Archive for December, 2011

Highlights from the Greenbook (GB) Research Industry Trends Report

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The Greenbook [GB] Research Industry Trends Report indicates our beloved industry is not only alive and well, but also evolving to best serve the needs of our clients!

In my humble opinion, traditional qualitative methods have been a marketing doormat of late, used to elevate more novel tools. “Tech qual” is valuable when relevant, but never at the expense of what is most effective for the study. GB survey findings indicate an industry in agreement.

Herein we highlight some of GB’s most relevant findings bringing optimistic news!

  • Future research spending is favorable.
  • Nearly 60% (in the overall sample) indicate that they are either now seeing stronger growth, or expect stronger growth to occur – especially for suppliers, where 65% are either now seeing stronger growth, or expect experiencing or expecting increases.
  • The emergence of newer data collection modalities is evident in both [supplier and buyer] spheres, but perhaps not surprisingly, the spheres of research most likely to be used are relatively “traditional…” Notably, online survey research and CATI on the quant side, and face-to-face focus groups or IDIs on the qual side.
  • In terms of research mix… over ¼ claim that spending will increase… more for qualitative than quantitative in 2011. About ½ believe that the spending relationship between them will remain unchanged.
  • Positive news is that any change being reported is being fueled by greater volume, not higher prices. And a shift in the mix towards qualitative is not especially uncommon, as the US economy slowly emerges from its recessionary mindset, and focuses on new business development and topline growth.
  • [Technology] on the qualitative side, bulletin board (28%) or chat-based focus groups (25%), online communities (22%), and blogs (19%) are data collection methods mentioned most.
  • Regardless of the technological fallout, significant change is anticipated in the marketing research industry in the next five years (two-thirds say “quite a bit”, “a lot” or “tremendous”), and younger/less experience researchers anticipate the change to be even more significant.
  • But the news here is positive: among those who anticipate change, over 60% see more promise than threat and, again, this is more in evidence among younger/less experienced researchers.
  • Online communities and social media analytics are the two most widely adopted research techniques and approaches across the board (34% and 28% respectively).
  • While 50% of researchers in South Asia/India have used mobile surveys for a client or commissioned them from a supplier, only 22% of researchers in the U.S. have dealt with this approach.
  • Mobile surveys and social media analytics remain among the top approaches researchers predict they will use often (18% and 15% respectively), while online communities pulled ahead, with just over one in five (22%) planning to use this approach often.

As we embrace our new tools, let’s not lose sight that a research tool box will have more value long term and typically trumps one new tool that can only work well for some projects!

If you have any questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.  We understand market research!

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2011 Holiday Shopping Statistics and Trends

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Is the Holiday Shopping Craze Driving You Crazy? Well, you are not alone. In fact, 73% of consumers do ALL of their holiday shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to the Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey. It is no wonder that this time of year can be very stressful, especially for those individuals with large families and long wish lists.

Here are some more shopping statistics to help put the whole holiday shopping experience into perspective for you.

In 2010, holiday sales accounted for a staggering $584.3 billion. But don’t let that number fool you; the recent state of the economy has definitely had a negative effect on holiday spending.

Planned holiday budgets have dropped from $1,052 in 2001 to just $646 in 2011, according to an American Research Group telephone survey of 1,100 people. And with budgets shrinking, shoppers are looking to get a little more bang for their buck. In fact, of the 1,100 shoppers surveyed, 53% said they plan to wait until items go on sale this year instead of paying full price. This may be the reason that during “Cyber Week” this year – Black Friday through December 2nd – online retailers experienced three of the four highest spending days in history.

This brings us to our next point; today’s consumers are more tech-savvy than ever, with 37% doing their shopping online (up from 15% in 2001) and 44% using social media to find discounts, read reviews, and check family and friends’ gift lists. But the Internet shopping boom is not the only technological advancement in holiday shopping. 27% of smartphone owners plan to use their phones to help with their holiday shopping.

•      67% will use their smartphone to search for store locations

•      59% will use their smartphone to compare prices

•      46% will use their smartphone to check product availability

Remember, when all is said and done, the holiday season is not about the gifts you give and receive; it is about spending time with family and friends. So don’t let crazy holiday shopping get you down! Be thankful for what you have.

Happy Holidays from everyone here at Observation Baltimore!

If you have any questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.  We understand market research!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn!

Sources:

2011 Christmas Gift Spending Plans Flat American Research Group, Inc.

2011 Holiday Shopping Statistics and Email Marketing Tips GroupMail

Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey: Down Economy? “Bah Humbug!” Deloitte

How to Access Your Creative Self

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Is your desire to access Theta and move beyond Beta?   Ever diagnosed with inventive hiccups? You’ll be relieved to learn that accessing our most creative selves begins by tapping into our emotions. In our qualitative profession we are expert at the emotive discovery of others. So for a short time, setting aside the ‘to do’ list and taking time to understand how WE feel enhances our creativity!  The value-add: becoming healthier with the process!

In Access Creativity, Morgan Douglas shares her experience with a Creativity Session that personally rocked my world!  Morgan also shares sources available to all innovators seeking pearls of creativity-enhancing wisdom.

Access Creativity

In our fast-paced, ever-evolving industry, we are constantly challenged to remain innovative while developing new and exciting ideas.  As we know, this is much easier said than done.  Sometimes creative juices begin to trickle rather than flow and ideas lack freshness and originality.  As innovators, how do we break through creativity obstacles?

I attended a QRCA DC chapter creativity session conducted by George Pierson of Creative Mindflow (www.creative-mindflow.com).  During the session, I volunteered for an ‘Awakened Mind’ experiment where electrodes on my scalp were monitored by an EEG-type brainwave machine. As the session progressed, my brainwaves were studied. When one is in the Awakened Mind state, the mind is sharper, quicker, and more flexible to fluid thinking. Through guided meditation, George’s method allowed me to experience things that make me happy. Once my brainwaves (Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta) achieved the proper balance, I gained greater access to my Theta waves, those where my subconscious and emotions live. These brainwaves serve as the most compelling sources of creativity.

Beta: emitted when we are consciously alert, or we feel agitated, tense, afraid, with frequencies ranging from 13 to 60 pulses per second in the Hertz scale.

Alpha: when we are in a state of physical and mental relaxation, although aware of what is happening around us, its frequency are around 7 to 13 pulses per second.

Theta: more or less 4 to 7 pulses, it is a state of somnolence with reduced consciousness.

Delta: when there is unconsciousness, deep sleep or catalepsy, emitting between 0.1 and 4 cycles per second.

It is common knowledge that when our mind is clear, we generate our best thoughts. George recommends instead of rushing through tasks or trying to do three tasks at once, a better product will result (and be more enjoyable) if one concentrates on a single-task rather than multi-task.

After the experience with George, I have focused on the importance of giving myself twenty minutes every morning to walk around nature or read a book outside. Even with this short amount of time, I feel much more centered and focused upon arriving at work. This calmness gives me a clear mind and allows me to focus on my tasks one by one without feeling scatterbrained. Once we have a clear mind, we are more open to new & thoughts.

Other resources to access your most creative self:

Quick & Easy: Take a walk in nature, pet a dog or cat: According to George Pierson, nature operates within the same wavelength as the Theta brainwave. Most creativity experts also agree that removing clutter is critical to creativity.

Nominal Cost: MP3 or CD’s: (amazon.com) Increase Creativity, Kelly Howell, Enhancing Creativity, by Steven Halpern, and Cracking Creativity, Flow, and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, by Dr. Jane Maati Smith C.Hyp, and

Worthy of Investment: Visit George Pierson’s www.creative-mindflow.com for individual or group session services to improve creativity.

Accolades Galore: CPSI, Creative Problem Solving institute, is touted among our industry gurus as a must-attend ~ next year’s conference is June 18-22, 2012 in Atlanta. www.cpsiconference.com

Creativity Workshops: CREO, www.creoinstitute.com, holds international, weeklong creativity workshops. They also offer Customized and Private Workshops.

Hold on tight, your next big creative thought is just a brainwave away!

If you have any questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.  We understand market research!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn!

Sources:
Brainwaves

Commuting: The Economy’s Effect on Daily Travel

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

High gas prices and the current economic recession have created one of the least commuter-friendly environments in recent memory.  So how are commuters responding?   Observation Baltimore investigates:

- Drivers report more stress and frustration related to commuting worldwide (IBM Global Commuter Pain Survey).

- Compared to 2010, a number of cities have seen a rise in the number of people relying more on public transportation (IBM Global Commuter Pain Survey).

- Overall, traffic has decreased in the US in recent years as more telecommuters emerge creating less people commuting to and from work (2011 Annual Urban Mobility Report).

- The overall travel time to work index nationwide is 1.20, down from 1.25 in 2005 (2011 Annual Urban Mobility Report).

- Surprisingly, congestion is becoming a larger problem outside of “rush hour,” with approximately 40% of delays occurring mid-day and in the overnight hours (2011 Annual Urban Mobility Report).

- The average U.S. commuter spends 50 minutes per day in his/her vehicle (U.S. Census Bureau).

If public transportation is not an option for you and you wish to decrease your commuting time and/or stress level, Observation Baltimore offers a few tips:

1. Carpool: When public transportation is inconvenient, carpooling may be a solution and you can share the gas expense.  Plus with many states offering carpool only (high occupancy vehicle or HOV) lanes, carpooling can also shorten your commute.

2. Wake Up Earlier or Travel at Non-Peak Hours: Fewer people on the road make congestion less likely and lessens the stress of your commute.

3. Take Alternate Routes: As most commuters use the highways, back roads may be your best chance for a traffic-free commute.   Even if this doesn’t save time, continually moving and not sitting in traffic may be much less stressful.

If you have any questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.  We understand market research!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn!

Sources:
Why Gas Prices are High

IBM Global Commuter Pain Survey: Traffic Congestion Down, Pain Way Up

Why American Commute Times are Difficult to Compare to Other Countries

Traffic Report: Slow Economy Speeds Commute

Getting Time on Your Side

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Unless you are a member of the Rolling Stones, time is probably not on your side (if you are too young to get this reference, checkout this clip from YouTube).

Let’s face it, it is hard to find a minute to do anything in today’s busy world, let alone find the time to do everything you want. Whether you aspire to spend more time with your family, find the time to exercise, quit smoking, or just relax, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to accomplish all of your goals.

Want more time?  Who doesn’t?

Herein we provide some tips to help you move faster (and hopefully healthier and happier) toward those tasks you either enjoy more or will better serve you:

1. Shop Online: Sites such as Amazon offer life’s staples delivered right to your door, and often for a savings off in-store retail. This includes anything from tea bags and dog food, to paper supplies. Many online retailers also offer delivery cycles whereby products are sent on a schedule.

2. Beware of surfing: The average American spends 4 hours per day watching television and almost 2 hours surfing online (Neilson). If you spend 5-6 hours per day mindlessly surfing, that is 140-180 hours per month!

3. Reduce your junk mail: Safeguard your e-mail address by using a separate address to surf. E-marketers are sophisticated with sites and blogs tracking your signatures and cycling back junk.

4. Mind your mobile: We’re all guilty of incessantly checking for new messages. Incorporate one hour per day of contact-free time. Don’t become a victim of handheld addiction!

5. Say “No”: Is it really necessary to accept every invitation? Be selective about invitations you select. A good practice is to think about and balance options before accepting.

6. Proactively outline expectations: Often, people create their own time stress by promising too much. If we established realistic time expectations, even clients will understand a better product (and healthier person) will result.

The key to finding more time to accomplish your goals is not working harder – it’s working smarter!

If you have any questions, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

Observation Baltimore has been serving the market research industry for two decades, consistently rated “One of the World’s Best,” by Impulse Survey. Our experienced recruiting is the foundation of our mission, as well as courteous and proactive hospitality and client services.

We understand market research!

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn!