Build a research panel of Fans
There’s a connection between qualitative research and word of mouth marketing, one that’s frequently overlooked. If you’ve run enough focus groups, you’ll know that there are people called ‘groupies’ but there are also people who have a genuine passion for the brand,product, service or organisation they are talking about. Groupies are people who attend a lot of focus groups and they can get bored with the process but every so often, you hit a genuine Fan and statistically that’s 10% of the market base of any brand,product, service or organisation.
So the first point is this, if you are running groups or qualitative research in low interest categories and you come across a fan, this is an open doorway to turn around to your client and say, look, we can build an on-going program where we listen to fans and work with them to improve things. It’s Fans that have the passion to think of ways to turn a low interest category into something special. Fiskars scissors did this, they make scissors and they create a fan base across America who are into scrap booking with thousands of people in it.
The second point is around process, if you’ve run enough focus groups, you know that sometimes it’s hard going, the brand,product, service or organisation simply isn’t that interesting relative to other things. We’ve run lots of focus groups on utilities and relative to people talking about cars, lipstick, stereo or food it can be hard going so here are some tips on how to make things flow.
Use more stimulus, differently
People find it fascinating to look at how people used to talk about things, the picture we have shows the idea of how Motorola promoted TV can get people together. A really great way to get people engaged is to show them communication and advertising from the past and structure the conversation in the following way:
It’s even better if you can give respondents in focus groups this work prior to coming along and attending so they are sharing their thoughts, it makes for a lively debate.
Use deep personification exercises
This is the usual response of a qualitative researcher but if in fact the subject is not interesting it’s hard labour. So if for example you take utility brands and you get people to imagine those brands as houses and imagine all the things in the kitchen, their record collection and so on – you can end up with the lots of houses being the same because people just think of the category as one thing.
So the ‘standard, safe’ professional thing to do leads to a poor result.
Introduce ‘jerker concepts’
Jerker concepts go from the sane (relatively) to the absurd to the outright impossible. Here’s what we’d do for a utility company for example:
Now your sane client is going to look at you like you are mad if you do ‘jerker concepts’ without talking with them. We’ve found the best way to introduce them is to get your client to think of something they find boring and create jerker concepts and get them to respond to them. We’ve found clients typically buy in once they’ve experienced this.
So in summary 1. Get communication from the past, 2. Do deep personification and 3. Do jerker concepts of these 1 and 3 are the best. (Some links below will help you)