Interesting Pet Statistics

Best friend. Family. However you describe your pet, chances are you would do almost anything for them. They give you companionship and love, can make you smile with a wag of their tail or the sound of their purr; and best of all, they do it all unconditionally.pets_pic

Interesting pet statistics showing how pets are a part of the family and why:

  • It’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. More than 50% of Canadian households own a pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, bird etc. That’s more than five million homes!
  • Each year on pets Americans spent about $56 billion and Canadians about $3 billion.
  • 80% of pet owners, in a recent survey, said they gave their pets holiday or birthday presents; 60% said they signed their pets’ names on cards or letters; and, just over half (51%) named their pets with names like we’d name our children.
  • 94% admit they speak to their pets as if they were humans, and one-third say they’ve spoken to their pet on the phone or have left them a message on an answering machine.
  • 90% of pet owners believe their pets are aware of their moods and emotions.
  • According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth.
  • The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
  • More than 35% of cats are acquired as strays.
  • According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each). The most common reasons for cats are that they were not allowed in the residence (21%) and allergies (11%).

The MaCorr Team
www.MaCorr.com

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The Digital Life of Moms and Dads

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are an estimated 43.5 million women between the ages of 15 and 50 who have children. Collectively, these women are mothers to 95.8 million children.

Moms control approximately $2 trillion in purchasing power in the U.S., so reaching this segment of the population is important to many marketers. Recent research suggests the best place to reach them is online, with more than 70 percent of women with children spending time across digital devices in their daily lives.

We know moms are connected, influential, and among the most digitally savvy demographics. So connecting with moms, in the places where they spend their time and are most receptive, is essential for marketers. Yet marketers are often disconnected to the moms that they seek to portray and influence. In a study released by Saatchi and Saatchi this year, half of the moms interviewed stated that marketers don’t understand them.

m

 According to recent studies:

  • Both moms of younger children (under 6) and those with older children (6-16) are more likely to have gaming consoles, tablets and fitness bands when compared to the general U.S. population.
  • Moms with children under 6 are 22% more likely than moms of kids 6-16 to subscribe to an online streaming service (and 27% more likely than the overall U.S. population).
  • Moms with young children tend to be more likely to use a branded mobile app, engage with brands on blogs and participate in Facebook commentary, compared to the moms with older children.
  • Across product categories, moms with children under 6 generally tend to show more willingness to engage with a brand than those with children 6-16.

Marketers, on the other hand, have undervalued the power of dads when it comes to household purchasing overall, leaning on former notions that fathers don’t carry much household influence. That said, big brands are coming to understand the evolving power dads hold. Brands like Dove, Pantene and Huggies have leveraged marketing to men amidst categories (personal care and child care, respectively) that have long been mom focused in nature. Moreover, recent Super Bowl ads featured several key marketers with dad-focused themes as part of their key messaging.

d

According to recent studies:

  • Dads spend more of their daily device time on tablets than the general population, particularly dads with children under age 6
  • Dads are more likely to own emerging technologies, such as gaming consoles, fitness bands, smart TVs, and smart watches. For example, they are 52% more likely to own a smart TV.
  • Dads are more likely to engage with brand online, particularly on social media platforms
  • Dads are highly receptive to digital brand engagement

The MaCorr Team
www.MaCorr.com

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2016 Is Going To Be Quite A Year…

2016 is here, and it is going to be quite a year…

Facts show that people who believe that everything is “perfectly fine” and that we are going to come out of this “stronger than ever” maybe disappointed.

recessionIn 2015 the middle class continued to deteriorate, more Americans than ever found themselves living in poverty, and the debt bubble that we are living in expanded to absolutely ridiculous proportions.

The following is a digest of facts about the U.S. economy from 2015 that are almost too crazy to believe…

  • At this point 62 percent of all Americans have less than 1,000 dollars in their savings accounts, and 21 percent of all Americans do not have a savings account at all.
  • If you have no debt and you also have ten dollars in your pocket, that gives you a greater net worth than about 25 percent of all Americans.
  • It has been estimated that 43 percent of all American households spend more money than they make each month.
  • According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
  • A recent nationwide survey discovered that 48 percent of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 believe that “the American Dream is dead”.
  • Since hitting a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004, the rate of homeownership in the United States has been steadily declining every single year.
  • For each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened.  Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.
  • If you can believe it, the 20 wealthiest people in this country now have more money than the poorest 152 million Americans combined. The top 0.1 percent of all American families have about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of all American families combined.
  • There are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day. That number has doubled since 1996.
  • An astounding 48.8 percent of all 25-year-old Americans still live at home with their parents.
  • In 2007, about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that number is one out of every five.
  • The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years.
  • If you can believe it, more than half of all students in our public schools are poor enough to qualify for school lunch subsidies.
  • An astounding 45 percent of all African-American children in the United States live in areas of “concentrated poverty”.
  • 40.9 percent of all children in the United States that are being raised by a single parent are living in poverty.
  • 102.3 million working age Americans do not have a job right now.
  • Approximately 70 percent of all Americans believe that “debt is a necessity in their lives”.
  • Economists estimate that if the U.S. government was actually using honest numbers the unemployment rate would be 22.9 percent.
  • Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, only about 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
  • Wal-Mart is projecting that its earnings may fall by as much as 12 percent during the next fiscal year.
  • Holiday sales have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.
  • Today, the average U.S. household that has at least one credit card has approximately $15,950 in credit card debt.
  • According to Dr. Housing Bubble, there have been “nearly 8 million homes lost to foreclosure since the homeownership rate peaked in 2004″.
  • One very disturbing study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either currently have medical bill problems or are paying off medical debt.  And collection agencies seek to collect unpaid medical bills from about 30 million of us each and every year.
  • The total amount of student loan debt in the United States has risen to a whopping 1.2 trillion dollars.  If you can believe it, that total has more than doubled over the past decade.
  • Right now, there are approximately 40 million Americans that are paying off student loan debt.  For many of them, they will keep making payments on this debt until they are senior citizens.

It appears we are in the midst of a long-term economic downturn that is beginning to accelerate once again.  Our middle class is being destroyed, Wall Street has been transformed into the biggest casino in the history of the planet, and our politicians have piled up the biggest mountain of debt the world has ever seen.

Questionable decisions have culminated in a crisis, and we are now in for a shaking 2016.

Sincerely,
The MaCorr Research Team

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Heatmap Research for Marketing Surveys

Survey fatigue is a real problem. The days of the 15-plus minute survey have come to an end or are nearing their end rather quickly. People feel pressed for time and that is true at both ends of the survey spectrum, from respondents not having the time to take long surveys, to management not having the time to review findings from all of the questions covered in a survey.

Making surveys interactive by using heat maps, hot spots and images keeps respondents engaged and attentive. Images help recreate a consumer experience in market research and make the data more authentic. You get more quality data while having the respondent spend less time doing so.

So, what exactly is a heat map and how it can be used in online surveys for better insights?

A heat map or hot spot is a graphical representation of data where information is displayed in tiered zones or matrices. Heat mapping techniques, see a theoretical example below, work great for ads, flyers and text testing, so you can better understand where potential consumers are focusing their attention and in what order. The techniques help creating more powerful advertising campaigns and prioritize marketing messages. Other applications include new product concept testing and point-of-purchase goods where shelf placement, branding and packaging impact a buyer’s decision to consider a product.

heatmap

A simple question can ask the respondents to click on the first area that catches their eye, second area, third area, etc. The colors show frequency of all clicks and order of selection. Additional follow-up questions can be asked to rank overall design, appeal, messaging, relevancy for the industry, purchase intent etc.

You can find additional examples of the approach and how it works on our website: http://www.macorr.com/heat-map-survey-research-tool.htm
http://www.macorr.com/hot-text-survey-research-tool.htm

The MaCorr Team
www.MaCorr.com

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7 Studies that Did Not Need to be Done

As medical research marches on, with an Ebola vaccine being tested on humans and the invention of an anti-HIV cream, some research proves to be far less useful. Here are 7 recent studies that didn’t need to be done:

1. Healthier habits lead to weight loss
A study published in 2014 made the not-so-shocking revelation that participants who maintained low-fat diets and continued regular physical activity over a 10-year period were able to maintain weight loss. In the words of the study: “Long-term weight loss maintenance is possible, but it requires persistent adherence to a few key health behaviours.”
Market Research Survey

2. University rankings influence applicants
A study done by researchers at New York university found that college and university rankings published each year influence where prospective students choose to apply! It reveals that students are actually interested in the quality of life and academic offerings of the schools they wish to attend.

3. Women prefer taller men
The long-held belief that women prefer to date taller men was confirmed this year thanks to a collaborative study from Rice University. More than half of women surveyed said they want to date only men who are taller than themselves, a preference attributed to a “matter of protection and femininity.”

4. Home field advantage lives up to its name
Home field advantage is, as it turns out, an advantage. Thankfully, an article published in February confirmed that a team playing at home enjoys a psychological edge thanks to encouragement from fans. Crowd influence on officials’ decisions and lack of travel or change in time zone also help prove that the advantage is, in fact, appropriately named.

5. Walking or biking is healthier than driving
A study published in August presented the groundbreaking news that walking or biking to work is healthier than driving. Active commuting, the study found, is linked to lower body weight and fat composition. Public transport was also tied to better health than private vehicle transportation.

6. Music can be empowering
Three top international business schools applied their genius this year to discovering that certain songs can have an empowering effect on listeners. Songs with heavy bass made people feel more powerful than songs with more mild bass tones. Of course, sporting event favourite We Will Rock You by Queen was among the most empowering songs.

7. Anonymous online comments more likely uncivil
After comparing thousands of online comments, University of Houston researchers found those posted anonymously were more likely to be vulgar, racist, profane or hateful. In comparison, posts with users’ names attached were more civil and respectful. Yes, the Internet conveniently allows users to hide behind anonymity to avoid responsibility for comments.

It appears not all research budgets are tight these days.

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The Advantages of Using Market Research Surveys

You think you know your target audience, but do you really? Sure, you might know a bit about their problems and needs, but is that information accurate enough to develop your marketing budget? Would you be willing to bet your product launch on those assumptions?

Customer Survey

A few comments gleaned from friends and some Internet research isn’t sufficient to get a good idea of the playing field. And even if you have enough data from different resources, it won’t help you in any way unless it’s properly analyzed. There’s just no way around it. Market research surveys are crucial to any marketing campaign or product launch, if you want to turn a profit.

The Power of Market Research Surveys

    • No Peer Pressure or Conformity

Unlike in focus groups, where the opinions of other participants can easily be swayed by a dominant personality in the group, market research surveys are completed individually. The survey is also completed privately, so responses tend to be more candid, because respondents don’t feel the need to choose their words carefully, unlike when they’re talking to someone in-person.

    • Cost-Effective

The cost of running a qualitative research method, such as a focus group discussion, can range from $5000 to $7000 and that’s just for 10 participants! To collect enough data for statistical analysis, you’ll need to conduct two to three such discussion groups, which can amount to $21,000. On the other hand, the cost for running market research surveys, even with incentives, has dropped tremendously due to the availability of online surveys.

    • Less Mistakes, More Accurate Analysis

Market research surveys often have a structured questionnaire with limited choices for answers. While it has less response options, unlike qualitative research methods, the data gathered can be analyzed easily and with higher accuracy using specific formulas and patterns.

    • Reveal Brand and Company Positioning

Information you gain from this research could be used to determine the success and failure of a brand marketing campaign, as well as possible opportunities for improvement. Of course, it also can tell you how your target audience sees your company.

    • Design Flexibility

Market research surveys don’t work well for open-ended questions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for complex information-gathering. Market research surveys can be programmed with matrices, skip options, multiple choices, and can even incorporate if-then logic. Even if surveys aren’t effective in getting verbatim feedback from your target market, they makes up for it in the amount of data you can gather in one questionnaire.

    • Larger Sample Size

Market research surveys reach a wider audience, and that, in turn, increases your chances of getting a clearer, much more accurate understanding of your market. Many businesses mistakenly assume that 30-50 participants are enough to get a good idea of their market. It’s not. In fact, in most cases you’ll need a sample size of at least 600 participants.

    • Save Through Market Validation

Instead of building a product or service and then trying to find a buyer, market research surveys help you validate the demand and profitability of your idea before you invest a single cent on production, thus saving you both the cost and the disappointment that results from launching an un-researched product or brand.

    • Identify Market Desires

This can include new products, upgrades, modifications and tie-ins to already existing products or services. Why guess when you can use a market research survey and have customers tell you directly?

Using market research surveys will unlock a wealth of information about your target market, information you couldn’t have discovered if you relied on your own knowledge or a few peoples assumptions. The process might seem tedious if it’s your first time collecting and analyzing data, but the insight you’ll gain will more than make up for the effort involved.

About the author

Sean O’Dacre is on the marketing team of FluidSurveys, a leading enterprise survey software tool used by thousands of professional organizations around the world.

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Best Practices to Conduct a Successful Customer Survey

Selling is about more than moving product. It’s about moving people. Touching them. Connecting with them.

The relationships you build with your customers top the list of your company’s most valuable assets. So how do you know if you’re connecting with them the right way?

Customer Survey

The customer survey, when done right, is one of the most effective business research tools for developing better marketing strategies.

But it’s not just about asking questions. It’s about asking the right questions that will yield truthful responses and allow comparing your customers’ awareness, satisfaction and attitude with other relevant brands, organizations and events.

These are some of the best practices for building and distributing successful customer surveys that will achieve useful and actionable results:

1. Clearly define your research objectives and address them specifically – don’t try covering everything in one shot

Cut unnecessary questions from your surveys. 
Every question you include should have a well-defined purpose and a good reason for being asked. Do you really need to know things like customer name, age or income?

Adding questions you thought are “nice to know” can make survey takers abandon your survey without finishing it.

If you think such questions are important, but not critical, add them to the end of your survey and make them optional.

2. Make your survey short to keep respondents engaged

Find the shortest way to ask a question without losing its intent. It’s not just about reducing the word count. Ask questions that are straight forward and simple to understand.

Your survey length is critical for keeping abandon rates low. Our research indicates that if you keep your survey under 25 questions you will achieve high response rates.

3. Avoid leading and loaded questions

Questions that lead respondents toward a certain answer due bias in their phrasing are harmful for your surveys.
 Try avoiding loaded questions in your surveys by eliminating emotionally charged language that hints at preferences or assumed facts.

Here are several “real life” examples of survey questions:

In the first example, a researcher wanted to better understand consumer awareness of Prebiotics:

Q1. Do you know the main usage of Prebiotics?
– Yes
– No
– No sure

Q2. To the best of your knowledge, which of the following statements about Prebiotics usage is correct (please don’t guess)?
– Prebiotics are used to treat high cholesterol
– Prebiotics are used to restore healthy bacteria
– Prebiotics are used to feed healthy bacteria
– Prebiotics are used to kill harmful bacteria
– Don’t know

While over 50 percent of the respondents responded “Yes” to Question 1, only 13 percent were able to answer correctly Question 2 (“Prebiotics are used to feed healthy bacteria”).

Take a look at another example. Subscribers of an internet magazine were asked to respond to this question:

Q. Why do you like our magazine?
– Because it’s informative
– Because it’s available on line
– Because it’s free
– Because it has great ads
– Other (please specify)

Well, if the survey is conducted to better understand the magazine readers, wouldn’t it be more meaningful to ask what is missing in the magazine and what can be improved?

Finally, take a look at this question. The question was asked following a new product presentation:

Q. How much would you pay for the product?
– $10.99
– $11.99
– $12.99

I bet you know the answers received by the researcher.

4. Add smart open-ended questions and create connection between quantitative and qualitative (open-ended) questions

While some of your most valuable and insightful feedback may come from open-ended questions, nothing may intimidate survey takers more than a huge text box.

Ask a brief quantitative (single/multiple choice, “scales”, etc.) question first to create a sense of progress, and then follow up with a targeted an open-ended question such as, “Why were you dissatisfied with the service?”. This approach will also make the answers you are looking for more specific.

5. Keep rating scales consistent, but randomize question topics

Commonly used survey scales can become confusing when the context changes.

If you start using scale where you ask survey takers to choose between 1-5, where 1 = “Strongly Disagree” and 5 = “Strongly Agree”
 keep the same pattern for all scale type questions.

Do not assign 1 to “Most Important” and 5 to “Least Important” if you had been using 5 as the agreeable answer (“Strongly Agree”) to previous questions.

If you do this, it will not only be confusing to respondents but many of them will miss the change and give inaccurate answers.

If is very beneficial however, for accuracy and quality of your survey, to randomize or mix your question topics (not scales).

6. Consider using interactive survey tools, pictures and movies, but only when necessary

In some cases respondents’ engagement and response rate can be further improved by using interactive survey tools such as Virtual Shelf, Hot Text, Heat Map or other Interactive ranking questions.

When used smart, interactive survey tools can provide better quality and accuracy of your survey results.

Do not overwhelm, however, survey takers with such tools as they also can destruct respondents from the actual question.

Follow the links for demos:
The Virtual Shelf
Hot Text
The Heat Map
The Image Rank Sort
The Rating Scale
The Stack Sort
The Rank Sort
The Slider Scale

7. Make sure your sample statistically represents the targeted population

Sampling is the foundation of all research. Reliable sampling helps you make business decisions with confidence.

A small, representative sample will reflect opinions and behavior of the group from which it was drawn.

The large the sample size the smaller the chance for an error, but the sheer size of a sample does not guarantee its ability to accurately represent a target population. Large unrepresentative samples can lead to wrong conclusions the same way as small ones.

For more information about sampling: http://www.macorr.com/sample-size-methodology.htm
MaCorr Sample Size calculator: http://www.macorr.com/sample-size-calculator.htm

8. Guarantee anonymity and confidentiality, and provide feel of neutrality

If possible, use the Respondent Anonymity Assurance (RAA) approach. This technology allows tracking who has and has not completed the survey and following up with individuals who have not completed the survey.

In addition it allows identifying each respondent and linking his/her specific responses to any additional, customer/ employee specific information such as level in the corporate structure, demographic information, tenure, etc.

In RAA enabled surveys, computer generated identification numbers for individuals are generated. The researcher, in this case, does not have access to both the respondent’s personal information as well as the response data at the same time.

Surveys conducted by an independent research company using RAA usually deliver more honest responses as compared to surveys conducted by employer or service provider themselves.

9. Choose the right timing to send your survey

Our studies found the highest survey open and click-through rates occur on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday.
Since there was no significant difference between the response quality gathered on weekdays or weekends, send out surveys first thing during a new week or on the weekend.

10. Reward the respondents

Entice customers to take your survey. Our research shows that incentives can increase survey response rates by up to 30 percent.

If possible, use discounts for your products or services. Alternatively, use easy to distribute and traceable electronic gift cards. Cash electronic cards from amazon.com, for example, will be relevant and enticing for a wide variety of survey respondents.

There is an opinion that freebies can reduce the quality of responses, but our studies show that this isn’t likely to be the case.

11. Use analytical tools and approaches for advance analysis of survey results

Research is about more than just getting answers. It’s about gaining confidence. We believe advanced analytics must be part of every company’s business intelligence strategy, regardless of its size.

If possible, consider using advanced analytical approaches such as correlation, factor and conjoint analyses, quadrant analysis, etc. to arrive at the type of conclusions that’ll drive more precise, meaningful results and, ultimately, better business decisions.

For more information about advanced analytics: http://www.macorr.com/marketing-analytics.htm

The MaCorr Team
www.MaCorr.com

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Survey Says: Funny and Stunning Facts about Us.

Do you believe surveys? Sometimes it is hard, we agree. But, hey, don’t we need to laugh too, so we wanted to share this digest with you. And it is a good excuse for us to say something we do believe.

You will be shocked at what some of us actually believe. Some of the numbers are funny and others are stunning. But they all say something about who we are.

 Fun Facts Survey

• 90% of all Americans believe they are eating healthy, while 36% of us are obese.

• 70% of all us do not feel engaged or inspired at our jobs.

• 60% of Americans are feeling “angry or irritable”, 10 points increase vs. two years ago. 36% of Americans admit they have yelled at a customer service agent last year.

• 65% of Americans are dissatisfied with the effectiveness of the U.S. government system. Only 8% believe that government is doing a “good” job.

• 56% of Americans believe that it is acceptable for the government to track telephone records of Americans in order to keep us safe. 51% agree that “it is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism”.

• 30% of all American workers have $1,000 or less saved for retirement.

• 56% of all Americans are considered to have “sub-prime credit”.

• 29% of Americans under the age of 35 are living with their parents.

• 63% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 cannot find Iraq on a map, according to the National Geographic Society.

• There are more Americans who believe aliens have visited Earth than those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

• 24% of people around the world consider the United States to be the biggest threat to world peace. Pakistan is on the second place…, according to a survey by the Worldwide Independent Network.

And don’t we just love technology. 61% of us believe that having a good knowledge about today’s technology is important. Well, then how do we explain this?

• 29% of us believe that “cloud computing” involves a real cloud.

• 11% think HTML is a sexually transmitted disease.

• 27% believe a gigabyte is an insect.

• 15% think software is comfortable clothing.

• 12% believe that USB is an acronym for a country.

• 18% believe Blu-ray is a sea animal.

• 42% think that a motherboard is the deck of a cruise ship.

And, finally, some facts of our every-day life:

• 48% of us sing in the shower.

• 40% never give or receive flowers.

• 18% brush teeth 3 or more times a day.

• 29% of us don’t like our neighbors.

Do we believe in surveys? Yes, we do. So let us help you with your next “meaningful” survey.

Contact
MaCorr Research a Free Consultation.

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Fun Math. One deck. Fifty-two cards. How many arrangements?

Can math and statistics be fascinating and fun? We sure think so. Here is an example we hope you will enjoy.
One deck. Fifty-two cards. How many arrangements? Let’s put it this way: Any time you pick up a well shuffled deck, you are almost certainly holding an arrangement of cards that has never before existed and might not exist again. MaCorr Research intern, with the help of TED-Ed, explains…

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Listening in on the Prepaid and Postpaid Cellphone Markets

You’ve got a lot to choose from when it comes to cell phone plans. And figuring out exactly who to go with and which plan to choose can be difficult.

But you’re not the only one trying to figure out the market. A few major players in the US asked us to find the differences between the prepaid and postpaid cellphone market to help them better market new plans and services to their customers.
 Cell Phone Research

So in September 2013, we conducted a survey through Computer Assisted Web Interviews among a statistically representative sample of 1,003 postpaid cellphone users and 403 adult prepaid cellphone users in the US. Here’s what we found:

• 67% of prepaid cellphone users are women. That’s larger than the 51% of postpaid cellphone users who are women.

• 60% of prepaid cellphone users have annual incomes below $35,000, with 27% reporting income over $50,000.

• In the postpaid world, only 28% of users have an annual income below $35,000, with 57% reporting income over $50,000.

• Prepaid users lack full-time employment, with only 29% report being employed full-time, and 18% of them are not working.

• Over 44% of postpaid cellphone users are employed.

• Both prepaid and postpaid cellphone users prefer football (44%), baseball (26%) and basketball (24%).

• Both groups of participants enjoy rock, country and pop music.

• Hip hop tends to be more popular among prepaid users, with 37% of prepaid users enjoying hip hop compared to just 24% of postpaid users.

At MaCorr, we’ve been a key part of helping the wireless industry understand their market. To see some of the other insight we’ve garnered, read our post on wireless carrier pricing.

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