Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Business Owners Need to Know About Market Research Planning

Today businesses are looking to get ahead. Innovation is a part of most entrepreneurs personalities… they love to think, solve problems and invent more efficient means to arriving at solutions. To be successful you have to know your market and develop a plan in order to accomplish your goals. Market research can help you get there and planning for it is an essential part of the process.
Market Research "is the planning for, collection, and analysis of data relevant to marketing decision making and the communication of the results of this analysis to management.” In order to measure the success of the marketing plan of any kind, market research is the appropriate tool for a company to use. By having a thorough knowledge of factors that have an impact on the target market and the marketing mix, management can be proactive rather than reactive. Research is the difference between viewing the turbulent marketing environment as a threat or as an opportunity.
Before undertaking a business venture, it is important for a business owner to conduct market research to guide them to better business decisions that will later be translated into profits and good business. Even if you already have an existing business and you want to do some changes, market research can be very useful and a must in a lot of cases. Good market research is important to identify the demands of your target market and learn their behavior, including their purchasing behavior.
By learning some market research tips, tools as well as techniques, you will have the tools to develop your own market research plan. You’ll have the confidence to follow through with your plan and you’ll get the end results that will set you apart from your competitors.
Here are a few ideas…
Write down the objectives of your research. Know what you want to accomplish. Of course, goal-setting is very important in any endeavor as this will guide you throughout the course of your research and in studying the behavior of your target clients. Although you may have one big goal in doing a particular study, it is also important to write down specific details as well.
Determine the right sample size of your research and make sure it is representative of your target market population. Of course, in any research, getting the correct sample size is one of the crucial parts or else you will not get an accurate data and results for your research.
Always emphasize that confidentiality is a priority in your research. Of course, many people are hesitant to share their thoughts and views on something. By assuring them that their answers will be regarded with confidentiality, you can even find it a key to get honest answers from people and maintaining confidentiality is also ethical.
Make sure your survey questionnaires are concise and direct to the point. This is where a trusted market research consultancy firm always comes in handy. A highly respected consultancy firm will take care of the dirty work and work with their select group of panels to devise a questionnaire that will result in the sample needed to achieve the clients’ goals. You don't have to have a five page survey for your samples. It is important that you know how to draft your questions that can also help you get the answers that you want without having to list a hundred questions and bore your respondent. In the end, you may have a tired respondent who will give lesser replies or lesser quality of replies as well, which can greatly affect your results. Thus, keep this as one of the most important market research tips that you have to remember.
Choose research tools and techniques that will not only make everything convenient but also help you analyze your results fast and accurate. Online surveys can do just that. Once again, by working with a trusted market research consultancy, you’ll receive your sample in a timely manner and without the headache that comes with doing all the work yourself. They can recommend what type of research is most appropriate, help you develop statistically valid samples and provide you with an objective and neutral source of information. Keep in mind that your research results can help you outsmart competitors but if you are doing research that takes time to finish, you may end up being outwitted by your competitors and your research results may become a waste.
Research has always been thought of as expensive and there’s a perception that only multi-national size companies have the budgets for it. It’s not the case anymore. Today research can be done for just a couple thousand dollars and that thousand dollars can be the best money you've ever spent. For $2,500 to $5,000 you can have programming, hosting and receive insight back on your product or concept within a reasonable amount of time.
Whatever your approach to evaluating your idea, make sure you're meeting the research objectives you've outlined for your product or service. With those goals always top-of-mind, your analysis will help you discover whether your idea has any holes that need patching.
About the Author: Michael G. Holmes is President of EMI – Online Research Solutions in Cincinnati, Ohio. EMI is aleading provider of online research offering sample, programming, hosting, panel building, and related services.
For more information on EMI please visit www.emi-ors.com
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Monday, December 20, 2010

What is Online Research Sample

Sample is a hot commodity in the world of online market research.  It’s defined as a finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole (Webster, 1985). When dealing with people, it can be described as a set of respondents selected from a larger population for the purpose of a survey. Often samples are created to represent a specific market, audience, political base or customer base, depending on the goals of the market research project.  A sample size refers to the number of panelists participating in a research study, while sample distribution is a measurement of the responses from a single sample, organized by frequency. A sampling error is an inaccuracy that is associated with using the sample results as an indication of the whole.

The purpose of sampling is to draw conclusions about populations from samples and in order to do this the researcher must use inferential statistics which enables them to determine a population`s characteristics by directly observing only a portion (or sample) of the population. The researcher obtains a sample rather than a complete enumeration (a census) of the population for many reasons. For one, it is cheaper to observe a part rather than the whole, but the researcher should prepare themselves to cope with the dangers that some times come with using samples.

Sampling can be a concern in both qualitative and quantitative research; however, sampling issues are somewhat different for each. In any study, the research question determines the study method, but it is the research question and method together that define the sampling plan, the type of sample used and the number of people who will make up the study sample. Other factors that affect decisions about sample sizes and sampling plans include time, money, access to subjects and the number of study variables.  Despite all of this, the overalladvantages to sampling are numerous…  the process involves a smaller number of subjects and is more time efficient, less costly and potentially more accurate (since it is more feasible to maintain control over a smaller number of subjects).

When using a market research broker like EMI, the client can rest assure that all areas of concentration are being covered when it comes to giving them the best representative sample available.  The market research broker works with panel partners to accomplish this task. A panel provider (partner) is the company that provides a specified demographic portion or sample from a population to participate in a market research study. This population is then surveyed, and data and information is subsequently collected with the intent of drawing research conclusions.  In online market research the population is initially sent questionnaires through the internet and agrees to participate in market research studies on a forward-going basis.   An online sample or panel provider recruits, verifies, and maintains a comprehensive, highly profiled listing of panelists for use in online research studies.

Key demographic, product usage/ownership, and other attributes are generally maintained to offer timelier, efficient, and targeted market research opportunities. The use of online panels also facilitates longitudinal research opportunities, enabling the same individual to participate in similar or related research initiatives over time, highlighting change.

Highly effective sampling software is used by market researchers to obtain the sample information.  If the sampling process has been conducted correctly, the research conclusions can be considered representative of the group or population as a whole.  Panel management refers to the comprehensive process of recruiting, incentivizing, engaging, segmenting, profiling, and caring for online market research panel members. The online sample provider is usually responsible for all panel management activities.

In the online market research industry, proper panel management helps to increase the overall survey completion rate, panelist retention rate, and the quality of market research data.

About the Author: Michael Holmes is the founder of EMI - Online Research Solutions (a 2010 Inc. Magazine recipient of "The Fastest Growing companies in the US" awards.)

For more information about EMI – Online Research Solutions please visit the company’s Web site at: www.emi-ors.com.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Add and Vote on Your Marketing Research Trends Here

We've been feeding you all kinds of great ideas for crowdsourcing applications and it looks like IdeaScale has another one -- collecting on and voting on Market Research Trends!

Check out the "Market Research Prediction Site" and vote for the predictions that are there or add your own.  I'd recommend that you get over there real quick and add some of your own -- they could use some more predictions!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Product: In Home Use Test – iHUT – What’s it all about?

In Home Usage Testing, commonly shortened to IHUT, is a cost effective way to test your product with real consumers before moving forward with a full fledged product launch.  A variety of products are easily shipped for participants to use at home.  Their feedback is gathered in a follow-up telephone survey, online survey or even an in-person interview if needed.  This methodology is very engaging for the respondent since they get to touch and use the product while giving the client detailed feedback on what consumers are going to think once the product hits the shelf.

With iHUTS, consumers use your product at home in their own environment rather than in an artificial test environment, simply because this approach results in more realistic outcomes on product satisfaction, usage and potential improvement areas. Respondents meeting your recruitment criteria can be selected via an online panel to participate. The in-home usage period depends on product category and your specific needs and varies from one-time usage or usage over a longer period of time. After respondent selection, your products will be sent to the participants. At different times during the usage period, participants receive an invitation to fill out an online questionnaire.

Depending on the product category and your requirements, one of the questionnaires may capture the participants' first impressions and experiences with the product after the first week of usage. You can use the final questionnaire - after a couple of weeks of usage - to determine the experiences and satisfaction with the product in detail, as well as areas for improvement. The acceptor-rejector questions can be repeated to determine whether your product meets the benefits promised to consumers. Varying from stage to stage, iHUTS measure the following elements:

These include first impression, appeal and purchase intent. You can compare the results on these KPIs across different measurements in time to track the product performance Acceptor-Rejector analysis. Before and after using the product, participants can answer the key questions of an acceptor-rejector methodology to assess whether the product is meeting consumers' expectations. It also assesses the level of acceptance before and after usage. In case of a decline in acceptance, you can analyze the results to determine the cause of this decline.

Overall satisfaction as well as satisfaction on specific product features can be measured to provide first insights into potential areas of improvement. In addition, the importance of the different aspects can be measured to make sure your time and resources will be spent to optimize those elements that really matter to consumers. In case of a longer usage period and multiple questionnaires, levels of satisfaction can be measured over time.

A benefit take out with a card test tool can be measured: the product benefits are placed on cards and these are shown to consumers. For each benefit, they indicate the level to which it fits with their product experiences, simply by dragging the benefit card to the right answering category. Again, this tool can be measured over time to check any changes. The outcomes of the benefit test provide good input for the final positioning and communication of the product when launched.

With the help of another card test, the level to which your product experiences fit with the image consumers have of your brand can also be measured. This information is measured to determine to what extent your product supports and strengthens your brand values.  With questions on recommendation, your product's Recommendation Intent Score (RIS) can be calculated, providing insight into the level of advocacy among users for the product.

Various open-ended questions throughout the questionnaires allow for focus on potential areas for improvement.

The outcomes of the different tasks (over time) are all analyzed in combination. iHUTS can provide you with clear and relevant results and recommendations. You will know exactly whether or not your product is ready for full market launch, its potential in terms of acceptance, the additional improvements needed and how to best position your product.

iHUTS allow you to execute the final and most important check on your product before launch by means of real consumer-usage testing.  They offer an efficient and cost-effective way to check whether your product is ready for launch; more realistic outcomes than from a controlled test environment… thanks to its real-life setup; and inclusion of the acceptor-rejector methodology, provides you with clear insight into the level of acceptance before and after product usage.  

One of EMI’s favorite IHUTs involved a concept test for a new snack food.  EMI started by sending out a client written survey to an income targeted audience identified to be the snack’s core consumers.  Respondents gave their mailing address and contact information.  From there, EMI mailed out a full-size retail box of the current snack along with the alternative option.  Respondents were then contacted for two follow-up surveys to measure not only their satisfaction with the current snack option, but how reluctant or accepting they would be to a change in packaging, flavor and name.  EMI delivered the data, incentivized each respondent and managed any returned or non-deliverables.  As a result, the client was able to test a new product on a small scale and stick with their original snack option.



About the Author: Michael Holmes is the founder of EMI - Online Research Solutions (a 2010 Inc. Magazine recipient of "The Fastest Growing companies in the US" awards.)

For more information about EMI – Online Research Solutions please visit the company’s Web site atwww.emi-ors.com.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Effect of Color on Your Brand and Brand Message



Color is a powerful thing.  In this short and sweet post by Michael G. DiFrisco my go-to-guy for DIY Branding advice, brands and their colors live on in the customer's mind.

I pulled this little quiz from his recent post:
Here’s a quick quiz to demonstrate the power of color when it comes to brand recall. Without showing you a logo, a name, or even the initials of these three companies, see if you can guess the brand name. The category is shipping:

color, branding

Easy, wasn’t it? Let’s try it again. This time, we’ll make it a little harder. The category is lawn tractors.

Color, branding

When color becomes a nickname—either co-opted by the brand owner or simply used in a colloquial context (“What can Brown do for you?” IBM is “Big Blue”) the brand-to-color connection further supports marketplace differentiation.

Colors Have Meaning

While you may not be choosing brand colors daily - you're probably choosing colors on the web or on other materials and products.  The idea is to just be aware that colors have meaning and symbolism and be sure to pick a color that communicates exactly what you want to communicate.

Here's a color symbolism chart to help you out:

Red: Excitement, energy, passion, desire, speed, strength, power, heat, love, aggression, danger, fire, blood, war, violence, aggression, all things intense and passionate.

Yellow: Joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine, summer, gold, philosophy, dishonesty, cowardice, betrayal, jealousy, covetousness, deceit, illness, hazard.

Blue: Peace, tranquility, calm, stability, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence, conservatism, security, cleanliness, order, loyalty, sky, water, cold, technology, depression, appetite suppressant.

Orange: Energy, balance, warmth, enthusiasm, vibrant, expansive, flamboyant, demanding of attention.

Green: Nature, environment, healthy, good luck, renewal, youth, vigor, spring, generosity, fertility, jealousy, inexperience, envy, misfortune.

Purple: Royalty, spirituality, nobility, spirituality, ceremony, mysterious, transformation, wisdom, enlightenment, cruelty, arrogance, mourning.

Gray: Security, reliability, intelligence, staid, modesty, dignity, maturity, solid, conservative, practical, old age, sadness, boring

Brown: Earth, hearth, home, outdoors, reliability, comfort, endurance, stability, simplicity, and comfort.

White: Reverence, purity, simplicity, cleanliness, peace, humility, precision, innocence, youth, birth, winter, snow, good, sterility, marriage (Western cultures), death (Eastern cultures), cold, clinical, sterile.

Black: Power, sexuality, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, fear, evil, anonymity, unhappiness, depth, style, evil, sadness, remorse, anger, underground, good technical color, mourning, death (Western cultures).

Don't just pick colors you like - focus on the objective of your communications piece and on the customer experience you'd like to create.

Have you done any surveys testing color?  Tell us all about it here!

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Set the Right Price is Still a Research Question That Requires Know-How

DIY Marketeting research tools have dramatically reduced the cost of collecting data.  Instead of hiring a research firm for their specialized software - you can do it all yourself.  And that's fine for those simple basic research projects that provide feedback and basic ratings.  But there is one very specific, very specialized and very important marketing component that requires research and the specialized expertise that only a qualified, experienced and knowledgeable market research professional can really help -- PRICING.

Are You Leaving Money on the Table?

Most marketers and small business tend to ignore pricing as a powerful strategy.  They either do a basic cost-plus model or they simply follow along with whatever everyone else is doing.  This is a major mistake.

Pricing is, perhaps, the most powerful element of your marketing mix and done right, can add to your profitability with little more effort than the stroke of a pen.  OK- I lied.  Done right -- it would require a bit more than the stroke of a pen.  But this is where professional market research advice comes in.

1% Windfall is Every Market Researchers Pricing Bible

If you're in the market research business and are looking for an awesome niche to differentiate yourself -- grab a copy of Rafi Mohammend's book, 1% Windfall. Read it, processes it and develop a series of surveys around its chapters.

First of all - this should be a piece of cake for you because the the book literally outlines a series of potential pricing strategies and then gives you choices or categories or attributes -- whatever you'd like to call them, that define the attributes your customer would be after if you'd like to use this strategy. Let me show you what I mean - check out this section I pulled from my review of 1% Windfall.
Not enough new customers? More price points can actually attract more customers.  Try a “differential” pricing strategy.  One of the KILLER features of “1% Windfall” are these “voice of the customer” statements that Rafi has all through the book.  What I love about these is that you can literally pull them right out of the book at put them into a survey that you give your customers to see what they would prefer.  I pulled these from the “Pick a Plan” Chapter.  Do any of these statements sound like something your customers might say?

  • I am willing to fill out forms, mail them, and wait several weeks to get a lower price.”

  • “Will you match the discount price that is offered by a rival?”

  • “I am willing to trade convenience for a discount.”

  • “I’d like a break if I purchase two or more products.”



The entire book is filled with these!  The only sad thing about this is the realization that most small businesses are unfamiliar with this kind of research.  They are afraid to mess with pricing and when they do, it's often without good data.

Mohammed has done his part in writing a book that is easier to use to set pricing and market researchers who are familiar with pricing research could really help small business by helping them create surveys and feedback tools to gather this information.

What's been your experience with pricing research?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell Survey: Good or Bad?

As I was driving around last night, I heard the snipped of the discussion on the Don't Ask Don't Tell survey on NPR.  It seems that John McCain felt the survey was missing one key question "Should the Don't Ask Don't Tell Law be repealed?"

I was in the middle of something and didn't hear the whole story - but this little comment was bothering me and I wanted to ask our expert community what you thought?

You can actually look at the survey questionnaire here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://militarytimes.com/webtools/files/Survey%2520questionnaire.pdf

You can see that they've asked just about every question under the sun -- but the most obvious question of whether the law should be repealed or not.

If finding out whether the law should be repealed or not was an objective of the survey -- then is there an error in not asking the question outright a big mistake?

Is it safe to make inferences about what to do with a law based on the survey and the results we currently have?

Why I'm asking?

I'm always going on and on about how the whole purpose of a survey is to help you make decisions.  In this case, we've got a HUGE organization doing a survey on a big and important topic.

They didn't say if it was to make this decision -- but by the sounds of it, it seems like they are using the survey to justify a decision.

So it's your turn -- let your expert market researcher flag fly!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are You Ready for "Open Leadership"?

A note to all business owners and executives:  COMMAND AND CONTROL COMMUNICATION IS DEAD!

If you ever wanted proof of this, think back to Tony Hayward -- yeah, that guy right there.  How many of you watched in secret agony as the camera's shined on this guy and he fell apart and thought "Glad I'm not YOU!"  A little investment in "Open Leadership" on the part of BP might have saved them more than a little anguish.

What's Open Leadership? And Why Should I Care?

Open Leadership is the name of the next book you should pick up if you're a business owner or executive.  It's written by Charlene Li (who was also co-author of Groundswell - the primary information source about how social media works for business).

Open leadership refers to societies new requirement of its leaders -- to actually share and tell their customers /shareholders/constituencies what's going on.  It doesn't mean that we care about what you're having for breakfast (although that's entertaining), it means we demand to know where you are taking the company.  We want to know how you're solving the problems that you have and we want to know what your vision is for the future.

Doing "Open Leadership" right also means being in touch with your constituencies - and that means looking at market research information on a regular basis and not just as part of some meeting where your market research team comes up and shows graphs and charts.  It means having dialog and discussion about what's important to your customers today and how you will respond to them.

Examples



Tony Hsei shows you how it's done.  Just so you know -- this guy is written up in countless business books as "Doing it right".  His company is profitable, his employees are happy and it seems that his customers are happier.  If you'd like your name to be in that sentence -- then this is how it's done.

I also realize that this may NOT be year style.  You can be open -- but talking turkey on your Twitter stream may be a little too much.  No problem.  Check out Paul Rosenfeld - he's the CEO of Fanminder, a text messaging service for small business.



Here he's sharing information about his company and also information he's reading.

What do you want me to do?

  1. Let GO.  I'm asking that you consider the possibility of letting go.  Command and control doesn't work.  You can't control the myriad communication channels out there where you name and brand can appear.

  2. THINK before you type.  Don't make the assumption that social media is TOTALLY spontaneous.  It's a giant DIGITAL BILLBOARD.  It's a camera.  Before you do anything - think about who you want to be in cyber space?  What voice will you have?  Will you be casual like Tony Hsei from Zappos, will you be a little more formal like Paul Rosenfeld?  My advice is to first be yourself, decide how you will communicate, decide on what you will communicate.  Then relax and follow through.

  3. Be Real.  Honest, frequent, consistent communication will build your brand.  Don't be afraid of getting into conversations with your audience.  Be the person that you are at the cocktail party or at your kids' soccer game.  Talk about your management team, talk about great things you see your employees doing.  Talk about a customer problem your team solved.  Make "friends" with your audience.


What's this got to do with market research?

Corporations need to step out of their tower and participate.  Market research is no longer a disconnected communication - it's on going.  Having your leadership team participating in the conversation your customers are having will help you improve your market research and what you will measure.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How Today's Leaders Will Use Feedback

Bill Clinton was a voracious user of public opinion, polls and research.  Some criticize him for it because they perceived his policy decisions to be driven by how the daily poll results were going.  And others felt like he was responding to the voice of his customer.

We may never know exactly which it was - but we can be sure that this was perhaps the beginning of this "crowdsouring" trend that is in play today.  Perhaps Bill Clinton was a precursor to this new trend of "Open Leadership" as discussed by Charlene Li in her new book.

Today's leaders will have to strike a balance between their own personal vision for their organization and then understanding and incorporating the ideas and thoughts of their various constituencies.  At the time Bill Clinton was in office - frequent polls were the vehicle he used to gauge the temperature of his crowd and news conferences were ways that he used to feedback to the crowd.

Today's leaders will be judged by their ability to manage the communication loop that includes their own powerful  vision; communicated clearly and openly in plain language.  Their challenge will be listening to their constituencies, asking questions, responding and then creating messages, products and services that incorporate that feedback while still maintaining a sense of leadership about them.

How to Use Research to Be a Powerful Leader

  1. Change the assumption that powerful leaders are ALONE.  Today's powerful leader is one who harnesses information, communicates it and influences action -- he is not the LONE HERO rather a coordinator of sorts.

  2. Have a clear vision.  Most "leaders" you encounter are really highly paid managers.  Having the CEO title does not make you a leader.  Leaders think big thoughts and then look for ways to harness resources to make their ideas real.

  3. Don't be afraid of the masses.  The new leader will not be afraid of feedback from the masses - rather he or she will embrace it.  What gets today's more traditional leaders in trouble is that they still position themselves in a command and control model.  This won't work anymore and while it's great for receiving praise and accolades - most leaders don't do well when things go wrong.  And things always go wrong.  STARTING your leadership position from the perspective of coordinating visionary - will get your constituencies involved and they will be come more forgiving along the way.


What are your thoughts on how the new leader will have to use research, feedback and information to lead more openly?

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Use Extra Value Ethical Bribery to Increase Response Rates


About two weeks ago I organized and participated in a webinar for a client.  It was a paid webinar and the registrants would also receive the recording after the event.  As is usual, there were people registered for the webinar who could not attend - but had paid.

As is standard practice, after the webinar, we did a survey but instead of giving the registrants immediate access to the recorded presentation - I decided to give it as a reward for finishing the survey.

This was a wonderful move on my part because -- the last time I simply sent a feedback survey - out of the 25 attendees only 1 responded.  But this time,  I got over half of the registered attendees responding within the first day.  So I'm thrilled!

Is this a bribe?

In direct marketing circles, we call this an "ethical bribe."  In other words, you give someone something of value in exchange for something THEY have of value to us -- in this case, their feedback.

This isn't new in market research, in that we often give rewards or gifts for people to complete a survey.  One thing I've found however, is that these days, information that your audience is interested in actually seems to have pulled higher response rates for ME.

Has it been the same for you?  What tips and tricks do you have for increasing response rates?

Monday, November 22, 2010

"SpendShift" Author Lays Out Holiday Shopping Trends and Predictions

As the book editor for Small Business Trends, I receive tons of books to review.  Most of them are books about small business in general and don't really apply to market research.  But the other day, I received this email from the publisher that I thought you would enjoy because it gives us insight about what awaits the retail markets as this year's consumers hit the shopping malls and web sites.

Consumers will still spend this Black Friday ($500 billion in fact), says Y&R consumer expert John Gerzema, author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Spend Shift.

But look for less mindless spending on gadgets and appliances, and greater luxury goods' performance as shoppers invest in fewer, more mindful items of higher quality.  Key mantras this holiday season are'quality over quantity' and ‘better instead of more.'

  • Brands like ETSY, offering alternatives in ‘handmade Christmas’ gifts including digital and artisinal choices, will be hot this season, as 65% of Americans are more interested in learning new skills since the recession, so they can do more themselves and rely less on others;



  • Look for Zappos.com to win the online shoe retailing war with its celebrated customer service, while brands like Foot Locker decline (down 20% in usage).  Even though Black Friday shoppers are deal-oriented, 72% of American shoppers are now willing to pay more for products/services offered by companies with solid customer service reputations;

  • Premium brands expect a surge, i.e., Burberry up 15% in brand strength; Theory up 59% in usage and Whole Foods up 10% in usage;



  • Mass market mainstays may find decline, i.e., Old Navy (down 15% in usage); Safeway (down 23% in usage), and Nestle (down 17% in usage);



  • Expect Walmart to exceed expectations this Black Friday. Why? In part because 65% of American shoppers are now willing to pay a premium for companies that contribute to their local community -- the success of Wal-Mart’s locally grown food initiative and independent brands is proof.


In addition to SPEND SHIFT, John Gerzema is author of The Brand Bubble, which was named a best business book of the year by Amazon.com and strategy+business. He has appeared on the Fox Business Network, Marketplace and other networks. More details at www.johngerzema.com.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Follow up from Webinar: Brand Tracking – Taking the Pulse on Your Brand

On Tuesday Nov. 16th, 2010 SurveyAnalytics invited Michaela Mora, President of Relevant Insights, LLC, to present:

"Brand Tracking - Taking the Pulse On Your Brand."

From the poll conducted during our presentation about 33% had a lot of experience with brand research, 29% had some general experience, and 38% had little or no experience but wanted to learn more about it.

What is a Brand?

According the American Marketing Association a brand is “a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiate them from those of  the competition."

A brand is a perception of your company  the products/services you provide to existing and potential clients.

For customers it serves as as an identification or symbol of products and services to which customers can bond to or shun. For companies it's an opportunity to create, recreate, and track your image, increase visibility, and review trends on market share.

In this presentation Michaela Mora focuses in one technique of Brand strategy research: Brand Tracking.

Brand Tracking monitors health of the brand competitive landscape to allow for proper adjustments and provide information to facilitate marketers’ day-to-day decision making. This will offer insights to the effectiveness of various market campaigns.



How often should you track your brand?

There are two options to choose from:



Generally it will depend on your budget, time-line, and goal from tracking your brand. It depends on the frequency of purchases, marketing campaigns, overall goal of specific products/services, competition, and how stable your current brand is.

Brand is the formula for Brand Awareness?

To measure the strength of your brand  ask questions regarding relevancy  and consistency of your brand.

Example: "When I need to search something up on the internet I use Google. I 'Google' everything I want to look up."

Brand Recall = Strength Indicator

Factors that hinder brand recall include interference of other product information, time since last exposure, and the number and type of external retrieval cues.

Brand Recognition : Brands stored in memory by consumers & respondents.

Example  Q:Which fast food restaurant features a golden arch?

A: McDonalds



As see in the general boxes above, you can determine how your brand is doing based on the 4 boxes presented above. In an ideal world we want all of our clients to be in the green devoted and engaged box forever, but as new competition emerges, customer experience changes, and consumer perception change, it's imperative to devote time to create a brand strategy that keeps ahead of the game. You need to access which metrics are you using to measure brand equity and correlate where these sources came from with the effectiveness of  your current marketing activities.

For more information please click on the links to download slides from Relevant Insights, LLC:

Brand Tracking - Taking The Pulse On Your Brandhttp://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=brandtracking-takingthepulseonyourbrand-101116122940-phpapp02&stripped_title=brand-tracking-taking-the-pulse-on-your-brand-5800960&userName=rinsightsView more presentations from Michaela Mora.


Presentation slides from SurveyAnalytics: Tools for Brand Tracking Brand tracking survey analytics http://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=brandtrackingsurveyanalytics-101116135839-phpapp01&stripped_title=brand-tracking-survey-analytics&userName=surveyanalytics

Click here to access the video recording of the presentation: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid86057647001?bctid=677800100001

About the Presenter:

About the speaker:




Michaela Mora is the president of Relevant Insights, LLC (http://www.relevantinsights.com), and a seasoned market researcher with more than 20 years of experience in industries such online subscription services, software, entertainment, offline and online retailing, automotive, travel, hospitality, consumer packaged goods, non-profit, insurance, and beverage among others. Using an ever evolving toolbox which includes multivariate analysis techniques, conjoint analysis, MaxDiff, latent class segmentation, and TURF analysis among others, Michaela has been involved in many studies including brand tracking studies, concept testing, market segmentation, customer satisfaction, A&U, pricing research, copy testing, PR research and Web site optimization research. She helps clients with all aspects of a research project from design to field implementation, data analysis and reporting. Michaela holds a MS in Marketing Research from The University of Texas at Arlington, a MS in Marketing, Advertising and PR from Stockholm University, and a BS in Psychology from Havana University. She also holds a Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) at the Expert Level, issued by the Marketing Research Association (MRA).

How to Present Research Data in a Way that Inspires Action

It's one thing to collect data and feedback - but quite another to analyze and present the data in a way that is clear and inspires action.


The Power Presentation Outline

Here's a presentation outline that you can use the next time you have to put together a killer presentation using research data.

  1. The Burning Issue. This is a single statement that takes about 10 seconds to say and makes the audience take notice.  A great example would be something like "Every minute we spend in a meeting, one of our customers has chosen another company to do business with."  You can already feel the power of that statement - and even more importantly - you can't MAKE this kind of statement without data.  If you're pulling a presentation like this together, you'll find that while your presentation opens with the Burning Issue Statement -- it's often the very last thing you will figure out as you go through the outline.

  2. How the Burning Issue Came to Be -- WHAT HAPPENED?! In the previous section your audience most likely reacted with a "WHAT?!  How can you say something like that?!"  And in this section - it's up to you to explain the facts that have led you to such an audacious statement.    This is the section where all your wonderful research findings go.  Here's a helpful hint.  If you're doing charts or a PowerPoint - remember to make the header portion a conclusion statement that supports your burning issue.  For example "200 Incoming Sales Calls Answered by 1 Person" then show a chart with incoming calls against number of customer service reps.

  3. Your Brilliant Idea. By the time you're done with your background presentation of data above, your audience should be begging to know - "What should be do?!"  And this is the section where you wrap up your analysis into some wonderfully brilliant and exciting recommendations.  Remember to use lots of pictures and show how each recommendation will improve the situation.

  4. Why it's Good For You - The Payoff: Finally, don't forget to tell the audience why your recommendations are so great for them.  Give them the payoff in terms of how they will experience the benefits of your brilliant idea.  Get them thinking about how wonderful and easy their life will be with your solutions and recommendations in place.

  5. Tell Them What to Do. Don't forget the call to action .  What do you want your audience to do?  Don't even begin without knowing what you want them to do -- and be prepared to do that.  For example, if you want to schedule another meeting - be sure that everyone has their calendars on hand to schedule that.  Do you want them to sign something?  Be sure to have copies ready and available.  The biggest mistake people make in communicating data findings is NOT having a call to action and being prepared to get the audience moving.


Final Hints on Slides and Other Forms of Presentation

  • Treat your presentation of data like a story.  Workout the characters, the problem, the solution, etc.  This gets the audience involved in the outcome.

  • Use PowerPoint - Powerfully.  Treat your PowerPoint like a TV screen.  You wouldn't want to watch TV if it was nothing but text and charts - so don't make your audience look at that kind of PowerPoint presentation.  Use LOTS of pictures and few words.  In try to stick to 5 words per slide.  Use pictures to communicate emotion and the essence of what's being conveyed.

  • Create a video!  Video technology has become so accessible to everyone that it's insane not to use it to get your point across.  Use video to show comparisons, demonstrations or provide evidence of your observations.


Remember, today's technology and tools have freed researchers up to make our data meaningful to our audience - so let's communicate it powerfully.

FYI -

Good news and bad news.  I went in search of some presentations to show you exactly what I'm talking about and guess what?  Couldn't find too many.  I did find this one; it's about an extinct language.  It's not exactly what I had in mind -but it does use several of the principles I mention here:

[slideshare id=5630456&doc=hi-iambo-101101005232-phpapp02]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Top Six Products Hardest For Market Researchers


When these companies bring market research firms their business, market researchers secretly cringe inside. Inception Market Intelligence  (IMI Group) just released the top 5 products that are hardest to do market research focus groups. However, things are about to change with new tools that allow market researchers to eavesdrop on Internet conversations. IMI Group has introduced Pulse48 Reports which harvests public Internet conversations including Facebook and Twitter .


#6 Wart Creams – Unless you can get a room full of wart face witches and warlocks, people are apt to not talk freely about an embarrassing condition associated with herpes (in whatever form).
#5 Kids Toys – Kids in group settings with strangers are either shy or wild packs on the lose. Researchers trying to glean information from a room full of kids are really babysitters who pay parents for their time outs. Controlling kids for a controlled study is an oxymoron in itself.
#4 Hair Loss – Bad wigs and toupees are there for a reason. It allows people to live in denial that they are losing their hair. Recruiting participants are next to impossible no matter how much money you offer them. People (especially men) clam up during discussions about going bald.
#3 Pet Food – It’s not that you cannot get a discussion going with a room full of pet lovers about pet food. It’s that some animals eat just about anything. With the exception of finicky cats, most animals are just happy they are getting food. Animal lovers feel their communication level is enough with their furry or feathery love ones to tell marketers what’s best but research has proven otherwise.
#2 Hemorrhoid Ointments – If you have them can you really sit through a focus group comfortably? Things dealing with sensitive matters tend to be even difficult to discuss with your doctor let alone a room full of strangers.
#1 Adult Diapers – Let’s face it. As we grow older and our bodies start to change incontinence can be an issue for some of us. Who wants to talk to a room full of strangers about bowel movements or bladder control? This is the number one product most people buy in the town next to them or online.<div>
However, brand managers can now do the impossible. Technology that will read the entire public English language internet on a brand or pet products and come back with a collective public opinion has come on the global market.
</div><div><strong>About the Author:</strong> Robert Greene, from his 10 years sales and marketing experience, has authored many white papers and articles in the areas of green marketing, sales, customer service, and business development. After working in the green energy and not for profit sector, he is currently the Director of Sales and Marketing for Inception Market Intelligence.  You can reach him at <a href="mailto:robert@inceptionintel.com" target="_blank">robert@inceptionintel.com</a></div>

Friday, November 12, 2010

Final Thoughts from The Market Research Event

As we sat at the San Diego airport waiting to return home to Seattle , the SurveyAnalytics team had a moment to reflect on our experience at TMRE.

The 3 day conference agenda included attending presentations by 3M, White Castle, Insight Farm, etc., and meeting representatives from companies all over the world at our booth as well as over a lovely lunch at the hotel promenade.

Josh Nicol, Director of Enterprise Platform Solutions. "I had an excellent time meeting with potential customers, partnerships, and fellow market researchers. The highlight of my experience was listening to Jonah Elhrer about the new science of decision making."

Gretchen Lohman, Global Sales Director,  " I truly enjoyed listening in on presentations and meeting with others interested in research. This research convention was a great opportunity to network within the industry."

Esther LaVielle, Chief Education Director "It was great to participate as both an exhibitor and attendee. I especially enjoyed listening to growing trends in social media research and mobile technology research opportunities. "

Thank you to everyone who came by and said hi to us at our booth. For those who entered into our iPad drawing we will announce the winner next Thursday at 9:00 AM PST and the winner will be notified in an email.

Conferences are not the only place you can attend a great presentation. Join SurveyAnalytics as we invite Michaela Mora from Relevant Insights to speak the topic of "Brand Tracking -Taking the Pulse on Your Brand"

Tues 11/16/10

9:00 AM PST
Click here for more details and to sign up today!


Cheers!

The SurveyAnalytics Team

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to Use Twitter Lists as a 24/7 Focus Group


Have you heard about the "Lists" feature on Twitter?


Twitter Lists has been around for over a year now but if you're not a power user, you might have missed it.  Shoot - I'm a power user and I was basically ignoring it because I didn't want to complicate my social media life any further.  Boy was I WRONG.

Twitter Lists doesn't complicate your life - it simplifies it tremendously.  Here's how.

  • Twitter lists allows you to create groups or segments on Twitter.  Tweet Deck has been able to do this for years, but Twitter gives you the option to create public lists that other people can use.  Or you can create a private list, just for yourself.

  • Twitter lists gives you the opportunity to sneak a peak at what your customers, target audience, industry or competition is talking about in their own words.  What I enjoy most is seeing what they are reading and commenting on.

  • Have conversations and build relationships with your group.  You only have the focus group for a few hours, but your Twitter List is for as long as you like.  This means that you can ask them questions, follow up on their tweets.


Here's a peek at one of my Twitter Lists - it's one with CEOs.



I use this list to give me ideas about what articles to write or what kinds of programs to offer that would benefit my readers.

Now it's your turn!

Are you using Twitter lists?  How are you using this tool to better understand your customers, your industry and the issues you care about?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How to Use LinkedIn as a Research Engine

Not every research project requires a fancy survey or focus group.  In fact, a great place to do some exploratory research is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn now has over 80 million members!  (I swear just 2 weeks ago it was 70 million!)  This is an insane "sample" group of professionals that is eager to share information and answer your questions.  In other words - most LinkedIn participants just want to help you.  So you should take advantage of it.

What Do You Want to Know?

No matter what your question, chances are LinkedIn has an answer.  The key to making it work is knowing where to find it and how to pull it out.

Ideal Customer Profile:  Perhaps THE most important piece of market research info is profiling your ideal customer.  Log into your LinkedIn account and start searching on typical job titles of your ideal customer - i.e. IT professional

When I searched on "CIO" I got an entire list of names beginning with people who are closest to me in my network.  But the really terrific feature is what you'll find on the left column ; an actual count of the number of people who have "CIO" in their profiles.  Now you can read through those profiles or reach out to people that you know with your questions.

Simply click on one of the profiles that you find and scroll down to where you'll find a list of the groups they belong to:

Now you can go to those groups and take a look at the discussions that you'll find there.  Click around the groups and find the groups that fit you best, then join the group and join the conversation and ask questions.

Competitive Intelligence

You can search the "Question and Answer" categories on your industry keywords and see what people have been asking about and how others have been answering .  Here is an example of a search with the keyword "medical billing"



Company Pages Give Insight Into Industries

Before there was the internet or LinkedIn, one of my favorite ways to do research for my marketing plan was to make a list of the top market share holders in a targeted market.  Then I would search articles and papers trying to decipher some kind of pattern or information.  But now there's LinkedIn and now you can get a quick search of company pages, will give you the latest news stories AND the people in your network who are associated with that company.

If you haven't explored the "insightful statistics" section of LinkedIn Company Pages - then you are missing a wonderful opportunity to get some insights into your customers.  This section takes information from your connections and compiles them across all the people who are affiliated with that company to give you some interesting information.



The "People also viewed" box will tell you what similar brands that are considered to be alternatives to your brand.  And then -all you have to do is search around those companies that are listed.

Another terrific comparative chart compares the company you're researching against other similar companies.



There are many more research features that you can explore within LinkedIn that will give you ideas into what to include in your surveys and polls.  Not only that, but you'll actually get a list of real people that you can reach out to for conversations and questions that you might have.

Use LinkedIn to start your market research process and see how much more you can learn in a few hours that might take days or weeks to learn otherwise.

A Word of Warning

LinkedIn is NOT the end all of search or research, it's a tool to help you get a head start on helping you create questions about strategies that you might be considering.  I wouldn't go quoting any of the findings, but I would certainly use them to help be build a list of similar comparative brands.

Have fun with this and see how much more you can learn.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Update from The Market Research Event in San Diego, CA

Hello from sunny and beautiful San Diego!

SurveyAnalytics is really enjoying our time at The Market Research Event. It's going to be very hard to leave 70 degree weather and go back to Seattle where it's 48 degrees and "drizzling." Only in Seattle do we have different words for rain.

For those who could not make it to The Market Research Event, we wanted to share with you one of the presentations we've enjoyed so far.

Our favorite presentation came from Microsoft's Mark Eduljee on "Social Media Listening."

The main question posed to the crowd was , "Do you listen to social media?" Keep in mind that it's much different than monitoring social media. Sure, you are reading Facebook and twitter comments here and there but are you really hearing your customers at the right place and time and turning it into actionable results?

The focus should be  on information gathering at different life cycles  of a product/service, identify value action opportunities, uncover comments that can impact your business ideals, and review the customer experience the story. It is more important than even to be able to listen at the right time to be actionable.

4 dimension of social media metrics:

1-Measure effectiveness and reach.  Identify Share of voices.  Look for a pattern in key words .

2.-Engagement - Interaction, influences, attach rates, relationship, etc .

3- Communications - Social media intelligence. Who, what, where, etc.

4-Listening - What do you want to hear right now that can be actionable? Examples include customer experience, issues pending, early warnings

How to set up a Listening Framework:

1-Start with the end. Identify Needs vs Wants.

2-Listen to Global English. Surprisingly, Microsoft found that 70% customer voice from multiple countries are the same when it came to products in different countries. I am going out on a limb to say that this may be apply to other companies as well...although not perfectly applicable.

3-Develop a plan. Define goals, and scope your audience.  This will help you gather relevant data and not build a bunch of DIGITAL BRICKS (probably my favorite word of the conference so far).

4-Find your Rhythm. With time and practice it will become consistent, predictable, trustworthy and scalable.

5-Analyze Intelligence. Is this the right info, the right source at this point in time? What is the voice of your data?

In any company the researchers need to be honest and not sugarcoat the report. This is not a dog and pony show. The truth hurts sometimes, but you are doing your job. In the end you will be able to measure your ROI which ultimately reviews customer impact and business valuation. By implementing these simple listening strategies shared by Mark Eduljee we can stay on track of  turning data into dollars.

If you are  currently at TMRE don't forget to stop by our booth #118 and sign up for a free evaluation license and enter into a drawing to win an Apple iPad.We would love to meet you.

Cheers!

The SurveyAnalytics Team

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crowdsourcing is More Than Market Research -- It's Good PR

With the advent of DIY Marketing tools, market research has gone through a sort of transformation.  It's actually a rather exciting transformation, in my opinion because now we can take our focus OFF of the transactional services we offer around gathering feedback and put it where our experience and expertise really shine -- in helping organizations of ALL shapes and sizes actually listen to their customers and constituents in a way that's never been possible before.

Crowdsourcing IS Mainstream

Crowdsourcing tools, like IdeaScale, have gone mainstream and have become an integral part of how we listen to customers.  And perhaps the best example is in seeing how FEMA (a government organization that's had more than its share of PR problems) is using IdeaScale to involve the American people in finding ways that will make disaster preparedness and relief run more smoothly.

Take a look at how FEMA is using video and crowdsourcing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7bdI5a2CIY&feature=player_embedded

When you're done watching this 54 second clip -- go ahead and visit www.challenge.gov and search FEMA and see what you find.



Clicking here will take you to a FEMA landing page where they clearly outline exactly what they are up to and layout the rules.  Then you get to choose if you support the challenge .  Once you've done that, you can register to stay on top of all the updates or you can cancel (which is what I did) to just see the discussions.

Crowdsourcing Tools Will Eliminate Our Whiner Status

I quickly noticed that there were only two discussions going on -- even though nearly 200 people supported the challenge.  And that made me realize a couple of things

  1. Not enough people know about this.  That's too bad because when you think back to Katrina and the flack FEMA got after that, there were certainly a lot of opinions about what could or should have been done.

  2. You'll lose your reason to whine and complain.  This is an interesting PR opportunity for so many organizations.  People love to complain and whine about what big organizations do - and now, they have a vehicle to voice their complaints in a place where something can actually be done about them.


We've just been through an election and I think that we can all attest to the rampant cynicism that surrounds this process.  Crowdsourcing tools are a tremendous PR tool for organizations AND a an equally powerful feedback tool for customers and constituents to get their voices heard.

Recommendations

If you're a large organization - don't wait for disaster to happen.  Get proactive by incorporating Crowdsourcing tools like IdeaScale into your market research and PR process.  Then promote this powerful communication channel as much as you promote the products and services that you sell.

The payoff to your company will be an increase in customer involvement, loyalty and perhaps even an insurance policy in case something happens.  Those who start early and adopt crowdsourcing as a part of how they do business will have already established themselves as an organization who cares and involves their customers.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Market Research Firms Should Not Fear "Online Brand Audit Reports"



I have three (3) points I’d like to make and open for discussion. I believe there is a place for both Online Brand Audit Reports ( OBARS – like Pulse48) and Qualitative Research. In fact we have several market research firms that have come on-board but for reasons you may not of thought.

There is a place for qualitative research.

POINT #1
There will always be a place for qualitative research but what about “checks and balances”?. Is the qualitative research from your focus group resonating with the world at large? The internet is key to answering that question with OBARS.

Recently, we presented a convincing presentation to a market research firm that using OBARS can see if a focus group is “in tune” with their qualitative research.

Point #2
A second application of OBARS for market research firms is to use them for question/topic criteria. One of the benefits of OBARS are they can dig down to a sentiment or source to get an understanding. So, we are recommending to do an OBAR pull to help get “additional” insights for your qualitative research (remember “thinking outside the box???). Don't assume you or your clients know all the questions. OBARS may help you think of new ones?

Point #3

OBARS will open new markets for Market Research Firms. Qualitative Research is sometimes financially out of reach for small business clients. OBARS can be a tool to give great and effective research for less cost. It might even be a tool to upsell.

So, in conclusion, look at technology from a wider angle and it may benefit you not harm.

About the Author: Robert Greene, from his 10 years sales and marketing experience, has authored many white papers and articles in the areas of green marketing, sales, customer service, and business development. After working in the green energy and not for profit sector, he is currently the Director of Sales and Marketing for Inception Market Intelligence.  You can reach him at robert@inceptionintel.com

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Come Meet SurveyAnalytics at The Market Research Event

Mon-Wed

Nov 8th-10th, 2010

Location: San Diego Hilton Bayfront Inn

Booth #: 118

Stop by and sign up for a free 15-day evaluation license and you will be entered into a drawing to win a free iPad!

In addition to our drawing we will be showcasing many of SurveyAnalytics products & services and participating in various social events and presentations. During this time we'll post blog updates highlighting our daily experience at TMRE.

We look forward to meeting everyone who is also planning to be down in sunny San Diego, CA. It's time to go pack those sunglasses.

Cheers!

The SurveyAnalytics Team

Team Members:



Joshua Nicol is passionate in helping companies develop and implement successful online research tools.  Over the years Joshua has worked side by side with business owners establishing a track record of satisfied customers.  His creative approach to online research is unique to each customer in order to cater to each business owner’s expectations and vision. Joshua has over 10 year of consulting and sales experience in Technical Services.

Gretchen Lohman specializes in helping businesses effectively work with online research.  She has been in the technology field for over 7 years where she has helped develop ideas for websites, online advertising and pushed companies to accomplish great things. On her spare time, you will see Gretchen on her bike or hiking somewhere in the mountains.



Esther LaVielle is the Chief Education Director at Survey Analytics, which was started in 2002 in Seattle and is now one of the fastest growing private companies in the US. Prior to her adventure at SurveyAnalytics she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Market Research Manager.

http://www.surveyanalytics.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Real Time Research Using Social Media Tools


Trust me.  I can research and analyze anything to death.  What?  You too?  I hear you.  Well read on because today, I'm taking you on a real time tour of a project and promotion process that I'm working on over at DIYMarketers.com.

Objective:

My objective was to incorporate eCourses, webinars and teleseminars into DIYMarketers.com in order to build membership AND to generate revenue.

Deciding on Topics

This is the ideal place to do some market research!

  • I used IdeaScale (the feedback tab) on my DIYMarketers.com site and wrote posts about getting ideas on what people wanted to learn about.  It appeared that social media marketing was ranking fairly high on the list - but these comments were general.

  • I did a scan of re-tweeted articles by thought leaders I follow such as @smallbiztrends or @mashable or simply watching my Twitter stream and seeing what gets passed around my network.

  • I also use a tool called Pretty Link. This is a WordPress plugin that allows me the ability to shrink a link and then track how many people click on it.  Go ahead - give it a try.  Click to read this article and see what happens: Power LinkedIn Strategies for CEOs.  Pretty Link told me that articles about LinkedIn were by FAR the most popular. So that's what I chose to do as my first teleseminar.

  • I also used MicroPoll to find out what social media tools my audience was most interested in -- and LinkedIn came out on top there too.

What Actually Happened

  1. I sent the referral emails as attachments to my personal list of people who I thought would be interested.  They passed those on to their contacts and the results were EXCELLENT.  My response rate (or conversion rate) was about 10%.  Not stellar, but not bad either.

  2. I wrote some blog posts outlining some of the points that would be covered in the event ahead of time with links to the registration form.  This was NOT NEARLY as responsive with about a 2% conversion rate.  That's about average.

  3. I sent a broadcast message to my list.  This was also very responsive.  About 40% opened the message and 20% clicked through.  But then something interesting happened -- I noticed that about 10% went through the registration, but didn't complete it.

  4. I used my email marketing tool (aWeber) to send a message to those who didn't complete and asked them WHY?  The answers were very helpful -- "they didn't want to pay for something without a sample"  was the prevailing response.

How I Adjusted My Approach

Now this all happened in a matter of days.  And this is what has blown me away!  I took that feedback and created a WHOLE NEW OFFER - to the list.  I allowed them to listen in on our practice call where we will go over the outline and prioritize the specific issues that we'll discuss.

I wrote an article about the process - on my PERSONAL blog Strategy Stew -- where I shared much of what I shared here -- AND I gave them the opportunity to fill out a form to get on the free call.

Now I wait to see what happens.  I wonder if  offering a sneak peak bring more registrations?  I'm following the links and I see that people are clicking and some registrations are tumbling in -- but not nearly as many as I thought.

Another terrific opportunity will be to collect the information in all of these events and create new content around it and then measure response to that.

The Lessons I Learned

  • Don't be afraid to take some risk - you will make mistakes.  But you will make mistakes anyway - this way you have data to fix them quickly.

  • Use the social media measuring tools as research metrics to supplement your overall research plan.

  • Use a low impact, high-value event to test your theories and make improvements so that you're not testing on something REALLY BIG and important.

If you want to take a sneak peak at how this worked visit these links:

How are YOU using social media to track your success and what's your experience with this?  Have you been able to make changes on the fly and improve your results?  Leave a comment and let us know.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Webinar Tues 11/16/10 at 9AM PST: Brand Tracking – Taking the Pulse on Your Brand

Tuesday

November 16th, 2010

9:00 AM PST

Sign up Today: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/702824130

Branding has been around since the beginning of times as a means to differentiate products. Did you know that the term “brand” is derived from the old Norse word “brandr” which means “to burn” and used in the context of marking livestock to identify the owners. Branding in the marketing context occurs in the consumer minds and the “marks” not always come out as marketers intended, hence the need to implement brand tracking studies.

Questions we'll address in this webinar are:

1.     What brand metrics should be tracked?

2.     How often should a brand be tracked?

3.     Who should be included in a brand tracking study?

4.     How to interpret brand tracking metrics?

We will discuss aspects of the implementation of a brand tracking study and how they allow marketers to monitor the health of the brand and provide insights into the effectiveness of marketing programs implemented by the company.

Sign up Today: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/702824130

About the speaker:




Michaela Mora is the president of Relevant Insights, LLC (http://www.relevantinsights.com), and a seasoned market researcher with more than 20 years of experience in industries such online subscription services, software, entertainment, offline and online retailing, automotive, travel, hospitality, consumer packaged goods, non-profit, insurance, and beverage among others. Using an ever evolving toolbox which includes multivariate analysis techniques, conjoint analysis, MaxDiff, latent class segmentation, and TURF analysis among others, Michaela has been involved in many studies including brand tracking studies, concept testing, market segmentation, customer satisfaction, A&U, pricing research, copy testing, PR research and Web site optimization research. She helps clients with all aspects of a research project from design to field implementation, data analysis and reporting. Michaela holds a MS in Marketing Research from The University of Texas at Arlington, a MS in Marketing, Advertising and PR from Stockholm University, and a BS in Psychology from Havana University. She also holds a Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) at the Expert Level, issued by the Marketing Research Association (MRA).

Survey Analytics flexes its muscle to offer clients sampling services

It appears that Survey Analytics is listening intently to its customers and with good reasons. The software firm, which currently offers an array of research tools for conducting market research, including survey design and hosting, reporting, advance analytics and panel management, recently announced the launch of its latest product – MicroPanel.

MicroPanel is designed to facilitate both Question pro and Survey Analytics customers access to online respondents for survey participation, using one dedicated platform. However, don’t let the prefix in the name fool you, as MicroPanel is described as a network that consists of multiple niche panels in various industries, giving their clients access to millions of respondents online. Panel members are rigorously recruited and profile information account for more than 400 data points on each member.  This, ultimately, will provide their clients with a breadth of information and the ability to select richer samples.

Taking this baby for a test drive, I discovered a few things under the hood:

  • Interface – A unified, automated platform to facilitate access to research sample at the click of a button.

  • Specialty Panels – Access to respondents in various sectors: Health, IT, Financial, Mobile, Automobile and others.

  • Reach -  MicroPanel currently offers representative sample from US, Europe, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East.

  • Friends – They’ve partnered with a few top shelf sample providers that specialize in certain market, to ensure full project feasibility to their clients at all times.


Survey Analytics is certainly not new to the data collection arena and this is not their first rodeo. With an abundant list of high profile clients who are conducting thousands of interviews daily on their platform, the company has focused on developing custom research solutions for advance analytics and enterprise feedback management, as evident by Ideascale, Micropoll and a number of other products that fall under the Survey Analytics flagship. The addition of MicroPanel certainly follows that path.

With the rise of social media, combined with more consumers having access to the internet, sample providers are a dime and a dozen. This is good for competition, but can also create confusion for the sample buyer. Simply managing bids from different providers with different prices, using different platforms can be a daunting task and this does not even include sample quality. Survey Analytics bridges the gap by providing its clients with a much needed service, using a unified platform.

By taking a quick peek at the MicroPanel platform, the process of purchasing sample seems very intuitive and user friendly.

1)      Customers must login to their Qpro or Survey Analytics account

2)      Select “Send Survey” from the top horizontal menu

3)      Select “Request A Quote” from the side menu

4)      Complete the quote form, along with any project specification

5)      Submit by clicking on “Quote request”.



After submitting the quote, a summary of the customer’s project specifications is immediately displayed, pending review from Survey Analytics. The wait period did not seem excessive, as it only took a few hours to receive a quote for a general consumer study with standard requirements.

MicroPanel certainly appears to be the missing piece that completes the full circle for Survey Analytics and their customers. Judging from what we’ve seen thus far, they may have a few more tricks up their sleeves.
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