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Central Location Testing - Planning for Superior Outcomes

Posted on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 @ 09:16 AM

describe the imageThe central location test presents unique challenges, requiring adjustments in planning and methodology for researchers and recruiters. Though recruitment is critical to the success of any research project, its importance multiplies when a large group of respondents is required. The greater the number of respondents needed, the more time and effort must be committed to recruiting a robust group that will provide reliable results.

To ensure that there is plenty of time to manage the crucial recruitment phase of the project, researchers must prepare accordingly. Entering this phase with updated, well-formatted profile sheets, disposition reports, incidence reports, and so on – work that can be handled by project managers – takes a lot of the headaches out of the process, leaving the researcher with more time to spend addressing issues and challenges as they arise.

Budgeting that little bit of extra time before starting a central location test to plan every detail of the research is sure to pay off in the form of better, more detailed, more informative results.

The next step is building and editing a short, but effective screener. Though it may seem simple at first glance, putting a screener together is an art of its own. Too many questions will bog down recruiters and slow the entire process, so it’s best to keep the screener relatively short and procedural, ensuring that it moves along in a logical manner and doesn’t inadvertently eliminate quality participants.

While it’s good to have a diverse group of respondents, letting the search for low-incidence populations take a back seat to finding the most qualified, articulate candidates is recommended. Though gaining a variety of perspectives is important, making that the primary research goal at the expense of others can impact the quality of the survey results, not to mention adding time and labor to the recruitment process.

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To find out more about Focus Pointe Global’s QualPanel-powered central location testing, click the button below to speak with an FPG Pointe Person.

Tags: marketing research, Large Group Testing Success Factors, large group testing, focus group planning, central location test

Online Shopping: Priorities, Preferences and Drawbacks

Posted on Fri, Apr 05, 2013 @ 10:44 AM

WorkFromHomeIt’s no secret that e-commerce is an ever-growing segment of American retail. Over the last decade, online sales have increased at a remarkably steady rate; more and more, if it’s for sale, it’s for sale online.

Improving the experience for online shoppers – making checkout quicker and easier, for instance – helps businesses in myriad ways: customers come back for more shopping trips, refer their friends, and, in turn, the business increases their online revenue. Recently, a client asked us to conduct a short flash survey of female panelists to learn more about this already large (yet constantly growing!) demographic of online shoppers.

We wrote up a short survey about online shopping habits, chose 500 female panelists at random, and sent it off on a Friday afternoon, when we knew our panelists would be winding down from their work week and have a little spare time. When we returned to the office on Monday, we found that an impressive 211 women – more than 42 percent! – had responded over the weekend.

How Often & Where They Buy

The panelists who responded were a shopping-savvy group with a significant amount of buying power. These women engage in a noteworthy amount of online shopping. Nearly a quarter of them – 22% – shop online multiple times per week, and a full two-thirds shop online multiple times per month.

Their answers pointed to an Internet economy dominated by mass merchandisers like Amazon, Overstock, and eBay. A full 77 percent of panelists said they shop at online-only destinations like these “often” or “most often,” by far the largest total.

The rise to prominence of deal-of-the-day sites such as Groupon has been a major storyline over the last few years, and these types of retailers were also well-represented, checking in as the second-most-popular type of online shopping destination, just ahead of discount department stores such as Walmart, Target, and Costco.

How They Make Buying Decisions

While lots of factors enter into decision-making when shopping online, there’s no denying that cash is still king. Item prices and shipping costs were easily our panelists’ greatest concerns, reflecting the bargain-hunting nature of shopping online. More than 75% of panelists said they “often” or “always” compare prices at multiple websites before buying, and more than 60% search for discount codes before checking out, strongly suggesting that competitive pricing remains crucial to generating business online.

However, price wasn’t the only factor concerning our panelists. Return policy and ease of returns were the third- and fourth-most-important factors, and the speed of free-shipping options and availability of tracking information also ranked highly.

A majority of panelists said they make choices based on previous experiences with sellers as well as their reputations, indicating that retailers should prioritize great service and ensure that customers associate their brands with quality and reliability. Finally, the availability of detailed item specifications and trustworthy customer reviews factored strongly into panelists’ purchase decisions.

What Stops Them from Buying

Our survey-takers enjoyed the convenience, time-saving, gas-saving and crowd-avoidance possibilities of online shopping. However, a many of the women – almost 29% of panelists – said that checking out online can be so long, so complicated, and require so much information that it can cause them to abandon their shopping carts, suggesting there is still more to be done to streamline the checkout process.

Panelists also noted that not being able to see, feel, and try items remains a significant drawback of shopping online, and several voiced concerns with account security – a constant battle being fought by companies that collect personal information.

But, as several panelists noted, it’s all worth it when you can shop in your favorite slippers. 

To find out more about Focus Pointe Global’s online capabilities, click the button below to speak with an FPG Pointe Person.

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Tags: online marketing research, marketing research data, online panels, panel report, online shopping

Qualitative Panelists, Quantitative Research

Posted on Thu, Mar 07, 2013 @ 09:52 AM

describe the imageWith internet scamming and data integrity being at the top of most clients fears of online research, the nature of how a panel is built and enhanced over time matters. Our qualitative approach to online recruiting minimizes the risks associated with finding new panelists online.

Recruiting online can be scary; behind the safety of a computer screen, panelists can easily claim to be something they aren’t. Because the internet lets us communicate in a relatively new way, we’ve lost some of the learned non-verbal clues that come with face-to-face interaction. Avoiding eye-contact is a classic example of a fibber, but that clue is completely lost online.

Along the same lines, it’s important to note that spotting inconsistencies and little white lies is possible with online recruiting. Research has shown that individuals are most likely to be honest in communication that involves email because it leaves a trail, and they’re very likely to tell the truth regarding employment because of how easily their history can be found through web searches and networks like LinkedIn.

Because our panelists are mainly recruited for qualitative research, FPG’s panel has one of the highest rates of validation in the industry. Unlike a majority of panelists at other panel companies, the panelists that make up FPG’s roster are verified by driver’s license during their in-person visits to our facilities.

Plus, in addition to the layer of in-person verification, FPG employs tactics in online recruiting that increase data validity to truly verify that a person is real. Here’s how a panelist recruited via the internet might enter FPG’s panel and participate in their first study.

FIRST TOUCH: Targeted Advertisements
FPG places targeted advertisements on search engines, websites, and social networks. Targeted means that we specify a unique panelist persona, such as a 20-something mother of a son under 2, and buy ad space that only displays for users that meet those criteria. Each venue allows us to target differently; LinkedIn gives the most robust options for business professionals, while Google lets us reach out to individuals actively searching for a product or service by name.

SECOND TOUCH: Specialized Landing Pages
Once the targeted individual clicks into the advertisement, they’re directed to a specialized landing page. The page they end up on continues the feel of the original advertisement instead of being a general recruitment page. When the young mother mentioned earlier clicks through from a targeted advertisement, she’ll land on a page with images that evoke feelings of family, and that gives more details about the available research.

THIRD TOUCH: Advanced Demographic Targeting
After she’s joined the panel, FPG targets this new respondent based on the specific demographics she provided during sign up. That means that she won’t be invited to studies that do not pertain to her. Instead, her participation will be requested in research projects specific to the information she’s provided about herself and her family.

FOURTH TOUCH: Confirmation and Driver’s License Verification
When her profile matches an available study, the mother we mentioned might be invited to participate in-person for a focus group. Before the study, she'll receive a phone call from FPG's confirmation department that reviews the answers she gave in her online screener and assesses how articulate she is. After passing her confirmation, she'll go to a facility to participate in the group. When she arrives, FPG employees look at and check her driver’s license against her profile to ensure she is who she says she is. This verification is then entered into our database.

FIFTH TOUCH: On-Site Rescreening
After our staff validates her license, the panelist will be rescreened one last time at the facility. FPG's self-administered questionnaires are completed and signed by the panelist to elimate concerns that facility staff may bias respondent answers.

This qualitative verification of our panel enables better targeting and more data points, allowing us to use the panel more efficiently. This keeps costs down and enhances the panelists’ experience, ultimately driving higher participation rates. The process used by FPG to recruit new panelists lends credibility to the fact that our respondents are “real” people.

To find out more about Focus Pointe Global’s online capabilities, click the button below to speak with an FPG Pointe Person.

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Tags: marketing research, online marketing research, online qualitative research, marketing research online communities, quantitative panel, online panels, qualitative research data, qualitative panel

Online Research: An Emerging Methodology

Posted on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 @ 09:58 AM

BulletinBoard cropThough it’s still an emerging methodology, online research can have strategic advantages over more traditional types of research. It’s quicker and more cost-effective, not to mention that researchers gain access to a national audience instead of being city-specific.

As online research becomes more prevalent, it’s important that both client-side and supply-side researchers are open to experimenting with options made available through technology.

Recently, we helped a client – a major entertainment network – conduct a series of in-facility television show pilots. When the facility research was complete, the client came back to FPG and asked about options for re-contacting the original group of respondent’s for follow-up research on a different, new television show.

FPG’s leadership team created a solution that included a 10-minute online questionnaire that determined TV viewing habits. The data gathered from this questionnaire was used to choose respondents to participate in the follow-up, online research, where they were asked to view a 22-minute pilot of the new show and answer a post-viewing survey.

The project engaged more than 1,000 respondents and was completed – from start to finish! – in just a week, during the always-hectic 4th quarter.

Stay tuned for an in-depth case study on online pilot show testing, where we’ll reveal details about the client, the marketing issues at hand, the research methods used, and what was learned from the study. In the meantime, contact your FPG Pointe Person today to see how you can take advantage of online research methods.

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Tags: marketing research, online marketing research, New Developments In Marketing Research, online qualitative research, focus group, screening and recruitment, online panels, online recruitment, follow-up screening

Caring Matters: The Customer Service Experience

Posted on Tue, Dec 11, 2012 @ 12:04 PM

TouchScreen2Understanding the customers’ perspective is something we talk about a lot in marketing research, and for good reason: a person is behind each and every purchase, making that critical decision between you and a competitor.

Make no bones about it: customer care matters, especially in the marketing research industry. Successful customer service departments take a three-fold approach that involves consistently utilizing the same messaging, differentiating themselves from the competition, and truly empathizing with the customer.

Research proves that listening carefully to feedback, and making positive changes based on it, drives loyalty and ultimately increases sales. According to a poll by Harris Interactive, 55% of people are willing to recommend a company because of outstanding service, more so than based on the product itself or the price.

On the flip side, the same poll found that 86% of customers would stop doing business with a company entirely because of bad customer service (up 59% from 4 year prior).

The quick read of these statistics tells us that good service gains referrals, while bad service loses business. Marketing researchers can avoid these bad experiences by ensuring that, above all else, customers are listened to.

Ask Questions
Proactivity is imperative, and ensuring that your customers have the opportunity to report feedback needs to be a part of your sales cycle. This might mean sending a follow-up survey to clients, or making a feedback form available on your website.

Listen to Client-Facing Staff
Not all marketing researchers are on the front-line, interacting with customers day-to-day. Those that are have a unique perspective, and often hear instant feedback from those interactions. Make time each week to listen to what staff hears in the field.

Implement Solutions
Giving customers the avenue to submit feedback isn’t enough – action needs to be taken. If the feedback received from a variety of clients is similar, making a noticeable change will please existing customers and may help hook new ones.

Show Them They Matter
Small gestures go a long way, whether it’s a quick follow-up to find out how their most recent experience was or a loyalty-based discount. Statistics back up these claims: After a bad customer service experience, 63% would give the company another go if they received a follow-up apologizing for the original misstep and 52% would return for a discount.

With so many choices available today in the marketing research industry, the way a company handles customer service can make or break a project. Making changes based on the customer’s input is a worthwhile investment; keeping existing customers is cheaper and easier than it is to gain new ones.

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Tags: marketing research, customer experience, customer service, customer care

Building Effective Panels

Posted on Thu, Nov 08, 2012 @ 10:38 AM

describe the imageFPG’s Laura Livers wrote a piece in the newest Alert! Magazine about building an effective panel. Using qualitative respondents in quantitative research has an edge over panels built exclusively for quant work.

In it, Laura explains that, “Effective panels are built using varied techniques that verify and re-verify a respondent’s interest in marketing research, define expectations for participation, and clearly identify incentives. Study results can change considerably depending on the panel used because of the subtle differences in the way they’re built.”

So what are the differences in the way panels are built? Qualitative panels are built using sign up websites, targeted online advertisements, and varied recruitment methods. Quantitative panels, on the other hand, rely more on purchased sample and sample sharing.

Click here to read the full article >

Tags: quantitative panel, Alert! Magazine, qualitative panel, panel building, effective panels

“Real” People: Verification and Credibility in Online Panels

Posted on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 @ 11:20 AM
Contact:
Ileen Branderbit, Executive VP
ileen@focuspointeonline.com

Shane Abel, National Sales Director
sabel@focuspointeonline.com

With internet scamming and data integrity being at the top of most clients fears of online research, the nature of how a panel is built and enhanced over time matters. Our qualitative approach to online recruiting minimizes the risks associated with finding new panelists online.

Recruiting online can be scary; behind the safety of a computer screen, panelists can easily claim to be something they aren’t. Because the internet lets us communicate in a relatively new way, we’ve lost some of the learned non-verbal clues that come with face-to-face interaction. Avoiding eye-contact is a classic example of a fibber, but that clue is completely lost online.

Along the same lines, it’s important to note that spotting inconsistencies and little white lies is possible with online recruiting. Research has shown that individuals are most likely to be honest in communication that involves email because it leaves a trail, and they’re very likely to tell the truth regarding employment because of how easily their history can be found through web searches and networks like LinkedIn.

who are you

Because our panelists are mainly recruited for qualitative research, FPG’s panel has one of the highest rates of validation in the industry.  Unlike a majority of panelists at other panel companies, the panelists that make up FPG’s roster are verified by driver’s license during their in-person visits to our facilities.

Plus, in addition to the layer of in-person verification, FPG employs tactics in online recruiting that increase data validity to truly verify that a person is real. Here’s how a panelist recruited via the internet might enter FPG’s panel and participate in their first study.

FIRST TOUCH: Targeted Advertisements
FPG places targeted advertisements on search engines, websites, and social networks. Targeted means that we specify a unique panelist persona, such as a 20-something mother of a son under 2, and buy ad space that only displays for users that meet those criteria. Each venue allows us to target differently; LinkedIn gives the most robust options for business professionals, while Google lets us reach out to individuals actively searching for a product or service by name.

SECOND TOUCH: Specialized Landing Pages
Once the targeted individual clicks into the advertisement, they’re directed to a specialized landing page. The page they end up on continues the feel of the original advertisement instead of being a general recruitment page. When the young mother mentioned earlier clicks through from a targeted advertisement, she’ll land on a page with images that evoke feelings of family, and that gives more details about the available research.

THIRD TOUCH: Advanced Demographic Targeting 
After she’s joined the panel, FPG targets this new respondent based on the specific demographics she provided during sign up. That means that she won’t be invited to studies that do not pertain to her. Instead, her participation will be requested in research projects specific to the information she’s provided about herself and her family.

FOURTH TOUCH: Confirmation and Driver’s License Verification
When her profile matches an available study, the mother we mentioned might be invited to participate in-person for a focus group. Before the study, she'll receive a phone call from FPG's confirmation department that reviews the answers she gave in her online screener and assesses how articulate she is. After passing her confirmation, she'll go to a facility to participate in the group. When she arrives, FPG employees look at and check her driver’s license against her profile to ensure she is who she says she is. This verification is then entered into our database.

FIFTH TOUCH: On-Site Rescreening
After our staff validates her license, the panelist will be rescreened one last time at the facility. FPG's self-administered questionnaires are completed and signed by the panelist to elimate concerns that facility staff may bias respondent answers.

This qualitative verification of our panel enables better targeting and more data points, allowing us to use the panel more efficiently. This keeps costs down and enhances the panelists’ experience, ultimately driving higher participation rates. The process used by FPG to recruit new panelists lends credibility to the fact that our respondents are “real” people.

To find out more about Focus Pointe Global’s online capabilities, click the button below to speak with an FPG Pointe Person.

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Tags: recruitment, focus group respondents, online marketing research, verified recruits, opt-in panel, recruiting, qualitative research, recruiting respondents, online panels, online recruitment

Focus Pointe Global Panel Report: Political Attitudes

Posted on Tue, Oct 02, 2012 @ 10:56 AM

PanelReport GraphicAs part of Focus Pointe Global’s commitment to providing clients with additional value, we recently completed a survey on political issues and attitudes among our consumer panel members. Populated by more than 700,000 respondents from across the United States, the FPG Panel presents a perfect platform for online surveys as well as for a full range of qualitative research.

The data for the Political Attitudes survey is comprised of 699 completed surveys from 10,000 invitations sent to a random sample of the FPG Consumer Panel. The invitations were distributed proportionately across the cities where FPG has focus group facilities: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Teaneck, NJ.

The Survey
The questionnaire was emailed to a subset of the FPG Consumer Panel, with a proportional number of surveys being sent to respondents who live within a 30 mile radius of the nine major US cities listed above.

It must be noted that FPG did not set quotas that would allow for an exact representation of the population-at-large; rather, this poll represents the responses of a random subset of the FPG Panel, a brief overview of which is presented on the next page of this report.

The Questions
Panel members answered basic demographic questions regarding gender, age, residential zip code, employment status and if they were a registered voter. Subsequent questions asked where they get their news, party affiliation, and if they planned to vote in the upcoming election. Issue-based questions included the following:

  • Do you believe the economy is getting better, worse, or will stay the same for a year or more?
  • Is it the job of the the government to fix the economic situation?
  • What is your stand on abortion rights?
  • Which candidate is more likely to improve the overall situation in the country?

Additionally, we presented a text field where their biggest concern in the county today could be entered.

View the Results >>

 

 

Tags: marketing research, panel report, political issues, political attitudes

Recruiting Respondents Using Non-Probability Sampling

Posted on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 @ 08:50 AM

wordcloud samplignSelecting the right people for your marketing research project is imperative to its success. The responses garnered from participants can vary greatly depending on the inherent bias’s they bring to the group, like whether they already use a product or service or the kind of customer service they’ve received from a brand.

Marketing research providers work hard to ensure the sample they provide clients is collected using varied methods. Most providers use 2 overarching types of sampling: probability and non-probability.

In probability sampling, sometimes called random sampling, the respondents are selected using a method that says every individual in the pool has a chance of being selected in the final sample based on at least one characteristic.

Non-probability sampling, on the other hand, is when the likelihood of including the respondent in the final sample can’t be determined. Because many assumptions are made about the individuals to be researched at this stage, this kind of sampling is also called convenience sampling.

Generally, sampling that takes place on the Internet is of the non-probability variety. Simply because of the nature of the Internet, information about the relationship of recruited individuals to the research itself is initially limited. Adding security checks to non-probability sampling helps increase the amount of information gained from new recruits.

Non-Probability Sampling Methods

Opt-In Panels
Many research providers allow individuals to voluntarily opt-in to a marketing research panel via a website, like Focus Pointe’s respondent portal, focusgroup.com. The most thorough volunteer opt-in panels utilize best practices to validate the individual’s interest in marketing research.

Double Opt-In: Requiring 2 levels of validation ensures that the individual is real, live human being – not a robot or computer attempting to register as one.

No Registration Incentives: No offers (monetary or otherwise) should be made to incentivize the initial respondent sign up. Doing so takes the “volunteer” out of signing up.

River Sample
Using the river sample method allows marketing research panel providers to recruit respondents via varied instant capture methods. These individuals volunteer to participate in research via opting-in from one of the following recruitment techniques.

Banner Advertisements: Placing banner ads on popular websites and search engines allows panel providers to tap into the ever flowing “river” of people online. Because these ads are passive, individuals choose whether or not to click and therefore participate in marketing research.

Pop-Up Surveys: These types of research invitations are generally programmed to display for every nth visitor to a website. Utilizing a pop-up survey on a popular consumer shopping site, for example, can be an effective way to reach individuals that already interact with the brand.

Snowball Sample
Snowball sample methods allow marketing research panel providers to tap into their existing network by asking current members to reach out to friends and family that might be good potential research subjects. Referrals can be built-up using several methods.

Email Asks: Sending an email to a current group of respondents and asking for referrals allows providers to target an initial referral group, like those living in New York City, and then grow a list of potential recruits by inviting sign-ups from others in their peer group. 

Social Media Asks: Many businesses have built extensive social networks of clients and customers. Asking for individuals to participate and share research opportunities through these channels makes it possible for researchers to gain insights from extended, like-minded networks of people.

Non-probability sampling methods like the ones mentioned above make it possible for marketing research providers to continually build their panels. Utilizing various best practices ensures that recruited respondents are properly verified before they’re added to a research project.

To find out more about Focus Pointe Global’s sampling processes, click the button below to speak with an FPG Pointe Person.

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Tags: marketing research, online marketing research, verified recruits, opt-in panel, sampling, river sample, recruiting respondents, double opt-in, snowball sample

Recruitment Techniques to Guarantee Qualified Respondents

Posted on Thu, Sep 06, 2012 @ 10:17 AM

describe the imageRecruiting a marketing research project can make or break its success. With so much hinging on the responses of the people you include in your research study, it’s imperative to pay close attention to the recruiting process.

Setting the right tone early – preferably during your first touch with a respondent – helps you recruit highly qualified, articulate individuals. To improve your marketing research recruit from the get-go, incorporate these 3 elements to your process.

Know Your Respondents
Defining your ideal respondent is the first step to a successful recruit because it helps you and your panel provider accurately target the right people. Who do you want to learn from in your research study? Are they men, women, or both? Where do they shop, vacation, and relax? Do they have children? Are they web savvy?

With the who selects defined, it’s time to move into the where questions related to your respondents. Where do these people live? What city should I host my study? Would it be more or less successful online? Answers to these questions (and many more!) help define the feasibility for your marketing research project.

Realistic Rec­ruitment Timelines

Now that you know your respondents, it’s time to set a recruitment schedule. Because you’ve already set the definition for your ideal respondent, it’s tempting to limit the time your project is in the field – but this can be risky. Rushed turnaround times often lead to compromised results, namely under-qualified and inarticulate respondents.

What makes a realistic timeline varies from study to study and depends on the complexity of your targeted respondents. For a large, high incidence study, the recruit should be in the field at least 5 - 7 days. For more targeted studies, like those involving doctors or professionals, field time should be doubled. 

Streamlined Screeners

It’s no secret that respondent’s prefer shorter screeners. An effective screener lasts somewhere between 2 and 15 minutes – and rarely exceeds 20 minutes. Every minute over 20 runs the risk of losing the attention of your respondents, and worse, potentially turning them off to marketing research in general.

During the screening phase, it’s most important to ask questions that will make or break your recruit. What do you absolutely need to know about your respondents to recruit them? What specifically qualifies them to discuss your research project? Save the questions that you want to know the answers to for later; not only will respondents provide more in-depth responses in a marketing research setting, but they’ll also be more likely to participate in the future.

Every panel provider uses different recruitment techniques. At Focus Pointe, we use proven Check Pointe™ methodologies to ensure targeted respondents through in-depth screening and recruitment. This process guarantees that every single respondent is fully qualified and validated.

Schedule a consultation with a Focus Pointe Recruitment expert to learn more about our comprehensive array of qualifying Check Pointes ™.

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Tags: hispanic community focus group recruitment, recruitment, Improve Your Recruiting Process, difficult recruit, recruitment screener, recruiting, screening and recruitment, marketing research recruiting, focus group recruitment, tough recruit