By Leslie Townsend
The Survey Geek recently posted a highly sarcastic (and highly entertaining) blog entitled How to write a mobile research pitch piece. It labels mobile research as largely “hype,” questions the significance and usefulness of mobile as a data collection platform, and postulates that most researchers who pitch mobile to their clients lack proof of its effectiveness. While a very entertaining read, this blog post is somewhat misleading and certainly one-sided. As the leading provider of mobile market research software solutions, Kinesis naturally feels the need to offer a counterpoint. Jason Cazes, Kinesis Sales Engineer, provided this excellent retort:
Fully realizing this post is made in jest, I’m going to try to address the underlying mentality in a counter-argument…
I agree with you wholeheartedly that people who approach new technology or ideas with a lot of energy but without any sort of plan or direction need to settle down and start producing. This is not a new concept, and it is certainly not unique to market research. People get excited about new technology, and they start talking about it. Some people innovate, and others don’t really know what to do with the new information and so they just keep talking. Some conferences (and now social media) seem to amplify this sort of useless chatter, but these communication mediums can also spark new innovations through knowledge-sharing.
Yes, there are limitations with mobile. There are limitations with every data collection medium. Phone, paper, and internet all present data collection challenges, but there are three important things to note about mobile:
- Mobile is unquestionably the best way to intercept respondents in-store or on-site. This is already being done, and researchers are already successfully collecting and analyzing data. Sure, some may not want to participate, but inferring that the collection method itself is intrusive is just a fallacy of composition. Incentives change everything.
- Mobile is simply another way people are connecting to the internet.
- Limitations traditionally posed by mobile surveys are fading fast as mobile devices become more advanced.
In some regions – like the US – people are now purchasing more smartphones than feature phones. Does it make sense to launch a WAP survey in the heart of a location with low mobile internet access penetration? Absolutely not. Data collection efforts should always factor demographics and geography into the launch plan.
Revisiting the topic of the rise of mobile usage, consumers will soon be spending more time on their mobile devices than on their traditional desktop / laptop computers. Watching the iPad become the fastest growing consumer electronics product in history demonstrates this movement loud and clear. People want to spend more of their down time on mobile devices. Look at Nielsen’s latest mobile usage statistics to see the diversity of where people are using their devices and (potentially) browsing the web. These people are potential respondents!
In summary, market researchers need to be ready for respondents no matter which medium those respondents desire – internet (including mobile), phone, or paper.