We were delighted to welcome Ken as our guest (and again to a joint ICG meeting with BIG the next evening in Manchester, on this same topic). Ken’s view is that traditional and online qual are both great, he uses both and wants to continue doing so. A small scale parallel test he conducted with Rosie Campbell indicated pretty similar findings (group discussions vs. one week bulletin board), with online being somewhat cheaper but rather more time consuming to moderate and analyse. A key difference is the detail possible with online explanations of behaviour and actions vs. wider long-term thinking and explanations reported and debated in groups.
Whilst an advocate of both methods, Ken did spend much of this talk emphasising 5 areas in which online (and he means bulletin boards over time) seems to have the edge in terms of content rickness, concluding that we should all at least be open to trying the method:
- Understanding individuals: online can produce far richer portraits and profiles, especially with the use of diaries and images
- Understanding customer journeys: again, the arguement is that, over the course of a bulletin board style exchange, more depth becomes possible online
- Unravelling behaviour: again, a more detailed picture becomes possible. An example of tea making was enlightening!
- Brand investigations: especially with diaries and photos, a deeper picture can be possible
- Evaluating communications: online introduces many task options to rate different media, without the influence of strong leaders in a group (applies to other areas too of course). Many good software options are now available to analyse your work