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How to Ensure the Qualitative Collection of Information

There is a lack of information during the period of changes, that’s why we have to gather the data ourselves interviewing experts, competitors, and customers. “The information from the fields” becomes especially essential during the structural economic changes when the trends change in the statistics and great changes occur which the statistics hasn’t demonstrated yet. It’s separately worth mentioning the markets for which the statistical information is never enough and in most cases it was absent at all (mass-market products by brands, many B2B markets, niche markets).

 

How to ensure the qualitative collection of the source information?

  1. Clearly to determine the sample, survey method and their gaps (traditionally, the most secure method to interview customers is a door-to-door interview method. But taking into account the increased quantity of refusals and low feasibility of the interviewers, the greater quantity of the researchers in ad hoc-research tends to the surveys in crowded areas, by telephone, for narrow audiences – to online-surveys).
  2. To develop control procedure (in the beginning it is important to describe clearly the indexes and how they will be controlled. For example, at least 30% of the interviews will be controlled to evaluate the work of each interviewer).
  3. To gather a team of interviewers (either among your staff or hire in the research companies).
  4. To instruct the team of interviewers (to prepare the written instruction as a step-by-step algorithm with analysis of the difficult situations) and supervisors (to identify what to check, where and how).
  5. To conduct a survey.
  6. To control (visual – at the place of the interview, logical – for presence of the contradictions in questionnaires, telephonic – by calling the part of the questionnaires with checking of the information correctness in the questionnaire).

 

Qualitatively gathered information shows the real situation of the things whatever surprising they would seem to be following the results of the work. In my practice I met companies that lived in their inner world of the convenient and conventional figures for which the management doesn’t abuse. It’s not difficult to improve them in a growing market; the bonuses are paid for this. But when the changes happen, similar illusions split and even famous companies suffer losses. Even a substantial market share and financial possibilities of the mother structures don’t help.

 

Wish you to be informed of all important tendencies of the market!

How to Protect Regular Customers from Panic

It’s glad to see that a range of big and middle-sized companies keeps developing their business in spite of a difficult situation in many regions of the country. Any war ends, therefore you shouldn’t waste your time and you have to use available resources to strengthen current positions in the market.


What have the companies faced today?

  1. Many clients have claimed about uncertainty of their actions in future and postponed the projects/requests for a month;
  2. The quantity of new clients has reduced (“We are not ready to run a risk and participate in a new project”).

 

What should you do in such a situation? Communicating with different companies, I can say that only several sectors have the problems at the moment (machine builders oriented to export to Russia in political problems, auto dealers and builders – in connection with consumer demand decrease and expensive crediting).

 

What do the others have? The consumer has their own money, the needs haven’t disappeared either, and consequently, the cash flow from consumers to suppliers is going on.

 

What suppliers does money go to first of all? According to the research results in our market, these are not always the biggest, old or any other companies possessing the enormous capital in some form. In most cases these are the companies that have competencies in solving client’s problems and possess the characteristics of “the most appropriate to solve the problems” – competent, fast and flexible.

 

To become more appropriate we offer you:

  1. to conduct the surveys of your current clients to determine their problems in your sphere;
  2. to discuss the best ways of solving their problems;
  3. to help clients and yourself to make money for implementing solutions.

 

If you need help in the process organization (to receive the information as well as not to be annoying) – ask me (dr@mrketing.ua), how to do it in your sphere, I will try to answer you in the nearest time.

How to Interview Dollar Millionaires

Today I would like to tell you a story about how we interviewed dollar millionaires.

 

Well-off people try to create comfortable environment zone around themselves on the border of which insurance agents, sales managers and interviewers are left. A doubled-up door, private security, secretary with the telephone, and you can just assume why this or that decision was made in choosing a product and service.

 

Once a Swiss company turned to us, it deals with assets management of the well-off people. The company had begun working with the minimum amount of the capital starting with 10 million dollars. The company was interested a lot in an opportunity to expand its business to the Ukrainian market because the market of similar services isn’t still developed enough.

 

But the entrance to the market is usually accompanied by significant investments: it is necessary you to be known, the decision to be believed in, to be interested in and only then incoming cash flow appears. Not desiring to waste money and time, the company wanted to conduct market research of the respondents with the capital starting with 10 million dollars and began searching for an agency that could receive the access to VIP-people and ask a few short but very important questions.

 

What we did:

  1. We discovered how it is possible to get access to VIP-audience (we received several kinds of people who are well informed – private assistants, finance and tax consultants).
  2. We tried to talk to the private assistants (it is easier to speak with them but they don’t understand why these or those decisions are made – it’s not their level).
  3. We motivated the tax consultants to ask a few questions in new products and their potential during the next meeting. The price of the question – going out with a VIP-person to the restaurant + little fee for a consultant.
  4. We linked the received results into the final report and forwarded it to the client’s head office.

 

Thus, there was solved a non-trivial task which saved a few years of work for the company and the sum with six zeros for business development. Conclusion: if you don’t know where the entrance is – look for the exit, no exit – get in through the window.

 

Wish you successful unusual solutions.

 

P.S. Sometimes we need just a good logo for successful sales.

How to Evaluate Whether the Resources will be Enough for Research?

When there is a need in research, the staff of the marketing department of many companies often underestimates resource expenses for its conduction. Why?


  • Research conduction requires a great amount of time (absorbing in work with sources, analysis and check-up of big databases).
  • The other part during research conduction will be performed much slower and less effectively (research is extensive and very independent task).
  • Some part of the time will be spent for self-education (not every day a marketing manager works with complicated summary sheets, calculates samples, and prepares tens of information presentations in the form of tables and graphics).
  • What happens in conclusion?


  • Not all goals of the research are achieved (we didn’t find the data, we don’t know how to receive that exists, there is a great data scattering).
  • Performance time is delayed (from planned 1.5-2 months to 5-6!).
  • A project team runs behind the current work (“Don’t you see – we are conducting research!”)

 

How to avoid such problems?


  • Large-sized companies create a special research and analysis department where all internal company’s data is linked and orders for external research are formed (which perform qualified specialized contractors);
  • Medium-sized companies regularly (approximately once-twice a year) turn to receive the information regarding the condition of their market to understand their situation and specify further working strategy. Also they occasionally assess working opportunities in new segments / new markets with the help of individual research.
  • It’s better for small-sized companies to turn to the specialists in preparing research plan, searching and choosing of the sources and they can conduct research themselves relying, first of all, on the current and potential clients’ opinions.

 

Wish you to solve the tasks successfully in which you have expert experience as well as find appropriate specialists in other spheres very fast.

What to Do If You Need the Data for Yesterday?

Yesterday we faced quite typical situation when the data for decision-making is needed “for yesterday”.  Let’s leave useless arguments on the topic “Why the decision about the data for yesterday has been already making for a month” and take a look what can be done in this situation.

 

Market research is quite a technological process, data gathering and data processing are somewhat similar to production: at first, there is data mining (data gathering), then its filtration and classification (control and check-up), after that on the basis of the classified data the work is done (report is prepared). If you don’t perform this process from “A” to “Z”, there are risks to receive poor data. So, you should hurry using common sense. What are objective opportunities to reduce research deadline:

 

1. Joining permanent research (omnibus)

Look carefully, perhaps omnibus is being already conducted in which it is possible to join this or next month. You will save your time but it can appear to be more expensive (surprisingly, but according to our clients’ data, IMG research over Ukraine is cheaper than participation in omnibus of another company with a questionnaire containing more than 10 questions :)

 

2.  Changing of the data gathering

Most companies usually use face-to-face interviews in the respondents’ flats, it takes a lot of time and it’s expensive. It is better to use telephone interviews for market research having other equal conditions (it is cheaper by 30-40% and it is 1,5-2 weeks faster) with meticulous control.

 

3.  Sample optimization

The representative sample for the whole country is needed not for every task. Moreover, in some cases there is sense using “boost” – sample increase for the chosen segment. For example, you have fears that small amount of your clients will be in a sample of 1600 people and the data will be inaccurate. Then, it is necessary to increase quantity of the respondents who comply with your criteria, for example, 1600 people + 300 people with additional criteria. The benefit and effect are higher, in fact, 2 researches in one.

 

4. Input in electronic questionnaires

Some input specialists are still inputting the data in Excel or other autonomous programs without synchronization with one database and check for input errors. Using Internet-technologies (data input directly to server) allows speed up the process of gathering and checking for a few days.

 

Wish you to receive necessary accurate data extremely fast!

 

 

 

How to Conquer the World due to Research

Now we are keeping a few projects connected with market research of the foreign markets. At the step of setting a task, a part of the clients is interested not in the whole country but only in one or several client segments. In conclusion, the request can be as follows:

 

Director of a big service company: I surely know that my most interesting clients are the banks in Germany. How to choose only their needs and not to conduct the analysis all over Germany?

 

or the following:

 

Top-management of the food production company: We have a wide assortment (a few hundred of items), we can work with any country in the world. Show us in which country and in what segment will the highest demand for our goods be?


Today 251 countries are officially registered in the world. The real interest presents about 150 out of them (enough quantity of the consumers, adequate levels of GDP and its dynamics). How to choose the most attractive segments? (May 5-6 segments be in the country that forms 1200-1500 variants having 150 countries?) The task is getting more complicated in connection with insufficient data quantity in countries in general and segments in particular.

 

How do we solve such kind of a task?

  1. Our client and we choose the appropriate restrictions for business in market size, profitability in main items (it allows to put aside a part of the variants in the formal criteria).
  2. We gather the information characterizing volume of segments, their dynamics, consumption peculiarities (there are many things in existing information, if something is absent, we find and conduct a survey of the local and international experts in this topic).
  3. We put aside with reason less interesting variants and choose attractive segments.

 

As a result, a sound analysis is conducted approximately in 30-40 segments instead of 1500 variants. It greatly saves time, efforts, and money. The result is drawing up a reasoned, phased map of the world expansion of the company with clear priorities.

 

Do you want to conquer the world in your market – ask me how :)

How to Know That Thing Nobody Knows

What do you do in the situation of total uncertainty? Somebody is waiting till the mist disappears; the others are in a flap, the third ones take control in their hands and organize the market for themselves. People behave in politics, business, and private life in the same way. 

 

I will make an example from business. Once, a big international company turned to us with a request to research the market of the household electrical generators. It is a narrow but lucrative business because the quantity of the decisions for the summer visitors, tourists and other customers with unstable connecting to the electricity or without it at all is low in the Ukrainian market. But how to know – is a market worth attention? It is known that Honda proudly takes a leading position, but it is nothing known about other players at all. There is no statistics: production is low, almost all import is black or gray. How to understand – is there a place for a new player with famous world name, a good product line but high price in the Ukrainian market? How much money can the company make and on what?

 

Having estimated the possible sources of the information, we understood that the answers for all the questions of interest are entirely in the managers’ heads of the distributors of these electrical generators.

 

How this task was solved:

  1. A list of distributors with the contacts was made up.
  2. The legend was prepared (Who are we? Why are we interested in this topic? Why should it be told us about the market in details?).
  3. There was conducted the first wave of the survey where we received the basic estimations of the market volume, leading players’ shares, sales volume in channels, tendencies and prospects of the market development).
  4. The answers were evaluated (the extreme values were omitted, the weight of the company-respondent in the industry was taken into account), the additional questions were prepared for the disputable options.
  5. During the second wave of the survey we identified how much our experts agreed with the average points and why they agreed/didn’t agree.
  6. The final report was prepared on the basis of which the company entered the market of Ukraine.

 

It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this method. To the advantages it can be referred speed, availability, low price, to the disadvantages – lower preciseness in comparison with the statistical methods. But in this situation this decision was optimal (for the interested: an official name of the method – an expert two-level survey by Delphi method).

 

As a result, the company found a narrow niche which allowed it to enter the market fast, receive recognition of the local customers and distributors and afterwards, expand an assortment and involve major product lines.

 

Remember that difficult tasks are solved fast and impossible ones a little bit later :)

How to Attract Staff of the Company to Solve Your Problems

Our country has begun changing fast under society pressure, and business doesn’t have to fall behind. It is necessary to adjust feedback instruments for fast and up-to-date changes. From the point of the country referendums are such instruments. Their alternatives in big companies are annual staff research of the companies where every person can express their opinion concerning what and how should be changed and improved in work.

 

There are several important problems in similar events:

  • Managers have to spend time and resources to organize a survey (to construct a questionnaire, send it, gather and analyze the results);
  • The survey results have to be presented to the management in easy and understandable form;
  • The company receives the next feedback only after the next annual survey.

 

That’s why managers and employees of the companies have an attitude to such surveys as an obligatory action (managers get tired of preparing, co-workers get tired of filling in too detailed and difficult questionnaire).

 

If the staff is the most valuable and expensive asset of business for you, then it is possible to solve this problem as follows. Once a big outsourcing IT-company with the staff of about 1000 programmers turned to us (the whole factory in production of the code). The task was to understand how to retain the staff of the company due to the financial motivation (any company has the limit of profitability and it can be reduced under market pressure only to a certain level).

 

What did we do?

  1. We constructed an easy questionnaire with a few questions.
  2. We gave this questionnaire to several employees of the company to determine how much they understand the questions.
  3. We sent the link of this questionnaire to all staff of the company (to receive more answers, the interviewing was anonymous).
  4. We gathered the answers and prepared the report

 

According to the survey results, the company identified the opportunities of the financial motivation of the most important employees and added into the process the training and career growth opportunities in the company. The staff loss decreased.

 

We wish your most valuable assets to be reliable to your company and increase its success, and improve the position in the market.

 

How to Know All Necessary Information for One Research

Regularly we face a situation during a research when it is necessary to receive an answer for different types of questions. For example, the questions which can be answered by figures:

 

  • How many customers are in a country/region?
  • How much money on the average do they spend to buy your goods/services?
  • How often do they buy the items interesting for us?

 

Here are the questions that need a detailed conversation with a respondent:

  • How is a decision about the choice of this or that product/service made?
  • What factors are determinative?
  • What should be done to increase size of consumption?

 

For the first question pool the quantitative research is conducted, more often with the coverage of the whole country; a few hundred or thousand respondents are interviewed and in conclusion, we receive concise numerical answers. For the second question pool the focus-groups are usually held, or in-depth interviews with small amounts of people (up to 8-10 people) where the motives, consumption tendencies and other issues connected with the answer for the questions “How” and “Why” are investigated. 

 

So, how to combine both types of questions in one research?

  1. If there are a few qualitative questions (it is just needed to identify certain parameters) – it is enough to add the questions with the options of answers into the quantitative research and give an opportunity to add your own answer (Option “Other” with a chance of your own variant of the answer).
  2. If we need more detailed information, you should to conduct so-called mix-research where both focus-groups and quantitative interview are combined. For example, searching for more effective segment, first of all, we conduct the quantitative research to find more attractive segments. After that having received the parameters of the potential clients, we conduct the focus-groups for them to learn the opportunities in attracting them to the cooperation with our company.

 

Usage of mix-research is one of the growing trends in the world of the market research as this approach allows receive as much full and useful answers for business as possible.

 

I wish you to receive as much as possible from business you do!

 

How to Optimize Research Plan

Last week a big Ukrainian company turned to us with a request to optimize a market research plan for the latter six months. I will tell you at once that existence of a similar plan is strictly necessary for a big company, otherwise, it is possible to omit important aspects of work – you will underestimate your competitors, or active consumers will follow a bright novelty, or the staff will allow itself to pay attention to a client’s problem not carefully enough. 

 

How did we come to solution of this task?

  1. We divided the actions into research of new products and research in supporting current business. It allowed change a program sheet not in types of research but in business goals. A similar approach received a positive approval of the top-management of the company.
  2. In research in supporting current business we put in a priority those types of work which will influence the results of the operating business (research of clients’ satisfaction of a company and clients of the competitor companies, “mystery shopper” in branches of the company).
  3. We prepared a schedule where we synchronized performance of a range of the research works that allowed reach economy by 30% (about 300 thousand UAH for six months).

 

Thus, an integrative approach to the solution to the problem with right highlighting of the priorities allowed to make a process of research more transparent and useful (according to the research results the decisions are taken in a current business of a company). In addition, achieved economy by 30% allows solve all necessary questions with information without reducing needs and it means a company will keep investing in its development that will provide it with stable growth in any market condition for the nearest three years.