December 2012 Archives

Emerging Research Techniques in 2012

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Interestingly, I found this chart about projected use of research techniques for this year. One of the biggest pieces of news for this year is that there was to be massive growth of social media analytics, MROCs, data mining, mobile, and text analytics. This growth in some cases was almost double from projected usage for 2011.

What do you think about the projected usage? Do you think it lines up with research techniques that were actually used this year?


Juicing Brains

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...and reinventing market research.

You guys have to check out BrainJuicer, a maker research company that is truly trying to redefine market research for its clients.

At BrainJuicer, their purpose is to create innovative market research so that clients can better understand and predict consumer behavior. For the past 11 years, BrainJuicer has been experimenting to produce a set of tools they have dubbed their "Juicy Tools". They are a public company that strives to compete with larger research firms, but will not be bought out by them.

Check out what BrainJuicer is doing to reinvent market research today!

Children & Research: What Codes of Conduct are Being Used?

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Children as subjects of market research is always an extremely sensitive topic.

As new technologies are offering an increasing array of research tools, such as mobile apps and other digital products, researchers and research firms are continually faced with the question of how to ensure that children are able to participate in research in ways that exploit them in no way. Unfortunately there is no way to quickly and easily find answers as to what codes of conduct are acceptable when it comes to children.

I think that the key to ensuring that children's interest is always at the heart of market research is to always be engaging in an on-going discussion so that researchers can identify what the best practices are for children.

Check out more here.

Are Market Segments Like a Zoo?

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I found this picture, and it makes me question a lot about the ethics of market research. Are researchers always fair, is there always consent from subjects?

Or are researchers treating the subjects in their sample pools like zoo animals?

What do you think?

Interest in Pinterest?

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Who uses Pinterest? What activities and behaviors are they engaged in? What kinds of products are they "pinning"? Why?

Pinterest, a popular online "pinning" service and social network, has a unique demographic skew. Pinterest is the only major social network that is SO heavily female-driven. Amongst American women ages 18-44 engaged in social media, Pinterest is the third most widely used site, falling short only to Facebook and Twitter.

The Social Habit, a new social media research series from Edison Research, has recently released a stand-alone report called Pinterest Users in America 2012. This data provides more than 30 all-new, data-rich charts of data about the popular service, including the following:

  • Demographics
  • Comparative usage to other social networks
  • Impact of Pinterest on purchase behavior
  • How Pinterest browsers buy products seen on Pinterest
  • What types of products are pinned
  • Differential pinning reasons for 12 categories of products, including Food, Fashion, Gadgets, Travel and more

The report can be purchased for $99 here.

One individual asks the questions, and another individual answers them.

Successful surveys, much like successful conversations, have a natural flow and feel, according to survey company SurveyMonkey.

The two most important things to take into consideration when striving to create a fluid survey is question ORDERING and question PHRASING. Your questions should appear in an order that makes sense, and you need to make sure your questions are phrased in a conversational manner.

Check it out here.

The Smithsonian, one of the most prestigious public institutions in the world, has dipped its hand into the mobile game.

The Smithsonian consists of 19 different museums, as well as the National Zoological Park. As an extremely important educational and research institution, the Smithsonian had a desire to figure out just how mobile technologies could help it to flourish in the digital.

The Smithsonian led a mobile strategic planning effort in 2010 to find out exactly what it was that their audiences wanted from a more mobile experience. This extensive and extremely involved market research effort resulted in a full-blown plan for mobile strategy that the institution is wasting no time kicking off!

Check out exactly what the Smithsonian is implementing here.

Are you interested in how to conduct research on consumers using various tablet devices?

I was browsing around and found an interesting webinar being offered by QuestionPro, an online research company.

They are offering the webinar on December 18th. The webinar will focus on SurveryPocket, a mobile application offered by the company that aids in making online surveys offline compatible. Attendees will learn how to collect respondent data, both online and offline, using iPads or Android tablets. They will also feature a real success story from one of their clients, Dr. Cyrus H. McCandless of Merchant Mechanics. Dr. McCandless will discuss his experience with SurveyPocket and the results they have been able to achieve.

QuestionPro will also cover SurveyPocket's features, including 1-click sync, geolocation, mobile ethnography, video questions, audio questions, photo questions and signature questions.

To register for the webinar, click here.


It seems that a little market research was all it took for Starbucks to release it's newest and lightest coffee yet: the Blonde Roast. It's a personal favorite of mine.

Jeff Hansberry, president of Channel Development for Starbucks said in a press release that "StarbucksĀ® Blonde Roast is our answer to providing a premium lighter roast coffee to appeal to those who describe StarbucksĀ® signature roast as too intense. This new roast profile will allow us to increase our share of the brewed coffee market down the grocery aisle where a majority of coffee sales are in the light and medium roast categories. This segment of the market represents a $1 billion opportunity for the company in the U.S. alone."

Market research by Starbucks has shown that shoppers spend around 60 seconds making a decision about what coffee to buy while standing in the coffee aisle at the grocery store. Market research by Starbucks has also shown that about 25 percent of the shoppers who have been shopping for coffee leave the coffee aisle without making a coffee purchase.

Shoppers that ultimately give up on their search for coffee have given in market research several reasons as to why they do this: because the coffee isle of their grocery store is too confusing, or because they are just not able to find the type of coffee they are looking for at the time. After conducting this research, Starbucks' moved towards a strategy to package by roast type: dark, medium, and blonde. Starbucks' new system for packing coffees by roast type will be a benefit to those coffee shoppers who have been hindered by the confusing and often large selection of coffees, the qualities of which have been largely obscured -- until now.

Go pick up Starbucks Blonde Roast today. It's great, even if you like darker roasts, I still suggest trying it!

Snowballing: It will RUIN Your Work!

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According to Government Executive magazine, there are THREE bad research techniques that will ruin your organization's work and they all have to do with one thing: SNOWBALLING. According to the magazine, these three techniques are:

  1. Snowball Sampling
  2. Snowball Research
  3. Snowball Point-of-View
Snowball sampling is a research method in which you identify a group that you wish to study, and then ask members of the group to identify acquaintances to also join the study. Because of this, the sample group is no longer random. It does not represent the population at large. Without a completely random sample, a researcher will be unable to apply the results of their research to the population at large. The value of the research is completely diminished by this.

In a snowball research technique, a researcher may read an article, and then look at that author's sources. While a researcher can continue to find more and more sources using this technique, there are serious drawbacks. A researcher may be able to find a large number of sources, but the information can often be biased, and lead to serious gaps in results.

A snowball point-of-view, which is also known as confirmation bias, there is an extreme tendency for researchers to test their hypothesis using only positive examples, and not any negative ones. This means that researchers tend to use sources that agree with their hypothesis or argument, instead of listening to respondents that go against the hypothesis. This leads to a snowballed perspective and flawed outcome in research.

So remember people: Stay away from SNOWBALLS when it comes to research!!!

Dogbert Consults...

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I grew up with my dad and my grandfather reading Dilbert cartoons in the newspaper. I was browsing around and found one that relates to companies using data from their own customers...


Do you think companies ever go too far with their consumers, even dehumanizing them, to try and get as much useful data from them as possible?

All right, let's go back a few weeks to Election Day 2012 and take a look at exit polls.

According to the New York Times, the Election Day polls were based on questionnaires completed by voters when they left voting stations around the country on Tuesday, November 16th. These questionnaires were supplemented by telephone interviews with absentee and early voters. The polls were conducted by a variety of different entities, including Edison Research of Somerville, N.J., for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News.

The national results were based on voters in 350 randomly chosen precincts across the United States, and included absentee voters and early voters who were interviewed by telephone. The state results, however, were based on voters in 11 to 50 randomly selected precincts across each of 18 states analyzed by The Times. In some states, a portion of the interviews were also conducted by telephone with absentee voters and early voters.

Results that were based on smaller subgroups of individuals, such as demographic groupings, have a greater potential sampling error. In addition to sampling error, the genreal difficulties of conducting any survey of voter opinion on Election Day, such as the reluctance of some individuals to take the actual time to fill out the questionnaire, may have introduced other sources of error into these polls.

I didn't know sampling error played such a large role in Election Day exit polls. I'll have to keep this in mind next time Election Day rolls around...

Check out the 2012 Election Day Exit Polls at the New York Times.

What Lies Ahead for Market Research?

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Hey guys, check out this video I found about the future of market research.

I found this video interesting because it pointed out a couple things I hadn't thought about before. First, falling survey participation rates are creating A LOT of nonresponse error. This means that less representative samples are being produced. Second, the slack there is being picked up by professional survey respondents, which can really bring under fire the credibility of data from surveys and other forms of research.

I think that while some of these more traditional methods of market research are being scrutinized, there is an incredible wealth of sources of information for research firms to explore that is more and more prevalent every day.

What do you think about the future of research? Do we need to change the way we think about current research methods?

Think Twice Before You're Hasty with Your Research

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According to Marketing Week, a UK-based industry magazine, fast research just doesn't pay off.

Interestingly, it appears that research firms are increasingly under pressure to produce lighting quick research. These firms are firing back and saying that there needs to be an adequate amount of time built into the research process to produce proper analysis.

Emma Whiteheard, head of digital at Guardian Media Group argues that it is extremely important to carefully consider results of research and work out how these results relate to specific audience segments.

So what do you think? Is it more important to have fast turn around on intepretation of research results, or to take a longer amount of time to carefully consider results?

In my opinion, reliable and valid research takes time. A lot of companies may argue that in the age of digital media, fast turn around through research on resources such as social media may be possible. I would be wary of this: that can only work if a brand is extremely socially engaged. Many are not yet.

I think, however, that the research industry needs to be aware that research methods are changing dramatically in the digital age. They need to constantly be working with clients to find new research solutions. In this sense, they needs to be ready for quick turn-around on results.

What do you think? Should research firms stick to a slow and steady pace, or ramp up the pace for the digital age?

Check out more here:

Have you ever had to take a survey before you were granted an interview at a potential place of employment?

Today, companies of all types and sizes are utilizing surveys, and administering them quickly, easily, and often cheaply to help find individuals best suited for their workplaces.

According to Rob Ployhart, a researcher with the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, surveys of potential employees can be helpful when it comes to the hiring process.

Ployhart believes while there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to workplace traits of a potential employee, surveys can can be a good predictor of how that individual would function in the workplace setting.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that businesses using these types of surveys need to be able to specifically point to the reliability and validity of these surveys. If employers cannot easily talk about the aspects of these surveys that give them high degrees of reliability and validity, the survey is most likely poor in its structure. Well-designed surveys developed by knowledgable professionals can provide excellent insight, while poorly crafted surveys can lead to legal liabilities for employers.

Since these types of surveys are growing in popularity, there are many companies such as Kansas City, MO.-based Culture Index that specialize in creating these types of surveys. Culture Index specifically create short and simple surveys for employers, as well as provide training on how to interpret the results of these surveys.

For companies, these surveys can cost as little as $5 per candidate, to as much as $100 or so per candidate.

So, would YOU feel comfortable taking one of these surveys?

To read more about this, the Hispanic Business website recently posted an article:

About this Archive

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

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