• Colleen Dowd Kollman

The Power – And Efficiency – of Online Qualitative Research in Finding Insights to Drive Innovation

Traditional in-person qualitative research still plays a key role in innovation work – especially when unique “twists” are added to make it more cutting-edge and “real” in terms of capturing insights into consumer attitude, behavior, and needs. But, increasingly, we are using the power and efficiency of online qualitative research to help drive insights that lead to transformative innovation. There are situations where online qualitative make great sense as an alternative or supplement to more traditional approaches.

Here is a summary of some of the key benefits online qualitative can provide, which also suggest key situations where it can be helpful to include it in the mix when pursuing innovation:

  1. Geographic Mix – We can assemble consumers from a wide geographic area, thereby reducing bias that might come from research occurring in just one or two markets.

  2. Candor / Comfort – Respondents are comfortable and open when being interviewed at home (Think: pajamas). With bulletin board groups, respondents log in and reply to questions daily over a few days. Consumers can take as much time as needed to explain their motivations, feelings, perceptions, and experiences without the constraints of limited time in a group setting.

  3. Better recruiting – Busy folks are easier to recruit when asked to log on for 45 min vs. coming to a facility. When our target is working professionals, or those without transportation, we find doing on-line groups helps us with a better group of participants.

  4. Deep dive – We can go deep into understanding the consumer by using a variety of projective techniques and exercises. We find consumers will tell us more about their lives when they have the luxury of time and privacy.

  5. Visuals – We can show imagery, concept boards, rough ads, and get feedback to creative as well as have consumers illustrate their thoughts by uploading pictures or videos of product usage, daily routines, etc.

  6. Cost savings – We save the cost and time involved with travel for the entire team.

  7. Involvement – We are able to bring together clients and other team members (agency, creative) by having them tune in or watch the groups or view the discussion and run a debrief session with the team without having to travel.