Superpowers and Princesses: A Three-minute Lesson on Projective Exercises

Superpowers and Princesses: A Three-Minute Lesson on Projective ExercisesProjective exercises—the presentation of calibrated stimuli onto which a respondent projects their feelings, attitudes or beliefs—are a critical asset in the qualitative researcher’s emotional toolbox. The technique offers the promise of achieving greater depth and validity of insight by facilitating expression of subconscious or difficult-to-articulate feelings that are less accessible using direct “Q&A.”

But what makes for a good projective exercise?

We put learning into action at a recent market research conference by testing a series of probes that revealed some lessons about projectives.

First, we asked visitors to our booth to help us learn about, “What makes great qualitative research.” We then invited them to post onto a chalkboard their reactions to a probe related to the goal of understanding how to deliver great qualitative research. Our lesson on projectives focuses on contrasting two of several probes that we asked:

  1. What is your qualitative superpower?
  2. What Disney princess would make a great moderator?

Before reading on, what do you notice about these questions? Is one easier for you to answer? Do you suspect one would elicit superior insights vs. the other? Let’s explore what we observed and discuss why one question might better achieve the promise of projective techniques. Continue reading

Dear Energy Santa: Three Wishes for Energy Utilities

Dear Energy Santa Three Wishes for Energy UtilitiesWith digital transformation occurring at breakneck pace, it is time to shift gears. Our wish list revolves around reinvigorating your brand and your approach to customer experience so that more people can “believe” in you again.

You may be asking; why wouldn’t we just add some shiny new toys to engage customers? Isn’t that what we asked for last year? While shiny new toys have their place in this strategy, we are inundated with new gadgets and technologies and the immediate data and information they offer, though the ongoing relationship and experiences we have with you are not changing as much to keep up with the trend. We know you are making strides to introduce new interaction and communication technologies to improve our relationship, though our experience appears to be stuck in neutral.

We communicate with each other only a handful of times each year and you do not always provide us with what we desire. Since we have a strong desire to freshen and update our relationship with you—and, in turn, improve the relationship our customers have with the energy industry—it is time you start considering a new approach. Continue reading

Maintaining Data Security and Compliance in Market Research

Editor’s Note: Matt Benard is the Compliance and Information Security Manager at Market Strategies. He works with compliance teams behind the scenes to maintain regulatory compliance and keep your information safe. Here’s a high-level overview of how he makes that happen.

Compliance, data security and privacy have long been areas of importance for the market research industry; however, the rise in complexity and risk associated with them has been exponential over the past decade. On a near daily basis, we are all inundated with reports in the news about data breaches and security hacks, highlighting the need for constant vigilance against new threats. In addition, the ever-shifting regulatory landscape requires more attention than ever to ensure proper processes and procedures are in place. We strongly believe that maintaining trust is one of the central principles to a productive relationship. As the company’s Compliance and Information Security manager, I am really proud of the steps we have taken to further that mission.

There are few industries where attention to compliance and data security is more important than in the healthcare sector. To help guide third parties working in this space, leaders in the healthcare industry came together to develop the HITRUST CSF as a certifiable framework that provides organizations with a comprehensive, flexible and efficient approach to regulatory compliance and risk management. As one of the only market research firms to obtain this rigorous HITRUST certification, we have shown a deep commitment to keeping data safe and lead the way as a trusted partner for all of our clients. Continue reading

Eight Wealth Management Predictions for 2018 (and One Wild Card)

Wealth Management Trend Predictions for 2018

FinTech, backlash, proliferation and winnowing. When our team is asked about wealth management trends and what the future may hold, the following ideas keep coming up.

I’ll take two lessons from our own communications research—be brief and be bulleted—and will skip additional preamble. Without restriction on topic or time period, and in order of increasing votes, the predictions:  Continue reading

An Alternative Solution to Market Research Panels and Online Communities

An Alternative Solution to Market Research Panels and Online CommunitiesWe live in a world where consumer data are growing rapidly. Nearly every behavior on the internet is tracked, wireless devices constantly share our location and activities, and smart appliances disseminate troves of data into the ether. And, by some accounts, global data are expected to double every two years for at least a decade.

While this is not a new phenomenon, the impact is still hard to understand. Thanks to this explosion of data, many energy utilities have access to exponentially more customer information than just a few years ago, and this information is often used ineffectively, and in some cases, not used at all. From detailed demographic and profiling data, program participation histories, and rich behavioral data, the opportunities for market research insights are immense.

It’s no wonder that many utilities are looking to leverage these data to build custom online panels and Market Research Online Communities (MROCs) to support their research needs. Both offer a means of gaining quick and valuable insights without having to negotiate some of the more challenging aspects of market research, namely, sample preparation and respondent recruitment. Continue reading

What I Really Want For Christmas Is … Streaming Video that Meets My Needs!

What I Really Want For Christmas Is … Streaming Video that Meets My Needs!With 73% of the population regularly streaming video, consumers are racing to get streaming-capable devices for the holiday season. Not only has it been reported that Amazon accounted for half of all online Black Friday sales, its own Fire TV stick was the second most popular item sold on its site. Likewise, one of the hottest items this season at big-box stores such as Best Buy, Walmart and Target are smart TVs. There is little doubt that today’s consumer has become comfortable with streaming video and is looking for more ways to stream content. Continue reading

DC Comics: Can Wonder Woman Save the Day?

DC Comics: Can Wonder Woman Save the Day?

All right, I’m back. Market Strategies’ resident blogger covering the superhero sector is here to share thoughts on the 2017 summer superhero movies, and the summer’s somewhat surprising breakout star: Gal Gadot, playing the titular hero in Wonder Woman. In addition to reveling in the spectacular success of Wonder Woman—a movie my kids and I thoroughly enjoyed, and for which we’re now rooting to win the summer box office outright—I will revisit some brand and character analyses that I conducted several years ago for my blog post, DC vs. Marvel: It all Comes Down to Batman. I’ll look at how Wonder Woman has impacted the relative popularity of the parent brands (DC Comics and Marvel Comics) and the marquee character brands including the long-reigning king: Batman. Again using publicly-available data—comparing search volumes via Google Trends—let’s see how the brands have shifted over time, and how Wonder Woman impacts the superhero brand space.

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How Georgia Power Uses Research to Optimize Customer Experience

How Georgia Power Company Uses Research to Optimize Customer ExperienceI recently sat down Don Hodson, head of customer experience (CX) at Georgia Power (GPC), to discuss how GPC is maximizing the effectiveness of its CX program. For energy brands that are working hard to create a positive, seamless experience for its customers, Don’s insight might just spark an idea that can be applied to your company’s strategy. Enjoy!

Can you explain GPC’s customer experience goals and the specific issues you’re trying to solve with research insight?

Don Hodson, head of customer experience at Georgia PowerDon: Georgia Power has a strong reputation with our customers already so there is little value focusing on improving a customer sat score from 8.5 to 8.6. Rather, we look at all the interactions customers have with GPC—the channels they use, the issues they have—to identify where there are barriers to resolution or where we force them to make extra effort. Then we focus on how to mitigate those issues to reduce customer effort. Not only does this improve customer sat but, in many cases, it also identifies opportunities to decrease operational costs.

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The Words & Ideas That Captured Our Imaginations in 2016

2016 FreshMR Word CloudIt’s my last day of work in 2016, and I’ve been taking stock of what I’ve done as well as what we as a team of colleagues have done this year: what we’ve focused on, what we’ve written about, and ultimately, what we’ve learned. All told, it’s been an amazing set of adventures and accomplishments. Here at Market Strategies’ FreshMR blog, we’ve been sharing our thoughts on market research since 2011. So far this year, we published 109 posts with 69,706 words and 369,665 characters, covering scores of topics including.

What we do: Research on brand, communications, customer experience, product development, segmentation, syndicated research.

How we do it: Qualitative and quantitative data collection, marketing & data sciences.

For whom: Clients in Consumer & Retail, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Technology and Telecommunications.

Of all we covered in 2016, a few topics stand out distinctly:

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My Workplace Cornucopia

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love the holidays (and not just for the abundance of pecan pie). This season reminds me of what I often fail to reflect on during the other 300 or so days of the year: my numerous blessings. Chief among those blessings, and where I typically focus my reflections, are family, friends, good health and a warm home. But this year, I wanted to engage mindfully about thankfulness for my job at Market Strategies International.

The workplace is an often overlooked area for gratitude but important nonetheless. So what comprised my “workplace cornucopia” this year? I’m glad you asked.

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