Tag Archives: market research

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.

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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.

Why You Should Use Mobile To Conduct Market Research

Market research is a valuable tool, and one that the smartest companies invest in. Companies like Lego, McDonald’s and Apple have been utilizing market research (MR) for years, and dominate their respective markets. But MR is not just for big companies with even bigger budgets; with today’s technology, every company has the ability to conduct research.

In the past, this data took a long time to gather because the only options were focus groups, mailings and phone surveys. Today’s modern technology makes research more accessible to companies than ever. In 2017, there were an estimated 227 million smartphone users in the United States. Smaller companies can use the data to help their growth, thanks to quick turnaround, affordable options and personalized service options. We’ve listed just a few of the advantages to conducting research via mobile.

Cost Effective

We mentioned focus groups previously, but what we didn’t mention was how costly they are—the average focus group project runs $8,000. With mobile, the audience reach is greater, and the cost is lower. Conducting research with a mobile app guarantees results from your target audience, and at a fixed price.


Researchers are able to access consumers via their preferred mode of communication, which works best for busy consumers. Additionally, the participation rate of respondents is higher, as the respondent can answer from anywhere.


The speed at which mobile research can be conducted is a huge advantage. According to eMarketer, American adults are expected to spend on average 3 hours and 23 minutes on mobile media in 2018. Mobile research provides the benefit of instantaneous results and a shorter wait period. Also, it is perfect for surveys when you want immediate reactions. Answers are given in real time, while fresh in the consumer’s memory.

Access to a Larger Audience

Market research companies have access to large panels of participants from all demographics. In addition, they have the ability to gather other pertinent information such as geolocation data and reach your target audience in an efficient way.

QuestionPro’s mobile app, MyPinion, is the fastest market research tool that allows mobile users to provide critical insights to leading brands by participating in short surveys. With our mobile panel of more than 250,000 active smartphone users around the United States, you are able to get thousands of responses within minutes with the highest respondent engagement. Our respondents are pre-screened and highly qualified to participate in a variety of research studies of any level of specificity.

Elevating In-Store Customer Experience with Market Research

Consumers enter a store and hear the sound of music, smell a fresh cologne, and see floral displays paired with the latest spring garments. These elements that enhance the shopping experience have been sewn into the fabric of the retail industry and better known as “retailtainment.” In George Ritzer’s Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption, the term “retailtainment” is defined as the use of ambiance, emotion, sound and activity to get customers interested in the merchandise.” This is a classic strategy almost every retailer uses to engulf the consumer into an atmosphere. Many retailers are focused on not just selling the product, but selling a lifestyle.

However, the current digital climate has made it increasingly difficult to keep retail customers engaged. According to RetailWire, over 48% of overall purchases were made online. There is an increasing focus towards the online shopping experience and mobile shopping applications. Consumers are spending less time shopping at brick-and-mortar establishment and more time online. The effect of this can be seen in massive store closing, such as Macy’s, and increasing vacancy rates for retail spaces. Despite the decline, there are retailers that are integrating the digital and in-store shopping experience to boost sales revenue. From digital shopping walls to location-centric mobile applications, retailers are getting creative. Pairing the digital shopping experience with market research can truly elevate customers’ shopping experience.

In order to develop a successful in-store shopping experience, the retailer must be familiar with their customers and targeted audience. Many retailers are deploying follow-up shopping surveys to their current customers. However, for retailers to reach other audiences they need an external tool such as online panels of respondents. Panels that consist of pre-screened respondents and collect multiple demographic and sociographic data points to complete the respondents’ profiles. This allows retailers to create a customized panels of their targeted audience. Retailers could use data collected from surveying these panels to develop a digital shopping experience for their customers.

In addition, using online panels also allow retailers to predict trends in consumer behavior. Retailers are able to collect quality data from online panels that will show what certain audiences value in their shopping experience as well as what they lack. This information can be used to craft digital experiences such as QR code scanners that allow shoppers exclusives ways to bring their online shopping experience into the physical store.  Retailers can use the geographical elements collected from online panels to identify what store locations would benefit from creating a digital shopping experience.

Ultimately, online shopping is on track to eclipsing the in-store shopping experience. However, retailers are creating innovative ways to implement a digital shopping experience inside their physical retail establishments. For retailers to enact a successful digital store experience model they need to conduct market research to understand their current customer’s preferences, gauge their target audience, track trends in consumer behavior, and evaluate the geographical location of the store that will host a digital shopping model. By using online panels, retailers can obtain data to use in the development of their digital shopping experience. It is apparent that market research has the capability to provide tools that will elevate the customer’s’ shopping experience.


Why do Pharmaceutical Companies Continually Fail to Recognize the Importance of Market Research?

The first thing to consider when discussing the role of market research within the pharmaceutical industry is the time from a new drug being developed to when it gets into the local pharmacy.This is quite different from other consumer lead industries. In these industries, market research forms the basis for everything from product development to marketing. In the pharmaceutical industry, market research is important, but some executives might treat it as an afterthought. They are wrong to do this as it market research is critical with the long research pipelines that some work is done to determine what direction that initial research takes.

If we look at a new-product today it would make sense to forecast out 7 to 10 years to determine what diseases or medical problems or even advances may require a new product. So rather than leave it to serendipity, solid market research could determine where the research and development budget is best spent. Pharmaceutical products rarely sell themselves and pharmaceutical companies are a business that are maximizing these investments. The need for quality research is slowly being driven by poor pipelines and is against the backdrop of increasing pressure to perform while research budgets are squeezed.

Now around 20 years ago, pharmaceutical companies brought many products with tremendous value to the public. That is because they were research centred businesses, for example Glaxo 20 or so years ago, it was referred to as the only university on the stock exchange. This has now changed and most of these companies from Novartis to Pfizer and beyond are run by accountants where it is about the bottom line.

Consequently, that has caused a loss of focus in research and development groups and the rise in clinical research organizations taking up that slack. Also many of the older products are now out of patent and going generic. This is because of lack of focus when it comes to developing products with improved benefits and better outcomes than cheaper generic products.. Some companies are starting to place a high value on market research, but others have a “tick the box” mentality. Some individuals at these companies wonder if market research has any value at all. The best commercial organizations understands that market research leads to a competitive advantage. Certainly, when market research is done well it will drive better and informed decision making.

That means in the long term research can be the foundation that ensures a commercially relevant product to the market at the optimal time. That circles back to companies looking out 7 to 10 years and adjusting accordingly rather than leaving things to serendipity. Alternatively, it helps avoid the need for buying businesses to fill a pipeline gap due to lack of understanding of the market. It requires key decisions at key times to develop products, and well-structured research results in the right input and information helps make those decisions.

Many companies now have outbound focused marketing departments, who do not consider how research can help them make fundamental decisions. They do not always utilize the resources they have and then determine the direction and scope of research that is needed. The tick-the-box approach does not deliver substantial value. By staying in a tick-the-box mentality, companies are not able to fully deliver the type of customer insight nor target research and development needed to drive their business forward.

However, in a world of declining resources more can be achieved with fewer resources by focusing on market research. The case has been proven not just in pharmaceuticals, but in other businesses where products have a long gestation period. Companies should be taking what they have and pairing it with a good understanding of market research. This would make it help companies focus their business in a different way, more a laser guided missile approach rather than carpet bombing and hoping you hit the target.

The hallmark of good-quality market research falls into different areas, firstly, the research is purposeful and targeted. Any good researcher will have taken the time to think about and understand the business issues in the pharmacology areas the company operates within. That will naturally lead to a better understanding of what research is necessary to address those business issues. Another good idea is to do high-value research and collaborate on market research if possible.

In summary, the pharmaceutical industry struggles in comparison to other industries in this vein. Other industries that do market research the best, like consumer packaged goods, have set the standard and established their market research organization as king. Their market research is applied and used contributing a tremendous amount of momentum for these businesses. However, in pharmaceuticals, the structure is very different as is the culture and the view of marketing in general. A marketer does not always consider customer insight as the first step in the marketing process because there is often a disconnect with the end user, the patient.  There are solutions to this that are in being worked on throughout the industry. That will bring the patient closer to the pharmaceutical businesses but whether that works is not down to the technology but totally related to how marketing and market research is seen by the companies themselves.


This is a guest blog feature from Ewart Richardson, Global Head of Pharmaceutical, Science and Engineering Partnerships at Search Digital. He is also a regular speaker at international conferences in the USA, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, China, UK, and beyond.



Three Reasons Start-ups Need to Invest in Market Research

We are now in the period of innovations. Start-up businesses that offer social leverage, car rides, grocery delivery, and much more are skyrocketing. Everyday more new companies are emerging. However, what keeps a start-up company from stagnation is creativity and research. It is obvious that the product or service must have a unique edge to attract the client base, but what keeps the product propelling forward is market research. Although, there are many ways to conduct market research, it is beneficial for start-ups to utilize an online survey platform and a well developed panel of consumers. These platforms provide an easy way to collect data, especially in the case of newly started businesses without a large audience or access to a group of general consumers. Market research is a worthy investment that will yield dividends for start-up companies. Here are the top three reasons why conducting market research is essential for start-up business operations.

Knowledge on Target Audiences

For a start-up company, it is imperative to identify the targeted audience and learn about their lifestyle. This knowledge base allows for the company to creatively position their product to align with their audience’s lifestyle. Studies can be created to identify how the targeted consumer spend their time, perceive information, and interact with their favorite brands. This will allow a company to know where to spend their marketing funds for maximum impact. This data can also help the company generate additional areas to extend their product line or offer additional services. Knowing the needs and wants of the targeted audience can have a positive effect on product development.

Consumer Feedback

In addition to gathering data about the general consumer’s lifestyle, companies can use market research to gauge the response to their specific product offerings. For a start-up company, this is quintessential for the success of their product or service. Product feedback through the product development process can help the creators tailor the product to the consumers’ desires. It can also be used to predict the how the customer would value the product, how much they are willing to spend on it, aesthetic preference, usability, and multiple other factors that would affect the product sales.

Increase Profit

The more a company knows about their customers, the more they sell. Market research has a direct impact on the bottom line. The data collected from customized survey give insights into the consumer’s mindset and their perceptions of the product. This information can be used to map out areas to focus marketing campaigns or reveal areas to offer additional product information. Dedicated research on an audience keeps the company updated on how to interact with both their existing client base and attract new customers. Market search is concurrent with company growth.

Without a doubt market research is a pivotal element for the startup industry. In order to make better business decisions and continue with the ongoing growth of product development, conducting market research is the key to a company’s success. From start-ups business on through Fortune 500 companies utilize data from market research studies to better understand their product offerings and audience. Ultimately, these efforts lead to an enhance customer experience which translates into a successful operation. Understanding the value of research will establish a path of successful business opportunities.

Factors That Can Improve Your Data

Over the past few years, technology has changed the way research data is collected. Since this, online data collection practices have increased in popularity due to the increased access to the internet. Consequently, online panels have become the main avenue to collect data about a specific audience. Data quality encompasses several aspects, one of which is research methodology. The way research is being done highly affects the quality of the results. Survey research is one of the most common ways to conduct a study and data quality can be affected due to the design of the survey.

According to a recent study conducted by Forethought Research, survey design has a direct relationship between respondent engagement and data quality. The research also showed that survey design influences the respondents’ perception. This indicates that respondent engagement is key in order to ensure data quality since lower engagement increases the risk of unreliable data. Survey design is imperative to keep respondents engaged. Therefore, researchers need to have a better understanding of survey design, which could influence the level of engagement in a research study.

Survey design encompasses several elements such as content, question types, guidelines and survey length. The content of the survey is the foundation of the study. By delineating the content and understanding the targeted audience, the type of questions used in the study will set the parameters for the respondents’ engagement. (If you want to learn more about the types of questions to keep respondent engaged please click here.) Another element to consider in the survey design process is the utilization of clear guidelines to properly guide respondents through the study. Additionally, the survey length is a pivotal variable that could affect data quality, since tedious surveys lead to high exit rates and low response rates. Ultimately, all of these elements have an impact on data quality.

There is no single design method that affects respondent engagement. However, it has been proven that surveys that require more than 20 minutes to complete (and have very few interactive questions) lead to low response rate and high drop out rates. While it is true, survey design has a direct impact on data quality, it is important to remember that without a high level of respondent engagement data is unreliable. Companies conducting research for key business decisions need to ensure that the design of their survey is optimal in order to obtain quality data.

In summary, survey design not only influences whether respondents abandon a survey, but also impacts the quality of the data. The ability to understand survey design methods can aid survey designers maximize engagement and increase the reliability of the data. As audiences become more difficult to reach, researchers and survey designers need to implement effective practices such as dynamic questions and incentives to ensure a higher respondent engagement. In today’s global technological environment groups, people are constantly bombarded with information. It is crucial to understand that when conducting a study, the effective use of survey design can help in the data collection process.