With the possibility of a new US federal infrastructure package in 2021, a national building material association wanted to learn more about what type of products and materials were being used in existing infrastructure projects and what materials were preferred. By becoming more familiar with the market’s product use and preference, the association would be in a better position to maximize the opportunity for their members with a new infrastructure spending package.
To provide the specific market information and feedback needed, the association turned to Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM) to design and implement a research program to meet their specific objectives. This research project also required a fast turn-around in order for the association to have enough time to prepare marketing materials and take advantage of the new infrastructure package. Not only did the association want feedback from municipalities across the US, but they also wanted feedback from designers, engineers and contractors involved with infrastructure projects. In addition, the research needed to provide results based on different types of delivery systems.
The main objectives of the research were to: 1) find out what type of products and materials were currently used by municipalities and why; 2) find out what type of material the market prefers for various applications; 3) learn more about the volume of product replacement the market anticipates in the next few years; and 4) measure the market’s satisfaction with the materials used in infrastructure projects.
To meet the objectives within the limited time allocated, AIM needed to work quickly and efficiently to provide the client with key market feedback. To begin the process, AIM met virtually with the client team and an affiliate association to learn more details about the product’s use in infrastructure projects and identified what information was most important to the client’s objectives.
Since the research needed to include a variety of different audiences, AIM recommended there be two different variations of the survey: one for designers and contractors and one for municipalities. Using AIM’s in-house web designers and programmers, AIM was able to design an online survey where the questions and formats would vary slightly depending on the respondent’s involvement with infrastructure projects. However, to reduce the time needed for data analysis and reporting, the survey data would flow into one database.
AIM worked closely with the association staff to ensure the survey instrument was designed to include language and question formats appropriate for each audience. The survey was also reviewed by a selection of professionals involved in the industry to validate the questions and response formats. Since the success of any research project depends on obtaining sufficient response from the target audience, AIM used their relationship with an industry media outlet to obtain access to key design and engineering professionals. In addition, the client provided access of municipality professionals through an industry related association.
To provide the client a balanced national overview, AIM included demographic questions on region, size or volume of work and type of involvement in infrastructure projects.
The research was completed within only four weeks and AIM was able to successfully meet all the client’s objectives. There were over 225 respondents, which gave the client a 95% confidence level in the data. In addition, the research report provided the client with specific detailed information on the strengths, benefits and satisfaction with the materials for various applications. The research also provided the association with valuable information on the anticipated volume of projects over the next few years and how often specific types of projects would be to likely use the associations products and materials.
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