Tag Archives: surveys

That One Piece of Information that can Change Your Company

Information is power, it is said. It is also said the universe itself is made up of entirely information strung into codes and coalescing into matter.

So even if money makes the world go around, information fuels the very universe.

In business, all it takes is one piece of information to make a universe of difference. This piece of information is often discovered in the seemingly mundane and scientific world of survey panels and study groups.

That once piece of information is all it takes. Take these three momentous examples:

 

How Betty got her groove

Betty Crocker released the first instant cake mix in the 50s. Consumers did not exactly devour this revolutionary recipe that provided an entire cake by just adding water to the mix, and then baking it. What could be done?

That one piece of information: Through studies and surveys, Better Crocker determined that homemakers felt the water and mix combination took away from the cooking experience. It was too simple. By adding an egg to the baking instructions (even if the mix already contained powdered egg), instant cake mixes took off because people felt they were baking something real.

 

Would you like huge profits with your meal?

McDonald’s began to lose steam in the 70s after a meteoric rise. How could it continue to thrive as one of the country’s chief eateries?

That one piece of information: Through empirical and psychological research, McDonald’s realized that Americans held a social stigma about ordering twice at restaurants (no matter how hungry or thirsty they felt!). The solution was to offer larger meals and gradually normalize the process (“Super size it?”) The process was gradual, though, culminating in the 90s—but it made universes around the waists of consumers.

 

Saving Private Canine

In the present, over 1.2 million dogs are euthanized every year in the U.S., and teen crime is a persistent problem. Is there a possible connection to these two issues?

That one piece of information: There certainly is, according to a recent study by researcher and clinical psychologist Jessica Thomas. At risk youths who are given a dog and taught how to care for it, heal emotionally and gain the coping skills to adapt to society. There are already nonprofit programs that unite dogs with troubled youths; but the ability of dogs to increase the humanity of humans could be a potent marketing tool for companies, breeders, and veterinarians.

In each mentioned case, all it took was that one piece of information to change things, and even change the very architecture of public perception. Finding the information was not swashbuckling or creative, but the usual “mundane and scientific” research—but once found it created amazing adventure.

Survey panels and study groups are indeed essential. That is where any business can find that one piece of information that fuel its universe for eons (okay, a long time at least).

 

Cutting Costs on High Tech Gear and Electronics

Consumers desire the latest electronics and high tech gear, but unfortunately cost can be prohibitive. Savvy consumers have blogs, websites and books dedicated to saving money both for the home and business. Here are a few non-traditional and creative ways to save money when it comes time to buy the needed items to outfit an office or the latest technology gadget.

 

Online Auctions

Online auctions claim to save buyers anywhere from 25%-75% on all sorts of items. One online auction generating attention is Quibids It’s free and easy to create an account but in order to bid, one must first purchase 100 bids at 60 cents a bid. Smaller bid packages may be purchased after the initial purchase. Items can be placed on a watch list to track selling prices at certain times. We saw two remote-controlled cars sell for vastly different amounts. In the early afternoon it sold for one bid (60 cents) and later that evening sold for 240 bids.

 

If one loses a bid on an item, QuiBids will sometimes offer the item at a Buy Now price, and will subtract the bids already placed on that item. For instance a $50 gift card that had $40 worth of bids already might be available to purchase at the remaining cost of $10.

 

Auctions are not a guarantee of lower prices, but often a creative way to try to buy high priced items at lower costs. All items on QuiBids are new and items ship for free within the U.S.

 

Use Online Shopping Carts

Another way to save money is to shop on-line at sites like Amazon. Items can be placed in a shopping cart for later and will adjust as the price either drops or rises. Amazon Prime membership will also save money on the item price and get two-day free shipping on Prime items. Overstock.com often offers cheap shipping as well.

 

In addition, if you place items in an online shopping cart but do not complete the purchase, you may receive an email within a couple of days offering you a discount on the items in your shopping cart. It’s the store’s way of following up to close a sale.

HiTechmoney

Planning and Patience

A tried and true way to save money on electronics and high tech gear is to plan ahead. During the year there are times when high priced items are on sale. Televisions, cell phones, iPods, digital cameras, computers and more have yearly sale times, especially when new models come out.

 

It’s good to research before purchasing. Consumer Reports has a list of which items commonly go on sale and when so that you can better plan in advance. For instance, computers are a popular sale item before school starts and TVs in January. You can also avoid spending hundreds at once when you buy an item by pre-buying gift cards in smaller amounts to save up for a particular item. Purchase gift cards at many retail outlets as well as online via Google Play, Apple, Best Buy, Amazon and more.

 

Gift cards can also be used anytime, including during Black Friday sales weekend. Stores advertise specials on everything, including electronics. Long lines may deter consumers from Black Friday sales, but it’s worth researching what items stores are selling at discounted prices as often you can get items for pennies on the dollar. Buying gift cards ahead saves you spending the full amount all at one time.

 

Ask

A great way to have the latest smartphone and save on monthly bills is to ask the phone carrier if there are deals, upgrades or discounts available. Customer service agents work hard to create customer loyalty by offering discounts, deals, and reviewing bills to make sure consumers are getting the best rates. Many big phone companies offer deals and discounts to keep customers happy (this also applies to cable/satellite and internet services) and you will never know-unless you ask. Remember the person on the other end of the phone wants to sign new people up and make sales.

 

Saving money is a strategy that can be applied to every aspect of business, including keeping up on the latest products that help save time, money and manpower. High priced technology and electronics can be made more affordable by research, planning and patience.

Will Office for iPad Make Tablets the Tool for Work?

Last month, Microsoft shook the tablet world by finally launching its Office for iPad apps, and the reverberations may be felt for years to come.

While tablets have become extremely popular, with many users preferring smaller to bulky and more awkward laptops, they have yet to truly find their niche in the business world. Even with bluetooth keyboards, and writing tools like Google Docs and iWork, many businesses refuse to adopt the device as a serious business tool. In the academic arena, many students prefer tablets for note taking and research, but find it awkward to use for papers and presentations. The launch of Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps is designed to change all that.

We conducted a survey with our general consumer panel to gauge their level in the new Microsoft Office for iPad app. The survey was fielded in less than 2 days during the first week of April, with more than 400 respondents sharing their insights on this new product and what it means to them professionally.

Survey results clearly indicate that tablets are still very popular with the general populaltion. Unsurprisingly, Apple was king among those devices with  almost half (40.45%) of our panel indicated they own a version of the iPad, but a mere 26.18% claim their primary uses for those tablets are for work and school. Confirming our suspicions, we found that entertainment rules the tablet world, with a staggering 69.12% of our panel logging on for fun. As always, internet surfing, watching videos, and updating social network pages continue to be a staple of tablet use.

Clearly this isn’t a hardware issue, and many who own Apple devices, such as the iPad, prefer to use the Microsoft Office software. This suggests that the new apps will be very well received by tablet owners, but there is a lot more involved than ease of use. Our survey showed that there was a strong positive reaction to the Office for iPad apps, as 63.02% said that they plan on using the new apps now that they are available, yet 76.56% didn’t feel that the apps were worth the $99 subscription fee. This is likely due to the abundance of less powerful, but free, programs/apps that will allow users to run similar tasks. Price does seem to play an enormous role, as 64.58% of our panel is considering the free Microsoft Office smartphone apps as a serious alternative. This poses the question of whether or not smartphones may find a place as a document editing tool in the business world as well.

The smartphone apps may be free, but lack many important features that are available on the iPad and laptop versions. In addition to features, portability seems to be a factor. Today’s “on-the-go” lifestyle means that document editing on a smartphone may be preferable to carrying a bulky laptop, or even a tablet. On the down side, small screens and lack of features may discourage users from choosing apps like Office for smartphones, even if they’re free. Our panel was also concerned about storage space on their devices. These apps can take up a considerable amount of space on users’ iPads, and 67.71% claimed that this alone would discourage them from downloading the software.

Cloud services have been available for some time, but there is no question that Microsoft has arrived very late to the game. This may be due to the company’s efforts to streamline their products for unconventional devices, or a simple lack of attention to the tablet market. In either case, this is definitely an interesting move for Microsoft. One pitfall of releasing the apps for the iPad is that this may have a negative effect on the sales of non-Apple tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface. In addition, the Office for iPad apps are significantly better looking and much more streamlined than other versions. This may influence which tablets businesses buy for their employees, and ultimately hurt Microsoft’s Surface sales as well. Apple will receive a percentage of Office 365 subscription fees sold through iTunes, which will also add to the funding of their competition. All of these factors make the late release of the Office for iPad apps a very interesting decision. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s new launch was a brilliant strategy, or too-little-too-late, but in any case, the world is taking a second look at the tablet as a serious business tool.

Microsoft Office for iPad Infographic (3)

A Glance Into the World of Pet Owners and Vets

This month’s infographic report features qSample’s veterinarian panel. We surveyed 300 Vets to get a glance into their world. The results of the survey are displayed in the infographic below.

In the past few years, trends have emerged such as “pet parents”(pet owners who tend to treat their pets like their own children), giving the impression that these pet owners are spending an incredible amount on pet care. However, results from our veterinarian survey indicate that this may not be the case after all. 66% of vet respondents see the same amount of patients or less. Furthermore, the large majority of surveyed veterinarians report that less than half of their patients are covered by an insurance plan.

vets

by Rudly Raphael

State of the College Student Infographic

Infographics change the way analytics are communicated, and qSample is onboard. The trendy offspring of the old school PowerpPoint image – infographics are the new way to share data and transform it into information by using clever and engaging visuals. An infographic has an eye-catching and relevant visual coupled with the numbers being conveyed in order to reinforce the meaning behind the statistics.

The infographic below depicts how college students are faring in the current economic climate. The data is derived from a survey conducted by Campus Universe – an online panel of college students developed and managed by qSample.

college student

by Rudly Raphael

College Students Worried About Debt

With college costs skyrocketing, a new survey conducted by Campus Universe shows that 62% of students surveyed have student loans or aid to repay in some form. The survey was conducted between October 18-23rd, with a sample size of 500 respondents. This year, in the United States, outstanding student loan debt will reach $1 trillion dollars.

The survey reveals that these students are also getting help from their parents 22.3%, working full or part-time 18% and relying on scholarships 16.5% to help supplement their college bills in addition to loans and aid. Of those surveyed with qSample’s CampusUniverse research panel, 82% indicates their loans are provided by the federal (59%) and state (23%) government entities with the majority of money owed per student ranging between $0 – $29,999.

Some of these students, over 30%, anticipated their loan to be paid off in 5-10 years, while 27% are not sure how long it will take to pay back their loans in this uncertain economy. It is estimated that only half of recent college graduates are working in full time jobs.

This survey was conducted with students in each grade level, and 67% consider their amount of debt manageable, with the remaining students worried that their debt is an unmanageable amount.

cu

In fact, 31% of participants indicated that they worry “all the time” about the amount of debt they have incurred in pursuit of higher education. Forty-eight percent of the students worry “sometimes” and the remaining 21% “never” worried or are “not really” worried about their ability to repay their student loans.
Most people who could relive their college days would make different decisions on a variety of topics. This survey indicated that 44% of students would make different choices to incur a smaller loan amount. That is a big life lesson to learn the hard way from your college experience.

Campus Universe is an online community of on and off campus college students who have opted-in to participate in various college research studies. The panel is developed and managed by qSample, in partnership with Campus Entertainment. To learn more about the college student panel, go to www.campusuniverse.com.

by Rudly Raphael

Say Hello, Not Goodbye, To Your Golden Years

A survey conducted by BoomerOpinions this month revealed some fascinating findings about retirement prospects for the baby boomer generation.

Sixty percent of the nearly 400 baby boomers surveyed thought it was realistic they could retire within the next ten years. However, 25% of respondents expressed doubts about their imminent retirement prospects.

In a New York Times article entitled, Goodbye Golden Years, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser cited statistics sure to elicit fear in those of us hoping to retire at some point during the next ten years. He suggested that, “Retirement seems out of the question for increasing numbers of Americans who are saddled with debt and whose savings evaporated during the recent bust.”

Our parents’ generation, the so-called “Silent Generation” (those born during the great depression and WWII) enjoyed a retirement scenario unprecedented in our history, and one that, as this data indicates, may not be available to all of us. But, don’t despair. Did we ever really envision playing golf four days a week? (OK, so maybe one or two days a week.)

I can’t imagine not being productive, not contributing, not making my own money. Participants in the BoomerOpinions.com poll were asked the following question:

“If you had the opportunity to change your occupation at this point in your life, how likely would you be to do so?”

Forty-six percent responded positively, saying they were quite likely to do so. I found this data amazing and affirming. I’m one of those Lady Boomers trying her hand at various creative entrepreneurial endeavors so it was nice to know my aspirations had company.

Glaeser went on to argue that America needs more entrepreneurship. Baby Boomer can be the leaders in this entrepreneurship as they seek to reinvent themselves, as this data suggests they are willing to do.

West Palm Beach, a retiree haven, has the highest self-employment rate of any metropolitan area in the nation, consistent with other areas in the country attracting older Americans. Self-employment makes sense because it allows for more control over working hours and conditions. And our generation loves control.

Many of us have spent years waking up at 6:00 am to be at a job we found depleting. If we are not going to be able to kick back, drive a golf cart and play bridge all day, lets envision a different kind of retirement for ourselves.

Here are a few suggestions:

Develop an exercise plan; join a YMCA or other gym; walk or ride a bike. We are going to need to stay healthy for this next phase, and exercise is a critical component. Make sure your employment endeavors can accommodate your exercise schedule, so you don’t have to be going to the gym at 5:30 in the morning.

Choose an enterprise that fits your circadian rhythm (internal clock) one that allows you to arise and go to bed at a time best suited for you.

Delve into your psyche through journaling or quiet reflections; explore what you have a passion for. You may want to undergo a personality assessment to discover a field that suits you.
Make it fun. We are the generation who invented rock and roll. We like to have fun. Now is your chance…Here’s to meeting the new you.

For more information about BoomerOpinions, please go to boomers.micropanel.com.

by Liz Kitchens

Liz Kitchens has years of professional experience conducting research and focus groups with the boomer generation. She is a frequent writer and blogs for a number of web sites, such as Boomer Café, Vibrant Nation, Skirt.com and Growing Bolder. She specializes in issues related to women of the Baby Boomer generation – women she refers to as Lady Boomers.

New qSample Poll Reveals Americans’ Final Four Picks

The new qSample poll, conducted on March 22nd prior to the first round of Sweet 16 games revealed that Americans’ top picks to make the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four were Michigan State (44% thought they would make the Final Four), Ohio (36%), Kansas (36%) and Kentucky (32%).

Americans’ top pick to win the tournament were Kentucky (14%), Michigan State (14%), Syracuse (12%) and Ohio (11%).

Alas, Michigan State lost to Louisville 57 to 44 Thursday night. Louisville was picked to win it all by only 3% of Americans; 20% predicted a Final Four berth for the Cardinals.

by Rudly Raphael