As stay-at-home orders are being lifted in many parts of the country, marketing research facilities are reopening, making it possible to conduct in-person survey research again.
As the marketing research industry moves toward a new normal, in-person survey research facilities are implementing policies to make consumers feel safe when participating in in-person surveys.
Information on how to safely conduct in-person interviews in a COVID-19 world may come from the reopening guidance for businesses and malls recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on these guidelines, research facilities would conduct in-person research using new safety protocols in place, including:
- Monitoring participant temperatures prior to entry into a facility
- Wearing masks
- Limiting the number of participants in the facility at one time
- Maintaining social distancing
- Following strict handwashing and cleaning guidelines
- No sharing of equipment
These protocols are only useful if consumers are willing to participate in in-person surveys. Fortunately, evidence suggests that they are. In April, CCS/datatelligence, part of CRG Global Inc., did an online survey of almost 1,500 consumers and reported that about 75% of respondents are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to participate in in-person surveys. The factors most important to respondents include social distancing guidelines, wearing masks and gloves, health monitoring, and participating by appointment only. Furthermore, about 60% of respondents did not place any restrictions on the types of products they would test.
Some in-person research facilities are already up and running, making in-person surveys possible. For example, the Schlesinger Group, C&C Market Research, and Opinions LTD report that some of their facilities are now open and more will be open by early June. These companies are using new safety protocols that include staggering participant arrivals, wearing masks and gloves, health screenings, extra cleaning or sanitizing, and physical distancing. As an example, read the COVID-19 action plan implemented by Opinions LTD.
These safety protocols at in-person marketing research facilities are likely to be adjusted based on experience and consumer feedback. With protocols in place, consumers will be able to focus on the survey, not on safety. Although in-person surveys may take a bit longer to complete, it continues to be a good way to measure what consumers think.