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2014 the year of engagement

by Amber Bartlett.

A few weeks ago many of us sat down and created resolutions, and consequently have probably already broken a few of them.  Personally, I was ill-prepared to set any this year, it seemed too daunting a task with the ice storm and Christmas keeping me distracted.  But that’s OK, I’m sure I would have broken them by now anyways (maybe next year I’ll resolve to have more willpower).

With all that being said, I like the idea of setting a few goals for the year from a business standpoint.  Goals, which involve jazzing up survey design and engaging respondents further.  In 2007 I declared it the Year of Amber (seriously I did, and great things happened that year) this year I’d like to declare it the Year of Engagement (I don’t think it’s fair to hog every year, but I’m calling dibs on 2015).

So how do we make it the Year of Engagement?  How do we get our panellists to become more engaged, and stay engaged?  Well, I’ve seen some cool approaches I’d like to share to get the wheels spinning a bit and to get researchers thinking. A few of them include: real-time mobile solutions, conjoint shelf designs and video responses.

Real-time mobile solutions are being used more frequently these days by researchers and end clients who are looking to see how people are shopping and what is grabbing their attention. From the respondent side this is engaging because its task oriented and unique when lined up with the standard survey designs.  These studies are often pairing this with pre and post surveys (for more in-depth information) to get a feel for what’s driving purchase behaviour.  The great thing about the real-time piece is that it’s capturing the real environment and the drivers or issues in the environment that impact the buyer’s choices. This allows for insights that might not be memorable or obvious to the participant to be captured where they might be overlooked in a reflective type survey.

In the same vein, the conjoint shelf pieces I find interesting and engaging to respondents because they simulate a shopping experience. People love to shop online and finding a way to do this creatively and realistically (even if it’s simulating a store design) breaks up the survey experience and keeps the respondent engaged.  On the research-side of the spectrum it’s allowing the researcher to get greater results than a simple single select or multi-select question. The simulations, results and reporting from a conjoint exercise often provide the greater insights that are needed and are demanded by the end clients to put your research over the top.

The last thing that’s recently popped up on my radar is adding in a video portion.  This might only be one or two questions but some respondents are really taking a liking to this.  It’s creative and engaging and lets people rant or rave. It ties in with the mobile piece too and can even capture a video piece while in-store.  In most cases I would never recommend you take a quantitative study and force a video piece but where we have added it in as a bonus or add-on and made it completely volunteer we’ve seen uptake and some interesting opinions.  It’s also a really affordable add-on to win over the shareholders when presenting the results.  Nothing says wow the same way as a few real respondents in a video talking about how great your product or concept is.

Ultimately, these are just a few ideas and trends I’m seeing in the industry.  I’m excited to see what else develops this year and how people are trying to reenergize the industry.  I love the unique and cool new approaches so keep them coming and don’t hesitate to consult with us about new ideas. That’s the stuff that keeps it interesting, keeps us on our toes and keeps the panellists interested and engaged.  Here’s to the Year of Engagement!