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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 ... 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

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 ... Read more

‘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 ... Read more

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 ... Read more

Engaged Employees Make It Happen

August 8, 2006

Research has proven time and again that creating an energized environment in which employees want to go above and beyond the call of duty, where they feel connected to the big picture, will directly and significantly impact organizational performance. Management consultants call it employee engagement, and it’s increasingly becoming a top priority in executive suites across the country. In fact, a recent study by Towers Perrin, a leading human resource consultancy, found that companies with higher employee engagement outperform those with lower employee engagement, relative to industry benchmarks. Yet, of the 86,000 employees worldwide who participated in the study, only 14% ... Read more

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

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