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Posts Tagged ‘Market Research Firm in Syracuse NY’

Through my time at Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) and college, I have had my fair share of public speaking opportunities. These experiences have allowed me to witness great speeches, and not so great speeches. Here are three tips to help make your next speaking event successful.

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  1. Know your speaking strengths

Speakers often have a style that works best for them. Knowing which type of public speaking you will be most comfortable with will make the presentation feel more natural. The four types of public speaking are manuscript, memorization, impromptu, and extemporaneous. In a manuscript speech, the presenter is able to read their speech off of a script. In a memorization speech, the presenter delivers their speech verbatim from memory after significant preparation time.  For an impromptu speech, the presenter does not prepare a script in advance. Impromptu speeches are common during competitive debates. Extemporaneous speeches are a mix between memorization and impromptu. This means that the presenter knows and understands the speech material, but left room to adjust their material as they see fit.

  1. Utilize graphics effectively

One of the most common mistakes people make when giving a speech has nothing to do with what the speaker is actually saying, but what images are behind them. PowerPoint, Prezi, and other presenting software are meant to add value to what you are saying – not distract from it. See the two examples below of presentation slides to see the difference between effective and ineffective use of graphics.

An example of a POOR PowerPoint slide:

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Unprepared is the first thing that comes to mind when I saw this picture. Not only is this presenter breaking the rule of never turning your back to the audience, but the PowerPoint slide is not engaging. The text is too small, there are too many words on one slide, the background is distracting, and it is not at all aesthetically pleasing. This presenter forgot the golden rule of visual aids, which is that they should add value to what you are saying instead of helping you remember what to say.

An example of a GREAT PowerPoint slide:

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iPod revenue growth is the first thing that comes to mind when I saw this picture, and I am sure that was Steve Jobs’ intention.  From this picture, I can tell that the speaker is communicating clearly to his audience. The slide draws your attention and is easy to comprehend. Visual aids like this help speakers more effectively engage and communicate with the audience, which is the whole reason to use them!

  1. Practice makes perfect – almost

The key to practicing is to do it just enough to look and sound prepared. Practicing will help speakers work out any unexpected speech issues. However, don’t overdo it. Over practicing could turn your extemporaneous speech into a memorization speech.

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 Director of Business Development, Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

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Yesterday in the Research Bunker, I posed this question to our two analysts: “In your opinion, has convenience sampling overtaken random sampling as the preferred method of sampling in quantitative research?” Working in market research and on surveys daily, sampling methodologies become a key piece to answering our insights puzzles for our clients. Depending on which sampling route you take, there will always be pros and cons to weigh. Such considerations as time versus cost, accuracy versus speed, etc.

Convenience Sampling Versus Random Sampling

(Pic via blog.questionpro.com)

Our two market research analysts at RMS offer their take below on the question of convenience sampling versus random sampling:

  • Vance Marriner, Senior Research Analyst at RMS – The majority of the clients I’ve worked with over the years have been fairly new to market research and/or have tended to rely on our judgment for the best approaches to methodology and sampling. If anything, when the question of sampling has come up, it’s more often the case where the client has suggested a convenience sampling approach and we have convinced them that a random sampling approach was more appropriate for their needs (or vice-versa). That said, my own opinion of convenience sampling has evolved a bit over the years, and I’m more open to it in some circumstances than I used to be in the past. Mostly, that evolution of opinion has been due to a shift in the realities of the research landscape (e.g., erosion of landlines) that have made random samples more difficult and more expensive to obtain. That, combined with the growing trend of clients valuing faster turnaround for research results, has led to a situation where the choice at hand isn’t so much convenience sampling versus random sampling, but convenience sampling versus simply not doing research at all. In those cases, I think it’s okay to work with convenience samples, but it’s essential to make sure that everybody involved understands the limitations and implications of the approach and adjusts their expectations accordingly. Basically, the trade-off is that research done with convenience samples gives you “fuzzier” answers to your research questions, but sometimes that’s preferable to not having no answers at all.
  • Chris Coville, Senior Research Associate at RMS – While the selection of a sampling method is most certainly a case to case basis for each project, I do believe non-probabilistic and convenience sampling methods have grown in popularity. Depending on the project, random sampling can be difficult, costly, and a lengthy while convenience sampling can be inexpensive and provide a quick turn-around. When looking to convenience sampling methods, it’s important to remember that not all methods are equal with regards to bias and error. If you do use a convenience method, then you need to properly evaluate the data collection process and try to cut out any issues in an attempt to keep the sample as “random” as possible (e.g., if you’re conducting intercept interviews at the mall or on a college campus, don’t conduct them all in the same exact location). Convenience samples can be a great option when you’re conducting base level exploratory research or if you have multiple research components to backup your findings. Most importantly, when you’re reviewing the research results, you need remember the fact that you used a non-probabilistic sampling method. Keep that in mind before making any decisions based off of the results (e.g., if you’re using a referral sample, homophily is going to be a major concern and you can expect the respondents to have similar traits and preferences).

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm in Syracuse, NY. For more information about Vance, Chris, and the authors of the RMS Bunker Blog click here. If you are interested in consulting with RMS for your market research needs please contact our Director of Business Development Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

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Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) offers a focus group facility and is also a full-service market research firm in Syracuse NY. The focus group facility named QualiSight is located on-site is  and is currently the only focus group facility available for qualitative research rentals in the Central New York area. For more information on how to book the focus group facility in Syracuse NY visit the QualiSight website here or email the facility manager at LaurenK@RMSresults.com.

Focus Group Facility and Market Research Firm in Syracuse NY

Our recent ad featured in the 2014 Book of Lists. Click to enlarge.

What do we do At RMS? Very simply – we ask, listen, and solve using superior research and market intelligence. We can help you understand your customers and competitors, respond quickly to market opportunities, formulate effective business strategies, and analyze data to drive your decisions. A few of the market research services we offer in Syracuse NY are surveys, focus groups, mystery shopping, in-depth interviews (IDIs) and data mining.

For more information on these services visit our blog posts below:

Research & Marketing Strategies can be reached by contacting our Business Development Director, Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

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Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. Here is the 2012 Wordle of the RMS Bunker Blog posts completed in 2012. Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY.

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As a market research supplier, we work for a large variety of clients across many different industries. A progressing trend that we’ve come to realize not only with our clients, but within our own organization, is businesses need to get more done in less time. Some would argue that’s always been the case. Our clients’ “to-do” lists continually expand with each new priority being more important than the last. Although we never want to see our market research play second fiddle with our clients, it is sometimes a reality because of their other pressing issues their business faces on a daily basis.

Therefore, rather than accept this fact and not change our methods, it’s critical for market researchers (like me) to evolve and find ways to break through the clutter and deliver our findings in a quick, clear and decisive manner. This must often be delivered in a forum such as a presentation to board members, decision-makers and other client stakeholders. These might be presentations to busy people who may have short attention spans and want a straight-forward story. In fact, there was actually a mini-session at TMRE titled “Treat Your Clients Like Kids.”

storytelling wordle

Here is a situation all of us market researchers have probably faced or come close to facing. The alarm goes off again at 6:25, and you’ve already hit snooze twice. Over the past three months (which seems to you like three years), you’ve been working on this consumer insights market research project to explore point-of-purchase (POP) decision-making factors consumers consider while buying products in your client’s retail store. You’ve spent countless hours working through the proper methodology, observing customers in the store, designing intercept survey scripts, managing the fieldwork, quality checking data, sifting through thousands of pictures and video captures of POPs, and spent every waking hour of your last two weeks compiling all of the data and its findings into a 178-page PowerPoint report. You have an endless amount of key takeaways from the market research and can’t wait to deliver these results to your client at your meeting this morning at 9:00. You are running on little to no sleep because of all of the last-minute tweaking and additions you’ve made to the file just a few hours ago. Come the time of your presentation at 9:00 a.m. in Conference Room 4, all that is keeping you standing is the $2.65 large coffee you bought at the drive-thru in the morning. As a market researcher, we can probably all relate to a similar scenario.

What if you find out that the management board you are meeting with only has five minutes to listen to your findings because their prior meeting ran over and their next meeting starts in a matter of minutes? Storytelling forces you to condense information and deliver key takeaways in a fluid and memorable fashion. It forces you to take three to four months (or more) of work and summarize the key points to only reference parts that are worth mentioning. As an analyst in market research, it’s not our job to show off our skills making 100-plus pages of fancy charts and graphs. It’s our job to interpret and condense those 100-plus pages of fancy charts and graphs into a story. Most anyone can make a chart from a survey question, but good analysts can interpret that information, connect it to other data from the survey and use their knowledge to tell a story about that same chart.

Here are five tips to tell a better story using market research:

  • Set up your story. If you don’t engage the audience and grab their attention in the first 30 seconds, you have likely lost them. You’ll continue on with your presentation but the only eye contact you’ll get is off the reflection from their iPhone or Blackberry. Use the objective of the market research project to pose a question or create conflict for your listeners. The use of hand-puppets here is not strictly prohibited.
  • Use a dashboard. If you still can’t quite let go of key statistics in your report, try to condense them into a one-page summary dashboard. This is a simple tool for quick reference for your audience and draws their attention to the numbers that matter.
  • Use themes. Once you have your charts and graphs populated, take a step back and try to make inter-connections with the data. As you tell your story and move through your chapter headlines, feel free to use supporting data to back-up your claim.
  • Apply the five-minute rule. No matter how long a market research project took or how many pages your report is, force yourself to summarize the data in five minutes or less. What core takeaways do you want your audience to walk away with? What do you want them to remember? That needs to be your focus.
  • Utilize the appendix. More and more market researchers are placing charts, graphs and other types of analysis in the appendix of reports. This is not to devalue the work but rather ensure that the reader focuses the important context found in your report before the appendix.
5 Tips to Tell a Better Story Using Market Research

George is seen here giving his story recap on the Van Westendorp pricing sensitivity meter and its ramifications on the CPG industry in Portugal.

George Kuhn is the Director of Research Services at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS), a market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. RMS specializes in market research for the healthcare, education and finance industries. 2012 celebrates its 10th year in business.

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This blog post was written by Erin Wisneski, Communication Coordinator at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS), a feasibility study firm in Syracuse, NY. It was also featured in the Fall edition of RMS News.

Background: Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) was engaged to conduct a feasibility study and needs assessment for a client looking to expand its services. The client commissioned the research to identify other regions within the state that are currently under-served, assess the competition within the market places and measure demand (opportunity) for the client’s services.

Methodology: To obtain the research necessary, RMS conducted the following research methodologies:

  • Component 1— Demographic Profiling and Analysis: this component involved profiling demographics, estimated market size and potential of the predetermined regions that would serve as a natural extension to the client’s current markets; these regions would also define the scope of work for Components 2 and 3.
  • Component 2 – Competitive Assessment: this component involved in-depth analysis of major competitors with physical office presences in one of the predetermined markets from Component 1. Analysis included a profile of each direct competitor, mystery shopping calls and emails to test competitor customer experiences and inventorying marketing materials.
  • Component 3 – B2C Telephone Survey: this component involved 600 complete calls placed to households evenly dispersed among the regions. The focus of this component was to test the awareness of services, collect satisfaction ratings on users of the competition, test the importance of a physical office location and gather demographics on a typical customer receiving the client services.

feasibility study firm

Results: RMS deemed there was an opportunity for expansion in the regions where research was conducted, and prioritized those regions from the most to least appealing, which was dictated by research findings. RMS was also able to determine that there were certain variables that would increase the success of expansions into the regions such as on-site bricks and mortar locations and focused television advertising.

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This article is taken from the October 2011 edition of the RMS Newsletter.

Customers have always been the backbone of any successful business. Therefore, it makes sense that a business should ensure its customers’ happiness. After all, happy customers supply repeat business, greater opportunities for cross and up-selling, word of mouth recommendations, as well as other forms of verbal support, which is increasingly important in the age of social networking.

How do you determine whether your customers are happy or satisfied? You ask…

Many organizations measure performance through satisfaction surveys – the questionnaire on the table during a dining out experience; a clerk directing a customer to a website upon completion of a sale; phone calls asking about your favorite radio stations. This is the ultimate measure of success as it provides direct feedback from the customer. And it’s not just about learning what your customers think; it’s about acting to improve their perceptions. Customer satisfaction measurement is a vital management tool, if implemented effectively, to learn how the front line staff is interacting with customers, how customers feel you could better serve them and whether your organization is missing the mark in one or more areas.

measuring customer experience

Conducting satisfaction surveys, whether online, through mail, or on the telephone, then using that information to set clear objectives and detailed action plans for process improvements is key to maximizing your return on investment. It can be the difference between meeting your bottom line and falling significantly short of expectations.

Interested in measuring your customer experiences using market research? Contact Sandy Baker, Director of Business Development at 315-635-9802 or by email at SandyB@RMSresults.com.  Visit our website by clicking here.

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This is a post from our guest blogger Mark Dengler, President and Owner of Research & Marketing Strategies – a market research firm in Syracuse, NY.

You’ve invested money into market research and the results are in. What’s the next step?

Create a plan to put your results into action! All research is time bound – the longer you sit on the information, the more obsolete the information becomes. Market research takes a snapshot of the market today and, often due to the fickleness of various markets, that perception can drastically change in a short period of time. So the need to develop an immediate action plan is great; otherwise you risk wasting your company’s resources and opportunity window.

Too often companies will sit on received market research results rather than creating and implementing an action plan in a timely manner. In some cases, research findings are presented and the studies are placed on bookcase shelves never to be used again. This is comparable to buying a car and never putting gas into it – over time the value will depreciate and you will never have done anything with it. Put some gas in your data – use it and make a plan.

Implementing an action plan essentially takes the data gathered and turns it into useful information for decision-making. Once the research is delivered, put together a working team to develop action steps based on recommendations from research or key findings that lend to particular activities. This will ensure you maximize your company’s resources. In order to complete the cycle, additional research and monitoring of the action plan needs to be conducted to validate the actions being undertaken are having the proper result.

market research firm in syracuse ny

RMS will be your consultant in the market research process and help you take those next steps.  Commissioning market research is important, but acting on the results is even more important.  If you have any questions about RMS can help you with your market research needs, contact us at 1-866-567-5422.

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This blog post was written by our guest blogger Mark Dengler, Owner & President of RMS.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could read our customers’ minds? Well, the next best thing is to conduct qualitative market research. Focus groups and In-depth Interviews (IDIs) open a window to help us gain detailed and in-depth information about what a target population may think or feel about a specific product, service or idea. These widely used qualitative research tools, while not quantifiable, can be very enlightening as they provide an understanding of the customers’ attitudes about a recent service experience or product use. Who better to ask than your own customers?

Both methodologies are used to gain free-flowing ideas and opinions that would not be possible to express in a written survey. A combination of qualitative (focus group, IDIs) and quantitative research tools (surveys) complement each other very well, and make up for what each approach individually may lack.

The choice of which qualitative or quantitative methodology to use will depend on the objectives you hope to achieve from the primary research and your target audience.

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RMS QualiSight Focus Group Facility

What is a focus group/IDI?

A focus group is a small discussion group facilitated by a trained moderator. Typically, eight to 10 individuals are invited to share and explore attitudes on a specific topic of interest for approximately two hours. The moderator encourages participants to freely discuss their feelings and opinions, and is skilled at asking probing questions to gain insight and depth of attitudes.

An IDI is typically a face-to-face conversation between a researcher and a single respondent with the purpose of exploring issues or topics in detail. Sometimes IDIs are completed over the telephone or using electronic software such as Skype. The interviewer encourages the participant to freely discuss his/her feelings and opinions and is skilled at probing further to gain insight.

Most people really enjoy being part of these research modalities. They are not asked to purchase or endorse anything; in fact, participants are typically thanked with a stipend or honorarium that varies depending on the topic of interest.

When should I use focus groups and IDIs?

Focus groups and IDIs can be used to accomplish a number of different objectives. They are generally used when you’re looking for more than yes/no answers and you need more information than a survey can give.  The key feature is that these research methods allow for thorough probing. For example, if someone says the lobby was “busy,” this term could be positive (provided real energy, good vibe) or negative (felt congested and overwhelming). Focus groups and IDIs allow for a better understanding of a respondent’s perceptions.

Some specific applications of both methodologies include:

  • Identifying attitudes, perceptions and/or satisfaction about your product or service;
  • Identifying and defining the needs of a specific user group;
  • Learning your competitive position perception in the marketplace;
  • Generating new ideas for products or services;
  • Role-playing or the dynamics of a larger group such as a school board meeting, town hall meeting or other larger community event;
  • Obtaining broad-based community perceptions;
  • Identifying opportunities and barriers related to your product or service; and
  • Testing advertising copy, themes and packaging.

Most importantly, these research methodologies are relatively quick and inexpensive, offering in-depth insight into consumer thoughts.

Mark Dengler is the president of Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) a market research firm in Syracuse, NY. For more information about RMS, email our business development team (located in the right toolbar of this blog) or call us at (315) 635-9802.

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