Market research recruiting seems simple enough: find people who can answer questions and share insights about a product or brand. How hard could it be? Similar to watching professional athletes make their sports look effortless, market research recruiting is no different. While recruitment may seem easy, there is a lot of work and coordination that goes on behind the scenes.
It’s been a while since we last covered the topic of the pitfalls of DIY recruiting, so we figured it’s time to revisit the topic, especially as businesses and organizations are ramping up to complete market research studies.
DIY Hazard #1: Shifting timelines
It’s rare for market research studies to stay true to the original schedule set forth. Experienced research consultants know that creating the initial schedule is more of a guide, and is likely to be modified many times before completion. Delays can be caused by any number of reasons. Sometimes a product or device to be tested doesn’t ship in time or perhaps the organization commissioning the study wants to expand or narrow its scope. Over the many years, we’ve recruited for market research, it’s rare that we’ve seen a study adhere to its original scope or schedule. Flexibility is key and being nimble and quickly filling a study with the right people requires a devoted team whose sole focus is on recruitment.
DIY Hazard #2: Managing No-Shows
Managing market research no-shows creates a last-minute scramble for the moderator and recruiter. Similar to shifting timelines being a given, most market research studies involve last-minute substitutions. Sometimes respondents need to be replaced because they’re a no-show, and other times the moderator realizes that a participant isn’t qualified and slipped through in spite of the screening guide questions. Trying to manage and mitigate the scramble of last-minute changes is stressful enough. This is often a breaking point for DIY recruiting teams, as they don’t have the infrastructure in place to quickly find replacements, nor do they know to recruit extra participants who can quickly substitute no-shows or misfits.
DIY Hazard #3: Recruiting for Online Studies
With so many market research now being conducted online, in part because of Covid-19, there are additional steps required when recruiting for online focus groups. DIY teams may not be aware that in addition to vetting qualified participants, they need to also test and screen for technical and digital aptitude and connectivity. This is especially true when recruiting older demographics. While these participants may be fully qualified to fill a study being conducted in person, they may not have the skills or equipment to participate digitally.
There are many other hazards to DIY recruiting, beyond what we’ve listed here, but hopefully this gives you an idea of some of the challenges. When recruiting for any market study, whether big or small, it’s best to partner with a nationwide market recruitment agency.