Blog - (Archived)

Survey Instrument Makes or Breaks Market Research

February 16, 2007

Preparing and conducting effective market research programs requires expertise in many different areas. But, without a doubt, the most critical key to research success is the survey instrument. While we can’t even begin to address the complexities of developing survey instruments in one newsletter article, we can offer the following tips for evaluating the questionnaire your research provider develops for your next study. Start out easy: If possible within the context of the research objectives, pose general, easier questions first in order to set the stage and put the respondents at ease with the survey. Then, lead into the more specific ... Read more

Incentives Boost Research Response Rates and Data Quality

February 4, 2007

With the increasing difficulty in generating statistically valid response rates for certain types of market research programs, research experts frequently recommend offering an incentive as a means of boosting the number of survey participants. This incentive decision is based on whether or not the survey subject matter on its own will be enough to motivate the target audience’s participation. Keep in mind that some target audiences may be easier to motivate than others. For example, citizens who are asked to participate in government-sponsored surveys may feel a sense of civic duty to cooperate. Members of trade associations may be motivated by ... Read more

Understanding Qualitative Research Options

January 15, 2007

Gleaning performance-relevant insights from the opinions, motivations, frustrations, and priorities of your target audience requires qualitative research. At Market Connections, clients often ask how we choose between the two most effective qualitative research methods,? focus groups and in-depth interviews. In an in-depth interview, which is scheduled in advance and usually runs 20 minutes to an hour, a research specialist conducts a one-on-one session with the participant via phone or in person. In a focus group, 6 – 12 participants gather at the same time at a research facility or in an online chat room (preferably the former if possible). A professional ... Read more

Designing Research for Actionable Results

January 15, 2007

Business intelligence is only valuable if the organization can put it to use in ways that will benefit performance. In fact, some companies shy away from market research because prior studies failed to deliver data that they could realistically act upon to affect improvements. To avoid such a mishap, Market Connections advocates what is sometimes referred to as a “backwards” approach to the research design phase, wherein the research firm and client collaborate upfront to define how the research results will be used. This process requires not only defining program objectives, but drilling down further to explore data gaps that could ... Read more

Research Drives Segmentation Strategies

January 15, 2007

Segmenting your target markets and audiences opens up opportunities for more focused and effective sales, marketing, and even product development. For example, while overall sales for a product are strong, a segmented view could reveal that only one or two customer types or titles are driving that success. This information can help shape strategic decisions around whether a portion of the marketing or product development dollars should be concentrated on those high-potential customer types, how messaging can be tailored to address their unique needs, how sales or channel partners can more effectively serve them, and more. Many organizations rely on research ... Read more

Relationship vs. Transactional Customer Satisfaction Surveys

December 15, 2006

Keeping your customers coming back for more requires knowing both the good and the bad about their interactions with and perceptions of your company. The nature of those interactions dictates whether your customer satisfaction strategy is supported by transactional surveys, relationship surveys, or a combination of both. Evaluating the Ongoing Customer Relationship Relationship customer satisfaction surveys, typically conducted once or twice a year, are appropriate when interactions with the customer are ongoing or very frequent, making this type of study common among many business-to-government and business-to-business companies. They measure satisfaction and performance levels in areas such as price, value, quality, service, innovativeness, ... Read more

Reading Between the Lines of Government RFPs

December 12, 2006

Federal contractors invest a great deal of time and money developing what they hope will be winning proposals, striving to effectively discriminate themselves in each area of government agencies’ RFPs. But, unfortunately, those RFPs don’t always accurately reveal and/or prioritize the agency stakeholders’ true pain points and decision-making factors. As a result,? even with the help of expensive proposal consultants and thorough Red Team review processes,? many contractors are not maximizing their win rates on lucrative government contracts. Utilizing third-party professional researchers to conduct interviews with decision makers at targeted agencies can help contractors develop a more effective “playbook” or sales ... Read more

Hybrid Research Approach Can Deliver Extra Value

November 15, 2006

When it’s time to pursue your next research project, you don’t have to choose between a purely quantitative or qualitative approach. You may be able to reap the benefits of both. To refresh your memories, quantitative research entails a statistically valid size of the target audience and gleans objective, structured, numeric data that provides insights into the “what.” Conversely, qualitative research is subjective in nature and reveals the “why” by capturing insights about feelings, attitudes, opinions, behavior drivers, and so forth. A good research firm can often combine techniques from both types of research into one study. For example, a customer satisfaction ... Read more

End-User Collaboration Maximizes Research Value

October 12, 2006

When organizations engage a research firm for a project, it’s common that multiple departments or work groups,? perhaps marketing, sales, customer service, and product development,? are counting on the resulting data to drive their individual performance improvements. And indeed, though one research project typically can’t meet too many conflicting objectives, it often can benefit multiple internal end-users to varying degrees. But, the key to delivering that value across the organization is to give your research firm access to those diverse end-user groups during the upfront planning of the study. However, it sometimes works in just the opposite fashion. The client’s project ... Read more

Getting More Results from your Research Results

October 6, 2006

When properly planned, a research project can often meet multiple objectives in disparate departments within an organization. But here’s even more good news: research can also enhance other areas of the business for which it’s not even planned or intended. Market Connections has a client that frequently conducts focus groups and surveys with customers and prospects to gain intelligence on how to improve the functionality and relevancy of its web-based products. But, this client doesn’t stop there when it comes to getting value from their research results. They carefully study the focus group video clips and read the survey transcripts for ... Read more


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