Monday, February 28, 2011

Can Being Stuck on the "Right Methodology" Get You the Wrong Answer?

There is a super post over at Research Access from Ron Sellers  that originally appeared on Green Book Blog that points out how often we get stuck in the rut of fighting for the right methodology - when we should be fighting about the BEST methodology to get the information we need.

There don't seem to be any hard and fast rules about specifically which methods are right, that seems to be up to the expertise of the researcher and the decisions that they are looking to make which will be using the data they are collecting.

It's funny how we get sidetracked by the shiny new tools and ways to get at things and then forget about the basics; use qualitative, exploratory tools to get to the hard questions.  Then use more specific quantitative tools to gather the statistically relevant information that will help you predict what the larger overall population will do.

It's kind of like cooking isn't it?  The same ingredients in the hands of a novice yield completely different results than they do in the hands of an Iron Chef!

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Webinar followup: Online Panel Management-An Opportunity to Enhance Your Research Practice

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Thank you for joining us in our 1 hour presentation: Online Panel Management-An Opportunity to Enhance Your Research Practice.

Feel free to download the slides and let us know if you have further questions. A recording for this presentation is not available due to technical audio difficulties. We plan to schedule another panel webinar within the next month. Make sure to sign up for the next Panel presentation by Rudly Raphael of SurveyAnalytics.

Infographics Are a Great Way to Show Research Data AND Drive Traffic to Your Site

The really great thing about the merging of art, design and technology is the fun new ways that we can present data.  There is no excuse for killing your audience with boring charts and tables.  Infographics are here to not only inform the reader about data and statistics, but get them engaged and excited enough to pass the resource on to others.

What's Infographics?
(Information Graphics) An umbrella term for illustrations and charts that instruct people, which otherwise would be difficult or impossible with only text. Infographics are used worldwide in every discipline from road maps and street signs to the many technical drawings in this encyclopedia.

You can't begin to appreciate how powerful an infographic is until you actually see them in action.  In fact, infographics are spreading to all forms of communication, not just presentations - but resume's too.  Take a look at some of these.


And then there are the really good infographics that explain processes or data that are just too hard to "get" any other way.  There are more cool infographic resumes to look at over at Cool Infographics Blog.

Check out these infographics about social media



There are 65 Social Media Infographics you can look at courtesy of Pamorama Blog.

Why market Research is More Relevant than EVER

There's a trend going on that may seem threatening to market research on the outside, but is actually a huge whopping opportunity on the inside and here it is -

Data is MORE important than EVER.  But UNDERSTANDING data and putting it into a context that helps marketers develop strategies and sales people sell is an area where market research hasn't explored as much as it's needed.

Providing data and context so that the creatives can create infographics that help people understand products, services, industries and markets is HUGELY important!

So You Want to Create Your Own Infographic?

Great - you're sold and now you want to get on creating an infographic!  How do you even begin?

  1. Throw down all the data - You're going to need a main point, theme or message (point #2) and if you don't have one, then the best thing to do is to throw down ALL the data that you have and start looking for comparisons, contrasts and what images come to mind as you look at the data.

  2. What's it all about?  What's the burning issue you want to communicate?  Is there a main theme that you're trying to represent?  For example, if you are presenting data about social media - you can use the social media icons .  If the point of your data is to show relationships, then think about what shows a relationships such as a family tree.  If music is a theme, then think about instruments or sheet music.  You get the picture.  Use the examples to spur ideas.

  3. Keep it as simple as possible.  This requires really understanding the data and what it is telling you.  Reduce it down to its simplest visual form.

  4. Decide on a basic type of infographic - You can choose a timeline, a Venn diagram, flow charts and maps.  The possibilities are endless.

  5. Give yourself time and a break.  Unless you're a statistical and graphic genius, chances are you will go through several iterations and drafts.  Don't get discouraged.

Here is a link to a bunch of free tools and resources where you can create your own infographics.

Have you already created an infographic - share it with us by leaving a link to your graphic in the comments.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Webinar Follow-Up: Learn How to Run A Conjoint Analysis Project in 1 Hour

[brightcove vid=801070907001&exp3=69413262001&surl=,AAAAEB37SCE~,qPzYMoHg_QVXfN_ppi7Wcrgb-jDlNozv&w=486&h=412]
[slideshare id=7034768&doc=surveyanalyticsconjointanalysis1-110223140055-phpapp02]

Thank you for attending our webinar today. Here is the recording and slides for our presentation. Please download and review as needed.

Let us know if you have further questions regarding your interest in SurveyAnalytics Conjoint Analysis tool and we will be happy to assist you.

Online panel management - an opportunity to enhance your research practice.

With more than 75% of the US population currently online, combined with an astounding global internet penetration, it’s no surprise  that more and more organizations are developing and managing their own custom online panels.  A pre-recruited online panel community will keep your customers engaged, increase response rate, provide better data quality for your research and marketing initiatives and most importantly, reduce project cost.

While a proprietary panel has strong benefits, the elements of design, management, maintenance and the selection of an effective panel management solution are critical to the health of the panel.

If you’re considering an online panel management solution but don’t know where to begin, or have been hindered by:

  • Expensive software licensing fees

  • Outrageous  survey data collection charges

  • Platforms that require extensive IT expertise to manage your panel

  • Solutions with pretty graphics, but anemic in panel management features

  • Solutions that are just “overkill”

Please join Rudly Raphael, our Director of Panel Solutions for a comprehensive Webinar on the in's and out's of developing your own panel for research. We will also discuss CONFIDENCE SCORE - A patent pending solution integrated within MicroPanel designed for the selection of more accurate and richer sample, which ultimately improves survey data quality.

Webinar Registration:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chrome Users Now Have New Extension for Data Management

This isn't exactly a survey application, but it came in handy the other day while I was scheduling appointments for in-depth interviews.

It's a new Google Chrome Extension called Automato.  Here is the quick explanation that I received:

Automato is a Google Chrome browser extension that helps regular folks solve problems related to workflow, data entry, and automation. With Automato, users can easily integrate their data with existing web services. Users can connect data sources (CSV files, Google Docs spreadsheets, data collected from Wufoo forms) to 3rd party web services by simply “drawing” data connections on top of the web pages they’re integrating with.

Unlike “enterprise” data-integration solutions, Automato doesn’t require IT team involvement and doesn’t detour the user. Automato is lightweight, deployed at the end-user level, and designed to seamlessly augment the end-user’s existing workflow.

Automato can help small businesses, individuals, and anyone who depends on web-based SaaS solutions save time, money, and increase productivity.

The explanation was fine - but the real benefit came in the form of a video on how to do a mail merge with your Google Gmail!  This was exciting AND it was exactly what I needed to do.  So this was the right app at the right time for me.

When I asked Adam Varga, the developer about some market research applications he gave me this quickie:
How about creating a "Customer Satisfaction" with an added question at the end where the survey taker can provide an email address if they want. Then the survey taker can export the raw data from the survey as a CSV... and load that CSV into Automato... and easily respond to customers in Gmail, by mapping the Question Pro mail field to the "to" field in Gmail?

If you're a Chrome Browser User, Download your Automato app now and give it a shot!

One more quick cool thing is that Automato will appear in your menu when you are saving your survey data.  So when you click on your survey data link -- you will have the option to send it to Automato!  Very Cool.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tools to Help You Analyze Social Media Chatter

There is no longer any question about whether or not social media is a fad or is of any use.  The answer to that question is YES - but only if you know how to read it and use it to achieve your goals.

Up until about a year ago, conversations about social media were about the tools and the web sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, etc.  what they were and how to use them.  This conversation has evolved to how to leverage these tools in your business.  In other words -- there's no doubt that people are communicating and connecting via social media.  Now the next level of conversation is how to make it mean something.

Right now, we have lots of data and very little information.  This is changing with the advent of new tools that will help us understand how to become better at using the technology we have.

Getting Better at Social Media - It's not Quantity, it's Quality

As in every other phase of life, it's not quantity, it's quality.  The same is true for your social media interactions.  It used to be about having lots of Twitter followers, and now it's about having the right Twitter followers and Tweeting the right things.  The way to measure the quality of your Twitter stream is through tools like Klout.

Klout measures your overall influence on the web.  To what degree to people take what you say seriously enough to pass it on and share it with others.  The higher your score the better.

While no number can actually measure what we humans know as influence, this number can help you choose those individuals or brands that do have either reach or viral value.

Track Trends on Twitter

There are free tools out there that will help you track trends on Twitter.  You'll be amazed at what people are talking about -- @JustinBieber?

You can see how mentions of Justin Bieber go up in time for his movie release and for his performance on the Grammys.

More Industrial Text Analysis

If you'd like to do more intense and industrial text analysis - check out DiscoverText.  You can upload text from surveys and from any of your social media streams and create tag clouds and a variety of analyses that will help you turn data into information.

What's to Learn?

While surveys are still a valid way to collect information in order to make decisions, social media also offers a lot of opportunities for learning and listening so that you can figure out what to PUT into your survey.

Some tools are simplistic and others are sophisticated.  All that's required from us is the energy, effort and patience in understanding how to read the data and then how to interpret the data in a way that helps you take action.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Free Webinar - Wed 2/23/11@ 9AM: Learn How To Run A Discrete Choice Conjoint Analysis Project in Just 1 Hour

Webinar Presentation

Wed February 23rd, 2011

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:

About the Presenters:

As the SurveyAnalytics Executive Vice President, Andrew Jeavons has over 25 years in the market research industry. He is a frequent writer and speaker for various publications and events around the country. He has a background in psychology and statistics, and currently focuses on innovation within survey research.

Esther LaVielle is the Chief Education Director at QuestionPro and SurveyAnalytics, 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 Project Manager and has a background healthcare, hospitality, legal, and market research.

Are Your Respondents Suffering from Choice Fatigue?

I just saw this interesting article on the Neuromarketing Blog about choice fatigue.  They site several studies that show that customers really just get tired of choosing.  And a study on voting patterns in California showed that the lower an item is on the ballot, the less likely it is that people will vote on it.

And now that so much voting has gone to electronic ballots - voting starts resembling online surveys - doesn't it?  And having done both, I'd say that it isn't just the choice that's exhausting -- it's the wording of the issues -- or the questions that actually tired me out.

It takes a lot to keep a respondent engaged - and how you structure your survey can have a lot to do with that.  Here are a few hints to keep your respondents engaged while they take surveys:

- Use the "progress bar" feature - this way respondents can see how much further they have to go before it's over.

- Keep it short - Keep your surveys as short as possible.  The ideal length is under 10 minutes, preferably 5.

- Not too many pages- Don't make your respondent click through 20 pages of questions.  Group questions into categories and let them see 3 - 5 questions at a time.  Use page breaks to help respondents transition from one topic or type of question to another.

- Include pictures and media in your survey.  With Survey Analytics and QuestionPro you can increase the likelihood of respondents being more engaged by inserting video or audio.  Use the presentation text question type insert the embed code for your picture, video or audio.

- Word questions at 6th grade level - Part of the issue with choosing and voting is that the brain is processing each choice and actually living through it.  If your respondents is working too hard to understand the question, they will simply skip it or quit altogether.  Use the Flesch-Kincaid readability Index to test your copy.  To turn it on it Microsoft Word, simply click on File/Options/Proofing and check the box for "show readability staitstics".

This short list should get you moving on the right track.  What are some of your tips and tricks for keeping respondents engaged and moving through the survey process?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't Forget - They Tell You What They Wish Were True

I was reading a book that referenced this Malcolm Gladwell  tidbit about spaghetti sauce.  The story is about a very interesting bit of research around what kind of spaghetti sauce people prefer.

The interesting result that came out was that people will say one thing while actually preferring something completely different.

For example.  If you were to ask people what kind of coffee they liked - they might say they want it "rich" and "bold" and "flavorfull" which leads you to believe that they might prefer a Columbian or something really deep and robust when, instead, what they really DO when they go out and BUY coffee is buy the 1500 calorie Lattee at Starbucks.

In other words, people don't tell the truth on surveys.  They answer with what they aspire to be or to be true or they answer with what they think is cool or politically correct.  In other words, you need to actually WATCH your customers in action around the circumstances surrounding your product.

Have you had an experience like this?  Tell us about it , what you learned and how you adjusted for it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Super Bowl Watchers Responded to SurveySwipe Mobile Ethnography Surveys

The SurveySwipe Mobile Survey technology ran another exciting experiment during the Super Bowl!

They gathered basic information about the people watching the Suber Bowl, what they were watching, what ads they liked and what brands surrounded them.

A nice write-up occurred in the Greenbook Market Research Blog about the results.  You can see the Super Bowl ads that were rated highest.  Take a peek and tell us what you think.

I noticed that they didn't have any information on the actual demographics of the group and this is still a concern for me when it comes to collecting information on mobile devices.

While so many people HAVE mobile devices, the SurveySwipe app works best on the iPhone.  That means the the population is skewed toward iPhone users.  And that means that they are still AT&T users.  The even bigger question I have around that population is that I perceive that iPhone users are a "certain way" that is inherently different than say Blackberry users.

I'm curious about what you think.  If you have experience in sampling and panels, I'd love to hear your take on the information that's presented in the SurveySwipe results.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Researching Multimedia Content Using Online Surveys

Multimedia has become a huge force in business culture, industry and education and therefore can play a critical part in online market research. Practically any type of information we receive can be categorized as multimedia, from television, to magazines, to web pages, to movies, multimedia is a tremendous force in both informing and entertaining a global audience.

Use Online Research to Gather Feedback

Online research has an advantage over other methodologies in that it allows marketers to gather feedback on visual content, both static pictures and streaming video, typically at lower costs than alternative methodologies such as in-person interviews or focus groups. In addition, the growth of high speed Internet access means more people can view visual content in a survey without the frustration of slow downloading times that could lead to higher incomplete rates. Online surveys also allow for the volume of response needed to make statistical projections to a target audience, a benefit that is generally too costly to do with other methodologies.

Online surveys can be used to evaluate visual content for any of the following business situation:

  • Advertising testing

  • Package design

  • Logo recognition

  • Programming content evaluation

  • Measurement of brand variants

  • Product placement/retail display

  • Concept testing

Consider Security

When you’re measuring response to creative or copyrighted content, security and intellectual property is often an issue. While there are many security features that can be used to safeguard highly sensitive company material. There is nothing that can prevent respondents from taking a picture or video of what they see on screen and distributing it more broadly. That said, security breaches don’t happen often and are typically associated with companies or products that get a lot of buzz. Security is something to keep in mind particularly with new concept or advertising testing and balanced against the cost savings from an online methodology versus the impact of a potential security breach.

For static images, pictures can be encrypted so respondents cannot use a snag function or program to capture the picture. To add another layer of security, the picture can be broken into pieces, much like a puzzle, and each piece encoded. Video can be secured by allowing respondents to view only once and then have the video disabled. Another alternative is to have respondents click on a link within the survey that serves up the video only once per respondent identification code.

Using Video in Your Online Survey

When it comes to image and video formats there are a variety of different methods to display images and videos in an online survey. File formats most commonly used are ones that have the lightest footprint (small memory size) such as .avi , .mov, .mp4,. .mpg, .swf and .wmv. Specific tools are able to handle specific file formats. For example, Windows Media Player (.wmv) does not play an Apple file (.mov) Image and video formats can be resource-intense and require the assistance of an IT professional.

Web-based studies offer researchers a wide variety of tools to improve research capabilities. These improvements lead to more effective implementations of the research.


Advertising and concept testing, and tracking are a few ways in which technology enables more effective online research. In advertising testing respondents can be shown storyboards, rough cut ads, or fully finished ads depending on the business issue. If an advertising or PR group within an organization has completed the boards and stored them on a digital format, then the research tool should be able to easily implement them.

To determine which advertising concept is the best alternative to take the full production (concept testing), respondents can be shown a series of still shots, usually six to ten images, with commentary on the ad provider either as captions beneath the pictures or as an audio overlay. Respondents are asked basic questions to rate the appeal of the ad, their interest in the product or service as a result of the ad, and likelihood to purchase. Respondents can also be asked to rank order the concepts.

Once an ad has aired on television, it can be tracked to assess how it is performing in market. Respondents are shown either a series of stills that represent the ad or the ad itself and asked whether they recall seeing the ad and its impact on likelihood to purchase. Most companies use a series of stills pulled from the finished ad with the brand name of the product or service masked to assess whether respondents link the advertising with the brand.

Package Design

Online surveys can be used to evaluate package design as well. Respondents can be shown variations of package designs and asked to rank order their preferences. Images or videos must be stored in a digital format. The digital format can be inserted into the research tool.

Programming and Presentations

Respondents can also evaluate short programming content through online research, i.e. news clips or show segments. The respondents are first shown a video of the content and then asked a series of questions about various elements of the program.

The advantage that multimedia gives to online research is indescribable, as is the advantage it has given to our American culture, industry and education.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Participate in the Super Bowl With SurveySwipe

Survey Analytics is doing it AGAIN!  They're taking a major event in the life of Americans and asking us to share our experience of it with them.

This Sunday -- SUPER BOWL SUNDAY -- four research firms are doing the first ever mobile ethnographic study of Super Bowl watchers.  And they are using SurveySwipe to do it.

How to Participate

  1. Download the SurveySwipe mobile App.  If you've already downloaded the app, you don't have to download it again, just be sure to update the app if and when it gives you the option.

  2. iPhone users will get a push notice after half time.

  3. Respond to the surveys that will test ad recall as well as ask you to take pictures of your location and the brand you're interacting with.

SurveySwipe, BrandScan 360, Beacon Research and Hemisphere Research will be collecting and analyzing the data.  Participate and then watch this space for the results!

The Mobile Data Collection Revolution

Maybe calling it a revolution is a bit extreme.  Perhaps evolution is a better word.  Think of this as an opportunity to have that water cooler conversation logged and documented.  Not only that, but we'll have a pretty good idea of what the profile of a Super Bowl watcher is.

Forgive us if there are glitches.  SurveySwipe did a beta test during the State of the Union Address and they've been making improvements since then.   As it stands, iPhone users will probably have the best experience since the app was first created for the iPhone, but I do know that the team has been feverishly working on the Android and Blackberry platforms as well.

We hope that you'll participate and then come back and let us know what you thought.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Using Recurring Surveys to Identify Buying Triggers

Ever wish you had ESP -- yes, I'm talking about Extra Sensory Perception; the ability to see into the future, to know what people were thinking?

Well, you may NOT want to know what SOME people are thinking - but I'll bet you want to know what your prospects are thinking.  I'll bet you'd want to know when they were ready to buy what you're selling.  Don't laugh - it's actually possible to get to that information -- with a survey.

Analyze Your Successes

Did you know that most people focus on fixing a problem instead of focusing on their strengths?  This is especially true in sales.  Traditional sales management practice focuses on analyzing the details out of your failures and trying to not repeat them -- instead of analyzing the details out of your successes and trying to REPEAT them.  Believe it or not -- the results are very different.

The Prospect's Buying Cycle

  1. "It's fine --- really".  People would prefer to do nothing.  If everything is working at least somewhat as expected - they will not change.  In fact the pain of change and going through the process of change usually isn't perceived as having any value.

  2. "I gotta look for something better. "  At some point the status quo isn't really good enough.  Your prospect's radar is now up and they start noticing other people with better solutions, they start asking about what others are doing, they start searching the internet for some options.  They are learning and weeding out their choices.  This is the sweet spot of being at the top of their list.  Get their attention here and the sale is 90% YOURS.

  3. "Which one should I pick?"  At this stage of the game, they've got it down to about 3 solutions that are basically good enough.  Now price and finickiness take over.   It's a bitch to get chosen at this stage.

How to Use a Survey to Be There at The Right Time

Analyze your customers' world:If you just take a moment to analyze all your successful sales you're likely to find a common denominator.  This will be a sort of "leading indicator" that will raise the flag on when they are ready to purchase.  Here are some common indicators that people are ready to change:

  • They've switched jobs

  • They've moved

  • Their computer is more than 3 years old

  • Their wireless contract is running out

  • They're getting a divorce

  • They've had a baby

  • They got married

  • Someone died

  • Their company was bought or sold

See what I mean?  The possibilities are really endless - it just depends on finding that intersection between what you sell and what your customer wants or needs to be successful.

Profile the Perfect Prospect by Profiling Your Happy Customers. Develop a habit of surveying your customers in small doses.  As soon as they become a customer, find a way to send them a short profiling/demographic survey.  The purpose of this survey is to find out the basic demographic info.  Don't reach too far, just get the basics of gender, age, location.  Then throw in THE ONE most important question -- "Specifically what happened that triggered your purchase of our product/service"

If you have some ideas - then make this a multiple choice question with an "Other" option.  If you're not sure, then make it open ended and see what comes through.  You can make it multiple choice later.

Focus on Monitoring the Trigger

Depending on your product or service -- and how insanely curious you are - you may decide to create simple surveys that literally test for these trigger events with your customers or prospects.

For example - if you sell products or services for kids, and the trigger event is having a baby, you'll want to ask the question of how old the baby is and start tracking their growth and what they'll need at each stage.  There is a company that actually gets names of new mothers from hospitals and sends them a free age-appropriate learning toy about a week after they come home from the hospital.  It's like a toy of the month club.  If you keep the toy, you pay and if you send it back, you don't.  Every few months they send a toy that's exactly the right learning toy for the age of your child.  The marketing material is purely educational and is so good that it makes you feel like if you don't buy the toy - your child will never pick up this valuable developmental skill.

Crazy, but effective.

If you haven't thought a bout using surveys to identify and track your customer's purchasing triggers, then you are missing out on a very valuable sales and marketing tool.

Your prospects and customers will be more likely to choose you if you are there when they need you with information that they can use to make better purchasing decisions.

Interested in learning more?  Check out SHiFT - it's a super new book about how trigger events can help you increase your sales.  Read the book and use our online survey tool to create a survey to track your customer's triggers.