December 2012 Archives

Play the dice smartly; market research is in your hands

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Dice Patricio Pagani Fotolia_32949553_XS.jpg

How does question framing impact your research? This article aligns exactly with our class discussions. How we word the questions we are asking are participants is crucial to gaining accurate results. Especially when looking at international surveys because different cultures and different meanings.
One common problem with wording includes leading questions. When researchers force respondents or lead them to a particular answer. This can lead to inaccurate results. An example of a leading question: Why do you think this company is unethical?
Another problem with writing question wording is double-barreled questions, which means that the there are two questions being asked in one, but they are only looking for one answer. An example would be, "Do you think Murphy Hall is an asset to the campus, or should it be demolished?
Another problem is negative wording. An example of negative wording would be, "A course in statistics should not be required as part of the English major." The solution to this question would be to frame this question in the positive.
So what does this mean to me? This shows me that even when I'm making simple survey questions, I need to check and double check that my questions make sense.
In my personal opinion, it is very difficult to make unbiased or leading questions. In order to be a successful, questions must not influence the participants answers.

I like how our textbook says, "If it can be misinterpreted, it will be."


NSSE: National Survey of Student Engagement

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College students are an interesting field to research because our generation is unique due to our busy, technological cultures. I came across this company that surveys and produces data about from students. So what is the National Survey of Student Engagment? The NSSE conducts surveys from four year college and universities "about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development." Their survey results provide an insight to how undergraduates spend their time and what they have gained from their own college experience.

The surveys provide insight for colleges and universities to see how their students are feeling about their experience and how students are spending their time around campus. Ultimately, this survey helps colleges improve their work to cater to the students are feeling about their college experience.

Also, these results can also be used by prospecting students, counselors, parents, advisers, etc. More than 1400 colleges and universities use NSSE data. Understanding and utilizing data is crucial for university success.



I found this research data interesting because we were conducting our own alcohol surveys in class. This article specific looks into youth exposure to alcohol advertising. Between the years of 2001 and 2009, youth exposure increased by 71%! This is more than the exposure to people between the ages of 21-34! They found that in 2009, there was more advertising for alcohol was during programming that was directed toward an audience of 12-20 years old.

In comparison to the survey we conducted in class, we found that 94% of our respondents had drank alcohol under the age of 21. My generation is the one that was watching the increasing amount of alcohol advertising. Did this advertising lead to the large percent of underage drinking? Is advertising give underage students the impression that it is not only culturally acceptable to drink before the age of 21, but also that it is what everyone is doing?
One of the statistics I found most interesting was, "From 2001 to 2009, youth were 22 times more likely to see an alcohol product ad than an alcohol company-sponsored "responsibility" ad whose primary message warned against underage drinking and/or alcohol-impaired driving." Large alcohol companies care so much about making sales and creating customer loyalty, that they do not care how it is affecting youth.

Underage drinking has always been common, but is this increase in advertising leading to a more acceptable culture of illegal, underage drinking?


The Black Hole of Research: Dull but Critical

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What you don't know can hurt you - well, your project.
There is a black hole in both qualitative and quantitative research. If you want to have sound research tactics and research results, it is crucial to ask every question possible along the way that may affect your outcomes.

Reading this article was interesting as a student because it pointed out every little thing researchers need to do to have accurate results. This article talked about the research field in general: focus groups, panels, surveys, etc. It's talking about how every single aspect, boring or interesting, is important for your research. Research is to be a collaborative process. Every choice you make, what you are studying, who you work with, how you conduct the study; every step is important to obtain trustworthy results.


Liz & Dick Movie Ratings

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Everyday we are consuming entertainment and are constantly being told about what the 'ratings' were for a movie or what the critiques say. Sometimes I think we overlook, or don't think about where these ratings and numbers are coming from. Nielsen Research has been around from years, and has been continually collecting data and information about television shows.

Through a rating system in participants homes, Nielsen is able to get a sense for your preferences and what shows you do like and which you do not like. Recently, Lindsay Lohan starred in Liz & Dick, a made for TV movie on Lifetime. Nielsen was able to collect ratings to understand what the movie's audience consisted of.

Nielsen's Research was able to conclude that "Liz & Dick ranks as 2012's fourth most-watched original movie premiere on ad-supported cable among all key demographics, including Total Viewers, Adults 25-54, Adults 18-49, Women 18-49 and Women 25-54, behind Lifetime's Steel Magnolias." There research is helpful to the movie industry to understand what different demographics enjoy watching, and where they want to watch it.


Technology on Black Friday

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Research regarding black Friday purchases this year showed that more people were buying electronics for 50% off, and mostly for themselves. More tech buys are shopping for themselves rather than Christmas gifts on black Friday.


Consumers put more time into technological purchases than other convenient goods.
"Forty-four percent of tech purchasers did research on their potential purchases while they were shopping on Black Friday versus only 24 percent of all shoppers. And 76 percent of tech buyers, a number on par with the last two years, did their buying research before they ventured out over the holiday weekend compared to 58 percent of overall consumers." This shows that more and more people are consuming more technology, and doing their research beforehand. With the increase in technology prices, it isn't much of a surprise that more people are waiting in line and joining the rush to get a good deal on their electronics.



So what is the best way to reach people for surveys? Well the Discovery Research Group in Salt Lake City, Utah found that online users were more like landlines phone respondents than cell phone or mobile online respondents.

Given that smartphones are a relatively new medium, it is important to understand this mode and the people who use mobile online phones. The Discovery Research Group used the same wording and question response options for research across each mode. 3 categories of questions were asked about demographics, cell phone preference and usage, and one potentially sensitive question.

Most findings were expected, however the interesting thing was that online access panel users were most like landline users compared to cell phone or mobile online. Online access panel respondents are more often older and more likely to make a landline call than an on a cell phone. Each mode is different for accessing different age groups and demographics. This finding was important to understand the types of people researchers will encounter when they focus on online, landline, cell phone, or mobile online surveys or research.


The Evolution of Private Brands

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Research studies are showing that private brands are gaining ground in comparison to national brands. During recessions, customers are more open to new brands and are less brand loyal. Researching consumer attitudes toward private brands have showed us that most people are open to purchasing private brands.
Research found that private brands are gaining ground versus national brands, not just on price/value, but also on other dimensions that were once the sole domain of manufacturer brands.
- More than 60% of consumers agree that private brands offer better value than national/name brands
- 46% agree they often cannot tell the difference between private and national or advertised brands
- 48% agree they actually prefer private brands and actively seek them out
- 39% agree that private brands offer more unique items which makes them more interesting than national brands

What do retailers do with this information? 10 considerations:
1. Determine the strategic role of private brands vs. national brands in each category
2. Develop a clear brand positioning and architecture vision and strategy
3. Recognize all the costs and risks
4. Nail the pricing
5. Don't under or over-engineer the product/brand mix (packaging, product, pricing, and assortment)
6. Use stores as a learning lab
7. Manage SKUs
8. Create a consumer community for early development work
9. Measure both the health of your private brands, but also the impact they are having on your overall store brand perceptions
10. Measure both the health of your private brands, but also the impact they are having on your overall store brand perceptions

Research is definitely proving that private brands on the rise. But, it's what retailers do with this information is what will make a difference for their brand and their company.


Social Media: A Wealth of Information

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So how can I leverage my social media qualitative research?
This article gave good insight on how to handle social media research. So many people are on social media today. I know that it is very rare to meet a college student, or even a high school student that isn't on Facebook or Twitter. The power in reaching audiences through social media is incredible, especially as marketing toward the college age generation is getting harder and harder.

One awesome thing about social media research is that it is all in front of you in real time. You can see the data as it is coming it, and you can check out the data from months ago. This gives you time to act quickly and find out what is relevant and meaningful to your audience. Listening to what audiences have to say on social media is important for your business because it gives you a look into what your market is looking for.

Social media revolves around community, which means businesses need to make themselves a part of the community. Researching the type of culture and language used on social media is important for understand you audience, and how they interact. This will help you interact with your audience, which ultimately tells you how are going to respond.

Although facebook insights and research are crucial, it is important to not forget about traditional research outside of social media. Not everyone, almost though, are on social media. You are missing a large market of people that do not use the internet as often as most of us. Always implement traditional qualitative research before making any decisions.

Social media is more than just a trend. Bigger corporations are slowing moving in adopting social media, but everyone better act quickly because social media interaction will change how brand market themselves and their products.


Sleep Innovations Case Study

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Feedback from Hard-to-Reach Respondents:

Sleep Innovations sells advances mattresses, toppers, pillows and sleep products. They recently conducted a case study to obtain information from past purchases as well as learning about those who intend to purchase sleep products. They gathered feedback about packaging, attitude, usage, and new product screening.

Their challenge was pre-identifying potential purchasers of sleep products for online surveys to reduce cost and time involved. In order to address this challenge, Sleep Innovations chose to work with Toluna and create the 'Sleep Talkers' panel community of 2,000+ members. The members of this panel have purchased, or intend to purchase sleep products in the next 12 months, and say 'a good night's sleep is a priority.' These members were encouraged to take pictures of their sleep experiences and post to discussion boards. They were also encouraged to be involved with more traditional studies such as new product screening and optimization, and brainstorming product names and benefits optimization.

The 'Sleep Talker' engagement increased and response rates exceeded 85%. Sleep Innovations was also able to save money as they decreased overall costs by $300,000. Through their panel, they found that Sleep Innovations products were not selling well in retail environments, so they quickly created a survey for retail shoppers to learn more about brand perception and price.

This study shows that through any research, such a panel, can lead to more research in a different medium or through a different method.

UMN Diverse Learning Environments Survey

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As a student at the University of Minnesota, I am sent many emails that ask and encourage me to take surveys to help better our college. Recently, a survey sponsored by the Higher Education Research Institute and University of Minnesota Twin Cities was sent to my university account. Normally, I wouldn't think twice about taking a survey, but this survey offered the possibility of winning a $50 gift card to the bookstore!

The follow is according to the information sent out in the email.
This was a national survey about college students, conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. This survey asks my opinion on many items relevant to examining the impact of college. Students from college and universities across the country are asked to participate in the same survey. It asks about academic work, interaction with faculty and peers, participation in campus activities, perceptions of the climate on campus, and use of campus services.

Results from this survey are used by faculty and administrators at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and by higher education researchers to understand and improve the undergraduate college experience.

This survey used multiple types of questions including semantic differential scale, likert scales, leading questions, and multiple choice questions. This was a lengthy survey because they wanted to collect as much data as possible. Due to the length, many students probably did not complete the survey. I felt that it would have been beneficially for the researcher to use open-ended questions. If they really wanted to hear about each student's specific experience at the U, then they should have left more space for students to communicate their own feelings rather than answering survey questions. Although with the amount of people they were surveying, it was probably best to ask general questions and then do focus groups to get deeper insight from students.

Pharmaceutical Research Survey

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I recently took a survey for a friend of mine who is conducting pharmaceutical research. This survey began asking participants to rank whether or not pharmaceutical companies online presence is helpful, using a scale of 1 to 4. This semantic differential scale anchored the feelings of very unhelpful and very helpful. As a college student, she posted her survey on Facebook for her friends to take. This was an efficient way to reach a large audience, although, she was reaching generally the same audience and is not research multiple demographics. Also, the survey was very short. This does not give her a lot of feedback and data to analyze.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2012 is the previous archive.

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