Market Research ROI Vs. Pay for Performance

This is a follow-up to a previous post about Measuring the ROI of Market Research.

ROI on Market Research A recent Greenbook blog post by Edward Appleton, exploring the question “Should Research Agencies be Paid for the Value of Their Insights?”, got me thinking again about the ROI on MR Conference organized by Bob Lederer last summer.  We had extensive discussions about the fact that the hard part of calculating the ROI (Return on Investment) for market research is the “R”, which is usually measured in dollars generated. 

Because market research projects endure a long and complex process from initial definition to final execution, the specific value of the output can be difficult to determine.  That value is also dependent on how companies use their research data to develop actionable plans that directly impact business results.

Shopper Insights from the Center Aisle - and Beyond

Shopper insights from the Supermarket Aisle What do furniture polish, toothpaste, books, crackers and spaghetti sauce all have in common?  They are all placed in the center aisles of the grocery store.  They also face a lot of competition for consumer attention (and dollars) – so each brand in these product categories is trying to connect with shoppers in ways that will resonate, and understand their path to purchase.

Today’s sales channels include grocery chains, specialty stores and online outlets, so it’s imperative to understand the entire decision process that consumers go through in order to deliver great products with great experiences.  There was a time when most brands clearly knew who the competition was, and what their competitors were capable of, in terms of products and programs.  Take spaghetti sauce as an example.  Ragú had the market fairly well-cornered as a familiar, reliable name.  Then came specialized brands like Newman’s Own, founded by Paul Newman, with a new “boutique” paradigm.  Now, micro-producers like Tortellini Originali can become major competitors in highly defined markets. 

Develop Blockbuster Products Without Market Research. Really???

Steve Jobs As a fan of all things Apple, I picked up the Steve Jobs biography this week to see what I could learn about its iconic founder.  As a market research professional, I was very interested in understanding more about Apple’s famous claim that they do no market research.

There was some hand-wringing, and definitely some indignation, among market researchers after a pre-launch press meeting for the iPad where Jobs was asked what consumer and market research Apple had done to guide the development of the new product.  “None,” said Mr. Jobs. “It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want.”  Was it possible that other organizations would take that message to heart and move away from the collection, analysis and development of consumer insights?  Did it mean that traditional market research was irrelevant?  Can everyone deliver blockbuster products now with no consumer insights?  Probably not.

The New Role of the Survey Panel Provider: Matchmaker

Matching researchers with survey panelists Back when the Internet was young, finding people to take an online survey could sometimes be a struggle. Today, everyone has a long list of potential survey respondents. To recruit them, they use email newsletters, CRM systems, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, corporate blogs and QR codes inserted into all kinds of places. The problem today, if anything, is that there are too many lists of survey-takers ‒ overlapping, constantly changing lists of respondents.

So where does that leave the survey panel provider?

Why Does Anyone Go to a Market Research Conference?

TMRE The upcoming TMRE (The Market Research Event 2011) is taking place in Orlando November 7th through 9th, and I am looking forward to attending as part of the MarketTools market research team.  I have to admit that prior to last year’s conference in San Diego, I didn’t put a lot of consideration into participating in this kind of event.  I had spent over 30 years on the client side and, other than when I was a speaker, conferences were rarely on my radar.  And with budget cutbacks hitting market research organizations from all sides in recent years, travel to an event often seemed like an extravagance anyway.

So, it was an eye-opener for me that during the course of last year’s TMRE conference, I found myself drawn into the event for a number of reasons:

Five Things Every Researcher Needs to Know about QR Codes

This is part of an ongoing series of blog posts on Mobile Market Research from the MarketTools Market Research team.

MarketTools Blog QR Code QR codes are gaining popularity at breakneck speed, and there is no shortage of information out there on the endless possibilities they bring marketers.  We’ve all seen QR codes (an abbreviation for Quick Response code) on things like billboards, packages, TV advertisements, bus stops, business cards, etc. as part of creative marketing plans.  (Did you know they’re also being used as tattoos and on gravestones?)

There is a major shortage, however, of tips on ways market researchers can utilize QR codes to their advantage.  Pushing QR codes out to consumers is one thing, but using QR codes to pull insights back from consumers is a totally different animal.  Here are five things every researcher must know about QR codes:

The Invisible Hand of the Survey Panel: Four Ways Our Panelists Make Us Better Researchers

ZoomPanel Years before I worked in market research, I was a member of an online survey panel.  I took enough surveys to get a $20 check in the mail and once got a bag of potato chips as part of an in-home usage test. Perhaps my early days as a panelist have left me particularly attentive to the panelist’s point of view. 

Panelists have a lot to tell us about online market research and they find ways to make their opinions known.  Whether it’s through our panel support team, our ZoomPanel Facebook page, or the dropout rates in a survey, panelists make themselves heard. I’d argue that our industry is better for it. 

Here are four things our panelists tell us that make us better researchers.

Mobile Market Research: 5 Tips for Getting In-the-Moment Customer Feedback

This is a follow-up to the recent blog post on mobile market research titled "Getting Started On Your Mobile Market Research Journey".  Here we focus on the third cornerstone of the mobile research framework: Research Applications.

Mobile survey One of the great things about having kids is I get to go to amusement parks much more frequently. But one of the downsides is having to wait in line for the rides, usually for about 20 minutes or more. While standing in line on a recent trip, I was impressed by a sign inviting me to give my feedback about my experience in the park. This was a welcome distraction from the monotony of waiting, so I texted the number and within a few moments the first question arrived on my mobile phone.

My initial good impressions were quickly dispelled. After just one question, I was invited to give fuller feedback at a kiosk near the park's exit. Did they seriously expect me to remember to find this kiosk and spend 10 minutes at the end of the day, when the kids are inevitably tired and hungry, and we all just want to get home?

I had a similar experience with a coffee chain at a train station asking for feedback on their customer service. Once again, the ingredients were right: free wi-fi at the station, consumer downtime waiting for a train, a web-based survey, etc.  However, when I tried to access the survey via my smartphone, the page failed to load. Was it because the coffee chain didn’t design the survey for a smartphone – thinking that consumers would be willing to unpack their laptops?  Or maybe they considered it sufficient that their mobile survey only worked on certain models of phones. (I only tested the link on one of the more common Android handsets!)

Divergence and Convergence and the Use of Social Media in Research

Social Media & Market Research A comic strip I saw recently had a line that went something like “Any time my boss tells me about a trend, it’s probably too late.”  That’s not a putdown of bosses or management, but it does speak to the incredible buzz currently taking place around social media and the research opportunity to listen to “real people”.

We are now seeing all kinds of tools in the marketplace that allow us to make sense out of the gazillion conversations taking place in the social media sphere.  Many of these tools work and are wondrous to behold.

But let’s take a step back and ask ourselves: what can we expect to ascertain about these folks who are sharing their lives with us on a daily/hourly basis?  I go back to something I was taught years ago when I started to think it was possible to understand the collective human experience.  I was taught that there are two kinds of research:

Characteristics of “Good Surveys” and “Bad Surveys”

MarketTools research has shown that survey design parameters directly impact respondent engagement.  This essentially means that by modifying the survey design parameters, we can have an effect on engagement and, correspondingly, impact data quality – and turn a “bad survey” into a “good” one. 

A previous blog post from Brenton Wells talked about SurveyScore, an important component of the MarketTools TrueSample data quality process, and how it measures respondent engagement level to help researchers optimize the design of surveys (learn more about SurveyScore).  SurveyScore Predictor is a tool that gives researchers a means to adjust and improve design parameters in order to optimize the SurveyScore results for a survey.  When the SurveyScore is high, it’s more likely your survey respondents will complete your survey and give your questions the considered response you’re looking for, leading to higher-quality survey results.

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Blog Honors

MarketTools Blog Team

Alan Cutler
VP, Client Development, Market Research

Mark Glassberg
Regional Vice President, Market Research

Hank Khost
Senior Research Manager, Market Research

Laura Newton
Senior Manager, Marketing Communications / Blog Editor

Jay Pluhar
Vice President, Strategic Accounts, Market Research

Larry Praml
Director, All Channel Tracker, Market Research

Kathleen Relias
VP, Client Development, Market Research

Russ Rubin
SVP, Client Services, Market Research

April Turner
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Market Research