Friday, October 29, 2010

Online Research Tool Key to Lobbying Firms Success Over PR FIRMS

Public Relations firms are still relying on older media analysis software which require more manpower to compile social media monitoring and analysis reports. With the introduction of software that goes beyond “word recognition” to new technology that is “data read program analysis called “Precision and recall theory”, reports should be cheaper and simpler to manage.


However, public relation firms are slow to upgrade their programs and streamline their staff to service their clients more efficiently. Which leaves opportunities for lobbying firms to step in and pick up the slack.

Lobbying firms have long been considered mere service agencies for political figures but as they expand their businesses to include product and service clients beyond government interest there is only one area where they can expand: Public Relations.

Recently, a materials firm was convinced to bring their account to a lobbying firm over a PR firm on the fact of expanded versatility. This is to say that the lobbying firm was able to show more “bang for the buck” with their newly expanded social media services that adopted better cutting edge technology like Online Brand Audit Reports. and Pulse48 Reports offered by Inception Market Intelligence (www.inceptionintel.com). These types of reports are fast and less expensive because they utilize very little data compilation.

Lobbying firms are following the advice that PR firms give to their clients: REBRAND. Lobbying firms are now becoming Full Service Communications and Consulting Firms with an emphasis on a more rounded brand image beyond government.

With both the rebranding tools and the new technology, traditional lobbying firms will pull ahead of PR firms. In the years to come,PR firms have always had lobbying divisions but Lobbying firms rarely had communication and PR divisions. So, this rapid change will truly play out in the competitive business area. Stay tuned.

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 or follow him on Twitter, @Pulse48

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Follow up on Webiner: Learn How To Do a Conjoint Analysis Project in 1 Hour

On Thursday October 28th, 2010 SurveyAnalytics teamed up with Andrew Jeavons to present " Learn How To Do a Conjoint Analysis Project in 1 Hour."

Over 47 people signed up to learn more on this topic indicating a great deal of interest in adding conjoint analysis to online surveys.

Questions that were answered in our presentation included:

1) What is Conjoint Analysis and how does it work to calculate your respondents’ trade-off decisions?

2) How can you develop Conjoint Studies that provide actionable data for new products/services?

3) How can Conjoint Studies help you predict potential market share for new product concepts? Can you simulate this?

Conjoint analysis is a method developed over the past 50 years by market researchers and statisticians to predict the kinds of decisions consumers will make about products by using questions in a survey.

The central idea is that for any purchase decision consumers evaluate or “trade off” the different characteristics of a product and decide what is more important to them. For instance , it may be that the container size is the most important factor, or it may be environmental friendliness of the product and the price. Obviously for different products there are a whole range of possible characteristics or “attributes” that consumers may take into account.

Conjoint analysis is a way of presenting a set of possible products to consumers via a survey and ask them to make a choice about which one they would pick. A set of attribute for a product (perhaps color, size, price) are chosen and then a set of “levels” of the attributes are selects. For instance we could have 3 colors of a product, red, green and blue, then maybe 3 sizes, 4, 8 and 12 oz, then 3 prices, $10, $20 and $30 . This would give 3 x 3 x 3 possible product combinations.

A set of alternative “products” based on the attributes you have defined are presented to respondents who make choices as to which product they would purchase in real life. It is important to note that there are a lot of variations of conjoint techniques. SA uses a conjoint technique which we feel best simulates the purchase process of consumers.

Why Use Conjoint Analysis?

1) Help evaluate new products, or variations of products, against an existing range of products or a marketplace.

2) It is very expensive to develop a new product and then put it out into the marketplace with no guarantee of success.

3) Allows market researchers to simulate the decisions consumers would make in the market place.

4) See what effect changes in price of existing products may have on the sales of the product.

5) Get feedback on new products or variations of an existing product very quickly and at a low cost.



Setting up a Conjoint Analysis project with SurveyAnalytics is easy. You will be able to combine this question type with other standard to advanced question types available as well as use robust analysis tools that provide greater insight to your conjoint analysis project.







After sending out your survey you can instantly review a relative importance chart, utility values, and best/worst profiles.





The next step is to use the market segmentation simulator. This tool will give you the ability to "predict" the market share of new products and concepts that may not exist today. Ability to measure the "Gain" or "Loss" in market share based on changes to existing products in the given market.

Important steps in Conjoint Simulation:

1- Identifying and describing the different products or concepts that you want to investigate. We call these "Profiles".

Example one of the profiles could be: Tour Type: Weird, Hours: 1-2 , Time of Day: Evening

2- Find out all the existing products that are available in that market segment and simulate the market share of the products to establish a baseline.

3-Try out new services and ideas and see how the market share shifts based on new products and configurations.

Example Market Segmentation Simulator and Analysis:





What can we analyze from the Market simulator?

In our first example what happens if have a tour of 1-2 hours as opposed to 4-6 hours in the afternoon for “Weird Seattle” ?

Answer: We find that the 1-2 hour tour would attract about 75% of the market share.



What is a good sample size to work with for Conjoint Studies?

Sample size is a question that comes up very frequently. Richard Johnson , one of the inventors of conjoint analysis, has presented the following rule of thumb for sample size in choice based conjoint:

(nta/C) > 500

Where n = the number of respondents, t= the number of tasks, a=the number of alternatives per task , C= the largest number of level for any one attribute.

So if you have 50 respondents, 3 tasks per respondent, 2 alternatives per task and the maximum number of levels on an attribute is 3 you get:

(50 x 3 x 2 x 3) = 900

The general opinion now seems to be that 500 may be too small a number, 1000 is a better value.

Generally speaking sample sizes tend to be around 200 – 1200 respondents, admittedly a wide range. It does seem that the value of 300 comes up most often for a single group of subjects.

For additional information please review our slides below. You may also post questions and comments and we will be happy to follow up with you.

Click here to access recording of this presentation here: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid86057647001?bctid=652286971001


About the Presenters:



With over 25 years in the market research industry, Andrew Jeavons is a frequent writer and speaker for various publications and events around the country. He has a back ground in psychology and statistics, and currently focuses on innovation within survey research.

Esther LaVielle is a Senior Account Manager at QuestionPro and 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 QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group.

http://www.surveyanalytic

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Free Webinar: Thurs 10/28/10 - Learn How to Do a Conjoint Analysis Study in 1 Hour

Webinar Presentation

Thursday October 28th, 2010

9:00am PST

Sign up here




Ever thought about using Conjoint Analysis as part of your research strategy?

Conjoint analysis is a popular marketing research technique that marketers use to determine what features a new product should have and how it should be priced. Conjoint analysis became popular because it was a far less expensive and more flexible way to address these issues than concept testing.
Contrary to popular belief the basics of conjoint analysis are not hard to understand. Give us one hour of your time and we can show you how to conduct a conjoint analysis project.

Join Survey Analytics for this free one-hour webinar on how to effectively conduct a Conjoint Analysis project. You will learn to prioritize needs, explore pricing options, and validate your product and service concepts.

We’ll answer:

1) What is Conjoint Analysis and how does it work to calculate your respondents' trade-off decisions?

2) How can you develop Conjoint Studies that provide actionable data for new products/services?

3) How can Conjoint Studies help you predict potential market share for new product concepts? Can you simulate this?

This webinar will answer these questions and more as well as provide a forum to discuss specific challenges.

Click Here To Sign Up: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/928253563



About the Presenters:



With over 25 years in the market research industry, Andrew Jeavons is a frequent writer and speaker for various publications and events around the country. He has a back ground in psychology and statistics, and currently focuses on innovation within survey research.

Esther LaVielle is a Senior Account Manager at QuestionPro and 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 QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group.

http://www.surveyanalytics.com

Monday, October 25, 2010

Focus Groups Going Green Makes Good Business Sense




eco leaf touching waterThe Green agenda is on the forefront of everyone’s mind these days.  Not only for the obvious environmental reasons of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, but also to reduce costs and improve company reputation.  Many companies today are including a green strategy within their corporate culture and treating it as an investment into their future.

Vancouver-based Inception Market Intelligence (IMI Group) is focusing on making market research greener with their new PULSE48 reports, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional focus group.  IMI Group offers over 20 years in the field of market research for companies worldwide.  The purpose is to provide market research focus group type reports in an eco-friendly, cost-efficient manner.


PULSE48 software technology is identified as "precision and recall" theory which scans the internet on a prescribed topic and comes back with a collective public opinion on the topic. This is different from word recognition that most analytics utilize. Focus groups can cost over $10,000 per location where the same results can be completed for $2,000-4,000 per report.


Gathering opinions from a focus group requires time, energy, and resources.  A traditional one can take weeks even months to conduct, requires multiple participants, and add to this the significant cost to a business and it can be unreachable for many small businesses.   PULSE48 completes the work in a timely, energy efficient manner. The reduction in the paper trail alone will account for a greener environment within a company.


As companies implement green strategies, the focus is often to move towards online technology.  The natural progression would be to move focus groups online; a focus group that has inadvertently already happened.  "PULSE48 reports are more efficient than focus groups because our technology eavesdrops on public conversations on the internet “, says Robert Greene Director of Sales and Marketing for IMI Group (www.inceptionintel.com).


"The beauty is that you can track opinions and attitude and how they change over time without calling back participants, dealing with scheduling and additional costs.  For companies conducting market research who have green initiatives to fill, PULSE48 is the logical choice.”

Sustainability has become an integral part of many organizations and companies realize the concept of going green extends to every aspect of their business.  Sustainable and eco-friendly business practices can make a company more desirable than their competition.  A traditional focus group can yield hundreds of pages of research that need to be reviewed and analyzed where a PULSE48 report can provide that same information in less than 20 pages.  Just as focus groups can eliminate undesirable participants, PULSE48 can rule out internet chatter, paid bloggers, and non-users.  Meaning resources such as paper and energy consumption are reduced.

 
Finding success by implementing sustainable initiatives needs to extend to every aspect of a business. Organizations who have felt market research was beyond their reach can now have software that will scan social media sites and collect an opinion on what is said about them in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner.

 


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 or follow him on Twitter, @Pulse48


Friday, October 22, 2010

How to Use Polls as Part of Your Market Research Plan

Polls are an outstanding way to collect feedback and engage with your audience.  Polls have become more popular for two specific attributes: first -- they don't take much time.  You can read a poll and answer a poll in less than 10 seconds and that increases response rates.  The second reason is that polls often have the feature of providing immediate feedback about how other people answered the same question.

How to take advantage of Polls for more traditional research

If polls are so wonderful, why don't we see more of them -- other than the political kinds?

The answer lies in the fact that a really good poll should provide valuable, actionable answers that you can do something with.  And that is easier said than done.

Polls are one reason for having a research plan

Because the premise of a poll is to ask one question at a time, it becomes critical to have a research plan in place -- otherwise, you'll find yourself asking all kinds of ridiculous questions that have no purpose.

But that doesn't mean that you can't have fun with polls.  Polls are meant to be more general in nature and even go viral, so it's worth taking the time to brainstorm around potential questions that you can ask that are both fun and informative.

HINT: If you've been following the series and have used our recommendation to use crowd sourcing tools like IdeaScale, then running a few polls is the obvious next step to get some quantitative clarity around a specific topic.

Here are some ideas, samples and types of questions you can ask with polls





  • Which (product, site, service) is your favorite?

  • Which (product, site, service) do you use most often?

  • Why don't you use ____________

  • Where do you go for information on____________

  • Ask psychographic questions.  Draw up a series of statements and run them as a series. For example: In general I am willing to take risks (strongly agree, strongly disagree)


Polls DON'T replace good statistics

Polls are a great source of general information - but not all polls are statistically valid.  If you're simply posting a poll on your web site or letting it run viral - that sample is not truly random.  It's generally self selected and that means that you have to read that data with care.

MicroPoll is Free and Easy to Integrate

MicroPoll is a terrific tool to use because it's easy to integrate into the rest of your research plan.  Not only that, but it also has some fantastic advanced features that expand its functionality beyond simple polling.



Two of my favorite features are the viral feature that allows respondents to pass the poll on to THEIR friends or network and the feature that allows for open ended responses.  This allows respondents to round out their answers.

How have YOU used polls as part of your market research plan?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Webinar Follow up: Why You Need to Use MaxDifference (MaxDiff) Scaling of Importance Over Rating Scales



On Tues October 19th, 2010 at 9:00 AM PST SurveyAnalytics joined Nico Peruzzi, PhD of Outsource Research Consulting to present:

"Why You need to Why You Need to Use MaxDifference (MaxDiff) Scaling of Importance Over Rating Scales."

Over 57 people joined us as we answered the following:

1) What is MaxDiff Scaling and what are its benefits to using it in a research project?

2) How can you develop MaxDiff studies that provide unique data vs. using a standard rating scale, etc?

3) How MaxDiff studies differ from other trade-off analysis techniques.
MaxDiff (Maximum Difference Scaling) is an approach for obtaining preference/importance scores for multiple items:

-Brand preferences

-Brand images

-Product/service features

-Messages

-Advertising claims

-Benefits

*MaxDiff is also known as “best-worst scaling”



Rating scales make it very difficult to analyze nominal differences between different attributes. We cannot say that feature "A" with a rating number of 2.5 is 50% less preferred than feature "B" rated at 5. This is where the use of MaxDiff can make a big difference.

1) Determine the number of attributes you want to use (up to 30)

2) Add question text and features

3) Review and Change Settings: Set Max Attributes if you only want a certain number of attributes to show at one time.

4) Preview and send survey



5) Analyze data. MaxDiff scores are easy to interpret.  They are commonly placed on a 0 to 100 common scale and sum to 100. Thus, when you see a “10” it has twice as much value as a “5.” Another way to analyze data is to use logit regression analysis to generate share of preference percentages.

Example of Feature Rating:



Example of Logit Regression Analysis Percentages:



Regardless of which one you choose to use, you can’t do this with rating scale results.

6) Follow up all MaxDiff questions by:

-Taking the top finishers and use for analysis

-Run Another MaxDiff question


-Add A Single select/ final choice question to determine which one attribute        respondents prefer the most.


- Add A Ranking question in your survey

Question & Answers from Presentation:



Q: Which analysis or command do you use to run MaxDiff in SPSS or PASW?

A: MaxDiff can be designed using SPSS Orthoplan or Sawtooth Software’s MaxDiff Designer.  Analysis commonly occurs via Logit or Hierarchical Bayes, which can be found in most robust stats packages such as SurveyAnalytics.


Video/Audio Available to view: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid86057647001?bctid=644279154001

MaxDiff Slides from Outsource Research Consulting






MaxDiff Slides from SurveyAnalytics





About the Presenters:


Nico Peruzzi, PhD is a partner with Outsource Research Consulting, a provider of quantitative research and high-end analytics.

Nico Peruzzi, PhD is a partner with Outsource Research Consulting (www.orconsulting.com), a provider of quantitative research and high-end analytics. He has provided consultation on all aspects of the research cycle to organizations of wide-ranging size and industry. Conjoint analysis, database analytics, data mining, segmentation analysis and predictive modeling are some of his areas of expertise. His clients include Herman Miller, Cisco WebEx, TiVo, Data Robotics, and various smaller businesses, research companies, and consultants small and large. Dr. Peruzzi has a BA in Biological Sciences from UC Santa Barbara, graduating Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Golden Key National Honor Society. He holds his MS and Ph.D. in Psychology from Pacific Graduate School (now Palo Alto University).



Esther LaVielle is a Senior Account Manager at QuestionPro and 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 QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group.

How to Use Crowd Sourcing Tools to Enhance or Replace Focus Groups

Focus groups are probably the most important, yet most overlooked component of a market research plan.  Having a group of people in a room where you can watch their body language and watch their subtle reaction to questions, topics and situations is priceless when it comes to deciding which directions you will take with your market research.

There is one major downside to all of this: time, money -- and lots of both.  While social media and other technical tools and resources provide SOME of this information, they don't provide all of it.  And this is why I will NOT remove focus groups as a valuable element in the survey process.

But for those of us who don't have tens of thousands of dollars to invest in the process.  There are some interesting alternatives: social media and crowd sourcing tools like IdeaScale.

Neither of these tools can give you the visual body language component that focus groups provide.  And if that is important to you -- then you will have to invest in the focus group process.  But take heart.  Crowd sourcing tools can really help you focus your work so that when you DO get that focus group together - it will be targeted and meaningful.  Maybe you can do one focus group instead of two or three.

What Qualitative Data do Crowd Sourcing Tools Provide

Crowd sourcing tools work give you the opportunity to do virtual brainstorming with an audience.  You can either recruit the audience by sending them an email with a link to your space or you can simply put a link to your space on your web site and send visitors to the site that way.

If you are running a project and have a targeted audience that you can reach, I'd recommend sending invitations to specific people and encouraging them to participate in the space.

If you're running more of an ongoing listening project -- much like QuestionPro and Survey Analytics do -- then simply placing a "feedback" tab on your site is sufficient.



Another option is to place a bright orange tab on the side of your web page where people can click to provide feedback-



What's Possible With Crowd Sourcing

Listening is perhaps the biggest benefit that you can get with crowd sourcing.  One of the benefits of NOT having people congregated in a room with a professional facilitator is that they are more relaxed and tend to feel more inclined to make more unfiltered comments.  The same principle that makes it possible to make bullying comments and rude rants on web sites takes over and people simply tell you what they think.

Using a crowd sourcing tools requires facilitation as well.  People will make comments and contribute ideas and you need to be available to read them. comment on them and filter out the spam that will inevitably show up.

Challengepost.com is Crowd Sourcing in Action

Take a look at the Challengepost.com project.  This web site is literally a marketplace for challenges.  If you'd like to solve a challenge - browse the available challenges and get involved and if you'd like to post a challenge -- get it up there.  And if you're just looking -- you can log on and vote challenges up and down.

 

ChallengePost works on the principles of reward for the best solutions.  Netflix is using it as a clearinghouse for their contests.  Netflix had gotten into a bit of trouble with their contests when people accused them of being unfair.  Their solution was ChallengePost.  Netflix puts up a prize amount.  People contribute solutions to their challenge and the crowd votes the solutions up or down.  The solution with  the most votes wins.

Crowd sourcing is a wonderful new way to enhance and jump start more traditional forms of market research.

have YOU used crowd sourcing tools like IdeaScale?  What's been your experience?

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Lay Out Feedback Collection Channels for Your Market ResearchPlan

creating a flow chartLast week I started a series focused on Market Research Planning.  Most small businesses had never really HAD to do a market research plan.  After all, what was there - a customer satisfaction survey and then all the rest were more demand driven based on what new products or services you might be launching in the next year.  Each survey sort of stood on its own -- like a silo.

But a couple of trends have changed the landscape of data collection - the most powerful one has to do with how much time people have to complete (or not to complete) your survey.   In addition to this, the proliferation of social media channels, polling and crowd sourcing have made data collection a little more complicated than it used to be.

The last article talked about setting research goals and objectives .  The next step in the process is called "Lay out collection channels."  I'm not sure if that's w formal word or phrase - but it is now.

What's a Collection Channel?

In the simplest terms a survey instrument is a collection channel.  Other collection channels might include phone, online, poll, social media, facebook, LinkedIn, IdeaScale and so on.  Wherever there is the possibility of gathering feedback from your audience about what your survey objectives are -- is a collection channel.

How to Strategically Lay Out Your Collection Channel

  1. Focus on your decision first. It's critical to focus on what decision you're trying to make.  For example - "Should I invest in an iPhone app and if so what should it do?"

  2. List your criteria. Now that you're clear on the question and decision, start listing the criteria for that decision.  Such as "I'll do an iPhone app if I can charge $1.00 for it"  or "If more than 10,000 people will download it" or "If it drives more than 10,000 visitors to our site.

  3. What other questions do I have? The great thing about this new trend of breaking up where your data comes from is that it allows you to brainstorm on all the other questions or things you'd like to know from your audience -- let yourself go and list as many as you like.  You're no longer limited by number of questions or survey length or size or cost - so let it fly.

  4. List ALL the different ways that you can collect information. Yes this is as simple as it sounds -- make a list: Facebook fan page, email, online survey, poll, crowd sourcing, etc.  Don't forget to include traditional channels such as focus group or customer satisfaction index cards, etc.

  5. Exploratory and Qualitative Channels first. Just like in traditional research processes - you'll want to focus on collecting qualitative information first.  Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ning groups or forums, etc.  Are ideal precursors to more expensive and formal focus groups.  In fact - if you do a good enough design - AND depending on what your objectives are, you may now be able to skip focus groups all together.  But don't just skip it because of the cost -- skip it only if these social media channels provide good enough data to give you the information you need.

  6. Match questions with channels. Pull all your vague, general exploratory conversational questions together and match them with what you think is the appropriate social media channel or traditional channel.   Then pull all your quantitative questions and match them with quantitative channels.

  7. Keep it short. Your goal is to keep each collection method easy enough to complete in 1 to 3 minutes.   I'm recommending this time frame based on the fact that the best length for YouTube videos is anywhere between 1 and 3 minutes.  That's how long you can expect to keep any average respondent's attention.  (Of course there are exceptions - but we're not talking about those).

  8. Post your channel layout in a visible place. While your decision and criteria will not change as quickly - what you ask and which channel you choose to ask it through might change as you learn more.  It really helps to keep this plan big and visible.  You might choose a white board in an office or a giant piece of paper.  But make this a working - living document.

  9. Engage your audience and report often. Because these new channels will naturally engage your audience - you'll have the opportunity to report on what you're learning through all these channels.  Don't miss this valuable opportunity to engage and involve your respondents in what you're doing.  It's free marketing.

Ways to Involve Your Audience

  • Report Results. Instead of writing some HUGE report no one will read.  Report on your results monthly or quarterly.  Analyze the data as it's coming in and tell your audience what you're learning.  This will give them the opportunity to close the feedback loop and confirm or tweak what you're reporting.

  • Create a download to share. You can re-purpose what you've learned.  Look at the data differently - what other, more general and interesting insights did you get from the data? Now write a little mini report that you can share with your audience!

  • Write a post or three. Of course the easiest thing to do is to start a conversation on your blog about what you're learning - this is a data collection method of its own.  Be sure to tell your network that you've got a conversation going on and ask them to contribute and pass the links on.

Hey, I've just started thinking about this in this way - it's new to me.  How about you?  How are you structuring or re-structuring how you collect feedback?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Set Marketing Research Goals and Objectives

In a previous post, I laid out a marketing research plan.  The first steps of the marketing research plan was setting goals and objectives.  You might think that this is a same-old, same-old process.  But it isn't.  I'm going to approach this in a different way that will get you better results.

Begin with the END

Instead of setting your goals and objectives from where you are NOW, imagine yourself ALREADY having achieved your goal - then work backwards and document HOW YOU GOT THERE.

success

The reason for this is very simple.  If you set your goal based on where you are now - there is a good chance that you will get caught up in fixing a problem that is actually irrelevant in getting your business to where you want it to be.

Set your goals and objectives based on your vision for where you want your company to BE and not where it is NOW.

An Example:

If the vision and mission of your business is to help your customers be successful in their business -- then imagine your customers being successful and then imagine in what ways you are helping them do that.  This may include things you are currently doing -- or NOT.  And this is the key to creating market research goals and objectives that will help you measure the potential market opportunity, the target audience for your products and how they buy.

(I know that this sounds a little way out.  But if you're wondering how some of the successful businesses you see out there got that way -- this is IT)

Take Clate Mask and Scott Martineau from InfusionSoft as an example.  InfusionSoft is an email marketing software that automates your sales and marketing process.  It's a high-end software and it isn't cheap.  Clate and Scott found out that their customers really didn't know how to put marketing messages together -- and hence the software didn't appear to be "working."

They quickly realized that if their customers knew what to put INTO the software - the customers would make more than enough money to pay the fee for the software and also refer the software to their friends and colleagues.

As a result, they set a goal to have their entire client base double their sales within a 12 month period.

Having set this goal and objective -- they were not only fired up and inspired about what was possible for their business.  But their customers bought into the very same goal.

Suddenly finding out what their customers needed or wanted that would help them grow and prosper was easy.

And what do you think happened to their response rates?  Of course, every time they asked their customers what they wanted -- these customers were eager to tell them.

So How is this Relevant to YOU?

If you've not been successful collecting feedback from your community or if the research you've done hasn't delivered on results -- you might want to look to the goals and objectives that you've set.

Are these goals and objectives more focused on solving a problem you have today?  If so, that problem might be relevant to YOU but not your customer.

Use Social Media Chatter to Help You Find a Meaningful Goal

Enough of the heady stuff.  Let's get to the meat of how you can set these kinds of goals and objectives.

If you don't already, set up several social media communication channels that include the following:

  • Facebook Fan Page

  • LinkedIn Company Profile

  • LinkedIn Industry Group

  • Twitter Account

  • Blog


The next thing you want to do is  start posting articles on your blog that focus on your vision and how you are helping you customers be successful.  Get active on industry community sites and spaces, ask questions, answer questions and participate.  Then, TELL your customers, suppliers, industry experts to participate as well.

If you keep participating and reminding your audience to visit these sites - you will see conversations, get data and start forming relevant, success based goals and objectives.

Trying this backwards strategy of setting goals and objectives might identify new and exciting opportunities for your business.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WEBINAR - Tues October 19th, 2010 at 9:00 AM PST: Why You Need to Use MaxDifference (MaxDiff) Scaling of Importance Over Rating Scales

WEBINAR - Tues October 19th, 2010 at 9:00 AM PST: Tuesday Oct 19th, 2010

9:00 AM PST

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/867252779

Ever thought about using Max Difference Scaling as part of your research strategy?

Maximum Difference Scaling is a very effective method of establishing the relative priority attached by an audience to a large set of items (up to 30). These items might be:

* Features or benefits of a service

* Areas for potential investment of resources

* Interests and activities

* Potential marketing messages for a new product

* Products or Services used

In our presentation we’ll answer:

1) What is MaxDiff Scaling and what are its benefits to using it in a research project?

2) How can you develop MaxDiff studies that provide unique data vs. using a standard rating scale, etc?

3) How MaxDiff studies differ from other trade-off analysis techniques.

This webinar will answer these questions and more as well as provide a forum to discuss specific challenges.

Sign Up Here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/867252779

About the Presenters:



Nico Peruzzi, PhD is a partner with Outsource Research Consulting, a provider of quantitative research and high-end analytics.

Nico Peruzzi, PhD is a partner with Outsource Research Consulting (www.orconsulting.com), a provider of quantitative research and high-end analytics. He has provided consultation on all aspects of the research cycle to organizations of wide-ranging size and industry. Conjoint analysis, database analytics, data mining, segmentation analysis and predictive modeling are some of his areas of expertise. His clients include Herman Miller, Cisco WebEx, TiVo, Data Robotics, and various smaller businesses, research companies, and consultants small and large. Dr. Peruzzi has a BA in Biological Sciences from UC Santa Barbara, graduating Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Golden Key National Honor Society. He holds his MS and Ph.D. in Psychology from Pacific Graduate School (now Palo Alto University).



Esther LaVielle is a Senior Account Manager at QuestionPro and 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 QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group.

http://www.surveyanalytics.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to Write a Market Research Plan

market research strategy chartIn the past, we BUDGETED for market research.  This usually included our annual customer satisfaction survey and then we simply looked at our marketing plan an set aside a budget for the new product research we were going to do in the next year.

These days things are a little different.  I find myself recommending a market research plan over and over to small businesses and that means that I had better start explaining what a market research plan looks like.

Why You Need a Research Plan NOW - When You Didn't Need One in the Past?

The short answer is that it's a response to several trends that are going on in our lives today - that weren't there in the past:

  • Social Media - The ability to use social media as a tool to collect feedback and analyze text and chatter from your marketplace about your company and your brand is a relatively new phenomenon.  The challenge is that if left unmanaged and under-leveraged, it goes to waste as a resource of valuable market research information.

  • Time Slicing - This is an interesting behavioral trend among all of us.  You can easily compare it to multi-tasking.   Time slicing, however is more like inserting short tasks in between larger tasks.  Such as checking emails on your mobile device while waiting in line.

  • Mobile Devices - The use of mobile devices as computers and communication tools and quite literally "time killers" opens up a new way to reach our respondents when they have just a few minutes to spare.


The Market Research Plan Outline

  1. Set Goals:  I think it's important to set a general goal or direction about what decisions you're going to be making over the course of the year.  For the sake of this outline, I'm treating goals as more general statements such as "Start marketing products online."  The benefit of making a general goal statement is that it gets your mind focused in a particular direction and allows for some flexibility - which you're going to need as you start strategizing around the information and feedback that you're planning on collecting.

  2. Set objectives:  Every research project has objectives and every marketing plan has objectives.  So it stands to reason that your research plan will too.  In this case your objectives around the research plan might include the decisions that you are trying to make right now around that general goal of "marketing products online".  Some possible objectives might include understanding who our customers would be online, or how our target customer shops online or to what degree do they use mobile devices to shop or research products and services.

  3. Lay out your collection channels. You've heard the term distribution channel, well in research I call it the collection channel.  This involves listing all the possible ways that you can collect feedback and information from your target audience.  These might include online surveys, MicroPoll, IdeaScale (Crowd sourcing), mobile device surveys, social media, and some others.

  4. Brainstorm a list of questions.  Now you can start brainstorming questions that will help you make your decisions.  I like brainstorming questions first because it focuses your mind on exactly what you want to know and why you want to know it.  We can always edit the questions later based on what collection channel is best suited for the question.

  5. Assign questions to the collection channels. Again none of this is cast in stone.  But it helps you get your mind around how to best leverage the collection tools that are available to you.  Start assigning your questions to the channels that will provide the best information.  For example - treat your social media channels as you might a focus group. Start conversations with your Facebook Fans and ask questions.  LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all ideal channels for getting your target audience involved in helping you develop more specific questions around the issues that your customers care most about.  Not only are you getting input into how to frame questions and what to focus on - you're getting some additional marketing and PR buzz about your mission and vision about what you're developing.

  6. Use crowd sourcing tools like IdeaScale to prioritize suggestions.  Now that you've gotten ideas from social media conversations - create an IdeaScale space and seed the space with the feedback you've learned.  Then launch that page to your social media community and ask them to vote and continue the feedback on this space.  Don't forget to visit the space and offer feedback to the community on how your development is going.  Again - this is more marketing and PR.

  7. Start putting your online surveys together. Now you might be ready to put some online marketing surveys together.  Keep in mind that NONE of your respondents want to spend more than 5 minutes on a survey.  Just like online videos. their attention span is about 2-3 minutes at best.  After that they are bored and tired and leave.  If your survey takes longer than 5 minutes - you will need to look for alternative ways to ask those questions.

  8. Use MicroPoll to supplement your online survey. MicroPoll is underutilized as a survey instrument.  People LOVE polls because they are short and they offer immediate feedback.  If your online survey takes longer than 5 minutes.  Take a look at which questions you can transfer to MicroPoll.  You can launch a new MicroPoll every week.  This will keep your audience engaged and involved in what you're up to.  (I think that's more marketing and PR - while doing research - that's what I call leverage and multi-tasking)

  9. Can you take it viral? Another important question to ask yourself is if you can take your online survey viral in order to collect feedback from a broader market segment than you are able to reach.  One word of warning.  Viral surveys are most successful when you are asking very broad and socially relevant questions.  In other words - questions around topics that people in a broader community can answer.  NOT technically sophisticated questions or questions that contain customer or sensitive information.  A good question for a viral survey might be "What percentage or sales do you spend on market research?"  This is a general enough question anyone can answer AND the answers across industry segments would be valuable.


Last Minute Tips for Successful Market Research Plans

  • Keep it short and simple.  No more than 5 pages.

  • Leverage the free and low cost tools that are available

  • Brainstorm great questions.  This is the key.  No respondent wants to answer bad questions.


In future posts - I will break some of these down into more focused practical how-to's.  In the meantime -- do YOU currently do a market research plan?  What are your tips, Do's and Don'ts?


Monday, October 11, 2010

Free Webinar: Learn How to Conduct a Conjoint Analysis Study in 1 Hour

Webinar Presentation

Thursday October 28th, 2010

9:00am PST

Sign up here




Ever thought about using Conjoint Analysis as part of your research strategy?

Conjoint analysis is a popular marketing research technique that marketers use to determine what features a new product should have and how it should be priced. Conjoint analysis became popular because it was a far less expensive and more flexible way to address these issues than concept testing.
Contrary to popular belief the basics of conjoint analysis are not hard to understand. Give us one hour of your time and we can show you how to conduct a conjoint analysis project.

Join Survey Analytics for this free one-hour webinar on how to effectively conduct a Conjoint Analysis project. You will learn to prioritize needs, explore pricing options, and validate your product and service concepts.

We’ll answer:

1) What is Conjoint Analysis and how does it work to calculate your respondents' trade-off decisions?

2) How can you develop Conjoint Studies that provide actionable data for new products/services?

3) How can Conjoint Studies help you predict potential market share for new product concepts? Can you simulate this?

This webinar will answer these questions and more as well as provide a forum to discuss specific challenges.

Click Here To Sign Up: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/928253563



About the Presenters:



With over 25 years in the market research industry, Andrew Jeavons is a frequent writer and speaker for various publications and events around the country. He has a back ground in psychology and statistics, and currently focuses on innovation within survey research.

Esther LaVielle is a Senior Account Manager at QuestionPro and 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 QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group.

http://www.surveyanalytics.com

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Feature - Split Ballot Testing and Survey Routers

I wanted to give you an update on a new feature that we launched on Monday - Survey Routers and Split Ballot Testing.

Simply put, split ballot testing allows you to create a unique URL that points to two (or more) surveys and it randomly cycles through each of the surveys.  The experiment could be different versions of a survey, or different surveys, etc. The goal is to see if any differences exist between the versions of the survey or how users behave differently.

Some examples where we've successfully used split ballot testing:
  • Two different versions of a survey (one with a larger comment box and one with a smaller one) - to see if users actually type in more comments -- if the comment box is larger.
  • To randomly subdivide the sample into 4 parts - where each group gets a version of the creative that we wanted in-depth feedback on

The Split Ballot Testing model allows your research to be more robust. To setup a split-ballot test for your survey please see the screenshot below (detailed instructions in a link below.)

Survey Software Help Image
Detailed Help:
http://www.surveyanalytics.com/help/588.html

On the same note, we also have another mode "Target Mode" that the survey router can be used. This is helpful when you have a survey that is embedded in your application or website. We've had requests from clients who want to change the survey (without changing the URL) - since it's embedded into the application. The "Target Mode" allows you to create another Unique URL to your survey - which can be targeted towards any survey. Some example use-cases:

  • An "Un-Install" survey that goes out when someone un-installs the software. The survey URL will remain the same - but the researchers can now target different versions of the survey as the survey evolves
  • A "monthly" survey - where the URL remains the same, but the researchers can target the survey for each month using the point-and-click interface.
Screenshot:

Survey Software Help Image

Friday, October 8, 2010

Secondary Research Tip: Set Google Alerts to Collect Customer News

The latest Research Access post talks about how people get their news.  One of the characteristics of today's technology is that you now have the ability to collect only the news you want.  And that can make a difference in how you view the world.

At the same time, filtering through the plethora of content to get to the news you need is fairly easy to do.  And taking a few minutes to set this up can give you real insight into where to go next with your marketing strategy.

One of the trends in market research is analyzing social media chatter.  The best and easiest way to do that is to set up a Google Alert for the following:

  • Your name, the name of your CEO and management team

  • Your company name

  • Product and service names

  • Industry keywords

  • Customer names

  • Names of products that are connected to your product or service


This is just a short list- the more creative you get, the better your information will be.  Think about creating alerts or filters for specific phrases that people in your industry use.

How to Set Up a Google Alert



  • Head over to the Google Alert page - http://www.google.com/alerts - like everything else with Google it's simply designed and straightforward.






  • Then enter the name, phrase or term you are looking for.  Enter them one at a time.  Each entry will become an alert.

  • You can specify WHERE you want the filter to scan, how often to deliver the items and which email to deliver them to.


That is all there is to it.  It's so simple and easy, you can't afford not to have several of these running.

What to DO With The Alerts

Once the alerts start trickling into your email you have choices:

  • Collect them to see what pattern emerges

  • Respond to them.  You might get an alert that someone has mentioned you in a PR piece.  If it's a good thing - then reach out and say thank you.  If the alert is of a comment that shows you or your company in a bad light - the best thing to do is to create additional content on your blog or web site that addresses this issue in a positive way - without getting into an internet feud about it.


Google Alert is your very own clipping service.  The great news is that it doesn't miss a beat.  You never have to worry that someone didn't scan properly and missed an important bit of news.

How to Use the Information

The best way to use the information is to identify trends and patterns.  Since so much content is indexed by Google - including Twitter - you will find yourself awash in a variety of voices.  The key will be in the analysis.

My recommendation is to literally code it - like you would any other open ended responses.  Then write a report for yourself or your team to summarize what's going on.  After a few weeks or months, you'll really start seeing what's on the minds of your market.

Start your Google Alerts today and see what patterns emerge.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Webinar Follow Up: Do This, Not That: Localizing Your International Surveys



On Tues Oct 5th, 2010, SurveyAnalytics teamed up with Language Intelligence to present:

"Do This, Not That: Localizing your International Survey."

This presentation was attended by 28 participants who wanted to learn how to localize surveys and implement it into their international research strategies.

Main questions addressed:

  • How do you prepare your English survey so that accurate localization is possible?

  • How can you be sure that the data collected will accurately represent your international markets?

  • How will you know that your translated surveys are culturally appropriate?

  • What are some common pitfalls to avoid?


1) Demographic and Qualifying Questions.

- Education. Education systems differ between countries; a standard education list from the US won't necessary make sense in all locales. There may need to be fewer or more options, and they may not have a 1-to1 correspondence with the US educational system. Education for people young and old are different in Europe vs. Asia vs. the US vs. the rest of the world.

- Income. Annual or monthly incomes will depend on the location. In many European countries, for example, people talk about monthly income. In Spain, income is discussed after taxes have been taken out.

It's also important to consider that a 1 to 1 currency conversion will usually not work. The market research company should provide currency amounts that make sense in the locale where the survey is being fielded

2) The Use of Scales




- Agreement scales: should they be used as above, or is it preferable to have a 10 point scale where 1 is Strongly Disagree, and 10 is Strongly Agree, and the participant can choose their rating based on that. It's not easy to translate the varying degrees of agreement in all languages. Therefore, it's good to present one low-end and one high-end data point and leave the middle for respondent interpretation.

Other types of scales: Color scales or skin tone scales, for example, may also pose localization problems because other languages may not be able to communicate subtle differences among the choices.

3) Using Placeholders.

- Placeholders will often present problems in translation.

The typical "unsafe" placeholders include: nouns; partial clauses or sentences; placeholders that follow a preposition or pronoun; stores/locations where products may be available.

"Safe" placeholders are those that include whole sentences, and brand names (although it's important to make sure these brands are available in the target locale.)

Below are some examples of safe/unsafe placeholders:



With the placeholder example shown it's important to consider other potential localization problems. For example, do people in the target country typically buy chips at all of the locations in list b? Are all brands available in all countries where the survey is being fielded? For example, grocery and convenient stores are similar in Spain; for the most part groceries are bought at the market, convenient stores, or supermarkets. Drug stores in Spain don't sell items like chips and other snacks.

Make sure your placeholder questions are applicable to its location.

4) Make your questions relevant to your target audience.



Localization issues are clear here: college equivalents, sport equivalent, ranking and availability/interest of this type of information, etc.The question above is strictly applicable to the US market. To the rest of the world it wouldn't make sense. The lesson here is to localize this question to the popular sports that have equivalent popularity levels in other countries.

5) Identify What's Popular with your Audience.



There are several issues with this list: Basic word choice, availability of specific resources (ex. different brands in different companies), most popular sites may be different for various countries for those types of services, etc.

6) Employee Surveys - Common Localization Issues
Division/Group names: Should they be kept in English or translated?  A term base would be ideal for accuracy and consistency.

- Company-specific acronyms
: Should acronyms be retained? Will employees in branches throughout the world understand the acronyms as they appear in English? Should definitions be provided in the target languages?

- Employee benefits: Different benefit packages are available in different countries such as vacation time, healthcare, flextime, meals, transportation, etc.

- Working conditions: Assumptions or implied opinions about working conditions and standards around them should be avoided in questions. What we may view as inappropriate by U.S. standards may be the norm in some of your target countries. Questions about working conditions may come off as confusing or culturally insensitive. Also, how much employees can impact their work environments will vary from country to country.

- Boss/employee evaluations: It may be inappropriate in some locations to directly ask the respondent to critique his/her boss. For example, in Japan, workers may not feel comfortable providing candid responses. The result can be very vanilla responses or none.

For those who are looking to have your surveys translated and localized for you, SurveyAnalytics and Language Intelligence have partnered together to make it easier and more affordable than ever!



  1. Step I: Set up the entire survey in your account in your primary language.

  2. Step II: Go To:

    • Login »  Surveys »  Integration »  Integration Tools »  Translation Service


    Add the required languages to your survey. You can add multiple languages.




Step III: Request and accept the quote for translation. Quote needs to be requested for each language individually.

Survey Software Help Image

It only takes 2 business days for Language Intelligence to translate your survey and it will be imported into your SurveyAnalytics account waiting for you to deploy your survey.

Slides from presentation

SurveyAnalytics Localization Slides:


Localizationwebinar.1http://static.slidesharecdn.com/swf/ssplayer2.swf?doc=localization-sawebinar-1-101005203517-phpapp01&stripped_title=localizationwebinar1&userName=surveyanalytics



Language Intelligence Slides:
http://blog.languageintelligence.com/do-this-not-that-localizing-your-international-surveys-presentation-slides/

Recording Available to View:


http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1
Slides from Language Intelligence will be posted in 2 business days.


About the Presenters:

As Director, Global Client Solutions at Language Intelligence, Lisa Pietrangeli works with clients to develop internationalization strategies for all stages of the content development process, including authoring, terminology management, XML implementation, translation and output finalization. Her experience working in many areas of the business, including project management, resource selection and management, localization consulting, quality management and management of the localization project management staff, allows her to approach translation challenges from diverse perspectives. With this insight, Lisa is able to help clients streamline their process, allowing them to set the stage for higher quality translations with increased consistency, quicker turnarounds, and better cost efficiency. Lisa holds degrees in Art History, Spanish, Italian and certification in American Sign Language. She has been with Language Intelligence since 2000.

Esther LaVielle is the Chief Education Director at QuestionPro and 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 QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group. http://www.surveyanalytics.com
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