Last month was the Qualitative Research Consultant Association’s (QRCA) annual conference. While there are always many little gems at these conferences which I take and use in my practice, one caught my attention this year as something which I know I’ll use in one form or another.
Ever had more than 4-6 concepts to test and weren’t sure how to get through 20 concepts in a single two-hour session? Yes, I’ve had that happen more than once. The most recent time, the concepts were all very good (i.e., clearly distinctive, well written ideas) and we really couldn’t cull down the number prior to the sessions starting. After the first market, the client did streamline the concepts based on consumer feedback and all worked out well. We used a more traditional grading approach, where abbreviated concepts were read and graded all at one time; we discussed the “best” performers in greater depth than the other concepts.
In the QRCA session I attended entitled “Unleashing the Power of Real People” by Justin Masterson and Jamie Johnson of Seek Research, they described an “auctioneering” approach: they posted concept boards around the room and gave participants time to review reach one, making notes, quietly – as one might see people doing before an actual auction. They actually employed an auctioneer to “call the items” (aka concepts) and participants bid on their preferred concepts. Very quickly the better concepts emerged and were discussed in depth. (An actual auctioneer isn’t really required if the moderator is comfortable, and I would be. It sounds like great fun and a way to engage participants.)
Another option they’ve used is to have participants “invest” in concepts as though the concepts were products being sold on a stock exchange. This approach I’m a bit more iffy about. It moves the “bidding” into the area of what someone thinks will do well in the market vs. their personal reaction to an idea. There have been quantitative approaches which use this “market knowledge” approach, and I’ve heard mixed reviews from clients about using them.
Yet, there are times when I would use the stock exchange idea to get to the meat of concept discussion. For instance, if I were doing a group of “prosumers” (marketing or operations professionals from other industries as participants to solve a problem) I think this approach makes sense; it would get these very left-brained participants to go with their gut reactions.
What are your thoughts about this idea? Is it something you might use?