Notes from the next 10,000 hours: Mashing up methodologies: richer data and the comfort of the familiar

February 11, 2013

Each month, and sometimes more often, we would like to share a missive from one of our team. We have a remarkable group of market researchers, project managers, designers, and relationship managers; here is a window into their thinking and what they are working on day to day.

Our post today is by Dean Macko, Senior Director of Research & Strategy

Mashing up methodologies: richer data and the comfort of the familiar

The familiar, the routine is the path of least resistance. That is, however, exactly the space where opportunity lives, where innovators thrive, where blue-ocean ideas emanate from. A well thought out plan, a calculated measure of investment and a hint of risk in trying something new can pay off with huge dividends.  Sometimes you have to make that leap and explore something more innovative, or convince your internal stakeholders to. Better is out there (think horse and cart vs. the Model-T).  Though when you do decide to make that leap it may feel uncomfortable, or you simply not want to entirely let go of your past habits and routines that have served you so well over the years.

The same is often true of online research.  Worse yet, online qualitative research.  We here at Qualvu are continuing to disrupt a $6 billion dollar space.    We have succeeded by thinking outside-the-box, and perfecting our craft.  We promote the fact that unbiased, convenience-based online interviews, in most instances, are going to provide you with richer data and better insights than traditional qualitative techniques.  We believe it, and so do many of the Fortune 100 companies we work with.

But what about those more traditional techniques?  Don’t they still have a place?  They have a real live moderator that can deviate from the discussion guide, redirect the discussion flow, and form a (quick) bond with the respondents to make them feel comfortable opening up.  Plus you’ve got the back-room experience – a chance to listen directly from consumers, connect to the research, and to begin discussing implications and action plans.  There are also usually a few chuckles, a warm meal, and all the M&Ms you can eat.  These are things that Research Managers may not want to give up entirely.

Well, we’ve been listening.  So in addition to our completely turn-key online qualitative offering (VideoDiary), we’ve beefed up our expertise in more traditional qualitative techniques like live online blogs, or even traditional groups and IDIs.  A Multi-Methodology offering.  This second phase is usually conducted once all of the information from the first phase has been digested.  It’s meant to fill in any gaps from Phase 1, dig deeper on themes already surfaced, or even take the research to another level (think concept testing).  The 90-minute live blog, for example, is an extremely cost-effective way to get these additional learnings from only the best respondents while providing a live, interactive environment that is pretty darn close to the traditional back-room experience (only no M&Ms, since you’ll be watching online!).  Transcripts are instantly available, and findings (including key consumer quotes) are combined with results from phase 1 to form the final report.

So for those looking at Qualvu’s online offering who are not yet completely comfortable making that leap, or even current clients who want to maximize their research investment, I invite you to take a look at our Multi-Methodology approach.  A mix of the old and the new.  A perfect cure for inertia.