Archive for the ‘Surveys’ Category
Better late than never! It’s come to our attention that we never shared our autumn 2012 newsletter with our blog readers, so we thought it was time to rectify the situation!
This latest version of Insight includes an interview on branding and market research with PPG Industries’ VP of Corporate Marketing, assesses the role emotions play in driving the choice of supplier, and takes a much more in-depth look at the WD-40 brand. And, of course, there are all the usual snippets of news from within B2B International, such as employee profiles, the launch of our consumer division Deep See, and the results of last year’s VOC survey.
ESOMAR has recently published its latest Global Prices Study, which shows the USA holding on to the No. 1 position, again making it the most expensive country in which to do research.
The ten countries which now in 2012 have been found to be the most expensive are the same ten that had the highest Global Index price scores in 2010, when the survey was last run. While the USA and Switzerland lead the charge with first and second place respectively, Canada has moved swiftly up the rankings from tenth to claim this year’s third spot. The UK has also risen from ninth to become the fifth most expensive country. The top ten’s biggest faller was France – previously in third place but now in ninth.
The Top Ten most expensive countries for research
Conversely, the least expensive countries for research are shown in the table below. It should, of course, be noted that these markets are all quite small (in overall value terms) – albeit growing.
The Top Ten least expensive countries for research
The study re-confirms the complexities of global research: Not only do prices vary between one country and another, but the available research options differ as well. For example, online research is not available in every market – and may not always be appropriate in every market where it is available.
Other notable findings from the study include:
• In the USA, UK, Germany, France and Japan, the five markets with the largest volume of spend, the price of online research actually fell.
For more detail about the ESOMAR Global Prices study, please click here.
The annual CoolBrands list of – you guessed it – Britain’s coolest brands has been released, and is topped by technology behemoth Apple. The company takes the top spot after rising from second place last year. Last year’s winner, Aston Martin, dropped to third in this 2012 survey. Second spot was claimed by YouTube, Google’s video streaming site. Google itself came in fifth, just behind microblogging site Twitter, meaning, perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s a definite ‘technology’ bent to the list.
Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the CoolBrands expert council, commented: “It is interesting that in this age of austerity our perception of cool has increasingly shifted from aspirational, luxury brands to free or more affordable brands that provide us with pleasure. The presence of the online brands like BBC iPlayer, Twitter, YouTube and Skype are a great case in point.
Cheliotis went on to point out the distinct global – rather than British – feel to the list: “As we have seen over the last five years, the bulk of the top 20 is dominated by international brands, which is very sad for UK plc. Despite Team GB’s success [in the Olympics] it remains unlikely that next year’s top 20 will see any change in that pattern. It will be interesting to see next year if the luxury brands fight back or whether the list continues to feature so many online brands together with the tech giants.”
The full top 20 CoolBrands are:
A strategic research project commissioned by Medirest, the specialist healthcare division of Compass Group PLC, and undertaken by business-to-business market research specialist B2B International, reveals critical issues facing hospital boards
In Spring 2012, Board Directors in publicly funded hospitals across four European markets (UK, France, Germany and Italy) were interviewed about the issues they are facing, influences on delivering healthcare and the services that support this, and attitudes towards outsourcing of support services.
The main challenge is the current economic conditions and the expectance of this prevailing for some years into the future. The need for greater creativity from health boards was highlighted to enable the delivery of healthcare that meets the needs of the population, in the context of political influence. Outsourcing of services, particularly non medical and administrative services, despite some concerns, is felt to be increasing and carries with it significant advantages.
Key challenges impacting on healthcare strategy and delivery
Political changes across Europe have created challenges in relation to healthcare reform – changes in government and political unrest were mentioned specifically in the UK, France and Italy. Legislation affecting healthcare organisation, and the targets set by governments, were driving the agenda, but respondents felt they were a distraction from the key issues facing healthcare.
The overwhelming economic challenge is the current financial situation across Europe – a view expressed by respondents in all four countries. Issues relate to reducing budgets, the requirement to provide more services with less resource, and reduced investment in public healthcare.
The cost of equipment and drugs for new treatments at a time when finance is not easily available is a key concern, particularly in relation to competitive forces. The growth of larger hospital groups may be the result of a need for greater collaboration to provide the full range of services required of a modern health service.
Reduced budgets have also halted many modernisation programmes, many of which were felt to be critical to deliver the treatments of modern day medicine. The need to be up-to-date and at the cutting edge of medicine is seen as a challenge in the current mood of austerity.
Many social factors were felt to be impacting on healthcare. Increasing demand for healthcare provision coupled with public attitudes towards healthcare were of major concern. Some felt that public attitudes may need to change in relation to the level of provision which can be administered, and alternative models of healthcare may need to be considered in the future.
The ageing population and the need to provide care models which take account of this, coupled with more complex multiple pathologies, are particular challenges. Additionally, the increased incidence of particular health problems associated with lifestyle was noted, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Recruiting skilled workers is a challenge, especially in Germany. The economic position, the need to make cuts, and pay freezes have compounded this problem, making the healthcare professions seem less attractive.
Significant technological changes have occurred and continue to, including developments in treatments and in information provision. Respondents feel co-ordinated systems which give access to information both about patients and about activity are needed. Getting a system which can deliver what is required, is accessible, and works with other systems, was seen as one of the biggest challenges.
The research found diverse usage patterns of outsourcing. Non-medical housekeeping services were most likely to be outsourced, i.e. catering, laundry and cleaning, while rental of space for retail opportunities is seen as an opportunity for income generation. Medical services were less likely to be considered for outsourcing, though in some areas elements of this are being undertaken, e.g. lab services.
Advantages of outsourcing are seen as allowing innovation and creativity, such that service quality, cost and support can be determined in the contract. Outsourcing means that the supplier takes responsibility for delivery of the service and the staff, allowing the Board to concentrate on medical issues. It also enables income generation opportunities and could protect the service from further cuts, due to having contracts.
Respondents did raise concerns about outsourcing, fearing loss of control and poorer quality of the service, and possibly higher costs. Other problems surrounded in-house staff attitudes, security and the position of the Unions, plus the perception that some suppliers may not understand the issues facing healthcare.
Meeting the challenges
The study found that tough decisions are being made by healthcare boards to meet these challenges, decisions which often question the current model of healthcare delivery. Approaches include;
• Looking overseas towards other healthcare models
• Identifying alternative methods of generating income
• Co-operation and partnership with neighbouring hospitals
• Creation of “super hospitals”
• Public and private sector collaboration
• Outsourcing of services – mainly non-medical, but also some medical services
For more information about this survey, please contact B2B International Director, Carol-Ann Morgan
This week, Oliver Truman looks at some of the honestly-held misunderstandings we make in everyday life, and at why misconceptions about the market research industry should make us sit up and take notice.
Sometimes we all make mistakes. As human beings, we’re loath to admit our failings, particularly when we think we might have got something wrong.
Only the other day, a friend was bemoaning the arrival of students back into Manchester for the start of the new academic year. Longer queues at cash machines, processions of drunken youths in fancy dress and buses packed to the rafters were just a few of his misgivings. “Bloody retrobates”, he muttered.
At first I hadn’t realised, but after a few seconds it sunk in. “Did you just say retrobates a second ago?”, I enquired. “Yeah, retrobates. You know, delinquents”, he said. After several more verbal exchanges, it became apparent that my chum had been using the word retrobate instead of reprobate for quite some time, possibly even his entire life.
As it was perhaps a little too painful to admit it, he gamely attempted (for several minutes) to argue that he was right and I was wrong. However, in the age of instant access to knowledge, a quick mobile web search revealed the error of his ways. The score was settled.
Throughout that evening, as several more pints of English Ale were imbibed, me and my friends at the local pub were now alert to the slightest error – whether linguistic, factual or otherwise. Other highlights in the inaccuracy stakes that evening included:
Errors of the retrobate sort are referred to by linguists as “eggcorns” – The term itself involving an idiosyncratic substitution of similar-sounding words to mean acorn. There’s a tremendous website documenting these everyday anomalies at the Eggcorn Database. Some personal favourites include:
In the world of market research we are, to an extent, also on the receiving end of popular misconceptions about our industry and the work we do.
There was an interesting article on the BBC website this week about those who respond “don’t know” in opinion polling. Aside from the thought-provoking discussion about how such responses should be treated when reporting survey findings, it was the comments section at the end of the page that really grabbed my attention.
Here are a couple of comments that made me realise just how misunderstood the market research process might be amongst the public at large:
Recently on the radio, there was a phone-in on the subject of a recently conducted opinion poll and listeners were asked for their comments. One caller refused to believe the result, citing the fact that it was a survey of “only” 2000 adults. “I’m sure the other 60 million people in this country don’t think that way – It doesn’t capture that they think” was their claim.
On the flipside, us survey wonks should also accept that some of the blame rests with the research industry. Market researchers don’t help themselves when we talk to non-research audiences about sample sizes, weighting and quotas. Moreover, research also needs to be conducted in a way that is likely to engage and learn from, rather than alienate the audience. Unless the most appropriate techniques and methods are deployed, the credibility of the research process can be put at risk.
The comment below came from the comments in the same BBC article I mentioned earlier. I think it neatly captures an instance in which market research really doesn’t help itself: