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Methods

Overview of methods – classic tools and their variations

We therefore find a suitable approach that is consistently tailored to your specific requirements and re-interpreted.

Group discussions

When it comes to identifying opinion formation processes, our group discussions are particularly well suited. A group size of eight to ten participants ensures that many perspectives of the same question are revealed within a target group. These advantages make the group discussion suitable as a qualitative method for nearly all fields. We carry out group discussions in our group discussion rooms or online. The virtual discussion room allows our customers to obtain clear results at a very low cost. Experience has shown that participants express their opinion particularly honestly, directly and without digression online.

Mini-groups: Your question is complex and requires intensive analysis? Then our mini-groups are especially well suited to your needs. Mini-group participants discuss issues in great detail, stimulating each other to express various opinions.

Personal interviews

If you want to establish the subconscious motives of potential customers, personal interviews are the method of choice. These in-depth interviews identify needs, beliefs and values that underlie the stated opinions.

In-depth psychological interviews identify hidden motives and perceptions. Interviewers with psychological training are granted flexibility within an interview guideline. This allows them to spontaneously address the needs of the subject and help him or her surmount any obstacles that may arise. The subjects identify behaviour patterns and buying motives they were previously unaware of. In many cases, the resulting insights are not only surprising to the interviewer but also to the subject.

Qualitative telephone interviews are a low-cost, highly effective way to collect opinions and establish motives in the B2B segment. Busy managers often prefer telephone calls over face-to-face meetings because they save time.

Qualitative couch interviews are suitable for target groups with a little more time on their hands. Here the focus is on the relaxation of the subjects. The cosy living room atmosphere invites the subjects to discuss their experiences and motives openly – even in case of sensitive topics. Allowing more time helps explore topics in greater detail, revealing aspects that would never come to the surface in a short interview. This method requires well-trained project managers with psychological experience – members of the LINK qualitative team.

Triad and pair interviews with two or three participants and a moderator are recommended to explore issues in depth while enjoying the benefits of group dynamics – or to boost the self-confidence of the subjects. For example, this method can be extremely useful when the target group consists of children and youths. Since they outnumber the moderator, the young people do not feel inferior. When they discuss controversial opinions, they stimulate each other to more detailed argumentation.

Walk talks incorporate the physical aspect into the interview. Movement during the discussion stimulates all of the senses. Breathing also becomes deeper, supplying more oxygen to the brain. Rational thinking and emotions both become part of the interview. External dynamics create internal movement. These are excellent conditions when it comes to detecting and identifying hidden motives.

Consumer connect allows marketing decision-makers to talk to consumers directly. The informal nature of such a meeting encourages open discussion of the product and brand. Marketing learns about the wishes, needs and ideas of its target group, authentically and directly. Suggestions from consumers may serve as inspiration to explore profitable new avenues.

Workshops

Your target groups collect ideas in our workshops, helping you with the further development of your brand, your product or your services.

Creative workshops are suitable for generating new ideas, analysing brands, evaluating concepts and verifying advertising messages. The subjects develop the results with creative and psychological elements – not only in discussions. Metaplan techniques and artistic expression are part of a creative workshop.

Innovation workshops allow your target groups to develop new approaches and ideas. Innovative process and product concepts are conceived by a team of experts and creative minds. With our validated key questions to identify people with especially well-developed innovative thinking abilities, we are able to find and invite the right participants for these workshops time and time again.

In the implementation workshops, marketing executives ensure that the insights, ideas and optimisation proposals collected in the other qualitative phases are realised in concrete terms: They develop action plans for implementation.

Online tools

Virtual networks, blogs and forums have long since become an important part of our social lives. Contacts are established, opinions are exchanged, products are discussed, brands are recommended or advised against.

Online research is a cost-effective, efficient way to identify opinions, trends and motivations. The internet is a straightforward, time-saving way for target groups who are busy or employed in shift work to express their opinions.

Our online group discussions reveal what moves your target groups – quickly and cost-effectively. The chat-style online discussions reveal opinions, convictions and motives clearly, directly and in a straightforward manner. Experienced moderators lead the discussions. Graphical representations can be included at any time.

Participants are often more open in front of the computer than they would be in a personal interview. This is why online groups discussions are also very well suited for sensitive issues.

Our link logs focus on self-reflection and self-observation by the participants. Various options are available: The participants can maintain an online task journal or diary. They can participate in group discussions on a platform provided for this purpose. We offer link logs over a period of three to seven days in order to model and analyse opinion formation processes. More detailed inquires are possible and individual interviews can also be combined with group interaction.

Ethnography

Do you think about the fact that you use a knife and fork when you eat? Surely you reach for your cutlery just as automatically as an Asian person uses chopsticks. We rarely think about recurring processes that play an important role in our everyday lives because we are no longer aware of them. This makes collecting detailed information about routine consumer behaviour extremely challenging. We master this challenge by accompanying consumers where their behaviour occurs: In stores, at home, in their thoughts and feelings. This is the only way to record and describe the complexity of a consumer’s day-to-day life. Ethnography reveals the dynamics between context effects and makes the conscious and subconscious needs of the consumer transparent.

Accompanied shopping is a method we use to observe consumer behaviour at the point of sale in order to deepen our understanding. For example, we find out what the consumer looks at first: Is it the sale table? Or perhaps the fresh fruit? What path does the consumer take? What are the consumer’s priorities? What is the buying incentive that makes the consumer put products in the shopping cart – even beyond the planned shopping list?
We reveal subconscious consumer processes. We compare the responses of different target groups. In this way, we help our customers optimise their sales floor. Accompanied shopping may be conducted as a separate research project or following a group discussion or interview. It is also highly suitable as a component of a comprehensive research project such as target group segmentation.

Accompanied living, where we follow the everyday lives of consumers, reveals the relationships between needs and context. Your target group wants to eat healthy, yet gets the hamburger and chips? It appears incomprehensible – unless you know that a lack of time during lunch break is responsible for this consumer behaviour pattern. We observe your target groups at home and at work. We explain apparent contradictions and determine which consumer behaviour of your target group dominates in what context.

Collages and diaries also help deepen our understanding of a consumer’s world. They allow consumers to present their personal values, self-image and self-concept. They explain how they perceive their family, friends and environment. They identify their role models and critically reflect on their own thoughts. They identify how they want to be perceived in their environment. As a result, this method is very well suited for target group segmentation. This method can be implemented online or by using conventional media.

Communication laboratory

Our communication laboratory is a two-day analysis workshop that teaches sales employees to optimise their communication skills. Sales employees conduct sales talks under highly realistic conditions, observed by an expert team of market researchers, industry employees, marketing specialists and training staff. The approach and methods used by the sales employee are optimised in cooperation with this team. Key messages to be communicated are identified along with customer benefits offered by the product compared to competitors. The communication laboratory is particularly well suited to the pharmaceuticals industry.

Connecting-Labs (our co-creating approach)