Ks group c david armstrong
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  • Firstly, tell me a bit about who you all are so I can try to make this session usefulHow many of you are publishers? Librarians? Suppliers – I presume mostly of library systems & software?And what kind of roles do you have – how many of you focus mainly onContent – e.g. editorial at a publisher, acquisitions at a libraryUsers – e.g. in customer service / support, or in a marketing capacityTechnology – e.g. developing tools and systemsWhat kind of customers do you deal with?Library users – students? Research faculty? The general public?Institutional customers? End-users?A real mix of people and contexts here! One final question for you all – can you raise your hand if you’ve personally been involved in running or steering a market research project in the last couple of years?If majority YES: Good to see so many of your organizations are recognizing the value of consumer insight – we often find a reluctance to engage with this type of researchIf majority NO: Not a surprising result - we often find a reluctance to engage with this type of research
  • So: Why bother with market research?I hope you’ve all come along to this session because you already recognize that it’s worth undertaking market research to better understand your customersBut I’ll start with an answer to this question in case anyone has yet to be convinced – or has come across these common objections.
  • We find ourselves in a climate of frustration and scepticism, with many of our customers – librarians and library users, readers, even authors - unconvinced of the value we add.They feel that we aren’t listening to them or hearing their frustrations.
  • Market research gives these customers a voice, which at the very least can help to improve our relationship with them - a relationship being a two-way thing in which they need to have a voice as well as us! It also ...
  • ... helps us understand them better – their behaviours, their expectations, their motivations –
  • which in turn helps to ensure our businesses remain successful,because we can develop products and strategies that make our customers happy again. 
  • So for me it’s a no-brainer – we should all be taking the time to research and understand our markets.But still lots of organizations don’t. The main reasons for this that we hear when speaking with publishers, societies and institutions are:Our in-house team already knows the field – they come from the same work background as our customersOur sales folk are regularly visiting our customers – they pick up any intelligence we needOutsourcing market research is too expensiveWe don’t have the skills to do it in-house   Let's consider those.
  • Firstly, are we really confident that knowledge within our team is up-to-date, and representative of all our audience segments?Are our sales teams really digging into and understanding user preferences, or are they actually more expert in purchasing behaviors?I think it's helpful at this point to note the difference between intelligence and research: market research is designed specifically to inform a particular project, whereas intelligence is an ongoing activity – both equally valuable, but you can’t build a new product based on a few bits and pieces of anecdotal information gathered from diverse and fragmented sources.So in many organisations there’s a false sense of knowledge– a combination of information that is out of date, biased, unrepresentative, anecdotal ..all being lauded as “we know our customers, we don’t need to do research.”
  • Meanwhile, I know that publishers and societies have limited resources for strategic market research -a 2012 Survey of 500 Market Research Professionals revealed that publishers’ market research budgets decreased by 4.1% in 2012 This was in part attributed to the impact of social media and the sort of DIY research solutions that I'm talking about today, But 1, outsourcing doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think – you can get valuable, actionable insights for less than the price of exhibiting at an event.And 2, you can do more yourselves than you thinkSo let’s move onto some practical guidancefor getting closer to customers and ensuring activities are focused on audience needs.MarketResearchCareershttp://www.prweb.com/releases/research_budgets/marketresearchcareers/prweb9288837.htmwhich a 2009 survey showed was on the increase (Rockhopper Research http://www.sourcingnotes.com/blog/in-sourcing-research-a-strategic-solution-or-cost-saving-activity)
  • So if you weren’t convinced before, hopefully I’ve got you fired up about getting to know your customers!Now we’ll look at a typical customer insight process and cover some of the ways we could go about gathering that feedback.
  • The first step in the process is to recognise where your organisation has research needs. What business challenges are people grappling with around you where research would help? You can then propose it to colleagues as one of the tools that will help them address such challenges. I think that's an important role that marketers need to play since those outside of the marketing function won't necessarily be able to see for themselves that part of their problem is a lack of research to answer the questions they find themselves asking.The remaining steps are ones we’ll look at in more depth now, starting with >> identifying and articulating the underlying problem that the research will address.
  • identifying and articulating the underlying problem that the research will address.
  • When identifying research problem, you should put yourself in your customers’ shoes as much as possible, and identify what’s of concern to them. For example, you might want to identify how your customers perceive your brandOr gauge your customers’ attitudes towards open access publishingOr find out how mobile computing is affecting they find and use informationOr how social media has changed how they connect and communicate with peersThe more specific your research problem, the more likely the results of the market research will help solve itIt can be surprisingly difficult to do well, as it’s much easier to be vague – e,g, “we need to understand the market in China”Stating a problem like that doesn’t identify what the core of the issue is, or what will be done with the insight you gatherResearch should help you make a tangible decision. So this problem could be stated as ‘Our product is under-used in China. How can we make it more accessible to this market?’Which leads me to the first of five essential tips for conducting customer insight research:
  • it's about the subject, not youIt’s very easy to get hung up on a product-centric inward-looking perspective, asking     what do customers think of our products     how do they use our product     how do our products compare to those of competitorsThere are times – such as brand research, user interface research – when obviously you ask them about your stuff.But generally, it’s important to try and take our own offering out of the equation, at least initially, and instead try to explore the customer’s habits, needs etc. from a product-neutral perspective:What tasks are they trying to do?What problems do they have?What do they value / want / prefer?Who or what influences their decisions?
  • When you’ve got your research question problem clearly stated, the next step is to identify the questions that need to be asked to help the decision or decisions get made
  • This is a way of breaking down a larger research problem into smaller chunks – what more specific questions do we keep asking ourselves?Each individual answer will reveal some insight, and together they will show you the bigger pictureOr to think back to the example I used earlier, where the research objective was “Our product is under-used in China. How can we make it more accessible to this market?”, your research questions might be “Which websites do Chinese users in our target audience use more frequently? What do they like about those sites?”
  • Once the problem has been identified and you’ve brainstormed the questions you are trying to answerYou will need to focus in further and set some objectives
  • Setting the research objectives clearly is important for two reasons: it keeps you, the researcher, focussed on the specific answers you need to deliver. And it gives you some parameters to point to if and when people around you try to expand the scope of the research.It’s useful to work out the research problem and questions first, because then these can inform the objectives. To continue to earlier example, an objective might be“To find out which website features are valued by users in China.”When you’re setting these, much as you would with any marketing objective, they should be:Specific – like the research problem, they should have a confidently-stated goalMeasurable – you should be able to see before, during and after the process that they are addressing the research problemAchievable – given the time and budget you have availableRealistic – make sure you’re not implying that five or six interviews with hand-picked members of your target audience is a representative sample Time-based – set a goal for when the each objective will be metWhen you’re setting your objectives, it helps to be clear on how the research outcomes will be used.
  • And that brings us to our second top tip: always keep the end result in mind.It's easy to be too general in your approach - trying to find out too much at once, and ending up with research that is too broad to be actionable, and just represents a giant haystack in which it's doubly hard to find any needles.So start by narrowing down the research problem. If you're carrying out the research at the behest of colleagues, don't just take a vague brief from them. Help them dig deeper into the objective.Speaking of colleagues, try and involve from the outset those who are going to be stakeholders when it comes to applying your results – particularly those that might be skeptical about the results or how they are applied. Ask them up front what they might expect the answers to be, so that you can be clear, in the final analysis, which findings are unexpected and can therefore be given greater prominence in your recommendations.Once you've defined the problem, work back from the answer you need to boil down very specifically what it is you are trying to find out and express this as research objectives. So if the problem was "I want to know how to change our website", your objectives might be "(1) Identify areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with our current website; and (2) Prioritize areas of dissatisfaction according to degree of negative impact on usage."Spending the time clarifying these objectives at the outset ensures that all your internal stakeholders are agreed on what the project is trying to achieve – and what is out of scope. This becomes useful later on, when people start wanting you to sneak in irrelevant questions “just while you are doing a survey”It will also help you design and analyse the research appropriately – which we'll come on to - and to assess the success of the research – whether it answers key strategic questions – which will help you justify the value of the project.
  • As with any market research project there are a number of techniques available to you when you’re looking to obtain customer insightsYou need to think through which customers you’ll be approaching and start thinking about the most appropriate research tools to reach them and what will make them want to participate.
  • There are two basic types of research technique: exploratory and confirmatory. It’s important to separate the two as you they will give you different results: exploratory research such as interviews, user observation, focus groups can help you generate insight and explore depth, while confirmatory techniques (surveys and so on) help you get precision and breadth. You'll typically need a combination of both. You can't try to force one means to the other's end - so don't try and get insight from a survey, and don't try to extrapolate from one teleinterview.This isn’t exhaustive – there are several other survey methods, from paper-based in-person surveys to brain activity analysis – but I’m focussing on those that it is realistic for a publisher or society of any size to undertake in house
  • And now for our third tip – make sure you’re using the right method to tackle the problem at hand.This is where you choose which (combination of) techniques you use – remembering that exploratory approaches will help you get depth, and and confirmatory approaches will give you breadth. Think, for example, about whether your research objectives are about wanting to know “how many of our customers do X”, or whether they are focussed on “why do our customers do X”. Don’t get hung up on a particular technique – don’t say “we’re going to do a survey”. Say “we’re going to do some research” and then only at this point think about which technique will best help you address your objectives.
  • The exploratory techniques enable you to get deep into the topic – probing, testing, and following unanticipated directions shaped by what you find out.We’ll typically start with some secondary research – also known as desk research. That means Googling for existing studies - by governments, by analysts, by trade associations, by academic research centres etc.., We’ll also look through ouremail archives – including mailing lists – and web bookmarks to see what useful discussions we’ve flagged up in the past. If you’re not in the habit of keeping up with marketing blogs and mailing lists for your subject, it’s well worth getting into.Secondary research also means looking through internal repositories (by which I mean the magazines and printed reports we have in the office) for relevant articles, links, following up the references in them, and asking questions in online communities. Also tapping into the latent knowledge of colleagues, partners and customers - for example, talking to international sales agents about their region, or calling up a friendly librarian for a quick chat.
  • Some tips to help you get the most out of your desk research:Secondary research allows you to gather a lot of information quickly and at minimal expenseIt’s a good idea to start with this as it can provide a good framework for some of the questions you ask of your customersAs I mentioned, asking colleagues is good practice – both in terms of initial thoughts on a topic, but also on your interpretation of any data you uncover in your research if you have any doubts!Don’t take everything at face value; look at numbers from different sources and how they’re presentedTake note of the methodology and sample size – “95% of our customers agree” seems like a powerful statistic until you note the sample size was only 20 people..!As you conduct your secondary research, you should be jotting down any key takeaways. These will help shape the next stage in your data gathering – your initial primary research.
  • By the time you’ve completed your desk research, you should have a bit of a handle on the topic.At this point, we’d normally undertake a few quick interviews (usually on the phone but sometimes face to face)This is a chance to ask questions that are more specific to the field we’re researching, to build on or clarify what you’ve learned from secondary research, to identify threads that we’d like to pull further. The topic you’re researching will suggest the type of person you might want to interview. For example, if you’re looking into journal usage habits, a combination of librarians and researchers might offer the best insight.On the other hand, if you’re discussing a topic like mobile access to, say, healthcare information on the ward, doctors and nurses from your customer base would likely be best placed to provide the information you need.These can be conducted at almost no cost, if you’re conducting them personally – and at a modest price if you’re looking to work with a teleinterviewer, which might be the best option if you’re looking for insights from overseas customers who might be more comfortable conversing in their first language.
  • Regardless of how you’re interviewing them, there are some key points that will help you get the most out of your interviewee:A discussion guide will help you keep the questions consistent from one interview to the next, and will ensure you cover all the points you’re looking for input onEmphasizing open questions gives your interviewees an opportunity to voice their opinions and explore topics in more depth, giving their contributions more value.And when you’re putting your questions together, avoid using terms that direct the interviewee towards a particular conclusion. You want to get their insights, rather than what you expect them to say.Don’t expect to get fully-formed solutions from an interview. You want to find out about the problems they have in as much detail as possible, so that you can address them in your strategy.Interviews can also be a great source of when it comes time to report your findings. They can help reinforce a point so that it’s clear that your customers do have these needs when you’re making the case for acting on your findings.
  • For some projects, you might want to observe some users to get a first-hand, unfiltered understanding of how people work, or how they use resources etc..There are two types of user observation. With a non-intrusive approach, an observer will watch someone work but not directly interact with them.Guided user observation usually involves asking someone to perform a list of tasks.This can be done in a workplace setting or you might want to make use of a market research firm, as they might have special facilities that enable you to conduct thorough user observation – things like eye-tracking software to see where people are looking at on a screen, for example. Depending on the number of users you want to observe, this can have a relatively high cost per head but can provide insight beyond what you might be able to get through other methods.User observation is invaluable in usability testing - cases where you have a specific product like an app or tool that individuals will be using. During development you might think you’ve anticipated your users’ every need and laid out the resources in a logical way, but you might find out that your users can’t get to grips with it when you sit them down in front of it.User observation also useful if you have a number of different designs or layouts for a product – whether that’s a website, journal or textbook. Can they find what they’re looking for? Do they get frustrated trying to get to it?
  • Depending on your topic, non-intrusive observation might be the best choice – for example you might want to see someone work through a process and observe what they refer to and when, without prompting them to complete certain tasks.On the other hand, for guided user observation you might ask them to do particular things – e.g. conduct a search, download information, complete a transaction on a website. Having a consistent task list across all users allows you to compare and contrast experiences.During user observation, particularly sessions where you’re asking them to test a new product or tool, you will probably hear something along the lines of “I think most people would find this difficult”, or “this looks complicated, but I guess most specialists in my area would know what to do”. It’s common for users to speak for someone else, and for them to try and soften any negativity to avoid offense. You should look out for these occurrences and steer people back on track – e.g. if they say “my mother might find this difficult”, you could then ask “but you find it easy?” – you want to know THEIR opinion, and not how they think someone without their knowledge or skill might cope.If a user is struggling with a task or expresses a dislike for something, don’t be afraid to dig deeper.If a user says “I’m finding this difficult”, ask if there’s a particular aspect of the task that they’re struggling with. And as with focus groups, don’t expect users to be able to provide solutions. Keep them focused on exploring the problem they’re experiencing – and take those insights back with you to help develop solutions.If you don’t want to lead the testing yourself, having a guide can be useful.Someone who isn’t connected with the product or your company, and who has the experience to draw answers out of your users. If users know your guide is neutral, they may be more honest with their answers.– and will often be able to provide a guide to walk people through the testing process.
  • Alternatively, or in addition, you might want to run a focus group – either in person or online – to see how different users compare, and how when you get them in a room together their ideas and opinions evolve as they spark off one another.Depending on the type of insight you want to gather, you might want to recruit different respondents for a focus group. For feedback on your products, everyday users or ‘VIP’s from your user community might be best placed to provide the insights you needWhereas if you’re looking at product development, recruiting opinion leaders – people who are ahead of the curve and are in a position to influence other users – is a good way to anticipate emerging needs.In this context, it’s also possible to use non-traditional methods such as ‘gamestorming’ to draw out insights that might otherwise not be expressed.Gamestorming is a technique that helps shake people out of rigid ways of thinking and encourages more creative ways of discussing and teasing out insights.Focus groups are probably the tool that most often come to mind when people think of customer research. You might look to reimburse participants for their travel costs, if applicable, and provide them with a small stipend for offering their views. Beyond that, the costs will mostly be in time – depending on how far-flung your participants are, it can take a while to organise a group beforehand and transcribe the results afterwards.
  • Having a discussion guide is a good way to keep things on track……and to ensure your group members have a chance to review this before the start so they know the ground you’re expecting to cover.Having visual aids on hand – e.g. a PowerPoint presentation or examples of products you’re asking them to explore – can also keep participants’ minds on the topic at handIt’s also a good idea to watch out for a smaller number of participants dominating the discussion and ensuring that everyone gets their say. Moderating also means keeping a careful eye on the discussion guide and helping move the discussion along if it starts to get side-tracked.With that in mind, focus groups should be kept at a manageable size – around 6-8 participants is a good target. Larger groups make it less likely that everyone will get a chance to speak their mind, and Focus groups really aren’t the place to run questionnaires. Remember that, at this stage, you’re not looking for actionable data.If you want to survey your participants and analyse their answers, do so as far ahead of the focus group as possibleThis will allow you to tailor the ground you cover in the focus group itself without cutting into time that is better used gaining insight and opinions from your attendees.Reporting back to participants after the focus group can be useful in that it shows you value their contribution, and allows them to feed back on any interim conclusions you’ve drawn from their comments – they might be able to clarify points or offer additional details that will help shed even more light on the topics under discussion.All of this will help shape a sense of the specific questions around the topic that you want answers to, and will help pin down the precise scope of what you’re trying to achieve.This is important before broadening out the research for the confirmatory stage – otherwise you’re inviting a deluge of information from which it will be harder to discern the real insights you’re seeking.
  • So at this point, you’ve identified a topic, and your exploratory research has granted you some insights. You may not want to, or need to, use all of these primary methods when you’re conducting your own research, but you have your hypotheses. Now it’s time for some confirmatory research.This will ensure the hypotheses that were developed in the qualitative, exploratory stage aren’t biased or unrepresentative.Typically this will involve an online survey to broaden and check and confirm your findings by seeking input from a much wider cohort.Your cohorts might already have suggested themselves through the earlier stages of your researchYou may want to tailor your survey to a particular group using slightly different questions – for example, one for librarians and one aimed at end-usersAt this stage you might decide that you need some additional, more specific desk research to find contextual facts and figures against which to test your results – as well as analysing available usage data, website analytics and so on, as appropriate.So you might find at this point that the data are throwing spanners in the works, leading you to identify new avenues of enquiry, and requiring more exploratory work.
  • When you’re putting together a survey, you need to avoid ‘bloat’. It’s tempting to shoehorn in ‘just one more question’ but this can often spiral out of control and what starts a s a clear, short 5-question survey becomes a 20-question monster.According to online survey firm Survey Monkey, there’s a typical drop-off between those who start the survey and those who finish it of around 2% of respondents when a survey is 5 questions or less. At 10 questions, the rate is just over 3%; at 15 questions, it’s around 5%.Also think about how much information you need. People are more open when their answers aren’t personally attributable, but at the same time you’ll need enough so that you can segment your answers. A good starting point when, for example, surveying scientists is level of career and type of employer, e.g. early-career researcher working at a pharmaceutical company. Think about how you need to divide your analysis.When you’re putting a survey together, you’ll often be presented with a choice of posing questions as a rating system – where people score something on a predetermined scale, usually from “Very important” to “Not at all important”, or similar – or ranking, where respondents have a list of items and are asked to order them in terms of preferenceThe downside of the latter is that it might indicate that your respondent prefers, say, rigour of peer review over speed of publication. But it doesn’t tell you by how much.Rankings give you a much clearer view of this, and allow for a greater level of statistical analysis.Incentives can be a really powerful motivating factor, especially in getting respondents to complete surveys early.They acknowledge that your respondents' time is valuable to them, and that their input is valuable to you.It doesn’t have to be expensive – we’ve found that offering a $10 Amazon voucher to the first 100 respondents to a survey really does drive up completion rates.And finally, be aware that your cohort might not be representative, especially when you’re comparing groups of respondents. You can’t expect a meaningful comparison between the aggregate responses of 1,000 customers in your home territory versus 25 respondents from China, for example.http://blog.surveymonkey.com/blog/2010/12/08/survey_questions_and_completion_rates/?replytocom=203
  • So we’ve looked at a number of different research techniques. The basic process is the exploratory research: secondary desk research, interviews, user observation, and focus groups as appropriateAnd then confirmatory research via surveys.So you start off using the exploratory research to identify the key issues within the topic, and then confirmatory research to test your hypotheses against a broader spectrum of your customer base
  • And it’s time for our fourth top tip - whenever you’re designing questions to ask your customers, don’t rush to ask them everything under the sun!Keep questions to a minimum (you’re there to listen not talk!) For example, don't have more than 10 questions that you are trying to cover in a focus group. Again, be specific: don't ask "why do you use journal X's website" (leads to Giant Haystacks again) ask "last time you used the website, what action did it then enable or lead you to take?") Think carefully about the order in which you ask your questions - make sure there’s a flow – that you are helping them along a line of thought – rather than jumping around too much. Open up your respondents bit by bit so that they have the right context in mind as they answer each question – though do be careful not to lead them too specifically down one avenue of thought. By the same token, think about how you ask each question and be careful to avoid imposing your own opinion, particularly if you are offering multiple choice answer options.Have someone check through it to make sure your questions are clearly articulated, unambiguous, and that the answer options cover all potential responses. You might even want to run the survey through with a pilot group to discover any hidden issues that could frustrate potential respondents or even make your findings invalid.Be realistic - Both generally: for example, don’t ask your customers for solutions (they can tell you their problems, and their ideas – but you will need to put a bit more effort in to convert that to a solution) – and in relation to your chosen technique: don’t try and squeeze precision out of a focus group, or insight out of a survey.
  • Consider early on the best way of approaching your participants – email, web ads, social media, even direct mail / mailing inserts - and ensure that you have scheduled sufficient time for communications to be copywritten, approved, designed and configured (loaded / posted / printed & mailed)     Do use incentives -– but use them appropriately. Market research purists frown upon using your own product as an incentive for completing research, recommending instead that rewards should be truly beneficial to the customer and not just a sneaky way to get them using your product.Set a short time frame for answering a survey – so people will get on and do it now, or not at all. But don't actually close it (which annoys people if they do come to answer it outside of that time frame). Just take the results at the point when you consider the survey closed, and analyse from there.When it comes to recruiting participants, don’t get too hung up on sampling. It’s too easy to let the complexities of this put you off. It’s better to get some data than none.That said: do at least try to think, simplistically, about how bias might creep into your results, and work to mitigate that - for example, by balancing participation in focus groups across different demographics, and by monitoring survey respondent demographics and encouraging wider participation or normalising your analysis if necessary. 
  • Depending on the research method, and the size of the sample, you might be using software to undertake the analysis – or you might be doing it yourself – or a combination. Before you just wade in and start grappling with masses of data, go back to the key questions you are trying to answer. Context is KEY - statistics by themselves need to be interpreted in the context of the original research objectives - hence the importance of articulating those clearly, up front - and in the context of your wider knowledge, so you can recognise findings that are particularly significant or unexpected, and make intelligent recommendations about how they should be applied.I recommend writing yourself a plan of how you are going to use the data to answer your research questions. With surveys, you might need to bring different answers together and cross-analyse or filter them to get extra insight. This can be time-consuming so be really clear what you are trying to find out from cross-analysis – how it will add value to your findings and precisely what data you will need to compare with what – before you go down this road.Don’t get hung up on statistical analysis techniques – decent survey software, combined with basic math skills, common sense and a fair wind should help you get an adequate understanding of the research findings. Just be careful (a) not to generalize too much from a small sample(b) not to try and bend answers to fit pre-existing expectations(c) not to overstate the validity or reliability of your results
  • Think about who you have to report back to and what their context is. Select highlights from the research to inform and influence people - don't just send a massive general report around for people to read - they won’t, and all your hard work will go to waste.Schedule a meeting, perhaps with different groups of stakeholders if they're likely to have sufficiently different questions and perspectives, and deliver the results in a short presentation (half hour max for the presentation itself). Give people an executive summary in writing - what the research was designed to do, its main findings and recommendations - and make this and the presentation the main communication format for your findings. 
  • Here’s a sample slide from a presentation of research findings.It’s more powerful if you minimize the amount of data you show, and tell a story with it – not “what did the research find” but “what does that tell us”.Don’t go through it question by question - “and then we asked X, and they said Y” but “when you look at questions A and B together, it’s interesting to note C”Focus on takeaway points and recommendations. You can make all the data available later to anyone who's really eager to digest it themselves, but typically I find that "showing your working" and giving all that detail can obfuscate the message that you're trying to convey. On that note, don’t assume people will have the time, skills etc. to see what seems obvious to you. Make sure that you help them bridge the gap between information (the research results), and insight (the recommendations for how the findings should be used). Include recommendations as you go along, and summarize them at the end, at which point you should also remind people of the questions you started out with, and either recap the answers you’ve now got, or note the additional research that is going to be necessary to conclusively answer those questions. Leave people with a clear indication of what you've found out, and what the next steps are (yours and theirs). Be prepared for questions!
  • So we’ve covered the process and the tools you can useI’ll just recap some of the key points to bring us to a close
  • Hopefully you’ll take away an understanding of how this type of market research can create a better relationship with our customers and provide products that are truly tailored to how they work, strengthening our businesses at the same time.And also that there are limitations to our own organizational knowledge that we don’t necessarily recognizeAnd that there are realistic ways to go about gathering consumer insights that will demonstrate real benefit.
  • First of all, let’s recap the process.The fundamental step is to acknowledge that there are some things that only your customers can tell you – and that some segments of your customer base might be better placed to provide that information.Second is drawing a bead on what the research problem is, and being as specific as possible.Then you need to start thinking about the smaller questions around that central issue. It will help you break the problem into smaller chunks, each of which might need their own mix of research tools to answer.Then you take the questions and what you expect to do with the answers, and shape them into a series of objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based.Once your objectives are defined, carefully consider the available research techniques you’ll need to use in order to answer them.Then you’re onto the research itself – gather your data from the appropriate sources and customer segments, using the appropriate exploratory and confirmatory messages. Write your questions carefully and gather insights. Finally, when you’ve got your hands on all the relevant the data – sift and interpret. Make sure to keep the context of the research project in mind as you do so, and keep the reporting to the point and use the data to tell a story.
  • By gathering customer insights you can help improve your products or servicesWhether that’s through changes to functionality, presentation, or messaging to help them appeal to specific audiencesOr launching a new initiative to address those needsThis insight can also help identify any communication gaps you have with your customers, as we saw in the second case studyMaking sure decision makers and users have all the information they need to get the most out of what you offerAnd want to keep working with you in the futureAt the center of it all is happier, more empowered customers.
  • And those top five customer insight research tips again:Where possible, you want to focus on the customer and not specifically on your product or serviceWhen you’re designing your research you should always keep in mind what it’s going to informAnd keep focused about how much you can do with the resources available to you – and that you can act on it when it’s completedDon’t let yourself get drawn off topic or try and do too much with what you have availableAnd finally, when presenting your findings, go for quality over quantity. Focus on the actions that your findings support, keep it snappy, and don’t expect your colleagues to have the time or inclination to sift through the data themselves. But be prepared for questions!And speaking of which….
  • Thank you!

Ks group c david armstrong Ks group c david armstrong Presentation Transcript

  • DIY Market Research Tips and techniques for simple yet effective market research David Armstrong Senior Marketing Manager, TBI Communications Ltd
  • About you…  What’s your organisation?  What’s your focus?  Who are your customers?  Have you conducted any market research in the last two years?
  • It just tells us stuff we already know It can never be really representative People just tell you what they think you want to hear Why bother with market research?
  • Our customers aren’t happy. They don’t recognize the value we add. Why bother with market research?
  •  A: Because we need to win (back) our customers Why bother with market research?
  • A: …by trying to understand their behaviour and expectations… Why bother with market research?
  • A: …and letting this shape our strategic direction Why bother with market research?
  • We don’t have the budget We don’t have the skills What’s stopping us? Our team already knows our field Our sales team bring back insights
  • Our team already knows our field Our sales team bring back insights What’s stopping us? No, they don’t
  • What’s stopping us? We don’t have the budget We don’t have the skills Yes, you do
  • DIY market research – process and techniques
  • 1. Recognise the need for research 2. Define the overall problem 3. Brainstorm the questions 4. Shape into objectives 5. Choose the methods 6. Gather your data 7. Analyse, interpret, and report The process
  • 1. Recognise the need for research 2. Define the overall problem 3. Brainstorm the questions 4. Shape into objectives 5. Choose the methods 6. Gather your data 7. Analyse, interpret, and report The process
  •  Perceptions  Mobile  Social media Define the research problem
  •  Ask them about their stuff, not your stuff  Tasks  Problems  Values  Influencing factors Tip 1: Avoid narcissism
  • 1. Recognise the need for research 2. Define the overall problem 3. Brainstorm the questions 4. Shape into objectives 5. Choose the methods 6. Gather your data 7. Analyse, interpret, and report The process
  • Brainstorm research questions  Individual insights  Large problem: people don’t use our website  Small questions: Which websites do they use? Why do they choose those websites over ours? Which features do they particularly value? Which features should we add?
  • 1. Recognise the need for research 2. Define the overall problem 3. Brainstorm the questions 4. Shape into objectives 5. Choose the methods 6. Gather your data 7. Analyse, interpret, and report The process
  • Shape into objectives  Be SMART  Specific  Measurable  Achievable  Realistic  Time-based
  • Imagecredit:World’sWorstRecordsblog Tip 2: Look forward  Don’t make a rod for your back  Narrow down the problem you’re investigating (Avoid giant haystacks)  Set clear objectives
  • 1. Recognise the need for research 2. Define the overall problem 3. Brainstorm the questions 4. Shape into objectives 5. Choose the methods 6. Gather your data 7. Analyse, interpret, and report The process
  • Choosing methods EXPLORATORY | CONFIRMATORY
  • Tip 3: Use the right tool for the job DEPTH | BREADTH
  • Secondary research  Search:  the web  email archive  bookmarks  Internal repositories  Ask:  online groups  colleagues  partners  customers
  • Tips for success  Ask for colleagues’ opinions  Don’t take numbers at face value – be skeptical  Compare numbers from different sources  Look at methodology used  Draw insights as you go along
  • Interviews  Face to face  Telephone  Skype
  • Tips for success  Put together a discussion guide  Focus on open questions  Avoid leading the interviewee  Don’t ask for solutions – ask about problems  Use quotes in reports
  • User observation  Unfiltered  What people actually do  Non-intrusive versus guided experience  Technological aspects
  • Tips for success  Choose the right approach  Encourage users to speak plainly  Ask ‘why?’  Don’t ask for solutions – ask about problems  Recruit a guide
  • Focus groups  User groups / VIPs  Opinion leaders  Gamestorming
  • Tips for success  Use a discussion guide and visual aids  Moderate discussions  Keep groups manageable  Don’t distribute and analyse questionnaires  Report back to participants
  • Surveys and other data sources  Confirmatory research  Test hypotheses  Selecting a cohort
  • Tips for success  Keep questions short, simple and specific  Think about what demographic data you need  Prefer ratings over rankings  Consider offering an incentive  Be aware of the limits of your sample
  • Research techniques
  •  Less is more  Make sure they flow  Get someone else to check them over  Be realistic about what research can tell you! Image credit: DibbleDabbles.com Tip 4: Take time over your questions
  • 1. Recognise the need for research 2. Define the overall problem 3. Brainstorm the questions 4. Shape into objectives 5. Choose the methods 6. Gather your data 7. Analyse, interpret, and report The process
  • Collecting the data  Plan communications early  Use incentives appropriately  Set a time frame for responses  Sampling and bias
  • 1. Recognise the need for research 2. Define the overall problem 3. Brainstorm the questions 4. Shape into objectives 5. Choose the methods 6. Gather your data 7. Analyse, interpret, and report The process
  • Analysing the data  Ensure you apply context  Have a plan before you start  Statistical analysis – do you need it?
  • Reporting your findings  Select highlights  Think about your stakeholders  Keep it short, keep it focused, keep it useful
  • Does your institution have … Mobile not well supported strategically Recommend: • Research to understand why • Advocacy to support operational staff Tip 5: Keep reports short and focused
  • Summing up
  • Why use market research?  It provides a voice for our customers  It helps us understand behaviour and expectations  It helps inform our strategy  We don’t know as much as we think we do  It’s not as difficult (or expensive) as you think
  • 1. Recognise the need for research 2. Define the overall problem 3. Brainstorm the questions 4. Shape into objectives 5. Choose the methods 6. Gather your data 7. Analyse, interpret, and report The process
  • Potential gains  Improved products or services  More locally-relevant positioning  Better communication  Higher retention rates  Happier customers
  •  Avoid narcissism  Look ahead to how the research will be used  Be realistic about what it can achieve  Stay focused  Keep the reporting short and to the point Top 5 tips
  • questions?
  • Keep in touch: • Website: www.tbicommunications.com • Blog: www.tbicommunications.com/touchpaper • Email: david.armstrong@tbicommunications.com • Twitter: @davemarmstrong