Saturday, May 24, 2008

Green and lovely

You all know how in love I am with BBFGs. Well, here’s another reason to love them: they’re relatively green!

Doing qualitative research online is actually a green step in the right direction carbon-emission wise. No flying or driving around to do fieldwork.

Good one!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Strategic research

What is it exactly?

I can think of a few possible definitions:

-     Research that helps guide or develop a marketing or business strategy, eg sizing or scoping a market, etc

-     Research that’s part of a marketing strategy, eg refining an offer, communications research, etc

-     Research to confirm that a strategy is on strategy, eg customer feedback, etc

Now if you ask me (go on), that just about covers all research. So all research is, one way or another, strategic – is it not?

It bugs me when my industry colleagues flap on about doing ‘strategic’ research. 

Yes – I get that adding the word ‘strategic’ can make the research sound like a superior kind of research compared with just calling it market research. But scratch a little deeper and it really doesn’t tell you very much. Because get a grip and here’s some news: market research is strategic by default!

Hmmm…glad I got that off my chest.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More pie?

Look at this. Do you think they read my blog?
; )

Sunday, May 11, 2008

When wouldn't you?

Before I wrap up on BBFGs, it's probably worth noting cases where you wouldn’t use them.

Where you need to observe how people behave, ‘live’ research is obviously going to be a better approach. Other instances where BBFGs aren’t going to work as well as traditional groups are when the segments of interest don’t have access to, or aren’t comfortable using the Internet.  

It’s really just stating the obvious, but deciding when to use, or not use, a BBFG approach is simply a matter of looking at the research objectives and thinking through the sample considerations.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Exciting times ahead

BBFGs open up a whole new world of possibilities. 

No compromise on location, sample or insights. You’re providing respondents with a relatively safe and anonymous environment, conducive to deep thought and honesty. You’re giving them thinking time. You’re giving them air time. It’s a level playing field where everyone looks the same, give or take a font point size.

BBFGs address so many of the compromises we face with ‘traditional’ research: compromises we’ve accepted because there just wasn’t a viable alternative.

Exciting times ahead.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Black and white

People who buy research are, for the most part, busy individuals. That’s why they commission us to do research (that and the expertise thing).

Despite best intentions, they don’t often attend focus group sessions. Their internal clients might also be pretty thin on the viewing ground.

This is not good for the research output. The methodology and reporting are first in the line of fire for anyone who may not like the findings. The big black research box (of course, it isn’t, but it must seem like it is) can’t be trusted.

In contrast, a fantastic level of client involvement is possible with BBFGs. Every stakeholder can observe the groups. And they’re much more likely to, because they can observe them at their convenience. As they happen, on a Sunday, or at midnight. Whenever they feel like it. And there it will be, in black and white (!). The actual verbatim.

This increases the likelihood of buy in to the research process - and the findings - enormously.  

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You can tell just by looking at him...

One of the issues people may have with the online forum is that because it all happens on screen, you’re missing the visual cues, the body language, etc that you get from a ‘live’ focus group.

I’m not going to argue with that.

But what about the problems with those visual cues and for that matter, the body language? Here’s an example:

Scenario One

Let’s invite Harry to a "traditional" focus group. And here he is:

Hello Harry! What’s he like? 

Already, just by looking at him, in that nanosecond, I’ve probably made at least 10 assumptions about him. And assumptions about what he’ll think and say about X, Y or Z…

Scenario Two

Rewind. Let’s pretend we’ve never met Harry in real life. And instead of asking him to our ‘live’ focus group, let’s ask him to participate in a bulletin board focus group (ie, run in a virtual room, online). 

We’ll give him a user name to log in with: R1 (Respondent One). As a moderator, that’s all I can see of Harry on my screen: 


That’s all the other group participants can see too: he looks like 24 point Georgia font, just as you see it on your screen right now.

What’s he like? I’ve no idea. I can’t make many assumptions based on how he looks, how he talks, how he smells (!). Or about what he’ll think and say about X,Y and Z…

The point is that visual cues can get in the way of the information we want – maybe in more ways than they help our understanding. 

Worth thinking about.

P.S Many thanks to Simon (aka Harry) for letting us use a really bad picture of him (he’s actually very handsome).