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5 take-aways from the Qual360 conference in Berlin​

Laure Payen, one of our research directors, has spent 2 days in Berlin on February 16th and 17th to find out what’s buzzing in qualitative research. A lot of new and exciting ideas were discussed.

  1. Engage with consumers where they are. Make mobile a reflex. In-the-moment ethnography, self-narrated videos, questionnaires that are pushed thanks to beacons when you are in a shop… A more organic way to participate for consumers, more relevant contextual insights for us. Context matters!
  1. Engage with stakeholders, otherwise they will do DIY research. Let them not only attend but run part of the fieldwork to increase engagement. Not only through workshops to turn insights into action (there should be a basic of all researchers) but also through online communities where marketeers can easily log on via their own smartphone and ask their questions when they want. This will not only empower them more, but also create a higher involvement around your insights.
  1. Agile qualitative research: a qualitative research in 4 days is possible! : can we recruit in 2 days thanks to big data? can we set-up fieldwork in one hour? Can we select the 3 most important questions instead of writing 10 pages long discussion guides? can we automate translation? can we just search for key-words in the videos instead of analysing all of it when not needed? Yes we can !
  1. Thank you “Big Data”, but we prefer “Feel Data”. Qualitative research can be like quantum mechanics, where understanding people’s multi-faceted motivations is a fantasy. People are not predictable, and that’s the beauty of it! We need to take into account the fact that people are feeling machines that think, not thinking machines that feel (to paraphrase Damasio). Brands are shifting from fact-based communication towards an attempt to elicit emotions. There are a lot of passionating new discoveries in neuro-sciences about emotions. Qual should integrate them better.
  1. YouTub’isation of research. We live in a world of videos clips. Clients love to share mini-clips of consumer discussions. Extracts of research (at home, in a shop, in the street…) are more and more used on a daily basis by clients, not merely in the framework of the study. Besides, some video actors in the market are actually positioning themselves as market research agencies. The frontier between recruiting participants, editing videos, coding the results and “proper” qualitative research is becoming blurry.

To sum up, we are in a world where clients, thanks to new technologies, can conduct small-scale research very easily. It might not be more efficient but to them it feels faster and cheaper. What’s more, many online tools are positioning themselves as an alternative to qual : social media analyse, facial coding, mobile tools, video selfies…

However, qualitative research still is the best tool to understand the implicit cues behind a behaviour and explain complex emotions. We at haystack constantly explain clearly the added-value we can provide. Not choosing between qualitative research or those new tools. Not integrating hybrid qual and quant. But really blending them together to deliver numbers that are loaded with emotions, and insights that are quantifiable.

Contact Laure Payen (l.payen@haystack-international.com) if you want to discover more about haystack’s new qual solutions. 

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