Thursday, August 28, 2014

Data Brokers: Shadow Industry, Privacy Flashpoint, Research Problem

By Marc Dresner, IIR

I attend a lot of research conferences and I’ve noticed that when the subject of privacy comes up, people frequently check out—laptops open, fingers wander to phones, sometimes eyes even roll…

I attribute this to the fact that heretofore privacy has been pretty much a non-issue for researchers. Arguably no other industry adheres to more rigid privacy standards.

The problem, however, is that we live in a world where data are no longer rare, and researchers obviously aren't the only ones who trade in information nowadays.


Experts and authorities warn of a “Big Privacy” backlash in response to Big Data collection

Experts and authorities from a variety of fields and sectors—from public policy to data security—warn of a mounting “Big Privacy” backlash in response to passive Big Data collection.

And if you’ve not been paying attention to the public discourse on privacy of late, perhaps it’s time to start, because the outcome of this debate could affect consumer research.

Flashpoint: Data Brokers

Where there’s a Big Data and privacy concern, you’re increasingly likely to hear "data brokers" mentioned.

I’ve been surprised by the number of researchers who’ve told me they haven’t heard of this $250 billion industry, especially since so many of our companies (or our clients, if you’re a research firm) do business with them.

Data brokers collect information about consumers from public records and private sources and sell it to marketers.

The chief complaint against them is that they often do so without people's knowledge or consent. 

It's also a relatively unregulated space, which coupled with the perceived lack of transparency—some call it a “shadow industry”—makes people uncomfortable.

Now, these aren’t shadowy guys in sunglasses lurking in alleyways hocking hot dossiers under their trench coats (although that’s how they’re increasingly depicted).

They include big, well-known names like Acxiom and Equifax, as well as a lot of smaller companies you may not have heard of.

Like any industry, there may be responsible and not-so-responsible actors, but it’s the possibility of the latter that’s captured the attention of regulators and the media.


The collection and use of consumer information by marketers is being characterized as somehow sinister or potentially dangerous

What’s especially troubling here is that the collection and use of consumer information by marketers, in general, is being increasingly characterized as somehow sinister or at least potentially dangerous to people.

Consider...
  • CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired a breathless segment on data brokers back in March that made admirable use of government surveillance anxiety in the wake of the NSA/Snowden scandal to scare the heck out of the viewing audience.

  • The FTC issued a report May 27 calling on Congress to regulate data brokers (with only a slightly less ominous tone than the “60 Minutes” episode).

  • A subsequent commentary about data brokers published online by the Wall Street Journal—that bastion of left-wing conspiracy nuts—went so far as to compare Big Data to the Nazis’ use of IBM punch cards to identify and round up Jews and enemies of the state. (The lead sentence of that article: “Adolph Hitler used Big Data.”)
There’s more where that came from, but you get the idea.


Data brokers have come to represent a “threat” to personal privacy that has already catalyzed a backlash

Data brokers have come to represent a “threat”—whether real or imagined—to personal privacy that has already catalyzed a backlash.

Notably, concerns about data brokers have begun to figure into international relations.

The EU has pushed for suspension of the 2000 Safe Harbor agreement with the U.S. over alleged breach of consumer privacy by data brokers, and earlier this month, the Center for Digital Democracy filed a complaint with the FTC alleging the same.

The debate is even reportedly spilling over into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.

As noted, the FTC has already pushed Congress for action. It’s not unlikely that we’ll see such calls intensify domestically.

I’ll also point out that many articles on the subject either don’t trouble to distinguish between or—as is the case with the “60 Minutes” coverage—conflate research companies and data brokers.

This needs to be taken seriously.

It’s time for the research industry to engage, before the court of public opinion renders a verdict that may not serve the common good.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. 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 mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Research Insighter Video: How Research is Evolving at Kellogg

In this episode of TMREtv’s The Research Insighter, Aaron Fetters, the Director of Insights and Analytics at the Kellogg Co. is interviewed. Fetters discusses what is wrong with the status quo in research and he shares his insights on how research is evolving. This episode is brought to you by The Market Research Event (TMRE).



Explore:
  • Voice of the Consumer:
Fetters talk about the need for researchers to step up and representing the consumers or else they will be forgotten.

  • Rapid Change:
Consumers change so rapidly that is hard to keep up. Things such as media habits and food preferences can change overnight.

  • The Bigger Picture:
The importance of creating partnerships with suppliers and starting to behave as the brands is discussed by Fetters.


About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Inside the Annual TMRE EXPLOR Award and NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award

TMRE 2014 is a proud host of two of the market research industry’s most prestigious awards: The EXPLOR Award and NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award, which recognize outstanding and innovative work in the market research industry today.  I recently sat down with Tom Anderson, Managing Partner, Anderson Analytics – OdinText and Chuck Miller, President, Digital Marketing & Measurement, LLC (DM2), discuss the awards and why TMRE keeps them coming back.

So, where did these prestigious awards begin?

Back in early 2007 The Next Generation Market Research networking group was founded - the first market research group of its kind created to address the stagnant slow moving situation at the time. The group mission stated, ‘The market has changed, the customers have changed, why should consumer insight be the same?’ 

“Initially, it was a group for those of us who wanted to use more advanced analytics and work across different and larger data,” Anderson explained. “As time went on, and everyone started talking about ‘Innovation.’ the group actually played quite a different role as well. Many of the members are very senior and experienced research folks, and while welcoming new techniques and methods from the data and text mining fields for instance, we also wanted to vet these new techniques being suggested to make sure they were methodologically sound and actually useful.”



Today, with more than 20,000 members, NGMR remains a resource for these types of discussions, and NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award celebrates not just Innovation for the sake of Innovation, but Innovation that truly is disruptive.  The award recognizes companies and individuals that have demonstrated outstanding leadership as change agents and made significant contributions to harnessing disruptive innovation to drive research industry progress. This year's winners will receive a complimentary pass to TMRE and the opportunity to present the winning case study during this session.

“This is an award by researchers for researchers, and it’s not just about innovation for the sake of innovation, it’s about sound innovation that makes sense for our field,” said Anderson.

For the past 15 years, EXPLOR has been a showcase for research innovation, highlighting some of the best research in our industry. According to Miller, over the years the winner has been an approach that was ahead of its time, but they would eventually embrace – such as insights gathered through a mobile diary.  Other times it highlighted groundbreaking work that was meaningful to the client but that hasn’t become mainstream – such as assessing consumer behaviors using GPS enabled shopping carts.  “In all cases, EXPLOR gives us exposure to great research creativity, and generally a glimpse of things to come,” he explained.

Today, The EXPLOR award recognizes breakthrough innovation in technology as applied to market research.  This award is a case study competition, so it highlights a real-world research problem and solution.  According to Miller, case studies must be formed around a client-driven business problem, then demonstrate how the client and supplier team applied new techniques to deliver insight.  So, EXPLOR is less about using a cool new tool, and more about how innovation solved an important problem for a client organization. This year's winner will receive a complimentary pass to TMRE and the opportunity to present the winning case study during this session. This year, the EXPLOR Award is brought to you by DM2. 
Anderson and Miller value sound innovation and want to reward it, but they also realize that the word “Disruptive Innovation” can mean a lot of different things, and they can’t really tell how disruptive something will be until it’s been around for a while. They favor individuals and companies that have demonstrated that they can be useful and widely adopted, but also like to see brand new software and methods and try to give them the benefit of the doubt while scrutinizing them under the methodological lens.

So, what does winning one of these prestigious awards mean for a company or an individual? There are many nominations each year, so even being selected as a finalist is something to be proud of, according to Anderson. “In a competitive industry such as this, it’s obviously beneficial to point to an award like NGMR as a sign of distinction. Last year a prominent market research blogger even referred to the NGMR award as ‘The Nobel Prize of the Marketing Research Industry.”

People are always thankful EXPLOR provided them an opportunity to share their passion about a tool or technique, or their company as a whole, according to Miller. “The award can call attention to very deserving employees to help them advance their careers, but at the end of the day I know these people are more driven by their passion around innovation – and the desire to do things that have never been done.”

For this year, nominations are open and Anderson and Miller have already received a couple of interesting submissions. Unfortunately, most submissions come in during the final week, which does not give them any time to request additional information from an applicant if needed. If you are considering applying, you are encouraged to apply early.  Additionally, the committee members each evaluate and rate several submissions, so they also encourage visuals or videos etc. if available. 

“The hardest thing is selecting one single winner in one of our three categories, when there are two or three individuals or firms that are close,” explained Anderson. “That’s why we do encourage people to resubmit the next year. We have had winners who won the third time/year around!”

Two things excite Miller about the EXPLOR award on an annual basis. “First, I really enjoy discussing with the judges all of the creative applications people are using in our business today.  It’s always a broad array of techniques used to address a variety of business problems, which is fascinating,” he said. “Second, and more importantly, it’s really exciting to see the winning team receive recognition for the great job they’ve done.  Generally there is some risk-taking involved as they’ve applied creativity to solve a problem, so it’s great to see their work validated and their efforts rewarded.”

Each year Anderson participates in TMRE because to him, TMRE is the largest marketing research event with the biggest key notes and venue, which has continued to be the logical home for The Nobel Prize of Marketing Research.  In addition, the post award break out session with the winners, which this year will be moderated by a known industry disruptor and entrepreneur, Kristin Luck, President & CMO at Decipher and founder of WIRe (Women in Research).  

According to Miller, TMRE is a great forum for the EXPLOR Awards because it brings together the highest caliber client and provider-side researchers. 
He added, “These folks are the change agents in their organizations who can benefit from exposure to leading-edge research innovation.  It’s great that TMRE and the EXPLOR/NGMR awards push our industry forward in this way.”

All EXPLOR Award and NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award entries must be received by September 8, 2014. For award submission details, click here: http://bit.ly/1pxBUKR

To register for TMRE 2014 this October in Boca Raton, FL click here: http://bit.ly/XM1S2P


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 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator 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 aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Inside the Annual TMRE NGMR Disruptive Innovator and EXPLOR Awards

TMRE 2014 is a proud host of two of the market research industry’s most prestigious awards: The EXPLOR Award and NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award, which recognize outstanding and innovative work in the market research industry today.  I recently sat down with Tom Anderson, Managing Partner, Anderson Analytics – OdinText and Chuck Miller, President, Digital Marketing & Measurement, LLC (DM2), to discuss the awards and why TMRE keeps them coming back.

So, where did these prestigious awards begin?

Back in early 2007 The Next Generation Market Research networking group was founded - the first market research group of its kind created to address the stagnant slow moving situation at the time. The group mission stated, ‘The market has changed, the customers have changed, why should consumer insight be the same?’ 

“Initially, it was a group for those of us who wanted to use more advanced analytics and work across different and larger data,” Anderson explained. “As time went on, and everyone started talking about ‘Innovation.’ the group actually played quite a different role as well. Many of the members are very senior and experienced research folks, and while welcoming new techniques and methods from the data and text mining fields for instance, we also wanted to vet these new techniques being suggested to make sure they were methodologically sound and actually useful.”


The NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award

Today, with more than 20,000 members, NGMR remains a resource for these types of discussions, and NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award celebrates not just Innovation for the sake of Innovation, but Innovation that truly is disruptive.  The award recognizes companies and individuals that have demonstrated outstanding leadership as change agents and made significant contributions to harnessing disruptive innovation to drive research industry progress. This year's winners will receive a complimentary pass to TMRE and the opportunity to present the winning case study during this session.

“This is an award by researchers for researchers, and it’s not just about innovation for the sake of innovation, it’s about sound innovation that makes sense for our field,” said Anderson.

For the past 15 years, EXPLOR has been a showcase for research innovation, highlighting some of the best research in our industry. Other times it highlighted groundbreaking work that was meaningful to the client but that hasn’t become mainstream – such as assessing consumer behaviors using GPS enabled shopping carts.  “In all cases, EXPLOR gives us exposure to great research creativity, and generally a glimpse of things to come,” he explained.

Today, The EXPLOR award recognizes breakthrough innovation in technology as applied to market research.  This award is a case study competition, so it highlights a real-world research problem and solution.  According to Miller, case studies must be formed around a client-driven business problem, then demonstrate how the client and supplier team applied new techniques to deliver insight.  So, EXPLOR is less about using a cool new tool, and more about how innovation solved an important problem for a client organization. This year's winner will receive a complimentary pass to TMRE and the opportunity to present the winning case study during this session. This year, the EXPLOR Award is brought to you by DM2. 

Anderson and Miller value sound innovation and want to reward it, but they also realize that the word “Disruptive Innovation” can mean a lot of different things, and they can’t really tell how disruptive something will be until it’s been around for a while. They favor individuals and companies that have demonstrated that they can be useful and widely adopted, but also like to see brand new software and methods and try to give them the benefit of the doubt while scrutinizing them under the methodological lens.

So, what does winning one of these prestigious awards mean for a company or an individual? There are many nominations each year, so even being selected as a finalist is something to be proud of, according to Anderson. “In a competitive industry such as this, it’s obviously beneficial to point to an award like NGMR as a sign of distinction. Last year a prominent market research blogger even referred to the NGMR award as ‘The Nobel Prize of the Marketing Research Industry.”

People are always thankful EXPLOR provided them an opportunity to share their passion about a tool or technique, or their company as a whole, according to Miller. “The award can call attention to very deserving employees to help them advance their careers, but at the end of the day I know these people are more driven by their passion around innovation – and the desire to do things that have never been done.”

For this year, nominations are open and Anderson and Miller have already received a couple of interesting submissions. Unfortunately, most submissions come in during the final week, which does not give them any time to request additional information from an applicant if needed. If you are considering applying, you are encouraged to apply early.  Additionally, the committee members each evaluate and rate several submissions, so they also encourage visuals or videos etc. if available. 

“The hardest thing is selecting one single winner in one of our three categories, when there are two or three individuals or firms that are close,” explained Anderson. “That’s why we do encourage people to resubmit the next year. We have had winners who won the third time/year around!”

Two things excite Miller about the EXPLOR award on an annual basis. “First, I really enjoy discussing with the judges all of the creative applications people are using in our business today.  It’s always a broad array of techniques used to address a variety of business problems, which is fascinating,” he said. “Second, and more importantly, it’s really exciting to see the winning team receive recognition for the great job they’ve done.  Generally there is some risk-taking involved as they’ve applied creativity to solve a problem, so it’s great to see their work validated and their efforts rewarded.”

Each year Anderson participates in TMRE because to him, TMRE is the largest marketing research event with the biggest key notes and venue, which has continued to be the logical home for The Nobel Prize of Marketing Research.  In addition, the post award break out session with the winners, which this year will be moderated by a known industry disruptor and entrepreneur, Kristin Luck, President & CMO at Decipher and founder of WIRe (Women in Research).  


Kristin Luck, President & CMO at Decipher and founder of WIRe

According to Miller, TMRE is a great forum for the EXPLOR Awards because it brings together the highest caliber client and provider-side researchers. He added, “These folks are the change agents in their organizations who can benefit from exposure to leading-edge research innovation.  It’s great that TMRE and the EXPLOR/NGMR awards push our industry forward in this way.”

All EXPLOR Award and NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award entries must be received by September 22, 2014. For award submission details, click here: http://bit.ly/1pxBUKR

To register for TMRE 2014 this October in Boca Raton, FL click here: http://bit.ly/XM1S2P


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 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator 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 aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Inside Insights: Nick Drew

Next up in our Inside Insights interview series brought to you by Consumer Insights Canada, we sat down with speaker Nick Drew of Yahoo Inc. to discuss strategic insights and Canada's consumer culture.

Consumer Insights Canada is a conference focusing on the power of insights to inspire smarter decision making and shines a lens on shopper and consumer behavior in Canada. Whether you’re looking to break into the market for the first time, or just deepen your relationship with Canadian consumers – this is your must-attend event. 

Here’s what Drew had to say:

IIR: What makes insights “strategic insights”?

Drew: What makes insights valuable is that they’re actionable – it’s the “therefore”, or “and so” part. People use their mobile phones a lot these days’ is an insight. ‘People use their mobile phones a lot, and look for mobile coupons. Therefore…’ is a valuable insight.

IIR: How are shopper insights unique in Canada compared to the rest of North America?

Drew: As a European, it’s fascinating working in North America. It sometimes seems that U.S. insights and marketing have a ‘we are the world’ approach; Canadian insights and marketing in comparison can sometimes be more about ‘we’re different’.

So, where brands in the U.S. obviously focus on the US, and see their work in the US as being a good indicator for the rest of the world, insights and marketing in Canada is based on the idea of Canada being different. It’s why we see the Canadian flag (literally and metaphorically) on so many marketing campaigns, and why research has to have that Canadian sample to really be valuable in Canada.



IIR: How do you see mobile affecting the future shopper in Canada?

Drew: Technology isn’t just with people all the time; it’s an unconscious part of people now. There’s very little conscious thought in the decision to look online for reviews for something; and it’s instinctive now for a significant proportion of shoppers to look online for pricing when making a big purchase.

Although Canada doesn’t yet have the level of ‘showrooming’ seen in the UK and US, as ecommerce grows more sophisticated here, people will become more demanding, and their devices will play vital parts at every stage of the path to purchase.

If you’d like to hear more from Nick, don’t miss him present at Consumer Insights Canada. he event is taking place this September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. For more information about the event and to register, click here: http://bit.ly/1pHpNKF


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, Digital Impact, STEAM Accelerator 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 aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Exclusive Interview: Using Consumer Insights to Make Smarter Business Decisions

In our next episode of the Inside Insights Podcast series brought to you by Consumer Insights Canada, I am fortunate to sit down with Consumer Insights Canada keynote speaker Kelly Harper, who is the Director Customer Experience Learning at BMO INSTITUTE FOR LEARNING, to discuss how the power of consumer insights help to make smarter decisions in business.

Harper goes into how important customer experience is when it comes using customer insights to make the best business decisions possible. You need to think about what type of experiences your organization is giving your customers.  Your consumer insights allows you to understand what is broken in your current experience you are delivering and what is really important to the customer – what are those elements that you have to get right each and every single day. Consumer insights will help you identify and keep track of what is most important to the customer.    

Consumer Insights Canada is a conference that showcases the local Canadian culture in its storytelling. With new entrants like Target Canada, rapid changes in technology and increasingly discerning customers, the Canadian retail industry is in a constant state of change, challenging players to adapt strategies and tactics to remain relevant.  This conference was created for our insights community that focuses on the power of insights in motivating smarter decision making and shines a particular lens on the local flavor of shopper insights in Canada.

Check out the full interview here: 



If you’d like to hear more from Kelly, don’t miss her keynote session, “How to Embed a Culture of Customer Experience in your Organization” at Consumer Insights Canada on Tuesday, September 30th at 10:15 am. The event is taking place this September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. For more information about the event and to register, please visit our website: http://bit.ly/1khTaTJ


Research Insighter Video: eBay on Predictive Insights and Futuring

Gireesh Joshi discusses the future of insights at eBay with Marc Dresner, Senior Editor and Special Communication Projects Lead at IIR USA, in this episode of TMREtv's The Research Insighter brought  to you by The Market Research Event (TMRE).



In this video, we showcase:
  • Driving Business Strategy:
Solving the problem of improving customer retention.
  • More than Surveys:
Taking surveys at face value is not that helpful because survey takers tend to rationalize what they think or what they want you to think.
  • Eliminating Rationalization:
Using the surveys to combine with behavioral data allowed them to create a model instead of relying on the consumer to tell the truth.

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Your Fall 2014 List of Must- Attend Events in Market Research, Insights & Trends

Reset that compass. It's time for you to get outside those office walls and recharge your work. Are you looking for deeper understanding of your customers wants, needs, and values? Are you looking for more innovative tools and techniques to conduct more meaningful market research?


You are in luck! You will get a deeper understanding of what drives consumer behavior with new innovation research technologies to connect with consumers in a meaningful way at Consumer Insights Canada this September as well as at IIR’s four upcoming research events this fall!

The team behind the World's Best Insights Event - The Market Research Event, and Shopper Insights in Action introduce The Consumer Insights Canada Event. Bringing the caliber of actionable content, inspiration and peer-to-peer networking you have come to expect to Canada. This is a 3-day experience focused on the power of insights in motivating smarter decision making.

Consumer Insights Canada 
September 29-October 1, 2014
The Ritz Carlton, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
#CICanada
Unlock 15% Off Discount Code: NACI14BL

Check out our other research events taking place this fall:

The Market Research Event 
#TMRE14
October 20-22, 2014
Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, Florida
Unlock 15% Off Discount: TMRE14BL

The 14th Annual International Shopper Insights in Action Event 
#Shopper360
November 3-5, 2014
Sheraton Grand, Edinburgh, Scotland
Unlock 15% Off Discount: ISHOP14BL

Foresight and Trends 
#FT14
November 11-13, 2014
SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA
15% Off Discount: FT14BL

The Media Insights & Engagement Conference 
#MediaInsights14
February 3-5, 2015
The Westin San Diego, San Diego, CA
Unlock 15% Off Discount: MEDIA15BL

We hope to see you at our research events this fall!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Inside Insights: Susan Williams

Next up in our Inside Insights interview series brought to you by Consumer Insights Canada,we sat down with Consumer Insights Canada speaker Susan Williams, Senior Director, Strategic Insight, The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited, to discuss strategic insights and Canada's consumer culture.

Consumer Insights Canada is a conference focusing on the power of insights to inspire smarter decision making and shines a lens on shopper and consumer behavior in Canada. Whether you’re looking to break into the market for the first time, or just deepen your relationship with Canadian consumers – this is your must-attend event. 

Here’s what Williams had to say:

IIR: What makes insights “strategic insights”?

Williams: Strategic insight implies it impacts business thinking and decision making in my opinion. We can get a lot of insight from data, but turning that into actionable results is the strategic part.

IIR: What is the key to using the power of consumer insights to make smarter decisions in business?

Williams: I can't think of any business where the client/consumer/guest is not a critical part of a business success. Ensuring you are relevant, in tune, and in touch with your consumer through quality consumer insights is key. 

IIR: How are shopper insights unique in Canada compared to the rest of North America?

Williams: The act of gathering consumer insights is not unique, but there are a lot of similarities, but many differences as well in the results. It is important to understand the geographies and influences that impact behavior in different markets. Geography can sometimes limit accessibility to certain types of services or products. We see differences in attitudes towards technology even across the country in Canada, and compared to the US there are additional differences. In some of the work we have done we have seen a greater emphasis on value as well in Canada vs. the US. It is important to note as well, the makeup of the Canadian consumer is different in some ways multiculturally than the US consumer - especially in terms of ethnicity. All of this stresses the importance of ensuring relevancy in any market that you go into.

IIR: Where do you see the shopper culture in Canada 5 years from now?

Williams: Technology is and will continue to shape how people shop. Accessibility, transparency, access to information and how this translates into relevant shopper experiences of the future. Ecommerce is a way of life, although not as developed as in the US and other countries, online browsing/accessing information and pre-shopping will continue to grow in Canada.

IIR: What’s your advice on effective ways to reach Canadians on the path-to-purchase?

Williams: Understand their consumer journey and purchasing influences relevant to your category or product. Clearly ensuring a seamless omnichannel experience will be important as ensuring that the right type of communication and information is conveyed at the right time. Just because some technology exists, it doesn't mean that it is always relevant to your shopper. Get and know your shopper.

IIR: What’s the best part about shopping in Canada?

Williams: Increasing selection and choice in retail. World class brands are now entering the scene providing one of the most exciting times in consumer choice and shopping in history. Our geographies as well provide significant cultural experiences from one part to the other.

IIR: How is technology empowering the always-on shopper today?

Williams: Pre-shopping is big and continues to grow. Social media, technology in general is everywhere and mobile phones are the shopping vehicle of the future. Everything is now, information is accessible, and the shopper is in control.

IIR: How do you embed a culture of customer experience in your organization?

Williams: This is a key foundational platform for our organization currently. The value proposition is about the experience as in many cases the product can be replicated. It is lead from the top, and needs to form a part of the corporate strategy. We are all in a learning stage. Ensuring that consumer insight is a key component of this journey is critical.

IIR: What is the future of Big Data?

Williams: Big Data always existed, but it has now been reinvented with the introduction and mass of digital behavior statistics. This will continue to grow and become more and more relevant but faces many challenges. If companies haven’t figured what to do with "small data" how will "big data" solve their problems. What still remains to be a critical component of any data digging exercise is to ensure that there are people that know what to do with that data, and develop the right questions to lead the analysis . It is also important to make sure that in a lot of cases, big data is very powerful and creates stories and impacts of initiatives, but doesn't always tell you why? Still important to keep the dialogue going with shoppers to marry the behavioral data with consumer insights. 

IIR: How do you see mobile affecting the future shopper in Canada?

Williams: Mobile is the future. Eventually, mobile payments will be the norm. It already is growing at a rapid rate. It means that information has to be faster, relevant and connected to technology. People are now shopping 'in the moment" and mobile is enabling that.

IIR: What have you learned about millennial shopper insights in Canada?

Williams: It is important to make sure that we don't just create a broad brush and group people into large categories. However, some key influences of this generation are that millennials grew up on technology. It means it is already part of their behavior and they will continue to expect this in everything you do. They may be seen as fewer brands loyal, and because technology enables it, expecting rate of change of products, brands, services to evolve quicker.

IIR: Why is it so important these days to connect with customers in virtually every channel of this multichannel world?

Williams: It is the omnichannel experiences. Shoppers expect it, and they chose how to communicate with you. Understand however which channels are most relevant for your shopper and your product and ensure your messaging is tailored within. It doesn't mean eliminating channels however, just understanding the role that they play within your brand.

If you’d like to hear more from Susan, don’t miss her session, “Leveraging Big Data for Mall Merchandising Mix Decisions” at Consumer Insights Canada on Monday, Sept 29th from 1:30-3:00 pm. The event is taking place this September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto, Canada.


For more information about the event and to register, click here:  http://bit.ly/VgCSPv

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

TMREtv Video: The State of Brand Insights and Engagement in Market Research

Market Research is undergoing a transformation, engagement and insights are key to successful data capture that can truly become a catalyst for impact within your company. This video medley shows a medley of key points from thought leaders throughout the event from 2013. This video is brought to you by TheMarket Research Event (TMRE)



Explore:
  • Time Wasters & Gamification:
One billion people spend at least one hour playing a video game every day.

  • Transforming Problem Solving:
“Design thinking is one of the most critical components for leadership.”

  • Devices and Tech Innovation:

In 1975, we spent 16 hours a week in front of a screen, last year it was 44 hours.




About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Your Exclusive Look at The Media Insights & Engagement Conference Speaker Line Up

Earlier this year, The Media Insights & Engagement Conference broke records with its inaugural event, uniting hundreds of research and insights professionals across the media industry. In 2015, The Media Insights & Engagement Conference will be your industry's meeting place to explore new opportunities with insights-rich decision making.

Download the 2014 Executive Summary for a look at what you can expect at The Media Insights & Engagement Conference 2015: http://bit.ly/1yrb5Zt

The Media Insights & Engagement Conference 2015
February 3-5, 2015 // The Westin San Diego // San Diego, CA

Introducing The Media Insights & Engagement Conference Keynotes to Date:

ROI for Social Media Marketing
B. Bonin Bough
VP of Global Media &
Consumer Engagement
Mondelez International

Build Habit Forming Products
Nir Eyal
NirAndFar.com
Author, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products   

Making Data More Meaningful
Charles Kennedy
Former EVP, Research & Insights,
NBCU Cable
Entertainment Group

PLUS groundbreaking thought-leadership covering Cross Platform Measurement, Research & Insights, the Future of Content, the Changing Face of America, New Disruptors, TV Everywhere, Evolving Business Models & Partnerships, Understanding Viewer Behavior and more, from:
  • Bryon Schafer, SVP, Media Research and Insights, Warner Bros. Television Group
  • Dave Kaplan, VP, Bravo Media Research, NBCUniversal
  • Jake Katz, VP, Audience Insights & Strategy, Revolt TV
  • Tony Marlow, Head of Category Insights, Yahoo!
  • Stephanie DiVito, Director, Audience Research, ESPN
  • Christian Kiugel, VP, Consumer Analytics & Research, AOL
  • Graeme Hutton, SVP, Group Partner, Research, Universal McCann
  • Karen Ramspacher, SVP, Research and Insights, Participant Media
  • Ashlee Gouldstone, VP Research, NBCUniversal
  • Justin Fromm, Executive Director, Research, ABC TV
Don't just take our word for it, see what the industry's had to say:

"This was indeed the best conference I've attended in the past 5 years." - Daniel Marcu, VP, Research & Insights, IFC

"You know the standard saying about conferences, 'i.e. "if I take home one or two new ideas, this will be worth it?" Well - I think this sets a new standard. I've got three or four new ways of thinking about my work, communications and the world." - Barry Stoddard, Vice President, Research, Disney ABC Television Group

Mention code MEDIA14BL & Save 15% off the standard rate. Register Today: http://bit.ly/1yrb5Zt

Cheers,
The Media Insights and Engagement Conference Team
@_MediaFusion
#MediaInsights15 

TMRE Spotlight: Betty Adamou, Research Through Gaming

At TMRE, we unite leaders across market research, consumer insights, strategy, innovation, marketing, analytics, shopper insights, media research, UX, customer experience, business intelligence, competitive intelligence and more, dedicated to blending art and science to fully understand today's consumers.

As we curate best practices across industries and disciplines from practitioners in Market Research all over the globe, we'd decided to spotlight a few notables from the trenches.

Meet Betty Adamou, here's what she's shared with us:

Betty Adamou is the Founder of Research Through Gaming Ltd, I’m a ResearchGame™ designer where she carries out academic study of market research and games for my PhD. She is doing her PhD with the University of Winchester, where she is putting her invention of ResearchGames as a methodology under the academic spotlight for the very first time.

What Betty Does:

In the literal sense of what I do every day, I do a bit of everything. Some days I am conducting lectures at Universities (in the UK and internationally) teaching game-based research methods to students. Sometimes I am even looking at students’ work as they might ask me to check out their writing on game-based research. Other times I am designing and implementing ResearchGames, attending sales meetings and project managing. 

Other days I’m designing and implementing game-based apps or providing one-to-one consultation to market research agencies on how they can improve their research products. Other days I will be reading, writing and generally studying. And if that’s not happening, I’m speaking at conferences and 
filling in interview questions with TMRE. So I do a bit of everything! 

How She Got Started

I started Research Through Gaming Ltd three years ago (RTG are about to celebrate their 3rd birthday!) and started from my bedroom where I lived at the time in North London. I started with energized inspiration and this is the fuel that keeps me going to this day. I left my old job to start RTG, sacrificing a good pay-cheque (especially for my age at the time) and the stability that 9-5 work can bring because I believed that there was a better way to conduct research through games, so here I am today.

Why MR

Initially, not a lot, if anything at all. I was studying at the University of the Arts (London College of Fashion) and when I finished, I found myself making clothes from home and being a tailors apprentice on the weekends but that wasn’t paying my bills. A friend of mine got me to work with her at a small fieldwork agency near my home at the time and that’s when my career in MR began. 

Although it seems disconnected, the use of game-based research may help students like I was at the time to understand that there is such a thing as ‘the market research industry’. And not only does this industry exist, but it’s interesting with many facets and many opportunities to grow. 

Industry Evolution

I think the first question to ask is “is the industry changing” and the answer is yes in general, but it’s not changing for everyone. How is it changing? I think the answer to that depends on where you sit in the MR industry. My healthcare clients still need to be conservative because of the clients they have, and their expectations. For studies commissioned by governmental bodies, in the majority, they still want to stay traditional too. For studies concerning customer satisfaction and FMCG, I think that market research has evolved in many directions but based from a fundamental need to engage respondents. 

Engaging respondents may take on the shape of an increase in use of online communities, or game-based research methods for instance, but the point is that the entire industry has been on it’s knees, then realised it needed to put respondent engagement at the heart of everything they do, and now it does. Respondent engagement is the spine of our industry and I’m glad researchers are increasingly understanding that. 

What's Next

Everything is next! But again, this is dependant on where you sit in the MR industry or even outside of it. Wearable tech is now a consumer product and one in which MR will buy into (or already has, in some cases) so in many ways, I could say ‘this is next’, especially when we just saw the launch of Google Cardboard on August 2nd. 

But it’s not just wearable tech that’s next, it’s a host of other tech, methods and understanding. Kantar bought Zappistore, and market research software companies are having to offer more in terms of analytics and digestible insights. 

Non MR-companies are merging into ‘our field’ and as a result, we’re having to behave more like non-MR companies just to keep up. For instance: how can we expect to compete with respondent engagement with the traditional surveys we send out to respondents, when richer data (from more people, across longer periods of time) are being captured by Facebook? 

How can we expect to compete with our traditional tools on diary-based studies (where we need the respondents’ attention across weeks, or even months) when non-research companies are doing so as part of their platform for free, and with much higher levels of participant engagement? 

Right now in the Market Research industry, the world is our oyster, we just need even more people to be savvy and future-thinking enough to tell us what’s next. One expectation I have is for MR companies that exist today to evolve, merge-with, buy and become less recognisable as “MR companies” in the next year and beyond. 

What is your best tip for researchers in the trenches to become a catalyst for impact?

It depends what kind of impact you want to have and where you want this impact to be felt. If you want to have a positive impact on the entire market research industry with an idea you may have, grab a stage and speak at a conference. Write a paper and publicise it wherever you can. Write in an industry magazine.

If you’re impact is a little more closer-to-home, (i.e. you want to create impact in the place where you work) I would suggest to first get your ideas(s) water-tight before you present them to your boss or other decision-maker. 

To do this I would suggest the following; read, talk, go out of the office and discover. Most of my inspiration has come from and still comes from reading, studying, playing games, going to exhibitions and speaking to people who, at times, have nothing to do with market research or gaming industry. In turn, the ideas I have become more developed or new ideas start to grow. 

Once you’re happy you’ve created the 360-degree account of your idea for impact, present this to the decision-making authorities where you work in a creative and professional manner which shows your heart in the idea and how it will work.

Plan B: If you did this already, and no one is listening to you, go out and make impact elsewhere (another company) on your own. Being an entrepreneur can be scary but is one of the truest tests of ‘putting your money where your mouth is’. 

Reading Recommendations

Read anything that allows you to understand human behaviour. Respondents, or as they may be increasingly known as ‘data-givers’, NEED to be intrinsically motivated and engaged in research because without that, we go back into the dark ages of no-one caring about surveys. Try to understand what engages people and what motivates people. Read papers, read books, speak to people outside of MR and ask them how they engage their users. 

In this day and age where the online survey is competing with at least 6 other interactive platforms for your respondents attention, we need to be on top of how we can grasp participant engagement, allow them to enjoy the experience and come back for more studies in the future. Only through engaged participants can we save time and money and provide more accurate data to our clients.

Tools to Use

What can I say, I am biased. Use any tool you like, as long as you make the research study into a game. Game mechanics tap into our basic needs as human beings (as evidenced by massive amounts of academic research) so borrow tips of the most engaging medium the human race has ever encountered: the game. In terms of new tech to keep an eye on, first understand older tech which hasn’t come out as a consumer product yet, but will or has already. 

For instance, virtual reality headsets aren’t new (I used to play with a Tomytronic when I was 6, that was 22 years ago) so researchers should look at how these technologies are evolving and how they can be used for data collection in an ethical, enjoyable manner for the participants. Augmented reality, again, isn’t new, but still market researchers should think about how to utilise this technology. 

The list is endless: QR codes, GPS footwear, smart clothing etc; it all has existed for some time. Instead of looking at what’s new, we should try and catch up on the technologies have been available to us but under-utalised for the last 5-10 years.

Random Fun Fact

Haha, a random fact! I could give you something totally boring now couldn’t I, like “I recently had my hair dyed” but who would care? Maybe a random fact about me might be surprising for those who haven’t met me…I genuinely and absolutely KNOW game-based research methods are the future of our industry. It’s not some commercial stuff I spout off, it’s real and it’s what I live every single day. I hope the students I’ve been speaking to in the last three years will make those changes in the short-term future when they join our industry. 

Oh and in other news, I got married in June.