Interview with Kerry Hecht Director at Dub Studios – Qualitative Research Expert

Kerry Hecht

Kerry Hecht, Director at Dub studios, shares with us some very interesting insights into new qualitative online tools for market research as well as some valid opinions about where things may be headed in the next few years.

“Kerry began her career as a phone interviewer for MARC Opinion Research in Dallas, TX at the age of 19 and has worked her way around the industry ever since. Her years of shadowing and supporting moderators, being an intuitive thinker and tireless people watcher led her to the natural next step as a moderator herself and project manager. With many years as a project manager she understands how critical attention to detail is and that makes her a valuable asset to any qualitative project.  Prior to joining Dub, Kerry worked as an in-house moderator for Great Opinions and has worked as a moderator for DR Added-Value as well as branching out on her own. She has supported moderators as a Field Manager for Hall-and-Partners and Burke Marketing Research and as a Director for Murray Hill Center. She has handled a wide array of projects including focus groups, one-on-ones, and online qual, which she sees as a trend worth exploring more.” – GreenBook Author Archive

Dub Studios offers a wide range of innovative market research  products and services. Which ones are you most excited to see gain popularity in the next few years?

“I am incredibly excited about online qual in general taking off. The methodology has come such a long way from the first generation of ‘online focus groups’ and ‘bulletin board focus groups.’ It seems to me that as researchers get more and more comfortable with it as a methodology their excitement regarding the range of tools increases and they start to embrace the ethnographic component as well as the the role technology plays.”

“Dub has developed some very interesting tools that are meant to stimulate collaboration with the end client”

“Client engagement in online qual has been a hot topic recently, with many wondering how to raise the levels of engagement. Dub has developed some very interesting tools that are meant to stimulate collaboration with the end client. In particular, UpStream, runs parallel to our IdeaStream. It’s meant to house curated content from the researcher. Think of it as a running top-line report. We provide them with a curated view of the latest and the most valuable conversations taking place along with an easily navigable web-based interface that removes many of the controls required to ‘run’ the project. This makes the interface more efficient and easier for the client to use and allows them to enter into conversation with the researcher via a commenting tool as well as being able to quickly share content with colleagues.” – Kerry

Why are Market Research Online Communities a growing trend with client organizations and research suppliers?

“Clients are beginning to recognize that the voice of the consumer isn’t necessarily something to always be shoved into a box and there is something a bit more free and organic about MROCS. Consumers have a lot to say and they want to feel they are a part of something unique, exciting, a place they have had a hand in creating and feel happy in taking on the identity of the community for themselves. This is a very powerful thing and can help guide other areas of the market research program and be a source of validation for research conducted outside of the MROC.”

Consumers have a lot to say and they want to feel they are a part of something”

“The power of any community is it’s ability to generate fresh insight and new ideas. So with the right training and tools, a Community Manager will be finding these insights daily. The tools that are available to track these insight are getting more and more sophisticated, making MROCS not only practical for any brand, but a necessary thing to stay in touch with the consumers.” – Kerry

Where do you see branded panels playing a big role over the next few years?

“In my mind – branded panels are similar to if not the same as MROCs or branded communities. I believe these communities will drive research programs.”

“Branded communities provide some of the most candid and unadulterated insight one will ever experience since, as far as the participant is concerned, neither the researcher nor the client (brand) is in the same room. This provides the opportunity for consumers to literally spew the good, the bad and the ugly without fear of reprisal or backlash, and without the peer pressure associated with real physical presence. For the researcher and the client, it provides an opportunity to hear first-hand the language and experience the passion and gusto consumers use to share their points of view.”

“Branded communities provide some of the most candid and unadulterated insight”

“Beyond sharing opinions it allows consumers to express needs and wants in an open forum – it allows them to generate their own ideas – with peer feedback. This is a huge thing for our industry. To a certain degree the content in the communities will be driven by the consumer (while guided by the researcher).”

“So, while delivering truths that are hard to come by elsewhere the communities are also pointing client organizations in the directions that the consumers are interested in going – using their own language. The consumers have a venue to deliver the messages they need these organizations to hear. I do not believe this has existed in quite this way before.” – Kerry

What are the undervalued aspects of online bulletin board focus groups and how can a research supplier explain this value?

“Online qual is SO much more than just BBFG. Participants have the ability to interact with the researcher and the other participants with so many different mediums (i.e. text, pictures, video, sound, etc…). This allows for the use of a real glimpse into their worlds. We can see inside their houses, their cars, offices, etc… Technology continues to improve and participants continue to get more savvy with it – all of this helps the experience and the communication feel more natural.”

“Additionally, due to the length of the studies, real relationships are built. You can get a sense of someone over the course of a week, month or even a year that you can’t in a 2 hour period. Another benefit of the length of the research is that it allows you to discover and follow stories out. You can keep probing and building.”

“due to the length of the studies, real relationships are built”

“We, as an industry, need to cease comparing it to traditional qual and recognize the value of it as a stand alone methodology. That is happening, just not as fast as I would like it to.” – Kerry

What’s the most interesting market research insight or methodology you have ever come across?

“I am obviously a HUGE champion on online qual. I see it as the most flexible and formidable methodology out there; whether it is being used to harness insights from oncologists all over the globe or to create a community of digital cable customers. It is just so versatile and powerful.” – Kerry

If you have any questions for Kerry Hecht please feel free to leave comments below this article, send Kerry a message through Twitter, or take a look through the Dub Studios blog and leave a comment!

I would like to thank Kerry for this fantastic interview! I can’t wait to see where Dub goes with their new approaches over the next few years.” – @copeland1985


Sean Copeland is a certified marketing research professional (CMRP) known for his broad knowledge of the research workflow, his disruptive approach to problem solving and for building strong client relationships. In over 5 years Sean has developed, sold, executed, and managed hundreds of consumer research studies using a variety of new and traditional research methodologies.

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