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How The U.S. Military Optimized Their Marketing Investments

Posted by Isaiah Adams

August 21, 2014



Optimization Group had previously conducted analyses with a branch of the U.S. Military to estimate how media spending (both investment levels and media mix) contributed to Enlisted Personnel Lead Generation and Contract Conversion. These analyses were based on data from a timeframe before the recent recession (2003-2006).
Years later, in the middle of the recession, we re-evaluated the findings from these analyses and noted a few “blindspots”. One of the key “blindspots” was the impact of the recessionary economy. Several other important “blindspots” emerged.

Topics: Government

Optimization Group awarded GSA contract

Posted by Isaiah Adams

August 20, 2014

After years of successful contracting with federal agencies, Optimization Group is now an approved GSA vendor. What does this mean for you? Federal agencies can now order market research services from us while knowing:
  • Our rates have been pre-negotiated to give you the best rate
  • All legal obligations have been satisfied by GSA
  • Our quality has been thoroughly vetted by GSA
Learn about our government experience and capabilities by viewing our GSA Price List.
What is a GSA Schedule?
GSA Schedules are a fast, easy, and effective way for government agencies to order from vendors. GSA Schedules can be thought of as a collection of pre-negotiated contracts. Any government agency can quickly and safely order services directly from Optimization Group.
In order to become a certified GSA contract holder, GSA thoroughly evaluated our technical capabilities and negotiated our rates. Government agencies thus can be confident in our ability to provide cost-effective, high-quality services, while knowing that all legal obligations have been satisfied by GSA.

Topics: OG News

The Secret Sauce of Creative Problem Solving

Posted by Isaiah Adams

August 6, 2014

Over the last few years, we’ve combed the literature on the creative process. Our goal was to better understand how an effective creative process works in order to transform these learnings into an online research tool. Along the way, we discovered several key ingredients that continued to pop up in the literature. To save you from reading hours of academic papers, here are a few things we’ve found to be extremely important in the creative process.

Topics: Idea Generation, Crowdsourcing

Business Intelligence or Business Analytics?

Posted by Isaiah Adams

July 30, 2014






By Jim Kenyon


Business Intelligence and Business Analytics vendors have their definitions. Consultants have theirs. Senior management has yet another understanding. You just want to get answers to the problems you face and make better decisions. Business Intelligence and Business Analytics, or BI and BA as they are commonly abbreviated, have been around for some time. The term Business Intelligence has been with us since 1865 when Richard Millar Devens wrote his definition in the Cyclopædia of Commercial and Business Anecdotes. Business Analytics has early roots in the late 1800s but only became something we would recognize today in the 1960s in the form of computer-based Decision Support Systems.

To be sure, the terms have morphed over time. Traditional Business Intelligence vendors, like SAP, Oracle, and IBM, have extended their BI platforms to include predictive analytics features that were formerly the sole purview of Business Analytics tools, further blurring the lines. Let’s explore the terms a bit more, find the overlap and differences, and, hopefully, help you understand how these tools can inform and improve your business decisions.


Topics: Data Analytics

Best Applications of Conjoint Analysis

Posted by Isaiah Adams

July 25, 2014


We talk about Conjoint Analysis quite often. Partly because it’s something we know very well but mainly because it’s such a powerful technique. The core principle behind Conjoint Analysis is that purchase decisions are not purely rational. There is often an emotional or irrational component. It’s very hard to measure the irrational side of decision making with direct question approaches such as those used in surveys or focus groups. Optimization Group’s CEO, Jeff Ewald, says it best, “If you ask a rational person a rational question, you’ll get a rational answer.” Studies have shown that people struggle to accurately communicate what is driving their purchase behavior when asked a direct question.


Topics: Conjoint Analysis

Does Your Marketing Data Tell The Whole Story?

Posted by Isaiah Adams

July 15, 2014


“What is the ROI of my Marketing?” – every CMO


A great way to start answering this question is by looking at the data you already have. Things like TV ad buy records, lead data, social media, sales data, etc. If you’ve been tracking these sorts of metrics, particularly for at least 3 years, you’re in pretty good shape. However, does your internal marketing data tell the whole story behind the ROI? Not at all. Marketing doesn’t operate in a vacuum, so why should we assume it does when we’re measuring ROI?

External variables have a significant impact on marketing success. By way of example, let’s look at some of the external variables that have been statistically proven to impact the ROI of some of our clients. As you read through these examples, think about which external variables might have an impact on your business.


Topics: Data Analytics, Return On Marketing Investment

How to Test the Effectiveness of Your Ad: Before and After

Posted by Isaiah Adams

July 2, 2014


 By Jennifer Williams

Why do Pre and Post Ad testing?


Advertising research is a staple of market research. It allows you to measure and improve marketing effectiveness, determine if an ad has effectively increased awareness, increased intent to purchase the product and improved reach of the target audience. Research that is conducted to measure the effectiveness of advertising is a valuable tool when developing and maintaining an advertising campaign. In an ideal situation, the best approach is to conduct a pre-ad study, to assess unaided and aided awareness of the specific product or service in order to achieve a benchmark measure prior to the advertising campaign. Following the launch of the advertising, a post-ad study is conducted to assess if the advertising has increased awareness of the brand or service, improved consumer interest in the product or service, and ultimately will determine if the advertising will draw in new consumers while maintaining its current ones.


Topics: Marketing & Advertising, Marketing Research

Why Facebook Is Its Own Worst Enemy

Posted by Isaiah Adams

July 1, 2014


Surprise! Facebook is making headlines again for something negative. Earlier this month, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published a study conducted by Facebook and two other researchers that essentially portray Facebook users as lab rats. The study was designed to test whether positive or negative content would affect users’ emotions and subsequent Facebook updates. During the study, Facebook manipulated its News Feed for almost 700,000 users. The results showed that when users were shown more negative content in their News Feed, their ensuing posts would tend to be negative. Besides the fact that this study points out something we already know (if you hang around depressed people you become depressed), what’s the big uproar about? Once again, data privacy. Users feel violated because they did not “knowingly” submit to the study and their emotions were manipulated.

I’m not going to dive into whether this study was “right or wrong” but I will touch on something I think is even more important (especially to Facebook). I believe Facebook is looking at the data conversation all wrong and is acting as its own worst enemy.


Topics: Social Media

Case Study: Brand Positioning and New Product Launch

Posted by Isaiah Adams

June 27, 2014


What Is The Most Motivating Message?


One of our clients recently came to us hoping to answer a couple important business questions. Although their brand was founded over 50 years ago, they were looking to identify the core elements of their brand positioning. Additionally, they were gearing up for a new product launch and needed to better understand the most motivating messaging for the new product. The following outlines the steps taken to help them answer these important questions.


Topics: Marketing & Advertising

Focus Groups Don’t Lie, But They May Not Tell The Whole Story

Posted by Jon Griffin

June 23, 2014


Understanding the Irrational Side of Decision-Making


Focus groups are a time honored method of gaining a deeper understanding of customer preferences and what drives buying decisions. One of the reasons that focus groups are a “time honored method” is that they work…to a point.

During a focus group, a good moderator prompts participants with a series of probing questions to gain an understanding of the customer’s perspective. In short, he/she asks rational questions to get rational responses. The problem is that the purchase decision process is not purely rational. It often includes a fair amount of irrational decisions. To tap into that “irrational” aspect, a moderator can add projective techniques into the focus group sessions. Projective techniques are designed to make it easier for respondents to tap into and articulate the more emotional aspects of their reasoning. Projective exercises can include:


Topics: Know Your Customers, Marketing Research

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