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.


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