Market Research Companies – An Overview

Most large to big businesses have their own market research teams. These teams not only conduct research themselves, but most often outsource the requests to specialised companies. In the UK alone there are well over 250 market research companies, some operating in small niche markets. This article focusses on some of the most well known market research companies that operate across the globe.

ACNielsen

is a global marketing research firm and part of The Nielsen Company. One of ACNielsen’s best known creations is the Nielsen ratings, which measure television, radio and newspaper audiences in their respective media markets. Another market research tool is Homescan where sample members track and report all grocery and retail purchases, allowing purchasing patterns to be related to household demographics.

One of the most common used products is Retail Measurement, a tool that provides continuous tracking of product sales to consumers, based on information gathered at the retail point-of-sale (EPOS data)

Other well known ACN Businesses are BASES, Nielsen Consumer, Nielsen Business Media and Nielsen Online.

Forrester Research is an independent technology and market research company that provides its clients with advice about technology’s impact on business and consumers. It offers a variety of services including syndicated research on technology, quantitative market research on consumer technology adoption and business IT spending, research-based consulting and advisory services. On its website you can find a wide range of free research, options to be alerted on new conducted research as well as of the shelf surveys.

GfK SE is a worldwide market research organisation providing services in five business divisions: Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and Healthcare. The Custom Research sector supplies information and consulting services for operational and strategic marketing decisions. Retailer POS data is the source for the Retail and Technology sector. The sector supplies clients with information and consulting services based on retail data from continuous surveys and analyses of sales of technical consumer goods and services in the retail sector. The Media Sector delivers information services on range, intensity and nature of media usage and acceptance. The data source for the Media sector stems from the media (point of media).

Ipsos MORI is the second largest survey research organisation in the UK. The organisation has a freely available archive of opinion polls and public attitude research from 1970 onwards, including trends on its UK website. Ipsos MORI’s Social Research Institute works extensively for UK government and public services, looking at public attitudes to key public services which formed a key part of the UK Government’s domestic agenda in 1997-2005. Social policy, and issues such as identity, social cohesion, physical capital and the impact of place on attitudes are all key themes of the Institute’s work. The company also specialises in Media, Loyalty and Marketing and Advertising Research.

Mintel International Group Ltd is a privately owned, London-based market research firm. Mintel databases, analysis, and forecasts are accessible only to subscribing clients and to students in participating university libraries. Some of its products are: Mintel Beauty Innovation (monitors mass media beauty introductions), Mintel Comperemedia (tracks direct mail and print advertising), Mintel Food & Drink (combines 5 products to deliver actionable market intelligence) and Mintel Menu Insights (tracks items on US restaurant menus). Mintel is mostly known for its reports, which are published online and contain consumer research and analysis.

SymphonyIRI Group (formerly Information Resources, Inc.) is a market research company which provides clients with consumer, shopper, and retail market intelligence and analysis focused on the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. They offer services in the following areas: Market Content (Retail tracking data, convenience store tracking data and consumer panel-based data), Predictive Analytics (Decomposition of the drivers of current business trends and simulation of the effects of changes on future brand plans), Enterprise Performance Management Software (Tools to support faster analysis of market content) and Professional Services / Consulting.

WPP is is the world’s largest communications services group in terms of revenue. Kantar, based in London, was founded in 1993 as the Market Research, Information and Consultancy Division of WPP. It is a network of 13 specialist companies, including:

Research International specialises in qualitative and quantitative custom market research. It has experience in most major sectors, particularly consumer packaged goods, retail, new media, financial services, energy and utilities, technology, the postal sector and telecommunications.

Millward Brown provides qualitative, quantitative and consulting services with respect to brands, marketing communications, media and marketing effectiveness. Millward Brown works across a range of industries and categories, including brand strategy and experience, creative development and campaign evaluation, consumer needs and values, media planning and strategy, return on investment (ROI) and forecasting, and investment management, brand valuation and analytics through its MB Optimor unit. In the UK, Millward Brown currently compiles the Music and Video Charts on behalf of The Official Charts Company.

Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) is a leading market research and market information group with focus on the areas Automotive, Consumer, Finance, Political and Social, and Technology.

Be True To Your Finances

Money will never be enough. Whether you earn $100 or more there will always be room for more and more needs and wants in your life. Currently I earn twice as much as I used to earn two Years ago but my expenses are also twice as much. If you do not watch out on the trend you take with your needs and your income, you will get frustrated and think the problem is with money yet you are the one causing the problem.

I prayed for wisdom on how to spend wisely to avoid pitfalls and I got help. I have not reached the peak but so far I am very happy with the way I manage my finances. At this point in time I will give you tips on how to manage your needs and wants in regards to money and avoid going overboard. The secret is to live within your means and this is how

1. Write down your daily needs and wants that you spend on and divide the needs and wants into three categories; Daily, Weekly and Monthly

2. Beside each category write down the needs and wants and how much you spend on them. Be honest with yourself do not underestimate or overestimate, you have to be on point. If you over/under estimate you will not make it. Prices do not change within a short period of time so you will have to go to a grocery shop or supermarket to get the exact price of the commodity you buy daily, weekly or monthly.

3. Find totals for each category, for example, your daily category must be multiplied by thirty for you to know how much you spend in a month and the weekly budget by four. Add up your totals and see how much you spend.

4. If your budget exceeds what you earn, then you have to review your needs and wants and be disciplined enough to reduce your wants at this moment and check whether your needs may also be overboard. If you find that your needs are expensive, then you should find a place where the same needs can be bought less expensive, for example; instead of buying tomatoes or other raw vegetables and fruits from a supermarket try getting them from a local vendor. If the house you are staying in is eating up your money move to a descent less expensive apartment.

5. Stick to this budget and consult it regularly, go back and check whether you are on track or off track. Try this for just a month and you will see a very big positive difference and you will even manage to save money.

Niche Marketing Strategies for Home Business

In today's intensely competitive business environment, it is usually difficult to stay afloat, particularly when you're a small home business owner working on shoestring budget. You do not have access to viable means and amenities to compete directly with large business houses and serve a broad spectrum of consumers. In such an adverse business scenario, niche marketing emerges as the most feasible and cost effective strategy that can help home business owners to stay ahead of their competitors and maximize their profits.

"What exactly is niche marketing and how can it help my home business to prosper?" This is the most pertinent question that must be impinging your mind at this joke. Before introducing you to the technicalities of the concept of niche marketing, it would be worthwhile to focus the floodlights on niche market, first. Niche market is a narrowly focused portion market that can easily be targeted. The nature of your niche market and the effectiveness of your niche marketing strategies are intricately intertwined. Here, to ensure overall growth of your home business, you would have to devise your niche marketing strategies according to your niche market.

You can not frame effectual niche marketing strategies unless you're familiar with your niche market. Identifying a niche market is all about finding a distinct segment of consumers whose needs you'll be able to fulfill successfully. For instance, you're a copywriter with expertise in writing brochures, then your niche market would include all those consumers who require brochures time and again. Once, you've identified your niche market, conduct a thorough competitive analysis to identify your direct competitors as well as determine what niche marketing strategies they are using to stay ahead.

It is usually believed that a niche market without any competitors is the best territory to establish home business. To an extend this perception is true. It may be possible that other home business owners may not have discovered your niche market. However, it may also be possible that many may have tried and failed to penetrate the territory. Here, to maintain your risks at a manageable level, it is advisable to access your niche market's receptiveness to your products and services first.

Upon completion of the process of identification of niche market, you would have to plan out strategies to market your products or services in your niche market, and this is what niche marketing is all about. Some potential niche marketing strategies with respect to home business are as follows:

o Before approaching your niche market, try to acquire as much knowledge about the needs of your target audience as possible. By abiding by this niche marketing strategy, you would be able to address the problems of your prospects as an understanding member rather than an outsider. Once, you succeed in winning the confidence of your potential customers, it will become easier for you to sell your products or services to them.

o Do not commit the mistake of using the same method to solve problems of different nature. For instance, you sell leather products primarily to men. Now, you want to include working women in your niche market. In order to do so, you would require leather products exclusively for working women. You can not convince a woman to buy products that are solely for men. In other words, you can not solve a woman's problem with men's products.

o Market your product or service in a manner that will compel your target audience to believe that this is exactly what they need or what they have been looking for. Be prepared to spend time and resource to educate your target audience about your unique product or service. Convince them that only your product or service has the potential to solve their problems forever.

o The last, but the most important niche marketing strategy is to make your target audience believe that your home business is genuine, and not a fragment of an entrepreneur's wild imagination. To achieve credibility, you would have to highlight your home business in all your marketing materials as brochures, websites, press releases and even your business cards.

After going through this comprehensive account on niche market and niche marketing, it can be deducted that the right mix of niche marketing strategies is all that is required by the home business owner to excel.

Cost Efficiency and Performance Drives Organizations to Cloud Computing

In the past decade there have been various achievements for the IT world and amongst that Cloud Computing is a very important one. Cloud Computing has consistently evolved and has turned into an ultimate IT solution for any organizations computing needs.

With all the benefits that Cloud Computing offers to users the major ones being reduction in capital costs and improved efficiency it makes an organization very flexible. The USP of Cloud has always been cost savings for the organizations. It also brings the organizations load of looking after maintenance and support activities. In addition to that it also allows the users to shift focus to more important business activities thereby increasing productivity.

Even though there have been various issues with the cloud initially but now more and more businesses are moving to the cloud and making use of the latest in technology to give their businesses a competitive edge over others. SMB's also have embroidered the cloud given the cost advantages it provides to the company. And large organizations that adopt cloud computing usually do so as way to transfer their not so important aspects of business to the cloud resulting cost reduction for the company.

The Cloud is used in various ways:

Many people know cloud computing as a single solution. However, there are various ways to deploy a cloud solution based on an organizations requirements and budget. The Cloud is split into three delivery models viz. the Public Cloud, the Private Cloud and the Hybrid Cloud.

Many users adopt the Public Cloud model which is third party service often provided for a fee or rent for using the computing resources of the service provider. On the contrary, a Private Cloud is a set-up on the organization premises to be used exclusively by the business and partners only. It may be cost to deploy a private cloud but it has its own set of advantages as well including increased security and controlled access to data. A Hybrid Cloud on the other hand is combining the public and the private cloud. It makes possible use of both the cloud environments by shifting the work according to the needs.

With competition intensifying day by day it is necessary for businesses to switch to more modern and flexible IT solutions like Cloud Computing and reduce their dependence on traditional systems. However, it is also necessary to make a proper analysis of all the three models of Cloud computing before choosing anyone for the organization.

The Cloud is a very useful IT solution and businesses need to assess their requirements properly to deploy the correct model and make use of this highly efficient technology and boost their productivity.