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  • New Zealand's specialist market research blog

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  • You are reading the thoughts and ideas of Jared Bothwell, Managing Director of Rock Research, New Zealand's online market research experts.




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10 Best Songs to do Market Research to

September 15th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

10 research songs

Below is a list of the 10 best songs (IMHO) to do market research to.

10. Listen To What The Man Said – Paul Mccartney & Wings

9.  Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles

8. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

7. Cant You Hear Me Calling – Ricky Skaggs (This one goes out to all telephone interviewers)

6. I Can’t Be Satisfied – Muddy Waters

5. Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman

4. Some Might Say – Oasis

3. Five Short Minutes – Jim Croce (the best survey length)

2. Keep the customer satisfied – Simon & Garfunkel

1.  (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

A special mention goes to Speech De Belle who just won the 2009 Mercury prize. Before becoming a prize winning musician she was also a market researcher.

If you think I have left any songs out or challenge my ordering let me know. And for those about to survey ‘We salute you’!

Posted in Funny, Marketing Research | 8 Comments »

Google Makes Online Surveys Easier with Google Docs

September 4th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

google-docs-good-logoJust saw in TechCrunch that Google have enhanced some of the Google Doc  features which have improved Google Forms survey capabilities.

 Just last week I wrote a quick tutorial on how to build a online survey using ‘Google Forms’.

The key changes that Google have made are:

  • Introduction of grid question type - while the type of questions offered are still limited, having another to choose form is very handy.
  • Improved summary charts
  • Bi-directional Language Support- this means that questions can now appear right-to-left – great for multiple languages.
  • Sign-in to view form- this means that you can potentially secure your survey- great for sensitive type surveys
  • Pre-populate a form with parameters – gives you the ability to pre-populate fields via form URL

While the changes are a definite improvement, as I have said before, I would still hesitate in using Google Forms  for anything but  data collection or internal surveying requirements.

Posted in Online Market Research Tools | Comments Off

NZ Marketing Magazine – Under New Management

September 3rd, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

cover-sept-oct-09I was kicking myself after subscribing up to New Zealand Marketing for two years to find out a week later that 3media (the magazine publishers) had gone into liquidation. To be frank I wasn’t actually that keen on subscribing to the magazine but it was a pretty good deal (now I know why) and is really the only industry magazine that we have so felt duty bound to support it.

The beef I had with NZ Marketing (and a lot of other business magazines) is that a great deal of the contributors are industry participants who clearly have a vested interest in the topic they are writing about.  The problem I have with a lot of the articles is that often they read more like advertorials or at best tip sheets (i.e. six steps to a better brand etc.)

What the articles often are not are well balanced, objective or particularly that interesting. If you look closely you will often find an advert by a contributing writer in the same edition. Off course this is not always the case but often it is.

My other criticism of many business magazines is that many of the feature articles are banal at best consisting of incessant cheer-leading for fear of rubbing someone up the wring way and losing an advertising opportunity (the old who do you serve your readers or your advertisers chestnut). While this may help the bottom line it makes for fairly dull reading.

I was pretty excited then when I heard that HB Media had picked up the NZ Marketing masthead and were re-vamping the publication. I like what they have done with Idealog and expected good things.  It seems the team have been pretty busy over the last few months and I waspleasantly surprised when I found my brand spanking new copy of the magazine in my mailbox today.

The (new) NZ Marketing mag at first glance seems to have avoided some of my ealier criticisms judging by this editions feature article titled ‘Epic Fail’ (BTW – don’t get me started on the current trend to label screw ups as ‘fail’).

‘Epic Fail’ by Simon Young takes a hard look at the recent mismanagement of screw ups by Cadbury, Jetstar and Dominos. Quite a good read!

Key Changes

From my observation these appear to be the key changes in the new look NZ Marketing Magazine.

  • Price Increase – old marketing magazine had a cover price of $7.50, new mag is $8.50
  • Frequency – old marketing mag was monthly, new marketing mag is bi-monthly (looks like my subscription has just been chopped in half)
  • New Editor – Vincent Heeringa replaces old mag editor Graham Medcalf Graham still seems to be contributing though with two articles in the new mag written by him.
  • Two magazines in one – new mag also features the DLB which is the official magazine of the New Zealand Marketing Association. DLB use to be a large format magazine sent out to marketing association members.
  • Wave goodbye to – ‘One Consumers Opinion’, ‘Branding’,  ‘Microman’, ‘Weasel’
  • Say hello to – ‘Media’, ‘Law’, ‘Advertising’, ‘Metrics’, ‘Research’, ‘NFP’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Back Then’

All in all the new NZ Marketing is looking good and there is heaps of potential. It will be interesting to see what they do with the website, currently there is nothing much there . I can only hope that it is halfway as good as the Idealog site. The NZ Marketing site under 3M was under utilised and if HB Media was smart they will look at using the site to bring the New Zealand marketing community something which the Marketing Association website has to date failed to do.

Posted in Ideas, Marketing Research | Comments Off

Using Google Forms for Online Market Research

September 1st, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

Previously I wrote about using Google Apps to build quick and easy online surveys. Rather than take somebody elses word for it I thought I would take a closer look and find out just how easy it was.

The first step is to setup up a Google account. I guess most folks would have one by now but if you don’t it is a fairly easy process and can be done when you sign up for Google Docs. By the way if you haven’t heard of Google Docs it is essentially a bunch of office tools that are available online. The great thing is that they are based on cloud computing so the software and data is not stored on your system but stored on severs somewhere in Google land meaning you can access your documents from anywhere. Being online means it makes document collaboration a cinch too.

To demonstrate how Google forms can be used I have set up a basic survey in order to get a feel for it. Click here to have a look.

How to Set Up A Survey Using Google Forms

Once you have your set up your account you create your first survey.

1. Select form from under the ‘New’ tab

You can see that you can also select other documents including spreadsheets, word documents and presentations.

Select form

2. Select Question Type

The question types available are fairly basic but should suit the requirements for most simple surveys. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Online Market Research Tools | 8 Comments »

Phone Surveys – is this the end?

August 26th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell


Jeffrey Henning in his article Do phone surveys have a future? argues that while phone surveys have suffered at the hands of online surveys there is still a place for the telephone in the market research process. A point which I completely agree with.

While online surveys are essentially our bread and butter we have recently completed a number of recent projects where telephone interviews have been used successfully to capture the type of data that an online survey could never get.

Online surveys are great at quantitative data collection and are pretty good at qualitative surveying but they don’t allow for the type of probing questions which are quite often essential in qualitative research. (e.g. I see you rated the service as poor, why is that?, what would you do if you were in charge?)

The added bonus of telephone interviews is that respondents are generally far more candid with their responses compared to self completed surveys. Why? – I figure it has something to do with the fact that people are generally reluctant to commit their more sensitive views in written form.  Additionally, writing down your responses takes far more effort that just telling someone what you think.

To sum up, more than often we use telephone surveys to collect qualitative data so we are able to establish the lay of the land. The findings from the telephone interviews can then be used to implement an on-going monitoring which can be done effectively  by online surveys.

Posted in Online Research, Survey Technology | 3 Comments »

Dilbert and Market Research

August 19th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell


One of my favourite market research strips from Dilbert.

Posted in Funny | 1 Comment »

Restaurants and Surveys

August 7th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell


In the article “Online feedback’s a healthy choice” the point is made that online surveys can provide restaurants with a cheap and efficient ways of receiving feedback from patrons.

While comment cards have long been used by restaurants to get feedback they can create an issue when it comes to the collation and analysis of the feedback data. Most survey tools will offer a built in reporting tool which can do this job easily for you. Much better than having a bunch of comment cards lying around gathering dust.

The biggest issue that any restaurant will have in implementing a feedback system using online surveys will be getting patrons to actually login and participate. Incentives can go a long way in motivating respondents to login and complete your survey and promotion of your survey is equally as important.

I would suggest placing the survey URL on the bottom of your till receipts so that every customer receives an invitation after each time you  dine. If you want to get really flash you could issue a unique id number with each receipt and get the respondent to enter this in the survey. This will enable you to track purchase data along with satisfaction data.

If you make the effort to ask your customers what they think of your service make sure you ask for their email addresses and permission to send news updates, special offers or go the whole hog and start a newsletter. Inviting your customers to complete a survey can be a great way to start a conversation and relationship that can go on for years.

While online surveys are a great way to capture customer data they are by no means the only way. When asking your customers for feedback you want to eliminate as many steps as possible and make it as easy as possible. Requiring the customer to login to a website may deter only most keenest.

This is why we also use BigEars. BigEars is able to capture customer feedback via telephone. It is great for both quantitative and qualitative feedback and enables customers to be able to provide feedback by simply phoning a freephone number and answering an automated survey over the phone. How’s that for ease of use?

And if you are keen on online surveys we have some fully supported options, DIY options or we can even point you in the direction of some decent free options.  Talk about choice.

Posted in Customer Satisfaction | 8 Comments »

What makes a great market research conference?

July 28th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell


Ray Poynter is in the process of running a survey to look at What makes a great market research conference?

The interim results can be viewed here.

The Market Research Society of New Zealand is having their conference on the 14th of August in Auckland.  I’ll let you know how it stacks up against Ray’s checklist.

Posted in Market Research 2.0, Marketing Research | Comments Off

NZ Post Market Research Survey Causes Public Concern

July 14th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

A current market research survey being undertaken by NZ Post has caused some concern which has led to the Privacy Commissioner making a statement that people should not feel compelled to complete the survey.

It seems that some people had believed that they survey was compulsory since it was being sent by NZ Post. While I have not seen the survey invitation the story does highlight the valid issue that surveys sent by some state owned enterprises or Government departments may make people concerned due to the perceived authority of the sender. Most survey senders are loathe to stress the point that the respondent does not have to complete the survey (this would do nothing to help survey response rates) but in this instance it would have been worthwhile stating.

What seems to have worried people most is the level of detailed personal data that the survey asked for. While this information is seen by marketers as marketing gold I think the general public has wised up about simply giving away their details to anyone that asks. The risks are too high (i.e. identity theft or just receiving a flood of irritating targeted direct mail) so you should really just ask for what you need, otherwise you risk ending up with a low response rate as well as alienating the people you want to get close too.

Posted in survey design | 3 Comments »

Excel 2007 + SP2 + PDF = Distorted Charts

July 9th, 2009 by Jared Bothwell

Microsoft released Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) on the 24th of April 2009. I quickly installed this and was pretty impressed with some of the new features and fixes.

What I wasn’t aware of was a bug that SP2 brings with it. The issues arises if you try to save a excel sheet or workbook as a pdf and if your workbook features any charts. The result is that any charts featured in your workbook will be severely distorted. To date there is no known fix for this issue and you have two choices to resolve the issue.

They are:

  1. Uninstall SP2
  2. Uninstall and reinstall Office 2007

Uninstall SP2

Apparently Sp2 is the first service pack which Microsoft has enabled you to actually uninstall. The download required is here Following this process is easier said than done though and while their a number of blogs that provide some detailed instructions on how to accomplish the removal of SP2, it was beyond me and I gave up (after four hours or trying).

Uninstall and reinstall Office 2007

I recommend not wasting too much time trying to uninstall sp2 and just do a complete reinstall of 2007. A repair will not work because as far as office 2007 is concerned there is nothing to repair. I admit that doing a reinstall is not ideal but it does work.

I do wonder two things through, why did Microsoft release SP2 with such serious error and secondly why haven’t they come up with a fix yet. Quite disappointing and quite frustrating.

Beware of SP2

Posted in Online Market Research Tools | 7 Comments »

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