Pricing Optimization in Uncertain Times

In case you haven’t noticed, the price of everything (except housing) is increasing

Pricing Optimization It’s in the news every day:

  • Fuel prices increasing
  • Commodities are more expensive
  • The average shopping trip is costing more

As a result, many of our market research clients are taking price advances on their products and services, and adjusting their means of pricing optimization.  They are using a number of different approaches.

1.     Increase the price to maintain historical margins.

2.    Ask the trade what price increases they are willing to accept.

3.    Use their internal demand models based on historical data to optimize price points based on profitability.

4.    Use pricing research to derive optimal pricing.

Extending the Shapley Value in Market Research

Hammer-nail.jpg In my last blog post I promised to talk a bit about extensions of the applications of the Shapley Value to areas beyond line optimization.  Now that I have found the Shapley Value hammer, people sometimes accuse me of viewing every problem as a nail.  To some extent this is true, but it is only because the Shapley Value provides a way of thinking about a number of common problems in market research.

The Shapley Value is simply a method of allocating a total value among a number of components.  In some situations, we know the value of the components and what they add to the total value, so there is no need for the Shapley Value.  However, many times, we are interested in understanding the component value but we don’t really have any component measure.  For example, we may want to know the value contribution of specific features to the total value of the product, but all we have is an overall interest in the product.  How can we get an understanding of how much each feature is worth?

CASRO Event Preview: Intriguing Market Research Trends and Issues

CASRO_preview.pngThe annual CASRO Online Research Conference is coming up in 3 short weeks in Las Vegas, NV.  This is a great event for leaders in online research, and online research panels in particular, to get together and discuss the latest trends and issues facing the marketing research industry.  This post previews the event by highlighting the agenda topics I’m most intrigued to hear about.  I’ll follow-up this preview post in March with a recap of the event.

Do Traditional Marketing Research Methods Still Have a Place in a Researcher’s Toolkit?

New Market Research Methodologies To answer the question in the title of this blog post:  Yes.  Or at least some of them do.  Probably.  But let’s back up for a minute. 

There is no shortage of bell-tollers signaling the death of traditional market research.  (Check out blogs from Forrester’s Tamara Barber, “The Market Research Deathwatch”, and LinkedIn groups Next Gen Market Research and NewMR.)  To deny that change is afoot in the Marketing Research industry would be foolish. 

Technology is driving some wonderful advances and new opportunities in market researchMobile technology is promising us in-the-moment access, social media offers unprecedented access to stream of consciousness feedback, and new, powerful algorithms are being developed to mine terabytes of existing data for insights yet untapped. 

Solving Data Quality Issues for the Next Generation of Online Market Research

Online Research Data Quality.jpgThere are two emerging areas and one persistent issue in online market research that keep my brain going overtime these days as I work with the TrueSample team on the product vision for TrueSample. They are:

1.    Real-time sampling and social media sampling
2.    Mobile surveys
3.    Representivity in online sampling

We know that we can eliminate fake, duplicate and unengaged survey respondents from online sample panels or even mobile sample panels, but to take TrueSample to the next level and address the emerging market research data quality concerns that arise with new sampling methods and survey modalities or to solve the ever-nagging issue of representivity, we have to think bigger and more out of the box. There are more nuanced biases and risks to account for and we are building a solution that will get us there.

Does Online Market Research Work?

Does Online Market Research Work? There are still some skeptics that would answer this question with “No”.  I actually think that a better question is “Does Any Research Work?”, because when you ask if online research works, you make the assumption that any and all research works.

To some researchers, in order for a research method to work, it needs to be predictive – that is, predict the future and by doing so, be validated.  To others, a research method needs to be informative – create an applicable insight.  To another group of researchers, a research method should be evocative – cause innovation to occur.  Let’s take a look at each of these to see if online research likely works. 

Market Research Leaders Speak Out About Taking Control of Online Research Quality

Quality checkmark  On June 28th, I posted a blog entry praising companies like Microsoft and Procter & Gamble who have taken it upon themselves to lead the efforts to set data quality guidelines for the entire industry.  Serious discussion of the issue of online panel quality has been ongoing for over four years.  Unwilling to wait another four years to see the industry-wide change required to address quality issues, these companies created their own online research quality requirements and began asking other research buyers to join them as they enforce these standards and award projects to only those suppliers who meet the requirements. These companies are setting a new bar for the level of quality that all research buyers should expect from their suppliers. 

Does Marketing Research Really Matter?

Tree_falls_in_woods.jpg There is an age-old riddle –“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  Similarly there is a Marketing Research riddle – “If a research project is conducted and no one is there to pay attention to it, does it make an impact?”

The answer to both of these riddles is ‘NO’.

But seriously, how many projects are done each year where no one is listening or, just as bad, not acting on the information?  At MarketTools, we selfishly care about this because projects that don’t get acted on nor listened to are usually considered failures.  And we doubly care because the market research vendor often bears the brunt of this.   The truth of the matter is – research suppliers are happier, more profitable and their employees stay employed longer when the research results stick to the ribs of our clients. 

Best Practices for Selecting and Working with Sample Suppliers: Blending Sample

26questions.jpg This is the third installment in an ongoing series looking at the invaluable list of 26 Questions to Help Research Buyers of Online Samples assembled by ESOMAR, the global non-profit market research organization.  You can review the other entries in the series here.

This time around we’ll explore the policies of panel companies for blending sample: “Do you supplement your samples with samples from other providers? How do you select these partners? Is it your policy to notify a client in advance when using a third party provider? Do you de-duplicate the sample when using multiple sample providers?” (Question #20 on the list.)

New eMarketing Opportunities as Patients Continue to Seek Control of Healthcare

Online Healthcare We’ve been hearing more and more about how U.S. patients are taking control of their healthcare.  We also know that patients see and recall pharmaceutical advertising, and in some cases ask their physician about a particular product. In fact, a recent study from Prevention Magazine noted that a majority of consumers feel that pharmaceutical advertising in magazines and on TV is fair and balanced, but they feel that online ads need to work harder to communicate risks vs. benefits.  At the same time, advertising within the social media landscape has quickly become an accepted voice for pharmaceutical companies, with 57% of consumers saying ads are acceptable on sites that cover health and medical issues.  Good to know!

MarketTools ran some market research on research recently with a study of an online survey panel of over 1,200 consumers, and found some further validation of the ways that both general consumers and specific patient groups continue to seek information and tools online related to their healthcare.

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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