Marketing Research Case Histories
Below is a list of case studies detailing some of Decision Analyst’s experiences, from innovation and qualitative research to quantitative research, to advanced analytics and predictive analytics. You can view each article by clicking on the title.
Category: Tanning Products
Methods: Proprietary Panel; Custom Research Panel; Tracking Research; Qualitative Research; Quantitative Research; Attitude, Usage, & Behavior Research
Summary: A large consumer packaged-goods company wanted to gain insights into two consumer groups’ attitudes, usage, and behaviors toward tanning products over a period of 16 months.
Category: Gift Cards
Methods: Market-Share Tracking, Consumer Trends
Summary: Our client, Retailer A, a Fortune 100 company and one of the gift card market-share leaders, was interested in better understanding its competitive place in the gift card market, as well as understanding the gift card purchase decision and gift-card redemption experience. Decision Analyst recommended using quantitative surveys among both purchasers and recipients to capture gift card market share, as well as a deep dive into the motivations and behaviors surrounding a gift card purchase.
Category: Beauty Products
Methods: Product Awareness and Usage, International Research, Product Attributes, Incidence, Customer Target Profile
Summary: An international innovator of premium beauty products targeted to women wanted to better understand hair care needs and product usage among females in four countries. This research was conducted to help the company develop targeted marketing initiatives, enhance product offerings, and understand targets for new products.
Methods: Advanced Analytics, Brand Equity Modeling, Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty, Customer Loyalty Modeling, Customer Loyalty Simulator™
Summary: A financial holding company desired an equity and loyalty evaluation of several insurance company brands. Using an online survey, consumers evaluated insurance company brands on a battery of attributes. Decision Analyst’s Customer Loyalty Simulator™ was integral in empowering the client to make decisions about how to improve the brand.
Methods: In-Person Focus Groups, Virtual-Ethnography (Remote Desktop Viewing), Path-to-Purchase, Time- Extended™ Qualitative
Summary: A cosmetic manufacturer was interested in gaining a better understanding consumer perceptions and usage of Amazon.com. Management wanted to identify and understand why cosmetics’ users read reviews, shop and buy online vs. in store and how they might stop or reverse this trend to online, or possibly take better advantage of the online channel.
Category: Children's Toys
Methods: Package Testing, Virtual Shopping, Advanced Analytics, Quantitative Research, Shopper Insights
Summary: Recently a major toy manufacturer was challenged by its management team to grow sales of its top brand. The brand's marketers faced a big challenge and were considering a bold (and potentially risky) change to help shift the brand’s growth trend upward. Consumer research was carefully crafted to understand shoppers’ reactions to the revised packages, and ultimately revealed that the proposed changes would benefit the brand.
Methods: Advertising Research (Copy Testing), Hispanic Research
Summary: A large retailer wanted to measure the effectiveness of its Hispanic advertising campaign. Decision Analyst’s CopyTest® system and proprietary SellingPower™ analytical model calculated overall advertising effectiveness and suggested how to increase the ads’ cultural relevance.
Category: Consumer Health and Beauty Products
Methods: New Product Concept Testing
Summary: A leading global manufacturer of consumer health and beauty products was considering adding a new product to its current line.
Category: Insurance Company
Methods: Concept Testing, Market Evaluation
Summary: A health insurance company didn’t want to miss out on the growth potential presented by senior citizens. Management knew they wanted to grow their marketing share among seniors, but only had a vague idea of the type of product they needed. Decision Analyst recommended a two-part project: a card-sort survey to determine the market potential and identify the most desired benefits, followed by a concept test to identify the most promising concept and determine the optimal price points.
Category: Skincare System
Methods: Time-Extended™ Online Focus Group, Global Research, Research in China
Summary: A multinational personal-care products manufacturer was interested in expanding its skincare business in China and wanted to identify the unique needs and applications to deliver a pipeline of skincare products specially designed for Asian consumers.
Category: Technology Products and Services
Methods: Advanced Analytics, Choice Modeling
Summary: A supplier of high-end technology products and services wanted to expand to broader group of customers. Decision Analyst conducted research to develop a consumer-configured list of preferred product and service bundles to offer.
Category: Automotive Parts Manufacturer
Methods: CopyTest®, Advertising Research
Summary: An advertising agency representing a major automotive aftermarket parts manufacturer had developed two different approaches to creating a TV advertisement. Our client asked us to conduct a study that would determine which of the two ads would be the most effective at communicating the message to their target audience.
Methods: Advanced Analytics, Customer-Database Predictive Modeling, Hierarchical Bayes Choice Modeling
Summary: Decision Analyst’s client wished to directly predict the receptivity of its customers and prospects to a wide variety of promotion and pricing features of electricity plans. In particular, a very flexible prospect model was desired to use in targeting specific customers and prospects with specific offerings, based on demographic variables available within their customer database.
Category: Automotive Aftermarket
Methods: Concept Testing, Purchase Motivation, Brand Positioning
Summary: A leading producer and distributor of aftermarket fluids and additives was considering a reformulation of its top-selling, trademarked product. This was prompted by a national retailer that was refusing to carry an existing, derivative product because it did not feel the product fit in well in the retailers’ existing product categories.
Methods: CopyCheck®, Advertising Research
Summary: A major health insurance provider wanted to know which of its new advertising concepts would resonate the most with potential customers. Decision Analyst’s proprietary CopyCheck® system ultimately helped the client develop the top three concepts into a multimillion-dollar campaign.
Category: Food Product Manufacturer
Methods: Database Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Geospatial Analysis, Data Cleaning, Customer Loyalty, Customer Satisfaction
Summary: A major international manufacturer of a food product sold in grocery stores had a database of consumer contacts going back several years and consisting of several million records. The Consumer Affairs department wanted to develop the strategic value of the database and also wanted to improve methods used to deal with consumer inquiries and potential problems. Using sophisticated data cleaning and exploratory methods, geospatial analysis, and standard market research analysis methods, Decision Analyst was able to illuminate patterns in the data.
Methods: Advanced Analytics, Predictive Modeling, Predictive Analytics
Summary: A major utility company wished to understand the relationship between consumption of their product and their clients’ household income in order to address pricing issues raised by the regulatory authority. Specifically, the hypothesis was promulgated that lower-income households used more of the client’s product. A formal test of this hypothesis was needed.
Category: Personal Care Product Manufacturer
Methods:In-The-Moment Research; Diary Panel; Tracking Research; Market Assessment, Ethnography
Summary: A personal-care-product manufacturer wanted to understand and quantify consumers’ personal hygiene routines in order to identify new opportunities or marketing campaigns for an existing product. To obtain this level of detail, Decision Analyst recommended that diary research be conducted “in-the-moment.”
Category: E-Commerce, Consumer Goods
Methods: Econometric Modeling, Advanced Analytics
Summary: A Fortune 1000 consumer-goods firm wished to identify patterns and trends in its retailer’s e-commerce sales and promotions. Predictive modeling revealed the most (and least) effective promotion types, average return on investment (ROI) of a given promotion, and the most effective location for promotions on the retailer’s homepage.
Methods: Choice Modeling, Latent-Class Segmentation, Volumetric Forecasting, Market Simulation
Summary: An automotive OEM was in search of that next big new product idea to fill an unmet consumer need and to relaunch a category that had not seen much innovation or growth in recent years. The OEM asked Decision Analyst to design a consumer research program to help them understand the potential for this new product concept they envisioned.
Methods: Advanced Analytics, DecisionSimulator™, Market Simulation
Summary: Forecasting consumer demand for several alternative-fuel technologies within five segments.
Category: Retail Automotive Fuel Products
Methods: Global Marketing Research, Advertising Research (Copy Testing)
Summary: A global automotive fuel company tested its advertising in multiple countries to improve clarity, recall, brand registration, persuasion, and other key elements. Insights taken from Decision Analyst’s monadic CopyTest® made the ads more successful.
Category: Electronic Games
Methods: Focus Groups, Depth Interviews, Projective Techniques, Motivational Research
Summary: At the dawn of the digital age, a major international manufacturer of electronic systems and components assigned a team of engineers to develop digital games for the new electronic devices then emerging. The engineers viewed this as an opportunity to convert checkers, chess, and similar board games into electronic versions. Consumer research revealed a far vaster realm of opportunity, a fantasy world beyond the imaginations of the engineers.
Category: Gift Cards
Methods: Customer Loyalty, Awareness and Usage, Customer Satisfaction, Tracking Study
Summary: A multinational food and beverage chain wanted to measure over time the awareness and usage of its frequent user/gift card program and its impact on customer loyalty. This research was conducted to provide strategic direction for improving the overall effectiveness of the program as a customer relationship tool—to drive customer acquisition and retention, and to grow revenue.
Category: Health and Beauty Aids—Cosmetics
Methods: Global Marketing Research, Custom Indexing Methodology
Summary: A major multinational cosmetics manufacturer sought a celebrity spokesperson to use across global markets. Decision Analyst developed a comprehensive index score based on over 15 variables and collected data simultaneously in 11 countries and in 9 languages. The custom index-scoring system identified viable options that resonated with the largest audiences.
Methods: Qualitative Research, Ideation, Quantitative Research, New Product Concept Development & Refinement, Advanced Analytics, MaxDiff Latent Class Choice Model
Summary: A major hotel chain was interested in developing relevant and actionable new products and services designed to target the business traveler, and to project potential market appeal for each concept. We addressed this need using Decision Analyst’s Insights & Innovation Group to identify and develop new product and service concepts. Once the new product and service concepts were developed, Decision Analyst then used quantitative research combined with advanced analytics to identify the new concepts with the best potential for success.
Category: Business-to-Business (B2B) Electronics
Methods: Profiling, International Research, Business-to-Business (B2B) Research, Attitude/Awareness/Usage Research, Diagnostic Research, Problem Solving, Teamwork
Summary: A leading device manufacturer discovered that previously-held beliefs about the philosophical differences between U.S. and Italian office workers that were driving marketing simply weren’t accurate at all. The research that was originally designed to identify how to penetrate a market was ultimately used to identify how to encourage switching from a competitor’s product.
Methods: Customer Satisfaction, Customer Segmentation, Business-to-Business Research, Consumer Research
Summary: A major national utility company was suffering from low customer satisfaction ratings and needed a plan to identify problems and address the issues in a timely manner.
Category: Health and Beauty Care
Methods: International Research, Analytical Modeling
Summary: A major multinational consumer health-and-beauty product manufacturer wanted to determine and anticipate the next big “ingredient” that could revolutionize its segment of the health-and-beauty industry. Leveraging the American Consumer Opinion® panel an online survey was conducted across several countries. Qualified respondents were asked to rate and rank an extensive list of ingredients, while assigning them into the different categories of personal-care products to which they were best suited.
Methods: Advanced Analytics, Predictive Modeling, Sales Predictive Modeling
Summary: Decision Analyst developed a predictive model of store sales per square foot from customer-satisfaction surveys, 9.4 million records of store transactions, shopper demographics, employee/staffing data, and store-a-graphics (format, size, age of store). The model was used to identify key drivers of sales and indicators of store performance, enabling the client to prioritize stores for improvement initiatives.
Category: Salty Snacks
Methods: Concept Testing, Product Testing, In-Home Usage Testing, Pii® Product Improvement Index, Volumetric Forecasting, Sales Forecasting, Conceptor® Forecasting Models
Summary: A salty snack manufacturer worked with a subcontractor to develop a completely new salty snack product. Decision Analyst conducted a large concept test, followed by in-home usage product tests for each major flavor of the new salty snack, and forecasted in-market sales volume with its Conceptor® forecasting models.
Methods: Market Evaluation, Quantitative Research, Market Overview
Summary: A multinational automotive manufacturer (OEM) with no previous experience in the U.S. market was considering whether or not to attempt to introduce an all-new vehicle into the U.S. The need was to gain a fundamental understanding of the U.S. owner and intender of vehicles in one particular segment of the market.
Category: Fresh Food Manufacturer
Methods: Advertising Research (Copy Testing), Promotion Research, Marketing Mix Modeling, Econometric Modeling, DecisionSimulator™
Summary: A major manufacturer of a fresh-food product wanted to know how much stimulation of sales could be expected per Target Rating Point of advertising. Econometric modeling and Decision Analyst’s DecisionSimulator™ revealed the return per dollar of promotion allowance and return per dollar of advertising spending. The findings supported strategic decisions regarding the level and timing of advertising and promotional spending.
Methods: New Product Development, Qualitative Research, Physician Research
Summary: A pharmaceutical company was interested in developing a new product for the treatment of a cronic disease. Exploratory research was utilized to understand current treatment patterns and needs among primary care physicians and specialists who treat the disease.
Category: Health Snack Food Manufacturer
Methods: MaxDiff Analysis, Analytical Consulting, Choice Modeling
Summary: A U.S. manufacturer of better-for-you snacks that contain no artificial products or flavors offered its product line in a select few flavors. Decision Analyst used MaxDiff modeling to determine which new flavors would increase sales.
Category: Cooking Oil
Methods: MaxDiff Analysis, Analytical Consulting, Choice Modeling, Hierarchical Bayes Estimation, Claims Testing
Summary: A Choice Modeling project was conducted to identify the table spread products most likely to experience an increase in sales by including the cooking oil as a key ingredient.
Category: Vehicle Dealer
Methods: Customer Satisfaction Tracking, Online Survey, Preowned Buyer Survey, Quantitative Mail Survey, Tracking Research
Summary: As a premium automobile retailer with multiple locations, our client has a very strong customer service culture. Decision Analyst updated and automated their customer satisfaction program for preowned cars.
Category: Childcare Products and Accessories
Methods: Concept Testing, Product Testing, In-Home Usage Testing
Summary: A niche company specializing in childcare products and accessories tasked Decision Analyst with conducting multiphased research in order to gain a better understanding of the target market. The research was designed to help diversify, expand, and improve the product line, and, ultimately, to refine and optimize the growth strategy that would allow the company to develop into a global brand.
Category: Healthcare System
Methods: Ideation, Name Generation, Name Testing
Summary: A large healthcare system asked Decision Analyst to generate, iterate, and then quantitatively test new names for several new healthcare facilities.
Category: Electronic Calculators, Mathematics Training
Methods: Focus Groups, Depth Interviews, Ethnography, Telephone Survey
Summary: A large, worldwide manufacturer of electronic components and devices developed handheld calculators and mathematics training program for children in the first, second, and third grades. Field visits by the engineering team confirmed that the new calculators were terrific. Senior marketing managers wanted to know how to market the new calculators and training program, and hired Decision Analyst. The research revealed some surprises.
Methods: Advanced Analytics, Discrete-Choice Modeling, Focus-Group Qualitative Research, Quantitative Static Clinic
Summary: A multinational automobile manufacturer sought to introduce a new vehicle into a segment of the market that technically did not exist at that time. Since the automobile market is intensely competitive, the rewards for being one of the creators of a new segment are large. However, because the investments required to develop, manufacture, and market an all-new vehicle are also very large, the ability to reduce risk and accurately forecast sales is crucial.
Category: Consumer Health and Beauty Products
Methods: New Product Concept Testing
Summary: A leading global manufacturer of consumer health and beauty products was considering adding a new product to its current line.
Category: Medical Devices
Methods: New Product Development, Positioning Test, Name Testing
Summary: A global healthcare company that develops products and systems for in-home use and testing was planning a new product introduction. The company wanted to determine the best product name and to identify a compelling positioning statement to use in marketing the product.
Category: Automotive OEM
Methods: Automotive Research, Quantitative Research, Intender Survey, New Buyer Survey, Competitive Buyer Survey
Summary: A global automotive OEM was launching a redesigned version of its best-selling vehicle in the U.S. In order to provide a holistic view of the market reaction, Decision Analyst partnered in designing and implementing a research program that provided insights.
Category: Health & Wellness Product
Methods: Market Perception Study, Needs Assessment Survey, Healthcare Professionals Survey
Summary: A leading maker of health and wellness products wanted to identify barriers and opportunities in a niche market in order to improve its market position in the industry.
Category: Premium Packaged Goods
Methods: Depth Interviews, Projective Techniques, Motivational Research, Survey Research, Advanced Analytics, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Packaged Goods
Summary: Our client’s brand was among the first of its kind, had been on the market for decades, and had maintained market share, yet our client wanted the brand to do more than just survive. They saw consumers’ growing interest in premium packaged goods as an opportunity to refresh and strengthen the brand’s identity. Our consumer research identified “key pillars” for the brand, which have helped propel it far beyond previous success and into new markets around the world.
Category: Beauty Products Manufacturer
Methods: In-Person Focus Groups, Qualitative Research, Remote Desktop Viewing, Screen Sharing, Time-Extended™ Online In-Depth Interviews, Virtual Ethnography
Summary: A large global manufacturer and marketer of beauty products wanted to understand beauty shoppers’ motivations, perceptions, and usage of various stores and websites. A multiphase qualitative approach was used to gain a deep understanding of consumers’ needs, desires, shopping experiences, and shopping decision-making behaviors, both in store and online.
Category: Consumer Packaged Goods
Methods: Advertising Research (Copy Testing), Analytical Consulting, Choice Modeling, Attitudinal Research, Brand Equity Monitor™, Key Driver Analysis, Tracking Research
Summary: A domestic tool manufacturer wanted to track the category’s (and its own) brand and advertising awareness, in addition to attitudes and usage. The research identified the effective major marketing initiatives, and the key driver analysis identified “perception gaps” limiting its brand equity.
Category: Casual Dining
Methods: Casual Dining Positioning, Menu Evaluation, Online Depth Interviews, Time-Extended™ Online Qualitative Research
Summary: With dinner being a key strategic opportunity for a major casual-dining restaurant, scores from quantitative data were significantly lower for the restaurant than its main competitors, and the company used online qualitative and ethnographic research to uncover current perceptions of the brand, menu choices, food, and service. Time-Extended™ online depth interviews were conducted to provide an intimate understanding of the consumer relationship with the brand and its current menu offerings.
Methods: Business-to-Business Research, Key Driver Analysis, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Path to Purchase, Time-Extended™ Online Research
Summary: A manufacturer of products for workplace usage wanted to increase its knowledge about the path to purchase—how and why business customers buy their products—in order to effectively reach them with the right content at the right place and time.
Methods: Qualitative Research, In-Person Qualitative Research
Summary: An American production and distribution company needed to explore consumer attitudes, usage, and perceptions of its line of plush toys that accompanied its popular children’s TV show. Insights from the focus groups improved the toy, its marketing, and the show, and the client even gained merchandising opportunities.
Methods: In-Store, Digital Display Testing, Customer Experience Optimization, Promotion Testing
Summary: Decision Analyst’s client was introducing informational and advertising-oriented, digital display kiosks in its stores nationwide. Prior to rolling out these free-standing digital fixtures, management wanted to test the overall impact of their digital display screen content, as well as the effectiveness and operations of display orientation, sound, and interactivity.
Category: Kitchen Appliance System
Methods: Positioning Test, Market Segmentation, Latent Class Cluster Analysis
Summary: A major consumer-packaged-goods company and a large appliance manufacturer sought to identify a compelling, differentiating positioning for its kitchen system. Decision Analyst’s segmentation technique enabled the client to select an attractive, ownable positioning for the product’s successful launch.
Category: Online Lead Generation
Methods: Correlation/Cluster Analysis, Predictive Modeling, Cross-Validation, Simulation Modeling, Advanced Analytics
Summary: A large U.S. military service branch uses websites to attract young men and women as potential recruits. By providing a form to be completed by those interested in a military career, data is captured that helps the military branch with recruitment. Predictive analytics was applied to data obtained from forms filled out on the website, page views, and lead generation. The resulting predictive models were used to adjust relative spending on different clusters of web pages, maximizing ROI in terms of lead generation.
Methods: Predictive Modeling, Logistic Regression, Random Forest™, Advanced Analytics
Summary: Decision Analyst explored the use of self-reported behavior from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to develop predictive models of noncompliant patients.
Category: Over-The-Counter Medicine
Methods: Choice Modeling, Advanced Analytics, DecisionSimulators™
Summary: An over-the-counter drug manufacturer was interested in understanding the market implications of offering a new, higher-strength product to supplement their product line.
Category: Personal Care Manufacturer
Methods: Choice Modeling, DecisionSimulator™, Product Line Optimization
Summary: A global manufacturer of specialty personal-care products needed to develop a response to major changes made to the category leader's product line.
Category: Managed-Care Company
Methods: Customer Satisfaction, Private Online Panel
Summary: A large managed-care company wanted to optimize its customer satisfaction levels among its Preferred Provider Network (PPN). Decision Analyst created, managed, and hosted an online survey panel for the managed care company. The panel allowed easy access to representatives in the PPN and provided a mechanism for feedback on a variety of planned changes and improvements in the ways that providers interact with the company.
Category: B2B Software
Methods: Purchase Probability Modeling, Predictive Modeling, Business-to-Business (B2B) Research, Sales Lead Classification, International Research
Summary: An international, high-tech software company wanted to boost sales of its business-to-business hosted software service. A logistic regression model was developed that predicted the likelihood that a prospect would consider subscribing to the hosted service. The model was incorporated into an interactive scoring tool that allowed the sales force to enter prospect responses for each of the model predictors and forecast the likelihood of prospects to accept an offer of service.
Category: Prepaid Services Industry
Methods: Qualitative Research, Hispanic Research, In-person In-Depth Interviews
Summary: A large U.S. company believed that unacculturated Hispanics might represent a viable target market for its services, but marketing efforts to this segment had largely failed. The firm asked Decision Analyst to propose research that would lead to an improved marketing strategy to reach and convert unacculturated Hispanics in the U.S.
Methods: Advanced Analytics, Decision Tree, Linear Regression, Predictive Modeling, Random Forest™, R Language, Real Estate Site Selection
Summary: We explored the use of the open-source R Language to develop alternative types of predictive models for retail-site sales forecasting. Alternative model types included decision tree, linear regression, and Random Forest™. The study found that a straightforward linear regression—when developed using best-practice, cross-validation techniques to select variables from a large variety of store, customer, and trade-area predictor variables—can be developed rapidly and cost-effectively using open-source, free software.
Category: Optical Products
Methods: Promotion Testing, Marketing Communications, Medical Research
Summary: A leading maker of optical products wanted to gauge likely consumer response to several product discount offers.
Methods: Point-of-Sale Surveys, Tracking, Customer Satisfaction Monitoring
Summary: A major retailer needed a way to better understand the experiences of their customers in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
Category: Fashion Retailing
Methods: Retail Store Location Analysis, Spatial Analytics, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Summary: A national retail apparel chain sought help from Decision Analyst in identifying new market opportunities. The chain felt that major metropolitan areas offered limited growth opportunities, and wondered if smaller towns might be viable for its retail stores. Decision Analyst combined survey research, competitive analyses, and geographic analyses and modeling to forecast sales of new stores in smaller markets.
Methods: Segmentation Analysis, Key Driver Analysis, Gap Analysis, Spatial Analysis, Media Analysis
Summary: A major U.S. restaurant chain derived substantial added value from its market segmentation study by commissioning Decision Analyst to re-analyze the segmentation data and conduct additional analyses.
Category: Graduate Education
Methods: Syndicated Data Analysis, Secondary Data Analysis, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Spatial Analytics, GeoMapping, Site Selection, Sales Forecasting, Concept Optimization, Choice Modeling, DecisionSimulator™
Summary: A major university in a large midwestern metropolitan area offered an array of MBA graduate degrees at its downtown campus. Its Executive MBA (EMBA) program was the most profitable, and the university sought to expand this graduate offering. Decision Analyst was asked to help identify optimal locations for satellite classrooms to offer the EMBA degree. The results revealed complex interactions among the site-location variables.
Category: International Retail
Methods: International Research, Strategic Research, Depth Interviews, Ethnographic Research, Focus Groups, Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research
Summary: A U.S.-based retailer wanted to evaluate an emerging market as part of their long-term expansion strategy. This research was undertaken to provide strategic direction for markets in China.
Category: Discount Retailer
Methods: Quantitative Research, Brand Awareness, Advertising Research (Copy Testing), Tracking Research
Summary: A large discount retail chain wanted to track company, brand, and advertising awareness as well as consumer attitudes to help increase advertising effectiveness. The detailed monthly report and full analysis with recommendations helped the client gauge its success and pinpoint the most effective messages and promotions.
Category: Vehicle Loan Financing & Services
Methods: Time-Extended™ Online Qualitative Research, Online Qualitative Research in a Bulletin Board Format
Summary: An industry-leading company specializing in auto loans wanted to develop a targeted advertising campaign. The insights from Decision Analyst’s online, Time-Extended™ depth interviews became the foundation for the advertisements and new communication strategies.
Category: International Manufacturer
Methods: Autoregressive Time-Series Regression, Decision Tool, Econometrics, Ensemble Model, Model Validation, Time-Series, Forecasting, Variable Selection
Summary: A client company (an international manufacturer) had experienced unprecedented volatility in the price of a primary raw-material input used to produce several of its products. Decision Analyst build an ensemble of Autoregressive Time-Series Models to predict future prices. The client company used forecasted raw material prices to better control costs of production and to increase profitability.
Category: Organic Food Manufacturer
Methods: Concept Testing, Brand Name Testing, Packaging Research
Summary: A large organic-foods manufacturer had to decide how to package, name, and introduce a healthier product formulation targeted to moms with young children. R&D was making great strides on a new and innovative package design that would not only make the product more fun and convenient, but would also generate a significant “splash” in the market. However, this new package design still needed some fine-tuning. Finally, would a “kid-oriented” product name have greater appeal than the “flagship” name?
Category: Health Insurance
Methods: Choice Modeling, Simulation Modeling, Concept Testing
Summary: A large health insurer sought to increase profitability for a specified group insurance segment by reducing the number of insured health products and the overhead and low profit margins associated with them.
Category: Health Insurance
Methods: Automated Reporting, Mail Survey, Customer Satisfaction, Tracking Research
Summary: A health insurance carrier wanted to incorporate patient satisfaction measurements as a quality outcome indicator when recredentialing each member of its network.
Category: Personal Care and Grooming
Methods: Time-Extended™ Online Forums, Home Usage, Online Journaling
Summary: A multinational personal care manufacturer had developed a revolutionary home grooming product. A pilot version of the product had already been successfully launched in the French market the previous year, and preliminary results were promising. Realizing the great potential of this product, the manufacturer decided to develop a newer, more sophisticated and user-friendly version of their grooming product. Decision Analyst was tasked with designing and conducting a two-phased research approach that would meet this goal. Striving to surpass the competition, the company made testing competitors’ similar products the focus of the research. The learnings would then be used to produce a superior, top-of-the-line grooming product.
Category: Restaurant Industry
Methods: Automated Reporting, Tracking Research
Summary: A regional restaurant chain with locations in 8 markets across the Southwest asked Decision Analyst to conduct quarterly tracking studies for each of its 50 eateries. Automated reporting technology was used to efficiently and accurately create the reports for the multiple markets, taking into consideration the local competitors for each unit.
Originally presented at IIR's The Market Research Event 2010, this presentation summarizes the results of an executive communication survey conducted by Decision Analyst on behalf of Plantronics. Technological advances in communication have changed our world and our workplace is beyond question. However, some have gone so far as to proclaim that email or text communication is actually preferred over voice, a position we felt should be investigated. Taking a “pure research” position, we devised a research plan to compare and contrast communication modes, and gauge their relative value to Team Knowledge Workers in both business and personal situations.
Category: Auto/Captive Financial Services
Methods: Exploratory Research, Quantitative Research, Discrete Choice Modeling, In-Person Focus Groups, Simulated Purchasing Decisions
Summary: The Captive Finance arm of a Global Auto Manufacturer had historically relied on a traditional approach to developing new business, utilizing the value of its automotive products as the primary conduit for attracting customers. The client was looking for new ways in which to grow and add value to its business.
Category: Insurance Company
Methods: MaxDiff Analysis, Message Evaluation
Summary: The changing healthcare environment has created confusion among consumers. Our client, a health-insurance provider, wanted to know how best to communicate with their customers about the Affordable Care Act and what messages they need to use. Decision Analyst conducted a MaxDiff analysis on the proposed message statements to determine which messages consumers preferred.
Category: CPG Manufacturing
Methods: Online/Virtual Shelf Set, Research with Children, In-Store Display Research
Summary: A manufacturer created a new product line that was targeted to children aged 6 to 12. For this new product line, they created several merchandising-display options and wanted to know which one would resonate most with children and their parents. Thanks to the research conducted by Decision Analyst, the manufacturer was able to determine which display option would appeal to both the children and parents as well as maximize sales.
Category: Toy Industry
Methods: Volumetric Concept Testing, Latent Class Choice Modeling, Calibration, DecisionSimulator™, Online Simulated Shopping
Summary: A toy maker developed several toy concepts and wanted to know which of them should be taken to market. During an online survey, respondents were taken through two shopping exercises and made purchase decisions based on the available toys. Several latent-class choice models were developed, measuring price and product utilities. Calibration to external sales data was applied to improve the reliability of volumetric estimates. After calibration the total volume estimates were loaded into a DecisionSimulator™ that enabled the client to make toy selections based on potential units and revenue.
Category: Health Insurance
Methods: Focus Groups, Affinity Diagramming, Multivariate Analysis, Needs Assessment, Loyalty Measurement
Summary: A health insurance carrier sought to get closer to its members by understanding more about their needs related to the consumer experience and the employer experience. They also wanted to know how well they were meeting the needs they identified versus how well their competition was meeting similar needs for its customers.
Category: Health Insurance
Methods: Focus Groups, Telephone Survey, Nonlinear Regression Analysis, Quadrant Mapping
Summary: A national health insurance carrier established a task force to optimize consumers’ experience with its customer service operation. Prior to developing a change plan, it was important for the task force to understand the customers’ expectations and needs.
Category: Automotive OEM
Methods:Ethnography, Extended Drive Experience with In-Vehicle Mounted Video Camera, In-Depth Post-Drive Interview, Online Follow-Ups, Qualitative Research
Summary: Decision Analyst conducted a multistage qualitative study for a Premium division of an OEM to determine their position relative to the competition and to identify action steps for tangible improvement.
Contact Decision Analyst
If you would like more information on Marketing Research, please contact Jerry W. Thomas by emailing email@example.com or calling 1-817-640-6166.
Market Segmentation: One Method, Four Examples
Posted October 26, 2009by Rajan Sambandam, TRC ,TRC
Effective market segmentation requires an understanding of the market and the skilled art of finding the appropriate segments. TRC gives four examples of this method's application with results.
Companies segment their markets to improve their competitiveness and profitability in fundamental ways:
- By focusing product development, marketing, and service resources on segments with the most potential, companies literally can multiply their marketing and service efficiency.
- By developing products, services, and marketing messages that address those segments’ specific needs, they can greatly improve their share of the most desirable business. At the same time, by focusing on the needs of the most desirable customers, companies can improve retention of those customers.
Very often, companies shape their market segmentation using the results of market research and analysis. Market segmentation research is not designed to shape the market. Rather, it reveals underlying divisions in the market and characteristics of the market segments that can be used for effective and profitable marketing.
At the very least, segmentation research places the steps companies take on a firm factual foundation. Often, it also uncovers characteristics of the market that are not obvious and identifies ways of dividing and approaching the market that will be particularly effective. If these ways are not evident to competitors, the marketing impact of segmentation research can be even more beneficial.
At a more tactical level, market segmentation can make the choices a company faces in developing products, services, and marketing messages easier. Often, market segmentation shows that many conceivable combinations of interest in product features, combinations of service needs, or combinations of attitudes are actually very rare in the marketplace. As a result, there is no need for the company to be prepared to deal with these combinations.
What makes a segmentation analysis valuable? Market segmentation research includes more “art” (although no less "science") than other types of market research. This is the case because analysis often turns up two or more different sets of segments, that is two or more different ways of dividing the market. For example, one analysis might subdivide a segment; another might not recognize that division.
In these circumstances, what counts is a segmentation scheme that the firm can implement to create real marketing advantages. Which scheme is best depends not just on which provides the best description of the market, but also on the company’s strengths and marketing goals:
- For example, a company that is relatively large in its market might view a segment constituting 10% of the market as too small to serve as the foundation for a marketing strategy, no matter how desirable that segment is. A smaller firm in the same market, however, might see pursuit of the same segment as an exceptionally fruitful strategy.
Thus, the best segmentation analysis is the one that is most useful.
Deciding what Data Inputs to Use: Prior to carrying out a segmentation study, a firm should carefully consider what data inputs to use to ensure that the different segments identified can be targeted for actual marketing. If segments cannot be targeted, the most descriptive segmentation scheme may not be very useful.
SOM: In our segmentation projects, we have used a neural network based method that allows a computer to “learn” the structure of the market. The specific type of network used is called a "Self-Organizing Map" or SOM. SOMs have important advantages over other more traditional segmentation techniques:
- SOMs show how many segments naturally exist in the market and how they are related to one another, rather than requiring the analyst to make assumptions about how many segments there are.
- In our experience, the segments SOMs identify often are more distinct than those identified by cluster analysis, the most common type of segmentation analysis. We have seen this difference in studies where we used both techniques to analyze the same data.
The following brief case studies illustrate some uses our clients have made of market segmentation research using SOMs. Of course, findings are disguised where necessary to protect the proprietary interests of our clients.
Case 1: Personal Auto Insurance Buyers
Background: Our client, a national property/casualty insurer, distributes its personal and small commercial products through independent agents. This study was part of a reevaluation of its strategies, designed to determine:
- Whether its market share might be increased by direct marketing to some households.
- Whether doing so would conflict with agent activities.
- Marketing themes and product features that could be used to differentiate it in different market segments.
- The potential profitability of different segments.
Attitudinal, behavioral, and demographic data were gathered using a mail panel survey of 2000 U.S. households that own auto insurance. Geodemographic and credit information supplemented the survey responses.
Segments Identified: The study identified five segments, each making up 17% to 22% of the market.
- "Non-Traditionals" were most interested in using the Internet and/or buying insurance at work.
- Direct Buyers were more interested than others were in buying via direct mail or telephone.
- "Budget Conscious" consumers were differentiated, primarily, by their interest in minimal coverage and their determination to find the best deal.
- "Agent Loyals" expressed strong loyalty to their agents and interest in high levels of personal service.
- "Hassle-Free" consumers were similar to "Agent Loyals," except that they were much less interested in high levels of faceto-face service.
Thus, attitudes toward distribution and service needs were key factors differentiating the segments. The segments also differed in other attitudes and in their potential profitability, as measured by total auto insurance premiums, other insurance products owned, and loyalty to their insurers.
Marketing Outcomes: The study showed which segments the client should target for distribution without agents. It also showed how to define the segments in actual target marketing. As it turned out, the analysis showed strong relationships between segment membership and information available in the databases insurers use in underwriting and direct marketing targeting
The study also provided guidance on which marketing messages to use with each segment.
Thus, this research provided a major input into our client’s decision about how to proceed with this potential new venture.
Case 2: Large Corporations as a Market for Risk Management
Background: Like other commercial insurers, our client for this study faced global consolidation of insurance carriers, a buyer’s market that was keeping prices and profitability down, inefficient distribution that hindered innovation, and wide variations in profitability from customer to customer.
In this context, our client wanted to accomplish three goals:
- Identify segments interested in buying more value-added services from our client.
- Identify segments that were interested in modified distribution in which the carrier would play a more active role rather than just waiting for brokers to bring business to them.
- Identify segments that had the greatest profit potential, because they were likely to be loyal and interested in a broad range of services.
For this study, risk managers at about 400 of the 1500 largest U.S. corporations were interviewed. Their answers were supplemented by Dun & Bradstreet data and data on our clients’ relationships with them. (About 40% of the companies were our clients’ customers, to one extent or another.)
Segments Identified: The Self-Organizing Map technique identified four segments:
- "Innovators," 37% of the market, were most interested in broader services, displayed high loyalty to their carriers, and had higher than average insurance expenditures.
- "Rejecters" (26% of the firms) were characterized, mainly, by disliking current distribution arrangements. They displayed higher than average expenditures and medium loyalty to carriers.
- "Limited Service" (20% of the market) firms had almost no interest in one of the core sets of insurance services, displayed low loyalty, and spent little on insurance and other risk management, relative to their size.
- "Traditionalists" (17% of the market) liked traditional roles for carriers and the distribution system. They were very risk averse and displayed medium loyalty to their carriers.
Comparing these segment characteristics to our client's experiences with respondents' firms that fell into the different segments, we found that "innovators" were most likely to buy a broad range of service and did show strong customer retention. Firms in other segments also tended to act as the segmentation suggested they would. Thus, our client’s actual experience confirmed the segmentation findings.
Marketing Outcomes: These results contributed to new product/service packages our client developed.
Targeting these companies was relatively easy, because like other commercial insurers our client was in touch with risk managers at virtually all of these large corporations. Given this situation, our client asked us to develop a series of questions that could be asked to assign firms to the segments.
To read the rest of this case study in pdf format, click here.
This article was written by Rajan Sambandam of TRC, a full-service market research provider located in Fort Washington, PA.