Five Research Lessons from the Pandemic Years
Last week we published the Spring 2023 Versta Research Newsletter which offers our feature article on Five Research Lessons from the Pandemic Years. It documents the dramatic shifts that COVID-19 has wrought within the professional world of market research. It affected not only how we work (from what locations, and via what technologies) but the substance of our work, as well. We highlight five of those shifts, casting them as “lessons learned” even though the implications are still playing themselves out.
Here is an overview of the five research lessons highlighted in the newsletter:
1. The Fraud is Frightening
The pandemic created a perfect storm that opened up a rich opportunity for fraudsters. When survey work resumed, the volume of fraud was astonishingly high, and amazingly sophisticated. There is now a more labor-intensive process in finding and weeding out all the fraud.
2. We Need Government Data
With the inherent time lag of data availability from government agencies, suddenly there were no valid benchmarks for measures of physical health and financial health that were declining dramatically within our study populations. We had to make best-guess assumptions, highlighting how crucially we rely on gold-standard benchmarks every day for our work.
3. Keep Your Trackers
Despite our love-hate relationship with tracking surveys, the pandemic demonstrated the immense value of replicable, longitudinal data for many of the organizations we work for. The clients who were already out there measuring and monitoring were able to see changes clearly and respond to them quickly.
4. Strategists Need Our Help
As the pandemic stretched client-side research staff and budgets, we often partnered directly with business strategists. Try as they might, few of them were good at writing questionnaires. We had to convince them to lay out their business questions, not survey questions, and then let us focus on elicitig valid, reliable, and sensible data from the people who actually answer surveys.
5. Thought Leadership Matters
The pandemic taught us that primary research to support thought leadership is not a luxury that comes second to strategic marketing research. Even when research budgets froze, many of our clients began investing more in thought leadership, realizing that building an ongoing foundation of expertise and trust could carry their organizations through the ups and downs.
In a special section on Versta Research in the News, we also highlight some of our recent work for clients such as the Alzheimer’s Association, Wells Fargo, the American Academy of Dermatology, Fidelity Investments, and The Standard.
As always, feel free to reach out with an inquiry or with questions you may have. We would be pleased to consult with you on your next research effort.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.