ABOUT WALT HILKER
Experienced since 1987 in qualitative and quantitative marketing research design, implementation and analysis, Walt has become a focus group moderator of choice for several clients.
Walt is recognized for his high level of moderating and interviewing skills:
- Probing for greater insight and understanding of the client’s objectives
- Managing difficult respondents and situations
Walt has studied consumers, retailers and executives on issues and objectives that include:
- New product development
- Barriers to product acceptance
- New features and technologies
- Product design / package assessment
- Ideation and metaphor research
- Brand image and positioning
- Advertising research
- Customer satisfaction / loyalty
- Lost shoppers and disloyalty
- Retail customer experiences
- Societal trends
- Website development
- Website usability labs
- Expert evaluations
Methodologically, Walt has experience in a broad range of qualitative approaches:
- Face-to-face focus groups and IDI’s
- In-home interviews and ethnographies
- Online (forums/bulletin boards, real-time chat, webcam, diaries)
- Phone interviews
Walt served as Director of Research and Client Development for J. D. Power and Associates in its Detroit office. During his tenure, Walt designed the firm’s foray into marketing research and consulting within the automotive financing area. Walt created, administered and authored the Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study, an annual report measuring dealer principals’ satisfaction with the lenders they use for wholesale and retail financing. As the firm’s emissary to the automotive financing industry, Walt addressed 700 attendees of the Consumer Bankers Association annual convention in 1995, and spoke to the Association of Consumer Vehicle Lessors later that year.
While with J. D. Power and Associates, Walt redesigned and managed the annual Dealer Attitude Survey and co-wrote the original Early Buyer Survey, then the firm’s most significant study, which each year yielded the high-profile Initial Quality Study and Sales Satisfaction Index as well as measures of consumer loyalty and switching.
Walt also served as Vice President for Opinion Research Corporation International and directed its automotive custom research practice, leading a staff that managed all ad hoc research and analysis.
Early in his career, Walt was a member of the product research teams at Fisher-Price Toys and Nissan Motor Corporation in USA. Walt holds an MBA degree from Brigham Young University and an undergraduate business degree from the University of Southern California.