Library Archive 2019

  • October 2019 Economic Index

    The Decision Analyst U.S. Economic Index stood at 117 in October 2019, an increase of 3 points from the previous month, but no change from October 2018.

    Over the course of the past 12-months, the Index remains essentially flat. This suggests that the U.S. economy will continue to grow at a sluggish rate in coming months (i.e., less than 2% annual rate).

  • 19Nov
    Diving Deeper Into Diversity—Hispanic Research by José Marrero (President of JAM Consulting) and Mike Humphrey (Vice President at Decision Analyst)
    Planning for the Future

    At a conference last year, a speaker asked the audience ‘what is the biggest challenge we face in marketing research?’

    One theme rose to the top: sampling. Concerns ranged from fraud to worries over how representative our samples truly are these days. While the prevention of fraud is ongoing and evolving, the issue of representativeness deserves just as much attention. This is particularly true in the diverse U.S. Hispanic market, where the demographics, attitudes, and behaviors can differ from the general population in important ways.

  • 12Nov
    Planning for the Future by Bonnie Janzen
    Planning for the Future

    We are taught to plan, to anticipate, to read reality.

    We are taught to make adjustments in our plans, and to continually do this as we prepare for the future. We do this every day in business. So how do we read the current state of reality? How do we plan and then make adjustments along the way? What do you do when the future that you had hoped for didn’t quite materialize as you expected? Or didn’t happen as quickly as you planned for?

  • Distribution strategy is often an unrecognized or unappreciated, or underappreciated, aspect of marketing strategy.

    An optimal distribution system can help shape and magnify the overall success of and value of a brand and a business

  • Employees are the lifeblood of any business and typically one of the most expensive parts of your business.

    In this video Bonnie Janzen discusses they key aspects of employee engagement strategy and and suggest key questions that might be asked in an engagement survey.

  • Path to Purchase

    What do you think are the top frustrations for survey-takers?

    As a marketing research professional, and a customer who takes surveys, I’m focusing on the over-used and abused question format—the grid question. To ease the frustrations of respondents consider using MaxDiff questions, they force respondents to make trade-offs (or choices), like they do in the real world.

  • This video discusses pricing strategies and methods used to assess them.

    Pricing strategies support the overall corporate strategy. Strategies discusses include: maximize profit line revenue, maximize customer perceived value, customer segment, purchase channel, and new product. Research methods to assess these pricing strategies are also discusses.

  • Path to Purchase

    An optimal suite of great products offered at acceptable prices is an integral part of a company’s strategy. But what sounds like a pretty simple proposition is not that easy in practice.

    Pricing strategies should simultaneously encourage product purchase, promote customer goodwill, and, ultimately, maximize profit. Evaluating potential pricing strategies with historical or future-looking methods is critical because missteps alienate customers and damage margins.

  • This video discusses product strategy, and how it helps you get a product roadmap for your organization, for the product, or the product line that you’re working on

    The product roadmap is essentially the product and the product releases that you plan to have for your organization as the product goes forward, and it’s really helping you to understand what this target audience cares about. It's really important to understand in-depth what is important to the target audience as it relates to this product or service that you have.

  • 18Sep
    Path to Purchase

    At Decision Analyst we have found that conducting workshops with internal stakeholders after the presentation of the marketing research results can be one of the most effective conduits for change that a business can employ.

    Workshops allow all of the relevant stakeholders involved in a brand, a new concept, an existing product line, etc., to come together at one time to begin the process of moving decisions and behaviors through the organization.

  • So, what are some of the core elements of a brand strategy?

    At its most basic level, it involves questions, such as; “Who do we target?” “What’s our optimal target market?” and “How do we position our brand vis-a-vis other brands?” “How do we differentiate our brand compared to other brands?” “What kind of a brand image do we want to project?”

  • Path to Purchase

    In 2016, an important sea change occurred in the way consumers gather information about new HVAC systems prior to purchasing one.

    For the first time, more consumers in Decision Analyst’s American Home Comfort Study reported using the internet, rather than a contractor, to gather information about their impending purchase.

  • 4Sep
    My Path To Purchase by Tom Allen
    Path to Purchase

    How many new products are introduced in the U.S. each year?

    Trying to specify consumers’ purchase paths (the behaviors and inputs that impact shoppers’ decisions) is often very challenging. In most cases, purchase decisions are unique to each individual and are composed of numerous decisions that take place subconsciously. These subconscious decisions are also influenced by outside factors, ingrained habits, and biased perspectives that consumers won’t admit to. So why do we try?

  • Decision Analyst is creating a series of 7 short informative videos on Strategy and Strategy Research and for the next few months with be posting the videos.

    In this introductory video, Jerry W. Thomas, explains the history of strategy, types of strategy, and keys question of ask to optimize your strategy.

  • 13Aug
    Distribution Strategy by Jerry W. Thomas
    Distribution Strategy

    Distribution is often an unrecognized and underappreciated element of strategy, yet it is almost always an important factor in a winning strategy.

    In the business world, the term “distribution” refers to the channels, logistics, and processes to move products and services from the point of manufacture, production, or creation to the ultimate end-users. When “distribution” is linked to “strategy,” the question is: How can distribution serve as a component or variable to support a company’s overall business and marketing strategy?

  • Customer Optimization

    The customer experience is as important as the products and services a company provides.

    Any brand’s or retailer’s best path to an optimized customer experience is with its frontlines: their cashiers, waiters/waitresses, store managers, customer-service team members, etc. These are the people who interact with customers every day and can make or break a positive experience. How can you ensure employees take an active role in optimizing the customer experience?

  • Strategy Research

    Suppressors are rarely talked about in the marketing research community. They are viewed as the “red-headed stepchild” of statistics: rejected, neglected, and outcast.

    Suppressors are variables that when added to a regression model, change the original relationship between X (a predictor) and Y (the outcome) by making it stronger, weaker, or no longer significant—or even reversing the direction of the relationship (i.e., changing a positive relationship into a negative one). What can researchers do when encountering problem suppressors?

  • 27Jun
    Key Strategy Questions by Bonnie Janzen
    Strategy Research

    “To be or not to be, that is the question” famously asked by Shakespeare’s Hamlet as he pondered the value of choosing life over death.

    In business, opposing positions (such as Hamlet’s) often lead to asking more marketing-nuanced versions of this question: What does your brand or your company wish to be? Or what does your brand or company not wish to be? The answers to these questions form the essence of your company’s strategy, and the answers can lead to corporate life or death as well.

  • 29May
    TURF Analysis by Jerry w. Thomas
    Turf Analysis

    TURF (Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency) had its origins in the media planning world, long before it was adapted to marketing research applications.

    While TURF has a place in the researcher’s toolkit, it has major limitations as a product line planning tool. Choice modeling is more expensive, but it overcomes most of the limitations of TURF and produces much more accurate predictions of actual in-market outcomes.

  • Qualitative Research

    What is Information Polarization…

    I think of it as basically giving precedence or importance to information or things that you like, things you are associated with, or things that closely match your own values or desires; and sometimes ignoring or discounting those things you don’t. But what happens when Information Polarization is taken out of the consumers’ hands?

  • Market Segmentation Myths

    In the business world, we’ve all heard it: “We did a segmentation, and no one bought into the results.”

    It’s important to remember that the research and report are just the beginning of the journey. We have found that it’s often vitally important to flank a segmentation initiative with in-person work sessions involving key members of the client organization’s team.

  • 8May
    Name Testing by Jerry W. Thomas
    Name Testing

    That great new product is ready to go. Concept test results are positive. In-home usage tests of the product are positive. The package design looks great. Oops! Wait a minute.

    What are we going to call this new product? What is its name to be? Here is a little primer on Name Test Research

  • 22Apr
    Generational Gobbledygook by Jerry W. Thomas
    Generational Cohorts

    Magically, every 10 to 15 years a new generational cohort (like Millennials, Generation Z, etc.) emerges from the shadows to transform and revolutionize American culture and the U.S. economy.

    We might miss these giant transformative waves of radical behavioral changes if it were not for the book authors, pundits, consultants, and communications executives who heighten our awareness of and shape our minds to the significance of each new generational cohort.

  • B2B Research

    I have worked in business-to-business research for many years. When I meet with clients, I often find myself having a similar conversation about the difficulties in conducting B2B research.

    While B2B research is not easy to conduct, the rewards can be huge. Here are some thoughts and suggestions on improving the quality of B2B research.

  • Brand Strategy

    What was your day like?

    You thawed out tonight’s meal from Home Bistro, digitally ran errands on Amazon, put on your outfit from Stitch Fix. If you hadn’t noticed, you’re pretty entwined in “the Subscription Economy.” Business is shifting swiftly, and the way people consume your goods and services has changed—some say in a permanent way. Challenge yourself to come up with a business that can’t be turned into a subscription.

  • 26Mar
    Risky Business, Statistically Speaking by Elizabeth Horn, Ph.D.
    Brand Strategy

    Statistical significance testing is fraught with danger. “Getting it wrong” can translate into suboptimal business decisions at best and financial loss at worst.

    Although there are several potential pitfalls associated with statistical significance testing, these are the two main mistakes: Mistake #1 is a false positive and Mistake #2 is a false negative.

  • 13Mar
    February 2019 Economic Index

    The Decision Analyst U.S. Economic Index stands at 119 for February 2019, a 4-point increase from February 2018 and a 5-point rebound from January 2019.

    The overall trend of the Economic Index over the past couple of years is relatively flat, indicating slower growth as the U.S. economy struggles to gain ground in the first quarter of 2019.

  • Brand Strategy

    Recently, I attended PMRC, the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Conference. What struck me most was the discussion about how we, as marketing research practitioners, are not doing enough to drive the use of marketing research.

    From my company’s work providing marketing research and analytical consulting services across many industries, I know that this topic is broadly applicable, so I wanted to share my thoughts on the topic.

  • Brand Strategy

    A revolutionary new product. An improved product. A problem product that’s been “fixed.” What do all of these have in common?

    All of these products also need to be tested. But if the product, itself, is never put into the hands of potential users, how strong are its chances to succeed?

  • Brand Strategy

    At its core, a strategy is a plan that is skillfully and carefully formulated and carried out for the purpose of achieving a goal in the future.

    It seems appropriate to take a look at some of the tools available to help ensure a brand has a winning strategy. From a research and insights perspective, a number of types of studies can be deployed for a solid understanding of how end users will be influenced by a new strategy or a minor pivot in direction.

  • 29Jan
    Customer Research

    We all inherently know about this trap. We think we know exactly who our customers are, and maybe even what they want or need. But what is this “knowledge” based on?

    Successful market leaders understand that they cannot rely on yesterday’s data to drive tomorrow’s growth. We must constantly seek not only to understand the market, but also to anticipate it, else we risk being yesterday’s market leader.

  • 21Jan
    Online Sampling

    Online surveys rely primarily on samples pulled from online panels (or access panels, if you live in Europe) or on web intercepts (often referred to as “river” sample).

    Online panels vary greatly in quality, with fraud and error rates ranging from 1% or 2% to more than 20%. Most large research agencies employ fraud-detection systems to identify these errant “respondents,” but many small research firms and Do-It-Yourself research departments do not have rigorous systems in place to screen online samples for robotic respondents, respondent factories, etc.

  • Questionnaire Bias

    Biased survey questions wreak havoc on the reliability and validity of the survey which produces junk data.

    Biased questions increase respondent confusion which then increases error in their responses. This in turn reduces the strength of the relationships between variables. In worse case scenarios, biased questions can return results that may be untrue which favor a specific outcome. So what can we do to avoid bias in surveys?

  • 2Jan
    Upping Your Innovation Game by Heather Kluter
    Automotive Innovation

    Innovation means different things to different people, and so the notion of instilling innovation in your company can be vague.

    Through working with numerous companies, large and small, I’ve seen that encouraging learning and discovery can often be the best way to start if you want to create a culture of innovation. When thinking about encouraging innovation based on customer insights, a couple of aspects to keep in mind for increased learning and discovery follow.