Why Do Businesses Put Up With Dubious Quality Research Panels?

Brad Bortner

Now that solutions are finally available to "clean up" panels, will buyers at last insist that providers use them, or will a myopic focus on price continue to be the rule when on-line sample is used?

The use of online panels for market research was highly contentious at one time. Traditional researchers thought that they would be prone to the same problems as traditional off-line panels: filled with respondents that are not representative of the general population motivated by the desire to earn money taking surveys.

Despite these misgivings, online panels have taken off in the US (and are coming on strong in Europe.)  Why? Because they allowed research to be conducted in one third the time at one fifth the cost. This allowed buyers to say to themselves, "ok, maybe its not quite as project-able, but give the savings it's worth it." Also, many panel vendors claimed to be doing something special to ensure that their panels were better, and indeed several of them did.

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Social Media Even Home Home On The Range?!

Brad Bortner

More and more clients are asking me to help  them assess how ready their clients (usually businesses) are to engage with them via social media. This generally drives a research project. The answers are aften much more positive than clients expect.

Recently I was presenting at a major conference by Purina. What amazed me is how many retailers and distributors of horse, goat, and cattle feed were using Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with their clients on the range.

If Web 2.0 social media is that penetrated into the farbric of America, so that it is now common "out on  the range," I can think of few other businesses that would not benefit from its adoption for marketing, market research, or generally driving customer intimacy.

Does anyone have any surprising social media stories they can share?

Why Is Customer Satisfaction Research So Hot?

Brad Bortner

I'm really interested in getting readers perspectives on why customer satisfaction research is so hot?

One thing that has constantly amazed me since I became an Analyst at Forrester Research, is the overwhelming interest in all things concerning customer satisfaction research. Easily a third of my inquiries are about how to design such studies, how to improve what they have, what are the issues with multinational studies, and how to deal with new concepts such as NetPromoter.

Even in this dire market, it seems that customer satisfaction studies are one of growth area in market research (according to Inside Research).

This has led me to write quite a bit about customer satisfaction ("The Next Wave In Customer Satisfaction is CRM Integration, http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=47246, "Enhance Customer Satisfaction's Impact" http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=44166, and "Why Customer Satisfaction Studies Fail," http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=45043). But for those who are short on time, I'll net out a few key pointers:

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Will Private Online Communities Transform Qualitative Research?

Brad Bortner

My question to my readers is this: are MROCs the next big thing in market research, and will they eventually take measurable share form traditional qualitative research?

It is an old story.

A new mode of research comes along, and the existing research world gives it a giant raspberry.

It happened when phone pushed out face-to-face interviews for quant in the US in the 70's (What about selection bias! It can't possibly be as projectable!). It happened in the late 90's and early 2000's with online panels (What about selection bias?! What about professional survey takers?! What about response bias and poorly constructed panels?!).

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