Following are a dozen short videos (3 to 7 minutes long) – total viewing time 58 minutes on Applied Marketing Research. Kudos to video genius Shannon Litt and her cadre of talented video specialists who turned dirt into pottery (ie made fine looking videos, despite a very limited main speaker!).
All omissions & errors are my own! Please don’t hesitate to improve these by using ‘Comments’ – as part of a community, share any views, corrections, examples. That will help tomorrow’s grads better start a career ‘hitting-the-ground-running’. “It takes a village…” (a wise African proverb!). Thanks!
I’ve updated this page June 2020 to put the videos in the order in which you may need them if tasked with an Applied Marketing Research Project- ie from conception to completion.
Consider your Business Problem & Research Problem. If it’s likely that consumer insights may help you address this Business Problem, continue pursuing Research to address the Problem (That is NOT always the case!). Once you specify what type of information you need, from what specific type of consumer/prospect/organization or member of the public (ie once you specify the relevant ‘Sample’) then first thoroughly exhaust all sources of Secondary Research, before beginning time-consuming, risky & costly new (‘primary’) research of your own. Here’s why:
Why Do Secondary Research?
Hopefully now you’re seeking internal data, external reports, perhaps audit data on market size & market share, reports of who typically uses this service/product, customer service rating data, etc. How do you identify which sources or types of Secondary Research are likely to be most ‘worthy’? What specific traits may help you focus your information search?
How To Assess Secondary Research Sources
Are you in a situation calling for new Applied Marketing Research(AMR)? What are the critical ‘situation fit factors’? Does your specific situation meet these criteria, right now?
When to do New Applied Marketing Research (AMR)
If you believe that you DO need AMR, you should work from the Business Problem to the Research Problem, then draft a Research Brief.
What Belongs In a Research Brief:
Early in the process, it’s wise to objectively review your situation; decide if you truly need of Applied Marketing Research. If asked to supply ‘data’ at any cost, and not necessarily data that is objective or truthful, the you’re in situation calling for ‘Spin’; if Spin is what management or a client seeks, refer them to Public Relations gurus instead.
Applied Marketing Research vs Spin:
Carefully consider the specific type of info you wish to collect, and the sample from whom to collect it. Is it better suited to Qualitative research (ie 1on1 in-depth interviews, Focus groups, etc) or Quantitative (eg a survey)?
When to do Qualitative (vs Quantitative) Research
Perhaps you decide you do need Quantitative data or that is the method your Agency recommends. BEWARE that certain topics – we will call them ‘Survey Sirens’– are more likely to be associated with misleading consumer responses, especially if you try to access that data via a Survey. Take a final check to ensure you’re wise to the risk. Where possible, take it into account
Beware the ‘Survey Sirens’!
Carefully consider the specific type of info/insight you wish to collect, and sample from whom you wish to collect it. Is it better suited to Qualitative research (ie 1 on 1 in-depth interviews, Focus groups, etc) or Quantitative (eg a survey)?
If you ARE in a situation that calls for doing a survey, familiarize yourself with 3 Building Blocks of a survey, the 3 distinct question-response types. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ question-type for Quantitative research; most well designed surveys involve all 3 question types, since their strengths (and ‘fit factors’ for each) vary:
The 3 Question-Response Types:
Also consider the survey medium – ie the venue through which the info will be collected. A key consideration is any assets that you already possess or can (legally) access (eg “I have permission-approved access to their email addresses”), however, although assets-in-hand may yield a way to get input that is efficient (easy, fast, cheap), it may not yield an effective way to find the info you need, nor a representative sample, nor a high Response Rate (Sample participation), nor high response honesty, etc.
Once designing a survey, if the process seems too daunting, ‘chunk’ the work into steps. A helpful early step? Create a Matching Table; this asks you to check you have written all the specific Research Objectives for the study, identified key Hypotheses and clarified any need to compare specific Sample groups (segments). After you do all of this, THEN write the specific survey questions & response options that will fulfill your Research Objectives, prove/disprove the Hypotheses, identify the segment in which a respondent belongs. Surveys are especially prone to ‘scope creep’; if you skip this step, you run the risk a survey will ‘expand’ uncontrollably and yu may end up with many questions that are ‘off topic’, far outside the original intent of the study:
Using Matching Tables for Survey Error Proofing:
After you create a Matching Table, sequence the question-responses in a way that works best for a respondent; an ideal sequence should feel logical to them, help them engage with the survey, let them respond in detail, and build the trust & rapport necessary to extract honest, complete responses.
Sequencing a survey:
If concerned respondents will not participate, or will not complete the survey once they start, invest time considering that there are different types of Survey nonresponse, and different tools to address each. Does your survey, as designed, make best use of these different tools to combat each of the different types of Nonresponse?
Reducing Survey Nonresponse
A critical next step is to beta test a survey. Have several trusted people try your draft survey as AVATARS ie have them complete it & give candid feedback as they role play different types/segments of respondents. This stage should expose survey flaws (eg “The responses in Question 4 don’t capture what I’d be thinking about there” or “The wording in Question 5 is unclear” or “My age bracket is missing in Question 9”; etc). If so, wonderful! Be thankful an issue is caught BEFORE a survey gets in the field. All flaws must be addressed before fielding the survey.
For folks who don’t wish to use youtube (eg if in a nation where that act might land you in trouble) here are the same videos, direct from my site (but -alas- not in the same order)