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3 market research trends from The Hague

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Early February the Marketing & Information Event (MIE) 2012 took place in The Hague.

During these two days, inspiring speakers and workshops gave an overview of the latest trends and developments in the field of market research.

The 2300 visitors had more than 90 workshops to choose from. CheckMarket was there too. For those of you who did not attend the event itself, we would like to share what we have learned. We selected three trends.

1. How to avoid declining response?

Your customers, employees, contacts, … are regularly invited to participate in surveys and studies. Your challenge is to get the highest possible response rate for our survey projects and to have your panel fill them in completely.

What techniques can you use?

Gamification

This term often appears in numerous disciplines these days. The idea behind is that you foresee one or more game elements in your approach. Taking a closer look at survey projects, you could build fun or challenging parts when setting the questions, creating a design or developing the reporting. As a result a participant is triggered to participate in your survey and considers it a challenge. The idea behind it is “more fun = more feedback”. The ultimate goal is to collect more respondents with higher quality answers.

We zoom in on a few options for custom questions via gamification. They often incite the respondent to think longer about an answer, to do more effort to answer and to formulate a longer answer.

There are several techniques. You can use more personalised questions, put more emotion in it, stimulate the imagination of the respondent or start from an imaginary situation.

These examples show this approach more concretely:

“What is your favourite colour” is a classic question. However, if you formulate the question as follows “Imagine that tomorrow you may choose a new car, in what colour would you order it?”, the respondent will give a well thought answer.

The question “What is your favourite meal?” is much more appealing if you formulate it like this: “You have a date in your favourite restaurant. What will you order?”.

“What is your favourite music?” becomes: “You manage a radio station for one day. Which five artists will surely make it to the playlist?”.

An informal style of writing

Many surveys and survey invitations are formally written. The contact person is approached as “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam”. Polite questions ask the respondent’s opinion.

You can consider a smoother approach. Your contact person is personally addressed by its first name and the questions are formulated less formal.

“Please indicate on a scale from 1 to 10 to what extent you agree with the following statements where 1 means I totally disagree and 10 I fully agree.” is a traditional example of a formal question. Depending on the audience you could change this sentence and end with something like “What do you think? Give a score from 1 to 10. If you fully agree you give a 10, if you totally disagree a 1.”

The involvement of the respondent is higher, he is not frightened by the formal language and it is easier and more fun to answer.

2. Continuous feedback monitoring

Today it is no longer sufficient to organize an annual customer survey and to store the results (a printed version of a PowerPoint presentation for example) in a drawer.

The focus now is on collecting and analysing data fast and accurately. In addition to the existing info you have (customer data, transaction data, …) you collect information through surveys.

Instead of a yearly extensive customers satisfaction survey, we now shift towards continuous feedback monitoring. Brief questionnaires at the right moment immediately measure satisfaction (for example just after a contact or transaction took place).

  • Someone who comes back from a trip, will receive the next day a welcome back email asking for a travel and hotel review.
  • After a call with a support department, a short satisfaction survey is sent.
  • A client received a delivery and is immediately asked about how he judges the ordering and delivery process.

What are the benefits?

  • You reach your target audience at the right time. Their experience is still fresh in memory, they are more likely to respond and the answers are qualitatively better.
  • You analyse trends. The continuously measuring system allows you to identify patterns over time so you can cope with them in an appropriate way.
  • You keep a finger on the pulse. Possible issues or problems show up quickly (rather than annually).
  • You can automate your approach. Once a process is developed that lets your systems exchange data with the survey tool, the flow is ready to use. The invitation and response collection processes will run automatically.
  • You can improve the individual customer experience. Your customer appreciates that you listen to him and that his input is valued right away.
  • You can work with a dashboard where you bring together relevant information coming from your survey(s) so you can compare over time.

3. Dashboards

Collecting data is one thing, make data understandable and actionable is another one.

In terms of reporting, dashboards are becoming more and more popular. Some key questions are taken from a survey and bundled together in one comprehensive dashboard that shows you at a glance a picture of what is happening.

You can read off scores and compare them to the goals set.

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is often used in such a dashboard. You can benchmark over time, across different surveys or different audiences.

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