How Today’s Leaders Will Use Feedback

Bill Clinton was a voracious user of public opinion, polls and research.  Some criticize him for it because they perceived his policy decisions to be driven by how the daily poll results were going.  And others felt like he was responding to the voice of his customer.

We may never know exactly which it was – but we can be sure that this was perhaps the beginning of this “crowdsouring” trend that is in play today.  Perhaps Bill Clinton was a precursor to this new trend of “Open Leadership” as discussed by Charlene Li in her new book.

Today’s leaders will have to strike a balance between their own personal vision for their organization and then understanding and incorporating the ideas and thoughts of their various constituencies.  At the time Bill Clinton was in office – frequent polls were the vehicle he used to gauge the temperature of his crowd and news conferences were ways that he used to feedback to the crowd.

Today’s leaders will be judged by their ability to manage the communication loop that includes their own powerful  vision; communicated clearly and openly in plain language.  Their challenge will be listening to their constituencies, asking questions, responding and then creating messages, products and services that incorporate that feedback while still maintaining a sense of leadership about them.

How to Use Research to Be a Powerful Leader

  1. Change the assumption that powerful leaders are ALONE.  Today’s powerful leader is one who harnesses information, communicates it and influences action — he is not the LONE HERO rather a coordinator of sorts.
  2. Have a clear vision.  Most “leaders” you encounter are really highly paid managers.  Having the CEO title does not make you a leader.  Leaders think big thoughts and then look for ways to harness resources to make their ideas real.
  3. Don’t be afraid of the masses.  The new leader will not be afraid of feedback from the masses – rather he or she will embrace it.  What gets today’s more traditional leaders in trouble is that they still position themselves in a command and control model.  This won’t work anymore and while it’s great for receiving praise and accolades – most leaders don’t do well when things go wrong.  And things always go wrong.  STARTING your leadership position from the perspective of coordinating visionary – will get your constituencies involved and they will be come more forgiving along the way.

What are your thoughts on how the new leader will have to use research, feedback and information to lead more openly?


Use Extra Value Ethical Bribery to Increase Response Rates

About two weeks ago I organized and participated in a webinar for a client.  It was a paid webinar and the registrants would also receive the recording after the event.  As is usual, there were people registered for the webinar who could not attend – but had paid.

As is standard practice, after the webinar, we did a survey but instead of giving the registrants immediate access to the recorded presentation – I decided to give it as a reward for finishing the survey.

This was a wonderful move on my part because — the last time I simply sent a feedback survey – out of the 25 attendees only 1 responded.  But this time,  I got over half of the registered attendees responding within the first day.  So I’m thrilled!

Is this a bribe?

In direct marketing circles, we call this an “ethical bribe.”  In other words, you give someone something of value in exchange for something THEY have of value to us — in this case, their feedback.

This isn’t new in market research, in that we often give rewards or gifts for people to complete a survey.  One thing I’ve found however, is that these days, information that your audience is interested in actually seems to have pulled higher response rates for ME.

Has it been the same for you?  What tips and tricks do you have for increasing response rates?

“SpendShift” Author Lays Out Holiday Shopping Trends and Predictions

As the book editor for Small Business Trends, I receive tons of books to review.  Most of them are books about small business in general and don’t really apply to market research.  But the other day, I received this email from the publisher that I thought you would enjoy because it gives us insight about what awaits the retail markets as this year’s consumers hit the shopping malls and web sites.

Consumers will still spend this Black Friday ($500 billion in fact), says Y&R consumer expert John Gerzema, author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Spend Shift.

But look for less mindless spending on gadgets and appliances, and greater luxury goods’ performance as shoppers invest in fewer, more mindful items of higher quality.  Key mantras this holiday season are‘quality over quantity’ and ‘better instead of more.’

  • Brands like ETSY, offering alternatives in ‘handmade Christmas’ gifts including digital and artisinal choices, will be hot this season, as 65% of Americans are more interested in learning new skills since the recession, so they can do more themselves and rely less on others;
  • Look for to win the online shoe retailing war with its celebrated customer service, while brands like Foot Locker decline (down 20% in usage).  Even though Black Friday shoppers are deal-oriented, 72% of American shoppers are now willing to pay more for products/services offered by companies with solid customer service reputations;
  • Premium brands expect a surge, i.e., Burberry up 15% in brand strength; Theory up 59% in usage and Whole Foods up 10% in usage;
  • Mass market mainstays may find decline, i.e., Old Navy (down 15% in usage); Safeway (down 23% in usage), and Nestle (down 17% in usage);
  • Expect Walmart to exceed expectations this Black Friday. Why? In part because 65% of American shoppers are now willing to pay a premium for companies that contribute to their local community — the success of Wal-Mart’s locally grown food initiative and independent brands is proof.

In addition to SPEND SHIFT, John Gerzema is author of The Brand Bubble, which was named a best business book of the year by and strategy+business. He has appeared on the Fox Business Network, Marketplace and other networks. More details at

Follow up from Webinar: Brand Tracking – Taking the Pulse on Your Brand

On Tuesday Nov. 16th, 2010 SurveyAnalytics invited Michaela Mora, President of Relevant Insights, LLC, to present:

“Brand Tracking – Taking the Pulse On Your Brand.”

From the poll conducted during our presentation about 33% had a lot of experience with brand research, 29% had some general experience, and 38% had little or no experience but wanted to learn more about it.

What is a Brand?

According the American Marketing Association a brand is “a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiate them from those of  the competition.”

A brand is a perception of your company  the products/services you provide to existing and potential clients.

For customers it serves as as an identification or symbol of products and services to which customers can bond to or shun. For companies it’s an opportunity to create, recreate, and track your image, increase visibility, and review trends on market share.

In this presentation Michaela Mora focuses in one technique of Brand strategy research: Brand Tracking.

Brand Tracking monitors health of the brand competitive landscape to allow for proper adjustments and provide information to facilitate marketers’ day-to-day decision making. This will offer insights to the effectiveness of various market campaigns.

How often should you track your brand?

There are two options to choose from:

Generally it will depend on your budget, time-line, and goal from tracking your brand. It depends on the frequency of purchases, marketing campaigns, overall goal of specific products/services, competition, and how stable your current brand is.

Brand is the formula for Brand Awareness?

To measure the strength of your brand  ask questions regarding relevancy  and consistency of your brand.

Example: “When I need to search something up on the internet I use Google. I ‘Google’ everything I want to look up.”

Brand Recall = Strength Indicator

Factors that hinder brand recall include interference of other product information, time since last exposure, and the number and type of external retrieval cues.

Brand Recognition : Brands stored in memory by consumers & respondents.

Example  Q:Which fast food restaurant features a golden arch?

A: McDonalds

As see in the general boxes above, you can determine how your brand is doing based on the 4 boxes presented above. In an ideal world we want all of our clients to be in the green devoted and engaged box forever, but as new competition emerges, customer experience changes, and consumer perception change, it’s imperative to devote time to create a brand strategy that keeps ahead of the game. You need to access which metrics are you using to measure brand equity and correlate where these sources came from with the effectiveness of  your current marketing activities.

For more information please click on the links to download slides from Relevant Insights, LLC:

Brand Tracking – Taking The Pulse On Your Brand more presentations from Michaela Mora.

Presentation slides from SurveyAnalytics: Tools for Brand Tracking Brand tracking survey analytics

Click here to access the video recording of the presentation:

About the Presenter:

About the speaker:

Michaela Mora is the president of Relevant Insights, LLC (, and a seasoned market researcher with more than 20 years of experience in industries such online subscription services, software, entertainment, offline and online retailing, automotive, travel, hospitality, consumer packaged goods, non-profit, insurance, and beverage among others. Using an ever evolving toolbox which includes multivariate analysis techniques, conjoint analysis, MaxDiff, latent class segmentation, and TURF analysis among others, Michaela has been involved in many studies including brand tracking studies, concept testing, market segmentation, customer satisfaction, A&U, pricing research, copy testing, PR research and Web site optimization research. She helps clients with all aspects of a research project from design to field implementation, data analysis and reporting. Michaela holds a MS in Marketing Research from The University of Texas at Arlington, a MS in Marketing, Advertising and PR from Stockholm University, and a BS in Psychology from Havana University. She also holds a Professional Researcher Certification (PRC) at the Expert Level, issued by the Marketing Research Association (MRA).

How to Present Research Data in a Way that Inspires Action

It’s one thing to collect data and feedback – but quite another to analyze and present the data in a way that is clear and inspires action.

The Power Presentation Outline

Here’s a presentation outline that you can use the next time you have to put together a killer presentation using research data.

  1. The Burning Issue. This is a single statement that takes about 10 seconds to say and makes the audience take notice.  A great example would be something like “Every minute we spend in a meeting, one of our customers has chosen another company to do business with.”  You can already feel the power of that statement – and even more importantly – you can’t MAKE this kind of statement without data.  If you’re pulling a presentation like this together, you’ll find that while your presentation opens with the Burning Issue Statement — it’s often the very last thing you will figure out as you go through the outline.
  2. How the Burning Issue Came to Be — WHAT HAPPENED?! In the previous section your audience most likely reacted with a “WHAT?!  How can you say something like that?!”  And in this section – it’s up to you to explain the facts that have led you to such an audacious statement.    This is the section where all your wonderful research findings go.  Here’s a helpful hint.  If you’re doing charts or a PowerPoint – remember to make the header portion a conclusion statement that supports your burning issue.  For example “200 Incoming Sales Calls Answered by 1 Person” then show a chart with incoming calls against number of customer service reps.
  3. Your Brilliant Idea. By the time you’re done with your background presentation of data above, your audience should be begging to know – “What should be do?!”  And this is the section where you wrap up your analysis into some wonderfully brilliant and exciting recommendations.  Remember to use lots of pictures and show how each recommendation will improve the situation.
  4. Why it’s Good For You – The Payoff: Finally, don’t forget to tell the audience why your recommendations are so great for them.  Give them the payoff in terms of how they will experience the benefits of your brilliant idea.  Get them thinking about how wonderful and easy their life will be with your solutions and recommendations in place.
  5. Tell Them What to Do. Don’t forget the call to action .  What do you want your audience to do?  Don’t even begin without knowing what you want them to do — and be prepared to do that.  For example, if you want to schedule another meeting – be sure that everyone has their calendars on hand to schedule that.  Do you want them to sign something?  Be sure to have copies ready and available.  The biggest mistake people make in communicating data findings is NOT having a call to action and being prepared to get the audience moving.

Final Hints on Slides and Other Forms of Presentation

  • Treat your presentation of data like a story.  Workout the characters, the problem, the solution, etc.  This gets the audience involved in the outcome.
  • Use PowerPoint – Powerfully.  Treat your PowerPoint like a TV screen.  You wouldn’t want to watch TV if it was nothing but text and charts – so don’t make your audience look at that kind of PowerPoint presentation.  Use LOTS of pictures and few words.  In try to stick to 5 words per slide.  Use pictures to communicate emotion and the essence of what’s being conveyed.
  • Create a video!  Video technology has become so accessible to everyone that it’s insane not to use it to get your point across.  Use video to show comparisons, demonstrations or provide evidence of your observations.

Remember, today’s technology and tools have freed researchers up to make our data meaningful to our audience – so let’s communicate it powerfully.


Good news and bad news.  I went in search of some presentations to show you exactly what I’m talking about and guess what?  Couldn’t find too many.  I did find this one; it’s about an extinct language.  It’s not exactly what I had in mind -but it does use several of the principles I mention here:

Top Six Products Hardest For Market Researchers

When these companies bring market research firms their business, market researchers secretly cringe inside. Inception Market Intelligence  (IMI Group) just released the top 5 products that are hardest to do market research focus groups. However, things are about to change with new tools that allow market researchers to eavesdrop on Internet conversations. IMI Group has introduced Pulse48 Reports which harvests public Internet conversations including Facebook and Twitter .

#6 Wart Creams – Unless you can get a room full of wart face witches and warlocks, people are apt to not talk freely about an embarrassing condition associated with herpes (in whatever form).
#5 Kids Toys – Kids in group settings with strangers are either shy or wild packs on the lose. Researchers trying to glean information from a room full of kids are really babysitters who pay parents for their time outs. Controlling kids for a controlled study is an oxymoron in itself.
#4 Hair Loss – Bad wigs and toupees are there for a reason. It allows people to live in denial that they are losing their hair. Recruiting participants are next to impossible no matter how much money you offer them. People (especially men) clam up during discussions about going bald.
#3 Pet Food – It’s not that you cannot get a discussion going with a room full of pet lovers about pet food. It’s that some animals eat just about anything. With the exception of finicky cats, most animals are just happy they are getting food. Animal lovers feel their communication level is enough with their furry or feathery love ones to tell marketers what’s best but research has proven otherwise.
#2 Hemorrhoid Ointments – If you have them can you really sit through a focus group comfortably? Things dealing with sensitive matters tend to be even difficult to discuss with your doctor let alone a room full of strangers.
#1 Adult Diapers – Let’s face it. As we grow older and our bodies start to change incontinence can be an issue for some of us. Who wants to talk to a room full of strangers about bowel movements or bladder control? This is the number one product most people buy in the town next to them or online.<div>
However, brand managers can now do the impossible. Technology that will read the entire public English language internet on a brand or pet products and come back with a collective public opinion has come on the global market.
</div><div><strong>About the Author:</strong> Robert Greene, from his 10 years sales and marketing experience, has authored many white papers and articles in the areas of green marketing, sales, customer service, and business development. After working in the green energy and not for profit sector, he is currently the Director of Sales and Marketing for Inception Market Intelligence.  You can reach him at <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a></div>

Final Thoughts from The Market Research Event

As we sat at the San Diego airport waiting to return home to Seattle , the SurveyAnalytics team had a moment to reflect on our experience at TMRE.

The 3 day conference agenda included attending presentations by 3M, White Castle, Insight Farm, etc., and meeting representatives from companies all over the world at our booth as well as over a lovely lunch at the hotel promenade.

Josh Nicol, Director of Enterprise Platform Solutions. “I had an excellent time meeting with potential customers, partnerships, and fellow market researchers. The highlight of my experience was listening to Jonah Elhrer about the new science of decision making.”

Gretchen Lohman, Global Sales Director,  ” I truly enjoyed listening in on presentations and meeting with others interested in research. This research convention was a great opportunity to network within the industry.”

Esther LaVielle, Chief Education Director “It was great to participate as both an exhibitor and attendee. I especially enjoyed listening to growing trends in social media research and mobile technology research opportunities. ”

Thank you to everyone who came by and said hi to us at our booth. For those who entered into our iPad drawing we will announce the winner next Thursday at 9:00 AM PST and the winner will be notified in an email.

Conferences are not the only place you can attend a great presentation. Join SurveyAnalytics as we invite Michaela Mora from Relevant Insights to speak the topic of “Brand Tracking -Taking the Pulse on Your Brand”

Tues 11/16/10

9:00 AM PST
Click here for more details and to sign up today!


The SurveyAnalytics Team

How to Use Twitter Lists as a 24/7 Focus Group

Have you heard about the “Lists” feature on Twitter?

Twitter Lists has been around for over a year now but if you’re not a power user, you might have missed it.  Shoot – I’m a power user and I was basically ignoring it because I didn’t want to complicate my social media life any further.  Boy was I WRONG.

Twitter Lists doesn’t complicate your life – it simplifies it tremendously.  Here’s how.

  • Twitter lists allows you to create groups or segments on Twitter.  Tweet Deck has been able to do this for years, but Twitter gives you the option to create public lists that other people can use.  Or you can create a private list, just for yourself.
  • Twitter lists gives you the opportunity to sneak a peak at what your customers, target audience, industry or competition is talking about in their own words.  What I enjoy most is seeing what they are reading and commenting on.
  • Have conversations and build relationships with your group.  You only have the focus group for a few hours, but your Twitter List is for as long as you like.  This means that you can ask them questions, follow up on their tweets.

Here’s a peek at one of my Twitter Lists – it’s one with CEOs.

I use this list to give me ideas about what articles to write or what kinds of programs to offer that would benefit my readers.

Now it’s your turn!

Are you using Twitter lists?  How are you using this tool to better understand your customers, your industry and the issues you care about?

How to Use LinkedIn as a Research Engine

Not every research project requires a fancy survey or focus group.  In fact, a great place to do some exploratory research is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn now has over 80 million members!  (I swear just 2 weeks ago it was 70 million!)  This is an insane “sample” group of professionals that is eager to share information and answer your questions.  In other words – most LinkedIn participants just want to help you.  So you should take advantage of it.

What Do You Want to Know?

No matter what your question, chances are LinkedIn has an answer.  The key to making it work is knowing where to find it and how to pull it out.

Ideal Customer Profile:  Perhaps THE most important piece of market research info is profiling your ideal customer.  Log into your LinkedIn account and start searching on typical job titles of your ideal customer – i.e. IT professional

When I searched on “CIO” I got an entire list of names beginning with people who are closest to me in my network.  But the really terrific feature is what you’ll find on the left column ; an actual count of the number of people who have “CIO” in their profiles.  Now you can read through those profiles or reach out to people that you know with your questions.

Simply click on one of the profiles that you find and scroll down to where you’ll find a list of the groups they belong to:

Now you can go to those groups and take a look at the discussions that you’ll find there.  Click around the groups and find the groups that fit you best, then join the group and join the conversation and ask questions.

Competitive Intelligence

You can search the “Question and Answer” categories on your industry keywords and see what people have been asking about and how others have been answering .  Here is an example of a search with the keyword “medical billing”

Company Pages Give Insight Into Industries

Before there was the internet or LinkedIn, one of my favorite ways to do research for my marketing plan was to make a list of the top market share holders in a targeted market.  Then I would search articles and papers trying to decipher some kind of pattern or information.  But now there’s LinkedIn and now you can get a quick search of company pages, will give you the latest news stories AND the people in your network who are associated with that company.

If you haven’t explored the “insightful statistics” section of LinkedIn Company Pages – then you are missing a wonderful opportunity to get some insights into your customers.  This section takes information from your connections and compiles them across all the people who are affiliated with that company to give you some interesting information.

The “People also viewed” box will tell you what similar brands that are considered to be alternatives to your brand.  And then -all you have to do is search around those companies that are listed.

Another terrific comparative chart compares the company you’re researching against other similar companies.

There are many more research features that you can explore within LinkedIn that will give you ideas into what to include in your surveys and polls.  Not only that, but you’ll actually get a list of real people that you can reach out to for conversations and questions that you might have.

Use LinkedIn to start your market research process and see how much more you can learn in a few hours that might take days or weeks to learn otherwise.

A Word of Warning

LinkedIn is NOT the end all of search or research, it’s a tool to help you get a head start on helping you create questions about strategies that you might be considering.  I wouldn’t go quoting any of the findings, but I would certainly use them to help be build a list of similar comparative brands.

Have fun with this and see how much more you can learn.

Update from The Market Research Event in San Diego, CA

Hello from sunny and beautiful San Diego!

SurveyAnalytics is really enjoying our time at The Market Research Event. It’s going to be very hard to leave 70 degree weather and go back to Seattle where it’s 48 degrees and “drizzling.” Only in Seattle do we have different words for rain.

For those who could not make it to The Market Research Event, we wanted to share with you one of the presentations we’ve enjoyed so far.

Our favorite presentation came from Microsoft’s Mark Eduljee on “Social Media Listening.”

The main question posed to the crowd was , “Do you listen to social media?” Keep in mind that it’s much different than monitoring social media. Sure, you are reading Facebook and twitter comments here and there but are you really hearing your customers at the right place and time and turning it into actionable results?

The focus should be  on information gathering at different life cycles  of a product/service, identify value action opportunities, uncover comments that can impact your business ideals, and review the customer experience the story. It is more important than even to be able to listen at the right time to be actionable.

4 dimension of social media metrics:

1-Measure effectiveness and reach.  Identify Share of voices.  Look for a pattern in key words .

2.-Engagement – Interaction, influences, attach rates, relationship, etc .

3- Communications – Social media intelligence. Who, what, where, etc.

4-Listening – What do you want to hear right now that can be actionable? Examples include customer experience, issues pending, early warnings

How to set up a Listening Framework:

1-Start with the end. Identify Needs vs Wants.

2-Listen to Global English. Surprisingly, Microsoft found that 70% customer voice from multiple countries are the same when it came to products in different countries. I am going out on a limb to say that this may be apply to other companies as well…although not perfectly applicable.

3-Develop a plan. Define goals, and scope your audience.  This will help you gather relevant data and not build a bunch of DIGITAL BRICKS (probably my favorite word of the conference so far).

4-Find your Rhythm. With time and practice it will become consistent, predictable, trustworthy and scalable.

5-Analyze Intelligence. Is this the right info, the right source at this point in time? What is the voice of your data?

In any company the researchers need to be honest and not sugarcoat the report. This is not a dog and pony show. The truth hurts sometimes, but you are doing your job. In the end you will be able to measure your ROI which ultimately reviews customer impact and business valuation. By implementing these simple listening strategies shared by Mark Eduljee we can stay on track of  turning data into dollars.

If you are  currently at TMRE don’t forget to stop by our booth #118 and sign up for a free evaluation license and enter into a drawing to win an Apple iPad.We would love to meet you.


The SurveyAnalytics Team