Where Would We Be Without Our Stakeholders? Pt. II

How many Market Researchers does it take to design the ultimate online qualitative research tool? We hope a handful will do it!

As mentioned in my last blog, earlier this year we sat down with some of our existing customers, who happen to be Market Researchers, and peppered them with questions about their idea of the dream online tool. The feedback we received was overwhelming! In the many hours we spent talking with them we took dozens of pages worth of notes. The result of those conversations and notes was Recollective, our soon to be released research platform.

All the researchers reading this are no doubt wondering what our consultants said. I’ve broken down their requests into categories and added what I believe are the top 2 – 4 feature requests for each.

Coding Content for Reports

  • The ability to highlight text in a content item or discussion reply and apply one or more codes that can then be used to generate custom reports of verbatims.
  • The ability to have overlapping sets of highlighted areas (e.g. the entire paragraph is tagged “Negative Sentiment”, while one line in that same text can be tagged as “Email Support”).

Reporting and Participant Tracking

  • Integrating a tool that assists in the review of qualitative research data is critical. Collecting and exporting the data must be quick, automated and easy for researchers.
  • The ability to filter by a single person is useful for gauging participation, as well as for drilling in more depth to view that person’s full contribution.
  • Easily generating a list of participants that either met or didn’t meet a participation criterial is very useful for providing proper compensation.
  • Email reminders for lack of participation would be useful for maintaining a quote of active participants.

Guiding Users via Tasks

  • Admins have an interface to select questions, discussions and polls as an activity to be completed by participants. Activities can be targeted to specific segments of participants.
  • Tasks can have a “should be completed by” date, which triggers an email to the user if it is not completed on time.
  • A person-by-person breakdown of task completion would be useful (e.g. Mary Smith: 2/3 mandatory tasks completed and 3/15 optional tasks completed).

Participant Responses

  • The ability to hide other participants’ responses until a response is entered, thereby  avoiding that person being influenced by others.
  • The ability to embed images and videos into responses.
  • Discussions could offer the ability to ask an open-ended question, which is automatically followed up by a poll.

Data Export

  • Export should include the name of the person and a by-line summarizing the basics of their bio “Mary Smith, East Region, Customer for 5+ years, female”. The byline compositions of fields should be customizable.
  • RTF or Word-native export is ideal

Which of these features will make it into Recollective’s platform? I’m not telling… yet! When v1 is released in the next few weeks I’ll have more information on which of these requests will be included on day one, which will be included in future versions, and which, if any, didn’t make the cut at all. For those of you who can’t wait, you can download a teaser feature sheet here.

Let us know via comments what your thoughts are on this list. Did our research partners hit or miss the mark? In your opinion, what features are must-haves for a one-stop-shop online insight community, designed for market researchers?

A New Opportunity

Ramius is first and foremost a social software company. Our focus from day 1 has been to build exceptional online communities and enterprise social networks. Over the course of the past decade or so, we’ve amassed a wealth of experience of how to apply this kind of technology and have achieved some amazing business results. Our team has built social networks for organizations ranging from high-tech software behemoths to federal government agencies. We’ve implemented and managed global partner and customer networks for some of the world’s largest companies and at the same time created small collaborative workspaces for startups and local not-for-profit organizations.

As you can imagine, it has always been a challenge to determine how to best promote our software and services. After all, online communities can be applied to an extremely broad range of markets and potential customers. However, at Ramius, that situation is now beginning to change. In the last eighteen months, we’ve both witnessed and been a party to a shift in the way our software is being used. More frequently, we are working with marketing research organizations to build online communities in which they can engage customers and conduct research. Sometimes that’s ongoing communities with thousands of people that blur the line between research and marketing. Just as frequently, it’s a short-term insight community for a specific qualitative research project.

With some slight pokes and a prod or two from our online marketing, the volume of inquiries has grown over the last 6 months. What does that mean? Well, we think our experience of online community and software development provide an opportunity to do something rather special in the marketing research and customer insights space. That something begins with a new product called Recollective.

We’re not abandoning enterprise social networks or corporate online communities. They remain core to what we do but, given our experiences over the past eighteen months, it would be foolish to ignore the growing interest in online solutions for marketing research and insights.

Of course, we’re far from being experts in the world of qualitative research. What we bring to the table is deep and varied experience as developers of engaging social software. As Recollective has been designed and built over the last year, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some great research agency partners that have helped and inspired us on this path. In fact, we are seeking more partners to work with for Recollective because one thing we know for sure – we can achieve much more by working together.

There are some very exciting times ahead at Ramius for our existing and new customers and our future partners. We hope you will continue to read our blog as we evolve and grow into this space and perhaps share the opportunity with us.