online qualitative

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!

The Qualitative Explosion

The following excerpts are from an article that appeared in RW Connect on March 12.

Welcome to the most exciting and challenging era in the history of qualitative research!

Qualitative research has experienced more change in the past 10 years than in the previous 50.  And there is no sign that the pace of change will let up any time soon.  For qualitative research professionals, the ride is exciting, but it is fraught with challenges and pitfalls.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that online qualitative research may have hit a tipping point in 2013.  The tenor and tone of our conversations with clients has changed.  At 20|20, we have passed from creating awareness of online qualitative to expanding the knowledge and applications for researchers already aware of — and interested in — the methods.  Only 2-3 years ago, much of our user training centered on the introduction of digital qualitative methods to researchers with little awareness that these methods even existed.  Today, virtually all researchers are aware of the basic digital methods and many are eager to learn how to use and apply the methods’ various strengths and weaknesses.  It appears that online qualitative research as a research category became mainstream in 2013. Read More…

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.

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.

New Case Study Demonstrates Power of Mobile Qualitative Research for Events

We’ve posted a new case study over at 2020research.com 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.

4 Right Times to Conduct a Webcam Focus Group

The Summer 2011 edition of QRCA Views contains an article by our very own Tara Chambers (aka Tara Smith) titled, “When is the Best Time to Conduct Webcam Focus Groups?”

Tara identifies four “right times” in her article and provides case studies with each one. Here is a brief overview:

  1. To meet tight timelines. The pace of decision-making continues to increase; therefore, time pressure on researchers continues to increase as well. Using webcam interviewing eliminates travel while gaining geographic diversity. This benefit is becoming even more accessible with ever-faster recruiting capabilities available from 20|20 and other national recruiting organizations.
  2. To interview respondents in their natural setting. Using webcams allows the researcher into the respondent’s home or office. This access can be very beneficial for product discussions and other uses when the researcher wants to see the respondent demonstrate a product or show competitive products in the environment.
  3. To tightly control shared stimuli. The webcam stimuli software ensures that each respondent views each piece of stimuli in the same way.  This consistency can eliminate some uncertainty in respondents’ reactions to ads, packaging or concepts.
  4. To schedule low incidence populations. The web is a great way to reach low-incidence populations because geography is not an issue; respondents can be from anywhere.  The methodology is also helpful when dealing with difficult to recruit populations (CEOs, doctors, plumbers, etc.) because they do not have to come to a central location and their interview can be fit into a convenient slot in the interview schedule.

Like all other methodologies, webcam interviews are not right for every project. However, the method does provide many advantages in the right context.  As more people have computers with webcams and get more comfortable using them, webcam focus groups and in-depth interviews will continue their rapid growth rate in our industry.

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

We posted a new case study over at 2020research.com 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.”

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.

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