Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Kevin Lonnie

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interview ten of the pre-MRMW interview series was with Kevin Lonnie of KL Communications.  Kevin is an advocate for good market research, focused on results, and not the tool itself, which serves as a great reminder not to get carried away by all the tech options out there, but to keep an eye on the end product.
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?
KL: We’re very excited to share a recent case study example of CrowdWeaving with our client Sony Electronics.    We presented a specific challenge to select members of our Sony Frontline Panel and asked them to help create this new product concept by working right alongside Sony.

We believe that integrating the voice of the customer into the product ideation process is an art.  This is not straight out outsourcing, which is why we call it CrowdWeaving and not Crowdsourcing.  We feel this case study will provide attendees with inspiration into how they can implement similar processes, so that the wisdom of crowds can be integrated into their product development process.

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?

KL: Good MR has never been about the technology.  Tools come and go.  Of course, we need to perform our due diligence and tap into new technology as long as it meets our needs of providing impactful insights in a more efficient way.   There’s a line from a Duke Ellington/Ella Fitzgerald song, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”  To apply that same line to our world, I would say that “It” represents new MR tools and “swing” represents good insightful research.  In that sense, the song lyric is timeless.  MR tools quickly become pass√© but the end game of solid insights that impacts a company’s bottom line; that never changes.

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?

KL: I have underestimated inertia.  Why else would 97% of all qualitative research still be performed in brick and mortar facilities?  The premise of sending respondents to non descript office buildings to sit for two hours in front of a one way mirror is ridiculously old school. 

I have often asked myself, what’s keeping this propped up?  Have I simply underestimated the appeal of M&M peanuts or take out menu options?  All kidding aside, with all the advancements in smart phone technology and GPS tracking, why are we relying on technology that belongs to the Eisenhower Administration?  When appropriate change doesn’t happen, you have to attribute that to the efforts of the status quo.  That’s why I feel conventional qual is being propped up by moderators and facility owners who have no interest in tipping the apple cart.   However, when the tipping point does emerge, I hope for their sake that the facility owners have back up plans for all that real estate.

As for my own personal fears in trying something different, I’ve always been a malcontent, so I take to change like a duck to water.

RM: Thanks for your time, Kevin!  See you in July.


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