Thursday, November 29, 2012

I feel like an infant and other final thoughts from this year's The Market Research Event

I try not to take notes at conferences.   That’s because I find that I rarely look back at them.  And when I do, they make little sense as they are generally snatches of information, witty quotes without attribution and nonsense such as this year’s winner: “I feel like an infant.”  I have no idea why I wrote that down.  I usually try to write down my own ideas, inspired by the presentations, so that I have a useful array of output for my time spent.

Nice try.  Now that two weeks has passed since the IIR’s The Market Research Event, I scanned the little notebook they gave me that proved irresistible during the event and here are a few final noteworthy snippets of stuff I wrote down about presentations.  Along with some points out of context that could be humorous if you know me well.

First, the presentation by Amy Burgdorf, Director of Market Research and Insights for Carhartt was wonderful because it immersed the attendees in a culture they clearly have no basis for understanding at all:  People who work with their hands.   Let’s face it, the most work I did with my hands this week was picking last week’s manicure from my nails.  But back to Amy.  Her key point was how immersion with real people on-the-job was invaluable to helping create a brand based in authenticity that is now emerging in popularity as a “lifestyle brand.”  When asked if they would focus more on the majority of their customers who were clearly not working construction or farms, she said they wouldn’t stray from their blue collar roots for opportunistic sales.  Go Amy!! This was followed by a lovely, unbridled question from the audience that I can’t remember but demonstrated a total lack of awareness of the brand and inattention to the presentation.  It was the laugh of the day but Burgdorf handled it well, saving as much face as possible for the person asking.   Well done.

I also had the pleasure to see Eric Lum, Vice President Strategic Marketing for Columbia Records/Sony Music present his views on music as “the currency of attention” for television advertising.  This was fascinating to me as I pondered what our currency of attention should be for market research surveys or engagements with consumers.  How do we incentivize respondents to participate and stick with us.  All you have to do is play a cool indie song and I’ll watch your ad… more than once.  It does work.  So, what's next for us?

What’s our next step as an industry?  I don’t know but if you believe keynote Bob Johansen, Fellow at the Institute for the Future, it’s probably something to do with games and information floating in the air right in front of you.   A fascinating talk but you know what they say about futurists.  They can say anything they want because the future never really comes.  And for every trend there is a countertrend they forgot to mention.   I imagine a future where the air around me is filled with digital garbage much like my smart phone is now.  Sorting through this is the business opportunity of the future.  But that’s not a sexy keynote, so Nevermind (thanks Nirvana).

I heard that David Boyle, Senior Vice President of Consumer Insight for EMI gave an incredible speech to an audience of a dozen.   I was sorry to hear about the low turnout and particularly sorry to have missed it because I heard it was so good.   I also missed William Leach from Brainjuicer, a Pepsico Alum because people were smashed into the room and spilling out into the hallway.  Both of these are worth perusing on the IIR’s website if you get a chance.

I dropped in on Mark Brooks, Vice President Consumer and Market Intelligence, with L’Oreal as he described “L’Oreality.”  This is an interesting concept because every company creates its own reality from the myths of the past and beliefs of the current organization.   He discussed internal competitiveness that demanded “resiliency” as the key attribute for success and that the conflict, rather than avoided was fostered because “the greatest things happen through conflict.”  That’s not for everyone, particularly not for your average market researcher.  This tells me that you have to be pretty exceptional to rise at L’Oreal and this was underscored by one of his final comments.  “A lot of people didn’t make it in this transformation (to a new way of doing business),” he said with a soft smile, “but that was completely up to them.”  Bravo, Mark!

Dani Vanzant, Manager Customer Experience Programs and Satisfaction for Southwest Airlines, demonstrated how you could squeeze one measure so hard it actually came to life.  I’m talking about NPS (net promoter score) which became a darling of the survey world about a decade ago and has struggled to remain relevant in a sea of new, complex ideas.   Dani built a compelling case for the relevance of NPS by partnering  with sharp software to make it “easy, accessible, actionable and flexible” – in other words, relevant, in every slice and even sliver of her organization.   She also uses continuous system user surveys to make the system “agile” – under continuous revision, so NPS can not only measure but also  motivate and transform an organization.  Powerful stuff.

It was fun to see Sandra Kelly from 3M in the front row for Ryan Lein, Director of Category Management and Consumer Insight for Hanes Brands presentation on DIY.   That’s because Sandra has been on the cutting edge of internalizing DIY for insights for the past 5 years.  She shocked the IIR audience in San Francisco a few years back by showing price per study that were about one zero short of the average bid.   Ryan took that saber and drive it through the heart of qualitative by suggesting that small, iterative surveys could replace much of the typical qualitative we do today in preparation for final qualifying quantitative measurement of new ideas.     This coupled with his ideas around DIY and Insight Led Selling made for a fresh and compelling discussion.   From the company who gave us the tagless t-shirt, we do expect big things and Ryan delivered.

Finally, I wrapped up my immersion in The Market Research Event with Michelle Adams, Marketing Brainology Inc, and also a Pepsico Alum, presenting a study from POPAI.  Michelle is an incredible speaker who engaged the audience while revealing emotional drivers behind the shopping experience.  In her own words, “It all boils down to choice but it’s not always conscious.”  In fact, her data builds a pretty compelling case that it’s rarely conscious when we make choices at the shelf.  That made me wonder about other choices, like deciding who to marry and raise children with… how conscious is that choice?  If you believe the Old Spice bottle, not very, because they’re saying if our Dads didn’t wear it we wouldn’t be here.   While Michelle showed video of a shopper wearing neuroscience headgear and eye tracking goggles while shopping a shelf, I wondered if I could talk women into doing this at a bar and peruse men.  What areas of the brain would alight? While they were looking at what?  And what would the objects of scrutiny be thinking about these women and their accessories?  What if the shampoo bottles were looking back at you, what would they say?  I suppose my mind did wander a bit but she always brought me back to the content with questions from the audience, promising Denny’s gift cards for good answers.  And she got a few.    

You’ll notice I’ve not mentioned most of the keynotes.  These were well-attended and high quality as you’d expect.  What is often overlooked are the stellar breakouts.  With 3 days, 9 tracks each day and more than 50 presentations, it’s not possible to absorb everything this event has to offer.  Maybe in the future, the information will all float in front of me and I’ll use my emotions to choose which data to watch and absorb.  But for now, I’ll just come again next year and hunt up the good stuff for myself.  Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Survey vs. Social: How Does it Stack Up?

This post comes from TMRE Platinum Sponsor Maritz and is cross-posted from the Maritz Sound Check blog.

Last week, 16 people from Maritz Research attended The Market Research Event in Boca Raton, Florida. There were great networking opportunities among colleagues, vendors, clients and even competitors and also opportunities to share ideas. Maritz Research was the platinum sponsor for the conference and also gave three presentations. As always, Randy Brandt’s presentation (he blogged to preview it before the conference) was well received and provided hard evidence of something most already suspected. How does traditional survey research stack up to social media? You can see more details of the study in his deck, but here’s a video sharing the highlights.


Visit the Maritz Sound Check blog for more insights.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Validity in Assessing Ad Communication & Impact Under The Radar

Today's blog post comes from Dr. David Forbes, Ph.D. & Judith Retensky Forbes Consulting, an exhibitor at The Market Research Event 2012.

Typically, good advertising has to come in “under the radar” – that is, be persuasive in ways that are subtle – appealing to emotions and deep-rooted psychological motivations. One type of research that attempts to measure these reactions is the communication check.

Communication check research typically takes place when advertisers have reached a fairly specific vision about an upcoming ad campaign. The “check” is used to gain a preliminary look at how the ad will “work” – what messages it will convey and how those messages will be received.

However, respondents are often unable to give accurate reports about their reactions to advertising since the important communications usually take place below the conscious intellectual level, and the kinds of impact good advertising can create are precisely those that respondents don’t want to acknowledge. Given these constraints, how should researchers proceed? Following the 6 steps in the communication check process can help to accurately measure reactions and optimize the campaign.

Step 1: Use Developed Stimuli

Stimuli for advertising communication research should be as fully developed as possible. Although showing the ad at any stage (sketch, storyboard, etc.) works, well-developed executions will deliver the underlying strategy in a way that can come in “under the radar,” just like a real ad.

The more stimuli look and feel like finished advertising, the greater validity in the findings.

Step 2: Design a Method for Deeper Thoughts

In-depth interviews (IDIs) have been the traditional approach since they allow researchers to explore the full sequence of one’s individual thoughts and feelings, without distraction or “contamination” from others. Recently, however, Forbes has employed a rapid exposure image-driven exercise (MindSight®) in a focus group setting to circumvent rational thought and get to deeper motivational content – the “paydirt” of successful advertising communication.

Step 3: Expose Stimuli Just Once

The consumer who is exposed to an ad once will process it in a way that reflects the impact of all elements of the advertising – imagery, tonality, and text that mimics what would exist in a real-world viewing. In contrast, repeat exposure creates a different balance of impact between these elements and changes the path of mental processing.

Step 4: Listen First

It is essential to learn precisely what the mental state of the respondent is after exposure to the advertising. Specific questions from the researcher too soon can be distracting – taking the respondent’s mind off the track it was on after viewing the ad. The best approach is to simply let the respondent start talking. The respondent may talk about the advertising message right away, about a salient image, or something else entirely…but whatever the content, this is the first impact the stimulus had.

Step 5: Probe on Perception, Cognition and Emotion

Once an interview moves from unaided to aided probing, it is important to help the respondent accurately reconstruct spontaneous lines of thought. Probes of unaided material should be constructed to “fill out” the three areas where psychology tells us that valid content exists. These areas are:

• Perception – what was seen or heard
• Cognition – ideas triggered by the perception
• Emotion – feeling states triggered by the cognition

Step 6: Round Out the Discussion

 It is almost always necessary to conclude an advertising communication check with direct, aided probes in areas where no spontaneous feedback occurred. The recommended approach is to follow the natural processing sequence (perception, cognition, and then emotion) to reconstruct real reactions.


Although these steps maximize the validity of learnings in a communication check, the real world always comes into play where schedules and budgets act as constraints. Despite this, preserving the essence of the steps (summarized below) is critical to understanding the full impact of an ad campaign.
• Minimize respondent “imagination” work
• Gather unaided responses wherever possible
• Make deeper levels of reaction the primary focus

For more information on Forbes Consulting please visit

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Poll: Does your organization have a customer-centric culture?

Back in January of 2009, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh wrote on the Zappos company blog:

"We believe that your company’s culture and your company’s brand are really just two sides of the same coin. The brand may lag the culture at first, but eventually it will catch up.

Your culture is your brand."

And we've written here frequently about the importance of a customer centric culture within the company to building a great customer experience program (including speaking with Jamie Naughton of Zappos about it in 2011). Now we want to know, is your organization there yet? Or is there still work to be done?

Vote in this LinkedIn poll to tell us your thoughts:

Our Total Customer Experience Leaders LinkedIn group is a great place to connect with the community and network with over 1,000 of your peers. Join us there today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Join our Complimentary Insights Webinar Series

With TMRE 2012 behind us, we’d like to remind you that the learning doesn’t end with our annual event. IIR USA and The Market Research Event would like to invite you to participate in our on-going Insights Webinar Series, your resource for insights on the cutting edge.

Please join us for these upcoming webinars, or view all of our offerings here.

Falling Dow + Rising Tao: What the Quest for Balance Means for Your Brand,
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Presented by Erin Barber, Vice President, C+R Research and Mary McIlrath, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, C+R Research

Register here.

Nowadays, there's a focus on the Millennial generation and understanding what makes them tick. However, we've uncovered what's relevant and present across all generations, including Millennials. Hard economic times have shifted the way most consumers prioritize the pieces of their lives and the way they select brands to help them walk their chosen path. Balance is not a new concept but cultural changes have forced many to reconsider how they can achieve it. In this research, we delved into multi-generational consumers' lives to get a holistic understanding of what they're doing and how they feel about their lives on a daily basis. We uncovered what brands are currently helping them and what your brand could do to help consumers reach their goals.

Understanding the Voice of the Customer: How to Effectively Gather and Leverage Customer Insight from Multiple Channels to Enhance the Customer Experience,
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Presented by Dan Burke, Vice President eBusiness, Autonomy, a HP Company

Register here.

Voice of the Customer is not just about surveys anymore.
Customers are interacting with your brand through multiple channels, including the website, retail store, contact center and even social media. You have to understand all of these multi-channel interactions collectively to develop a complete Voice of the Customer.
Join us during this webinar and learn how you can easily gather and leverage data from all customer touchpoints to deliver a superior multi-channel customer experience.

Winning the Brand Share Battle,
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Presented by Kirsten Zapiec, Senior Vice President, TNS

Register here.

Traditional research methodologies are fundamentally flawed. The industry relies on incomplete models that fail to reflect what people actually do, and fail therefore to give marketers a true understanding of what is happening to their brands – where the growth opportunities lie and when a brand is at risk.
To provide marketers with clear direction for profitable brand growth, research must better reflect how people make decisions. It must acknowledge that human beings are often indecisive, inconsistent and their spending patterns shift constantly for many reasons.
Using real examples from a global TNS study, The Commitment Economy, Kirsten Zapiec, Senior Vice President at TNS, will show you how to identify the biggest growth opportunities for your brand. They will reveal the three main marketing levers that prevent companies from taking advantage of these growth opportunities – and the best ways to deal with each of them

The TMRE Team

Connect with us:

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to Work – A Good Business Strategy?

As the world gets increasingly mobile new challenges are arising both for the marketing department, as well as throughout a business enterprise. 

Today, we're pleased to feature a guest post that explores the big BYOD question that is currently challenging employers. (If you'd like to submit a guest post to our blog, email Michelle LeBlanc at mleblanc [at]
Image courtesy of

The policy of Bring Your Own Device or BYOD has become a pressing issue on businesses and enterprises adopting mobile solutions for their operations; it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

Adopting a BYOD work policy definitely has its merits. In an increasingly post-PC era people are becoming more and more reliant on their smartphones and tablets for their daily tasks and activities – work included. Allowing people to connect to the company network and do their jobs on their own devices introduces more channels for employees to be productive.

For companies with people doing fieldwork, it can be a means for a truly mobile and connected workforce without the need to spend for additional (expensive) hardware. On the other hand, BYOD can also lead to more distractions and the diversion of a worker’s attention away from doing the job at hand. There is, of course, the very real risk of these devices becoming tools to spread viruses, malware, or open security breaches and data theft on the company network.

So what is the attitude of companies towards BYOD these days?

According to the second annual Consumerization IT survey from InformationWeek Fifty-six percent of companies now consider themselves proactive or accepting of consumer technology. Here is an infographic that neatly summarizes their report:


It’s a strategic solution moving at a rapid pace. Within the enterprise, employees now enjoy using their own personal devices in offices and executives look at how efficient the movement is with more productivity gains by the process. More companies are now encouraging employees to use their own devices for work-related tasks on a completely voluntary basis. This is shifting the enterprise management process that is traditionally based on IT developing devices and managing what devices workers use. Accordingly, major changes are necessary to prepare company IT departments and enterprise networks to support the arrival of BYOD, especially in enhancing the privacy and security of data.

However, this may pose as a challenge for tech support teams as they have to become more responsive and capable of handling a diverse range of mobile devices and operating systems that will surely be used on a BYOD model.

BYOD challenges aside, companies are still willing to go with the trend. It’s a very simple business strategy that delivers operational benefits. BYOD is for the benefit of employees and businesses alike. With its rampant growth, it’s set to increase its value accordingly.

With the consumerization of enterprise mobility, employees are now bringing their own devices to access company resources. It’s an inevitable revolution happening right now. Statistics reliably show how BYOD in enterprise is an effective strategy that can be overcome with the rapid development of technology we have today.

About The Author
Jimmy Wentz is a budding freelance tech writer, gadget and gaming enthusiast, and social media junkie. He writes regularly about O2 and the latest news in the tech, gaming, and the social media world.
Connect with Jimmy on Google+ and Twitter.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

TMRE 2012: Storytelling, Creating a Research Brand, and Beer

Today's post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media mave

Well folks, we've made it to the end of another TMRE! I hope you all had a great time and took away some great learnings from the conference, I know I did. Two key themes I noticed today in the keynotes and breakout sessions: storytelling and actionable take-aways.

Without further ado, here’s the recap from the third and final day of TMRE:

One of the key themes of the conference, storytelling, was showcased to full effect by the first keynote speaker, Jonah Sachs, author of Winning the Story Wars and Co-Founder and Creative Director at Free Range Studios. Sachs feels we’re headed into a “digitoral” era - oral tradition by way of digital communication and connection. In this new era of storytelling, it will be important for brands to be able to easily and clearly describe what values the brand is aligned with…not just the features your product has...and market research can clearly help in that discovery process.

Keeping with the theme of storytelling, the first session I attended was PepsiCo’s Sara Bergson presenting “The Art of Storytelling: Getting Traction and Action.” Bergson highlighted the issue that pretty much every TMRE attendee has: how do you get your ideas across in the current business climate of short attention spans, constant interruptions, and increased complexity?

Bergson shared some great, actionable ideas about reporting the data by way of storytelling; stories can simplify complexity. Utilizing the traditional story structure (set the scene ->begin the journey->encounter obstacle->deliver resolution) Bergson creates a 1-page storyline and ghost decks (5 minute presentation, 10 minute, 30 minute and so on) at the beginning of a project which helps to create structure for the research delivery. She also brought up a theme I heard throughout the day – branding your research projects with a name, a logo, a template. This is inspiring to the research team and helps brand the department internally.

Key takeaway: “You can make ‘big thump decks’ and ‘little thump decks,’ but can you get your ideas across in one page?”

Next up was a session co-presented by Katy Mogul of Logitech and Jason Kramer of VitalFindings: “Bringing Research to Life Through Collaborative, Engaging, And Inspiring Work Sessions.” As you can tell from the title, this session focused on utilizing workshops to really bring the research to life for your internal clients: marketing, engineering/R&D, senior executives, and so on.  Kramer highlighted that workshops can unlock that highest level of learning: read, analyze, SYNTHESIZE. The session focused on using workshops during different phases of the project lifecycle: before research begins, between research phases, and after research is complete. Mogul then shared several case studies of how Logitech used workshops for product ideation and engaging R&D.

Key takeaway: Workshops can be utilized throughout the research process to engage your internal clients and go ‘beyond the PowerPoint.’

Genius moves by the presenters? Bringing the persona boards and staging them throughout the room, and providing a laminated deck of workshop cards with instructions as to how to run each type of workshop they discussed.

Finally, it was time to listen in on Florence Guesnet of Heineken’s presentation on “The Toughness of Soft Skills.” If the title is a bit vague, here’s the gist – the presentation was about building and branding the market research department within a large organization (240 total brands!).  Guesnet’s challenge was “applying marketing to the market research function, something we [researchers] are amazingly lousy at.”

She created a research brand within the company by clearly defining their key foci (foresight, intelligence, excellence, impactful talent), their selling line: “We Know, We Share, We Inspire,” and by building awareness throughout the company with impactful imagery, creative reporting, and relevant take-aways. Throughout the presentation, Guesnet brought the focus back to the internal customer, and highlighting that it’s “not good enough to be right,” you also have to address System 1 and System 2, and be able to deliver “what’s in it for them [senior management].”

Key takeaway: Treat the market research function as a brand and don’t be modest about it. Keep the relevance of research at the forefront, and pay major attention to execution (video, print, etc.).

Best quote of the day: "A consumer insight is to marketing what yeast is to beer!"

Day 3 finished up with a great keynote by Robert Kozinets, Professor of Marketing at York University and author of Netnography. For more information on the day’s final keynote ,other sessions that I didn't cover, and overall event chatter, don’t forget to follow the hashtag #TMRE on Twitter.

It’s been my pleasure to provide blog updates and tweets throughout the conference – thanks to TMRE for the opportunity. Please don’t hesitate to connect up on Twitter, LinkedIn, and at my blog. Safe travels everyone!

More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie leads the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the”Voice of the Customer” inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TMRE 2012: Superextenders+CrossFit+System 1 Thinking=Full Brain

Today's post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.

Based on the positive feedback regarding the rundown-of-sessions blog format, I kept the same format for today-enjoy the recap:

Nothing like starting off Day 2 of TMRE with a Nobel Prize winner!

The first keynote of the day was Daniel Kahneman, Professor Emeritus at Princeton, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow.  Kahneman outlined System 1 and System 2 thinking, why confidence in our intuition may not be accurate, and why we shouldn't take others’ confidence at face value, but rather examine whether they have the experience and skill to back up that confidence.  The #TMRE Twitter stream came alive with applications Kahneman’s observations have to market research – including questions as to how can we tailor research to invoke System 1 or 2 responses?

The second keynote of the morning was Ron Williams, co-author of The Value Path. Williams focused on embedding innovation in everyday business, rather than focusing on changing the business model. Williams asked a key question: “How can you and your clients continue to innovate (sustain value creation over time) if you can't predict what the customer of tomorrow will value, in an ever expanding choice space?”

Williams shared highlights of companies who do well in ever-changing marketplaces (“Superextenders”) and those who struggle (“Ultrafades”) with case studies that included GAP, Blockbuster, Amazon and Nokia. What do Superextenders do well? Among other things, look for new dimensions of value rather than focusing on new product features, and they don’t fall into the “commodity trap” where everyone has the same value narrative. This leads to companies aggressively inventing around incremental features and functions.

Heading into sessions this morning, one that caught my eye was “Shattering the Proverbial Glass Ceiling,” a panel discussion led by Kristin Luck of Decipher, with panelists Karen Morgan of Morgan Search, Kelley Peters of Post Foods, and Melva Benoit of Fox Broadcasting.  Luck introduced the session by quoting some statistics from a recent study from Women in Research, such as the fact that only 16% of firms on the Honomichl list are led by women. A heartening finding from the study? Neither females nor males feel they are being discriminated against in the industry. What advice did the panel have for women looking to get ahead in the industry? Identify a mentor who can be a champion for you, find a niche within the industry (i.e. kids + television for Benoit), and hone your negotiation skills whether you’re asking for a better title or an increase in salary.  

Data visualization continues to be a hot topic, and it was standing room only in the “Data Visualization and Deployment Techniques that Bring Research to Life” session co-presented by Rajit Chakravarty of BP and Lisa Gudding of GfK.  Gudding spoke about data visualization living at the intersection of art, science, and communication, and provided some salient examples of easy, inexpensive ways to work more data visualization into your reports and deliverables. The session wrapped up with an eye-catching segmentation case study by Chakravarty of BP that included logos, customized visualization templates, a branded web portal, and workshops with their marketing executives to immerse them in the segments.  BP employed creative visualizations from comic book style storyboards to dashboard-like overviews of the segments.

Stepping way outside my comfort zone, I decided to head to the “Lessons Learned from Reebok/CrossFit Facebook Fans” session.  I don’t do CrossFit (but aspire to!) and we don’t do Facebook research, but I certainly took away some interesting nuggets of insight.  The premise:  Reebok was interested in researching fans of their Reebok CrossFit Facebook page and their overall Reebok Facebook Page. Why? Reebok strives to be the brand for fitness and wants to be authentic and supporting of the CrossFit community, without crossing the line into over-commercialization. Working with iModerate (COO Jen Drolet co-presented), fans of both pages were interviewed and the findings are helping Reebok to enhance their relationship with CrossFit, drive cross-over traffic to the corporate page, and strengthen their engagement with their fans.

Two fantastic keynotes rounded out the day – Robert J. Atencio of Pfizer and Bob Johansen of the Institute for the Future  - and kept everyone’s rapt attention until the cocktail hour began.  For more information on the day’s final keynotes ,other sessions that I didn’t cover, and overall event chatter, don’t forget to follow the hashtag #TMRE on Twitter.

Stay tuned for news and notes from the final day of TMRE tomorrow!

More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the”Voice of the Customer” inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

TMRE 2012: Swingers and Brown Spirits

It's no secret that brown spirits are on the rise.  Just take a look at the consumption on Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire - the actors alone have to be driving sales through personal, on-air consumption.   But the business of spirits if, of course, more rigorous than my spurious assumptions - or Type 1 conclusions, all of which brings me to a fascinating presentation on Maker's Mark at IIR's The Market Research Event.

Greg Czernik, Global Consumer Insights Director for Whiskey at Beam Global (okay, coolest title,ever) tapped into a strong, topical analogue to create stickiness for segmentation analysis.  He identified "swing voters" as consumers who were not committed to whiskey but not opposed to it.  In other words, they were open to suggestion and persuasion.  He created a direct reference to politics which is highly topical this time of year with his internal counterparts - and the rest of us!  Then he identified needs and drivers of those needs.  So rather than putting people in buckets, he identified the people available then aligned the motivating occasions within this group to what the business could do about it.  And, what did they do?  Grow.  It's just that simple - only it isn't and that's why it's brilliant.

This analogy not only helped him align internal teams to the approach but it gave them a simple handle tor understanding and applying the output.  I can raise a glass to that... or maybe two.  Maker's Mark, please.

** ** **
Today's guest post is from Kelley Styring. Styring is principal of InsightFarm Inc. a market research and consumer strategy consulting firm. She has led insights for Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Black & Decker and NASA prior to founding her own firm in 2003. Kelley is a published author and has been featured in USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, Brandweek, Fortune, Quirk's Marketing Research and The Market Research Daily Report from RFL Online.

Live from TMRE 2012: Pecha Pecha Whatsa Whatsa

The first time Lisa Wolfe, Senior Director of Consumer & Market Insights from DeVry Inc mentioned Pecha Kucha to me I quickly shook my head like I knew what she was talking about.  My mind sifted through the internal files in my head but all I could come up with was Machu Picchu and then Pikachu!  Pikachu!  That's probably because I have younger kids than I should at my age and also because I hate to admit when I haven't heard of something important which if Lisa is mentioning it to me, it probably is.

So I did what YOU would do!  I Googled it.

It's a presentation philosophy, heavy on visuals, concise on information, originally developed in Japan for creative professionals.   Lisa's presentation, inspired by the principles of Pecha Kucha contained many specific examples of ways that research presentations can better connect, and even inspire clients and counterparts. 

Lisa Wolfe's motivation was a strong perception that her role was to "fix" decks so they would better meet client expectations.  Realizing that her time and effort could be better spent on strategic thinking and growth initiatives, Lisa created guidelines and templates for reporting that are powerful.

She downplayed the genius of this by stating that it was actually very simple. But therein lies the problem.  We're often so deep in the weeds of data and analysis and putting all of our horsepower into impressing clients with brilliance that we forget they are people.  And people like pictures.  And they remember simple ideas expressed elegantly.  "Put all of the intense data charts in the appendix," says Lisa.  And she's right.  Those of us who are interested will find them there.  Those who need them to believe the elegant points made visually will seek those pages out.  The rest of us, most of us, will be engaged and informed.  That's what Pecha Kucha can do for Market Research.  And it's more than Pikachu could do.

** ** **
Today's guest post is from Kelley Styring. Styring is principal of InsightFarm Inc. a market research and consumer strategy consulting firm. She has led insights for Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Black & Decker and NASA prior to founding her own firm in 2003. Kelley is a published author and has been featured in USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, Brandweek, Fortune, Quirk's Marketing Research and The Market Research Daily Report from RFL Online.

EXPLOR & NGMR Awards Honor Research Innovation Excellence

Mobile, Earned Media Measurement and Webcam Eye Tracking Wow Market Research Event Attendees!

By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

A parade of thought leaders, change agents and research industry innovation champions took the stage at The Market Research Event today to receive honors in the annual EXPLOR and NGMR Disruptive Innovation Awards, respectively.

I like to refer to these awards as the industry’s “innovation barometers” because they really do provide a terrific read on where we’re seeing significant and tangible advancements in the research field, and this year was no exception.

The 2012 EXPLOR Award went to a collaboration between AOL, BBDO and InsightsNow.

The NGMR Disruptive Innovation Award winners by category:

Thought Leadership: FOX Broadcasting Co. and trueAnthem

Research Concept Deployment: EyeTrackShop

Individual Innovator: Steven Cohen, Partner & Co-founder, in4mation insights

So what did they do to earn these accolades?

According to Chuck Miller, President of DM2 and Founder of the prestigious annual case study competition, AOL, BBDO and InsightsNow delivered compelling new insights into consumer mobile behavior.

"As our world continues to shift, content providers and advertisers must rapidly move to mobile or be left behind. The insights gained through this method made them the natural winner of this year’s EXPLOR award,” said Miller.

Research outlined in the AOL/BBDO/insightsNow case study employed a three-pillared approach combining a primary ethnography study, mobile metered data and quantitative survey data.

“The resulting assimilation provided strategic clarity as to why consumers behave the way they do, and uncovered several insights that run counter to the traditional view of the mobile space,” said Miller.

“Mobile is a fast-growing market with many opportunities, but there are significant challenges,” said AOL Senior Manager of Media Insights Vicki Draper. “Publishers and advertisers have not adapted their methods or their messages to be fully optimized for this medium, and we need to look beneath the surface view of what users are doing on mobile.

"This research study allowed us to shake up perceived notions of how and why people turn to their mobile devices and really understand how to better reach consumers on these devices,” Draper added.

“AOL wanted to rethink mobile, and propel the industry beyond the constraints of conventional understanding,” said Alec Maki, VP of BehaviorLens Research at InsightsNow.

“To move this idea into action, we employed a BehaviorLens® Landscape study to recast the smartphone market by segmenting different mobile moments based on their underlying motivators. Through moment segmentation, we provided AOL with strategic clarity as to why consumers behave the way they do, across the moments of life, with respect to mobile apps and sites,” Maki said.

Maki continued, “To further advance AOL’s ‘mobile first’ strategy, we added a unique twist—integrating moment segmentation with metered mobile data. This connected stated motivators back to observed, real-world consumer behavior. The synthesis was made possible by applying a common ‘lens’ of consumer behavior.”

NGMR Disruptive Innovation
Tom Anderson, founder of Next Gen Market Research (NGMR), noted the online community and professional networking group’s 20,000 members from the market research industry were encouraged to nominate the companies and individuals they felt were most innovative, which resulted in some stiff competition.

“While we had many submissions that were unique and innovative—from text analytics to online tracking—one of the factors that put this year’s winners over the top was that their innovations have been realized and put into practice. They’re already disrupting research-as-usual,” said Anderson.

Thought Leadership
According to a brief on their work, trueAnthem upgraded FOX’s existing share functionality with its patent-pending technology to identify social influencers and track multi-generational sharing of paid, owned and earned media as well as other metrics to help FOX evaluate content creation efforts and better monetize advertising.

“While the concept of earned media and influencers are not new to our industry, instantaneous measurement of social interactions and the ‘right’ way to define social KPIs have largely been in pioneering phase,” said Melva Benoit, senior vice president of analytics innovation, research and strategy at Fox Broadcasting Company.

“Collectively, FOX and trueAnthem are proud to offer a proven method for measuring earned media that the industry can consider as we move into the future,” Benoit added.

trueAnthem CEO Chris Hart remarked: “The recognition of our work with Fox by NGMR is important because it acknowledges the greater industry movement occurring in the earned media space.

“There is massive scale and value in earned media compared to other forms of digital media,” Hart said.

Research Concept Deployment
EyeTrackShop received the Disruptive Concept Deployment nod for developing the world’s first webcam-based eye tracking technology, eliminating the need for travel to a central location and enabling respondents to use their own computers without requiring additional software.

EyeTrackShop President of Americas and General Manager Ephraim (Jeff) Bander said the technology has “liberated the field of eyetracking” by providing significantly lower cost alternative to traditional eye tracking, making it accessible to small and large companies alike.

“Studies that took months in traditional eye tracking can take as little as 48 hours with EyeTrackShop,” said Bander. “And studies can be conducted in multiple countries at the same time. With traditional eye tracking, simultaneous testing around the world was cost prohibitive and took months.”

Individual Innovator
Steven Cohen, Partner & Co-founder, in4mation insights, took the Individual Innovator Award for “continuously challenging the quantitative side of our industry through such innovations as choice-based conjoint and MaxDiff to more recent insight advancements around clustering and latent class segmentation, much of which can also be leveraged in the analysis of Big Data,” Anderson said.

Cohen, a serial disruptor who’s compared his compulsion to constantly fix what’s broken with research to “walking around with a pebble in [his] shoe,” said, "I have always challenged myself to not accept common assumptions and the standard ways of doing things. I guess that is my 'disruptive side.'

"I am fascinated by new ways of doing research that are better and that conform closer to how people make decisions. The goals are to understand behavior so that we gain better information about why things happened in the past and to make better forecasts about future behavior. So I guess that is my 'innovative side.'"

Congratulations to the 2012 EXPLOR and NGMR Disruptive Innovation Award winners!

About the EXPLOR Awards
The EXPLOR Awards is an annual case study competition, honoring technology innovation in marketing research. Innovation leaders from global corporations, research agencies and academia are invited to submit high impact cases where technology and innovation have advanced the research and insight process.

About the NGMR Disruptive Innovation Awards
The NGMR Disruptive Innovation Awards recognize companies and individuals that have demonstrated outstanding leadership as change agents and made significant contributions to harnessing disruptive innovation—technological, methodological or otherwise—to drive research industry progress.

Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead with a background in trade journalism and marketing. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

Only Hearing 50% of the Engines Roaring

Keeping consumers aware of a brand’s integrity is one of the primary reasons for the utilization of social media. One would assume that all well-adept brands would engage with the community that is online and on mobile devices to keep appearances up, however there currently exists certain brands or even certain industries that are still having trouble with the curve, kind of like Clint Eastwood's outdated method of directing one’s thoughts to a chair to get one’s opinions through to an audience, implying the methodology of using social media is obscured.

Comblu having just released its fourth annual study of various companies’ utilization of social media, "State of Online Branded Communities." The Digital Impact Blog has previously published their findings here of last year's study. With 15 industries, 92 brands, and 219 communities analyzed, Comblu's study helps to illuminate the business side of social media and how it is trending.

(Source: Comblu)

What is surprising is that while the Chrysler claimed the Automobile Industry was to make the world “hear the roars of our engines" in Clint Eastwood's Superbowl commercial, the auto industry only has a 50% social media integration proportion. Really only 50% of the roaring is being heard on the online social mediums, yet the auto industry is still not positioned as the worst industry not integrated with social media. The Insurance (Property & Casualty) Industry fared just as badly with a 50% social media integration proportion as well, but with the OTC Industry at 80% and the Pharmaceutical Industry at 60%, there definitely is room for improvement for certain brands to step up their game in the untapped online community.

Also, if you are wondering why the need for the antagonism to bash Clint Eastwood, it is really all in good fun without any serious discontentment. He just happened to correlate with the topic of having "Trouble with the Curve," the film title he most recently starred in with the predictable plot in which all strained relationships are eventually repaired. His trouble with the curve also extended to his not so long ago act of explicating his thoughts to a chair in the GOP convention and his connection with the auto industry by his participation in the Chrysler Superbowl ad. Coincidentally that same Chrysler ad ironically mentioned and implied how the auto industry itself is at halftime just as is its social media integration. I guess Clint does say things that are not too offsetting after all.

Trouble catching up with modernity? Not like Clint Eastwood! 
He's got a whole movie about it. (Source: The Washtenaw Voice)

So the lesson is not to be like Clint Eastwood (unless you are trying to promote an old-school, kind of gritty countenance for your brand) and try to keep ahead of the curve, especially in the online communities that are obviously being utilized by more and more people. Not everyone has the privilege of being Clint Eastwood, acting out a Hollywood-esque, narrative conclusion where everything eventually ends up alright. Businesses in an ever-changing environment of social media must at least keep themselves in the loop in order to stay relevant. So take a look at Comblu's "State of Online Branded Communities" here to familiarize yourself with what is happening with the trends of what businesses have done with social media before you end up confused and frustrated, not knowing what to do for your brand.

(Source: The Commercial Appeal)

Chester Wai is a New Media Intern at IIR USA with a specialization in Economics, Cinema, and Cultural Studies. He may be reached at

Monday, November 12, 2012

TMRE 2012: Hurdles, Accomplishments, and a Great First Day

Today's post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.

Hello from Boca! TMRE started off bright and early this morning with a day of Summit sessions across such tracks as Business to Business, Ad & Media Research, Global Research and Insights, and more.

Because of my role at Diversified Business Communications (as a B2B research manager) it made natural sense that I attend all of the sessions in the Business to Business track today. I certainly learned some new things, validated some assumptions and also commiserated with other B2B researchers as we have some special and unique issues and hurdles to deal with.

In our first session of the day, John Dahl, Global Customer Insights Department Manager for 3M highlighted those hurdles in a case study specific to B2B value proposition research: "Fewer, bigger customers, smaller sample sizes, hard to find respondents." Yep, definitely some hurdles we contend with.  IN addition, B2B researchers may be struggling to contend with and move beyond "a poor market research tradition [in B2B] (smaller budgets, greater skepticism)."

How to overcome some of these hurdles? Find a champion - this was a theme that ran throughout the B2B sessions.  Eddie Accomando of Anthroconsulting, and the Global Semiconductor Research Program Manager for Texas Instruments highlighted: "You need a champion. Your [researcher's] courage to fight for quality must be paired with someone who has influence in the organization." In addition to finding an executive champion for research, it's also important to BE the internal champion for the research.  As Courtney Hallendy, Strategic Research Manager for Toyota Financial Services said: "Being an internal champion for the research is critical, to create a research brand both internally and externally."

It was refreshing today to hear that more B2B researchers are utilizing "newer" methodologies such as online communities and message boards.  Yes, B2C-ers, you've been using these for years, but B2B can sometimes lag behind in adoption.  Presentations in the B2B track today included online communities, message boards, customer panels, and more...and the case studies certainly highlighted some great successes:
  • -Using customer panels to conduct research, Texas Instruments is "saving 75% and producing better data."
  • -Based on a real need for the Voice of the Customer (in their case, dealership management and employees), Toyota created an online community that is providing great data and feedback already (it launched recently) and is providing much-needed nationwide data.
And what holds true for B2C holds true for B2B - if you have any sort of community or panel platform, remember to be transparent to the community as to who you are, and feed back to your community how the data is being used.  Those are key drivers for participation.

As we prepare for day two, I'll leave you with two final items:
  • -Kudos to Andrew Vranesic, Global Product Marketing Manager for GE Healthcare, who managed to work the word heteroskedasticity into his presentation. That is something you don't hear every day, or at just any conference!
  • -Some words of wisdom from Eddie Accomando, which are applicable to researchers in all industries: "Be responsible, but flexible. Do what you can, suffer what you must. Your provider is always going to want to stick to the rules, and your client is always going to want to bend the rules."

That's it for Day 1! Stay tuned for tomorrow's updates from TMRE in Boca Raton.

More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the”Voice of the Customer” inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

TMRE 2012: The New Normal. ¿Comprende?

"In what language would you
like to take this survey?"
I've spent the past couple of years working with extreme populations, most notably arm amputees, to help designers make next generation products for all of us. (Find out more here)  One interesting aspect of working with amputees is what they call us - those with two arms.  They call us "Normals."  I've been striving all of my life to avoid being normal... or more accurately, to be Normal's freaky little sister Abby.  Abby Normal.

I was thinking about normal and representativity as I listened to Elizabeth Ellers, Executive Vice President, Corporate Research at Univision speak about Hispanic Millennials at the IIR's The Market Research Event 2012 today.   This group is 57% of total Millennials (among males) making them the new majority in the U.S.  Her study suggests that because they have a critical mass, they aren't under pressure to assimilate.  And because they can frequently travel home, unlike previous generations of immigrant descendants, and have abundant media in their home language, they can immerse in their original culture on a frequent basis.  And yet, we still consider Hispanics a special class or augment to general market studies.

All of this leads me to ask a question about representativity in general market research.  What is normal?  Is this the New Normal?  The answer is:  yes.  Without a doubt.

Honestly, when every ATM you walk up to asks you if you'd like to communicate in English or Spanish, when will we grow to accept this as Normal in market research?  Even clients of mine interested in mothers of babies fail to grasp that the majority of births in this country are multicultural.  More than half. 

The bigger implication is for marketing.  If marketers continue to think of Hispanic as a special class, if they continue to segment budgets and consider multicultural marketing as something to cut when things get tight, then we are doing a poor job of communicating this important cultural shift.

Hispanic in America is the New Normal.  ¿Comprende?

** ** **
Today's guest post is from Kelley Styring. Styring is principal of InsightFarm Inc. a market research and consumer strategy consulting firm. She has led insights for Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Black & Decker and NASA prior to founding her own firm in 2003. Kelley is a published author and has been featured in USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, Brandweek, Fortune, Quirk's Marketing Research and The Market Research Daily Report from RFL Online.