Working in market research, it is always important to remember that participants are not emotionless robots. And no, we don't count survey-taking bots that just want to hack the system and collect the rewards.
Our market research company designs these projects and studies for our clients but, it is important to remember the participants are the ones actually completing the studies.
With that in mind, those conducting market research need to consider the participant experience as much as anything else when developing the research materials. If the participant is frustrated or confused as a result of attempting to participate in your study, then you can only assume the quality of the data or even completion rates will take a hit.
Check out four of my tips below for aligning the market research experience with the expectations of participants in quantitative and qualitative studies.
Don't let the participant experience be an afterthought for your next market research project. Adopt the 4 tips below to help meet participant expectations and be positioned for success.
1. Provide an incentive for participating.
As much as you would like to believe someone would complete an online survey because they admire your company, it usually takes a bit more to motivate participation in market research.
For those with the budget, a cash or gift card honorarium is sometimes the best way to give thanks to participants for their time and effort. Our market research company often conducts raffles to randomly select winners from all the participants in a survey study for a sizable prize.
This doesn't necessarily mean the reward has to be monetary, though. The alternative incentive could be providing direct input into new products or concepts. Emphasizing the use of the research will help show participants that the feedback is valued and real action will be taken as a result.
2. Make the research engaging.
Market research will usually always take a back seat in the busy lives of participants. This makes it challenging for researchers to break through the noise of everyday life and make a study an enticing experience.
Put your survey where it will be seen by the right people and make it appealing enough to be investigated. Your work isn't done there, however. For example, you not only need to get a respondent to click on a survey link but also stay engaged as they go through each question in a survey.
Incorporate fun question types in surveys like gamification or drag-and-drop to keep it interesting. For qualitative research studies such as focus groups, weave in activities that add value to the discussion as well as entertain participants.
3. Soften the blow of disqualification.
People don't like being invited to something only to be turned away when they get there. We like to avoid this experience in the context of surveys and qualifying screeners as much as possible.
Try to only invite people to studies for which they have a good chance of qualifying. This isn't always possible, but profiled participant panels, customer lists and targeted social media ads are a few ways to vastly improve your chances of getting the right people to enter the study.
In cases where a participant doesn't qualify for the study, remember that this could be a negative experience. Using friendly language in the disqualification page or encouraging participation in future research opportunities can go a long way in countering any disappointment.
4. Establish trust in a short amount of time.
If your survey, interview, or focus group is the only experience you ever get with an individual participant, you don't have much time to convince them you're trustworthy. Without that acceptance from participants, however, your study could be in danger of participation drop-off or reluctance to even start the process.
Your brand can be leveraged to instill trust in participants if it is well-known and perceived positively. Although, in cases where a third party market research firm is used for a blind study, the participants will be likely working with an unfamiliar company.
The key here is really to be as transparent as the project allows you to be with the participants. This may come in the form of explaining the objectives of the research, disclosing the sponsor, or building rapport through a friendly recruiter.
Once a participant feels confident in completing the study, he or she is more willing to share personal information that can be beneficial to the research.
Contact Drive Research
Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team of research professionals understand and optimize the participant experience for every study we complete.
Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.