The Case For Going Green in Home Building

The wave of the future is green construction

I started being involved in the hombuilding industry back in 2000 in Southern California.  At that time, the “green” concept was still in its infancy.  Many of the concepts had been around for a number of years.  And I feel like many home buyers wanted energy efficient homes.  Although there was a fair amount of clamoring for this, the research showed (through both internal studies as well as outside studies) that the value was just not there.  It would have cost significantly more to include energy efficient aspects in the design and features of the homes than buyers were willing to pay for them.

The value proposition started to shift, albeit slightly, a few years later when California started to experience rolling blackouts, intentionally engineered electrical power shutdowns where electricity delivery is stopped for non-overlapping periods of time over geographical regions that was mainly do the insufficient generation capacity in regards to demand. Read more of this post

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Create Actionable Results To Show Market Research Value

Woman ReadingOver the past two years, I have been intentional about reading more.  For most of my professional life, I would generally read articles from reliable news based or association sites.  At the time, I just did not see the value of reading anything else.  It was also I did not take the time to do so either.

But recently I have been expanding my reading horizons by not only reading more, but to include fiction, non-fiction, and blogs.  One market research blog I especially like reading is from Annie Pettit (a market research guru); and one of her recent blog postings made me think, again, about the value of market research.

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The Value of Market Research

ValueOn a recent blog post, I had a reader comment that they appreciated the post and the tips I provided, but they did not see the value of market research.  This was driven by the fact, as the reader put it, that market research is expensive.  For those of you who are reading this that are in the market research industry, I am sure you have heard this time and time again.  For those readers not withing the industry, you may even be thinking this. Read more of this post

Why Your Business Needs Focus Groups

Focus Group“I really don’t think I need any focus groups done.”  This is what a business owner recently told me when I was talking to them at a recent networking function.  Now generally, I disagreed.  However, I had to inquire why this was.  The next answer was simple to him, “I just don’t see the value in them for what I do.”

Focus Groups can help any business, whether it is consumer-based or business-based, in a variety of areas.  The purpose of focus groups is to acquire direct customer based feedback regarding new products or services.  Focus groups allow companies that want to develop, package, name, or test market a new product or service before it is made available to the public.  This can provide invaluable information about the potential market acceptance of the product.

In its basic form, a focus group is an interview with a pre-selected, small group of respondents.  As with all forms of market research, there are positive and negative aspects of using focus groups over other forms of market research, like surveys.

Benefits of focus groups

  • Group discussion produces data and insights that would be difficult to achieve without group interaction.  With participants listening to others’ verbalize their thoughts, it prompts thoughts from others.
  • Provides feedback for items that are tangible in nature, in need of comparison, or difficult to explain in writing.  Examples might include
      • Advertising layout
      • Logos
      • Customer satisfaction program

Problems and criticism of focus groups

  • Focus groups and other forms of qualitative research are not statistically valid.  In other words, you cannot try to prove or make a reliability decision on results of focus groups.
  • There is the potential for group think and observer dependency (results obtained are influenced by the researcher).this rises the question of validity. 
  • Participants may either hold back on their responses and/or try to answer the moderator’s questions with answers the participants feel that the moderator wants to hear.  Another issue with the focus group setting is the lack of anonymity. With all of the other participants, there can not be any guarantee of confidentiality. 
  • Some also argue that focus groups are often useless, and frequently cause more trouble than they are intended to solve.  With focus groups often aiming to please rather than offering their own opinions or evaluations, and with data often cherry picked to support a foregone conclusion.

With all the positives and negatives, having a trained focus group moderator will help address all of these areas of concerns. 

What have you done focus groups on for you business?  If you have not done any focus groups, what areas do you think you can use some?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their 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 customers, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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