Archive for the ‘Online Surveys’ Category
Emma Flood’s latest Business Surgery assesses the potential of ‘m-research’
As a regular visitor to the MRS’s news website, research-live.com, I was interested to read further about some of the prominent developments in technology, and how this is evolving aspects of market research, such as methods of data collection. One area which struck me as having future potential in both B2C and B2B markets was that of mobile research.
For those not privy to mobile research, or m-research as I’ll abbreviate, this is most easily explained as a (dare I say it) “traditional” online survey, but using the respondents’ mobile phone as the medium rather than their laptop or desktop. Respondents can be asked to participate either through their smartphone (for web-based surveys for mobile browsers) or standard mobile phone (using SMS/WAP surveys); accessing surveys through SMS invitations, email invitations, QR codes and social media promotions.
Indeed, we at B2B International have already conducted a proportion of our online surveys via respondents’ mobile phones, where the respondent has chosen to do it via their smartphone. However, m-research potentially offers much more than just a different modality for collecting online research data, which is worth exploration and evaluation.
Many argue that it offers a richer experience, and adds extra layers. In addition to surveys, respondents can share creative feedback via photos, videos, texts and more. It also allows real-time connection with respondents, whereby the researcher can “watch” respondents interact with products in their home and gain insights where and when purchase decisions are made.
These benefits appear more akin to B2C research, in evaluating shopper experience and ethnographic research such as shopper diaries. However as m-research evolves, it is likely that these applications will begin to also bring benefit to B2B market research.
Still in its infancy, m-research take-up has so far been limited with just 2% of market research data collected via the mobile phone (1% through telephone interviewing via respondents’ mobile phone, and 1% via data collection inputted into respondents’ mobile phone). However, given that current mobile phone penetration is estimated at more than 80% globally, compared to 25% for internet access, I would certainly expect this to be a growth area over the next few years and something not to be ignored by the market researcher. Indeed, upon reading Reineke Reitsma’s 2011 closing article for research-live.com, she describes how m-research gained traction in 2011…
Given that m-research is still in its infancy and we are yet to see its full application for market research, we still have questions over how this can best be implemented for B2B and B2C research – but watch this space…
*To read the full article click here.
During a week of laryngitis, Eve Lenkowsky reflects on how frustrating it is to lose your voice—and how market research can be a powerful cure for millions of people worldwide.
Wouldn’t you bet my luck that the week the weather turns beautiful and everybody is ready to go outside and shout, that I should lose my voice! Since Saturday, I have been croaking, whispering, and wheezing at anybody who can stand being within earshot of my raspy voice. Luckily, I have people who care for me and who patiently crane an ear to hear what I am saying. But after a while, whether I’m trying to communicate with a loved one or a stranger, I wind up screaming but my words barely come out. Eventually, when you keep on yelling but nobody hears, you give up on trying to get someone to listen. It becomes very frustrating, and sometimes disheartening, when your voice is lost.
I think that it is times like these that make me appreciate being a market researcher the most. That’s because I spend most of my time listening to the voices of other people who might otherwise go unheard. Whether it’s a construction worker or a printer, a doctor or a lawyer, business owner or a scientist—these are the people whose voices really have something to say. They are the end-users, the experts, the consumers and people closest to the products and services that our clients provide. They have a vantage point that our clients can only guess at. Sometimes it’s good feedback, sometimes it’s negative—all of it is important.
I listen to people’s opinions and requests for improvement in many ways. Sometimes I have the pleasure of speaking with respondents on the phone, either asking them a specific list of questions or having an in-depth discussion to focus on subjects with which they have the most experience. Sometimes, we’ll do focus groups with a bunch of people saying what they think and commenting on each others’ views in a conversation. Other times, I’ll read through comments that hundreds of people type into online surveys when we ask them open-ended questions. Market researchers call these people’s comment quotes ‘verbatims,’ because the person literally tells us his or her point of view—verbatim.
Have you ever taken a survey that asks you to answer a question by typing in a comment? Or given some of your time to answer a survey over the phone? Well, rest assured, your voice will be heard! There’s going to be a market researcher out there like me who reads through all of your complaints, compliments, and suggestions, and then communicates your key points directly to the person who has the power to make things better.
Market research creates an open dialog that allows consumers to communicate back to the businesses that sell and advertise to them. Consumers are bombarded every day with messages from companies, and market research is one of the key ways that they can speak out and bring about change. Think of it as activism that is actively sought by companies, that benefits everybody.
So basically, my job lets me be the voice of thousands of people every year, sharing their opinions with our clients so they can make their products and services better. I can’t ask for anything more—and this week, with this sore throat, I mean that literally!
This week, David Ward explains how a little extra thought could go a long way for some of our prospective clients.
I am colour blind. To be honest, I am so colour blind that my 6-year-old daughter takes great pleasure in telling me I’m getting my reds, greens and browns, my blues, purples, pinks and greys all of a muddle. As we sit down to do some drawing together, more often than not the scene taking shape on the page is eclipsed by the alien-looking purple sky or dry, parched-looking brown grass as though some prolonged drought has been in full swing for several months. I’ve lost count of the number of fouls I’ve given away playing snooker when I’ve inadvertently potted the brown thinking it was a red. I’ve long since given up looking for red tees against the green grass on the golf course. I long ago got used to the strange looks that shop assistants give me when I ask them what colour a particular item of clothing is. In short, it’s a frustrating problem. However, it’s hardly a life threatening one and to my nearest and dearest it’s a source of some entertainment.
Depending on where you look for the figures, between 8% and 12% of the male population are colour blind to some extent and a very small proportion of females are affected. One way of testing for colour blindness is the Ishihara test. Here are a few examples from that test.
I’m no expert on eye-related problems so I tried to find a simple explanation of the reason for colour blindness and http://www.wisegeek.com/what-causes-color-blindness.htm provided a good one, I think.
Colour blindness is a result of certain cones on the retina misinterpreting the wavelengths that correspond to their respective colours. Red, green and blue colours have corresponding wavelengths. Red wavelengths are longest, green colours generate medium wavelengths, and blue colours are made of shorter wavelengths. If the green cones, for example, only respond to slightly longer wavelengths, green will be interpreted by the brain as red.
I don’t need to tell you that the web is an established way of advertising, reaching new customers and selling products, but how much consideration is given to the design of the colour schemes? Being faced with a website that hasn’t used a well-thought-out colour scheme that takes us colour blind folks into consideration could be costing you. For example, according to the last census in 2001 there were 28.6 million males in the UK, and with around 12% of males being colour blind that’s potentially 3.4 million males that may be put off from using a website purely because of its colour design.
The message for my Thursday Night Insight this week is simple. Although it’s often not a serious issue, please don’t forget about people like me that struggle when it comes to the world of colours and making distinctions between them. It’s not a difficult thing to take into consideration and there are 3.4 million in the UK alone that may just thank you for it.
Paul Hague this week takes us on a trip down memory lane to discover the origins, history and development of the market research profession as we now know it.
A prostitute, a doctor and a market researcher were sitting around late one evening, and they got to discussing which was the oldest profession. The doctor pointed out that according to biblical tradition, God created Eve from Adam’s rib. This obviously required surgery, so therefore that was the oldest profession in the world. The prostitute said that this may be so but that was engineered by God, not doctors. Eve’s temptation of Adam was a clear indication that her profession was the first. The two turned to the researcher who was listening intently and taking notes. "Which profession do you think is the oldest?" they asked. "Well," said the researcher, "we can’t be sure without a survey and that will take six weeks. However, what you should know is that market research is the second oldest profession." "How is that?" asked the other two in unison. "No doubt at all about it," said the researcher, "because when Adam and Eve had done their deed, the first words that were uttered were, "How was it for you?"".
This story got me thinking about the history of market research. Casual questioning, as from Eve, is not the systematic process that we know as market research. It is said that the first recorded straw polls (incidentally, the term comes from farmers throwing a handful of straw into the air to check out where the wind was coming from) were in the early 1820s when newspapers in the United States carried out simple street surveys to see how the political winds were blowing. By the early 1900s a fledgling market research industry had started in the U.S. focusing on advertising testing in one form or another. The industry arrived on the U.K. shores in the 1920s and 30s, and I was reminded of this the other day when I picked up what must be one of the first books published on market research in this country (Market Research by Paul Redmayne & Hugh Weeks, Butterworth & Co – 1931).
Flipping the yellowing, musty pages, I was quickly taken back to my formative days in the market research department of Dunlop, where we had an ingenious device for analysing responses from questionnaires. The closed answers were represented on single cards, perforated with holes around the edge, each representing an answer to a question. If a respondent gave a particular answer, the perforated hole would be punched open right to the edge. When all the cards were punched, they could be lined up in the box and a needle would be run through the holes so that we could lift out only those cards which were not punched right to the edge. This enabled us to do a quick count of the number of cards left in the box, which represented respondents giving an answer to a question.
Charting in those days was laboriously carried out with my Rotring pen and graph paper. Redmayne and Weeks had some sage advice for the novice market researcher on this subject: "There are many advantages in using a standard sheet of charting paper, so that charts can be kept together in a ring binder. It is useful to make a practice, dating each chart and of indicating to whom it has been shown and for what purpose it was first prepared, together with the original source of the various statistics plotted." Check out this illustration of how they suggested charts should look. You wouldn’t easily turn out 100 of these by hand the night before a presentation!
So what has changed in the market research industry over the last 100 years? Answer: almost everything.
The questions we ask are broadly the same but the technology that allows us to ask these questions – the phone and online – has resulted in faster, cheaper and more thorough surveys than ever before. Qualitative research is, as it always has been, dependent on the skills of the moderator, although focus group venues provide an improved environment for viewing and testing products and concepts. In quantitative research, the tools and techniques such as conjoint, SIMALTO, Van Westendorp and the like enable us to get a better fix on prices and product features. I was amused to read Redmayne and Weeks say: "As market research acquires a more established position in industry, its purpose will be better understood and appreciated by ordinary men and women, so that in time we may hope to reach the position of the United States, where the man in the street will respond to questions about his tastes and his buying habits since he can understand the reasons why he is being questioned. The time, however, is still very far off when consumers will have cause to be annoyed by the frequency with which they are approached. It will need a great number of investigations before many of the inhabitants of this country are called upon twice unless the general technique of investigations become so stereotyped that certain representative towns are continually being chosen." There must hardly be a person in the UK who has not been subjected to some sort of invitation to take part in a survey in the last year.
Returning to the story of the doctor, the prostitute and the market researcher, it occurs to me that market researchers may or may not be the second oldest profession in the world, but for certain, we will be the last profession hanging in there. When the world finally comes to an end, and we are queuing at the entrance to the Pearly Gates, there will be someone with a clip board and a questionnaire. "Just one more question Sir/Madam before you enter. Can you tell me how likely you are to recommend life on earth on a scale from 1 to 10 where…?" It’s that question again – "How was it for you?"