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Shaili Bhatt, Senior Director

What a marvelous immersion at the QRCA Conference in Montreal!

Nearly 300 qualitative market researcher consultants (QRCs) met up at the Hyatt Regency in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on October 3-5, 2012. Many of us arrived early to take advantage of QRCA's social networking opportunities for "Early Arrivals" and to spend time in our charming French-speaking host city. (Never has a breakfast croissant or dessert pastry tasted so perfect outside of Paris! Wow!)

The QRCA Conference is an annual celebration of qualitative research. I always see more hugs than handshakes among attendees, which reaffirms the highly collegial nature of this event.

Some of the remarkable sessions I attended included Ted Frank's (@tedfrank), "How to Tell an Insights Story," a presentation on storytelling. Frank revealed fresh, compelling video clips that are edited into a movie. While our teams currently offer video highlight reels that pair up nicely with our reports, it was great to dream-up new video deliverables that illustrate even more of our insights, which we can offer to clients as a movie. As Frank said, "Clients can't just understand, they have to be inspired and believe."

In "Baker's Dozen: Recipes for Tasty, Filling Research Reports," Liz Van Patten provided reaffirming tips to increase researchers' confidence in their deliverables. Her tips on managing the "back end" of what we do are always relevant, and this was nothing short of a comprehensive presentation for new and experienced researchers. My fave tip: "Don't be afraid to incorporate parts of the story that you've learned elsewhere!"

Our former QRCA President, Abby Leafe (@abbyleafe), presented "Dear Diary: A Practical Guide to Creating Meaningful Respondent Journals," in which she shared practical tips on tracking consumers' behaviors and feelings to lend powerful insights, beyond open-ends. For our group discussion, I shared a popular tip with the audience from what I've learned: For journal entries, I usually ask participants to complete a weekly summary to provide a fresh overview of their journey and share their favorite video/pictures uploads for the week. This allows them to play the hero and often cuts down on my analysis time.

Daniel Berkal (@danielberkal) shared his thoughts on "Creating Jaw Dropping Proposals," including everything from tiered pricing options to adding that special panache to proposals that can inspire and engage clients. Daniel maintained that we should all strive to "make our proposals clear enough, so clients just have to read it once."

On Friday, C+R's Emily Prozeller and I presented a 90-minute session, "Unleashing the Power of Advanced Online Qualitative" -- sharing a high-level tour through 15-20 case studies, all mini-teasers of our latest advanced online qualitative approaches. (Fun fact: I have presented my tips and research techniques at every QRCA Conference since 2004, excluding last year.)

We shared many of our online research designs and provided a first-hand look at our visual reporting style that has lead to our clients' satisfaction. It was fun to see the audience so fully engaged and really sparking to our approaches and tips during our presentation.

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