When online quantitative research became the preferred method for most survey-based research about ten years ago, many companies began to explore how to apply that same level of scale and cost efficiencies to qualitative research. The first place many looked was at adapting bulletin board or web conferencing tech to duplicate elements of the group paradigm, and while that has been somewhat successful, it has not created the disruption that online quant produced.
iModerate looked at the issue differently. Rather than trying to duplicate a traditional approach in a new medium, they wanted to see how they could leverage technology to produce something new that would deliver on the best of both worlds. Their solution was ingenious: use a pop-up intercept during a survey to recruit participants to engage in a short one-on-one interview with a moderator in real time. This hybrid approach could be used to deliver the depth of insights associated with qual research for a select group of key question areas in a quant project. Since trained moderators were asking the questions, the human element needed for successful qual was included, but at a fraction of the cost and delivered with global scalability.
The business has seen a steep growth trajectory ever since, and have found more and more applications for their core model to address a variety of research needs. Most recently they have been applying it to client demands for a new tracking research model, producing stellar results with the ability to do longitudinal research on large amounts of moderated verbatim responses.
They have also emerged as leaders in ever sense of the word within the industry as a whole, as well as an example of how to successfully utilize technology to create disruption without losing the human element so vital to generating impactful insights.
I have followed them for many years and our relationship has had many dimensions: client, partner, at one point even a possible team member, but most of all we have had a deeply respectful friendship. These folks are smart and committed to delivering great research and maximum value to their clients while continuing to pioneer new thinking and approaches. They are certainly one of the companies I look at as an inspiration for success in this business.
But that is my take. In the interview below I caught up with Jen Drolet of iModerate to hear her side of the story. I think after watching it you’ll be as impressed as I have been, and hopefully inspired to think differently in your own business. Like all my interviews we have a good time during our chat, so hopefully you’ll even get a few grins out of it.
Here is Jen of iModerate. Enjoy!