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Focus groups review the classics

For those of you who watched the Oscars Sunday night, I hope you saw the skit spoofing a focus group for “The Wizard of Oz.”

Without giving the good jokes away, the crowd is underwhelmed and confused by this classic movie. The advice for how to improve the movie is hilariously off-key. The one part of the movie that is lauded, again and again, by one focus group participant: the flying monkeys.

It is a clever skit and makes one think of how entertaining it would be to see focus group feedback on classic movies from the past. Think “Casablanca.” A focus group would say there is no way he’s letting her fly away. Or “Old Yeller.” Is it necessary for the dog to die?

It also makes one wonder how movies like “Ishtar” or “Showgirls” get made. Certainly there wasn’t a focus group involved, was there?

Mobile surveys, mobile qual look to explode in 2012: GRIT report

A sneak peek at the 2012 Greenbook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) report reveals an anticipation in the rise of mobile surveys this year.

That’s one of the highlights of a fascinating examination of what research firms anticipate and what clients see as the techniques that will drive market research budgets this year. The GRIT report, which will be published in the next few weeks, supports the idea that online communities and social media analytics will become a prominent and “mainstream” research technique, and research firms and clients both concur with that forecast.

Mobile surveys look to be at a tipping point. While actual use of mobile surveys in 2011 were around 20 percent (17 percent as reported by clients, and 24 percent as reported by research firms), expectations are much higher for usage in 2012. Fifty-three percent of clients expect to use mobile survey techniques, and 64 percent of research firms expect to do so.

Mobile survey usage may actually be underreported, according to the GRIT report, with budget that is actually going toward mobile being attributed to Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI).

Mobile qualitative looks to undergo a big jump, as part of the shift toward mobile. With actual use somewhere around 13 percent in 2011, that number looks to accelerate upward in 2012. According to the report, 31 percent of clients, and 46 percent of research firms, expect to use mobile qualitative in 2012. 20|20 is at the forefront of this rise in mobile qualitative with the recent introduction of its second mobile qualitative application, QualBoard Mobile. QualBoard Mobile includes both a fully featured bulletin board access capability and an innovative new journaling application.

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.

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.

Made your fall MR conference plans yet?

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

With apologies to Peter, Paul & Mary… The Fall MR Conference season will be here before you know it. And it looks like another good one. Have you made your plans yet?

20|20 will be exhibiting at several this Fall… and attending even more.

The folks at Inside Research have put together the best annual conference calendar in the industry and made it available on their website.

You might want to bookmark this page, as I’m sure they’ll be updating it for the Spring in the not-too-distant future.

One note: the ESOMAR 3-D Digital Research Conference has been moved and is now scheduled for October 26-28 in Miami.

The taxi’s waiting, he’s blowin’ his horn…

Who’s “Going” to the #MRX Twitterversity?

New to the market research field? Always wanted to try learning from the comfort of your smartphone? Then don’t miss the free Market Research Twitterversity, presented by Research Rockstar on Tuesday, Jan. 11. All you have to do
is follow the #MRXU hashtag on Twitter to receive 117 mini-lessons on market research basics. Here’s the schedule (in EST):

6 a.m.: Basic Concepts & Common Jargon
8 a.m.: Introduction to Market Research Project Planning
10 a.m.: About Survey Projects
Noon: About Qualitative Research
2 p.m.: Emerging Research Methods
4 p.m.: Receiving Research Results
5 p.m.: Delivering Research Results
7 p.m.: Tips for MR Buyers
9 p.m.: Market Research Career Planning

The powers that be behind the online learning event explain it like this: “Market research touches many careers these days. Many types of professionals need to request, receive or even participate in market
research. As a result, many people who are not ‘researchers’ need to have some basic knowledge so they can get the most value from their organizations’ research investments. Let’s make is easy for anyone to
learn the basics; it can only help improve interest in, and perhaps even perceived usefulness of, market research.”

So who’s going? Check back in and tell us what you thought. Maybe it’s been done before, but hosting a conference ON TWITTER seems like a pretty new (and neat!) idea.

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