Case Studies

Thinking honed
across industries

sept

With decades of experience over hundreds of projects, we have worked on a range of business issues across industries and markets.

Click on the images below to see examples of our work:

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Research for Thought Leadership

What is happening in my industry today?

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Marketplace Disruption

How do we survive a new competitive threat?

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Customer Retention

How do we retain and grow our membership?

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Brand Protection

Is a competitor infringing our trademark?

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Concept Testing

Which product promotion is most effective?

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Product Development

Which product features should we highlight, and how should we price the total package?

 

All of our research is designed to provide accurate, actionable direction that addresses your needs and challenges.

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RESEARCH FOR THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

What is happening in this industry today?

It is a tumultuous time for healthcare in the United States, with pressures impacting all of its institutions.

A provider of financial products and services to hospitals and health systems wanted to solidify its position as a thought leader in the healthcare industry. To support that goal, it commissioned a series of research studies to produce a 360-degree view of the industry that examined the trends, challenges, and responses of senior-level executives in three key segments: Hospitals, Health Insurers and Employers.

To achieve the broad scope of this project, we developed a multi-stage, iterative process using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We conducted secondary research on each segment and then spoke with stakeholders and experts in the healthcare industry, as well as hundreds of executives in each of the three major segments.

Our client is using this original research to fuel its sales and marketing program:

  • Series of white papers distributed via newsletter, email and social media
  • Conference circuit and other speaking engagements
  • Webinars
  • Media and press distribution
  • Collateral sales materials

The original research also gives our client’s sales and marketing teams a competitive advantage through a deeper understanding of their customers and prospects, and the healthcare industry in general.

 
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MARKETPLACE DISRUPTION

How do we survive a new competitive threat?

Our client—a national tax consulting firm—found itself facing an existential threat when a lower-priced, digital competitor entered the marketplace.

In order to assess the danger, we needed to speak with our client’s customers, asking them questions that investigated:

  • Challenges and unmet needs
  • Satisfaction with our client’s service
  • Awareness and perception of the competitor
  • Likelihood of switching providers
  • What our client can do to retain its customers

We discovered that there was no imminent threat of a mass customer exodus, because awareness of the competitor was low, satisfaction with our client’s service was high, and price was not customers’ only consideration.

However, we could foresee risk down the road for our client as awareness of the competitor grows and price pressure increases, and we recommended a few strategies to mitigate that risk:

  • Continued commitment to excellent service
  • Strong reinforcement of the value proposition in messaging and sales
  • Proactively educate customers on ways to maximize their tax credits
  • Introduce digital features to stay current and competitive
  • Expand into complementary services to address unmet needs in the marketplace
 
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CUSTOMER RETENTION AND GROWTH

How do we retain and grow our membership?

Professional associations across the country are struggling to attract new members and hold onto the ones they already have. One of the nation’s largest came to us to find out why this was happening within its own organization and what it could do to reverse the trend.

To take advantage of existing knowledge, we began with a meta-analysis of the client’s prior research. We then designed an iterative, multi-stage segmentation study that started with focus groups of members and prospects, across career stages, followed by a robust national survey.

We explored:

  • Current perceptions of the association
  • Member unmet needs and challenges
  • How the association could better serve its members
  • Content behavior and preferences
  • Engagement and satisfaction with the association’s programs and services
  • Reactions to potential new products and services from the association

Once the study was complete, we held a work session with key client stakeholders to review the findings and strategize next steps for the association. Informed by the research, several initiatives emerged from this session:

  • Build brand awareness of the association and what it offers
  • New offerings for digital and social media engagement
  • Curated content to help solve information overload
  • An overhaul of the association’s website
  • A targeted program to attract young members

The association is currently in the process of implementing these and other strategic initiatives.

 
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BRAND PROTECTION

Is a competitor infringing our trademark?

With so many brands competing for attention, it’s more important than ever to protect the space your brand owns.

A new brand of coconut water was mimicking core elements of our client’s product packaging, and there was concern that consumers would get the two brands mixed up.

As court-recognized survey experts, we were commissioned to determine whether there was potential confusion in the marketplace between the two products. Using an experimental design, our survey measured the likelihood of confusion between our product and the competitor’s product.

The study found that there was a significant level of confusion between the two products, driven by the similarities in the product packaging. Armed with this data, our client was able to convince the competitor to change its packaging to a more distinctive look, thereby avoiding a costly lawsuit.

 
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CONCEPT TESTING

Which product promotion is most effective?

Sorting out winning concepts from losing ones saves time, effort and money—whether you’re launching new products or new sales tactics.

A national retailer developed several alternative promotional concepts to increase store traffic and product sales at its stores, and they needed to know which one they should roll out. The retailer was also hoping that the chosen promotion would improve the appeal of the store even beyond the promotional period.

We designed and conducted a pre-post study to measure the impact of each concept on purchase intent, store perceptions and net promoter scores. One of the promotions was the clear winner, earning the top score on almost all of the attributes. Even better, beyond being generally appealing and helping drive purchase intent, this concept lent credibility to the notion that the retailer is a good value for its customers, thereby boosting its overall reputation.

Based on these findings, our client launched a successful advertising campaign using the winning promotional concept.

 
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PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Which product features should we highlight, and how should we price the total package?

Making sure you’ve got a product just right before you go to market makes for a smoother launch and better ROI. A vehicle manufacturer developed a suite of innovative, after-market products based on GPS technology, and they wanted to:

  • Examine marketplace interest in this suite of products
  • Identify which product features had the greatest appeal
  • Determine how best to package and price the individual products

In order to answer these questions and determine how best to go to market, we conducted independent online surveys with prospective purchasers in both the commercial and consumer markets. Our study revealed:

  • Strong overall interest in the new suite of products, but variable interest in specific features and packages
  • Differences in intended use and relevance of features by market
  • Barriers to adoption, including price and executional concerns, particularly in the commercial market
  • An optimal price point, based on price and rate of intended adoption for each package
  • Characteristics of early adopters in each population

Based on the results of the study, we recommended that the client go to market with two different packages, one targeted to the consumer market and the other to the commercial market. Each package was bundled with a unique set of salient and attractive product features at the optimal price point, with messaging to address potential barriers to adoption. Early adopters were targeted during the initial launch to ensure a successful introduction and promote word-of-mouth buzz.