How far would you go in an effort to finding research participants? This real-live example from Basel Fakhoury, now CEO at User Interviews, might top the list. He needed to connect with travelers to get their input on a new product. So he bought refundable JetBlue tickets to get airside at Boston Logan International Airport and talk to travelers while they were traveling.
Another time he wanted to find out if Airbnb hosts would store items for a fee. So he reached out to Airbnb hosts through the Airbnb app, stories he shared on “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.”
Finding the right consumers
Basel had his audience for the research nailed. Finding research participants for him meant to go to the airport. Before ever starting, be clear of who we are trying to reach, why we’re trying to reach them and where do they hang out – so to speak.
This could be a simple as just declaring which one of our Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) we’re trying to connect with.
But also be clear about the limitations of each strategy, as well. For example, talking to travelers at Boston Logon might work to an extend. There are lots of of them to approach and even if most decline to chat, you can still get some feedback. That wouldn’t necessarily work at a smaller regional airport.
When you look at panels and communities, you might have 2 percent of the population represented, he said.
“Sometimes the question is how many consumers can we find?” he said. “And with the qualitative research that we do here we are usually looking for dozens or hundreds. We can get deep insights out of just a few of our responses when you use short videos.”
Be clear about the goal
Are you just trying to understand a few use cases? Are you trying to make big changes in the company, with the product or something else?
Sebastian Schuliaquer, insights director at Kellogg, said on a “Reel Talk” episode that he is trying to make complicated business decisions based on the research he conducts. So it’s necessary to keep in mind how to reach the insights that you need to make those decisions.
Also, he reminds, know what insights already exist within the organization. The wheel does not need to be recreated if it already exists.
Determine the type of research study to perform
Different research studies work well in different situations. It all depends on what you need to find out. As we mentioned before, quantitative research will get you the what and qualitative research will get you the why. There certainly are a number of options:
- Quantitative surveys
- Focus groups
- In-depth interviews
- Zoom interviews
- Video surveys
- Augmented Reality to show off products
Just to name a few.
And sometimes, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as picking one type of research over another, said Raj Manocha, CEO of Methodify, on an episode of “Reel Talk.” It’s not uncommon that you need more than one source of feedback to solve your problem which means you might have to do a combination of these. Of course, finding research participants will be on the list for all those types as well.
“You have to mix those panels up to solve different things,” he said. “You have to be okay with multi-panel approaches because people aren’t answering the exact same way. And then it comes back to the quality of your survey.”
What will be the length of the research?
Basel, just like we have discussed in our design – thinking article, said research should happen on an ongoing and iterative basis. If you think of research as a data point in your decision-making there are plenty of ways you can insert it along the way, he said.
What’s the incentive to participate?
Then let’s figure out what’s in it for the participants. That could be a monetary reward. But depending on brand it could also be some kind of brand experience. To answer that question it really comes down to what motivates the specific people that you’re trying to reach.
Do they prefer a gift card or do they prefer a discount or do they prefer some other kind of brand experience? Some people might see it as an incentive that they can help their favorite brand. Others might find that rude if you even mention that as the only incentive to them.
Either way there has to be some kind of incentive for people to participate.
“It is the Wild Wild West right now,” said Raj. “The challenge right now is what’s the value back to the consumer to give feedback?”
Recruitment strategies to finding research participants
Talk to who you already know
Sometimes we can make research recruitment strategies too difficult. Why do I have to find any new participants if I really should just be talking to my current customers? It’s something to consider and of course it does depend on your project. If an intimate knowledge of the product is necessary really only customers can help you there.
Working with a recruitment agency
You could consider working with a recruitment agency that can find the right type of participants for your study.
Software solution with built-in audiences
Market research software platforms like Voxpopme have built-in audiences that allow you to quickly get useful and usable feedback from consumers.
Use the right technology
Reach people where they are – that’s likely their phone. The collection might also become more in the moment. For example, a quick video survey pops up after you took a specific action. Then it will ask you “why did you just take that action?”
“That will resonate a lot more with consumers and is much more profound for marketers and insights professionals,” said Raj. “You are asking the exact question that you need. It’s not 1,000 questions of fluff and becomes a lot more powerful.”
Which way is best for you to build your market research project is a personal choice. I hope the options that I outlined are helpful and give you some ideas on making the recruitment process easier and get you the insights you need to make the right decisions.
As Jenn Vogel, vice president of marketing at Voxpopme and host of the podcast, said:
“Even if you have the wrong data available somebody will still make a decision. They’ll just base it on the wrong facts. That’s why it’s so important to commission the right study with the right people.”