A Holistic Approach to Mobile Market Research
What lessons can qualitative researchers learn from a quantitative mobile market research provider? Hear from Jim Schwab, SVP of OnePoint, who spoke this morning at Merdien’s Market Research in the Mobile World conference in Atlanta.
Jim Schwab (SVP, North America, OnePoint Surveys) seems to have food and beverages at heart. I met him last night at a tasty Mexican buffet at Los Reyes, a reception for the Merlien Institute’s Market Research in the Mobile World 2nd International Conference that was sponsored by The Research Club. We talked about his favorite restaurants, and then this morning he shared a fun story of a recent trip to Starbucks. But it’s clear that Jim’s interests run a bit broader than those categories.
In his presentation this morning, Jim advocated “A Holistic Approach to Mobile Market Research.” While his focus was quantitative, many of his examples and guidelines offered for the use of mobile market research can apply to qualitative research as well.
He led with “Let’s brand market research – the 5th methodology with distinct strengths and weaknesses.” In saying that, he pointed out that there needs to be a clear rationale to choose to add or use mobile in a study, which typically needs to be “in or at the moment” to gather insights that could not be collected accurately with other methods.
He also provided guidance that adapting online to mobile is not as straightforward as simply launching an existing survey (or guide, for that matter) on a mobile phone. The content and user interface should be adapted and taken into consideration in order for the experience to be a good one for the respondent and for the mobile format to be given a better chance to be effective.
SMS is the only mobile channel besides voice that reaches “every” phone in the world. So, “how are we going to trigger the respondent to grab their mobile phone and get them to complete a few questions for you?” he posed. OnePoint seems to be leveraging POS, actionable messages on receipts like “text 90210 to ‘target,’” and coming up with “lots of creative ways” to engage customers when they want consumers to engage in a survey using their mobile device. Clearly this could apply to qualitative research as well.
Finally, Jim commented on the complexity and cost of developing mobile platforms. “It’s a crazy, fragmented mess,” especially globally, in the wireless industry, compared to the more universal and standardized online arena, which allowed online research to flourish quickly and at a low cost. The mobile mess includes a wide variety of handsets with varying capabilities, individual plans, cultural differences in usage and purchasing, etc.
That said, Jim reassured that OnePoint was committed to developing the platforms to work through the unique mobile challenges and advancing the methodology.