About

Intuition, Creativity
And Insight – Built
From Experience

“Walt is our go-to focus group moderator… He is like the 5th Beatle of our research team!”

– Research And Planning Manager, Client

Walter R. Hilker

With more than 30 years of experience in both qualitative and quantitative marketing research design, implementation and analysis, Walt has become a focus group moderator-of-choice for several clients.

He is experienced in methodologies that include traditional focus groups, triads, IDI’s, in-home interviews, ethnographies, webcam groups and one-on-ones, and asynchronous bulletin boards.

Walt has partnered with several marketing research and consulting firms that include Burke, Clarity Research, Davis Research, GfK, Gongos, Ipsos, J. D. Power, Maritz, Morpace, Nielsen, ORC, Research Design Specialists, TNS, 7th Sense, and others.

Walt has studied consumers and executives on issues and objectives that include:

  • New product development
  • Exterior and interior design 
  • Interior package assessment
  • Electrification/alt-fuel vehicles
  • New features and technologies
  • Needs exploration and laddering
  • Ideation and metaphor research
  • Barriers to product acceptance 
  • Advertising research
  • Brand image and positioning
  • In-home and ethnographies
  • Societal trends
  • Customer satisfaction/loyalty
  • Lost shoppers and disloyalty
  • Sales and service experiences
  • Retail environment evaluation
  • Financing and leasing
  • Publication readership/evaluation 
  • Website development/usability labs
  • Vehicle placement
  • Expert evaluation

Experience To Count On

From 1999 to 2007, Walt was a key member of the qualitative team in support of General Motors’ “Standards For Excellence” dealership training initiative for Cadillac. He played a leadership role in the annual SFE qualitative process, creating several topic-specific moderator’s guides and training a team of moderators toward the successful in-field execution of the program.

Prior to establishing Hilker Research & Consulting, 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 the Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study, an annual report measuring dealer principals’ satisfaction with the lenders they use for wholesale and retail financing, and addressed 700 attendees of the Consumer Bankers Association annual convention.

While with J. D. Power and Associates, Walt redesigned and managed the Dealer Attitude Survey and co-wrote the original Early Buyer Survey, the firm’s flagship study, which yielded annually the Initial Quality Study and Sales Satisfaction Index as well as measures of consumer loyalty and switching behavior.

Walt holds an MBA degree from Brigham Young University and an undergraduate business degree from the University of Southern California.

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