Global Insights: Using Online Technologies to Conduct Observational Studies In Multiple Countries

Posted on June 1, 2017

We’ve all been there – tight timelines, limited budgets and internal teams’ hunger for extensive customer lifestyle exploration – how can we get a deep global understanding of consumers’ lives beyond the few minutes a day they’re using our products?

Global qualitative research is time consuming and expensive. Getting deep insights into many different cultures is tricky; some methodologies may not be appropriate, and you must be prepared for change and able to adapt quickly. There’s a ton of details you need to get right, from managing time zones and local holidays to translations and back translations, multiple briefings with local partners and moderators, and synthesizing multiple reports. Consequently, using technology to gain a human-centric understanding of global cultures and their perceptions and behaviors around a topic can now all be done nimbly and cost-effectively.

Fortunately, online qualitative platforms have alleviated much of the pain of global research through two major benefits: cost and time effectiveness and the increased breadth and depth it allows.

Online qualitative is more cost effective than face-to-face global.

Not too long ago, “global research” invoked images of jet-lagged clients and moderators traveling for months at a time and racking up fat airline mileage balances. Of course you cut the exorbitant costs of global travel, but many don’t realize that online research also allows you to cut many direct costs of face-to-face research. You won’t pay for a viewing facility, copies of the stimulus, audio and video recording, simultaneous translators, refreshments, or the high incentives necessary for participation in a live setting.

You’ll still need to pay the online qualitative platform fees, and for recruitment, incentives and native language moderators – but “net net” you’ll save money and time.

Tip: Choose the right online platform with the capabilities you need for multiple languages, translations, transcripts, stimulus uploads, and ease of use for local moderators.

Online qualitative allows for more breadth, and provides more depth.

Online typically allows the researcher to cover more geography in less time– whether its additional countries or more markets. And because the research is conducted asynchronously over a week rather than sequentially, multiple countries can be conducted concurrently.

You also simply get more feedback. Compared to a live focus group where eight people each get potentially fifteen minutes to speak in a typical two-hour group, interviewing up to twenty people over seven days is equivalent to doing twenty in-depth interviews. Client teams are often surprised with the massive amount of qualitative data an online study generates.

And then there’s the incredible depth that online qual can capture. More time is allotted for cultural understanding through auto-ethnography – where participants are given tasks and asked to record their behavior “in the moment.” They can use text, images or videos as feedback. You can explore daily routines and rituals outside their home or have participants “show and tell” with cultural artifacts or possessions in their homes.

Tip: Team up with good in-country moderators that can help you navigate the cultural differences and design appropriate exercises and tasks.

Marketry will be presenting on global online research at the Corporate Researchers Conference in October.  Specifically we will cover:

  • How to gather global insights in a fast time frame while on a budget
  • How online exploratory uncovers human truths and fuels the innovation process
  • How to structure and feed back-end analysis to cross-functional teams in a useful way

Click here for more information