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5 Ways Mobile Video Ethnography Redefines Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is key when it comes to understanding customer truths, and an innovative tool opens new doors into consumer minds: mobile video ethnography. mindswarms founder Tom Bassett details the ways mobile video research re-energizes traditional qual, opening up new methodologies previously unavailable to researchers.

“Basically they would think that maybe I was racist because I’m speaking out about it [police brutality]. It’s scary that there’s a lot of people out there that can’t even go to the store at night without worrying about dying, and there’s people who can get pulled over, and pull a gun out, and maybe because of their skin color or their background they won’t even die…”

Recently, mindswarms founder Tom Bassett moderated a panel of leading research professionals about the unique value of mobile video qualitative research. By the end of the discussion, everyone agreed that qualitative research is far from dead. The tech world may be enamored with big data and its focus on “what” is happening, but there’s no better tool than qualitative research for answering the question of “why.” Everyone has vast amounts of data at their fingertips, but without qual, the picture is incomplete.

TV re-positioned radio and newspaper when it was introduced. Similarly, every time a new type of research is introduced, it repositions all other existing methodologies. Big Data forced the repositioning of qualitative research.
How should it respond? Is there even a role for qualitative research in the future, and if so, how should it be defined? A lot of senior marketers and researchers feel focus groups are dead; but mobile qualitative research changes everything.

~ Tom Bassett – Founder & CEO – mindswarms

Here are 5 ways mobile video ethnography is redefining qual:

1. Pushing Creative Boundaries

Mobile video qualitative research is enabling entirely new methodologies that were previously unavailable, pushing through previous boundaries of what research design can consider. And it’s working across many different industries. For example, when Skullcandy needed to test new packaging for their famous line of headphones, their aim was understand 1-on-1 how their target audience felt about prototype packaging, because headphones are not a group buying decision or an occasion where consumers seek sales assistance on the retail floor. By embedding photos of the proposed packaging side by side and in a retail environment, Skullcandy was able to recreate the purchasing decision in the minds of their targets, providing real, unbiased feedback on packaging design and messaging.

In addition, when DINE needed to make a snap decision on whether to introduce a B2B food service brand to consumers, they turned to mobile video surveys. The learning DINE was able to glean from the videos — from consumers’ facial expressions to their comments on the taste profile of the product — provided just what they needed to make the changes necessary to launch their new product successfully.

2. “Speed” and “Quality Recruit” are no longer at odds

Technology is accelerating the already high-pressure pace qualitative market researchers work at, and great recruitment can be achieved at a faster pace now, making qualitative research more relevant with business decision makers. Focus groups can be time intensive because of recruitment time required (seems like two weeks at a minimum). Conversely, mobile video qualitative research can turn around national recruitment within days – sometimes hours – while maintaining quality recruits. You no longer have to schedule a visit to a consumer’s house; with mobile video, you are virtually in their environment, instantly.

3. Internal Teams Can Hear and See Consumers In Situ

Having to trudge from city to city with a team of people to do market research can be avoided by bringing consumer video to cross-functional teams digitally. This is invaluable, especially when a quick turnaround is necessary. For example, four days away from a pitch with a major national bank, BBDO turned to mobile video surveys to amplify their pitch . The result? They won.

4. The Feedback is Intensely Personal

The speed, quality, and visceral nature of mobile video qualitative research creates a powerful way for researchers to re-insert themselves into management’s decision-making conversations. Conducting qualitative research takes skill: Combing through the videos, extracting quotes, formulating themes, and picking out patterns. Qualitative researchers are familiar with this, and since a typical mobile video survey nets a client over 90 minutes of video to analyze for insights, the result is a compelling story; the perfect way to share a memorable story with your colleagues.

5. Researchers Can Impact Company Decisions

The speed, quality, and visceral nature of mobile video qualitative research creates a powerful way for researchers to re-insert themselves into management’s decision-making conversations. Conducting qualitative research takes skill: Combing through the videos, extracting quotes, formulating themes, and picking out patterns. Qualitative researchers are familiar with this, and since a typical mobile video survey nets a client over 90 minutes of video to analyze for insights, the result is a compelling story; the perfect way to share a memorable story with your colleagues.

Conclusion

A surge in the importance of mobile video qualitative research is occurring because it redefines the role of qualitative research in the overall research process. Faster and more affordable than traditional focus groups, mobile qual doesn’t sacrifice quality recruitment; it makes recruitment even easier, allowing researchers to use it more often. That coupled with the fact mobile qual gives clients access to the consumer at the moment of truth (in the store, at home, at work, on the go), you have a value proposition unlike anything else on the market.

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