online qualitative research

20|20 Marks 30 Years in Research 

On September 22, 1986, two young guys hung out a shingle with the goal of establishing a research firm focused on the delivery of outstanding research and a commitment to building relationships through superior client service. Today, that company, 20|20 Research, has grown to include 140 employees across three offices, serving nearly 4,000 clients around the world.

We have won our share of awards through the years, from fastest growing company in Nashville to “most innovative” to excellence in building design.  But 20|20 is simply the sum of its people…and ours are the best.  Some are songwriters by day and recruiters by night.  Some have logged more than 20 years with the company.  Several are continuing their careers with other research firms or corporate research departments.  All contribute to the culture of mutual respect and caring that make 20|20 a special place for the last 30 years.  I’m proud to be associated with these people.

As we mark our 30th anniversary, I want to offer my sincere thanks to our clients and our partners.  Without your support, we would not have reached this historic milestone, and all the other milestones along the way.

To our employees, too, who continue to support that original mission of providing the highest level of research expertise and client service.  I salute you.

In fact, I was recently asked what I am most proud of when I think back over the last 30 years.  In that time, we’ve gone from two guys with an idea to a worldwide leader in research technology.  But it isn’t our platforms, services or innovations that give me the greatest sense of pride.  It’s the company and our culture.  Throughout the years we have changed what we do and how we do it, but we’ve never fundamentally changed who we are.  At our core, that is a caring company focused on service.  And I honored to be a part of it every day.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported 20|20 and made these 30 years possible.  Our success is yours. Here’s to the next 30!

Nuggets from Best Practices, LLC’s Innovation Report

Research Business Report’s latest issue highlights a study from Best Practices, LLC titled, “Consumer Marketing Research Innovation: Assessing New Tools, Technologies and Approaches to Understand and Communicate with Consumers.” With a title that long, I was a bit scared to try to read it. So, I was glad Bob Lederer at RBR provided some summary points. A few of those stood out to me since I’m a qual guy and we do technology.

While only 8% of client companies believe a lack of innovation is a major obstacle, pharma companies reported it as an obstacle in 40% of the cases. Apparently, a lot of pharma researchers believe they are simply not getting it done with current practices and their companies are loathe to change things. If you do what you’ve always done…

“Having quantitative and qualitative researchers work as a team on select project can reduce study timelines.” Faster research is only one of the benefits of the yin and yang of quant and qual. Many times, such teamwork is simply better research. In today’s world of similar online formats for quant and qual, the benefits are easier to access than ever before. Unfortunately, most research firms built the Great Wall of China between quant and qual functions. Often, researchers in one function so not even know their counterparts in the other function. Going forward this has to change.

“Online qualitative research offers advantages over traditional qualitative studies (because) the online format removes the geographical boundaries that can make the creation of a representative sample so challenging in focus groups. Online qual (also) makes it easier to do asynchronous studies. It gives participants more of a feeling of anonymity and thus makes them more likely to talk about how they really feel.” True, yet only part of the story. The Best Practices report might add saving time and money and giving researchers additional tools to do better research through the use of longitudinal, ethnographic or diversity research methods.  Online qualitative has exploded the researcher’s toolset.  An expanded toolset challenges researchers to be smarter and more knowledgeable.  It also enables them to produce better research with more and deeper insights than ever before.

Mobile Qualitative Finally Hits Its Stride

Mobile is hot!  Everyone in research is talking about the possibilities of using mobile phones for marketing research purposes.  Actually, we have been for quite a while.  After all, we qualitative researchers are dying to be close to our respondents at the point of purchase or when using our product or just simply to understand their environment more intimately.

Unfortunately, the mobile research applications have not generally lived up to the hype and expectations.  Finally, they are catching up and mobile research designs are entering the mainstream.  Quirks Marketing Research Review dedicated their July issue to mobile research.  I was fortunate enough to have an article in this issue titled, “Qualitatively Speaking:  Mobile Qualitative Finally Hits its Stride.” It includes applications and case studies.  The first couple of paragraphs are below.

 

Qualitatively Speaking:  Mobile Qualitative Finally Hits Its Stride

Mobile has long been a buzzword among market researchers – and for good reasons. For starters, mobile phones are ubiquitous: At the end of 2011, there were nearly six billion mobile subscribers worldwide, according to the International Telecommunication Union. That is a huge pool that actually dwarfs the number of computer users in the developed and developing world.

Next, consider the fact that most people are within arm’s reach of these devices the majority of the day, meaning engagement could be possible morning, noon or night, wherever those subscribers might be. Like shopping for baby food at the grocery store. Or at the county fair. Maybe they’re cheering on the home team at the baseball field. Or exploring a new city on a family vacation. Or simply sitting at home in front of the TV, about to tune in to a new show.

All of these scenarios offer the potential for gathering what every researcher dreams of: in-the-moment insights.

To continue the article, click here.

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 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.

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?

Year in Review: Most visited 20|20 research content of 2011

In addition to our three very popular eBooks published in 2012, 20|20 has been compiling a learning center full of white papers, case studies, a glossary and articles that are designed to provide research professionals resources to do better research. Here are the five most-visited links in our Learning Center in 2011. Beginner tips, a glossary of terms and case studies providing examples of other professionals doing research were at the top.

1. Qualitative Research Glossary
Our glossary is updated constantly and includes key qualitative research terms, from Interactive Voice Response (IVR) research to open-ended questions to chat room focus groups.

2. Case Study: GfK Healthcare and 20|20 Partner on Online Diary to Gauge Patients’ Feelings About Medication
To gain qualitative insights on why certain patients take their medication regularly and others do not, GfK Healthcare and 20|20 needed to develop a space where patients could honestly reveal their reasoning on their own terms. They used 20|20’s bulletin board focus group product QualBoard where each patient could express him or herself with a Flip video camera in an intimate, online diary setting. The project results were highly successful. Read on for a more in-depth look.

3. Using Online Qualitative Research Tools for Co-Creation
20|20’s online products QualBoard and QualLaborate can improve the co-creation process of developing new products with consumer input. By allowing you the space online to reach across cities and states to reach key consumers, the entire research process has better and more affordable access to your target consumer market. Check out the rest of 20|20’s break down to understand how online tools can aid your qualitative research initiatives.

4. Beginner Tips for Online Qualitative Research
It’s not always easy to transition from traditional qualitative research methods to online tools, but the benefits of merging the two can be enormous. Follow Betsy Hoag and Katerina Makatouni’s tips to excel at online qualitative research like a pro.

5. Case Study: Country Music Association Gleans Real-Time Event Feedback with Mobile Qualitative Research
The Country Music Association (CMA) Music Festival wanted qualitative research insights from the attendees, so they used 20|20’s mobile qualitative research platform QualAnywhere for a multi-day mobile focus group. The group was moderated through text messages and was able to record the attendees’ experiences as they occurred during the event. Read on for a look at the successful results!

Year in Review: Best QualBlog Posts of 2011

Before we turn the page to 2012, we wanted to provide you the highlights from the 20|20 QualBlog in 2011. Here are the five most popular blog posts from 2011. If I can see a pattern from the most popular posts, I’d say you are interested in research methodology, saving money on research, and understanding what is going on in our industry conferences. Have a wonderful 2012, as we look forward to continuing to provide you the tools and content support to do better research.

1. Brand Creative Testing Using Mind Clouds
Struggling with how to reveal your advertising during qualitative research sessions? This post reveals the limitations of showing your ads first, and it offers an innovative solution. Read on for a method that exposes both the subject’s opinion of a brand before exposure to advertising and the degree to which your ads can change pre-existing notions.

2. Brainstorming with Word Clouds
If you didn’t add word clouds to your brainstorming repertoire this year, you may be missing out on an innovative new tool. View this post to discover the possibilities of word clouds for your qualitative research and your business.

3. MRA Conference Hits a Home Run
Our favorite conferences make an impact on the listeners through well-researched, timely and high level content. This post details one of the best we attended in 2011, and it could provide some tips on how to focus conferences in the future.

4. New eBook: How to Save Time and Money on Your Qualitative Research Projects
Looking for a tutorial that will open your mind to online research and new methodologies? Of all of our 2011 eBooks, this one was perhaps the most innovative.

5. Taco Bell Qualitative Research: Fast, Cheap and Internal
Striving to learn from other companies’ qualitative research techniques, we often include new methodologies in our blogs. This one highlights Taco Bell’s Facebook research community, which has enabled them to perform qualitative research on a quick, internal scale.

Why Researchers Shouldn’t Be Afraid of DIY Research

Ask most any researcher what they think of DIY research and the answer will probably involve some grunts and groans and maybe even an expletive or two. That’s because most professional researchers are afraid of it. They see DIY research—in which client-side researchers conduct research projects without the assistance of an outside market research professional—as a threat to their careers, not to mention a joke to their profession (despite the fact that many client-side researchers have experience in the market research industry.)

But it’s time to stop being so negative about DIY research, explains Dana Stanley in a recent post on the Research Access blog. “Enabling customers to make choices is a very good thing,” she says. “Thanks to the Internet and technology, we are in a new age of customer empowerment. Some form of DIY is an inevitability in nearly every industry.” (Driving that inevitability in ours is online research software, as well as other online qualitative research tools.)

But that doesn’t mean DIY research will replace the need for market research professionals. “There will always be an important role for trained research consultants,” she says. “Smart companies know when to bring them in and when they are superfluous.”

And when they get it wrong? Well, they’ll pay for it— “Those who misuse DIY research will fail just as do those who misuse assisted research.”

What Client-Side Researchers Are Looking for

Client-side researchers have a lot of choices when it comes to deciding which market research firm to work with. Some go with what they know, no matter how old-school or overpriced it may be. Others, like Tiffany McNeil, strategy and insights manager at Del Monte Foods, have a checklist. Earlier this month, she shared her criteria with Ray Poynter on Radio NewMR. (Credit goes to Dana Stanley of Research Access for first posting about this informative segment—and doing the dirty work of transcribing McNeil’s tips.)

At the top of McNeil’s list is innovation, which she defines as “just a general willingness to be flexible and try things,” even if it means using a tool not currently in the researcher’s toolbox. She also says it’s important for research firms to be fast, efficient and engaged throughout the entire process—not “really engaged when you’re trying to win the work and they disappear once you get it.”

She also has a sales tip for research firms trying to get on a client-side researcher’s radar: Don’t leave a voicemail and don’t send scripted emails. She says she relies heavily on word of mouth. Does that mean your best sales strategy should be to just continue doing good work for your other clients?

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