In This Issue
Great to see those of you who attended the LIMRA Marketing conference in Boston earlier this summer! Thanks again to everyone who stopped by the CSR booth to say hello, and we invite everyone to come see us at the LIMRA Workplace Conference at the Newport, RI Marriott next month.Questions? Click here to send us an email with your request.
- Vol. 14, Issue 5, August 2019
In This Issue
This weekend, I went to our town’s annual “Town Day,” and indulged myself by getting a funnel cake from a food truck. While for some this might lead to a youthful nostalgia for festivals past, for me, I could think only of market research!
Enjoy this month’s Research with a Twist, where we ask the question, “What’s in the top of your funnel?”
What’s in the top of your funnel?
At a recent outdoor festival, my tasty, very-much-enjoyed funnel cake reminded me of the phrase “top of the funnel.” First, I thought of how putting the funnel cake in my mouth (the top of the funnel), would likely put pounds on my hips (unfortunately, the “bottom” of my funnel, though the picture would be inverted).
But then, I also thought of how the information that we put into our marketing initiatives (the food, as it were) will affect outcomes for our organizations. If we start with false assumptions or incorrect information when beginning to evaluate the market for new ideas, the resulting products and services might not be what our customers want. In other words, the way that exploratory research is conducted is critical.
When leveraging exploratory research to fill the top of the marketing funnel, we believe that very few ingredients are needed to ensure a high-quality result that could help your organization most, including:
1. The right research participants
Like finding the best food vendor at an outdoor festival (Are people standing in line? Good! Do the ingredients look fresh and recently replenished? Even better!), most important to understanding the market is finding the right customers or prospects to tell you what they think.
The easiest and fastest way to access the right customers and prospects is to have a proprietary panel – vetted for the most desirable demographic and firmographic criteria, as well as for insightful members who are willing to share information freely. Like having a funnel cake truck, ready for top-of-the-funnel research, right in your own backyard!
2. Unbiased questioners
In anticipating my funnel cake experience, I had a very definite, clear picture of what I wanted in my mind. Paper plate, with a piping hot, crunchy-crispy on the outside, light as a cloud on the inside, powdered-sugar-dusted delight of a bite, gone in about one minute.
Of course, when conducting exploratory research, anticipation like this has to be completely dropped. For example, at CSR, we train moderators and interviewers to ask non-leading questions, and to react neutrally to any answers they hear. Although knowledgeable about the language and processes of a wide variety of industries, they are trained to be curious about whatever the research participant chooses to discuss, rather than directing the conversation down familiar (non-innovative) paths.
3. Open-ended questions
In addition to questioners who encourage off-the-beaten path ideas, it’s important to ask the right questions as well. Often in exploratory research, this means asking direct questions as well as using projective techniques to invite frankness and creativity. Because, let’s face it, you can’t have funnel without “fun”!
Here’s the Twist: Every researcher loves well-executed exploratory research. Conduct it with the right research participants, with unbiased questioners, using open-ended questions, and the top of your marketing funnel will be filled with insight and innovation. And far fewer calories than an actual funnel cake!
Mixology (Putting Research into Practice)
Looking for questions that stimulate creative responses? Here are some examples of questions/projective techniques that we’ve used successfully:
- I’m answering for a friend: Especially when asking about any sensitive or private topic, ask what your research participant thinks that other people think about that subject. Not only is it easier to “dish” about others than about oneself, many participants will provide more honest answers if they can attribute them to others.
- Personality test: Maybe I can’t tell you how I’d describe my insurance company, but I can describe about 200 celebrities in infinite detail. We’re sure the same is true of your research participants, too. Just ask them which celebrity is most like your company and ask them to do a little connecting of the dots!
- Unicorns and kittens: People often have good ideas but then shoot them down because they don’t seem possible “in the real world”. In brainstorming with research participants, ask them to pretend that all of the obstacles and potential difficulties don’t exist, and see what bubbles up!
Great to see those of you who attended the LIMRA Marketing conference in Boston earlier this summer! Thanks again to everyone who stopped by the CSR booth to say hello, and we invite everyone to come see us at the LIMRA Workplace Conference at the Newport, RI Marriott next month.
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.