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Showing posts from 2010

Top 10 Articles on Survey Analytics Blog

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 busin…

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 char…

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!

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 an…

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:

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

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 …

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 …

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:

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 re…

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 Leadershipis 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…

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 abi…

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 ofte…

"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, offeringalternatives in ‘handmade Christmas’ gifts including digital and artisinal choices, will be hot this season, as 65% of Ameri…

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 tr…

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.

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.
How the Burning Issue Came to Be -- WHAT HAPPENED?!

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 f…

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 especi…

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 fe…

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 terr…

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 oppor…

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:…

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.

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 ge…

Come Meet SurveyAnalytics at The Market Research Event


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.


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 y…

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


My objective was to incorporate eCourses, webinars and teleseminars into 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 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 …

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


November 16th, 2010

9:00 AM PST

Sign up Today:

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 compan…

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 ba…