Behind-the-Scenes with our Client Feedback Team

We have been making some of the industry’s most flexible survey tools for over 25 years. We’re always evolving our powerful multichannel platform, which includes launching new products, major releases, and regular maintenance and feature updates. Through it all, we’ve definitely become experts in the craft of survey software.

But savvy product managers know that there’s a gap between the knowledge that comes from creating and refining a product as a developer, and as an end user who is actively using it daily. To close that gap, our Voxco Online product team has long been tapping into the user perspective – what features do they need the most, how do they spend their time on the platform, what would they do differently?

Informally reaching out to users for feedback had always been happening, but just last year, our product team formalized a client outreach program that maximizes the impact of the feedback on the final product. The outreach has been invaluable; not just for our team, but for clients who could help shape the product’s development.

Now that it’s a formal part of our process, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at our client outreach programs – how they work, and how much of an impact they have had on the online survey tools. Let’s take a peek under the hood:

User Surveys

We make survey software, so it was a natural jump to use the platform to ask our own clients for feedback. To gain quantitative data about in-demand features, the surveys asked multiple choice and ranking questions that aimed to prioritize the relative importance of new features. At the end of each survey, qualitative data was collected via a series of open-ended questions that asked users to precisely describe what key features would maximize their organization’s use of the tool, and how existing functionalities could be further enhanced.

Advisory Committee

Post-survey, we wanted to continue the qualitative conversations, and dig deeper with active users on how they could maximize their productivity on the platform. So we assembled a team of 15 of our most active clients, representing varying industries, organization sizes and survey types. In the pursuit of more qualitative insights about specific upcoming features, we formalized this group into a client advisory committee.

When we are in the early planning stages of a major new release, we can now approach a team of active users as a sounding board. The conversation starts as an overview call to get their input on how they use a specific feature set. We then use this rich feedback to further define product requirements and create interactive mock-ups of the new feature set. We hop on a second call to present the mock-ups to their teams, and fine-tune the details over time.

Data galore!

It was nice to see complimentary patterns from our varied client types that helped validate our internal team’s existing direction. The client survey offered instant clarity on which new features were must-haves, which helped the product team to immediately start prioritizing the next few releases.

We were amazed by the long, detailed answers given to the open-ended questions. It was clear that clients were very open to the communication channel and were excited to have their voice heard. The responses helped stimulate new ideas for future features and started many active discussions among the development team.

We have witnessed very high involvement levels from all members of the advisory committee, and the resulting conversations feel very collaborative. The members often choose to gather project-specific suggestions from their larger team, and even share the feature mock-ups with them for more robust user feedback. It’s quite clear that the advisory committee enjoys being consulted and collaborating on feature development.

Overall, the entire process has helped us define a very solid road map for the next year worth of updates, and with the help of many of our users, we have populated our first 2 major releases with many of their most commonly requested features.

Coming soon: results

The earliest major release that was directly impacted by the new client feedback is coming out in just a couple of months! And the client feedback team has already moved on to collecting data on a future release that will enhance our reporting tool. Next month, we’ll share with you some of the results of the first few client outreach initiatives right here on the blog.

If you’re a user of the industry’s most flexible survey platform, keep an eye out for our surveys to join in the conversation – you could help us define the future of Voxco Online. Stay tuned!

4 Most Important Factors in Survey Project Design

The bi-annual GRIT report was released by Leonard Murphy at Greenbook last week. As usual, it presents a very telling snapshot of the state of the market research industry. Which issues are important and which are less so. What is hot. And what is not.

The report surveys almost 1,600 individuals who work in market research, 80% suppliers (mostly from MR firms), and 20% buyers (clients). Some of the most interesting results come from the comparison of how both sides view the same issues.

As creators of survey software, the findings that generated the most inter-office conversation were those about what researchers felt mattered most in research project design. Specifically, this summary bar chart of the more interesting findings of respondents’ Top 2 most important factors:

Source: Greenbook GRIT Report Q3-Q4 2016 (pg. 26)

1. Research Trustworthiness

Most important to both suppliers and clients is how trustworthy the research is. And rightfully so – that’s what clients are paying for, and the insights generated are what will lead to organizational shifts.

2. Sample Quality

A direct contributor to #1 above, a full half of the supplier and client respondents chose to include in their Top 2 most important factors that the recruited database or panel needs to be of high quality and representative.

3. Respondent Focus

Somewhat surprisingly, there was a steep drop in clients and researchers acknowledging the imjportance of the amount of time that a respondent takes with the research project/survey and the focus they give it. But there were still a quarter of the researchers (and a fifth of the clients) who chose this option in their Top 2. More on this in a moment.

4. Survey Scope Clarity

The only result in the top 4 where more clients selected it than researchers, 26% of clients want to ensure that survey participants have a clear idea of the scope of the project.

Of Concern

As noted in three of the four orange highlight points in the chart above, there was a significant difference in the results that favored the researchers’ Top choice (that the research should be good) compared to those that measured respondent experience.

In addition to the steep drop off before respondent focus and clear communication of project scope, responses addressing respondent compensation and satisfaction indicators received less than 10% of researcher responses, and less than 5% of client responses! (see last three answers in chart above)

As Murphy states, “It seems the relationship between researchers and research participants has become very one-sided – what we expect from participants is not aligned with what we feel our obligations are to them.”

If you build it, they will come. Build great surveys. Communicate well with your respondents, and treat them with the respect they deserve. By keeping your respondents satisfied, you will get better results. We need to shift our focus outwards and create the kinds of survey projects that foster great results.

Download the full GRIT report HERE – it’s free and jam-packed with rich industry insights.

Visual impact in surveys: Speaking the new respondent language

Visuals Are The New Language Of Consumers And Market Research | GreenBook

So is market research still relevant in the face of the age of Big Data? While growth rates in MR are practically nonexistent, passive data collection & analysis is seeing meteoric growth as an industry. We don’t want to hammer a point too heavily into the ground, but let’s try to make sense of it and offer way forward. Adaptation to the new consumer and stakeholder mindset is key. Here’s what we see far too much of in the slower-to-adapt corners of our industry:


For now, there are too many agencies and firms making insights far too complex. Does a findings report need to be 20-50 slides of tables full of raw numbers? This stubborn insistence on data complexity limits the effectiveness of quality research. Recommendations are being ignored because they’re buried under mounds of raw data. Consider data presentation that actually gets noticed.

New platforms. Old methodology.

We’re applying old methodologies to new platforms, despite living in a world of sweeping technological advancements. Many companies still gather market data by administering static, boring, DIY online surveys. While some agencies feel that shifting to online (from phone or pen & paper) has been enough, they’re ignoring the fact that each year sees more an more respondents exclusively on mobile, and that time is spent almost exclusively in-app.

But even those who have shifted to mobile haven’t changed their business models for deploying these new technologies. Even a simple study still needs several analysts and project managers. The value of mobile is in the speed and simplicity of the user experience and the ability to reach your audience where they spend most of their time.

It’s boring.

We claim to be building customer-centric communities, but the unwelcome truth is that we still view respondents as an expense. We put little thought into making surveys non-intrusive, fun, engaging, or even addictive! And so the segment of people who are willing to participate in research is shrinking, and increasingly non-representative.

It lacks visual impact.

The world and the people within it are becoming more and more visual as time goes on. Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Vine are growing quickly as consumers abandon text and let multimedia do the talking. Even reigning social media kings Facebook and Twitter are shifting gradually to a multimedia-first information flow. Why? Because visuals are more concise and more effective units of communication. Worth a thousand words, as they say…

If your surveys lack multimedia, you’re going to have a tough time reaching those juicy demographics who often avoid boring surveys. Visual and mobile combined offer better reach and a better survey experience.

But, researchers are still not using either to its full benefit. For example, while there are many firms in the marketing industry that are enabling clients to understand and speak to consumers in this new visual language, market research firms have, for the most part, only focused on analyzing imaged-based social data that consumers are already posting, being voyeurs so to speak.  However, there is so much more to social, especially imaged-based social, that by doing so they are missing out on a major opportunity. Market researchers should also use social and visual social as an opportunity to directly solicit responses to gather meaningful, in the moment of truth insights, both quickly and cost effectively while ensuring a stellar respondent experience.

Gathering imaged-based data can be very valuable to your market research efforts. With visual, we can ask fewer questions and still gather mountains of information. Why not have them write about their experiences in a log? That way we have loads of data to digest and pick out nuggets of wisdom from.  To that I would say not true – A picture is truly worth a 1000 words. And when solicited and examined properly it can enable researchers to garner vital insights in a manner that is non-intrusive, fun and very natural to consumers.

Adapt or Die.

Sounds harsh? It is. But this simplification and visualization helps both the survey respondent and the survey stakeholder, and eventually enables an agile style of research where you can learn and refine on your way towards key insights.

These are tumultuous yet exciting times for the Market Research industry. To remain relevant and even to prosper, adaptation is key. So the next time you hear someone in the office ask about benchmarks and other standardized methodologies, respond with “The technique is different, but the world has changed, and so must we.”

Read the source article at GreenBook Blog

5 technologies & trends that will impact the next decade of MR

Ones to watch: five key MR trends for the next decade

Richard Thornton recently published a list of 5 emerging trends that can’t be ignored in the Market Research industry:

New tech has significantly evolved the market research industry in the last five years. Although parts of the MR industry are still notoriously slow to adapt, technology is driving research technique changes at a break-neck speed. Here are five of the likely changes that will define the next decade of MR:

  1. Geo-IP triggered event-based surveys. This is an ample, currently available opportunity that is still largely untapped. Beacon-based, real-time surveys allow researchers to target a mobile population while they are in the moment and ask them questions relevant to what they are experiencing, live. The additional benefit of using mobile devices with geo-IP tracking is that it allows for passive data collection on consumers and the ability to micro-segment their consumer profiles. Looking to grab the attention of a younger respondent? This research method hold great potential for capturing audiences that have already left Facebook, Twitter and other platforms behind.
  2. In-app feedback. The opportunity to integrate your surveys into existing apps, and ask questions related to that app’s consumer experience, is huge. Mobile users now spend 86% of their time in apps rather than web browsers – it’ll be essential for researchers to further immerse themselves into this evolving environment. The best in-app surveys truly adapt to their native apps – making a seamlessly skinned extension of the consumer experience in the specific app. Consider also the growing revenue opportunities of in-app surveys as they offer the ability to drive large research transaction levels.
  3. ‘Appification’ of research. Notice a pattern developing here? So do we. Researchers who are delving into in-app research are already encouraged by early results and there is a growing segment of clients who are app-savvy and already looking for in-app research solutions. Some organzations already use oversimplified survey software to create their own simple questionnaires, but it’ll be up to the most agile market research agencies to best tap into the in-app survey experience for the more research-intelligent clients.
  4. Sample automation and optimization. Exchange-based automation and optimization for sample buyers/sellers is already growing in the Market Research industry, with little touch needed for ordering and delivering online samples. Sometime in the next decade, expect further standardisation around the definitions and terminology from a coding and API infrastructure perspective. Once that’s done, expect this practice to boom.
  5. Data synthesis. Integrating and harnessing surveys with pre-existing client data assets and big data sources can create a well-rounded view of consumer behavior. Big data and countless analytics channels caught MR a little offguard over the last decade, with initial excitement leading quickly to the feeling of being totally overwhelmed with raw data and no logical data ‘story’. Combining Voice of the Customer (VoC) survey results with more passive forms of data collection is what creates the all-important story; effective storytelling resonates most with audiences. The next decade will see the right combination of technologies and skills adopted by adept researchers, which will refine the data story into a more workable form.

So now the question comes back to you, fellow researchers: Are you ready for the future? If you’re not – we can help get you on the right path towards becoming an early adopter of some of these emerging trends. An agile agency is an agency that will give their clients a reason to use them.

Read the source article at Research

The Future of MR Depends on Sexy Data Presentation

How to Make Data Sexy and Why Our Future Depends on It

Sure our headline screams ‘click me!’ a little harder than it needed to… but that’s sort of the idea we’re trying to convey. Get your message across in a visually intriguing way to maximize its impact.

Data presentation is something that’s decidedly uninteresting to the general public. But to us market researchers, the sexy visualization of our hard-fought insights is critical to the perceived success of a survey project.

Nowadays in the face of mounting sources of raw data and shrinking attention spans of clients and marketing teams, it’s essential to get across the key insights in an interesting, impactful way quickly and succinctly. It seems pointless to judge it or try to convince non data-nerds to convert. And so we just have to accept it and find a way to deliver.

Data is everyone’s future. Understanding the needs, wants and opportunities presented by this data is commercially essential to organizations of all sizes; we just need to ensure that stakeholders can follow the data trail and understand what the insights mean to them. So, some tips courtesy of the team at ClickZ:

  • Visualization. We need to accept that most non-researchers find numbers boring and sometimes confusing. But it’s human nature to be drawn to colorful, attractive visuals. Nowadays, data visualization goes a long way beyond simple charts and graphs. Quality data visualization software now allows us to intuitively visualize huge volumes of data so that they are digestible by wide audiences.
  • Presentation. Presenting your findings with a static pie chart just isn’t cutting it any more. People’s eyes should linger over analytics and insights, grasping the meaning and looking deeper to gain knowledge.
  • Meaningful KPIs. Market Research has a tendency to make up new and confusing performance metrics. Assuming a solid understanding of MR, these are usually valid and important to number crunchers, but stakeholders outside the MR team don’t recognize the value of some of these more advanced KPIs. Resist the temptation to overdeliver in your reporting; only include KPIs that your audience will really use to make business decisions. Revenue, cost and profitability top the list of C-level priorities. Marketers and clients accept Net Promoter Score as a KPI that can compare across benchmarks.
  • Commentary. People skim and scan nowadays. It’s a coping mechanism in the face of the growing amount of reading we do each day that allows us to pick up the factoids and nuggets of information that matter. Consider this when adding captions and light commentary. Remember that the action-focused viewers of your data presentation will only walk away with a few clear sound bites in their heads – so make them impactful.
  • Real-time & Dynamic. Yesterday’s numbers no longer matter. If you aren’t getting data real-time, you’re already behind the times (literally). Sharing dynamic, real time data reports lets marketing directors refresh as often as they like to track minuscule changes to their hearts content. People who appreciate data want to zoom in, drill down, change variables and ask ‘what if.’ Accessible, interactive and customizable results dashboards offer greater value and insights to more stakeholders.
  • Story-telling. Every chart and graph should work together to tell a single story, that follows a linear path, incorporates facts and emotions, and creates lasting memories. Get inspired by data presentation master Hans Rosling.

Successful data presentation takes vast, complex findings and winnows it down to the most important and actionable insights, and then presents those insights in a clear, attractive way. The raw data is still there, and is never ignored or pushed aside. It’s just filtered and reported in as sexy a way as possible to make sure that the findings are understood, and taken into account. Voxco and Dapresy can help you become a data presentation expert. Ask us how today.

Read the source article at ClickZ

5 Key Lessons for Upgrading Online Presentation Systems

5 Lessons for Implementing an Online Presentation System

After replacing their online data presentation system last year, Jayne Krahn – VP Product & Research Operations at Kantar Media Healthcare – learned five valuable lessons. It required flexibility and overcoming a few errors made along the way, but they now find themselves better positioned to serve existing clients and to confidently enter new markets.

As an organization that produces syndicated research studies with as many as 20,000 respondents, each with 6,000 data variables, they found it very time-consuming to set up and quality-control the data presentation using their previous survey data visualization dashboards. All possible charts and filters of interest had to be pre-determined in the design phase – imagine having to do that for every possible combination of only two conditions (eg. high blood pressure vs diabetes). Adding new filters for a particular client would require much re-work for every table and chart in the dashboard. Designing dashboards would take weeks and data updates would add more days of work.

In addition, the expectations of their client base were quickly evolving – they wanted insights that were easy to read and interpret. They increasingly wanted to focus on pertinent findings and correlations rather than performing deep-dive analyses.

After a lengthy search for a less cumbersome online presentation system that better accommodated for the needs of their industry, they chose to use Dapresy Pro insight reporting dashboards. Here are five lessons that Krahn learned along the way:

  1. Define the ‘story’ of the actionable insights. Previously, they would load all data into the data visualization software and use it like a crosstab program. Using the new software, they found it far easier to create a storyboard around the key data findings and share it with stakeholders for feedback. The data analysts need to see the raw data, but most people only want the actionable insights. Taking the time to define the ‘story’ the data uncovered helped fine-tune the data loaded into the presentation tool.
  2. Make the survey results dashboards work for you (not the reverse). Once they had the data loaded into our new survey results dashboard tool, they found they were really just replicating the boring, flat presentations they had been delivering with the previous tool. That was when they first started digging in and rethinking how to implement more interesting analysis and improved graphics.
  3. Clients expect infographics. After resetting their thinking, the solution was clear. They tasked members of their team who loved data and were skilled in visual presentation with maximizing the presentation value of their data findings. It was all about shareable, presentable infographics that highlighted actionable insights.
  4. Roll out gradually and gather feedback along the way. Since many clients may be caught off guard by immediate changes in presentation visuals, Kantar developed user guides for each study to instruct clients on the new presentation style. They simultaneously ran bi-weekly trainings for their own staff.
  5. Maximize it! The dashboard team at Kantar is constantly improving and adjusting how they create infographics that present findings while being shareable and telling effective stories.

Powerpoint slides and shareable infographics are the future of insight reporting dashboards. Ready to get started? We can help!

Read the source article on Quirks.

Co-Mingling Survey Data with Marketing Data Provides the Context Management is Seeking

Co-Mingling Survey Data with Marketing Data Provides the Context Management is Seeking

Dapresy North America’s President, Rudy Nadilo, explains how to get everyone in your company on the same page by co-mingling your data.

Traditionally, when marketing research has presented study results to senior management, they’ve only employed those specific findings. But today, senior management is increasingly interested in how results from one part of the business (e.g. customer satisfaction) correlate with findings from other parts of the business (e.g. advertising spend, social media mentions, sales, etc.). And they want them presented in a way that makes comparing results easy. Far too many marketing research execs can attest to the nightmares of using PowerPoint to accomplish this. But with the advent of online reporting systems, co-mingling data has become far easier and more practical.

Read the source article at GreenBook Blog

Europe: Technology leads to shifting challenges

Article: Europe's Marketers See Challenges Shift as Technology Advances

Marketers rarely step back from the day-to-day to take a long look at where their profession is heading. But a recent EIU survey of 600 marketing execs concluded that some massive shifts are already underway that will redefine the very nature of marketing and marketers.

Most European marketers polled could actively see the marketing function transforming, especially advertising/branding, customer experience and engagement, and digital/social media. Big shifts already underway are expected to increase focus further towards e-commerce, customer retention, and customer cross-selling and upselling.

Unsurprisingly, the overall interactivity and connectedness of mobile channels was heavily acknowledged. Emerging trends that were flagged included the internet of things (IoT), real-time/personalized mobile purchasing and wearables, all of which are expected to have a significant effect on marketing within five years.
Marketing research is one such industry that’s being heavily affected by these current and anticipated changes. How is your organization adapting?

Read the source article at

The 6 Biggest Challenges in Market Research

The Top 10 Challenges in the Market Research Industry

According to the most recent GRIT report, the biggest challenges that researchers are finding with the state of today’s industry can be grouped neatly together:

  • Impactful reporting: The ability to provide or receive reports that work to tell a succinct story and account for all the puzzle pieces,
  • Technology: How is it used, and how reliable is it in answering business questions in efficient and creative ways, and
  • Data Management: The overwhelming amount of data points in today’s world – direct and indirect – need to be collected, managed, and interpreted.

What matters to Client-side Researchers

The ability to develop behavior models or forecasts based on all available data will prove to be the most fruitful for this group. Specifically, 40% want actionable reports that directly relate to business needs above all else while 37% feel that management of data – specifically the marrying of traditional research with Big Data – is the biggest challenge that needs to be overcome. It’s become increasingly difficult to connect the dots and develop them into actionable insights.

What matters to Suppliers

Suppliers understand that there are great benefits when technology is used well, but there are also costs associated with its proliferation. 45% of suppliers feel the greatest focus should be on technology, which means not only embracing trends to enhance their own differentiation, but also as a way to deal with the increasingly difficult timelines/budgets. And of course it’s nearly impossible to embrace the emerging, untested tech that clients expect while keeping budgets in check.

The Top 6 Responses

The Top 6 responses to the question “What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing market research in 2015?” are below, but be sure to read the source article at GreenBook Blog for the full Top 10 and an expansion on each:

  1. Methodology – what data collection techniques should we use?
  2. Clientele – expectations are growing while budgets are shrinking.
  3. Outcomes – vague, unactionable insights are becoming more common, all while timeline expectations dwindle.
  4. Technologies – How can we fuse our existing research methodology with Big Data, Mobile, Social Media, etc?
  5. Differentiation – staying relevant amidst a rapidly changing landscape.
  6. Data Quality – non-representative or dishonest respondents with no statistical assurances.

So where’s the shining light at the end of all this? Like all industries, we’re having our bumps in the road, but the opportunities in greater data sources and rapidly changing technology will surely greatly outweigh the challenges in the long run. Truly an exciting time to be a part of Market Research.

5 Ways to Improve Online Survey Response Rates

Article: Consumer Data Collection Comes at a Cost

Consumers need a little motivation to hand over their data to brands sometimes. And there’s no way around it: the absolute best motivation is straight-up cash rewards. Read on for more ways to incentivize a boost in survey response rates.

A recent US online survey asked users which incentives would best motivate them to share information with brands, and every single respondent said that cash rewards does the trick.

More than three-quarters of the same respondents said the same about significant discounts or coupons.

The next three additional ways were far more in line with surveying best practices, rather than financial incentives. How else can we boost response rates? Fewer steps in surveys, better survey topic targeting based on their interests/people like them, and regular reminders help too.

See the full results and source article at

While money may be appealing to most respondents, best practices runs a close second in incentivizing consumers to hand over their personal data and opinions.

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