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by Briana Brownell I always find conferences inspiring, and the recent MRIA conference in Saskatoon was especially motivating. It was packed with great concurrent sessions, provocative panel discussions, motivating keynote presentations, beautiful views of Saskatoon, and great times talking with the many industry leaders in attendance. Now that I’m back in the office, I’ve got my desk cleared off, and I’ve written up my lengthy conference follow-up to-do list. These are the top three changes I’m going to make: #1. Be okay with frayed edges I’ll always remember one designer’s interview comment about the Canadian fashion market: “You can’t sell frayed edges to Canadians. They just don’t get it. They need everything to be done.” This is true as well for marketing research in this country - we’ve got big firms with a fairly wide array of off-the-rack products that see minimal modification. And I see why: structure is cozy. It’s so nice when a research project has clear boundaries. When you’ve collected the data, done the analysis as per the plan, and written that last word in the PowerPoint “conclusions” slide, you can be satisfied that it’s done. But, unfortunately for a quant person like me, not everything can be so nicely captured in an SPSS file. Instead, the edges of the research often become important, as we have seen in the many new and often surprising findings in customer satisfaction research. To this end, I was happy to see several exploratory presentations that examined a customer’s holistic interaction with the brand. Lesley Haibach and Anne Kossatz’s presentation on their successful implementation of a change in RBC’s inbound call centre explored times where a company has the greatest chance to impact customer satisfaction. They found that an important insight came from understanding the customer’s state of mind when he or she contacts customer support and allowed RBC to make a small change in the organization that had big results. What was so impressive about this research program was the alignment of the organization with the research results. They achieved considerable buy-in from all levels within RBC, so much so that human resources even altered their hiring practices! Amy Charles and Joel Weinberger explored the edge of conscious and unconscious responses using a very interesting method based on psychology experiments to derive implicit associations. I’ve seen this technique used before (actually, I personally feel that this is an example of such successful gamification that it becomes a methodology in its own right. But that’s a discussion for another time...
 

Different research challenges require various research solutions and knowing when to use a specific approach can certainly be a daunting task. This overview highlights some instances in which online communities may be preferred in place of custom ad hoc research. Combination of Quant and Qual – Online communities offer researchers a solid opportunity to gather both quantitative and qualitative data at the same time and at a lower cost. Because most online community platforms have both quant and qual tools built in, research can be conducted much more quickly and efficiently than a combined qual-quant ad hoc study. Demographic Segments – If you are looking to segment individuals based on demographics, online communities work well. Short surveys are used to profile individuals and then targeted research questions are presented to the entire group to pinpoint where profile differences emerge. Groups can also be formed based on demographics and targeted research can be conducted with specific sub groups. This approach can be achieved much more easily with an online community than with a long ad hoc questionnaire with skip logic that segments groups during the survey. Regional, National, and International Research – If the research question requires insights from individuals who are geographically dispersed, an online community is an excellent research platform. If a wide scope is required, individuals can be recruited from different regions, provinces/states, and countries. Online communities are borderless and research can easily be conducted in several languages. Engaging Research – In place of long and often boring surveys, try utilizing an online community to spice up your research questions and increase engagement. If your research topic is dull in survey form, consider an online community to allow for a more open forum for discussion. The community also allows for innovative approaches such as co-moderation, where a community member or members take an active role in conducting the research. Rather than gathering a lot of yes/no and scale answers, you can collect rich, organic data from engaged members whom you can return to for future research questions....
 

A new independent poll conducted by Insightrix Research shows that Saskatchewan residents are divided in their opinion on whether or not liquor stores in Saskatchewan should be privatized. Specifically, residents were asked to indicate whether they believe 1) liquor stores should NOT be privatized at all; 2) new liquor stores should be privatized but existing stores should remain publicly owned; or 3) all liquor stores in the province should be privately owned. One quarter (26%) of residents believe liquor stores should not be privatized at all, 34% feel the current approach is best (new stores privatized and existing stores remain public), and 23% support privatizing all liquor stores. One in ten (11%) have no opinion on the matter and 6% are unsure. Opinions closely correlate with support for provincial political parties. Specifically, those who say they would vote for the provincial NDP if an election were held today are more likely to believe that all liquor stores should remain public (52% vs. 15% among SaskParty voters who feel the same way) while those who would vote for the SaskParty are more likely to support privatizing all liquor stores in the province (37% vs. 8% among NDP voters who feel the same way). Roughly equal proportions of SaskParty and NDP voters (34% and 31%, respectively) support the current approach of keeping existing stores public and privatizing new stores. Further, residents were asked about the impact that privatizing Saskatchewan liquor stores could have on government spending and price and selection of products in liquor stores. Opinions are mixed in each of these areas. Specifically, roughly one half of Saskatchewan residents believe that privatizing liquor stores means there will be fewer public dollars available for health, education, highways, etc. (47%); however, 51% believe that the privatization of liquor stores will allow the government to focus on building other facilities. Turning to the customer experience side of things, roughly one half of Saskatchewan residents feel that privatizing liquor stores would mean better selection (52%) and better prices (51%) for consumers. Opposition to each of these four statements ranges from 30% to 38%, with the remaining respondents stating that they are unsure. Finally, when asked how residents’ support for the SaskParty would change if all liquor stores were privatized, opinions remain divided. Specifically, 26% say their impressions of the SaskParty would decrease, 47% say they would remain the same, and 13% say they would improve. Fully 14% are unsure or prefer not to say. It is noted that most of those who say their impressions would decrease are also people who say they would vote for the NDP if an election were held today (59% vs. 13% among SaskParty voters). Research Details A total of 800 randomly selected SaskWatch Research™ panel members participated in the online research study from June 3rd to 6th, 2014. Quotas were set by age, gender, and region to match the general population of the province. Since the research is conducted online, it is considered to be a non-probability proportion sample and therefore, margins of error are not applicable. About SaskWatch Research™ Insightrix began developing its SaskWatch Research™ online market research panel in October 2007, using high-quality techniques including telephone recruitment and referrals from existing panel members. Presently, there are over 15,000 active panel members representing all regions of the province and distributions of the general population. The panel membership closely matches the 2011 Census based on age, gender, household composition, household income, and education. For more information, please visit http://saskwatch.ca. For more information, please contact Lang McGilp, Senior Research Executive Insightrix Research Inc. Tel: 306.657.5640 ext. 229 Cell: 306.290.9599 Email: lang.mcgilp@insightrix.com Web: www.insightrix.com...
 

Oscar was lucky enough to be able to stay for a week in Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii. His beachfront condo was minutes away from Waikiki beach, where he took in the rays and enjoyed the view. He was able to enjoy snorkelling at Hanauma Bay as well as many other activities that included a trip to Pearl Harbour, the North Shore, and whale watching. And what hot vacation isn’t complete without some bevvies while you’re watching the sunset?...
 

More than one half of Saskatchewan residents support the firing of U of S President Ilene Busch-Vishniac. Fifty four percent (54%) of Saskatchewan residents support the recent decision made by the University of Saskatchewan’s Board of Governors to fire U of S President Ilene Busch-Vishniac. Specifically, 32% strongly support the decision and 22% somewhat support it. Fully 17% oppose the decision to let the former U of S President go, and nearly three in ten (28%) are unsure. Regionally, support for the removal of the former President is highest in Saskatoon (67%) and lowest in Regina (47%). Based on the events that have taken place at the university in relation to Dr. Buckingham and the former President, a majority (71%) agree that the reputation of the U of S has been negatively impacted among Saskatchewan residents (27% strongly agree, 44% somewhat agree). A similar proportion (70%) agrees that these events have also tarnished the university’s reputation in the broader academic community in Canada and internationally (28% strongly agree, 42 somewhat agree). Despite the believed negative impact that recent events have had on the U of S, Saskatchewan residents are divided on whether or not it will be difficult for the university to recruit a highly qualified replacement for President. Specifically, 43% feel it will be challenging for the university to find a suitable candidate, while 40% feel it will NOT be difficult. The remaining 17% are unsure or prefer not to say. However, slightly more Saskatchewan residents (54%) suspect it will be challenging for the university to recruit highly qualified professors in the future based on the events that have taken place at the university. Three in ten (29%) disagree, feeling that it will NOT be difficult to recruit highly qualified professors in the future. The remaining 17% are unsure or prefer not to say. Research Details A total of 800 randomly selected SaskWatch Research™ panel members participated in the online research study from June 3rd to 6th, 2014. Quotas were set by age, gender, and region to match the general population of the province. Since the research is conducted online, it is considered to be a non-probability proportion sample and therefore, margins of error are not applicable. About SaskWatch Research™ Insightrix began developing its SaskWatch Research™ online market research panel in October 2007, using high-quality techniques including telephone recruitment and referrals from existing panel members. Presently, there are over 15,000 active panel members representing all regions of the province and distributions of the general population. The panel membership closely matches the 2011 Census based on age, gender, household composition, household income, and education. For more information, please visit http://saskwatch.ca. About Insightrix Founded in 2001, Insightrix Research Inc. is a full-service market research firm that helps clients develop, administer, and manage data collection and information strategies. From its office in Saskatoon, Insightrix offers a comprehensive range of research services. For more information, please contact Lang McGilp, Senior Research Executive Insightrix Research Inc. Tel: 306.657.5640 ext. 229 Cell: 306.290.9599 Email: lang.mcgilp@insightrix.com Web: www.insightrix.com...