maslansky + partners’ President Lee Carter discusses how her research group was able to adapt and respond to the polling demands of today’s fast-paced, 24-hour news cycle.
In the last presidential election cycle, Lee Carter and her team at maslansky + partners made a paradigm shift, which enabled them to turn around polling results—on anything from debates to new attack ads—overnight. Their success story is a combination of ingenuity, the right tools, and some very late nights! We corralled Lee Carter to get the scoop on how they were able to adapt their research approach to meet the needs of a 24-hours news cycle.
This concept for a quick-turn research approach came about during the most recent presidential election cycle. So, where did the idea and motivation for this approach come from?
Lee Carter (LC): So, a just few things happened during this past election cycle, right? I began tracking the Presidential race about two-and-a-half years ago. At the time, the way we were testing material was in-person, using our standard, which was dial testing focus groups. And, it was great to be able to get that rich feedback. But we needed to find a way to get feedback faster and from more people. So, if a candidate gave a speech or aired an attack ad, we wanted to come up with a method to get voter reaction fast and have results to share within the same news cycle. We needed something we could field and get results overnight so we had it ready for the morning news cycle. That’s when we began exploring Slidermetrix as a tool to do this online since we knew Dialsmith from the Perception Analyzer (in-person) dials.
So, how did this quick-turn polling approach align with yours and your client’s needs and objectives and how did Slidermetrix help support it?
LC: Well, I had been working with FOX & Friends for about a year at that point. And, in regards to our reporting, I kept hearing from them,”Here’s our problem. By the time we’re getting dial feedback, the news is stale. We want people to wake up in the morning, check out our news, and see how voters reacted overnight. At the time, like most in our business, we just weren’t in the position to do that.
And so, that’s when we started to figure out this process by building on Slidermetrix. Using Slidermetrix, we were able to move our dial testing methodology online; load up video clips and field them in short order, and capture more people, more efficiently. It’s self-service and real-time, so we can literally see every clip and how people reacted moment-to-moment, second-by-second for each clip. It is very evident when a particular message or clip stands out and so it’s like, “Oh, we definitely need to call attention to this.”
It was a great tool for us, because we were able to—thanks to my team headed up by Lee (Loflin, Media & Tech Supervisor at maslansky + partners) and a lot of late nights mixed with blood, sweat, and tears—get things cut up from the media really quickly, out to the field, tested, and have results in-hand by 3:00 A.M. or 4:00 A.M., so we were able to go live with it by 5:00 A.M. We were able to couple the media testing with our survey tool, allowing us to review and analyze a rich level of feedback, overnight.
That’s it for Part 1. In Part 2, another Lee, Lee Loflin, Media & Tech Supervisor at maslansky + partners, joins the discussion to walk us through their unique testing process: from the moment the event begins, to capturing the video clips, fielding the slidermetrix research, interpreting the results, and producing the deliverables they crank out for the early morning FOX & Friends segment.