Why do you Travel rather than use Local Moderators?

At The Marketing Clinic we have a few highly trained and experienced Consumer Psychologists. We also have a unique methodology which uses a combination of research and psychological techniques to get beyond consumers’ rational responses and understand the underlying emotional drivers of consumer behaviour.

Because of this we will send our highly skilled experienced Consumer Psychologists to the market rather than email our requirements to local moderators who are not trained in, or understand, our techniques.

That is the obvious bit. 

We are also often then asked; “Since your technique relies on language, how can an English-speaking moderator really understand the nuances of language in the local tongue?”

This is, in fact, easier than it would appear to the casual observer. We use local interpreters in our groups to translate our questions and the respondents’ answers in real time, but at the same time as listening to what is said we are eyeballing our respondents, we take in facial expressions, body language, tone of voice etc. We then cross question to get beyond the initial answer.

In every culture foreigners can ask more “silly” questions than a local – they get it that you don’t understand. It is as they explain themselves multiple times and in different ways that we get to an in-depth understanding of what they are meaning.

Often local agencies or clients in particular markets will argue that due to “cultural differences” only locals will be accepted by respondents or only locals can really understand how their consumers think. Over 20 years of visiting different markets across the world we have found that consumers of all cultures, religions, ethnicity etc. are very welcoming of our moderators and often feel honoured that we have travelled specifically to hear their views. Quite often it takes a foreigner, an outsider, to see and understand what locals have just accepted as normal or a given.

Yes, it does add some cost for travel and for subsistence when we travel rather than using local moderators, but our margins are not as high as some agencies’, so our costs are still generally very competitive. Also, when we debrief the people standing in front of you are the Consumer Psychologists that ran the groups, interpreted the findings, and wrote the report.

They will know the whole project inside out, they will be able to respond properly to all your questions and they will be able to recall every conversation with every respondent, what they said, how they said it and exactly what they meant.

We send our Consumer Psychologists to where the consumers are rather than use local moderators because we know that it is the best way to get you the best, most insightful findings, to enable us to make the most powerful recommendations that will have the greatest positive impact upon your business.