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This blog post is a summary of a recent project completed by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS). 

Background: An athletic goods retail establishment in New York partnered with Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct brand perception market research. The store wanted to better understand the brand perception held by its customers and non-customers from the general population. The market research objective was to determine brand knowledge, the consumer decision making process, where else consumers are shopping, what else the store could offer customers, and preferences of top customers.

Approach: The study consisted of an online survey administered to customers as well as non-customers. To reach the customer audience, the RMS team provided the survey to a list of customers supplied by the client. Customer feedback was segmented into two categories – perceptions from customers (individuals who have made a purchase at the store) and top customers (those who spend the most at the store). The RMS ViewPoint Research Panel allowed the client to obtain timely and affordable feedback from consumers who are not current customers of the store. The time frame for this type of project was six weeks.

Results: Here are some highlights of the study’s findings:

  • Research revealed a strong sense of brand loyalty among current customers. There was a high level of familiarity with the store, as well as a high likelihood for survey respondents to shop at the store for their next athletic goods purchase.
  • Brand preference for athletic shoes varied based on customer type. Customers prefer New Balance, non-customers favor Nike, and the store’s top customers opt for Saucony.
  • When consumers are deciding where to purchase athletic shoes, the quality of the product is the most important factor in the decision process, while prices are most important when deciding where to purchase active wear (clothing).
  • As expected, customers and top customers are much more active than non-customers. Walking is the most common physical activity engaged in by survey respondents, and running is popular among customers and top customers.
  • Data revealed a gap in awareness of differentiating features in the customer experience. RMS recommended marketing efforts promoting the presence of these offerings to capture an additional share of the market.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com.

Twenty-one percent of Central New Yorkers rank the Buffalo Bills as their favorite National Football League (NFL) team, according to a new RMS ViewPoint poll of Central New York panel members. Close behind, 17 percent of Central New Yorkers favored the New York Giants, and the New York Jets came in third at six percent. When it came to Central New Yorkers least favorite teams, the New England Patriots came in as the most hated at 27 percent. Twenty-three percent disliked the Dallas Cowboys, tied with 23 percent responding as not disliking any specific team.

“Football is the most popular sport in America, but it also takes precedence in New York with three teams that call the state home. Central New York is unique because you see quite a mix of team favoritism,” said Zachary Shaw, RMS ViewPoint Panel spokesperson. “Football is not just about the game itself, but the many components or rituals that go into watching a game or games.” Respondents surveyed were asked about fantasy football leagues, favorite football snack foods, hours of football watched and other game time habits.

With the popularity of fantasy sports leagues growing, Central New Yorkers seem to be less intrigued with the trend. Only 27 percent are members of an online fantasy football league, and 53 percent of those invested in a fantasy football league watch football more often because of their league participation. Regarding daily fantasy leagues, 20 percent have participated in a DraftKings league, 16 percent were invested in a FanDuel league, while the largest group, 69 percent did not participate in either a FanDuel or DraftKings league. While 11 percent of those surveyed believed fantasy sports leagues that promote gambling should be banned, 60 percent opposed banning those online fantasy leagues and 29 percent were unsure.

When it comes to how many hours of football Central New Yorkers watch per week, 34 percent watch one to three hours, 31 percent watch four to six hours, 19 percent watch less than one hour, ten percent watch seven to nine hours, and seven percent watch ten or more hours per week. Perhaps contributing to those amounts of time: 91 percent watch the games at their own home, 27 percent watch at a bar or restaurant, 19 percent watch at a friend’s house and 16 percent watch at a family member’s house.

As far as Central New Yorkers’ favorite football foods, pizza was voted the number one snack at 69 percent. Close behind, 60 percent selected chips and dip as their favorite, and 59 percent voted for chicken wings—a fan favorite originating from Buffalo, New York. Thirty-five percent enjoy nachos as a game day snack, and 34 percent opted for the healthier vegetables and dip.

A detailed infographic depicting the full survey results is available below. If you would like to participate in upcoming RMS ViewPoint polls and surveys, please visit RMSresults.com/ViewPoint to sign up.

Football survey infographic-CNY

The RMS ViewPoint poll was conducted from January 8, 2016 to January 24, 2016. A total of 406 surveys were completed. Respondents consisted of RMS ViewPoint Research Panel members, as well as the general community.  Survey invitations were sent through e-mail and social media. All respondents resided within the 16-county CNY area (Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Tioga, and Tompkins). For more information, contact Zachary Shaw, RMS ViewPoint Panel Associate at ZachS@RMSresults.com. For more information on RMS ViewPoint, visit RMSresults.com/ViewPoint.

About RMS

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a full service marketing and market research firm located in Baldwinsville, NY. RMS provides an array of research methodologies that result in actionable analytics and recommendations for the client to enhance decision making. RMS is also home to QualiSight, a premier focus group and interview research facility, and RMS ViewPoint, a leading consumer research panel in Central New York. Visit our website at RMSresults.com.

The following blog post was written by Alexis Smith, Intern at RMS.

 

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With over 400 million users, LinkedIn is the top professional social networking site and provides individuals and organizations with invaluable networking resources. Used correctly, LinkedIn can enhance organizations from both B2B and B2C viewpoints.

Here are four reasons to why it’s essential for organizations to have a LinkedIn page.

1. Transparency

Similar to other social networking sites, LinkedIn allows businesses to create a page and share updates. Posting on LinkedIn allows organizations to raise awareness of initiatives, and encourage professional networking with current and potential followers. LinkedIn users are able to “follow” organizations of interest. Followers are notified when the organization shares a status update, blog post, job posting, and more – much like Facebook.

2. Exposure

Your organization’s LinkedIn page will gain you access to individuals you may not reach on other social networks. In fact, nearly two-thirds of users have found that LinkedIn has helped with researching and validating people and organizations. This provides the company with a great professional networking tool.

3. Expansion

LinkedIn is essential for small to medium sized businesses that are looking to expand their clientele or business as a whole. With millions of users, LinkedIn provides a platform for professionals to stay connected, engaged, and up-to-date. LinkedIn allows you to promote your content with targeted advertising approaches – whether it be to recruit a new employee, or reach prospective clients.

4. Access to new talent

If an organization needs a role filled, employers can view individuals’ profiles and connect with them. This provides recruiters with the ability to view potential employees’ job history, recommendations, education, areas of interest, connections, and more. LinkedIn is becoming a recruitment hub – where some companies are finding it more effective to find new talent than hiring a recruitment company or posting a web advertisement.

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RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com.

blog-2016-education-trends

Now that we’re settling into the first quarter of 2016, we are setting our sights on identifying industry trends to determine client priorities for the year ahead.  In working with our growing roster of higher education clients, our team has noticed a shift in the education landscape towards revitalization and streamlining strategies to accommodate the changing needs of stakeholders. Through our research and interactions with clients, we’ve compiled a list of trends that we believe will be part of the higher education space going forward in 2016.

  1. Revisiting Recruitment Strategies

Marketing Mix: It’s no secret that today’s students are immersed in a digital lifestyle. That has led many institutions to investigate or implement digital strategies aimed at attracting and retaining top-notch students. Ruffalo Noel Levitz conducted a poll in 2015 to determine the communication preferences of high school students and parents with institutions. Interestingly, they noticed a preferential shift towards direct mail by college students compared to 2011. This finding led them to conclude that institutions should develop and deploy a mix of recruitment strategies – digital and print. Noel Levitz suggests that students may prefer to receive college information via direct mail, but they are unlikely to respond through the same medium. Instead, the goal should be to entice the prospective student to visit the college website for further information. It will be important for institutions to examine their current suite of marketing strategies to ensure they align with the expectations of their target student audience.

Adult Learners: Where we’ve seen the most interest from our higher education clients in 2015 is in identifying how best to reach the adult learner population within their geographical recruitment footprint. High school graduates are no longer the staple for all institutions. Instead, they’re expanding their portfolio to include non-traditional and adult learners to capture those interested in beginning their college career at a later age, or advancing a skill set. Continuing education and personal enrichment courses are of particular interest for community colleges, where prospective learners are already accustomed to a more flexible atmosphere including part-time study and evening course options. Institutions are exploring the preferences of this growing segment of the population, and investing in curriculum that will meet their needs.

International Student Recruitment: There has been a lot of buzz over the last couple years about a spike in international student recruitment. Given that it’s become the norm for most colleges to be operating under financial burdens, it’s no surprise that that they would invest in targeted recruitment of individuals who bring more revenue to the institution. The uptick in international student recruitment has led to more benefits than simple financial gain for many colleges. A 2015 report produced by The Lawlor Group notes that international students also boost cultural campus diversity, while also bringing a more personal “global perspective” into the classroom. In their 2015 report, Hanover Research points out that institutions are now turning to specialized companies such as Pearson, which offers a “Progression+” college informational service, to assist in the targeted recruitment of international students. While the concept is intriguing, it’s certainly not appropriate for all institutions. It is essential to consider whether an increase in international student recruitment is appropriate for your college. To attract top-quality students, institutions now need to offer desirable financial aid packages (which was not the standard even a few years ago), invest in a digital presence, and attend appropriate higher education conferences (some of which require travel abroad).

  1. Competition from Alternative Education Programs

Alternative learning methods such as MOOCs have been in effect for many years, although opinion varies on their effectiveness and impact on traditional bricks-and-mortar higher education institutions. Newer alternative learning entrants to the market include mini bootcamp and nanodegree style learning opportunities. With the technology boom still in full swing, these alternative education methods are becoming increasingly popular and available. Many careers in technology are listed as high-need, high-wage, and high-skill, but there is a lack of qualified individuals in the workforce to fill the needs of employers, making these options attractive to both employers and individuals looking to break into a booming workforce or improve their competitive stance in the marketplace. These programs offer students the benefit of flexibility (often fully online at their own pace), they can be completed in shorter time frames than a traditional college education, and are often much more affordable. A great example is Udacity’s availability of several nanodegree programs which can be completed in about a year and cost $200 per month, with a promise to get half your tuition back if you complete the program in 12 months or less. The emergence of these options is certainly something that higher education administration is already keeping a close eye on. Over the last year, RMS has also seen a growing interest in higher education feasibility studies regarding online program options. Institutions are realizing that to stay competitive, they may need to refresh their current suite of academic offerings to better align with the evolving needs of the education consumer.

  1. Competency-Based Education

The streamlined approach to higher education has taken further shape in recent years through the growth in competency-based education (CBE) programs. CBE programs measure a student’s progress based on how well they learn the material rather than the length of time to complete a degree. In a traditional program, a student typically must complete a minimum number of academic credits, regardless of how well they already know the material. CBE programs allow students to learn at their own pace, and demonstrate via learning mastery.  A research brief published by Public Agenda in late 2015 revealed the results of the largest survey effort on the topic of CBE programs, including baseline CBE adoption data by participating institutions, program design and implementation data, opportunities, and barriers experienced by respondent institutions. The brief disclosed that nearly 600 institutions offer CBE programs, with public institutions leading the way. Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are the most popular credentials earned by graduates of CBE programs at institutions who have a fully active program(s) or are scaling up CBE efforts. However, the majority (64%) of responding institutions are in the planning phase of CBE adoption while only 14% have implemented a CBE program. It’s clear that administrators view CBE programs as the future and it will be interesting to see if the concept evolves to become the norm in higher education learning.

  1. Automating Marketing Efforts

With the continual expansion of digital channels available, higher education institutions have to balance a multitude of marketing efforts to reach their target audiences. Many institutions have to balance social media marketing, email, a website, and content marketing while finding a way to integrate all of the data that allows them to gain meaningful insights which shed light on how best to connect with current students, prospective students, alumni, and other stakeholders. This has led to an increase in the popularity of marketing automation solutions. Marketing automation tools synthesize an institution’s marketing efforts to allow for in-depth marketing campaign analysis, tracking of campaign analytics and ROI calculations, among a myriad of other efforts. Institutions that use these automation tools have the ability to enact more personalized communication efforts, which is thought to resonate well with both traditional and non-traditional students by making them feel connected to their campus. Since marketing automation is still yet to be standard on college campuses, adoption of these tools would provide an institution with a competitive edge.

This is the first in our series of higher education trends, so stay tuned for updated trends throughout the year! Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our higher education market research services, please contact the Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy, Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com  or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

Sources:

“2015 High School Students’ and Parents’ Perceptions of and Preferences for Communication with Colleges.” Ruffalo Noel Levitz, 2015. https://www.ruffalonl.com/documents/gated/Papers_and_Research/2015/2015_Perceptions_Preferences_Report.pdf?code=3913351183201512

“A Research Brief on the Survey of the Shared Design Elements & Emerging Practices of Competency-Based Education Programs.” Public Agenda, December 2015. http://www.publicagenda.org/files/SurveyOfSharedDesignElementsAndEmergingPracticesOfCBEPrograms_PublicAgenda_2015.pdf

“2016 Trends in Higher Education Marketing, Enrollment, and Technology.” Hanover Research, November 2015.

Buege, V. “International Recruitment: Today’s Issues and Opportunities.” The Lawlor Group, April 2015. http://www.thelawlorgroup.com/international-recruitment-todays-issues-and-opportunities/

Duncan, Scott. “Marketing Technology Adoption in Higher Ed: From CRM to Marketing Automation.” Higher Education Marketing, November 5, 2014. http://www.higher-education-marketing.com/blog/education-marketing-blog/marketing-technology-higher-ed-crm-marketing-automation

Mathewson, Tara G. “5 Higher Ed Trends to Watch in 2016.” Education Dive, December 30, 2015. http://www.educationdive.com/news/5-higher-ed-trends-to-watch-in-2016/411362/

The following post was written by Zach Shaw, Panel Coordinator at RMS.

blog-sustainable-business

Companies who engage in green marketing showcase their services and products based on environmental factors or awareness. These companies consider long-term environmental and social impacts of business operational practices such as processing, packaging and distribution. The goal of green marketing companies is to surpass traditional marketing strategies by promoting environmentally responsible core values; in turn connecting with consumers to drive brand awareness and  aiding in the creation of new product lines that will cater to new target markets.

Before integrating sustainable marketing into your company’s marketing plan, it’s important to review the company’s current marketing mix, also known as the four Ps of marketing. The four Ps of marketing consist of product, price, place and promotion.  Properly developing these four strategies is key to developing a sustainable marketing plan.

Product – A product is a tangible good or an intangible service that is available to consumers. Companies which employ sustainable marketing strategies to promote their product(s) should consider the materials, ingredients, and how it is manufactured.  A company should look for natural and organic materials and also sourcing locally to and through fair trade suppliers, utilizing environmentally friendly materials, and using lean manufacturing and distribution methods that minimize the company’s carbon footprint. Packaging also plays a significant role in sustainability. Companies who wish to use green marketing to promote their sustainable products often utilize the following for packaging: renewable materials, recyclable products, and ensuring the product-to-packaging ratio is a tight fit to produce no waste.

Price – A company must also investigate pricing for sustainable products. These products are often more expensive than competitor products due to the high cost of ingredients, in turn jeopardizing market acceptance. This causes a “green pricing gap,” as some consumers may want to purchase products that are better for the environment, but either do not want to, or are financially unable to pay a higher price.  Although gaining in popularity, many consumers will not pay more for these premium products if they do not perceive additional value from the product (ex: a lower electricity bill from energy efficient appliances). Companies can minimize the price barrier by either reducing the cost of the product or by implementing marketing which raises the perceived value gained by the product to justify a higher price point.

Place – A place signifies where a consumer can purchase the sustainable product or service. This can be a physical brick-and-mortar location or a virtual store.  Brick-and-mortar storefronts focusing on sustainability should consider investing in energy efficient stores. You may want to “go paperless” for billing, install energy saving electronics and lighting to power the store, and make reusable shopping bags available for consumers to reduce your carbon foot print.  Virtual stores should ensure their distribution is also using green practices. This may include using alternative fuels; planning fuel efficient delivery loads and distribution routes; and reducing packaging for delivery trucks. There is increasing trending consumer demand for companies to buy local, and engaging in this practice will allow the company to support local businesses while also decreasing the company’s carbon emissions – both of which will help enhance community and consumer perception.

Promotion – In addition to being known for quality, a company offering sustainable products or services should have strong brand recognition for the positive impact the good or service has on the environment.  To effectively promote the product or service, you’ll need to consider which strategy will be most effective with your target audience. Some promotional activities to consider include:

  • Traditional advertising (television, digital, radio).
  • Enticing consumers to purchase the product or service through incentives such as coupons, or charitable donations.
  • Driving awareness through public relations activities such as press releases.
  • Investing in digital techniques by creating a mobile-friendly website, utilizing search engine optimization, or purchasing digital advertising such as retargeting, pay-per-click, e-mail , or blogging.
  • A more personal approach to selling the product or service (word-of-mouth/referrals, cold calling).
  • Utilizing social media to drive engagement with the brand.
  • Mobile marketing that allows customers to use digital coupons and view digital advertisements.

These four Ps will assist your company in the development of your company’s green marketing mix. RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com.

Sources:

‘Tis the season to be jolly! From our families to yours, Happy Holidays!

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The following blog post was written by Alexis Smith, Intern at RMS.

 

blog-gen-z

 

There’s a lot of hype about the impact of Millennials, those born in the early 1980s to 1993, in the workforce. The next generation to infiltrate and transform the workforce is Gen Z, those born between 1994 and 2010. According to Forbes, Gen Z is characterized as being entrepreneurial, loyal, flexible, and realistic in their approach to careers compared to Millennials.

  1. They will sacrifice salary for a flexible career

With over 3 million baby boomers expected to retire and Millennials promoted to managerial roles in 2016, a gap is left to be filled by Gen Z. Gen Z’s familiarity with technology allows them to stay connected more than any other generation, making them essential to business. However, Gen Z isn’t likely to jump on just any job offer. This generation is more likely to choose organizations that value work-life balance and opportunities for growth over salary.

  1. They are comfortable with technology

Gen Z is unique because they were raised in a technologically advanced environment. The high levels of technology have made an impact on their learning styles, making them an asset to the workforce. This customized instruction allows Gen Z to better recognize their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to adjust to shortcomings and sharpen strengths.

  1. They are hyperaware of how others perceive them

This generation is known for their social media involvement. However, Gen Z’s “obsession” with social media is also used as a tool to brand themselves. As a result, Gen Zs are expected to work hard towards career goals. Gen Z will set themselves apart in the workforce by being driven to break their self-obsessive stigma in order to please their superiors.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com.

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