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By Kim Bergman

Ethics and/or Integrity – A Sustainable and Profitable Business Model? Depends.

Defining ethics, “as rules and regulations that have been formed which allow an individual to work in accordance to moral principles,” and integrity, “as the quality of being honest and fair,”; which is the most sustainable, assuming a lasting moral principle has positive impact on the success of our business?  

It depends. It depends on how we define and apply integrity.  If our benchmark for integrity is The Golden Rule – the ethic of reciprocity; do for someone else what we want them to do for us; integrity as a mode of doing business has some great implications:

  • We want what we say to have weight and meaning.  
  • We want a good reputation and the trust of our peers.
  • However, the most meaningful reason to live by The Golden Rule is that we realize a level of personal freedom we can’t achieve any other way.   Worrying about “getting caught or discovered” for some indiscretion is eliminated.  We are motivated to be fair, honest, considerate and empathetic because is what we expect from others.   Stated simply, we live with a clear conscience.

Combining integrity with a lofty system of ethics continues to prove to be a very successful and profitable way of doing business… the alternative can be really painful.



By Kim Bergman

Online Market Research in Russia, things to consider

Conducting market research in Russia is becoming increasingly frequent.  With a population of 142+million, with the average household disposable income per person of $4000-$4500 per year, there is reason for market research.

Having said that, there are demographic nuances to consider when deciding the Russian Federation is right for your market research –

  • 94% of people between the ages of 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma
  • The richest 20% of Russia’s population earns six times more than the poorest 20%
  • Difficult to reach groups online include people ages 55+, the North Caucasian and Far East regions, and rural areas

Population by region –

  • Central (including Moscow with more than 10 million inhabitants) 38.8 million
  • Southern, 14 million
  • North Caucasian, 9.6 million
  • Northwest (including St. Petersburg), 13.8 million
  • Volga, 29.7 million
  • Ural, 12.2 million
  • Siberia, 19.3 million
  • Far East, 6.2 million

Keeping Russian Study Participants Engaged:

  • Phrase questions in simple, interesting and varied ways
  • Limit the questionnaire to 30 minutes
  • Limit open-ended, tedious questions to of 10%
  • If possible, avoid questions about race, religion , nationality, political preference, and sexual orientation.
  • Russia has no official class differentiation, i.e., high, middle, low income, etc.  What is high income to one Russian, may be middle or low income to another.   Russian respondents are happy to provide income and education level.
  • Ask screening questions at the beginning of the study
  • Limit survey qualification to no more than 5 minutes
  • Construct the questionnaire in Russian, using native speakers.

Please let me know if you have additional insight, questions, or comments.

Sources:; Elena Efremova, OMI Russia

By Kim Bergman

Reasons for Market Research in Ghana (Republic of Ghana)

If you’re looking for viable opportunities to conduct market research where few have ventured, consider Ghana.

Large Population:

  • Ghana has the a population of approximately 27 million and growing, the 48th world’s largest country population.

Growing Per Capita Income –

  • Per capita income has increased year over year for more than 15 years.  From 2006-2014 GDP per capita has increased 33% and growing.  
  • The economy of Ghana has over a period of more than two decades consistently witnessed a positive growth rate. This back-to-back growth registered from 1986 culminated in the attainment of lower middle-income status in the year 2010.
  • Ghana’s has one of the highest GDP per capita in West Africa.

Natural Resources – 

  • The country has a diverse and rich resource base with gold, timber, cocoa, diamond, bauxite, and manganese being the most important source of foreign trade. In 2007, an oilfield which may contain up to 3 billion barrels of light oil was discovered.

Government Favorable to Personal and Corporate Growth:

  • The Government of Ghana recognizes that attracting foreign direct investment requires an enabling legal environment.
  • No overall economic or industrial strategy that discriminates against foreign-owned businesses.  In some cases a foreign investment may enjoy additional incentives if the project is deemed critical to the country’s development.

Focus on Education:

  • 89% of Ghanaian’s are literate.  The Ghanian educational system is instructed exclusively in English.
  • Approximately 42% of Ghanian’s currently participate in Secondary Education.  The Government of Ghana continues to emphasize and subsidize education.

 Hope you find this information helpful.  We look forward to your feedback.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, UNICEF, The Presidency Republic of Ghana

By Kim Bergman

Free Internet Access Increasing in Developing Countries

Mobile is continuing to mature as a viable and increasingly popular format for participating in online survey’s.  Adapting questions, length of study, and portability for  the needs of mobile respondents is quickly coming of age.  
Growing rapidly is by Facebook – 
Over 85% of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, yet only about 30% of the total population accesses the internet.
Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to internet adoption for many and today we are introducing the app to make the internet accessible to more people by providing a set of free basic services.
The app is currently available to Airtel customers in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia, Tigo customers in Colombia and Tanzania, and Reliance customers in India.  – sources and

By Kim Bergman

Data Science and Analytics Defined

I’ve spoken to many a seasoned market research professional and there seems to be some confusion on what these terms mean and how they are applied.  My attempt here is to simplify the definition and application of data science and analytics for the benefit of market researchers.

Analytics is the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. It makes use of information technology, statistics and mathematical algorithms to develop knowledge, to quantify performance or to make predictions. It uses the insights gained from this process to recommend action or to guide decision making.

Analytics is best thought of as a research procedure for decision making, not simply as isolated tools or steps in a process.

Data science is, in general terms, is the extraction of knowledge from data through the use of mathematics, statistics, and computer science.

For operational purposes, it is sometimes helpful to break down analytic procedure into eight basic components:

  1. Defining Objectives
  2. Data Collection
  3. Data Preparation and Cleaning
  4. Model Building
  5. Model Evaluation
  6. Interpretation
  7. Scoring New Data or Simulations Using the Model
  8. Communication of Results and Implications to Decision Makers

Another and perhaps more common way to look at analytics is as statistical procedures, essentially steps 4-7 in the process outlined above.

There are countless methods for analysing data.  The following list provides some general categories of statistical methods, (with brief illustrations given in parentheses):

  • Descriptive and Exploratory Analysis (frequencies, means, bar charts)
  • Models that Predict (predicting consumption frequency of new customers)
  • Models that Explain (identifying brand choice drivers)
  • Analysis of Cross Sectional Data (data collected at one period in time)
  • Analysis of Longitudinal or Time Series Data (data collected at several periods in time)
  • Models with Quantitative Dependent Variables (monthly spend)
  • Models with Categorical Dependent Variables (product user/non user)
  • Time to Event Models (customer churn analysis)
  • Methods that Group Variables (factor analysis of attribute ratings)
  • Methods that Group Cases (cluster analysis of consumers)
  • Text Mining (analysis of social media conversations)
  • Simulations and Forecasts (sales forecasts under various marketing mix scenarios)

I trust you will find the information above helpful and look forward to your input.

This information is attributed to Kevin Gray, of Data Science for Marketing and Jeff Leek, author of “Simply Statistics”.

By Kim Bergman

Email Communication – it’s more than a two way street

As market researchers, our very livelihoods depend on effective communication.

Yet we often forgo the basic components required to be understood.  Being understood is critical to getting what we need.

Much of where/how we communicate with one another is via email – Uh-oh!!!  We’ve removed the major factor in effective communication – the visual, nonverbal stuff we’ve all been taught to pay attention to.  Estimates on the impact of nonverbal communication range from 60-97%.

Even before we type the first word of any email, there is already a high probability we will not be completely understood – What to do, what to do?

I’ve got an idea.  Why not use the same skills necessary for any effective communicator –

Prepare – take the time to develop the objective of the email until we understand what it is we really need.

Be clear, concise and thorough –  Don’t provide superfluous details and don’t assume the reader understands what we’re talking about. Give them all of the details necessary to be understood.

Expect the recipient to have questions and ask for clarification and respond accordingly.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that we get what we need to reach our objective.    It’s a good idea we keep that in mind with everything we do.

By the way, a picture is still worth 1,000 words.





Pay attention

As we’re aware, the volume of things to attract our attention is ever increasing. This is true for almost everybody on the globe.

We’ve created a “throw away” world. Nothing material is meant to stand the test of time. From the clothes we wear, the containers of the food we eat, technology, you can add to the list ad nauseum.

Human beings now have an attention span shorter than that of goldfish.*


Goldfish – 9 seconds

Humans – 8 seconds


How do we adapt market research studies to the ever decreasing attention span of human’s and achieve the objectives we need?

  Here are some ideas –

  • Know exactly what objectives are desired before conducting any research – 90% preparation, 10% perspiration applies here.
  • Ask succinct questions with the goal of achieving those objectives – questions stated clear and concise.
  • Limit the length of survey’s to no more than 15 minutes for online, 8-10 minutes for mobile, and 20-25 minutes for face-to-face/phone survey’s.
  • Yes, entertain the audience.
  • A picture is worth 1,000 words**

In conclusion, be prepared and react accordingly. We may soon have an attention span shorter than that of a blade of grass, if a blade of grass even has an attentions span and we must adapt.

*National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

**Fred R. Barnard,  Printers’ Ink, 10 March 1927

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Pay attention