Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Insights as a Vehicle for Influence: Embracing the Omnichannel Customer Journey

By: Amanda Ciccatelli, Content Marketing & Social Media Strategist, Informa

Insights have become a vehicle for influencing marketing and ultimately, the world. That’s why next in our Insights as a Vehicle for Influence series, we sat down with Claire Quinn, principal at Capre Group to discuss the ever-changing retail space and how to embrace the omnichannel customer experience.

Here’s what Claire had to say:

How is digital reinventing retail?

Quinn: For Millennial “digital natives” and those GenX and Boomers who are early adopters, digital has reshaped the traditional “role sort” of consumers and shoppers. Instead, people are shifting between “consuming” modes and “shopping” modes seamlessly, regardless of their physical location. 

Imagine this scenario to demonstrate these shifting modes:  a young woman views a TV ad showing how a new lipstick will last all day (consuming mode)…she researches user reviews online with her phone (consuming mode)…then uses her phone app to check whether her local drug store carries the brand (shopping mode)…ultimately ordering it for pick-up at her neighborhood store (shopping mode). She has moved along the full path to purchase - shifting between consuming and shopping modes - all from the convenience of her own living room. 

It will be critical to understand the different decisions people are making at each point along this new path, as well as the right marketing touchpoints and content to share to drive conversion and reinforce each purchase decision. 

What can retailers do better to embrace the omnichannel customer journey and experience?

Quinn: The new omnichannel world presents a great opportunity for retailers to partner with manufacturers to successfully meet and exceed consumer/shopper expectations. Manufacturers are experts in their categories, and can provide deeper category leadership insights and perspectives than most retailers can create on their own. And retailers know their shoppers extremely well, having built incredible capabilities to target and engage their shoppers.

Together, manufacturers and retailers are able to collaborate in new ways, such as to engage shoppers pre-store, getting brands on the list of relevant household segments or to reinvent the aisle or check-out experience, to provide added value to shoppers while driving incremental impulse purchases. Working together to exceed shopper expectations provides a triple win for everyone – shoppers, retailers and manufacturers. 

What are some shopper insights lifecycle best practices you can share?

Quinn: One of the most important things insights professionals need to keep in mind when planning research is to “begin with the end in mind.” Specifically, what is the business problem you are trying to solve and how will the insights drive action once the results are in?  

At Caprē Group, we work with clients to delve into root cause analysis and create hypothesis-driven assertions to guide research design as well as post-research analysis and application. This approach helps to ensure one is thinking through the full insights lifecycle before the Knowledge Brief is even drafted. 

Want more on this topic? Attend OmniShopper International this November in London, England. Learn more here: 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Marketing “Health” In the Age of Additive

This post was originally published on Kelton Global’s blog.

Looking around at health and wellness messages across industries, I’m struck by how much our perspective on “healthy” has shifted. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when Richard Simmons had us Sweatin’ to the Oldies, and The Beverly Hills Diet recommended cutting out nearly all the major food groups in the crusade for a lean physique.

Fewer consumers are aspiring for the “ideal body”.

Deprivation and “no pain, no gain” health messaging is still out there, but a rising trend is rendering these tried-and-true tactics less effective. The focus of the conversation around health has gone from subtraction (minimizing calories, dropping pounds), to addition (benefits, rewards, and how much one has to gain). In a nod to Positive Psychology, it’s no longer solely about making improvements in terms of better physical health, but about achieving a more balanced, healthy outlook on diet and fitness. The shift in thinking is so prevalent that Kelton’s Cultural Insights team is calling it out as a full-blown movement around Additive Health.

As the pursuit of “healthy” moves away from fixing what’s wrong and toward optimizing health and wellbeing as a lifestyle, brands need to reposition and speak to these changing perceptions. After a thorough analysis of emerging trends in Additive Health, Kelton uncovered three impactful brand messaging principles that brands can use to speak to this new ethos. Every health-related brand should incorporate the below tenets into their messaging toolkit in order to stay relevant in the face of this new trend:

Emphasize potential gains, and avoid highlighting opportunities for “loss”.

Once an omnipresent message pervading all things health and fitness, weight loss-centered marketing has lost its luster in recent years. Sure, people still want to drop some pounds. But at the same time, more consumers are realizing that a mindset of deprivation and negativity is a barrier to achieving health-related goals. They’re turning instead to proven techniques like rewards and affirmative statements. Focus your messaging on the advantageous outcomes of getting fit and healthy–like increased energy, confidence, and strength, and position physical and superficial benefits as secondary byproducts. This will inspire shoppers to incorporate your product into their daily routines.

Double down on social connectivity.

Think about ways that your product or service can bring people together in the name of wellness, whether it’s offering a traditional exercise course, run club, or something else that caters to a niche audience. Offer a means of entertainment, social connectivity, or even a little indulgence, in order to cultivate a sense of community among your brand’s biggest advocates.

This tactic can work both online and off. Consider integrating elements of positive reinforcement– including social and personal payoffs– into the digital consumer experience, to help consumers internalize progress and transform sense of self. Programs like Vitality and Fitocracy link elements of gaming, rewards, and digital coaching to engage users and maintain motivation.

Be inclusive. Recognize the broad-spectrum audience that aspires to behave and feel healthier.
Instead of using actors and models for your next marketing campaign, look to incorporate people who resemble and think like your broader consumer base. Fewer consumers are aspiring for the “ideal body,” thanks at least in part to an increase in candid body positive messages from high profile celebrities. This trend of body acceptance has reached a crescendo, with Barbie now available in four different body types and the first ever plus size model featured on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover.

Showing unrepresentatively fit or thin individuals is not nearly as impactful to today’s audience as featuring people and situations that the average person can relate to. Leverage social listening to find out the broader goals that your audience is striving for, and design your messaging to speak to those ambitions.

 The Additive Health Movement has positive potential for consumers and brands alike, and is an incredible opportunity for companies to highlight the role of their products and services within a holistically healthy lifestyle. While no one can say for sure how long this movement will last, it’s no mistake that the most relevant fitness brands broadcast the high-level benefits of wellness and downplay the role of aesthetics.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Catch & Release: Elevating the Researcher/Customer Relationship

By: Kevin Lonnie, Founder, KL Communications

I would argue that market research has not lived up to its reciprocal relationship with the customer.  In theory, we are the conduit that allows their voice to be heard so our clients can make better decisions.

But this is a one-way relationship where we hold all the cards.  That’s why we get to ask all the questions.  In fact, the customer is afforded few opportunities to change the nature of the conversation. 

And speaking from years of perspective (oh man, it’s been a bunch of years), we’ve done little to elevate the nature of the relationship.

We still refer to questionnaire input as data capture.  We still fall back on grid questions and often underestimate the length of the primary survey experience.  We still rely on paltry economic incentivizing.  Well into the 21st Century, we continue with our “catch & release” approach to customer feedback.  Of course, over time, the customer has become leery of our “hooks” and passes on future attempts to have their opinions heard.  The net effect is we’re left with the limited, non-representative segment of the population still willing to respond.

OK, what can we do to elevate the nature of the client/customer relationship?  After all, there’s no association or code of conduct that requires researchers to actually make the customer experience “enjoyable”.

To our credit, there has been a decade’s worth of conversation on the need to add gamification and social incentives to our repertoire.  Unfortunately, little progress has been made as this is counterproductive to the budget. 

Elevating the researcher/customer relationship is not going to happen overnight.   Heck, we’ve spent the past 70 years doing our best to wreck it.  Despite all that, I can envision a gradual migration away from traditional data collection tools to customer empowerment tools.   As millennials begin to take on senior positions, I think there will be a natural desire to bring social reciprocity to the world of market research.

As for myself, I think the fundamental questions become;
Do we wish to empower or capture our customers? 
What are the terms of the new marketplace relationship? 
Is it based on mutual empowerment or are we to view customers as acquired goods? 
If we choose the latter, it surely doesn’t promote a common or sustainable purpose. 

The smart organizations will choose an empowered relationship with their customers for the simple reasons that it represents the best value (far greater understanding of unmet needs/new product opportunities) and because it represents the only sustainable option. 
KL Communications is a research agency with a specialty in collaborative online communities. While traditional online communities capture the opinion of crowds, only KLC delivers the wisdom of crowds via our proprietary CrowdWeaving™ platform!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

5 Ways to Work it Like a (Go) Pro

We love doing in-context or ethnographic research.  It’s so fun to immerse ourselves into a respondent’s environment and learn “what’s really going on” vs. “what respondents say” in a focus group setting. And, yes, video is a great way to effectively capture the interviews – it provides authenticity but also comes with some drawbacks. Regardless of someone’s moderating skills, it’s more awkward for a respondent when you add a video camera to the mix.  For the last few years, we rarely take video during our ethnographies due to the “cumbersome nature” of the equipment.   

 To solve one of these problems, we could enlist the help of our clients. However, walking them through operating a camera is technical and takes away from the ‘in the moment’ learning.

At ABRG, we found a small and mighty answer to this multi-layer dilemma. Insert GoPro Hero 4 Silver!  We chose a GoPro because its versatile capabilities allow flexibility for any ethnography or in-context research situation.

  1. Mounting accessories:  we love the Go Pro’s various accessories and bought the suction cup, flex clamp, and hand grip. These make it easier to walk with it or mount it wherever you need to take video – bathroom, kitchen, etc. The clamp accessory especially, is useful doing in-homes because furniture can easily become camera equipment.
  2. Size:  It’s tiny, which is another asset when recording. Because it’s not bulky, respondents don’t notice it when they are being interviewed – it fades into the background.
  3. Great quality video at close proximity – the video quality on a GoPro is stellar, especially when it’s put on the “narrow” setting.
  4. Mark-up ability: it is easy to mark up interesting, noteworthy parts of the interview in the moment!  This makes sorting through footage later so much less painful!
  5. Remote control via iPhone app: the GoPro contains a remote feature that allows you to control angle, start/stop, etc. from your iPhone, which is awesome.  If needed, the interviewer can both record and conduct interviews without enlisting the help of another team member or client.  

All of these features are great but getting up to speed and feeling comfortable with it requires bit of “ramp up”. We believe in creating step-by-step Process Documents to keep us from reinventing the wheel so we put all our knowledge into words in the format of a laminated Process Document containing the ins-and-outs of “how to use a GoPro.” To easily access this guide when we are in the field, we made it so that it easily fits inside the GoPro’s case and color-coded it based on topic. Additionally, the GoPro, its parts and mounting accessories are labeled and correspond with the user guide as reference.  In conjunction with the process document, we also labeled all of the parts of the GoPro and the different mounting accessories. Wherever the GoPro goes, a user-friendly guide goes with it.

To GoPro or not?  That is the question.  So far, we’re loving it.

April Bell. Owner, Researcher, Facilitator and the “force of nature” at April Bell Research Group, a full service boutique market research agency helping researchers shine.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Being ‘Smart’ With Your Data Integration

Most of us know that the mobile phone industry is on a pretty serious surge of personal use. In fact, think of one person you know that does not have a mobile phone. Coming up short? This is precisely the reason why all marketing researchers should have a strong focus on mobile.

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. own a mobile phone of some kind. The statistics show that the majority of mobile usage goes to text messaging and voice calls. This is understandable; but how much of mobile phone usage is being employed for internet or email use? 89% of mobile device users are on the internet at least once a week, and 88% are using email at the same rate. Think about what having this information could possibly do for your research techniques.

The Pew Research Center also found that of U.S. adults who own a mobile phone, 7% are “mobile-dependent,” meaning that they do not have home broadband service and have limited options for going online other than their mobile device. With the inevitable and exponential growth of technology, making mobile phones more streamlined, these numbers are sure to rise in the coming years. New generations are coming along that have never known a world without incredibly intelligent mobile devices, which could mean that desktops may one day become a thing of the past.

Smarter data collection

Now we are able to be smarter about the data we are collecting, and integrate insights with other survey data: survey data from syndicated studies, social media, and behavioral data. There are a lot of great things happening in our industry— we can now capture a holistic view of the consumer without asking (a lot of) questions. We need to use the effects of mobile to our advantage, not just adapt to evolving technologies. 

Although there has been an effort to change surveys, there are still large portion that are incompatible with mobile devices. Moreover, users prefer apps over browsers on their mobile. Survey taking on mobile devices takes longer than on a PC. A 10-15 minute survey on a PC will take 37% longer on an Android device and 43% longer on an iPhone. iPad length of interview is similar to PC, only 6% longer.

As data becomes increasingly integrated, researchers are given more opportunities to boost engagement and shorten surveys. The world of “Big Data” has granted us access to numerous data sources that can be blended with quantitative research. The result is obtaining more insights through fewer questions. This makes writing surveys for mobile users much easier because we can:

1.       Be less redundant with our questions
2.       Ask simpler questions
3.       Break surveys into clear component parts

By bringing in third party data, we have the opportunity make surveys more enjoyable and engaging. This will help us sustain our most valuable assets, the consumers who provide their input. 

Increasingly researchers are experimenting with leveraging third party segmentations to provide the richness of profile that often was proprietarily developed. Lightspeed GMI has partnered with several leading providers of marketing segmentation data to allow clients the opportunity to both target with and append third party segments based on lifestyle, life stage, attitudes, behaviors and demographics.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Level Up: The Possibilities Brought to Life by Pokémon GO

By Zoe Dowling, Lead Research Strategist, FocusVision

In the few weeks since Pokémon GO’s US release, it’s become a hands down winner for this summer’s “craze”. Future generations will likely reflect on these times with the same fondness as with the hula-hoop or (more recently) the ice bucket challenge – but for smartphones the needle has forever been moved.

A Friday evening walk on Los Angeles’ Redondo Beach Pier mirrored many landmark locations around the country – a majority of visitors on the Pokémon hunt, many of whom came furnished with mobile battery packs and chargers. Beyond the volume of active players, it was striking to note how inclusive the game is – from tweens to grandpas; from individuals and couples to groups, everyone wanted to catch ‘em all.

What drove Pokémon GO’s unprecedented popularity?

Given the inclusive fan base of the game, its popularity isn’t just a result of the 90’s kids eagerly reliving their youth, nor is it simply techies delighting in the technological convergence and execution. While these are contributing factors, there’s more going on.

Pokémon GO is accessible

The internet, social media and smartphones facilitate a connectivity and global reach to the extent that memes and trends spread almost instantaneously. News about the game swept across the country and the globe. People want to be part of the newest trend.

At the same time, the game’s easy (and free) entry allows anyone with a smartphone to participate themselves. Within minutes of opening the app, you experience the wonder of being virtually positioned within your physical location and catch your very first Pokémon where Augmented Reality delights. Perhaps also Pokémon GO highlights the universal popularity of mobile casual gaming, although maybe for the first time it becomes a visible, in fact public, activity.

Pokémon GO merges technologies in a way that its predecessors didn’t succeed

Maps aren’t new to gamers but location-based gaming appears to have gone mainstream. The use of GPS and walking your virtual character around your physical world is very neat.

Aside from tracking your movements on the map, your physical and virtual location are also linked by Pokéstops. Here you pick up PokéBalls and other items to add to your stash while learning about the micro-landmarks in your immediate vicinity. During my first walk I discovered that my local diner is 40 years old and that the town library gardens are home to a small remembrance fountain. Not to mention countless, hitherto undetected, Pokémon to add to my Pokédex.

The inclusion of Augmented Reality (AR), which some rightly say is a limited aspect of the game appearing only when you encounter a Pokémon and attempt to catch it, nevertheless delivers one of the most ‘wow’ moments, being the final convincing glue between your physical and virtual worlds. These technologies, coupled with classic game elements of a mission based activity where you are awarded experience points, level ups and engage in traditional video-game combat, deliver a compelling experience.

Pokémon GO allows users to concurrently escape and explore their world

Finally, it’s possible that the game brings a welcome relief from this year’s bleak newsrooms. It provides a moment of escapism that you can share, even just with slight smiles and nods, with the people around you. Bringing us together, albeit for a brief moment, in an increasingly fragmented world.

 The branded advantage

Whatever the reasons for Pokémon GO immense success, it has given us a glimpse of possibilities with geo-location and AR that up until now have felt more like a futuristic hyperbole. The opportunities extend well beyond the gaming world. For brands, the race is on to capitalize upon people’s engagement with the game and drive traffic to their retail environments. Furthermore, well-considered partnerships can also help position the brand as a player within the cultural conversation.

McDonald’s Japan became the first official brand partner with 400 restaurants as ‘gyms’ and the remaining 2,500 sponsored Pokéstops but there’s also been many instances of unofficial linkage with signs on shop windows offering “10% discount for any Pokémon captured here” and countless social media posts by brands all eager to be part of the moment.

Will Pokémon GO impact market research?

It’s hard not to start considering the implications for research. From an immediate perspective the smartphone message, which should already be loud and clear, is booming. People have smartphones. People are using smartphones. This is where we’ll find them.

The willingness to use GPS and having your movements mapped is an interesting one. In many ways, people already give out this information freely with check-ins on various social media and review sites but perhaps this takes it to a new level.

What would a shopper journey look like using an app with a map overlay? What if there were virtual items within the retail environment that people found during their journey to signal a feedback loop? What if we could use AR to have people select items from a set of features and overlay them to create a view of the environment as they’d like to see it?

In matter of few short weeks, this type of interaction with research respondents feels entirely possible rather than a pipe dream. The challenge now – turning the potential into a reality.

Happy hunting!

About the Author: Zoë Dowling is the Lead Research Strategist for FocusVision, the global leader in research technology. Her extensive background includes quantitative and qualitative research design, data collection, analysis and report writing. She is an expert in internet and mobile research, specializing in respondent engagement, as well as online and offline qualitative approaches, including interviews, focus groups and usability testing. For more information, visit

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Differentiated Customer Experience: Easier Said

By: Rick Kieser, Ascribe 

This post was recently published on Ascribe’s blog.

Differentiated customer experience (CX) is a deceptively challenging goal shared by growing numbers of companies. In a recent presentation on Digital Marketing Trends by Mike Corak to the Cincinnati AMA, we heard a lot of valuable insights, but one statistic in particular caught our attention.  On slide 36 in his presentation, Mike quoted an independent study that said “89% of companies plan to compete primarily based on customer experience in 2016.”

It sounds smart and admirable, but what does really mean to compete on customer experience, and what does it really take?  One thing it means is “something different for every company,” because to compete – to differentiate – means that you are setting yourself apart as better, special, even unique.

Easier Said Than Done

In order to truly compete on the basis of differentiated customer experience, you must:
1.       Identify what makes (or could make) you special IN THE EYES of CUSTOMERS
2.       Understand the underlying drivers of your differentiated customer experience
3.       Deliver it consistently and monitor customer sentiment relative to your differentiator

So how do you tackle the differentiation challenge and turn it to your advantage?  The answer is this: ask, analyze, act and ask again.  Simple, right?  Well asking can be, but what comes next can set leaders apart.  If you process your open-ended feedback in context with the rest of your survey data, you can very quickly generate actionable insights to identify, understand, deliver and monitor your unique customer experience.

Build on Customer Feedback

In our own independent research, 91% of respondents said they collect some kind of unstructured comments, but only about 60% do anything at all with that feedback and a mere 30% drive their data all the way to real, actionable insights.  That’s a far cry from the 89% who recently claimed they would be differentiating based on customer experience!

To us, that translates tremendous opportunity for companies to capitalize on assets they already have (survey data and open-ends) to generate insights that can reveal and strengthen their own differentiated customer experience proposition.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Infusing Cultural Thinking Into Your Business Strategy

This post was originally published on Kelton Global’s blog.

Understanding culture is crucial for any business that wants to stick around long term. But culture is a challenging thing to grasp at the organizational level because it’s big, amorphous, and ever-changing. To co-opt an idea popularized by the philosopher Karl Popper, culture operates more like a cloud than a clock: a swirling and continuously evolving mass that can’t be accurately defined in a single snapshot.

Businesses, on the other hand, have a comparatively ordered structure. They tend to want to use clock-like approaches to tackle the cloudy cultural challenges at hand. This yearning for measurement and simplicity comes through in questions like:

When does a trend ‘officially’ become mainstream? If we decide to adopt this tone of voice or design, will Millennials buy our products? What color signals ‘edgy’?

Many crucial aspects of business benefit from structure, but this ordered approach won’t help businesses to solve their most pressing cultural challenges. In the cloudy reality of cultural phenomena, linear cause and effect and simple divisions of reality seldom exist outright.

Take, for instance, the ever-changing cultural dialogue around masculinity. There are literally thousands of new images and messages being shared every day – some of which challenge the more traditional assumptions, and some of which reinforce them. In the middle, brands like Target are incorporating a softer, more fluid, set of cues in a traditional ‘patrizate-friendly’ way. In the world of consumer values and brand perceptions, far more of the challenges that we face are ‘cloudy’ than we might imagine.

Grasping the deeper cultural dialogues around things like masculinity, femininity, fun, beauty, style, and the like will be impossible if you’re looking for machine-like predictability or linear cause and effect. The best problem-solving approaches blend technical, linear ‘clockwork’ thinking with creative, lateral ‘dynamic’ thinking. While a thorough initiative is best guided by a bona fide Cultural Insights researcher (shameless plug), there are some things that an organization can do on its own to infuse cultural thinking into the strategic mix:

1. Pay attention to the fringe
If a competitive brand feels fresh and new in the category, they’re likely tapping into something that we can learn from– even if they’re small in comparison. The fresh ideas in the category now are often candidates for its future, especially in quickly-changing categories like food and beverage, consumer tech, and retail. 15 years ago, how many of us brushed off the idea of health(ish) fast food?

Action Step: Include ‘extreme’ consumers in your qualitative research, and look at the edgier elements within your category, including crowdfunded ideas.

2. Use Cultural Insights for early and exploratory initiatives
Use Cultural insights early on to challenge some of the entrenched ideas around how your category or brand is working. Then, explore these hypotheses in subsequent research. For example, if your brand refresh involves looking at emergent ideas in beauty, use CI at the outset to come up with a range of territories, and then use consumer insight and co-creation work to nail the best iteration for your brand.

Action Step: Incorporate Semiotics and Trend Analysis into your research mix at the outset, expanding the number of ideas in play.

3. Harness ‘Expectation Transfer’
Consumers grow accustomed to certain norms in one category, and the expectations for these norms are slowly demanded of, and adopted into, other categories. This phenomenon, known as Expectation Transfer, can cause categories to disrupt not only their own verticals, but others that feel ripe for reconsideration. Leverage expectation transfer for your brand by staying extra observant of shifts in other verticals, and adopt them before they become a standard to stay ahead of competitors.

Action Step: Widen your scope (in landscape analysis & consumer research) to more than just your category. Try to intuit what these brands have captured about the consumer, and incorporate that into your plans.

4. Find natural places to impact the conversation
In ways that are often hard to measure, brands have the potential to influence the wider cultural dialogue just as much as they reflect it. Don’t wait for a good idea to be fully entrenched in the mainstream – or your category – before acting on it.

Action Step: Look to make public stances in ways that bring your brand’s point of view & key equities to life, and be bold in defending those views.

5. Use social listening to inform hypotheses
The Internet itself is a highly organized system, but the human activity that takes place on the Internet is much more of a churn. Leverage powerful social intelligence platforms to make the cloud-like swarm seem a little more clock-like.

Action Step: Set up a social listening dashboard following key sentiments and influencers (but be sure to avoid the pitfall of seeing it as a measurable stand-in for the complexities of the real cultural world).

Culture operates more like a cloud than a clock: a swirling and continuously evolving mass that can’t be accurately defined in a single snapshot.

With so much to see, hear, and read, culture is absolutely fascinating on both an organizational and personal level. By simply reframing how they think about culture and using the available insight tools in accordance with this new way of thinking, brands can get ahead of the curve and fully understand where their consumer is headed.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Does Market Research Have a Seat at the Table?

Market research has undergone big changes in the past few years. Even with transitions and restructuring of teams, market research andinsights proves to still be relevant in virtually every industry. Companies are always going to need to know their customers’ wants, needs, values, motives, goals and more.

In order to capture these indispensable insights, research teams must adapt to the ever-changing digital world and have leaders to charge their teams forward and impact the bottom line of businesses with strategic consumer insights. 

So, do you think Market Research has a seat at the table?

Share with us in a short survey here:  By filling out the survey, you will automatically be entered to win a free pass to TMRE 2016! 

We look forward to hearing your feedback!

Also, don’t miss TMRE: The Market Research Event taking place October 17-20, 2016 in Boca Raton, FL. With over 150 sessions to choose from, TMRE is the most comprehensive event in the industry. Every presentation is tasked to leave you with actionable insights you can implement back at your organization. For more information about the event or to register, click here:

The TMRE Team

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Insights as a Vehicle for Influence: Every Consumer is a Well-Informed Researcher

By: Amanda Ciccatelli, Content Marketing & Social Media Strategist, Informa

Insights have become a vehicle for influencing marketing and ultimately, the world. That’s why next in our Insights as a Vehicle for Influence series, we sat down with Paul Donagher, Managing Director, Market Strategies. In our conversation, he shed some light on how omnichannel is impacting retail, how shoppers are shaping the future of retail, where retail is going in the next five years, and more.

How has omnichannel impacted retail positively?

Donagher: From a consumer perspective it has opened a whole range of researching and buying opportunities, or ‘instants of intent’. The intent has to be on both sides of the relationship, where both the consumer has the need and the marketer has the opportunity to have their brand positioned perfectly with the proper connections planning. Connections planning is really what omnishopping is all about – furthermore, we believe that the best outcomes for marketers start with a thorough understanding of consumers both from a category and brand perspective. This can only be achieved through properly conducted research that uses all of the attitudinal, behavioral and neuro approaches at our disposal.

What can retailers do better to embrace the omnichannel customer journey and experience?

Donagher: Our research shows that the relationship from the retailer side has to meet 3 key criteria – Seamlessness, Centricity and Experience. We conducted our own qual and quant research that really narrowed down the requirements for retailers to these 3 broad buckets.

How are shoppers shaping the future of retail?

Donagher: The information is all on the Omnishopper’s side. They are better informed than ever before…which in itself poses questions and provides opportunities to retailers.

What are some shopper insights lifecycle best practices you can share?

Donagher: We spend a good deal of time trying to illuminate what we call ‘Day in the Life’. Of course, depending upon the category, the Omnishopper journey and the constituent path-to-purchase can be weeks or longer, however we use the notion of a ‘Day in the Life’ to look for the key sequencing that matters to the brand. The ‘instants of intent’ I mentioned previously have to be uncovered and the reasons for those instants (needs, motivations etc.) have to be properly uncovered.

Why is it important to link digital and physical shopper marketing?

Donagher: That’s what the Omnishopper demands – the notion of seamlessness I mentioned. The Omnishopper loves the research capabilities of digital and the in-store benefits of in-store (shopping with friends, touching the product etc.). From the research perspective, understanding digital is the big opportunity. We continually look for those data sources that are ‘organically’ created for us and were not necessarily created for market researchers. Whether it be big data or something else, these data exist and we are uniquely placed to capture, process and analyze them for marketing purposes

How does omnichannel customer experience impact customer loyalty?

Donagher: We hear a lot about the lack of loyalty among Omnishoppers. We think that is premature but that loyalty may have to be redefined as will associated loyalty programs.

How is digital reinventing retail?

Donagher: Every consumer is a well-informed researcher – they know what to look for and where to look for it.

Where do you see retail moving in the next 5 years?

Donagher: There have to be more ways for every party in the transaction to be compensated. If I research on one site but then buy in-store or vice-versa, each party has performed a service. We hear a lot of discussion on how to make sure everyone is compensated for their part in the purchase.

Want more on this topic? Attend OmniShopper International this November in London, England. Learn more here:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Approaches and Trends in Data Visualization and Storytelling

By: Mike Page, Blueocean Market Intelligence Vice President - Client Development and Technology

As a data integration software and services firm we see a lot of requests to deliver reports and presentations that are visually engaging and tell a clear story for the user to understand what to do next. We also are asked to provide dashboards and visuals that empower the user to take control of the path they chose through direct engagement with the data. Often these requests are mixed together - even though they are very different. There are even awards for best infographic (story) or data visualization (democracy). So how can these approaches be used together or should you choose one? Here are some approach observations and best practices that we have learned from experience.

Data Visualization

·         Be clear. If the desire is to empower the user to take control, then allow it. Often systems designed to empower the user to engage with the data have so many controls the result is too static or controlled to allow for that spark of creativity in interpreting or deducing the insights from the data.
·         Engage with stakeholders. Share concepts, and ideally working prototypes, of any system as early as possible in the process to drive engagement.
·         Encourage collaboration. Systems of this type work best when an element of communication and collaboration is built in to encourage people to share what they are getting from the system and get feedback from other users.
·         Even better, give awards for best use of the system and share stories.


·         Again, be clear. Even with infographic views, it is best to stick to reality. If something is 5% bigger make it 5%, not an image twice the size. This cause confusion and can create mistrust in the story being told.
·         Communicate only one key message and show how the data backs up the conclusion in a way that builds trust and strikes the right tone for the user. Translation - don’t dumb it down or show things that are blindingly obvious.

The key to success is understanding that the two approaches have a very different outcome and that when developing your strategy, you can use both tools but not as one initiative. Using the approaches mentioned and with a full understanding of each purpose, you can avoid a mixed message and ensure whatever your project requirements, and whoever your stakeholders are, you have a consistent approach to communicating and establishing the value and the strategy for using research data within your business.

About Blueocean Market Intelligence: Blueocean Market Intelligence is a global analytics and insights provider that helps corporations realize a 360-degree view of their customers through data integration and a multi-disciplinary approach that enables sound, data-driven business decision. To learn more, visit