Thanksgiving has evolved from the celebration of a good harvest in 1642 to the celebration of food, football, floats, family, and fun. We’re researchers, so we couldn’t help ourselves, we had to dig up some interesting data. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving-Day-infographic (2)

Although these Thanksgiving Day traditions have evolved over the years, what has remained consistent is the meaning behind the holiday – gratitude. RMS wishes all a safe and happy holiday season!



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




Background: A higher education institution in Maryland partnered with Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct occupational supply and demand research related to two potential graduate-level academic program offerings. The college wanted to better understand the workforce demand for occupations that the two potential programs would prepare graduates to enter upon completion. The market research objective was to provide insights needed to determine whether the new programs would be viable in the current and projected market.

Approach: The study consisted of an in-depth review of available occupational supply and demand data for related occupations in particular metropolitan areas, the state of Maryland, and the United States for comparison. Turnaround time for a project of this size is very quick – RMS provided the client with a full report four weeks from the start of the project.

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

  • For both occupations investigated, the research revealed a labor market need for graduates in all locations examined.
  • Graduates of the proposed programs can expect wages that are higher than the average wage across all occupations, with steady employment increases projected.
  • Job openings are likely to be replacement positions, signaling an aging workforce which will provide graduates with a competitive edge upon market entrance.
  • Data revealed an increased preference for distance education in Maryland (particularly at the graduate school level), with enrollment in distance educations rising.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our higher education 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.

What is Share of Wallet?


Share of wallet is a metric which allows a company or brand to measure a customer’s spending within a particular category related to competitors. It’s important to note that a company with many brands and product lines may measure their share of wallet for each brand or product line. For example, if your company has completed customer satisfaction research and knows that your customers are very satisfied with product X but experienced a stagnant or declining sales quarter, measuring your share of wallet for product X will help identify how customers divide their spending among you and your competitors. Alternatively, a company which is the top choice for consumers for product X among existing competitors can benefit from continual monitoring of share of wallet to ensure the company remains the primary option.

Why Is Share of Wallet Important?

A satisfied customer and a loyal customer are not synonymous. This is why reliance on your company’s Net Promoter Score and other satisfaction metrics is not enough. Although your customers may be satisfied with your company and even recommend it to family and friends, that doesn’t mean they won’t do the same for a competitor for a brand or product of interest. The key is being able to identify how your customers allocate their spending among your company and competitors for that brand or product.

Let’s say your company has four known competitors. You know you want to be the first choice for a customer, but may not realize the financial impact of being second place.  Even if you tie your top competitor in terms of share of wallet that means for every dollar a customer could spend at your company you lose at least $0.50 to the competitor.

How to Determine Your Brand’s Share of Wallet

First and foremost – do not focus solely on customer satisfaction metrics.  Measure your company’s rank and associated drivers for a brand or product. A competitive assessment survey will allow you to gather customer feedback on similar brands they purchase for a particular product category (and why) to help determine areas of opportunity that will help boost your company’s competitive rank. When searching for a market research vendor, ask them how they intend to help your company improve your rank. A knowledgeable market research firm will construct a survey tool with the items necessary to identify satisfaction and loyalty scores for competitors in order to determine your company’s share of wallet. Next steps and recommendations will be a crucial component that should be included among the reported findings to provide insight on how you may improve or maintain your ranking if necessary.

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.

Social media is a quick and easy way to share information and engage with consumers, employees, and the community. Using social media for marketing initiatives is less expensive than other options, making it a cost effective way to communicate. If executed properly, small businesses can see great results from social media efforts. Here are six best practices to help small businesses succeed on social media.

Social media best practices - Photo2

  1. Define your voice

Personify your brand by giving it a distinctive voice across all social media outlets. This will establish consistency without repeating the exact same content. This is especially important when looking at the differences in formality between social media outlets. For example, informal language is more appropriate on Facebook for most businesses, while a more formal approach is suitable on LinkedIn. Keeping these slight differences in mind will help you create targeted content on social media.

  1. Transparency is key

Let stakeholders see behind the scenes of your organization, especially the people who make your organization great. Social media is a great way to showcase your workplace culture. Put the people who work in your organization front and center. A few ways to do this is to highlight new hires, promotions, birthdays, milestones, events, and other reasons to celebrate (with the employees’ permission of course)!

  1. Quality not quantity

We all know people who over share social media, and organizations are not an exception. Your posts should appeal to one or more of the following stakeholder groups: clients/customers (past or present), prospective clients/customers, employees (current and potential), or the general community. When creating content, think of the following: Will this resonate with my audience? Is this the right platform for this post? Is there anything I can include (i.e. pictures or links) to make people more likely to engage with this post? Is the language clear and concise? If you say, “No,” to one or more of these questions you should take a step back and think about what you are posting and why.

  1. Build a community

Social media is a great way to build a community around your brand. To do this, you must strive for engagement. Don’t be afraid to ask followers for feedback and comments on posts.

Another way to drive engagement is to create personalized posts by tagging businesses, clients, and people when applicable. For example, if someone from your company attends a local event you can tag the employee and the organization hosting the event in your posts to increase exposure.

  1. Know your numbers

Knowing what appeals to your followers (and what doesn’t) will make your posts more strategic and effective. To do this, review the analytic insights provided on your social media account page(s). After perusing, you will have a deeper understanding about who your followers are, what content is most engaging, when the best times to post are, and more.

  1. Have a plan

Having a plan will allow you to create posts in advance, which will save you from scrambling to create content at the last second. At RMS we use a social media calendar to plan content for major milestones and events. This allows us to place posts strategically, and know what content needs to be created in the future. It’s also important to note that not all content should be created ahead of time. Social media is very “in the moment” so it’s important to be ready to participate in discussions around trending topics that are appropriate for your business.

Your company should also have a communications plan in place for responding to feedback. Separate action plans should be created for positive, neutral, and negative feedback. Having policies and procedures will allow employees to respond swiftly and appropriately to all feedback received.

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


Many companies measure customer metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), as well as other loyalty and customer satisfaction metrics through short surveys sent to their customers. In fact, many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems integrate with tools to collect data and report on those metrics.  Data for customer experience metrics can be transactional or conducted periodically at regular intervals. Some organizations simply collect this data because they know they should, but are not sure where to begin with the data they have on hand. Other organizations take this a step further by reviewing all data that comes in, ultimately using it to guide operational management and measure the performance of front line employees on a case by case basis.

Speaking with many organizations, it is clear that in many circumstances this data isn’t being used to its full potential. While it is useful to ascertain customer feedback and follow-up in some cases, organizations may be selling themselves short by only monitoring these metrics on a day to day basis. Customer experience metrics are extremely valuable when examined at a high level, looking for overall trends in the data, as well as the driving forces behind low or high experience ratings. Metrics are important for strategic purposes and long-term goal development, allowing organizations to ensure a continually engaging and positive customer experience. The data needs to be tabulated and analyzed to establish context. It should also be reviewed in intervals, allowing organizations to spot trends and measure the effectiveness of changes in strategy.

Ask yourself larger and more exploratory questions when analyzing the data. Here a few example questions that you may consider:

  • What factors are the driving force behind customer satisfaction and loyalty?
  • How does customer experience vary by audience?
  • What are the top reasons for customer dissatisfaction?  How can we correct those issues?
  • How do customers think we can deliver a better experience?
  • Does customer experience vary over time?  Is there a seasonality to the data, or does it correlate to internal changes?

The goal of this high level analysis is to find opportunities to improve the organization and deliver the ideal customer experience. In some cases, organizations may not collect enough information to answer all the questions they may have. In those situations, they may opt to conduct a full customer experience study. This will give them more in-depth reliable results, and set a benchmark for future customer experience studies.

Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. has experience working with organizations to delve into the customer experience, and ultimately identify actionable findings based off that data. If your organization is looking for further guidance on this topic, or looking to conduct a customer experience study, please contact Sandy Baker by e-mail at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by phone at 315-635-9802.

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

Background: In Spring 2015, Baldwinsville Central School District (BCSD) partnered with Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct a stakeholder community perception study to explore learning concepts and identify the district’s strengths and areas of opportunity.

Approach:  RMS conducted a telephone survey with a random sample of households located in the BCSD, and three focus groups (one group with Board of Education, another with instructors, and the last with parents). To determine perception of the district and identify strengths and areas of opportunity, RMS staff completed 410 telephone surveys with a margin of error of +/-4.8%. Survey and focus group participants were asked questions to determine what the BCSD does best, what makes it unique, how the district compares to other local districts, what influenced the participant’s decision to move to the district, and perception of curriculum concepts.

Results: The RMS team analyzed data from surveys and focus groups to provide the client with a mixed methods picture of community and stakeholder perception of the district. Findings revealed an overall belief that the BCSD is doing well, with 73% of survey respondents stating that the district is better than other area districts. Participants noted the great instructors, quality education, and high performance metrics set BCSD apart from other local districts. There is a perception that the district excels at offering strong special needs and extracurricular programs, encouraging community involvement, keeping parents involved, and providing individual attention to students.

When participants were asked about the perceived value of internships, they suggested that students should be required to complete an internship, but expressed concerns over requiring internships for all students. There was a favorable response to the concept of Pathways and educational program career specialization, but participants also suggested the concept should be optional for students who are not yet ready to make a career decision. Similarly, participants felt students should have more opportunities to earn college credit, but there were mixed reviews of the benefits and drawbacks. Parents were excited about the opportunity for their children to earn college credit in order to reduce college costs, while instructors expressed concern that students would struggle being placed in higher level courses when entering college.

When participants were asked what the BCSD could do to improve, they noted changes to the budget and associated school taxes, eliminating or improving upon the common core, and improving communication. Findings from the market research study provided the BCSD with qualitative and quantitative insight regarding community and stakeholder perception which will be valuable in guiding future strategic decisions.

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.

The following blog post was written by Al Tripodi, Quality Auditor Associate at RMS.Confidential computer-breach

It’s probably not surprising that there has been an increasing number of HIPAA Breaches across the country. There is no question that as you hear of these breaches, you consider how to put more rigor around prevention. Here are 12 best practices that can “guide you and your company to a caring, compliant response, one that creates the most positive outcomes for everybody involved.”1

Step 1: Assemble incident facts.

Collect and produce digital data to be analyzed. Be sure to inventory the data and establish a chain of custody to track original media. Create a sound image of the original media for analysis with a backup copy. If possible, perform data analysis under attorney-client privilege.

Step 2: Examine the data.

Use the data to determine the facts of the potential breach, such as: was it benign or malicious; who was affected; source of the breach; data types, such as name, social security number, credit card number, health insurance information, etc.; level of exposure; third-party involvement; and whether the data was accessed or extruded.

Step 3: Document all findings.

Documentation should be presented in a clear, defensible way that can be upheld in courts of law and enforcement agencies. Record every action taken during data analysis. It’s important to understand the difference between an incident and a breach. Not every security incident is a data breach. A security incident is a violation of an organization’s security or privacy policies involving sensitive information. A data breach, on the other hand, is a security (or privacy) incident that meets specific legal definitions as per state and federal breach laws.

Step 4: Perform an incident risk assessment.

Use the findings of your data analysis to conduct an incident risk assessment to determine whether the privacy or security incident is a data breach that legally requires notification. Check to see if the breach meets the safe harbor requirements, which may exempt you from notification. Even if an incident is not a notifiable breach, consider risks to affected individuals and the reputation of your company if the breach is discovered and you choose to not notify.

Step 5: Stay up-to-date with the latest federal, state, and international laws.

The findings of your data analysis must be assessed against the most current breach notification regulations to determine if you have a notifiable breach on your hands. Multiple laws may apply to a single breach, depending on where you conduct business and/or the affected individuals reside. Regulations such as the HIPAA Final Rule have specific requirements and thresholds for when and how to notify affected individuals and the media. Forty-seven states and three territories have their own requirements for breach notification, which can often be more stringent than federal laws.

Step 6: Prepare to meet burden of proof.

Whether or not you choose to provide notification, regulators will want to know the reasons for your decision. Document all your findings and reports to support your burden of proof. You will have to demonstrate that you have a consistent, defensible method for incident risk assessment to show due diligence and regulatory compliance.

Step 7: Engage appropriate outside partners.

Outside parties such as your outside counsel, and insurance broker can drastically cut the cost and impact of breach response. Trusted vendors can help you meet legal requirements, protect potential victims, and preserve your company’s reputation. Select and contract with these vendors ahead of time, so they’ll be ready to team up with your internal incident response team if a breach occurs. Ask your broker to notify the insurance carrier of a breach to maximize applicable coverage. Engage outside counsel as soon as possible so all communications and documentation are protected under attorney-client privilege.

Step 8: Tailor your notification and response to the specifics of the incident.

Your breach response plan should be based on the demographics, customer relationships, and risk information of the affected population, to meet individual needs and best demonstrate compliance. Use current best practices, such as those offered here, for planning your breach response. Avoid copying the response of other companies. Their situation is not your situation. Keep the end customer in mind when formulating a response. If you were affected by a breach, how would you like to be treated?

Step 9: Ensure completeness of response.

These include: breach response project management; crisis PR; notification to the breached population, regulatory agencies, and the media; call center services and website; appropriate identity protection and monitoring; identity recovery services.

Step 10: Notify affected individuals, regulatory agencies, and the media.

Notify affected individuals, regulatory agencies, and the media in compliance with the latest regulations. All communications should be consistent and specific to the incident, and should include details of the breach, containment measures, ongoing investigation, services offered to affected individuals, and contact information. Have counsel review all notification communications to ensure compliance information. Notify all relevant federal and state agencies. These may include the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Attorney(s) General of the state(s) where you do business and/or where the affected population resides. Have sufficient resources in place to ensure prompt, appropriate notification, such as scalable call-center services, crisis public relations, etc.

Step 11: Provide the appropriate identity monitoring and protection.

Victims of a healthcare data breach, for example, need protection for their medical records as well as any financial information. In these situations, credit monitoring is not enough. Match your identity monitoring and protection offer to the type of data breached: medical identity monitoring for healthcare, credit monitoring for a financial breach, etc. Encourage your customers to be proactive about protecting their identities with educational resources and self-monitoring tools.

Step 12: Provide identity recovery services for victims of identity theft.

Helping the customers or patients whose identities have been stolen is the highest priority. Ask your insurance broker to recommend an insurance provider that provides identity reimbursement insurance. Provide either in-house or outsourced identity recovery experts to assist victims. Plan to assist with every aspect of identity recovery, from resolving disputes, filing complaints, and providing limited power of attorney.

With careful planning and the help of trusted experts, you can successfully mitigate the damage of a breach and provide the most positive outcomes for your company, its reputation, and your customers.

RMS Healthcare can provide consultation and training services to ensure HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance within your organization. If you would like to learn more about HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance or further discuss how RMS Healthcare can help you, contact our Senior Director, Healthcare Operations and Compliance, Susan Maxsween at SusanM@RMSresults.com or by calling (315) 635-9802.

Source: IDExperts: 12-Step Program for Data Breach Response


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