In This Issue
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- Vol. 14, Issue 4, May 2019
In This Issue
A couple of weeks ago, around the Easter and Passover holidays, I was re-watching the classic “Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston as Moses. In addition to thinking, “nice abs, Chuck,” I also thought of… you guessed it… market research!
Read on as we share the way Moses’ story informs our research “bible” today.
Let my research participants go!
Re-watching the Ten Commandments made me think about how we treat our own “prophets”; the customers and prospects who kindly tell us everything they can about themselves and whatever topic our clients want to learn more about.
Like Moses (and his friend, the Big Guy), we offer 10 simple rules (commandments, if you will!) for interacting with these most important persons in our lives, our research participants:
- Thou shalt have no other goal before the unbiased truth: Lo, you must listen to your exalted research participants with absolutely no hint of judgment, good or bad, and be curious.
- Thou shalt not make yourself an idol: I say unto you, this is not American Idol, and you are not Simon Cowell, but instead, when talking with research participants, you may be like Ryan Seacrest, neutral. And unassuming.
- You shalt not misuse the name of the research participant. Shouldst thou promise confidentiality, then reveal his or her identity to the end-client, even inadvertently, you will be smote.
- You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy: Thou shalt not schedule a focus group during an NBA, MLB, NFL or NHL playoff game in, or within 10,000 cubits of, that city.
- Respect your mother and father: Shouldst thy research participant need to reschedule because his or her child has a cold or suddenly must provide a ride to Joey’s house, you shall immediately and cheerfully reschedule as many times as needed, yea, though it may be five, or even six, times.
- Thou shalt not kill the mood: Blessed be those who keep the conversation in the same tone and cadence as the research participant, for she or he shall be your guiding light. If he or she speaks quickly and upbeat-ly, then so you shalt, too.
- Thou shalt not commit drudgery: Lo, I say unto you – no 30-minute surveys with endless grids to complete. Else you shall be smote.
- Thou shalt not steal your research participants’ time: Compensate them as you would be compensated, whether that be $20, $200, or a sheep and five shekels.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against your research participant: Capture, summarize, and hold close his or her words with utmost precision and care, ideally by transcribing and content coding, as it is written in the scriptures.
- Thou shalt not covet thy research participant’s good feedback: Yay, though it would make you happy to provide happy news to your client, thou must not listen with happy ears, but with neutral ones.
Here’s the Twist: No, we’re not Moses, but after watching four hours of Charlton Heston playing Moses, we feel well-qualified to share these “commandments” with you! (But, if you don’t see us next month, we may have just put ourselves in the path of the wrong end of a lightning bolt…)
Mixology (Putting Research into Practice)
Here are some simple ideas for treating research participants as you would be treated:
- Open-ended questions: When asking people for their opinions, it’s always a good idea to let them tell you in their own way, without providing them with answers in advance.
- Forget everything you know about the topic at hand: Assume that your research participant is the expert in the conversation. Saying too much about the topic might be off-putting to him or her, curtailing open discussion of the topic.
- Forget the word “respondent”: Words have meaning. If we want people to simply “respond” to a series of questions, we are missing out on what is most important to them. Think of them instead as “participants” and you will likely have a much more engaging and enlightening interaction.
Coming to the LIMRA Marketing Conference in Boston May 29th to 31st? Stop by our booth, say hello, and celebrate our 40th birthday with us!
The Center for Strategy Research, Inc. (CSR) is a research firm. The “Twist” to what we offer is this: We combine open-ended questioning with our proprietary technology to create quantifiable data. As a result our clients gain more actionable and valuable insights from their research efforts.