifeNotes is a true breakthrough because it enables participants to upload pictures, video and comments from their mobile device from anywhere at anytime. Because LifeNotes is outside the QualBoard Q&A, it can serve as a “streaming ethnography” recording moments and opinions throughout the day independent of the QualBoard structured discussion.

For pure “cool factor” I’m excited about the voice-to-text feature. Respondents can leave their comments using the voice-recognition feature of their mobile device and it is fully incorporated into QBM. No more hassle with those tiny keyboards! Plus, it simply makes participation easier.

Also pretty cool is the geo-tagging feature. With the respondent’s permission, the researcher can geo-tag each mobile entry that ties each entry to its location. Think of the implication for shop-alongs and other out-of-home experiences.

To round out the offering, 20|20 is also announcing its smart phone panel of 60,000+ potential respondents. 20|20 has been known for its recruiting and services for over 25 years. This is yet another example of our focus on helping our clients do better research.

Yes, its a proud day at 20|20. Thank you for being a part of it.

Mobile Market Research Association is born

On Wednesday, January 18, Mark Michaelson stood up at the Qual360 Conference in Milan and announced that this was the birthday of the Mobile Marketing Research Association (MMRA).  It was the first day for the association and the group was now accepting Charter Members.

Hats off to Mark and his enthusiasm for mobile.  There is no doubt that “mobile” is hot in our industry and that the promise for conducting research using smart phones is immense.  Mark is a friend whom I have known for about 15 years as a researcher who is a serial entrepreneur at heart (a very rare combo).  He started the Mystery Shoppers Providers Association.  Now he turns his attention to mobile.  Cheers Mark.  I wish you tremendous success in this new industry venture.

Will this new association be successful?  I don’t know.  Does the industry need to add MMRA to the alphabet soup of existing organizations?  It doesn’t seem like it.  However, one must admit that mobile research has challenges and opportunities that are unique.  Existing industry organizations are not known for addressing new challenges in a fast and thorough manner.

My prediction:  Mobile methods will benefit from an advocacy group focused on promoting the method and solving the legal, technical, ethical and regulatory problems of mobile research.  MMRA will thrive on the enthusiasm and hard work of its core advocates and the dreams of us all for the mobile methodology.  Within 10 years, mobile will be mainstream and MMRA will have served its purpose and will become a division of one if its bigger association cousins.

I applaud Mark and his colleagues for their initiative and vision.  Happy Birthday MMRA and may we all benefit from your arrival.

On the final day of the Milan qualitative conference, Siamack Salari interviewed Mark Michelson about MMRA.  See the youtube version here

Learning from Social’s Influence on Mobile: Applications for Qualitative Research

As we discussed in a QualBlog post earlier this month, mobile qualitative research methods are becoming a necessary component of market research. With mobile’s ability to reach a diverse, global sample of participants in their real-time context, market researchers are avidly seeking ways to best use its capabilities to their advantage.

A recent TechJournal article, Social and Mobile Interplay a Major Consumer Trend, cites a Pivot Conference study that may provide a new way to approach mobile qualitative research efforts. According to the research, smartphone users are spending a large amount of their mobile-focused time on social media apps. Specifically, 30% of the apps accessed on an Android are social, while iPhone users devote a whopping 44% of their mobile access to social apps. Of all the apps available, Facebook Mobile dominates consumers’ time, with 83% using it. And the most commonly shared information among all social app consumers is music and video, with location check-ins as a close second.

What does this mean for market researchers? Consumers have now made it clear that they want their mobile space to revolve around engaging their social network, learning from others’ content and interacting directly with brands through a social exchange. And what’s more, they have proven that they will devote time to apps that meet this criteria.

Transferring these needs to qualitative market research could be the key to more successful mobile research. By creating an app that engages a participant’s social network, encourages the sharing of related content and gives incentives directly from the brands that the participant discusses and evaluates, market researchers may be able to position mobile users in their preferred mobile environment. The resulting app could provide a more interactive message board to keep participants actively engaged in the research studies in a way that would provide more valuable data and insights.

What else could we learn from to enhance mobile qualitative research’s capabilities?

Mobile’s Trajectory is Undeniable

Although traditional qualitative research methods remain highly useful and well received, constant technological innovations and trends are creating a new ground to adapt traditional methodologies and technology uses. In this new space, mobile trends are consistently reaching the forefront and are causing a pretty big stir within the industry.

In a recent Research Access article that transcribed a Market Research Trends 2012 webinar, panelists Leonard Murphy of the Greenbook Blog and Romi Mahajan of Metavana agreed that mobile will be a necessary market research component in the future. “Within the next two to three years, a device similar to– probably somewhat bigger than a iPhone, smaller than an iPad, will be the primary means of communication for our entire species, globally, period… So the impact of global cannot be underestimated, in particular in the emerging markets, because they will leapfrog the PC experience in almost it’s entirety. The growth of broadband and PC penetration in Africa, Latin America, and Asia Pacific is effectively already stopped. So there’s whole generations that will grow up that will look at a PC like we would look at a typewriter and just think it’s just an antiquated piece of technology. So their experience with communicating with each other and the world around them will be via this mobile device,” Murphy said.

Murphy believes that mobile’s true benefit lies in its ability to reach a large sample of research participants all around the world and at any time of the day or week. He anticipates that the future of participant sampling lies in a mobile app that allows users to opt into a virtual research panel and give their permission to send and receive certain amount of information. “That opens the door for an amazing opportunity to be able to engage with consumers 24/7/365, in most any situation that you can imagine, and to gain real feedback at the point of experience, whether that be at an event or while shopping or making purchases in a retail environment, whatever the case may be,” Murphy said. “We have the opportunity to engage them, if we make it a fun and rewarding and meaningful experience for them.”

Although the sampling capabilities are impressive, Mahajan, on the other hand, focuses on mobile’s ability to capture a participant within his or her context. He believes mobile’s best feature is its attachment to the consumer during the entire consumer experience. “For instance, if I leave a movie and I get on a mobile app to say if I like it or not, I’m right in the midst of that experience,” he said. “I’m in situ, as it were. And so when I think about mobile, I think about the fact that people are interacting on their mobile devices in a time and space in which their context is more profound, which is actually itself the benefit here.”

At 20/20, we agree wholeheartedly. If the goal of qualitative research is to gain access to the human emotional profile and how it affects our choices and behaviors, then this trend is an undeniable step in the right direction. And with our mobile research platform QualAnywhere, researchers can embrace consumers within their individual contexts to gain insights from real-time data.

How have you effectively used mobile in your qualitative research methods?

2012 Tech Predictions Impact Research

Happy New Year!

With the turning of the calendar and the sense of renewed optimism always brings a new wave of predictions.  As someone who enjoys thinking about the future, I find them interesting, and sometimes quite amusing.

So far, my favorite tech predictions are from VentureBeat.  This is my favorite so far because 1) I agree, and 2) the article is short enough to hold my attention.  The article is titled Five Tech Industry Predictions for 2012.  Though it doesn’t relate directly to the market research industry, there are many research implications.  Here are their 5 predictions:

  1. Social Media will lose its sizzle. Will we finally have rational discussion about our ability to conduct research via social media monitoring?
  2. The bubble will pop for the current crop of tech IPOs. Will this prediction hold true in research where M&A is more common than IPO?  We have seen a lot of M&A activity.  Will it slow and/or will values fall?  Frankly, I don’t think so.
  3. An explosion of the tablet market driven by sub-$100 tablets. WOW.  Think of the implications for online qualitative research if respondents can participate ANYwhere.
  4. Voice recognition goes mainstream. I’ve been thinking about this since I bought my iPhone 4S and got to know Siri.  She is a clever thing that I did not have to train.  If respondents can participate online without typing…..hmmmmmm…using their sub-$100 tablet maybe?
  5. “Cloudburst” shakes the tech industry.  Data security is the monster in the closet.  Can the market research industry take advantage of the “cloud” and secure its data properly?

Do you see additional trends?  How will they affect market research?

Welcome to 2012!

‘Research Industry Not Changing Fast Enough for Business’

Jeffrey Henning of Affinova got the chance recently to hear Stan Sthanunathan, vice president of marketing strategies and insights for Coca-Cola, speak about the iconic company’s struggle to maintain its brand power. While Coca-Cola is still the No.1 most recognizable brand in the world, Google and other newer brands are coming uncomfortably close. “Change or perish is the new mantra,” Sthanunathan explained at the 25th anniversary celebration of the founding of The Coca-Cola Center for Marketing Studies. But there’s a problem: The industry that companies like Coca-Cola rely so heavily on to help them navigate rapid change is stuck in slow motion.

According to Sthanunathan, the research industry is not changing fast enough. Too much money is spent on “rear view research” and not enough of it is going toward helping companies “shape the change.”

He says the research industry needs to change its mindset (Research departments “must shift from quantifying the expected to listening for the unexpected”) and be open to innovation (“Researchers need techniques that observe, listen, synthesize and deduce in ways we haven’t in the past.”). But that’s not all, according to Henning, who adds to the list of must-dos for the research industry. At the top of his list is to embrace technology quickly.

Another of our favorites: Focus on business outcomes. He quotes Sthanunathan again: “Never assume that your job is over when you deliver the report. That’s when you work actually begins.” In other words, “Think relationships not transactions.”

Download Our New eBook on Hybrid Research

There was a time not long ago when qualitative research meant focus groups or phone surveys…and that was about the extent of it. But that’s no longer the case. Today’s researchers have myriad tools and
techniques at their disposal, from the same tried and true face-to-face techniques to multiple options in online and mobile. These tools can be used alone to gain deep insights—or they can be combined to achieve even richer results. Just as the best houses are not built with just a hammer, the best research projects are often not designed with a single research tool.

But how do you combine methodologies AND stay on budget, not to mention schedule? That’s usually the question we hear from researchers. They understand the value of mixing methodologies, but when it comes to execution, they come up short.

If this sounds like you, check out the latest eBook from 20|20 Research. The eBook, Mixed Methodologies 101: How to combine research methods to achieve deeper insights, outlines the process—soup to nuts—for three popular hybrid research designs:

1. Quantitative to Qualitative:
2. Online Qualitative Research to Online Qualitative Research
3. Online Qualitative Research to In-Person

We also help dispel the most common myths about hybrid research design. (Like why hybrid research isn’t necessarily more expensive or time-consuming than using just a single methodology.)

The bottom line: Today’s researchers are responsible for designing projects that produce insights. More and more, hybrid designs produce results that were difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the past.

Download the eBook, Mixed Methodologies 101: How to combine research methods to achieve deeper insights.

Surprise! Technology Considered Driver of Change in Market Research Industry

To celebrate its 25-year anniversary, Quirk’s posed a series of questions about how far market research has come—and where it’s headed— to a handful of industry veterans. The answers are published in the current issue. The consensus? Technology, technology, technology—and did we mention technology?

The experts agreed that technology has had the greatest influence (some negative, but mostly positive) on the industry, citing things like the Internet (hard to believe we ever lived without it, right?) and mobile phones.

But just as research companies are getting used to using the PC to conduct online qualitative research projects, participants are starting to prefer tools like smartphones and tablets. As Jay Mace of
Charleston, W.Va,-based McMillion Research puts it, “We must be prepared for the change or we will lose touch with the staple of our existence as researchers – the consumer opinion. We must meet consumers where they are.”

But that doesn’t mean embracing technology and all of the new tools available in the qualitative researcher’s toolbox just for the sake of using them. As Ron Sellers of Phoenix-based Grey Matter Research and Consulting explains, “We have so many more creative options for qualitative – video diaries, online picture sorts, mobile MR, etc. The challenge, as with any new tools, is learning to use them in a way that actually makes a difference, rather than just using them ‘cause they’re cool.’”

If you have the time, you should definitely read the whole article, which also covers the topic of “Where did we blow it?”

Finally, congratulations to Quirk’s on 25 years. We’re impressed…maybe because we turned 25 this year, too!

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