In-person surveys: what was old is new again

Posted: 6.29.2018


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Have you noticed the "storytelling" trend in market research? If not, here are a few recent examples:

1. MMR Buys Creative Storytelling Agency Ideal Insight


2. NY Times Article: "How to tell a better story"


3. Forbes Article: "How Brick-And-Mortar Retailers Can Use Storytelling To Go Beyond The Store"



Why is storytelling so hot right now? In an age of endless data, getting that data to "mske sense" becomes paramount. And the most effective way of organizing and data is to give it structure. There must be a "what?", a "so what?," and a "now what?" in any analysis, and a STORY gives data this structure:


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Each dramatic element to a story can be applied to your current business problem: "How we got here," "The current situation," "What to do," and "How/Why to do it." Data, when placed in this structure, will always yield a "so what" and a "now what."

The other trick is to put the problem in terms of your customer. You have the "so what" and "now what" for internal stakeholders, but what about those who ultimately control your business? Your customers need a "so what" and "now what" in terms of their purchasing behavior and loyalty. Are you giving them that?


In-person surveys deliver drill sites for data.Start with your customers. What are their pain-points with THEIR current situation? When do they look to you for help? How do they shop for your product/service? What would they change if they could?

When people are shopping, dining, or attending entertainment events, they are in a certain mindset. In-person surveys capture that Moment of Truth without any invasive phone tracking or data harvesting. It's real people, talking with real people, in the real world. The highest form of insight-capture has always been to "walk in their shoes," which, frankly, cannot be done digitally.


Storytelling in market research has been around a while. Why is it becoming popular now? It's the sheer size of incoming data. More data requires more STRUCTURE, and more structure which means more stories. Some firms believe they can suss the story by torturing their data in endless "what if" cycles. At CIS, we believe that characters tell the story - and we bring the characters to YOU.


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