Editor's note: Based in Denver, Julia Eisenberg is vice president of insights at research company 20|20. Based in Nashville, Tenn., Isaac Rogers is CEO of 20|20.
Some great ideas are born at the wrong time, before the world is truly ready for them. Webvan, the home grocery delivery service, went bankrupt in 2001 in spectacular dot-com fashion. Microsoft launched its SPOT smartwatches way back in 2004, only to close the program four years later.
Yet, when you look down at many people’s wrists today, you’ll find some version of an Apple Watch or Fitbit worn proudly. Most of you reading this article have likely ordered some sort of at-home delivery service from Instacart, Amazon Prime Now or Uber Eats. When you look at these examples, it’s puzzling why sometimes it takes so long for society to catch up to technology or ideas that were readily available a decade before we all realized the benefits.
In many cases, these before-their-time failures happened because the ideas were so radical we didn’t really believe or trust they were possible. In some cases, there needed to be some iterative steps in the path between the existing way of doing business and the future state; we almost had to learn A followed by B before we could ever conceive of C, whereas these too-early disruptive concepts jumped too far and too fast for us to keep up.
In the marketing research industry, one such methodology that was simply launched before its time is now seeing a resurgence as marketers and brands increasingly reap the benefits: hybrid quant+qual research for advertising, message and concept testing.
Well over a decade ago, researchers first started experimenting with ways to integrate qualitative insights into their quantitative research. The promise was simple and obvious; the approach was a way to bridge the quantitative testing data with deeper understanding from the respondent through some type of digit...