Get Richer Insights and Maximize Your Research ROI (Part 3)

by DJI

Earlier we wrote about how sharing the backroom experience more broadly within your organization can give colleagues the benefit of direct observation of your target market (click here to read it), and more recently we offered five tips relating to the preliminary stages of the research (click here for that blog post).

Now we’d like to zero in on the back half of the qualitative research process and identify things you, as a buyer, can do to ensure richer insights and more actionable results.

  1. During in-person focus groups, don’t forget to work behind the mirror by minimizing distractions.  Just as the moderator sets the tone around the discussion table, you, as the buyer, set the tone behind the glass.  It pays to cultivate an attentive, focused atmosphere among your fellow viewers. (Here is a link if you want to review our tips on this aspect of focus group management.)
  2. Listen (and watch) with an open mind, not selectively.  It’s always gratifying to hear a respondent say something that validates the corporate strategy, but make sure you aren’t excluding other points of view.  Also, it’s important to remember that what respondents don’t say is just as important as what they do say!
  3. Encourage your moderator to ask the right questions.  Respondents generally want to please the moderator, and will try to be helpful.  Whether you are testing a package design or a political platform, you have to first determine who likes and who dislikes it.  Then determine why the likers like it and why the dislikers do not.  Don’t be surprised if the moderator does not ask the same question of all — they will give an answer but it may not be relevant.
  4. Be brave… and willing to change on the fly.  Discussion guides are called “guides” for a reason.  The best qualitative research is iterative, with learning from one group informing the course of the next.
  5. Debrief frequently… and let the results evolve.  It’s very important to manage the message, both during and after the research.  Plan how to manage communications from backroom viewers to their colleagues who aren’t directly involved in the research.  A good policy is for viewers and the moderator to briefly discuss and agree on a few key points after each session, and to emphasize that comments that are circulated should be qualified until confirmed by further analysis.

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