You need research, but you want it fast, cheap, and high quality. It’s often said you can only have two of those, but never all three.
If you ensure you are doing the right type of research and not jump to a conclusion of what you think you need, you may be able to achieve your objective with spending less than you think. Additionally, new emerging technologies and tools allow you to get results quicker at less cost without sacrificing the quality of the insights. With some of these tools, the insights are even richer.
To start off, first determine what type of research you need. We often hear from clients that they want a quantitative study – they want numbers (or there is a senior exec that only believes in numbers). Then they find out how costly it can be and how long it will take. However, through consultation, they find that they might not need it.
While quantitative does provide numbers, it does have its limitations.
It can tell you the what, where, and how many for example. However, it does not answer other important questions, such as those related to the how and why. We may find out that xx% of people chose brand Y. But we don’t understand their thinking or reasoning of how they came to that decision. Often, that is where great insights come from that lead to relevant marketing.
It’s like a weekend project at home. First you think about what it is you need to get done, fix a leaky faucet or mow the lawn for example. Then you decide what tool or method you will use to get the job done. Same with research, first think about what you need the research for and how you will use it, then decide what method you will use to get the insights.
To start, ask yourself these three questions:
1. What is my objective – or problem I am trying to solve?
2. What questions do I have or what answers do I need to help me solve my challenge?
3. What is the best way to get those answers?
Of course, time and money come into the equation as well. We may decide that it’s something as simple as a series of phone interviews that will get you the needed insights. Or, it may be one of the newer online technologies that would be best. The platforms offer sophisticated features that are not only powerful, but offer unique methodologies that can only be conducted in an online environment.
One of our favorites is from a company called Aha Technologies, but there are many great ones out there. These online qualitative tools allow for quick target audience identification, design and approach, and launch of a study within days. The respondents can write stories, interact directly in real time, draw pictures, or have Q&A sessions. They can even video tape themselves through an app on their phone, logging how they engage with a product or service and create a video blog of their purchase journey. Now we have rich consumer feedback that was gathered quickly allowing us to analyze it and develop insights much faster.