Multiphase Research: Fit or Flop?

Multiphase Research: Fit or Flop?

If more is better, research with multiple phases must deliver greater insights, right? Not necessarily. Whether it’s a fit or a flop depends entirely on the scope of the research objective and how the results will be used.  

If the goal of the research can be described in one sentence or less, and the outcome has a finite use date inside the organization, multiphase research is probably not necessary.  This research is tactical. An uncomplicated, single-step approach will get the job done.

Multiphase research can also be uncomplicated if selected for the right reasons.  If the research objective is actually a set of objectives, and results will be used by a number of different departments to make strategic, long-term decisions about the business, multiphase research is the way to go.  Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all multiphase research solution that works every time. These are typically custom approaches that are tailored to the business and aligned with its goals.

Applications for multiphase research go beyond simply combining qualitative and quantitative.  While this is a great approach – for example, fielding digital focus groups to narrow down concept taglines you then test with a survey – multiphase research is delightfully flexible and can include any combination of quant and qual or even qual and qual.  Here are just a few productive multiphase approaches we’ve used to help address our clients’ business challenges.

The Learning Plan

A creative way to combine the quantitative “what” with the qualitative “why.” Usually we recommend a combination of a representative quantitative sample, text analytics and a more focused qualitative exercise like an in-depth discussion board, online video interviews or text-based chats.

The Mini-Community

Ongoing insight from the same consumers or related groups of consumers.  Usually facilitated through right-sized discussion board communities for continuous insights and trend identification.

The C-Suite Show-and-Tell

A powerful persuasive tool. You get quantitative peace of mind for the number crunchers paired with qualitative focus groups or in-depth-interviews (conducted live or digitally) to bring consumers to life for key executives.

The Partnership

An efficient way to blend the expertise of an agency of record with the voice of the consumer. We often partner with key stakeholders inside and outside the business to ensure consumers are present in ad, concept and creative development.  This is great for narrowing or distinguishing winning concepts, confirming a new creative direction is the right one or providing confidence that messaging speaks to key consumer groups.