There are plenty of options out there when it comes to consumer research. The first step is likely to determine whether you want to conduct in-house or use a third-party consumer research company. The benefits of in-house are reduced costs on-paper. The benefits of a third-party are added expertise, objective points-of-view, and potential costs savings (if the in-house project drags on well beyond the expiration date, which is why we referenced cost savings "on-paper").
In this post, we'll highlight some common consumer research options for your organization or company. These span both qualitative and quantitative market research options. Qualitative consumer research focuses on exploring topics and asking "why?" Quantitative consumer research focuses more on measurement and acquiring statistical reliability.
The choices is yours! But much like the final 15 minutes of Indiana Jones and Last Crusade you must "Choose. But Choose Wisely".
Here are 4 options for your consumer research.
Option 1: Online Survey
We've discussed this several other times on our blog, but we argue that no other consumer research methodology provides a stronger ROI than online surveys. Online surveys are cost-effective, offer a quick turnaround for fieldwork, and can collect quality data if constructed right.
With an online survey you can collect consumer data through the use of a national market research panel or through social media. Several options like Facebook and Twitter are considered strong resources to collect feedback.
All things being equal, it's hard to argue with the value of an online survey. They might be our favorite methodology at our consumer research company. Shhhh.... Sorry phone interviews, focus groups, and user experience (UX) interviews.
Option 2: Phone Interviews
The one drawback of online surveys (hey, we try not to pick sides, see...) is that they are passive one-way communication. With an online survey, the company or organization is at the mercy of how much or how little a respondent is willing to offer. They may type very little or be unclear with a response.
The true benefit of a phone interview is that the conversation is two-way. An interviewer and interviewee. The interviewer can interact and follow-up on feedback acquiring a deeper level of analysis and insight.
Phone interviews can be both qualitative and quantitative. If qualitative, your organization will conduct fewer interviews but each will last longer (20 to 30 minutes or more). With quantitative, you'll conduct more interviews but each will be shorter (10 to 15 minutes or less).
Option 3: Focus Groups
Focus groups are probably the most well recognized form of market research outside of the standard consumer survey. Focus groups are made up of 4 to 12 persons with a moderator who guides the discussion. They are an excellent way to create dialogue and conversation among consumers to obtain thoughts, perceptions, and opinions.
Focus groups are often held in focus groups facilities. In these locations there is a one-way mirror so clients from your company or organization can watch the groups live. The moderator will pop in and out of the client viewing room to see if any questions arise.
Consumers can be recruited through both panels and social media. You'll want to over-recruit by about 2 to 4 persons to account for no-shows or cancellations. Very rarely will you have 100% participation even after confirmation calls, emails, letters, and texts.
Option 4: User Experience (UX) Interviews
Lastly we come to user experience (UX) interviews. This is the wild card of the 4 we have listed here and probably the least common methodology used with consumer research. It is potentially the most valuable, particularly for e-commerce businesses.
UX interviews involve a moderator (much like a focus group) and a participant. The difference is these are 1-on-1 and the participant uses a computer, tablet, or phone to be online during the session. Here the focus of the interview is on the UX of a website or software.
The UX questions surround ease of use, ease of navigation, and drivers to paths users take while on-site or in-platform. They are incredibly insightful for companies and organizations that rely heavily on leads online or e-commerce. Also for companies with software or platforms that their user base logs into on a regular basis. It identifies consumers pain points and frustrations to prioritize fixes.
Contact Our Team - We Can Help!
Drive Research is a consumer survey company in the United States. Our team is located in Syracuse, NY but we conduct consumer surveys across the country.
Interested in conducting a consumer survey with Drive Research? Contact our team at [email protected] or call us at 315.303.2040.