Conducting qualitative market research studies involves many moving parts. First you have to narrow down what the ‘essential question’ of the study’s objective is so that a screening guide can be written. With a screening guide in hand, recruiters can then begin their outreach efforts to find the most qualified study participants.
Recruiting for market research studies has its own moving parts, which is why experienced market researchers will partner with nationwide recruiting firms to manage this component of market research studies.
All it takes is getting burned a few times when you have ‘no-shows’ for focus groups or in-depth interviews and suddenly it becomes very clear why outsourcing recruitment to market research recruiting firms saves time and money. Most recruiting agencies manage recruitment from beginning to end. They project manage this component of the study, saving lots of headache and money for the researcher.
Most market research studies have quick turn-around deadlines and having no-shows for scheduled focus groups or interviews can throw a monkey wrench into the works. If you are managing study participants on your own, make sure you have a few extra people recruited as standbys. You can tell them that they will be paid a small stipend for being ‘on-call’ and if they do end up replacing another recruit at the last minute, they will be compensated the same amount as the other study participants.
Each focus group recruitment agency manages no-shows and substitutions in their own way, but they always have back-ups ready. Most recruitment agencies have internal databases of potential study participants, and if a person is a repeated no-show, or has not been honest in answering the screening questions, they will flag these people so they don’t get selected for future studies.
Beyond managing no-shows, partnering with a nationwide recruitment agency can improve the study outcomes as they are better suited to screen and select study participants. As many qualitative studies become more niche, or are targeted at audiences that may be more difficult to recruit, working with a recruitment firm ensures that the study doesn’t get derailed because you can’t find people to fill a study.