Tag Archives: market research

Ten Market Research Myths that Harm Your Brand

market research myth

Market research is the fuel that propels products, services, and even ideas. In fact, market research might even be more important than the fuel metaphor, since crashing a campaign or initiative is more severe than sputtering at the gate. As award-winning social media scientist and author Dan Zarrella once said, “Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.”

Unfortunately, nagging myths about market research often stall and crash brands as they navigate shifting times full of digital breakthroughs and sophisticated audiences.

By dispelling market research myths, you’ll be halfway on the road to achieving goals that fully activate your customers or clients.

You’ll be myth-informed.

I ALREADY KNOW MY AUDIENCE, SO I DON’T NEED IT

Most organizations know who they are serving, but don’t take into consideration subtle shifts in audience needs and potential blind spots. In these hyper-competitive times, trends are evolving at a fast pace. A change in consumer preference in social media or a minor dislike in a product feature can make a huge difference.

What’s more, continuous research can unveil hidden motivations and desires in audiences, which is potentially game-changing for a brand.

Imagine a world where Blockbuster had understood the public’s budding desire for streaming or video home delivery; or Myspace had listened to the swelling dissatisfaction with clunky, spam-ridden profiles? Big examples, for sure, but you get the big picture of audience research.

IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE

As they say, that dog just won’t hunt – especially in a digital age that offers affordable and scalable research solutions. Below we’ll mention some cost-effective qualitative research tools, but online survey platforms (like QuestionPro) and quick-hacks like Twitter surveys make data-collection very approachable. Email marketing platforms can cost close to nothing for reaching audiences.

Don’t worry about building a focus group room in your office or funding a phone interview study. There is a digital avenue out there that fits your budget.

PHYSICAL IS BETTER THAN ONLINE

We might as well quickly address this myth now.

For qualitative research, an argument on accuracy can be made, although not by much. For quantitative research, online is a widely-accepted methodology for quick turnaround and keeping your data collection cost manageable. In fact, we’ve covered the advantages of online survey research:

  • Allows marketers to gather opinions from a wide market spread
  • Results compiled quickly and can capture varying trends
  • Allows for seamless sampling within specific regions or zip codes
  • Effective at protecting respondent personal information

And again…it’s better on your wallet.

MARKET RESEARCH TAKES A LONG TIME

Let’s stress one more time the digital age we live in today. Yes, research should be as accurate and meticulous as possible. That doesn’t mean, however, going on a grand experiment until you find the market research God Particle.

As an article in B2B Marketing explains:

“Most research projects should not require a six-month engagement. In fact, some would argue that long gone are the days of the lengthy survey timeline. Thanks to new technologies and new data sources, researchers and marketers alike have more options than ever to gather different types of insights that come in all shapes and sizes, fit all budgets, and can take anywhere from three days to three months.”

In short, the market research world is yours for the taking…

BIGGER IS BETTER

In today’s research world, size doesn’t have to matter. This is more so in a mobile device era and short-attention-span culture. Research reveals that for most projects now marketers can expect up to 40% response on smartphone screens.

Brands don’t need titanic surveys. In fact, studies show that response fatigue sets in after 20 minutes of any survey — so, a tight, short questionnaire is a better approach. The study also reveals the following:

“They found survey respondents exert less effort and spend less time thinking about their answers as respondents get deeper into the survey.”

QUANTITATIVE IS ALL THAT MATTERS

Well-crafted surveys go a long way in bringing useful data. But the “why” of the data can be as crucial. A survey may explain that a certain demographic isn’t frequenting a store at certain hours, but without knowing “why,” it’s hard to customize a solution. That’s where such solutions as open-ended questions, post-participation interviews, or competitive-analysis come in.

Honestly, it should never be qualitative research versus quantitative research. Instead, it should be a healthy balance for quality market research. In reality, such solutions as webcams, eye-tracking, and neuromarketing make qualitative research available to many organizations.

Moreover, qualitative research is making a comeback as companies increasingly explore the “why” to ensure they nurture the right clients or customers for the long haul.

IT’S EASY-PEASY

Just because you can draw from digital solutions and audiences like “short & sweet” doesn’t mean it’s a cakewalk.

Marketers and researchers should still work hard at research, being as meticulous as possible. From designing an effective questionnaire to systematically analyzing (and re-analyzing) data, you’ll get out what you put in.

Or as an Oracle marketing thought-leader said:

“Marketing research is supposed to be difficult.  If it wasn’t difficult, everyone would do it. Of course, we all know there is research being done all the time — lots of people are doing it, but very few are doing it right. And by “right,” I mean conducting true marketing research with quantifiable and qualifiable results.”

I ALREADY HAVE ACCESS TO PUBLIC DATA, SO I’M DONE

Guess what?

So do your competitors.  

They have the same access to statistics from government agencies, corporation balance sheets, and trade associations. 

Also, data points from different sources have varying methodologies. You may be unable to draw precise comparisons to answer your business questions strategically.

Furthermore, simple syndicated market research helps find the story behind public data, which gets your brand ahead of the pack.

ONCE IS ENOUGH

By now, the key theme in this article about changing times and audiences should be apparent. Even in a legacy, non-digital world, market research should be ongoing. Sadly, companies often stop at market research before the release of a product or only touch on audiences for initial reactions.

As one expert said, market research ought to be conducted “every six months to accurately capture the feel of the market, customers and competitors, ensuring that one’s company does not miss out on valuable opportunities.”

Your mileage may vary, of course, but don’t accept that data-gathering ever ends (if you want to stay competitive and grow your brand).

ALL MARKET RESEARCH COMPANIES ARE THE SAME

If you decide to use a research partner, it’s just the same as if you choose to leverage an agency for branding or digital marketing. Market research companies come in all sizes and specialties. For example, QuestionPro Audience specializes in providing its clients with hard to reach audiences for research –  veterinarians, general contractors, business travelers, registered voters, just to name a few. Other providers have their own mojo or research methodology they focus on.

In short, do some market research if you want to utilize a market research firm. Just as important, always keep your organization’s tank full of the best possible market research fuel. Your brand or services will thank you later — and so will your audiences.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 22 million active respondents, who are strategically recruited to participate in quantitative research and live discussions. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research. With industry knowledge and innovative tools, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. Contact for your next research project.

2018 Home Renovation Report: Homeowner Trends, Spending and Priority Projects

renovation

Just as fall signals football and cider mills, spring brings the home renovation projects that were set aside for the winter. QuestionPro Audience conducted a survey with 500 homeowners across the United States to gauge homeowner trends, future renovation plans and spending habits for spring 2018. To view our infographic with full report findings, click here.

CURRENT ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Overall, U.S. homeowners are optimistic about the next twelve months. 60% of homeowners take the state of the economy into consideration before making renovation plans, and 61% feel confident the economy is improving. Additionally, 55% of our respondents think home values will increase as well over the next year. While President Trump can be a controversial topic, only 28% report taking the presidential administration into consideration before making home improvement plans.

FUTURE HOME RENOVATION SPENDING

Homeowners look to be encouraged by today’s stronger housing market, and are making investments in their homes. 55% of homeowners plan to conduct at least one renovation over the next twelve months, up from the 38% who have previously performed improvements. 41% of respondents are initiating a home improvement project to improve their quality of living, while 17% are looking to increase the value of their home, but don’t have current plans to sell, and 16% want a “new look”.

Homeowners are also tackling bigger, more expensive projects this year—15% are planning to remodel their kitchen this year, 13% plan to update a bathroom, and 9% are looking to revamp the bedroom. 42% plan to spend between $3,000 and $10,000 on their upcoming renovation, up 6% from last year. A bit of good news for contractors: 61% plan to hire a professional for their upcoming project, compared to 59% who hired a professional for their past project. 49% of respondents plan to pay with cash or savings, 17% will put it on a credit card, 14% will use financing, 10% plan to use a home equity loan, and 8% are counting on their tax return to finance their project.

MILLENNIALS VS. BABY BOOMERS: WHO IS SPENDING ON HOME IMPROVEMENT?

Baby Boomers and millennials have at least one thing in common when it comes to conducting home projects: 61% of both baby boomers and millennials plan to perform at least one improvement over the next twelve months. That may be where the similarities end, however. The majority of millennials (35%) plan to spend between $1,000-$2,999, while 31% of baby boomers will be spending between $5,000-$9,999. Baby boomers will primarily be paying with cash (67%), financing (13%), or taking out a home equity loan (7%). Millennials will also be paying with cash (42%), but 19% plan to use one or more credit card.

Millennials are focused on renovating their kitchen (14%), bathroom (10%), and living room (9%), while 23% of baby boomers will be updating their bathroom, kitchen (19%), or replacing windows (9%). The majority of both age groups will be hiring a professional to do the work, but 39% of millennials plan to conduct the renovation themself, compared to 27% of baby boomers. Millennial respondents get a sense of satisfaction from performing the work themselves (40%), while baby boomers are more focused on keeping the project cost effective (59%). Baby boomer DIY-ers are also very specific about where they purchase their materials, with 85% shopping at building supply stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s or Menards, hardware stores like Ace Hardware or True Value (8%) or Walmart (8%). Millennials also shop at supply stores (64%), Walmart (14%), and hardware stores (7%), but they frequent warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club (7%) and high-end specialty stores like Kohler (4%) as well.

WOMEN TAKING CHARGE OF HOME PROJECTS

While home improvement has stereotypically been thought of as a male-dominated industry, women are picking up power tools and narrowing the margins. Of our respondents, 55% of women are planning to conduct a home improvement project over the next twelve months, compared to 57% of men. The majority of men (33%) intend to spend between $5,000 and $9,999, while 29% of women are looking to spend $1,000-$2,999. Cash is king for women funding their project; 54% of women are using cash, whereas men will be using cash (40%) or financing (21%). The genders are focused on improving different areas of the house as well; men will be remodeling the bathroom, while women plan to update the kitchen.

The majority of both sexes—63% of women and 58% of men—intend to hire a professional for their upcoming project. 56% of women feel they do not have the skills or equipment necessary for their planned project, while men value the expertise that comes with hiring a professional (47%). Another dissimilarity between the genders is how they find professionals to hire. Women prefer to ask a friend for a referral (40%), look on a review website such as Yelp.com (18%), or ask a contractor for a referral (17%). Men also ask friends for referrals (30%), but would rather use a search engine like Google.com (24%), or look on Yellowpages.com (21%).

The motivated women who plan to DIY prefer it because it gives them a sense of personal satisfaction (41%), whereas DIY men like that it’s more cost effective (53%). The majority of both men (74%) and women (75%) plan to purchase materials at a building supply store like Menards, Home Depot or Lowe’s, but that’s where the congruity ends. 10% of men intend to shop at Sears or IKEA (6%), while women will head to warehouse clubs like Costco (8%) or Walmart (8%).

THE YEAR AHEAD

The current housing market inventory is very competitive, so it is logical that many homeowners are choosing to invest in remodeling their current home, rather than get into a bidding war. Additionally, with the economy and housing market more stable, homeowners now have more income—and equity—so they’re making renovations to create their dream homes. Our study found that the majority of homeowners are focusing on discretionary projects such as kitchens and bathrooms, which may have been put off after the housing crisis. Judging from our report, it looks like 2018 will be a profitable year for homeowners, contractors, and material suppliers alike.

Download the full infographic report here.

Don’t Exhibit at Your Next Event Before Using this Research Hack

Proper market research is the stable launching pad to rocket any successful product, service, or campaign. That’s not rocket science.

Having said that, market research tends to get overlooked in the event space. All too often, brands get lulled into the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality when it comes to the annual exhibition. It’s time to dust off the usual signage, call an event provider for a booth, and send out the team with product samples. Or something like that.

Any event should be well-researched, new or reoccurring. Face-to-face marketing is still crucial. Research shows that companies are increasingly investing in events for their ability to bring results (some as much as 50% of marketing budget).

Without the right data, you risk exhibiting at an event with the wrong audiences. Your service or product will sputter. Conversely, well-researched shows blast your brand to hyperspace when it comes to customer engagement.

Follow this approachable and executable roadmap below to find the most suitable trade show or exhibit for your product or service.

Align the needs of your brand

One of the most important questions for marketing and business decisions is “Why?”

Why does your organization need to be at an event? At any event?

For these answers, it’s key to interview internal sales, marketers, product managers, and other stakeholders. This search aims to obtain background on promotional aims, product details, and competitive climate needed to select shows that fit like the proverbial glove. If possible, getting upper management to present a “big picture” vision goes a long way — which can then be aligned with the specific goals of having a booth (sales, networking, data gathering, product testing, etc.).

After a thorough examination, you’ll acquire a solid picture on identifying events that line up with your organization’s general marketing aims. Not getting this right from the start is likely to imbalance the rest of the process — so be as thorough as possible!

Find out where your audiences hang out

It may seem obvious to know what events your audience frequents, but it’s also vital to know why they attend a show, as well as their specific opinions after experiencing an event. After all, there can be many events for a single vertical and many reasons audiences attend them (education, networking, product search, etc.). Some events are more popular or relevant in any given year.

This is the time to whip out a survey for your customers and prospects. Ask them which events they patronize yearly, what are they looking for specifically on the show floor, and other explorative questions. Not every organization has the budget or time for high-level surveys, but in full transparency, QuestionPro provides its clients with a suite of intuitive research tools that can do the trick.

Keep in mind that informal, qualitative studies like picking the brain of clients over lunch or during a phone meeting can go a long way in obtaining data.

Hunt down the right exhibition or trade show

You’ve got actionable data at this point. Yay! Now it’s time find the best event opportunities for exhibiting. Luckily, there are many sources for identifying potential events.

These include:

  •      Association websites
  •      Trade publications
  •      Internet sites
  •      Trade associations
  •      Competitors (specifically their sites or social media channels)
  •      Direct mail from event producers

This investigation should produce a list of shows that match your brand’s marketing strategy and objectives. For best results, categorize by industry, vertical, and market — at the same time analyzing for potential cross-overs for multi-product/division companies.

Go into the belly of the beast

With a targeted list in your possession, contact organizers of each relevant show for pertinent information. This can include attendance figures, cost per square footage, space availability, sponsorships, etc. In addition, try to contact current exhibitors for their personal experiences.

As a warning, this step may be difficult. In many cases, organizers just don’t possess the kind of data you require, are reluctant to share numbers publicly, or have inadequate standards of information-reporting. What’s more, many show organizers simply lack independent auditors to certify their own data. Regardless, any information collected will go miles towards achieving research goals.

For additional criteria, there is nothing wrong with weighing such elements as speaker popularity, media exposure, or brand recognition. Not every event can be Comic-Con or SXSW, but you can hear an industry buzz if you’re attentive.

Use your research!

Now that you have all this rich data, it’s time to do something about it.

By now, you should have a clear answer to the most critical question: Should we exhibit and where?

Even if the answer is yes to exhibiting, it’s a matter of to what extent and how deep to invest. All of this depends primarily on the target audience quantity and quality (gleaned from the show organizer data and your surveys). It also depends on the feedback and insights of all relevant company stakeholders and decision-makers

Put together, this process ought to lead to a full marketing strategy after a few meetings. Even better, you’ll likely find overarching objectives and strategies for future shows, not to mention post-participation promotions.

What’s important is that your organization can be free of that “we’ve always done it this way” attitude when it comes to exhibiting. Once on the show floor, your team will be saying a hearty “hello” to audiences that are ready to interact with your brand fully.

Why Research is Crucial for Ad Agencies in 2018

market research

Advertising agencies are facing a lot of adversity in 2018. With more and more big brands like Sprint, Netflix, and L’Oreal cutting their agencies to take their advertising in-house, ad agencies are scrambling to re-route. U.S. ad agencies are not at risk of becoming obsolete, reportedly bringing in over $48 billion in 2016 and employing over 200,000 people, but the growth in this industry is slowing. Ad agencies need to find new ways to add value to their client engagements, and keep profit margins in the green, which is why ad agencies need to implement market research into their strategy more than ever.

BETTER CLIENT OUTCOMES

Before creating an ad campaign, it is important to get background information on the client and their audience. While your client may have given you all the information they feel is pertinent to a successful campaign, research allows the agency to generate quantitative and qualitative data into marketplace dynamics, customer perceptions and behaviors, and reveal intelligence that can help to solve business problems and achieve favorable client outcomes. Additionally, it may shed light on potentially profitable opportunities for the client as well.

UNDERSTAND THE CONSUMER

You’ll want to ensure your messaging and marketing efforts are in line with your target audience’s needs and wants. The more you know about your client’s market, its products, consumers, and competitors, the better you can design a successful campaign. Understanding into how the consumer engages the products, trends and the customer journey is knowledge that is necessary for an effective campaign.

TEST CAMPAIGN

Launching an ad campaign is expensive, which is why it is so important to set yourself up for success. By conducting market research, you can test your concepts on consumers to find out which would be most effective. With online surveys, you can capture real-time feedback, and they are easier and less expensive than focus groups.

MEASURE SUCCESS

After launching an advertising campaign, it is imperative to have data to give your client an idea of the campaign’s success. Sales and other performance indicators may provide an idea of the campaign’s success, but with market research, you will be able to better understand what compelled consumers so you can build off that in future campaigns.


QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 22 million active respondents, who are strategically recruited to participate in quantitative market research and live discussions. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research. With industry knowledge and innovative tools, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. Contact us for your next research project.

How the Entertainment Industry is Using Data Collection

Hollywood is learning what those in the market research world have known for years: follow the data. For years, film studios have had only a vague understanding of who’s buying tickets to their films. As mobile becomes more popular, however, the entertainment business is using the technology to capture what was lost in the relationship between the studios and the consumer, and convert that data into meaningful insight into what works and what doesn’t.

While advertising “The Greatest Showman”, a musical about the P.T. Barnum’s efforts to build a circus show featuring bearded ladies, dwarfs, and the like, Fox executives thought it would be a shoo-in with the same audience who loved “La La Land” and “Les Miserables”. When they looked at the data, however, they found that 75% of the people who viewed the trailer online bought tickets to “Beauty and the Beast”, “Pitch Perfect”, and “Cinderella”. After further analysis, they realized all of those films featured characters who were shunned by society, and ultimately found themselves embraced by certain communities. With this information, they altered their advertising campaigns and pressed the message of inclusion.

Previously, the data segmentation the movie industry used was very high-level: gender, age, income. Now, by using the digital breadcrumbs we leave online, they are able to create profiles that more accurately represent the modern audience. Richard Maraschi, global leader of advanced analytics at IBM, is helping studios leverage the feedback consumers put online to make better creative and marketing decisions. “Now we can get down to micro-segments,” says Maraschi, “like soccer moms in Florida that are really passionate about action films. You can start to get higher fidelity on understanding the audience. You need predictive analytics tools to do that stuff.”

77% of Americans have smartphones, and Fandango is working to make its app more smartphone-friendly in hopes of gathering more data from its users. It launched a Fandango functionality into Apple iMessage and Facebook Messenger, because it believes that’s how younger consumers are communicating with friends. Atom Tickets, a mobile ticketing app, is taking notes from Netflix and Amazon and deploying algorithms to suggest movies that are similar to ones the customers previously enjoyed.

Data analytics has opened a number of new avenues that the entertainment industry can use to analyze past data, make creative marketing decisions, and predict the turnout for upcoming movie releases.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 22 million active respondents, who are strategically recruited to participate in quantitative research and live discussions. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research. With industry knowledge and innovative tools, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. Contact us for your next research project.

How the Smart Speaker is Revolutionizing the Home

2017 was predicted to be the year of the smart home, and consumers are slowly integrating the new technology into their homes. With smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the soon-to-be-released Apple HomePod, consumers have many options when it comes to a digital voice assistant, and the ability to optimize and control lighting, heating, energy consumption, electronic devices and security features. Currently, 16.3% of Americans live in a smart home, and that number is expected to increase to 35.6% by 2021.

We polled over 450 respondents from our consumer panel to gauge their thoughts on the smart home. 56% of those polled feel digital voice assistant devices (such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Microsoft Cortana and Apple HomePod) will have an impact on society in the same way the iPhone has, but only 25% own one. 19% are considering purchasing one, while 60% do not feel they need a digital assistant.

Consumers have apprehension regarding the technology. 60% feel a digital assistant isn’t a beneficial addition to their household, 15% do not like the idea of a device always listening, and 6% are worried hackers could access their personal information. In fact, 55% of consumers are concerned implementing these devices into their household could lead to invasion of privacy.

There have been reports that brick and mortar retail is declining, and our data supports that theory, with only 23% of our respondents purchasing their device in-store. The Google Home was the most popular digital voice assistant (46%), followed closely by Amazon Echo (40%) and the Microsoft Cortana Invoke (7%). As for their decision to purchase a digital assistant? Consumers are hoping a digital assistant will make their life easier (46%), and 38% just think it’s a cool device. Our respondents primarily use their digital assistant to play music (15%) get the weather report (12%), create reminders for themselves (11%), or search online (9%).

46% of consumers are planning to use digital assistant devices to convert their house into a smart home in 2018, by linking up their television (23%), lighting (19%), smart speakers (16%), thermostat (14%), security camera (13%) or kitchen appliances (11%). Move over, smartphone—62% of consumers are using their smartphone less frequently after purchasing a digital voice assistant.

Below is a preview. Download the full 14-page research report here!

5 Ways to Keep Survey Respondents Engaged

survey respondents

Surveys are powerful tools that businesses rely on to learn the motivations of consumers and gain insight into their feelings towards brands. However, if the participants are responding arbitrarily, the survey instrument may need some attention in order to get the actionable data necessary to make accurate decisions. It is important to keep survey respondents engaged in order to ensure a positive experience for both parties involved. It can be difficult to predict the level of participation you will receive, but by following these simple tips below, you should see improved response rates, with more relevant data and better ROI on your project.

KEEP IT SHORT One of the most common reasons for respondent drop-out is survey fatigue.  We conducted numerous research studies on this topic and found that close to 50% of survey respondents are okay spending an average of 5 minutes on a survey. However, only one-third did not show any sign of significant fatigue for completing surveys that are 10 minutes or longer.  Make sure every question you’re asking has a purpose, so you don’t waste your respondents’ time.

COMMUNICATE Set clear expectations of your survey respondents. Progress bars can help the survey respondent to understand where they are in the survey and motivate them to complete it. If you do have to conduct a longer survey, communicate the details, such as why this research is important to you and your organization and how long it will take them.

TEST Ensure the survey is tested over and over again to make sure it is free of programming errors. Good programming that eliminates redundant questions can help the respondent in completing the survey faster and ultimately result in better data quality for your research.

BE ENGAGING Keep the survey interesting—this will keep your survey respondents from wandering while completing your survey. Add variety to keep the survey appealing and engaging to your participants. The use of sliders, emojis and other attractive visuals can make the survey taking experience more enjoyable. Rather than the single select yes or no survey question, which also does not gain as much information from your respondent, consider asking “how”. For example, instead of “Did you like our service?” ask “How did you find our services?”. Phrasing the question this way will provide you detailed data, and allow the respondent to have a voice.

Are you ready for your next survey project? We can help! Contact us at sales@questionpro.com.

QuestionPro Audience is the leader in online and offline data collection with access to millions of pre-qualified respondents who participate in thousands of surveys daily. We provide our clients the necessary tools and expertise to conduct 360 degree survey solutions.

Market Research: Why Every Small Business Needs It

small business marketing

Attention, small businesses! According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are currently 28.8 million small businesses in the United States. These businesses have played a major role in economic growth because they create so many jobs (1.4 million in 2014!), but getting the business off the ground is a struggle. About two-thirds of small businesses survive 2 years, half will survive 5 years, and one-third will make it to 10 years.

Market research is one of the most effective ways to gain insight into your customer base, competitors, and overall market. The goal of conducting market research is to equip your company with the information you need to make informed decisions. Market research is especially important when small businesses are trying to determine whether a new business idea is viable, looking to move into a new market, or are launching a new product or service.  Read below for a more in-depth look at how market research can help small businesses.

COMPETITION According to a study conducted by Business Insider, 72% of small businesses focus on increasing revenue. Conducting research helps businesses gain insight into competitor behavior. By learning your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, you can learn how to position your product or offering. In order to be successful, small businesses need to have an understanding of what products and services competitors are offering, and their price point.

CUSTOMERS Many small businesses feel they have an understanding of their customer, only to conduct market research and learn they had the wrong assumptions. By conducting research, you can create a profile of your average customer and gain insight into their buying habits, how much they’re willing to spend, and which features resonate with them. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, you can learn what will make someone use your product or service over a competitor.

OPPORTUNITIES Potential opportunities, whether they are products or services, can be identified by conducting market research. By learning more about your customers, you can gather insights into complementary products and services. Consumer needs change over time, influenced by new technology and different conditions, and you may find new needs that are not being met, which can create new opportunities for your business.

FORECAST A small business is affected by the performance of the local and national economy, as are its’ customers. If consumers are worried, then they will be more restrained when spending money, which affects the business. By conducting research with consumers, businesses can get an idea of whether they are optimistic or apprehensive about the direction of the economy, and make adjustments as necessary. For example, a small business owner may decide to postpone a new product launch if it appears the economic environment is turning negative.

QuestionPro Audience provides our clients with access to more than 22 million active respondents, who are strategically recruited to participate in quantitative research and live discussions. By implementing various recruitment methodologies, we make sure to provide the right kinds of respondents for your research. With industry knowledge and innovative tools, QuestionPro Audience always meets the rigorous demands of our clients. Contact us for your next research project.

data quality

5 Tips to Improve Your Data Quality

Every good idea should be supported by extensive research. Businesses can’t afford to go to market with a new product that hasn’t been properly researched. If you’re unconvinced, let us remind you of “new Coke”, which was launched in 1985 after Coca-Cola lost market share to their rival, Pepsi. Coke’s decision to alter their traditional recipe resulted in major outcry from consumers, who inundated the company’s call centers with more than 400,000 complaints. Coca-Cola apologized and took “new Coke” off the market, returning to their tried and true recipe, to the relief of their customers. Where did they go wrong? While they did test the new formula on 200,000 subjects, they tested on taste alone, disregarding the fact that consumers make purchasing decisions based on habit, nostalgia, and loyalty as well.

The only thing worse than no data is bad data, because bad data will lead to bad business decisions. We’ve compiled a list of 5 best practices to improve the data quality of your research.

Keep it short and sweet. Goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds; adult humans have an attention span of 12 seconds. The order of the questions and the time it takes to fill out will play a vital role in the respondent’s answers. Ask the harder questions at the beginning of the survey, and limit open-ended questions, which require more effort to answer. Make sure each question is designed to get you relevant information, so you’re not wasting your respondents’ time.

Have a clear purpose. Before conducting a survey, establish a clear objective. What are you hoping to learn from this research? Do you have a clear objective, target, and the right methodology? Test, test, and test again before deploying your survey to ensure you didn’t lose sight of your objective.

Allow for “not applicable” and “prefer not to answer” where appropriate. 31% of people say they give an inaccurate answer to a survey question because the question doesn’t apply to them. By always giving respondents an option to choose “not applicable”, “other”, or “prefer not to answer”, you can control the quality of your data.

Make it user-friendly. By making the survey accessible both online and via mobile, the respondent rate increases greatly. Put yourself in the respondents’ shoes, and think about what would help you while completing a survey. Ensuring respondents have enough room to easily read and answer your questions, keeping header labels that define sections in view, and making the touch points as large as possible will create a better user experience for the respondent.

Avoid bias. Question bias, or a leading question, is when the design of a question or the way it’s asked leads respondents to answer one way or another. For example, the wording in the following question is leading the respondent: “Do you agree that the iPhone is the best smartphone on the market?” You may not even be aware that you have worded a question for a particular answer, which is why you should always have someone else review your survey with a fresh set of eyes.

Are you ready for your next survey project? We can help! Contact us at sales@questionpro.com.

QuestionPro Audience is the leader in online and offline data collection with access to millions of pre-qualified respondents who participate in thousands of surveys daily. We provide our clients the necessary tools and expertise to conduct 360-degree survey solutions.

Panel Research: Why It Matters

It’s not breaking news that the way we conduct market research is changing. The research industry is evolving with technological advances such as mobile phones, which allow you to conduct panel research and collect data easier and faster than the traditional landline surveys. But, one important thing to remember: the data is only as good as your panel.

WHAT IS PANEL RESEARCH? Panel research is a method for collecting data repeatedly, from a pre-recruited set of people. These individuals generally provide demographic, household and behavioral data, which can make conducting future studies easier. Technology, primarily the internet, has transformed panel research methodology by the ease of which we can access larger numbers of respondents. Panel research provides many advantages for companies including faster turnaround, higher participation rates, and cost savings. The quantitative data can provide companies with insights into pricing, effectiveness and sales projection of their products or brand.

WHY IS A RESEARCH PANEL IMPORTANT? Building a quality research panel is very important because your data depends on it. With a research panel, you are able to build rich profiles of your members, which will help to ensure that your reporting provides quality responses. If you are looking to launch a new mobile phone, you would want to target panelists who are interested in mobile phones and technology to yield more informed responses. Additionally, a well-managed panel of pre-recruited respondents allows for a faster response rate, as the participants have shown interest in participating in surveys by joining the panel.

HOW TO RECRUIT FOR A RESEARCH PANEL? We use many different channels to recruit members who will be active participants in our panel research. The one we’ve found most effective is via the internet, specifically email and social media. Once we’ve recruited a member, we have them fill out a short survey with profile information, which we use to create a better understanding of our target audience.

BUILD YOUR OWN RESEARCH PANEL OR “RENT” ONE? In cases where your customers are considered niche, it makes sense to invest the time into building out your own online panel of respondents. While it obviously takes more effort than using an outsourced panel provider (“renting”), the quality of the respondents is generally higher in self-recruited panels, and in the long term, the cost is cheaper than using external vendors for all your market research initiatives.

At QuestionPro, we understand the importance of panel research. We provide power to your research with incredible sample consisting of 22 million panelists, from over 32 countries with 300+ profile data points. We provide our customers with 360 degree survey solutions. We understand our customers and their needs and provide the answers accordingly.