Being a Better Researcher: Client-Side & Supplier-Side

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kim Dedeker presenting

Take-Aways from Kim Dedeker's Talk at Cincy American Marketing Association Market Research Special Interest Group

Kim Dedeker, Kantar's Chair of the America's, presented on September 26th for a mixed crowd of suppliers and client-side researchers.  Her topic, "What Suppliers Can Learn from Clients & Vice Versa," came from the heart, and was based on her personal experience of being client-side at P&G for the majority of her career, but then switching over to supplier-side.

Quick to acknowledge issues on both sides of the table, Dedeker called for industry reinvention.

Things client-side researchers say about supplier-side researchers:

  • They’re like used car salesmen, don’t care about my business needs and don’t care to understand my business issues.
  • Suppliers are out of touch, don’t have the willingness to innovate, they're complacent.

Things supplier-side researchers say about client-side researchers:

  • They have champagne taste with 7Up budget.
  • Expectations keep going up.
  • Procurement is squeezing margins, treating me as a commodity, but I'm not a commodity.
  • They expect us to put the horsepower behind innovation but they want to own the IP.

Some of Dedeker's take-aways to help us get out of the deadlock:
  • Work together to innovate and reinvent together.
  • Seek to understand the project financial risk, assessing whether new methods or DIY-style methods are appropriate, "Is this a product optimization or is this a full product capital expenditure?"  These scenarios should have radically different method implications.
  • Keep your eye on the big picture business decision at play, not just feeding the next gate in a process.  Knowledge and insights are the deliverables...not the report for one gate.
  • Make the research relevant to the organization...partner together to make that happen.
  • Supply side should equip client-side to have a conversation with procurement that helps procurement understand the value equation/ROI of insights.  Procurement is used to comparing apples to apples commodities and must be coached and encouraged on what they don't know, and is our job to explain.
  • Ensure that supply-side sales folks are able to have the "what do you need?" conversation, not just pitching what's in the portfolio.

SMR Process Improvement Tip

Friday, September 14, 2012

When digging into a social media research project, there is a lot of stimulus for a report.  Lots.  Ok, that's still an understatement.  How do you manage it all?  I've tried a variety of ways.  Here's my latest, though.  It's may favorite for now because it has many functions.


Create a private Tumblr account with a password.  Get the Tumblr Bookmarklet and drag it to your browser so that you can quickly post from a page.  As you run across anything report-worthy, or things that are especially noteworthy, send them right over to your Tumblr.  This is such a great way to keep track of visuals and videos.  You can take notes in the text box, or tag things for each objective being answered by the social media research project.


What I love about this is that you end up having all of your notes in one place.  But, that's not all, folks. Here are some other benefits:

  • The end-product can be used during ideation sessions as stimulus.  Use the RSS feed and set it up as a screensaver, then project it on a screen.
  • Clients can check out the Tumblr as you're going, to make sure that you're on track with what they were hoping for.
  • Multiple project researchers can contribute to the same Tumblr at the same time.
So, there you have it.  One process improvement for managing all of the tidbits of helpful stimuli that aren't just text-based.  Do you have other ways that you collect and manage all of the social media reporting collateral?  I'd love to hear.

And no, I'm not being incentivized by Tumblr.  I think their interface is simple for photos and videos, and can be made private.

Why MRMW Matters to Qual Researchers

Thursday, July 19, 2012

MRMW Client-side Panel
Market Research in the Mobile World North America 12 featured an audience that was heavier towards the quant side of things.  Why?  I heard concern from a few quallies (who shall remain nameless) that the content wouldn't be relevant.  Fair concern when you're spending money on the ticket and travel, as well as time out of the office.  But, here's why I think the concern was unjustified.

Qual and quant lines are blending.  Yes, people have been saying this for a while, but the new tech enablers are really driving this home.  In my own practice of social media research from an ethnographic perspective, I've had to straddle quant more than ever.  I have a hard time telling people that I do "social media research from more of a qual perspective" because that's not totally true.  While I've thought of myself as a qual researcher in the past, I've found that I can add value to anything quant by asking "why?"
Our Job is about Decision Making.  I heard this emphasized over and over, especially by folks Gayle Lloyd.   The job of researchers is to aid in decision making.  Instead of hedging and hiding against graphs, charts, base sizes or transcripts, the encouragement was for us to stand up and act like true consultants...and make recommendations that are relevant to the business!  Any qual researcher can benefit from this advice.  All of our expertise on methodology and research execution are price of entry.  If mobile qual is the best method for being able to answer the business question then we simply need to be able to do it, and do it well.
User Experience.  The experience of research needs to value the people that we're asking to participate. I've firmly believed this in my face to face qual practice for a long time.  Yesterday, Betty Adamou of Research Through Gaming talked about creating a gamified experience that had a young boy completing the "survey" three times simply because he wanted to.  Cheers to that.  Paul McDonald of Google talked about how Google started with the user experience first when creating their Google Surveys product (more on that from my pre-conference interview here).
Qual research has a bad rap because it can be so painful for the participant.  In the long run, that will negatively impact our recruiting pool (and I would argue already has, and has skewed the sorts of people willing to participate).
Analysis of Disparate Data.  Gayle Lloyd encouraged that the audience really think about how we can add value as thought leaders, looking across disparate data for themes (more here).  This is what qual researchers do so well.  We listen to lots of focus groups, watch lots of online videos and make sense of lots of collages.  Qual researchers have years and years of experience with pulling out the themes of data from a variety of sources.  I'm continuing to look at analysis frameworks after Gayle's encouragement.

While some of the content was overtly "quant," I found some inspiration that I'll apply to my practice today.  And, I'll close by saying that often, my best inspiration is analogous or adjacent to what I'm directly working on.

MRMW: Gayle Lloyd's Call for Market Researchers to Be Thought Leaders

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gayle Lloyd of Hillenbrand brought energy and enthusiasm to the MRMW event.  Her big encouragement is for market researchers to step back from the fact that the issue isn't the amount of data but instead the ability to make something out of whatever data is at hand.  The great reminder is that we're here as market researchers to inform decisions.  Data is the tool that helps make decisions, but the market researcher must look skillfully across lots of different data types and make recommendations.

Often, market research is linear and logical.  The new frontier calls for us to firmly answer the question, "does this really tell our organizations what they need to know?"  Just because we have the graph or chart, doesn't make it important.

I have experienced this shift as a "qual" researcher.  My expertise is quickly becoming the ability to look across a variety of different reports from diverse sources and tell the common overarching story.  I'm used to telling the consumer's story.  It's not a linear process.  It involves lots of reading, studying and synthesizing.  Some tools help guide the process.

Gayle had a great "Analysis Work Flow" slide that advocated that the researcher first understand the core questions, then the desired learnings or insights, the business value, then the priority and the data sets that need to be looked at.  This helps her identify next steps when looking at data.  I'm excited to see new enablers for looking at disparate sets of data.  So, if you're looking at lots of data, what enablers do you use?  I'd love to know!

MRMW: It's Here

I have watched some #mrx folks talk about how mobile is or is not relevant to what they're doing.  Leonard Murphy did a great job introducing the Market Research in the Mobile World mission, making it relevant to all.  The truth is, mobile is here and it's impacting what we do.  It's impacting what everyone does.  We all need to learn this stuff.

Here are some questions I'll be asking of myself today as I take in this content:

  • How will this change how I can get to interact with consumers now and in the future?
  • What can I implement now?  What can I plan to implement later?
  • What "quant" technique can I halo to qual?
What are you asking yourself?

Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Adriana Rocha

Friday, July 13, 2012

Continuing in our pre-MRMW interview series, I was excited to talk with Adriana Rocha of eCGlobal because she has a voice in the social media sphere that many #mrx-ers are familiar with.  Among many things, her insights about the correlation between user experience and completion rates are interesting…read on.

RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?

AR: I’m excited to share in firsthand with the industry the key findings and results of 7 years of experience conducting diverse experiments on the usage of gamification and social media techniques applied to market research which have inspired us to develop a very unique and innovative digital research platform originally pre-tested in Brazil and nowadays being implemented in other Latin American countries and the United States. 

The platform we’ve developed combines in the same integrated environment online research communities, a proprietary social network, mobile apps, social games and a DIY (do-it-yourself) research tool.  One of its main differentials is that it has been developed through a co-creation process with consumers.  We decided to focus on respondents as our primary source of insights and ideas to develop the platform, since our main goal was to have a comprehensive understanding of drivers and motivations that keep people engaged when performing online activities.   

We have proven that user experience is fundamental and the quality of the data we get back is a direct result of the experience respondents have – as more engaged and happy they are, better quality and richer insights and expressions they give us back in exchange.  

I think the audience can benefit, as we have benefited, if they embrace the usage of gamification techniques, combined with social and mobile technologies, to create engaging dialogues and ongoing conversations with consumers, as well as for creating better experiences for respondents when taking surveys.

RM: It can be easy to bemoan the state of market research today.  Instead of us talking about what you’re against in the traditional MR space, I’d love to hear about what you’re for – what you stand for – in the MRMW space.  What makes this something you’re willing to stand up for?

AR: I stand up for the need of quick changes in the MRMW space.  I am talking about changes not just to learn new techniques or technologies, but changes that require market researchers to step outside of their own ideology and pre-defined framework.  I’m talking about the most challenging type of changes people can face: the adaptive ones which require the ability to develop self-transforming minds.

As an industry, in order to change, though, I believe we need to develop a whole new set of individual and team capabilities. In our company for example, in order to innovate and create our new products and solutions, we put together a multicultural and multifunctional team of people from other industries with different skills and background – from journalism to marketing, communications, technology and market research. 

As Stan Sthanunathan (Vice President, Knowledge & Insights, The Coca-Cola Company) said:  “We all must accept one truth in life: Change is not optional, but acting or not acting is a choice we make…We either act or we will become irrelevant and maybe even perish” .

RM: What do you think that the current market research world is afraid of when it comes to innovating on research in the mobile world?  What enabled you to get over the fears and innovate?  What motivated you?

AR: I think one of the main barriers for innovation on research in the mobile world is the resistance to change and to accept the new reality we are facing as an industry.  Change is necessary because the world around us is changing dramatically, in a pace that we can’t control.

In our case, innovation is part of our company core values and we have always believed that deep changes would happen in this industry. Thus being frighten by innovation has not being an issue for us, but a motivation.  Just to give you some examples, we started developing research games in 2003, with the launch of a virtual baby room where we interviewed pregnant women while they played with objects, colors and room decoration. In 2004 we launched one of the first (if not the first) MROC for a large cable TV channel in LATAM. In 2006 we launched a gamified panel community portal to better engage with our panel members (they could play trivia games, rate products and brands, participate in competitions, discussion forums and post questions to the community). In 2007 we built a 3D world using Second Life technology to emulate product testing and discussion groups in a virtual world. In 2008 we hired a PhD in cyber culture to lead the development of online communities and gamification experiments in Brazil.  I could continue mentioning several other initiatives that we have developed and that are considered very innovative and pioneer for our industry, not just in Latin America, but globally.  But I will wait to share more at the MRMW. Can’t wait till then! 

RM: I look forward to hearing more.  See you next week, Adriana.

Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Matt Warta

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Continuing in the Pre-MRMW interview series, I got to talk with Matt Warta of GutCheck.  Like many of the innovators in this space, he sees the changing landscape as “a world of possibilities rather than limitations.”

RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?

MW: As many MRMW attendees know, GutCheck is in the business of providing insights team members with a platform to gain consumer feedback in a matter of minutes.  We are excited to share how our customers are innovating their processes around our technology and getting the answers they need quickly to make business decisions.  

Specifically, we are seeing researchers answering the 100s of business questions that would typically go without the benefit of consumer feedback because of the time and the money typically associated with doing research.  Why is this important?  It allows consumer insights to not only play a critical roll in the handful of big strategic initiatives that are undertaken every year, but it also allows them to play a critical roll on ongoing basis as ad hoc research needs arise.  This has become increasingly hard for these groups to do, as there are fewer resources and shorter timelines.

At GutCheck, we see the beginning of a significant shift for both brands and the agencies that support them to need access to insights more quickly. We think this trend will increase in velocity over the next few years. 

RM: It can be easy to bemoan the state of market research today.  Instead of us talking about what you’re against in the traditional MR space, I’d love to hear about what you’re for – what you stand for – in the MRMW space.  What makes this something you’re willing to stand up for?

MW: One of the reasons MR gets a bad rap is that innovation hasn't kept up with others parts of the organization.  For example, real-time tools like just-in time inventory in the supply chain, or receiving real-time data on a digital marketing campaign are the norm.  Those same tools though don't readily exist in MR, and that absence makes it hard for MR to have a consistent seat at the table when decisions need to be made in shorter and shorter timeframes.  

At GutCheck, we believe in providing real-time access to the people that can help move brands forward.  We think that a world where researchers and marketers can have access to these insights will help them innovate more quickly and further strengthen their leadership position within the organization.

We see the frustrations and challenges of shorter time frames, fewer resources and smaller budgets in the research industry.  However, we also hear clients every day get excited talking about new methodologies and new technologies in research – and how those advancements will help them to become more innovative in their approaches. This is what personally gets us excited every day to get up and help clients move forward.  It’s a world of possibilities rather than limitations.

RM: Thanks, Matt.  See you next week.

Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Bob Yazbeck

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 18th and 19th is fast approaching and I’m excited to hear that the MRMW event is close to selling out (if it hasn't already!)…more folks to connect with and learn from!  Here’s my conversation with Bob Yazbeck of Gongos Research.  Bob’s great enthusiasm for research in the mobile world is encouraging and motivating.  From breaking down barriers between quant and qual to the benefits of mobile research, Bob talks about a variety of the key themes that will be discussed at the MRMW event. 

RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about? 

BY: As a research discipline, we’ll need to see beyond qual and quant and create more holistic approaches. In doing that, we’ll be able to truly take advantage of smartphones’ inherent capabilities. In-the-moment behavior, accessibility, social chatter, and authenticity are all aspects that smartphones alter. Not only will I touch on our own findings, I will present a few examples of mobile-enabled research in the field – the good and the not so good.  I hope to inspire others to jump in and continue the experiment—while encouraging clients to join in.  It’s bound to take research well beyond where we thought it could ever go – and that really excites me.

RM: What do you think that the current market research world is afraid of when it comes to innovating on research in the mobile world?  What enabled you to get over the fears and innovate?  What motivated you?

BY: Mobile research will be the next major disrupter because it’s leading us closer to the “moment of truth.”  And, since researchers are by nature slow to adopt, it is a bit scary for some great practitioners out there.  On the flip side, I work in an environment where innovation is standard-operating procedure and our client-partners both push us and expect us to lead them into the mobile research world.  Sure, it’s going to be painful for a while (I can say after enduring the adoption of the Internet!) but it motivates me to get up in the morning—and it keeps me feeling a whole lot younger. Heck, I’ve gone from being a master of car clinics in the ‘90s to running our Digital Methods division.  If I can do it –we all can!

RM: I look forward to hearing more about the case studies you reference here.  It is helpful to connect with others that are actually doing this stuff, not just talking about it. See you in Cincinnati.

Pre-MRMW North America 12: Sean Conry

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Continuing in our pre-MRMW North America 12 interview series, I got to talk with Sean Conry of Confirmit.  He kicks the interview off with something near and dear to my heart: purposeful, instead of accidental, research.

RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?

SC:  We are going to open by discussing the difference between accidental and purposeful mobile research. Accidental mobile research is happening to us all as the incidence of Smartphone and Tablet ownership continues to rise, and our success is going to be dictated by how well we embrace this reality. We have some interesting stats to share in this regard.
On the other hand, purposeful mobile research is about taking what’s unique about mobile techniques and turning them in to a strategic advantage for your firm (if you are a research agency) or into unique insights that can’t be gained in any other way (if you’re a brand looking to better understand your consumer).
Then we’ll share a classic example of the perfect audience when it comes to purposeful market research, and review the characteristics that make Mobile the perfect choice for furthering your business objectives in a way no other research mode could have equaled.

RM: I’d love to hear more about this concept of “accidental mobile research.”

SC: In the Confirmit Annual Market Research Software survey, out of 250 global research companies, the average is that about 7% of surveys are being completed on Mobile devices. However, some firms in other presentations have been reporting 12% and higher. In addition, this figure might be underestimating the true demand for making our research mobile since it doesn’t reflect how many people are being screened out, or how many are starting but abandoning surveys because they haven’t been optimized for mobile.  These are largely the surveys that are being taken on mobile because it’s convenient for the respondent, NOT because we asked them to take a survey on their mobile. Both scenarios are important to consider – and many are blind to the fact that they’re unintentionally creating poor experiences.

RM: What engages your imagination in the mobile research in the mobile world space?  Who or what inspires you?  Why?

SC:  A lot of people might say things like Augmented reality and near field communications… certainly those will bring interesting and important developments, but I think we should first be looking to the companies that are simply getting mobile right in terms of today’s capabilities. The Starbucks App is a perfect example of a mobile experience done so well, that not only are people using the App, but it’s helping to increase sales because they are providing an experience that is beautiful in its elegance and simplicity, yet also highly capable.
However, it doesn’t simply mimic what you can do online - it’s not just a port of their mobile website. It’s built from the ground up to understand how they can provide value to their consumer anytime, anywhere. Researchers should be inspired by the effect thinking this way can have on study participation, and even more so, on the perception of their brand… I hope panel managers are thinking this way in order to continue to retain and engage their panelists, to build engagement, and to keep the value of their critical assets (relationships with people) building, rather than eroding.

RM: I’m a big fan of the Starbucks app, personally…it is a good example of mobile done right.  I look forward to hearing more next week.

Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Jason Anderson

Monday, July 9, 2012

Continuing in our pre-MRMW North America 12 interview series, I talked with Jason Anderson of Blizzard Entertainment.  Jason has a unique background that many market researchers don’t have, and with that background, he brings a fresh perspective to the table.  I’ll let him explain.
RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?
JA: My entire career has revolved around technology and the many ways we can harness it to improve products and services. Most of my academic training was in computer science, where classes like “data structures” and “algorithms” and “human-computer interaction” taught how to organize, analyze, and communicate large amounts of data. In my current consumer insights role I’m not designing algorithms, but I have a deeply ingrained appreciation for what information technology can and cannot accomplish.

If I asked you about the transformative moments in business and society over the past 30 years, the mass adoption of computing as a personal technology is the clear winner. Inconceivably fast processing of information, in personal and portable form factors, connected with billions of other processing engines. This change has occurred within a single lifetime and is enabling other radical transformations such as biotechnology, government upheavals, the redesign of how the military operates. And yet we still have paper surveys. We still rely on focus groups, even when they are mocked by the cultures we are trying to study and understand. We have blanketed every email address we can find with survey invitations, increased the volume of survey activity by an order of magnitude, thrown up popup windows with even more survey questions.

Traditional research approaches have served the industry well for a very long time, but today’s world moves much faster. The titans of modern industry are technologists, and as such they (we) pigeonhole the applicable uses for traditional market research. My presentation doesn’t have any easy-to-implement suggestions for how to navigate the new environment, but hopefully will at least offer some insights.

RM: What do you think that the current market research world is afraid of when it comes to innovating on research in the mobile world?  What enabled you to get over the fears and innovate?  What motivated you?

JA: I don’t think fear is the right word. If people were afraid, they would be driven to take action. I know that in my own case, there’s considerable inertia to overcome. Clients become comfortable with studies – they are familiar and consistent in format, which makes it easier to understand the output while taking less effort. Additionally, most people are not early adopters; that’s why they’re called early adopters. With something like the smartphone, it’s very difficult to explain the benefits or to convince a non-user that a new phone can completely change your day-to-day life.

If you’re a user of new technologies, you don’t need an explanation. You gain wisdom through experience. If you’re not a user of new technologies, you must follow the advice and examples of others. There is risk involved in pursuing tech (not all technologies succeed), but I believe the personal and professional enrichment outweighs the risks.

RM: you’re right…it’s not necessarily fear.  Others in this interview series have also pointed out that “there’s considerable inertia to overcome” in the market research space.  Thanks for challenging us, and I look forward to hearing more in Cincinnati.

Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Imran Anwar

Friday, July 6, 2012

This next interview in the pre-MRMW North America 12 interview series is with visionary Imran Anwar.  He’s pushing the boundaries and shaking things up in the market research space.  Here’s more about what he will be sharing in a few weeks.
RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?
IA: At other conferences, at different times in the past several decades, people have come together to discuss the state of the art. At this moment in time, we are both blessed and challenged, that we can witness, influence, and drive the state of of the world, the state of the industry, and the state of the art... or be left behind. Strategic visionary thinkers who act quickly will win, those who wait to react... sorry, I forget who they are.... is what the world will say when they are mentioned in the future.

RM: What engages your imagination in the mobile research in the mobile world space?  Who or what inspires you?  Why?

IA: This is a juncture in history when the industry that does research over time periods short and long for its clients will have to do something in parallel that will have fundamental impact on its own survival... research and respond in real time to how it, the industry itself, is changing in the face of cloud computing, crowd sourcing, small cost of big data analysis, freemium giveaways of its services by giants like Google, FaceBook, Microsoft, and others, trampling entire industries in the process of competing with each other by giving away such services to win customers. 

RM: What about your vision is most compelling to the folks you interact with?  What aspects, truths or benefits cause them to act on the vision you believe in for the future of market research?

IA: As an anchor on a global news channel said, "Imran educates, enlightens, excites and entertains the audience!" That is especially when I'm storytelling about the future but well connected to the reality people experience today. I am blessed with the ability to present complex future scenarios as easy to understand examples that resonate with audiences, from CNN and Fox News Channel to conferences and keynote speeches. In the market research industry in particular, very few are searching for answers on why something worked well 10 years ago. They want to understand what their clients need to understand. They need to foresee what their clients will actually see in a few years, for both research firms and the client to remain relevant in that future. My mission, and I choose to accept it, is to leap forward in my vision of the future, encapsulate my predictions and foresights into real world examples relevant to my audience today. That helps them SEE it, it helps them UNDERSTAND it, that helps them ACCEPT it, and that helps ACT on it with real world usable ideas and plans, instead of sleeping through pie in the sky concepts preaching visions of the future.

RM: We definitely need folks like you in the market research space.  Thanks for your time.  See you in Cincinnati.

Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Brooks Pettus

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The pre-MRMW interview series continues.  Personally, I have loved getting to hear the perspectives of leaders from across the market research space, with such a variety of backgrounds.  Here’s Brooks Pettus of QualVu.

RM:  What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?
BP: The tidal shift from offline to online research − in particular, video-based qualitative − has begun and with it remarkable opportunities for innovation. Chrysler and Qualvu struck a partnership because we were, essentially, two start-ups − albeit one at 40B in revenue − in a time of incredible dislocation in the US economy. By embracing innovation and change, each of our businesses have grown dramatically and we have been able to assume the mantle of true innovator. No matter what your motivations are, it’s a whole lot more fun to define a shifting landscape than to react to it.

RM:  What do you think that the current market research world is afraid of when it comes to innovating on research in the mobile world?  What enabled you to get over the fears and innovate?  What motivated you?
BP: Qualvu has strategically positioned itself as the leader in online qualitative research since its start four years ago. Qualvu made the bet that there was a better way to conduct qualitative: by essentially bringing the research to the participant and letting them share their moments of truth as they occur via video, uninfluenced by the presence of a researcher. In an industry that has remained largely unchanged for the past 55 years, potential disruption is tough to accept, particularly if you are a moderator that derives their value based on the focus group experience. This shift is not only to better data, but the ability of the moderator to focus more of their value-add around delivering insight that makes richer data truly actionable. It’s the innovators and early-adopters who are winning today and who are well positioned for the future.

RM: You’re right about the benefits that moderators receive in this new era of opportunity.  I have experienced these benefits myself and they sure are compelling.  Thanks for your time; we’ll see you in Cincinnati. 

Pause: This is a Privilege.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I have to pause mid-way in the Pre-MRMW interview series.  Yes, it sure has been a privilege to get to talk with leaders in the market research industry that are on the cutting edge, in so many different areas. Interesting, eye-opening and fun.

Yep, that's my coffee cup as proof.
But, I'm still doing my day-to-day work.  And, more than getting to talk to people about theory and method, I have to share about getting to listen to and understand people from all across the globe through the internet.  It's a privilege.


Because they share things with me that I think they don't share with even their closest friend, spouse or family members.

Of course it's not with "me" specifically, but with the internet at large.  No matter what the project topic, I always stumble across something so humbling, so gut wrenching, so human that it draws me to tears.  And this time it's in the middle of a coffee shop.  Yep, I'm crying in the middle of a coffee shop.

Sometimes we I need to pause and remember that while we're I'm debating philosophy or method, these are actual people we're talking about...with real problems, real pain and real issues with the topics at hand, no matter how mundane the topic may seem.  I'm thankful that they remind me that this is all real through their heartfelt, honest and sometimes gut-wrenching stories.  For moderators out there that don't believe you can connect to people through online research, I am here to tell you that you can, even when you're not in direct contact.  Don't say I didn't warn you that you may shed a tear at your local coffee shop, though.

Cheers, and back to work!

Pre-MRMW North America 12: Michael Sosnowski

We’re continuing in our pre-MRMW North America 12 conference interviews and I got to talk with Michael Sosnowski of TRC.  I’m excited about the encouragement he’ll be delivering: researchers can pick up this charge now.

RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?

MS: I’ll be sharing results from a recent study we completed – an effort to accomplish Max-Diff-like results with a purely mobile study, using a tournament-style approach. Our goal was to provide folks with a concrete example of how they can work within the constraints of the mobile platform and accomplish more than just “short and sweet” 5 to 10 question profiling studies. I think we were successful, and what’s exciting about it (to me, anyway) is that we didn’t need an app or special programming skills to make it happen. It was all about stretching our thinking in terms of design, analysis, and estimation in ways that all of us as researchers can do right now.

RM: What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?

MS: Hopefully this work will help people expand their thinking about ways Mobile MR can be used to answer important, quantitative, business questions. Based on what I saw at last year’s conference the more qualitative aspects of the platform are being exploited quite nicely. My sense, however, is that the focus with regard to purely quantitative work has been more about keeping things “short and sweet.” I get it in the short run, but in the long run I worry that too much of a focus on minimalist efforts will lead us to marginalize ourselves – if we deliver nothing but small profiling studies that’s all we’ll ever be asked to do. Leaving this session I’d like people to be inspired about using mobile MR far more strategic purposes, and to think differently about accomplishing things like conjoint on device.

RM: If you’ve been to MRMW in the past, what difference did it make for your MR practice?

MS: I went to Atlanta last year. I left feeling ahead of the curve, and in a much better position to council my clients and colleagues on the “what” and the “why” of doing mobile research. That’s a big deal given that Mobile MR is still quite “emerging. ” Most researchers may have it on their to-do list (or more likely their “worry about” list), but few have had the opportunity to explore the topic first hand, or talk in depth with players in the space. Haven’t yet found myself proposing and executing mobile projects to a significant degree, but I suspect the day’s coming and when it does my time spent at MRMWs will have me ready.

RM: Thanks, Michael!  See you in Cincinnati.

Pre-MRMW North America Interview: Dr. David Forbes

Monday, July 2, 2012

Continuing in the pre-MRMW interview series, I got to interview Dr. David Forbes of The Forbes Consulting Group regarding his upcoming MRMW talk.  I’m particularly intrigued by his ability to garner emotional insight through new technology.  Here’s more.
RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?
DF: I am most excited to show people how the mobile implementation of our MindSight®  emotional discovery tool has a wonderful application to on-the-fly monitoring of service experiences.  I think this will open a new way for retailers to improve the quality of customer experiences by using strong-performing stores as “emotional experience templates” for the rest of the chain.

RM: Can you tell me more about MindSight?  I’m unfamiliar with it and am intrigued by the idea of an “emotional discovery tool.”

DF: MindSight® is a proprietary, easy-to-use market research technology that identifies the specific subconscious emotions driving consumer behavior. Using applied neuroscience, MindSight® uncovers authentic emotional insight from consumers before the rational mind can edit responses. It has been successfully deployed on a wide range of projects: from qualitative studies with a small number of consumers to quantitative initiatives with thousands of globally dispersed respondents.  MindSight® delivers results in real time and can be deployed on mobile devices, making it easy for respondents to participate in studies anywhere and anytime.
MindSight® is important because it is a fast, affordable, easy way to capture true emotional insight by avoiding the typical pitfalls of traditional market research techniques -- where individuals are unable, or unwilling, to describe their feelings.  The deeper emotional insights that come from MindSight® can powerfully energize business processes to become more emotionally driven and marketing initiatives to be more emotionally impactful.  From product development to packaging and advertising execution -- MindSight® can provide the foundation for true competitive advantage.

RM: What are you most excited to hear about from others at MRMW?  Why?

DF: Integration, integration, integration.  I want to be able to use GPS tracking to find consumers in the middle of a critical experience; I want to be able to push interactive survey experiences to these consumers; I want to let them upload videos as part of these survey experiences; I want to switch the consumer to a real-time qualitative interactions using Skype when triggered by certain survey answer types – I want to find the people who will let me realize the potential of all this great new technology NOW.

RM: Thanks for your time, David.  See you in Cincinnati. 

Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Thaddeus Fulford-Jones

Friday, June 29, 2012

As part of the pre-MRMW North America 12 interview series, I got to talk with Thaddeus Fulford-Jones of Locately.  Location analytics is a theme that he will be covering in-depth, and like many of our previous interviewees, he cautions, “It can't just be used ‘simply because it's there,’” but instead that mobile research requires intention and appropriate application.  Here’s a sneak peek of what he’ll be talking about in July.

RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?

TF-J: I'm excited to share new perspectives on how some of the world's biggest CPG manufacturers and retailers are using location analytics to better understand how people shop. Location analytics uses huge volumes of GPS data from opted-in smartphones to understand actual shopper journeys and to send location-triggered in-context mobile surveys to shoppers while they're actually in the store. The impact for CPG manufacturers and retailers is huge - an unprecedented opportunity to capture real-time understanding of not only "what people think" but also "what they do and why".

RM: What do you expect from the emerging market research in the mobile world industry?  What must be offered?  What must be fulfilled?

TF-J: Mobile research has enormous potential as it allows researchers to engage with consumers while they're in the aisles, making their decisions. Mobile allows us to do this in a very, natural, unobtrusive manner. However, as with any new technology, mobile must be employed as part of a comprehensive and unified research strategy that's driven by business needs. It can't just be used "simply because it's there." I look forward to seeing more examples of research organizations using mobile to address real business challenges and deliver quantifiable ROI.

RM: Thanks, Thaddeus.  I look forward to hearing more in a couple weeks.

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