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Direct Marketing Research Methods

Qualitative Methods

These methods are sometimes called focus panels and could be individual interviews this could take place at potential customers homes, offices on the street or even by phone.
Focus panels are the definition of direct marketing testing methods. Focus panels are not measured like most other direct marketing methods. Problems are never resolved like they are in testing with direct response marketing but focus panels are of great value to the marketer.
Focus groups can involve up to 6 to 12 people who engage in an open discussion. A moderator must act like more like a shrink than a researcher. Focus group planning involves consultation by a research specialist and the preparation of the plan. Most focus-panel researchers are affiliated with testing services around the country.

A professionally done focus group project can cost $5,000 – $8,000 not including the travel expenses involved. Screeners employed by research firm may call telephone lists of people supplied by the client or assembled from local directories.
The main topic being introduced in a variety of ways could be a magazine launch or new product launch, or new direct mail package and for marketing postcards.

Individual Interviews

Sometimes group interviews are too expensive and time consuming and it is impossible to identify enough prospects in a specific geographic area to form a group. The solution in these situations is an in depth individual interview based on a discussion guide.
Individual interviews can take many forms for example a run through of a questionnaire to open-ended discussions. Some companies may interview doctors or engineers in their areas of interest and pay them for their time.

Quantitative Methods

This method measures the various components of the marketing elements involved. For general advertisers, such methods are only an index other than sales figures for direct marketers needs.  Quantitative research is more limited in direct marketing directions or concepts can be tested economically by split-run testing and mailing through research.
For a quantitative study to be useful, it must be statistically reliable. The sample size must be large enough to be meaningful within the guidelines of statistical validity. Some studies can be directed by telephone and provides speed and provide a national study.

In-Person Interviews

Defining whom you want to talk with is the first question with in-person interviews. The second is where and the place you chose to meet, which will also determine the success of finding the correct mix of respondents for a specific survey.
Door to door interviews can give you mix of people in a geographic area, but the diversity may not be wide enough.  This can be both time consuming and people may not be receptive to opening their doors for your survey.
Fixed site interviews provide a good mix of people with the common response. If you conduct this at a shopping mall you know you are targeting a specific group of shopper with a particular image.
Telephone interviews work well for some packaged goods organizations there is a correlation between telephone responses, response rates and marketing postcards.actual marketplace experience.

Author Biography: Publisher, My professional direct marketing software experience began in magazine circulation management.  From this I honed my skills in list purchasing, testing, and analyzing. I learned the importance of direct response planning and budget forecasting and most importantly, providing a follow-up with back-end analysis, fulfillment of orders webcasting software and inquiries. I also gained some valuable job experience with Jackson National Life Insurance as Marketing Database/Direct Mail area and with Alumni Association of the University of Michigan as Membership Manager.

Tim Little, Publisher


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