Tag Archives: market research chicago

Why Is Your Company Not Conducting Market Research?

The continuous flow of information has rapidly changed today’s digital environment and ideation exchange between businesses. This, in turn, has altered economies and technologies, as well as driven companies to expand their research horizons. While market research has proven to be an effective tool, not all businesses are convinced about the accuracy and value that it provides. Companies large and small all require accurate and timely information in order to meet market demands and stay ahead of the game.

The goal of market research is to equip companies with the information needed to conduct business decisions ranging from product development, to product placement, and everything in between. Why, then, is market research not at the forefront of their strategies?

Predicting outcomes is a strong part of any business decision; however, without the right information a company can’t properly prepare nor decide the next step for the business. The biggest misconception in the market research sector is that marketing activities should stay within the marketing department, consequently creating a narrow view and limiting the capabilities of research. Strictly speaking, marketing strategies should be used for marketing decision however, these processes are not solely for marketing activities. Instead, they contribute in the decision-making process company wide.

Market research takes a variety of forms and is generally divided into two categories: primary and secondary research. Primary research answers specific questions whereas secondary research provides broad information. Unfortunately, because some companies question the value and benefits of conducting research, as well as the validity of the information, it fails to meet full potential. In other instances, companies do not have the necessary budget to conduct market research. Because of this, these circumstances have triggered a negative and complicated conception of research.

Looking into specifics, we have primary research tactics, which involve the design and implementation of original research where data is collected to answer specific questions. Why is this so important? The advantage that this creates for business entities is a game changer. It allows them to gather information directly correlated with their operations not general information that applies to the industry or other businesses. An effective way to conduct primary research is by using an online panel provider, which provides a sample of respondents.  The respondents used for panels are pre-screened and double opted-in to participate in a wide range of research studies. Surveys are the main tool used to collect the data of a specific sample. Online panels provide accessibility and efficiency when trying to reach specific audiences. The ability to tailor research to a company’s specific needs maximizes the advantages of using online panels. Understanding the impact of the data collection process for business decisions will change the misconception of market research as a secondary tool in the decision-making process.

From developing a strong new product to determining employee satisfaction, market research can be used to obtain a deeper understanding of operational and day-to-day business activities; making it a must have for strong industry players. Integrating market research relies heavily on details such as organizational culture, financial implications and the urgency with which data is required. While these tend to diminish the number of companies implementing market research, businesses must remember that market research is made to accommodate businesses from diverse backgrounds and sizes; it’s tiers working as a well structured unit made to improve companies throughout.

Refusing to use market research as a decision-making tool leads to misconceptions, misleading outcomes and erroneous business transactions that can greatly impact capital. In order to ensure that your business is successful and stay at the forefront of today’s fast paced environment, market research needs to be your go-to tool and you won’t be left behind.

Whether or not is used depends on the culture of the organization, the financial implications and the speed with which a result is required; however, market research has several tiers that are able to accommodate the needs of a business. Neglecting the use of market research as a decision-making tool leads to possible misleading outcomes and erroneous business decisions that can greatly impact a business’s capital. In order for business to be successful and stay current in today’s fast paced environment market research needs to be conducted to aid in the business decision process.

Market research has a myriad of applications. From product development, to determining employee satisfaction, it can be used to obtain a deeper understanding of operational and day-to-day business activities.


Millennials and Holiday Shopping

The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday sales will increase 4.1% this year or to a total of $616.9 billion. This includes in-store, direct-to-consumer, kiosk and online sales. If this number is correct, the 2014 shopping season could be the best one that retailers have seen in over a decade.

With the number of stores open on Thanksgiving Day increasing, the number of shoppers coming out early to get deals has also increased. NRF data estimates that 44.8 million consumers shopped on Thanksgiving Day in 2013. This number is up by 27% from the previous year and millennials represent more than 43% of that number. Millennials spent 13% more than the other generations over Thanksgiving weekend. 83% also shopped for themselves over Thanksgiving weekend.

A recent study from Hanover research reveals that that millennials live and shop in the moment, often making purchases and dealing with the repercussions later. The study also shows that 52% of Millennials were more likely to make impulse purchases than any other generation. They prefer to purchase with digital media in hand and they don’t stop spending in a recession-only 20 percent of Millennials reported spending less on apparel during the most recent economic downturn.

Several factors which should increase spending this year include:

Weather– Last Fall and Winter, much of the US was experiencing bad weather during the shopping season. Although part of the Eastern United States currently is buried in snow, the majority of the States are experiencing mild weather.

Utility Spending– Due to a mild summer, many consumers spent less on utilities and have more money for spending.

Government Shut-Down- On October 1, 2013, a partial government shut-down was put in place. The 16-day-long shutdown was the third-longest government shutdown in the U.S. and 2.9 million people were put on job furlough.

Employment Rates– More people are employed this year and disposable income increased 4% each month this summer.

Consumer Confidence– Most surveys are showing that confidence on the part of consumers has improved.

Gasoline Prices– In the past couple of months, gasoline prices have dropped and may provide more spending money for the holidays.

Gen Xers are knowledgeable shoppers who use information to guide their decisions and Baby Boomers tend to purchase based on practicality. These generations will likely keep budget more in mind this holiday season.

Millennials & Holiday Shopping

Breed and Behavior: You Can’t Change Nature, Even With Nurture

It’s the time of the year when Christmas lists are written and many children put a puppy on their wish list. According to the ASPCA, of the 3.9 million dogs entering shelters each year, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs are returned to their owner. According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each).

With the relinquishing and euthanasia rates unacceptable to many, it’s a good idea to research as much as possible before obtaining a dog. Dogs should be a friend for life-not a temporary companion.

Evaluating lifestyle and doing research on what type of dog breed that will fit lifestyle can be a challenge. Yes, there are online quizzes to help match a breed of dog to a specific lifestyle. The quizzes usually look at owner needs, size of dog desired, energy levels, care needs, temperament and trainability. Those quizzes and some pre-knowledge of breed types and their common behavior can greatly assist the search for a compatible match.

Dogs are available through pet stores, breeders, animal shelters, and sites including Pet Finder, Hannah the Pet Society and others that link potential pet parents to animal shelters and rescue groups. There is even an app for the iPhone called BarkBuddy that lists 250 thousand available pets from 2500 different rescue organizations.

According to the American Kennel Club, there are 339 internationally recognized dog breeds.

Purebred dogs tend to be more expensive, but it’s easier to know the characteristics and behaviors for those breeds. It is harder to determine behavior for mixed breeds (generally called mutts), but with a basic knowledge of breed characteristics and a veterinarian’s or shelter’s determination of the dominate breed within the dog, potential behavior issues may come to light.

Before purchasing or adopting, learn more about the background of the dog, if possible. Training, living conditions and parental temperaments can all affect dog behaviors beyond natural breed characteristics. Abandoned, abused, and neglected animals will behave differently than a pup raised in a loving, safe place. Purebred dog breeding in the USA is a multibillion dollar business every year and although many cities have recently cracked down on puppy mills and those who overbreed dogs, knowing a dog’s background will help with potential training or behavior issues.

Here are some top common breeds and the characteristics that they usually have in common.

Labrador Retrievers have ranked the top dog breed in the US in both 2013 and 2012 (among other years). Labs are not small, they can be 55-75 pounds, and do require regular grooming, but these gentle, devoted family dogs are easy to train and are also popular for sportsmen. Labs tend to be outgoing, loyal and good with children and other animals.

Lab hybrids are also popular breeds. One example is the Labradoodle, which is a mix of lab and poodle. Some labradoodles don’t shed as much as other dogs, which is appealing for those with allergies or with an aversion to hairy floor and furniture. Labradoodles share many of the same traits as labs and poodles, including high intelligence. Labs and hybrids tend to be high-energy dogs and require regular exercise to keep them engaged and well-behaved.

A medium sized dog, and fifth in 2013 AKC listings is the Bulldog. Bulldogs tend to be 40-50 lbs, and require minimal grooming and exercise. They are good family dogs because they are gentle, protective, and tend to form strong bonds with children. Bulldogs come in a variety of colors, and there are English, American and French bulldog types. The French Bulldog is usually smaller and can top the scale at 20 pounds or less. They all get along with other animals, and children, but bulldogs don’t generally have long lifespans. They also tend to rack up more veterinary bills than other breeds.

A small and popular breed of dogs is the dachshund. Dachshunds were ranked tenth in the 2013 dog breed statistics. These dogs can range from 16-32 pounds, and depending on the type, may require regular grooming. Despite their small size, this breed needs moderate exercise, and are stubborn, which can make them harder to train. Dachshunds can be loving, playful, and good with children. They can also be aggressive towards other animals, and strangers as well. Being a hound breed, they do tend to follow their noses and may need more supervision than other dogs.

There are many different types of dog breeds so the first thing is to determine what one’s needs are before purchasing or adopting. Going to a dog park, animal shelter, or asking others is an easy way to learn about different types. It’s easy to be captivated by a cute puppy, but puppies grow up and become dogs. Dogs do generally mature and mellow with age as well, so adopting a senior dog might be a good option if a puppy sounds overwhelming.

Having a dog can be good for health, and there are studies linking longer and healthier lifestyles with owning a pet. According to CNCA Health, a survey of more than 11,000 people found that pet owners made 15- 20 percent fewer visits to the doctor each year than non-pet owners. And numerous studies have shown that owning a pet can lower blood pressure, relieve feelings of depression, loneliness, stress and anxiety, and even boost self-esteem.

Having a dog breed that matches the needs and activity level of a family is beneficial for both owner and dog, and creates a healthier and happier home for everyone.


Visit the organizations we chatted to here:


Hannah the Pet Society


American Humane Association