Category: Market Research

An Anthropologist’s Guide to Ethnographic Observation

Photo by Jordan Madrid on Unsplash

I want to give you an assignment. Take ten minutes to look around and make observations of the room you are in while reading this. Chances are you are in a room or a spot you are familiar with. Make a list of everything you see and then, I challenge you to observe five things you have never noticed before. It could be a stain on a ceiling, a rug corner curling up, or even a noise you’ve become accustomed to in the background.

This was an activity I first came across in Keri Smith’s book How to be an Explorer of the World. We have a tendency to not really pay attention to the world around us. Our mind fills in gaps and we walk through life making assumptions at every second. Ethnographic observations ask us to purposefully look past our blinders and observe the world around us with pure curiosity.

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What is Qualitative Data?

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

According to the Qualitative Research Consultants Association, qualitative data “uses in-depth studies of small groups of people to guide and support the construction of hypotheses.” While qualitative research methodologies are based in social and behavioral sciences like anthropology and psychology, many approaches and techniques can be applied to market research.

Qualitative data differs from quantitative data in numerous ways. Conceptually, qualitative data helps to:

  • Uncover the values and beliefs of individual life experiences,
  • Share how reality depends on a person’s point of view, and
  • Understand the nuances of individual experiences.

This differs from quantitative data, which aims to:

  • Measure values and beliefs of a population of people,
  • Make relative and absolute comparisons between groups, and
  • Reveal broad patterns among large groups of individuals.
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What is data storytelling?

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

While researchers hope that everyone is as fascinated with their research findings as they are, most people do not have time to read through long reports with dense paragraphs of  complex findings, graphs, and charts. Leaders and executives need to know the most important research findings so they can implement data informed and strategic next steps. Here is where effective data storytelling comes into play. Data storytelling is another way of saying data visualization. However, data storytelling is a step beyond data visualization because it involves taking research findings and transforming them into a visually appealing summary sheet that paints a picture of what the findings are, why they are important, and what they can be used for. You might have heard of the dashboard, one common and effective data storytelling style of report.

A data story typically involves a visual presentation of data that can easily be created with visualization tools like those available with the simple Microsoft Office package or with a more advanced tool like Tableau. Overall, data storytellers are often charged with the task of revealing useful and hard-hitting data in a manner that is cohesive and captivating. Quality data visualizations that effectively tell a story do so by removing the noise, making sense of the data in a coherent way, and highlighting trends.

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What is a Push-to-Web Survey?

I attended the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) annual conference a few weeks ago, and I was happy to see that many sessions delved into the details of the push-to-web survey approach. Presentations described how many large and long-running surveys have transitioned from traditional phone modes to address-based push-to-web modes.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Potentially, push-to-web surveys have a lot of advantages, including saving time, saving money, and even reducing bias. However, this survey approach requires planning and nuance to execute correctly.  Without careful tending, a push-to-web survey can turn sour and result in inferior data at a greater cost, something we all want to avoid.

This blog will discuss push-to-web surveys by exploring a few questions:

  1. What is a push-to-web (P2W) survey? 
  2. When should you consider a P2W? and
  3. What are P2W best practices?
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What is Statistical Significance?

You may have recently seen the phrase “statistically significant” in an article to note that an occasional glass of red wine can increase life expectancy (let’s hope so) or that your daily coffee intake is causing some kind of malady (worth it). Statistical significance is critical for how we understand important differences in groups and determine whether interventions had effects, but what does it actually mean? How is it determined? When should it be calculated in market research? Whether you haven’t thought about statistical significance since high school stats or see it on a daily basis and just want to make sure you are interpreting it correctly, here is a quick overview of the concept and the tale of the lady tasting tea.

What Does “Statistically Significant” Mean?

In short, statistical significance means that the difference we observe between two groups is unlikely to be attributed to random chance. Note that this tells us nothing about the importance of this difference. In fact, many statistically significant findings are trivial in terms of their actual importance. Why do we compare differences to random chance? How do we determine if a difference is distinct from random chance? Let’s talk tea.

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Denver Data Storytellers – Blended Storytelling Strategies

As data storytellers, we’re often charged with the task of revealing useful and hard-hitting data in a manner that is cohesive and captivating. Sharing data in a meaningful way is difficult and blending different types of data together can make it even more challenging.

Great visualization tools for quantitative data have made it easier to share quantitative findings. However, it is important to remember the value that qualitative data bring, and the importance of highlighting participant or customer voice. This event will explore how qualitative and quantitative findings can be effectively blended to tell a more interconnected, nuanced, and comprehensive story. We will highlight real-life examples from research in the private and public sectors. Your presenters include:

  • Kate Darwent – Director, Corona Insights
  • Molly Hagan – Associate, Corona Insights
  • Caitlin McAteer – Associate, Corona Insights

This event will be hosted on July 15th from 12 – 1 pm. Register here.

VOC Research – Not Just for Volatile Organic Compounds Anymore

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

As a wannabe astronaut since I was about 5 years old, I’m a big fan of SpaceX.  It’s super cool to see the progress that has been made just in the last decade when a new, energetic startup truly pushes the capabilities of spaceflight.  When I read over discussions about their progress toward manned spaceflight, though, I’m reminded that government agencies (and the organizations that work with them like SpaceX) love acronyms.  For someone not deeply embedded in the industry, it’s easy to become lost in discussions about the F9 launch from LC-39A that was NET May 27th and would launch astronauts to the ISS, which is in LEO, and the booster that would come back and land on the ASDS named OCISLY.

Thankfully, the world of marketing and market research isn’t near that full of jargon.  However, we do have our own blind spots to terminology that is obvious to those of us who work in the industry but may be completely unknown to those who don’t.  For the next month or two, therefore, we’ll be focusing on some of these industry terms and trying to explain what they really mean for our clients.

To start out this discussion, let’s chat about VOC research.  At its core, the concept is simple.  VOC research is intended to bring the “voice of the customer” to the table when leaders are discussing and debating strategies.  The idea is that customers are at the core of nearly any organization’s strategy, so it is vital to make sure that you are constantly listening to what they have to say and considering how you can better meet their needs. 

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When the virus shares your name: An update on COVID-19 from the Corona Insights team

You’ve probably had your share of emails about COVID-19, its impacts, and what organizations are doing to cope (and to help you cope, too). As many are right now, we’re taking this seriously and doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

While Corona Insights is not typically a consumer-facing company, our work does bring us into contact with our community, from conducting in-person research, to community activities with our clients, and of course our clients themselves. It’s a rapidly evolving situation, but here is where we stand as of today.

Direct Impacts to Date

  • Research participation. Recruiting for in-person research (e.g., focus groups largely) has largely been postponed with few exceptions. Beyond just the challenges, we feel this is the right thing to do at this time as we want participants, clients, and staff to be safe and comfortable in their participation. We have not yet seen impacts via other research modes. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and current recommendations with our partners to assess additional needed changes.
  • Research impacts. Beyond just participation, we’re recommending assessing the impact, if any, on the project itself, such as the impact the current situation will likely have on some research topics.
  • Project timelines. Whether it’s due to a reason above, or clients themselves being swamped, we are helping mitigate potential delays as best we can. We’ve always been flexible for our clients’ needs and that’s true now more than ever.

What Corona is Doing

  • Proactively managing projects. Corona is advising clients about the impact COVID-19 is having, or will likely have, on our work together, as well as how we recommend addressing it.
  • Altering research modes. Corona’s has a breadth of research tools and we are working with our clients to determine if and when it is appropriate to either change how we’re collecting data (e.g., moving more research online) or delaying research if we think the current impacts can’t be mitigated enough.
  • Recognizing the increased possibility of response bias. With an unprecedented level of societal changes happening to tackle COVID-19, we want to do what we can to avoid collecting data in a non-normal state right now. For instance, we recommended delaying one project that has to do with transportation, including public transit. Due to transit being used less right now, we will wait until behaviors return to normal before continuing with the study. We’re happy to talk through this with any clients who might have questions.
  • Working from home. Remote offices are nothing new for Corona except now it’s mandated. Staff will only be in the office as needed for critical functions, and we will determine the need for in-person meetings on a per client basis (most, perhaps all, have already moved to virtual or been rescheduled).
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The Future of Qual

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

For years, qualitative market research has been dominated by focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Each methodology offers benefits. However, as timelines shrink and research objectives expand, it may be time to rethink our “go-to” qualitative methods. This blog will discuss the shortcomings of traditional methods and how refreshed methodological approaches can overcome these pitfalls.

Co-creation Activities

We all know the stereotype—a focus group room with a two-way mirror providing a thin veil between participants and researchers. It has long been argued that this barrier maximizes participants’ comfort and allows for authentic, unbiased, discussions. The two-hour focus group is typically designed as a question-answer format with activities peppered throughout to break up the monotony. Historically, activities ask participants to complete a task individually and then share their thoughts and responses with the group. This approach is especially effective when delving into emotions or personal reactions. However, researchers are increasingly designing focus group activities that are group-based and co-created.

At Corona, we have eagerly implemented co-creation activities for marketing campaign and message testing projects. In 2019, we were working with a local association developing messaging for a new nonprofit giving-based program called Refund What Matters. Participants were asked to get in groups of 2-3 and create a print advertisement for the program. More specifically, they were asked to come up with a visual for the print ad, a tagline, and a hashtag. The client observed as the participants worked together to create their advertisements. The advertisements revealed the inner thoughts and motivations for nonprofit giving and the discussion between participants while creating the advertisements provided insight into how Colorado residents may try and pitch this giving program to their family members, peers, and coworkers.

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