Chainsaw Juggling Lessons for Market Researchers

a girl jugglingIs market research a high stress job?  It can be.

One of the things we often hear in Research Rockstar classes is the relief students have when they realize other researchers also feel stressed about their work.

Market Research and Chainsaw Juggling

The market research project manager is like a juggler, except instead of having to keep three balls in the air, it often feels like we’re juggling ten chainsaws. Clients, suppliers, software, sample sources, schedules, budgets, and on and on.  All of these things can create for a lot of stress.

So how do we manage stress as a market research project manager?  One of the things that I’ve observed in Research Rockstar classes is that our students are relieved when they hear that they’re not the only ones who are stressed.  That their peers from other companies also find certain aspects of market research work to be hard.  They’re also relieved when they hear that there are a lot of situations where there is no magic answer.

We’re all Juggling Chainsaws Together

In one of our classes, I teach how to identify the “aha” analysis from survey data. That is, how to uncover the insights that are often less obvious but, once found, more illuminating.

One of the methods I teach is using a trial and error approach to creating perceptual maps.  True aha moments rarely come from a single data point; we more commonly get aha’s from looking at relationships between two or more variables (thus, perceptual maps are a handy tool).  But you can’t always tell just by looking at banner tables or other data output. Sometimes the researcher needs some visualization to see the story.  And that means actually taking out a piece of paper and a pencil, and sketching out different visual displays.

For example, if as I am looking at my data, I see a lot of variability on brand awareness and attitude X, I might sketch that out. And then I might sketch out a variation with another variable.  Is there something compelling there?  Does that tell a story? The trial and error sketches can be considered a form of exploratory data analysis, and can help the researcher see the story in a more impactful way than staring at crosstabs all day.

When I tell our students that this trial and error approach is one of the techniques useful in data analysis, they are always happy to hear it. Why? Because it shows that insights are hard, and that great insights are rarely obvious from crosstabs alone. All researchers—even those of us with 25 years’ experience—have to work hard to find rich insights.  The students are relieved because now they know it’s not just them; great analysis doesn’t just pop out at anyone; we all have to use multiple methods, and visual displays are just one of them.

Project Management Stress Solutions

Being a market research project manager can be a stressful job, and there are certain aspects of the work that are challenging for everyone. It’s just part of the process, and that’s okay.

Of course, we can minimize the stress by planning ahead for those parts of the project (like analysis) that we know can be challenging.  And, of course, being prepared with some great tools and techniques with which we can tackle these known issues. Uncertainty and lack of confidence can take a stressful situation and really magnify it a hundred times; it doesn’t need to be that stressful. Those live chainsaws you are juggling? Look again; they are really just safety scissors.


Research Rockstar Event News

If your travel plans include Boston or Amsterdam:

Kathryn Korostoff is teaching a full-day workshop for ESOMAR in June:  http://www.esomar.org/events-and-awards/events/workshops/workshops-index.php?workshop_list_id=41

She is also teaching a workshop on statistics for market researchers on May 15th at this Boston-area event: http://newenglandmra.com/nemra-event/spring/


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 Training.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.




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 Sales@ResearchRockstar.com.



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.