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Examples of Marketing Research Projects

We have conducted Usage & Attitudes studies, Tracking studies, and Customer Satisfaction research for many of our clients.

We have also designed and executed research in a number of other areas. The following are just a few examples:

Another of our specialties is research on Communication & Advertising.

Business Transformation

  • A public utility was making fundamental changes to its pricing structure. Sage conducted a series of focus groups with customers in all parts of Ontario and Quebec, in a wide range of community sizes, involving both consumer and business customers, to explore how best to communicate the change in pricing approach.
  • A company was closing a manufacturing plant. We conducted a survey to assess awareness of, and reactions to, the closing of the plant to aid in development of a public relations program.

  • A manufacturer of building products, faced with potentially greater regulatory impacts on use of energy-efficient building materials and designs, commissioned Sage to conduct a survey of architects, builders and engineers to measure awareness and perceived importance of current sustainability standards, and future intent with regard to use of sustainable materials.

  • A telecommunications company had initiated a Business Transformation plan.  We conducted focus groups with employees to assist in developing a communication program to build employee commitment to the plan.

  • A business was planning a merger of two of its business units.  We held focus groups with employees of these two business units to assist in identifying the main human resource issues of concern to employees, so these could be taken into account during the merger.


Market Segmentation & Category Definition

  • For a manufacturer of building products, we conducted an online survey to provide insight on the do-it-yourself (DIY) market and to identify and profile the DIY and DIFM (do-it-for-me) segments in the marketplace, both demographically and in terms of project types that different segments are willing to undertake.
  • For a major consumer durables manufacturer, we did a large lifestyle market segmentation to aid in development of marketing and product line-up strategies.
  • An organization that works with the hair care industry needed insight into the perceived brand categories in the hair care market.  We conducted focus group research with consumers and hair care professionals to explore what are the perceived brand categories in the hair care market, followed up with survey research to quantify the incidence and brand composition of the perceived brand segments.
  • For a manufacturer of lighting, we conducted a survey of how consumers categorize the choices available to them in home lighting products, particularly with respect to energy efficiency.


Product Research - development, design, testing

  • A major telecommunications company planned on introducing bundled services.  We conducted focus groups with consumers to explore desired components and features for the service “bundle”.
  • A major consumer durables manufacturer planned to redesign one of its lines.  We conducted an online survey to measure consumer interest in particular design features of a product, which showed images of alternative approaches to the various design features.
  • A major consumer durables manufacturer planned to redesign its line-up of appliances.  We conducted several surveys to measure interest in alternative appliance designs, by recruiting respondents to central locations where full-scale design mock-ups were displayed.
  • A seafood processor planned to launch a new line.  We undertook an in-home product placement survey to test consumer preference for alternative fish fillet product formulations.
  • A manufacturer planned to extend an existing brand into another product category.  We undertook a store shelf simulation survey including all category competitors and the new product to estimate the percentage of consumers who would buy the target brand.
  • For a manufacturer of baby foods, we conducted a user survey to identify the extent to which an infant formula product was being used at the correct stage of the infant’s development and being correctly used with other food groups.
  • An organization that works with manufacturers to establish programs and targets for workplace safety developed an online application manufacturers can use to manage their workplace safety program.  Sage conducted online focus groups with safety managers at manufacturers to explore interest in the product at various price points and to identify possible refinements to the product.



  • A manufacturer of institutional paper products planned to increase the use of recycled materials.  We conducted both qualitative and mall-intercept survey research to explore consumer reactions to alternative materials for cold beverage cups used in fast food outlets, including reaction to use of recycled materials in food containers.
  • An ice cream container manufacturer was interested in introducing a new material to be used for premium & super-premium ice cream containers.  We conducted both focus groups and a follow-up mall-intercept survey to measure consumer acceptance and preference for packages made of the new material versus packages made of the then-existing materials.
  • A manufacturer of trays for holding fresh meat developed a new concept for tray design that removed more excess liquid away from the meat.  We did a mall-intercept survey to measure consumer interest in the new package design, including demonstration of the new design.


Customer Loyalty

  • A product manufacturer wanted to assess customer loyalty to a number of its brands.  We conducted several survey projects to measure behavioural loyalty.  The sample for each brand was sourced from the manufacturer’s warranty card database, and the survey examined subsequent brand purchases in the category.  Brand repurchase behaviour was correlated with stated brand purchase intentions on the warranty cards, thereby enhancing ability to use the warranty card database for direct marketing activities.
  • A manufacturer planned to offer purchasers of their products membership in a “user club”.  We undertook focus groups with customers to explore interest in and perceived impact of alternative ideas for the “user club” to encourage greater repeat purchase loyalty.


Customer Service

  • A company that offers help services to its customers via an automated, menu-based telephone service wanted to identify any changes needed to improve the system’s ease of use.  We facilitated a series of qualitative individual interviews with customers of the company.  Participants were given various calling scenarios and made calls to the help line to identify any problems with the system’s ease of use.
  • A manufacturer required to make a product recall commissioned Sage to conduct a survey with customers to assess level of satisfaction with how the recall was handled.
  • A manufacturer that provides on-site repair services commissioned Sage to conduct a satisfaction survey with customers who had received the on-site repair services.


Retail -- channels, buyer experience & behaviour, mystery shopping

  • A large software company had recently done a major product launch supported by point-of-purchase (POP) materials and sales training.  We conducted research to assess the penetration and impact of the POP and sales training.  The research consisted of 3 components (1) store audits across Canada to record presence of POP, (2) in-store mystery shops in stores across Canada to assess the degree to which store sales staff communicated the key points emphasized in the sales training, and (3) telephone mystery shops with retailers, again to assess impact of the sales training.
  • For a large software company, we conducted store exit interviews to explore the relationship between a shopper’s plans when entering a store with respect to looking at and buying software, and shopper behavior with regard to buying software.  The study involved multiple waves of interviewing over several years.  In each wave, the survey involved separately readable samples in more than 10 software retailers, in multiple outlets across both Canada and the U.S., and generating over 4,000 interviews in total.
  • For a manufacturer of major appliances, we conducted store exit interviews with appliance shoppers who did not make a purchase, to understand why they did not purchase an appliance on that shopping trip.
  • For a major appliance manufacturer, we developed and conducted a multi-year, cross-Canada mystery shop program to track the impact of the manufacturer’s sales training and POP programs.
  • Associated with the launch of a new appliance product, we undertook mystery shops to assess the extent to which store salespeople were communicating the benefits of the product.


Trade Relations

  • We conducted a multi-year tracking study for a manufacturer targeting managers of retailers carrying its products, in order to monitor retailers’ satisfaction with the manufacturer’s product, distribution, marketing, pricing, in-store training/sales service, and consumer service programs.
  • We undertook in-depth qualitative interviews with a manufacturer’s key account buyers to explore their satisfaction with the relationship and to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • For a large software company, we conducted in-depth individual interviews with software resellers to explore alternative communication concepts designed to discourage resellers from engaging in software piracy.
  • For a company’s co-op advertising program, we conducted a survey with retailers to measure their satisfaction with the co-op advertising program and to identify desired changes.
  • For a trade organization representing the health food industry, we conducted both in-depth interviews and an online survey with retailers and suppliers in the health food category to update statistics on market structure and size, get opinions on regulatory issues in the industry, and get feedback on views of the performance of the trade organization.