Spring Training for Market Researchers

market research spring training

So many people have had a brutal winter—snow, snow and more snow! Makes you want to stay home, doesn’t it? With market research training classes in our virtual classroom, you can have fun, interactive education without the travel.

Check out these upcoming classes:

Introduction to Ethnography (single session, 1.5 PRC hours)
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 11am EDT

Social Media Meets Market Research (single session, 1.5 PRC hours)
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 11am EDT

Introduction to Conjoint Analysis (single session, 1.5 PRC hours)
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 11am EDT

Market Segmentation: Practical Steps to Research Success (single session)
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 11am EDT

Online Qualitative Research Methods (4-wk Power Program, 5 PRC hours)
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 1pm EDT

Managing Focus Groups (4-wk Power Program, 6 PRC hours)
Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 11am EDT

For our complete class catalog, visit



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 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.




Jeffrey Henning & Kathryn Korostoff Are Going to Camp

Camp Rockstar logoResearch Rockstar is thrilled to announce that Jeffrey Henning, president of Researchscape, will be a “camp counselor” at this summer’s Camp Rockstar for market researchers.  He joins Kathryn Korostoff (Research Rockstar’s founder and lead instructor), in teaching some of the eight market research classes being offered in this summer program.

About Camp Rockstar

Registration is now open for Camp Rockstar, a summer training camp for market researchers.  Come to Research Rockstar’s summer camp, have a lot of fun learning, and let your expanded market research skills take you to the top of the charts.

No black flies. No sunburn. No snoring from the next bunk. Just an opportunity to immerse yourself in fun, interactive learning with a group of your market research peers.

Campers get to pick as many of the following market research classes as they want—all for just $1,200 per student.

All classes are live, instructor-led sessions taught in Research Rockstar’s virtual classroom.

Want a PDF brochure? Download it here.

Registration is now open. Camp runs through August 30th.  To see all date options and more, please visit:  Camp Rockstar.

Please note: details subject to change. Please visit our website for current details or contact



When Breaking Up (Market Research Interviews) is Hard to Do

sunk costsIn economics there is a term known as “sunk cost.”  Investopedia defines a sunk cost as, “A cost that has already been incurred and thus cannot be recovered.” A cost does not have to be monetary either; it can be thought of in terms of time, resources, or anything else of value to a company. Business decisions are made independent of sunk costs. At first glance, this may seem a little ridiculous. If you have put hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars into a project, then you should work tirelessly to make it succeed, right? Well, the brutal reality is that sometimes we just have to accept that a project has gone bad, and it is time to move on. It can be best to just cut your losses and not lose any more money.

This idea of sunk costs applies to market research interviews (or in-depth interviews, IDIs) as well.  As does the concept of knowing when to walk away.

In-depth interviews can be an immensely valuable research methodology, and many market researchers use this tried-and-true approach (see some of the reasons why in this article from Quirk’s Marketing Research Review). But when conducting IDI research, a lot of time goes into planning before the actual interview is conducted.

Once a firm has spent all kinds of money and devoted countless hours to developing the IDI guide and screening participants, they should not waste a single opportunity right? Shouldn’t every scheduled IDI be completed fully? Not always: money and time at this point is a sunk cost. The goal now is to conduct as many good in-depth interviews as possible.  Wasting time on a bad interview just frustrates the interviewer and wastes time that could be better used elsewhere, so why bother? Unfortunately, in the quest to meet sample size goals and “not waste” sunk costs, too many researchers end up completing bad interviews.

So here is the critical question: how does one determine what is a bad interview and what is not? How long into an interview is it before it is possible to tell it is not worthwhile? What is the best way to end a bad interview? Each interview will be different and you will have to make a judgment call, however, Research Rockstar’s class on Conducting Research Interviews can provide you some valuable guidelines and tips for handling these unfortunate situations.

[Want to learn 12 valuable steps for stress free interviewing?  Visit Research Rockstar and take their self-paced, online class on Conducting Research Interviews. This class is available as both a self-paced and an instructor-led format: click here for dates!]



Will This Sloppy, Boring, Error-ridden Market Research Report Do?

market research reportWhen consumers purchase a product, they expect to get what they paid for.  This is also true when companies purchase market research; unfortunately some no longer receive the high-quality tangible product they paid for, at least according to Gill Wales (as stated in her article published on titled Will This Do.)

As quoted in this article, Justin Gutmann, head of research and insight for Consumer Focus, has a laundry list of problems with many of the reports he commissioned from reputable market research firms.  While firms dazzled him with well-written proposals and promises, the promises turned empty and the end result was a poorly written market research report indicating the writer did not fully grasp, or even understand at all, the subject being researched.  As Gill Wales writes,No matter how skillful the fieldwork, if the report fails to provide a clear and reliable description of the outcome, then the client has acquired a useless product. The fieldwork may as well never have been done.”

These subpar reports can be attributed to a few issues, but as Wales notes, these issues are not difficult to fix.  Often, senior executives are involved in the planning and fieldwork portion of the market research, but delegate the actual report writing to junior analysts.  These junior analysts, while capable, are not properly trained and need more guidance from the senior executives, who are too often M.I.A. Furthermore, the author states that the economic environment today is contributing to market research firms being understaffed but afraid to turn away work, which forces them to sacrifice quality of work in order to keep up.  While this may seem smart today, in the long-run it will hurt them.  As Wales notes, the future for market research professionals lies in their ability to interpret, explain, and present the data that can now be gathered by ever-improving software.   She concludes that only properly trained professionals will be able to keep up with the changing market research environment. Not surprisingly, we at Research Rockstar agree!

Many of the comments on this article agree that the structure of market research firms, especially large ones, has lead to declining report quality.  As one commenter, Ray Poynter, notes, producing a good market research report is time consuming, and, as a result, a good report written by a senior executive costs well above what most companies will pay.  As Research Rockstar’s own Kathryn Korostoff notes, many market researchers she encounters are more than capable of producing good reports; they simply do not have the proper training to do so.  They have no processes, list of best practices, or frameworks to refer to.

Obviously we are biased, but this article raises issues we have been addressing in our market research training programs for over two years.  Good, cost-effective training can solve many of the issues seen in the market research industry today.  Unfortunately, many firms are not willing to pay the traditionally high costs of training.   We are trying to address this by offering more than twenty topics via virtual classroom training, which eliminates the cost and aggravation of travel, as well as having a lower price than in-person seminars.


[Want to learn more? Research Rockstar offers comprehensive market research training through a series of online classes.  These classes come at an affordable price, allowing market research firms to keep costs down while improving quality—thus avoiding the major problem of sacrificing quality for quantity that Gill Wales writes about.]

[The post was written by our fantastic new intern, Todd Haylon.  Well done, Todd!]