The usual pattern in most research studies really ends up with the same questions. We start with their 'cume' behavior/recall and then narrow it to most listened to stations then we move on to the body of the questions . We craft music blends for them to evaluate, ask about Morning shows, other personalities, maybe at work listening, contests, marketing efforts and maybe a few questions about the web site (have you been there). Sometimes we are on a format search where the music mixes or other descriptive moments take more time in the questions. There's always the pressure of keeping it under 25 minutes on the phone so we really don't have that much time.
Notice that the only area that is about their behavior is in the Cume and which stations they listen to the most. An even there we may see the most marketed station win even though we look down their answers and they don't really know much about that station in the other parts of the study. Where do they listen to radio the most, and what are those stations? How passionate are they? Are they super radio users or just casual tuners? Do they jump around as soon as the music sets end?
Also what kind of people are they? Are they innovators that latch on to new concepts or products or are they laggards who are just figuring out innovations that happened years ago? Or are they in that mass in the middle and where do they rank in that segment?
A few more questions about them before we dive into their perceived listening habits would really help us learn a lot more about what their actual behavior might be. Right now we are mostly learning what they recall about our products and not a lot about how they use them. Recall worked in the diary days - now it's about real behavior. We have to find the secrets to making our products perform on a different plane
Many products and industries have used this type of research for years - dating back to the 60s and while it's gone through a number of evolutions it's still in use today. Finding the key links in the sample or population and building products that use the keys to open doors to the bigger groups has been a big element for many industries.
Now how do we communicate with the sample? A lot has changed in the last few decades let's take a look in our next segment later in the week.