New! PRC-certified Classes from Research Rockstar

PRC_FINAL_LOGO_minus_dropThe Marketing Research Association (MRA) has approved 15 Research Rockstar classes for PRC credits. If you are currently certified, or planning for renewal, you now have 15 new options for meeting the MRA’s education requirements!  Some of the classes now featuring PRC credits:

  1. 10-Point Checklist for Questionnaire Design
  2. Ask It Right: Choosing Scales & Answer Options for Online Surveys
  3. Intro to Ethnography
  4. Intro to Factor & Cluster Analysis
  5. Intro to Quantitative Data Analysis
  6. Market Research Project Management
  7. And many more!

We are thrilled that the MRA has provided this certification on such a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative class topics. For more details:

Sign up for classes today to get your PRC credits by end of year!

Any questions? Please contact Sales@ResearchRockstar.com.



B2B Market Segmentation is Hard. Really Hard. And We Have A Free Video To Explain Why.

Question: Is the process for segmenting the market for toothpaste the same as the process for segmenting the market for payroll services?

At a very, very high level, the answer is yes. In both cases, the researcher has to clarify project goals (why are we doing the segmentation and how will it be used), design the methodology, generate hypotheses, gather data, analyze data, create the segmentation model, name the segments, and create deliverables.

But that’s a pretty high level.

Once we embark on the reality of progressing through those research steps, we quickly realize that B2B segmentation studies are very different than consumer ones (see free video link below).  Here are two out of the many reasons why:

  • B2B studies often have “hard to find” populations.  Finding people who are authentic, qualified and willing to participate in research can be very challenging for many B2B studies. This can restrict our methodology and data analysis options.
  • B2B studies have to address a nuanced combination of a person’s attitudes and a company’s policies.  For example, a company employee (and decision maker) may have specific brand preferences or product desires.  But company policies and purchasing processes may conflict with those.  Without careful attention to such dualities, the research could deliver results that are out of touch with the brutal realities of how money is spent.

Segmenting a B2B market is very different than segmenting a consumer market. And frankly, can be much harder. This is why, in the Research Rockstar segmentation class, we include both consumer and B2B examples.  Other organizations offering segmentation training focus on consumer markets.

Want a pure “B2B only” focus? Our segmentation class can be booked as a private training session; in these cases, we modify the examples and demonstrations to your areas of interest.  To inquire about private group training, please contact Sales@ResearchRockstar.com or call 508.691.6004 ext 701.  Private training fees start at $1,200, and vary by group size.

Click here to watch a free video on the special challenges of B2B segmentation.


Camp Rockstar logo

Join us at Camp Rockstar, a summer camp for market researchers! Our Market Segmentation class is one of eight classes being held at summer camp this year! All classes are taught live, in a virtual classroom by camp counselors Kathryn Korostoff, Jeffrey Henning, and special guests.




Why “Marketing” is Hard for “Market Researchers”

bigstock-cobbler-at-work-with-old-tools-41362420Pardon the use of quotations, but I am trying to make a point.

Numerous articles have been written, and debates engaged, about the question, “Are market researchers bad marketers?”  It does strike one as odd—that a profession so driven to understand customer attitudes and behaviors, can’t seem to apply the discipline for its own marketing—and ultimately revenue-generating—benefit.

Three great articles have poked at this issue this past year, by Edward Appleton, Ron Sellers, and Dana Stanley.

Is it just the case of the cobbler’s children having no shoes?

Well, I got a big clue earlier this month.  I won’t name names, but I heard a researcher from a well-known firm talk about their, “new approach to market segmentation.”  And about ten minutes in, I reached three conclusions.

  • Yes, his company is doing some cool stuff to leverage social media research to gain insights about specific target markets
  • But he was using the term “segmentation” incorrectly; his methodology is about profiling existing, known segments previously identified by his clients—not discovering the best ways to segment a market. What his firm is doing is profiling, or creating personas as some prefer, but it is not a “segmentation study.”
  • And apparently his clients don’t care.  His firm is apparently doing very well selling segmentation studies that rely on “listening” to social media—not asking questions. And on profiling segments; not defining them.

I have to say, this speaker deserves major kudos for understanding his market segment; that there are a lot of marketing decision makers who want fast, social media-based profiling of their existing segments. This guy understands what his market wants, and he is giving it to them.


So what did this all teach me?

Often, making a complex thing really simple is what leads to marketing success.  A classic example: for years AOL was the preferred email platform of choice for the average American consumer; we techie types cringed, but the masses loved it.  And unfortunately, the masses don’t always appreciate the brilliance of more complex products—or in our case, of more rigorous market research.  Calling a profiling study “market segmentation” may make researchers cringe, but to a lot of people who buy market research, it may be just fine.


[Want to learn more about market segmentation or other market research topics? Click here to request Research Rockstar’s class catalog today! Now, available in print and by download.]



New Market Research Training Store Offers over 25 Popular Topics in a Variety of Online and On-site Formats

Research Rockstar celebrates with the Ultimate Market Research Training Give Away Drawing; Enter for a Chance to Win a Year of Market Research Training

Big News!! Research Rockstar today launched an online market research training store, offering our full range of learning options in one online location.  Classes include 10 Point Checklist for Questionnaire Design, Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis, Market Segmentation, Social Media Meets Market Research and many more. Over 25 class options are currently available.

In keeping with our mission of making market research learning convenient and accessible to all, Research Rockstar has designed the new online store so that current trainings on many key topics can be purchased on demand.

The grand opening celebration features a drawing, in which participants have a chance to win a One Year Power Program Pass (the equivalent of $2,000 worth of free training).  This one-year pass allows the winner to attend any of our 4-week Power Programs.

The new online store offers a comprehensive menu of classes. Classes are offered in a variety of formats, from self-paced (Flash-based) classes to real-time, instructor-led options. The store is designed to make it easy to find topics of interest—whether the learner is seeking a quick dive into a single topic or looking to combine multiple options to create a customized market research “MBA” equivalent.

Visit the store to enter the drawing today! Deadline is May 28th 2012.


Market Segmentation: What to Look For in A Project Proposal

Planning to hire a market research agency for a market segmentation study? Then you have probably issued an RFP and are waiting for the proposals to come in.

When they do, what should you be looking for? Here are a few practical tips about what you should see in a market segmentation proposal.  If you see these things, it tells you that this proposal is from an experienced market research firm that understands how to mitigate the risks specific to segmentation projects.

The Kickoff Meeting

Do they specify a kickoff meeting?  How do they describe it?  Do they discuss things like using it as an opportunity to generate hypotheses for the segmentation model? Will they use it as an opportunity to discuss existing models, or to show you case studies of past market segmentation models that they’ve developed?

The kickoff meeting for this type of study is an important time for everybody to come together from the client side, as well as from the agency side, to put their best thinking forward.

Anybody who forgets to mention a kickoff meeting or only mentions it in the most cursory manner is overlooking one of the most important parts of making sure that the market segmentation study goes smoothly. A kickoff meeting is a good best practice for any market research project process—and is especially critical for complex ones, such as segmentation.

Model Development

How does the proposal describe the process of developing a market segmentation model?  And how will it be delivered?  Will the agency come to you with a model at the end of the project and say, “Voila!  Here is your market segmentation model”? That approach usually does not work well.

Market segmentation is not an absolute science.  Usually by the time you’ve done an exhaustive analysis, you’ve found at least two or three viable models that are then evaluated for final selection, using some agreed upon criteria (such as fit with sales strategy, suitability for informing product roadmaps, etc.).

My preference is to have the client involved in that process. And the proposal should set that expectation by offering to involve the client, and stating that at the end of the analysis phase the agency will share the best model options and candidly discuss their relative merits and weaknesses. No model is perfect.

Any agency that just says, “We will find the best model and that’s the model we will present,” well frankly, that’s just too simplistic.

Now, is it possible that after exhaustive analysis one really attractive model does come about? Sure, but that’s never been my experience. In fact, I’ve done projects where we’ve had four or five reasonable models to choose between.


Do they say anything in the proposal about what will make the market segmentation actionable?  For example, do they talk about how they will be sure to find customer groups that will be feasible for you to actually reach or identify? Do they lay out a framework for how their segmentation analysis will be designed to support the tactical or strategic decisions that you’re going to want to inform by using the model?


Segmentation takes time.  It is an iterative process. If they claim that they’re going to be doing the analysis part of the project in 7 business days or less, be skeptical.

Visual Display Examples

It’s always important to get a sense of how well a company can communicate research results through visual displays.  If their proposal includes visual display examples that you find intuitive and logical, then that gives you a good idea that they’ll be able to do the same for your project. Given a choice, avoid market research firms that can’t communicate their research results clearly.  After all, when you select your segmentation model you will need to share it within your organization—an experienced agency knows that and will know how to help you successfully communicate the model to your audience.

Bottom line

Selecting an agency for a market segmentation project is a big decision. Compared to many other types of research studies, segmentation is more complex and therefore riskier.   Evaluate the proposals you’ve received carefully to weed out agencies that clearly are not experienced or are offering a too-simple-to-be-true solution.

[Any questions about hiring a market research agency for your next market segmentation study? Check out our online class here, or email your question to KKorostoff@ResearchRockstar.com or use this form to request more information: InfoRequest].