Market Research Axioms – If You Remember Anything Remember This

The value of a strong questionnaire design when complemented by the task of high quality sample development is not fully appreciated. Often these two essential building blocks of market research are relegated to the back of the line on research projects.

Research Axiom One: You can never fully recover from a poorly written questionnaire.

o No manipulation of the variables, regardless of how cleverly done
o No amount of analysis, regardless of how brilliant
o No degree of insightful interpretation, regardless of intellectual prowess
Nothing can save you from a poor research foundation. The building will collapse like a house of cards!

If there is one part of the research process that I know, it is questionnaire design. It is a task repeatedly given insufficient time and attention. Clients and research professional alike often underestimate the time it will take to develop a truly well structured and concise instrument.

What amazes me most? Project leaders relegate this task to a status depicted by the attitude of: “Once the questionnaire is done we can get on with the important stuff, like analysis and reporting.” The assumption that analysis work is the essence of the research and the expectation that interpreting the results is where the mastery of research ultimately lies is a mystery to me.

Have we not pounded the concept of garbage-in garbage-out into our heads? Can new internet tools substitute for critical thinking and the hard work of aligning the research instrument to the purpose of the study to answer the business questions that sponsors paid to learn?

If this seems like a bit of a rant, well I guess I am guilty. My own research-on-research including the use of a 25-point questionnaire audit system has shown me that even well healed researchers are less diligent about quality than one would hope. Research is not only science it is a craft [perhaps an art] and if the proper fundamentals are not applied the product is less than artful.

I will end this part of my ranting with an analogy [but don’t be surprised to hear more on this topic]. If you have not studied and then practiced writing poetry, would you expect to publish a book of poems simply because your marketing department asked you to? Designing a good quality research instrument probably takes less talent than being a good poet, but it’s close.

Wait, not so fast, we are not done, there is another mistake from which you cannot fully recover. A poor questionnaire design is one possible fatal mistake, but not the only one. Good solid sample development is also necessary. Here is another Research Axiom worth your consideration.

Research Axiom Two: You can never fully recover from a sample that lacks validity; and once again:

o No manipulation of the variables, regardless of how cleverly done
o No amount of analysis, regardless of how brilliant
o No degree of insightful interpretation, regardless of intellectual prowess
Nothing can save you from a poorly developed sample!

The value of sample development is also underappreciated, as are the skills related to creating a valid sample. Project managers, research analysts, and all those who lose sleep over the quality of the sample sources they have available and who work hard to provide the best possible sample for each research project they conduct, are worth their weight in gold.

With numerous challenges to good sample development always hovering over us, if the research team conducting the study does not pay close attention to this critically important task the chances of deriving useful results are likely to diminish rapidly. One of the worst situations to be in, is standing in front of a room full of executives and presenting the research implications when from off in the far corner an executive vice president (EVP) asks you, “Are you sure about that finding? Who were these respondents? They don’t appear to have any knowledge about the market or our products.”

If you can definitively reply, “We believe the respondents in this sample are qualified” and then give a crisp response about the quality control (QC) steps used to verify the validity of the sample, you have saved the day. If on the other hand, you hesitate and cannot defend the validity of the sample, you have lost your audience – there is nothing more they want to hear from you because in their minds the voice of the respondents do not reflect the people they are trying to reach – the day ends badly.

If you do not care about the quality of the research you conduct, well shame on you, but at least recognize that a sample of good quality is a necessity for self-preservation – enough said.

Market Researchers – Are You Interested in a Job As a Survey Researcher?

Market research analysts are responsible for determining what products people like to buy and at what price point they will purchase them. They will also gather data on the most effective means of marketing a particular product, and they will analyze past sales in order to predict the future.

Market research analysts will frequently use the Internet, the telephone, and mail, as well as personal interviews, in order to obtain information about consumers. After putting this information together, a survey researcher will then present this information in the form of charts and graphs to a company, so that they can then utilize this information in order to increase their sales.

Survey researchers will typically spend all day conducting surveys that will help corporations make positive fiscal decisions, and their methods of test taking will mirror those of the market research analyst.

The working conditions for these professionals typically involve strict deadlines and overtime may be needed. Survey researchers may also have to travel in order to conduct interviews in focus groups and face to face. A bachelors degree is usually sufficient in order to gain entry into a position in this field, although positions are fairly competitive.

It is also helpful for those hoping to enter the field to obtain internship experience working for companies and learning how to collect data, and most survey researchers are good at working with other people in order to conduct surveys and to identify the needs of potential customers.

In 2006, these professionals had over 250,000 jobs in America, with research analysts holding the overwhelming majority of these positions. Company management are the most frequent employers of these individuals, and professional firms are the entities which will usually hire survey researchers. The job outlook for these persons is expected to grow at a rapid pace over the next 10 years, as companies become increasingly competitive in order to increase market share.

In 2006, the middle 50th percentile of market research analysts made between $42,190 and $84,070, with survey researchers earning between $22,150 and $50,960.

Profiles About Jobs – Market Research

Market research wing is a very important department for any commercial company involved in selling products or commodities. The gains and losses that a company suffers is practically a work of this department. They play an important role in warning company executives about possible failures that their product can beget as well as encourage them on to launch a new and innovative commodity, based on their findings.

What does this department do? In essence, it conducts its independent research to ascertain how well a product or a service about to be launched will be received by the people. It basically concerns itself with analyzing the trends of the market and identifying the contemporary taste and preference of the people.

How does this department function? There are a number of employees in this particular department of any company. Work is assigned to every person depending on his merit and ability. This department thrives on division of labor and on coordination among the various groups or units of workers.

The work done by this department follows a linear path- data is collected, it is analyzed, then assimilated and compiled to form a report. The report not only reflects the key findings but also entail a certain semblance of advice, warning the company of possible failures and suggesting strategies to reach out to the consumers with its product. This ensures that the company can come up with the best possible strategies and invest only where it is needed. This department is therefore crucial in enabling the company to gain maximum out of every deal.

This also makes it clear that the jobs in marketing research sphere are limited to only few posts, though the number of incumbents to the post may vary from company to company. The key posts in this department are:

•Market Research Manager- this person is credited with managing the work of the entire department. Though his work is mostly supervisory, he needs to make sure that the work is being done on time.

•Market Research Executives- they decide upon the strategies which the department will avail of in order to study the dynamics of the market.

•Market Research Analysts- Their work is similar to what market research executives do. The two work in tandem strategizing every move of the department, analyzing the collected data and coming up with solutions which the company can adopt to sell their products.

•Market Research Worker/ Interviewer- These are the people who do the real work in the sense they work at the grass root level collecting statistical data which will be analyzed later on. They are charged with the duty of designing online polls as well as conducting personal face to face interviews to gauge for themselves the pulse of the market.

Now that you know that work in market research is not limited and you are aware of the detailed job profile, I am sure that will apply for the market research job of your preference. Jobs in market research are easy to bag provided you have at a least bachelor’s degree in marketing. Moreover, since this is a high paying job, if you think you have the knack for it, you should surely apply for it straight away!

Business Analyst Roles

Business Analyst Roles:

There are many types of roles that are required of a modern Analyst. It depends greatly on the type of industry you are in, but some fundamental aspects remain. Let’s break the term Business Analyst down for a second. The term Business implies the goal of making money. But there are many types of organizations that are in business not just to make money. Take non-profit organizations or community groups for example. And Analyst means a person who analyzes something. So some people may argue that a better term for a Business Analyst is a “Organization Analyst”. The most key roles for a Analyst include:

  • Superior attention to detail
  • Great interpersonal skills
  • Excellent communication both written and verbal
  • Understanding of the company’s business practices and familiarity with the industry.

You should notice that these skills are not just confined to one type of industry. The main goal of any organization analyst is to define the solution that helps the organization reach its goal; it is that simple. Now days more and more people feel that the Business Analyst is involved in just I.T. solutions. This is not the case. There are many different types of business analysts and they can have varying degrees of responsibility.

Here are just a few of the titles that encompass the role of modern Analyst’s.

  • Business
  • Systems
  • Data
  • Business Systems Analyst
  • I.T. Business Analyst
  • Product Development Analyst

This is just a small list of the types of roles that business analysts can occupy. If you are looking to become a business analyst in the I.T. field then you may be required to know software development or understand the structure of how networks are built. A business can be a very integral part of an organizations success or failure. It is not the type of job that you can assume has entry level positions. These types of people are usually experts or have high competency in their field.

There are however courses and certifications that you can receive to help you with credentials. I have done lots of research and have found very few formal business analyst training programs. It is hard to set up programs for roles that experts in a particular field will employ. Although there are some online courses and universities that do offer such course work. The roles of BA’s are always changing and will continue to do so. As long as business is going on organizations will need people who know how to analyze what they are doing and help them achieve their main goals. These people are usually very well compensated for what they know and many can earn over 100k/year. There is no standard work week for a business analyst as many work way over 40 hours. These people sometimes have the fair of the organization in their hands and it can be very pressure driven.

Even though it can be a very high stress job most BA’s get satisfaction in knowing that what they are doing really makes a difference. It can be a stressful profession, but also a very rewarding one. Imagine if you knew that your work was helping an organization succeed in the market.