Online Chocolate-Lover Panel gets 85% penetration and high completion rate

Read about how we managed to achieve an incredibly high penetration with our recent online panel for chocolate lovers. Not only did we recruit the participants, but we fully managed engagement and participation levels as well, which enabled our client to focus their efforts and time on analysis and obtaining data. We also discuss a recent opportunity which allowed us to recruit and interview (through our own MRFGR moderation team) a group of expats who had travelled to the UK for studying purposes.

At the start of the year, MRFGR were approached by a client who wanted to conduct research into a sample of chocolate lovers to identify their perception of different brands, eating habits, and purchasing decisions across a 3 month period.

MRFGR recruited a panel of participants from a range of demographic backgrounds with the prerequisite that participants were "Chocolate Discovers", a type defined by our client's pre-existing segmentation tool.

Recruitment was mainly achieved through utilising MRFGR's pre-built panels of individuals who regularly purchased sweet foods, and recontacting those pannellists to further screen and check that they met the additional criteria of being a chocolate discoverer.

Selected members were signed up to the panel by the MRFGR team, with our qualitative team covering the bulk of the administrative work to save our client time and make the process more streamlined for respondents.

Where dropouts did occur (relatively low considering the large sample recruited), we were always fast to get a replacement who showed promise with high levels of interest in the study.

Our panel penetration rate was 85%, meaning that only 15% of individuals from the original panel failed to complete the study, with those being quickly replaced. In the end, we managed to secure a 95%+ completion rate overall.

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Online Panel - Chocolate Lovers - Purchasing/Eating Habits - Consumer - UK

It’s been another busy week here at MRFGR with us continuing to work on existing, long-lasting research studies, as well as signing off some new and exciting projects (more on those later). We’ve definitely noticed a rise in enquiries for remote methodologies while most of our clients move to an online approach to circumnavigate the current obstacles placed in our way.

In addition, I’m excited to say that we’re working towards the launch of our new MRFGR website! We’re working very hard to make sure it’s perfect, so watch this space - a new coat of paint is certainly in the works!

A brief update on last week’s international online survey targeting patients of a specific skin condition: we have now concluded most phases with 100% completion and are waiting for sign-off on further countries before we continue.

At the start of the year, MRFGR were approached by a client who wanted to conduct research into a sample of chocolate lovers to identify their perception of different brands, eating habits, and purchasing decisions across a 3 month period. Their own end-client, a sweets confectionery company, wanted to highlight key trends that could help them to improve upon their own customer offering.

MRFGR were required to provide a panel of participants that fit into certain criteria; namely, they needed to be from a range of demographic backgrounds, not suffer from any preexisting conditions that may restrict their eating habits (e.g. diabetes), and fit into a specific criteria identified in a segmentation tool, “Chocolate Discoverers”. They needed to be open to finding and experimenting with different brands, styles, and types of chocolate (as opposed to having pre-defined favourites that they were unwilling to part with).

Our existing database contained a sub-panel of individuals who regularly purchased sweet foods (including chocolates). We contacted those individuals and re-screened them verbally to verify that they met the full criteria set by the client. 65% of those on our pre-built panel were suitable and fit into the segmentation tool, providing us with more than enough participants to choose from.

Having pre-built panels means that we are ‘ready-to-go’ for a lot of research projects, and we can get a sample in place in a matter of hours.

Note: A lot of our clients are surprised to hear that we actually speak to our pre-built panels and re-screen them before each project - as opposed to many other market research firms who begin by sending invites out to the panel in a scatter-shot approach, and making up for low penetration later down the line with top-ups. While top-ups certainly help and are unavoidable at times, we try to avoid this wherever possible to provide an effective and streamlined service to our client - one that doesn’t get messy with large numbers of drop-outs or low activity. Before inviting, we speak to our panelists to check they remain highly engaged and to look for any changes / recent developments that mean they are no longer suitable (e.g. someone who bought chocolate many times before when they first joined the panel, might now be living a new strict, healthy lifestyle).

Once members were selected, we signed them up to the panel ourselves, with our qualitative team covering a bulk of this admin work to save our client time, and make the process easier for respondents. Members were sent a username / password and asked to login to the online community where they would need to complete a weekly diary, and complete some additional one-off tasks for bonus incentives (such as interviews, feedback on branding, etc).

Where dropouts did occur (relatively low considering the large sample recruited), we were always fast to get a replacement who showed promise with high levels of interest in the study.

Our panel penetration rate was 85%, meaning that only 15% of individuals from the original panel failed to complete the study, with those being quickly replaced. In the end, we managed to secure a 95%+ completion rate overall.

1-on-1 depth ‘remote’ ‘Zoom’ interviews - Students - Expats - UK

Our client was looking to speak with individuals who were soon-to-be studying abroad in the UK, specifically seeking future expats who were based in the US, Germany, and Canada (with these being the most popular countries of origin for international students living in the UK).

The recruitment criteria initially specified expats who had applied, and were accepted, to study at a University within the UK from term dates starting in September/October 2020. We were restricted to students who were still highly dependent on receiving financial aid from their parents / families.

The recent Coronavirus crisis did give us pause - it has thrown many events into the air, and not least expats, who no longer have the international travel freedom they once had. With this in mind, the client decided to widen the recruitment scope to still include those who had been accepted at a UK university, but also individuals who were looking to study in the UK from 2021 (all going well).

We were asked to recruit participants in each market, manage the project, moderate, and handle incentives. The deliveries included transcriptions of each interview, alongside a translated document for the German-speaking participants

We worked with our client to create a professional and detailed discussion guide that really got to the heart of their research, asking the right questions and covering the necessary topics. The client wanted to explore what financial support those students were getting, and understand their positioning and perspective on a new app being offered by the end-client (developed to help with financial transfers).

Note: It’s always important to remember that your discussion guide is a tool, not a rule book. We crafted something thorough and detailed, but also flexible.

The moderator could move between the questions smoothly, going in some instances wherever the respondent took them (when this is still useful information to the research of course!).

Full briefing calls took place between the client and the ‘on-the-ground’ moderator so that they could discuss these unwritten directions, and make plans for when a respondent goes off-path into a very interesting area.

Note: The discussion guide is built-on and improved throughout the project, with the client's approval on all changes, to ensure that it becomes the most effective tool it can be.

Once all respondents were recruited, MRFGR handled the setup of the online interviews using the Zoom web conferencing platform, the administration that it involved, and of course, the management of respondents. Meeting rooms were set-up for each time bracket, and links to those rooms (along with passwords to enter) were sent to participants individually.

For online research, we always ask respondents to test that the online platform is compatible on their device before proceeding. We then check in with them a couple of days later to make sure the testing worked went - if not, we explore other options with the participant - can they borrow a friend's laptop? Can they go somewhere else with better connection? If no solution is found, replacements are sought quickly and efficiently (with us always keeping back-ups on hand in case of such scenario).

Tip: Zoom allows anyone to test the meeting space is compatible on their device for free. Just ask your participants to head on over to https://zoom.us/test

We allowed for client-viewing by having the client join in as a muted participant, with the additional function of being able to privately message the moderator through a chat box to request additional probing or questioning on points they found to be more interesting.

Live directions from the client can be extremely useful during any market research fieldwork. It helps to steer the discussion into a place that the client deems to be more insightful, and encourages further findings to inform future investments. But (and this is a big but), this should never interfere or override the moderator themself until they’re no longer in control. The chat box allowed for an unobtrusive and effective way of letting the moderator maintain a smooth discussion with the respondent, while still getting some tips and directions from the client.

An interpreter was on hand for all German-speaking sessions, with them joining as an additional muted participant and interpreting what was being said to our client over the phone.

At the end of the research, all discussions were transcribed (and translated where necessary) within the agreed timeline. These were provided to the client on a rolling basis so that they could kick start their side of the analysis as early as possible, with little delay in waiting for any of the materials. Overall, the client was very satisfied with the outcome of these research sessions and has raised the possibility of running more sessions in the very near future.

Overall, we continue to work with exciting new projects and deliver on our client's expectations. If you have any questions , please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need anything - we'd love to chat and catch up!

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Online Chocolate-Lover Panel gets 85% penetration and high completion rate