As consumers completely change the way that they are behaving and, often, the way they are feeling, many market research companies are seeing the need to change their tracker studies. Our COO JD Deitch writes for ESOMAR’s Research World blog about the right way to institute this kind of change in his most recent article “Five steps to managing tracker transformation.”
Under each of the five consecutive steps that JD outlines for accomplishing a successful change to tracker studies, one theme is consistent: teamwork. Before the process even gets off the ground, he says “you must first ensure that a cross-functional group of people agree it is necessary and everyone will need to sign up for change.” This collaborative spirit is important to remember as each step of the change process is accomplished.
The five phases of tracker study change include:
- Investigating the current tracker, its results and how the data is being used. Uncover any gaps or room for improvement, check how reports are created and make a project plan. JD writes that “Your most important deliverable at this point is agreement among team members that the investigation was open, inclusive and thorough and all key players are fully aligned.”
- Design the new tracker using the list of desired changes you developed in the investigation phase and determine if the changes will be permanent. JD says this is the step where you “should ask questions, and a lot of them.”
- Test the new design carefully, methodically and thoroughly. Run multiple tests to compare the new tracker (the “test”) against the old tracker (the “control”). “Don’t make compromises during this step or your careful preparation will be wasted.”
- Analyse the new data alongside the control data and uncover any differences, which will enable a full evaluation by stakeholders. “People will struggle to understand why data has changed, even though (as researchers) we understand that different methods will yield different results.”
- Implement the redesigned tracker and create a new “data of record.” JD writes that at this stage, you will ideally “succeed with on-time and correct fielding of the new tracker, which will better help you stay abreast of changing consumer behavior and sentiment.”
He delves into each of these steps in much more detail in the full article on Research World, walking through the process with practical, process-oriented advice for each phase. He concludes by writing that “ongoing communication and transparency are vital for success” when changing a tracker study.
“Ultimately, consumer behavior is changing, particularly given the current global pandemic. This means that researchers must consider changing ongoing studies simultaneously in order to continue to measure markets and performance accurately.”