In these straitened times, businesses need to justify all expenditure – marketing and market research spend included. Furthermore, in conducting product tests and concept tests, we need to do more than simply identify a winning idea – we need to prove the potential for a financial return.
Below are ten top tips to consider when undertaking these types of market research projects:
1. understand what ROI really means for your business – Very simply, a return on investment is the financial benefits observed as a result of a financial investment, or a cost. It is also referred to a cost-benefit analysis and calculated using a benefit to cost ratio (BCR). In purely financial terms this bottom-line figure if often all that is required to evidence ROI.
But in market research terms it’s more complex. The Phillips Return on Investment™ Methodology seeks to evidence this ROI through a chain of impact. In doing so the research captures the impact of a ‘product’ in terms of:
- The reaction within the market place (participants)
- What the market had gained; new knowledge or a greater understanding
- How the behaviour of the market is changing – what is it doing with this new knowledge?
- What the benefits of these changes are; financial and non-financial
- Hence the ROI
2. Ensure the remit, scope and objectives within the research brief are clean – In some cases the research brief may not warrant, or allow for a credible ROI assessment. For example if you are commissioned to measure a reaction to a new sports centre amongst the local community then this alone cannot prove ROI. However if you are commissioned to evidence how the sports centre has improved the communities quality of life then this CAN evidence ROI.
It is equally important that the expectations of the commissioner are managed. They may be forced into thinking they need to evidence ROI but not fully understand the resource required for this. Leave no stone unturned. Continue reading
There are a wide variety of statistical techniques that either form the main research process or act as a ‘bolt on’ in order to glean maximum insight from a research study. Ci Research has over 20 years’ experience of applying advanced statistical techniques to survey data. We recognise that ‘the language of stats’ can be daunting for some and, indeed, statistical analysis may not be relevant for a variety of research scenarios. We therefore only utilise advanced techniques when they will bring further valuable insight and will always deliver the output in layman terms. Most importantly, we also ensure that results are actionable with total clarity around outcomes and implications.
Our top 10 statistical techniques are as follows:
1. Factor Analysis – Factor analysis is a useful data reduction technique, helping the researcher to see the ‘woods for the trees’. The technique groups’ issues together into a more manageable number of factors. Factor analysis can therefore help determine the underlying factors that summarises customer opinion from a whole host of product / service issues.
The technique is often used as a first stage in an analysis process. Factor analysis can be used to reduce the number of variables utilised to model customer behaviour, satisfaction etc. More concise variables will lead to a more robust model and an outcome, which can be easier for clients to interpret. Factor analysis can also assist the development of perceptual maps of customer opinion.
2. Regression Analysis – Regression analysis is a widely used modelling technique and comes in a variety of forms. The basic aim of this technique is to establish causal relationships between a dependent variable, for example, sales, and one or more explanatory variables, for example consumer spending, season of year, interest rates etc.
The technique can be used to gain a snapshot of the drivers of a variable under analysis. A successful analysis will identify which issues best explain the movement in the dependent variable and so can help a client decide which parts of their business to concentrate upon in order to improve sales, satisfaction etc. Regression analysis is also commonly used as a forecasting tool. Continue reading
1. Old news is not news
Content has to be current and interesting, telling your audience about an event that happened 5 months previous will make people question the value of your blog posts;
2. Short enough to be memorable…
A long post is easier to forget. Remember to limit it to a few key messages and re-iterate your key points. 350 words is usually enough;
3. …long enough to have substance
In order to attract the attention of search engines and increase potential readership, content must be substance heavy. Write for your readers not for search engines, however, because search engines will only scan your website if you have enough visitors write with the interests of your readers in mind; Continue reading
Employee research is important as it gives staff a sense of feeling valued, encourages goodwill, boosts morale and drives loyalty. Furthermore, it is proven that an engaged and satisfied workforce can lead to increased productivity and profitability in the workplace.
Staff surveys can appear full of challenges and obstacles. Clients might be concerned about issues relating to time constraints, costs, poor response rates or internal politics. Here are our top ten tips on how to overcome these barriers, and how to deliver successful employee satisfaction surveys and consultation.
- Conduct the survey online. If staff have email access, then online is often the best solution. This is the easiest, quickest and most cost effective option – both in terms of survey completion and subsequent analysis. And it’s more environmentally friendly;
- Management co-operation. This is essential to any employee satisfaction survey conducted for a number of reasons. They will help determine the types of questions asked, encourage response rates and put into place any actions taken as a result of the findings; Continue reading
For any marketers or business people who have never commissioned research, the prospect of selecting a partner agency may seem a formidable task.
Before making contact with potential market research suppliers there is preparatory work that will help make the whole process easier and more time effective for all concerned.
Below are our top tips on writing a brief in lieu of selecting a market research agency:
- Begin a research brief by outlining the background to the research. Some broader background information on the organisation is also useful, but keep it relevant to the research subject;
- Define the research problem from a business objective perspective. Clearly and concisely describe why the business needs the research and what it intends to do with the results. This will allow the researcher to understand the key issues and the wider context of the project; Continue reading
Increasingly at Ci Research we are designing and facilitating creative workshops for our clients, taking the insight captured from qualitative and quantitative research to inform the development of action plans, new product and service propositions, or a new brand positioning.
Using creative techniques on their own does not guarantee that a raft of ideas or concepts will be developed for consideration. You also need to have an understanding of a number of key underlying principles to increase the chances of success. Our top ten tips for consideration when running a creative workshop are detailed below:
- Know where you’re aiming for – Be clear from the start about what you are trying to achieve and communicate this to the group. Also have a plan and range of techniques available to use in the sessions;
- Make the space – Creative thinking needs time. It is inhibited by time pressures, interruptions and routines. Structuring sessions to let problems to tick over at the back of the mind and allow thinking time can only help;
- Think about the setting – Look to run workshops away from the normal working environment – somewhere different and inspiring. It is also important that participants feel relaxed so drop any dress codes and pay close attention to the room layout. Even background music can contribute to providing the right environment for creative thinking; Continue reading
Ci Research has over 20 years’ experience of conducting multi-country research studies across a variety of sectors. Our first ever client was ICI, for whom having international capability was essential, and since we have developed a strong reputation for designing, managing and conducting multi-country studies for our clients.
In the last five years we have conducted research studies in more than 60 countries world-wide, covering all the major continents (across Asia-Pacific and the Indian sub-continent, Middle-East and Africa, South/Central America, Europe and North America), using our long-established networks to interview respondents in their local language.
All international studies are managed at our head office in the UK. We are able to conduct international telephone interviews via our in-house fieldwork unit. We can also set-up and administer multi-language online studies using our in-house platform, Confirmit.
Additionally we are able to draw upon our network of local fieldwork partners from across the world, who we have worked with for many years, to undertake qualitative fieldwork on our behalf in the local language. This approach allows us to tap into the most appropriate and experienced individuals within each market we operate, and provides greater value (than being ‘tied in’ to an overseas sub-office).
Here are our top ten tips for delivering successful and insightful international qualitative research:
- Invest time to build and maintain a solid network of like-minded agencies. The best outputs will come from working with agencies that understand your service philosophy. For example, all of our international partners must be deadline focused, always looking for the ‘So what?’ insights, and willing to be flexible and go the extra mile;
- Vet partner agencies thoroughly before formally collaborating. Develop a database of contacts that allows you to understand the specialisms in terms of sectors and methods. Use this as the foundation for building solid relationships; Continue reading
When conducting research with Minority Ethnic Groups it is important that sensitive research strategies are developed. These include:
1). Having an understanding of the culture of the minority ethnic community being consulted (for example not using male moderators to facilitate female focus groups);
2). Exploring the potential information needs of the community prior to conducting the research (explaining why and how the research is being conducted and what the insight will be used for);
3). Providing information, both verbal and written, in a language which is understood by prospective participants (including translation into appropriate languages);