In This Issue
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!Questions? Click here to send us an email with your request.
- Vol. 14, Issue 2, March 2019
This year, CSR celebrates its 40th birthday!
Like all good 40-year olds, we find that we often sound like our own parents, especially when we talk to our kids. Sometimes it’s hard to resist reminding them, “We told you so.” Please indulge us as our newsletter takes a similar mom-speak tone this month!
We told you so.
Since 1979, we’ve been advocating the power and the value of hybrid qualitative-quantitative research. Now, it seems like the rest of the research world is starting to get on the bus.
At the Quirk’s conference we attended earlier this month, hybrid research was a hot topic in several breakout sessions, discussing outcomes similar to what we’ve been providing for years: facilitating analysis of qualitative interactions.
At 40, we have some pearls of wisdom? Of witticism? Just clichés? to offer others who are new to this approach:
1. If Linda jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?
First of all, yes, we are fans of qualitative research, and often use our proprietary tools to transform it into analyzable data. But not all qualitative research is e-“qual.”
Focus groups, for example. They can be dominated by one participant, they sometimes devolve into group-think, and they are almost impossible to analyze in a methodical manner. However, marketers love them because watching clients is (usually) interesting and entertaining, an endless selection of snacks is available in the back room, and the group is over in two hours. And, while focus groups are only one option of many qualitative approaches and methods, they seem to be the first solution suggested when exploratory research is needed, whether or not all the goals of the research support a group approach or not.
Focus groups are kind of like that party that all the cool kids are going to, that your kids want to attend even if many of the kids attending are in another grade. Leading us to ask, “if Linda jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”
2. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.
Focus groups, especially B2B groups, can be expensive, too. And much of the cost is unrelated to the actual research.
Recently, for example, we spent more than $1,000 to travel to and from a focus group we moderated, and almost as much to merely use the facility’s TV and monitor for two hours. Adding gastronomic insult to injury, at the end, we were presented a whopping bill for $565 for Mexican food for eight client observers.
Call us crazy, but we’d rather spend that money to include more research participants; money doesn’t grow on trees.
3. Close the door. Were you raised in a barn??
While we actually love focus groups, typically we recommend that our clients do one-on-one phone interviews instead of, or in addition to, them.
One-on-one interactions provide a thorough understanding of each participant, allow for sophisticated and thoughtful analysis, and support the identification of key thematic similarities and differences between participant groups. One-on-ones provide the structure necessary to engage the right participants and keep them focused, while allowing far less bias, less group-think, and fewer interruptions than groups.
In contrast, focus groups are like leaving the door wide open on a summer day, when flies, squirrels and birds can easily get into the house. Why would you do that? Just close the door. Were you raised in a barn??
Here’s the Twist: Of course, we are not your mother, but at 40, we may sound a little bit like her. If you’d like to discuss this any of this with us in more depth, we’d be happy to do so. Especially since you never call. You never write. ☺
Mixology (Putting Research into Practice)
Like your mom’s homemade chicken soup, qualitative interactions can be extremely rich and chock-full of goodies. Here is our “recipe”:
- Pre-heat oven to 1:1: Talking in depth with individuals is the best foundation for good qualitative research.
- Follow the recipe in the right order: While, like all good chefs, we encourage experimentation with recipes, too much deviation from the original instructions can lead to disaster. For example, asking questions in the order in which they appear in the guide makes analysis much easier. Smartly timed off-script probing helps research participants understand that we can explore everything they want to discuss, but in a specific sequence.
- Leave space for what you might have missed: Always make sure that you ask the research participant what might have been left out of the original “recipe.” They are the experts, the true chefs, in this scenario.
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.