SampleCon: Notes from NOLA

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SampleCon: Notes from NOLA

This year’s Samplecon was a great experience, and the conference continues to grow. If you have not previously attended, we would encourage you to participate as there is no other conference where industry thought-leaders can discuss the challenges facing the sample industry.  The sample industry is a small component of the overall Market Research industry, but regardless of your position on the chain this conference allows us to focus on overall improvement. The mix of sample companies, full-service research firms, tech firms, and end clients allows for a wide-variety of backgrounds, perspectives and opinions.

One of the primary topics at Samplecon was the respondent.  The marketing research industry talks a lot about products it develops for clients – new ways to track behavior using technology, DIY tools, integration with 3rd party data, satisfaction surveys, diaries, etc.  Where are the new products for respondents?

  • Are any sample companies pushing products to increase respondent loyalty and experience?
  • How can we improve the respondent experience?
  • Is it up to each individual panel company?
  • Should the Insights Association provide additional guidelines?
  • Should clients pay more attention to this topic?

While the conference discussed solutions, it is ultimately up to the industry as a whole to think creatively and continue the discussion about how to improve research design, questionnaires, and a respondent experience.

Another prominent discussion was had about low incidence studies and the impact on the respondent experience.   Better targeting is needed and many companies are using technology to help – using passive online behavior with cookies, better profiling questions.  Incidence rates continue to fall, a low proportion of studies are mobile friendly and companies that excel at this will be more successful.

As much as we talk about bad survey design, poor screeners, 40-minute questionnaires (yes, they still exist), long grids, non-mobile friendly design, market research firms and sample companies continue to allow it and not demand higher-quality.  When will companies just say no?   Are any now?  The fear is that if someone says no, someone else will say yes.

Samplecon is a great place to discuss sampling challenges and brainstorm solutions – it’s a safe place with transparency, partnership and collaboration rather than selling. While many, many sample companies participate, it is unfortunate a few large suppliers do not attend as their opinions and voice is valued. In addition, many of the larger non-traditional sample providers and mobile-sample companies are not present.  We encourage all of them to consider coming to next year’s conference, which will be changing locations.

For more information about Samplecon or to have a discussion about these, or any other challenges we’re facing please reach out to your EMI team.