Articles

Bias in market research, social listening and Big Data.

In analysis, big data, customer insight, market research on July 5, 2013 by sdobney

Bias and the potential for bias is a fundamental concept in market research and market analysis. It’s not that we always want perfect data. In some circumstances we know we have to make do with data that has certain potential biases but that there is no other practical data alternative (and by practical we might include the expense of alternatives). However, the emergence of Big Data and ease of access to large internet panels does mean that bias has disappeared from market research agendas a little. Read More »

Articles

Performance enhancing insight

In analysis, customer insight, market research on July 2, 2013 by sdobney

Customer or consumer insight is the area in the business that looks after monitoring, modelling and predicting customer or consumer behaviour. The difference between findings or results and insight, is that insight should carry through the business, helping managers understand why and how purchasers behave the way they do and so apply this understanding to the running of the business. Dissemination and communication is part and parcel of the insight manager’s role. Not all insight though is equally valuable. Read More »

Articles

Pricing by location and occasion – an extreme example

In market research, pricing on June 11, 2013 by sdobney

Normally in competitive markets, prices tend to be driven down to a competitive equilibrium – or a least that is the economic theory for perfect markets. If two products are available at different prices, it’s expected that customers will choose the lowest price product. Flying back yesterday, I ran into one of the most extreme counter-examples in the airport. The newsagent and the drugstore were next door to each other, both open fronted to the concourse so you could clearly see in and both had shelves selling snacks and sweets on the wall dividing the two shops. But the price for chocolate bars on the newsagent side was ¬£0.89, while the price for exactly the same bars on the drugstore side of the wall was ¬£0.65. In other words a price difference of 27% within a matter of three metres. How was the newsagent sustaining such a big price difference?

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Articles

Big Data – The theory of everything vs experimental designs

In big data, market research on May 23, 2013 by sdobney

For those in the research world Big Data must be the biggest catchphrase of the moment. Marketing gurus are rushing to tell us that we can have so much data from observations and conversations online that we’ll never need to run a market research survey again. The data is out there, we just need to build bigger and bigger models and we’ll know everything about everyone. We won’t need research. Of course I’m exaggerating, but there is a sense being fostered that with Big Data we will have the ultimate theory of everything about people and how they buy. Us, at the experimental end of the scale, disagree.

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Articles

Musings from Sawtooth/Skim European Conjoint Conference

In analysis, conjoint analysis, market research, pricing, product design, questionnaire design on April 15, 2013 by sdobney

The Sawtooth/Skim European Conjoint Conference took place in Berlin last week with papers and advice on new or best practice in conjoint analysis, hierarchical bayes analysis and related techniques. Rather than trying to follow up on any single paper, these are more musings about how conjoint is changing (or needs to change) in a world of big sample studies and changes to research¬† in general. For instance, I was struck by the relative simplification of conjoint studies in terms of attributes and levels as presented (though not at a statistical level), while more surveys are being run with extremely large sample sizes. Obviously there are moves to newer forms of conjoint (ACBC, Menu-based etc). But that left me wondering if some radical changes to the way we use conjoint are coming/needed… Read More »

Articles

Making good quality surveys and conjoint designs

In conjoint analysis, market research, questionnaire design on April 15, 2013 by sdobney

In the past few weeks we’ve run into a flurry of market research surveys and conjoint analysis projects that have clearly been written or created by people who haven’t been that experienced in designing surveys. With standard consumer market research it’s often thought not to be a problem. The relatively small size of the sample versus the total population means that a poorly written or poorly thought through questionnaire can be discarded when the results turn out to be relatively poor. However, for more technical areas like conjoint where the quality of the design is quite critical to the quality of the responses, it is very easy to get wrong results, but not realise, or have enough expertise to know that the results are misleading. And for niche areas, like business-to-business, where the available contacts are small, poor questionnaires can drive customers potty, so much so that it becomes impossible to collect further data. Read More »

Articles

Advances in internet surveys and questionnaires

In market research, questionnaire design on April 3, 2013 by sdobney

It’s fair to say that most of the online surveys and questionnaires that are found on the web are still deeply fixed in the form and structure of a paper-based questionnaire, essentially just a translation of what would be done on paper onto screen. There are advances from being computer-aided, like automatic routing and error checking, but by and large the style of most questions is like it would be on paper (though there are still relatively amateur all the questions on one page versions around). This paper-basis doesn’t have to be the case online. We can ask questions, or find things out in different ways and design surveys in ways that are more natural than the straight linear paper version, or that allow for assistance, or for group working for instance.

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