- online pharmaceutical marketing research
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In choosing a particular method of research, one must consider trade-offs in:

  • convenience
  • data quality
  • special capabilities
  • financial costs
  • time costs
  • total turnaround time
  • ability to answer research objectives

As with any method, online research has advantages and disadvantages.  As with other methods, different research organizations have different capabilities and personalities in how they conduct online research, and this is particularly true in the new field of online research.

Although online research might intuitively appear to greatly reduce some costs, keep in mind that other costs will increase.  Online research can in some cases eliminate the need for travel and lodging, research facility rental, and a professional interviewer, but these costs are somewhat offset by a greater investment in the preparation of visual stimuli, in programming online surveys, and such.  In considering the above trade-offs, consider the effects of the following general factors associated with online research:


Clients and researchers do not have to schedule or travel to an interview facility.   They also do not have to travel between geographically dispersed cities in order to complete a study.

  • Data collection can begin almost immediately after approval of a topic guide.

  • Simultaneous interviews can be conducted from any geographic location within days of the start of the study.


Recruits can participate in a study at a time and place of their own convenience.

  • Study participants are in their own natural environment (e.g., browsing a web site on their personal home or office computer), potentially raising participation rates, lowering recruiting costs, and increasing the validity of responses for some types of research.

  • Recruits can participate in the study immediately after being recruited.  Data collection can be completed within days of recruiting.


Qualitative and quantitative responses can be automatically recorded, encoded, and analyzed.

  • Online data can be processed, analyzed, tabulated, formatted, accessed, and displayed in real time from almost anywhere at the convenience of the client and the researcher.

  • Data processing and analysis can be automatically concluded with participation of the last recruit.

  • A variety of stimulus media can be combined, including graphics, video, audio, and print.  These can be adaptive to and interactive with the respondent.
The study is pre-programmed before it begins.
  • In some cases, online materials associated with a study are one and the same as the topic guide.

  • Programmed interviewing eliminates any inconsistencies of personal methods.

  • Checks for non-responses, mistakes, and inconsistencies by the r espondent can be made on-the-fly, resulting in a higher rate of useable responses in survey methods.

  • Advertising test copy and layout, survey questions, etc. can be randomized between respondents, eliminating order effects bias in survey methods.

  • Dynamic branching and piping allow an online interview to be flexibly adapted to the respondent and to particular reactions to interview stimuli.



Many electronic surveys merely mimic paper and pencil instruments.  Questions are asked directly.  Some electronic surveys go a step further by interacting with the respondent, altering questions on the basis of prior answers.  In either case, the respondent is providing a direct answer to a directly asked question.

Marketing research firms use qualitative Individual Depth Interview methods (IDI) because direct answers to pre-defined questions are often lacking in the kind of information that we need.  Flexible, adaptive, face-to-face interview and focus group methods are often used because the richness of the discussion gives us indirect information that gives us better insights than the direct answers to questions.  Although expensive and time consuming, there is often no other way to obtain the rich insights that we can get from personal interview methods.


Using SyKronix FLIGHT RECORDER technology, measures of time, place, and movement can be taken in online studies.  These techniques allow us to, say, track the attention of a respondent to particular bullets within an advertisement, or to particular portions of a graphic in an ad.  Just as the quickness or hesitation in answering a question can provide insights in a qualitative, face to face depth interview, so too can such measures provide insights in a SyKronix Automated Depth Interview

Although an online survey could ask about each bullet point of text or each feature of a graphic, doing so would make for an unwieldy written survey.  A SyKronix Automated Depth Interview allows us to collect information which is more rich in providing indirect insights about advertising text or graphics which might be especially relevant, interesting, confusing, or obvious to the reader.  As in a face to face individual depth interview, a SyKronix Automated Depth Interview can ask tailored questions based on the way that a respondent reacts to advertising stimuli.

Using SyKronix FLIGHT RECORDER techniques, observations are made of a person's real time reactions to advertising stimuli, rather than to survey question responses.  With these tracking measures of time, place, and movement, we can visually replay a respondent's movements through the graphic and text portions of an advertisement, detail piece, or web page for remote qualitative observation and analysis.


A SyKronix Automated Depth Interview is a way to get the best of both worlds:

  • The simplicity of a standardized questionnaire that lends itself to quantitative analysis.

  • The richness of a flexible qualitative interview which provides insights that would not, a priori, be intuitively obvious.


A practical discussion of how
FLIGHT RECORDER is used, how it works, and the financial and time costs to run a FLIGHT RECORDER project.

A sneak peek at some beta
FLIGHT RECORDER applications.



We can create interactive online sales training materials to supplement hard copy materials.  Check out the sorts of materials that are posted at Tyman-Space Community College or browse through the following example:

Time and Territory Management
Sample workbook chapter on territory design and routing.  Includes three exercises - see links at the end of the chapter.



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