Category Archives: analytics

Election Polling Examined Intelligently

Last May, 12 polling companies were active during the federal election, using more methods to gauge the election intentions of Canadians than ever before. The poll closest to the actual election is the one that determines which pollster is the most accurate. Turns out, those who issued a final poll the weekend before the election were within the margin of error for most if not all parties: basically a tie.

The MRIA Ottawa Chapter organized a unique, intelligent post mortem for September 22 at the National Arts Centre: 8 pollsters are coming together to discuss lessons learned, from methodology questions relating to data gathering to question construction.  This is an important discussion the industry and Canadians need to have: only when election polling is done to the highest standards can it serve the public good. The May election was an awesome social research lab with the seismic shift (Orange Crush anyone?) taking place on the political landscape. Learning from these real-life events, and how researchers fared providing insight for citizens, is crucial in a democracy.

3 days ago, with the Ontario election on – and polling back in the spotlight, too – two staffers at IPSOS Reid,  the largest and most powerful research firm in Canada decided to lash out at everyone else in the entire industry; while it makes for fine pundit fodder the motivations haven’t been explained. Luckily, MRIA has issued a lucid response outlining the validity of various methods in polling and marketing research in general and affirming the integrity of Canadian marketing researchers.

MRIA Ottawa stands for intelligent discussion, insightful analysis and open discourse.

October 11, 2011 Update: View the panelists’ presentations.

Understanding something about finance

Have you read your organization’s financial statements lately? Chances are they tell you more about the business your organization is in, ie what its success depends on, than its mission and vision statements.  Ask yourself: what’s the biggest asset my organization has? And what are its biggest costs? Where does its profit come from?

You might just be amazed.

SEO Analytics

Analytics are an important aspect of search engine optimization. You can use analytics in developing a brand new site or you can use it to assess performance of an existing site and figure out what changes need to be made to improve the standing of the site. Some of the analytical data at your disposal, often available using free tools but at least cheaply includes:

  • Web Traffic Statistics – Traffic and keyword analysis. Whether you use a custom, proprietary package or Google Analytics, just remember that they give you great trending information, but they may not be comparable data points because they may use different methodologies, e.g. cookies based tracking vs. IP address look up, to arrive at their reports.
  • Text analysis – this includes keyword extraction from your curent web page to see for which keywords your page does well, and assessing term targeting, ie how well does your site perform against your important keywords
  • Crawl test – ie how does a search engine see your site
  • Indexed pages – are there pages missing that shoudl be indexed by a search engine. Here a sitemap and robot.txt file can alleviate any problems
  • Rank Tracker – software that tells you whether your site ranks anywhere near the first page of search results for specific keywords
  • Back links – get a report on how many sites and who links to your site. Linking strategies can be an important part of achieving high search engine rankings.
  • W3C validation – the World Wide Web Consortium is the standards organization for the web. It offers several free validation tools such as HTML validator designed to help you determine whether your site meets international standards.

Thoughts on Making Buying Decisions

Some purchases we make require very little critical thinking – and some that would benefit from weighing options more carefully are made using overrides. (“I want it”, “my neighbour has it already”). Some purchases receive a great amount of attention – often those that cost a lot of money, but not always.

One way to think about performing arts marketing is that we endeavour to recruit buyers who are willing to use convenient overrides so that they subscribe year after year, regardless of the specifics of the programming or other aspects of the overall customer experience.

This is important because arguably purchasing several live performing arts events in a single transaction (subscription) has significant implications for the buyer: time commitments, long terms planning and their financial capacity to pay in advance.

What are the circumstances required for someone to make a complex purchase in a mostly automatic fashion? And is it realistic with emerging audiences or is that a model of a time that is coming to an end?