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Five tips to make market research more fun

Market research can be challenging, particularly when it comes to finding respondents who take the questionnaires seriously. Additionally, the attention span of the younger generations is decreasing. Questionnaires are often designed with a desktop interface in mind, while most people nowadays use mobile devices. It is important to make market research as enjoyable and accessible as possible to achieve a higher response rate and quality of answers. Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve this. In this article, we will share five tips that you can use in your own research. 1. Make the questionnaire interactiveInteractive questions are an excellent way to keep respondents engaged. As the attention span of young people is getting shorter, it’s crucial to make the questionnaire as interesting as possible. Interactive questions can take the form of quizzes or games, making the questionnaire more enjoyable which results in higher quality answers. 2. Use images and videosImages and videos make the questionnaire visually appealing. The younger generation tends to be more visually oriented, so the use of images helps to maintain their attention. Adding sound can also make the questionnaire more interesting and improve the quality of the answers. 3. Keep the questionnaire shortIt’s essential to keep the questionnaire as concise as possible. Surveys with too many questions can lead to less thoughtful answers and respondents dropping out before completing the questionnaire. Therefore, it’s important to keep the questionnaire short and to the point. 4. Give feedbackGiving respondents feedback on the results of the research is essential. This way, respondents know what happens with the results, and the market research becomes more meaningful. Feedback also contributes to improving the quality of future research. 5. Use relevant dataUsing relevant data to invite respondents for market research is crucial. This way, invitations can be made more personal and relevant, which contributes to an increase in the response rate. Communicating with the target group can also ensure that the questionnaire is more tailored to their needs and interests.Market research doesn’t have to be boring. By keeping the questionnaire short, making it interactive and using images and sounds, market research becomes more enjoyable for respondents. Finally, by providing feedback and using relevant data, market research becomes more meaningful, resulting in a higher response rate for future research.

Enabling a deeper level of probing

Online qualitative research has developed in leaps and bounds over the past decade, and accelerated further due to the world’s increased digitization during the global pandemic. At Crowdtech we strive to stay ahead of the digital curve, improving and enhancing our online research offerings wherever possible. Running online qualitative research communities is an important element of our work. Naturally, effective moderation is critical to the success of any qualitative community, and it is our role to ensure that moderators can carry out their jobs in this space as well as possible. Since qualitative research moved online, moderators have faced the challenge of how to probe deeply and effectively, without the benefit of traditional face-to-face interaction. Enabling moderators to probe in real-time To address this challenge, we have developed what we call our Staircase tool. This brand new tool -part of our community platform- enables customized smart-routing of questions in a survey, the main effect of which is to enable moderators to probe individual responses in real-time, before respondents move onto the next question. Typically, probing would take place after respondents had moved forwards with a survey, meaning that answers to probed questions would be recorded ‘after the fact’. Now the Staircase options allows moderators to drill down on exact responses in the moment of response, enabling moderator and respondent to ‘walk the staircase’ together, getting into a deeper discussion on a certain point or topic. It does this is by honing respondents’ focus in on each individual question rather than presenting them with a set of questions at a time. This allows for deeper concentration on each question, in a way that is customized to individual respondents, taking into account how they have answered the previous question. Allows for drilling-down in qualitative research A further benefit of the Staircase tool that’s part of our Community platform is that it effectively brings the logic of a quantitative survey into a qualitative panel. While the two branches of research have different applications and uses, there are elements of each that can benefit the other. Quantitative research has long had the ability to drill down for greater granularity of research. On the other hand, qualitative research has typically been on a flatter level, set up for in-depth engagement, with the opportunity to probe to a second level on an ad hoc basis. The Staircase tool now marries the best of both branches together, enabling the drilling down process to happen in the qualitative space by utilizing the survey logic of quantitative research. This has the result of being able to address any topic or assess any attitude or behaviour at a deep qualitative level yet following a structured, quantitative approach. Further, it allows respondents to only see their own answers and moderation correspondence. This results in keeping the conversation more focused on their own thoughts and perceptions, rather than being influenced by the rest of the community. Online qualitative research achieves reach and depth Often research solutions focus more on quantitative than qualitative work, due to the fact that the bulk of research sits within this space. At Crowdtech we recognise that both elements are vitally important to our overall offering to clients, and as such as aim to develop both to their optimal capacity. Therefore the Crowdtech staircase is one of the benefits our Community platform has to offer. Digitization has opened up qualitative research in numerous ways, but also posed some difficulties to overcome. With the development of various tools and techniques – the latest being our Staircase tool – we are confident that our online qualitative offering not only matches, but truly surpasses traditional face-to-face alternatives. This results in wider reaching surveys, faster turnaround and now, thanks to the Staircase, greater depth than ever before.

Agile means agile

Today’s fast paced world means agility is no longer a trendy fad or a future goal but a business necessity. Tactical, operational and even strategic decision making needs match the pace of consumer and customer trends and changes. However, agility is often confused with speed, but real agility is getting to insights faster and more cost effectively. Crowdtech continues to light the way in the business of insights and here is how we ensure our research is truly agile: The optimal path to the insights must be supported by technology with a full tool kit of methods A well-managed community can turn around insights extremely quickly, even within hours Our Client service teams are embedded into your scrums, systems and structures. Crowdtech technology facilitates your research instead of your research adapting to the platform Intuitive technology will both accelerate delivery and deliver the quality of learning from human interactions True agility is achieved through having access to a creative tool kit, supported by integrated technology and working with a partner who can be embedded in your processes. Follow our Twitter and LinkedIn pages, or sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates.  Over the coming weeks we will be run a series of blogs exploring each of our innovations.

10 steps to make research communities work for you

If you want to stay one step ahead of the market and gain more consumer nuance than your competitors, you will need the backing of an online community research. By using this market research tool you will gain valuable insights into the market and in particular the needs, perspective and satisfaction of your target audience. This article gives you the top 10 key steps towards making online community research work for you. 1. Agency and Client make a Great Team The number one priority when looking at online community research is to have a great research team and define the roles each one plays. These roles can be fully outsourced to your partner agency, absorbed within client side research teams or balanced through a hybrid model somewhere between the two. The main roles in the team should include: The Strategic Director - this individual heads up the direction of the team. Their role is to make sure that the strategy is right for the type of information you need and that the research meets the wider business objectives. Engagement Manager - this role involves keeping the online research community running efficiently and getting participants on board. Engagement managers build a community infrastructure that keeps all the members involved and encourages engagement. Content Producer - this is the person who will be in charge of producing content on a continuous basis. The best content will inevitably come from the online research community and this individual will take that and make it applicable to the target audience. Project Manager/Operations Lead - this is a liaison role, and this person will engage with everyone involved from the stakeholders right through to the online community research team. They will provide and analyse metrics to assess how well the community is working. 2. You must have efficient technology It is imperative to use a provider who can offer the type of platform that is just what you need. User experience must be paramount: If someone finds the platform difficult they will stop using it, so be sure to spend time looking at the aesthetics and making sure there is an intuitive user interface. Vitally, look at this from both a researcher and a respondent view, the technology must be seamless for both sides. 3. Proactive engagement is crucial Although technology is a key factor you also need to understand that even if the platform is great to use and gives an easy aesthetic, if people still don't engage the online community will fail. Your Engagement Manager will run the platform, interact with the participants and encourage them to come forward with thoughts and ideas. Areas to look at include: What would make people join the community? What will keep them coming back? What sort of communication are they expecting? Do they know how the information they give will be used? Do they feel that their contribution is valuable? It is the role of the community manager to ensure that all these issues are addressed and that the online community is a success. 4. Inviting the right participants The type of user you are looking for differs greatly from those that generally participate in other forms of research. Online community research has many interactions, so unlike those people who will fill in questionnaires or take part in a focus group for money, your respondents will be engaged for longer periods of time. You will be speaking with the sort of person who enjoys contributing, being heard and who want to make a difference. The way to ensure you get the right type of participant is to send specific and targeted invitations. This means that those who sign up really want to be involved. In many private online research communities you tend to get anywhere between 30% to 60% of members being active each project but an important contributor to achieving the higher levels is by effective participant selection. 5. Be open to creative ways of getting data An online research community is a unique new way of obtaining data and provides dialogue that evolves and offers valuable insights. Yet it needs to have creativity to ensure respondents are co-operating either through engaging surveys and material, or fun activities such as group challenges, brainstorming session and blogging challenges. Working with an agency that is specialised in this field yet has a wide range of communities across business sectors is key as we know what works and what does not. 6. Keep the members motivated When people sign up to online research communities they tend to do so because they want to make a contribution that they know is valued. This type on intrinsic motivation diminishes over time so you want to make sure your participation levels stay high by introducing new ways of motivating and engaging the users. A good way to do this is to have access to a variety of research techniques, introducing a mix of creative research and extremely effective group moderation. A good moderator has a range of tricks and tips to ensure you get the best out of your community. We find that feedback to respondents post research projects is extremely valuable, telling them a summary of the findings and what you will do with the results. This intrinsic motivation is enhanced by knowing they have made an impact. 7. Knowing how often to engage respondents From the outset set clear goals and timescales and make sure members know what is expected from them and how often you will be talking to them. This means they stay focused on completing research tasks so the end goal can be achieved. As ever there are no standard KPi's on this, some communities can have highly frequent research cycles (sometimes weekly) whereas others can be a monthly engagement. Getting the balance between staying on your audience's radar without over working them is crucial. 8. Using the right dialogue There are 2 main ways that people interact with each other in online market research communities: Synchronous dialogue - users interact with each other in real time using an online chat. This is a great method when you want to hold a meeting or discuss an idea. Asynchronous dialogue - users interact via posted content and people make their own comments at times convenient to them. This is the most common form when communicating in online research forums. Of course, both can be used but you need to make sure you pick the right method for the results you need to reach. 9. Keep aware of what is going on Make sure you keep a close eye on the way the Community is performing both at cohort level and with individual members. Are they still creating content and are others responding to this? What is the percentage of posters vs responders? Can you intervene if people struggle with tasks? A good and efficient community manager is crucial, their experience is often the difference in making communities successful. 10. Community Research Technology is a means to an end A good research Community needs to keep you in touch with the needs of your target audience and allow you the agility to make changes, to keep talking and listening to your customers. This flexibility allows you to cover a range of research objectives, whether they be quick turnaround tactical questions or pre planned strategic research projects. The technology should help you connect with your customers, increase your insights and maximise brand understanding. Your research platform must be able to support the key success factors in communities; strong engagement, flexible research, well recruited and balanced sample, and it must be intuitive so your team can seamlessly execute great projects.

Community engagement is a two-way conversation

When requesting participants to complete a survey or a focus group you are opening up a conversation between the brand and the customer. Like any conversation this is an opportunity for both sides to share their thoughts and to ask questions. So often in market research, and especially with access panels, this is often one sided, the brand pays a small incentive yet asks a lot of questions, gains real insights and supports their business objectives. Participants have a one-way conversation yet they can’t hear the brand on the other side. The power of communities is where both sides of the conversation are getting an equal amount of satisfaction. It is one of the best ways of recognising participants’ efforts and is one of the most effective aspects to increase engagement. It lets participants know that they have been heard, that their feedback matters and has been taken on-board. Why share results? Sharing information on the main findings, what in future will change and why you want to make this change will ensure members stay engaged throughout future phases Engaging participants by sharing updates on how the research will be used will make recruitment for any future projects much easier. Contributing and having their opinion heard is a central and key motivator in signing up to a research community. Confirming that members’ opinions are driving change embraces that motivation and reduces or can totally negate the reliance on incentives An over reliance on incentives can be dangerous as the conversation becomes a transactional one. As well as the typical prize draws try and be creative and link this to your brand: ‘a tour of the factory’, or ‘exclusive VIP access to events’ for example.   How to share results: You can involve your marketing team – sharing feedback can become part of your marketing messages, which will not only engage those who took part in the study, but also those who didn’t. Simply knowing that you have asked customers to take part in meaningful and impactful research and are now sharing with them the effect that it has had on the product/service or the brand itself, will start influencing perception of your entire customer base; the secondary result of this will be that more of your customer-base will look to take part in the next research experience, meaning that the sample of willing participants will be bigger next time around. Ask your internal insight team to follow up with everyone who has been involved in the study. A quick internal update to the insight team on how you used the research is all they will need to create a compelling follow-up email, newsletter, infographic, of video update detailing the impacts and changes made to those who took part A simple forum discussion or which allows the participants to quickly and easily find the trail of impacts and changes whenever they please, or through a series posts by the moderator of the online community. Keep this channel widely available for your customers to suggest topics for discussions – you will be surprised how much detail and how many valuable insights this will generate. The best technology should have a dedicated feedback mechanism, and this should be easy for the end user to simply click and share a message.   If participants know the impact they're having on the business, then they know their contribution was acknowledged and valuable.

Pop-Up Community

These are unparalleled times. Old business models and paradigms are being thrown away as forecasts show the crisis is unlikely to subside soon. The post coronavirus world will see changes in our lives and our jobs. In the first weeks we were in shock, but now the time has come for us consider the future and to explore new ideas and new ways of working. Start a think thank Start a think tank in the form of a pop-up community with a (large) group of involved customers. Be open-minded and ask them to collaborate and co-create with you about topics such as: Are there any demands in the market that our company can address? How can we keep our customers engaged? Even if, for example, we are partially (or completely) closed? Can we devise new products or services for the long term for this new reality and what should they comply with? Pop-up community as an idea generator A pop-up community is a good method to generate ideas within a short time span. Our pop-up community is plug and play and can be set up within one day. All you need to do is enter the emails of about 50 to 150 involved customers and ask them to work in tandem with you. Experience shows that most of them will because they value being listened to and their input is crucial to your organisation. Unlike other forms of research, a research community is a more exclusive form of research. Participants feel this and are even more committed. How does this work in practice? As soon as the community is in place, you as a marketer or market researcher ask your participants to respond to a statement or question. They do this when it is convenient for them. The participants can also see the reactions of other members and can respond and interact with them. Often a good basic idea grows into a solid and usable plan which your company can immediately action and adopt. Affordable solution We realise that in this business environment you are paying close attention to your budget. That is exactly why Crowdtech's community software is the solution. Because our community software is inexpensive, you will have collected a lot of valuable ideas within a couple of weeks, which help you be relevant and responsive. Your account with us can be short term as you pay per week. Want to know more? Want to see how a pop-up community looks and functions? Then request a demo here.

Wall of Inisghts

At Crowdtech, running communities is what we do. It’s the backbone of our business, and we constantly strive to improve the experience for respondents and clients alike. From a client’s perspective, naturally the community is of vital importance, as it is the source of the research gathered in a project. However, traditionally these respondent platforms were not used to a great extent by clients. Enhancing clients’ online platform experienceCrowdtech’s clients hail from a wide range of industries and designations. From finance to beverages to automobile companies (to name but a few), our users include researchers, agencies, technical teams and top management. Our online communities deliver optimally to our respondents, but, always keen to see how we could improve our offering, we wanted to consider what could be done to increase the usability of our online platforms for our clients. Our solution: A Wall of Insights. Accessible yet comprehensive project summariesVisible to any client but not to respondents of a group, the Wall of Insights provides an attractive, accessible summary of either an activity or a whole project. Once an activity is completed, the project researcher generates content to populate the Wall. It is displayed in bite-sized, easy-to-read segments, highlighting the key findings of the activity. The Wall of Insights includes a number of elements, each contributing to the overall executive summary: The statistics and demographics of the community’s participants, displayed in graph and data format Reminders of the active (and inactive) themes in the community, detailing the questions that respondents were asked A preliminary conclusion or hypothesis for each theme, based on what the researcher has seen thus far Demographic graphs and relevant, interesting verbatim quotes pertaining to each theme Where applicable, photos as well as text responses, to bring a theme to life The name and contact details of the researcher/ moderator are also provided in case of any queries Key take-outs, delivered quicklyThe project manager on the activity or project populates the Wall of Insights immediately after an activity is completed, ensuring that the content is optimally chosen to best represent the findings, prior to analysis. Of course, more detailed analysis than this will be necessary to complete the project, but the Wall provides a fast turnaround of the most relevant take-outs from each activity, displayed in an easily digestible manner. Accessible insights for all levels of clientWe believe that this enhancement to our offering will make the community platform more accessible to clients. From top management to junior researcher, we are confident that a single screen top-line summary of each completed activity, will add value to the research process. Visit your project’s platform now to see the Wall of Insights for yourself! As always, our technical team is on hand to offer help, should you require it.  

The power of a Research Community

Crowdtech is the number 1 supplier of innovative technology to start your own research community. A research community is one of the most effective methods to receive fast and valuable insights about your brand, communications and customer experience. On top of that, it’s a modern and respondent friendly way of doing market research. In case you are not still convinced, we have asked a few of our clients and a respondent to tell you about the power of a research community: “It’s a big advantage of a research community that we can also use it to get insights for quick decisions that have to be made. We cannot get those quick insights with traditional research methods and therefore our research community is very valuable to us.”Ministry of Education & Culture “I really like the community because I can easily respond to short and effective questions. And also because of the feedback I receive, when I have participated in a research project.”Respondent – Anonymous on request “Due to the quick and valuable insights we received in our research community, we were able to realize valuable service improvements. This is realy the power of a research community: it’s fast and you’ll get clear and valuable insights”.I.R.S. “Our research community provides our customers a way to express their opinions and ideas. We see a daily benefit from the valuable feedback and great ideas of our respondents in our research community. The community allows us to start a dialogue with our customers and we receive comprehensive insights around their experiences and needs.”Current client – Anonymous on request