Do You Want to Ask Many or a Few?

In the world of market research, there is quantitative research and there is qualitative  research.

So what’s the difference?

Quantitative Research   

This is the type of research where you survey large numbers of people that statistically represent the target group or population to obtain numerical data that can be used to estimate future events, opinions, or attitudes. Another key point about quantitative research is that the majority of questions are closed-ended as opposed to open-ended.

What are examples of quantitative research?

If you see any of the following types of surveys, the results are most likely statistically representative of the larger target or population:

  • Mail surveys
  • Phone surveys
  • Online surveys
  • Intercepts or surveys at a particular venue…popular with theme parks or county fairs
  • Seminar evaluation forms

Qualitative Research  

In comparison, this type of research will uncover tendencies in attitudes and opinions. This type of research is characterized by open-ended questions.

What are examples of qualitative research?  

Typically, qualitative research will consist of the following:

  • One-on-one in-depth interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Roundtable discussions
  • Bulletin board focus groups
  • Online focus groups…everyone is connected together through a webcam but people are actually in multiple locations

Now if you’re wondering if it’s possible to combine both types of research in a single project, the answer is “Yes”.

Often times,  you’ll get richer information if you use a hybrid method with a quantitative survey first and then supplement it with qualitative research.

An example might be, if you’re interested in learning more about your customers’ attitudes and perceptions of and satisfaction with your product or service. You could start with an online survey with a series of closed-ended questions and perhaps a couple of open-ended questions.

Then, after looking at the results, there might be something that surprised you or a perception you did not expect to find. You could then develop a focus group and recruit individuals to the group with the intent of getting more detailed information and allowing them to explain their perceptions better.

Let me know if you have any questions or need some guidance on potential research.

Survey Image: basketman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Discussion Group Image: David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lions and Tigers and Bears…and Google+! Oh My!

Did that bring back childhood memories of  hearing Dorothy say that line in the Wizard of Oz, without the “Google+“, of course?

Yes, you read that correctly, “Google+”. I’m sure you are aware that Google+ was all the rage back in the Summer of 2011. You had to receive an invitation to join “the latest and greatest” social media network. Then, later in 2011 it became available to everyone.

So, are you on Google+?

If you’re like most people, you’ve either tried it and decided it wasn’t for you or you couldn’t find your customers or clients on Google+.

The differentiating factors of G+ are actually quite good…you can say, Google+ perfected the imperfections of Facebook.

First, you have circles. Think of a circle as a group. You select the people to put into that circle and only they will see what you post to that circle. I’ve identified the “circle” icon on my toolbar below.

  • This is how you can put people into different “groups”. You can have a group for your local area and you can have one with people you are following. You can also create a “client” circle or perhaps a “colleagues” circle. The possibilities are endless.
  • However, you are limited to 5,000 people you can add to circles.

So, how do you add people?

Once you click on the “circles” icon on your toolbar, simply drag people into your circles. Here’s what some of my circles look like:

Second, you can limit your posts to be seen only by some of your circles. Yes, I know you can do this in Facebook; however, it is much cleaner and you can send a post to be seen by multiple groups, too, which is an enhancement over Facebook.

The other differentiating point is the use of hangouts in Google+. Think of them as virtual meetings or gatherings. All you need is a webcam and the plug-in installed on your system. How would you use hangouts?

  • You can meet someone for coffee or wine virtually and work on your relationship or discuss a project or potential collaboration.
  • If you’re a musician, you can host a session with your circle and play one of your pieces.
  • If you’re working with others in different locations, invite them to hangout and meet virtually on the project.
  • Or create a “Book Club” circle and you can have people in different cities. Then meet in a hangout to discuss the book.
  • Of course, if you’re bored or have nothing to do, invite a circle to hangout to chat.

So why would Google+ be important to you if you’re already on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn?

I asked a friend of mine, Alison Lindemann who leads the WSI eSolutions team in Northern Los Angeles County, that very same question. Here’s what she said:

  • Google+ is still in Beta form. It could change, but really, it probably won’t go away. It’s Google!
  • The giant search engine Google created Google+. Google will include Google+ posts in a search that you do; however, you need to be logged in to Googlel for Google+ posts to appear high on your search.
  • For your business,  pick the social media niches that make sense for what you do and who your customers are and what social media they use.

In essence, you need to decide if Google+ is for you. My suggestion is if you think it’s the right social media niche, check it out, but recognize it might take you longer to develop the relationships and engagement you might already be experiencing on other social media networks.

So, one last question: Are you on Google+ and what’s been your experience?

Follow Trends While Doing a Juggling Act!

February 16, 2012 Leave a comment

With 24 hours in a day and so much to do, how do you get your work done, take care of family responsibilities, and stay on top of trends and news in your industry and that of your clients?

Well, let’s do an accounting of the hours in a day. Let’s assume you are an average person who exercises on most days, commutes to and from work, and works an 8-hour day.

  • Total hours in a day: 24 hours
  • Average time sleeping: 7 hours … now you’re left with 17 hours
  • Getting ready in morning: 40 minutes … now you’re left with 16 hours 20 minutes
  • Breakfast: 20 minutes … now you’re left with 16 hours
  • Lunch with client, friend, colleague: 1 hour … now you’re left with 15 hours
  • Dinner at home includes prep time and clean-up: 1 hour … now you’re left with 14 hours
  • Exercise time: 1 hour … now you’re left with 13 hours
  • Commute to and from work: 2 hours … now you’re left with 11 hours
  • Work: 8 hours … now you’re left with 3 hours
  • “Free” time with family, friends, running errands, etc: 3 hours … there goes the day!

Now, I know you might be saying “I don’t sleep 7 hours a day” and granted, many of us don’t. However, for a 40-55 year old research indicates 6.8 hours are needed and for a 20-30 year old 7.2 hours are needed. So, let’s just say 7 are needed. Now, I’m not going to tell you what happens when you don’t get your needed sleep, but do the words “cranky”, “forgetful”, “tired”, “foggy” mean anything to you?

Now, how can you make the most of the time available to stay on top of the trends in business, in your industry, and in your clients’ industries without spending a lot of time searching for information? Well, here are two tips for you.

  • First, subscribe to SmartBrief newsletters. Smartbrief compiles the top stories in specific publication or by industry. You select the publications or industries to follow and those stories will be delivered to you via email either daily or weekly depending on the frequency of the newsletter.
  • Check out “LinkedIn Today” on LinkedIn under “News”. Here you can select the publications and/or industries to follow and you’ll see the most shared news stories and blogs on LinkedIn.

So, you might be wondering “Do these tips work?” Absolutely! I follow a number of industries and like being able to read articles and blogs on those industries in one or two places without having to hunt down every publication that may cover that industry.

Give it a try and let me know how you get your business and industry news in an efficient manner.

The Many Ways to Communicate with Customers

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Phones, e-mail, texts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are all tools businesses use to communicate with their customers. How do YOU communicate with and market to your customers or prospective customers?

Now you may be wondering, “Do I need to communicate with my customers using all these mechanisms?” Quite simply, the answer is “No”. Yes, I know that’s a relief!

However, what you would want to do is really understand who your customer is, his or her age profile, and where or how your customer wants to interact with you. Let’s take a quick look at some of these communication tools.

Phone: clearly the overwhelming majority of people have access to phones; however, there is a growing trend in the U.S. away from landlines. In fact, younger customers are more likely to rely on a cell phone exclusively.

E-mail: this is a cost-effective way to communicate with customers. It’s also important to note that those under 44 years of age are less likely to use e-mail compared to those at least 45 years of age (according to a survey conducted in 2010 on internet usage by SSI).

Text: great way to communicate with customers under the age of 25 according to the same study in 2010. Also, promotional information can also be sent out via text messages.

 Facebook: another great way to communicate with all customers. Younger customers are most likely to communicate via Facebook. However, do NOT rely on this media exclusively and Facebook posts should be done in concert with other types of communication to establish trust. Although many messages are done electronically, people do not automatically trust these messages. Think of possibly participating in local events to make that human connection and post about the event on Facebook.

LinkedIn: good communication tool if your customers are other businesses or business people. One of the ways to use LinkedIn is to either post questions or answer questions in the “Answers” section.

Twitter: great way to reach a large number of people, but important to remember your message needs to be concise and clear at a maximum of 140 characters.

Just remember, the key is to make it easy for your customers to connect with you on their terms! Also, keep in mind these are all two-way streets of communication. If your customers post or tweet something, acknowledge them with a post or tweet and respond to their question.

Your goal with any method of communication is to keep the conversation going! Where have you had the most success in keeping the conversation going?

Diana Meyer
President, Meyer Marketing Intelligence
661.254.6141
dmeyer@meyermktg.com

Ignite Your Spark and Hustle

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m moving away from my regular blog topics – marketing research and social media – for this one week.

Almost 1 year ago, I had the privilege of attending Tory Johnson’s Spark & Hustle Conference in Los Angeles. You might recognize Tory from her regular appearances on Good Morning America. The LA conference was the inaugural stop and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

There have been plenty of conferences/seminars I’ve attended and, in hindsight I felt that maybe I could have missed them. This one, Spark & Hustle, felt different from the start and the speakers piqued my curiosity. So, I attended the 2 1/2 day boot camp for entrepreneurs.

By the end of each day, which was late in the evening, I felt energized and revitalized, yet my head ached from so much information.

So, what did I get out of Spark & Hustle?

  • New business friends with others in similar situations.
  • Basic social media skills. This was a big one! If you’re not sure how to get started with social media, my recommendation is jump in with both feet…you’ll swim!
  • Refocusing on my business, i.e., set appropriate fees, watch expenses, and not get lost in the planning. Being an analytical person, this was tough…I love planning, but there comes a point when you have to stop planning and start doing and then adjust things along the way.
  • Realization that alternate revenue streams are key for any business and during a recessions that’s what keeps you afloat. This is a small business owner’s life jacket.
  • I reignited the spark inside of me as an entrepreneur.
  • The belief and practice of hustling EVERY day to get what I want.

Now in 2012, everything I created and changed in 2011 has taken me to a new level and my hustle continues EVERY day. And it’s not just networking, but it’s connecting with people.

So why did I pick this topic for my blog? Well, Tory is back with her 2012 Spark & Hustle tour. It’s somewhat different this year with 1 day instead of 2 1/2 days, but last year she demonstrated the time and money spent attending will not be wasted. You’ll learn a lot and build relationships with people in your region and across the country.

If you’re able to participate in a Spark & Hustle conference in 2012, I encourage you to do so. Let me know if you have any questions about the conference or about specific tips I put to use right away.

Lots of continued success!

Diana Meyer
President, Meyer Marketing Intelligence, Inc.
661.254.6141
dmeyer@meyermktg.com

Are You Focusing on Customers or Social Media?

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment

In promoting your business, what do you focus on?  

  • Do you focus on your products?
  • Your customers?
  • Your expertise?
  • Your customer service?
  • Or your communication mechanisms?

If you answered “customers” and “communication mechanisms” you’re holding good company with Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) worldwide according to a recent study by IBM released October 2011. In fact, the top priorities for CMOs in the next 3 – 5 years are:

  1. Increase technology investment on social media
  2. Focus on customer analytics
  3. Focus on customer relationship management systems

U.S. marketers’ priorities are similar:

  • Improve segmentation and targeting using customer data
  • Integrate social channels and leverage social data

Are you using your customer data to segment and target? Are you using your customer data to better understand and craft messages to your customers and prospective customers?

If you haven’t done this, try looking at who your customers are in terms of their demographics, geographic location, and other products purchased to find more customers like your profitable ones. This is also a good way to better message them with content that will grab their attention and spur them into action. Interestingly, only six in ten CMOs worldwide are currently looking at their customer data to segment and target.

So now you might be thinking, “I’m going to be inundated with data and information.

Well, again you’re not alone. In fact, CMOs felt most unprepared with three things that could help explain their top three priorities in the next 3 – 5 years:

  1. Data explosion
  2. Social media
  3. Changing consumer demographics

You might be thinking, “OK this is nice to know, but what does this mean?”

  • Companies of all sizes will be more active on social media and developing apps for tablets and other mobile devices in the near term.
  • Social media is now being viewed as a key way for companies to create customer engagement.
  • It will become increasingly important for companies to find integrated software suites that will manage their customers.
  • Companies and marketers will be searching for ways to enhance or even create customer loyalty especially as the Millennial Generation gets older and as a group are not as brand loyal as Baby Boomers.

Let me know what some of your top priorities are in the near term and how you are using your customer analytics to generate additional revenues.

 

Diana Meyer
President, Meyer Marketing Intelligence, Inc.
661.254.6141
dmeyer@meyermktg.com

 

QR Codes: Usefulness and Safety

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

A while back I devoted a blog entry on QR codes and how to create them and how different industries can use them. Since then, I’ve noticed many more companies in the US – both small and large companies – have been using QR codes. You’ll find several QR codes on advertisements in magazines, check out the ads in the Sunday newspapers and you’ll see QR codes, you’ll even find them on the packaging of some products at the grocery stores. I’m even starting to see them on some direct mail pieces arriving at my home.

So are they useful?

The answer is “yes” but a qualified yes. Here’s what I mean. Include a brief message next to or below your QR code such as:

  • “Scan for additional savings”
  • “Scan to connect directly with us”
  • “Scan to view trailer”
  • “Scan for product demonstration”
  • “Scan for virtual tour”

Scan to connect
with Meyer Marketing
Intelligence, Inc.

Now you might be asking, why would I want or need to provide a QR code?

My response would be, why wouldn’t you do so? With at least 1 in 4 US adults nationwide owning a smartphone, QR codes now become another communication tool with customers and potential customers. It provides others with an easy and fast way to connect with you or learn about your products and services or even receive additional promotions.

Here are a few examples how businesses in specific industries might want to use a QR code:

  • Realtors: provide a virtual tour of one of your houses or buildings listed
  • Schools: provide a virtual tour of your school or promotion video for prospective students and their parents
  • Nonprofits: provide a link on your direct mail or other collateral to a  “Donate Now” page on your web site for donors to give online
  • Event planner: provide the event schedule or exhibit floor map/listing of exhibitors or listing or promotion video of previous events
  • Publications: provide your special insert schedule or readership demographics
  • Manufacturer: provide a product demonstration
  • Any business: provide a 30-second visual business card introducing yourself or a direct connection to your mobile web site or a video of a couple of testimonials

As you can see, the possibilities are endless!

Now, on to the issue of safety in the cyber world. To avoid malware or viruses from infecting your smartphone here is one easy rule to remember:

Do not scan a QR code if you do not recognize the company or business.

Aside from that rule, use your judgement as you do on your computer and if it seems suspicious, do not scan the code.

Are you using QR codes in your business? If so, I would like to hear how you are using these codes.

Diana Meyer
President, Meyer Marketing Intelligence
661.254.6141
dmeyer@meyermktg.com

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