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Showing posts from March, 2010

Questionnaire Length: The Long and Short of Participant Engagement

Survey length in online interviews continues to be a bone of contention among people all along the marketing research continuum. While some within the industry recommend keeping questionnaires short to promote participant engagement, others often dismiss this advice. Short questionnaires, they assert, won’t unearth the depth and breadth of information that is needed.

As a sample provider offering guidance based on research, SSI suggests keeping online interview length at 20 minutes or less. Generally, when interview length increases, fatigue also increases and, conversely, attention span decreases potentially damaging data integrity. In effect, researchers who insist on longer questionnaires, sincerely believing they’ll get more information, may, in actuality, be sabotaging their efforts.

Research Design

In order to more fully understand the possible effects of survey length, fatigue and subsequent response quality, SSI recently fielded two surveys: one long and one short. This study rep…

Optimized Copywriting: Help the Search Engines Recommend Your Company

We don't often think about Search Engine Optimization as "research" or "market research".  In fact, the behavioral data that comes out of a good search engine strategy can make your site more appealing to your target audience and more profitable for you.

This is another installment of our monthly series on search engine strategies from The Search Guru.  Enjoy.



Last month’s blog post focused on creating compelling benefit statements in your copywriting. Now we’ll offer tips on positioning your site so that more people can read about those benefits – and then purchase your products and/or services.

There is a simple, effective way to help the search engines “understand” your copy so that, when people search on GoogleYahoo!, Bing and the like, YOUR company can appear as a result.

We’re talking about using an effective internal linking strategy to help boost the visibility of your company’s website.

What is Internal Linking?

A “link” is hyperlinked text that leads a si…

How to Characterize Users and Usage to Design Better Products and Services

At Blink we create behavioral profiles, along with key scenarios, to characterize users and usage.

If you have been around system design in the past several years, you have no doubt encountered personas: bright, whole, wholesome (and entirely fictional) users complete with family members, college degrees, cars, and recreational interests.

Personas are created to help project team members understand and empathize with users. This, in turn, should help drive better design decisions—creating features that will do the best job possible in meeting user needs. Unfortunately, there is a temptation with personas to focus on the personalizing details, giving less emphasis to the behavioral characteristics and motivations that should drive system design. Where this happens, personas have little value.

At Blink we prefer to characterize users in terms of behavioral profiles, devoid of personalizing details. But we aren’t opposed to telling a story to get project stakeholders to empathize with users…

5 Lessons from Usability Testing: Designing for the Real World

When designing a new system (or redesigning an existing one), it’s important to keep the user's real-world context in mind. A lot of thought and effort will hopefully go into making sure the product delivers the right set of features, has the right look and feel, and abides by standard UI conventions. But designs that seem solid conceptually can still fail if they do not take into account how real users will interact with them in the real world. So we need to ask:

Where, when, and how will users engage with the system? How does this constrain the type of interaction that is possible?
What do users need to do physically and cognitively to use the system effectively? Is this realistic for the target users?
How will the interaction unfold over real time and in real space? Does the flow work logistically, as well as conceptually?
Besides the expected user, who else will participate in the interaction (directly or indirectly)? Does this change anything?

To illustrate how real-world logistic…

Eye tracking usability studies: what are users really looking at?

To determine what usability study participants look at and take in while viewing online media, we used to watch their mouse cursors, interactions with links and controls, and body language. We also listened carefully to their think-aloud narratives and comments. These traditional testing techniques, however, could never tell us definitively what users notice and what they don’t. Eye tracking usability studies open up a new frontier.

Incorporating an eye tracker in a usability test gives us more precise information about how discoverable or attention-grabbing visual elements such as navigation structures, screen graphics, links, text, multimedia content, or promotions are to study participants.

Eye-tracking benefits

Eye tracking data can help clients improve and streamline designs. By identifying and understanding individual and common user gaze patterns and eye movements when viewing online content, we can address research questions such as:

What do users look at first on our home page (o…

10-Point Checklist for Questionnaire Design

About the Webinar: Ryma's April 7th webinar will be presented at noon ET by Esther Rmah and Kathryn Korostoff. Regardless of whether your planning your first market research questionnaire or your 10,000th, this webinar is for you if you ever see yourself considering a customer survey again.

The 10 steps for a stress-free customer survey process will contain bits of information that is a result of decades of practice. Esther and Kathryn will be discussing a simple process to write a successful survey, and basic tips when using an online survey tool to ensure data reliability.

Register for the 10-Point Checklist Seminar or Sign up to receive announcements about upcoming seminars.

About the Presenters: Kathryn Korostoff is a market research professional with a special interest in how organizations acquire, manage, and apply market research. Over the past 20 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in trade …

The Eyes Have It: What You Need to Know About Eye Contact

There’s a lot you can learn from considering the phenomenon of eye contact.  Just a fraction of a second’s eye contact yields a huge amount of information that you can – and do – use as you communicate with your interlocutor.  Thinking about how this works, and why we’ve evolved to do it, can pay big dividends. Take a look at this picture of three women and consider the amount of information you get almost instantly just by looking at their eyes.  For just a little time invested you know a lot about if each person is happy or sad, if she’s anxious or if she’s at peace.
Eye contact is a big part of any conversation.  And as you absorb the information – the feedback – you get from eye contact while having that conversation, you’ll find that you make subtle course corrections in what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.
This is a perfect, beautiful example of a feedback loop.  What is it that makes this feedback loop so successful?  In thinking about this, two things jump out at us.  Fi…

Conjoint Analysis - Better Charts and Updates to Market Segmentation Simulator

Quick update on Conjoint Analysis - We've added in some charting options to the Relative Importance utility:

Screenshot below:




The Market Segmentation Simulator also has been enhanced and updated with a better user interface:










Benchmarking - A Live Experiment in Co-Creation - Are you ready for this?

Last week as we were batting around our "Web Analytics" integration strategy (Omniture, Google Analytics) - we thought up of an interesting concept that I'd like to share with all our readers and more importantly, get you to comment and discuss this.


Problem Statement:
We were talking to WebTrends about integrating surveys (stated-choice data) with behavioral data. We already do this with Google Analytics and Omniture SiteCatalyst. The folks from WebTrends asked us an obvious quesiton - How many customers/users do we have who have WebTrends deployed? - Good Question. So obviously, we thought, we can simply post a survey on the blog and get at least an idea (the blog in general represents our early adopters and more engaged customer base) - of how the distribution of the Web Analytics solutions is. Google Analytics, Vs. Omniture Vs. Webtrends Vs. Clicky Vs. Hitwise

Easy enough - we can get this done. Hell we don't even have to pay for Survey Software!

Then something dawns…

How to Find Out if Your Brand is Bland

I subscribe to "Trendwatching."  If you don't you should.  This is a terrific resource for marketers, business owners and executives at all levels and in all industries.  Trendwatching is an organization dedicated to doing exactly what the name implies -- watching trends, naming trends and reporting on them to those who don't have the time or expertise to synthesize all the information.

They use a variety of ways to collect this information -- mostly by having feet on the ground all over the world who self report.  But this is the first time I've seen this kind of information collection and I'm going to show you a series of them over the next week so that you can not only see these powerful presentations - but get some ideas about how you can use this methodology for yourself.

The key in each of these video presentations in the series is the question they ask - and their collection methodology.  With a few basic clicks of a video editor - they've pulled tog…

5 Steps Toward Turning Your Commodity Into a Great Customer Experience

When a consumer buys a service there are a set of intangible activities carried out on his/her behalf.  When a consumer buys an experience, however, he/she buys a set of memorable events that a company has created - as in a theatrical play - to engage him/her in a personal way.  Engaging a customer in a personal way gains their trust and their continued loyalty as well.

The nature of economic value follows a natural progression from commodities to goods to services and then to experiences.  Each step along the way adds value.  Think of coffee.  The coffee bean is a commodity to be sure.  It is widely traded on the futures market and is a classic example of economic elasticity.  When it is roasted and packaged it now becomes a good that is distributed throughout various retail channels.  When it is brewed it now becomes a service that is available at cafe's, restaurants, etc.  When it is served in a high-end restaurant or espresso bar, where the ordering, creation, and consumption o…

There's Capital and then There is Capital

How important is money in connecting influential people to each other? Surely, it plays a large factor but what is most curious is that a person’s riches and the size and power of his circle of influence do not correlate particularly well.  There is one core exception to this:  the VERY rich who, almost by definition, are connected to centers of power.  Billionaires are in a club of their own but centimillionaires and decimillionaires are not. To be clear, these are arbitrary demarcations but the spirit of the point is clear:  there are kinds of capital, outside of financial wealth, that correlate to influence.

Why discuss this?  Is it not obvious?  Has this idea not been elevated countless times into the pantheon of clichés- “Money isn’t everything” or “Can’t buy me love.”


Well, hold on. In societies that worship Mammon, the cliché works the other way too.  After all “health is wealth” and “I feel like a million bucks” are phrases often heard.   The equation of all things good to money…

Optimized Copywriting: Transform Features into Compelling Benefits

Last month’s blog post focused on the basics of optimized copywriting – text that uses relevant keyphrases to attract increased targeted traffic to your website.

This month, we’ll delve more deeply into how to write persuasive text that helps to convert prospects into buyers. We’ll focus on the differences between writing about features of your products and/or services and the benefits of those products and/or services – and demonstrate how compelling benefit statements draw in prospects.

Features of Products and Services

Product example: Let’s say that you’re selling access to a web app that allows companies to get quick snapshots of their current cash flow positions.

The features of your product might include tools that allow for fast easy entry of data and for the creation of reports that organize your information in helpful ways.

Service example: Maybe you own a professional organizer business. An important feature of your service package may include a follow up consultation with your …

Best of Breed - Moving help Videos to BrightCove

We at are _generally_ a fan of "build" in the "build vs. buy" debate. Why? - Well for one we are techie geeks and we can build whatever we want. But video hosting is one thing we give up on!

We are moving all our videos to BrightCove. We've tried hosting our videos internally with a custom built Flash Movie player from FlowPlayer. It worked - well most of the time - and either because of the way we use it we never could get it to work consistently on all browsers/operating systems etc. This coupled with our rising bandwidth costs - we decided to go with a commercial video hosting service - Brightcove.

This actually fits in well with the other axiom - "Best of Breed" - we are good at hosting surveys. BrightCove is focused on hosting video content! The other free alternatives (YouTube, Vimeo etc.) are free of personal use only and not generally allowed for commercial use. We found that out the hard way! If you are hosting videos on an on-going basis, you …

Webinar: 10-Point Checklist for Questionnaire Design

This post comes from Product Management View:

About the Webinar: Ryma's April 7th webinar will be presented at noon ET by Esther Rmah and Kathryn Korostoff. Regardless of whether you are planning your first market research questionnaire or your 10,000th, this webinar is for you if you ever see yourself considering a customer survey again.

The 10 steps for a stress-free customer survey process will contain bits of information that is a result of decades of practice. Esther and Kathryn will be discussing a simple process to write a successful survey, and basic tips when using an online survey tool to ensure data reliability.

About the Presenters: Kathryn Korostoff is a market research professional with a special interest in how organizations acquire, manage, and apply market research. Over the past 20 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in trade magazines. Currently, Kathryn spends her time assisting …

Complex Quota Control - MultiVariable Controls - Market Research Update

We've added a new tool for Complex / Multi-Variable Quota Control - with a dashboard to view (in real-time) how the cells of the quota are getting filled:

Detailed Help:
http://surveyanalytics.com/help/484.html