In 2021, consumers and businesses alike were thrown numerous curveballs. To keep readers in the know, Quirk’s published must-read articles written by industry experts covering a variety of topics, ranging from consumer COVID-concerns to online qual techniques, questions around data quality and more.  

Interested in checking out Quirk’s most popular articles published this year? We went back to our archive and compiled a few of the most-viewed articles of 2021. 

Most-viewed articles of 2021

(listed in no particular order)  

Quantifying the value of customer experience

The benefits of improving customer experience can be measured by the extent to which positive customer experiences lead to better business results. Better intelligence and insight into your customers (and their behaviors) leads to experience improvements and greater ROI. Read more. 

10 minutes with Shefali Khanna, Brookfield Properties

“Prior to COVID-19, we did a considerable amount of in-person research. This was everything from ethnography to shopper intercepts at properties, observational research during market tours, IDIs and focus groups, you name it! And suddenly, all of the tools either had to shift to digital methods or be paused in the interim. We had to adapt to more agile approaches and really make sure our insights were highly actionable in the current situation to each audience.”  Read more.

Survey duration and the impact on completion rates among young respondents 

Young consumers expect companies to innovate in order to come up with new ways to make their lives convenient and effortless. Since we last spoke about aligning the tolerance of Millennials against the time demands of the market research industry in February 2016, the trend toward convenience (and impatience) has grown exponentially – inspiring us to refresh our guidance for those seeking to survey Gen Z and Millennial consumers. Read more.

Virtual qual: What we loved and loathed

Virtual qualitative research methodologies existed pre-COVID, and researchers have relied on them to achieve specific client objectives. If we needed to better understand people’s relationship with a category ... hello, digital diaries! Get perspectives from small business owners? I see you, virtual IDIs! Share packaging concepts? ... No thanks, virtual focus groups. We’re booking a flight! Read more.

The intersecting worlds of UX and qualitative research 

Who is a qualitative researcher? 

In the 1980s, Judy Langer brought together a group of New York City-based qualitative researchers to form the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA). “We were a group of ‘moderators’ who did research on consumer products, media and public opinion issues,” she says. Read more.

For improved customer and company outcomes, elicit a targeted emotional response

Over the past decade, customer experience (CX) programs have proliferated, becoming a must-have investment for companies hoping to reap the financial benefits of increased customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

Unfortunately, most organizations have little to show for their investments and mounting evidence indicates the problem is dire. Read more.

Benefits of analyzing and leveraging consumer reviews 

In today’s world, it’s almost impossible to imagine buying anything without checking at least a few reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor or Amazon. As shoppers, we have come to trust user reviews as the most reliable and influential source of information when considering a purchase. In that regard, we’ve finally caught up with brands.

Brands don’t look to promotional materials when evaluating the market, they check with the actual consumers – qualitative and quantitative interviews, CRM records and the very same user reviews and ratings you and I check before making a purchase. Read more.

Refreshing online qual at Microsoft: Best practices during COVID-19 

Microsoft’s Research + Insights team has been on a long journey toward research innovation, focusing on digital transformation. This effort has allowed the team to use pioneering techniques, connecting survey and behavioral data to better understand market mix and revenue growth opportunities, and increasing the use of other sources of data – like telemetry and social – for richer insights. Read more.

Behavioral science frameworks: Should you be using them?

You’ve likely heard of behavioral science. After all, we’re all in the behavior business. 

Some think behavioral science is just a list of human irrationalities, often used to explain a point you’re already trying to make. Need to explain why people say they recycle when they don’t? Use social desirability bias. Need to explain why people won’t switch to your brand? Use status quo bias. Read more.

Consumer loyalty and shopper behaviors post-COVID

As COVID-related restrictions ease, we are all cautiously hopeful for some return to a post-pandemic equilibrium. Strategists in board rooms around the world, hungry for some degree of reliable predictability, are now pondering a new normal asking, “Now what?”

While watershed moments like the COVID-19 pandemic are unpredictable, the pandemic has accelerated trends and consumer behaviors that were already building up. Read more.

5 trends and predictions for market research in 2021

What will 2021 look like for the market research industry? For over 20 years, market researchers have been under constant pressure to prove the value of our services. As we face a pandemic that has cut into corporate and client profits, researchers are once again called upon to innovate and show their value. Read more.

What roles will marketing research and insights play in the future?

Change is happening at an ever-increasing speed, leaving many wondering what marketing research and insights will look like in the coming months and years. In order to get a sense of how industry leaders – both new and veteran – are feeling about the future, I reached out to the finalists of the 2021 Outstanding Young Researcher and Fearless Leader awards and asked them to share their thoughts. Read more.

Understanding consumers with modern segmentation techniques

Companies need to be nimble and focus marketing efforts and dollars where needed, when needed. Segmentation can direct those efforts and help a company know its customers and potential customers. Following the proper steps, focusing on the most applicable segments and utilizing modern segmenting techniques (e.g., biclustering, NMF, ensemble) can help to ensure the most actionable results. Read more.

Best practices for private online panels

Over the past decade, many corporations have set up private online panels or online communities as an economical way to conduct surveys and qualitative projects. A private research panel (sometimes called a custom panel, customer panel or proprietary panel) is created by a company solely for its own use. The company recruits and maintains the online panel and uses the panel exclusively for its own research purposes. While many private online panels are a success, many are deemed failures. The purpose of this article is to outline some guidelines and best practices for private online panels. Read more.

Gen Z: Coming of age in chaos

Pandemics, protests, political toxicity, killer hornets. In many ways, 2020 was a disaster. But for Gen Z, a generation that has come of age in chaos, the last year is just more of what they’ve come to expect.

In October 2020, approximately six in 10 members of Generation Z told us, “It’s harder growing up today than ever before.” But this sentiment isn’t a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2019 the exact same number of Gen Zers agreed with that statement. They have witnessed disaster again and again and they have always felt it’s harder for them. Read more.