Under more scrutiny than ever before, marketing managers are turning to data to take the guesswork out of business decisions and justify spending. Today’s marketing channels generate an ever-increasing variety, volume, velocity and complexity of information. Every action and interaction can be tracked, analyzed and recorded.
In addition to the massive amounts of data being collected, organizations conduct ongoing market research in an attempt to uncover insights into their target audience. Researchers employ a variety of tools for quantitative and qualitative studies. Questionnaires and surveys are a favorite for quantitative studies while focus groups are the primary tool for qualitative studies. According to the Marketing Research Association, roughly 70% of all consumer research dollars are spent on qualitative research. It is estimated over 200,000 focus groups are conducted annually, with an approximate $7 billion being spent on focus group testing.
Despite the popularity of surveys and focus groups, both have serious drawbacks and limitations. Survey questionnaires are tightly scripted based on the researcher’s own decisions and assumptions as to what is and is not important, therefore they often contain inherent bias. Surveys are inflexible and do not allow the researcher to probe for subtle meanings or context behind answers. Studies show answers deteriorate as the questions grind on and the respondent repeats the same score in an effort to complete the process.
Focus groups are an artificial environment that subject people to peer pressure. Participants’ opinions could be easily influenced by facial expressions, body language or other reactions. Participants know they are being watched and may change their behavior or hold back opinions as a result. If the subject matter is sensitive, personal or potentially embarrassing, participants may withhold vital information that would affect the quality of the research results. Additionally, “groupthink” is a well-known psychological phenomenon in which group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision. This dynamic allows for the group to become influenced by one or two dominant people in the session, resulting in very biased outcomes.
Given the limitations of traditional research methods, Bodden Partners has developed a proprietary approach we call The SOUL Process® because it gets to the very essence of why people buy a product or service.
• SOUL is one-on-one listening sessions rather than focus group herd mentality
• SOUL is open-ended, flexible conversations rather than tightly scripted questionnaires
• SOUL is direct contact with the developers of communication rather than passive observation behind a two-way mirror
If you would like to know how The SOUL Process® can create breakthrough results for your product, request our free ebook today.