BERLIN: Market research is facing problems around participation and data quality but tweaking traditional research methods can make a significant difference to engagement and response rates.

Alex Wheatley, research innovator at Lightspeed, discussed this topic at the recent MRMW Europe conference in Berlin, where he outlined how simply asking questions in a more appealing way had paid dividends for logistics firm DHL.

“When you build a narrative participants are interested in, you can get them to spend more time considering their answers,” said Wheatley. (For more on how market research is changing, read WARC’s report: From analyst to simulation architect: the gamification of MR.)

By turning a survey into a quiz, for example, people spent an average of 11 minutes completing it rather than the nine spent using a traditional approach; and completion rates increased to 81% from the 74% achieved using traditional methods.

A minor adjustment to the usual brand awareness question, where participants are asked to write down as many brands as they can think of, asked them to do this in just one minute – an approach that concentrated minds with impressive results.

Using the traditional approach, 76% of people wrote nothing or nonsense, but imposing a time frame – plus a penalty if they simply wrote down irrelevant brands – saw the nothing/nonsense level drop to just 12%, Wheatley reported. Further, most people had put two or more brands and the total number of brands harvested soared from 137 to 1,785.

Questions relating to sponsorship awareness showed a similar pattern, with 41% of people writing they were ‘not aware’ of any sponsorship relationships under the traditional method, a figure that fell to 8% when responses were time-limited.

And when considering sponsor fit, rather than asking abstract questions about whether DHL’s existing sponsorship expressed certain values (e.g. excellent logistics, environmental awareness, local experience, etc), participants were invited to put themselves in the CEO role and decide which brands they would sponsor in order to portray those same values.

This produced “new, varied and differentiating” responses, Wheatley reported, whereas those from the old approach were flat as people tended to tick all the same boxes without really considering what they were being asked.

“You’re getting more meaningful data as a result of this approach,” he said.

Sourced from WARC