Blog - (Archived)

Online Surveys Require Sound Research Practices

July 17, 2006

In this internet-centric business environment, where online survey software packages are a dime a dozen, some organizations are opting to plan, design, execute, and analyze e-mail-based research initiatives in-house. However, unless those organizations have experienced research professionals on staff, many become frustrated during the process and, in the end, are highly disappointed with the results. Certainly, when your target audience is likely to be online and e-mail addresses are available, an online survey may be a viable alternative to the telephone methodology. In addition to accommodating longer questionnaires, online research enables faster data collection and is less expensive to execute. It ... Read more

Maximizing Research Response Rates

July 9, 2006

An ever-present challenge in market research is maximizing survey response rates. In fact, voicemails, caller id, gatekeepers and spam blockers are so pervasive, that it’s common for the response rate to be less than 10 percent of the study’s sample size. Here are some must-haves for achieving an adequate population of completed surveys. A Quality List: Optimally, the list is 5 to 10 times larger than the reasonable sample size established for the study, is tightly aligned to the target audience, includes names and titles, and has been recently cleaned and updated. Well-Prepared Interviewers: Even highly experienced interviewers must be trained for ... Read more

Ask Your Experts for Insights

June 11, 2006

With today’s information overload and competitive hunger for more market research, some marketing organizations may lose sight of a valuable data resource right at their fingertips: their own internal experts. Whether called subject-matter experts (SMEs) or “go-to people,” every organization has people scattered throughout who deeply know aspects of the technology, market, competitors, and more. And, if the input process is structured correctly, these experts can be an invaluable source of new ideas, market insights, message refinement, business opportunities, and innovation. Start by identifying the best known ones and documenting their expertise. Inquire with managers and others about other likely candidates. Of ... Read more

Benchmark Metrics a Must

June 7, 2006

Metrics are on the minds of executives everywhere, as many continue to look toward scorecards and other tools to measure their business initiatives. The performance gains delivered by leaders armed with true metrics are undeniable. Yet, surprisingly, many organizations’ commitment to marketing and customer relations metrics often ends up on the cutting room floor during annual budgeting. Benchmark studies are an effective method to accurately identify best (and worst) practices within marketing and customer satisfaction,?? but it can be tough to get such studies off the ground. Furthermore, organizations need to conduct them regularly, since each one serves as the benchmark ... Read more

Will the Real Customer Please Stand Up

May 30, 2006

Many government contractors walk that fine line every day: striving to nurture relationships with important contract partners who also happen to be formidable market competitors. In fact, because of that underlying competitive dynamic, many of these companies neglect to include partners in their customer satisfaction surveys,?? especially in a prime-sub relationship. We’ve worked with numerous clients who, before coming to us, excluded their primes from such research and instead attempted to survey only the government agency end users of their products or services. But, they weren’t very successful because, in many instances, the agency end user doesn’t have a deep enough ... Read more

Attention Federal Marketers: New Market Intelligence Available Now

May 22, 2006

Does your organization compete against, partner with, or want to compare itself against one or more of these federal providers? CDW-G CompUSA GTSI Cisco Dell Gateway HP Microsoft Northrop Grumman Anteon AT&T GSI BearingPoint Booz Allen Hamilton IBM Lockheed Martin SAIC If so, you’ll want to purchase our sixth annual Federal IT Marketing Report. Within its 60 pages, you’ll find not only the perceptions and decision-making factors of 500 federal IT decision makers, but also statistically valid representation from 14 different agencies. Some of the findings include the market’s awareness, favorable or unfavorable perceptions and product/service associations for these 16 firms. We also offer important considerations and resources for planning and implementing more effective marketing tactics to federal ... Read more

Sample Size is Key to Survey Success

May 5, 2006

Most marketers understand that quantitative research delivers “statistically valid” data that can be “projected” onto the market. But, how can you be confident that your survey results truly are statistically significant? The key lies in determining an acceptable level of accuracy, which requires a delicate balance between the optimal sample size and the budget for the specific research project. The total size of the market population,?? or the universe, as researchers often call it,?? drives how large the sample size needs to be in order to achieve an acceptable degree of accuracy. Professional researchers use a mathematical formula to determine a ... Read more

Combo of Research Tactics Optimizes Product Development

April 17, 2006

Objective research is critically important to assessing the market viability, focusing the development process, and successfully launching a new or upgraded product or service. To maximize your market intelligence, it’s wise to integrate a blend of research tactics throughout the product or service development process. Upfront Secondary Research: You can cost-effectively conduct this phase of the research in-house. Internet searches as well as web site and trade publication reviews will help you identify and evaluate products or services with comparable characteristics to the one your company is developing. In addition to potential competitors, look across industries and sectors that bear similarities ... Read more

Tips for Focus Group Success

April 4, 2006

You’re likely familiar with the purpose focus groups. Conducted as open-ended discussions with a small group of potential buyers, focus groups are a qualitative research tactic used to uncover opinions and attitudes toward a particular concept or topic. Companies often utilize focus groups to probe and prioritize the factors for motivating trial, purchase, and ongoing use of a product or service. Or, with that information already in hand, they’ll use focus groups for assessing and improving marketing messages and creative executions planned for a product or service promotion. However, even with the best laid plans, focus groups are only successful when ... Read more

Face It: Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

March 17, 2006

Unquestionably, with customer feedback in hand, your organization could make improvements in numerous areas. So, why not have your sales reps provide that input? Working on the front line with customers every day, they’re in an excellent position to collect and share this important market research, right? Wrong. In fact, it’s highly likely that such an approach will produce inaccurate and/or incomplete data that does little to drive meaningful operational improvements. We’ve seen numerous organizations make the “do-it-yourself research” mistake in the name of cost-efficiency. Some make assumptions about their clients’ opinions based on what their sales reps and other customer-facing ... Read more


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