Obtaining Deep Consumer Insights from Surveys Takes Some Creativity

Back view image of young businessman standing against business sketch

Last week I attended a webinar about keeping online qualitative respondents engaged by using projective techniques.  There is quite a bit of art that goes along with the science of qualitative research, so it seems creativity and qualitative insights naturally fit together.  Quantitative methodologies, on the other hand, require rigor to ensure validity and reliability.  Proper survey design is imperative when it comes to delivering the correct information, so very early in my career as a researcher, I became familiar with the term GIGO (“Garbage In, Garbage Out”).  This means that if the survey is poorly designed, the data output is no good.

As market research professionals, it is our job to know the right way to ask questions in order to get the best data possible, and there are plenty of training courses and seminars teaching researchers the proper structure for creating survey tools.  However, today’s consumers are busier and more distracted than ever, and respondent engagement is becoming more of a challenge even for the most seasoned researchers.  Even if the survey is designed from a technically correct standpoint, data may still not be optimal if respondents are bored. To get respondents to open up and provide the most valuable information, you want them to be happy and interested. Aside from keeping surveys and question wording simple, another way to improve respondent engagement is by utilizing creative techniques.  It’s very possible to get creative with survey design without ruining the integrity of your questionnaire.  The key is being able to place yourself in your respondent’s shoes and ask whether or not you would enjoy taking the survey yourself.

Of course, when getting creative with your survey, it’s always important to keep your audience in mind.  What works for one target group might not work a tall for another.  Here are some of my favorite creative survey techniques:

  • Make sure there a variety of question types. Varying between single punch, multi-select, girds, open ends, and ranking exercises will keep respondents from falling into a rhythm of simply repeating the same response process.
  • Try utilizing interactive techniques where possible. Instead of a simple rating scale, consider using a sliding scale instead.  If you’re asking a ranking a question, try a drag and drop exercise instead of a typed response format.  Show a scale or list horizontally instead of vertically where it makes sense.
  • Question wording should be conversational whenever possible. This is when knowing the audience becomes especially important, because respondents are more likely to open up if they feel they are interacting with someone like themselves.
  • Include interesting and encouraging transitions between different sections of the survey. Adding a phrase such as, “You’re doing great!  Just a few more questions to go” helps to personalize the experience for the respondent.
  • Projective techniques don’t have to be limited to qualitative research. Open ends add a qualitative element into quantitative surveys, so consider applying qualitative principles to open end questions to get respondents to answer questions in a more thoughtful and engaged manner.

Market research is not the same industry it was 20 years ago, because the consumer world is very different than it was 20 years ago.  The approach to quantitative research must evolve to stay connected with the consumer mindset.  There are plenty of ways to obtain the correct data without sacrificing reliability and validity.  It just takes a little creativity.

 

Lee Ann Headshot

A REPASS Client Story: 3 Strategies for Product Innovation Under Pressure

Linkedin Post Image_EXPLORE

 

The American living room. Not just a gathering place for Netflix groupies, discarded shoes and wayward nacho crumbs. It’s also the center of the universe for an über-competitive, unforgiving consumer technology industry.

Their $64,000 question – maybe their $64 billion question – is what does the living room of the future look like? How does it connect? Entertain? Communicate? How does it merge very human habits and lifestyles with an increasingly intelligent library of devices?

The question is so transforming, and the stakes so high, that even one of the industry’s heaviest hitters was looking for answers. The company was under pressure to launch a new product for the connected living room – FAST. Within six months, in fact.

Problem was, they didn’t have a clear vision for what product to launch.

That’s when Repass got involved. By the time our research project was done, the client had 50 product ideas in hand and three fully-developed product pitches. One product launched before the six month goal, and later a new category of products developed.

The secret was a three stage “insight to innovations” study that was efficient, got maximum impact and provoked rich, meaningful answers. We didn’t have a lot of time to gather and crunch numbers. So we went straight to the source – consumers – with quick and personal qualitative interaction.

If you need to quickly develop a new product, any or all of these three techniques could help.

Online Video Diaries: Gave a snapshot of how people live, their preferences and how they use products. Flexible and low investment of time. National or global reach with easy-to-edit video at the ready. Effective for supporting findings during internal evaluations.

In Home Interviews: Provided a deep understanding of day-to-day home life, with plenty of context. Painted a realistic picture of how people were connecting devices and TVs throughout their home (especially the living room).

Ideation Workshop: For two days, the team used these insights to dig, investigate and experiment. We brainstormed. We prototyped. We tested ideas in the moment. Then we did it again.

And that’s how you get 50 ideas when you need them now.

 

The techniques alone weren’t the entire story. The process was a quick success because participants:

* Were willing to explore new territory; every avenue was open for a look.

* Used research findings to sell their ideas to leadership.

* Relied on an agile and iterative process, building on ideas and gaining feedback all along the way.

 

Action Items:

Contact us today for a consulting session and to learn more

Sign up for newsletter (right side of the page) –>

Quick List Tuesday July 5, 2016

Our newest issue of the Quick List, a bi-monthly summary of what’s happening in marketing research and new happenings at REPASS.

What we are talking about this week —
Because we are all about the art of storytelling, we loved this Ted Talk on understanding how your brain sees the world around it. It’s fascinating. Not only because we’re interested in understanding how people see the world, but because it’s critical for researchers and marketers to consider how people take in information and create meaning.  Check it out.

What we’re sharing this week– 
And in case you missed it, check out our most recent blog post on storytelling. We believe it’s the stories we tell that define us. Being able to tell a story properly to your audience – whether that’s your employees, co-workers, executive leadership, or your friends –can make all the difference in getting that message across.

What we’re baffled by—
This week we found out that the Amazon Echo can now accept orders. Yes, you read that correctly. Sure, the orders have to be Amazon Prime eligible, but the fact that you can verbally order something through the Echo device is bananas. Maybe their same day drone delivery isn’t as far as away as we thought?

Quote we’re pondering —
“Don’t forget— no one sees the world the way you do, so no one can tell the stories that you have to tell.” Charles De Lint

——-//——-
Did you enjoy this Quick List? If so, please forward this email to a friend or follow us on Twitter @REPASSinc.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week.
To Your Success,

Will Krieger
Vice President, Insights

Quick List Tuesday, July 5th 2016

Our newest issue of the Quick List, a bi-monthly summary of what’s happening in marketing research and new happenings at REPASS.

What we are talking about this week —

Because we are all about the art of storytelling, we loved this Ted Talk on understanding how your brain sees the world around it. It’s fascinating. Not only because we’re interested in understanding how people see the world, but because it’s critical for researchers and marketers to consider how people are taking in information and create meaning.  Check it out.

 

What we’re sharing this week– 

And in case you missed it, check out our most recent blog post on storytelling. We believe it’s the stories we tell that define us. Being able to tell a story properly to your audience – whether that’s your employees, co-workers, executive leadership, or your friends –can make all the difference in getting that message across.

 

What we’re baffled by—

This week we found out that the Amazon Echo can now accept orders. Yes, you read that correctly. Sure the orders have to be Amazon Prime eligible, but the fact that you can verbally order something through the Echo device is bananas. Maybe their same day drone delivery method isn’t as far as away as we thought?

 

Quote we’re pondering —

“Don’t forget— no one sees the world the way you do, so no one can tell the stories that you have to tell.” Charles De Lint

 

Did you enjoy this Quick List? If so, please share this with a friend.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week.

 

To Your Success,

Will

Will Krieger

Storytelling at Work (Part 2)

 

storytellling part 2

As humans, it is the use of story that defines us…

It’s not simply our ability to communicate. Many mammals can communicate with one another (dolphins, elephants, etc.). It’s our ability to communicate in story form that drives our species forward, learning from experiences, passions, challenges, and so on.

Last week I shared a few formulas for telling great stories. This week, a quick look at how to bring storytelling into the board room. Here are the three most important details from my perspective.

  1. The primary relationship is with your audience, not your character. Keep in mind who is reading or listening to your story. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. What’s important to them? What do they care about? This is who your are writing your story for. Yes, the character is important, but if the character(s) in the story don’t connect emotionally with the listener, all is lost.
  2. Stick to the important details, and be concise. This is the hardest for me. Too often we try to include too many details. Too much data. Too many stories within stories. Some are important, and some are not. This is the hard work. Write and re-write. Remember rule #1 above. Cut as much as possible, perhaps even some parts that you believe are most important. Practice, rehearse, and cut some more. Now your ready.
  3. Be visual: We believe what we see. It’s true. We believe what we see, whether it’s an illuminating picture of the consumer or a bar chart illuminating a single consumer’s story to the masses. Don’t rely on slides to do the talking by writing the story in bullet form. Find the right pictures, or better yet, take great pictures during your research. Spend time enhancing your charts and graphs. And, if you really want to go for it, find a way to be visual outside of PPT. Dress the part. Go on a field trip. Bring in artifacts about the consumer, the project, etc.

 

Here are a few other very important lessons from several great business leaders:

Walt Disney transcends age groups with his knack for creating experiences that completely immerse people in his stories. He focused on the details and understanding how they contribute to the full picture that the audience would take in.
Lesson: Use details to create an immersive experience; but be cautious that these details don’t distract from the complete story.

Richard Branson never shies away from a conversation and is willing to share the little remarkable moments of his life, even the moments that are not the most polished. There is a since of openness and honesty that reinforces the realness of these stories.
Lesson: Flaws make stories relatable. Don’t hide these details. Embrace them.

charity: water has excelled their mission through storytelling. Particularly in telling detailed and immersive stories of individuals. Video is an important medium for them, and they are careful about hitting an emotional chord while keeping the stories uplifting.
Lesson: Sometimes one person’s story can give voice to many.

The Storytelling Formula (Part 1)

 

storytellin part 1

 

(Elements of this post adapted from The Mystery of Storytelling: Julian Friedmann at TEDxEaling)

I’m delighted to tell you there is a formula for storytelling. Many actually. But they boil down to the same rhythmic cadence that we want to take the reader or listener through.

First, a brief look at why storytelling is important: For our ancestors, we believe storytelling began with picture drawings in caves and dancing around fires. These pictures of lions and saber tooth tigers helped to prepare their minds for the hunt. For today’s hunters and gatherers, I argue the same is true. It’s to prepare our minds…for action.

Here are several formulas for storytelling. While they all follow the same cadence, each is described with a different nuance that may apply better in certain situations.

Grade School Formula: Beginning, Middle, and End

It’s simple and basic. But, it’s the most essential component and pattern. In a business environment, I’ve heard this described as: Context, Action, and Result

Aristotle’s formula: Pity, Fear, and Catharsis

Aristotle offers several insights on storytelling. At it’s core, he proposes these three essential elements:

  1. Pity: Developing the characters and building an emotional connection with the audience. This emotional connection gives the writer control.
  2. Fear: Using the emotional connection, as we describe the core challenge and climax, so the audience can empathize with the fear/emotions of the characters.
  3. Catharsis: Releasing the audience from that fear – by giving characters back the control – to provide relief for the audience.

Beethoven’s Formula: Suffering, Struggle, and Overcoming

Particularly during his “middle period” of composing music, Beethoven focused heavily on struggle and heroism. (note: This was also the period when Beethoven suffered an accident that caused deafness.) Found in the program notes for a series of Beethoven concerts given by Maurizio Pollini, “Beethoven’s preference for happy endings is a musical style akin to Schillers philosophy of suffering, struggling, and overcoming.”

The three-part storytelling cadence is crucial. When done right, scientist acknowledge that your brain and body respond by releasing phenylethylamine into the blood stream. This bio-chemical is said to enable peak mental and physical performance, slow aging and make us happier. Think about this the next time you go see a (good) movie. At the end, your heart is racing, you’re inspired, and more alert. So, we can thank Hollywood for making us happier, sharper, and younger.

We all want this, though, don’t we? We want our team to leave the meeting we’re facilitating feeling more inspired, energized, and focused. We want that huge research project to lift people up out of their seats to take action. To do this, we need to use story.

My next post will offer some additional tips, insights, and suggestions for bringing effective storytelling into the office and board room.

How about you, do you have a storytelling formula? Or, a favorite story about storytelling?

 

Will Krieger

Quick List Tuesday May 31st, 2016

Our newest issue of the Quick List, a bi-monthly summary of what’s happening in marketing research and new happenings at REPASS.

What we are celebrating this week —
The retirement of an integral part of the REPASS team. We said goodbye to Chuck McFadden this week (and got in a little #RedNoseDay celebration while we were at it). Chuck has been with REPASS since our inception and will be dearly missed, but we know he will enjoy retirement!!

Repass Red Nose
What we’re sharing this week–
We do a lot of qualitative research…and I mean, a lot! So we are constantly racking our brains, coming up with new ideas, and connecting with others in the business to see what techniques have the most bang in a qualitative setting. Enjoyed this article from MRA about projective techniques and ones that produce the most “Aha moments.”

What we’re thinking about —
With graduation season upon us, it’s hard not to be a little nostalgic. One of our team members had a son graduate last week, and another attended graduation at the US Naval Academy. Taking a moment to see life through the eyes of a graduate is such a great reminder about all the opportunity, excitement, and good that there is in this world. For so many, the adventure is just beginning. Can you remember your graduation? Has your life gone the course you imagined? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

It also brings to mind a recent blog post on facing constraints and staying creative and imaginative. Take a look, Lessons from the Playground.

Quote we’re pondering —
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – unknown

Did you enjoy this Quick List? If so, please forward this email to a friend or follow us on Twitter @REPASSinc.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week.
To Your Success,

Will Krieger
Vice President, Insights

Will Krieger

WHO SAYS RESEARCHERS DON’T HAVE FUN: TRY THIS QUIZ

 

quiz

It has long been held – erroneously – that folks in the market research industry are dull. Maybe our conferences aren’t as lively as those in advertising or the public relations world, but we have been known to hoist multiple cold beverages during a 3-day conference. The blog that follows will, in fact, improve your historical and empirical knowledge of the MR World, so take a minute and see how you score among your most knowledgeable (dull) colleagues. Here goes:

1. By Webster’s, a blog is either a

a. Posting of an individual’s online note to inform or embarrass another person, or

b. The result of a late night party where bloodhounds, frogs and hogs became intimate.

2. Many researchers consider Cincinnati the birthplace of marketing research because

a. Procter and Gamble has relied on research techniques for many, many years, or

b. As the first professional baseball team, the Redstockings (REDS) would survey fans to determine their favorite brands of wurst, mustard and beer.

3. The term “random digit dialing” has been used in research to describe

a. A way of selecting telephone numbers to obtain a good representative sample of area households, or

b. A new wave medical procedure developed on the west coast to replace traditional PSA testing.

4. DAR came to be associated with

a. the standard method of measuring recall of television commercials in the ‘70s, or

b. represented an avid group of women in the 1700s that supported the American patriots

5. Retailers have long used the research technique known as “shop- alongs” in which

a. A trained researcher accompanies a consumer to retail outlets to observe the perceptions and behaviors of shoppers under near-normal in-store conditions, or

b. The term is often used by daughters-in-law who begrudgingly yet patiently assist their husband’s mother to the grocery store.

6. Dial-testing is a research technique in which

a. Respondents view a stimulus such as a political speech or an ad concept and note their opinions using a device that dials up their reactions

b. Is a trade secret research technique used by a global hand soap manufacturer to determine the acceptance ratings of a new hand cleansing product.

7. The memorable quote, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” was the

a. Instantaneous, top-of-mind remark made famous by Neil Armstrong on the moon, or

b. Result of extensive message testing conducted among consumers by NASA.

8. Eye-tracking research has become widely accepted as a useful technique in which

a. Respondents have their visual patterns detected in website-testing or retail settings to determine how they view stimuli and react to them, or

b. Entertainment and fashion experts conduct in-depth measurements about reactions to the costumes worn by Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian.

9. In the Bible, during the Wedding Feast at Cana, Jesus performed his first miracle by

a. Turning jugs of well-water into wine that was then served to thirsty celebrants, or

b. Conducting a sequential monadic taste test among party-goers to choose the best wine.

10. The famous war cry that originated in the late 1700s “One if by land and two if by sea” was secretly

a. A code phrase used to identify the method by which the British would attack, or

b. The aided responses to a primitive questionnaire used by a Babylonian travel agency

Well, how does your research knowledge stack-up? Maybe it’s time for a new research seminar.

Jack Korte Blog Bio

Listening to Understand

listening

 

 

There is a true power to listening. A power and force that goes beyond learning to deep understanding. I’m not talking about listening the way many of us think about listening today. I’m referring to real, attentive, leaning-forward-in-my-seat, I want to know you and your point-of-view listening.

When you listen in this way, you truly set yourself aside for a moment in time to receive a part of another person’s life. And, it’s the only way to truly experience what another person feels or believes.

“True listening requires setting aside one’s self.” -F. Scott Peck

In a world where you sometimes feel like you only have time to run from one meeting to the next and bounce from one device to the next, there is rarely time for this kind of listening. Conversely, there is rarely time to be heard in this way.

Many inspiring leaders of the past feel this same way. They understood something about listening that allowed them to find the success and fulfillment they were looking for.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own”. -Henry Ford

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” Karl A. Menninger

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

How would your life be different if you gave just 5% more of yourself to listen to others? How would your products be different? Your relationships with your team? Your customer service?

 

Will Krieger

Quick List Tuesday May 17, 2016

Our newest issue of the Quick List, a bi-monthly summary of what’s happening in marketing research and new happenings at REPASS.

What we are excited about this week — It’s not every day that our CEO is featured in national news coverage. Loved listening to Rex Repass share his thoughts about the changing political landscape, especially the line about Trump and Sanders being “the Uber of politics.”

Rex on Fox

What we’re sharing this week–  Remember a couple weeks ago when we told you why podcasts have become such a huge part of our culture? Pretty cool that this week Ted Talks shared this list of 45 podcasts worth checking out. It was great to see some of our favorites make the cut, as well as to get some new recommendations. Are you ready for the Invisibilia podcast? Or, how about Popo Culture Happy Hour?

What we’re thinking about — Have you ever realized that when your workspace or your desk is in shambles, that your propensity for getting distracted seems much higher? It is so important to have your office in order. Just like with everything else, your order (or lack thereof) can have a huge impact on your mindset. To perform at our best, our life (and our minds) must be organized. Don’t know where to start? Check this out.

Quote we’re pondering — “True listening requires setting aside one’s self.” – Famed Therapist, F. Scott Peck (Also, check out my recent Linkedin post – Listening to Understand – where I share a few other famous quotes on listening.)

——-//——-

Did you enjoy this Quick List? If so, please share with a friend or follow us on Twitter @REPASSinc.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week.

To Your Success,

Will Krieger

Sr. VP, Client Engagement