Research Services

February 28, 2016

Research Services


Value Add

For the past 25 years, we have designed and implemented virtually every type of business research for hundreds of companies in nearly every major industry. Our methodologies and end products satisfy our clients’ needs, from basic business information to highly creative, complex projects combining a multitude of research, analytical, and organizational skills.

We don’t experiment on you.
We already know what works and what doesn’t.

Our seasoned professionals follow a tailored research design process. Together with our client, they define the project’s research objectives and ultimate business goals. This enables us to design an optimum research methodology while respecting our client’s time and budget constraints. We then execute and carry out the plan. Once the research is complete, we summarize, analyze, and deliver the results in whatever form best meets your needs.

Law Firm Research and Paralegal Services

Our research for law firms and corporate counsel tracks down critical, often obscure documentation that supports court cases.

For IP law practices, we excel at creative non-patent prior art research and tracking down obscure and retrospective documents such as old products and product catalogs, manuals, technical specifications, drawings, photographs, packaging, and advertising.

In addition to IP work, we also provide professional paralegal services to law firms and licensed attorneys. We offer:

  • Supplemental Paralegal Support to your existing legal team
  • Legal document preparation such as complaints, motions, and contracts
  • Business and Employee/Employer mediation in a third party setting
  • Legal research: locating and obtaining obscure documents and non-patent prior art
  • Interviewing, field work, data collection
  • Each project is tailored specific to the client’s need
  • Our greatest strengths:

  • Our resources and skill sets are different than those of law firms
  • We excel at obtaining any documentation that still exists
  • Our sources are worldwide, developed over the past 25 years
  • This includes reliable people on the ground in numerous countries
  • We are sticklers about sources – we know that whatever we provide must be good enough to hold up in court
  • We have provided non-patent prior art research to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for over 15 years
  • Recent projects:

    We found and purchased 78 obsolete electronic toys and games with specified manufacturing dates & serial numbers; and we identified the individual manufacturing plant that produced each one. We researched and documented several dozen Internet retailers’ “customer shopping cart” software systems and the companies that supplied them.

    We documented every form of a disputed logo’s historical and current usage by a particular manufacturer. This included product catalog pictures, service partners’ web pages, product photos from online auction sites, pictures and video from social networking sites, and candid snapshots we took while personally visiting the company’s local distributor.

    Market and Industry Research and Analysis

    Industry profiles, media scans clipping services or RSS feeds on industries or competitors, environmental scans; collecting, filtering, organizing, and presenting data.

    Social Media Monitoring & Reporting

    A business’s return relies upon the strength of its customer relationships and its reputation in the marketplace. Our social media monitoring helps clients gauge this success and identify potential trouble spots, in real time.

    We provide one-time snapshots and ongoing monitoring and reporting. Sometimes we just jump in and participate! Every project begins with our selectively gathering whatever is most relevant to our client’s interests. We access the top social media networks, many that are more obscure, and those that are specific to our client’s business, such as industry blogs. Our reports summarize and quantify our findings across different variables.

    We also offer analytical reports summarizing trends and themes that are surfacing in social media that can be integrated into our clients’ marketing and business development strategies.

    Our greatest strengths:

  • We have a solid understanding of how social media can be used to benefit business strategies.
  • We’re aware of the best social networks for business information.
  • We use analytics and internet monitoring tools to yield highly selective and thorough results.
  • We sometimes participate directly to ask our own questions.
  • Recent projects:

    A large sports company retained us to gauge its social media success versus others in their industry. We compared each company’s followers across the leading social networks. Our visual, detailed reports made it easy to see those areas where our client had surpassed its competitors and where it was gaining traction. We provided valuable insights about a Fortune 500 company’s social media fan base, quantifying growth trends in selected areas. Our client used the information to make informed decisions about some of its marketing strategies.

    We were asked to find out, over the weekend, which cars sold in the U.S. have heated windshield wiper reservoirs. Unable to reach industry experts, we blogged all day Saturday with automotive enthusiasts, confirmed their information Sunday through published car specifications, and delivered a complete and accurate list Monday morning.

    Marketing & Branding Research

    Our customized research lights the path for marketing and branding strategies – for individual products & services, business divisions, and entire companies. At the core of every project are in-depth interviews of prospective customers. We explore their knowledge, perceptions, loyalties, biases, and buying practices. If the purpose is to craft a new package, a new message, or a new name, we learn what most attracts and engages different customer segments – and why.

    If the goal is to develop a broader marketing or branding strategy, we delve more deeply into customer requirements, buying practices, and competitive intelligence.

    Our greatest strengths:

  • The “up front” and “back end” of the project: working with clients to fully understand their issues drives (1) our creation of a highly effective research design and (2) our strategic analysis of the research results.
  • As a full-service market research firm, we can apply a range of different research methods to satisfy all the requirements of complex projects.
  • Cost-effective and fast turnaround

    Recent projects:

    Before naming an iconic new healthcare building in downtown Cleveland, its administrators asked us to solicit feedback from eight different stakeholder groups, including the city’s business, government, and medical communities. We surveyed each group via the Internet. Considering a wide variety of opinions, our analysis concluded that one name in particular would satisfy most stakeholders: “Global Center for Health Innovation.” Within 30 days of delivering our report, this name was formally chosen and announced.

    For a major metropolitan hospital, we surveyed over 500 households in its surrounding city and suburbs. We “peeled the onion” of public perception, learning what area residents thought of this versus competing hospitals and the extent to which their perceptions were accurate or not. This enabled us to assess the effectiveness of the institution’s current marketing efforts and recommend needed changes.

    Prior to introducing a new luxury sports vehicle in the U.S. market, the manufacturer engaged us to tell them:

  • How many vehicles could they expect to sell?
  • Who would buy them and in what parts of the country?
  • How should they be distributed and serviced?
  • What product features would customers want?
  • How much would consumers be willing to pay for different models?
  • To answer these and other questions, we:

  • Conducted a nationwide Internet survey of affluent consumers
  • Conducted focus groups in U.S. cities where our Internet survey indicated the greatest interest. Prior to each focus group, we gave an outdoor presentation and ride in the vehicle to every participant
  • Conducted trade-off analysis (modified conjoint analysis) to determine relative values of various product features
  • Created mathematical models to forecast sales and pricing scenarios for different vehicle models
  • Institutional and Government Specialized Research

    Educational Institutions

    Our research for colleges, universities, and secondary schools has ranged from surveying students, faculty, alumni, and parents to working hand-in-hand with administrators to develop new institutional branding and marketing plans.

    Healthcare Institutions

    Most of our work for healthcare institutions supports their external marketing efforts. For example, we recently completed an in-depth perception study for a major hospital based on interviewing hundreds of residents in surrounding communities. In addition to hospitals, we’ve worked for nursing homes, home health organizations, and assisted living retirement communities.

    Nonprofit Institutions

    We help nonprofits with both internal and external issues. On the internal side, we recently benchmarked the compensation packages of selected museum directors across the country. On the external side, we frequently assess awareness and perception among different stakeholder groups, as well as explore new ideas for growing visitors, memberships, and endowments.

    Government Research

    For three decades, we’ve maintained our mastery of government statistics in support of quantitative market research. Knowing in advance what industry data the government collects (and doesn’t) and where to find it is a tremendous time saver.

    As for primary market research, we have:

  • Interviewed registered voters about upcoming ballot issues
  • Conducted focus groups of business owners about partnering with their local government
  • Surveyed local government officials about business development plans
  • Interviewed federal government officials on a wide variety of topics
  • The Research Investment is nationally certified by WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) as a woman-owned business and is registered on CCR, ORCA, and other contractor procurement databases of the Federal Government. Our WBENC certification helps Federal contractors meet mandates for supplier diversity when they outsource research to us.

    Company Intelligence

    Competitors, definitely, but we also research current and prospective:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Distributors
  • Acquisition candidates
  • Business partners
  • We find out how they operate, how successful they are, their strengths & weaknesses, what they’ve been up to, and what they’re planning.

    We often start by finding what’s available in print. This includes the internet but also our annual subscriptions to large, private, global databases. These contain company information that is NOT FREE (and frequently not at all) on the internet. Depending on what we’re looking for, we frequently fill in the gaps by interviewing all kinds of companies, starting with multiple access points at the target company itself. We may go on to interview the company’s customers, suppliers, competitors, former employees, and whoever else would know about them.

    Our greatest strengths:

  • Ability to retrieve virtually anything in print, anywhere in the world
  • Deep grounding in how companies are structured, how they operate, and how they compete – we understand the big picture and know how all the pieces fit
  • More than 25 years of experience helps us know up front what information we likely can/can’t obtain; who is more/less likely to speak with us
  • Ability to identify and interview knowledgeable individuals in key companies
  • Professional integrity in obtaining sensitive company information
  • Recent projects:

    A Fortune 500 producer of electronic equipment asked us to research and write a detailed report on its largest global competitor, a European manufacturer attempting to penetrate the North American market.

    Our 50-page report included sections on:

  • Company direction & vision
  • Organizational structure
  • Worldwide strategy, by region
  • Financials (including estimates for global regions and product groups)
  • Product and R&D strategy
  • Sales and distribution processes & strategy
  • Service & support capabilities
  • Marketing
  • Hiring & employment practices
  • Opportunities and threats
  • Job descriptions and locations of selected U.S. employees.
  • North American distributor network (detailed profiles on 19 companies)
  • With the assistance of our research partners in Europe, Asia, and South America, we successfully unraveled and interviewed the worldwide purchasing organizations of two global corporations. Each one’s complex buying processes differed by continent, and often by country. Our report explained how and where each company sources a particular group of products for its factories and warehouses, wherever they are in the world.

    For a global manufacturer of material handling equipment, we profiled every product distribution center owned and operated by two of the largest retailers in Europe. Among the detailed information we delivered was the unit count, by brand, of the material handling equipment in each facility.

    Industry Specific Research

    Our strongest suit has always been B2B research in a wide range of industries, including many Fortune 500 companies.

    We have an insider’s knowledge and understanding of certain industries due to our frequent research – for them and about them – for over 25 years:

  • Hospitals and other healthcare providers
  • Biotechnology
  • Medical devices
  • Polymers
  • Specialty chemicals and advanced materials
  • Vehicle components
  • Instrumentation
  • Heavy equipment & machinery
  • Construction materials
  • Educational institutions
  • Cultural institutions
  • We also have decades of experience as outsourced research partners of:

  • Law firms
  • Management consultants
  • Public relations firms
  • Venture capital firms
  • M&A and turnaround specialists
  • Failure analysis engineers