Our Trailblazer Blog

Introducing Our Trailblazer Moderated Online Discussions Video


In this short video, our Trailblazer researcher, Katie, explains the what, when and how of our Trailblazer moderated online discussions.

Engagement in Online Discussion was Phenomenal


Due to lockdown, six in-person focus groups scheduled to be run in South Auckland in September 2020 for a Government Department, were instead conducted using two online discussion boards with a total of 60 participants. South Auckland had been chosen for the in-person focus groups due to its ethnic, cultural and socio-economic diversity. This same diversity was represented across the online discussion participants and feedback from our client included 'Great data collection tool for the consumer voice' and 'The engagement in the online discussion was phenomenal'.

We also received amazing feedback from the participants thanking us for the opportunity to participate and saying 'The fact that it was anonymous made me feel that I could write freely', 'I found it reassuring that other people have been in similar situations to mine' and 'The interactive aspect was great and I enjoyed it'.

Understand How Your Customers Think and Feel in the COVID-19 Environment



Lockdowns and ongoing social distancing related to the COVID-19 pandemic have severely impacted business confidence as well as dramatically impacting consumer demand and behaviour. We are in unchartered waters and so it is more important than ever for businesses to listen to their customers and consumers in order to:

  • Understand customer sentiment and buying behaviour
  • Make the right short-term decisions for their business
  • Understand their markets and ultimately work towards positioning their business as favourably as possibly for the post-COVID landscape
  • Adapt to changes in the behaviour of their clients
  • Identify the best ways to grow their business

Under normal circumstances, a market research plan for 2020 - 21 may have included face-to-face interviews, fieldwork or focus groups to address these issues. In the COVID-19 environment however, there are many obstacles to conducting these qualitative techniques in the traditional manner.

These obstacles have encouraged us to explore alternative options and expand the ways we can achieve research goals. The best remote market research approach to gather the insights needed will ultimately depend on the research objectives and the required output and options include:

  • Moderated Online Discussion – private and secure online platform with up to 30 participants
  • Online Focus Groups – moderated video calling with 4 to 6 participants
  • One-On-One In-Depth Interviews - video-calling with one respondent at a time
  • Text Chat - instant messaging
  • Online surveys - with an emphasis on open-ended questioning

In these times of widespread business disruption, timely and relevant market research is more important than ever. These online research tools enable us to interact with respondents and collect data safely and efficiently, and are vital aids in listening to customers and responding quickly to ensure business plans and strategies remain relevant.

Online Discussion Board - B2B


The participants of a recent online discussion board included small business owners from around New Zealand. The discussion ran over a period of 3 days giving busy business owners the opportunity to participate at times when it suited them e.g. before work, during a coffee break etc. I received feedback from the participants saying they really enjoyed the discussion and it gave them the opportunity to hear how other business owners tackle similar issues that they also experience.

From the client's perspective, the business owners were classified by their industry sector such as financial services. With such a detailed and accurate transcript of the discussion, it was possible in the research findings to identify and report differences across the industry sectors. The research included a blend of qualitative free text questions as well as single and multiple choice quantitative questions.

"I worked with Rachel on behalf of a technology client which was entering the b2b market and seeking the perspectives of small business owners about existing and future products. Rachel drove the project, provided excellent client service, and delivered a very comprehensive report on time and budget." Paul O'Leary, Director, Pursuit Public Relations

Online Focus Groups



TSMR has teamed up with an inspiring and innovative international supplier in order to provide cutting edge digital research methodology to New Zealand businesses.

To take advantage of the way technology and connectivity have totally transformed how we communicate, qualitative research has adapted to the 'social era' by blending traditional face-to-face focus groups with cutting edge digital methodology to provide online discussion boards (online bulletin boards) and online focus groups.

TSMR first utilised this innovative technology in 2018 to complete a comprehensive shopping study for Christchurch's premier department store, Ballantynes, with the significant benefits of this approach including:

  • High quality actionable insights
  • Rich verbatim quotations
  • Blend of qualitative and quantitative
  • Fast turnaround
  • Appeal to all demographics
  • No geographic constraints
  • Heightened quality engagement
  • Time to reflect
  • Anonymity
  • Increased convenience
  • Reduced 'group think' influence