Shoppers, attendees, or visitors with specified
characteristics are randomly selected and asked to participate
in the personal interview. Interviewing stations can be
established in malls, stores, expos, trade shows—anywhere
the target market can be found. This works well when
evaluating products or concepts which need to be experienced,
when the concepts are complicated and visual stimulus helps,
when several ideas or factors are prioritized or evaluated and
when the location draws a “hard-to-reach” group of people.
Large samples can be very insightful, but are not totally
representative of the entire population. Intercepts are
preferable over focus groups if individual opinions or
evaluations are desired.
Most research that is descriptive in nature and does not need
visual aids can be conducted by telephone. With proper
sampling and callback attempts, telephone interviewing
provides quality information from random samples.
Mail surveys were considered to be less expensive than
telephone interviews and were popular for a while.
However, the increased postage costs, need for multiple
mailings, postage paid returns and other respondent incentives
have made mail research more expensive than telephone research
for many samples. Mail research may be effective if the
target audience is well defined and committed to the research,
if respondents who are geographically dispersed must see or
use products and if the information is difficult to obtain.
Usually, successful mail studies are used in combination with
other data collection techniques (i.e., as a follow-up to
telephone or personal interviews). Panels can be
developed for repeated mail contacts and longitudinal or