Is hitting 3 for 3 on Qualitative Research a fantasy?

Invoke Invoke Solutions Online Research Qualitative Quantitative Focus Groups
If you’ve spent much time selling or marketing project services and haven’t had a somewhat smug project manager tell you, “Speed, quality, price; pick two,” consider yourself fortunate. Of course, we’ve all endured some projects, either qualitative or quantitative that weren’t 2 for 3, or even 1 for 3. Boston’s Big Dig project, for example, would have to merit a goose-egg!

But if it’s true that some projects can go 0 for 3, is the converse possible? Can projects ever go 3 for 3?

Invoke Solutions has been working with its market research industry clients for several years on building a qual/quant approach that would provide that 3 for 3 possibility as part of our Invoke LIVE offering, and we’d like to get some informed responses about whether we’re headed in the right direction. The initiative is called Instant Insights.

First some caveats:

  • The Instant Insights scenario is for market research professionals, whether employed by a (relatively) large company, an agency, or consulting firm. We have plenty of options for MR neophytes, but this isn’t one of them.
  • Instant Insights’ direction is collaborative, so those who prefer to stay “above-the-battle” may need to look elsewhere, but true MR professionals, those who will enlist whatever resources can help, but never refuse accountability for important projects, should read on.
  • Finally – and here’s a surprise for those whose perennial budget constraints have forced a reflexive focus on price, price, price – we may be seeking your input the most. Because the reality is that solutions offering quality or speed have remained available to the MR community, even through the trying economic environment in the last several years. But when the price component was not sufficiently addressed, many of these options became beyond the reach of MR executives.

Still with me? Great. Ok, here’s three questions to consider:

  1. Speed – How fast is fast? Even with Instant Insights, same day projects will be a challenge if for no other reason than organizing the survey panel (we’re working on that challenge too, with a solution called Client Laboratories, but that’s another blog). But three day start-to-finish projects are definitely feasible, with two day projects possibly on the horizon. So here’s the issue: is three days fast enough? What role will the level of Incidence Rates play in assembling the panel? Is it fair to think that rapid response projects would be limited to higher IR rates? 40%? 50%? Higher? Lower?
  2. Quality – How good is good? We believe experienced MR executives running a three day start-to-finish project will probably not expect thousands, or even hundreds, of participants. Is that fair? So we set Instant Insights to address 50 participants in a 45 minute Invoke LIVE session. That allows for most of the services (e.g., Observer Dashboards, added/edited on-the-fly questions, keyword analysis, immediately available auto-reports, etc.) that are available in standard Invoke LIVE sessions.
  3. Price –How cheap is cheap? Setting a target price was not as hard as some might imagine. After all, there’s a psychological barrier at $10,000. No price north of $10K can be fairly described as cheap. But there’s a reasonable floor as well. Any project priced lower than $5,000 will constrain the limits of quality discussed above. (At least it will in 2012. Check in with us next year). So we pick a mid-range number of $7,500 and work from there.

So now we’re looking for feedback, as follows:

  • Does a three day project, including a 50 person panel, with a mid-range IR, for a 45 minute LIVE session address an industry need?
  • If that session leverages an existing, tried-and-true MR real-time technology platform with reporting and analysis services, does the feasibility increase?
  • Is $7,500 a fair price for a combined qual/quant project?

And then the ultimate question: does Instant Insights go 3 for 3?

Let us know.

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