There are thousands of market research companies in the United States that participate in market research surveys. Each of these companies tries to gather feedback and opinions from consumers to gauge their interest in, awareness of, or satisfaction with a particular product or service.
Oftentimes, market research is conducted by holding face-to-face interviews or through focus groups in which a select number of people within a particular target audience are gathered to sample, view, or discuss a product or service.
But then the coronavirus happened, and now, researchers are wondering how to do market research surveys when people are being asked (or told) to socially distance themselves from others, especially for non-essential activities.
How to Do Market Research Surveys During the Coronavirus Crisis
Although we seem to be bombarded with bad news regarding the coronavirus hourly, there is some good news for market research companies. While in-person consumer surveys and focus groups are off the table, there are other types of studies that keep participants socially distant while allowing you to conduct market research! Here are four market research examples people can participate in.
1. Telephone Research
While telephone surveys have dwindled in popularity with people now perceiving them as invasions of their privacy, they are making a comeback during the coronavirus. COVID-19 has many people self-isolating at home, with little to do. While just a few months ago they may have had a tendency to hang up on an interviewer, today they may be much more willing to spend a little time on the phone as a break from their social distancing boredom.
The New York Times states that phone survey productivity rates have jumped about 25%, with respondents actually thanking pollsters from getting in touch! “People are dealing with anxiety, and they haven’t seen their family and friends,” said Ayala Mitchell, a survey respondent. “They just want to talk to someone.”
2. Mail Sampling
Like telephone surveys, conducting market research with mail surveys aren’t isn’t as popular as it once was because of the internet. However, mail sampling can be valuable during the coronavirus crisis, especially for market research surveys that involve taste-testing or product trials.
Market research companies can ship product samples to potential customers, providing instructions on what to do with them and what to record. Respondents can then mail back their consumer survey (along with any non-consumable product in a paid shipping box) or jump online to answer questions about the product (see #4 for more information).
3. Virtual Interviews & Focus Groups
Thanks to online video communication tools like Zoom and even Facebook video calling, market research companies can still meet with their subjects “face-to-face,” just in a virtual manner. This is ideal when the researcher needs to build trust in order to get more personal with questions or needs to see the subject to gauge their physical expressions and body language.
For the focus group market research process, in which members often openly converse and play off of one another with the help of a moderator, these video communication tools allow multiple people to be viewed on-screen at one time. It’s like the Brady Bunch intro with interviewees instead of Bradys!
4. Online Surveys
MIT recently revealed that the average American spends 24 hours a week online, and you can bet that with COVID-19 keeping many of them indoors, that number has skyrocketed. So, not only are online surveys a great way to reach a wide audience of people across the world, most of them have a lot more time on their hands to take the surveys (especially if an incentive is offered, such as an Amazon gift card).
Online market research surveys and analyses are also cost-efficient, since there’s no money spent on paper, printing, postage, or an interviewer (if you’re sending out a product for sampling, you can have respondents follow-up online to encourage those who may not get around to mailing back their results). Additionally, many online survey tools provide in-depth analysis of survey data, saving you from having to spend money on further research once the survey is complete.
While market research may not be considered “essential” in these unusual times, there are many types of market research surveys that are still possible to conduct safely. At SurveyLegend, we know it’s critical for your business and your clients. Our website allows you to easily create beautiful and professional-looking surveys that will engage participants.
Our templates are responsive to catch those on their smartphones, and we also provide insanely insightful real-time analytics. Here are four market research surveys you may want to check out:
- Product Survey Template
- New Service Survey Template
- Target Market Analysis Survey Template
- Brand Awareness Survey Template
Has COVID-19 increased your research initiatives? With more people staying home or not working, have you noticed increased response rates? Let us know your experiences in the comments!
While in-person surveys and focus groups should be avoided, researchers can conduct surveys through mail, by phone, or online.
Because of the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, in-person interviews and focus groups have largely been canceled.
While it is possible to survey people in person during COVID by wearing masks, many interviewers like to see a person’s face to gauge their facial reaction to questions.