How market researchers can reach out to neglected consumer groups

Joseph Clift

Two sessions at Impact 2014, an event organised by the Market Research Society (MRS) and held in London in March 2014, focused on an area that is of interest to brands, charities and public institutions alike: research projects that reach out to minority groups who often feel excluded from the rest of society. Both offered instructive lessons in how researchers can innovate in order to learn more about marginalised people.

Ofcom and the Text Relay service

Text Relay, first launched in the 1980s, has been a lifeline for the deaf community in the UK. It works via a call centre, and allows deaf people to make phone calls: participants can enter a text message onto the keypad of their landline phone, which is then read out to the (hearing) person at the other end of the line. But Richard Howard, head of research at Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, said that by the 2000s, this system had become increasingly unfit for purpose.