Archive for the ‘Business Books’ Category

As Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) was travelling to both Chicago and Los Angeles for focus group sessions and in-depth interviews (IDIs), one book I was reading while on my flights was written by Naomi Henderson titled Secrets of a Master Moderator. To view more information on this book or purchase it click here. The book covered several themes on focus group moderation including tips, trends, methods and best practices. I thought it was concise and well put together. One section toward the end of the book covered the skills needed to be a good in-depth interviewer (IDI) for qualitative market research.

Skills of a Market Research Interviewer

Here are the eight skills referenced by Henderson to be a good in-depth interviewer and my take on a few:

  1. Good interviewing skills (listening without judging, asking clear questions, etc.) Notes: This is a critical skill in both in-depth interviews and focus group moderating. Listening skills cannot be underestimated because if you don’t actively listen to respondents, you won’t be able to probe on the second, third and fourth levels. Listening skills and remembering their responses builds rapport and encourages the respondent to offer more detailed feedback because they know the interviewer or moderator is listening.
  2. Right mix of intelligence and common sense Notes: True for most jobs beyond market research.
  3. Good voice tone, pacing, pitch and volume Notes: This is often overlooked but it’s a key reason that differentiates the good moderators and interviewers from the bad ones. I’ve seen moderators and interviewers who read directly from their guide and sound robotic, which discourages the group, and I’ve also seen moderators and interviewers who are so lively and upbeat that it turns some of the group participants off. I am not particularly fond of either. Somewhere in the middle might be your best bet.
  4. Appropriate combination of critical reasoning skills and imaginative thinking skills Notes: Moderators and interviewers know the objectives of their client beforehand, so if participants are not giving them the in-depth feedback to address those objectives, you often have to think on your feet and get creative to get better responses.
  5. Eye for detail and the ability to hold the big picture at the same time
  6. Ability to stay genuinely interested (as a person) and completely detached (as a researcher) Notes: I think this was Henderson’s best recommended skill. This is true as both a moderator and an interviewer. You have to be genuinely interested in the discussion and actively listen to ensure the participant feels comfortable and grows trust that they can be forthright in their opinion. Yet, you cannot bias the research through your demeanor. You may build a great rapport with a participant right off the bat, but you need to stick to objectivity. Challenge their thoughts, probe for specifics and remain a researcher throughout the process.
  7. Appropriate blend of empathy and neutrality in word and deed
  8. Able to think analytically and live without a sense of closure

What skills are needed to be a good data analyst? Click here to find out.

RMS is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. We specialize in both quantitative and qualitative research for our clients in all industries. The RMS research team conducts countless in-depth interviews (IDIs) with consumers and high-level business decision makers on a monthly basis. If you are interested in using RMS as your market research vendor for qualitative work, contact Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling (315) 635-9802.

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Traditional market research (think surveys, focus groups) often gets a bad rap from some because of its assumed limitations. Usually the argument against traditional research begins with (1) its unreliability because consumers are being asked about purchases in an artificial environment (home, office, wherever they answer their cell phone) and (2) the survey is asking them to recall specifics about purchases from as far backs as days, weeks or months ago. Therefore, the traditional market research haters are more apt to put more stock in point-of-purchase (POP) data. It has caused the emergence of “hip” methodologies such as eye-tracking research and heat map sensors.

“What the conscious mind thinks it wants may well be over-ridden by the agenda of the unconscious mind when the time comes, at which point habit, emotion and impulse may well determine behavioral outcome.” – Philip Graves, author of Consumerology.

Philip Graves, author of Consumerology, a book I read and enjoyed earlier this year touches on exactly that. He attempts to explain the “market research myth,” the truth about consumers and the psychology of shopping. I’ve mentioned in a prior case study that traditional market research still needs to be an integral part of your studies, but observational and point-of-purchase research is something that all clients should consider using to add more credibility and insight to purchase behavior. Ultimately, I think a combination of POP data (eye-tracking, heat maps) and traditional in-environment research (shop-alongs, intercepts) is the research package that will offer the most insights and intel to a client. But it’s often outside of the scope and budget for many small and mid-size businesses because in-environment research often requires on-site analyst-level staff dedicated to the project for multiple days or even weeks and expensive capital investments for equipment.

traditional market research

Professor X in the local supermarket debating upon the purchase of Pop Tarts or Toaster Strudels.

Here are a few key takeaways and stories from Consumerology that I thought were worth mentioning on our blog:

  • The Importance of Physical Environment and Surroundings in Market Research: 
    • “The place to understand consumers is when they are in their natural habitat, wherever their unconscious mind is being exposed to everything that might shape how they feel. And the good news is that we can learn a lot from watching what consumers do.”
    • “A relative of mine was recently stopped in the main shopping area near his home and asked to take party in a survey on beer. Seated in front of his computer screen, he was asked which brands of beer he bought. Despite the fact that in the supermarket aisle he knows exactly which product he would select, in the absence of the established visual patterns (including the stylized brand name) that would be available to his subconscious mind, he couldn’t consciously think of the name ‘Budweiser’ in isolation (at his computer.)”
    • “Humans, like animals, interact with and respond to their environment far more than we are aware of at a conscious level. If you want to change your own or someone else’s behavior, the first thing you can do is change their environment. Changing the environment is uniquely powerful in changing behavior. There is no greater single influence.”
  • How Choice Impacts Purchases: “Social psychologists Iyengar and Lepper carried out an experiment that illustrated how, in practice, more choice isn’t necessarily beneficial. They evaluated reactions to two tasting tables at a supermarket. On one they laid out 24 different jams and on the other just six. While more people elected to stop for the wider selection of jams (60 percent versus 40 percent), a dramatically higher proportion purchased from the selection of six jams, whereas only 3 percent did so from the larger choice. Put another way, less than 2 percent of the people bought from a display of 24 jams, but 12 percent did from a choice of six.”
  • Website Testing: “A lack of ease or fluency can cause a loss in sales for a business. Where customers can’t find what they want easily, and even when the first page of a site is slow to load, they will go elsewhere. One study suggested that, unless there is something on the screen telling people that information is being loaded, two seconds is as long as people are willing to tolerate before they will move off. I strongly suspect that the specter of the unconscious mind’s capacity to misattributed feelings is at the heart of this phenomenon: mild frustration at waiting for a page to appear can easily be felt as a dislike for what is offered.”

Those are just a few of the notes and findings that I walked away with after reading the book. Although Graves attempts to discount traditional market research, I would argue that rather than simply stopping your business from conducting surveys and focus groups, you should at least consider new ways and new methodologies of doing market research to receive different insights. Market research needs to continually evolve to lend new and innovative data to our clients.

If you are interested in ethnographic research, shop-alongs or intercept interviews, contact our Business Development Director, Sandy Baker, at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling her at (315) 635-9802. Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located outside of Syracuse, NY.

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As I am reading through the book Now You See It written by Stephen Few, I came across a good chapter, which highlights 13 key traits of a data analyst.  Although much of the book is focused on visual techniques, the author explains how critical it is to understand the story behind the visuals before you can present it properly.  In his second chapter, Few focuses on prerequisites for enlightening analysis.

traits of a data analyst

These 13 traits are qualities to keep in mind whether you are looking for your first market research job or even if you have 40 years of experience in the field.  They are a good point of reference for what types of personalities are needed to be successful in the field.  Here are the 13 traits that make the most productive data analyst (in no particular order), and my spin on exactly what each one references:

  • Interested – point-blank, the most important trait for any job really.  It’s the single characteristic that differentiates a job from a career.  This is arguably the only personality trait on this list that cannot be cultivated.  You either have it or you don’t.
  • Curious – the difference here is although you may be interested in a topic, you need to have the curiosity to dig deeper into data.  Don’t just report the 41% and move on, figure out why 41% is 41%.
  • Self-motivated – this is a reference to being proactive in your analysis.  Don’t wait for your supervisor to ask, “Why?”.  Have the motivation to search and explore meanings and give the data your due-diligence.
  • Open-minded and flexible – what Few stresses here is objectivity, which is a topic we’ve covered in prior blog posts.  Although you may have some preconceived notions about how the data will turn out, be open-minded and be able to adjust your findings on the fly.
  • Imaginative  – being ‘imaginative’ not only in displaying the data but also in analyzing it.  Always think of a next step of how to slice and dice the data set: What if I did this? What if I break this demographic by this factor? And so on.
  • Skeptical – this doesn’t necessarily have to be negative, but you must have the ability to question your data.  Truth be told, no data collection process is flawless so it often benefits you to take a step back and ask questions about the findings.  If you’ve been too immersed in the data, it could help to get a larger-picture perspective.  This trait of playing devil’s advocate sometimes gives the research department a bad rap in an organization but it’s essential to good analysis.
  • Aware of what’s worthwhile – this comes down to knowing what’s important and what’s not.  You don’t have all the time in the world (or maybe you do) to run every possible cross-tabulation in the survey.  So you need the ability to decipher what’s critical to the objectives of the study and what isn’t.
  • Methodical – being systematic in your analysis approach.  A good analyst can create a step-by-step approach and run through an internal checklist of what has to be done on a data set.
  • Capable of spotting patterns – the ability to spot trends or themes in the data.  Spotting the data patterns takes a unique eye.  Oftentimes, this doesn’t materialize until you can see it in graphical format.
  • Analytical – similar to reverse engineering.  Being able to take a percentage or a number and “decompose it,” as Few states, into the sum of the parts that make it up.  For example, don’t look at the fact that 66% of customers have used the product in the past month.  Look at what percent of those 66% are males/females, if they are females – What age are they? Do they have children? What type of job do they have? What is their income level?
  • Synthetical – just simply engineering, not reverse engineering.  Taking all of the pieces of different data points, patterns, and themes and being able to compose them into a story.  This is also a critical trait of good market research report writing.
  • Familiar with data – this involves knowing a little bit about the data collection process and the operations behind the data before simply jumping right into analysis.  It always helps to understand the background of the data before making conclusions.
  • Skilled in the practices of data analysis – Yes, somewhat obvious but it takes practice to be a good data analyst.  You learn as you go, and each new data set you analyze helps you refine your internal process and improve for the next time.
I think the list compiles some key criteria of what it takes to be a good research analyst.  Can you think of any more traits that make a good research analyst?  Please add to this list by commenting on our blog post below.  Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY.

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One book that I am currently working my way through is titled The Referral Engine – Teaching Your Business to Market Itself written by John Jantsch, who also wrote another popular business book Duct Tape Marketing.  Much of the focus of the book discusses how word-of-mouth referrals are the key driver to new business, and traditional marketing and advertising is losing its effectiveness.  I agree with most of his reasoning so far and agree with referrals being the most effective sales tool.  I believe part of this lessened effect of traditional marketing (television ads, radio ads, print ads, etc.) is due to the amount of advertising exposure a consumer experiences on a day-to-day basis, even more so with the growth of social media.  Traditional sales and marketing campaigns incur an inherent distrust, because they are made to “sell” and the smart consumer sees through it.

Therefore, Jantsch stated that nothing will provide a business with more rewards than strategies designed to strengthen a company’s referral network.  One of the chapters I just made my way through was titled The Path to Referral (Chapter 3).  In this section, Jantsch proposed the seven stages to an Ideal Customer Lifecycle.  This seems like a newer-aged AIDA model (Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action) but I think it is much more relevant and descriptive than its predecessor.

Marketing Consultant Syracuse NY

Here are the seven steps in the customer lifecycle and how they apply to a market research firm like RMS.  These are based on the author’s points in the book, but I used my own spin and summarized them by applying them to my knowledge of marketing and market research:

1) Know

Of any of the seven steps discussed in the lifecycle, this is the one where a company’s traditional marketing will have the most effect.  Some experts believe (and I tend to agree) that creating brochures, sending e-blasts, and mailing newsletters may and probably will not sell a project, but they will get you noticed.  With this first step, that’s what your goal should be with your marketing efforts – communicate a clear brand identity, make a good impression, and speak your customers’ language by talking with them, not at them.

Examples: Traditional marketing efforts – TV commercials, radio ads, email blasts, newsletters, print ads.

2) Like

Once you’ve passed the awareness, if the customer is interested they will seek more information about your firm.  Oftentimes this is where your secondary marketing tools will come into play.  Give the customer access to your website, social media sites, and other additional sources to learn more.  Make them easily accessible.  At this point you still are not close to an actual sale, but all of these peripheral sources should continue to encourage further interest in your business and an attempt to earn trust.  Also, as Jantsch stated in an earlier chapter, it shows you “are not a boring business.  No one wants to work with or refer a boring business.”

Examples: Website, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, Twitter, blog, case studies, white papers.

3) Trust

This is the point where the prospect has already taken the extra step to look at your website or social media sites and moves to contact.  This engagement could be signing up for a newsletter, commenting on a blog, or something as direct as sending the company an email or making a phone call.  Jantsch states that many businesses lose prospects at this point because the “business acts in its best interest by pushing to hard to sell rather than focusing on continually building trust.”  This trust is further developed through recommendations of additional resources, educational materials, and non-threatening engagement.  “Repetition builds trust, trust builds the brand.”

4) Try

This is one of the most important parts of the customer sales cycle but may also be the least acted upon by businesses.  Jantsch stated that you have to give an opportunity for the prospect to try your services with little obligation.  Creating a small-scale project at a low-cost will give your prospect the ability to try your services and will give you the ability to try out the prospect as well.  As a market research firm, we have seen many clients utilize our Quick Pulse telephone surveys as an introductory project to RMS and market research.  There is a lot of value in these smaller scope surveys – they offer a quick turnaround and are relatively inexpensive.  These projects are a nice step one to a long-term engagement with our firm.

5) Buy

This is the all-encompassing process surrounding the project beyond just the “sale.”  It covers expectations and all communications from start to finish.  If a separate salesperson was working with the prospect up to the trial or this step, ensure there is a smooth transition.  The last thing you want to do is have to rebuild all of that trust you’ve already earned.

6) Repeat

If your company provided a quality product or service in the prior step, it is half way to developing a referral customer.  Here is something Jantsch wrote that touched upon one of our prior blog posts (read here):

“When someone buys your product or service, commit to teaching them the proper way [of getting the most out of it.]  By doing this you are teaching them how to move up to the next level of your product or service.  Far too often we sell a product or service and we just assume our customers are getting the results they desired or were promised.  We should be helping them be more successful, use more of the features, teach them the ins and outs, and ultimately experience greater value. That’s what gets referrals.”

By looking beyond the data and consulting with your client, it inherently leads discussions to next steps.  Ensure your business uses some type of evaluation or follow-up service to assess gaps in service and promote core strengths to future prospects.

7) Refer

The goal here is to move all of your customers to this level in which they become advocates of your business and act as salespeople without being salespeople.  Wouldn’t every business owner love that?  If the relationship is strong enough, lean on them as experts to help refine your future marketing materials (steps 1-2).  Ultimately, these are the same customers your business converted from prospects to advocates.  So who is better to speak the language that will get others to do the same?

Market Research Consultant in Syracuse NY

I’d be interested in hearing your comments on this book by John Jantsch, please post your feedback in the comments section below.  Do you need a market research consultant in the Syracuse, NY area?  Contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling her at 315-635-9802.

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Raving Fans is a well-known customer service book written by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.  The book claims to provide a revolutionary approach to customer service, stating that satisfied customers just aren’t good enough now a days. Here is part two of some quotations that I noted from the book and how they impact a market research provider in Upstate NY like Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS):

Read Part One quotations 1 to 3 by clicking here.

market research provider upstate ny

4. If you were the client and had no limitations, what would you want your research provider to do for your business?

“When you decide what you want you must create a vision of perfection centered on the customer. [Using a grocery store as an example] I began to paint what the perfect grocery market would look like.  I could picture the valet parking and someone to tell them about a wonderful special.  I saw store advisers and computers helping people make the best choices to save money and eat a healthy diet.  I saw a manager for each department always on the floor to help customers and ensure their area was perfect…I saw an assistance program where (people) are available to help elderly shoppers around the store to read the small print on labels and lift heavier items…I saw lots of checkout lines (and automatic checkout lines) so no one had to wait in a long line.”

In the context of market research services, a provider should strive to deliver on all facets of customer service to the client.  In a perfect market research world, this could mean surveys being designed, tested and up and running in 24 hours, using call center employees with 20+ years of phone survey experience for all calls, real-time access to incoming data, or fast turnaround on reports.  It’s important to note that each client and each research project has a different view of “perfect.”  Some like email contact, some preferred to be called, while some prefer in-person contact.  Some like to be updated continuously, while others will check-in on their own.  Some reports need to be turned around in 48 hours while other clients would like the research firm to go more in-depth on findings and spend more time developing findings.  As a market research provider, it’s important to understand your client’s expectations and deliver on them.  Just hold off on the valet parking.

5. Understand what exactly your prospects want from a market research provider and build your business around those key benefits.

“All you need to do is discover the customers’ vision of what they really want and then alter your vision if need be.  (You need to have your own vision as a business in order to understand your customers’ vision.)  When you find out what customers really want, what their vision is, it will likely focus on just one or two things.  Your vision has to fill in the gaps.”

At its core, market research firms do research.  Some providers do research for Fortune 50 companies while others do research with the local town diner on the corner.  Some market research providers cover both and/or everything in-between.  Many market research providers will spend countless hours trying to understand why a specific segment of the market visits their store 10 times more than another segment.  At the same time, this market research provider won’t spend five minutes all year-long doing any research on their own firm, addressing questions like: Why do businesses choose us as a market research provider?  What are our competitive strengths?  What can we offer that no other firm can offer?  It almost seems too simple, but sometimes market research providers are so focused on looking outward to help our clients grow through research, we often neglect using research to help within.

6. Truly dissatisfied customers may not (and probably will not) complain.

“Perhaps ninety-seven percent of our customers are so fed up they can’t even be bothered to complain and tell us where we’re going wrong.”

This quote points directly to the need to commission market research with customers.  I’ve read statistics in the past that say anywhere from 90% upwards of dissatisfied customers will not complain to the source.  That means there is a whole base of dissatisfied customers in the market that you (as a business) are unaware of.  By using a survey and proactively calling or emailing past customers, you provide them a forum to voice their feedback.  Now that you have it, you can take action on correcting problems you may have never knew existed.  In itself, this is one of the largest benefits of engaging in satisfaction surveys.

This concludes the two-part series on key takeaways from Raving Fans – and their market research implications.  The book was a quick read and offered some good pointers revolving around customer service.  The Bunker would be interested in hearing your feedback in the comments section below.  If you are interested in speaking to a market research provider in Upstate NY, contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 315-635-9802.

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One of the best things about traveling for business and long flights cross-country is the ability to check off some “want to reads”  from my list.  Now, there’s a whole other laundry list of bad things that come along with it, but reading on the plane and in the airport is a nice benefit for me.  Plus, if you have the hard cover book with you to read, you don’t have to worry about the on/off electronics announcement from the flight crew.  I was able to knock two more books off my list a few weeks ago, one of which is Raving Fans written by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.  I’ve heard this title dropped a few times in social media and at various meetings and conferences so I figured it was worth a read.

market research provider

Raving Fans is a well-known customer service book written by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.  The book claims to provide a revolutionary approach to customer service, stating that satisfied customers just aren’t good enough now a days.  Overall, the book had a few nice pointers and quotables, but I didn’t like the authors’ tone or the mood.  It made me think that the author was trying to write a business version of the book and movie A Christmas Carol.   The lessons were too preachy and their “revolutionary approach to customer service” are things that most children running lemonade stands already grasp.  However, I do think the book made some quality points, which were very applicable to market research; here is my spin below.

Here are a few takeaways/quotations that I flagged from the book and how they might impact a market research provider like Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS):

1. Customer service is still number one.

“…Look at how we’ve been training our managers.  When I was in college, we took courses in marketing and consumer behavior.  The assumption that the public was a mindless group of buyers and that with proper advertising and promotion, products could be produced en masse and sold to naive buyers…Advertising, product positioning, and market-share pricing strategies are all important.  But when all is said and done, goods aren’t sold; products and services are bought.”

This one came in the foreword of the book and I think it makes a good point.  As a market research provider, who you market to, the way you market, and what you market are all very important.  But it often comes down to building personal relationships with clients and having them trust in your service.  Putting yourselves in the clients’ shoes is a common expression at RMS, and cannot be overstated.

2. Quality touches all aspects of market research services; quality as a stand-alone benefit is non-descriptive.

“[When meeting with his boss]…Thinking to prove himself worthy of the new position, he had promised the President to drive for quality in his department.  Total quality.  ‘Great idea.  Too narrow a focus,’ the President had told him abruptly.  ‘Quality is how well our product works in relation to the customer’s need.  That’s just one aspect of customer service.  Customer service covers all the customer’s needs and expectations.”

I also agree with this point.  Customer service goes well-beyond just quality.  A market research provider delivers on accuracy of data, timeliness of deliverables, helpfulness and the ability to consult on results, and responsiveness to client requests to name a few.  Quality is the umbrella over all customer service aspects, but to simply say that ‘we produce quality work’ may not do your firm justice.

3. Don’t change your proven market research processes because of an isolated occurrence.

“[In response to a recent sign being placed at the dressing room entrance in a department store stating staff will count the number of items taken in and taken out by each customer as a result from items being stolen] One customer out of a thousand steals something in (our) dressing room…next day the store puts up a sign offending the other nine hundred and ninety-nine customers…No one ever seems to compute the cost of offending so many customers in order to slow down one crook.”

When I read this, instead of thinking about clients, I immediately thought of instructions I’ve seen in surveys.  Often times survey instructions on a paper survey or online survey are overused and crammed full.  I understand that as a market research firm, you are trying to pursue 100% accuracy with results.  But what survey designers oftentimes don’t think about is that for every few surveys you saved by adding overbearing instructions, you might have forced 5x the amount of respondents to exit the survey because it was too wordy and long.

Check back later this week at the RMS Bunker Blog for more key market research takeaways from Raving Fans.  What do others think about this book?

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I just wrapped up reading a book titled slide:ology written by Nancy Duarte.  As I’ve mentioned before numerous times on the Bunker Blog, my most enjoyable part of my work is creative design with regards to reporting.  Market research may be viewed as an uncreative and arithmetical career (let’s face it, sometimes it is) and as a result, many people within an organization shy away from getting too close to the research process. Therefore, we often take the time to utilize graphical and design elements in our reports that help our clients interpret the data at the most basic level, without overwhelming them.

The main theme of the book is using Microsoft PowerPoint to create presentations.  In market research, there is a big difference to what Duarte discusses as a presentation and what we often discuss as a report.  Although both may be done in PowerPoint, a traditional market research report is viewed more as a deck or document than an actual presentation tool.  This book focuses solely on using PowerPoint as a true presentation tool.  Nonetheless, the tips and recommendations are useful for any document in PowerPoint, no matter its intention.

Among aesthetic, design, and layout tips, she also focuses a chapter solely on displaying data, which is music to a market researcher’s ears.  Here are the five basic tips provided by the author regarding data presentations:

1.   Tell the truth.  Above all else, credibility is of the utmost importance when delivering a presentation.  Depending on the audience, you may need to be willing to provide access to the full data set if more in-depth questions arise from your findings.

2.   Get to the point.  The author poses a great question you should be asking before any of your presentations: “What would I like my audience to remember about this data?”  In other words, don’t waste your time elaborating on 12 different data points when there is only one worth discussing. Consider the example below: Rather than wasting time discussing the mean, median, and mode for all 12 months, instead focus your time on discussing how your new customer service technology was launched in March, which resulted in a steady gain in mean satisfaction scores afterwards. 

Market Research Syracuse NY

3.   Pick the right tool for the job.  Think you always have to display your data in chart or graph format?  Think again.  If you have a finding that is better suited to show separately than embedded in a chart, do so.  In the example, what is more effective?  Is it a horizontal bar graph that displays the percentage of respondents who remembered an advertisement from a variety of sources (32% television ad, 20% radio ad, 12% online ad, 62% newspaper ad) or should you just call attention to the main takeaway using a different format? 

Market Research Syracuse NY - Newspaper

4.   Highlight what’s important.  This is one tip that’s useful for both true presentations and PowerPoint reports.  Take some extra time on each slide and highlight what’s important in your pie chart, line graph, or bar graph.  Use a contrasting color outside of your template to catch the reader’s/viewer’s attention.  For example, let’s take a line graph that uses multiple trending lines comparing satisfaction among five different products over the course of the past 12 months.  You are presenting to different divisions within the company – each division handling a different product line.  Highlight the satisfaction line pertinent to each division’s product for each presentation.

5.   Keep it simple.  Eliminate clutter.  Seems obvious, but sometimes market research firms get caught up with putting too much data on one page.  Avoid unnecessary bullets or additional design features that might distract your audience from the real point of the slide.  A simple correction tip Duarte mentions is not using chart/graph legends, you should just embed the identifier or label right in the graph.

If you work with PowerPoint on a daily basis and work in market research, I’d encourage you to take a flip through this book.  In essence, the PowerPoint report/presentation that market researchers deliver to our clients is our product, the final deliverable in a very service oriented process.  The tips in slide:ology are bound to make that product better.

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