MRMW Day Two Take-Aways

Friday, May 30, 2014

I had to leave Market Research in the Mobile World early, so I asked fellow QRCA member Susan Sweet of Sweet Insight Group for perspective on her take-aways.  It's always helpful for me to see how others process the information shared, and I appreciate her qualitative lens on things.

Wearables, not just mobile methods, create new efficiencies in qualitative and ethnography. 
Wearables have huge implications for quallies. Being able to use passive data collected via smart technologies – worn as bands, glasses or fabrics – can not only give a starting point (e.g. a verifiable screening tool), it can provide ongoing data to supplement any observational qualitative or direct interviews. The case studies shared by David Zakariaie of Glassic, Adina Daar and Kate Flaherty of Sachs Insights, and Jean Luc Errant of Cityzen Sciences, were inspiring. However, these cases illustrated that we’re still at the infancy of using wearables to make observational qualitative scalable and accessible. The more of us who try it, the faster this super-charged qual will be accepted and sought-after.

Technology, for all it’s worth, still requires intelligent and creative human researchers to make findings meaningful for clients. 
Several of the presentations touched on this subject: mobile data capture is amazing, sometimes creating overwhelming amounts of data, and it requires skillful interviewers and analysts to make sense of it all.
  • According to Tom Trenta of Egg Strategy, mobile is great for times people struggle to explain themselves, but then collecting so many inputs sometimes shows a different story emerging, as it did in his ‘big, dark beer/tiny, sweet drink’ mobile ethnography example. Had it not been for researchers noticing patterns and then probing the meaning, they would not have been able to share such a compelling and surprising story with their clients.
  • The same was true in the great “Party Time” presentation from Nancy Luna of Kraft, Claudia del Lucchese of Modelez and Alex from BrainJuicer. They conducted a mobile, mass ethnography where participants were recruited via CraigsList, then recorded their own parties on mobile devices, and completed additional, online and mobile follow-up interviews. This massive data was analyzed by both supplier and client team, and then was used in myriad ways to spur multiple internal product development sessions.
  • Combining modern geofencing and traditional qualitative is another innovation, as shared by Kathy Doyle of Doyle Research Associates and Chris St. Hilaire of MFour Mobile Research. Geo-validated qualitative phone interviews conducted at the moment of product experience, followed by photo-journaling and online bulletin boards demonstrated again that the technology enabled the data capture, but it needed creative researchers to pull the story together and make sense of volumes of information.
Mobile may not be news anymore, but it’s not part of mainstream research yet. Despite the fact that the ‘year of mobile’ has been proclaimed for years if not decades, we are in a slow growth mode. “Mobile is not a trend, it’s a reality,” according to Jon Sadow of Google Consumer Surveys, yet her shared that only 27% of researchers used mobile at all in 2013 (up only 4% from 2012). This is shocking, as nearly everyone has, uses and “loves” their mobile devices. As Jayne Dow of Firefly Millward Brown and Jonathan Feigenbaum of Facebook shared in their ‘Mobile Check In’ presentation, 94% of people who go shopping have a mobile device with them, and 65% use it while shopping. Consumers, professionals, and nearly everyone in the developed world is tethered to a phone, if not a smartphone, and they almost always choose to use it when given the option of how to take surveys, share photos or communicate with researchers. Until more researchers get comfortable with incorporating a mobile element into their recommendations to clients, usage may continue to simply creep rather than escalate.

Thanks for sharing, Susan!  I especially agree with the need for "creative human researchers to make findings meaningful for clients."  It has been very true in the social media research field, where outputs like sentiment analysis don't do much for meeting real business needs.  I'd love to hear your MRMW take-aways, or reactions to Susan's below.

MRMW Day One Take-Aways

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Market Research in the Mobile World is still happening, but I grabbed a few moments to capture a couple of quick take-aways from the Day One May 28, 2014 Main Session.

Moving Past Mobile to Human-Centered Method Agnostic
We’ve moved past mobile.  General Mills no longer has a focused research-on-research team to develop mobile – mobile is integrated.  They have their eye on newer things.  In the past, “mobile” was a moniker for new.  It’s what first brought me to “Market Research in the Mobile World" several years ago.  I do mobile research, but I do lots of other new and emerging methods.  Is there still a need for “mobile”-focused innovation?  Of course.  Everything needs to be integrated (see next point), so it's becoming more of a disconnect for us to think about mobile in a silo.

Integrating New and Different Inputs
Five years ago the research world was trying to figure out what to do with the alternative data that social media brings to the table.  Today, the question is about how to tap into other data streams like quantified self and the internet of things to shed more light on behavior without having to directly ask the question of the participant.  Brian Mondry of Kantar cited the core benefit of requiring less time of the participant because we’re getting all of this periphery data to inform (see tweet below).  I have a hunch that the data would spark more questions on the “why” behind the data, but that’s another conversation.  Current quantified self data can be quite broken, but I believe it will improve over time.  For what it’s worth, I’d caution that having data doesn’t make it valuable, similar to how raw sentiment data doesn’t do a whole lot for meeting real research objectives in the social media research world (and actually can do some damage!).  Simon Chadwick of Cambiar talked about how data is now cheap.  Let's do something with the data that makes it valuable to our organizations.  [End game isn't access to Fitbit and wired toothbrush data...what are the valuable insights within?]

The Future Research Team

There’s been lots of talk over the past several years about the evolving skillset for the research team. A quote that seemed to resonate with attendees was about having an information architect as part of the team.  What are we doing about this as an industry?  I'd love to hear how people are doing this - any examples of how it has worked well, or not so well.

That's a quick wrap on a couple of the things I'm still thinking on from Day One.  Thoughts?  Agree? Disagree?  I'd love to hear below.

MRMW Pre-Conference Kick-Off

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Market Research in the Mobile World pre-conference sessions kicked off with a great challenge from Kimberley Duncan of Givaudan.  We were tasked with developing a solution that delivers in-the-moment understanding on purchase decisions, influencers and past behavior for a wide range of category-agnostic flavors.

Resulting solutions involved apps and a dashboard that monitors multi-faceted data.  Envisioned apps would intercept in relevant in-store aisles and pose questions to understand purchase decisions, feature a variety of gamified questioning and allow for passive data collection.  The dashboard solution recognized that proprietary app construction would be difficult to maintain (with the ever-changing landscape of popular social media and always flexing research objective needs).  The dashboard would utilize existing data by tapping into APIs and allow for diverse data inputs and mining of past data.

What I appreciated most about the session was seeing how fellow attendees approached solving for the same client-side need.  It reminded me of the value of bouncing method solution ideas off of other colleagues.

To see what’s going on with the conference, check out the #MRMW hashtag on Twitter.

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