Story: New Techniques Improve Quality for Deeper, more Authentic Insights
Jeff Judek, CEO Psyma USA
Long before nearly half of the world’s population owned a smartphone, Psyma conducted a global study about a new biological treatment that had to be administered at home by self-injection. Our client wanted to determine if patients were understanding the directions on how to store and use their product. The optimal research approach would have been to observe patients injecting themselves with, and storage of, the drug within their own environment. The reality, at the time, was recruiting respondents to a facility to allow us to ask questions and observe them self-injecting outside of their environment – something we knew few if any respondents would do in front of total strangers. Back then, we solved the problem by sending every respondent a digital video camera, to capture their use of the product. Believe it or not, this was cutting-edge, companies weren’t doing this yet.
Since then, a lot has changed. Our tools, techniques, and methodologies have evolved with the times. Marketing researchers often think new techniques and methodologies are “either-or” when we should be thinking of them as “in addition to.” Newer technology-enabled tools, combined with “traditional” techniques, give us options to create stronger overall research plans that better meet project objectives.
By adding new techniques, tools, and methodologies, we can address specific marketing research challenges:
- The need for more authentic, less biased insights. The most valuable information for marketers is that which is hardest for respondents to give. Now, respondents can share their experiences in real-time. We don’t have to rely on their recollection or self-reporting – we can get a photo or video via smartphones. Communities allow us to build a stronger rapport and relationships of trust with each respondent to deliver deeper, more sensitive information and insights.
- Difficult recruitment. It’s often challenging to get a good sample of the right people to participate in marketing research, and yet this is an essential part of data quality. Technology increasingly allows marketers to customize and micro-segment their campaigns. Researchers respond using mobile data collection, communities, and other methods helping us find – and keep – increasingly rare, hard-to-reach, and reluctant respondents.
- Need for fast results, less cost. Research projects can be completed faster with automated, less labor-intensive tools for sampling, survey design, and data collection. We can meld qualitative and quantitative techniques to iterate insights and access customized samples 24/7. We can design projects that are seamless globally, adapting to the needs of the client. New techniques have liberated marketing research from the traditional 6-to-8-week schedule to timelines that can encompass only a few days –leaving more time for thoughtful, creative analysis to develop critical insights.
We often reflect on that experimental study, and how much easier, faster, and less expensive the same study could be conducted today with all our new tools. Nowadays, we routinely use mobile ethnography. We recruit “hard to find” participants into online communities and explore their usage experiences through qualitative and quantitative approaches. Technology is revolutionizing marketing research capabilities, offering limitless ways to engage with different audiences. We can now easily follow customers through their daily lives, watch a customer interact with a new product or cook a meal inside their home, brainstorm with opinion leaders in different time zones, and more.