Tag Archives: online sample

26 Quotes To Inspire Market Research Success

Man celebrating under a rain of floating numbers


Market (and Marketing) Research is an odyssey of numbers and an epic of depth psychology. It’s commonly an intense road of discovery, and many who have traveled it tend to leave their wisdom for us.

We did say intense, which we’re sure most of you agree with when it comes to research. That hasn’t changed since ancient times.

For example, in the 7th century B.C., we have the story of philosopher Thales being so engrossed in studying the stars he didn’t notice a well and fell right into it. There is also the 3rd century B.C. story of philosopher Archimedes, famous for this cry of “Eureka,” who would not look up from his mathematical diagram when a conquering Roman general entered his tent wanting to meet the famous thinker; in a fit of rage, the Roman general killed Archimedes.

And it continues today, though with not so many painful endings. Researchers are as engrossed as ever, but again, when we pause from staring at the stars or mathematical diagrams of our projects we can find insights from seasoned thought leaders.

We’ve compiled a list of this wisdom in the form of 26 quotes, some sound and some quirky (also found in a more visual format at the end of this article in a SlideShare). We hope you can both applaud and laugh at yourself:


“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

– Albert Einstein


“Bad news sells papers. It also sells market research.”

– Byron Sharp


“Research is about engaging in a conversation with a brand.”

 Matthew Rhodes


“Telling a story remains one of the biggest challenges facing market research today.”

 David Smith


“Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything.”

 Gregg Easterbrook


“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.”

 Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.”

 Marston Bates


“The bad news for our industry is that we periodically forget that people are notoriously bad at telling us the truth.”

 Stephen Needel


“Asked about the power of advertising in research surveys, most agree that it works, but not on them.”

 Eric Clark


“Market research can be not just misleading, but disastrous for people who work on instinct.”

 Terence Conran


“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.”

 Wernher Von Braun


“Traditionally, market research has not made a strong claim on the future. Its traditional methods… are inevitably limited to discovering how consumers feel today.”

 Dr. Rachel Lawes


“What is research, but a blind date with knowledge.”

 William Henry


“Research is four things: brains with which to think, eyes with which to see, machines with which to measure and, fourth, money.”

 Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”

 David Ogilvy


“The market research department is increasingly perceived as being not just responsible for the organization of research, but also for sharing and distributing knowledge and expertise in a credible and convincing way.”

 Christoph Palmer


“People are unlikely to know that they need a product which does not exist and the basis of market research in new and innovative products is limited in this regard.”

 John Harvey-Jones


“He who asks is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask is a fool forever.”

 Chinese proverb


“The pressure on marketers to deliver faster advertising return on investment should be a good thing for the research industry because it forces us all to question some fundamental research practices.”

 Jill Telford


“Traditional measurement has been so comprehensively attacked it is amazing it is still used.”

 Peter Field


“Eighty to ninety percent of our behavior is determined by our subconscious mind. The problem market researchers face is that they communicate with the conscious mind of consumers.”

 Ralph Poldervaart


“Much of the discussion among marketers about the so-called “multi-channel” shopper has focused almost exclusively on the channel and hardly at all on the shopper.”

 Dr. Alan Treadgold


“To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to steal ideas from many is research.”



“USA Today has come out with a new survey – apparently, three out of every four people make up 75% of the population.”

 David Letterman


“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”

 Mark Twain


“Some people use research like a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”

 David Ogilvy


Let us know if there are any quotes that inspire or warn you. In the end, we hope you can appease those angry Roman generals that are your clients when you’re too engrossed instead of fully engaged with a brand during a research project.


Is Apple Watch Finally Being Accepted By Consumers?


Not that long ago our syndicated research pointed to the tepid attitude towards the Apple Watch. Right before the release of the much-touted wearable in spring of 2015, our custom audiences in essence collectively shrugged cold shoulders (41% said they were not interested while 18% were not aware of its arrival). Later on and early that summer, in an article for Quirks, we further demonstrated that the iPhone accessory (which it basically is) wasn’t the next watershed tech moment.

Could qSample have been wrong about the Apple Watch, now that it’s early 2016? Could market forces be changing, once again revealing Apple as a slayer of conventional wisdom and even conventional market research?

There’s a case to be made for saying yes to the above questions, although it’s ultimately hard for a reason: Apple doesn’t release sales figures on the Apple Watch. During the last Holidays—with some fuzzy math and fuzzy analysis—the projected estimates of Apple Watch sales range from 3 million on the low-end to 10 million on the high-end. Nobody really knows the sales of the gadget, except for Tim Cook and his band of merry executives.

However, there are hints the Apple Watch might be finally breaking through, as provided by the insights of popular Linked Influencer, Anurag Harsh, in his post Is Apple Watch Killing the Mainstream Swiss Watch Industry?

Harsh makes an astute case by juxtaposing the rise in popularity of smartwatches with the slow collapse of traditional Swiss watches (based on data by Strategy Analytics). The data reveals that smartwatch shipments dramatically increased to 8.1 million units in the last quarter of 2015 compared to traditional Swiss watches that shipped 7.9 million units (down 5 percent from 2014).

Here is a graph from the article demonstrating the changes:

smarwatchers versus traditional watchers


We did our own search through Quartz, and found corresponding data:

smarwatchers versus traditional watchers part 2.png

Harsh further offers this graph revealing how Apple’s stocks have risen while other watch companies continue to tumble, all around the release of the Apple Watch:

smarwatchers versus traditional watchers part 3.png.jpg


Lastly, Harsh has some harsh words for traditional watchmakers:

There will always be a market, albeit evidently a smaller one, for traditional regular watches for the more discerning customer, but the Swiss companies have criminally underestimated the rise of timepieces of the smart variety, and their original display of arrogance towards them could prove to be deadly. No matter what we believe, the numbers are starting to indicate that very fact.

In the end, we agree with Harsh that traditional watchmakers are making the same mistake as video stores, book publishers and PC makers: resting on their alleged omnipotence and disregarding consumer tech trends.

Regardless, it’s too soon to claim that consumers have fully embraced the Apple Watch. After all and somewhat tellingly, the release of the Apple Watch 2 has already been moved from March to September. It’s doubtfully the reasons are due to technical or distribution setbacks.

What can be inferred from all the mentioned data above, though, is that the watch market has become more competitive and more fragmented. Fitbit and other wearable-makers exploded into the watch market with their own products in the last five years. Even before, companies like Samsung and Microsoft already offered a variety of smartwatches and electronic wristbands.

There are indeed some tectonic shifts in the watch industry, and no one is sure who will remain on the surface or who will be cast down to the underworld of the forgotten with such, once-glorious companies such as MySpace, BlackBerry or Yahoo!

The Apple Watch may not be a tent pole item, but it certainly seems to be enjoying being part of a growing acceptance of wearable tech (and thus qSample stands by its research). Also, one shouldn’t forget that presently Apple inspires the most love out of consumers than any other tech company, according to the brand engagement indexes. All of this will at least grant the smartwatch some time to evolve and survive.

It’s the traditional watchmakers who ironically might have finally run out of time.


Survey Incentives: The Key To The Promised Land Of Quality Data


Incentives make the market research world go around. At least they should, especially when it comes to managing and distilling quality data from online panels. Many marketers make the mistake of assuming the population is peaches and cream when it comes to participating in research projects. They assume consumers join market research surveys out of some grand altruism or because they love sharing their opinion on a brand or service.

How wrong they are. As a matter of fact, not only are incentives key to parting the seas of sample for satisfactory survey response rates, especially with harder-to-reach demographics, how they are positioned and framed make a difference.


The data on getting good data by using incentives in online surveys


As we have reported, online surveys are as vast as the stars these days, vying for the notice of an online consumer world with the attention span of a goldfish (nine seconds for humans, eight seconds for goldfish…in case you wanted to know). Some studies have survey participation rates averaging a mighty 2%. Between the locust-storms of surveys and the ADD mentality of internet shoppers, feedback fatigue has come down on consumers like a plague.

Then there is the cold, hard data supporting the benefits of respondent rewards. Studies have shown that incentives will normally lift response rates by 10-15%.

Furthermore, the Market Research Association presents these benefits of survey incentives:

Overall improvement of response rates
– Improved response rates from hard-to-reach groups
– Increase efficiency, especially when it comes to non-response follow-ups


Types of survey incentives


There are various traditional incentives for online research. Some are not guaranteed to every participant, only available for the first of a specified amount of individuals. But here they are:

Electronic gift cards and coupon codes. I just did one the other day—a dollar off in the form of a discount code, just for filling out an online survey for Peet’s Coffee. The only downside of this type of incentive feature might be a respondent’s email spam filter or lack of text message capabilities on a phone.

Physical cards or gifts. That would be the standard Amazon gift card or iPad. These are more commonplace for highly specialized sample like heart surgeons or Egyptian pharaohs wanting to avoid plagues.

Cash incentives. This reward is becoming less prevalent with survey companies, even for those using dedicated sample, but nothing wrong with them when appropriate. God invented PayPal for a reason….or at least the demigod Elon Musk.

Feedback incentives. Companies with smaller budgets utilize this type of participant reward. Instead of a gift or discount, a respondent receives a special piece of information or even content that he or she might find beneficial. Some companies utilize gamification as the reward for being in a survey study.

Drawings. The respondent is eligible to win a prize, plain and simple. If you’re like me, you’re still waiting for that CVS shopping spree.

In case you’re wondering: Research points to cash rewards being the best form of incentive.


The best way for respondent incentives to work


Marketers should understand one very important notion: Promised incentives are not as effective as enclosed incentives. For example, researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs found that the promise of a $5.00 cash incentive up front increased response rates by 50%.

Another crucial factor to remember when dealing with respondent incentives is that the rewards are not a form of bribe or call for submission. Incentives are based on the social exchange model (or theory), which according to a psychologist means:

Social exchange theory proposes that social behavior is the result of an exchange process. The purpose of this exchange is to maximize benefits and minimize costs.

In essence, respondents are participating equally with you in your research, the most valuable commodity their time. This notion not only can assist in determining the size of the incentive but the very quality and length of a questionnaire.

As one marketer put it:

Avoid assuming time and effort too casually; your perception may not reflect reality for the average participant. We tend to assign far more intrinsic rewards to participating in market research as market researchers, and we underestimate the time and effort it takes others to complete our surveys.

Lastly on the social exchange model, too high of a reward may appear like a bribe to many respondents. In other words, so save the new Lamborghinis for a niche focus group.

And lastly on this section, incentives are often injected into a study when participation rates just aren’t reaching an adequate level. Even if you don’t feel incentives are necessary for an in-home study, you can always change your mind midflight.




How much of an incentive be provided for a market research survey depends on the company’s budget, the type of sample, and the ability to deliver a reward. Online sample providers like qSample employ an established program of incentives that keep panels available and engaged. On the other hand, survey software companies should be able to consult with you and your research needs.

In the end, it’s your call but it’s a call that should consider some form of incentive. This consideration will get you closer to the promised land of quality data, with or without a goldfish.

incentives for online research part the way for quality data

The One Surefire Prediction For Construction in 2016

Woman looking in crystal ball to see a green home


Despite lukewarm shopping during this past Holiday Season (which our research predicted), many experts foresee a healthy economy in 2016 for most sectors. One such sector is the construction industry—also tagged with many other predictions. The crystal balls are out early this year, perhaps more than wrecking balls. Who knows which divinations will come true?

There is, however, one pervasive forecast in the construction industry, beyond that of a healthy economic year:

Green is here.

The market research statistics certainly agree. The market for green building materials reached $43.8 billion in 2014, and is expected to grow nearly ten percent in 2016. Approximately 69% of builders and 78% of remodelers feel that customers will pay more for green. Furthermore, the average green share of building is 48% while non-green is 52%.

What is a green construction, though? Varied classifications exist—from energy-sustainability to recycling-capabilities—but in short a green construction is defined as a construction that is either certified under any recognized global green rating system or built to qualify for certification.

Onto a few predictions of this greener brave new world, that like the Holiday Season shopping, agrees with our data.

Construction Dive writes:

Commercial construction has typically led the pack in green adoption, but the residential sector is starting to catch up. The growing trend in both sectors is driven not just by a desire to produce environmentally friendly structures, but by consumer demand, higher-quality results and lifecycle cost savings, according to experts at Greenbuild 2015.

The Market Research Blog agrees, stating:

Consumers want green materials that offer eco-friendly, low energy use, and sustainable products to make their homes, offices, and environment healthier.

Construction Monitor jumps on the green bandwagon for 2016, saying:

Many construction clients are urging (or requiring) builders and contractors to use recycled materials or proven sustainable materials that can be easily renewed. Interest is growing in sustainability factors such as zero-energy homes that produce all the energy used within the home. Energy conservation is also becoming more popular.

In a large constellation of predictions, Builder as well puts green as one of the major construction trends in 2016.

And on and on, if you adventure into Google…or several construction periodicals and internet groups that we regularly frequent.

The green construction trend is not that surprising, though, and is key for marketers laboring to understand homebuyer consumer tendencies. After all, our research reveals that environmentally-conscious purchasing is on the rise. Moreover, in our study Why Consumers Buy Green, qSample found that 64% of consumers are concerned with the environment, while 76% consider the environment when making shopping decisions.

Between expert predictions, temperate statistics, and the research from our premium contractor panel, it’s obvious green is a central drift in 2016 for construction and purchasing property. Those who ignore will be green, indeed, but with envy when they are left behind by those following the market research tealeaves.


Infographic: 3 Aspects Of A Valid Online Survey

Simplicity and validity. Those two elements make life vibrant, and they pertain to market research. Let’s add visual, and with that trinity your research can potentially be nicely rewarding.

This may seem poetic overkill when it comes to online surveys, but it’s actually essential. As qSample has presented, online survey responses rates are lower than ever, with some studies showing participation rates equating 2%. Additionally, there are more online surveys provided than ever; as an example, Mindshare Technologies conducts 60 million surveys per year, which is a rate of 175,000 a day.

So it’s simple and valid: it’s more competitive than ever and questionnaires need to be as engaging as possible.

The trinity of visual, valid and simple is what we present to you, in an infographic based on our primary and secondary research on implementing suitable online surveys.

I’ll keep it simple and let you at it:

3 Aspects of a Valid Online Survey Infographic


Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!

From Russia with Sample: Interview with Maryana Stepanova, qSample Business Development Executive

Maryana Stepanova is the Business Development Executive of qSample. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and has been working in market research for the past three years.

In this qSample Q&A, Maryana discusses the challenges and trends for market research in 2015 and beyond, as well as some of the most unusual and rewarding aspects of being an online sample provider.

Q1: How did you come to this country and end up as the Business Development Executive for qSample?

Sometimes I joke by saying I am straight off the boat from Russia with Love. It’s a great ice breaker. But in a way it’s the truth. We might need a separate article just to cover my life novel. My journey started with me deciding to study abroad and learn English. Long story short, I ended up living in 3 different countries and was very fortunate to travel to 15 more countries along the way.

I joined qSample almost two years ago and slowly worked my way up. Thanks to upper management’s grooming, I am now to the point I can wear different hats, from Business Development to Operations. Dr. Dewey once said that the deepest urge in a human nature is “the desire to be important.” For the first time in my life, I felt like qSample was more than just a job. My team became my work-family. Sometimes you just need someone to believe in you. I am forever thankful that my boss and mentor, Rudly Raphael, saw my untapped potential.

Q2: What are some of the greatest challenges you see in your role, as well as rewards?

Every day is different and things move really fast. You constantly have to adapt. I had to learn how to keep eyes on the prize, embrace the chaos, have an immeasurable amount of drive, and have thick skin to take the rough days. I’ve learned how to have balance and stop sweating the small stuff. The reward is seeing this company prosper and grow, knowing you have an impact. Data is power. I truly belive that we help our clients to shape their products, services and organization goals.

Q3: What is the most unusual/difficult project you ever had to tackle, and since you’re answering this, how did you manage?

It would have to be a research we did for a pharmaceutical company that was developing an improved drug formulation. The focus of the study was to hear the views of various oncologist leaders on the factors contributing to or inhibiting clinical use for lung cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. We were able to successfully conduct a study that covered only 1% of the population. That speaks volumes. I am very passionate about medical research because it is fascinating and challenging at the same time. It felt like we were making a difference, and there is no better feeling.

Q4: In your view, what are some the mistakes companies make when conducting surveys or market research in general?

Having unrealistic expectations. Some believe we have a magic wand to control people during the research process. A girl can only dream [laughs]. Then you have your typical mistakes. For example, creating long and complex surveys that create respondent fatigue or cause a high drop out rate along with poor quality of data. And my personal favorite: “open-ends.” People just don’t like them. My advice is have no more than one.

Q5: What advice/guidelines do you have for companies seeking to conduct online surveys when it comes to gathering the best data possible?

Keep it short and to the point. Just think about it this way: a goldfish has longer attention span than humans, which is 9 seconds, I believe. It’s insane. We live in the world with so many distractions; therefore, you have to find a way to to collect the most valuable input in the shortest amount of time. One more thing, time is money and you get what you pay for.

Q6: Using your crystal ball, what are some of the trends you see happening in 2016 for market research or online surveys?

Honestly, I believe online research is here to stay for a long time. I have also noticed a trend towards online focus groups and qualitative research for hard to reach audiences (C-Level executives, Physicians and so on).

Q7: What sets you or qSample (or both) apart from other online providers/executives?

I would be the first to say that we are not trying to be everything to everybody and have a unique focus. We focus on developing and managing specialty panels within niche audiences. With that being said, we have developed and nurtured more than 10 specialty panels, giving us access to millions of respondents that are pre-qualified, heavily vetted, and continuously engaged. We are also a boutique company whose entire staff  primarily serve as consultants, from the first contact to the execution of surveys. We focus on developing long lasting relationships and nurturing our clients.

Q8: Do you have a motto or philosophy that as aided you in your career?

As my boss told me very early on: “If you don’t have the little things covered, you are not ready for the big leagues. Work hard, close deals and play later. Most of all don’t take anything for granted.” I also believe that working hard will take us places we never dreamed of going. I don’t believe in luck and thankful I don’t have to live my life hoping for good luck.

Connect with Maryana on LinkedIn.

Case Study Why Consumers Buy Green

3 Aspects of a Valid Online Survey

Woman's hand taking online survey on smartphone

Delivering the perfect online survey. Does it exist or is it as mythical as dragons, fairies or the Cubs winning the World Series?

We can speculate, but as researchers we can also ensure we provide the best possible surveys for respondents. There are many methods to do this, much of it shared on qSample’s blog. One key way is to warrant that an online survey comprises certain aspects that make it valid.

According to Russell Renka, political science professor at Southern Missouri University, there are three aspects to a valid survey/poll. To exclude any of these, in Renka’s view, means the data will be dangerously flawed.

Here they are:

  1. The questions asked must be clear, written in neutral language and provide a range of answers to choose from.

This might be basic for marketers, but often unclear or even subconsciously-driven messages can tilt the survey towards flawed data. For example, a client’s survey utilizing our veterinarian panel once asked: “Do you think microchipping dogs might lead to a safer life for the animal?”

The problem was the obscure “might” in the question. The researcher was in essence vacillating. Therefore, the answer to the question would be compromised. (We made sure to bring this to his attention, of course).

In other words, be clear and concise and short. Furthermore, as we’ve promoted, include opt-out questions like “Don’t Know,” “Not Sure” or “Undecided.”

Your panel will thank you with richer data and not microchip your research with failure.


  1. The respondents must be randomly selected.

Yes, more Captain Obvious information, it seems. Still, marketers often penny pinch and end up drowning in river sample (in fact, Renka denounces a market research company in the cited article, the chief reason he detailed the three aspects of valid online surveys).

Detail must be placed on a questionnaire, indeed, but it also must be placed on the quality of the sampling. Beyond a good online survey provider, double-check the persona of your respondents.

We consider qSample a quality sample provider, of course. Yet there are other companies who specialize in niche panels. They will all take care of your efforts, even if it’s slightly more strain on the proverbial budget.


  1. The sample involved must be large enough to keep the margin of error fairly small, about 5 percent.

According to Renka, that should be at least 400 respondents. At 300 respondents, the margin of error grows to 5.6%. Obviously, certain respondent demographics and certain budgets necessitate a sample to be under 400 respondents. But all things being equal, keep your respondent numbers at a healthy size.

There are other aspects (or safeguards) to quality good data in online research, and these may include:

Quality of questionnaire
Quality of project execution
Quality of analysis

We agree with Renka in the end that these three simple aspects can go a long way in making sure your market research doesn’t get more complicated that it needs to be. It may not be perfection, but it’s probably closer to it than the Cubs winning the World Series.

Hard to reach audience button

Infographic of the Week: The Dr. Doolittle Data On Veterinarians & Pet Care

veterinarian with dog

Market research may not have it’s own Dr. Doolittle to talk to the animals and their needs, but qSample has the next best thing: veterinarian and pet owner panels that can immediately access more than 70,000 respondents, online or mobile.

Veterinarians and pet owners are certainly barking a lot these days about changes in pet care. These include:

The cost of routine and surgical vet visits has risen 47% for dogs and 73% for cats over the past decade.
Pet owners spent about $8 billion on veterinarian care in 2000; by 2013, that figure climbed to more than $14 billion.
– The mean annual professional income of private practice veterinarians rose from around $60,000 in 1995 to over $120,000 in 2009.
– $58.5 billion will be spent in 2014. U.S. pet owners spent $27 billion on animal medication and visits to the vet in 2013.

That’s just scratching the furry surface. Our weekly infographic details more, based on our research in The Rising Cost of Pet care (and what to do about it)

Take care of your pets, your vets, and yourself as the dog days of summer are upon us. And at know you are in reality very close to talking to the animals.

veterinarians button

 All About Veterinarians and Pet Care

Infographic of the Week: 4 Steps to Writing the Best Online Survey

qSample is known for its online panels. We also are known for consulting with clients throughout a research project, all to ensure the best possible study is executed. And we make sure to share these insights on various channels including social media, articles, and (of course) our weekly infographic. Here we go again.

This infographic originally appeared in our post Empathy for the Devil that is Writing Survey Questionnaires. It’s been rebooted it for your edification. We hope it assists you in your efforts at sterling online research…or at least makes you reach for the nearest Rolling Stones tune in your music device.

4 Steps to writing best survey


button white papers


Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!

Infographic of the Week: General Contractor & Brand Loyalty

Many us would like to believe we are fiercely faithful to our brands, from toothpaste to smartphone preferences. Humans are creatures of habit. Yet nothing compares to general contractors when it comes to cemented brand loyalty (no pun intended?). We’ve learned this after many years from many studies, internal and for clients, with our general contractor panel.

However, general contractors can be influenced to try other products, all with the right understanding.

Thus, this week we present another infographic on general contractors and their purchasing habits. Certainly visit our article General Contractors & Brand Loyalty for further research, including another detailed infographic. Understanding all of this and other data is vital for anyone conducting market research, not only on contractors also construction trends and homeowners.

Here is it, and we hope it helps you build better market research structures:

general contractor brand loyalty

General contractors button

Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!