Research Insights

How Research Insights Can Empower Your Marketing Part 2: New Normal
Webinar from June 4, 2020
By: Veronica Purvis, MS, CAE

On June 4, AMADC held the second part of a two-part webinar series on How Research Insights Can Empower Your Marketing. The first part focused on the here and now while the second installment focused on “the new normal.” The lively discussion included polling and breakout sessions and featured returning, expert panelists Tara Hutton, Director, Customer Insights, Hilton; Joy Levin, President, Allium Research and Analytics; and Wendy Price, President, WHP Research, Inc. 

This session focused on which research methodologies will be prevalent now that we have entered the next phase of the pandemic’s impact on society. The panelists suggested methodologies that rely more heavily on remote data collection, and alternative approaches to in-person research. Companies have had to resort to other creative collection methods, such as drive-through taste testing in which participants are recruited, and then given the product in a facility’s parking lot along with a disinfectant wipe, and an iPad to complete a survey. When finished, they return the iPad and receive an incentive.

Some of the existing methods that have seen an uptick are online surveys which many researchers have used for some time, digital observations (e.g. via participants’ phones) to assess customer behavior in their natural setting, and virtual reality user experience testing, so that participants can interact with a product virtually. Although in-person focus groups have resumed, strict measures have been implemented to reduce COVID-19 risk. 

Some facilities have taken precautions, such as:

  • Doing participant temperature checks when arriving.
  • Utilizing electronic check-ins.
  • Having participants sign liability waivers.
  • Providing individually wrapped food and drink.
  • Spacing people and limiting the number of people in one room.
  • Replacing the chairs after each session.
  • Using disinfecting sprays on the space.
  • Disposing of materials after one use and reducing handouts.
  • Having observers remotely “attend” and sometimes having moderators online instead of in-person.

These measures have been implemented to make customers, participants, and researchers feel comfortable during this COVID-19 ’new normal’ time. One of the polls conducted during the workshop addressed this issue by asking the participants ‘when do you think the new normal will start’ between now and the next year? About 50% of respondents said that we are already in it.

After the panel discussion, the participants chatted in breakout sessions, discussing what marketing and insights changes they may implement after COVID-19.  In particular, the sessions covered:

  • Companies previously displaying resistance to digital methodologies, now accepting and embracing digital research methods as a result of the pandemic.
  • Messaging shifting from COVID-19 to social justice because of the George Floyd tragedy and the related protests.
  • Data systems that will be required to be able to determine the best communication strategies with constituents.
  • Challenges in measurement and marketing effectiveness. 

Research methods need to increase the speed of feedback, increase accuracy of insights, and the value of that feedback. Market research has been able to show for years how people think, but it is harder to glean how people feel, especially to quantify it. Neuroscience-based research methods can be used to increase marketing effectiveness. Human behavior is important to understand, and that behavior is driven by two decision-making systems. System one is instinctive (faster and automatic) while system two is rational (slower and considerate). The panel discussed that it is important for marketers to  understand both systems and how they impact consumer behavior. Market research is valuable, so that marketers can determine how people are going to be behave and make decisions. This two-part series has been informative in addressing trends in research insights and this community will be key in continuing that conversation.  

You may be wondering where did AMADC decide to donate the webinar proceeds and charitable contributions? Participants voted and it was so close that both Twenty Tables and the World Central Kitchen received donations.