Market Research


What is Market Research?

Market research pinpoints actionable information about a target market's status and future. This includes the accurate analysis of consumer behavior, trends, and growth potential for the products and services as they fit into the current business environment. Market research is the basis to inform business strategy and accelerate competitive advantage.

Market research is more important today than ever before

As the world becomes increasingly digital and algorithm driven, nuance and the human component are overshadowed. Research Design Associates fills that gap.

Reliance on only big data alone to solve a market problem can result in little value gained in toward the solution of a business or consumer problem.

The Opportunity

Correlation is not causation

Everybody knows correlation is not causation. AI models are correlations (fancy ones) but they do not inform us of the reason for the outcome. Some Big Data correlations are just spurious while some can be meaningful. Basing business decisions on correlations can lead to costly mistakes. RDA can help companies understand their Big Data result from the consumer’s point of view.

Case Study: Does Big Data Mean the End of the Scientific Method?

Large companies dominate my industry; we small organizations are being lost in the noise

New businesses are disproportionately responsible for the innovation that drives productivity and economic growth, and they account for virtually all net new job creation. New business, entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators refresh the economy, business and address new opportunity. Small businesses can move from product focus to consumer-centric sensibility. Research Design Associates can help fit these innovations into the marketplace of ideas and commercial growth.

Believing what you see in spite of knowing better

Facial recognition software is a compelling example of the power and weaknesses in AI driven products and services. We all know a picture is an excellent representation of a scene or person. And yet machines’ identification of people’s faces has proven very difficult. Bias in machine learning has hampered the accuracy of identification from a picture.

Read More: Bias in AI

Cost of AI’s promise vs risk reduction of science

Artificial Intelligence can lead to incredible insights and artificial conclusions. And it can solve tangential problems along the way. The difficulty is knowing with certainty what is credible and how to integrate the novel or tangential findings. Research Design Associates integrates AI models with empirical hypothesis testing to ground findings in real-world solutions. Drawing context from content experts roots Big Data models in reality that has direct application for business decisions.

Take Away

Expensive and complex AI is driving much market research, yet it misses (or worse distorts) the human and emotional component in complex decisions. Fundamental market research gets to the heart of what actually drives the market.

Strategic Plan

Is my strategic plan a solid tool that keeps my organization on track to meet our goals and serve our mission?

Given the dramatically changing business environment, communications and consumer behavior small businesses need to create a strong strategic purpose, and direction to manage these disruptors rather than being managed by them.

For over 40 years Research Design Associates has helped companies and not-for-profit organizations through the strategic planning process. We use this experience and apply it to today’s current realties to help you stay focused on a winning strategic plan.

A strategic plan is the single most important tool at an organization’s disposal. Research Design Associates can help you map out a strategic plan that clearly defines the purpose of your organization - one that establishes realistic goals and objectives consistent with your mission.

Your strategic plan should clearly define the purpose of your organization and establish realistic goals and objectives that are consistent with your mission. With help from Research Design Associates you can create a roadmap for strategy implementation, allocation of your resources and determine the ideal way to out-perform your competition.

Market Analysis

RDA's strategic research serves as your safeguard against crisis and complacency.


Market analysis is what we do

Are you sitting on a goldmine of hidden strengths, key assets, and profit centers that can be discovered through market analysis?

With our extensive research toolbox, we help you gather answers when you need them and provide expertise about how to use them.

  • Want to know your true target market? Research Design Associates brings critical insight to statistical data to define your most profitable customers and their needs.
  • When you need information about a particular market segment, competitor, geographic area, demographic preferences or consumer buying activities, Research Design Associates serves as your guide.
  • Research Design Associates help businesses synthesizes the power of Big Data with empirical research specific to your market challenges into a coherent approach to that market. Integrated data-driven direction maximize opportunity and decrease risk.
  • Research Design Associates helps our clients integrate managers’ content knowledge with Big Data to address market positioning and branding.

Today’s market ecosystem challenges executives to navigate: Big Data, radical economic volatility, supply chain disruption and employee churn. All are critical to the understanding of how your products and services function to solve your customers’ problems.

Research Design Associates gathers information to support informed, market-based answers – it’s at the core of our existence. Let us help you stay ahead of the market trends.

Case Studies

How Can Market Analysis Guide a Business to Success?

A family with successful high-end Italian in restaurants in Milan, Hong Kong and London wanted to open a restaurant in a growing US city. The family engaged Research Design Associates for a site location study.

Read more …

Gaining Competitive Advantage With Strategic Research

Looking for competitive advantage, a recorded music retailer looked at customer satisfaction and desire using surveys. Because of digitization, the industry was significantly disrupted.

Read more …

Product Feasibility

Do you know how to reduce risk and focus your resources optimally?

A Research Design Associates feasibility study can provide you with a logical tool to discern the potential impact and likely success of your new project.

We look at your potential project through the eyes of your market place. The outcome is focused on determining whether the investment of time and other resources will yield a desirable result.

Feasibility studies help organizations understand which projects to pursue and which to abandon before investing critical resources. Research Design Associates provides factual information to support leaders in making a project decision: “go, or no-go,” or how to revise the plan before proceeding.

Against the background of insights provided by Big Data, Research Design Associates helps organizations pinpoint the target audience, deeply understand the consumer need and position your product or service in the marketplace.

Entrepreneurs who take advantage of third-party expertise see their startups grow 3.5 times faster than those who don’t (2019 Small Business Failure Rate).

Case Studies

How Can a Product Feasibility Study Launch New Products?

A national dried beans distributor was looking for another product outlet beyond its current grocery store market. Research Design Associates investigated the fresh cooked bean retail market and found substantial interest in traditional regional bean dishes at local outdoor social gatherings (sports events, fairs, concerts, festivals, etc.)

Read more …

Focus Groups

Ever wonder why your clients make the choices they do?

Research Design Associates uses qualitative research to gather an in-depth understanding of why consumers do the things they do.

Qualitative research provides the opportunity to get to the diversity of emotions behind the answer. It allows you to adapt to unintended results from your product or promotional campaign.

Research Design Associates enables companies to develop holistic and contextual understanding about how buying decisions are made. When in-depth insights matter to permit incisive and insightful understanding, focus groups and in-depth interviews can provide them.

Gaining insight into the complexity and range of consumers’ decision processes can help your company strategically position itself. Focus Groups can provide the observable interaction and response to your product or service. Small, in-person groups using narrowly targeted research questions can effectively illuminate the reason behind complex behaviors.

In order to best understand the consumer, Research Design Associates employs professionally trained focus group moderators who utilize cutting-edge techniques that go beyond the usual top-of-mind responses to uncover the respondent's true perceptions.

While the online focus group software has become very popular with organizations looking to conduct market research the results are often not satisfactory. We are all familiar with a Zoom meeting where neither the content nor the team interaction met the quality of an in-person discussion. That experience captures the problem with many on-line focus groups. The information obtained when using a smaller number of participants in in-person focus groups is more robust and allows exploring the unconscious or often unexpressed preferences of consumers.

Case Studies

Using Focus Groups to Make Solid Business Decisions

A restaurateur with financial backing wanted to start a sit-down burger chain using buffalo meat as the draw. The concept was far along with architectural renderings when the company came to Research Design Associates with questions about the décor their customers might prefer.

Read more …

In-Depth Interviews

Sometimes the best market knowledge comes from the top. Organizations often need information from leaders of other organizations. But these leaders may not be willing to talk to you. RDA is skilled at obtaining this access.

In-depth interviews are a structured qualitative method for the gathering of large amount of information.

As in-depth interviews are interactive and generative, there is the opportunity to get to the root causes of likes/dislikes, perceptions or beliefs in context. There is the flexibility to explore additional points, change the direction and investigate outcomes that are not possible with machine algorithms.

Research Design Associates skilled interviewers can help by getting managers and decision makers to participate in structured, objective interviews.

Our clients use the knowledge from the in-depth interviews process for concept development and to find solutions to industry problems. The structured nature of the interviews means that Research Design Associates can turn the qualitative details into quantitative results for your company strategic plan.

Case Studies

Using In-Depth Interviews for Strategic Solutions

A regional single-family homebuilder wanted to move into the senior age-restricted market. Research Design Associates collected secondary source research, analyzing competitors and conducted in-depth interviews, which produced actionable decision criteria.

Read more …

In-Depth Interview Helps Restaurant Profit

A family with successful high-end Italian in restaurants in Milan, Hong Kong and London wanted to open a restaurant in a growing US city. The family engaged Research Design Associates for a site location study.

Read more …


Reliable survey implementation and analysis is not always easy to execute. It takes careful design, expert sampling and seasoned statistical analysis to provide trustworthy answers.

Research Design Associates are experts in gathering and analyzing data that will gain your confidence and allow you to use the findings in creative ways. We will help you to understand your market and improve your business results.

Good survey design is all about asking the right question in the right way to determine the respondents’ true meaning and intent. Research Design Associates expertly translates issues of interest into questionnaires.

Choosing a representative sample from the targeted market is the trickiest part of survey research. No matter where you meet your respondent (on the street, on the phone or online), your findings are only as good as they are representative of your target audience.

Research Design Associates understands this issue and therefore, skillfully designs samples that are valid and reliable each and every time.

Surveys can be administered a number of ways; live interviews, self-administered surveys and online surveys can all provide effective ways to gather pertinent consumer data to help you understand your market. But it takes an expert to determine which method to use and why.

Research Design Associates not only knows what questions to ask, but where and how to ask them. You can rely on the experts at Research Design Associates to effectively communicate with your audience and help you to find the answers that you need to succeed.

Case Studies

Survey Leads To Business Gains

An international manufacturer of flail mowing machines was trying to reposition itself in the market place for competitive advantage. It had two main markets: the grounds keepers of large corporate real estate properties and state and local governments.

Read more …

Business to Business

Research Design Associates can help businesses – whether they are down the street or across the globe – understand their market.

Other businesses need to see the value your small company can deliver through your offering.

  • RDA can provide information that enables small businesses to take advantage of new technologies that meet target customers’ needs.
  • RDA helps you foster collaborative and inventive business-to-business strategies to establish opportunities that go beyond traditional models.

With the growth of a few major on-line retailers aggregating “delivered” products, the B2B market has been disrupted. This is an opportunity for small and start-up businesses to connect with each other without going through enterprise level hoops.

Small businesses can be nimble and adapt quickly to address market needs. It is essential that you recognize when those opportunities occur.

Much small business has moved from mass marketing to a reliance on partnerships and alliances. It is essential that other businesses understand your product or services; how they may be a good fit (and maybe better than large competitors) and how they solve problems in a different way.

Case Studies

How Can A Focus Group Lead to New Business?

Research Design Associates conducted focus groups that convinced the manufacturer of the value of multi-layered targeting of their products. The traditional product maintained competitive space and pricing in a value position while the high-end product opened a new and differentiated line.

Read more …

Brand and Image Awareness

“Perception is reality” – particularly in the business world.

Consumers’ perceptions about your brand and image contribute to their decision about whether to become your customer or your competitor.

Research Design Associates believes that finding out what customers want is easier if you ask them. And we know how to do that for you. For innovative companies with new products or skills it is best to tailor the brand to a local or strategically important and relevant marketplace.

  • What do consumers know or believe about your company’s overall reputation?
  • Does your product or service appeal to consumers in today’s marketplace?
  • What do your potential new customers find facts about your products/services?
  • What are the unique bundle of associations your target customers about your product/services?

The answers to these questions shape your Brand Image. Most importantly, the answers impact decision makers and contribute to buying decisions. Positive brand image is exceeding the customers’ expectations. Positive brand image enhances the goodwill and brand value of an organization.

By combining qualitative and quantitative research methods, Research Design Associates helps you find the all-important answers to these questions to help you minimize risk and maximize your business opportunities.

Case Studies

Brand Image Awareness

A manufacturer of car care applicator products began losing market share when a national brand of car wax started bundling their high-end wax with an applicator and removal products. The manufacturer was losing prime shelf space because its product became viewed as a generic low-quality competitor.

Read more …

Customer Relations

Successful businesses need to interact with customers in real-time, recognizing the customer’s problems quickly as they arise.

Research Design Associates helps clients understand the complex factors important to customers which influence their decision making:

  • Build multi-point feedback and response systems to assess customer satisfaction, build trust and develop connections that align with the business goals.
  • Enhance consumer interaction with tools to measure loyalty, focus on customer retention and employ win back strategies.
  • Strengthen your businesses’ relationship by determining the layers of loyalty that influence the customer experience and then identify necessary improvements to provide a consistent and positive purchase, delivery, and feedback experience.

The retention market research that RDA provides allows you to focus your resources on those customers who frequently buy your products or services.  This helps you to know if you're meeting/exceeding customer expectations and develop tools to turn customers into referrals.

Lost customers are more likely to share their negative impression with friends and colleagues. We can help you analyze your customers’ bonds which can help to overcome negative experiences and win-back customers.

Case Studies

Add Profitability By Improving Customer Satisfaction

An employee credit union wanted to identify the suitable competitive advantages their customers valued most. A consumer survey clearly determined what their participants valued most among current services and a wish list of future services.

Read more …

Employee Relations

Understanding what makes your employees tick can lead to increased productivity and decreased turnover of valued personnel

Employees’ opinions about your organization impact their attitude, which ultimately affects customers' attitudes and your bottom line.

  • Let RDA do the groundwork so you can create a team building project that improves team dynamics.
  • We'll help you understand what motivates employees, drives their loyalty and maximizes potential. This helps improve employee attitudes to improve customer experience and your bottom line.
  • Avoid the "culture clash" between the new millennial worker and those from a more-experienced generation.
  • Develop a high functioning goal-oriented workforce that integrates the skills and strengths of each team member.

Happy employees can provide the best public relations for your firm. The COVID disruption of the workplace provides the opportunity to restructure remote and in-office work to the benefit of the company and the individual employee. RDA can help with understanding the dynamics of this realignment.

The Great Resignation offers exceptional opportunities to build employee effectiveness, morale and loyalty.

Case Studies

Using Surveys To Increase Employee Satisfaction

An international insurance company wanted employee input on benefit plans and corporate charitable giving. Research Design Associates designed a sequence of surveys to determine the investiture and type of benefits preferred by their employees at all levels.

Read more …

Human Resources

Anyone seeking employment with a large company has encountered hiring practices based in part on social media and web communications.

The conclusory effectiveness of the hiring process using Big Data has yet to be confirmed.

There are multiple studies necessary to understand those hired through AI: what are these hires expecting in a job, and the company? What management styles must adapt to accommodate these employees? And what training will be important to develop them? What are the important indicators for employee satisfaction?

It is important that all employee decisions based on AI be tied to human responses, attitudes and experiences. Essential nuance is lost in computer modeling and can be critical to implementation success. Research Design Associates has the expertise necessary to bridge that gap.

RDA works closely with companies to understand the expectations and strengths of those hired through AI screening. Learning how to manage those hired through this currently flawed process is essential for building a 21st century work place.

Not For Profit

The internet and social media have completely changed the landscape for non-profit member and donor relations.

RDA has helped numerous non-profits adapt to the changing environment in which they function using methods like:

  • market analysis
  • surveys
  • focus groups
  • in-depth interviews
  • coalition building among similar organizations

Most non-profits rely on members and volunteers to carry out their mission, yet they struggle to create the value-add of membership. The reasons people volunteer and join (their strengths, beliefs, motivations and attitudes) differ over age related cohorts. There is no one-size fits all appeal to these different audiences.

Research Design Associates can help a non-profit appeal to members strategically by gathering and evaluating the information they need to transform into the organization they aspire to be.

Case Studies

How Can I Combat Declining Membership In My Non-Profit?

RDA was engaged by a youth sport education group to develop a strategic realignment initiated by a declining membership and a perception of exclusivity.

Read more …

How Can A Non-Profit Adapt To A Changing Marketplace?

The national chapter of an international sport association which had traditionally served as the feeder system for the elite competitors was grappling a series of issues.

Read more …

Contact Us

To take advantage of all that Research Design Associates has to offer please use the contact form below or call us at 404.373.4637.