7 Easy Steps to Conducting Your Marketing Research Plan!

Marketing research is a process used by businesses to collect, analyze, and interpret information used to make sound business decisions and successfully manage the business. In other words, it links the consumer to the marketer by providing information that can be used in making marketing decisions (i.e. B2C or B2B). This can not be implemented without the use of a MIS (Marketing Research System) to gather, sort, analyze, evaluate, and distribute needed, timely, and accurate information to marketing decision makers.Here are the steps to implementing a marketing research process.1. Ask yourself if there is a real need for marketing research. It’s not only the first step to take but a very critical one as well! Research takes a lot of time due to the overload of secondary information available on the Internet. It’s ideal to think that it takes months or even a year to completely finalize a marketing research agenda. The other factor you will need to consider is the cost of doing it, especially if you hire an agency to do it for you. What you want to compare is the value of the information vs the cost of the information. If the value of the information is worth the cost and time of doing it, then by all means, go for it buddy!If you’re still unsure, here’s a few quick guides to go by to determine that marketing research is not needed:a) The information is already available

b) The timing is wrong to conduct marketing researchc) Funds are not available for marketing researchd) Costs outweigh the value of marketing research2. Define the problem. This is the most important step (assuming you’ve decided to do marketing research). If the problem is incorrectly defined, all else will become wasted effort! Keep in mind that the need to make a decision requires decision alternatives. If there are no alternatives, no decision is necessary. For example, let’s say your sales are down by 30%, therefore becoming a problem with your revenues. Your alternatives may be to see how well ads #2 does compared to ads #1 in terms of sales. Use secondary data sources to develop ideas further into the research.Here’s a powerful technique to use in order to pinpoint important problems and receive information all in one: create a focus group! Here’s why:a) it generates fresh ideasb) allow clients to observe their participantsc) understand a wide variety of issuesd) allow easy access to special respondent groups3. Establish objectives. Research objectives, when stated effectively, can provide the information needed to solve the problem you have from step 2. All of your objectives should be what you want to study in your market research and specific as possible.Here’s a quick checklist of what to include in each and every objective:a) specify from whom information is to be gatheredb) specify what information is neededc) specify the unit of measurement used to gather informationd) use the respondents’ reference to re-word the question4. Determine research design. There are 5 different designs you can choose from to get the information you need, such as descriptive, exploratory, causal, and diagnostic research. Descriptive research describe market variables. Exploratory research allows you to get information in an unstructured way. Causal studies is to try to reveal what factor(s) cause some event to happen. Diagnostic research focuses on the sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction.5. Choose method of assessing data. Secondary data is more easy to access than primary data, such as online surveys. However, if you are into the traditional way of doing data collection (i.e. telephone, mail, F-2-F), they all still have a place in marketing research. The questionnaire that you present to the respondents must be worded clearly and unbias.Here’s a few pointers you want to remember when creating the forms for your questionnaire:a) use nominal, ordinal, interval-Likert, interval-S-D, interval-Stapel, and ratio measurementsb) questions pertaining to each research objective (step 3)c) questions pertaining to attribute, attitude, or behavior

d) have 1 open-ended question (I would definitely keep this at a minimum, if I were you)6. Determine sample plan and size. Your sample plan should describe how each sample element is to be drawn from the total population. The sample size tells how many elements of the population should be included in the sample. In other words, the purpose of the sample plan is to give you representativeness, while the sample size gives you accuracy!Here’s a small but important task to take to prevent or minimize nonsampling errors from occurring: validate your participants by re-contacting!7. Analyze and report the data. It’s always good to go back and run tests on the information you have to screen out errors that may occur. Once you have all that you need for the research (pie charts, bar graphs, statistics, survey, etc), you want to be sure to create a report of it. Carefully present the research report in a way that communicates the results clearly, yet accurately to the client.Remember marketing research is all about connecting the dots. The more information you know about your consumers, the more you bridge together with your consumers. The more closer you bridge together with your consumers, the more miles you create for long-term customer relationships. Go for it!

Online Computer Science Schools

Computer education is a necessity these days as tasks in all professions has become digitized. Computer sciences applications have a far reaching impact on how we live our day-to-day lives and the need for computer trained and IT professionals is greater than for any industry or field in the world today. In this Article we review how online computer sciences courses can help prospective professionals find careers in any industry.OverviewComputer sciences are the study of the foundation of computing logic and the applications to computer architecture, hardware and software design as well as specific applications to program development and the use of industry standard technologies. The education starts with the study of natural sciences as they relate to computing and then diverges into a study of the specific niche area – such as hardware, software, graphics and information technology etc. Most institutions offer students the opportunity to learn about all these areas to some extent before choosing a specialization.

Online computer sciences institutions offer students a variety of fully online – to – blended courses in a variety of subjects; students can complete a choice of degree or certificate at any level (diploma, associates, bachelors, masters, PhD or certifications through shorter courses) in general computing or a specialized area – all from the comfort of their own homes and be able to work around their jobs and schedules – without having to enroll for time consuming classes and without having to relocate or spend and money commuting to and from lectures.Enrolling in an online computer science course means prospective students can now fit their education around their work and personal schedules and save the money and time normally required in order to attend lectures and lab sessions. Most online institutions offer their enrolled students a free online resource center for all the information – e-books, lecture slides and practical experiments – that is need in order to finish their coursework.Areas in computer science educationTheory of computation: This area deals with the logic use by computation systems and the mathematics that relates to computational logic. It defines the limits of computability (solvable problems) and computational complexity (resources required to solve these problems in terms of time and space).Algorithms and Data structures: This side deals with functionality such as searching data storage structures and the formation (of models) of data storage (linked-lists, arrays, trees etc).

Programming Languages and Methodology: This area addresses the methodology used to formulate problem solving software code and the programming languages that are used to write viable code. It also deals with modern software development tools and tricks-of-the-trade which are used in modern compilers to formulate accurate running code. Languages may include c, C++, Java, c-sharp etc. Tools may include Visual C++ etc. This area defines the methodology of writing logical code step-by-step and the use of common best-practices.Computer Architecture and logic design: This area deals with the knowledge of how a computer processor works and how is uses its resources to solve computational problems by breaking complex code down to minor mathematical and logical problems. This area includes digital design, automation, architecture and compilation.

Astrology Predictions for 2014-2015

As we can see, there have been huge world changes since then.

Let me outline just a few of them:

- The Central Banks have more power than ever before
- The Federal Reserve brought down interest rates to almost 0%
- Quantitative Easing or money-printing has become the new norm
- Disputes over taxes and tax reforms have escalated
- Movements to unseat leaders continue, including the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and the stepping down of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya
- Cyber-spying is rampant with the revelations that the NSA has been regularly unlawfully spying on its citizens
- We’ve seen earth changes escalate with earthquakes and tsunamis causing whole continents to shift

What does the future look like as we near the end of the Cardinal Climax?

I see two diametrically opposed scenarios playing out:
- Worldwide debt reaches its limit, the financial system panics and the stock market crashes
- Governments shut down and default on their debts
- Leaders in business, banking and government start to behave with transparency instead of secrecy, working hard to restore peoples’ trust in them
- Political leaders make compromises to reduce debt levels
- Businesses are rewarded for hiring people and not penalized

It could go either way. There could be a turnaround from the oppressive economic activities of the last 6 years or an escalation of the same practices.
With 3 planets going retrograde one after the other from the beginning of 2014, (Venus retrograde during January, Mercury retrograde in February, and Mars retrograde from March until May), I am anticipating leaders will change their minds quickly, bankers will change their policies unexpectedly, markets will reverse because of greater uncertainty.

President Obama
As I predicted last year, with transiting Neptune square to his natal Moon, there is the possibility of scandal, deception and misleading behaviour and his trustworthiness could be put into question. There could be damage to his reputation and he needs to make sure that he does everything above board.

This aspect is a hard one because the Moon represents his public image. Not just Americans feel betrayed by him, but also Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, to name but a few, by his reversals and failure to communicate with them.

Transiting Jupiter will be conjunct his Sun in September 2014. This could be a high point in his career, but it could also mean that he goes to extremes. His reputation could be severely tarnished especially when Saturn is opposite his natal Moon and square to natal Pluto in 2015.

The main thing is that he needs to be honest. If he can do this, he will be able to salvage his reputation. If not, he will fall from grace and leave office with his reputation in tatters.

Stock Market
I predicted that the stock market would crash in 2013 and I was wrong. I had failed to understand the powerful impact of Pluto in Capricorn on Central Banking intervention in the financial markets. I didn’t realise it would distort the markets to such a degree. I had no idea how far and how deeply the powers that be could manipulate the markets. With the strong influence of Pluto in Capricorn in mutual reception to Saturn in Scorpio, this had led to the infinite printing of money out of thin air. This looks set to continue at least for the next year or so indicating that the stock markets are set to rise for the foreseeable future.

What to invest in and what to avoid:
Jupiter moves back and forth between Cancer and Leo in 2014. The sign Jupiter is in shows the stock sectors more likely to outperform the general market.

Jupiter in Cancer until July 16th, 2014 indicates the stock sectors that are likely to benefit are: housing, hotels, motels, restaurants, anything connected with families and homes, food, drink, caretaking.

Jupiter in Leo from July 17th 2014 until August 11th 2015 favours children’s games and toys, games, gaming companies, leisure, entertainment industry, gambling, anything connected to children, gold mining, romance, love and the dating industry.
The position of Saturn tends to show those sectors that will decline in price. With Saturn in Scorpio until almost the end of 2014, the sectors most likely to be affected by declines are: banks, insurance companies, investment companies, security companies, waste management, funeral services, oil and gas companies, medical and surgical suppliers.

As long as the Fed continues to intervene in financial markets, stock prices will increase. I doubt they will stop QE in the foreseeable future, so stocks are likely to continue rising. If the Dow Jones Index falls below 13000, this could mark a bearish shift in the market.

Gold and Silver
The Federal Reserve may taper its bond and securities purchases, thus pushing up interest rates and resulting in the falling of the price of gold.

If, however, we see increasing political upheaval and a greater social unrest, which I am anticipating, this would support a rise in the price of gold.

With Jupiter in Cancer and in Leo, which represent silver and gold respectively, and with Mars going into Scorpio from July 25th until September 13th, 2014, this could be a time of a strong rally for precious metals since Mars in Scorpio is a good predictor of a surge in the price of gold and silver.

In the long run, however, gold and silver prices will soar. As to exactly when, depends on how long the manipulators can control the markets. Once there is a breakdown in trust and a market panic, everyone will turn to gold. Right now it is a bargain. If you have any spare money, buy a small amount of both gold and silver. Keep buying more each time the price dips. At some point, I am still confident that gold will trade above $3000 USD an ounce and silver will be at $100 per ounce.

Weather Changes
I predicted last year that with so many planets in water signs that we would see flooding, heavy rains, tornadoes, and great destruction from water. We saw flooding in so many places around the world: in Colorado, throughout much of Europe, in Canada, the devastating floods in Jakarta, Indonesia, in Thailand, and more recently, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, to name but a few.

With Jupiter in Cancer for almost 7 months of the year, Saturn still in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces, I am anticipating more issues around water and flooding again this year.

With Jupiter in Leo from July 16th, especially with the square to Saturn in Scorpio, I think this could result in extreme heat, widespread fires, and heat in areas where it is least expected.

With Uranus playing such a central role in Aries triggering the Cardinal Cross, I anticipate extreme temperature changes, earthquakes, tsunamis, power outages and general weather and earth changes.

During Mars Retrograde from March 2nd until May 20th is not the best time to start something new e.g. a job, a house move.
It is not a good time to initiate a dispute as the person who is the aggressor usually loses.
Mars rules surgery so if you have any elective surgery, try to schedule it before or after the Mars retrograde.
This will be a wonderful time for people in the repair business, especially anything connected with mechanical or technical breakdowns. So many people’s systems will break down at this time and their services will be in great demand.

Summary of Predictions for 2014:

Economy and Government:
Continued economic stagnation
More riots and protests
Bailout after bailout continues
Higher unemployment
More failures of large insurance companies
Rising food and power costs
Gold and silver very volatile but going upwards by the end of the year
Mobile money will continue to grow
Adoption of more crypto-currencies like Bitcoin
Print publications continue to die off
More whistleblowers come forward like Edward Snowden
Attempted crackdown on Internet freedoms by various governments

Improvements in stem cell therapy
Breakthroughs in cancer research and treatments
Great progress in genome sequencing
Mobile fitness device market growing
Growth of Health Apps e.g. Diabetes UK for blood glucose, Healthsome for blood pressure
People becoming more actively involved in their own healthcare

Housing and living:
Passive housing becoming a growing market
Sustainable cities becoming more prevalent
Growth in use and application of Green Technology
Cities getting smarter as sensors connect transportation, health care, lighting e.g. sensors to help you find a parting spot, safety, security, earthquake detection

Wearable devices will proliferate
Google Glass to be launched into mainstream
Apple iWatch coming this year
Ipads and tablets growing use in education globally
Improvements in battery technology e.g. mobile phones which can be recharged from flat in just 10 minutes and will stay charged for at least a week
More space travel and exploration
Robots being used for daily activities
3D printing becoming mainstream
Smarter devices for tracking where we are, what we are doing and how they can help us
More time travel experiments
Space explorations increase with research into other universes
New technology and social media helping people to find work e.g. Backr, Networking for Work which trains jobseekers how to use social media to find work
Using technology so that we can all find meaningful work

Extreme patterns worldwide
More earthquakes than usual
Greater extremes of hot and cold
Flooding and water problems
Discovery of new lands emerging from the sea
Power outages
Necessity of survival kits and backup for power, food and water
Breakthroughs in our understanding of the sea

An awakening of consciousness becoming more and more widespread
People connecting with their ‘tribes’
Movements of large numbers of people to safer places where they can be more self-sufficient and connect with like-minded people

During these tumultuous times of the Cardinal Climax we have a unique opportunity to bring about personal and global changes that will change our world for the better.
These difficult aspects can help to bring about much-needed changes as we cannot continue to destroy our planet as we have been doing. The trine between Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn is still in play, giving us a window of opportunity to create the kind of world where love and peace prevail.

Happy New Year!