Monday, February 28, 2011
Some of the insights from previous conferences:
Do you have example measures that we missed?
In the fifth installment of our series of interviews with presenters at the IIR Technology Driven Market Research event (May 2-3, Chicago), I go head to head with renowned industry business leader, blogger, speaker, and founder of the “Next Generation Market Research” social network: Tom Anderson.
Tom and I met via social media (of course!) as I began to explore various platforms and networks back in 2008. He stood out to me as someone who had obviously learned to leverage the power of multiple social media channels to grow his brand, and honestly was a bit of an inspiration to me in developing my own strategy.
As we began to interact I quickly learned that he was a passionate and outspoken advocate for change in our industry, and although perhaps he is a lightning rod for controversy, his wit, intellect, and integrity shine through. We’ve butted heads a few times and don’t always agree on things, but I’ve learned to value his perceptions, experience, and business acumen. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Tom on a few things now, and it is always interesting!
So, it’s with great pleasure that I get to share with you my interview with Tom. I hope you enjoy it!
LM: Tom, thanks so much for making the time to do this; I know you have a lot on your plate now.
TA: I’m happy to do it Lenny; it’s always fun and interesting talking with you.
LM: Well, the feelings mutual my friend! Let’s jump right into things. You have built quite the reputation for yourself as a thought leader and advocate for disruptive change in the market research industry, with many people paying attention to your blog and the activity on the Next Gen Market Research LinkedIn Group. Why do you think you’ve struck a chord with the research industry?
TA: I never expected anyone to read my blog or follow me on Twitter. Both of those were an internal “research on research” thing. Because of all our work with text analytics, Anderson Analytics was being asked to do more and more with social media, including screen scraping and blog mining. I figured if we were going to be analyzing what bloggers and tweeters said it would be a good idea to understand how it works from the other side. The biggest revelation was how much traffic it generated. LinkedIn was a different story. I realized from the start the value of a large professional network.
So, in analyzing why the blog is so popular in retrospect, there are several reasons. I think perhaps foremost is that professionals in our industry who still bother reading anything related to market research are tired to death of reading about another study comparing Likert scales in different countries.
I've been in research in some role for more or less my entire working life, so I'm perfectly comfortable talking about any research methodology, including the most advanced. But most of us, especially clients, certainly aren't interested in reading another article about an old research technique. Unless of course you're new to research, in which case there are several good statistics books and training seminars available. No, they are interested in, and realize that to get ahead you need to gain, an information advantage. And you don't get an information advantage by doing what everyone else has been doing forever.
LM: What do you think are the major drivers of change in the market research space right now and how are you guiding Anderson Analytics to take advantage of those trends?
TA: There is convergence between all marketing disciplines (MR, CI, PR, Advertising, CRM...) and even BI/IT. We're all scrambling to become more quantitative, more automated, more powerful and social media because of the reach, engagement level and measurable nature seems to be one of the main targets for us all. I believe if you can discern the cute useless stuff from what really can generate actionable insights, and do it before others, that's how to get ahead.
LM: So has social media (including blogs, groups, twitter, etc…) emerged as the home of thought leadership and innovation vs. traditional media channels? What does that mean for industry trade organizations, publications, events, etc…?
I don't know about thought leadership. I guess that's how some of the traditional channels would like to refer to those who are frequently featured at their events/articles. I have never tried to reach this “Good Ole Boys” group, at least not purposefully, since they have not been our customers.
Since 2005 my firms’ key focus has been on reaching fortune 1000 client side market research buyers. Most of them don't care about the 'traditional channels', wouldn’t attend an MR specific conference or read an MR specific journal/magazine. They will however Google a certain topic if they need info on something. So if they Google "market research and text analytics" or "segmentation textanalytics" for instance, I want Anderson Analytics to come up in the first page of the results. That usually means they'll call us.
Now admittedly, I've been asked to speak at A LOT of conferences during the past few years, and early on I wrote a few articles and white papers. I think a certain amount of that is good for credibility. But to me the advantage of social media is closing the distance between you and your customers. It's getting to know people virtually. I usually say what I want and say it honestly. This is rare these days, believe it or not. So I find most appreciate that, whether or not they agree with me.
The purpose of social media for me is not about thought leadership, it's about creating relationships over time. And it's self serving, because the reason I do it is so I won't have to travel all over the place to conferences or in person new client calls!
LM: You’re considered an expert on Text Analytics and I know you are doing a lot of interesting things in that arena right now. First, what can you tell me about what you’re doing, and second, where does Text Analytics fit within the range of “traditional” and “emerging” tools? Is it best used as an adjunct to other methods to help, as you say, “discern the cute from the actionable”, especially within social media data sets, or is it a standalone method in itself?
TM: I'm afraid there is not a lot I'm allowed to tell you right now about the software we're working on, though a lot of our early work on best practices in text analytics is available on our website or in journals/market research text books.
As for "Text Analytics" in general, while it's certainly still emerging, and is now doing so faster than ever before, it's not something I would place on a scale of methodologies. That would be sort of like asking "are the use of numbers a traditional or emerging tool of research?". While the technology to leverage text is here now, few have done so intelligently.
What I am seeing though with both text analytics as well as social media analytics is a lot of amateurs claiming they have either built useful software or know how to leverage these tools properly.
In fact though, in some ways I think what we're seeing is similar to what happened when HTML first became popular. A lot of amateurs came out claiming they could build your website for you. Do you remember how bad it was? Flashing buttons, bad content management, a lot of "under construction" images. Do you remember why that ended (Thank God)?
The younger generation picked it up, came out of college proficient at it. Those graphic designers who were tech savvy enough created best practices around its use. Eventually these skills were absorbed into companies across the board. That's what will probably soon happen with these two areas of research. But for the moment we have to avert our eyes from all the blinking and cute poorly thought out software and consulting advice.
But don't get me wrong, they're definitely both here to stay!
LM: You’ve taken some pretty controversial public stances on issues like offshoring, ISOs, privacy, and the roles of trade bodies in supporting the industry. I can’t see where you’ve suffered any ill effects despite pressure from a few different sources; quite the contrary, your visibility seems to be increasing. First, can you explain why you’ve taken the positions that you have and second, how do you feel about being the “voice of dissent” within our industry?
TA: Are they controversial stances if the majority of your peers agree with you?
FTO and ISO, while different things, are also closely related.
I'll start with ISO though. Cute quality programs come and go. They are made popular by those who profit most from them, usually the consultants who push them (in this case two research trade orgs as well). During my career I've had to sit through training on "Quality Circles", "TQM", and "Six Sigma" to name a few. If any of these have a place anywhere in business, it's in manufacturing, not in something as far up the value chain as market research.
As CEO of a market research company I certainly was going to voice my opinion on a proposed measure that would eat up a lot of time and money and create absolutely no advantage for my firm.
Now if you believe that rather than sophisticated research which relies as much on science as art, and is usually rather customized, you are in the business of making simple widgets, then ISO might make sense. Standardize the widget making process to reduce error, controlling to make sure each widget in the process is never off by more than +/- 1mm in size, well then great! You've successfully commoditized it so that you can look for the lowest cost country around to produce the widget without risking quality.
That's, in my opinion, why these trade organizations thought the ISO process might take hold. The top ten research firms, who also are the largest revenue source for the trade orgs have invested a lot in captive offshore centers. The ISO process would then help legitimize this practice, which by the way is done very quietly.
The Foundation for Offshoring Transparency (FTO) on the other hand was seen as a threat by these organizations for this very reason. I'm a believer in transparency and doing what's right. With the legal risk and protection related to both PII (personally identifiable information) and IP (intellectual property) varying so greatly from country to country, not being totally upfront with your clients about what you are offshoring and where was something I felt was totally irresponsible.
That's why the FTO is more popular than ISO, and why the majority of the 855 market researchers on the supplier side and all on the client side we surveyed on the topic strongly supported the ideals of the FTO. Had there been similar research conducted on ISO, I'm sure we wouldn't be having this conversation.
LM: At the Technology Driven Market Research event you’re part of a panel debate on the topic of Social Media: Scientific Technology or Business Practice. Now I think I know your answer as it relates to the analysis of social media data via text analytics (scientific technology, right?), but what is your overall take on the impact, and ultimate evolution of, social media in the research space?
TA: Social media is an awesome marketing and PR tool. Not only that, but for the first time it's getting possible to measure ROI in a number of ways not possible before. This is the low hanging fruit for research now. Companies will only continue to increase their marketing spend in this area, and so there will be greater demand and pressure to prove ROI on this spend. Companies will want to know who they are reaching and how effective their campaigns are and how to improve them.
What I don't understand or agree with on the other hand is trying to force every single research problem onto social media. Just plain silly to think you can, at least as it is currently.
Don't get me wrong; we are not even close to leveraging social media for research at its full potential. But some of the amateurish Twitter based studies that are being touted as innovative research, well that's what I was referring to earlier in my comparison to amateur website developers 10 years ago. That will be coming to a halt, thank God!
There are already so many ways we could technically leverage social media for exponential gains in insight that we never dreamed were possible. However, we're not likely to see these anytime soon, at least not from traditional research. Traditional research is very risk averse, not just in terms of privacy, but also in investing dollars without a sure return. So these innovations will either come from client side or ad agencies, BI/IT, a major social network, or dare I say even from academia. I hope I'm wrong here, but from what I know about the MR industry we just don't have the R&D budgets to truly test the possibilities.
LM: Last week it was released that Anderson Analytics was perceived to be one of the Top 10 Most Innovative companies in the industry, and in the multivariate analysis there were some surprising results for you regarding how your company is perceived in relation to some of the largest in the industry. What is your take on the results?
TA: I guess social media marketing really does work!
Seriously though, I was touched to see that so many voted for us. I really wasn't surprised that there were just as many small companies mentioned as billion dollar companies, exactly five of each I believe. Large companies just haven't been able to wrap their heads around this new marketing as well as small and medium sized players.
In terms of Anderson Analytics positioning on the chart next to Nielsen, well I kind of talked to that on my blog a little. While I've been a big proponent of new techniques, especially advanced analytics and data mining including text analytics, everything we've been doing is based on sound methodology. So I think it speaks to the fact that the work Anderson Analytics has done, whether for clients or presentations at conferences, white papers etc. is of high methodological caliber. We're not about anything goes and pretty twitter word clouds.
So while at first it was a bit surprising to not be considered more "Disruptively Innovative", I'm glad that almost the same type of customer who considers Nielsen will also considers Anderson Analytics. This is after all where I came from, and I value and respect these classically trained researchers immensely.
LM: So what’s next for Anderson Analytics, NGMR, FTO, etc..? What new tricks do you have up your sleeve for 2011 and beyond?
TA: That's a great question and a tough one I'm struggling with right now. Our industry is changing fast. I see a lot of opportunities and my viewpoint on full service research has changed quite a bit since starting Anderson Analytics.
I think there's a lot of opportunity for analytics right now. However I think the old way of growing a research firm by adding consultants in various sectors is coming to an end. You can't fight the DIY trend. Data is everywhere, and clients want a hand in how it is analyzed. I believe the new frontier for us is in helping clients do just that.
LM: OK, last question Tom. I know you work like a madman, but tell me about your downtime. What do you like to do to relax? Any hobbies, interests, or passions? What’s an average Saturday night like at the Anderson household?
TA: The toughest questions for last huh? My wife and I were grew up in families that traveled a lot and lived abroad, so we were both exposed to a lot of different cultures in US, Europe and Asia. That has stuck with us and so we enjoy travel and food. If I speak at a conference somewhere interesting and she can get away from work we always try to mix business with pleasure.
But that's where our similarities end. She's a city girl so every chance she gets she'll try to drag me into NYC to a restaurant, play or for shopping. I don't mind too much, but to recharge I much prefer heading the opposite way, North to our family cabin and back to nature. Not her idea of excitement!
So on any given Saturday, the situation may be very different.
LM: Sounds like a good life Tom; thanks for sharing. And thanks for your time and openness; this has been great. I’ll look forward to seeing you in Chicago at the Tech Driven Market Research event!
TA: Thanks Lenny, this has been good and I’m always happy to chat with you! See you in Chicago.
About Tom Anderson:
Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of Anderson Analytics, a full-service market research consultancy that takes a “next generation” approach to research by fusing advanced analytics and traditional methodologies with leading edge technologies like data and text mining.
Recently named one of the industry's "Four under 40" market research leaders by the American Marketing Association (2010), Tom has also been proclaimed the “Uncrowned Father of Web 3.0 Market Research” (Research Business Report, 2009). In addition, Tom is a prominent blogger, recognized authority on social media, and the founder of Next Gen Market Research (NGMR), one of the most active networking groups for market researchers on the Web.
Tom is chairman of the Foundation for Transparency in Offshoring (FTO), a non-profit organization he founded in 2009 dedicated to educating buyers and suppliers of consumer research and analytics services on considerations related to offshoring, and to promoting disclosure standards.
Tom is a frequent lecturer at universities and industry conferences, and has been widely published in trade journals and decision science texts. He has previously held positions at global marketing research companies including TNS, NFO Worldwide, and ACNielsen BASES. Tom holds an MBA in Marketing, Finance and International Business from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Economics from Lund University, Sweden.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Social Media and Community 2.0 Strategies is taking place April 4-6, 2011, in Boston, Massachusetts. Fridays leading up to the event, we’ll be recapping one of the sessions from the 2010 Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies Event. For more information on this year's event, download the brochure.
Jaimee Clements, online production manager of eBusiness and AAA, gave a quick and candid half-hour talk on social media implementation. What she said is a primer for good execution; here it is.
Tips for If You Haven't Dived In YetStart small. Try Twitter first; it's easy to manage and understand.
Listen and take action on what users already want from you.
Be clear on objective and goals. If you know what your goal is, you have something to measure, and you can engage selectively, as opposed to in a way that spreads the net wide but wastes energy.
Meet with legal & HR early and often. Otherwise, if you surprise them all of a sudden with a crisis, they'll probably take forever. Damage gets done when you can't respond in real-time.
How dedicated do you want to be? A yardstick:
Low: minimal engagement.
Dedicated tools: Passive. Needs no monitoring once tool is provided to users. Structured user input, no content created.
Moderate: intermittent engagement.
Dedicated tools: Part-time. Weekly moderation, user submitted content/media must be reviewed before publishing.
High: daily engagement.
Dedicated resources: frequent posts, real-time responses, full-time community management.
Once You're In: Objectives
- Listen daily
- Identify your top brand advocates
- Engage them where they are, and in their language. Don't go storming into a chatroom at a socnet, where you haven't introduced yourself, and be like, "I'm great! By AAA." You'll get spanked.
- Work the feedback loop. Make sure the data you glean goes back to your customer support team or whomever the most relevant department is. Don't shove undistilled social media reports onto everybody; feed the feedback loop appropriately, so it can actually make a difference in your product line and the brand experience.
- Make it interactive; provide viral incentives. Bear in mind you can't make a viral campaign; it involves a lot of luck, good planning and good community rapport.
- Prepare for the unexpected. If a firestorm happens, make sure there's a real-time escalation pattern, with people already identified to manage it. (Handy Pulp Fiction reference: identify THE WOLF.) "Make sure you have that path identified [beforehand]," because whatever your response, you need to respond in real-time.
- Always be willing to adapt.
- Be human, transparent
- Be unique, interesting; add value.
- Don't try controlling the convo.
- Be thankful! Recognize people helpin' you out, say nice things.
- Don't be too salesy. It's hard to be friends with that "always-on" personality.
- Understand/define success metrics.
- Don't forget social media is public media
- Don't be afraid to have fun!
Looking back, did you start a social media campaign or presence in 2010? Did you find these tips helpful?
Complimentary Web Seminar from Targetbase and The North American Conference on Customer Management and The Institute for International Research
Join Targetbase and The North American Conference on Customer Management for Engagement Optimization in Healthcare, a one hour, complimentary webinar on Thursday, March 10 from 2-3 PM EST.
Space is limited. Click here to reserve your Webinar seat now.
How do you measure the impact of customer engagement with your content and communications? How can you use a customer’s pattern of engagement to strengthen the relationship and drive prescriptions and adherence?
The tight integration of content, data, cutting-edge analytics and technology can deliver optimal customer interactions and drive your marketing objectives. Learn about an innovative approach that is providing marketers with an actionable gauge of relationship strength and the ability to drive and optimize ROI.
What you will learn:
• Define a “positive engagement” with your content both online and offline
• Connect an “engagement” with the desired outcome, be it your healthcare professional customer writing a prescription or a patient refilling one
• Create relationship management programs that are driven by a pattern of engagement
• View a case study
Brian Kaiser, VP of Strategy
Trae Clevenger, Senior VP, Innovation
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Required: Windows ® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh ®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS ® X 10.4.11 (Tiger ®) or newer
North American Conference on Customer Management
For over 8 years, NACCM has been your most trusted partner for peer-to-peer sharing, leadership building sessions, and legendary storytellers, leaving you with the inspiration and empowerment to make a difference. NACCM balances practical content you can take action on, unique experiences that reinvigorate, and big-name keynotes that inspire- all while stressing the importance of keeping the customer at the center of every business decision.
Today we've pulled together the Top Reasons Why Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies is a Must-Attend:
- 1. It's the first all client-side case study-based event focused on social media as a driver of business results. Hear from: AT&T Interactive, Best Buy, Dell, General Motors, Unilever and many more!
- 2. The program focuses on what really matters - the Strategy, Operation and Results of social media on your business.
- 3. All new keynote presentations by industry gurus, including Marc Gobé, Scott Stratten, Michael Tchong and James Fowler.
- 4. NEW for 2011—An All Day Primer on Social Gaming: Explore a new realm of social behavior and dig deeper into the virtual world of gaming.
- 5. Social Media 101 Primer—Refresh your social media skills and perfect your social engagement. Strengthen the social media strategy for your company.
- 6. Learn the strategies and catch the next wave of social media before your competition does —they've already signed up to attend, have you?
No matter what business you're in, Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies will share the tools, techniques and knowledge you need to use social media strategically to drive business results.
As a reader of the Social Media and Community 2.0 blog, you will save 15% off the standard price when you register and mention priority code SOCIAL11BLOG5. Join us this April and find out what's working, what's not and where the future of social media is headed.
Register today to secure your spot and save!
If you have any questions about the agenda, feel free to contact me, Michelle LeBlanc, at MLeBlanc@iirusa.com.
We hope to see you in Boston this April!
All the best,
The Social Media & Community 2.0 Team
The Social Media & Community 2.0 Event Page: http://bit.ly/hFYyMw
Fan Us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Thursday, February 24, 2011
"Selecting An SM Monitoring Tool" by Nygel Weishar, Sysmos Inc.
With millions upon millions of unique conversations taking place in the social media realm daily, the question is not if social media is useful, but rather: how do we make it useful to us? There are 100’s of billions of conversations that have already taken place, not to mention about to happen, and this highlights the need for a place to aggregate the data. This is where Sysomos and other social media monitoring tools come into place. But which one do you choose?
As most effective research projects start, the individual should first decide what they need to find out/prove and ways this data could be presented. Is there a current Social Media goal? Or is the need to understand a specific Market or Topic? This will define the things that are important to the project and will ultimately outline the main things to look for in a tool. What sources are being crawled? Are the appropriate results even available? Is the tool flexible enough to satisfy my requirements? On top of data being presented, it is also equally important to qualify who will be using the tool and the learning curve necessary to be effective using it. (Just because the tool can do it, doesn’t mean it is easy to do.) Being able to quickly/easily find the necessary information not to mention present it to the appropriate audience so that it makes sense are both crucial things to consider.
Some other things to keep in mind would be budget, scope, and integration. What is the pricing structure? Is there a flat fee? Am I penalized by the amount of data/users I have in the system? All of these things will be crucial in defining if a solution will even be affordable. That being said, many tools provide varying ranges in coverage as well. It’s important to know that the scope of your project is feasible with the tool of choice. What geographic regions need to be covered? How many languages are included in the tool? Finally, integration is an area we are getting more requests for lately and this entails features like: CRM’s, Fanpages, Twitter Accounts, etc. By integrating directly to a tool, marketers can streamline engagement processes and provide even deeper insights regarding the topic of interest.
Social media as most know is a continually growing and evolving organism. Be sure to have a solid grasp on what you hope to gain from social media and ask the ultimate question: Is this something you can use effectively?
Who has already decided to join us this May?
20 20 Technology, Alterian, American Honda Motor, Amway Corporation, Anderson Analytics LLC, Brand360, CareerBuilder, Civic Science Inc., Crimson Hexagon, CT Marketing Research, Cutting Edge Research, DavidDalka.com, DemandROMI, Disney Destinations, Dole Fresh Vegetables, ESPN Inc., Flamingo Research, General Motors,
Gongos Research, iCharts, Infosurv Inc., Intel Corporation, Interviewing Services of America JD Power & Associates, John Deere, Kao Brands, KL Communications, Knowledge Networks, Kraft Foods Inc., Leo Burnett, Luth Research LLC, MARC Research, Market Strategies International, MarketVision Research, MedPanel, Millward Brown, Morpace Inc., MSW Research Inc., Nestle USA, NetBase Solutions Inc., NeuroFocus Inc., Newell Rubbermaid, Next Stage Evolution, NORC at the University of Chicago, One Point Mobile Surveys, Procter & Gamble, Pureprofile, Qualcomm, Qualvu, Sam's Club, Samsung Electronics, SJR Group, Smith-Dahmer Associates, Socractic, Southwest Airlines, StrategyOne, Survey Analytics, Symphonetic Insight, Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Techneos Systems Inc, The Cleveland Clinic, ThinkVine, TXTEAGLE, Vision Critical, Vistaprint, WL Gore & Associates, Zynga
As a reader of The Market Research Event Blog, we’re offering you an exclusive discount of 15% off the standard price when using discount code TDMR11Blog. Register here. If you have any questions about this event, feel free to contact Jennifer Pereira at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
As a lead up to the Technology Driven Market Research Event (May 2-3, Chicago) I am conducting interviews with as many of the wonderful thought leaders that are presenting as possible. The plan will be to post 1 or 2 a week from now until the TDMR. This will be an eclectic mix of consultants, client-side research leaders, and senior MR supplier executives, but all hold one thing in common; they are on the forefront of utilizing (or developing!) new technologies to revolutionize what we think of as “market research”.
We’re starting the series off by talking with Guy Powell of DemandROMI, (www.DemandROMI.com). Guy has spoken at many events and facilitated many workshops around the world. He is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the issues of marketing effectiveness and how to use data-driven analytics to improve strategic and tactical marketing decision-making.
I hope you enjoy reading about our conversation half as much as I enjoyed participating in it!
LM: The concept of Marketing ROI seems to be a hot topic, but it has been slow to be embraced when it comes to applying it to market research. Why do you think that is?
GP: Actually, the adoption of marketing ROI as a way to determine effectiveness and make better strategic and tactical marketing decisions has been accelerating. There are some sectors which are still behind the curve, but for the most part mid-sized and large corporations are well along the way of implementing various stages of marketing ROI.
As for those companies not implementing ROI there are a few reasons: 1.) They don’t have the data 2.)They don’t know how, and 3.) They don’t want to reduce their advertising budgets in order to budget for the data and analytics it takes to develop a marketing ROI infrastructure.
LM: What do you think are the major drivers of change in the market research space right now and what role is the focus on greater ROI and marketing performance metrics playing in that?
GP: Market research is being inundated with new opportunities to gain insights into their consumers. With the various social media channels becoming mainstream, these channels offer very interesting ways to capture new insights on their consumer base. They also offer more recency and potential higher accuracy.
These new insights have both a negative and positive impact on marketing ROI and performance. The bad news is that many marketers are using these metrics to look only at short term results (Last Touch Attribution) and ignoring the long term effects. Marketers are inundated with new data and now are looking at too many variables to manage their marketing effectiveness. They are using these numbers to make tactical decisions but may not be understanding the strategic implications of these short term actions. With many of these new metrics ROI can be quickly improved because they help marketers avoid the simple errors and can quickly improve their tactical capabilities.
LM: So one of the limiting factors in developing an effective marketing ROI program is limitations in data analytics capabilities on the client side. Combine that with the issues of data overload and/or misapplication and it would seem to indicate an opportunity for market research to develop more of a business intelligence focus and work at a more core level with clients. What do you think?
GP: You’ve hit the nail on the head for Market Research. Of course, there is some data overload, especially in the web side of things as well as in a few verticals, such as banking and financial services, but there is an enormous opportunity for Market Research to deliver highly valuable information for executives to make significantly better decisions. Unfortunately, the difficulty is in translating the data into information that can be acted upon, and this is where funding of market research and experimentation in market research is often lacking.
LM: What is your vision of where market research will fit into client organizations in five years from now? Will it be more of a BI/IT centric function, more strategic marketing insights focused, or some other model?
GP: Absolutely. Market Research can really deliver highly valuable, strategic information for marketers to support the business. The alternative to Market Research is shooting from the hip. And the bad reputation of analysis paralysis it has engendered in the past. Market Research needs new methods of how to ‘sell’ its services into the organization to continue to prove that their outputs are worth the investment in time (calendar time) and money. It also needs a scorecard of how well its research has delivered value to the business. They need to continue to sell their value to the organization in terms of past success. This is the area that can be of most value to the function of Market Research.
LM: Wow, great point regarding MR needing to learn how to tell our own story and earn our seat at the table by proving the value of our product! I think that is particularly relevant to internal research departments within client organizations. I agree it is the right model for suppliers to aspire to, but I think the challenge there is changing the relationship with our clients. Often MR is viewed as a commodity and suppliers are just that: suppliers. There is little line of sight into outcomes on the client side or opportunities to be repositioned. Any thoughts on what market research suppliers can do to change that equation?
GP: Not sure I can add much here. Because many components of MR are a commodity, the lowest bidder may only deliver the facts without the business interpretation. I guess that’s what you get when you buy things at least cost.
LM: I understand, but do you think there is a path forward for MR agencies to change the model and get out of the commodity market? Any thoughts on where some potential opportunities to exist to change the rules of the game?
GP: Unfortunately, after the last few years, organizations were purchasing the absolute minimum and this led to the commoditized approach. MR now needs to work towards getting the value add that the agency can provide by adding more to the decks to help them point out the key hot buttons in the results.
LM: I think the issue of data actionability is a big one, and often MR doesn’t help the cause by delivering 100 slide PowerPoint decks that are rich in data descriptives but lacking in storytelling and implications, especially for busy C-Suite clients. If one of the key challenges is making market research (and business intelligence, marketing metrics, etc…) meaningful to clients to, what are some things that we can do to help make that happen? Is the solution more dashboard type reporting, integrated enterprise analytics, more of a consulting approach, a mix of those approaches or something new all together?
GP: Yes, 100 slides is too many for a presentation, but are necessary for a deep understanding and supplemental reading. The business executive doesn’t have time to wade through the 100 slides, but the smart ones will read them off-line. So the challenge is to develop skills in delivering a 10 to 15 slide executive summary with 100 slides as supporting material for later reading at their option. The lower level brand team participants will need to have that level of understanding of what was found. Not an easy task.
But I do believe the 100 slide deck problem is endemic in many disciplines. Wasn’t it Einstein that said that I would have made it shorter, if I had more time?
LM: You’re moderating a panel debate on Social Media: Scientific Technology or Business Practice at the IIR Tech Driven Market Research event. What is your take on the subject and what do you hope for attendees to get out of the discussion?
GP: Social media is changing so rapidly that opportunities may only be available for a short time. Facebook has certainly lasted and there are others that also have staying power. I think the key issues will be what new technologies will deliver opportunities for marketers over the next 2 or 3 years and how will smart marketers identify them.
LM: What are your thoughts on the TDMR event in general? Why do you think it’s important to focus on understanding the current state of market research technology and what implications does it have for ROMI?
GP: Technology is what will simplify and automate the collection of data. With that in mind, marketers will have better data and more things that can be measured in order to drive better strategic and tactical marketing decisions.
LM: Agreed absolutely Guy. I am thrilled that you’re going to be participating at the Tech Driven Market Research event! Thanks for your time; it’s been great chatting with you and I’m looking forward to seeing you in Chicago in May.
About Guy Powell:
Over the last 20 years Guy R. Powell, based in Atlanta, GA, USA, has helped companies to connect all their marketing activities to their impact on sales revenue in senior level sales & marketing across the globe both on the client and consulting sides. As part of his current consulting activities he has trained and/or presented his findings and methods to thousands of marketers all across the globe.
His company, DemandROMI, (www.DemandROMI.com) is based on helping marketers and business executives to take these critical concepts and implement them within his client organizations. His consulting career began ATKearney delivering strategic and tactical solutions to help companies fuel and maintain extraordinary growth. While at ATKearney he worked on a variety of wide ranging projects for both mid-tier and Global 100 companies in Europe, providing strategic assessments, business re-alignments and turn-arounds.Guy’s direct industry experience includes consumer package goods, financial services, digital electronics, high tech, brewery, frozen food, automotive, cable & wire, consumer durables, media & entertainment and many,many others.
Mr. Powell’s educational background includes an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BSEE from Lehigh University.About the Author Leonard Murphy:
Lenny is a seasoned and respected industry leader with an entrepreneurial drive. He has been called a visionary and is renowned as an innovator. He has successfully established several companies in the MR space including Rockhopper Research, a leading full service global research firm and MDM Associates, a MR consulting firm, before founding his current companies: BrandScan 360 and his consulting practice LMC group (www.asklmcg.com). Mr. Murphy is a key consultant and adviser to numerous market research agencies, and works across the industry to drive the development of innovative research practices by developing strategic alliances with multiple “best in class” providers. Lenny serves on the Board of The Market Research Global Alliance, the premier social network for the global MR profession. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Research Industry Trends Monitoring Group & Publisher of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Study, the oldest study in the industry devoted to tracking changing trends in MR. He is on the Advisory Boards of the Festival of NewMR and The Merlien Institute. He is also the Chairman of the IIR Technology Driven Market Research conference. Rounding out his busy professional life, he is the Editor in Chief of the GreenBook Blog. Lenny can be reached at email@example.com
Friday, February 18, 2011
With a general public that is increasingly using smart phones to text and tap their way through the day, it’s hardly surprising that some would prefer to address customer service issues in this manner. Why dial an 800 number and wait to speak to a service representative, when you can call up the Internet or an app from your mobile device for immediate answers? What was once simply the realm of Interactive Voice Response technology now includes elements such as text, touch and visual inputs and outputs.
What is your company doing when it comes to automated response systems and mobile technology? Do you see mobile apps as a potential time and money saving device? Or is developing and maintaining mobile technology seen as an additional unneeded expense? If you are developing mobile technology, will it be proactive—such as the American Airlines or ICE applications, which address customer needs before a problem arises—or reactive, such as a direct link to customer service questions? Share with us in the comments!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies prides itself on sharing real world stories on establishing new practices for building relationships with markets in a social world. Cross-industry marketing, social media and community experts and gurus will be on-hand to share the strategies behind their success.
View the speaker list.
Featured sessions include:
- Creating an Integrated Marketing Campaign: Utilizing the Right Social Media Channels: Christine Cea, Director of Marketing Communications, Unilever
Hear how Unilever integrates social media, traditional media efforts, as well as WOM marketing to create a strong promotional campaign. Learn what technologies they are using, why it's working, and the role it plays in their brand strategy.
- Optimizing Marketing Communication through Social Listening: Heddy Parker DeMaria, Director, Consumer Insights & Strategy, Kraft
A case study on how a good integrated marketing communication program was made great through engaging Social Listening tools. The tools were able to "crack the code", getting to much richer insight into specific consumer values, needs and behaviors.
- KEYNOTE: Social Engagement Marketing: Michael Tchong, Founder, Ubercool, Author, Social Engagement Marketing
Now that more than 60% of Americans have a social network profile, media and marketing are inundated by a wave of change. Follow along as Michael takes you on a roller-coaster ride through the social media landscape and reveals how this new dialog is uprooting society. This insightful tour covers such leading-edge topics as fan pages, buzz monitoring, social listening and intelligence, control panels, hash tags, link tracking, social APIs, location-based mobile apps and social currency.
Be a part of the evolution and register today! As a reader of the Social Media and Community 2.0 blog, you will save 15% off the standard price when you register here with mention priority code SOCIAL11BLOG4 when you register before Friday, February 25.
We hope to see you in Boston this April!
All the best,
The Social Media & Community 2.0 Team
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
"How to Maintain a Twitter Audience" by Kellie Parker, Community Manager, SEGA
One of the questions that I get asked most often about SEGA’s community outreach is how we build and maintain our Twitter audience. My first and best piece of advice is to have a conversation, not just push marketing out to them. Notice the “just” in that last sentence — we do push marketing, either in direct tweets or through linking people back to our blog. We are giving updates on our games and corporate activities. But we also re-tweet fan photos, tweet about fun stuff going on in our office (free donuts!) and sometimes not-so-fun stuff (another fire drill!). We reply to most everyone, even when the answer is “I’m sorry, I can’t answer that”. We try to be as, well, human as possible.
But the program that helps us grow the most, and most community managers are interested in, is Free Stuff Friday. It started as a way to get rid of swag and promotional items for older games that was just going to be thrown away, as it had little PR value. The community team started rescuing these items because we couldn’t bear for them to be thrown out. We needed to do something with all of this, so we started the Free Stuff Friday program. It’s been wildly successful, and has gone from a way to get rid of stuff to a planned part of our strategies.
How the Giveaways Work
The SEGA Twitter feed is run by the community teams in the US (that’s my team) and the UK. We each update the feed during our normal business hours. In order to make the administration of the giveaways easier, as well as give more opportunity for people around the world to participate, the US and UK team alternate Free Stuff Friday weeks. There are generally 6 prizes per day. For each giveaway, we’ll tweet an item, a number, and a phrase. For example: “Giveaway! Sonic the Hedgehog T-Shirt, size L. 5th person to DM “Sonic rules” wins!” And, as you would expect, the 5th person to DM “sonic rules” to us will win the shirt. We use an auto-follower to follow everyone who follows us, so everyone can send us DMs.
Where We Get Stuff From
The items that we give away really come from all over. Some things were created for promotional use and we get some of those. Sometimes we partner with other organizations, and we get free items through that. (For example, we’ve given away t-shirts and coupons that we got from Chiquita through our partnership with them on Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll.) Sometimes we get samples and other items from our licensing group, who handles relationships to get Sonic on a t-shirt, for example. We sometimes give away copies of games. Different regions often have different pre-order bonuses or special edition packs, and we work with SEGA reps in these territories to get a few of those items to give away. We also sometimes pick stuff up on our own to give away. For example, one of our community managers was in Chicago over the winter break and found some old SEGA Visions magazines at a retro games store there. So he bought them, and we gave them away. As you can imagine, we get a diverse pool of prizes because of this, but I think that keeps it fresh and interesting for our followers.
The Preview Video
To promote the week’s giveaways, my team makes a video each week to show off what we’re giving away. It’s also a chance for our community to see and hear us, and that makes us more human. We’re not the big bad faceless corporation, we’re people.
We generally do the videos in one take. This is mostly because I am not a very skilled video editor. But it’s also because the video is supposed to be a little homemade looking. It’s not supposed to be a slick, shiny trailer-style video because that might make it seem less authentic. We generally leave the camera running while we are setting up and deciding who is going to say what about which item. We’ve captured some really funny moments by doing this. Then we film the main segment, where we describe the items. Finally, we’ll leave the camera running while we’re done if we’re still milling around playing with the items or if we’re in need of anything funny.
In terms of editing the video, I use iMovie on my Mac. I put some titles on it, put some titles at the end with some music, and add a funny (we hope) bit at the end just to leave people with a laugh. Sometimes they are outtakes, sometimes they are jokes… whatever we had that week.
Here’s the video that we did recently, and this is fairly typical of our videos. We upload these videos to our YouTube account. We also blog them, and that blog link gets sent to our Twitter feed. We also post the blog link to our Facebook pages to generate more interest and followers.
Once we started doing these giveaways, word spread pretty quickly. We started gaining lots of new followers. We’ve been doing these giveaways for almost 2 years now, and we typically gain 500 – 1000 new followers per week. And although I have no metrics to back it up, I feel pretty confident that we get more new followers on Fridays than any other day. The giveaways are a win for everyone — our fans get some free stuff, we have an outlet to create content and connect more directly with our followers, and we have a way to give away stuff that’s of little value to the company but tremendous value to our community. It takes just a few hours of my time every other week, and we see tremendous return on that investment.
How You Can Implement This
Not every company has fun T-shirts or toys to giveaway, and I understand that. But nearly every company has a product. And nearly every company has people who are fans of it. Even just your company logo on a keychain will excite people. But do you have free product you can pass out? Can you feature someone on your website? Basically… what can you give back to your fans? I’m sure if you think about it, you’ll come up with a few things you can give away.
Take these ideas and make them your own. Mold them to the needs of your company and your fans. But it’s a way to use Twitter that’s made us pretty popular with our own fans, so I wanted to share this great idea.
I am happy to answer questions about our Free Stuff Friday giveaways in the comments, so please ask away!
Taking place June 6-8, 2011 in Boston, MA, Measure Up is the world's most comprehensive cross-dimensional view of marketing measurement best practices. With a focus on return on investment (ROI) as it relates to the integration of traditional, online and mobile activities; specifically, Social Media, this event is designed to answer business critical questions of today and tomorrow:
How are customers using Social Media to drive their marketing activities?
How can companies measure, manage and improve social media activities?
And most importantly, how can companies understand the analytics across the entire marketing mix and incorporate those results into improved marketing strategies and tactics to drive higher revenue, profit and brand share?
Download the Measure Up brochure here.
Rather than reinforcing the separation between digital versus traditional media, Measure Up promotes the integration of all marketing measurement, analytics and operational processes to drive the brand strategy. This can be best achieved by adding a new universe to the mix, Marketing Operations. Marketing Operations help to support not only the smooth functioning of the business of marketing, but also the measurement, accountability and systemization of marketing processes.
Industry professionals will go back to their office with a better understanding of how measurement, analytics and optimized resource allocation can drive their marketing strategies and tactics.
As a reader of The Market Research Event Blog, we’re offering you an exclusive discount of 15% off the standard price when using discount code TMREBLOGMU. Register here.
We hope to see you in Boston this June!
The Measure-Up Marketing Analytics Team
The Measure-Up Event webpage: http://bit.ly/i6QXuK
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TMRE
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
A little back-story: I have mentioned txteagle several times in previous posts as a company that I think has tremendous potential to impact market research in a very big way. In other words, I am a fan, and I was excited to have the opportunity talk with Chris about what txteagle is doing. I think you’ll find it interesting as well!
LM: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me Chris.
CH: No problem Lenny; I’ve been looking forward to it!
LM: Great. Well let’s jump into it! Txteagle seems to be making a big splash and generating a lot of interest within the market research space. Why do you think that is and how did you determine that this market was right for you to target?
CH: I think txteagle has generated excitement in the research industry because we deliver on several key unmet needs. At a strategic level, global organizations are acutely aware of the fact that their “next billion” consumers will be in traditional developing countries such as Brazil, India, China, Latin America and Indonesia and less traditional frontier markets such as Turkey, Vietnam, Malaysia and much of Africa. And they also know they must develop deep consumer market insights as they enter these markets.
In order to conduct effective research in these emerging markets, txteagle has built a large community of 2.1 billion people in almost 100 countries. Importantly, because we have integrated with over 220 mobile phone operators around the world, we have the ability to not only communicate with these community members on their mobile phones but also to compensate them for answering surveys in the form of mobile airtime.
We determined that market research was the right place to focus by simply listening to our customers. We have engaged with dozens of global brands and other multi-national organizations over the past two years and they consistently re-iterated the importance of leveraging mobile to learn more about their future consumers in emerging markets.
LM: What do you think are the major drivers of change in the market research space right now and how is txteagle planning to take advantage of those trends?
CH: Well, the first change, as I mentioned earlier, is the recognition of the importance of emerging markets. The OECD and McKinsey both estimate that about a trillion dollars in new spending power gets created each year in emerging markets as millions of people join the new middle class. Global brand companies like P&G, Coca-Cola and Nestle have all publicly stated that a large portion of their revenue and earnings growth over the next decade will come from these markets. We feel like txteagle is uniquely positioned to help them profit from this historic opportunity.
The second change is the growing importance of mobile as a means of data collection. Mobile helps researchers connect with hard-to-reach demographics who may not have access to a computer and the Internet, something that is especially important in emerging markets, where the mobile phone is the most ubiquitous computing device. Also, there has also been growing concern for a while about the validity of certain methodologies and the advent of the professional survey taker. Another key advantage of mobile is that because each phone number is by definition unique, it helps to generate more valid responses and insights for our customers.
LM: Your point regarding the need to gain intelligence in emerging markets, where mobile penetration is ubiquitous but internet connectivity is low makes perfect sense. That said, mobile research, especially as a quantitative technique, has been slow to ramp in the U.S. but that seems to be changing with the advent of the “App Revolution”; with many of the emerging markets that seem to be your sweet spot still being on 2G networks and feature phone heavy, how can txteagle help researchers overcome the resistance to SMS and WAP methods?
CH: I think it’s a question of alternatives and the analogy I would draw is to the advertising business. Major brands have many, many options for communicating with consumers in Manhattan or London or Hong Kong, where TV, Internet, broadband, social networks etc. are ubiquitous. The story is very different in rural India, small villages in China or the favela of Brazil, so innovative marketers looking to reach their next billion consumers have figured out ways to use mobile phones to engage with those consumers, despite the low penetration of smart phones.
We are seeing that many in the research business are doing the same – recognizing that mobile may have drawbacks but also that there are innovative ways to get great insights and information by focusing on the strengths of mobile in these markets – ubiquity, low cost, close match with the desired demographic, ability to start a dialog. txteagle makes it easy for researchers to experience this because we combine the survey technology, access to respondents and incentive mechanism into one offering.
LM: You mentioned concerns about validity of methodologies and I assume you’re thinking of the non-representative nature of online panels and the switch to convenience samples as the prevailing norm for online research. How is your offering different? How can you help researchers get back to something closer to the glory days of RDD sampling?
CH: We have integrated with over 220 mobile phone operators in 100 countries, which gives us access to 2.1 billion mobile phone numbers. The exciting thing is that this enables us to do population-level surveys of mobile phone subscribers, which, given the penetration rates of mobile in emerging markets, is one of the closest matches to a random sample available.
LM: So if someone wanted to conduct a study among rural populations in India via mobile, how would that work? Can you walk me through the process of working with txteagle and explain how your model compares to an online panel provider?
CH: Probably the best way to get a sense for how it works would be to visit our web site where we walk through the whole process [Editors note: http://txteagle.com/technology]. The core of it is that we combine a massive pool of potential respondents (2.1 billion people in almost 100 countries) with survey technology (web or mobile) and a universal currency for compensating respondents (mobile airtime).
So a client comes to txteagle, defines a survey, selects target respondent profiles by location and demographics and then defines the level of incentive. We then locate the appropriate respondents in our global community, execute the survey, compensate respondents for completed interviews and present the findings back to the client. The client can be a market research firm or the end-user of the research, but the overall offering is very different from an online panel provider.
LM: Looking ahead 3-5 years, where do you see the market research space headed and where will txteagle fit into that vision?
CH: In keeping with the international nature of txteagle’s value proposition, I’m going to start with a caveat based on a quote from Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu: “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.”
With that in mind, I do think that it’s a fairly low risk proposition to predict that the trends around using mobile as a way to generate new insights in developing markets will continue and probably pick up steam. txteagle has an opportunity to be a leader of that trend given our ready-made base of mobile-enabled survey respondents, integrations with 220 mobile carriers and ability to compensate 2.1 billion people. One thing I do know for certain is that it will be a lot of fun being part of that future unfolding.
LM: agree; the next few years are going to be a lot of fun as we watch things play out! You’re moderating a panel discussion on App Based Mobile Research at the IIR Tech Driven Market Research event. What is your take on the subject and what do you hope for attendees to get out of the discussion?
CH: App-based mobile research is an exciting space that is creating many opportunities to generate new insights through the intersection of location awareness, immersive non-survey experiences (e.g. games) and ongoing dialog as opposed to a one-time survey. It will be great to hear how researchers at innovative companies are using these techniques and what kinds of new insights they are generating. I hope that attendees can leave with a sense for the opportunity, a couple of thought-provoking ideas and some issues to consider as they embark on exploring the space.
LM: OK, last question! So what’s next for txteagle? Are you going to primarily focus on being a global source for mobile sample, or are there some more tricks up your sleeve in the near future?
CH: Yes. Today we can provide access to 2.1 billion mobile respondents and an incentive mechanism in almost 100 countries. Expect to see those numbers grow to 4 billion mobile respondents in almost 200 countries in the next year or so. That said, we do have several tricks up our sleeve that will take advantage of this massive global reach and unique compensation mechanism. Stay tuned…
LM: I absolutely will! Thanks so much for your time Chris. I’m looking forward to seeing you in Chicago at the TDMR!
CH: Thank you, this has been great, and I am sure the conference will be as well. Talk to you soon!
About Chris Hobson, Chief Operating Officer of txteagle
Chris Hobson leads txteagle’s efforts to create value for our customers and partners. He brings to txteagle over fifteen years of leadership experience in sales, marketing, business development and general management. Mr. Hobson began his career as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble and prior to joining txteagle he was SVP Operations at eCredit (now Cortera), which was acquired by Fidelity Ventures in 2006. He is currently an advisor to several Boston-area technology start-ups.
txteagle helps global organizations learn, educate and grow in emerging economies by leveraging the power of the mobile phone. Through a network of over 2.1 billion mobile phone subscribers across almost 100 developing countries, txteagle leverages the emerging market community for two inter-related services; i) GroundTruth: gathering local data and opinions ii) GroundSwell: leveraging those insights to improve consumer engagement.
Mr. Hobson is a graduate of McGill University and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.About the Author Leonard Murphy: Lenny is a seasoned and respected industry leader with an entrepreneurial drive. He has been called a visionary and is renowned as an innovator. He has successfully established several companies in the MR space including Rockhopper Research, a leading full service global research firm and MDM Associates, a MR consulting firm, before founding his current companies: BrandScan 360 and his consulting practice LMC group (www.asklmcg.com). Mr. Murphy is a key consultant and adviser to numerous market research agencies, and works across the industry to drive the development of innovative research practices by developing strategic alliances with multiple “best in class” providers. Lenny serves on the Board of The Market Research Global Alliance, the premier social network for the global MR profession. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Research Industry Trends Monitoring Group & Publisher of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Study, the oldest study in the industry devoted to tracking changing trends in MR. He is on the Advisory Boards of the Festival of NewMR and The Merlien Institute. He is also the Chairman of the IIR Technology Driven Market Research conference. Rounding out his busy professional life, he is the Editor in Chief of the GreenBook Blog. Lenny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, February 10, 2011
With the holiday season behind us, many are relieved to have the stress of annual travel over with. Meanwhile those who travel regularly throughout the year continue to face increased security, long lines, high prices and more.
American Airlines is looking to put the pleasure back in traveling and improve the flying experience for its customers by building a sense of competition between airport station teams and honoring improved customer service and innovative problem solving with its quarterly “Customer Cup” awards.
San Francisco, Denver, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Ohio, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic were awarded the Customer Cup this quarter for improvements in internal customer satisfaction ratings in several categories, including increases in customer interaction and baggage delivery ratings. The Customer Cup represents a small part of the airline’s focus on improving the experience for its customers by strengthening internal communication and processes. Employees from all sectors of the business are encouraged to bring forward ideas and solutions to improve the travel experience for customers, and recognition programs such as this one reward innovation.
"Given the challenges the industry faces, the Cup is a great way to recognize the accomplishments of our employees," Mark Mitchell, American's Managing Director – Customer Experience stated in a press release, "It's through their dedication and ingenuity we can deliver exceptional travel experiences of our customers."
By improving participation in improved customer experiences amongst internal stakeholders and streamlining customer experiences with new technology—including iPad, iPhone and Android mobile apps—American Airlines is turning the focus away from the inevitable negatives of flying and towards increased customer satisfaction. Has your company had any success with employee recognition programs? What goals and strategies do you have for 2011 to improve your customer experiences?