Not everything remote is digital

In LATAM, adaptation to the health contingency due to COVID-19 has gone through several solutions, including digital ones. The internet and electronic devices have blurred the limits of market research in our region until this year. However, not all alternatives for moving forward with operational projects necessarily have to be digital. Today we review two methodologies that are still available and help us to address market shares that are beyond solutions based entirely on the internet given the lack of universal coverage of the latter.

CATI. Interviews via conventional telephone continue to prove their usefulness in those groups in which contact by other means is not possible due to consumer habits (larger groups) and those who want to ensure a certain location of the interviews (corporate and industrial directories) . Although now several lines have migrated to fiber optic support, several more continue to depend on the infrastructure available in the days of rotary and twenty-cent booth telephones (hence the Mexican saying “you dropped twenty”).

Some advantages of this methodology are that the personnel conducting the interview by being on site all the time can be supervised more rigorously. They also have a speech that in many cases must be repeated verbatim to ensure that useful answers are obtained. The audios of the interviews can also be obtained for subsequent monitoring steps or qualitative analysis. It is also possible to increase productivity compared to field surveys since as many numbers can be marked as the incidence and the interviewers’ working hours allow.

Some disadvantages of CATI is that it relies heavily on up-to-date databases and effective records to function. A list of 100 records is not much use if only a few are effective. Likewise, in LATAM, if the respondents do not recognize at least the telephone code of their city of residence, they decide to ignore the call (in cases where they have a caller ID).

Home interview. This solution can be carried out without having digital devices thanks to interview capture instruments such as tape recorders and questionnaires. It works very well when the participation of respondents who cannot go to crowds or research centers must be guaranteed. Today, among the mobility limitations we find the voluntary quarantine of thousands of people, diseases that prevent the transfer, and the inaccessibility of certain market segments to cities such as marginalized communities.

In these cases, the advantage offered by this solution is being able to access those groups of consumers that for one reason or another are systematically relegated from traditional studies. When approaching the places where these people live and / or work, it is possible to know aspects that other methodologies prevent, such as characterization by observation of the respondent, since they can verify their home or workplace in person.

However, it presents several challenges. The costs involved are higher since it is necessary to include the travel expenses of the work teams; the more isolated the point to visit, the more expensive it will be. In addition, on several occasions, permits must be processed with the authorities, whether official or tacit, that authorize the entry of strangers into the community. The transportation of the supplies to carry out the interviews must also be considered in the execution, so a vehicle could be necessary to fulfill the objectives of the survey.

Latin America is still on the curve of full adoption of methodologies based on technology and information technology. While we cannot equip the indexes of other regions such as Europe and North America, clients will have to consider for some time the solutions mentioned above and even additional ones such as conventional mail and interviews at the point of influx, among others. At Acertiva we can help you in the application of your next market study. We will wait for you.