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Online Qual: The most innovative thing to happen to your budget

Published 22 Jan 2021 2 minute read

Online qual
Online qual

You’ve just received an email with the title ‘New brief’. You’re super-excited and dive straight in to see what your next assignment will be. The challenge is a good one, and you’re confident you’ve got the skills and experience to deliver some great insight.

But wait….the budget is tight. In fact, on first glance, your intuition tells you it's too small for the job to be done. Damn it!

The feeling of excitement dissipates and you’re now a little deflated.

Sound familiar?

When you receive a new brief, the first thing most people do is decide on the appropriate methodology to deliver the insight required. It could be focus groups, a research community, or maybe it’s more of a quant survey that’s needed.

Your next act is to factor your client’s budget and whether it will allow you to run with your preferred research design.

It’s touch and go now. You can see where corners could be cut, but it might impact the quality of insight and the final outputs.

If qual is one of the methods, you might well ask "Is online qual a cheaper alternative to more traditional face-to-face methods?"

Online qual has its benefits, including reach and depth. Example uses cases can be found in another of our short articles here. But, when reviewing project costs, what really are the cost savings?

Frequently, we see online qual viewed as a way to provide clients with a lower-budget option. But reducing the budget is likely to reduce the quality and validity of the insight you get, regardless of the methodology. Instead, online qual is about making better use of your budget, or put another way, getting more bang for your buck!

The most likely cost savings will be expenses, travel and facilities costs. The boundless possibilities of online qual allows you to speak with people globally, with a fraction of the costs associated with doing so in-person. There are, however, more savings to be made.

Combining methods

Research briefs that require a mixed-method approach can prove very costly when trying to do the qual in-person. With online qual, you can bring together discovery and exploration via pre-tasks, discussions, polls, concept testing, journey mapping, heat mapping, etc all together in one place, without ever having to move location. Online qual allows respondents to react and respond in their own time, using their phone or computer, enabling free-flow of conversation without the confines and pressures of a 2-hour window in a viewing facility. The beauty of online qual is its speed, efficiency and flexibility, and the depth of insight, all at the fraction of the cost of in-person research.

With online research platforms such as Together, you have the ability to engage tens or hundreds of consumers, instead of 8 people in a focus group, spread the conversation over a number of days, introduce polls to derive quick opinions and have in-depth conversations 1:1 all in one place.

Whilst the cost savings can’t and shouldn’t be ignored, the most important point to take from this, is the greater value you can derive from taking your qualitative research online.

Online qual allows the flow of creativity, flexibility and meeting your clients’ needs without having to compromise due to budget constraints. Why not read and download our Essential Guide to Online Qual

If you think the team at Further can help you using our Together platform to get browse our help centre or get in touch for demo,


Combining methods

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