Dealing With Market Research Problems

For those out there who run their own business, especially a service based business, or do a lot of the sales and proposal work, I am sure that you have been involved with a potential client or tried to work up a proposal that you just cannot seem to get quite right.

I am currently in that predicament.  As I write this blog, I am working on a proposal that I feel like is one of the toughest I have ever written.  The potential client is a great opportunity and the conversations I have had so far, make me want to really work on the project.  However, the situation I find myself in is trying to figure out how to deliver the best market research project with a difficult set of criteria.  A lot of it has to do with problems that we try to work around, and sometimes, not so successfully. Read more of this post

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Quantitative and Qualitative Research – Not Mutually Exclusive Methodologies

Market ResearchI know a fair amount of people who do market research. Of all the people I know personally and professionally, most of them are divided into people who do quantitative research and those that do qualitative research. There are companies that do both, but generally, the people within these companies focus on one or the either.

However, just because these individuals tend to focus on one side of the business or the other, does not mean that your research needs to be purely quantitative or qualitative research.

Read more of this post

Unique Market Research Techniques

Focus GroupDuring a meeting I attended last week, it was brought up on how to do research for a specific product.  The conversation led to unique qualitative research ideas.  Although ideas can  be as numerous as the stars in the sky, making sure that results are reliable from a research perspective needs to be kept in mind.

Over my time doing  research, I have done a fair amount of traditional market research projects.  However, I have had the opportunity to either develop or hear of numerous unique types of research projects.  Some examples are: Read more of this post

How To Write A Good Survey

I recently had the opportunity to look over the results of a participant survey for a organization that put on a week long conference.  While I did not write the survey, I was analyzing the data to help them out for next years conference.  While I was looking at the results, I remembered that there were some good rules of thumb to remember when writing a survey to get better responses and response rates.

survey example

Here are some easy one to think about when developing your survey.
  • Purpose of survey: Before you start, you need to identify the purpose and what are the “key learnings” you want to know. List them out. The questions you will ask for a market depth survey is very different than a customer satisfaction survey. Be sure to include demographics to make sure you get your buyer profile.
  • Execution of survey: How the survey is going to be executed is just as important as the survey itself. Included in this is the list you are sending the survey. Mail surveys versus email surveys have different Expected response rates. A cold list versus an online panel versus a customer list will get varying responses.
  • Length & Complexity: This needs to be considered in conjunction with who you are sending the survey to. Customers are more likely to answer longer and more complex surveys. Those with no connection to your company, are not as likely to answer that same survey. Also, you need to consider any type of incentive to promote your response rate. The longer and more complex, the better the incentive.
  • Question bias: This is something even seasoned survey writers fall in to. I remember a marketing class I had that had a handout showing questions from statistically accurate surveys. On the surveys, there were essentially the same question, but with dramatically different results because of the wording of the questions.
  • Ratings vs Rankings: Ask five different market researchers the scale system they like, and you will likely get six different answers. Odd scale versus even scale. Five-point versus seven-point. Six-point versus ten-point. These are all things to consider. The more points the more finite between the values. Odd scales have a mid-point, when even scales force someone to be either positive or negative. Asking rankings are generally not a good idea. This is because of two main reasons. You cannot synthesize these answers across respondents. My difference between #1 and #2 is likely different than your difference between #1 and #2. Also, my difference between #1 and #2 could be different between #11 and #12.
  • Open-Ended Questions: When filled out on surveys, these are great. However, it is only when they are filled out. A lot of people tend to skip these questions. Be sure to limit them and use them as only as needed. Also, be sure to use some form of text analytics if you have a larger group of respondents.

Surveys can help shape strategy and answer pressing operational and product questions. However, be sure to make sure that the survey serves your needs based on posing good questions.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Using Market Research for Strategy

When I introduce myself to someone new or I get asked at a networking function what I do, I respond to them that I provide market research to small businesses for strategic planning purposes.  I emphasize the “for strategic planning purposes”.  Market research can be just a lot of data.  However, by making it useful, makes market research provide information to its ultimate user; useful information.

Market Research StrategyTraditionally, market research has been more of a tactical department within companies.  Management determines there is a problem or an opportunity to evaluate.  Then, market research analyzes the problem or opportunity with an appropriate quantitative or qualitative methodology.  After that, the results are presented and a decision is made based on those results.

However, more and more companies are looking for those that do their market research to be more strategic in nature.  In a study by the Market Research Executive Board, the study found that 65% of senior leaders want market research to be a strategic partner.  However, only 25% of senior leaders view market research in that way.  In today’s employment marketplace, the roles of people not evolving with the times is just not going to continue to happen.  This certainly extends to those in market research, especially as more and more is being expected of them.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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