Online BOOST for your Business
In last August Boost Research has launched its own panel to conduct Online Market Research.   Learn more about our service. Please contact us at or talk to Graça Pinho e Melo at Mobile (+351) 933 180 485 Read more

In last August Boost Research has launched its own panel to conduct Online Market Research and it is growing at an excellent pace. We have approx. 200 new registrations of panelists per week.


The software platform that we are using has been totally developed by us. It is BoostResearch Copyright.


As the platform has been developed internally, we can implement higher security systems in order to ensure greater reliability of results, knowing that this is the most sensitive issue of online market research.


All panelists are required to do an authentication through the Tax ID number which helps to avoid duplication of entries and the area of residence is automatically sorted by zip code.


We also have a system for panel management that allows us to send the questionnaires in a more directed way, i.e. we can choose to match the profile of participants in accordance with the target of each study. We avoid, thus tiring our panelists by sending the questionnaires that they cannot respond.


This new tool makes us feel with the efficiency, commodity and freedom of someone who owns a private jet. Enjoy it ... also by testing it.


Learn more about our service. Please contact us at or talk to Graça Pinho e Melo at Mobile (+351) 933 180 485

Using market research to support decision making - A JD Sports case study
Read more


  • 1.   Introduction


Organisations that operate in the business-to-consumer (B2C) market are increasingly turning to market research to support their decision making processes. A retail business, for example, might be considering opening new stores, expanding internationally, proposing to diversify its product range or thinking about acquiring another company. Before proceeding, the business will require specific information to understand the implications of making such changes. The process of collecting this information and developing this understanding is known as market research.


This case study focuses on how JD (part of JD Sports Fashion PLC), the UK’s leading retailer of fashionable sports and leisure wear, uses market research to support and develop its business. As a B2C retailer, JD’s performance depends on providing the most desirable brands and products at the right price and in the right locations to meet with the demands of the consumer.

Founded in 1981 in Mossley, near Manchester, JD today is a nationally recognised UK high street fascia. For 20 years, the business expanded through organic growth, meaning that growth was generated by building sales revenue through increasing its network of stores.



JD has expanded more rapidly in recent years through acquisitions (inorganic growth), significantly increasing its JD store base through the purchase of First Sport (2002) and All: sports (2005). Through the purchase of Scotts (2004), Bank (2007) and, most recently, Blacks (2012), it has diversified the business into the young branded fashion and outdoor markets.

The Group has also made international acquisitions including Chausport (France), Champion Sports (Ireland) and Sprinter (Spain) as it has expanded its business overseas. The group has also secured brands such as The Duffer of St George, Sergio Tacchini (under UK licence) and the fashion brands Chilli Pepper, Nanny State and Sonneti. The JD Sports Fashion Group now has over 900 stores across the UK and Europe and a reputation for stocking exclusive and stylish ranges.


  • 2.   What is market research?


The exchange between sellers (supply) and buyers (demand) for particular goods or services is called a market. A market does not necessarily exist in a single location, nor need it be a real location – products can be bought and sold online.

Markets change constantly and businesses need to have a clear understanding of both the supply and demand. The principal role of market research, therefore, is to provide a business with a comprehensive view of consumers in order to develop products and services that satisfy their needs better than the competition. Also, given the increased complexity of the business environment, it is no longer enough to make key decisions using a ‘gut-feel’ approach alone. Decisions need to be informed and market research helps to support this process, significantly reducing the level of financial risk attached with investment decisions.

Market research involves the capture and analysis of consumer, competitor and market trend data. This enables JD to assess more accurately the level of demand for its products. It also influences decisions to target capital investment on projects that will offer the best return on that investment, such as opening a new store or entering a new market.


Market research provides consumer feedback. It is essential for JD to have this dialogue with the consumer to gain insight into what they think about its range of products, brands and services. This enables the business to meet its demands and outperform the competition. It helps the business develop a clear and informed strategic business plan which all business colleagues can work towards fulfilling. For example, this information can create a winning marketing mix to target promotions to reach different customer groups or influence decisions on range planning in new stores.


Ansoff's matrix

Research can also provide information about the size and performance of markets. It can inform a business about who the key competitors are, what they are doing, and their market share. Potential areas of opportunity within an international, national and local context can also be identified. By using tools such as an Ansoff’s matrix to assess the levels of risk, JD can then decide which marketing strategies to focus on.

These are:


market penetration – winning greater market share in its existing markets

market development – entering new countries or new retail sectors

product development – acquiring or developing new products or brands

diversification – taking the business in a completely new direction. 


3.   Primary market research


There are principally two types of market research – primary and secondary. Primary research is sometimes known as field research. This is because it involves gathering data through new research. This data can be collected in either a quantitative or qualitative format.


Quantitative research

Quantitative research is numerically-based and obtains the hard numbers from which decisions can be made with confidence. Examples of quantitative market research at JD include:


Exit surveys – carried out face-to-face with consumers as they leave the store. This is a simple survey covering a cross-section of stores to gather the views of consumers in different locations and regions. At JD the purpose of the survey is primarily to understand the reasons for visit, frequency of visit/purchase and reasons for and against purchase.

The ‘shopping bag’ survey – the JD research team monitors what carrier bags customers entering JD stores are carrying. This helps identify what other stores JD customers use and are spending money in. It provides competitor insight and an idea of which retailers attract a similar customer profile to JD, a variable that can influence the location of new JD store openings.

On-site fieldwork – JD’s dedicated Site Research team invests significant time researching new locations. This involves defining the extent of a location’s catchment area, reviewing the presence and quality of the competition and assessing the pitch and  visibility (i.e. how busy the area is) of a unit. This helps build a detailed SWOT analysis of each new site.


Qualitative research

Qualitative information is a primary form of market research which focuses on consumer feelings and opinions on a product or service. This type of research illuminates the facts and figures collected through quantitative research. Examples of qualitative research at JD include:


Focus groups – by speaking at length with small groups of 8-10 people, more insightful questions can be asked regarding brands and new product developments. At JD these are typically run in schools and colleges, where it can get direct feedback from its core consumers.

Depth interviews – this involves a researcher accompanying the consumer on a shopping trip in store. This drills deeper into shopper behaviour and their reactions to stores.


When undertaking market research, it is important to reflect the views of all consumers within the business’ target market. However, this would be a huge exercise. One way of managing this is to use sampling methods. Sampling involves taking the responses of a representative group of consumers that are likely to reflect the opinions of the customer base.


  • 4.   Secondary market research


Secondary research is sometimes known as ‘desk research’. This research draws on material that has been collected by another organisation to provide market information. Secondary research data provides a fact based overview of the market. Examples of secondary research include:


Government census data – the census is conducted every 10 years across the UK and brings together data on factors such as the number of people, their ages and occupations in a location.

Geo-demographic data – collected by specialist agencies, this segmentation tool profiles consumers based on their lifestage (e.g. marital status, number of children) and their lifestyle (e.g. newspapers read, leisure activities, TV programmes watched).

Commercial market research reports – prepared by research experts, these provide estimates of the size (volume of sales) in each      product or market category and market share by operators within these sectors. At JD this information is invaluable when assessing new productmarkets (e.g. outdoors) or international opportunities (e.g. France and Spain).


However, there are drawbacks with any form of market research. It costs money to collect and analyse large amounts of information and the results are not always definitive. Numerical data might be biased, particularly if the sample size is too small. Focus groups may be skewed if one member of a focus group is too dominant and stops others from voicing their opinions.


  • 5.   Market research at JD


The location of stores is a critical element of the success of a retailer in any market. Sound competitive locations can provide a source of competitive advantage. To achieve this it is essential to build a clear understanding of the consumer and how they interact with a retailer and its sales channels (i.e. stores, internet or kiosks).


Check-out survey


So, how does JD build up information about its consumers and develop a clear location strategy? One method employed by the company is its check-out survey. This is a simple but highly effective survey that is carried out with customers at the till. By collecting the customer’s home postcode, gender and age and matching this data to the products purchased, JD can build up detailed consumer profiles.

JD also asks purchasers a further question: has the item been purchased for yourself or for another person? This helps JD to understand the difference between customers (the purchaser) and its consumers (the end user). For example, some purchases are made by parents buying clothes or shoes for their children. This additional question helps prevent the survey results from being misinterpreted.

The survey is carried out annually over a two-week period and involves over 350,000 customers. This provides a robust sample from which to extract invaluable insights into consumer buying behaviour. In-depth analysis of the survey results helps the company:


understand how far customers travel to stores – this enables JD to define real catchment areas for each store and understand the overlap with other existing stores

build consumer profiles by gender, age, brand and lifestyle

identify and quantify new store location opportunities

influence product ranges to meet the buying habits of customers in different locations

assist with marketing strategies to target the consumer more effectively.


This type of information is collected regularly by large retailers such as supermarkets through the data collected on their store loyalty cards. However, loyalty card schemes can be very expensive to run. Till surveys, although only providing a snapshot of the consumer, offer a cost effective means of gathering data. JD is relatively unique on the high street in using this type of survey to capture additional customer information. More recently this survey has been replicated across JD stores in France and Spain.


Evaluating data


It is important that research is properly managed to ensure that the data collected is valid and reliable. It is also useful, where practical, to use a variety of methods to validate research findings. At JD the findings from the exit surveys (smaller sample sizes) are validated by the check-out survey (larger sample size). Put together, this information helps JD to anticipate the level of demand customers may have for its products. Sales expectations can be accurately forecast to ensure profitable stores are opened.

JD has also embraced the internet as a means to support business strategies. The data collected through the online ordering process is ‘live’ information and it provides a valuable insight into consumer demand. It can influence store ranges and support decisions about its stores network by highlighting ‘hotspots’ with high levels of demand but no physical presence. In an increasingly multi-channel world, capturing, analysing and acting on this information offers a business a key competitive advantage. Again, this information can provide useful insight into potential international opportunities.


  • 6.   Conclusion


In recent years, the UK retail industry has faced challenging conditions. However, against this tough economic backdrop, JD has managed to maintain growth through a thorough understanding of market opportunities.

Market research is not a one-off process. Markets change and a business like JD needs to evaluate customer trends and monitor competitors on a regular basis in order to remain competitive.

JD has therefore established research mechanisms to provide ongoing feedback. These provide a mix of qualitative and quantitative market data obtained directly from consumers and from published research. By understanding its consumer base, JD has established itself as the market leading retailer of fashionable sports and leisure wear.


Source: The Times 100 - Business Case Studies

Want to Engage Customers? Do Something that Matters...
From "Consumer & Insights" written by Darshan Desai Read more

For years, there had been a very suffocating preconceived notion that if you have a social mission, you are not allowed to make profit.  And, if you exist to make profit, it is not logical to waste your time and resources on the social missions.  It had been assumed that customer satisfaction is more likely to come only from actual product or service and less likely to come from any other social mission.  And, due to this preconceived notion, people were expected to keep their deep sense of purpose away from their business; and, assume that combining both these might complicate and undermine both.

When someone tried to combine the both, people would accuse them for exploiting social mission for making money.  


Now, it is wonderful to see this preconceived notion breaking down with the force of the touching stories of social entrepreneurs.  Today, it seems comparatively normal for an entrepreneur to aspire to have deep lasting impact on the world, at the same time, having a desire to make profit.  When your idea of a service or product is for something that matters, has a meaningful touching story that engages customers, and conveys a deep sense of purpose, it might catch a lot of customers' attention.  They tell their friends who will tell their friends and so on, and your story goes viral.  The new media technology provides the boosts and enables the spread of your story.  And, in turn, your customers may join the movement to be the part of a compelling story. Very basic types of internet or social media market research may be helpful for you to understand potential of your story to go viral.

This video is an example of a compelling story. It is about TOMS. TOMS is a fast growing shoe manufacturer and retailer. Their story is very simple: if you buy a pair of shoes from TOMS, they will give away another pair of similar shoes to a child in the developing world who otherwise might not be able to afford the shoes. The story was spread by people who wanted to be a part of the story.  As a result, it has taken the internet by storm!  They are able to market high numbers of shoes with very constrained marketing budget, and customers are providing a positive feedback by spreading good words around.

In his very inspiring book Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoe Giver, TOMS emphasize the importance of compelling stories to engage customers; according to him, “stories resonate more than facts.”  From the book, I learned following simple steps for using the compelling stories to engage customers; internet or social media market research can play an important role at all three steps.

Find your own meaningful story, tell it to the world and share it with everyone you can
Find story partners and carefully manage your online story
Find the influence makers who will love your story and be specific

Do you have an engaging and meaningful story? Are you ready to tell it to the world? Are you looking for story partners and influence makers?

Author: Darshan Desai for cvent

Don’t Just Trust Your Gut — Do Research - by Michaela Mora - Consumer & Insights
Read more

Don’t Just Trust Your Gut — Do Research  

Entrepreneurs often find themselves making decisions in uncertain situations when starting a business. Because of tight budgets, overconfidence or misconceptions about market research’s benefits and cost, they often resort to using emotions, intuition and mental shortcuts to make decisions.


But intuition doesn’t come out of the blue. It is the result of experience and practice to the point where knowledge is internalized and guides us without having to think all over again when faced with certain decisions. There is no denying the importance of emotions — in fact, without them, we can’t decide at all. However, what feels like “gut-feeling” or intuition sometimes may be only the expression of one of many innate flaws our brain has.

One such flaw is loss aversion. Research has shown that the pain of loss is twice as strong as the pleasure we get from a gain, so we will do anything to avoid loss, even if it leads us to do things that don’t benefit us in the long run.

I have observed it in many entrepreneurs I meet. They may be aware of the need to do research that will help grow their business in the long run, but struggle with the decision to do it because they think of research as a sunk cost and not an investment. The outcome is often one of these two:
Renounce to the idea of doing any market research, arguing they trust their intuition (even if there is not much to support it).

Take market research on their own hands (even without experience in market research) and use family members and friends for feedback or create online surveys. But this approach can be biased and ineffective and rarely reflects what the target market will think or do. Others try to be more objective and, to save money, run online surveys using one of the many affordable survey tools available today. However, often surveys are not well designed, samples tend to skew towards certain segments in the target market, and analysis is reduced to counts and percentages.
Entrepreneurs’ focus on immediate cash loss can lead them to future bigger losses without realizing it. Lack of research or use of ill-designed research can result in misguided decisions and derailed intuition by feeding bad information to the source that nurtures it.

Source: Consumer & Insights (Website)

Author: Michaela Mora - relevant insights

Discovering Customer Needs through Research - A Barclays case study - from
Read more

Discovering customer needs through research
A Barclays case study

1: Introduction

Barclays is a global bank. It provides a range of financial services in 56 countries. Barclays provides retail banking services to customers, whether they are individuals or businesses. It offers a broad range of financial products and services including current accounts, savings accounts and general insurance.

Within the UK, Barclays communications are designed to help customers 'Take One Small Step' to managing their money better every day.

Different kinds of customers represent distinct markets for Barclays. The market for personal banking services is very competitive. Personal customers have a choice of banks on the high street or on the web to assist them in managing their finances. For example, they can have their salaries paid into accounts, pay bills through the bank or save money to gain interest on their savings.

There is also a competitive market for business banking services. Businesses require different services such as credit management, payments for suppliers or loans and overdrafts to help them to survive and grow. For example, an expanding business may need a mortgage to buy a new building.

Market segments

Each market is capable of being further sub-divided into segments. A market segment is a part of a whole customer group that shares particular characteristics. These include such factors as age, life stages, geography or occupation. Within the market of personal banking, the segments could include categories such as students, graduates, 'new to work', mature, and families. By identifying different market segments, organisations can ensure they are providing products or services to meet the needs of these customers.

In addition to this, appropriate promotional techniques can be used to reach the people in the separate segments. Through segmentation, Barclays has been able to devise appropriate banking offers for customers in different segments. This approach is helping Barclays to improve its market share of the student accounts market.  

Barclays believes students constitute a very important market segment for the business. Students may be choosing a bank for the first time and Barclays hopes to retain these customers. By focusing on the specific needs of this segment, Barclays hopes to attract more student customers and keep them in the long term. Using market research has enabled Barclays to identify the right product offer that will meet their needs.

The case study shows how market research enabled Barclays to improve its student account offer.

Barclays | Discovering customer needs through research

2: Purpose of market research

The purpose of market research is to gather data on customers and potential customers. The collected data aids business decision making. This therefore reduces the risks involved in making these decisions.

In order to create a product proposition that would attract new student accounts, Barclays needed to understand fully the needs of this target market. Before engaging on external market research, Barclays began by asking itself a series of key questions. It did this to ensure the business was fully aware of all the relevant issues and did not make incorrect assumptions.

In asking itself these key questions at the start and reviewing internal customer data, Barclays was able to clarify its rationale for acquiring students. Firstly, students provide an opportunity for developing a long-term relationship. As the student market segment increases each year in September/October as the university term starts, Barclays has an annual opportunity to target new student customers who need an account and who might not yet have chosen a bank.

Secondly, the use of this data highlighted that in the years after opening their accounts, Barclays was able to establish a valuable long term relationship with students. This meant that students could now be seen as an extremely important market segment, and attracting new student customers became a significant opportunity.

This internal understanding was vital. With this background, Barclays designed a programme of market research. The purpose of this was to establish what students really needed from a bank. In this way it could offer appropriate products and services which would add value to students.

Barclays | Discovering customer needs through research

3: Types of market research

Barclays began a process that involved both primary and secondary research.

Primary research

Primary research involves finding out new information. It finds the answers to specific questions for a particular purpose. These enquiries may take the form of direct questioning. For example, it may include face-to-face surveys, postal or online questionnaires, telephone interviews or focus groups. This type of direct contact with people is valuable as it gives specific feedback to the questions asked.

However, it is important that the questions are clear and that the researcher is trained. This will ensure that the results are not influenced. Although primary research can be expensive and time-consuming, the up-to-date and relevant data collected can give organisations a competitive advantage. This is because their rivals will not have had access to it.

Barclays' primary research process began internally with two key questions:

  • Who should our key customers be?
  • What are their needs?

The insights from these questions provided a factual basis to work from.

Qualitative and quantitative research

After this an external agency was employed to carry out an opinion panel. This took the form of an online questionnaire. The results of this delivered data about the market itself, as well as Barclays' market share among this target audience.

Quantitative research presents information in a numeric way, such as graphs, tables or charts that can be used to analyse the information.

For example, Barclays found from the questionnaire that 81% of students surveyed held a savings account and 32% an investment savings account (ISA).  The opinion panel also provided qualitative feedback on what was of interest to students and what they wanted from an account.

Qualitative research provides information on consumer perceptions, such as:

  • how they feel about products and services
  • what they like or do not like
  • what they would want from a new product.

The panel produced valuable insights which Barclays used to help re-evaluate its existing student account. It then used the information to develop new features and benefits to meet the established needs. 


The enhanced student account proposition was then tested directly with 100 existing and new Barclays Student Additions account holders. This was carried out through bank branches and an online questionnaire. The sample group provided more qualitative feedback about what motivated students to choose a particular bank.

Although small, the sample allowed Barclays to get a feeling for how students would respond to the proposition. For Barclays, it was important to know what motivated a student to choose a bank. Using existing students meant the bank was able to assess if the new offer would meet their needs. The expectation was that new and future students would also find it attractive.

Secondary research

Secondary research focuses on existing information. It uses published data that previous research has already discovered. This covers a wide range of materials, such as:

  • market research reports
  • sales figures
  • competitor marketing literature
  • government publications, e.g. national statistics.

Secondary research may be quicker to carry out but may give less specific outcomes for the topic in question. This part of Barclays research revealed that student accounts in 2009 amounted to 0.4 million out of a total market of 5.4 million new accounts.

Barclays | Discovering customer needs through research

4: Research findings

Numeric data gives a factual basis for planning - a snapshot of a situation. On the other hand, qualitative information can find out the things that really matter to consumers. For example, 80 out of 100 consumers questioned might say they preferred one brand of coffee over another. However, more valuable information comes from understanding what it is they prefer. Is it the smell, the taste, the packaging or the price?

To meet student needs for a valuable, helpful financial service, Barclays needed to understand what students really wanted. By using student focus panels and staff working in branches with a high proportion of student customers, Barclays was able to discover students' concerns, priorities and strength of feeling.

Research outcomes

The outcomes of the opinion panel and the sample of student customers showed that:

  • students relied heavily on different forms of credit. These included an easily manageable bank overdraft to finance their time at university
  • students wanted and often needed to own high-tech gadgets and electrical goods, such as laptops
  • students wanted to have separate accounts to manage their student borrowing and spending
  • any incentives offered would not alone motivate students to choose that product. They were expected as part of any deal.

This insight was a real help to Barclays when considering the most attractive proposition for students. Its objectives were to attract new student accounts. It also wanted to retain students as customers for life in a profitable relationship that met their financial needs.

Barclays could now start to put together an offer that would embrace the main concerns of the target market. These concerns were financial security, credit availability, flexible banking and the right sort of incentives.

Barclays | Discovering customer needs through research


5: Implementation and evaluation

In 2009, Barclays set up a working group to oversee the setting up of the new student proposition. It used the insight from the research to establish the key features and benefits of the student account. These features are valid for the life of students' studies:

  • no monthly fee to keep costs down for students
  • an interest-free overdraft facility of up to £2,000 from starting the account. Previously this started at £500 in the first year and increased through the years of study. This extension helps students manage their finances.
  • mobile banking and a network of local branches for ease of access to accounts.


Of several incentives tested with students, Barclays found that an incentive based on a mobile or telecoms offer would have most appeal. This idea was tested further with students on university campus. The students expressed a clear preference for an incentive offering mobile broadband:

'The broadband offer looks good...I”d definitely go in to find out more.” “It”s good if the broadband offer is for the life of the account´¦you may be in halls for the first year but not after that.'

To establish this incentive, Barclays researched broadband providers. It then entered into partnership with Orange - the UK”s number 1 broadband provider. Orange's strengths were a good business fit for Barclays and ensured that the offer had credibility and perceived value. Students who signed up for a Barclays student account were able to obtain a 25% discount on the monthly cost of whichever Orange mobile broadband scheme they chose.

Communicating the proposition

Having developed a student banking proposition that Barclays felt confident would appeal, it began to communicate the message and promote the new student offer. An innovative marketing plan was launched which involved:

  • a word-of-mouth campaign through '100 voices' which encouraged students to share their experiences of managing money whilst at college or university
  • promotional literature available in branches nationwide. This proved useful information for Barclays colleagues as well as for students and their parents to take away
  • online advertising through
  • direct mail to prospective students through the summer before going to university.

Barclays | Discovering customer needs through research

6: Conclusion

The Barclays student account proposition shows how it is crucial for a business to listen to its market. To do this effectively means targeting specific market segments to discover their needs.

Barclays' new student account proposition was an 'insight-led' approach.

Using carefully constructed and phased market research, the bank was able to gain an overall insight into the thinking of students. In the early stages of the research, it was discovered that the student segment provided an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship. It was found that students were not necessarily 'here today, gone tomorrow'. If the bank made a valuable and relevant offer, students were likely to remain lifelong customers.

Barclays' initial target was to increase the overall number of student accounts by 25%. This target was exceeded with an increase of 34%. As a result, Barclays increased its market share of the student market, moving from third to second among the top four market leaders.

The process of meeting customer needs is an ongoing one. Barclays has a continuing plan for re-evaluating its student proposition to ensure it remains relevant to the target audience.

Barclays | Discovering customer needs through research

Read more:

The State Of Neuroscience in Market Research - Written by Elissa Moses
Read more

In today’s age all of the major market research companies have neuroscience offerings, the reason being that they provide us with an understanding into the unconscious consumer response to stimuli which we know from advances in neuroscience is critically important to decision making. Neuro enables fresher, deeper, and richer insights, and can add unexpected perspective to evaluations of advertising, brand perceptions, and shopper experience.


As an insider to the early years of neuromarketing, it was easy to see how some overzealous neuroscientists felt they had discovered the ultimate tools to replace traditional market research methods. This belief was fueled by enthusiasm for neurometrics coupled with serious naiveté about market research.


And yet, neuroscience practitioners have now achieved a more mature perspective. Using the brain processing construct of Nobel Prize-winning neuro economist Daniel Kahneman, it is understood that neuro tools tell us completely different information about unconscious, emotional consumer response (System 1) and traditional research approaches address rational and cognitive response (System 2). Both are critical for understanding consumer decision making - - especially since the two systems are often fighting one another. That is why it is sometimes so difficult to make up our minds.


The reason traditional market research firms offer neuro tools is simply that most studies are better off with them. Moreover, clients have become more savvy, and now request them. As the realization sinks in, researchers cannot continue to address only the rational, conscious side of reaction or the emotional, visceral side. Both are critically important.


But which neuro tools to use?


Now that neuro tools have been categorically accepted, the key question becomes which tools are best and for which applications. The truth is that they all do slightly different things and they all have plusses and minuses. There is both art and science to knowing which tools are best for given research objectives and client priorities including scalability, cost, timing and consumer comfort. While there may be room for some debate, here are some considerations of what each tool is especially good for.


Biometrics: Stabile and sensitive measure of emotional engagement; provides great specificity and overall effect; consumer-friendly, scalable


Facial Coding: Passive measurement for type of emotional response and emotional valence; secondary indicator of emotional engagement; easy to integrate into surveys; scalable


EEG: Highly sensitive measure of engagement and emotional valence. Provides great specificity. Less consumer-friendly and scalable depending upon equipment used


Eye Tracking: Attention and interest; patterns of observation; what is seen, in what order and for how long with great specificity; consumer-friendly and scalable; now available on line, in-store, etc.


Implicit: Understanding unconscious perceptions and impact of stimuli on brands, sensitive for differentiating between brands and ads on key attributes and drivers; easy to include in surveys, scalable and consumer-friendly


fMRI: Most sensitive neuro tool relied upon in academic labs for exploratory research on emotional response, engagement and memory; most expensive, least scalable


Two camps exist within the big market research industry players with respect to developing proprietary systems and creating alliances with neuro research boutiques. Our philosophy is to be methodology-agnostic -- to fit client objectives, because we appreciate that they do not all do the same things and have created relationships with the leading neuro tool experts across the world. This enables us to offer the best methodology for each type of study.


Other companies focus on specific neuro tools to the extent that they may have developed them in-house or invested in specialty providers.


The large research company advantage


Clients benefit when sourcing neuro research through established research companies. First, established firms have a deep understanding of quality research. This relates to study design, answering client objectives, consumer comfort, fatigue prevention, projectability, analytic depth and understanding of marketing context.


Second, large market research firms can be objective in their choice of tools and adapt to scientific breakthroughs.

Third, the large firm’s volume builds deep experience in neuro fast, adding depth of expertise for selecting methodologies, designs and analyses. Fourth, large research companies are expert at integrating neuro with traditional methodologies. Study implications can leverage insights from System 1 and System 2 for the greatest consumer understanding in one report. This leads to economies of scale, study efficiency, norms and potential modeling or Meta analyses, plus a sensitivity toward when to use what tool.


Simply put, integrating neuro tools with traditional research provides the best solutions today -- and promises even more valuable insights for tomorrow.


Elissa Moses
Ipsos Center for Neuroscience and Emotion
elissa Moses <


Source: Marketing Research World (website)

Online Reviews Critical to Travellers - Written by eMarketer
Read more

Travellers rely heavily on recommendations for trip inspirations and planning.  As information becomes more sophisticated and unwieldy it presents both challenges and opportunities for marketers, according to eMarketer’s new report “Traveller Reviews: Online Communities Reshape Marketing Strategies.”

Travel reviews posted online have exploded in recent years. The number of reviews on TripAdvisor, for example, surpassed 100 million in March 2013, bolstered by a 50% increase year over year. While TripAdvisor far and away boasts the most traveler-submitted reviews, other major online travel sites have also compiled tens of millions more.


More than half of the 15,000 internet users worldwide who responded to TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer study, conducted by StrategyOne in January 2013, said they’d written a review for an accommodation after staying there, and 41% noted that they also shared personal recommendations via other online channels, such as social networks or email messages.


As reviews proliferate, a debate has intensified among travel professionals over whether consumers should trust what they read on user-generated content sites.

Companies that sell travel—both brands and third-party agencies—want to minimize the time and energy it takes to sniff out fraudulent reviews, so most travel booking sites require reviewers to make an actual purchase on the site in order to submit an evaluation. For example, Wyndham Hotel Group’s system collects validated reviews on the brand’s website and then funnels them straight to TripAdvisor, according to Flo Lugli, executive vice president of marketing at Wyndham.

Hard as travel brands might try to weed out fake reviews, though, travelers look to multiple review sites during their research process, which means they’re using both verified and unverified reviews. PhoCusWright found that in 2012, approximately two in five US travelers used online travel agencies, general search engines and travel-specific review sites during their planning process, and about one-third went straight to a hotel website.


While reviews are influential across all travel categories, hotel recommendations carry the most weight, so when hotels respond to reviews, travelers take note. The TripAdvisor study conducted by PhoCusWright found that 57% of travelers said they would be more likely to book a hotel whose management responded to reviews, compared with a comparable property whose management was silent on the subject.

As a result, one of the main reasons hotels monitor and respond to reviews is to manage customer complaints. Accommodation owners worldwide take negative reviews very seriously, with more than 60% saying they both respond to reviews publicly and address review content privately with staff, according to TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer. Just 5% of respondents said they ignored negative reviews altogether.

“Marketing has gone through evolutions that basically have put consumers in charge, and we need to acknowledge that we’re no longer 100% in charge of our brand message,” said Wyndham’s Lugli. “If marketers crowdsource anything, they have to be willing to respond and implement the feedback in some way or form. When consumers are asked for their opinion, their expectation is that something will be done with it.”


 Source: Marketing Research World (website)

Mobile market research - hype or the next big thing?
Read more

I’ve blogged before about the benefits and drawbacks of mobile MROCs, but an article today in Research by Reg Baker got me thinking about it once again. Reg has some great points in his article, so I thought I would share my thoughts here, and discuss the implications for mobile market research online communities (MROCs).
  I absolutely agree with Reg on this point. With many research projects being global in scope (and communities following in this trend), the cost of accessing a mobile survey or MROC could be substantial depending on the data plan a participant has and how they are charged for that data. In a mobile MROC in particular, there is more multimedia content that is necessary to download, leading to higher data usage by participants. Of course, we can always bump honorariums to help users pay for the extra data, but it’s a point to consider nonetheless. I’m lucky to be grandfathered into an AT&T data plan that gives me unlimited data for a decent price, but many other smartphone users around the world aren’t nearly as lucky.

I think this is the best point in Reg’s article. In many cases, clients expect a lot more than simple survey responses. This is especially true in online qualitative research, where clients are used to in-depth, thoughtful responses to moderator-led conversations. While some people can write small novels with their thumbs, others are much more of the one-word response variety. Early tests we’ve done indicate it’s much more of the latter than the former. For many, it’s too time consuming and difficult to write lengthy responses or create new content on a mobile device. Instead, many use smartphones for content consumption. In the realm of qualitative research, this is far less useful.

I can’t speak to the survey side of mobile research quite like Reg can, but when I look to mobile MROCs in particular I see similar questions and challenges. For example, just because participants like playing Angry Birds and checking in on their Facebook friends doesn’t necessarily mean that giving them mobile access to a mobile MROC means they will contribute more content or become more engaged. Of course, giving them more channels to participate isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we just have to be careful to understand the unique role of mobile and how it fits in with the overall research objectives. I’m seeing a lot of the “shiny new toy” syndrome as I look around and see how mobile is being used.

In re-reading this post I realize it sounds like I’m bashing mobile research. That’s not my intent at all… I’m the first to look for new cool technology to incorporate into research (in fact, that’s my role at PluggedIN). I should also mention that I’ve been wrong before when it comes to new data collection tools/techniques (see also: PluggedIN’s experiment with running research studies in Second Life). However, I get the feeling that mobile MR is the solution looking for a problem. Someone want to prove me wrong (please)?

Source: (Consumer&Insights website)