The following blog post was written by Josh Elander, Research Associate at RMS.

Insights in the Numbers

While the numbers that result from a market research study can sometimes speak for themselves, it’s important to be comprehensive. Data should be thoroughly examined for valuable insights, and at the end of a project the findings should tell a story relevant to the client and other project stakeholders. Here are a few places to start when analyzing your data.

Looking for a Niche Audience

Seeing low numbers in research reports can be disappointing, but what if there’s a bright spot in these numbers? A good analyst will always look at the meaning behind the numbers, where trends and important insights are often hidden. For example: you want to get feedback on a new product concept, so you conduct several focus groups in multiple markets around the country. You find that roughly half of all participants had a positive perception about your product. But after further analysis you find that, despite only half of your test audience liking the idea, a segment like women or Millennial participants registered a much higher favorability of the concept. This presents the perfect opportunity to dig deeper, to perhaps engage this audience directly to confirm or disprove the results. Regardless, identifying a niche audience can be the missing piece to bringing a product or service to the next level.

Putting it into Perspective

Much like searching for your niche audience, putting research results into perspective gives you a clearer understanding of the numbers. Your industry, geography, product, and point in your business lifespan all factor into the insights you pull from your research. With an ever-growing amount of data available to us these days, industry benchmarks can give you a better idea of what to make of your research results. Putting your research against aggregate data on topics like customer or employee satisfaction can help you see where you stand against your competition. This is just one type of perspective that turns data into something more than standalone numbers.

Longitudinal Benchmarking

Research is often used to measure growth, to identify areas of progress and points of improvement in operations. Benchmarking is an essential part of the research process, where comparing data over time reveals more insights than a handful of numbers can on their own. Imagine your survey results come in and reveal that 66% of respondents gave a positive impression of the new marketing campaign you’re planning – what should you make of this? You could take it that 2 in 3 potential customers like your ads, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Or you could implement feedback from the research and use the survey results as a benchmark; conduct another survey in a year or two and see if those results reflect any improvement. Benchmarking sounds obvious, but is too often the “next step” that gets overlooked. The next time you conduct a study, be sure to plan a few years ahead, and consider the metrics you will want to measure longitudinally.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.