Back at ESOMAR 3D for where the topic switched to online mostly online qual. Frederick Gennart and Tom de Ruyck began a discussion of a project to redesign the IKEA catalogue by describing the advantages of MROCs over standard focus groups. Basically, it comes down to a single conversation versus an ongoing dialogue. There are other issues as well – time, money, size, etc. – but the principal advantage is the range and richness of insights. They then discussed to the details of the methodology, which they made multi-dimensional by approaching different topics from different perspectives using a range of tools as well as fine tune their approach by country. At one point, they revived the MROC to do some additional work to provide guidance on cover design. They used a survey and then in depth discussion to make the cover choice. Their presentation did an excellent job of showing how the MROC methodology is becoming increasing more sophisticated as it evolves, at least in the hands of one of its prime practitioners like Tom.
Then we heard from Steve August and his client at P&G. They talked about studying product transitions – when consumers decide to replace a product they have with another product. There are multiple reasons for that – technology, life stage, use – and it's tough to see those transitions coming. Steve reminded us that transitions are a process, not an event and the key to understanding is in someone watching that process. Like a researcher. It turned out, that the study topic was diapers. P&G was taking a beating with its diaper products and did not know why. Through creative use of an MROC they discovered the problem was in the transition from one size to another as the kids grow. It provided some really useful intelligence which P&G took to heart. The changes were reflected in improved performance in the market place.
Both of these presentations were good examples of how online qual is becoming increasingly sophisticated in a very short period of time. Really great stuff!
This was followed by a panel on "Making an Impact," which I missed becauseI forgot to bring my iPhone charger to Boston and had ot run out and get another one for my already substantial collection at home.