In the world of market research, new approaches and strategies are being developed rapidly. One of the ways we like to stay smart on industry trends is by reviewing the GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report. Below are a few tidbits from the Q3 and Q4 report, which we found particularly insightful.

Mobile Surveys Are The New Normal

Not surprisingly, many suppliers and buyers of research reported that mobile surveys were the most commonly used approach in 2016. In a world where many of us have one item that’s always in reach (our phone) asking questions through this widely used medium makes sense. Other top research approaches mentioned in the report were online communities, social media analytics, text analytics, and mobile qualitative. The least used research approaches were wearable based research, sensor/usage/telemetry data, and biometric response. Notice that all of the techniques named above are heavily influenced by technology, which points to where the industry is heading. We also found it interesting that the least used techniques are more attuned to new technology, which could point to an increase in use as new technology progresses and becomes mainstream.

Game Changers

To be better and faster is a motto to many industries, including market research. When suppliers and buyers of research were asked what the game changers in the industry were, they mentioned big data, automation, and storytelling. Big data analytics, previously seen as a daunting task to tackle by clients, has been retooled and simplified by researchers by defining what data has been collected and presenting it in a straightforward and digestible manner.  In order to be competitive, automation helps researchers streamline and accelerate projects. Automation is typically used to make repetitive or tedious tasks quicker, such as the distribution of online surveys or the creation of a simple report through computer programming.  Lastly, after data has been collected, researchers can utilize storytelling to make the results easy for clients to interpret. Storytelling is going deeper with the data – such as the difference between giving someone a map or turn-by-turn directions. Without guidance (such as that gained through storytelling), a reader can get lost in the results or find that the results lack meaning.

Top Research Approaches

Many researchers believe the key to quality data is creating a satisfactory user experience, making it critical to understand what modalities researchers plan to use in 2017. The top three approaches that are projected to increase in use are integrated data sets, social media data, and primary research. Integrated data sets are created by leveraging data from multiple sources and combining it with primary research, providing the researcher with a multipoint view. Since many organizations communicate with stakeholders via social media, researchers have the opportunity to utilize social media data (where applicable and depending on the project) gained from analyzing performance on social platforms. Lastly, primary research, where researchers conduct a study and collect data, is expected to be widely used in 2017 as it has been in years prior.

Where To Get Insight

Buyers and suppliers of market research predict an increase in spending in 2017, making it important for market research professionals to stay up to date on the latest industry trends throughout the year. When asked where respondents currently gain industry insight, top responses were seminars/conferences, webinars/virtual events, and industry websites. The GRIT report also noted that researchers are embracing the importance of learning new skills. During 2017, researchers interested in enhancing their skill set will likely gravitate towards training programs which will teach them to find the story in the data, augment data visualization skills, and/or learn to align business needs to research methods.

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.

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

Background: A national retailer recently partnered with Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct consumer usage research. The client wanted to better understand consumer perceptions, receipt, use, and sales drivers of circular advertising. The market research objective was to provide decision-making insights needed to determine usage, as well as whether circular advertisement preferences vary by market.

Approach: To identify consumer usage and preferences regarding the store’s circular advertisement, the RMS Analytic team developed an online survey consisting of approximately 20 questions. The RMS Analytic team administered the online survey to the in-house research panel, RMS ViewPoint. Only panel members who matched the screening criteria and geography of interest were invited to participate. Fieldwork lasted approximately one week. Following the data collection and analysis period, a comprehensive report was delivered to the client, which included a visual dashboard of the findings, as well as next steps and recommendations.

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

  • Within the PMA, a majority of respondents choose where to shop based on the proximity to their home.
  • Survey respondents indicated that the client was the most preferred retailer among their competitors.
  • When respondents think about the retailer, they think “convenient” and “clean.”
  • Respondents primarily learn about sales through printed circular advertisements, and they look at them weekly.
  • Survey respondents prefer holiday versions of the circular advertisements for Christmas/Hanukkah/Ramadan/Kwanza, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Thanksgiving.
  • Results pinpointed the sections of the advertisement which have the most impact on a respondent’s decision to shop with the retailer.
  • A large majority of respondents would still shop with the retailer if the circular advertisement were no longer offered in print. They would be comfortable reviewing the circular via email, in-store, or on the retailer’s website.
  • Areas of opportunity where the retailer can improve the circular advertisement were identified, informing the next evolution of the circular.

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.



With patient-centered healthcare on the rise, CAHPS® surveys are more prevalent now than ever before. Being such an essential aspect of your organization’s success, how do you go about deciding which CMS-approved CAHPS vendor to partner with for your surveying? If you’re in the position of participating in any of the CAHPS surveys, here are some factors you should look for in a prospective vendor:

Partnership – Whether it’s your first time conducting CAHPS surveys or the tenth time, a prospective vendor should be willing and able to walk you through the process in its entirety. It’s important to feel confident and prepared in how the surveying works and what your organization can expect from the beginning of the engagement all the way through to the final survey reporting. A vendor worth choosing will be readily available to answer your questions.

Transparency – It’s important that a vendor is very clear and honest about their capabilities since your scores will be publicly reported. Providing references for a prospective client is a good show of their reputation amongst current clients. Vendors willing to provide this information really do want you to call and hear actual testimonies from happy CAHPS clients.

High Response Rates – Proven high response rates are what vendors, as well as organizations, strive for. Be sure the prospective vendor can provide statistically sound response rates for each modality.

Pricing – While pricing is a huge factor in selecting a vendor, be sure to compare past the initial number. Low price isn’t necessarily bad just like a high price isn’t necessarily good – take the time to look into what is included in that price, such as set-up cost, languages, and reporting.

Reporting Capabilities –Trained analysts who will prepare and submit your data accurately and promptly is more than a cherry on top when participating in surveying. Ask for a sample report to understand what you can expect.

Consulting/Analyzing the Data – Do you ever wonder what you’re supposed to do with the data your vendor collected? Be sure that they offer you recommendations and strategies for improvements across the board.

On-site Offerings – There’s a comfort in knowing that the vendor you’re partnering with has quality control over the surveying. Look for a vendor with some internal control, such as a call center. On-site call centers with live-dialing can help increase telephone-mode responses.

Multiple Survey Mode Capabilities – Choosing a survey modality is crucial. A good survey vendor will offer all CMS-approved modes for you to choose from. Though they will offer suggestions, it’s up to you to choose what works best for your patients and your pocket.

Portal Access – Seek out a vendor who can offer you real-time, interactive access to your data at any time. Continually follow how your organization is doing by tracking your patient’s responses question-by-question. Online portals should also allow you to compare your organization to the nationwide CAHPS data.

Dedicated CAHPS Team – Chances are the initial person you speak with won’t be the one handling your surveying. Be sure the prospective vendor has a team solely dedicated to your CAHPS surveying.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a full service marketing and market research and consulting firm located in Baldwinsville, NY. As an approved CAHPS Vendor, the team is responsible for several aspects of the CAHPS Survey Administrations including the following product lines: ACO CAHPS®, ED CAHPS®, CG CAHPS®, HCAHPS®, HHCAHPS®, Hospice CAHPS®, ICH CAHPS®, PQRS CAHPS® and OAS CAHPS®. To learn more about our healthcare services, contact Christine Benn at ChristineB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at RMSresults.com.


The following post was written by Tal Gordon, Intern at RMS.

The market research industry is flooded with an abundance of phrases and lingo that is commonly used between businesses, employers, and clients. The use of acronyms in particular has gained in popularity, thanks largely due to the prevalence of social media usage, but also in an effort to become more efficient. We have put together a brief list of market research acronyms to provide more insight into the most commonly used terms.

NPS – Net Promoter Score

The NPS measures consumer loyalty pertaining to a particular product or service.  The range for a NPS can be between -100 to +100. NPS is frequently used as a benchmark to compare an organization’s performance to competitors or an industry as a whole.

VOC – Voice of the Customer

VOC is a frequently used term to describe a research process which determines the customer’s needs, desires and preferences. Popularity in VOC research has grown exponentially recently, as organizations learn the value of research in shaping the successful delivery of a product or service that fits the customer’s requirements.

CX – Customer Experience

CX research helps identify the perceptions that customers have regarding the purchase cycle of the product/service sold by a business. Understanding the needs of the customer through CX research is vital to improving delivery of services and ultimately increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

B2B – Business to Business

B2B is a term used to describe the transactional process one business has with another business.  This is different than business to consumer (B2C) relationships, where a business is selling a good or service that is targeted at consumers rather than business entities.

IDI – In-Depth Interview

The term IDI is used when referring to research interviews conducted to garner in-depth perceptions on a certain idea, situation, or set of circumstances. In-depth interviews are another facet in a market researcher’s arsenal to further gather detailed qualitative data from the consumers.

CATI – Computer-Assisted Telephone Interview

CATI research is a survey method where the telephone interviewer follows a pre-determined script verbatim when collecting data. This technique provides a more structured interview to aid the interviewer, while also maintaining consistency in data collection.

UX – User Experience

UX is referred to when describing the customer’s experience while utilizing a particular product or service. UX research focuses on improving usability, accessibility, as well as enhancing the overall user experience.

MRX – Market Research Exchange

Market Research Exchange is a social media hashtag (#MRX) used by organizations or individuals interested in participating in online discussions related to marketing research, or organizations promoting market research opportunities.

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.


According to a recent poll of Central New Yorkers conducted by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) ViewPoint, 24% of individuals purchase 10 to 12 gifts this holiday season, with 21% purchasing for 7 to 9 people, and 19% for both 4 to 6 and more than 15 people. When it comes to starting their holiday shopping, many (32%) stated that they start up to 3 months beforehand, while 25% start less than a month before and 16% start shopping on Black Friday. Nearly half (48%) of participants took on the Black Friday crowds this season, and of those who shop on Black Friday, only 38% will arrive before the store opens.

When we asked respondents to indicate who the hardest person to shop for is, many females said it was their boyfriend/husband (30%), with fathers coming in second (18%). The males responded similarly with close to half (41%) saying their girlfriend/wife, and mothers coming in second (19%) as the hardest to buy for during the holiday season.

As much as we don’t like admitting it, some gifts are just not your style, you couldn’t see yourself using it, or you just don’t want it (putting it nicely). When we asked respondents if they have ever re-gifted a present during the holiday season, more than half (51%) confirmed that they have.

Respondents indicated that on average, they spend approximately $945 during the holiday season. More than half (57%) of respondents stated that they do a majority of their holiday shopping online, and 39% shop at shopping malls/general stand alone stores. Of those who shop online, 90% plan to shop on Amazon.com this holiday season, while 75% will shop on retail websites such as Walmart.com, Target.com, and jcpenney.com. Others (24%) indicated that they will shop at discount online sites such as Overstock.com, Wayfair.com, Jet.com, and Zulily.com. All of that holiday shopping takes some time, about 6 to 10 hours on average (29%).

Survey results also indicated that many people plan to stay local for the holidays. About three fourths of respondents (72%) do not plan to travel out of town this holiday season. Of those traveling, the average distance they will journey is 913 miles.

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 http://www.RMSresults.com. Happy Holidays!

Smiling girl in black and conveyor belt sketch

When it comes to focus groups, it’s crucial to recruit the right participants. Typically a focus group includes a small number of people, often between 8 to 12 participants, plus a moderator that helps guide the discussion. The moderator’s goal is to get participants to answer the pre-defined questions in the moderator’s guide, but also to get the respondents engaged with each other in order to facilitate an in-depth discussion on the topic at hand.

So how do you get the right people for the job?

Define the Purpose of the Focus Group – Before you start recruiting members for your focus group, you’ll need to clearly identify the goal of the discussion, which will influence the information gathered. Once you have narrowed down the topics and discussion questions, you’ll have a better understanding of who is best qualified to participate in your focus group. For example, if the goal of the focus group is to test a new product, you will want to identify participants who have used similar products or are interested in similar products.

Screen Participants – Prospective focus group participants are often pre-screened to ensure the selected individuals meet the client’s qualifications. For example, they may have a similar understanding of the product or services being discussed, or they may have different experiences/perspectives that the client wishes to learn more about. With a focus group you want a member that is either a current, lapsed, or prospective user of the product or service under investigation. This will allow the participant to have more knowledge and understanding when participating in the discussion, and will lead to higher quality data.

There are many ways to recruit participants for focus groups, but we have found success in boosting posts on social media. This allows you to reach out to members in a specific region with similar interests, often at a lower cost than other recruitment strategies. Another recruitment strategy is using a customer list, and is likely the most cost-effective solution if the information is available. Customer lists often have current customers as well as leads, which allows you to recruit focus group participants who are already interested in your product and can provide greater insight than those without a demonstrated interest or experience. Recently we have also noticed an uptick in interest in creating a custom research panel. Some companies are creating their own research panel by recruiting current and prospective users who opt-in to provide ongoing feedback. Members are pre-screened and vetted for research projects as they arise. Having an established research panel allows your company to have consumers “at the ready” for any research ventures you plan to conduct, ultimately lowering the cost of future research by gathering participants in a short amount of time. Research panels are also great for companies planning to conduct multiple research studies.

Pick the Right Location – When deciding on a location to hold the focus group, we recommend looking for a facility that is equipped to host focus groups (such as the RMS focus group facility). Focus group facilities are often equipped with digital video and audio equipment needed to record the discussion. This is necessary if the discussion needs to be transcribed, and is a major benefit when it comes to analysis of the data. Another benefit is the presence of a two-way mirror. The mirror allows those on the other side to see into the discussion room, although the participants cannot see beyond the mirror. We find that clients often like to have the option to witness the discussion, and have the opportunity to direct the moderator regarding questions that may arise during the focus group. In instances where a focus group facility is not available, RMS has also coordinated with local hotels and convention centers to coordinate the technical and logistical details of the focus group. Depending on the type of research you’re conducting, it may be important to host the focus group(s) close to those who plan to participate in the discussion. For example, if the study is gathering information on a regional product or service it would be beneficial to conduct the focus group in the sales region in order to connect with members of that community.

Offer an Incentive – It is very hard to get people to volunteer their time to participate without incentives. Incentives can range from offering them to keep or try out the product or service, to cash reimbursement for their time, or a mix of both. We often base the amount of a cash incentive on how long you plan the discussion to take, and also what amount we feel is needed keep the participants engaged and motivated. On average the incentives range from $50 – $300. As an example, we have provided $50 incentives to college students providing feedback on their experience at the institution they attend, while we have given physician’s $300 for a lengthier focus group discussion. The $50 for a short amount of time was enough to keep the college students engaged, while the $300 was necessary to recruit and engage the physicians due to their higher income and more demanding schedules.

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 http://www.RMSresults.com.

The following post was written by Mark Dengler, President at RMS.

In the market research world, the voice of the customer (VoC) is key to understanding and managing customer experiences as well as enhancing product/service design. You should always be listening to your customers and what they are saying, whether it be directly to your organization’s staff, indirectly through consumer review websites, or social media. The vast majority of all companies primarily compete based upon customer experience. Therefore, listening to your customers is vital to a company’s long term growth and success. Customer interests, wants and needs are constantly changing. By doing VoC research, your organization can stay abreast of ever changing customer preferences. Unfortunately, actual customer feedback data is used only a small percentage of times when making a decision that affects them. As a recent article I read stated, “If you don’t understand customer market perceptions or how interactions with your firm are being experienced by your customers, it’s nearly impossible to regularly meet, much less exceed, customer expectations or to improve your organization’s performance (Michael Hinshaw, CEO, McorpCX).” And that really is what we’re all looking for—long-term customer relationships earned by exceeding their expectations.

Findings obtained from VoC work will keep your organization competitive, driving product/service enhancements. Actual VoC work should incorporate both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. It should be ongoing, and results should be thoroughly reviewed by management staff. The information obtained should capture information tied to identifying customer needs, expectations, loyalty, and usage intentions. Moreover, it allows for organizations to develop customized marketing strategies that can be used in targeted campaigns. We now live in an age of one-to-one marketing versus one-to-many marketing strategies (one size fits all). It is important to note that VoC is not customer satisfaction research. VoC focuses on learning and assessing customer expectations, whereas customer satisfaction aims at measuring customer experience. Both activities are vitally important and provide organizations with valuable information. Finally, be sure to look at all sources available to “listen to your customer.” This includes regular debriefs with the sales force team, the customer service department and/or anyone else along your distribution chain who has a direct touch point with the customer. With the rapid growth of social media, customer feedback should be regularly monitored. In today’s fast paced marketplace, “hearing voices” is often a very good trait, particularly when it’s your customers’ voices. Listening to and acting upon these voices is what is ultimately going to help set your company apart from its competition. The need to implement a VoC strategy is vital for your organization’s long term success.

RMS is a full-service market research firm. 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 RMSresults.com.

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