Best PracticesMarket Research

Principles of Remarkable Research: Part 13 of 20

Remarkable Research Can Be Simple Research

A simple approach is often a kinder approach for online survey participants, which means they will be less likely to reject your next research request (you don’t want customers who receive your research requests to think, “Oh no! Not again! These surveys are nightmares!”). Here are two examples:

  • For brand perceptions, a quick and easy way to collect data is to ask, “Which of the following words would you use to describe our company?” Then give them a list of varying words and allow them to pick up to three (better still, ask this open-ended). It’s a simple format and gives you useful insights into how people perceive your brand’s personality.  There are many similarly simple questions that can be asked, that feel easy to participants. Too many brand perception studies force participants through a lengthy barrage of grid-style questions.
  • For product concept testing, do you really need to drag participants through 15+ screens of brain-numbing trade-off choices? Unless you really need that level of data to create a simulator, you may find a simpler approach sufficient. Try a monadic approach. Or, if in reality, there are only 3 ways your product would be configured (in terms of features, style, or price), ask for feedback on those items. A simple “mock” trade-off can give you great information at a fraction of the cost and without torturing respondents.

Do some projects require a more complex approach? Yes. But not all. Consider the options.

Bottom line: Tis a Gift to Be Simple (as the song says) applies, and it isn’t “Stupid” (even if KISS is a handy mnemonic). Just because we can jam a lot of questions into a single grid, just because we can create complex trade-off exercises, doesn’t mean we should. Sometimes a simple approach is just fine.

[This is the thirteenth article in a series of 20 mini-posts titled, “Principles of Remarkable Research.” Don’t want to miss this series? Subscribe to our blog via email or RSS.]

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Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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