The Most Cost Effective Design For Qualitative Research

The term “qualitative research” encompasses far more than simple ten-person, two-hour focus groups. It includes a wide variety of research designs and variations, including creative-consumer groups, conflict groups, “dial” groups, extended-time groups, peer groups, depth interviews, dyads, triads, quali-quant panels, diary and journal exercises, in-context and ethnographic observations, consumer-generated video exercises, and real-time videoconferencing group interviews.

While each of these approaches has its strengths, we have found that one multi-method design stands out for its flexibility, depth of insight, and efficiency. In the past few years, we’ve used this approach for projects as diverse as generating new product ideas for RadioShack, understanding the small business customer for FedEx, and helping Ford position its new Taurus.

In this design, respondents complete an extensive homework assignment before attending a focus group interview. Then, a subset of those who participate in the group interview are invited to a one-on-one, in-depth ethnographic interview at a venue appropriate to the study topic.

– The power of the approach is that it provides multiple perspectives on the consumer and his or her reality. The use of three different interview/ observational situations-private journal, group interview, and ethnographic depth interview-allows us to “triangulate” on the topic at hand, whether we are exploring a brand experience, store experience, or a media experience.

– The secret to its cost-effectiveness is that it makes full use of respondents that we have already recruited and paid to participate. All participants complete a pre-interview journal as a condition of participation. Respondents for the in-depth sessions are chosen during the focus group interviews, so we are certain to get the most articulate, interesting, and representative people.

Here’s what each stage offers.

1. Journaling– Pre-interview journals let us to see into aspects of consumers’ lives that are otherwise out of bounds to us. For example, in a study of social media last year, we asked people to record how they use mobile devices in real time over a period of weeks. Extending the period of data collection over days or weeks gives consumers time to reflect on personal issues, providing deeper insight into beliefs, aspirations, and dreams, at negligible additional cost.

2. Focus groups– Conventional two-hour focus groups conducted at a central location allow us to efficiently collect information from a wide range of respondents. But more importantly, the focus group dynamic creates a powerful stimulus to ideation and creates a level of engagement that individual interviews can’t. In a recent study of calcium supplements, the camaraderie of the group allowed women to tell us what really troubles them about growing old.

3. Ethnographic interviews– Extended in-home or workplace interviews offer us a glimpse of consumers in their natural environment, surrounded by their possessions, family, and familiar landmarks of their life. We get to actually watch them as they engage in the behaviors under study. In the RadioShack research, we watched consumers struggle with their home electronics as a way of identifying their unmet product needs. Presenting those needs to product managers in brainstorming sessions resulted in generating over 150 new product ideas.

The bottom line is that good research design lets us do more and spend less. Strategic qualitative research is the most cost-efficient way to generate the kind of deep and compelling insights that create competitive advantage.

Easy and Effective Design Ideas For Swing Tags

The single most important factor in the creation of a brand is the atmosphere in a store. Advertisements can only go so far – it is the real, physical interaction that people have with your products and the space in which you sell them that goes furthest in creating a positive impression. One of the final steps in that branding exercise is the swing tags for your products! Today we are looking at design strategies for swing tag printing that can really individualize your store and set your brand apart from the rest.

Two Colour Printing

This design strategy offers maximum impact as well as maximum flexibility for placement. Keeping it simple ensures that your tags won’t clash with half your stock, while looking super-stylish on the rest. The two colours don’t have to be black and white – many printing services will offer you the choice of black and one other colour at a price below what would be charged for full colour work, The colour of the paper forms a third contrast colour that you can utilize in your design.

Unbleached Paper

Does your trade printer have an unbleached paper option? If not, you can quite easily source your own stock to have your swing tags printed on. The unbleached look is a very effective design strategy for businesses that use green principles and environmental friendliness as part of their market positioning.


No rule exists that states that swing tags must consist of a single, unfolded piece of paper. The swing tag is a great place to provide product information and start warm marketing, at a much lower cost than printing brochures. Using your product tags to start a dialog with customers about the product tells them that you care about them, beyond putting the cash in your register!

Macro shots

Macro shots are ten times better at creating an impression, and an atmosphere, than photos of an entire object. Photographers love macro shots because they allow you to get right up close to the soul of an object. The macro shot that you use for swing tag printing doesn’t have to be of one of your products. Either your marketer or your trade printing service can choose an image that is related to your business, but not necessarily belonging to it.

Multifold mini-brochures

One of the reasons that CDs have survived for so long in a digital-dominated age is the associated paraphernalia that comes with them. The lack of a cover insert is cited as being one of the main reasons that people still buy physical discs rather than automatically downloading everything. People WANT to connect with a brand… especially if they like it enough to buy products from within it. Multifold mini-brochures, even if they contain nothing more than extra images, are a great way to help them along. Ask your trade printer for a quote – they are surprisingly cost-effective.

How to Effectively Design a Results Based Website

There is not one day that goes by where I don’t come across a website that literally makes me scream. No matter what you surf for, you will always find somebody on the net that just completely screws up their internet presence 100%.

What do I mean?

If someone has a website then that website should serve a purpose. Whether that is to make money, provide information about your offline business or just educate visitors on a particular subject every site needs a purpose. To fulfill this purpose, website owners these days need to pay more attention to the way in which they present themselves online and what this image projects about them, their company or organization.

Colorful graphics, animated backgrounds, multi-colours and flouro are serious turnoffs on the internet. Some may think it looks cool and trendy but the vast majority will look in shock and completely fail to take the site seriously. If this happens then you have completely
wasted your time and effort by 90%. The visitor will leave and you have lost your chance to ‘capture them’.

Web design is a big issue nowadays. The website is your virtual representative. You have to make the best impression on your visitors the first time. If you don’t you may have lost them completely. This is just crazy. You don’t need to be a professional web designer to design amazing websites either. In fact the truth is quite the opposite.

In my e-book, Automatic-Website, I detail three simple options you can use to design an effective website presence. In essence these are:

* Design one yourself
* Pay a designer
* Use a professionally designed website template

Each method is accessible to all of us and just depends on your personal preference. The easiest method to designing your own website is to use a HTML editor such as Microsoft Frontpage.

Designing websites with these type of programs is as simple as typing a word document. Just type in the text you want, add a few color highlights, a banner or picture and there you go – an instant website!

Paying a professional is also another option. They should have the skills to put all your needs together into a website. One word of caution though. Some designers get away with charging ridiculous prices for standard website design. Don’t be fooled! You should pay no more than $80-$120 per page. A complete 5 page website should cost no more that $400-$500 and is more than enough for the average website owner. Make sure they are accessible and able to meet your demands.

The final method you can use is to use website template. Get the template, plug in your text, add your banner and BANG! You’ve got your site! There are so many places available to get a whole host of templates. Different styles and designs from contemporary to business and corporate. Just do a search on Yahoo! And you will find hundreds of template sites.

Whichever option you choose remember that simplicity is the answer. Make sure your site is set out in a logical order and easy to read. Clean lines and plenty of space will help your visitor read and navigate your website. Take care in designing your internet presence. It is the first point of contact with many of your visitors and you want to make the best impression possible. Do it right the first time and you can’t go wrong!

Good luck with your internet strategy and get designing!