The research industry is quite the paradox. We try to help clients understand how to navigate through changing landscapes, yet have a hard time navigating our own.
Industries continue to evolve to capitalize on ever-changing technologies and best practices suited for a more digitally-savvy consumer. Research, typically, helps organizations in their efforts to understand how to engage their customers at a better level, and how to provide a stronger value proposition for potential customers. However, the same thought process needs to be applied to the market research industry. We’ve been stagnant for too long when it comes to understanding how to get the most out of our customers—the respondents.
Think about the typical activities you do online or on your mobile device—what drives your choice in the websites you visit or the applications you use? More often than not, there is an intrinsic value proposition that you will receive something you enjoy in return for your time. Whether its information (news sites, social media) or guilty pleasures (game sites) they all engage us enough to visit.
We all sign an invisible engagement contract with every website we visit and every application we use. If the value proposition, or the engagement level, is high enough then we’ll continue to use it. All of the truly great sites/applications understand that the engagement contract can be broken at any time, so they need to keep evolving to cater to the needs of the customer.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have all revamped—several times over—the way they deliver information to us to provide better engagement to users. News sites like CBC and CNN continue to implement new features to test innovative ways of delivering content and extending engagement.
Can we honestly say the research industry is going to great lengths to provide respondents with a compelling engagement contract? It’s the job of data collection providers and researchers to work together and adjust methodologies to take advantage of the multiple verticals we have at our fingertips.
Let’s start giving respondents richer experiences rather than always providing 20-minute surveys with multiple grids. Research needs to adapt. Whether its ideas like mobile surveys or crowdsourcing, respondents deserve a more engaging experience.
Sure, respondents have opted in to do surveys, but how long will points/cash incentives last as a solid driver? What happens when we need to raise incentives to keep respondents happy, will researchers pay that extra cost?
I hope we can come together and do a better job on our end of the engagement contract and rise above the norms we’ve created.