Market Research Companies – An Overview

Most large to big businesses have their own market research teams. These teams not only conduct research themselves, but most often outsource the requests to specialised companies. In the UK alone there are well over 250 market research companies, some operating in small niche markets. This article focusses on some of the most well known market research companies that operate across the globe.

ACNielsen

is a global marketing research firm and part of The Nielsen Company. One of ACNielsen’s best known creations is the Nielsen ratings, which measure television, radio and newspaper audiences in their respective media markets. Another market research tool is Homescan where sample members track and report all grocery and retail purchases, allowing purchasing patterns to be related to household demographics.

One of the most common used products is Retail Measurement, a tool that provides continuous tracking of product sales to consumers, based on information gathered at the retail point-of-sale (EPOS data)

Other well known ACN Businesses are BASES, Nielsen Consumer, Nielsen Business Media and Nielsen Online.

Forrester Research is an independent technology and market research company that provides its clients with advice about technology’s impact on business and consumers. It offers a variety of services including syndicated research on technology, quantitative market research on consumer technology adoption and business IT spending, research-based consulting and advisory services. On its website you can find a wide range of free research, options to be alerted on new conducted research as well as of the shelf surveys.

GfK SE is a worldwide market research organisation providing services in five business divisions: Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and Healthcare. The Custom Research sector supplies information and consulting services for operational and strategic marketing decisions. Retailer POS data is the source for the Retail and Technology sector. The sector supplies clients with information and consulting services based on retail data from continuous surveys and analyses of sales of technical consumer goods and services in the retail sector. The Media Sector delivers information services on range, intensity and nature of media usage and acceptance. The data source for the Media sector stems from the media (point of media).

Ipsos MORI is the second largest survey research organisation in the UK. The organisation has a freely available archive of opinion polls and public attitude research from 1970 onwards, including trends on its UK website. Ipsos MORI’s Social Research Institute works extensively for UK government and public services, looking at public attitudes to key public services which formed a key part of the UK Government’s domestic agenda in 1997-2005. Social policy, and issues such as identity, social cohesion, physical capital and the impact of place on attitudes are all key themes of the Institute’s work. The company also specialises in Media, Loyalty and Marketing and Advertising Research.

Mintel International Group Ltd is a privately owned, London-based market research firm. Mintel databases, analysis, and forecasts are accessible only to subscribing clients and to students in participating university libraries. Some of its products are: Mintel Beauty Innovation (monitors mass media beauty introductions), Mintel Comperemedia (tracks direct mail and print advertising), Mintel Food & Drink (combines 5 products to deliver actionable market intelligence) and Mintel Menu Insights (tracks items on US restaurant menus). Mintel is mostly known for its reports, which are published online and contain consumer research and analysis.

SymphonyIRI Group (formerly Information Resources, Inc.) is a market research company which provides clients with consumer, shopper, and retail market intelligence and analysis focused on the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. They offer services in the following areas: Market Content (Retail tracking data, convenience store tracking data and consumer panel-based data), Predictive Analytics (Decomposition of the drivers of current business trends and simulation of the effects of changes on future brand plans), Enterprise Performance Management Software (Tools to support faster analysis of market content) and Professional Services / Consulting.

WPP is is the world’s largest communications services group in terms of revenue. Kantar, based in London, was founded in 1993 as the Market Research, Information and Consultancy Division of WPP. It is a network of 13 specialist companies, including:

Research International specialises in qualitative and quantitative custom market research. It has experience in most major sectors, particularly consumer packaged goods, retail, new media, financial services, energy and utilities, technology, the postal sector and telecommunications.

Millward Brown provides qualitative, quantitative and consulting services with respect to brands, marketing communications, media and marketing effectiveness. Millward Brown works across a range of industries and categories, including brand strategy and experience, creative development and campaign evaluation, consumer needs and values, media planning and strategy, return on investment (ROI) and forecasting, and investment management, brand valuation and analytics through its MB Optimor unit. In the UK, Millward Brown currently compiles the Music and Video Charts on behalf of The Official Charts Company.

Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) is a leading market research and market information group with focus on the areas Automotive, Consumer, Finance, Political and Social, and Technology.

Telecommunications, the Next Generation

Irrespective of the geographical size of the country and its population, the telecommunications industry is likewise imperative for the financial system of any country as well the interests of the citizens living there. Formerly, the telecommunications sector comprried of the conventional landline telephone and television cable networks. At present, cellular phone services, Internet broadband networks, General Packet Radio Service and satellite television systems are the additional services which fall in the category of telecommunication.

Due to the advancement of technology in the telecommunication engineering, the globe is absolutely linked together. People from different parts of the world not only correspond very straightforwardly with each other, but they can also share boundless information with each other with the application of cell phones, internet and GPRS.

The telecommunication sector can be roughly divided into two divisions. First is the wired telecommunication and the other is the wireless telecommunication. Wireless telecommunication is the newest technology which is most preferred by people these days due to its simplicity and mobility.

The regular wired landlines telephones, wired television cable networks and wired internet connections are the prime models of wired telecommunication products. On the other hand, cellular phones, wireless internet connections like Wi-Fi technology and General Packet Radio Service are the significant instances of wireless telecommunication systems.

In wireless communication, the data is transferred from the basic source to the device users with the aid of radio towers. Cellular phones are the devices which have achieved recognition among people more rapidly than any other device of wireless communication.

Think Credit Scores Do Not Apply To Young Adults? Think Again

By the time you turn 28, you will probably have a career and possibly a family. When you want to make big purchases like buying the car of your dreams or buying a house to raise a family, your credit score becomes more important than ever. Your credit score is also referred to as a FICO score and is typically a number between 300 and 850. Bank lenders who will loan you money for a house or a car will look at this score very carefully before lending you the money and deciding your interest rate. According to the article Starting Out by Kelly K. Spors in The Wall Street Journal, FICO scores above 760 qualify you for the best loan terms, while scores below 600 can mean unappealing terms and higher interest rates – or bar you from getting a loan all together. The breakdown of the FICO score includes a 35% weighting for payment history; 30% for the amount owed, especially as compared to your credit limits; and 15% for the length of your credit history. Also, having too many credit inquiries and loan applications by you or too many accounts opened in a short time can hurt your score.

So I made a mistake, how do I improve my credit score?

1. The first thing to do is to start paying your bills on time. If you have Internet access, it may be a good idea to set up an automatic bill pay (either through your bank's website or the actual credit card or loan company's website). This way, the bill will be deducted out of your checking account at the same time every month and will reduce your chances of your payment being lost in the mail. Paying your bills on time every month for about a year will dramatically improve your score.

2. The second thing to do is to check your credit report from all three major credit bureaus once a year. If you check it more than once a year, this may hurt your score. You can access your report for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com . Be careful, many sites say they provide free credit reports but there is often a catch. Identify inaccurate information in your credit report and write a letter to the addresses listed below explaining your situation.

Equifax PO Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian PO Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion PO Box 2000 Chester, PA 19022

3. The third thing to do is to be smart with your credit. This means avoiding mall shopping sprees or playing online poker. Use your credit cards wisely. It is also smart to keep your credit card balances at 30% or less of your limit. This keeps your score up and leaves room on your credit card for emergencies like auto repairs and house repairs.

Copyright 2006 Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp.

Financial Planning the Right Way: Mapping Your Future With a Professional Financial Advisor

Anyone can write a financial plan, or at least it looks that way. You can consult your banker, go to a brokerage firm, or hire someone who calls himself or herself a financial planner to prepare a plan for you. Financial planning simply is not that complicated, right?

Let's consider what's included in a comprehensive financial plan. There's a section on what happens if you died today. Will estate taxes be due? Does your estate have enough liquidity? Another section outlines what happens if you become disabled or need long-term care. Have you saved enough for retirement? And how will you pay for your kids 'or grandkids' college education? What about charitable giving, income tax savings, and investment allocation?

The first place to start is selecting the right person to develop a financial plan. Find someone with a fiduciary responsibility such as a Certified Financial Planner ™.

It is important to seek out someone who will listen to your objectives and design a plan to meet your goals. Be sure the person you choose to draft your initial financial plan is familiar with how the planning you do in one area affects exit in another. For example, what you do in the area of ​​investment planning can affect your tax planning. What you do to provide for asset protection can affect your estate planning, and so forth.

A sound financial plan should also address how you are expected to have when placed in a variety of scenarios. The only certainty in life is that the unexpected will always happen. When placed in an unexpected situation, most people will tend to make major decisions based on emotion, and then try to rationalize them, underlining their long-term planning. Therefore, a solid financial plan should be flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected. This is especially true in the investment-planning arena. It is important to have a written investment policy statement to help protect your portfolio from unplanned and impulsive revisions of sound long-term policy. Especially in times of market turmoil, investors without an investment policy statement are inclined to make investment decisions that are inconsistent with prudent investment management principles – and their best interest. Your investment policy provides an agreed-upon and well-thought-out framework from which sound investment decisions will be made.

Many people believe the process ends once the plan is written. But good financial planning means regularly monitoring and adapting strategies to ensure you're meeting your goals. Remember, you're not just trying to create an end product that will not ever need to change. You're developing a map that will help guide you toward financial stability. And regular comparisons of where you planned to be in the future with where you actually end up can generate important discussions about why you ended up where you are. Are you ahead of plan because your investment portfolio did better than expected, were taxes lower than expected, or maybe you spent less than expected? The reason you end up at a particular place is important to understand because that determinates what types of adjustments might be needed for your plan A financial plan that's developed with the help of a professional financial planner could be the right map to help you reach your financial destination.

Many people can help you prepare a financial plan, but the most successful plans are crafted by professional planners which allegiance is to you, the client. Professional planners have the credentials and understanding to know how the different areas of financial planning affect one another so they can help determine what is right for you. And professional financial planners will follow up with you after the plan is in place to assist in analyzing deviations from the plan in order to make competent adjustments to steer you away from failure.