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What Are the Questions that Marketers Are Asking Now? – Sapio Research Round Up

When we’re tasked with conducting research for clients, a question that we’re regularly asked is ‘how can we be more sensitive in our campaigns?’

As a novel start-up in a poorly-researched space, we needed to validate the problems Whirli is solving. Sapio Research were fantastic partners from start to finish – creative in brainstorming angles, careful in designing the questions, and rigorous in analysing the results. The research brought a wealth of insights, backed by hard figures, for our business decision making and for us to talk about publicly in the press.

Nigel Phan

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Making a relevant and lasting impact to support the launch of a new line of products, enhancing the baker Kingsmill’s reputation.

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The evergreen need

It goes without saying that the world has changed dramatically in recent years with a pandemic and the rise in social justice movements. The way people think, and feel has changed. To that end, when we’re tasked with conducting research for clients, but a question that we’re regularly asked is ‘how can we be more sensitive in our campaigns?’.

1. How should I be?

Social sensitivity is essential. Success depends as much upon EQ (Emotional Quotient) as it does IQ and we don’t envisage this changing anytime soon. In fact, quite the opposite. We believe that companies will want to know the specific areas and topics of sensitivity so that their campaigns can be reflective of and sensitive to the contemporary world. Armed with this information, companies can create the best possible campaigns.

2. What is the most important thing to do?

Having socially sensitive campaigns helps to tackle another common query: ‘how do we keep the audience interested in what we have to say?’. To put it simply, without audience engagement, how can a campaign be successful?

3. How do I deliver it?

Luckily, we think we’ve got an answer. In our research, we’ve found that video is consumers’ preferred medium for receiving content. Looking forward, we anticipate researching exactly how video should be used to optimise audience engagement.

Creating the best possible video, along with social media, can optimise your campaigns. It is not just a question of targeting audiences but targeting the right audience in the right way.

4. How do I prepare for the future?

Last, but by no means least, in our list revolves around the continual problem of managing risk: ‘how do mitigate risk when launching a campaign?’. Everyone wants their fresh campaign to succeed but you can’t know that it will before you launch. Often, you just have to hold your breath and jump.

This can be a scary step. Months of hard work are being released and there is no guarantee that it will land the way that it was envisaged. This trepidation has led to an increased desire to conduct a test run on campaigns before a full launch.

We happened across this detail in a study on AI and Marketing where 79% of respondents stated that they wanted to be able to test campaigns before launching them. Accordingly, we’re anticipating the companies will be looking into the possibility of piloting campaigns to achieve the best possible ROI. After all, that’s the name of the game.

4 key themes in marketing surveys*

  1. Social sensitivity is integral to any campaign
  2. Audience engagement is a perpetual problem
  3. Video is the best medium to maintain engagement
  4. Mitigating risk is always a consideration

This information does come with a caveat. Whilst we may know the questions and some of the answers, we aren’t omniscient. What we can promise, however, is that we are always learning about markets and looking for patterns.

If you choose to come to us, we will not only help you answer these questions, but also the questions that follow. Whatever the challenge, we’re confident that we can help you find the answer. It’s our job to make you look good and that’s exactly what we will do.

* These findings have been created by reviewing a series of Sapio Research recent B2B research projects conducted among marketers. Details and specific statistics have been omitted due to the confidential nature of the information therein. Nevertheless, the takeaways analysed here were found across multiple projects and have been rigorously checked to ensure that we have provided accurate analysis.

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The Importance of Marketing Research in Decision Making (And Next-Level Campaigns)

Why your next campaign needs marketing research. Marketing research is your ticket to better campaign decisions.

As a novel start-up in a poorly-researched space, we needed to validate the problems Whirli is solving. Sapio Research were fantastic partners from start to finish – creative in brainstorming angles, careful in designing the questions, and rigorous in analysing the results. The research brought a wealth of insights, backed by hard figures, for our business decision making and for us to talk about publicly in the press.

Nigel Phan

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Tangle Teezer

Award-Winning PR | Hair-raising research tackles underrepresentation and wins hearts.

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Looking to get more out of your marketing spend? Are you struggling with the inspiration needed to produce that new, award-winning, paradigm-shifting viral campaign? In both cases, I cannot overstate the importance of marketing research – and, sure, that sounds a tad biased coming from a market researcher 😉. There’s no need to take my word for it, though. These case studies speak for themselves.

What Is the Purpose of Marketing Research?

You might wonder why it is important to conduct market research in the first place – or whether it’s even necessary at all.

For a small business, hit-and-miss marketing is not only demotivating but also costly (and possibly quite damaging to your reputation). The solution to this is to switch to informed marketing.

Research provides intelligence to guide informed, enhanced decisions. Ultimately, helping you to:

  • hit the bull’s eye with your target audience,
  • increase your campaign success,
  • and make every penny spent yield greater returns.

Good data saves time, money—and gives you a competitive edge.

Why Market Research Works. 

You can liken the importance of marketing research to military reconnaissance. Observing the landscape enables you to identify strategic features, locate your targets and formulate a winning battle plan.

David Ogilvy, arguably the most prolific publicist of our time, thought the same way. He said, “Advertisers who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore the signs of the enemy.”

Ogilvy understood the business value of keeping your messaging on point.

“Write great headlines, and you’ll have successfully invested 80% of your money.”—David Ogilvy.

He advocated the importance of marketing research, knowing that accurate data is a sure-fire way to find those golden nuggets of inspiration.

Research uncovers your market’s thoughts, questions, propensity towards specific behaviour.  It provides key insights needed to craft compelling headlines and content that converts

It works because you’re not creating content on a hunch and hoping it will resonate. You’re developing content, campaigns or products that speak to the consumer’s heart based on facts.

Learn from the Big Brands: 3 Case Studies that Illustrate the Impact of Marketing Research.

It makes sense then that international brands invest heavily in market research. Learning from a few case studies, see how multinationals relied on sound research to inform product decisions, to-market strategies, elevate business, and seriously level-up advertising.  

First Direct Used Marketing Research to Regain Market Share

The problem:  

First Direct (established in 1989 as a telephone bank) expanded into online banking as technology changed with the turn of the century. Despite evolving in line with market trends, the bank struggled to make ground against stronger market competition.

The research:             

The market research consultancy used various methodologies similar to ours. These included case study personas <ink to https://sapioresearch.com/persona-research-for-marketing>, user profiles and quantitative research methods like collating stats to indicate customer brand perception. Qualitative research like focus groups and in-depth interviews revealed how customers felt about First Direct’s move to online banking.

The findings:             

Customer brand perception research pinpointed weaknesses in customer service as the cause and identified which areas required focus. The research results enabled the bank to make changes that their customer base genuinely appreciated.

 The results:      

Nowadays, they consistently rank as a top customer service provider. In January of 2021, First Direct was named Britain’s best brand for customer service delivery in the latest Customer Satisfaction Index.

Lego’s Love of Research Lead the Brand to Parity

The problem:    

Market research is frequently credited with LEGO’s continued success. Throughout the 20th century, the LEGO market lay firmly with young boys. Commissioned market research revealed that only 9% of their customer base comprised females.

The research:             

LEGO made the high-profile decision to rely on qualitative and quantitative research. Lengthy focus groups, case studies and trials lasted over four years and involved research into the habits of 3,500 young girls and their mothers. Data analysis helped quantify consumer interest in female-orientated LEGO

The findings:     

Further investigation was commissioned to guide decisions around product development that targeted young girls’ interests.

The results:       

LEGO’s ‘Friends’ was launched in 2012. The company confirmed in a press conference that the share of girls among LEGO players had increased sharply since its release.

Mitsubishi Pajero’s Research Failure Folly

There are countless examples of brand wins underpinned by research, but what happens when a brand skips this step?

Mitsubishi found out the hard way, losing significant sales in Spanish-speaking regions. This happened when the Japanese car manufacturer launched the “Pajero”, unaware that this is a derogatory term in Spanish. Their failure to conduct international research before entering the market resulted in a highly costly exercise, ending with the model’s name eventually being changed to “Moderno” in Spain and other Spanish-speaking territories.

Key Take-Away: Research Is the Catalyst for Creativity

Research provides deep insights that encourage product innovations and compelling copy. Nothing quite inspires creativity like a juicy finding that the world needs to know. The right statistic can create an exciting headline that entices readers.

I’d argue that research is as vital for content creation as top-notch copywriters and designers are. But then, of course, I would. I’m a researcher! What do you say? Leave a comment.

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Fork in the road: two routes to data driven persona segmentation

Two different types of data-driven persona to improve targeting and personalisation.

The fact that the data was so unique really helped them get the coverage

Ian Morton
Campaigns Manager
Campaign Collective

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Power Buy the Hour – Using audience understanding to get true impact and innovation.

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When it comes to better understanding your organisation’s market potential through a persona segmentation survey the old maxim that there is more than one way to skin a cat very much holds true. 

At Sapio we are real advocates for data-driven personas. We use advanced mathematical techniques to segment a survey audience and build our personas based on the shared characteristics unique to each segment.  

Whilst the full breadth of data gathered in a persona segmentation survey is used to build the personas, such as information on demographics, goals, challenges and pain points, there are a few select questions that are used specifically as the data points to drive the segmentation. It is these questions that form the shared characteristics we use to build the personas.  

Choosing what data points to use is a question of specificity

How we decide what data is chosen to put behind the wheel to drive our personas starts with a consultation with you. Is there a central, highly specific question to be asked of your audience that will dictate the next steps in your marketing or sales strategy? For example, is there a key customer behaviour that needs to change to facilitate the adoption of a new product or service, perhaps a new technology you need your customers to adopt.  

In this case creating personas that are distinct from each other specifically on this question will help deliver content and sales approaches that are most useful and relevant to each persona on this key issue. 

Alternatively, if you are seeking to identify your key, highest opportunity customers and to understand how they make buying decisions towards your company we will collect data within our persona surveys which groups your audience based on the principles of human decision making. For example, what values do they hold, how risk-averse are they, are they a quick starter or do they prefer to try things out before they decide.   

Specific, single-issue personas

When there is an important specific question in a marketing strategy the first step is to compile a long list of the different pull and push factors that are impacting audience behaviour on this issue, for example cost, safety, availability etc.  

We use data from a technique, MaxDiff, in the survey which would be employed in the survey to segment your audience based on the prevailing influencing factors within the different subsets. We wrote a piece on this technique a little while age.  

The key with this approach is we can test upwards of 20 different factors to understand and segment your audience so that we generate deep insights around this important issue.  

These kind of personas are great in guiding the conversation or conversion messaging for two opposing audiences such as users and nonusers of a service.

Principles of decision-making personas or how do they make a change

When the purpose of the persona segmentation is less specific, we employ questions developed from the KOLBE framework of change. In other words, once we frame a buying decision as a change, or a new solution to an existing problem, we can segment our audience based on the different complexions in the change making process that exist within different groups. For example, how do they make a change, how quick are they to change or how much do they need to know before they make a change.         

In addition to this, we will also look to bring in characteristics that are specific to your organisation and its customers, for example, we would measure pro-environment values for a renewable product, or how well money is managed for a financial product.   

Preparing for a persona consultation with us

Building personas for your audience can help improve content, marketing and sales strategies and the process of creating data-driven personas will sift through your audience and reveal the useful, effective insight that will help you understand your market better and to target the prime opportunities you might otherwise not have discovered.  

‹ Tutorials

About that Marketing Club Webinar – What’s the one thing you will change for your marketing plan in 2021?

What’s your one big thing in 2021, improving your listening or productivity skills?

Thank you again so much for all of your tremendously hard and FAST work to secure us the research data in time, and to even get us your analysis deck earlier than we even anticipated! During that crazy sprint before the Christmas break being able to get extra thinking time to leverage the data was really appreciated.

With your help, we were able to successfully translate the findings to a finalised narrative and whitepaper outline pre-holidays, enabling the team to focus on finalising the whitepaper and supplementing it with case studies and quotes post holidays.

Sophia Brockman
International planning Director, APAC & EMEA
We communications

In need of insights?

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Kimberly-Clark Professional

Validating user preference to support new product launch.

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When I suggested the above title for our most recent Marketing Club event I was thinking about  “The Focusing Question: What’s the ONE THING I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” – from the “The One Thing” by Gary Keller 

It turns out that, that’s not necessarily where everyone else’s head was at.

My thought was that the one big thing should be listening harder to the sentiment of the market.

So, understanding how your old or long-established values resonate in a changing marketplace. 

Kindness has been the watchword of 2020, so hitting a bum note when nerves are frayed reduces brand value.

Additionally, listening to those who you trust or seek to obtain brand loyalty can give you the courage to take a stand for something you believe in. It links to the brand purpose we hear so much about. 

How in tune with their brand do you think the ice cream rebels, Ben and Jerry are? They had that courage last year. – The CEO consulted black activist organisations, publishing a 700-word statement condemning not only the murder of George Floyd but also other acts of brutality against the black community. It was praised as the most powerful message from any corporate organisation seeking to comment on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ok we’re not all large corporates, but we still face judgment by the court of public opinion. They decide the brand winners and losers, so it’s useful to listen to them on social media and through surveys. 

My idea was that doing the ONE THING will make everything else easier or unnecessary as Ben & Jerry did.

But it turned out that the attendees weren’t thinking quite so big. The quick fixes of LinkedIn productivity tips and Google My Business hacks were far more popular.  Not to worry though, attendees got out of the event what they wanted and it’s given me food for thought.

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Are corporate Christmas gifts and experiences worth the effort in a lockdown?

With Christmas in the ‘new normal’ coming up, what is the appropriate way to engage with staff, prospects and customers now working from home for the festive period?

The fact that the data was so unique really helped them get the coverage

Ian Morton
Campaigns Manager
Campaign Collective

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Charles Russell Speechlys

Policy recommendations based on insights from the Social Care Sector to reinforce the firm’s positive reputation.

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I do like Christmas. In its clumsy way, it does approach peace and goodwill. But it is clumsier every year – E. M. Foster

This is (nearly) the period of mulled wine, snow, mince pies, and marketing. Christmas time is hot for companies and their communications team – it’s a great moment to get in touch with customers, make them feel appreciated for the business they have done in the past, and prepare the terrain for the new year.

I, however, was skeptical that the logistics of gifting was worth it this year. Do people really appreciate corporate gifts? Isn’t a card or a festive email better? All good questions that we didn’t know the answers to. To settle it, we just did what we do best; we ran our own survey amongst 500 UK Business Decision Makers.

I have to admit the results changed my bah humbug approach regarding corporate gifting. Not only did we discover the impact of presents from a company, but also what kinds of gifts are most popular and why.  

It also provided some great context for a chat with fellow marketers Stefan Buzz and Lorrain Nugent who had ideas for Christmas gifting and promotion tips relevant to the situation this year.

Click on the link below to hear their ideas, or simply enjoy the infographic.


In this informal discussion and sharing of ideas, we will certainly give you new ways of looking at what to do for Christmas for your team, prospects and clients. We will discuss the following:

  • Corporate Christmas gift trends for 2020
  • Digital ideas to captivate your team and clients online
  • Using PR to build your profile at Christmas

If in doubt, ask your audience, that’s what we say. 🙂

If you’d like a copy of the report so that you can get a head of the game for next year, drop us an email team@sapioresearch.com

‹ Tutorials

Identifying the magnitude of different influencing characteristics

Using a deep dive data technique to get to the crux of the messages that will convert.

Sapio research were a brilliant partner for our Electric is Now project, helping us hone the perfect survey to tap into UK consumers’ barriers, motivators and sources of influence when it comes to the purchase of electric vehicles. The resulting report has formed the linchpin of our agency’s new business strategy, with the accompanying launch event generating many leads, one of which has been converted into a piece of new business already!

Hannah Baker
Marketing and New Business Director
Foxtrot Papa Agency

In need of insights?

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The Together Project

Sapio Research’s charitable initiative enables The Together Project to raise funds to launch Crafting Connections.

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Asking the right questions in the best way

As researchers we are frequently tasked with asking the right questions in the best way to ensure the data we return to a client, helps them make the best decisions for their organisation.

Often a right decision is dependent upon understanding the priorities that exist within a market and different types of market research. However, we know buying decisions involve a long list of different influencing factors. What we need to know is how important are each of these factors, and which are the factors that are most prioritised within the audience.  This is as important in content marketing research as for traditional research briefs.

Issues with standard approaches

There are several ways to approach questions of importance or priorities in research, many of which you might be familiar with. You can ask survey takers to tell us their strength of feeling of each item on a given list, or to select out of a list which items are most important to them, or even to rank the whole list, from high to low.

However, each of these methods runs into difficulty when it comes to asking customers to make trade-offs which we need to do if we’re to understand priorities, especially when we are looking into the full range of potential buying influences on a customer journey where there are a long list of items to consider.

What is MaxDiff and how can it help?

MaxDiff is a questioning technique that can be included in any survey where we need to understand how individuals in a market make a buying decision. This could be if we want to understand which features to include when developing a new product or service, if we want to understand how behavioral attitudes are impacting a buying journey; or even if we want to know which pizza’s to include on a menu. We’ve also used this marketing research method successfully in campaign planning, really getting to the crux of the message components that will have the largest impact.

Say a client gives us a long list of answer options to one such question, MaxDiff allows us to split this list into a series of questions, each with a varying combination of just 4 or 5 items each time. Survey takers then go through this series of questions, selecting the most and least influential to them on the list each time.

Why should you consider MaxDiff?

This technique has enormous advantages, firstly we can test many more factors whilst maintaining the quality of responses as respondents are only considering 4 or 5 factors at a time, not a lengthy list that is much more difficult to process. Secondly, by forcing respondents to make trade-offs we can much more clearly discern how our audience truly prioritises in decision making. It further eliminates the scale bias that can emerge in scale questions where respondents simply select every factor as important to them, leaving us as researchers with limited power to distinguish between factors and respondents.

How to use MaxDiff

When using MaxDiff we will take the long list of items you want to test and return data in terms of scores that can either by percentages or indexes that tell you both the how the factors rank in importance and how much more important each factor is to each other in the list, for example a factor with a score of 10 is twice as important as one with a score of 5. 

You can also take MaxDiff a step further and use the data in a persona analysis where we segment your audience based on similarities in the preferences and priorities determined through MaxDiff.

MaxDiff personas

So, thinking of using MaxDiff….

All in all, MaxDiff is the perfect research tool in a crowded high-noise market when incremental insights are needed to set you apart.  It allows us to drill down on any number of buying triggers for our clients whilst returning detailed and strategically relevant insights. Once the priorities in your market are known you can really improve your conversion by communicating what your audience most needs to hear.

Click here to see where it’s used and how it’s done.

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Socially distanced lead generation – improving your online visibility

The advantages of paid search opportunities; How to increase the amount of visitors finding you on Google; Tips to attracting attention on LinkedIn

The work Sapio carried out has given us clearer visibility on our customers views and perceptions. It has enabled our organisation to have an increased focus on the areas that really matter to our customers and to also celebrate the positive feedback that we received as part of the process

Richard Morgan
Head of Customer Experience

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Demonstrating DocuSign’s thought leadership and ability to aid global Digital Transformation by helping them understand what consumers expect.

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In this new world of ‘normal’, the emphasis to attract attention and generate leads is being placed more and more online, be it in search, on your website or with social media. This webinar brings together 3 of our Marketing Club experts to discuss actionable tips you can use to improve your online visibility and generate more leads, in a time when we all need them more than ever before!


  • The advantages of paid search opportunities
  • How to increase the amount of visitors finding you on Google
  • Tips to attracting attention on LinkedIn

Next event takes place on Friday 4th September. Register here.

Topics to be announced for the panel discussion and if you have any special requests, do let jane.hales@sapioresearch.com know.

Links to our previous webinars here:

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Accelerating your marketing and sales out of Lockdown

Accelerating your sales and marketing out of lockdown, hints and tips.

As a workplace strategy consultancy, engaging effectively with our client’s employees is critical and Sapio is our go-to supplier for staff surveys. The process is always stress-free and turnaround times for both building the survey and providing the results data are very quick. I particularly appreciate the way Sapio demonstrate a real concern for quality and frequently make helpful suggestions regarding question formats or raise a query if something doesn’t look right in the question set. I have found them to be unfailingly helpful and responsive and would not hesitate to recommend them.

Judy Gavan
Associate Director

In need of insights?

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Generating insight that to help position OpenText as thought leaders on Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 in the Manufacturing sectors in the UK and Nordics.

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The Marketing Club came together to bring you 7 speakers for some quick, actionable and achievable tips for accelerating out of lockdown with your new marketing and brand strategy. In this free and unique webinar discover exactly what you need to do to make your business stand out NOW!


  • BUSINESS PLANNING – Insights for business planning and recovery
  • TEAM BUILDING – How to build a Powerful Plan
  • ONLINE MARKETING – How to pivot and boost sales online
  • WEBSITE ENGAGEMENT – Engaging visitors more on your website
  • GOOGLE VISIBILITY – Gaining more visibility with Google My Business
  • PR COMMUNICATIONS – Communicate better in your marketplace
  • AWARDS & RECOGNITION – How to enter awards you can win now
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6 tips for launching research projects that deliver results

Sapio Research’s Managing Partner joins Eclat Marketing to share practical advice on creating research projects that will deliver results across PR and marketing.

Sapio Research were a pleasure to work with, Jane was quick to pick up on our specific needs and turn around our complex, multi-national, small business research in a matter of days. We look forward to having the opportunity of working with her and the wider Sapio Research team again in the near future.

Michael Stovell
Commercial Manager

In need of insights?

Success story


Subtitles an unexpected hit, in so raising the visibility of Captioning Awareness Week.

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Recently I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in eClat’s Cyber Beat podcast series. I’m in illustrious company among the Financial Times regular columnists Jane Bird and Stephen Pritchard. They have been keeping their fingers on the pulse on IT security trends for decades and offered some great insights into what grabs the attention of journalists.

One aspect mentioned by Jane Bird is evidence, facts, figures, and infographics on which to build a story. As Sapio is passionate about supporting businesses every step of the way in making informed decisions & extraordinary headlines we happen to have plenty to say in this area.

To keep things snappy for the listeners though we just covered a few tips and chatted about the reasons behind the success of a recent campaign we worked on together.

The Guardum case study is yet to go up on the website, but we identified a good few reasons that led to a brand to picking up the phone to Sapio to ask if we could do the same for them, raising their thought leadership status.

Guardum a great example of a profile building campaign, forming the basis of a webinar which specially led to sales qualified leads. This is why it was successful:

  1. It was conducted among the most relevant audience Data protection / GDPRs looking to understand issues around Data Subject Access Requests and spot future trends
  2. Its specificity of issues was its success.  It also identified new insights on the topic
  3. The survey avoided being self-serving
  4. eClat understood what would be of interest to their client’s target audience
  5. We worked in collaboration, with the initial questions drafted by eClat and fine-tuned by Sapio
  6. The project avoided changing objectives mid-way through, and being unclear on the headlines it was trying to achieve

We discussed the differences between good PR and good marketing research, namely: 

  • Good marketing research is typically objective in nature and takes a more purist approach to sampling the audience, i.e. questions are designed in such a way that one type of response is not more likely than the other, so completely objective.
  • PR research, well bad PR research, is potentially biased because respondents might not be given the response options they’d want to choose. So, for it to be done well it needs to have several potential angles in mind when the questions are designed.
  • MR research = exploration, PR = validation

We both agreed that designing a good questionnaire that authentically hits the mark with journalist or people you want to influence is more difficult to craft than it might appear.

Tips on specific aspects concerning question design of comms research can be found here.

The podcast is below.

‹ Tutorials

What on earth is a Cross-break?

Explaining the many terms used for a ‘cross-break’ by clients, as well as many others such as repertoire, top 2 boxes etc.

The fact that the data was so unique really helped them get the coverage

Ian Morton
Campaigns Manager
Campaign Collective

In need of insights?

Success story

Kimberly-Clark Professional

Validating user preference to support new product launch.

Read more


“Looks to my untrained eye that there might be an issue with the data – it’s presenting selected questions across/alongside the sequential/main questions – see screenshot?”

– A not so uncommon client comment

Quantitative data outputs can be daunting, and on first sight, sometimes so are client requests.

Having worked in the market research industry for a couple years now, I’ve dealt with numerous clients, all of whom understand market research in their own way and use (sometimes possibly make up..) various terms to describe what they want or how they want data visually. After a recent conversation in the office over what ‘banners’ meant, we decided it was our duty to share our knowledge surrounding ‘market research jargon’, terms that we have managed to decipher.

According to Merriam-Webster ‘cross break’ is defined as ‘a separation of wood cells across the grain’, however, I as well as fellow market researchers will generally understand the term ‘cross breaks’ as a way of observing data changes across various questions, hence we understand where the confusion stems from.

I associate tabs with web browser tabs and when banner was first mentioned in an email I was sure I wasn’t working on an advertising project. Since then I’ve educated myself on the terms thrown around, for instance standard breaks and banners are all names for cross breaks. Thinking of the data visually, I can see how ‘banners’ is clustered as a synonym for cross-breaks, as you see responses to demographic questions going along the X axis, looking much like a banner going across the page.  

You also hear the terms tabs, tables or data cuts which actually refers to the numerical output of the research project, i.e. excel data tables (sometimes referred to as raw data).  Cross breaks, standard breaks, banners etc. are all in effect types of data cuts.

Clients also have a variety of ways of referring to how they want the data calculated or displayed on the standard Y axis too. Mean scores and standard deviations are common of course, but we also get other phrases in client tab specs (table specifications).

Net score’ is one such term used by clients, it’s often used in grid questions (see pic below) in order to group codes (responses) in a question. For instance, grouping ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’ to get a higher percentage score. There are yet again other terms used for net scores, such as top 2 boxes and nets.

My all-time favourite word I came across was a ‘repertoire’, my initial reaction was to ‘google it’, and so again I found myself on Merriam-Webster which defined it as ‘a list or supply of dramas, operas, pieces, or parts that a company or person is prepared to perform’. Again this led to a great deal of  confusion! We later found out it simply meant a ‘table listing the number of codes/responses selected in a question’ (i.e. code frame) and has since been added to the research lingo used in the office.

So next time you see a word in your emails you don’t understand, don’t panic, it’s probably just an exciting new phrase for the tried and tested.

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