Blog - (Archived)

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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Incidence Rate Drives Research Cost and Schedule

September 5, 2006

Common sense tells us that the harder it is to reach and complete surveys with qualified respondents, the more costly and time consuming the research project will be. But, how do professional research firms assess the required level of effort in advance so that they can determine the most appropriate methodologies and provide reasonably accurate project estimates and schedules? They establish an estimated incidence rate. Simply put, an incidence rate is the frequency of something occurring in a given population. Specifically in market research, prior to a project we estimate the number of people who, once we get them on the ...
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‘Tis the Season for Research Budgeting

September 4, 2006

Many organizations neglect to effectively budget for research, which sometimes limits or even prohibits their ability to drive marketing and operations decisions based on real market data. If this dilemma sounds all too familiar, now is the time — as the 2007 budgeting season approaches — to give careful consideration to your research needs. To that end, here is some food for thought for ensuring your organization’s research budgets are realistic: Identify the knowledge gaps relevant to the business objectives. Is your organization introducing new products or services? Entering new markets or segments? Repositioning itself after a merger? Launching a big ...
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Remember,? Criticism Can Make It Better

August 20, 2006

We at Market Connections encourage our clients to attend their own focus groups so they can witness participants’ reactions first-hand behind the two-way mirror. Some may want the moderator to spontaneously introduce a new question or discussion point based on what they’re hearing right then and there. Additionally, many clients like to contemplate or even take action on some of the feedback rather than waiting on us to deliver the full research report a few weeks later. In fact, we have clients who utilize just about every tidbit of feedback they hear in the back room for opportunities to improve ...
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