Over the past few years, Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) has cultivated and continually managed an internal research panel consisting of thousands of consumers.  The research panel has proven to be a cost-effective asset available to our clients. Having the panel at our disposal, we have the flexibility to recruit from a highly engaged audience at a fraction of the cost of a sample house. Since engagement with panel members is crucial, RMS recently implemented a survey to determine the incentive preferences of our panel members, and their likelihood to respond to a survey with a given incentive.

Thought Bubble

Here are 6 key takeaways we found:

  1. When asked how often they prefer to receive survey opportunities, a majority of respondents (73%) suggested they would like to receive survey invitations whenever they are available. Why this is great information to know: This means there is minimal risk of overwhelming the ViewPoint Panel members with too many survey invitations.
  1. The maximum amount of time our panelists are willing to spend completing a survey varies, with nearly a third of respondents willing to spend between 3 and 15 minutes or more per survey. Why this is great information to know: Industry standards point to shorter being better when it comes to survey length. However, our panel members have indicated a willingness to take longer than average surveys. Although they may be willing to participate, there is always a concern regarding burn-out with lengthier surveys, so we will still err on the side of caution with this one and avoid long surveys where possible.
  1. When asked how likely they would be to complete an online survey for certain incentives, a majority of respondents (78%) are likely to respond for a chance to win a $100 gift card. Interestingly, nearly the same number of respondents (68%) are likely to respond to a survey with a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Why this is great information to know:  This shows that our panel members are slightly more willing to respond to a survey with a chance to win a raffle for a larger honorarium, although offering multiple smaller incentives is still a good option. The benefit of offering multiple smaller prizes is that it leaves a positive participation experience on more individuals.
  1. When asked to indicate how they prefer to be rewarded for participating in research, the bulk of respondents prefer to receive money (76%) or an Amazon gift card (71%) as an incentive, and nearly half of respondents (40%) are not likely to use a code for a free movie from Redbox. Why this is great information to know: The use of Redbox codes is an affordable option which has allowed companies to reward many respondents for their participation. However, there is only value in rewarding many participants if it is an incentive that they feel is appropriate for the task. This finding tells us that for most of our research, offering Redbox codes is not the optimal choice, but cash or Amazon gift card incentives are viable options.
  1. If respondents had to pick a favorite incentive, most prefer money (60%), with Amazon gift cards taking a distant second as the number one preference (25%). Why this is great information to know: Although Amazon gift cards hold value for our panelists, cash should be offered when possible, as it resonates with the majority.
  1. When asked if they participate in any other research panels, 74% indicated that they do not. Why this is great information to know: Members of the RMS ViewPoint Research Panel are our neighbors, friends, family members, and community members. The members of our panel are real consumers, like you, instead of professional survey takers that can be found in larger research panels. Through our rigorous recruitment and quality assurance processes, we are able to ensure a higher level of quality for the data that result from surveys taken by our panel.

If you would like to learn more about using the RMS ViewPoint Research Panel for your next market research project, please contact Sandy Baker, Sr. Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

Interested in learning more about joining the panel? The thoughts and opinions provided will directly influence the decisions of local, regional, and global businesses! Signing up is quick and easy at: http://www.RMSresults.com/ViewPoint

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empty classroom

This blog post provides an updated look on a previous blog post stating how market research can help address higher education enrollment challenges. Institutions are still trudging through slower growth in enrollment than they have experienced in the past. As projected in the previous blog post, the National Center for Education Statistics has again reported the number of high school graduates to be on the decline, with 24 states and the District of Columbia expected to produce five percent or more fewer graduates in 2022-23 than in 2009-10. The Northeast can again expect the sharpest decline, where high schools are projected to produce 10% fewer graduates by 2023.

Fewer high school graduates directly influences the dip in projected enrollment in postsecondary institutions. While overall enrollment is projected to increase by 2022, the percent increase is projected to drop dramatically, from a 45% increase between 1997-2011 to a 14% increase between 2011-2022. Through conversations with clients and colleagues, it’s clear that institutions are aware that actionable insights will be needed to tread the waters. While the approach will vary across institutions, we’ve included some recommendations below for consideration in tackling enrollment challenges.

  1. Tap into Uncharted Territory

Through the projects that we’ve completed for higher education clients, RMS has seen online learning continue to gain in popularity among students and institutions alike. As mentioned in a recent blog post, online learning platforms are expected to become more customizable, providing immediate feedback on performance and tutoring, and ultimately leading to faster degree completion and enhanced academic relationships with professors. This has led to a surge in institutions demonstrating an interest in finding ways to upgrade or offer online educational options.  A survey, in-depth interviews, or focus groups with current and prospective students are valuable tools to find out if online academic offerings is an uncharted territory worth pursuing.

  1. Understand and Recruit from the Changing Demographic Pool

The traditional college student is a shrinking demographic. Institutions saw a 49% increase in enrolled students between 18 and 24 years old from 1997-2011, but that increase is projected to decline to 9% from 2011-2022. In fact, post-secondary students 35 years or older are expected to command the largest enrollment increase during the same time frame (23%), while a 20% increase in enrollment of those between 25 and 34 years old is anticipated. This continual shift in demographics among college students is a trend that will force institutions to re-tool their marketing and recruiting efforts. Adult learners will require different student services and financial needs than their younger counterparts. Commitments outside of the classroom will also vary. There are many paths that institutions may take to determine the appropriate strategy for reaching these populations. It will be important to gauge interest in the college’s current suite of academic offerings, figure out if there are programs you should be offering to capitalize on untapped adult student populations, and match that with the labor market demand for those occupations to drive marketing efforts.  Program feasibility studies  will become vital components of an institution’s effort to answer these questions. Student services and financial needs can be measured through focus groups, surveys, or through a competitive analysis of the institution’s top competitors.

  1. Revitalize Retention Efforts

Retention is critical to higher education institutions, and for good reason. Retention is influenced by initial college impressions such as admissions procedures and policies, but includes many post-admission factors such as academic advising, financial aid, student activities, and residence services. There are several ways to determine which factors are weighing most heavily on retention.  An institution can pinpoint their areas of opportunity by measuring current student satisfaction and comparing it to data gathered from individuals who inquired about the institution but did not apply or enroll. This will reveal where current students feel the college may be falling short and allow the institution to make improvements in an effort to reduce the likelihood of the student body seeking other academic options. It will allow the college to identify gaps in current processes or services that is leading to missed opportunity at the initial admissions phase. Focus groups, satisfaction surveys, and student services assessments are great options to answer these questions.

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.

The following blog post was written by Heather Banks, a Healthcare Transformation Coordinator at RMS.

benefits of becoming a PCMH

The marketplace recognizes the potential for return on investment in the medical home through realization of improved quality of care and reduced healthcare expenses. Data has shown that Patient-Centered Medial Homes (PCMH) improves health outcomes, enhances patient experience of care, and reduces expensive unnecessary hospital and Emergency Department care.1

Major insurers are driving the primary care transformation payments for patient-centered services nationwide in order to increase access to care, control costs, improve patient satisfaction, and improve the health of United States citizens. Payments to providers will be based on the value of services provided, which means getting away from old formulas that were heavily weighted to episodic care. It is evident that being a PCMH will position practices very well for any future incentives.

Practices which pursue and achieve PCMH Recognition also help primary care practices achieve the Triple Aim goals, which are:

  • To improve the experience of care
  • To improve the health of populations
  • To reduce per capita costs of health care

A medical home can achieve these goals by adopting new technologies, care delivery methods, and relationships with patients and their families.Practices that achieve PCMH recognition from NCQA position themselves for long-term success by focusing on:

  • Optimizing patient flow and the team approach to care
  • Incorporating information technology appropriately
  • Implementation of evidence-based care guidelines and continual measurement to improve quality of care
  • Measuring patient experience and satisfaction

Attaining PCMH recognition from NCQA is a source of pride for medical practices, but the real value lies in what the designation means to patients. Those receiving care from a recognized PCMH get:

  • Comprehensive, well-coordinated care
  • Ease in making appointments and short waiting times to see a physician
  • Personal relationships with their healthcare team
  • Electronically stored medical information for instant access by care givers
  • Close monitoring of their chronic conditions; follow-up is frequent and self-management is taught and supported
  • Convenient access to their test results, prescription refills, and appointment requests
  • A smooth and immediate referrals process for specialists

A PCMH practice drives and impacts the delivery of well orchestrated, quality driven, and coordinated patient care in 3 stages:

Higher Quality Patient Care

PCMH practices are the centralized focus of patient care. Primary Care and Specialty Care management are integral to providing quality driven, patient centered care. Communication and team work are essential to ensure that patient care in the practice is operating efficiently. When striving for patient centered care, the development of a well integrated set of standards for monitoring compliance is most important.

As of April 2015, more than 9,000 practices have been recognized as PCMH. If you would like to join the ranks of these NCQA Recognized Patient Centered Medical Homes, RMS Healthcare can help you transform your practice, allowing you to take advantage of current and future financial incentives

RMS Healthcare, a division of Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) has over 50 years of collective and proven experience in providing consulting services to meet the specific needs of our clients. Regardless of your healthcare research or practice transformation needs, RMS Healthcare can help.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact Susan Maxsween, Senior Director, Healthcare Operations and Compliance SusanM@rmsresults.com or at 1-866-567-5422.


Banking User Experience

Over the past decade, the frequency of online banking usage has grown. A study conducted by Pew Research in 2013 found that 51% of US adults bank online.  Additionally, a 2014 study by the Federal Reserve found that 51% of smart phone owners have used mobile banking in the past 12 months. Customers have come to expect online and mobile banking solutions from their institution.  Simply offering online and mobile banking solutions is not enough; there is a growing expectation for the applications to be intuitive and allow the user to have a top-notch experience.

The user experience with online banking channels is becoming a vital factor in the customer process for choosing a primary financial institution. The banking user experience should be frustration-free, with a design that doesn’t require significant thought or training. Online banking solutions should allow customers to quickly learn how to interact with the solution and accomplish their task. According to a Novantas study, nearly half (43%) of users who use digital banking channels log into the mobile application and online banking portal at least weekly. For optimal customer satisfaction, it will be important for banking institutions to provide a seamless and consistent experience, in addition to delivering a good user experience for online channels.

While most people connect to their bank’s online portal to simply view their current balance or transfer money between accounts, many individuals also expect more features to be available.  This is quickly becoming the norm as institutions innovate and offer new features such as remote check deposit, viewing their budgets, having automated financial advice, and being able to quickly transfer money to other individuals. Being able to accomplish all of your banking tasks with an online or mobile application is a growing part of the user experience.

The usage and importance of these banking channels is anticipated to expand, along with elevated expectations for a satisfactory user experience. It’s increasingly important for financial institutions to understand how their users interact with these channels and learn more about their preferences, frustrations, and satisfactions with the current offerings. Market research can be used to address these issues and provide valuable insight to the operations team at your financial institution. Here are a few examples of banking experience studies that Research & Marketing Strategies has conducted for clients:

  1. Satisfaction & Usage Studies – An all-encompassing satisfaction and usage survey will help your institution understand how customers are interacting with your banking channels, determine their usage preferences, and provide satisfaction data regarding these channels. Conducting a quantitative study of this caliber will allow you to understand your institution’s customers and guide strategic planning.
  2. Usability Testing Studies – Conducting a study to interview users as they utilize your website or application is a great way to understand user experience from a typical customer’s perspective.  The customer will walk through the website and application, and vocalize their experiences.  This is a great way to identify potential frustrations and opportunities for improvement to the digital customer experience.   This “in-the-moment” methodology will provide the vision needed to deliver an enjoyable user experience for your customers.
  3. Follow Up Experience Surveys Follow-up surveys are something we employ for a variety of projects and industries.  Contacting users either online or through telephone  shortly after they interact with a channel, or have an experience with your business is a great way to obtain fresh, top-of-mind feedback.  In banking, this is a good opportunity to monitor customer satisfaction and identify potential issues.

If you have questions about Banking User Experience research or would like to learn more about our banking research services, please contact Sandy Baker, Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

The education industry has faced its fair share of hurtles since the economic downturn. It’s clear that a prosperous economy requires an improved educational system (among other things), but the kinks in the rope have yet to be worked out to figure out exactly how to achieve improvement. Thoughts differ on how to achieve a more efficient education pipeline, but several themes remain consistent front-runners for trends to monitor across the educational space this year as we begin the second quarter of 2015. Some of these trends were not a surprise to our team, but some were certainly eye opening.

A bit dramatic, but you get the point.

A bit dramatic, but you get the point.

  • Tuition and financial aid are expected to increase, and more institutions are projected to fall short of revenue and enrollment targets.1 As institutions continue to see their typical funding sources dwindle, many are relying more on grant awards and alternative revenue. This will lead sponsoring organizations to require information not only on the impact of the award, but also an implementation plan for continuous measurement and analysis of data to optimize the education industry and positively influence the economy.2 The funding gap in education has been well publicized, but solutions have been more scarce. We anticipate that institutions will dedicate more resources to alumni relations and grant writing to bridge the gap once internal budgets have been optimized.
  • Colleges realize the need to demonstrate value to prospective students, so more institutions will be investigating how they can best provide quality education and services which add value to students.1 This will likely not come as a surprise to our colleagues in the higher education industry. Students have been showing increased interest in the value of a college education over the last several years. Obtaining student feedback will be vital to jumping this hurtle.
  • Academic technology and use of analytics is projected to increase at higher education institutions. It will become more commonplace for college’s to gather and use data on student learning and behaviors.1 The focus will need to be on metrics that predict success and are early indicators for areas of improvement, rather than graduation rates and persistent rates, which give us information after it is too late to impact a student’s collegiate experience. To make this venture successful, professors and administrative professionals should be part of the planning process when data collection and reporting tools are being developed.2 While some institutions will have staff in place to handle this influx of data, others may benefit from seeking a qualified vendor to assist in the compilation and analysis to determine next steps.
  • Online learning will continue to gain in popularity and robustness. Platforms are expected to become more customizable, providing immediate feedback on performance and tutoring, and ultimately leading to faster degree completion and enhanced academic relationships with professors. As students are becoming increasingly savvy with technology, institutions will need to find ways to upgrade or offer high tech educational options.This is certainly not a new concept, although it continues to evolve over the years. Since the emergence of MOOCs, we’ve seen a boom in online educational offerings. Although their effectiveness is often debated, it’s clear that online learning as a concept is growing in demand.
  • Acceptance of nontraditional credits, such as “industry-based certifications, credit exams, live demonstrations, etc.” from working professionals who switch careers is expected to become increasingly popular. This will allow the workforce to be recognized for their current knowledge when entering an academic program for a new career.1 This trend caught us off guard. It’s a very interesting concept, and we’re excited to hear if this is gaining in popularity within the industry.
  • The demographic of first-generation college students is evolving. Many are no longer “American-born students from working class families,” but are more likely to come from all corners of the world who graduated high school in the United States. Having completed secondary school stateside will make them appear like a domestic applicant, but they’ll have different financial and service needs.1 It’s not uncommon to see more institutions recruiting a larger number of international students. The U.S. has seen an 85% increase in the number of foreign students since 2005. What’s interesting is the shift – first-generation college students who grew up in another part of the world, but relocated to the United States to complete high school and attend college. Institutions will need to determine the financial aid and student service needs of this population to stay ahead of the evolving trend.
  • The traditional post-secondary student demographic is also shifting. The number of mid-career professionals and baby boomers attending college is on the rise, which will require institutions to revisit their suite of academic offerings and ensure the evolving needs of the student are being met (such as desired schedule, learning format, and program structure).1 Program feasibility studies and revisiting strategic plans will become vital components of an institution’s effort to meet changing needs.
  • More states are requiring institutions to give college credit to veterans for their service to our country. There has also been a shift in policies which requires all public universities in the United States to allow military personnel to receive in-state tuition for use of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit, regardless of residency restrictions as part of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.3 This is a recent alteration in tuition expectations, so it will important for institutions to monitor and assess the impact of the Act on their bottom line.

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.


1. Higher ed thought leaders forecast 2015 trends. (2015, January 1). http://www.universitybusiness.com/article/higher-ed-thought-leaders-forecast-2015-trends

2. Phillips, B. (2014, December 19). Top 10 Education Trends to Watch in 2015 and Beyond. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brad-c-phillips/top-10-education-trends-t_b_6345056.html

3. All public colleges will soon offer veterans in-state tuition. (2015, March 9). http://college.usatoday.com/2015/03/09/all-public-colleges-will-soon-offer-veterans-in-state-tuition/

The following blog post was written by Karen Joncas, a Healthcare Transformation Coordinator at RMS.

RMS Healthcare is a leader in healthcare transformation services, and has assisted over 200 practices in their journey to Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition.  Primary care practices that have patients enrolled in a Medicaid or Managed Medicaid insurance program will benefit from the recent New York State implementation delay for the revised incentive plans for NCQA recognized primary care practices. Effective January 1, 2016, the New York State Medicaid Program is changing the Patient-Centered Medical Home Statewide Program Incentive payments for providers recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) under the PCMH 2011 recognition standards. The new policy applies to both Medicaid Managed Care and Fee-for-Service (FFS).    Payments will be reduced for those practices with level 2 or 3 recognition under the 2011 standards, and will be significantly increased for those practices recognized under PCMH 2014. The revised policy and delayed implementation date is designed to incentivize New York State healthcare providers to seek recognition under the more robust standards of the PCMH 2014 program. Ultimately, the Medicaid Redesign Team and State Health Innovation Plan hope to improve care, reduce per capita cost, and improve population health. As a result, all incentive payments for providers recognized through PPC-PCMH program (2008 standards) will be eliminated effective April 1, 2015. Physician practices from other states should check with their state Medicaid departments for rules applying to local incentive payments.

To review the schedule and details of the Patient-Centered Medical Home Statewide Program Incentive Payment contained within the March 2015 New York State Department of Health Medicaid Update, click here.

RMS Healthcare can help your practice attain a higher level of recognition or recognition under the PCMH 2014 program in order to maximize your state incentive payments.  For more information, please contact Susan Maxsween, Director of Healthcare and Practice Transformation at 1-866-567-5422 or e-mail her at SusanM@rmsresults.com.

The terms “market research” and “marketing research” are so commonly used interchangeably that it often leaves people wondering about the difference between the two. Is there really a difference? Absolutely. Qualtrics summed it up perfectly on their blog: “market research is a subset of marketing research.” While marketing in general often revolves around products, pricing, places, and promotions; marketing research can encompass all four measures, but market research tends to focus on “places.” Market researchers are often tasked with identifying market or segment demand of something – be it a product, promotion, or other consumer-centric commodity. This is typically the initial phase of the research, which will inform the marketing research that is implemented during the later phase of a project.

Put even more simply, market research typically includes research activities relating to markets, while marketing research involves research tasks related to marketing. Below are some examples of market research projects and marketing research projects.

To understand the flow of market research to marketing research, consider this example. Client A is interested in conducting a market demand survey (market research) to determine whether the target audience of the commodity demonstrates enough interest to move forward to the product production phase. An online survey of the target audience reveals overwhelming interest in the commodity, so Client A moves forward with production. Several months later Client A returns, and wants to test several versions of the advertising that was developed for the commodity (marketing research). Focus groups comprised of individuals in the target market suggest that the current advertising may not be appropriate for the audience, so Client A goes back to the drawing board. A month later, Client A returns with a refined advertising portfolio, and an online survey suggests that the creative is effective in engaging the target market. Success! Clearly, this is a “perfect world” example, where all clients participate in both market research and marketing research as part of their strategy, but it provides a great example of the theoretical line of action between the two types of research.

Being the inquisitive type, I was not thinking solely about what is “right” in terms of terminology use for the two types of research, but what is most popular. This led me to stumble on a blog post that noted the difference in keyword popularity on Google for “market research” and “marketing research.” The blog post is somewhat outdated in today’s digital age, so I went to Google to mirror the search. Although market research is deemed a subset of marketing research, it appears that the former is used much more frequently. The term “market research” produced about 62,400,000 results, while “marketing research” resulted in 11,000,000. Logically, this could mean many things. It could be a signal that perhaps organizations are implementing market research but not marketing research (either because they did not proceed with the product/concept, or they simply did not conduct marketing research). Or it could mean that individuals are using the terms interchangeably. As a researcher, I’m rooting for the latter!

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our 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.


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