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A Trio of Technologies: Combining Mobile Audio Diaries, Discussion Boards, and Virtual Focus Groups

A drug marketer wanted to evaluate how well an existing and popular medication would be received by potential users. Civicom created a multi-layered solution combining Civicom’s InSitu™ Mobile Telephone Audio Diaries, Chatterbox™ Board, and Web-Enabled Focus Group Tools.

Case Study Drug Company


The Client Need

A drug marketer wanted to evaluate how well an existing and popular medication would be received by potential users if self-administered in a new “buccal” form, instead of in a traditional pill or gelcap.

They hired a marketing research firm to monitor the experience of a trial group in order to gain insight into the user experience, and then determine whether the new delivery system would be favorably received, and if so, what packaging and marketing messages needed to accompany the launch.


The Challenge

The researcher wanted to capture the immediacy of the user’s experience. This was necessary because the drug becomes effective more rapidly than those delivered through traditional methods—it enters the bloodstream immediately. It would be placed beneath the tongue or inside the jaw where it would almost instantly dissolve.

Also, this medication delivery system would be new to most trial participants, and therefore levels of acceptance—which needed to be measured—were partly tied into the change in the effectiveness time-frame. In addition the large size of the trial meant the need for an efficient methodology to collect data in real time, rather than after the fact, as in a survey.


What We Arranged

Our researcher client came to us for ideas about how to meet this challenge and elected to use Civicom InSitu™ Mobile Telephone Audio Diary technology to let the respondents audio record their impressions in the moment. We issued each respondent a dial in phone number and PIN and programmed their cell phone numbers into our data base so that when using the system, the respondents needed to touch only one button on their cell phones to dial in and record their feelings and thoughts.

The respondents received a sample kit with a set number of dosages, plus instructions on questions to respond to. Respondents were instructed to dial in and report each time they used the drug provided in the sample packet and in the process answer the questions about its efficacy, the packaging, and other factors.

Each respondent’s audio recordings were then transcribed and posted onto Civicom Chatterbox™, where the project moderator could read about their experiences and perceptions. The respondents were advised to log into Chatterbox™ weekly to review the transcriptions of their “experiences in the moment,” and to answer additional questions posted by the project moderator.

Following the testing period, twenty-four respondents were selected from the group for four virtual focus groups, facilitated through Civicom’s advanced proprietary audio conferencing technology and web room. There, the respondents were shown and asked to provide feedback on a series of packaging ideas and preliminary advertising concepts.

Civicom Technologies


Value Driven Outcomes

Civicom’s InSitu™ Audio Diary technology  allowed the researcher to gather insights in the moment as they occurred. With the transcribed insights posted for the researcher’s, client’s and respondents’ review on Civicom Chatterbox™, the client was able to direct questions privately to the researcher, and the researcher was able to probe the respondents’ perceptions and experiences even more deeply, as the respondents reviewed their own initial impressions by reading them after they were posted in Chatterbox™.

These two tools—Civicom InSitu™ and Civicom Chatterbox™ combined - allowed the researcher to select twenty-four of the most insightful respondents for the four virtual focus groups. Combining this “trio” of technologies led to the desired research outcomes.


The Civicom Advantage

Civicom’s multi-layered research solutions, combined with Civicom’s technical expertise, and sensitivity to researcher and respondent needs, allowed the researcher to demonstrate to their client their ability to integrate new technologies with traditional methods and achieve an impressive result, while delivering for the client the data needed to determine how to launch their existing product in its new format.


This content was provided by Civicom, Inc. Visit their website at

Company profile

Civicom Marketing Research Services

Civicom Marketing Research Services

Greenwich, Connecticut, United States of America
(203) 413-2423
About Civicom Marketing Research Services:
Facilitation of phone & web IDIs, focus groups, online forums, online communities, mobile insights, recruitment and audio/video content management.

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