By: Cindy Blackstock, Co-Founder and CEO & Ruthie Feinstein, VP of Insights and Engagement
We love this quote by business and consumer behavior genius Steve Jobs. He had an innate belief that technology should exist to make our lives easier, keep up in a fast-paced world, and fuel our creativity. Yet, he understood the true power of the technology rested in the hands of its users.
The same is true for Research Tech / DIY Tools; the latest hot topic in the insights industry. Our experience has taught us that they work best when applied in the right situation, there is a genuine understanding for how they work and how they can best be optimized. This takes the savviness of sophisticated researchers, because like any other technology, it needs to be in the right human hands to be most effective.
Across brands and categories, sophisticated client-side researchers are being challenged to deliver insights faster, without sacrificing quality and some are turning to these tools to address this need. However, often times they face issues with ample time to learn the platforms, execute the research and/or fully take advantage of their analytical capabilities. Others have yet to be made aware of or access to these tech tools and all they have to offer. With so many options, it can be overwhelming and they’re left thinking, “where do I even begin?”
Four Research Tech Tips
As we continue to get smarter with next generation research, we have vetted many different research tech tools – through a researcher’s lens– relieving our clients of this time-consuming, but necessary task. In doing so, we want to share these helpful tips to consider when evaluating which Research Tech / DIY Tools to use OR if you should be using them at all:
Objectives. While these tools can be very effective, they are not the end-all-be-all solution to accomplishing every learning objective. “Live”, in-the-moment, in-context insights? A quick read on concept testing? Fast-on-shelf retail audits? Research tech can be an effective and fast solution. Foundational in-depth learning, nuanced empathy-building or sophisticated quantitative work? Other methods can better deliver on those needs.
It’s about understanding the role research tech can play based on what you need to learn– and right-size the rigor and expectations as they are not intended to be exact replicas of traditional methods. Participants using research tech by themselves in-store is not the same as an in-person shop-along joined by an experienced moderator.
Recruiting. Sources for building research tech panels and recruiting practices vary from social scraping to organic growth and word-of-mouth, with reach ranging from the hundreds to the millions. Regardless of practice, it is important to ask howparticipants are kept fresh and engaged to ensure you have robust results. In terms of targeting, often times, these tools provide a great way to reach broad target segments. However, if your goal is to reach a specific micro-target or consumers with very specific behaviors (i.e. exclusively eats organic green vegetables for the past 12 months) and you are unable to bring your own participants, make sure the platform can really deliver.
Usage. While the urge may be to just dive in, there are a few key initial questions to ask. Is the platform easy and intuitive to use – for both the researcher and participant? Is there an app and/or desktop version (app option is crucial in particular to reach younger consumers)? Do you have the moderating experience needed to ask the right questions or follow the flow of consumer interactions while staying true to objectives? How long or involved is your study (longer can create participant fatigue)?
Reporting. Will the platform enable you to get the results you need in the time you need them? Do you have time to synthesize the data? Are the deliverables offered (e.g. data tables vs. word clouds, vs video, etc.) going to help you influence your key stakeholders in telling the insights story?
Research Tech in Action for Innovation
Research tech allows us to keep up with ever-changing behaviors and reaching people where they are. And when the situation makes sense, we’ve seen it work very well for several of our clients. SIVO recently partnered with Wells Blue Bunny using a research tech tool to gain quick innovation insights. It served as an agile solution to efficiently reach qualified consumers, in real-time, shopping the ice-cream category.
Contact SIVO to help you with wherever you are on the research tech tool spectrum. We are your strategic partner to choose the right tool, execute it with excellence and support the important task of human syntheses needed to mine the data this tool provides.
Because with the right research tech tool, insights professionals can do wonderful things with them.
Co Authors :
Cindy has over 20 years of global product experience with expertise in both marketing and R&D. Her laser focus and unwavering drive ensure that even the most ambitious project will always be executed with excellence and efficiency. As an Ironman athlete, she continues to push herself both physically and mentally and has yet to back down from any challenge.
Ruthie brings over 20 years of senior leadership experience in consumer insights, brand strategy and marketing communications to her work at SIVO Insights. She has deep empathy for client needs, high partnership standards, and an eye toward meeting business objectives. Ruthie is a seasoned moderator and strategist whose warm, approachable style makes consumers feel they are talking to a friend and results in deeper insights. Her strong relationships and strategic influence have shaped positioning, innovation, and growth strategies for blue-chip brands across food, technology, entertainment and retail.