Working in the market research technology industry for over a decade, I have seen many changes in the methodologies used and how customers leverage available technologies to gather the insights needed to make their research decisions.
I’ve had the privilege to be part of the early stages of webcam focus group adoption and there were many findings and developments along the way, from both a customer and a technology perspective. Everything was new and people were keen to help us pave the way as we embraced the changes that came along with exploring and executing in this new digital world of market research.
The benefits of reaching people in untapped and/or hard to reach markets, interviewing people from around the globe in a matter of hours (not weeks), being able to hold a focus group that consisted of people from multiple geographic locations to get their thoughts and ideas together in the same ‘room’ – all without the need to travel – was (and still is) fascinating!
But with any emerging technology, there were, of course, some questions. One of which was, “How will I be able to transition my in-person research guide to this virtual environment?”It must be impossible to do the different exercises that researchers use in-person in an online meeting room, right? Not quite…
One of the biggest misconceptions with webcam focus group platforms is that it can only allow for virtual ‘face to face’ meetings, which are amazing and sometimes all that is needed – don’t get me wrong, but tools like InterVu are far more powerful than that. You can virtually (pun intended) replicate most in-person research exercises online, but it takes a robust platform and an experienced partner to accomplish some of the more intricate ones successfully. Our customers are pleasantly surprised when working with us and realize that with a real-time online platform like InterVu, their various research needs can still be accommodated in a very engaging manner.
You can have simple one-on-one or focus group interviews, have your participants interact with and mark-up different types of stimuli, watch real-time while your participants navigate through a website, conduct in-depth exercises like story building – and everything in-between! For example, one of the most frequently used exercises, which can be used for many different research designs, is the “Drag and Drop” exercise. In a traditional in-person setting, you typically provide participants with words or images on individual pieces of paper and they will put them into piles or buckets on the table.
This can be replicated in InterVu by using pre-loaded words, phrases or symbols that the participant can “drag” around the screen and “drop” on the stimuli material to create the virtual piles. Also, unlike in an in-person setting, these exercises are saved and available for later review as individual files, exactly how the participant completed them during the live meeting.
Another great example, especially if you want to add a quantitative element to your study, is the use of Polling. You can have participants answer multiple-choice, multi-select, and even open-ended polling questions at any time during your meeting. You can combine questions with other pieces of stimuli on screen, like in the example below, or have standalone questions to help guide the conversation throughout.
This approach allows the participants to voice their opinions in an uninfluenced manner, as they cannot see what the other participants voted for specifically, but can see the group breakdown when/if you decide to display it to them to have a group discussion.
Take a look at some more of the common exercises that our customers are using with InterVu here and reach out to us to discuss how we can work together to meet your virtual research needs!