Written by Sam Lloyd February 23, 2012
Susan Topel has been doing Marketing Research within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries for over 20 years. In the following interview, Susan goes over how she is using Qualtrics as a “one woman” marketing research resource serving a large, complex organization.
Name: Susan Topel
Industry: Pharmaceutical and Healthcare
Position: Manager, Primary Market Research
Research Experience: 20 Years
I recently moved to St Louis, MO from Baltimore, Maryland. I joined a new company in June of 2011 and I’ve been adjusting to the Midwest (NO fresh seafood or beaches! Gaaaa!) I have three daughters, one of whom followed me into the Marketing Research profession. I am also a rabid opera lover (NOT a singer!)
It is my responsibility to support the marketing research function for all of my organization’s 15 state health plans, our specialty companies and all corporate initiatives. As the marketing research function is new to this organization, I am conducting these research programs without the support of a team.
As such, it is my responsibility to design, execute, analyze and report on multiple research projects at one time, while endeavoring to establish consistent research processes and maintain quality control. Qualtrics allows me to easily and expertly develop complex surveys for multiple audiences, test them, distribute the survey for stakeholder input, and release the survey live under extremely demanding timelines.
The ability to collaborate with all constituents using the public reporting tools allows for buy-in and cooperation early in the research time frame, and permits the dissemination of the information in a controlled and responsive manner across the organization. The seamless integration of the data into SPSS or Excel has allowed me to conduct advanced analytics without any loss of data integrity and without any extensive data preparation time. The Qualtrics reporting tool allows me to easily import professional looking graphics into Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, tailoring the output to the relevant audience and in accordance with how the data will be used. I have been able to complete several challenging and comprehensive research studies simultaneously (by myself!) without the need for excessive external resources, permitting to maximize our modest research budget for the past year.
I haven’t really developed any complex surveys at this point, but I can say that having Qualtrics, as a “one woman” marketing research resource serving a large, complex organization, has saved our company considerable fees to outside vendors, allowed me to run multiple studies simultaneously with little effort, while allowing me to respond to survey requests within 24-48 hours and have a survey programmed, live, and in field. With no support staff, the intuitive, turnkey reporting features allow me to share results with my colleagues quickly, efficiently, and with minimal labor. Qualtrics has single handedly revolutionized our research capabilities and have allowed me to add value and service our complete organization as if I were a full team of researchers!
“Qualtrics has single handedly revolutionized our research capabilities and have allowed me to add value and service our complete organization as if I were a full team of researchers!”
I have used the slider bar question format rather than the radio button format for some critical rating scale questions, which considerably limited my analytic abilities and required some additional data manipulation in order to perform the requisite analytics. I now know to test a new question format with some dummy data to observe how the resulting data “entry” and reporting would be configured.
The ability that Qualtrics provides to seamlessly incorporate survey programming with data reporting! How many hours of manual graph creation in Excel could I have saved if I had known about this “soup to nuts” tool. Working on engaging the requisite stakeholder buy-in for the Web Intercept tool as a method of participant identification and recruitment to our Survey Suite. I am so much more confident of my ability to deliver high quality research services to my internal clients on a
“How many hours of manual graph creation in Excel could I have saved if I had known about this ‘soup to nuts’ tool.”
Not one experience, but all of my experiences being able to turn around survey development, live fielding, analytics and reporting “on a dime”! I love the robust survey programming tools that are both intuitive and elegant, allowing the instrument developer to CLEARLY see skip patterns, piping, branching, and other complex survey forms.
The advice I would give to fellow researchers just starting out would be to really listen to your clients to gain a solid understanding of the research objectives, then be able to communicate the findings in clear, non-technical ways. Build the research as if you are telling a story, Most importantly, remember to think about EVERY question in your survey and how that question is going to be tabulated. Think about how that variable is going to be used in your analysis and what kind of data it needs to produce. Build your survey “backwards,” thinking about the essential ingredients you need to be able to answer your research questions and tell a compelling story.
Basic Marketing Research Volume 1: Designing Your Study
Ever wish you could get straight to the point when it comes to marketing research? Well here’s your chance. Get “Basic Marketing Research Volume 1: Designing Your Study” written by Scott Smith Ph.D., along with monthly research tips delivered directly to your inbox. Just type in your email address below.
Get the book FREE