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Concept Testing

Concept testing is in the rarified air of the most heavily used research methods. Any serious attempt at a new product launch, product configuration, or price management has in its product development lifecycle a concept test. Simply put, concept testing measures the relative effectiveness of different package designs, advertising creative copy, or new product concepts. What about testing price points? Monadic design like this is arguably the most reliable form of price testing methodology (Lyon, 2002).

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DDG strongly advocates for a discrete choice method known as MaxDiff Scaling. MaxDiff was developed in 1987 by Jordan Louviere (Flynn and Marley, 2012, "Best Worst Scaling: Theory and Methods") and has been used extensively in choice exercises ever since.

We recommend MaxDiff as the analytical tool used in mission-critical research because it does a better job of distinguishing consumer preferences than a straightforward ranking or Likert scale-based method.

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Applied Segmentation

Market segmentation means different things to different people, even among researchers. Keep that fact in mind when you’re ready to undertake this important strategic research: caveat emptor. There is no shortage of literature about how to execute a segmentation analysis from a statistical standpoint, but much less about the practical considerations of designing one and implementing it.

Segmentation is a highly advanced research technique designed to identify homogeneous groups of similar consumers (and/or occasions) from a vast, heterogeneous market population. The intent of the segmentation process is to classify each consumer (and sometimes usage occasions) into one—and only one—discrete and unique segment based on their own needs. Usually, the results of this analysis yield 5 to 12 separate segments. Typically, companies invest most marketing resources pursuing 3 or 4 segments with highest potential/opportunity.

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Brand Tracking


DDG conducts brand tracking studies every month, with a variety of clients, across multiple industries. The benefit to brand tracking is that instead of doing a ‘point in time’ research study, we can monitor brand strengths and weaknesses, measure the impact of competitors, and better understand market influencers (advertising, economic trends, etc.) in a constantly shifting environment. This allows DDG to quantify the impact of advertising in real-time, allowing clients to make adjustments as needed. Understanding brand health is different from understanding customer satisfaction, although that is also important. Customer satisfaction (among current customers), is done in a vacuum, while brand tracking should show customer and non-customer data. Understanding how to win over new customers is just as important as retaining current customers.

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Customer Tracking

Customer satisfaction is the lifeblood of any business. And in order to know if your customers are satisfied with your product or service, you have to ask them. Not just once, but over and over again – making adjustments to your offerings to reflect what you have discovered wherever possible. That’s where an ongoing customer satisfaction tracking program can really add value.

Here are 3 things to know.

Measure once. At least at first. Establishing a benchmark is critical – it allows you to determine whether you’ve moved the needle on key metrics over time. Then, continue to measure against that benchmark, adding new metrics as your marketplace, and your offering, changes.

Customer Panels               

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Online customer research panels are an excellent tool for companies that wish to conduct frequent research with their customers. DDG builds online panels for companies across a variety of industries to allow them to survey their customers for feedback on marketing materials, service experiences, new product development, and other topics requiring quick response from the company.

Unlike online general population panels where respondents must be screened to identify qualified participants, a custom-build panel is typically recruited directly from a company’s list. A screener survey is developed that will allow us to collect all the information we might need to sample for specific studies, and a database including that screener information, as well as any transactional information provided, is maintained as the core sample frame for future studies.

Some of the core benefits from using a custom research panel include:

  • Speed of data collection. Because we can quickly target the necessary respondents from within the panel, recruitment can happen much more quickly than when using a general population online panel.
  • Customer engagement. In a custom panel scenario, respondents know that they’re completing surveys directly for the company, which increases the perception that their responses are valued and heard.
  • High response rates. General population response rates tend to be low, even when significant incentives are offered. Customer panel response rates are much higher, ranging from 20-60% of those inviting clicking through to the survey link from the invitation.
  • Ease of recontact. Respondents to specific surveys can easily be recontacted when necessary – either to ask follow-up questions or share survey results.
  • Data appends. Because we house transactional and screener data for all panelists in the panel database, this information can be appended to survey results whenever it’s useful.
  • Easy access to all survey results. DDG maintains a real-time, online portal allowing clients to view the composition and size of their panel as well as all survey results.
  •  Last, but not least, cost. Unlike general population panel studies where a cost per interview typically applies, custom panel studies do not have a CPI, which greatly reduces the overall cost for the research as well as allowing for very large samples to be collected.

Marketing Research Online Communities (MROC)

The adoption of online data collection revolutionized the marketing research industry, allowing quantitative surveys to be conducted in a fraction of the time they would have taken on the telephone, for a fraction of the cost. Continued software advancements have allowed qualitative researchers to benefit from online data collection as well.

Online communities have been used by marketing departments for years to gather together small groups (typically 100 or fewer) of customers in digital forums to get quick insights on product development, naming, and positioning. Marketing Research Online Communities (MROCs for short) use that same online framework to conduct research studies. Unlike an online panel, which is typically comprised of a group of people recruited to take multiple surveys over time, MROCs are typically one to two weeks in duration, focused on a specific topic or collection of related topics, and allow for both qualitative and quantitative insights to be gathered. They can be used as stand-alone replacements for traditional focus groups, or discovery exercises to inform the development of a quantitative study.

Community members interact with a trained moderator, and also with each other. Unlike an online or traditional focus group, online communities are asynchronous, meaning that respondents can participate at times that are convenient to them.  Guided discussions deliver feedback on key issues, while free-form discussions among community members uncover concerns or opportunities that hadn’t been considered previously. The ability to recruit 35-50 respondents to participate also allows for a wider range of interactions and feedback than the 10-12 that would typically be the maximum for a focus group. All of these benefits over traditional focus groups make MROCs a great solution for many of our clients.

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