Greetings from Echo.
The first half of the year has been busier than we could have imagined and as we mark our one year anniversary we’ve hit some pretty big milestones. Our team has grown from three to thirteen and are actively hiring for two more positions. We’ve worked on hundreds of projects across as many different sectors.
For the next half of this year we’ve got some exciting things on the horizon and in this newsletter we’ll touch on a few of them.
Active Recruiting and What it Means to Us
One of the reasons we launched Echo was the belief that the normal means of recruiting participants (i.e. databases) is an outdated model that no longer serves us well. What we aim to do is find people where they live and breathe, online. If you think about it, it’s really a return to our roots when we, as an industry, intercepted people on the street or visited them in their homes. Recruiting from a database is a very passive way of doing completing the work and we know, it limits the people we can reach and has the potential to skew our results. There is no one way and that’s the point. Fortunately, we love it. We see our role as that of creative problem solvers and we love it. (Cue the theme to Rocky)
Even relying exclusively on social media advertising (like Facebook and Twitter) is a fairly passive approach and is one that has already been figured out by the professional respondents. For every project, we look at it with fresh eyes and customize the solution. This may involve cold calling, looking to meet-ups or reaching out to people creating reviews on Yelp or Google. With this, we are building the verification of the behavior we’re looking into our process.
Another piece of active recruiting is the language we use around describing the projects we recruit for. We aim to entice prospective participants by telling them why the experience is going to fun, interesting and potentially educational. We see it as our job to sell the project to the people our clients want to speak to. For the most part, we don’t want to talk to people who are going to be solely motivated by the $75 or $100 they’re going to receive; we want people to be engaged and excited about the project and it’s our job to get them to feel that way.
Interactive Recruiting Updates
Part of Echo’s success in recruiting comes from how we “meet” each participant. After finding them in their natural online environments, we engage them fully over the phone. This involves not only the rescreening script but finding out a bit about them, as a person. Our recruiters understand the importance of truly getting to know someone. And, when it comes to finding out who they are from a technical point of view, we also ask them for proof of identification, and a video describing a relevant topic. Without these, we can’t feel confident in introducing them to the clients and project.
We’ve now taken this to the next level and are pleased to offer “interactive recruiting updates.” It’s a closed online environment, similar to what you’d see for an asynchronous community. It houses all quota and profile information, all relevant documentation and videos for validation and gives the researcher an opportunity to interact with the participants prior to the research.
We hear so much about engagement and storytelling through video. There is no reason why those stories shouldn’t start at the initial point of contact. Additionally, it helps build a rapport between the participant, Echo and the researcher.
The art of recruiting is ever evolving and as we find new ways to source respondents and meet them where they live, we also begin to look beyond simply finding participants and towards how to best engage and retain them during research.
One of the key pieces of information that is often excluded from a recruitment briefing is the actual objective of the research. Sure, we know who we’re looking for, but we rarely know why. When explaining the research process to participants, helping them understand what might be asked of them is often critical in earning their trust and willingness to participate.
Sharing a discussion guide with your recruiting partner may seem like an unnecessary step, but in doing so, your recruiter is better equipped to find the right respondents and explain what’s asked of them to ensure continued participation.
Take, for example, the online community that began asking for a video of the respondent’s life, including their family. While this request isn’t uncommon, two different qualified participants felt uncomfortable enough sharing images of their children to decline participation. In asking for the discussion guide, we would have been able to screen respondents for their comfort level with this type of activity.
We’ve seen so many different types of projects and interfaced with both clients and participants who have hit different pain points in their experiences. This gives us a unique perspective to help our clients optimize their research flow for success. In the example above, we may have suggested that asking for a personal video as the very first activity can be a bit much for participants before they’re comfortable.
Keep in mind, when we’re asking for things that “a recruiter doesn’t need”, it’s because we’re here to be a strategic partner, and strategy requires information.
Since research participants are central to market research, I have always admired the fine folks who locate, screen and recruit participants for qualitative research projects. Having spent years both in front of and behind the glass in focus group facilities as well as countless hours crunching quantitative data, I am excited for the opportunity to strengthen my toolbox by becoming more active in recruiting and I am so excited to be doing it with Echo Qualitative!
My favorite part of working with the Echo Team has been getting the chance to learn new things from many different people and take on new challenges.
We’ll be attending IIeX in June and would love to see you there. Please reach out if you’d like to connect.