My New Favourite Question

Not long ago I found myself in the midst of what was disguised as a quick online survey but proved to be a significant investment of my time. I opted in because I wanted to contribute; I opted out because I didn’t want to contribute that much.

Striking the right balance between workload and incentive is difficult.  When I’m working with a team that’s new to research communities I can, understandably, expect to hear at least one question dealing with this dilemma:

“How many questions should/can I ask in a day?”
“How much time can I expect participants to spend contributing to the community on a given day?”
“Is X enough incentive for Y time spent?”

I can provide some broad guidelines based on my exposure to other communities but I always conclude with a confident, “it depends.” The answers to these questions depend on a number of variables: demographics, subject matter, incentive offered etc. Continue reading

Customer Insight Communities to Support Real-Time Decision Making (webinar recording)

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Each year we have the pleasure of presenting a webinar to the American Marketing Association. Last week we delivered a session on “Customer Insight Communities to Support Real-Time Decision Making”. In particular, we covered:

  • What insight communities are and how they can be designed and used to gather valuable and timely insights.
  • Innovative ways to engage customers using insight communities.
  • How qualitative research communities can be applied to business applications.
  • Example case studies to illustrate successful insight communities.

If you missed the session or would like another chance to watch it, we’ve provided a copy of the video below. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or to schedule a private demo and trial account.

Using Research Communities For Brand Loyalty and WOM

One of the first projects I worked on as a marketing researcher was an ad testing study with an automotive company. As the study progressed, I found myself invested in a brand I previously had no stake or interest in. I quickly realized that the brand’s success became, even if in a very minor way, my own success.

I’ve never been a participant in a study similar to the one I mention above, but I would imagine that under the right circumstances, a participant might experience a similar affective response, namely, the emergence or cultivation of brand loyalty. Opening a conversation with participants generates goodwill and emotional generosity. This is not a new idea, but it does leave us with the question, under what circumstances can these feelings and responses be optimized?

Under what circumstances can we cultivate brand loyalty, a sense of ownership, and personal identification during the research process? Continue reading

Bias In Research Communities

Online communities change the way we think about ourselves and those around us.

I was recently discussing this with a friend of mine, through Facebook chat, of course. She is a researcher in a psychology study (currently under review) that found Facebook users often experience jealousy and a certain degree of dissatisfaction with the current state of their lives as a result of exposure to other users’ posts.

People in our online social networks typically only post (i.e. promote) positive aspects of their lives that effectively creates the illusion of a failure-free population. When we occupy these networks our perceived flaws or failures are magnified in the absence of other similar lived and shared experiences.

This study is an intriguing example of a community’s collective bias on a massive scale. The social climate, not necessarily the forum or network itself, encourages positive contributions while discouraging negatives ones (arguably to our own personal and social detriment). Continue reading

Online Qualitative Research Best Practices Webinar

We recently delivered a free webinar on the subject of brand engagement, specifically to discuss the topic of online qualitative research best practices.

Joining Ramius on the webinar was Luke Cahill, Managing Principal at REAL Insight who are doing some fantastic, innovative research using Recollective. In the webinar we talk about the things to consider when planning an online qual research project and Luke walks through several case studies and best practices.

We’ve kept a copy of the video which you can access and share through Vimeo ( or watch below.

We hope you enjoy it! As ever, please get in touch with any questions.

Recollective partner Lexia wins Merca 2.0 award for best market research agency in Mexico

Ramius is extremely pleased to offer our congratulations to Lexia, a leading Recollective partner in Mexico, on winning the 2014 Merca 2.0 award for best marketing research agency. 

Here’s a snippet from their blog post, or read the full release here.

MERCA 2.0 AWARD BEST AGENCY 2014LEXIA wants to share with you this news that fills us with joy and pride of having been awarded for the second time by the renowned magazine Merca 2.0 for Best Market Research Agency, the first time was in 2008.

These Merca 2.0 prizes are awarded to the most outstanding companies in marketing industry domestic and international. Thus, the leading magazine honors marketing agencies, media and strategies more relevant this year.

In the twelfth edition of the award, the editorial team selected players in the industry that this year were protagonists thanks to the effectiveness of their campaigns, achievements and recognitions met, as well as the growth and impact they had at a business level.

Recollective: A Tool for Testing Campaigns and Brand Identity Elements

Unknown-3For this post, long-term Ramius research agency partner, Andreas Noe, a founding partner at Phase 5, shares his thoughts about using Recollective for testing campaigns and exploring elements of brand identity.

Andreas has more than 25 years of hands-on experience in marketing research and marketing consulting spanning many sectors, including financial services, professional services, information and media, technology and manufacturing.

He also has experience with many research methods, including quantitative, qualitative and data mining methods. At Phase 5, he has managed countless engagements, and developed particular expertise in performance measurement and Voice of the Customer (VoC) studies. Continue reading

Improving Data Quality in Insight Communities

One of the common concerns we hear from clients who have never run an insight community is: how to ensure high quality data?

In any insight community, it’s reasonable to expect some amount of vaguely worded responses or failure to address the research question. While fear of not collecting enough ”good data” is often quickly forgotten when the output produced by these communities is analyzed, there are certain approaches you should take to minimize poor responses.

First, insight communities are still relatively new. Many participants will have little or no past experience with them which means it’s very important to set out firm requirements and be as clear as possible about your expectations. This sets the stage for the “right behaviour” and ultimately helps build “social proofs” that reaffirm it. In Recollective, that type of clear communication is done on the study homepage (summary tab) and when posing the research question (task). One of our research partners, Allpoints, has run many Recollective insight communities using this approach:

“In our experience, the single most important thing to do is to set the respondents expectations early and often.  The summary page is the first place we do this, but at the beginning of each day or session, we start with a prompt that outlines the plan for that session.  Then at the end, we go ahead and set them up for what will be expected in the next session.  This constant communication is key to our success and to the respondents enjoyment of the research experience.”

Erin Sattenfield, Director of Research Services at AllPoints Research, Inc.

Continue reading

Engaged Research

This is the first in a short series of blog posts on the subject of Engaged Research. We’re starting with “Why is engagement important?” and “How to better engage participants?”. The next in the series will tackle the role of a Research Moderator evolving into a Research Community Manager. We’ll finish with our thoughts about where the focus on engagement in research can lead.

First some context

Having a background of implementing literally hundreds of online communities for a myriad of business uses, we’re in a unique position of being able to look at research communities from a different angle to most agencies and solution providers.

In business applications (often marketing-led), one community goal typically sits above all others: engagement.

A lot of effort goes into building technology that stimulates engagement, designing and adding community topics and using content that deeply engages members. Around that, the most successful business communities have strong Community Managers that work to create active, lively interactions that sustain and grow member engagement. Not to mention the need to track engagement as a measure of community health and demonstrate a ROI… Continue reading

Use Of Video In Online Research

We’ve just completed a round of interviews with customers using our Recollective platform to talk about what they anticipate to be important online research capabilities for 2013. Many of those research agencies spoke about the increasing importance of video in their presentation of findings and recommendations.

Unsurprisingly, after discussing the subject with them in more depth and looking back over studies we’ve run in 2012, a number of different approaches and perspectives were used that I think are useful to summarize.

Asynchronous Video Activities

First, since Recollective provides capabilities for asynchronous video, I should also clarify that I’m going to focus on that rather than synchronous approaches such as webcam-based focus groups or one-on-one webcam interviews. Asynchronous video isn’t done in realtime; it’s most often captured by a study participant and done at a time convenient to them. The video is then provided to moderators for review and analysis. The participant uses either a camcorder they own, a device the researcher provides or their smartphone or webcam.

Typically we find that most researchers prefer to mix video activities into a wider qualitative study, but occasionally we have a study that’s entirely video-based. Both seem to work effectively, although in general any study with video activities does tend to require a significantly higher incentive for participants to complete them. For example, one Canadian researcher we’ve worked with distributed an iPod Touch to participants in a mixed video / photo study after which the participant got to keep the device as their incentive payment.

The highest response rates seen in Recollective so far have come from webcam-based activities, possibly because it’s the easiest for participants to complete. Of those, most activities are designed to capture respondents simply talking into the webcam to answer questions. It’s pretty standard stuff, but the researchers we spoke to love how quickly and effectively video highlights from those webcam recordings can get a point across to an end client. Continue reading