Downtown Development Corp. 3rd Annual State of Downtown

Date: March 15, 2013 | iqsresearch | News | Comments Off on Downtown Development Corp. 3rd Annual State of Downtown

The Third Annual State of the Downtown

April 9th, 2013 marks the annual meeting. Join the discussion and hear our very own Shawn Herbig. Shawn along with  three other presenters will be talking about the future of Louisville. Below you will find links to more information, how to get tickets and a list of presenters.

Event information: The Third Annual State of the Downtown

Reservations: Single Reservation or Corporate Tables Available



Economic and Demographics of Downtown

Janet Kelly, Executive Director, Urban Studies Institute, University of Louisville

Michael Price, State Demographer, Kentucky State Data Center


Public Perceptions: 2013 Metro Survey on Downtown

Survey of Downtown Executives- New Feature

Shawn Herbig, President, IQS Research


Policies and Initiatives Going Forward

Alan DeLisle, Executive Director, LDDC

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What’s So Hard About Doing Correct Research?

Date: April 17, 2012 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on What’s So Hard About Doing Correct Research?

How many people really know what “correct research” is? Could you define it? Unless you were a stats major or have worked professionally in the research field, the answer to this is probably no.

We often think we know how to do something we’ve read about, or “intuitively” know what it is. But the reality is that laypeople really don’t know how precise and detailed effective, results-based research actually is. There are innumerable details and turns of phrase involved in the wording, ordering, and layering of questions, and every piece matters. There’s nothing that doesn’t factor in, and if the formula isn’t built correctly, the “results” can be anything from skewed to reflecting the wrong information to just being completely useless. Or worse, seemingly correct, you make decisions based on it and have negative consequences to your business.


The way you phrase questions is very important. Something as simple as the word “and” can render a potentially effective survey question worse than useless. If it’s included in a research question, you can almost always be assured that it is a bad question.

The goal of market research is to get precise, focused answers to specific, directed questions. One of the keys of research is measuring a precisely defined, single entity. And the way you measure it is essential.

Let’s say you want to find out how customers’ experience was at your restaurant. If you ask, “How was your experience today?” But is that what you really want to know? Will that really give you actionable information?

Or are you really interested to learn such factors as; their likelihood to return, their likelihood to recommend the restaurant to others, or their perception of value, their perception of you compared to your competitors, and so on and on?

Here’s an example of junk question that arrived on a survey we received recently.

Please tell us about your experience having your car at our service department this morning. (scale of 1-5). Are these things important to you?

While this question may look okay, there are several fundamental flaws that will ensure the information generated will be misleading and inconclusive. Such problems as What are they measuring? What are the scale definitions? What is 1 supposed to mean? Why are they asking for comments and providing a scale in the same question? In this one question they ask for importance, an assessment and a comment which should be at least three questions. In the end this question will provide answers and I am sure the service department will try diligently to use that information. But the results will lack context and in the end, will become an exercise in reading comments. Not a bad idea, but clearly not an effective customer feedback program.

In the end, you have to decide the ultimate purpose of your customer feedback. If you want to general comments then overall opinions, then go it alone. Otherwise, turn to a professional, sit back, and enjoy the information that comes rolling in, because you can count on it.

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A Discussion on the Plurality of Thought

Date: March 27, 2012 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on A Discussion on the Plurality of Thought

It’s almost an axiom: Everyone should go to college or trade school. Your earning potential is dramatically higher, to the tune of a million dollars more over your lifetime than if you don’t have a degree, especially in the United States.

It’s a given. You must have some form of post-secondary education. Your opportunities grow, and you can enjoy a higher standard of living and enrichment. That’s it, that’s the deal, and we can all agree.

But then what happens when you hear your nephew, who has always struggled with school but is great with his hands decides not to go to college and try to start a business from home?

Well, yes, that’s a great decision for him; he got into so much trouble in school and could not put in the focus and attention to study, but he’s really bright and motivated when he’s dedicated to an idea…so it makes sense.

Or the guy you know in your church. He tried but just didn’t feel comfortable at college and has a great opportunity on the ground floor of this new manufacturing company in town and he’s great with people. Well, no, he’s fine not going to college. But just a minute ago, it was a given that everyone should go to college.

So which is it?

It’s not a matter of right and wrong or even wishy-washy personalities. It’s that there are convoluted relationships between ideas and information, and they can clash monumentally.

Debt is another great example. We know we should not live in debt, and we’re fully aware of the consequences of it, but when your daughter has an amazing opportunity to go on a college study abroad program that could open up all kinds of opportunities for her future, what do you do? You know it’s detrimental to go into debt, but you don’t want to limit your child’s opportunities.

This plurality, interestingly, can be measured, studied, and analyzed in market research. We study the plurality of thought of our clients and their customers and citizens. The goals are to identify these pluralities — what do they look like, what are the conflicts — and then to pull them to the forefront.

Then the real key is to measure the strengths of each side of the plurality. Which way is someone more likely to go when he or she is forced to make a decision? Research is about understanding perceptions and behaviors and then changing actions.

When you understand these conflicts, you can better understand your market. Then you can look for ways to align your offerings within the conflicts that exist. When you do so, you are in the perfect position to fulfill the need of the moment.

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Using Text Analytics as a Research Tool

Date: February 14, 2012 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on Using Text Analytics as a Research Tool

Imagine you are handed every letter to the editor to the New York Times from 1984 through 2011, and you are asked to find every reference to the word “immigration,” take a count, and determine an underlying sentiment or pattern of thought regarding the term.

And you have 12 minutes to do it.

Yeah, right.

But just like it has revolutionized every industry, technology has provided the automated solutions and tools that can do just that—and in more like 12 seconds—with text analytics.

Basically this tool takes large bodies of text to find not just counts of terms, but through creative key term combinations and simultaneous searches, the sentiment behind the terms can be measured and evaluated as well.

This works great for all the social network activity out there right now — and which is only going to grow over time — because all the thoughts, feelings, observations, etc. that are posted on the Internet are all in the format of searchable text. New data is generated every day, in enormous amounts, and it holds rich, measurable data that can help companies keep a pulse on their reputation and the positive or negative sentiment that is out there regarding their products and services.

Text analytics can also be used internally to measure employee satisfaction, management effectiveness, reactions to change, alongside surveys and responses, to discover anything that needs discovered. The possibilities are truly endless.

We’ve done a lot of text analysis for our clients (and sometimes for a little fun), and it’s always interesting to see, not only how attitudes change around a certain topic or theme, but even how language changes in general. We know some grammar geeks and linguists who love doing text analysis to see what has happened to the language in the last 10, 20, or even 100 years.

A New Development in Text Analytics

An interesting new development in this already relatively new solution is the anonymous versus non-anonymous reaction, and what people say and how they say them if they believe their comments are anonymous, like on newspaper websites.

Many news sites and blog sites are now requiring people to login to the site as members or use their Facebook profiles to be able to make comments on articles and posts. The interesting aspect here is how the tone, positive or negative, aggressiveness, and civility in comments changes when the individual knows that his or her identity will be known when commenting. This is another layer of text analytics that can open up whole worlds of research data…and will.

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