Custom Research

Every company has a unique approach when it comes to making strategic decisions. The data you use to inform these decisions should be unique too.

Our Approach to Market Research

Why is Stratus the best choice for custom research solutions?

Industry Expertise
Industry Expertise

Offering a deep and broad knowledge of agriculture to save you time informing the research.

Informed Advisors
Informed Advisors

Overseeing your study to ensure properly designed methodology is always applied.

Clear Reporting
Clear Reporting

Interpreting your data and converting it into meaningful insights

Trusted Results
Trusted Results

Applying years of technical expertise in statistical analysis to produce findings that are exceptionally accurate.

Extensive Database
Extensive Database

Accessing our farmer and retailer database for added value. Our depth and breadth of research ensure findings are always representative.

Quantitative Research

In order to provide a statistically accurate view of a market, Stratus delivers studies with a large number of representative survey respondents.


  • Online surveys are the best way to do quantitative research in agriculture.
  • Our online survey process has several advantages:
    • Higher Quality Data Respondents often need time to check their records and think through their answers. Answers to telephone surveys can be superficial.
    • Honest Answers Respondents will enter real answers, good or bad. They are less likely to give honest-but-negative answers when talking to an interviewer.
    • Less Intrusive Respondents can do an online survey whenever it is convenient. We’ve found that they resent being interrupted by phone calls. That can affect how they answer, as well as their view of you and the market research company.
    • Faster Depending on the time of year and geography, Stratus can complete data collection for many projects in just a few days.
    • Lower Cost Online outreach requires less labour, saving you money.
    • Representative Sample Commercial farmers are comfortable working online. Telephone surveys rely on a shrinking demographic.
  • Our surveys can target responses from 100 to 1500 participants, but most are 300 to 500.
  • Participants come from our extensive database of North American farmers and ag retailers.
  • Questionnaires are designed by experienced market research professionals with agricultural backgrounds.
  • Questionnaires reflect your input and edits. You get to approve the final version.
  • Respondents are always paid. It’s important to recognize their time and knowledge.
  • Data is tabulated, summarized, and analyzed to generate important insights.
  • Findings and charts are collected into a PowerPoint report with Excel tables embedded for a complete dataset.
  • Findings are explained, and we will discuss the implications of the results.

Qualitative Research

Sometimes you’ll need to know more about the underlying attitudes and beliefs of your customers. We dig into why farmers and ag retailers make the decisions they do each day for their operation.


  • Our qualitative studies utilize individual in-depth interviews, telephone focus groups, or online focus groups.
  • In-depth interviews are typically 30 – 60-minute telephone discussions.
  • Focus groups bring together small groups who share their thoughts and experiences.
  • Participants are recruited from our extensive database of farmers, retailers, and consultants.
  • The thousands of online interviews completed for syndicated Stratus studies help us identify the right people for qualitative studies.
  • Online sessions enable us to share visuals with participants.
  • Discussions are led by a highly qualified interviewer with 25+ years of ag research experience.

Our Market Research Expertise

Choosing the right study methodology is critical to the success of any research project. Together, we’ll determine the right survey type — blending components from study types if necessary — to deliver what you need to make decisions.

Here’s how we will set you up for success:

  • We work with you to make sure the objectives are clearly defined upfront.
  • Then we consider if qualitative, quantitative, or a combination of both is the best approach.
  • If qualitative, we ask: do we want individual opinions through in-depth interviews or focus groups?
  • If quantitative, we ask: what statistical approach is required?

Our leading statistical methods include:

  • Discrete Choice experiments for determining optimum price points/uptake modeling;
  • Maximum Difference Scaling to measure attribute importance;
  • Correlation Analysis to identify characteristics associated with preference;
  • And Latent Class Analysis for segmentation work

Want to know what your customers think of your products and services? Stratus creates a clear picture of customer perceptions on the things that really matter.

OUR APPROACH

  • Critical performance characteristics are identified from our experience, discussions with you and, if necessary, using qualitative research.
  • Key competitors are identified through discussion with your organization.
  • Maximum Difference Scaling is used to understand the importance of each characteristic.
  • Customers (and sometimes potential customers) are invited to participate in an online survey.
  • Participants are screened based on their experience. Those with the right profile provide ratings of the relevant products, services, or companies.
  • Correlation analysis is used to identify those factors that are most closely associated with overall performance.
  • Data is presented using clear visuals that illustrate your performance vs. your competitors.
  • The strategic importance of each characteristic is illustrated.


BENEFITS OF BRAND PERCEPTIONS

  • Construct brand positioning that resonates with customers and differentiates from competitors.
  • Focus communications on the product characteristics that really matter.
  • Identify opportunities to improve how customers see your brand.

For a new product, program, or service, it is always wise to find out how the market will react prior to launch. Stratus clearly illustrates how the concept is perceived.

OUR APPROACH

  • A list of potential features and benefits is developed from the market knowledge we have. Qualitative research can also be used, if needed.
  • Maximum Difference Scaling is included to understand the relative importance of the features and benefits.
  • Relevant competitors/alternatives are included in the study design.
  • The new concept is described to participants through a series of charts and images. The goal is to inform participants about the new concept in a completely balanced way.
  • If the cost is known, participants are informed. If the cost has not been established, we will recommend a pricing and uptake study.
  • Participants tell us what they like and dislike about the concept.
  • Participants rate the concept against the competitive offers they know.
  • In a variety of ways, interest in the new concept is measured.
  • Data is presented in a way that clearly illustrates the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the new concept compared to existing alternatives.
  • Ways to improve the concept design are identified.


BENEFITS OF CONCEPT TESTING

  • Adjust the concept design based on market knowledge.
  • Build the new concept story around the features and benefits most important to customers.
  • Identify opportunities to effectively differentiate from competitors.
  • Target the most receptive customers.

New product business plans require solid data to optimize prices, revenue, and gross profit. Stratus builds sophisticated market modeling tools so you can make informed decisions.

OUR APPROACH

  • Stratus works with you and existing data to build an accurate view of the current market, including existing products, with price and share. This provides a base case.
  • A modelling technique is developed so participants will engage in an exercise that makes sense to their situation and how they consider their options. This can be as simple as a list of products or have the complexity of dozens of variables.
  • Everyone must be fully informed to make valid selections in the subsequent Discrete Choice exercise:
    • If introducing a new product, program or concept, its strengths and weaknesses will be described to survey participants in a complete and balanced way.
    • Participants will see the offer compared in detail to key competitors.
    • Participants will answer questions about the new offer to assess their interest and to ensure they are fully aware of its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Each participant will review a series of screens, each with a different scenario, and are to make choices in each scenario.
  • A Market Simulator is constructed from the data. Variables can be changed to analyze the impact on product uses and the market size.
  • Stratus analyzes the data to illustrate product potential and the impact of various changes.


BENEFITS OF PRICE MODELLING

  • Set price to maximize profit.
  • Build a business plan for a new product.
  • Generate support and attract investment.
  • Right-size marketing budget to align with a new product’s potential.
  • See the impact of the new product on others in a product line - Maximize total profit.
  • Assess the value of individual components or traits

From new product development to designing effective marketing campaigns, you need to better understand the unique needs of your customers to effectively build tailored solutions.

OUR APPROACH

  • We start by understanding your needs for a market segmentation. How a segmentation will be used within an organization and the requirements for activating it are as important as determining the factors on which you wish to derive the segmentation.
  • Our typical approach to segmentation is to first understand the differences in customer behaviours and then overlay demographics to profile the segments.
  • We work together with you to determine the behaviours that are most relevant to their business case to differentiate on.
  • A segmentation project may be limited to a single topic and used as a means to add greater understanding.
  • More robust segmentation models can be used to develop customer portraits that an entire organization can buy in to as a means of developing a deeper connection with their customers.


BENEFITS OF SEGMENTATION

  • Develop improved marketing campaigns that resonate with your customers.
  • Activate the sales organization by clearly articulating the fit and matter of your product portfolio and the unique needs of your customers.
  • Direct resources for future product development based on a deeper level of understanding of your customers unique needs.

Agriculture is about technology. You need to understand what farmers are doing and why. Stratus uses our knowledge of agriculture to get the answers.

OUR APPROACH

  • We start by making sure we have clearly defined the range of practices that farmers use, and the underlying reasons for those decisions.
  • Usually, the pooled knowledge between Stratus and your organization generates the range of on-farm behaviors. However, this could also require discussions with technical experts or qualitative research with farmers.
  • Often, we explore challenges that farmers face with existing practices. The questionnaire is designed to make agronomic sense to participants.
  • Findings are usually quantified and extrapolated to the universe, for example percent of total crop acres that use a particular practice.
  • Data is summarized and presented in charts. In some cases, Excel pivot tables are provided to enable you to filter the data for specific criteria.


BENEFITS OF AGRONOMIC PRACTICES AND ATTITUDES RESEARCH

  • Monitor changing agronomic practices.
  • Identify pain points in farmer production practices.
  • Plan their research and development program.
  • Identify new opportunities.

Our Areas of Expertise

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Grain Marketing in North America

Successful grain marketing is a critical success factor for many farming operations.  Our client wanted to further their understanding of the grain marketing process for North American...