To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the world of market research, we held a Remesh conversation with more than 100 qualitative and quantitative research professionals, across a range of organizations and industries of all sizes. Here are 5 best practices that emerged from that conversation.
Screenshot from our conversation with 100 MRX professionals
Embrace the new normal
“Acknowledge that things are different, even if your research model has always been online/remote.” - Independent Researcher
With 3 out of 4 Americans are currently under some form of lockdown, it’s become clear that COVID-19 will continue to have far-reaching effects on every sector of the economy, fundamentally changing the way businesses operate.
The market research industry is no exception - during the conversation we had with MRX professionals, 64% agreed that all in-person research projects have come to a halt for an indefinite period of time. Across all forms of research, 59% of MRX professionals also indicated that they expected clients to spend less money or budget on research in general during this time.
“Remote/virtual/online research should be the new normal. Learning about them, exploring vendors with great platforms will always keep you ahead.” - Researcher, In-house Insights Team
With such trends in digital transformation (whether planned of forced) expected to persist within the industry for the foreseeable future, it’s crucial for market researchers to embrace this new normal, and quickly adjust their research methodologies accordingly. This is particularly urgent for companies utilizing more traditional forms of in-person research.
Ramp up virtual tool adoption
“[Use] virtual tools to conduct interviews. Make the best use of tech and digital tools available.” - Researcher, Top Consulting Firm
With remote work becoming the new normal for the foreseeable future, virtual tools are essential for getting work done. MRX professionals recommended using tools both for engaging research participants, as well as bolstering productivity within teams and organizations.
Virtual Research Tools
Online focus groups. Online focus group platforms such as Remesh allow for brands and researchers to engage hundreds of customers in a live conversation. By collecting and analyzing large amounts of open-ended responses, these platforms allow you to gain qualitative insights at scale.
Mobile ethnography platforms. Mobile ethnography platforms such as Indeemo allow for researchers to capture participants offline and online behavior in the moment, and gain a deeper understanding of user journeys and experiences.
Virtual Collaboration Tools
Collaborative whiteboards. Collaborative platforms such as Miro can help teams brainstorm and build up virtual mindmaps, as if everyone were in the same room.
Project management tools. Platforms such as Trello or Monday.com can help teams easily keep track of project timelines and milestones, keeping everybody mutually accountable and maintaining a high level of transparency.
“Acknowledge with respondents that these are uncertain times and they may be going through a lot, but their feedback will help them and others like them for whatever lies ahead” - Qualitative Researcher, Market Research Agency
These are uncertain and often challenging times for everyone – your research participants included. The need to face challenges on different fronts at the same time may impact whether, and how often, your participants engage in research projects.
From our conversation, 60% of MRX professionals reported that participants are likely to be less engaged in research when they’re distracted. Treating research participants with empathy and patience will go a long way in securing their support during this time of information overload.
“Be open and honest with your clients, with employees. And be respectful of what others are going through and how they are dealing with the virus.” - Qualy-Quant Researcher
In the same vein, it also becomes important to recognize the challenges that clients and research teams may be facing in this difficult time. Everyone is expected to be affected differently - while the travel and hospitality industries are all but certain to shut down research activities, CPG companies are expected to approach research differently on a firm-to-firm basis.
Overcome hurdles to new communication methods
“Communicate as frequently as possible.” - Qualy-Quant Researcher, Advertising Agency
As the full extent of COVID-19 continues to unfold around the world, research projects are likely to constantly be in a state of adjustment and flux for the foreseeable future. Maintaining a few key elements of communication with partners and clients not only keeps them abreast of what is happening, but also instils trust in your ability to deliver high quality services through this time of turmoil.
Frequency. With the COVID-19 situation changing on a nearly daily basis, maintaining frequent communication is crucial to making sure that clients and partners are always in the know.
Clarity. With everyone being bombarded with more news and content than ever before, being clear and concise in your communications can go a long way in making sure you successfully get your message across.
Transparency. Being open and honest about how your company and projects are doing helps create a sense of trust among your clients that can last even beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
Read our full report on the impact of COVID-19 on the MRX industry, here.