Intelligent research is the foundation of credible positioning.

Black Book—a Hearst-owned, multimedia publishing entity—is a pioneer in the automobile pricing and valuation business. Since 1955, Black Book has delivered valuation and financial data (from “black books” to mobile apps!) to auto dealers, OEMs, and lenders. And here’s what Merit Mile was faced with…

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Hearst and Black Book partnered with an authority in the consumer credit industry for an innovative method of connecting car shoppers with at-the-ready auto dealers. The vision was a new online credit score estimator, and this required a research-driven action plan.


Merit Mile designed an end-to-end research program starting with a benchmark awareness study of consumer opinions. The team then followed with a focus group study to better understand customer experiences and expectations of privacy from this new online tool. These learnings could then be presented and used to refine the web application while aiming to increase user consumption.


After producing the survey-driven benchmark study and results, Merit Mile conducted several usability focus group studies via one-on-one sessions with end users. A pre‐test questionnaire gathered additional demographic and technographic data. A post‐test questionnaire collected quantifiable satisfaction ratings regarding various elements of the online experience. The insights ultimately fed directly into the application user experience and yielded an increase in online conversions by 2X, from 8% to 16%.

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  • Research Study Program Design
  • Benchmark Surveys
  • Recruited Focus Group
  • User Testing & Evaluation
  • Observations & Findings
  • Final Recommendations with Qual/Quan Support

"Decisions shaped by concrete data are the easiest to make."