Agile Is in Style
It’s a fast-moving world. Are you ready to deliver more agile qualitative to ensure that live, interactive insights remain relevant to your clients?

You know the situation:

  • The client has seven days, not seven weeks, from brief to deliverable.
  • They have a single objective.
  • They either get the research done quickly or not at all.
  • They want their team to be involved and need live consumer interaction.


10 Essential Tips

Here are 10 tips worth considering to speed up your next challenge and deliver relevant and valuable insights within seven days!



Tip #1Briefing Must Be Interactive

You need a live conversation to discuss the brief in-depth. All the usual areas need to be covered: clarifying the single objective, understanding the business context, considering whether online or in-person is most appropriate, knowing the team that will be involved, agreeing on the stimulus material, exploring the budget, etc. But an interactive briefing is even more critical to deliver against such a tight deadline, as it provides the opportunity to:

  • Be confident the objective can be met with an all-in-one-day, fast-turnaround approach, or to decide that it should be part of a hybrid approach (clearly you cannot include a two week in-home placement or homework diary!).
  • Determine that the target audience has at least 25% incidence for rapid recruit.
  • Explain the fast-turnaround process to manage expectations for involvement and agree to the timeline.
  • Discuss the number of sessions, the length of each session and how many participants per session.
  • Agree on deliverables (written report, presentation, visual recording with highlight reel, etc.).


Tip #2SOW Proposal, Not a Full Proposal


If the briefing discussion covers all the bases, then a one page statement of work (SOW) can capture the key information outlined above, ready for official sign off. You don’t need a full-blown proposal and there’s no time to write it! If it is required, make sure it is in the same for- mat as the debrief report so the content can be used for both (i.e., objective, method, respondent profile, etc.)


Tip #3Design Sessions to Maximize

Respondent Airtime and Client Presence Consider more sessions that are shorter, each with fewer respondents. Because of the backup team you have working with you (back-room moderator, live note taker, real-time qualitative analyst, etc.), you can run sessions with virtually no break between them. It’s

easier to recruit for 30-minute sessions than it is for longer 90-minute sessions (which helps with your rapid recruit), you pay lower incentives, and the conversation is more naturally interactive and, therefore, more in-depth.

Running sessions back-to-back also maximizes the client team’s time — no downtime waiting for the next discussion session to start, and clients can hear first- hand from 20-35 consumers in one day of fieldwork.


Tip #4Succinct Screener

Build from an existing screener to save time. If the client doesn’t have one, then start with one you already have for a similar target profile. Keep it short and purposeful. For rapid recruit, the screener needs to be a maximum of 10-12 questions—easy for a 25%+ incidence target audience.


Tip #5Rapid Recruit

Explore which of your current recruiting partners can provide rapid recruitment so that you know where to turn when you need to be in-field within 48 hours for a fast-turnaround approach. Live intercept in urban centers is a great way to secure fresh respondents fast, and if it’s a tourist/conference hub (e.g., San Francisco, NYC, Las Vegas, etc.), you can get a respectable national representation as well. Facilities and online platforms that have their own panel are more likely to be able to deliver respondents within 48 hours than those that do not.


Tip #6Discussion Guide

Think of this as a “Topic Guide” rather than its cousin, the longer, more detailed “Discussion Guide”:

  • State the single objective clearly at the top.
  • Ensure each “topic area” to be probed is delivering against this objective.
  • Allow these “topic area” conversations to be driven by the individual consumers.
  • Stick to a single page (don’t allow scope creep!).


Tip #7Pre-Brief Participants in the “Lobby”

Your back-room moderator can share the “must cover” information with respondents before they enter the room. This way, after brief introductions, you can dive straight into the warm-up that relates directly to the topic.


Tip #8Dual Moderators for Maximum Impact of All-in-One-Day Fieldwork

Your back-room moderator will capture key insights as they emerge. Involving clients behind the mirror in identifying insights, combined with the rolling cast of respondents, will help maintain client focus and engagement throughout the day.

For in-person, notes posted to a big “Learning Wall” can be clustered into key themes as they are identified or into negatives/positives against each concept, etc. For online real-time capture, mind-mapping tools or StormBoard provide an excellent way to synthesize learnings as they emerge.


Tip #9Record Everything

A live note taker for in-person, or a voice-recognition transcript online, captures content to provide quotes for the report. Video recording is essential if you have agreed to create a three minute highlight reel to “bring alive” the research learning. Some online platforms now allow you to tag the voice recognition transcript and create a highlight reel within hours, in which case you can agree up front to deliver the highlight reel within your seven day deliverable.


Tip #10Merge Consumer Understanding with Client Knowledge for Your Deliverable

At the end of the consumer-feedback sessions, the client team and consumer moderator become the participants in a debrief group discussion led by the back- room moderator. This session allows the client team to hear each others’ perspectives as they discuss the insights captured throughout the day and overlay the filter of their expertise and in-depth knowledge about their business to identify actionable directions.

The output from this interactive debrief discussion provides the foundation for the fast-turnaround deliverable, supported by relevant quotes from the note taker/transcripts. Consider including a professional Visual Recorder to listen to the debrief discussion to provide a one-page illustrated visual record of the key learning, which you can include as part of your deliverable.


So, When Speed Is of the Essence...

Yes! You can deliver actionable insights from live, interactive qualitative research within just seven days. You need a single-minded objective, a 25%+ incidence target audience, the right partner to recruit rapidly, a well-briefed assistant (a great role for an intern), an experienced note taker, a lot of energy for the all-in-one-day session, and a fellow-moderator whom you love working with.

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