• Strategic Research

    Your new product should be selling like "hot cakes" but isn't?

    Where do you turn for diagnosing product issues? Shoppers' unconscious needs often drive purchase decisions—but hitting a rough patch is an area of opportunity. It is important to understand the unstated and underlying needs that the customer or shopper may not even be consciously aware of, sometimes described as System 1 Thinking.

  • ON AIR Podcast

    Join Hillary Semmelman, Decision Analyst’s Home Comfort champion, as she shares insights from the 2022 American Home Comfort report on a recent ON AIR podcast episode with Joseph Jones and Dave Chatmon of Lennox Learning Solutions.

    The episode, “From Data To Decisions: Unveiling Homeowner Behavior” launched Wednesday, September 20 and is available on any podcast platform. Apple List of Platforms

  • 1Sep
    6 Strategies to Win Shoppers’ Hearts
    Posted by Bonnie Janzen
    Path of Purchase

    It is critical that retailers remain relevant to keep an enduring place in the hearts and minds of consumers.

    So, how can you position your brand and your retail operation for success in the hypercompetitive and extremely fast-moving environment? When consulting with our retail clients, we focus on strategies in 6 key areas.

  • Will AI Take our jobs

    AI algorithms are smart and becoming smarter by the day.

    They’re sure to be able to do some of these tasks now, and perhaps more of them in the future. As we sit here today, relying solely or even too heavily on AI comes with significant risk. We humans have a broad and deep understanding of the business issues—the context of the problems.

  • Keys of a Successful Segmentation

    Well-conducted segmentation initiatives are highly beneficial, but they also are expensive and time-intensive for the organization.

    Kelly, has gathered expert advice on segmentation from three colleagues with varied areas of expertise. Here are some tips for ensuring a successful segmentation.

  • 14Aug
    Fancy Statistics do not equal causaction

    In research, understanding cause is often the goal. What is causing a product to sell? What is causing a decrease in subscriptions?

    Frequently, though, data has been collected using typical surveying methods that will not render answers about causation no matter which robust and fancy statistics are used. The only way to truly determine cause and effect is to control for all extraneous variables by utilizing an experimental design. That way, all other possible explanations for the outcome have been ruled out.

  • Branding Models with Textual Data

    How would one develop a branding model using text data and deep learning methods?

    What steps would one take to build such a branding model based on both structured data and unstructured textual feedback from customers? What kind of modeling techniques could be used?

  • 1Aug
    Optimizing Segmentation

    What is the IAT? The Implicit Association Test (IAT) was created by psychologists in 1998 and is believed to measure implicit associations about topics such as race, sexuality, weight, gender, nationality, age, skin tone, religion, and disability (among others).

    Since marketing researchers have begun to use it in their research, @Audrey has put together this blog that helps marketing researchers draw their own conclusions about whether or not to use the IAT in their research.

  • 18July
    4 Keys To Optimizing ROI From Your Segmentation by Ellen Williams and Stephanie Trevino
    Optimizing Segmentation

    Segmentation studies are a large investment, which makes it critical to ensure that your organization will utilize the results to their fullest to justify the ROI.

    This blog discusses several actions you can take to use your segmentation results.

  • Segmentation Typing Tools

    During the course of most segmentation engagements, a typing tool is developed. This tool classifies future respondents into a segment using fewer questions than used in the original segmentation analysis.

    Vigorous application of the typing tool is necessary to achieve activation. The more companies integrate the typing tool into discovery and sales processes, the more likely they are to realize the full potential of their segmentation investment.

  • Delivering Bad Research Results

    Delivering research results that convey bad news is a delicate task that can feel like navigating shark-infested waters.

    By adhering to a strategic approach, market research professionals can effectively share challenging insights while maintaining trust in the findings. Treading carefully as you communicate early data, ensuring clear and well-substantiated findings, highlighting any positives, and buoying your findings with respondent-generated verbatims and recommendations help remove the researcher from the results.

  • In Store Qualitative Intercepts

    That is the question. I’m paraphrasing Shakespeare’s Hamlet, obviously, but this question comes up fairly often when deciding on the best research approach to tackle various marketing or business objectives.

    In fact, earlier this year we interviewed customers onsite at locations in different markets in order to gain real-time feedback on various store point-of-purchase (POP) features.

  • 30May
    Product Testing

    Many inhabitants of the marketing world have heard of the term “paired comparison” product testing, and some may have heard of the term “triangle testing,” or “triangle taste testing,” and some are familiar with the term “Product Clinics.”

    All three of these methods involve direct comparison of one product to other products.

  • Concept testing

    Testing new product ideas among the relevant audiences is worth the commitment.

    However, when there is an intermediary used for distribution of products to the end users, there are different research needs. For organizations that use an intermediary, it’s important to determine among which audience the research should be conducted. Can you limit yourself to only the end user or only the intermediary? I would advocate for research with both audiences as a best practice for ensuring the success of the product or service.

  • Leveraging Segmentation

    Going into segmentation research, companies usually have firm plans, or at least an idea of how they will utilize the results.

    If a team is considering embarking on segmentation work without such plans, they’re probably not ready to spend the time or money required to make it happen. The last thing anyone wants is for such a significant research investment to fall flat for lack of planning or vision. The good news is segmentation efforts are, more often than not, successful with the right vision and good planning.

  • Segmentation Question Types

    In market segmentation, the distinctiveness of the segments depends on the types of questions used in the segmentation analysis.

    Typically, market segmentation uses 5 question types in the analysis so that segments differ on many facets (needs, behaviors, psychographics, personality characteristics, and demographics), not just needs. Analyzing the data using a variety of these 5 question types gives a holistic view of the consumer market.

  • Strategic Impact

    In today’s world it’s easy to lose sight of the destination, the strategy.

    You become focused on managing versus leading, and you may be driving hard, but in the wrong direction. Are you organizing resources in the right direction? Is your strategy lost in the trees or making a StrategicImpact™?

  • 7Feb
    Are Your Price Increases Causing Customer Confusion and Resentment? by Heather Kluter and Elizabeth Horn, Ph.D.
    Pricing Research

    During tough economic times, companies may often seem insensitive to their customers, causing a loss in trust and loyalty.

    Price increases paired with decreasing value cut deep. There can be a more artful approach to pricing that can soften the blow for consumers while still managing profitability. Of course, pricing evaluation can be complex, so where should your company start?

  • Virtual Ideation Workshops

    A brand is some type of symbol, name, or sign that identifies and distinguishes one product or service from competitive products or services (and we can think of “identifies” and “distinguishes” as the practical functions of a brand).

    There are also intangible elements, such as status signals, values, emotions and feelings, visual imagery, and personality traits that can be linked to a brand name.

  • 10Jan
    Virtual Ideation Workshops

    Consider, if you will, the age-old question of “If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no human or animal to hear it, did it make a sound?”

    So, in a similar fashion, if the optimal consumer insight research is budgeted, approved, designed, and conducted to solve a business problem but there were no decisions made, and no action taken, what did it accomplish? Why should it exist?


  • Virtual Ideation Workshops

    As a consumer goods manufacturer feeling the forces of slower consumer spending, the higher cost of goods, and pressures from retailers, you may be struggling with what you can do to sustain the health of your business. One critically important need is to understand the shopper’s and/or consumer’s perspective and what will keep her engaged with your brand.

    As we face the headwinds that 2023 will likely bring, here are 4 types of research to help manufacturers address critical business questions.

  • 27Sep
    I ♥ Product Testing by Tom Allen
    Product Testing

    Product tests are, at their most basic, some of the simplest types of marketing research that can be done.

    Which cola do you most prefer the taste of? The one on the left or the one on the right? Take it no further than that and you have something that is arguably insightful. Take it even one step further and the tests can be very revealing. Why do you prefer the one on the left? Just adding that one simple question (and the probes that should normally follow it) takes the implications to the next level.

  • 12Sep
    Does Your Segmentation Need A Refresh? by Elizabeth Horn, Ph.D.
    Market Segmentation

    Segmentation initiatives are expensive and exhausting. Done properly, by including stakeholder interviews, qualitative exploration, quantitative segmentation, qualitative persona development, and an activation workshop, segmentations can take months and require the ongoing attention of internal business partners.

    When the research and the initial activation process is finished, there remains the big job of socializing the segments throughout the organization.

  • Virtual Ideation Workshops

    Hearing directly from consumers can be invaluable, but what if your research initiatives are a bit more creative in nature?

    By including creative people, such as the Imaginators, as part of a hybrid (or multi-method) approach to your research often provides a more comprehensive perspective which translates into strategic action.

  • Virtual Ideation Workshops

    Research can be a little bit like the game of hopscotch. You take the first hop, then the second (maybe the third at the same time), then the next, then the next, and so on.

    All the while, you’re gaining momentum and working hard to stay focused on the outcome: THE FINISH LINE! Here are the steps for successful shopper research.

  • Virtual Ideation Workshops

    Ideation workshops are a great way to generate innovative ideas for new products, services, or experiences—or enhancements to any of these.

    Most companies have grown very comfortable with in-depth interviews and focus groups conducted via webcam, an option that provides flexibility and has been relied on heavily since the pandemic began. But what about ideation workshops? When does it make sense to take these virtual? And how can you do so successfully?

  • Willingness to pay

    Times like these undoubtedly lead to changes in consumer spending.

    Facing this downturn, businesses are struggling with tough decisions on whether to increase prices, and by how much. When making these decisions, it’s important to know how much a consumer values your products. What are the pricing parameters for your offerings that ensure continued customer demand, and at what point do you start pushing your customers out of your brand? Understanding Willingness To Pay (WTP) can help businesses answer these questions.

  • Employee Research

    Employees are the lifeblood of any business. Fostering employee relationships is much like planting and caring for a garden.

    We want to create, maintain, and nurture each relationship between the company and its managers and its employees. Investing in employees’ growth and training as they take on new tasks and challenges is a crucial element of cultivating a successful company.

  • Research in the Metaverse

    Admittedly, I’m no expert on the metaverse. Yet, here I am, raising questions and starting the conversation. 

    I think this is a conversation that needs to start now because we are already here. "Here where?", you ask. Here, conducting research in the metaverse. For better or for worse, it has begun.

  • 18May
    Make Me Comfortable, Please! by Felicia Rogers
    Home Comfort

    What makes a home comfortable?

    You’re likely to find a wide variety of answers to this question, ranging from soft goods to structural improvements. Based on our recent research, things like home entertainment systems, furniture, and a good heating and cooling system top the list.

  • 11May
    The Eye Of The Beholder by Clay Dethloff

    Throughout my career in marketing research, I’m constantly reminded of the importance of stepping back and seeing the world through the eyes of the consumer.

    To better understand the consumer perspective, and make sure that we do understand the world from the “eye of the beholder” (i.e. consumer), we at Decision Analyst have found an overall approach of going in-depth and in-the-moment in our qualitative research endeavors often provides richer insights and a better understanding of the consumer.

  • Structural Equation Modeling

    Structural Equation Modeling is a flexible multi-use tool in the marketing researcher’s pocket.

    Researchers benefit from using SEM due to its multi-functional capabilities. SEM’s benefits are many, such as managing many independent and dependent variables, examining different types of models, accounting for measurement error, and analyzing all relationships simultaneously.

  • Innovation

    Let’s face it—talking to doctors can be intimidating.

    The weight of physicians’ work responsibilities and their collective intelligence can be quite intimidating, even for a seasoned researcher. If you lack experience with interviewing physicians, hthis article includes six questions to ask yourself in preparation for an interview with physicians.

  • 12Apr
    What’s New, Pussycat? by Sara Sutton

    Yes, I like the music of Tom Jones and other crooners.

    However, I bring up this tongue-in-cheek, somewhat old-fashioned song for another reason: “What’s new?” is a question that product-oriented companies face all the time. For service-oriented companies, that question is often “What’s different or unique about the services your company offers?”

  • Knocking off the Rust

    Life feels like it may be returning to normal.

    How do we dust off our rusty social skills? ‘Social rust’ is to be expected after dealing with the uncertainty of the pandemic. Activities that we never thought twice about may now feel awkward or anxiety-inducing. Even those who are willing to step back into live social situations may still want to adhere to some social boundaries.

  • Marketing Research

    Decisions are among the key elements of our lives. Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, you make thousands of decisions every day.

    Any time you design a space where a human must make a choice, whether it be a product website or a retail store, you are creating what behavioral scientists call the “choice architecture.” And no matter how you design your choice architecture, you will be influencing people’s decision making—intentionally or not.

  • 22Feb
    Brand Equity Tracking Models by Jerry W. Thomas
    Marketing Research

    All other factors being equal, Brand Equity is the very best predictor of a corporation’s probability of long-term success.

    In well-managed corporations, senior management stays focused on building and maintaining Brand Equity for all of their brands among the most important target audiences (customers and prospective customers). Once a sound brand strategy is in place, it’s important to track the cumulative effects through repeated surveys of target consumers, employees, and other target audiences.

  • Marketing Research

    Your company has done the hard work of defining sustainability in your arena, researched the topic, and set goals and created initiatives that have the full support of the board. How do you best communicate your plan to your customers?

    Does the word "sustainability" mean the same thing to your customers as it does to your organization? How can you assure that your initiatives are seen as more than merely lofty ideals?

  • Consumer Insights and Strategy

    It seems so simple but brilliant at the same time. Messaging strategy, like any other strategy, should have a singular focus.

    If the recipient takes away just one key idea from your message, what should it be? High quality? Sustainably produced? World’s most comfortable pants? Guaranteed fun? When we think about brand-building campaigns, whatever your brand’s core promise is, that’s where the messaging strategy should be focused.

  • Consumer Insights and Strategy

    Recently I was thinking about the similarities between coffee made with a French press and great consumer insights.

    To manage a successful business, you will need customer insights in order to inform the decisions that are being made on a daily basis regarding products, advertising, messaging, pricing, packaging, distribution, shelf displays, promotions, etc.

  • Home Comfort Data

    What is Multicollinearity?

    Multicollinearity (also known as collinearity) occurs when two or more variables are very highly correlated. Singularity, a more serious form of multicollinearity, occurs when two or more variables are redundant, where one variable is a linear combination of the others.