Market research studies are essential tools for companies to learn more about the motivations, experiences, needs, wants, and values from their customers. Market research is definitely a worthy pursuit, and for the investment of time and money, you want the end result to provide meaningful insights that can be leveraged into action. While there are many crucial components with any market research study, arguably the MOST important is the quality of the participants you recruit. If you’re wondering what we mean when we talk about the quality of participants, read on!
With market research, you often get what you pay for. Market research can be expensive, and many companies try and cut corners by using automated recruiting tools, working with inexperienced moderators, or try and conduct DIY market research led by internal teams. While we understand the reflex to cut costs, there is no point in moving forward with a market research study if the quality of your inputs is low.
Rather than see market research as a burdensome and expensive undertaking, think of it as a valuable commodity that can save your teams a lot of money by creating or designing products or tools that meet and exceed customer expectations.
When we talk about ‘high quality participants’, we are referring to the quality of the data and insights they provide, not to them as individuals. You want to fill a study with participants who can provide you with data and insights that are accurate, actionable, and relevant.
1.) Articulate—High-quality participants for qualitative studies are able to clearly articulate what they’re feeling and thinking. It’s not necessary to recruit a group of outspoken extroverts, but you want participants who are clear, concise, and comfortable sharing their insights. During the screening process, our recruiters are making notes about how candidates answer questions, how responsive they are to follow-up questions, and any other clues that might help in the final decision-making process as to how they might communicate during the study.
2.) Representative of your target audience—You can have a room full of articulate people, but if they aren’t representative of your target audience, they won’t provide meaningful insights. We’ve seen examples of companies trying to save money on recruiting by inviting friends, family, or colleagues to participate in a market study. There are a lot of pitfalls that can happen with qualitative studies, and recruiting from known groups often leads to confirmation or friendship bias. Recruiting from such groups rarely provides meaningful data. Quality participants are those who are representative of your current or targeted customer base.
3.) Reliable—It’s not easy to screen for reliability, but a good indicator is how easy it is to connect and communicate with candidates during the screening process. Qualitative studies are often conducted with small sample sizes, so each participant is important. If a participant is a no-show, or doesn’t know how to use technology (especially important for online focus groups and ethnographic studies!), then it doesn’t matter how articulate or representative they are.
If this seems like a lot of boxes to check, don’t be alarmed. High-quality recruits are out there, and with help from our experienced team of recruiters, we can find them for your next study.