You need to glean usable insights from quantitative research to begin to build your brand with the youngest groups of consumers. You are thinking ahead to replacing Baby Boomers with their Millennial children and their Gen Z siblings.
So you plan to conduct an opinion market research study with adults ages 25 or older. You are utilizing both landline telephone number listings as well as cell phone listings; a 50/50 split. Data collection has completed, but you only have 10% participation from the 25-34-year-old age group. You know this is far below their share of the actual population so what happened?
First, overall response rates for telephone surveys are steadily declining across all age groups. In 1997, telephone survey response rates averaged 28%-30%. In 2007, the average was down to 7%-8%. In 2017, the average is now closer to 5%.
Second, 50/50 split on landline/cell phone telephone listings is no longer sufficient. In 2016, a majority of U.S. households no longer have landline telephone service, and for certain subgroups, such as young adults, Hispanics and African-Americans, the cell only rate is even higher.
Third, the way people communicate has drastically changed, especially among this younger population. Most of them do not “talk” on the phone; instead they prefer to communicate utilizing text, instant messaging, social media and email.
Knowing this, it becomes clear that we need to explore new ways to conduct opinion market research among this younger generation, while maintaining data integrity and validity. One option is to increase the percentage of cell phone listings in your sample. Consider a 30/70 split (30% landline listings/70% cell phone listings) or higher.
Another approach is to use mixed-mode or a combination of methodologies for data collection. For example, conduct a telephone interview using both landline and cell (heavier on the cell portion) and supplement it with an online survey to reach this younger audience. This is a more cost-effective approach than greatly increasing the landline/cell listing ratio alone, but keep in mind that factors related to each mode may affect how people respond.
Another option is to design your market research study so you encounter and interview younger age groups face-to-face where they congregate in large numbers: concerts, outdoor events, shopping centers, campuses, clubs, entertainment districts. But once again, you will need to ask, “Do the people I will find there represent a cross-section of who will or could buy our brand?”
In the end, it often times comes down to budget and so one must decide, based on the objectives of the research and who the target audience is, what concessions can we live with? Determining this will help guide your data collection methods.