online qualitative research

New Study Looks at Future of Corporate Research

What’s the role of today’s corporate researcher and how will that change as we enter the next decade? That’s the question the folks at Cambiar Consulting set out to answer when they surveyed 160 corporate researchers for their “Cambiar Future of Research Study.” They presented the findings at the AMA Research & Strategy Summit in Chicago earlier this month. If you missed it (we did!) the highlights from the study are also posted on the company’s blog. There’s some great insight about the future as well as current state of corporate research. Here are some of the findings that stood out the most to us:

• One-quarter of corporate researchers expect that the leading research company in 2020 does not exist today.

• Researchers believe that growth in MR spending will be driven from outside the USA/Europe.

• Only 25 percent of corporate researchers are very satisfied with their jobs. The main reason? Their companies don’t see them as “thought partners.” Most have “in the trenches” roles: “They are brought in too late, treated as order takers or have business teams that want to control information,” explains Cambiar.

Cambiar also surveyed research company execs and are planning to release those findings next month. It should be interesting to see where those results overlap with these.

In the meantime, do any of these findings jump out at you?

What We Learned at ESOMAR Congress

The following is a guest post from Steve Henke, 20|20 president, who was in Amsterdam earlier this week for the ESOMAR Congress. Here are his thoughts from the last two days of the conference:

Days 2 and 3 at the ESOMAR stayed busy… though everyone seemed to get a later start on these days. Clearly, many of the delegates were taking advantage of the evening social activities and just Amsterdam itself (which, by the way, is an incredible city!).

What we heard in the booth stayed consistent with the the first two days… “We’re interested in online qual and know that it’s time to get involved.” In fact, when I got back to my office this morning, there were already several messages from attendees at the Congress – anxious to get started with us!

Interestingly, the content of the Congress didn’t really reflect this sentiment. There were only a couple sessions covering either online qualitative research or mobile qualitative research. I thought that was odd. The hot topic was gamification – using game-playing to engage participants at a higher level. Seems to me a little like putting the cart before the horse.

But all in all, it was a good and valuable 4 days. Next year’s Congress will be held in Atlanta. We’ll see you there.

20|20 Research Celebrates 25 Years; Has It Really Been 25 Years?

Twenty-five years ago today, 20|20 Research was born. Two of us started in an 8×10 office. Our desk consisted of two two-drawer file cabinets with a piece of plywood across the top, on which we placed our one IBM PC with a whopping 10 MB hard drive and a green screen. We had three metal folding chairs, one for me, one for guests and one for the Okidata dot matrix printer. It made quite a racket in that metal chair. We were two young guys with little more than a dream to build a qualitative research firm and the willingness to give it a go.

Over the years, we have flirted with disaster several times. Making payroll was not always a sure thing. I remember on several ocassions waiting on the mailman on payday hoping that he will bring enough for payroll. He always did.

It’s hard for me to believe that we now have three facilities operating 11 focus group rooms plus an online qualitative research business that is considered a leader in the industry and doing work in 45 countries.

As with all organizations, the key to survival and success is people, and 20|20 has been blessed with the very best. They are amazingly hard-working, dedicated and caring. We still have at least five employees with more than 20 years with 20|20.

To all of the 20|20 employees over the past 25 years: Thank you for taking such great care of our clients, building deep friendships with one another and making 20|20 Research a great company and a great company to work for.

Each 20|20 office is celebrating our 25th Anniversary from 4-7 p.m. on September 30. You are invited. Please RSVP to Melanie at 615-777-2020.

Observations From Day 1 of ESOMAR

The following is a guest post from Steve Henke, 20|20 President, who is in Amsterdam this week at ESOMAR Congress.

Today was another very busy day for us… with a slew of researchers visiting our booth all day long. Isaac Rogers and I had a blast!

A few observations:

1. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, nearly everyone who has stopped by the booth has had no experience with online qualitative research. The good news, though, is that their sentiment is that they need to know about it. Contrast that with ESOMAR in Athens last year when there was more of the “We’re not ready for it yet” feedback. The fact is, they know it’s coming and they need to get on board.

2. While 20|20 has an array of online research software platforms to fit most any need, the two that seem to be generating the most interest here are QualAnywhere for mobile qualitative research (a great platform for those countries with low Internet penetration) and QualLaborate, a new addition to our Qualboard platform that provides for true qualitative concept testing and image mark-up.

3. Larry Gold from Inside Research came up to me and said that 20|20 was “infamous!” Concerned, I asked why he said that. His response was that we had quickly grown to become a worldwide leader in online qualitative research. It was kind of nice to hear that – unsolicited – from someone outside the company.

Our ESOMAR contact told me that they had well over 1,000 registered delegates for this event! That’s great news.

The only bad news so far… no info on where next year’s ESOMAR Congress takes place. Stay tuned…

Day 0 From the ESOMAR Congress in Amsterdam

The following is a guest post by Steve Henke, 20|20 President, who is in Amsterdam this week for the ESOMAR Congress.

Like most of the events in our industry, the first day always seems to kick off with a cocktail reception in the exhibit hall. (By the way, that’s NOT a complaint!) But unlike many first days, today we’ve been very busy in our booth. Three things were very interesting to me.

1. There’s no question that ESOMAR is THE international event in our industry. I didn’t keep track of everyone who visited the booth, but here’s a sampling of the countries that did stop by – Romania, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Japan, India, Egypt, UK, US and Argentina.

2. Doing online qualitative research is still outside the norm for nearly everyone who visited us. And in many cases, they had virtually no knowledge of online qualitative and the various online research software platforms available. That tells me that there is still a lot of change to come to research outside of the states.

3. One of our platforms, QualBoard, has some international brand recognition. It was mentioned by several of our booth visitors as a product they had at least heard of, if not had it recommended by a colleague in the industry.

Isaac Rogers and I are excited for the full conference to start tomorrow – to see what topics become the real crowd favorites… and for the throngs (I hope!) that will drive to our booth.

How to Use Online Qualitative Research for Co-Creation

This week Jim Bryson mentioned to me that he loves the moment when a researcher first discovers how a 20|20 Technology platform can expand their ability to create meaningful insights. These researchers often are reluctant to try new methodologies, so the “aha moment” is particularly revealing and invigorating. Recent experiences have shown how the new QualLaborate concept evaluation tool can be used in Qualboard for co-creation to generate those “aha moments” researchers long for. The new how-to we’ve posted in the 20|20 Research Learning Center will explain how to use online qualitative research tools for co-creation.

Developing new products with consumer input has long been considered one of the best ways to develop new products. The underlying presumption is that consumers are better at creating products for consumers than marketers are. But companies haven’t always been eager to use the methodology, mainly because it has been a tedious and expensive process typically conducted at a location that is convenient to the product development team but not to the vast majority of consumers. Not anymore, though, thanks to online qualitative research. Read the full article to see exactly how it works.

The article is the first in a new series. We’re planning to outline how to utilize online qualitative research tools for at least three other methodologies. Check back soon for the next installment.

JC Penney Controversy: Another Case of ‘Qualmonella’?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the JC Penney controversy over the girl’s shirt that reads “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.” The store has since removed the merchandise from their stores and issued an apology, but people are still shaking their heads in dismay. How could anyone think this was a good idea?

Tom Ewing, who writes the Blackbeard Blog, thinks he might have the answer: It’s another case of “qualmonella,” or consumer insights served up a little too raw. First of all, what a great term, right?

Ewing suspects that the idea for the shirt “came straight from a ‘consumer insight’ about girls’ ideas about work, school, self-esteem.”

“Give the girls what they want!” they probably exclaimed, while telling the designer to add more hearts and twirly-birds to the shirts. But what if (gasp!!!) teen and pre-teen girls have no concept of corporate responsibility?

Enter the importance of common sense and good research.

So what does this teach us about consumer insights? What is the role of the researcher when the market says something contrary to the values of the corporation? Should you never take qualitative insights in the raw? Should you always have a check and balance? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mobile Qualitative Research Well Worth the Hype

Mobile qualitative research is one of the most talked about topics in online qualitative — and for good reason. As our very own Steve Henke points out in the August issue of Survey magazine, “mobile qualitative research provides the most authentic feedback of any methodology anywhere — in person or online.” That’s because participants are actually “in the moment” while communicating with you, not in a focus group facility or in front of their computer screen thinking about a past experience.

In the article, Steve outlines the basics of mobile qualitative research, from the benefits of trying it out to the many ways our clients are using mobile devices for on-the-go qualitative insights.

For many researchers, mobile is an exciting new tool that we are all trying to figure out. Whether as a stand-alone platform or as a convenient access point to other tools, mobile is coming and will be the Next Big Thing. In other words, you’ll want to have it in your research toolbox. Learn all about it in our free ebook: The Essential Guide to Mobile Qualitative Research. Inside you’ll learn how to use mobile devices for event research and shop-alongs, why it’s great for reaching hard-to-pin-down respondents, and more. Download it today.

How Do You Deal With the Question of ROI on Research?

I saw a great quote on Twitter last week. I’m paraphrasing here, but it went something like, “Why do corporations question the ROI of social media…shouldn’t they be worried about the ROI on endless meetings?” Anyone who has sat through endless meetings can appreciate the humor in that. But the quote also reminded me that ROI is a challenge for this industry, as well. It’s a question most clients want answered — especially those who have little or no experience with research. But as most researchers know, that’s easier said than done.

Bob Lederer, who led last month’s ROI on MR conference in Chicago, says ROI is seen as dubious by many, and it’s not something researchers often are prepared for. The danger, though, is that clients who want an answer about ROI and don’t get it could take that as a sign that they should slash their research budgets.

So how do you discuss ROI with clients without making them even more hesitant about the merits of research?

Cristin Malone of B2B International offers a few ideas in this blog post, but we’d also like to hear from our readers. How often does ROI come up? And when it does, how do you address it? Any tips to share with your fellow researchers?

New Case Study Demonstrates Power of Mobile Qualitative Research for Events

We’ve posted a new case study over at that we encourage you to check out — especially if you need to find a better way to conduct event research. We recently helped Greg Fuson, director of research at the Country Music Association, gather all sorts of good qualitative insights about the four-day CMA Music Festival. It’s the ultimate in country music fan experiences, and Greg wanted to know exactly what attendees thought about it and what they liked most about it so they could make next year’s event even better.

The challenge, of course, was engaging fans who are decidedly not there to offer their qualitative insights — they’re there for the country music! That’s the problem he brought to us. Our solution? Mobile qualitative research using our mobile platform QualAnywhere.

The results? We encourage you to read the full case study, but we loved hearing from Greg that participants were so engaged that they were texting him back asking for more questions. Ahhh, makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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