When the term Virtual Reality (VR) comes up, many people will immediately conjure visions of kids with goggles, hands gesturing into thin air. The stereotypical VR kid is using the technology for gaming and immersive role playing. VR is certainly a high-profile, high-octane market. Estimates say it will be worth tens of billions of dollars by the early 2020’s. What is maybe less visible but no less important is the fact that market researchers are using VR to take their work to unforeseen levels.
Observers of the market research industry have been noticing a trend of late: researchers are acknowledging the limitations of large-scale surveys and are rediscovering the value of qualitative research, namely, real conversations with real people. Why?
That’s precisely the question, and also, the answer. “Why.” Quantitative research often has difficulty answering the “why?” questions. While it is true that much insight can be gained by analyzing big data, why not go directly to the source and talk to them? By interviewing and hearing people’s stories and insights, you can understand data better. Why do products sell? Why is growth not taking off? Why do preferences emerge for one brand and not another? Some answers are more readily gained by simply talking to people, then interpreting the results.
Marketing researchers are all facing two important challenges to data quality. First is the question of representativeness: with response rates plummeting, we need to make surveys shorter, more engaging, and easier for respondents to complete. Second is the issue of data accuracy: we must make sure that survey questions measure what we think they measure. Continue reading “Quality Starts with Survey Design: Tips for Better Surveys”
“Smart Survey Design” is a loose term (bordering on a catch-all) that you’ve probably heard pitched to you. Maybe you have used it yourself when piecing together a study.
It’s not a hollow term, by any means. Smart design has advantages for both designers and respondents. Designing “smart” simply means maintaining data integrity, both in terms of capturing statistically relevant data as well as reducing the amount of bad data caused by poor survey takers (straight liners, short responders for OE’s, speeders, cheaters, etc.). Continue reading “Smart Survey Design: 3 Forgotten Pain Points to Avoid”
So you found the perfect sampling source with nearly 100% coverage and the ability to reach cell phone only homes with address based sample. One can expect to get the completes needed but realistically what type of response rate will you achieve? How can you boost it? Continue reading “4 Surefire Ways to Increase ABS Response Rates Without Breaking the Bank”
On what would have been Dale Kulp’s 66th birthday, we wanted to take a moment to remember a man who not only is responsible for the founding and creation of Marketing Systems Group but made innumerable contributions to the statistical sampling and survey research fields. Dale’s career was already flush with accomplishment before he founded Marketing Systems Group in 1987. He previously had worked for industry stalwarts Chilton, Bruskin and ICR (Now SSRS). With MSG, he envisioned the development of a PC based in-house RDD sample generation system (GENESYS) that would become the cornerstone product of the company.
Aside from being the driving force behind the industry’s first in house sampling system, Dale was integral in the development of list-assisted RDD sampling methodology at a commercial level, which revolutionized the process for reaching probability-based samples of households. Through his many technical notes and various publications he remained vigilant about addressing the operational issues challenging the viability of this methodology, particularly those resulting from the unfolding changes in the US telephony.
Dale also started several Omnibus telephone surveys that not only continue to thrive 20 years after their launch; they have in at least one situation created their company. Centris Marketing Science was created by Dale along with Paul Rappaport after realizing the value of the census block level data that the Omnibus survey collected.
Realizing that MSG should not be a one-trick pony, Dale continued to pursue other product lines that would benefit the survey research industry. He assembled a team that included current MSG President Jerry Oberkofler and Vice President Reggie Blackman to develop the first automated screening process: GENESYS-ID. Utilizing the technology and philosophy of GENESYS ID and applying it the survey research industry, PRO-T-S was born. PRO-T-S was the first predictive dialer built exclusively for the research industry. In 2004, Dale brought the ARCS Panel Management software under the MSG umbrella. ARCS is now one of the leading software packages in the sensory and pharmaceutical industries as well as a recruitment tool for large civic organizations.
Since Dale’s passing in late 2009, MSG has grown substantially but has remained attached to the vision, products and protocols that Dale Kulp laid out back in 1987. Not only do the MSG folks wish Dale a Happy Birthday but we thank him for his vision, contribution and foresight.
Trade associations are essential to the marketing research industry. They provide us with an opportunity to learn about best practices, new forms of record and industry trends. They provide us with an opportunity to network. One of the most overlooked roles of industry associations is their ability to be our voice in the government. Their lobbying and advocacy efforts are vital to the future strengthening of the marketing research industry.
Over the years Marketing Systems Group has embraced this and encouraged us to take an active role in these associations. Over the last 10 years I have been very active in the Marketing Research Association, both at the chapter level as well as the national level, culminating this past year as the president of the Greater New York Chapter.
I found it to be an incredible opportunity to put my fingerprints on the direction and message of the largest chapter in the association. What I didn’t realize is how much goes into the chapter running at the high level that everyone has come to expect. You don’t realize how much work is involved to get one event planned, let alone 5 events. Of course, I was not alone. I was surrounded by nine of the most dedicated and hard working board members that I could ask for. Their hard work made my job so much easier and I am forever grateful for everything that they did.
By far my favorite event was the Price is Right event which was a twist on the old game show by guessing on costs for industry related expenditures. It was a fun and interactive way for attendees to volunteer and learn about parts of the research industry that they are not involved in day to day.
I have often been asked why I am always trying stay involved with the MRA. The answer is simple – you can only get out of an association what you put into it. My suggestion to anyone would be to get involved. That can mean so many different things. Start by attending events. Maybe you learn something new. Maybe you meet someone who will become a client, a vendor or a friend. Once you are comfortable, volunteer. Our industry associations LOVE volunteers and my years of volunteering have helped me in so many professional and personal ways. I have developed client relationships and secured new vendors. I have learned so much about the research industry outside of the world of sampling that I may have never been exposed to and this has only helped me understand my client needs better. I have met many people who I now count among some of my closest friends. I am very appreciative and thankful to those that encouraged me to get involved all of those years ago as well as everyone that I have met and worked with over those ten years. And, of course, I am grateful to work for a company that understands the importance of our associations as well as our involvement in them. I truly think that we are a better company for it.
Oftentimes, researchers are faced with the challenging task of targeting rare domains in a population while maintaining the probability-based nature of the employed sample. For instance, in a national RDD sample it might be necessary to oversample households with small children or those with even less prevalent attributes. While an epsem sampling design, whereby all numbers have the same chance of selection, will provide the most efficient sample with respect to the precision of survey estimates, from a cost perspective such a design can be completely prohibitive due to the required level of screening for reaching eligible households. This is where a cleverly designed stratified sampling alternative that employs disproportional allocation can prove highly valuable.
In practice, an optimal sample allocation scheme takes into account the unit cost per interview in each sampling stratum. As such, a stratum with a high incidence of reaching members of the target population will receive a higher allocation as compared to other strata. This disproportionate sample allocation should be exercised while providing a non-zero chance of selection for all telephone numbers to ensure a probability-based sample.
The objective of this stratification is to provide a means for over sampling the target populations by segregating higher incidence households into distinct sampling strata. This is done by matching all numbers against commercial databases, which contain household and individual level demographic data, and identifying the numbers that meet the specified target.
With access to all the top commercial databases Marketing Systems Group can provide cost-effective solutions for sample surveys that aim to target rare domains. By placing such telephone numbers in the “top” or high incidence stratum and the remaining telephone numbers covering the geography of interest in another, you can create a complete sampling frame. Subsequently, using an optimization procedure a higher sampling fraction will be determined for the top stratum cognizant of the design effect that will result from a disproportional sample allocation and will need to be adjusted for when weighting.
Welcome to our brand new blog for customers and industry observers. We’re calling it MSG in a Bottle, and I know you’re going to love following it.
One of the best things about my job as president of Marketing Systems Group is the opportunity to work with an inspiring, committed team of professionals. They constitute a brain trust of talent and experience. Their collective market research expertise and dedication to quality truly makes a difference across our entire product line — GENESYS® sampling system , PRO-T-S® dialer software and ARCS® all-in-one panel manager.
Since 1987, we’ve been delivering innovative solutions to the survey research community, and our staff continues to do amazing things, year over year.
I’m proud of these professionals. They are what make our products great. We learn from each other every day.
That’s all well and good for a company president, you might be saying, but what about me?
That’s why we’ve started this blog. We want you to benefit from the collective wisdom I see in action every day at MSG. I’ve asked this talented team of pros to share their insights and expertise with you.
At the MSG in a Bottle blog you will get our expert analysis of hot industry trends, stay informed with news on the survey research industry and the latest standards updates, learn how we’re positioning our products to meet customers’ needs, and get practical advice and tips on how best to use our products. Think of it as “news you can use.” Also, we hope to have some fun along the way, too. We want you to get to know us better. And we want to hear from you too. You’ll be able to join the discussion and share your feedback and suggestions via the comments section after each blog post.
I’m excited about this new channel for reaching our customers and the survey research community, and I’m confident that our media and marketing team will keep you up-to-date on the survey research industry topics that truly matter. We hope you’ll bookmark us and stop in frequently. New pieces will appear on a bi-monthly basis. Or better yet subscribe/follow us here, and never miss a new post when it arrives.
Thanks and happy reading,