Emotional Barriers and a Lack of Physician Support

 

Healthcare.
Bonnie’s extensive clinical background helps her engage with healthcare professionals as an equal and patients as an understanding peer. Learn more about Bonnie’s commitment to qualitative research.

 

Understand.

A global pharmaceutical company launched a novel product to manage a chronic pain condition, but prescription rates were lower than projected. The client had several hypotheses regarding prescription, with two leading theories emerging:

  • Medication cost was prohibitive/insurance coverage was problematic
  • Physicians awareness was low and/or they were not mentioning it to eligible patients

 

However, research into the discrepancy between projection and initial uptake hadn’t been conducted. The client didn’t want to move forward with marketing or outreach initiatives without understanding the underlying issues.

 

Design.

We needed understand the psychological state of the patient before assessing factors which may or may not compel them to consider the medication. With this emotional foundation, we could move on to explore the affects of potential tactical barriers such as cost.

To accomplish this, a robust qualitative study was needed. A nationwide sample of patients was recruited, all of whom had awareness of the medication, but most of whom chose to reject taking it.

To offer the client usable insights, we knew we’d also need to understand the prevalence of the barriers—emotional and tactical—identified in the qualitative study. To accomplish this, a quantitative study was designed for use after the qualitative research was complete.

 

Execute.

Through conversations with patients, we identified complicated and deeply rooted psychological reasons for rejecting the medication. Very few patients hesitate because of any practical reasons such as cost. Rather, patients wait until they reach their own personal “breaking point” with their pain before accepting the need for the medication. The condition and treatment affect intimate aspects of a patient’s life, including libido and reproduction, so many choose to “suffer” with the pain. Similarly, many belive the potential for side effects are not worth the risk.

Physicians consistently offer the medication, but very few advocate for it or provide adequate guidance. They leave the decision entirely up to the patient, causing them to feel overwhelmed and frozen not only by the disease, but also how to move forward with it.

An Organic Approach to Understanding Technology Decision Making

 

Technology.

John’s 20 years of experience as a software engineer allows him to understand a project’s technical depth while building peer relationships with every client and respondent. Learn more about John’s commitment to qualitative research.

 

Understand.

A leading technology company wanted to understand the decision-making process for enterprise organizations evaluating cloud providers for their critical infrastructure. More specifically, they wanted to understand who makes recommendations and decisions surrounding the move.

The client had theories about this process and needed these theories confirmed or corrected. The long-term goal was for them to better understand who they needed to target when marketing their services and solutions and what may be needed or evaluated in the process.

 

Design.

Rather than setting out to only assess our client’s existing theories, we sought to conduct a landscape study to better understand the perspective of those working within enterprise organizations. The research was designed to allow respondents to organically build a map of the process that would, as a result, confirm or refute the existing theories.

This approach would help generate a natural view of the process without potentially altering responses.

 

Execute.

Letting respondents lead us through the decision-making processing encouraged more natural conversations and, as expected, shed light on who specifically recommends and/or evaluates potential cloud providers. Using our knowledge of both the technology itself and business operations, we followed respondents through recent projects, from genesis to production, while listening for significant decision makers and moments of change.

This process gradually helped the client understand the accuracy of their theories but also allowed the respondents to paint a picture without pre-established borders.

 

Analyze & Advise.

The research allowed us to build an influencer model with profiles of the various roles participating in and/or running the process of migrating to the cloud. We were able to identify the evolution of the cloud deployment process and show why many enterprises deliberately deploy to one cloud provider initially but later redeploy to another. However, the non-restrictive nature of our research enabled us to take this understanding one step further by building models that corresponded to unique organizational structures and purchasing / technology decisions that extended beyond cloud migration.

From more traditional, top-down organizations to grassroots companies with a less linear process, our models provided clarity, so our clients could go to market with greater confidence. This model is still applied today when making major strategic and tactical marketing decisions and has been proven accurate in many subsequent research studies with this client.

Working Together in a True Partnership Allowed Us to Uncover and Articulate the Core Motivating Factors of an Agent and Broker Relationship

 

Financial Services

A leading property casualty and insurance company trusted our insight and experience to help them uncover what makes a lasting, positive agent and broker experience. Our industry experience allowed us to have deeper, more meaningful conversations and dialogue throughout the process, which in turn, created a trust-based partnership. Having that partnership allowed us to make adjustments in real-time to uncover the core motivators.

 

Understand.

A leading Property & Casualty Insurance Company wanted to deliver a differentiated experience for its agent/broker partners. The business goal was to deliver an experience that would have a lasting impact on securing higher levels of business placement and retention. Our research goal was to understand what that optimal experience looked like.

 

Design.

In advance of this study our client undertook an extensive internal touchpoint mapping exercise. Internal stakeholders helped create a multi-phased linear map that articulated assumed needs and preferences at each phase of the map. Our initial charge was to use the touchpoint map as a reference to guide our discussions. We also had the charge to be as inclusive and broad as possible during our discussions. All told, we talked, in-person, with nearly 150 brokerage owners, sales agents, and support reps. We talked with those who represent both large and medium brokerages in 6 markets nationally. Our reach was truly representative of our audience.

 

Execute.

What became obvious during our initial discussions with agents is that they see their carrier interaction differently than the linear touchpoint map that was developed as our guide. For agents, relationship and engagement is not a defined stage; rather, it is the field on which all interaction takes place. Using this foundational insight as our new guide–and with the full support of our client–we incorporated a model that continually modified and adjusted our discussion approach based on the insights we gained. At the heart of our revised approach was the recognition that we were now focused on customer journey, not touchpoint mapping.

 

Analyze & Advise.

The core insight that guided our recommendations is that Underwriters are the face of a carrier. Their efforts strongly shape agent perceptions and are the key to agent placement, retention, and growth. When agents feel underwriters are not in partnership with them, the entire relationship can turn adversarial. Ultimately, our recommendation on how to deliver a superior underwriting experience served as the basis for our client’s development of a differentiated brand experience.

Knowing When to Pivot During the Course of an Interview Allowed our Financial Services Industry Veterans to Uncover Influential Target Audiences

 

Financial Services

Knowing the industry and being able to pivot and probe in real-time allowed us to make important changes during the research. We were able to more effectively test, inform and refine ideas conceived of in a conference room so they reflected the real-world of not only marketing and selling software products but of building partnerships with new customers.

 

Understand.

A major financial services company wanted a deeper understanding of who their potential target audience would be for a new software product. They needed to understand their pain points, needs and what their decision-making process looks like. The client needed a partner to be able to see beyond the standard purchase journey research. They were looking for a partner that would translate their needs to a new audience.

 

Design.

This research was designed to be flexible and responsive to what we heard as the project unfolded. By leveraging our relationship with the recruiter, through regular communications with the client, and because of our commitment to having conversations versus typical interviews, we were able to find the purchase influencers. Once the audience was defined, we were able to dig deeper to reveal the influence model and the specifics of the software purchase process.

 

Execute.

Our intentionally iterative approach tested the client’s initial presumptions while refining and focusing both the recruiting and probing to get a complete and accurate picture. Specifically, an early pivot in recruiting directed the research to a particular role in the purchase process – the key influencer who is trusted and tasked by all sides to collate the information and make specific software purchase recommendations.

 

Analyze & Advise.

In the end, we delivered the client’s two must-haves – a detailed software purchase journey and specific personas for their target audience. More than that, however, our commitment to seeing beyond the nuts and bolts of standard purchase journeys revealed insights into meaningful ways to engage their customers in a partnership – ways to build marketing strategies for the long term.

Anonymity Creates Safe Space for Discussing Non-Traditional Lending Experiences

 

Financial Services

Kip Brown combined his curiosity of human motivation with his financial services experience to fully interpret what small business owners think about non-traditional lending options and what a government agency can do to make the lending experience a more positive one.

 

Understand.

A governmental agency had an interest in understanding the financial policies and practices that promote or impede access to credit for small businesses. Of particular interest was a desire to explore small business owners’ understanding and consideration of emerging, non-traditional lending sources. At the heart of this study was the need to intimately understand the unique stresses and problems associated with small business owners’ ability to access credit, and how these challenges impact motivation, preference and choice, especially around non-traditional (online) lending sources.

 

Design.

With over 30 million small businesses in the US, this study required that we talk with a broad and diverse group of small business owners. We also needed to conduct this research within a methodology that allowed for interactivity as well as confidentiality. And, given these business owners’ varied schedules and hours, we needed to provide for as much participation flexibility as possible. To accomplish all of these needs, we recommended the use of online bulletin boards. The boards were segmented by current non-traditional online lending use to give us an in-depth understanding of how participants’ use and experience influenced their perceptions and consideration.

 

Execute.

Using our knowledge of the category and the small business segment, we created an open and engaging participation experience for our panel. The online bulletin board platform offered multiple levels of interaction; the Moderator was able to point participants to online resources and offer opportunities for both breakout groups and individual discussions. The synergy it created was very similar to the synergy created in face-to-face focus groups with the added advantage that owners felt safe to openly discuss sensitive personal and business information based on the anonymity the platform provided.

 

Analyze & Advise.

The research helped clarify the reality that non-traditional lending options are both seductive and confusing. This duality, combined with a clearly articulated concern by owners that non-traditional lending options may be less secure than traditional options, gave rise to a series of recommendations that focused on creating higher levels of lender consistency around security, disclosure, and terminology. The end result was a high level of confidence among our client’s stakeholders that user needs had been heard and changes could be made to positively impact the lending experience for small business owners.