The Internet has proven to be an efficient and cost-effective medium for conducting marketing research. Online research methodologies cover a very broad spectrum and our experience has taught us that some techniques work better than others in gathering Latino market insight. Some of our favorite online research methodologies include:
You may hear people say that it is difficult to conduct online research with Hispanics because Latinos are not online. This is not true. The penetration of Internet access in the U.S. Hispanic community is extremely high. However, the way research is typically conducted over the Internet does suit the manner through which most Latinos prefer to interact. Online research communication tends to be very structured, linear, and dry; in contrast, most Latinos prefer a laid back communication style that relies heavily on non-verbal cues, emotional connections, tangents, storytelling,and an expressive process that is often characterized as "lively." This Latino style of communication is especially apparent among the unacculturated Hispanic population. We believe that this key difference between the way most Latinos prefer to communicate and the style of non-Hispanic interactions greatly affects the effectiveness of Internet Latino insight gathering. Hispanic Research Inc. has developed techniques to counter this online methodology limitation and recommends other methodologies whenever online is not deemed the most appropriate.
When people talk about online research they are often thinking of quantitative online research; an more specifically, about self-administered online surveys. This methodology has become very popular because it is extremely cost effective when compared to other quantitative survey research methodologies. Unfortunately, it is one that does not work very well with unacculturated Latinos. Not only is online a very structured and linear research gathering approach (which goes against the Latino communication style as explained above), it is also a self-administered methodology. Self-administered research instruments do not work well with Latinos. Many Hispanics approach these surveys as if they were a school exam, or a government form. Many also find it difficult to complete the survey when it includes complicated scales and rating grids. Hispanic Research Inc. has developed unique approches to deal with the problems inherent in survey research methodology. For more information, please access our Quantitative Research Services section.
Another way of conducting quantitative online research is by using an administered survey research methodology. The proliferation of webcam technology is making it feasible to field and administered "in-person" survey through the Internet. Chat and Internet voice technologies are also effective. For more informationsee: Primary quantitative and qualitative using webcam technology.
Conducting qualitative research online has become extremely popular and some of the methodologies work very well with Latinos. Using webcam technology to conduct in-depth interviews, focus groups, and even ethnographies can work well over the Internet when the participants have the right equipment and a high speed Internet connection. (See: Primary quantitative and qualitative using webcam technology.) Bulletin board focus groups are also very effective in certain situations. They work great for international research, sensitive subjects that may be too emotional to handle in person, executive or physician interviewing, and situations were it is important to have participation of people from disparate geographica locations. For more information please access our article on Bulletin board focus groups.
We offer extensive secondary research services that include online research insight gathering. Some new techniques inonline secondary research, however, go beyond simply searching for available information and include a mixture of primary and secondary research. Searching for information in online forums, for example, is clearly secondary; but posting a question for further clarification is in the realm of primary. For more information please access our article on Observation and insight gathering from blogs, forums, and social networks.