Best Practices & How-To


What Is the Optimal, or Minimum, Sample Size for Statistical Validity in Government Market Research?

December 10, 2013

Many clients often ask about the ideal sample size required for achieving statistical validity in market research.  This is an outstanding question and the answer is:  it depends. One of the keys is understanding the value and difference between qualitative and quantitative research.  With qualitative research, if you do 50 in-depth phone interviews among targets, the real value is the insights gleaned from the depth of these conversations—the reasons, perceptions, feelings and beliefs behind participants’ responses—rather than statistical data. With quantitative research, it is all about determining the size of the total audience of interest, or “universe,” and then you can formulate ... Read more

How Do You Customize Market Research for Government Contractors?

December 3, 2013

By Laurie Morrow, Director of Research Services Government contractors often ask Market Connections, a boutique research firm, what makes us unique when compared to larger, more traditional market research firms. When searching for the right third-party research firm, we believe that customized research should always be a top consideration. We offer research that breaks out of the cookie-cutter approach, which is common with larger players. Everything we do is designed to meet our clients’ unique needs. From data collection to analysis, we offer a proprietary approach to gaining the right insights needed to advance organizational goals, especially in the government market. Market Connections ... Read more

How Do I Reach Congress, DoD and Intelligence Decision-Makers for Market Research?

November 26, 2013

By Cynthia Poole, Director of Research Services Many of our clients need to gain insights from Congressional, Department of Defense and Intelligence Community (IC) decision-makers and influencers to help them better serve these specialized audiences. Gaining access has always been a challenge, especially for obtaining research insights that drive business decisions, communications, marketing and public affairs initiatives.When implementing research among these audiences, Market Connections offers extensive experience and a specialized approach for targeting these individuals. Not to give away too much of our research “secret sauce;” but here’s how we reach them: Defense Decision Makers: The recent furloughs boosted traditionally low cooperation in taking ... Read more

Informing the Right Federal Marketing “Air Cover”

November 6, 2013

With the federal contracting sector still reeling from the government shutdown and sequestration, corporate marketing departments of large companies are providing “air cover” for their federal marketing counterparts during a time of tight budgets. As we all know, marketing to government customers is a very unique discipline that involves knowledge of the federal procurement process, the right messaging and budgetary cycles and the promotion of solutions that allow the government customer to “do more with less.” Federal marketers can counter this challenge by implementing the right market research to ensure that they are both effectively targeting government decision-makers and that their messages ... Read more

Steps Contractors Can Take to Better Connect with Government Customers

October 14, 2013

A recent study from Market Connections and Boscobel Marketing Communications found that both industry and government believe event cancellations and federal travel restrictions are negatively impacting innovation and collaboration. Contractors and government believe these event cancellations and travel restrictions would adversely impact government contractors’ ability to influence and serve government customers. Part of the challenge is that there are major discrepancies between how government is seeking information and how contractors plan to reach government customers. When it becomes more difficult for contractors to make connections with government customers and prospects, what can they do to help fill this gap? Fortunately, the comprehensive white paper detailing ... Read more

Expanding into International Markets: Think Locally to Succeed Globally

August 15, 2013

Localized research is critical to international success Many of us have heard the horror stories of companies running U.S-developed campaigns internationally without first localizing them to individual markets. A well-known consumer campaign gone awry was Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation,” which when translated into Chinese became “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.” To avoid such pitfalls, localized research is critical to your international success.  Of course, before they develop tag lines and ads, companies expanding to new international markets need to have a thorough understanding of the relevant cultural differences and considerations of their target markets. How will ... Read more

Misconceptions about Market Research

July 8, 2013

Five Market Research Myths and Why They are False Market research provides B2B and B2G executives with the opportunity to utilize it as a business intelligence tool for driving performance improvements. Unfortunately, many misconceptions exist about market research. This article discusses five common myths and how they can be “myth busted”. We also cover how partnering with a reputable market research firm will put you at a solid competitive advantage. Myth #1: Our industry is very complex. A research firm wouldn’t understand our business and couldn’t possibly help us. Leading research firms dedicate time and resources to understanding client organizations and the industries ... Read more

How Can Company Brand Boost the Bottom Line?

June 17, 2013

All too often government contractors focus their human and financial resources on business development efforts while unintentionally ignoring the impact that brand perceptions and marketing also make on the bottom line. To maximize opportunities and position in the government market, it is critical to achieve and nurture balance and integration between sales and marketing. Think of your brand as the essential artery that connects these two important functions. That artery is seriously constricted without a current and fact-based understanding of how your brand is perceived in the market. This is why leading government contractors rely on brand research—also called Attitude, Awareness ... Read more

Is Qualitative Market Research Valid?

May 31, 2013

Debate continues over the “validity” of qualitative research. Whereas quantitative research is seen as the means to achieving “valid” results, qualitative research – in-depth interviews, focus groups and the like – are often viewed as overly subjective, inconsistently applied methods.  However, the term “validity” may sometimes miss the point of what qualitative research is meant to achieve. How can I benefit from qualitative market research? The first step is to think about the goals you have. What do you still need to know from your target audience that will help you understand how to make the best business decisions? Qualitative interviewing, which digs ... Read more

The Sky is NOT Falling: Five Tips for Facing Market Uncertainty

May 28, 2013

For many in the government contracting arena, we came into 2013 with a mixture of fear and anxiety, and just a little bit of hope sprinkled in the mix.  Like a dark sky of threatening clouds, sequestration hung over all our heads during the holiday break. When New Year’s Eve came around, we thought something surely would give.  And, something did happen:  the deadline was pushed to March 1st.  This gave us about one month to take a shallow breath of relief (January) and another  (February) to fret about a still uncertain future. Fast forward to almost June and where are we?  ... Read more


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