Always start with your objectives and desired outcomes, then work back.
– Why are we doing this (customer/user) research?
– What are we hoping to find out, know, do, achieve?
– What does our brand really need to know?
Then move on to the how…
– How much time and money do we have for this study?
– How within the time and budget shall we do this?
Given budgetary and time constraints, along with self-serve tools ever more available; conducting research yourself is a highly viable option.
If you trust yourself, your team and your own tools, go ahead.
Based on the project objectives and desired outcomes, it’s time to design the study, asking yourself…
– Will some open-ended small-scale qual by the team suffice?
– Or is a larger-scale quant survey needed?
– Can we do this ourselves online using (free) software?
– Or do we need to make phone calls/mail out questionnaires?
-What questions shall we ask (hat reflect on our brand well)?
– How shall we capture data so it’s truthful, meaningful and easy to analyse?
-How many responses do we need to feel confident with the results?
– Does any aspect have to be ‘scientific’?
– Where do we find the appropriate people to respond?
– How do we invite & motivate them to take part?
So, you’ve precisely designed the study and know if this will be qual, quant (or a mix); you know if it’s online or delivered by phone/post/person; and you know the topics and key question set; plus you know where to find a good stream of relevant respondents.
You’ve ordered the questions into a logical flow, and built a questionnaire that will neither bore the respondent nor confuse nor irritate them; whilst capturing the data you need for answers and insights.
Now it’s time to commence the research and enter the field. Go! Launch your study, send out your invites to take part; ensuring these are appropriate and motivating, and ultimately that the research experience rewarding for all parties. Then start collating responses, collecting data – whilst thinking about the analysis and insight-generation stage to follow.
No doubt you will have carefully scheduled the study and it’s very important to allow sufficient time, once you have all the responses, to both systematically analyse the data (whether existing or new, open or closed, structured or unstructured, qual or quant)… and to ponder the meaning of the new facts and insights you generate in the context of your brand/business.
Don’t forget to have done your homework around the needs, goals and required outcomes of the study, so your analysis and considered insight-generation is focussed on these (and not just the nice-to-knows).
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