December 2012 Archives

Coke Vs Pepsi

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Using a systematic random sample with digit dialing on the telephone, a sample of 1,082 registered voters was surveyed. The margin of error with this sample was +/- three percentage points. The demographics sampled were gender, age, race, and political party.

The published survey has general stakeholders. Since it only asked the one question, it is safe to assume that the stakeholders are the normal consumers who purchase soda pop; although because the survey asked registered voters, other stakeholders could include political officials and parties who may want to have a brand as a political sponsor.

The findings of the survey concluded that Coke topped Pepsi by a margin of 45 percent- 29 percent. With the demographics, encouraging results for Coke showed that they were favored with the 18-29 year old range by a 61 percent- 23 percent margin. These finding were represented in an easy to read cross tab data set, giving a reader the ability to clearly analyze the results. The reliability and validity of the survey are strong. Although the reliability could be proven stronger if the survey team had asked multiple ways what brand the sample preferred, although with such a simple survey the answers would most likely not have mattered.

The survey does not tend to have a bias. The question asked is not leading or loaded, and the answer options given do not discriminate between any demographic. The only agenda that looks like the studier could have had would have been if they were working for one of the brands and wanted to persuade voters to choose their brand. For the purpose of this survey, I would only have changed one thing about the survey. I would have added an income demographic. Brand loyalty could be based on how much a person makes in their salary and which brand they think is more costly or luxurious, it would have enriched the study to see what income levels like which soda brand.

Hockey Poll

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hockey poll.png

This opinion poll comes from a non-probability sample. Non-probability sample is a type of sampling method that does not rely on random chance. It does not permit generalizations of a whole population because it does not take into account a diverse sample.

With the college hockey poll, the type of non-probability sample it is, is a purposive or judgmental sampling. A specific person or media content meets specific criteria the researcher needs. National collegiate sports polls are gathered from sports professionals who can make valid opinions on the subject. The general population are not invited to partake in the polling process because they might not have the knowledge and insight that the professionals do to rank certain teams.

But if it were up to me, and I was allowed to be apart of the polling process...


Barnes and Noble Success

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"Our publishers, large and small, are asking questions about business trends that they simply couldn't ask before, and they're using the answers to make better decisions. It's really got them excited." - Tom Williams, director of web services, Barnes & Noble Inc.

With the popularity of technological inventions such as the Nook or Tablet, a lot of literature is read from a screen instead of a page. Barnes and Noble saw a decrease in sales from their retail stores. In the provided case study, Barnes and Noble recently adopted a new strategy that would allow them to provide their authors and clients with fast insights about the behaviors and attitudes of being buying the merchandise.

Their solution to their problem was to use a data warehousing appliance to look at trends and then be able to make swift decisions about what needs to be stocked and promoted in the stores. This allows the stores to be up-to-date with products and always have what costumers want to buy in stock, instead of having to wait weeks for inventory.

This new data produced the following benefits for the company:
1. Reduced the time required to run analytical queries by more than 95 percent.
2. Reduced employee time required to administer the business intelligence solution by more than 70 percent
3. Improved publishers' ability to understand and react to market trends, optimize print runs and reduce the cost of unsold book inventory
4. Enabled the company to optimize its inventory mix, reduce stock-outs and plan more effective promotions

These benefits were collaborated based on the researchers' ability to read the research itself. By analyzing the numbers and identifying the trends through the statistics and information, this is an example of how researchers can interpret data to serve the general purpose for the client.

Spare the Social Media

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  • 22% of registered voters have let others know how they voted on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter

We all have that one friend... the one who during election time decides to suddenly become very political and very outspoken. During the last Presidential election, I had so many of these friends that they made me want to turn off social media all together until after the election was over.

This research was based off a survey done in Novemeber 2012 by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). They obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,011 adults living in the U.S. The interviews were conducted by both landline and cell phone. The survey was done in English, and was weighted in order to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error was+/- 3.6 percent.

This sampling method is very popular during election season. Many lobbyists make phone calls to people trying to see how they will end up voting.

The found statistic of 22% of registered voters talk about their political views on social media surprised me. Based on my own experience with the election, I would have thought that the statistic would have been higher.

Clearly nobody came and surveyed my social media friends..... :)

Target Twitter Sales

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Today in my Jour5501 Public Opinion class we had a guest speaker come in and talk to us. His name is Chris Spong, he is the social media business strategist for Target.

Here is Chris, Hi Chris!

Chris spoke to us about some new social media strategies that Target used this past month for the retail stores popular and annual Black Friday sale. This sparked my interest in the new strategic communication strategy as I am a HUGE fan of Black Friday chaos, and a HUGE fan of Target. Thumbnail image for CLA_Target_640x455.jpg

He explained how over 50% of all corporate companies have a Facebook page, and over 60% of them have an official Twitter handle. Social Media is not the rare bread anymore, yet it is a necessity for any thriving business. Utilizing Twitter, there are multiple ways to be successful.

Chris explained how when it comes to using Twitter to promote their Black Friday sale, there was a difference in approach from 2011 to 2012.

In 20111, Target focused their Twitter efforts on promoting the items that would be going on sale. They introduced the deals, and hoped that word would spread of what would be sold in order to boost their sales and revenue. However, after last year's Black Friday sale, Chris showed an IBM statistic where they researched that 0% of sales from the Black Friday sale came from Twitter. So Target decided to change their game plan and this 2012 sale, they used Twitter not as a method to drive sales but instead to simply encourage followers to tweet about the B.F. experience. With this approach they hoped that it would get people to the store itself.

Hearing this social media strategy really intrigued me. As important as social media is, and as useful it can be to companies, especially retail companies, for improving sales and marketing, social media at the root was simply created just for people to talk. All people really want is just to be heard. So for research to show that 0% of tweets led to sales, it emphasizes so much more that people just want to tell others what they are doing. Thus Target's new strategy is perfect in analyzing exactly what social media is intended for.

The Power of the Review

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How many times have you wanted to try something new, but was not sure it is was going to be exactly what you hope it to be, so you look at customer reviews online to see what others say about it?

I do that too. EVERY TIME.

Above are links to three very popular review sites. Rottentomatoes gives reviews on movies, zagat gives reviews on restaurants, and ratemyprofessors give reviews on teachers.

Each review that a customer posts on a product or event on a website is a method of research. The website host is the surveyor and is collecting information via a convenience sample. Every review that is written comes from a participant who voluntarily chooses to share their opinions. But the public use these reviews as a type of opinion leader and most of the time allow the review to persuade them to how they perceive the product. Thus reviews have a lot of power.

If you are unsure is the new restaurant in town is any good, if you see a review where other users have ranked it at a 97%, you are not going to have any hesitation about going to eat there that night. But if the review is only at 28%, that restaurant will probably be going out of business soon.

Grocery Shopping in the New Millennium

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The age of the baby boomers are on the decrease, and the generation known as the millenials are going to be soon taking over as the dominant generation. And with their invasion, they are changing the way that money is being spent, especially with grocery shopping.

Here are some statistics from the article linked above:

There will be lots of Millenials. By 2020, Millennials over the age of 25 will make up 19% of the population (they are only 5% in 2010). By that time the Baby Boomers will finally fall to below 20%.

They have money to spend. Unlike retired Baby Boomers, on fixed incomes, these Millenials will be entering the time of life associated with high spending as careers progress, households form, and children are born.

Millenials are less loyal to channels and brands.

Millenials: 47% rate brand name "extremely" or "somewhat" important in driving grocery choices, vs. 61% of Boomers. They may also be more open to trading down to private-label products (require less of a discount to trade down).

Millenials: 41% of total food $ are spent at traditional grocers, vs. 50% for Boomers.

Millennials spend differently.

They are more price sensitive than Boomers, willing to shop for deals,

They are also more willing to pay more for natural/organic foods (58% would pay more, vs. only 43% of Boomers).

Analyzing these two generational patterns is complimentary of a trend study. It is a trend study because it measures the same items over time. In this case, grocery shopping habits from one generation and again to the next.

I am categorized in the millennial generation. And for the most part I agree with most of the found research. I prefer organic and natural foods, and I am also more price sensitive as the research suggests. I like to use coupons and wait for things to come on sale. The only statistic I do not relate to is the one stating that millennials are less likely to be brand loyal. I find that personally I am very brand loyal. I find items that I like, and then choose to only buy that product. For example, I am a Coke person all the way. You will never in my life catch me buying anything Pepsi.

Swarmed by E-mail

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One of the many perks** (sarcasm**) of being a student at the University of Minnesota is receiving the countless e-mails asking you to participate in a school sponsored survey. This is to be expected because when you attend an institution where students are all in a centralized location, it becomes a researchers dream wading pool.

A recent survey I just received in my e-mail was one from Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA asking U of M students to participate in the national survey. The goal of the survey is to gain knowledge about students academic experiences on campus.

It is obvious of why student receive so many surveys to complete by e-mail. The contact method of e-mail is perfect for students in college. Each student is given a university gmail account where other students and professors all can contact them. Students check their e-mails several times a day. With e-mail being one of the lower cost survey contact methods, it is expected that it becomes the most popular method to reach the student's attention. The surveys try to entice students by offering compensation of some sort. In the case of the UCLA survey, students were told that after completion they would be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $50 gift card.

Survey contact methods all have their advantages and disadvantages. Can you imagine if it was someone's job to call every single student and ask them to take a survey? The method would be pointless and ineffective as no students would answer the phone.

The Role of the Proctor

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The video link is a clip from the popular show Mad Men. In the video, the advertising agency that the show revolves around is conducting a focus group. The focus group in meant to gain research and insight about a women's beauty product. What is interesting and noteworthy about the video and focus group shown is how they portray the group proctor.

The woman in the video changes her style of clothing, and decides to act a certain way in order to keep the women participants at ease and comfortable with the study. When the actual questioning was occurring, she kept the conversation flowing, and kept reassuring the women that they were in a safe place and could be themselves and be honest.

The proctor is a key asset to the success of a focus group, and thus the success of the study. Focus groups are meant to capture the opinions that consumers think are important. These opinions and data can only be collected if the participants are willing to open up and share how they are feeling. They need to answer the questions being asked. In order to do that, the questions asked need to be in a manner that makes them worthy to be answered.

A focus group can go very wrong if the procurator does not know what they are doing. The way questions are asked, the wording, the tone, the timing, all affect the answers. It is the job of the proctor to make sure all of those categories are presented accurately.

The video was impressive, as the proctor was able to identify with the participants and able to get them to feel worthy of being there. She got them to open up and really share their thoughts and emotions. Most importantly, she got them to be honest. Honesty is the root and goal of what focus groups are aiming to achieve. Honest opinions can lead to honest results and research. Companies and strategists are then capable of using the gathered information and ensure that their studies are going to be reliable and valid for whatever their conclusive goal in mind is.

Although the video was scripted, the concept is still true. The Mad Men actress is an ideal model of what a focus group proctor should be.

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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