Market Directions

Survey Length,

Mary Malaszek - Sunday, January 18, 2015

Show Respect, Keep Surveys Short!

Conducting primary research (collecting data yourself) is hard.  Once you have a clear objective of what it is you want to know, developing the questions to reflect your curiosity,  decided on a target audience and venue---- then the most difficult aspect happens. Getting people to respond.

A particular element I stress to my clients over and over again is length of the research instrument. Survey Abandonment  Whether its an interview or a survey ---- clients want more.  We all know why this happens.  Once the word gets out that primary research is happening everyone has a question they want answered.  And so it goes on. 

Its just common sense that the longer the survey or the longer the interview, the more fatigue respondents have.   Respondents will either abandon the survey or begin answering questions without much thought.  So try to practice KISS--- Keep It Short, Stupid.  I’m sorry to be so blunt. 

Unless respondents are engaged in  health care research or something that really personally affects them, they don’t care as much as you do about your research.  Everyone is after everyone’s opinion.  Whether people buy something or click on something or watch something, organizations want  opinions and they want those opinions to be shared. 

Keep surveys shortKeeping a survey short is showing respect for your respondents.  Respecting them could be the first step in engaging them to take your survey.  Always state up front how long the survey will take to complete--- be honest.  When I send out survey invites, the first round always state that the survey will take X minutes, whatever X was for the test surveys.  As time goes on and responses begin to come in the second invite will say “respondents have taken from 5 to 12 minutes to complete this survey.”

Additionally, when interviewing respondents, when I state this interview will take 20 minutes, but can go longer depending on your answers, I tell them at the 20 minute mark, its been 20 minutes, would you like to stop or continue.  95% percent of the time respondents will choose to continue. 

Of course, a good market researcher has many strategies for getting respondents to care and getting them to engage, however, length is something that is usually in the hands of the novices, who are excited by the idea of knowing everything now.  Patience is the key here. 

There is a lot of research out there about survey length, fatigue and abandonment, here are two of my favorite posts about the subject.  (I hope this blog was short enough for you.)



Bureau of Labor Statistics Price Data

Mary Malaszek - Saturday, January 10, 2015

Boston Marathon Survey

Mary Malaszek - Monday, April 29, 2013

The Boston Marathon Bombings were and still are an event that shook the Nation.  Its reminiscent of baby boomers memories of where they were the day JFK was shot.  Given the tools and analytical mindset of my own business --- a market researcher--- I’d like to know more about people’s reactions to the Marathon events.  Do you have five minutes to share your experiences and thoughts?  If so, please click here to take a survey.

 The survey is completely anonymous and all questions are optional. You may forward/share the survey link with your friends and family. We have made a donation to the One Fund Boston in honor of those who respond to this survey.  The results will be posted on our website by June and available to everyone. Thank you--- our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.----- Mary Malaszek, Market Directions

Boston Marathon Survey



Steps to Conducting a Successful Focus Group

Mary Malaszek - Monday, December 17, 2012

Focus Group Services by Market DirectionsMost people love to be asked their opinion and they’re generally not shy about voicing it.

Visually, capturing that “aha moment” when the participants “get it” is powerful evidence in support of the idea. A good moderator brings about impromptu idea-generating interactions.

Market Directions conducts focus groups at the local, national and North American venues. We recruit, moderate and report. Check out the “Green Book” to see focus group facilities in any area.

  1. Identify Client Needs: What do you want to know?
  2. Identify Possible Participants: Who do you want the information from?
  3. Create Moderator Guide: What questions will promote discussion? Are any background materials needed?
  4. Coordinate Facility: Geographic Locations; Special Needs
  5. Engage Moderator: Certified moderator; Brief moderator on subject
  6. Recruit Participants: Qualify Participants; Appropriate compensation
  7. Audio – Video Tape Focus Group: Stationary Video? Close-ups?
  8. Arrange for Refreshments
  9. Conduct Focus Group: Hostess Moderator Observers; Participants
  10. Present Results: Concise Report; Recommendations

Contact Market Directions for help with your next focus group, whether its the whole project or just one aspect. We will find the right venue, recruit participants, moderate, analyze and report results.

Marketing Budgets. How much should you spend?

Mary Malaszek - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Managing Marketing BudgetsBuilding intellectual capital in the form of marketing data which supports marketing strategies is as strategic as building a diversified financial investment portfolio.

Determining your market research budget, planning the year’s research activities or deciding whether to outsource market research is dependent upon internal factors. Major factors which may determine the necessary allocation of resources include—— staffing issues; expertise, time constraints; capacity; flexibility and the product life cycle.

Highlighted and summarized are findings about marketing budgets from various industry publications including Blackfriars, The American Marketing Association’s and the Market Research Association indicate:

  • About 50 percent of U.S. companies have a market research department.
  • On average companies spend approximately 1.2 percent of sales annually on market research.
  • Fifty percent of market research budgets are used to out-sourced to companies such as Market Directions.
  • Market research outsource spending has increased by 77% over the last ten years.

Breakdown of the Marketing Budget

Generally, marketing budgets are split as following:

  • Advertising: 31%
  • Website development: 17%
  • Events: 15%
  • Public relations and analyst relations: 10%
  • Collateral: 6%
  • Concept testing: 6%

What is your firm’s market research budget — compare that to marcomm—(marketing communications)? Let Market Directions be one of your marketing tools— we can help your marketing department do their jobs better, faster and with a greater degree of efficiency.

Choosing a Market Research Firm

Mary Malaszek - Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Using fact-filled arguments to gain valuable resources within your organization for your marketing strategies is the best road to success. When considering market research there are pros and cons to outsourcing or performing the task in-house. When deciding what would work best for your organization, do your homework. Below is a link to an article from the American Market Association that may help you choose the right market research firm.

Additionally, the table below highlights the strengths an outside firm brings to your marketing research versus the strengths that doing the work internally provides.

Market Research Company Brings Firms Internal Resources Market Directions Approach
an objective third party knows the ins and outs of the business Works closely with front-line employees and key individuals
up-to-date knowledge of research and analysis tools Day to day business operations prevent employees from staying current on current practices Access to software, databases, updated and current.
increased expenses Decrease/Increase headcount We deliver your project on budget— on time.
the ability to contact a high volume of customers/respondents Can represent your message the best We have relationships with many data companies, call centers
a quick turn around Turnaround can be delayed due to other priorities We give your project top priority. Our size contributes to you working with key management.

Remember outsourcing your market research projects can free you and your staff up to focus on your core business and implementing your marketing efforts.

How can you use market research for better marketing?

Mary Malaszek - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Use Market Research for:

All of the following marketing activities listed will benefit from in-depth market research, as long as you don’t ignore the data or the evidence.

Uses of Market Research

  • Advertising Effectiveness
  • Segmentation
  • Industry Analysis
  • Brand Awareness
  • Price Elasticity
  • Demand
  • Interviewing
  • Product Development
  • Lead Generation
  • Tracking Trends
  • Benchmarks
  • Forecasting
  • Demographics
  • Cross Tabs
  • Data Collection
  • Census Data
  • Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • Employee Surveys
  • Reporting
  • Customer Satisfaction Analysis

Wow! That’s a long list. By listing the individual components of market research you can clearly see the multitude of steps and variety of approaches. Market Directions can help you make sense of all of this and focus in on what will get you the most reliable results.

Why do marketers ignore evidence? Research findings indicate:

Three reasons why most marketers neglect to harness vast amounts of customer data to create a real impact on their marketing strategies and programs:

Many marketing managers ignore evidence—
relying instead on ideology. The result? Poor-quality decisions that waste time, money and, risks your company’s and your career’s future.

Data arrogance of leading marketing analysts—
Most statistically driven marketers appear unwilling to translate their data findings into understandable insights.

Ugliness of data insights—
Many CMOs and most marketers still believe spreadsheets, rather than graphically appealing visuals, are the natural environment of numbers.

Source: “Big bad data.(CMO Strategy)(marketers negligence in tackling customer data)(Brief article)”, Advertising Age, February 19, 2007.