Conducting Research in a Third World Country
13 Dec 2018

Written by: Alannah Griffin 

Case Study: Conducting In-person Research in Vietnam 

Ever thought about conducting market research in a third world country? This is not the easiest undertaking, and often, in order to do so, you need to think outside the box.

It takes a lot of effort, analysis, and critical thinking to curate any methodology. However, imagine trying to figure out how to research the threat of technology for motorbike taxi drivers in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the primary mode of transport in cities is by motorbike. A common occupation for men is to be a motorbike taxi driver/xe ôm driver. A lot of xe ôm drivers’ livelihoods are now under threat with the onset of modern technology. Apps that use location intelligence are emerging and providing more cost-efficient, safer, and quicker rides for customers. In this day and age, on-demand service is a high priority for customers. The use of GPS and location intelligence is forcing traditional xe ôm drivers out of the market.

There are many different ways to conduct this research. When taking all of the variables into account for this particular research study, the methodology that was decided on consisted of qualitative methods in order to provide an in-depth assessment.

The three qualitative research methods selected were:

  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Informal conversational interviews, and
  • Participant observation

The key finding for xe ôm drivers was that if they want to continue in the profession of motorbike taxi drivers, they must partner with the companies who have developed Apps using location intelligence. If they do not do so, they will not satisfy customers, threatening their income source, and may be left behind.

What are common watch outs when conducting this type of research?

Having your interview guide well prepared and your target sample precisely defined before entering the field is essential to obtain the best and most accurate results.

Cultural issues. A researcher needs to be prepared for situations where interviewees may be reserved towards them as a researcher due to the cross-cultural setting and their potential lack of trust.

Language barrier. All interviewees who participated in the research discussed above were interviewed through Vietnamese. Therefore it was essential to have an interpreter to overcome the communication barrier during the qualitative research. The quality of the interpretation has an effect on the research results. Therefore it is vital to ensure that the interpreter is qualified and vetted for the assignment at hand.

Reasons Why Working with a Professional Will be Helpful

Research can be extremely time-consuming, especially with a large sample size. Often, when conducting research in a third world country, there are variables present that are beyond your control. This is where a market research firm becomes a valuable asset with the knowledge and expertise to overcome these barriers.

Guide/Survey writing is a challenging task – if your company wishes to undertake surveys or interviews, you will need an experienced researcher to aid you in this writing process.
Market researchers have the experience to know how many interviews would be necessary to achieve data saturation. It is vital that you have guidance from a professional to get the recommended sample sizes for your study.

Market researchers identify key findings, themes, and conclusions. Their expertise in cleaning, analyzing, and ultimately making sense of data in order to produce more accurate, actionable results, and tell a story with the findings is invaluable.

Why We Love Advertising Research
10 May 2018
Written by: Carly Fink

I grew up in the 1980s, and cable TV was seen as a premium service. We had an antenna with only seven TV channels. There was no internet, social media, or smartphones. Ads were mostly aired or shown on television, radio, print, or out of home (e.g. billboards). If you had a fun jingle or a catchy slogan your ad would be seen and hopefully remembered. Everyone was using predominantly the same media channels. As a result, someone my age often remembers the commercials they grew up with… From Mikey from Life Cereal to the Anti-Drug Campaign – “This is Your Brain on Drugs”.

However, the advertising landscape today is much more diverse. On average, a person sees over 10,000 ads a day. A cable subscriber has access to an average of 200 TV channels. To complicate the media landscape, millennials are cutting the cable cord and watching streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu on their TVs and computers instead.

People do not sit and exclusively watch TV or videos anymore. They are often using their phone, tablets, and computers while watching programming which allows them to easily tune out commercials.

It’s not only streaming services that have complicated advertising. I love observing people and seeing how walking around in public has evolved. Now, you often see people taking smaller steps so that they can walk and access their phone at the same time. Or how many times have you waited on a long line at a retailer and not taken out your phone? This results in a major loss of eyes on out-of-home advertising, store’s window advertising and point-of-purchase advertising.

This makes it extremely challenging for a brand to stand out from the crowd. As a result, advertising research becomes more important than ever. Research provides so many opportunities for your brand to become more relevant, memorable, unique, and important to your consumer base. It is a smart way to get ahead of your competitors. From conducting secondary research to understanding trends to segmentation research to advertising tracking, there are multiple ways to be stand out and smarter about your advertising.

Socially Awkward Companies Get More Action
10 Sep 2015
A recent survey by Provoke Insights found that the majority (82%) of small businesses are using social media.  Yet, more than half (54%) of these businesses state that these marketing efforts are not paying off.   Through analyzing the survey responses, Provoke Insights pinpointed five key areas to help small businesses create more effective social media initiatives.

1) Write out your strategy.  Thirty-three percent (33%) of small businesses say they need help to develop a social media program.  Before seeking outside help, companies should determine their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the social media landscape, as well as understand the gaps in their current plan. Though this isn’t a full social media plan, it sets businesses in the right direction to develop a more comprehensive strategy.

2) Stand out from the crowd.    A social media presence is more than just having Facebook and LinkedIn pages.   However, most small businesses are solely using those channels (77%, 55% respectively). Interestingly, only 45% are using Twitter and even less are using Youtube (33%), Google+ (31%), blogs (18%), Instagram (16%), Pinterest (14%), Vine (9%) and Slideshare (5%).  These additional channels can provide businesses opportunities to stand out from their competitors who don’t utilize these mediums.  In addition, using social media sites such as Google+ and Slideshare helps improve organic search.

3) Invest smartly. Only 60% of small businesses have utilized paid social media advertising.  However, of those who have used these channels, most (77%) have only used Facebook advertising.  It is important to test other social media channels, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, to determine if they have a higher engagement rate.  Also, by continually testing different types of paid social media tactics, you can determine which messages resonate most with your audience, as well as which sites produce the best leads.

 

4) Know what your numbers are saying.   While tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are free tools to measure customer engagement, only 25% of small businesses are analyzing their website data and even less (19%) are measuring their social media metrics.

Website analytics can show you what drives consumers to your site, including if your social media efforts improve ROI. Furthermore, you can learn more about your target audience, engagement rate, and the number of people who view your posts by simply using Facebook Insights.

Al Matesic, the owner of the digital advertising agency SWAMP80, states, “It surprises me how many companies only care about having a presence online without tracking if it works or not. Whenever I develop a website and social media pages for small businesses, I make sure I teach my clients about how to read metrics so they can be successful online.”

5) Create stronger relationships.   60% percent of small businesses believe that social media helps keep them in touch with their customers.  This provides businesses an opportunity to further engage with their customers by providing advice, improved customer service, and new product offerings.

Methodology

Provoke Insights conducted an online survey among 211 small business employees who are involved in the company’s marketing initiatives. “Small business” is defined as between $100k to $20 million in revenues. The survey was distributed between February 27th- 28th, 2014  using Survey Sampling B2B Panel.

Four Ways to Better Understand Your Consumer
10 Sep 2015

Knowing your customer should be your top priority. You waste time and money when you cannot pinpoint who you customers actually are.  If you don’t know who your target audience is, how can you reach them effectively?  How do you know how much they are willing to pay for your product?  What do they think about your product and your industry overall? What would enhance their loyalty and referral rates?

Use research that is already out there.  There is a lot of free research that is already out there.   Simply start with census.gov to understand your industry’s basic demographics.   Many times your local library may have access to business databases that you can utilize.  Also, you can learn more about what your customers and prospects are saying by simply using keyword searches on Facebook and Twitter.

Seek consultancies that conduct secondary research if you need more information about your target audience.   Agencies, like Provoke Insights, have extensive access to secondary databases.  They are able to digest and analyze several sources quickly to help answer your questions about your customers.

If your questions are not available from existing sources, primary research can be conducted. While more costly, a company can utilize this method to identify specific questions they may want to ask about their customers. Primary research allows you to learn very specific information about the customer such as demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and opinions of certain products or services.   It is also a great tool for testing marketing initiatives before prospects.

Use your website analytics.   Finally, besides the traditional research methods of learning about your audiences, there is so much that can be done with analytics to get a good grasp on your customers.  With website analytics, you can monitor where, when, and who visits the site.  Once you analyze and understand your website visitors more, you can learn to engage with them in ways that resonate.