Immersive Ethnography and Other Unconventional Research on a Budget by Clinton Jenkin, Barna Group #CRC2014 #MRX


CRC_brochure2013Live blogging from the Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Immersive Ethnography and Other Unconventional Research on a Budget
Clinton Jenkin, Barna Group

  • Rethink your assets and rethink your costs. Different people are highly competent in different areas and you might not realize it.
  • Don’t just think skills, think about what people are interested
  • James Cameron really wanted to do an underwater dive of the titanic so he funded a dive for the movie – interest led to different result
  • His soft costs were moderately low – people’s time is a set cost. How do you maximize this if you can’t add any new money
  • most of us in market research fell into it from another place. He came from social psychology and realized he hated grading papers
  • In MRX, when you get enough of the answer, you’re done. Where is the point of diminishing returns. How many completes can you get away with – can you spot where the difference will be incremental.
  • Best practices are great but they are always necessary, good decisions aren’t improved by 5 more people  – “Good enough is good enough” – Don’t use 600 if 400 will do, and don’t use 400 if 200 will do [ouch, my ears are burning]
  • Find one place where you can splurge and make it better
  • Decided to do an ethnography – what is the critical mass to have good insight. Started by sending a workbook to 12 families. Fill out a profile of each family member. Schedules for everyone. Thirty day journal Asked them to draw a map of their house. Went with pen and paper instead of online. Not cheaper, not faster, but far less complicated. Everything was in one place. Also sent a flip camera so they could see everyday life.
  • IMG_2695[1]They did use an outside recruiter so that the research would be blind.
  • They posed a different question every day for 30 days. They learned it was good enough at 20 days.
  • It will always be mom filling it out.
  • Facebook access was not valuable, they didn’t have time to review the data
  • Their outlook schedule was very valuable
  • Had lots of follow up questions via 90 minute telephone interview as a result of all this data
  • People agreed to a home visit for 7 days during the day – went on errands with them, watched tv with them, impromptu interviews during dinner, played ball with the kids. They asked a second time later on just to be sure.  [wow!]
  • Learned that moms feel stressed when they have to make a lot of decisions not just because they’re busy
  • Learned about the importance of television – lots of physical contact between all the family members, it’s cuddle time for moms and dad
  • Really felt they could talk on behalf of people as opposed to about people
  • Incentives for workbook were $1000. $500 could have been enough.
  • Home visits were $800.
  • Project management was $250 per recruit.
  • Splurged on the flip cameras but today you wouldn’t even have to do that. It was a tangible item that made responders feel good.

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