Thursday, February 20, 2014

FOCI Speaker Spotlight: Earl L. Taylor

We recently sat down with Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 keynote speaker Earl L. Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Science Institute. Taylor discussed the humanization of data and how the role of the researcher has changed and evolved over the last few years.

We are fortunate to have him share this critical insight with our FOCI community. This year, FOCI explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points - insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.

We are barraged by information - and within this sea of data we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can we use this convergence of information to better understand people.  Translating the new "understanding" into future opportunities means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what people say they are going to do and what they actually do.

Here is what Taylor had to say:

IIR: A big theme of this year’s conference is “humanization of data.” Why do you think understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic action? 

Taylor: With the rise of social/mobile networking, the role of “consumer” is increasingly intertwined with the many other roles people play in the course of their lives.  A holistic understanding of how people today juggle overlapping identities is essential if marketers want to understand how--and how not--to engage them on their own terms.

IIR: How is technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people?

Taylor: Continuous and nearly instantaneous access to almost every kind of information has the potential to enrich our lives, but also to overwhelm and distract us.  Designing rewarding customer experiences in such a data-rich environment presents both opportunities and challenges.  Increasingly, the necessary insights may come from studies of play, art, ritual and other “immersive” experiences.

IIR: How has the role of “the researcher” changed?

Taylor: Traditional concerns about research design and hypothesis testing will be supplemented by (or give way to) observation of social media and other sources of insights and/or machine learning algorithms applied to large masses of transactional data.  Deriving actionable insights in real time will require the skills of both data scientists for inductive “data discovery” and of ethnographers trained in “thick description” of social actions and structures.

IIR: How has the increasingly connected consumer affected market research?

Taylor: Historically, market research often claimed to understand consumers better than they understood themselves and was needed to guide companies in developing a limited number of options to appeal to broad demographic segments.  The availability of individual-level behavioral data and predictive analytics and the increasing role of social networks in influencing consumer choice up to the “zero moment” of truth may finally make possible true “one-to-one” marketing where consumers themselves in effect do the market research by sharing data and preferences allowing customization of offers “on the fly.”

Want to hear more from Earl in person? Join him at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. To learn more about the event and register, click here:

** As a reader of our blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when you register **

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

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