Applied Market Research

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What is this course about?

What happens when a company notices a drop in sales? A surge of dissatisfied customers? A global pandemic that changes the way many companies do business? Smart companies are constantly evolving and adjusting their business models to meet their customer’s changing needs. They see every setback as an opportunity to learn how to run their business better. But how do they know the right way to respond to problems? How did Dominos differentiate itself in a world of microwave pizzas? How did Jansport backpacks stay relevant in a time when Covid-19 meant that students were no longer carrying books to school? It might look like magic, but the secret behind these companies is actually careful science and methodology. What we call market research. In this course, we’ll look at the first four stages of the market research process. We’ll learn: • How to identify a company problem • The smart way to develop a research plan and a hypothesis 👩🏾‍🏫 • What data should we collect? • Who should we interview and how? 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 • How do we make sure our research is scientifically sound and free of bias? • How to check our work and analyze our findings 🔎 • And so much more! 🎉


Why does it seem like the really successful companies - you know, Apple, Microsoft, and even brands like Starbucks, seem to just know what their customers want?

Is it magic? Is it mind reading? Is it just luck?

Fortunately not. The secret behind most successful companies is actually just good old-fashioned market research. And while market research can sometimes feel like a combination of magic, mind-reading, and luck, it really is just a skill that anyone can learn. 

And that is what we’ll be learning about in this course. How to master the process of market research, so that you too can remain in touch and in tune with your customers. 

In this course, we’ll learn:

• How to turn a company problem into a research question
• The different types of data and how to use them📊
• How to build a survey
• What mistakes people make...and how to avoid them 😳

See you there!

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Market research is all about helping companies make smart decisions. But what’s the process here? How does the market researcher take a company problem and turn it into a brilliant solution?

That’s what we’ll talk about today, in our first lesson on the market research problem. We’ll focus on the very beginning, when you first learn about the problem facing your company. 

We’ll talk about:
• What a management problem looks like 👀
• The five step process for turning a management problem into a research question 👩🏽‍🏫

See you in class!

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Not all data is created equal! As a market researcher, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself dealing with all sorts of data. 

So, it’s important for you to learn the different types of data. What they’re used for and how they work. And that’s what this lesson is all about. 

We’ll learn:
• The difference between primary and secondary data ✌🏻
• The difference between qualitative and quantitative data
• How and when each type of data is used 👨🏻‍🏫

See you in class! 🙋🏻‍♀️

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“No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

This military saying is surprisingly applicable to civilian life as well. You can plan all you want, but when other people are involved you’re just not in control of the outcome. And that’s because people can be something of a wild card. It’s hard to predict what they’ll think or how they’ll respond to something. 

And the same is absolutely true of products and customers. You can spend years and billions of dollars planning the perfect product. And yet, you can still never be 100% sure how your customers will react to it. 

But, don’t worry. Because that’s where focus groups come in! Focus groups can 100% help you better predict how your customers will react to your products. 

In this lesson, we’ll learn all about focus groups and how they can help you get a sense of how real customers will react to your product. 

In addition to focus groups, we’ll learn about 5 other types of qualitative research:
• Depth interviews 🌊
• Protocol analysis
• Projective analysis 📽
• Sentiment analysis
• Ethnography 🔬

All of these will help give you a better idea of how your customers will respond to your products and give you the best possible chance at a successful product launch. 

See you in class 🙋🏻‍♂️

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Did you know that forming a bias actually saves you time and energy? When we react automatically to people or events, we don’t have to burn too many brain cells trying to figure out what is happening and why. Bias allows us to assume that whatever is happening now is similar to something that has happened in the past. 

However bias can also be harmful. In many areas. And today we will look at bias in research. How it can mislead us and skew our results.

We’ll talk about:
• Social desirability bias 💑
• Habituation
• Group conformity 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
• Design bias ✍🏾
• Cultural bias
• And more!

See you there!

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You’re all ready to conduct your market research. There’s just one problem. Who do you include in your survey? How many people do you need? Where do you find them? How do you know who to include and who to exclude?

There are actually several different answers to those questions. And those are what we will be learning in this lesson. 

We’ll look at different sampling options like:
• Convenience sampling 😁
• Quota sampling
• Simple random sampling ❓
• Stratified sampling
• And more! 🌈

See you there 🙋🏻‍♀️

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What does a lonely man named Stranger have to do with your market research survey? Why will we be talking about the film noir genre in this lesson? And what do Royal Midnight cigars have to do with it all?
That’s what we’ll find out in this lesson. We’ll look at how a film noir character can help us understand scales of measurement in market research. 

We’ll look at four scales:

The nominal scale
The ordinal scale 🔢
The interval scale
The ratio scale 🧮
See you there 🙋🏽‍♂️

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It comes as a surprise to many people that most studies they come across - whether in journals or the news - aren’t actually reliable. As in, if we conducted them again we might not see the same results. 

This is problematic because you can’t trust a study that gives you different results each time. How do you know which results are right and which are wrong? That’s why it’s important to make sure your study is as reliable as possible. That it can be performed again and again and always show the same results. 

How do you accomplish this? How do you make sure your study is reliable?

That’s what we’ll be discussing in this lesson.

We’ll look at:
• Sample size 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧
• Confidence interval 💪🏼

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Imagine you are taking an Algebra test. You’re about halfway through when you come across a diagram of a human cell. The question is asking you to label the different parts of the cell. You’d probably realize pretty quickly that this question isn’t a valid test of your Algebra knowledge. It’s just not testing what it claims to be testing. 

Unfortunately, this type of thing happens all the time in studies. Researchers are constantly in danger of using metrics that aren’t actually measuring what they think they are measuring.  And that’s why knowing how to test a study for validity is so crucial. It helps you determine which results to trust and which results to suspect. 

And that’s what we’ll be learning in this lesson. 

We’ll cover five different types of validity: 

Construct validity 🧱
Convergent validity 
Face validity 🎭
Discriminant validity
Criterion validity 📖

See you there 🙋🏿‍♂️

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Imagine you’ve just conducted an interview with someone. And it was a long interview. The subject had a lot to say and was extremely articulate and descriptive. 🗣🗣🗣🗣

 On the one hand this is great, you’ve collected all the data you need (and more!). But on the other day, you’re not quite sure what to do with the pages and pages of notes you’ve taken. How do you take all of this and turn it into concrete findings? 

This is a question that comes up often in qualitative research. And it’s the question that we’ll be addressing in today’s lesson. 

We’ll learn: 

• The four step process of analyzing qualitative data 🧐
• Coding data by themes
• The best ways to display your final results 👨🏻‍🏫

See you there!

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As market researchers, we’re all about data. But sometimes, large data sets can be pretty overwhelming. You know you need to simplify them before you can use them, but where do you start? What do you look for?

In this lesson, we’ll look at two major criteria for summarizing quantitative data. We’ll look at: 
• Central tendency 
• Variability 

See you there! 🙋🏿‍♂️

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Courses Authors

Dr. Maria Blekher

Behavioral scientist and founding director of the YU Innovation Lab

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