Summer for Echo is off to a great start! Gone are the slow summer days where projects are put on hold until the fall. Clients are actively conducting research in preparation for upcoming launches and the ever-changing competitive landscape.
In this newsletter we’ve got a mix of articles for you, including an insider scoop on a recent Social Influencers project (how to reach the insta-rich-and-famous!), TURF analysis 101, and a thought piece on what is at the heart of great qual research. And, we’re unashamedly celebrating some great client feedback received by one of our Project Manager rockstars Tim Tauber.
Where We’ll Be If You’d Like to Connect:
- ESOMAR Congress: Sept. 8-11, Edinburgh
- Research & Results: Oct. 23 – 24, Munich
- TMRE: Nov. 5-7, Las Vegas
“I just wanted to share that your consumers today were FABULOUS, and I mean really stellar. I think it was the best recruit I’ve ever seen… and I’ve seen a lot of participants over the years.
Your 6 women came in cold to a large room filled with lots of clients and creative people …. all of whom had already had some form of prior acquaintance. They managed to not only not be intimidated by that dynamic, but stepped in and contributed fully.
They were truly a pleasure to meet and work with. I think they may have had some fun, too.
Today has set a very high bar for the 8 people we’ll see tomorrow…
Follow us on LinkedIn for updates throughout the year:
Being Influenced By the Influencers!
We recently worked on a project recruiting influencers, across categories, for a major social media platform – people with thousands to 1 million+ followers. Here is a Q & A with project lead Jay for the insider scoop on how it all went down:
Q: …. “Influencers” – what generally springs to mind?
A: Influencers have had such a big role in shaping trends and shaping culture over the past 5 years, so talking with them was extremely fascinating. Many of the influencers fell into it by doing what they love online and sharing it with their friends – ordinary, self-made people who’ve essentially built solid businesses around doing what they love!
Q: First thoughts/reaction when this project brief came across your desk
A: My first thought was how do we get on their radar- these people likely get loads of direct messages from their legions of fans. How can we ensure that our messages stand out and don’t get buried and lost in the mix? My next thought was this would likely require high incentive payments as it’s no secret that social media influencers get paid a lot of money for their time, endorsing products, promotional marketing, etc.
Q: How would you describe the core challenge in a nutshell?
A: Having them opt in to take part, and knowing that their time will come at a hefty price.
Q: What initial assumption(s) rang true, and did anything take you by surprise?
- True as expected – these people expect big moo-la and communicating about that upfront was crucial, and navigating it via a case-by-case basis with the client. Incentives ranged from $500-$2,200 for just one hour of their time.
- Unexpected – identifying influencers across categories is not as straightforward as it seems! There are a few tools online that help to identify influencers but most show major celebrities and mostly TV/movie stars and Professional Athletes. Since we were looking for influencers that aren’t necessarily household names in celebrity land- this made it much more challenging. It required a lot of desk research to find influencers who had enough followers and consistent activity on social media in addition to meeting other recruitment criteria.
Q: What was the key to success in your approach?
A: Working closely with the client to identify prospective influencers across categories using their back-end platform data and treating each recruit as a case-by-case basis to work around the screening and scheduling process, which was difficult in general given the influencer’s crazy schedules. Believe it or not some influencers asked to be paid just for taking the time to be screened! We couldn’t do that so we had to pass on the few that asked.
Q: Are you now following any influencers that you weren’t previously!?
A: Reggie Couz (sketch comedian), and Dan Whalan (“The Food in My Beard” blogger!) Be sure to check them out!
Reach out to us for a case study!
Choices, choices, choices. Having too many choices can be just as problematic as not having enough. Companies, as well as consumers are faced with choices every day. From a research point of view there are a few ways to navigate the maze of choices. One of the most common is a method known as total unduplicated reach and frequency, a.k.a. TURF analysis.
So just what is TURF analysis? Does it have to do with the kind of grass we plant in our football fields? In this case it has nothing to do with football, but it does have numerous uses in media as well as product and services research. This analytical model got its start in the early days of media planning, where planners sought to maximize their reach and frequency while minimizing overlap between media outlets. The goal being to select media outlets that allowed for the broadest reach, but did not duplicate audiences.
When is TURF applicable? If you are involved in estimating which media outlets will allow you to reach the broadest, unduplicated audience then TURF is for you. If you are in product development and trying to decide which options, e.g. ice cream flavors, will lead to the broadest interest then TURF is for you. In fact anytime you have a multiple response questions and you want to see which options capture the greatest mindshare then this technique should be in your tool kit.
Retailers only have so much shelf-space and their goal is to stock only the flavors which consumers desire the most. There may be 20 flavors available, but room for only 10. Which ten flavors should they stock? TURF can help to answer the question.
TURF analysis can be run on some survey platforms or by statistical programs such as SPSS or SAS. The procedure is iterative and requires the researcher to provide a desired number of variable combinations for review. The example below is a typical market basket question where respondents are asked to select the grocery and non-grocery items they shop for most frequently.
Categories Percent Selected
Seafood, meat and poultry 66.4%
Seafood, meat and poultry/canned products 80.2%
Seafood, meat and poultry/canned products/baby products 87.1%
The single product category (seafood, poultry and meat) reaches for over two-thirds of the respondents. Adding canned products produces a lift of over 13-points. Adding a third product produces another lift seven-points. Adding more products will increase the reach, but at a diminishing rate. If your product or media teams have a limited budget then adding more to the list defeats the purpose. A simple rule to follow might be select the number of combinations that captures at least 80% – 90% of the respondents.
Are there any other areas where TURF can be used? Yes, this technique is highly versatile and can be applied to numerous research questions. This author has applied TURF analysis along with Max-Diff (maximum difference scaling) in order to provide guidance to quick service restaurants on which new menu concepts to include. Also, this technique can be used to identify key messaging points. In another example, IT professionals were surveyed and asked why they attended professional development training. TURF can then be used to select the subset of reasons that have the broadest, unduplicated reach. These reasons can then be crafted into prioritized messaging points.
Key takeaways include: if you need to select a slate of products (or services, or messages, or media outlets) that reach the greatest number of unduplicated consumers then TURF analysis can help you get there. TURF analysis is a highly flexible technique that can be run for different segments or sub-groups further enhancing its applicability.
Qual Researcher Knowledge: Perspective on QRCA Conversation with Change Makers
I was at a dinner party last week and bonded with the person next to me over the fact that his partner is also a qualitative researcher. He thinks that researchers should have the most interesting dinner conversation (hopefully I lived up to the hype!). His reasoning is that quallies have so much random knowledge about a diverse array of topics, as we’ve chatted with many different people about many different things. A love of learning does seem to be at the crux of a qual mindset – but how much of that should happen in preparation for a research project, versus in the research itself?
Echo MR recently attended a great QRCA discussion with Valerie Graves, hosted by Tom Rich – Conversation with Change Makers: Adapting to the Flow of the Unknown. There were valuable recommendations for researchers to be as informed as possible, get creative with learning about other people and groups, and being aware of unconscious biases. It had us at Echo talking about the idea of ‘knowing enough’ as researchers more generally, and how there seems to be two sides to the coin. There’s absolutely value in the researcher knowing enough background about a category/industry/experience to have context and know the ‘right’ questions to ask… but there’s arguably also value in having a fresh set of curious eyes on a challenge – and the new perspectives and questions that come with that.
Ultimately though, regardless of how much you know or don’t know about a topic, the key focus remains the same: learning about someone else’s perspective, experience, and perceptions. Part of the challenge as a researcher is putting personal opinions, biases, ideas, and – to an extent, background knowledge – aside and truly listening to what’s being said. And what’s being not said. Doing that well comes down to making people feel comfortable enough to really tell and show you what’s going on. At the heart of great qual is genuine curiosity in people and their story… which may also make for interesting dinner conversation!