Small-Town Russia Explains a Lot
At the beginning of 2021 63% of Russians lived in urban areas with population of 350 thousand people or less, 67% lived in towns with population under 500 thousand, 40% – with population under 50 thousand people.
Yes, urbanization takes place. Indeed, it has grown during the last years. But did it increase significantly?
In qualitative market research we conduct I often observe differences in reactions to events of 24th of February and after. The respondents who live in big cities share a wide range of emotions and thoughts. They take different actions in response to the current situation. However, it seems that in small towns people don’t notice any changes in life despite of the recent events. They’re busy solving their everyday problems while feeling guilt and resentment simultaneously. Let’s try to analyze where the roots of these feelings are and why it is important for us to pay attention to it.
This preoccupation with everyday problems is a consequence of a low quality of life which results in a constant ‘struggle for life’. That’s why global events matter less. No doubts this explanation helps to understand people’s reaction to some extent. But if we want a deeper understanding, let’s think of something besides small towns’ low economic status. I suggest diving deeper into everyday life of such places and feel it. For some of you it would be a memory of something that we forgot so quickly as we moved to a big city.
Urban areas with population less than 350,000 are places with groups of people surrounded by endless forests and fields. These towns are small while the distance between them is huge.
Walking through these endless fields you feel that you’re closer to animals than to other people. There are few people. Interesting people who share the same values with you even fewer.
A feeling of loneliness, atomization, isolation, abandonment are the feelings you notice first. We will refer to them explaining people’s reaction to the last month’s events.
In these towns you can’t find anything you get used to in a big city. For example, interviewing a girl from Angarsk I realized that there are barely any chain stores in her hometown – it’s hard to find Pyaterochka there (Pyaterochka is the Russian biggest food retail company).
Nowadays supermarket chains play a role of plants and factories.
They represent a bridge and give a feeling of connection between very different regions, cities, and mentalities. So, when you don’t have anything in common with metropolis – nor the plant, nor the chain store, the feeling of isolation is growing. So do other negative feelings.
There is a feeling of abandonment. You are forgotten by the outer world. Bigger cities like Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk are not forgotten and abandoned. But your town is.
There are no theaters in your town. There won’t be Golden Mask Festival (the most famous Russian performing arts festival). Famous artists you like won’t come to perform in your town. There are no cultural connections.
There are no plants and manufactures here.
There are no chain stores.
There is nothing in common with a big city.
It is where the feeling of separation and mistrust of any information comes from. You hear something about Moscow, about Los Angeles, about Far Away Kingdom, but it is really far away and intangible so you can’t check the information.
This feeling of a resentment encourages searching for an enemy. If you feel offended, there should be an offender – someone you can blame.
When you live in a big city, you see a lot of people who seem to be ‘abandoned’ or ‘forgotten’ by society. You have a clear understanding that you are not the one who experiences this feeling. All in all, everyone forgets about someone.
You have an immunity against the sense of uniqueness when you live in a big city. Everyday you see lots of different people and their experiences. This way it is easier to learn that this feeling of abandonment is not specific to you and the place you live. Also, you learn that people who are ‘abandoned’ by society can be heard and actually change something. There are examples of civic engagement and cooperation that give you understanding of collective actions’ importance. You can even see its results.
However, it’s unlikely to see it in small towns.
Of course, this feeling of resentment and escapism into everyday life we see in Russian society could be explained by a low quality of life. But I suggest you to look closer and see this small town’s isolation and abandonment as an important part of an explanation. You can’t even find a big companies in your town because It is not cost-effective for them to launch business in Angarsk, for example.
In this regard, I can tell you what is happening in market research.
Since the 2010s market research has been conducted in big cities only. We often excluded small towns from research design. We thought these towns would follow similar trends and show similar behavior patterns soon. Also, if we dive deeper, we see that it is more difficult to conduct research in small towns both financially and analytically. Participants of focus groups articulate their thoughts differently – their behavior is not connected to their actions so it is harder to analyze it when you don’t get used to it. So, it is easier to think that they will join the similar trends as big cities.
It is easier, cheaper, and faster to organize research in a big city. That’s why small towns are rarely included in a sample. It is very unlikely to see Angarsk in a market research design.
That’s why we think that an outcome of a current situation should be a set of rules for market research industry in Russia where an importance of quality research in towns with population less than 500,000 people will be highlighted. Maybe then our filter bubbles won’t burst so suddenly. One more important thing is to build more actual connections with these towns in the near future – to launch business that could potentially reduce this feeling of abandonment and isolation which 70 percent of Russian population has.
The example of Wildberries (Russian largest online marketplace) shows that business can succeed in a small town too. You can use Wildberries no matter where you are - in Moscow or in Angarsk. So ‘easier, cheaper, faster’ approach to research is reasonable and understandable but maybe after all it is more effective to use ‘more difficult, more expensive, and longer’ approach for growing business indicators?
Unusual things we observed in the research market in 2019
We look at the world and see it changes. We note trends in people's behavior, their attitude to brands and to each other. Today I would like to turn my attention to ourselves. What's happening with us, researchers and clients, tools, the field itself?
“If you purchase without discounts, then you are simply not modern. today loyalty systems provide such benefits that it is silly not to use them”
1. Economy or “second coffee on the house”
Researchers favourite discussion topic (only them though? :) is crisis and decreasing expenditures on research. Instead of grieving we suggest to look around… Can you see?
In every sphere nowadays we bump into a new norm – additional benefit to purchased goods or services. As researchers we are not surprised by the youth’s demand of cashbacks for any purchase, visits to chosen locations in strictly allotted time when you can exchange points in them, aggregators and discount platforms boom. As good researchers we see in this not only and not so much economical reasons, but rather compensatory response to the diversity and abundance of today's world.
I buy something in a grocery shop and get bonus rubles, which I can spend in the electronics shop? Wonderful! Even if I don’t need electronics :). I buy a sim card of a specific operator and get a cinema ticket? Smart. I download fitness clubs’ aggregator and go to those that are closer to my current location? Convenient. Smart choice, additional profit or just new experience is what drives us in a world overflown with information.
How is it manifested in research?
Clients sit down by a round table with respondents on focus groups, learn to moderate home visits, participate in online discussion forums. In this you can see the desire for savings. But you and us, we know that it is possible to gain a broader view :). Mastering a new role, expanding personal competencies in one action in a century full of opportunities is not that surprising. The same new norm as everywhere, now is also in our market – in research.
2. Information depreciation or “we know everything ourselves”
Every day in the world appears more information, while its life gets shorter. It may become a reality that the process of memorizing overpasses the longevity of what you’ve learned. Memory is losing its role, the leading role is taken by the knowledge on how to find information.
Except for a memory crisis, about which we have spoken several years ago, when the trend started its way around the globe, it’s important to note the crisis of creation. It finds roots in the same overabundance of information – when there is so much of it, why create more? It seems that multiplying the wave of the new is pointless and even dangerous - you can drown in the ocean of knowledge.
For the layman, the crisis of creation turns into a compilation. Combining, fishing out of the past, restructuring, rearranging is what modern youth is doing today with a great pleasure. The new is not in creation, but in restructuring and unification.
How is it manifested in research?
We don’t need research – the headline that can be given to a new round of the category development. Most people have a feeling that everything is already available online, you just need to type in in a search box and the answer will come up immediately.
The same fear as everywhere, the same unwillingness to gain more information. Why multiply it? There is already plenty of it. The illusion of all-embracing knowledge, the endless faith in the Internet leads to destroying the importance of the new.
The crisis of creation may threaten researchers with a paradigm shift in their work. We tend to believe in the psychology, which distinguishes creation as a basic human function, so we are not in a hurry to change our profession :) However, we do note the deformation of the industry. Temporary or not will become apparent in the future.
3. SIMPLIFICATION OR "even SHORTER"
Have you read up to here? Congratuations! You are not in the trend yet:)
The trend on the new format of interaction with the reality is closely related to the previous trends. What else is suffering apart from memory and a desire to create new when there is so much information? Attention! That attention is the new currency of the modern world we have already written, today we will talk about how to get such currency.
Visualization, speed, simplicity. For a better interaction the reality has created short formats –YouTube videos, news in a brief format, business literature in the apps instead of books, comics!
How is it manifested in research?
The age of large and languid reports has irrevocably gone. Today you will not surprise anyone with scribing presentations, reports in comics, containing 15 slides instead of 150. Infographics, pictures, brief thesis all work for solving important and large tasks.
One may see in this simplification a loss of the depth of thoughts, another may find metaphors that in modern times acquire the role of words. An ability to express thoughts capaciously is a skill that has never harmed anyone :)
It is purely an individual matter whether to move along with each of the abovementioned trends or wait for a rollback. We can say that “the second cup of coffee” will become boring and the realization that your needs are being formed for you from a scratch will lead to more monogamous behavior. We can believe that creation will prevail over compilation and people will learn to find new things in information. And if not researcher then who should wait for people to come back to understanding that complex ideas cannot always be explained in pictures.
The important thing is that it does not matter to the reality whether we see trends in it or not, whether we see the improvement or deterioration. The choice is only ours :)
Currency in the digital world
Attention is the most valuable resource in the century of digital technology. It is becoming more significant than time-management, where not time but attention determines how much and what we will manage today.
In a fight for attention companies keep on creating more daring, brave and compelling gimmicks. Commonly, the most powerful attention triggers are aligned with reflexes. The stranger the noise, color, smell, the faster we pay attention, although genetically we remember that in the past that was a sign of predators and a deadly peril.
Our latest research has revealed the current unique feature of these tricks that are so adored by creative specialists. A long and active gain of the customers’ reflex attention makes customers encode the brand as unworthy for their attention.
Constant trigger application forms the strongest barriers
A more successful tactic is to gain attention based on peoples’ motives. The more we use what is important to people, the higher the chances that we will not only gain their selective or sustained attention, but also a purchase of our product or service.
Behavioral marketing is concerned with both types of attention and is based on the model of the Nobel laureate - Daniel Kahneman. The selective attention is driven by perception, the sustained by intuition, although both resolve the decision-making issue immediately which helps our brains to save power. To respond to such a speed the brand must be number one in the consumer’s mind. Marketers usually aim to appear on the list of brands that the audience is considering purchasing. However, the research data shows that instead it is better to maximize the number of consumers for whom the brand is first on this list.
The last task can only be managed with an understanding of human psychological types, which sheds light on the motives and provides the sustained attention to our products. Increasingly, descriptions such as “red” or “blue” consumer can be heard. By “coloring” the consumers or locating them on the scales we actively seek to understand what makes people tick in the category.
The psychological type emerges in a specific category. In another category the very same person will show himself as a different psychological type. The result of just one research cannot be applied for different categories/ brands – an unnerving consequence of the human diversity. The psychological type within the same category changes over time. The type of the individual’s “diverse self” that will appear within the category depends on the focus of that individual to this category. The more significant the category is for an individual, the more active, versed and dominant he will be and conversely in insignificant for us categories we follow a routine ‘save choice’.
Gaining the reflex attention long-term is less effective than working with people’s needs and motives despite it being rather complicated to understand them. They change over time and the same person can have completely opposing attitudes within himself. However, it is precisely these needs and motives that give us the most valuable currency of the modern world. In a changing, active world that is full of messages, an individual pays increasingly more attention to the things that have a real value for him. Having a deep understanding in this is a huge advantage of our profession ;)
A smartphone in a child’s hands – a threat or a rescue?
«... I tell him, it’s time to stop, so he leaves the smartphone and goes to play with his toys. It seems he doesn’t care what to play with. At least at this age (4)»
We won’t address this moral challenge here :) Instead, we’ll share our insights from some of our projects.
More and more parents give smartphones for their children nowadays and do it earlier. Some of them even as early as the child is born.
Young mothers are unprepared to the contemporary pace of life, which makes smartphones indispensable from the first moments after childbirth. At the age of digital information it saves women from ignorance, social isolation and… the baby’s cries. Nothing fascinates the little one so much as this marvel of technology :).
As time goes by, mothers who give their baby a smartphone as soon as it is born, distracting it from insoluble (and therefore resounding) issues,
face an inner conflict – they can’t chide their child for spending too much time on gadgets. Because if the initial strategy was to distract, the fact that the child has learnt it well shows his obeisance and not the reverse.
Though of course, it gives rise to conflicts.
Another interesting insight is that for mothers employing this strategy, their child’s smartphone remains a tool of recreation and entertainment forever. Some of them offer it as an alternative to a busy school curriculum and exhausting hobby clubs, as a way to unwind and get distracted again. Others, on the contrary, take it away as an entertainment that substitutes useful pastimes. And this is where our third insight becomes most interesting.
For children, a smartphone is often just a tool of procuring emotions, socializing, knowledge, developing their interests and skills. It nothing but assists in obtaining joy, games, and attention. The child easily replaces gadgets with other tools that deliver the same emotions and satisfy the same needs, social or individual. The point is to have these other tools available.
Naturally, we, the grownups, be it mothers or researchers, attach much higher importance to smartphones than the children. For them it is a fact of life and plays the same part as a rocking horse did for our grandfathers. A tool of exploring extended reality, but what this reality is like depends on factors other than the gadget ;).
On the verge of discovery
«I swipe through Tinder and I always see new faces. You can update it every second and see someone new. Take it easy! You can always find a new person and do not suffer in current relationship»
Back in the day most of the people made their choice and started a family by 30 years, nowadays the situation has changed. Everyone has already discussed the crisis and the transformation of the institution of the family. But the research, we have recently conducted, made us to think over this problem in a different way.
Trend or it’s already better to say the norm of the modern society is an illusion of endless opportunities. The Internet gave us the feeling of infinity and not out there in space but here in our everyday life.
We can surf the Internet endlessly, find new information, discover unknown places and… people.
Today you can update Tinder and see new faces.
You always have a feeling that the person you need you haven’t met yet.
The feeling of endless choice.
What leads to endless search.
Back in the day by 30 years you were acquainted with everyone who surrounded you. Your friends, relatives, colleagues were the only people you knew. Your family life, inspired or not by love, in this context was based on your truly right decision – the choice was made after analyzing the whole information you had.
In our researches we capture the frustration which people have after purchasing and this feeling is similar to the emotional experience of the young people when they become upset or happy about the endless choice of the partners.
It’s difficult to choose if the choice is not limited by anything externally.
We are pleased by the lack of limitation and that becomes the most essential limitation for our personal development.
The variety and novelty which allure the young people turn out to be the samsara cycle. The psychologists point out that people repeat their mistakes in each new relationship if they haven’t fixed them. Young people are eager for the novelty but they get into the repetition cycle. We repeat our acts, sins, fears, shortcomings. Instead of refining ourselves we are looking for a new partner as if he/she is capable to change the thing that ended the relationship. Usually people achieve the same point, break up and looking for a new partner.
Illusion of endless choice becomes the reason for the crisis of the institution of the family, but what is more important is the crisis of man in the information society. We follow never-ending possibilities depriving ourselves of personal development. We are forced to change our behavior in a long-term perspective. We can’t try the infinity, analyse it, and it seems that we are on the verge of a new cooperation with digital reality. The psychologists name it “sensual”, we name it psychotypical.
Trend is an answer for existential issues
«The world looks like a shop-window – it gives us more and more opportunities, and I don’t know what to choose»
Today people are able to ensure their basic needs for existence without spending too much time on it. They are spending their free time on…
Hobby and communication
- Their types are changing, but their amount continues to grow in each person's life.
- Getting of new professions, trainings, coaching, master classes – today if you don’t strive for becoming Da Vinci, you are out of trend.
- Museum “boom” gives place to interactive theatrical performances, quests and other kinds of the group strategical and/or heuristic games.
Openness of consciousness and space
- Home gathering has moved to the parks and streets which are well-equipped for it. Open space offices are replacing private offices, glass interior features are expanding their space and our consciousness.
Festival instead of the clubs
- Do you remember how you were hanging out in neon light of the gold walls? Now you fall asleep looking at the stars and hearing insect chirr.
These and other trends show the changing activities types and their growth in the sphere we used to name ‘leisure’.
Nowadays the concept of leisure is changing
Leisure stops being the time free from work and other important matters, it often becomes the most important matter or work. This change should make you happy – more and more people in the world are realizing their dreams uniting their leisure time and work. But in practice the trend is powerless facing person’s problems.
- Psychologists capture a growing number of clients, quite well-to-do and outwardly happy people, who are troubled by the issue about the meaning and essence of what is happening around them.
So the world in which curiosity appears in everything becomes a set of chaotic actions, because to unite leisure and work is the trend which does not save us from ourselves. This is one more evidence that trend as well as norm can’t comprehend but just frame our wishes. What should you wish? Everyone has their own choices ;)
New online research achievements
We haven’t been writing the blog posts for a long time. It’s time to reveval the reason – we have been developing online methods and we are ready to share our results with you.
1. Context testing beats the usual one
Do you want to know the customers’ reaction to your new product? Do you prepare “a shelf” with a test product? Do you invite people in order to estimate their reaction?
Online research gives an opportunity to explore a test product in real life.
- We ask a respondent to buy the product from the category we study. The respondent does it several times.
- We discuss it in online forum and find out feelings and thoughts during the purchasing.
- We make the “context” in details due to video and photos.
- After it we have the most wonderful moment for conducting test or placing the product at respondent’s house.
The closer we to life, the more trustful results we have.
2. Ethnography synchronizes with the audience’s pace of life
Ethnography’s goal is to approach the audience’s life as closely as it’s possible. But how can we do it using “old” methods?
How closely can we approach during one or two-hour home visit? Surely, we have involved observations. But how strongly does an observer affect the test person’s life? How long can we observe?
Online research is a cap of darkness for the researcher.
- We don’t affect the respondent’s life by our presence but we study it in its natural course.
- Online discussion can last as long as we need and it allows us to break through paces of life.
- Do we want to understand when our audience have a rest? What time do they wake up and go to bed? How often do they buy specific product?
We meet with the biggest barrier working with offline methods, it is our memory.
- Observing respondents without memory falsification
- Giving them tasks and getting answers in real time
- Fixing rests and pressures when they are appearing
Living together with respondents day after day we find out the answers on the questions we have. At the same time we get something more - we discover treasures of insights and deep understanding of people that help us to perfect our business.
3. Marketing researches are moving to a new level of speed
When I began doing marketing research, I often saw the researches couldn’t help to solve the business tasks because of their long duration. I often remembered David Ogilvy’s words – “why do I get the results after 3 months instead of 3 days?” The great copywriter died before the boom of the innovation technologies and he doesn’t know but you do
it’s possible to conduct a research for 3 days.
Online research allows us to test materials quickly as never before. Surely, many things depend on:
- clearness of the task,
- the speed of agency and client cooperation,
- amount of the materials.
Online research duration flexibility is amazing: we have tests from 2 days to 12 months in our portfolio. That’s so impressive, isn’t that?
Different types of the project designs, considerable involvement of the audience and the clients, complexity and simplicity of the tasks – while we’re reading this article I’m sure the online research has made one more step in its development. Let’s hurry after it ;)
Happy New Year!
How do people identify themselves today?
This question first crossed our mind conducting an ad test, which engaged self-identity of citizens. In itself, the question about self-identity is difficult and interesting to everyone, let alone a researcher.
What is the first thing people tell us about themselves? What is important for them to say? What is crucial but unconscious to them? What are the markers of their personalities for other people? How is self-identity changing today?
We came to the self-identity research with all these questions above. You can find methodological questions and answers to them in our previous article. Here we are analyzing the essential points about self-identity:
- «Male. 38. Married. Predictable»
- «A student, 21, playing tennis »
- «My name is Tatyana. I enjoy being a mom!»
- «I live in Rostov-on-Don. I like to meet new people and talk to them»
- «I am a pre-school teacher. I enjoy travelling, swimming in the sea, wearing skirts and admiring the sunset»
- «Cheerful, active»
- «A girl, 23. I live in Vladivostok, I have a job. Curious and kindhearted»
- «I like being alone»…
What would you answer to the welcome: “Please write a few words about yourself…”? The welcome was individual (only the moderator could see the answers), the participants knew about it. After that we the participants got acquainted with each other and us by making collages, conversing, answering creative questions etc. We spotted some peculiar facts in these short self-presentations, which became the platform for trends we found out.
1. Hobby makes us who we are
The interests are the first information which a modern person tells about himself/herself. These are the markers for him/her and other people. The person is judged by the interests in a modern society. Whether you are an aikido fighter or a soap maker, do needlepoint or organize Lake Baikal tours, hobbies tell about you more than your profession, your age and even your gender.
2. Traits of the character are the markers of our personality for ourselves
It was interesting and unusual for us to get to know a lot about the characters of the participants in their first short introductions. It would not be so obvious in a face-to-face communication as the companion should “feel” the character during the conversation. Traits of our character are the things that we know about ourselves; it is the identity for ourselves. This finding became clear on forum thanks to the first words of the participants about themselves and our further acquaintance.
Such moments of self-identity as gender, age, place of residence, profession, and marital status were evident from the beginning till the end and showed up differently for each type of the audience. These parameters were defined as “structural”, as the sociologists have been using them for research recruitment for more than half a century. “New” parameters, which were unexpected to us, came out as important elements for people’s self-affirmation.
3. Travelling determines our personality
“Travelling” and above-mentioned “hobby” are the most frequent and all-round among the “new” parameters. They are logically connected, i.e. travelling is often the main hobby. They both indicate individual preferences and outline the personality with vivid and personalized information. Now we can see how the travelling trend manifests itself in self-identity.
4. Body shape is an important characteristic of self-identity
We took notice of one more trend. As we said in one of our articles, healthy lifestyle is the key point of modern society and it is changing our looks. It happens literally in this case. It is very important for us how we look, what we wear, what accessories we have, but the main thing is what shape we have. This is the main thing that worries us when it comes to thinking about future.
5. Beauty defines our identity
It is an interesting tendency that personality can be identified by different things having to do with the attribute “beautiful” (“beautiful kitchen interior”, “beautiful garden”, “beautiful patchwork”, etc.). If beauty save the world, it will probably start with our self-affirmation.
We have observed the main tendencies in self-identity of a modern person. “New” parameters which people use to identify themselves are getting more significant. Of course, we can’t say that “structural” parameters have gone, but their positions have changed.
It should be more important for the producers what music their audiences listen to, what soap operas they watch than where they live and what gender they are.
All the information about the research is impossible to publish in one blog. Character types and their attitude to the identity, differences in gender and profession, tendencies in “structural” parameters – you can find all this information in our full report. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get it. We will help you to find new ways to identity yourself and your company in the modern world.
Research of identity: issues and solutions
It’s difficult to explore identity. Try to discuss it with one of your friend, and you discover three main problems.
№1. Identity is an ideational concept.
If you name it, the discussion will be based on thoughts, but not on feelings. You will find out what your companions “think” about it, but how they identify themselves will stay beyond the pale of the conversation.
№2. How often do you think about your identity?
In our life if we are normal people but not crazy researchers, we rarely think about our identity. More often it happens like we are living and the identity is forming since our birth during the life. Then speaking about identity a person begins to form his/her attitude to it right now, and in this case, we have a great risk to get wrong information. Emotions, physical being and many other things influence on person’s thoughts in the moment of his/her speaking. If a person hasn’t slept on them, you shouldn’t believe his/her thoughts.
№3. Researcher’s influence on the results.
The theme is always a charged matter in qualitative projects. When we discuss an ideational concept that people mostly don’t think about, it becomes critical. A researcher forms reality by the questions he asks, its tonality, even by the existence of the theme.
How to solve these problems?
To observe, not to interview
Observation excludes a big influence of the researcher and at the same time, it gives an opportunity to see the “clips” with the life – the identity.
Ideally, of course, it’s better to observe a person in a cap of darkness. Nevertheless, while magic isn’t one of our tools we’ll look at the arsenal of approachable methods. It’s necessary to observe for a long time in order to open more “clips” with the life. It’s desirable to have a heart-to-heart talk to touch the ground of the “clips”. It’s useful to observe how a person communicates with others in order to see the identity in its functioning. The result is a communication lasting for a whole life with maximum of social contexts, sounds like it’s time to look for dusty books about magic. However, we referred to the modern age instead of the old age.
Tasks in metaphorical form
Checking the hypothesis, we asked direct questions about a self-identity: what it is, how / with what people identify themselves, etc. As we supposed, the answers were flowery, abstract as the concept. The answers were notional. While essential answers were found in our observations on forums, metaphorical tasks and precise analytical questions. You only need for it a wide experience of online moderating and a little creativity.
A little more metaphoricity for the profound answers. A little more creativity for the involvement. A little more analytics on each stage. Now we may say - “we can do it”.
New findings of online researches
Currently testing takes the first place in online research by popularity. We can already say that testing of concepts, layouts, phrases, slogans online is a young norm. Most clients have estimated the benefits of it.
- Period of standard testing online takes 7 days, what is impossible to do offline (duration is depending on number of materials and complexity of recruitment).
Any volume of materials
- It’s possible to test online both 2 phrases (what is unprofitable to do offline) and 50 materials (what is really impossible to do offline).
Different audiences simultaneously
- During an online research it's possible to observe the certain groups separately and together what allows probing the specificity of the groups at the moment of its appearance.
- Respondents can answer in convenient time and think before it that increases the depth of the answers and, therefore, the accuracy of the strategies based on them.
Communication of the creative agency and the clients with the audience
- It’s a wonderful opportunity of online research which is often used by the creative agencies. Specify, develop new ideas during the research and have an opportunity to test them without losing validity – it becomes a reality here on scopes of the Internet.
Study of the lifestyle, showing-up barriers and drivers are on the second place according to the popularity in online research. However, evident advantages here can change the balance of power in the near future.
- During an online research it's possible to illustrate any moment under discussion, whether it is the comment about the product usage or the love to specific type of rest. How long is it possible to discuss why a person does not like cheese when it is used in dishes? It suffices to see once how “ugly” it melts on the baked products in the oven in comparison with others.
Close to life
- We see much more than offline allows us with all the diaries, homeworks and even home visits. There are several reasons for it. Comfort: the chosen time by the respondent, without “superfluous” people like moderator or client, total freedom. Importance: moderator stays in touch with everyone all the time. Interest: it is more interesting to mark the moments in your life than to remember them. As a result, we have bigger openness, involvement of the respondent in the story about himself and deeper and more precise information for a researcher.
Prolonged in time
- Where else can you find an opportunity to be with the audience 24 hours during 7 days of the week? Where else can you watch the daily routine, habits, the use of the products during the needed period of time, which is chosen in respect to the aim of the research not to the restriction of face-to-face format.
But the most interesting thing is, of course, a boom of online researches devoted to such difficult tasks as development of the product/service positioning, revelation of the deep needs and typology of the audience.
Not long ago it seemed that these “whales” of offline researches would stay for the last. However, no. The reason of it is at the surface – the share of client’s business is growing steadily or completely moving to the Internet. We find shops with the services in the World Wide Web; the sites, which are the most consumed products, all of them have their own online users and online consumers. Online researches discover them. Offline is ineffective here.
Market segmentation of online services/products
is possible when we have a direct access to them. Experience has shown that a researcher and a client often don’t know the entire market size, often the respondents open its borders in online researches. In order to understand the real borders, true market size, main, real players – it’s important to give the audience the freedom of statement of the web space, what is possible only with the contact with it.
Only for the year of our active work we see the movement of “tectonic plates” in studied space. Online research is actively changing the “landscape” of the researches, not only introducing new opportunities to the territory of offline researches, but at the same time actively widening its territories to the delight of clients who do business on the Internet.
Some trends in Russian marketing
«Promising promotional activity is for the producers to keep it in mind. People get tired because they need something to collect and send in order to get a prize. Promo codes instead of sending by the post don’t change the situation a lot. Because time, spent when they entered the code or collected and then sent stickers, was boring for the audience. The moment when the collection of stickers/packages turns into a game – “do puzzle from the pictures on the package and send it to the address”; “make origami from the bottles, take a picture and post using the link / on Instagram – it becomes interesting, it captures, involves and promises success to your promotional activity»
I’ve long been intended to write about current trends in marketing. I’ll mention those which appear constantly and just arise to be reflected.
Consumers in advertisement
- It is certainly a long-term trend. Aeroflot was the first which showed this trend when the photos of flight attendants who worked for the airline were used in their advertisements. In 2014 this trend was sustained by mobile operator MTS when the selfie tour winners appeared in the advertisement. In 2015 more than 100 customers of mobile operator Yota took part in the advertisement.
- Coca-Cola was also close to this trend when it printed the names and quotes of people on their packages. Every brand wants to be closer to its audience.
- Visual effect of the Kozel beer can make people touch it in order to check «what if it’s really knitted”, and then they buy it because “the package is very beautiful and unusual”. Appeal to the tactility of the package hadn't been so mass as before New Year 2015.
«Co-working» with brand
- Levi’s is ahead of the curve in this trend. It offers to improve the thing which was bought by the customer as he/she likes. Levi’s gives ”sets for customization” which are very popular.
- Yota takes the second place in this trend (“second” is not in itself, but because it has recently appeared). Yota follows its slogan “We make the mobile operator together” and realizes the ideas of the audience. The last one is to give the trial use period of the mobile operator services. Now it’s possible to test a SIM card for free, if you don’t like it, you can return it. But how many people will return it?
- This trend is shown by mobile operator Tele2 on the Internet where it communicates information about its new marketing campaign to the audience. Tele2 tells about such important indices as “price leadership”, “brand perception”, “brand recognition”. It explains the differences between “idea of the commercial” and “advertising territory”, we find out what “new creative form” is. This information is presented very clearly. What do we get? The same proximity to the audience, where not the audience becomes closer to marketing but marketing to the audience.
The trends specified above closely correlate with the image of the consumer about whom I wrote a year and a half ago (read it on Facebook): he transformed from the person who chose into the person who wanted to create. It seemed he was telling, “It’s important for me what I personally create, in what I personally take part.” Producers have heard him. Did we expect other results?
«Qualitative online research – are you kidding me?»
«You need more time to say something on the phone: find the number, dial it, wait for the reply and say what you want… And you can’t say too much – you keep forgetting. A messenger makes it easier and faster: you remember something, send a message and no need to worry»
I started this article by quoting… myself, on purpose. As recently as five years ago I laughed at the idea that online qualitative research could replace the offline. Who could have thought that the structural linguistic analysis could let us single out human psychotypes and make up typologies when applied wide-scale? That people would hang on online for 16 hours a day? That texting would replace voice calls, when it’s easier to open Whatsapp than dial a number?
All these moments become a passport to success of the qualitative online research. My recent projects (upon the audience under 40 y.o.) have shown that the world of communication goes online. In many respects, it’s getting easier, faster and more convenient for us to text rather than speak. In this context, it’s getting more efficient to communicate with people using the method they find more convenient.
It’s more efficient to test concepts and insights when consumers have unlimited (vs. offline) amount of time, freedom of self-expression and individual responsibility for their answers.
WHILE TESTING 3 CONCEPTS ONLINE, 6 NEW CONCEPTS HAVE BEEN CREATED, THE INITIAL ONES HAVE BEEN IMPROVED AND THE LEADERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN.
It’s more efficient to communicate with the audience on sensitive and in-depth subjects. Outpourings of the heart to the moderator as a result of his/her accurate probing are not uncommon on online forums; instead, they are rather regular.
A SENSITIVE TOPIC OF TEAM INTERACTION IN A B2B PROJECT WAS UNCOVERED DURING A PERSONAL INTERACTION BETWEEN THE MODERATOR AND RESPONDENTS ON THE ONLINE FORUM, RATHER THAN FACE-TO-FACE DISCUSSIONS.
Online research is more efficient when you need to get the feel of the common mood on a wide scale (often, interregional) and at the same time collect individual assessments of the insiders – this is the specifics unavailable to the offline research where we always make a choice between the group dynamics and in-depth understanding.
THE LATEST PROJECT HAS ALLOWED US TO COVER 25 CITIES AND OBTAIN BOTH THE REGIONAL SPECIFICS AND THE OVERALL UNDERSTANDING OF THE AUDIENCE TYPES AND THEIR INDIVIDUAL ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE ISSES UNDER THE RESEARCH.
It has become obvious, that the online qualitative research unites the benefits of several offline qualitative methods and sometimes quantitative ones as well (individual questionnaires). And although today, same as five years ago, we can’t speak about replacing one method with the other, we can vouch the immense growth of the qualitative research potential.
Thanks to qualitative online research. Looking forward to its further progress.