January 24, 2013
5 Reasons You May Need To Update Your TrackerBy Jon Puleston, VP, Innovation, Lightspeed Research
Was updating your tracking study on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, but you just haven’t been able to muster the courage to do it? We know that the mere thought of tackling this project can strike fear in the heart of even the bravest researcher. It may have taken you years to get your tracker right, and you have years of tracking data to deal with. Still, in many cases it is well worth the effort. If you find yourself in one of the situations discussed below, you should pluck up your valor and forge ahead.
1. “I don’t feel I am getting enough out of my tracking study.”
In our consulting work with clients, this is among the most common reasons for doing a tracking study review. Data the study was originally designed to collect may no longer be of strategic relevance to the company, and so the project loses its value.
In this case, there are three things you can do: 1) Trim it back to be more cost-efficient and focus on the most important key metric, 2) Re-engineer the survey to ask fresh questions that might be of more strategic value, or 3) Scrap it completely and start fresh.
2. “My tracking study is getting too long and unwieldy.”
Like many projects that evolve over time, tacking studies often get bigger and more unwieldy as questions are added each year. If you find your study has gotten out of control, you may want to look at each component and determine its value to the stakeholders across your organization. We regularly work with clients to conduct comprehensive audits to decide which questions should be removed and which should not.
3. “My tracking study is costing me too much money.”
To reduce costs, you can shorten your survey, optimize your sample, or both. There are ways to ask questions in more effective and efficient ways, which can allow you to get better data while also reducing sample sizes. And there are a variety of sampling methodologies that can reduce the overall cost of sampling.
4. “My tracking study is very boring to complete. I fear this reduces the quality of data it produces.”
This situation plagues a number of our clients, and it is the focus of a tremendous amount of our work. In fact, we specialize in techniques for creating engaging surveys that produce high quality results. From changing the way questions are phrased, to integrating imagery and interactivity, to introducing gaming elements into surveys, there are a great many options available to clients to remedy a boring survey.
5. “I can gather some of the same data more efficiently in other ways.”
Today there are many new capabilities from social media and data mining that make additional streams of data available. Incorporating these into the mix can transform the role of tracking studies into a bridge to calibrate and understand data from these new sources. As this occurs, we will see more collaboration with text analytics companies to blend text analytics techniques into traditional tracking studies. This means asking less traditional quantitative questions and more open ended questions.
Jon Puleston, Vice President of Innovation, leads the team that provides Lightspeed Research clients with a consultative full-scale review of their tracking studies, exploring areas for improvement in both structure and design. For more information contact Lightspeed Research at www.lightspeedresearch.com.
Category:Data Quality, Panel Quality, Panel Retention, Survey Best Practices
Posted on January 24, 2013
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