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Hunting for Insights: 10 Things to Do to Miss an Insight

The other day I was sitting with a friend of mine who loves to hunt. He was recounting a story about how he and a buddy went deer hunting. After sitting in the trees for hours, a magnificent 9-point buck walked under their perch. Unfortunately, my friend's buddy had fallen asleep. My friend, being alert, caught the deer in his sights and bagged his biggest deer ever. As I listened to his story, I was reminded about the back room participants of a focus group.

How often is an insight missed because the participants in the back room were not paying attention?

I'm sure it happens more than we would like to admit.

Recently, I was sitting in the back room watching a colleague moderate a focus group. Four of the clients who had traveled by plane to the site of the research were doing everything, but listening to the respondents on the other side of the glass. Based on that experience, I have created a list of things to do to miss an insight.

Top 10 List of Things to Do in the Back Room to Miss An Insight

10.   Catch-up on your email that is three days behind
9.   Read the magazines from the facility's waiting room
8.   Critique the panelists' attire
7.   Make fun of the respondent's responses
6.   Daydream
5.   Make plans for where to go to dinner that evening
4.   Bend your boss's ear about how she needs to support your project.
3 Schmooze with the advertising agency
2.   Complain about the lack or abundance of snacks in the back room.

and the #1 Thing to Do...

Make calls on your cell phone and disturb others who are trying to listen.

It is my belief that project teams do not spend enough time with their consumers. This is one of the reasons for the high failure rate of new products (~ 90%). Given reduced budgets, most teams will never be able to spend as much on research as they would like, so how can project teams get the most out of their interactions with their target audience.

Establish the Sanctity of the Backroom

Prior to the research set the expectations of the attendees that there is to be silence in the backroom. Cultivate an attitude among your team that the panelists are the experts and we are here to learn from them. Most focus group facilities have a lounge room for team members to go to for talking or making calls.

Listening Guides

If your moderator is on the ball, he or she should create a listening guide that includes the key research topics for the team to record what they heard. These help focus the team on what to listen for and they provide a good record of what was heard. Expect to receive one each time you work with Nobles Research.

Identify and Appreciate Each Others' Listening Styles

Each of us has a listening style just like we have different personality types. Our style dictates how we listen and what types of information we tend to hear. Having a team with a variety of listeners can be an asset as long as the diversity is understood and valued. Contact us for a tool to help you determine your style.

Debriefing Sessions - This suggestion may seem obvious to most, but you would be surprised at how many teams do not take time to collect their thoughts after the research. This is really a shame because even the next morning some insights may be forgotten. Spending time as a team after the research allows for consensus building and a capturing of findings.

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