You’re Gonna Make It After All: How the Mary Tyler Moore Show Is More Relevant Than Ever

You’re Gonna Make It After All: How the Mary Tyler Moore Show Is More Relevant Than Ever

When I was a kid I used to catch reruns of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. All I can really remember is that I liked the opening, especially the shot where Mary effortlessly tosses her hat in the air. I had long brown hair and wanted to envision myself being a success, just like her. My ambitions mirrored Mary’s in some ways—heading to a big city and having some important role at a company—even though I didn't know what it might be. The recent death of Mary Tyler Moore motivated me to revisit Mary Richards and her incredible smile to see what I was missing.

After watching a few episodes I was immediately struck by something. The issues of pay gap, struggling for a meaningful title, and perceived responsibilities were hot topics 40 years ago—and they still are today. At first I felt defeated. Mary was dealing with issues I still hear about from my fellow businesswomen and colleagues all the time. Why wasn’t there any progress?

The Real Wonder Women

 The Real Wonder Women

The success of the recent Wonder Woman film is exciting to see—not just because it was directed by a woman, or that the character is portrayed as strong, courageous, and most definitely a risk-taker. But what about all the women who do that every day? I wanted to highlight some of the real Wonder Women of our local community:

Rocket Woman—My Memories of Space Camp

Rocket Woman—My Memories of Space Camp

There are moments in life when things come full circle. When something from your past comes back to the forefront in a way that’s somehow really fulfilling. One of those moments happened to me when I heard that Inforum’s guest speaker for their Annual Meeting was going to be Dr. Mae Jemison.  In addition to her keynote, she will also be speaking to group of 100 students. For me, Dr. Jemison is a superhero because she did something I only dreamed of—becoming an astronaut.

M&M’s—The Unofficial/Official Food of the Focus Group

M&M’s—The Unofficial/Official Food of the Focus Group

If you’ve ever been an observer of a focus group you may already know that M&M’s are the unofficial snack food for the two-hour session. No one really knows how the tradition started, but the multi-colored candy treat has an uncanny ability to keep everyone on task as they listen to the conversation being held with their current or prospective customers. In addition to “plain or peanut?” Power Marketing Research has often had clients ask us what they should be looking and listening for during a focus group. As a client/observer here are some key things to watch for:  

Focus on Focus Groups

Focus on Focus Groups

Recently we have been hearing the term “focus group” used to describe many different types of interactions—everything from a telephone call with a single customer to a 30-minute staff meeting over coffee. In the world of marketing research, a focus group is a defined as a qualitative tool to reach out to customers or potential customers. Let’s delve a little more deeply into how focus groups works and how they might be used to gather data for your needs.

Take A Road Trip With Your Customer—Using Customer Experience Mapping To Make Improvements

Take A Road Trip With Your Customer—Using Customer Experience Mapping To Make Improvements

One of the best ways to make improvements to your business is to better understand how your customer experiences your products or services. The best way to do this is by mapping out their experience and then looking for opportunities to make those improvements. Think of it as the ultimate road trip where you get to ride along with your customer. You can map out the entire trip, such as making an initial contact through a sale, or just a specific interaction. The mapping process takes a few key steps: define the customer, conduct research, and develop the map.

WBE's Sound Off on Certification

WBE's Sound Off on Certification

In today’s alphabet soup of business certifications, one of the most widely respected and recognized is WBE, or Women’s Business Enterprise. In order to have WBE certification, a business must be 51% or more woman-owned, controlled, operated and managed.

To become certified as a WBE a business goes through a rigorous evaluation process that includes an in-depth review and a site visit. Certification is performed by a third party, such as the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.

Employee Satisfaction: How to Measure Employee Attitudes and Reduce Turnover

Employee Satisfaction:  How to Measure Employee Attitudes and Reduce Turnover

Most employers know that employee turnover is one of the highest costs they will incur. Hiring and training staff, service disruption, and customer service all end up suffering. Measuring employee attitudes and listening to their opinions can lead to lower turnover and increase your bottom line.

Here are some steps you can take to start exploring employee research.

1. Identify the key issues. What issues are most critical related to employee retention? Talk to upper and middle managers and uncover what is causing the most concern. These issues serve as the starting point for constructing the questions you'll be asking employees. 

2. Start talking to employees. Work with a cross-section of employees to learn what are the drivers of employee satisfaction. A focus group is a useful method for gathering this information.

Customer Discovery: Key Customer Interview Questions

Customer Discovery: Key Customer Interview Questions

If you're thinking about launching a new product or service, a critical first step is going through a customer discovery process. The process typically consists of deciding what problem you are solving for your customer, and then testing that out with potential customers. Creating a persona for the intended customer will allow you to begin generating a list of questions which can be used during customer interviews. Here are some sample interview questions to consider:

The Case for Case Studies

One of the best ways to communicate value to your potential customer is by showcasing how you have already helped a current or past customer.

Here are a few tips for writing compelling case studies:

  • Tell the story from the perspective of a potential customer. Be results-driven in your language so that prospect sees how your can meet their specific needs. Include all the relevant details such as the customer name, project title and goals. Describe exactly how you met the goals. What will the long-term effect be for the customer? Demonstrate why you were successful.

Power Marketing Research Is Now WBE-Certified

Power Marketing Research Is Now WBE-Certified

We are pleased to announce that Power Marketing Research has been certified a WBE (Women's Business Enterprise) and a WOSB (Woman Owned Small Business). In order to have WBE certification, a business must be 51% or more woman-owned, controlled, operated and managed. To become certified as a WBE, a business goes through a rigorous evaluation process that includes an in-depth review and a site visit. Certification is performed by a third party, such as the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.

Picking the Right Research Method

One of the most important choices in any research project is the methodology used to collect data. Every method has its strengths and weaknesses, and they are sometimes used together in a project.

Let's look at two of the most popular choices, surveys and focus groups. Surveys are composed of a series of questions used to gather opinions, thoughts, and feelings from a sample of the population. They are conducted over the phone, via email, and online. Focus groups are a gathering of 10-12 people who are asked about their perceptions and opinions during a session led by a trained moderator.


  • Quantitative—data is gathered using a quantitative (numerical) process.
  • Gathered from a statistically valid sample of your target market/population.
  • Help you identify trends, measure awareness, gauge satisfaction, and overall interest.
  • Are often used for benchmarking.
  • Can be conducted in-person, online, over the phone and by mail.


  • Qualitative—data is gathered using qualities or characteristics.
  • Good for in-depth questions.
  • Help you obtain information about motivations, perceptions, thoughts and ideas.
  • Allow you to easily test images, concepts, and campaigns.
  • Are most often conducted in-person.

Some projects require a mix of both quantitative and qualitative data in order to comprehensively meet your goals. Choosing the right method can mean success or failure, so choose wisely.

What If You Could Predict the Future?

It may sound like the plot of a science fiction novel, but what if you could predict the future? Better yet, what if you could read people’s minds? While you’re developing a new product or service wouldn’t it be incredible to know whether it will succeed or not? Getting inside your customer’s head and determining whether they will buy your product or service might seem like an impossible task but the creation of a customer scorecard, paired with marketing research, can yield the answers to your questions.  

Five Reasons You Should Take Surveys

You probably just got one in your e-mail inbox; or maybe the last time you stayed in a hotel; and that shopping site keeps asking you to do it now. I'm talking about taking a survey.

Why should you take time out of your busy day to respond to a survey? Here are a few great reasons:

Surveys Matter 

Surveys are used to make critical business decisions, improve customer service, and guide strategic direction. Your input is a valuable part of this process.

People Read Your Responses 

When you are asked to provide a response someone is typically taking the time to read that response. Open-ended questions are especially useful to marketers and research staff because we read your direct comments.

They Can't Change What They Don't Know 

A company can't make quality or customer service improvements if they don't know there is a problem. Your input (and those of anyone surveyed) help identify customer service issues that need addressing.

Good News Helps Too 

It's also helpful for companies to hear the good news as well as the bad. Offer praise when it's deserved so that extra efforts can be rewarded.

We Need Your Input 

Marketing researchers need your input. The more responses we have, the more conclusions we can draw. Your opinions really do matter!

Can You Spot the Bias in These Popular Survey Questions?

One of the biggest pitfalls in survey design is the inclusion of biased questions. When your survey is biased, the data you gather will be flawed and nearly useless, meaning that you've wasted your time and money.

Bias can extend beyond the way a question is written. It can also be found in formatting, word choice, scales, question ordering, and question type.

Here are just a few examples of surveys that contain bias. Keep in mind, these are actual real-world survey questions from large, multi-national corporations representing a variety of industries. Let's see if you can spot the bias!
1. How satisfied are you with the quality of the final product?
Very Satisfied    Satisfied    Neutral    Dissatisfied    Very Dissatisfied
Did you spot the bias? By using a bold font for the "Very Satisfied" response, it immediately creates a bias. The eye automatically focuses on the bold text and makes the respondent more likely to choose that answer.

2. What best describes you? (Please select one only.)
A. I like to cook, but need quick, easy recipes.
B. Cooking is my passion and I love to experiment.
This one is easier. Not everyone likes to cook. There need to be more options for the respondent including "I don't like to cook."

3. Credit union hours are conducive to conducting your business?
Excellent        Good       Fair        Poor

This question assumes that the hours of the credit union are conducive. A better question would be: "How would you rate the credit union's hours of operation?"

4. And here are a few more statements describing (Company Name).
Empowers my workforce to be more collaborative         
Offers solutions to improve productivity  
Is a company that delivers on its promises
Enables my business to be more agile

Strongly Agree      Somewhat Agree     Neither Agree Nor Disagree  

Somewhat Disagree     Strongly Disagree

In this case these questions make another assumption, that the person taking the survey has a favorable attitude towards the company and has enough familiarity to rate it.

And my personal favorite (not so much biased, but just plain odd):
Have you been on an underwater submarine tour in the past 12 months?                 YES                 NO
Survey bias can sneak in when you least expect it. If you design a survey on your own you may be inserting bias without even knowing it. Remaining neutral may be difficult or even impossible. That's where an outside expert comes in. If you want to ensure that your survey isn't biased, contact us today and we'll help make your marketing project a success.

If you'd like your survey to be unbiased, contact us now.

Power Marketing Research Wins 2nd FastTrack Award

Power Marketing Research was recently honored with a FastTrack Award from Ann Arbor SPARK. This prestigious award is given to companies headquartered in Washtenaw County that demonstrate fast growth. We also won the award in 2011. A special thank you to all of our clients, colleagues, and partners that helped make it possible for us to continue to grow.

Power Marketing Research's 2011 and 2015 FastTrack Awards

Power Marketing Research's 2011 and 2015 FastTrack Awards

How To: Select a Focus Group Moderator

A marketing research project can be filled with many important decisions. Focus groups are complicated by the fact that there are decisions to be made about the location, recruiting participants, incentives, and much more.  Before you start any focus group project you should be thinking about one of the most important decision you will make—who will moderate the focus groups? The moderator is the leader of the focus groups and ensuring that you have the right moderator will lead to a great project. Here's what you should be asking: