10 April 2020

Covid-19: How can the market research industry bounce back?


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As we all know, we are facing a major crisis that could slow down all the economy worldwide. The market and social research industry will not be spared. Some projects have already been postponed and non-priority budgets will suffer severe cut-offs. People wonder : Is it really time to launch a new study right now? Do citizens and consumers want to take surveys in these times? Which tools should be implemented to replace face-to-face interviews?… Given our experience in collecting data in specific contexts, this article attempts to provide some answers.

Should we continue to launch studies?

Of course, it is not possible to maintain face-to-face interviews during periods of lockdown, whether for quantitative or qualitative studies. But there is no reason to stop launching online surveys, even large-scale ones!

Response rates are holding steady

As our partner Kantar explains in this publication, survey response rates have not decreased since the beginning of the lockdown period.

Kantar has not seen a decline in overall survey starts or completes since the onset of Coronavirus, and a recent poll amongst LifePoints members shows that 95% find online surveys to be a welcome distraction during today’s climate and 96% believe it’s important for brands to understand their consumer’s needs today more than ever.

How data collection and research help facing the crisis

Furthermore, the data collection and analysis professionals have a huge role to play in this crisis.

Public authorities and the medical sector need reliable partners on which to rely: to understand the needs of citizens and evaluate risks, especially for the most fragile; to predict the extent of the coming economic crisis; to identify weak signals and take the best decisions.

For example, our partner Ipsos shares on this page the results of the latest research conducted on Covid-19.

For our part, we have recently been approached by various healthcare players (specialized institutes, hospitals, etc.) to launch online tracking studies to measure, for example, changes in prescriptions for certain types of patients, or the psychosocial risks faced by general practitioners during the pandemic.

How can a large-scale study be launched quickly?

If you need to address your targets (customers, citizens, patients,…) with a survey in a short time , we can help you.

For example, in March 2020, we conducted an online consultation with nearly 800,000 people: we deployed an ad hoc infrastructure for this purpose, which enabled us to collect the opinions of 220,000 people in 2 weeks. An infrastructure robust enough to support 6,500,000 validated pages, half of them in the first 2 days!

We can deploy in a short time a secure infrastructure, in full compliance with the GDPR, to contact and interrogate your targets by email or SMS, or even via social networks, so don’t hesitate to talk to us about your needs.

How to replace face-to-face with online surveys?

Concerning field surveys or face-to-face Qual interviews: it is obvious that they cannot be maintained. And let’s be realistic: even after the end of the lockdown period, it will take time before we get back to our old habits. So we have to rely on online surveys.

But how do you change the way you work? By experimenting!

Joachim Bretcha, president of Esomar, recently expressed himself in this video:

This crisis also brings opportunities. Opportunities to adapt to new ways of working, new methodologies, to develop new solutions. Opportunities for investment and very interesting opportunities for new partnerships and ways of cooperation. Let’s explore them together to ensure a better fit to the current circumstances and to be better prepared for tomorrow.

For the market research companies that were used to work on the field, to conduct focus group interviews, this is a time for thought. How can they digitize their work? How can they offer online solutions that damage as little as possible the respondents’ experience and the quality of the data collected?

At GIDE, we can help you think about these questions. Here are a few of the things we can set up on demand… among others!

Online focus groups

For example, we can set up an online focus group platform on demand. This web tool allows us to bring together the moderator and participants in a virtual room, and to organize discussions according to a semi-directive interview model.

Unlike traditional chat and video conferencing tools, this solution integrates some features dedicated to focus group interviews: waiting room, interview guide, creation of sub-groups of participants, etc. The study sponsor can also follow the discussions and interact with the moderator through a private channel.

Image and video capture in questionnaires

To humanize your online surveys, have you thought about photo and video?

You can, from a web or mobile questionnaire, ask respondents to take a picture of themselves or a product, or to put them in a real-life situation.

You can also ask them to answer an open-ended question on video, in order to maintain maximum authenticity. As long as it is impossible to question your targets face to face, video is a good way to collect rich and spontaneous answers. Read our article on video questionnaires to learn more.

questionnaire vidéo étude qualitative

A chatbot for conversational survey

The chatbot does not replace a human, but it has the advantage of simulating a conversation. It makes it possible to collect simple quantitative data, and quality verbatims. This is the perfect time to test this solution.

Read this article to find out more and to test our chatbot.

Other solutions exist and have yet to be invented. We are available to help you in your projects, and to set up tailor-made solutions.

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