Services

Solving Business Problems

With 60+ collective years of marketing research experience, Merrill Research has helped clients solve critical business problems and discover emerging product and market opportunities.  Merrill offers specific expertise in New Product Development, Product Evaluation and Strategic Communications.

solving problems circle

The New Product Development Process

  • Product/concept evaluation
    • Feature prioritization
    • Product line optimization
  • Product positioning
    • Industrial design/ergonomic assessment
    • Price-volume/elasticity
  • Segmentation
  • Conjoint/Discrete choice modeling

Strategic Communications New Product Development

  • Strategic positioning evaluation
  • Advertising/copy development and evaluation
  • Advertising benchmark and tracking
  • Brand image evaluation and tracking
  • Packaging direction and evaluation
  • Product/brand name development
  • Brand equity evaluation
  • Conjoint/Discrete choice modeling

Product Evaluation

  • Customer satisfaction/net promoter scores (NPS)
  • Product use/taste
  • Product usability
  • Product usage and attitudes
  • Product ergonomics/industrial design
  • GUI/web usability
  • In-home use test

A Complete Range of Research Methodologies

Merrill Research employs a full range of data collection methodologies, from web surveys to ethnographic research. This deep experience means that Merrill can provide an objective assessment of the ideal approach to meet your business needs without the blinders of smaller research firms with limited offerings or the one size fits all solutions offered by larger research firms.

Quantitative Research Services

  • Web Surveys offered on a variety of platforms
  • Concept evaluation
  • Telephone surveys
  • Mail surveys
  • Central location testing (CLT)
  • Custom research panel
  • Sampling guidance and consulting
  • Brand/product positioning
  • Usage and attitude studies
  • Advertising copy evaluation
  • Advertising and image tracking
  • Naming evaluation
  • Packaging evaluation
  • Market segmentation
  • Pricing studies

Qualitative Research Services

  • Focus Groups
  • Mini focus groups
  • Dyads/triads
  • Online bulletin boards/Focus groups
  • In-Depth Interviews
  • Ethnographic Research
  • Telephone audit interviews

Custom Community Development

Merrill Research builds custom community ePanels for companies who need to conduct frequent surveys among specific target audiences.  Merrill offers full service ePanel capabilities:

  • Complete panel development
  • Branded or unbranded ePanel portal/website
  • Initial Panel recruitment and ongoing ePanel refresh
  • Ongoing Panel management/monitoring
  • Conduct of frequent surveys

Uses of Panel Communities

Data Analysis Techniques

Merrill Research’s senior project directors, working closely with its partners, conduct all data analysis in-house.  From simple cross tabulation to complex multivariate techniques, Merrill’s highly skilled staff can extract, synthesize and summarize the actionable information required.

Merrill Research statisticians are skilled in the following techniques:

  • Segmentation
  • Conjoint and discrete choice modeling—including a friendly,custom Excel-based simulator
  • Perceptual mapping
  • Factor analysis
  • Discriminant/regression analysis
  • RIM weighting
  • Correlation analysis
  • Max-Diff

Our team of senior analysts with tenured industry experience manage every project on a hands-on basis. Projects are never assigned to inexperienced researchers as we do not employ any.

Deep International Capabilities and Expertise

Merrill Research provides strategic international market research services in over 65 countries in North America, South America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions, with extensive experience in multiple methodologies: focus groups, in-depth interviewing (in-person and telephone), online studies and telephone studies (including tracking studies).  Merrill’s international research team has the expertise to conduct both B2B and consumer research studies with the highest quality standards.  Merrill works with international partners in Paris, London, Beijing and Shanghai that are among the most respected in the industry. Merrill’s partners have offices throughout their regions, offering local project support.  Merrill’s New York-based team works closely with its international partners  to  eliminate delays due to time zone differences and project coordination.

Managing Cultural and Language Challenges

International market research poses significant language and cultural challenges.  We manage these challenges through a range of culturally sensitive approaches and expertise:

  • Moderators and qualitative research specialists hold advanced degrees. All of our moderators are bilingual.
  • Methodologies and survey instruments are sensitive to cultural and language differences.
  • Use of professional translators with proven, accurate knowledge of product/technical terminology—a must for
    international technology studies
  • Creating culturally meaningful questionnaires and interpreting the data in light of country-to-country differences
  • Access to high quality respondents for qualitative research as well as online and telephone samples for both consumer and B2B studies
  • Use of focus group facilities that are comfortable and modern with spacious client observation rooms
  • On-going mentoring and guidance from Merrill’s partners

Merrill Research’s goal is to provide international research capabilities that are a seamless extension of its U.S. capabilities – exceeding client expectations worldwide.

Market_Industries_Head TECHNOLOGY

  • Semiconductors

    General Purpose Microprocessors, DSPs, analog and mixed signal components, microcontrollers, DLPs, security processors, FPGAs, PLDs, CPLDs, Gate Arrays, communications silicon, network processors, ASICS, memory, clean-room technology, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, GaAS, EDA equipment, oscillators.

  • Hardware

    PDAs, tablets, laptops, notebooks, personal computers, workstations, servers, mainframes, supercomputers.

  • Networking/Communications

    Smartphones, PCS, satellite communications, packet-switching technology, intelligent hubs, wireless LANs, WANs, routers, layer 4-7 switches, firewalls, session controllers, proxies, IDS/IPS, VPN concentrators, servers, load balancers, SSL accelerators, intranets, extranets

  • Software/Security

    Productivity, entertainment, operating systems, business and personal applications, firmware, browsers, e-mail, security software (encryption, network vulnerability and remediation, DNS, malware, SSL).

  • Peripherals

    Printers, monitors, scanners, digital cameras, modems, mouse technology, storage technology (hard disk drives, micro drives, flash memory)

  • Distribution Channel

    Computer retailers, systems integrators, ISVs, ISPs, VARs, OEMs, sophisticated end-users, distributors, eCommerce

  • Internet/Information Industry

    Internet-based services and products, SaaS, online information retrieval systems, web hosting, domain investing

Market_Industries_Head TARGET AUDIENCES

Merrill Research has deep experience conducting research among the following B2B and B2C audiences.

For more information, please contact David Schneer at dschneer@merrill.com or 650-954-2941.

Market_Industries_Head WINE AND SPIRITS

Merrill Research has significant experience in the wine and spirits industry working with major wine brands since 1986 and continues to offer specialized services for the industry.  Merrill has successfully conducted qualitative and quantitative studies in every segment of the wine industry and regularly interfaces with both consumers and influential members of the trade (e.g., retailers, distributors, wine writers, restaurateurs, wine sommeliers, etc.).

SPECIALIZED INDUSTRY TRACK RECORD

Patrick Merrill, co-founder of Merrill Research, has over 30 years of marketing research experience in the wine and spirits category.  Pat previously held market research roles at Heublein Wines and the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company and has worked with leading distilled spirits manufacturers worldwide.  Because of this experience, Merrill understands the types of information needed and the specialized methodologies required to collect and interpret data for wine and spirits projects.

Our clients include wine and spirits producers of all sizes ranging from brands selling millions of cases annually to brands with less than 25,000 cases of annual sales.  We also work with leading wine industry associations and appellations on a  global basis as well as with leading retailers and distributors.

Merrill Research services in the beverage alcohol category includes the following:

  • Concept evaluation
  • Brand/product positioning
  • Usage and attitude studies
  • Advertising copy evaluation
  • Naming evaluation
  • Packaging evaluation
  • Advertising and image tracking
  • Market segmentation
  • Pricing studies
  • Market tracking studies
  • Sip/HUT testing
  • Trade studies
  • Syndicated reports

GRAPES & GRAIN OPINION PANEL:

Insights from highly engaged wine & spirits drinkers

We built the Grapes & Grain Opinion Panel in 2011. This consumer panel is the largest panel in North America dedicated to wine and spirits drinkers, all of whom have joined the panel from 2011 to today.

“Typical household panels have never provided much insight on luxury wine drinkers. That is why Merrill Research’s Grapes & Grains Opinion Panel is invaluable. It is a gold mine of rich data and insight, which has given Silverado Vineyards calls to action we can trust.”

Russ Weis, General Manager, Silverado Vineyards

We have profiled the panel based on the following:

  • Glasses of whiskey and ice cubes on wooden surface with window back lightDemographics
  • On-/Off-premise drinking
  • Wine: frequency of consumption, varietals consumed, price points paid
  • Spirits: frequency of consumption, categories consumed, price points paid
  • Brand usage (for major brands)

The panel includes folks from every state in the US as well as a limited number of people in Canada and the UK. Nine in ten are core wine drinkers (drink wine weekly or more often), four in ten are core spirits drinkers (drink spirits weekly or more often) and an additional 30% are past 30-day spirits drinkers.

Our panelists are only surveyed about wine & spirits, areas of keen interest to our panelists and a key reason why we experience such high response rates and are able to gain such keen insights.

The panel can be used for a wide range of quantitative or qualitative research purposes. You can also access the panel from a full-service perspective or a la carte (e.g., web programming, data collection and data processing only).

WINE INDUSTRY NEWS:

  • Pat Merrill attends orientation at UC Davis wine education facility in 2015.
  • Pat Merrill joined the Board of Directors for a small, ultra-premium Sonoma wine producer in 2014.
  • Merrill Research introduced its Grapes & Grain consumer panel in 2011.  It is the largest consumer panel dedicated to wine and spirits drinkers in the US and provides unparalleled access to wine and spirits  drinkers who are passionate about sharing their opinions. (LINK TO SLIDE 13)
  • Merrill article on the use of marketing research in the package design process to be published in Wine Business Monthly (2006)
  • Pat spoke at the Wine Evolution conference in Paris in 20006.
  • Merrill Research quoted in the March 24, 2005 issue of Rich Cartiere’s Wine Market Report, the market intelligence report for industry executives.
  • Pat Merrill will speak at the January 2005 Wine & Grape Symposium on the use of focus groups and web-based surveys in the wine industry. For more information, please visit their website:www.unifiedsymposium.org
  • Merrill Research introduced its Wine & Dine research service to the wine industry in Spring 2004. Contact Pat Merrill for details.
  • Pat spoke at the 2004 World Wine Forum in Rioja, Spain about the consumer profile of the import wine drinker in the U.S. For more information, please visit their website: www. larioja.org/forovino/eng/general_information
  • Pat Merrill spoke at the January 2003 Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, CA on the use of custom marketing research in the wine industry. For more information, please visit their website: www.unifiedsymposium.org

Market_Industries_Head HOSPITALITY

The restaurant industry continues to evolve and challenge our clients. Merrill Research, with almost 30 years experience in the restaurant industry, helps our clients address these changes and challenges by conducting research that responds to:
hospitality pie chart
  • Changing demographics
  • Social/entertainment values and behaviors relative to dining behaviors
  • Food consumption trends
  • Emerging chains
  • Emergence of “fast casual” restaurants
  • Overlap of QSRs and casual dining offerings
  • Evolution of the competitive set – traditional competition, dining at home,  gourmet take-out
  • Wine consumption trends
Merrill Research’s extensive quantitative and qualitative research experience in the restaurant industry includes, but is not limited to:
  • Consumer trends
  • Customer segmentation
  • Brand perceptions
  • Brand identity/personality and positioning
  • Advertising development and evaluation
  • Menu item development and sensory evaluation
  • Guest satisfaction surveys
  • Employee acquisition and satisfaction
Experience with other consumer products and services include:
  • branding wordleOther food & beverages
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Publishing
  • Fashion and apparel
  • Home entertainment
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