Isn't it great to be in Market Research? For now, all of you who are reporting quantitative data to your clients can, and should start exploring these graphic possibilities. From today, consider me a "Many Eyes Junky"....
Thursday, 31 January 2008
Monday, 28 January 2008
Inspired by 2.0 application Fleck, Ruigrok decided to do a pilot with tagging. When the company conducts tagging research, panellists receive an invitation to make leave digital notes. These notes can have a positive or negative emotion. The idea is simple, participants can tag for example websites by placing colored tags and comment on it. This can be done alone or in a group process, moderated by a researcher.
Using heatmaps ('tagclouds') the tool will show what elements of tested concepts trigger the most attention.
A first pilot showed that the data was comparable with their more traditional quantative and qualitative methods. The new research tool showed that this method could get open response, quick feedback, easy to analyze, visual attractive and fun for the participants. But above all, it seems to be an interesting new tool that is fun to do: an experience itself.
Friday, 25 January 2008
- When it involves a lot of non-standardized research projects If your research firm is in the business of ad-hoc customized market research, every survey will be more or less different, which makes outsourcing them risky. Communication with local programmers is difficult enough, won’t it be impossible with a non-native English speaker living half-way around the world in another time-zone? These scripts are best handeled in house by researchers who have first hand knowledge of the research objectives.
- When the questionnaire is the core-source of success for your research project If it is critical to the success of your project, outsourcing is probably not the best solution. A lot of back-and-forth between the scripter and researcher will take place and again time zone differences impede the relationship when frequent discussion is needed to communicate requirements and last-minute changes.
- When experience is required (know-how) If a manual can replace the briefing to the programming or DP department than send the job abroad. If expertise is needed from the scripter, if scripting is another quality check in the process of getting the best suited online survey programmed, think twice before you decide to do it abroad. How can they perform a task the way I want it done without asking a lot of questions…the questions will drive me nuts? I remember hard it was to convince an Indian programmer that chocolate sprinklers in Holland are used for sandwich filling (nice: with lot's of butter!) and it really did not belong to the Cake / Pastry category!
An additional concer has always been retention of employees at the vendor. And now it's a widespread one: Staff churn is absolutely increasing. At first it looked as if it was just the programmers which college kids. These kids get a few months of experience and move on to greener pastures in their country. But we're seeing it across all staff levels now. It's a big issue.
Once a MR firm starts to outsource, it will take months (if not a couple of years) to realize that outsourcing may not be the best approach for efficient and seamless scripting. By the time the company realized this, the people who had the knowledge of doing it in-home would already have been laid off. And it will cost double the effort to obtain this business critical knowledge back in the company.
Wednesday, 2 January 2008
- Ultra mobile PCs
- Mobile VoIP
How will these technologies be able to contribute to the Market Research industry?
1. Web-to-go One of the biggest drawbacks of online survey is that most of them can only be used when there is an internet connection. But according to the BBC there are tools that are beginning to blur the online and offline worlds. Three new technologies were introduced in 2007: Google Gears, Adobe's Air and Microsoft's Silverlight.
These applications will influence how we use the Internet: these three applications enable us to use web content offline. For example Adobe has shown off an Ebay desktop application built using Air that would allow users to do much of the legwork required in setting up auctions offline. The next time the user connects to the internet the listing would be posted to the website.
Could the same apply to online surveys?
2. Ultra mobile PCs Various devices have tried to fill the role between a PDA and a full-blown laptop over the years, but none has taken off. But 2008 could be the year when the Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs) finally have their day.
But towards the end of 2007 a series of new products started to hit shelves. The Asus EEE may be able to close the gap with its relatively cheap notebook (~300 Euro). It's about the size of a hard-covered book. Apple is supposed to launch an ultra-thin Macbook later this year.
Will these ulta mobile PCs close the gap between "cheap" paper-and-pencil and "expensive" CAPI research?
3. IPTV Internet TV has been hampered in the past and so have questionnaires based on ITV technologies. But with the increasing popularity of IPTV services as Joost (or for Holland Mine tv what will these bring to our industry?
4. WIMAX Wimax is a wireless technology that can deliver high speed broadband over long distances. It is already big in the US with companies such as Sprint and Intel backing the technology. The BBC predicts that Europe is next (they probably refer to UK only, I assume). Not sure what the relevance for our industry may be...
5. Mobile VoIP VoIP is a technology that allows users to make cheap phone calls over the internet. Skipe is probably the best known provider. Although some firms such as Jajah and Truphone have offered VoIP on mobiles the technology is still relatively nascent.
However, 2008 could be the year the technology takes off. Towards the end of 2007, network operator 3 launched a Skype phone that allows users to make calls using the service, already popular for making calls from PCs. Handset-maker Nokia also offers four phones with the ability to use the technology. Mobile VoIP is still at a very early stage but how may this reshape the way we organise CATI telephone interviewing? How may it decrease costs? How will we be able to connect to the increasing population of those who are not having a land-line telephone?
I am sure that in 2008 in the research industry we will have our usual mix of heartbreak and triumph but it makes for an interesting job! I look forward to 2008 and I hope so are you. I wish you all my very best for the New Year!