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…

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.

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.

PMRG: Current Research Methods Will Not Meet Needs

Current marketing research techniques are not sufficient to meet future research trends according to PMRG’s “State of the Industry Survey.” At its annual conference in Phoenix, the Pharmaceutical Market Research Group (PMRG) released findings from its first annual industry survey. The survey of pharma manufacturers and research suppliers revealed that both groups have little confidence that the research methods being used today will help solve the problems of tomorrow.

Other findings indicate that new methods will have to be more cost-efficient, easier to use and applicable in emerging markets. The survey showed that most respondents did not expect pharma spending to increase dramatically, but that they did anticipate an increase in global research spending, especially in emerging markets.  Added to this is the finding that the dollar volume of research managed by the typical pharma market researcher has increased by 50 percent.

Implications are huge. First, new methods that are more efficient must be found. Online research will likely be one solution. Second, data mining and social media monitoring will become a bigger part of marketing research plans.  Third, mobile research will have to be further developed to reach the emerging markets where few consumers are online but most have mobile phones. This will require further development of mobile platforms, such as 20/20 Research’s QualAnywhere mobile qualitative research platform, that do not require a smart phone.

In my experience, pharma has been slow to adopt online qualitative research and mobile research solutions.  However, the sessions today indicate that they are beginning to look for new solutions that will better meet their needs. Online qualitative research will undoubtedly be a significant part of the solution.

Mobile Research Fastest Growing Segment, Says New Survey

The results are in from the 2010 Globalpark MR Software Survey by meaning, and all signs point toward mobile qualitative research as having a bright future. For the first time in the survey’s seven-year history, respondents, who comprise a sample of 200 market research companies from North America, Europe and Asia, do not believe web will be the fastest growing segment. This year, it is self-completion using mobile devices. Text-based (or SMS) research also also saw a boost this year, with 6 percent of firms using it in 2010, up from 3 percent in 2006. It’s most common at large firms, where usage tops 20 percent. The survey did not distinguish between quantitative and mobile qualitative research, but since we introduced QualAnywhere 1.5, our mobile qualitative research platform, we’ve definitely seen an uptick in interest.

Other interesting findings from the survey include:

  • Two-thirds of companies see social media research as an entirely new research method, with 17 percent of companies currently providing social media research and 63 percent experimenting with it or considering it for the future.
  • Web remains the dominant mode of research with nearly all (92 percent) of companies providing it.
  • Since 2008, the revenues derived from Web research have increased by 7 percentage points, whereas paper has declined by 8 percentage points.
  • A quarter of respondents say they’ll be changing their research software this year, while 23 percent are undecided. The rest are keeping their research software the same.

The full report is available from Globalpark. Also, check out this blog post from MRGA.

How to Reach Teens With Online Qualitative Research

Quick, what’s the best way to engage teens in online qualitative research? Duh, text messaging. Did you know that today’s U.S. teens age 13–17 send or receive and average of 3,339 text messages per month. That’s more than 4.5 texts per hour.

The data comes from Nielsen, which analyzed mobile usage data among teens in the United States for the second quarter of 2010.

Nielsen also points out that no one texts more than female teens, who send and receive an average of 4,050 texts per month. Their male counterparts churn out only 2,539 texts per month, which is almost 1,000 more per month than the next age group—young adults (age 18-24) exchange 1,630 texts per month.

So does this tell us that the way to reach teens is through mobile qualitative research? It worked for the Municipality of Copenhagen when it was testing a new school food program. City officials wanted to understand how school children experienced three different test concepts for school food. But, as Merlien Institute points out, it was difficult to interview the students using traditional face-to-face methods. Enter their mobile phones. The students were already familiar with them (one of the benefits of using text messaging for online qualitative research) and therefore could easily document their behaviors and thoughts with text, as well as images and video.

Julie Gade of Story Field, who led the research for the Municipality of Copenhagen, will be presenting this case study at the International Conference on Market Research in the Mobile World, taking place Dec. 2-3, in Berlin, Germany.

Learn more about how online qualitative research with text messaging works.

ESOMAR Congress: Research Buyers Driving Agencies to Online Qualitative Research

Update from Steve Henke at the ESOMAR Congress in Athens:

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better… Day 2 at the ESOMAR Congress was even better than Day 1. Excitement was high as more and more people from around the world came by the booth anxious to find out about online qualitative research. Countries as diverse as Australia, Hungary, United Arab Emirates and many more seem to genuinely want to know how they can do online qualitative research.

Interestingly, the interest seems to be driven by international clients who are asking their suppliers for online qualitative solutions. The research buyers are driving the research agencies to get up to speed with the technology and methodologies, and the buyers are pushing the innovation to the agencies.

In those countries where Internet penetration is low, interest in QualAnywhere (our mobile qualitataive research platform – using mobile phones) is very high. In these countries, people may not have access to a computer but they all carry mobile phones and use them for communicating via voice, text and on the web.

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