Research

Jobs Stimulus Package

Overview

Oregon Jobs Stimulus Package CFM Strategic Communications

Oregon had failed to enact a highway and bridge funding measure for more than a decade, which meant state roads and overpasses were in a greater state of disrepair.

Challenge

While lawmakers could find bipartisan agreement on a funding package, they had trouble satisfying interest groups, which successfully referred measures to the ballot where they were rejected by voters. Transportation advocates and legislative leaders needed a roadmap to follow for the 2009 session to develop a package that could pass the legislature and avoid a referral to the ballot.

Approach

CFM was retained to conduct an innovative form of database research to gauge citizen attitudes about public spending to stimulate job creation. Using web-based surveys and focus groups, CFM engaged 3,000 residents about what state efforts they preferred to help economic recovery. The research showed solid public support for targeted public spending on roads, bridges, schools and sewer and water systems. The research also showed Oregonians were willing to pay more for a package that was significant and actually created jobs. Feedback helped state leaders and businesses design a legislative package to fund more than $500 million in construction projects for roads, schools, utility grids and local building projects.

Result

Armed with more in-depth research than ever before, legislative leaders and transportation advocates crafted a funding measure that followed the contours of research findings. The legislative package was double-checked with follow-up research that involved asking respondents of the first survey to comment on how well the package met their expectations. The funding package sailed through the legislature, there was no referral and it went in effect just as the recession hit Oregon, providing a job stimulus when it was needed most.

Using Research to Gain Constructive Feedback

Overview

CFM Research School District

A Washington State school district was struggling to get community input about tough budget choices. Using online and traditional research tools, CFM helped the district expand community participation from less than 100 to more than 3,000 residents in less than six weeks.

Challenge

After months of work and analysis by district administrators, citizen committees and consultants, a Washington school district wanted community guidance about two proposed levies and one bond. Each proposal had five options that offered more services and benefits, but at higher costs. Initial engagement efforts consisted of community meetings at local schools. Few people attended the meetings and comments were narrowly focused on a few projects.

Approach

The district approached CFM to conduct a telephone survey to help assess the funding options. CFM partner Tom Eiland recognized the issues were too complex to test over the phone. He suggested taking the questions online where constituents could ponder the implications of the proposals, consider alternatives and provide feedback. Eiland recommended using the district’s parent email list as a first step and follow that with a phone survey. In about a week, Eiland and district leaders developed an online questionnaire. The District used its survey tool to run the survey and, within seven days, nearly 3,000 parents had participated. Results enabled the district to narrow the focus to three financing options, not the original 15.

Result

Using the online data as a guideline, Eiland prepared a questionnaire and conducted phone interviews among a representative sample of 400 residents to assess opinions about two levy and one bond proposal. The phone survey was used to gather information the entire community, including those who no children in schools.

Using a multi-modal research design, CFM helped the school district engage more than 3,000 residents in less than six weeks. The effort allowed the district to obtain constructive feedback about complex issues and provide statistically valid data for its decision-making.

Seattle Northwest Securities, Inc.*: Assessing Information Sources for Public Education

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*Seattle Northwest Securities, Inc. is now PiperJaffary.

Overview

Since 1992, CFM has tracked opinions about public education in Washington. A client wanted new information to help school districts communicate better with communities.

Challenge

Determine changes in communication sources about education and identify if Washington voters are using new social media tools to get information.

Approach

New questions were added to a statewide survey to assess how voters are getting information about education.

Result

The survey found information sources have fractured. Voters continue to use traditional media – newspapers, TV, radio – to get information about schools, but other sources have entered the mix. Word of mouth, Web sites and social media are sources people are using to learn about activities in schools and form opinions about education. CFM recommended that school district communication campaigns need a more complex strategy to be effective, using both traditional and new media.

Combining Social Media and Traditional Research

Overview

Young adults are a key part of the consumer market. A client wanted to know what this important demographic groups thought about a new health care product.

Challenge

Finding, recruiting and getting young women and men to participate in live focus groups. The demographic group moves often, typically does not have a landline telephone and does not use traditional media to get information.

Approach

Recognizing young adults are more likely to be online than have a landline, CFM used Facebook ads to recruit two focus groups among men and women age 19 to 29. Using Facebook’s administration tool, CFM found more than 35,000 young adults in the Portland market interested in health care. We were able to place ads where our target audience would see them. An online screening survey helped to identify the type of young men and women wanted for the research, including questions to ensure participants were communicators.

Result

The initial feedback from the client…”Wow we learned a lot.” Using Facebook ads, CFM was able to recruit 15 men and 15 women for two focus groups. In the sessions, the young adults described the product features they preferred, how they wanted to use and not use social media to learn about health care and why some young adults don’t have health insurance.

Regional Health Care Provider: Including Customers in Designing Ad Concepts

Overview

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At a time when marketing dollars are tight, companies can ill-afford making mistakes by not thoroughly vetting every phase of their marketing efforts. Advertising is no exception. A health care client wanted to be sure its proposed new advertising campaign motivated targeted groups to switch to their services.

Challenge

Test several advertising concepts among narrowly defined groups of people to assess creative concepts and determine the effectiveness of the ads.

Approach

Focus groups are an effective way to test advertising concepts. CFM planned and conducted seven focus groups, among consumers and business decision makers in several markets, to determine how well advertising concepts met goals and objectives.

Result

Groups liked but didn’t love the ads. Basic concepts were sound, but group participants recommended changes to make the ads believable, relevant and motivating. Armed with the customer information, the creative team redesigned the ads with positive results. Sales increased, requests for proposals increased and hits on Web-based marketing increased. The ad campaign also won regional and international awards. 

Providence Health & Services: Using Consumer Panels for Research and Engagement

Overview

Meeting and exceeding patient expectations is key to growth in health care. People share experiences, good and bad. Providence wanted a better way to measure satisfaction and to listen to and engage customers.

Challenge

Develop a research tool that allowed the client to interview thousands of patients statewide, using both surveys and focus groups, in a four-month period and on a limited budget.

Approach

CFM recommended using Web-based panel research to help gather quantitative and qualitative information to support development of a comprehensive marketing plan.

Result

In less than three months, CFM conducted two online surveys among 3,000 Providence patients and five Web-based focus groups on specific topics. Results helped the organization determine how well Providence is meeting patient expectations, measure customer satisfaction across 21 physician clinics in a four-county area, test ad concepts, assess preferences for online communication tools and engage patients about how and to whom they talk about key health care issues.

Design Firm: Real Information, Real Fast

Overview

A fast-growing design firm with 22 offices in eight states was in the middle of a strategic planning effort.

Challenge

Just 10 days before a major company-wide planning session, management wanted to get employee feedback about the company's future. CFM proposed an Internet survey that gave each of the firm's 750 employees a chance to comment.

Approach

While online research isn't perfect for all situations, it works great for defined audiences that have access to computers or touch-tone telephones. CFM met with the firm's leadership for two hours, wrote a draft questionnaire, the client approved it the next day and the survey was posted within three days. The survey was easy to access, as every employee received an e-mail with a Web address and a personal identification number to ensure privacy and prevent multiple responses.

Result

In the first 24 hours, more than 50 percent of the employees responded. When the survey closed after four days, more than 80 percent of the workforce had offered its views. The information was analyzed and used in a PowerPoint presentation developed by CFM, which also facilitated the strategic planning session. From start to finish, the entire project spanned 10 working days. 

Southwest Washington Medical Center: Getting the Logo Right

Overview

One of Washington state's largest medical centers decided to change its logo to provide better support of its marketing goals.

Challenge

Southwest Washington Medical Center’s graphic designer developed three alternative images. But opinions were mixed about which was best.

Approach

CFM recommended conducting a series of focus groups. Doctors liked the logo with lots of gold, which they said looked impressive. Hospital staff preferred the logo with a boxy design, closely resembling the existing logo. Consumers liked the third option because it best met the marketing objectives of the medical center.

Result

The research drew suggestions from consumers for improving the design, which were incorporated and re-tested, receiving high praise. The new logo was launched, signaling a new direction for the medical center that focused on outstanding care, community involvement and customer service. 

Oregon Steel: Solving Real Problems Through Listening

Overview

Oregon Steel was prepared to make major changes in its sales force because sales were flat and customers were unhappy.

Challenge

But, before making the changes, the firm needed to better understand what a few key customers were thinking.

Approach

CFM conducted a round of one-on-one interviews with the manufacturer's key customers to assess service, products and business activities. The interviews produced few complaints about the sales force or product quality. The concern centered on aspects of the company’s operations. Next, CFM conducted a telephone survey with a sample cross-section of the company's customers. The survey validated the findings of the one-on-one interviews.

Result

The research caused the company's management team to abandon its original plan and focus attention instead on the real hot button for customers – on-time delivery. Instead of rearranging its sales force, the company rearranged its priorities and made on-time shipments the highest priority.

Fort Vancouver Regional Library District

Overview

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District has never charged late fees for overdue materials. Some board members proposed changing that policy and charging patrons late fees for overdue books. District managers wanted to know what library patrons thought about the proposal.

Challenge

How to interview a large number of library patrons across a four-county area during a short period of time to get community input and help the library board with decision-making.

Approach

CFM recommended a Web-based survey among FVRL’s 17,000 patrons for whom they had email addresses. CFM designed a survey to determine priorities for the district and determine opinions about the proposed late fees among patrons age 16 and older. More than 3,000 persons participated.

Result

The message was clear, more books, more services and no late fees. In fact, patrons who use library services at least once a week, the district’s best customers, opposed fees. The board listened and decided to table the proposal.