Friday, September 30, 2016

Are You Prepared for the Future of Insights?

If you aren’t, don’t worry. TMRE is here to help.

Insights is under pressure. Pressure to reduce costs. Pressure to cut timelines. Pressure to not only produce numbers, but a story that can be sold to the business. TMRE 2016 helps command the boardroom by delivering actionable strategies to leverage insights as a vehicle for influence. The best in the industry will converge to talk technology, disruptive trends, professional skill development, hot new sectors, and the future customer.

If you want to be prepared for these big changes and the future of the insights industry, don’t miss these sessions:

·         Macroeconomic Forecasting, Consensus, And Individual Forecaster: A Real-Time Approach
Azhar Iqbal, Director of Econometrician, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
·         Brand Building In A Digitally Connected World
Anthony Michelini, Global Director, Strategy and Insights, Citibank
·         Catch A Rising Star: Leveraging Consumer Trends For New Product Success
Michelle Monkoski, Consumer Insights Director, Sargento Foods
Barbara Kilcoyne, Consumer Insights Manager, Sargento Foods
·         Embedding Social Tools in Core Business Processes to Effectively Welcome Millennials Into Your Workforce
Nahal Yousefian, Director of Culture and Engagement, Tesco
·         Enhancing The Workplace Experience For Women Through Re-Imagining The Washroom
Stephanie Magnan, Associate Program Marketer, Global Marketing & Innovation, Kimberly-Clark Professional
Bruce Williamson, Director, Global Marketing & Innovation, Kimberly-Clark Professional
·         The Next Generation Research Function: Six Skills To Make Your Team Future Proof
Kassandra Barnes, Director of Customer Intelligence, CareerBuilder
·         Enough Of The Millenials, Lets Talk About Generation Z And Future Of Auto
Smita Premkumar, Ph.D, Director, Cox Automotive
Sonia Kher, Associate Manager, Cox Automotive
·         The Emerging Cannabis Consumer Marketplace
Emily Paxhia, Founding Partner & Director of Relations, Poseidon Asset Management
·         The Future Of Digital Engagement: How Millennial & Gen Z Behaviors Are
Wynne Tyree, Founder and President, Smarty Pants
·         The Changing Role Of Market Research In This New Customer Experience (Cx) Era
Doug Cottings, Staff VP, Market Strategy & Insights, WellPoint
·         The Future Of Beauty – In The Context Of The Millennial Beauty Journey
Debra Coomer, Sr. Director Marketing Analytics and Customer Insights, Ulta Beauty
·         Future-Proofing Primary Research Projects With Honda R&D
Eri Maeda, Research Group Leader, Advancing Product Planning, Honda R&D America
·         Big Data And Deep Analytics: The Industries Of The Future
Alec Ross, New York Times Best-Selling Author, The Industries of the Future, Former Senior Advisor, Technology and Innovation at the State Department

View the full agenda: http://bit.ly/2cC5P5f

Don’t get left in the past. Get your ticket to the future of insights at TMRE. Use exclusive LinkedIn discount code TMRE16LI for $100 off the current rate: http://bit.ly/2cC5P5f

Don’t forget to subscribe to our insights newsletter The Insighter: http://bit.ly/2c6Jd8v The Insighter is our new monthly newsletter featuring a compilation of our best insights content for the month. Each month, take a few moments to sip your morning coffee while you read a thoughtful article on a new trend, watch an interview with an influential insights leader, or an in-depth talk by a top changemaker.

Cheers,
The TMRE Team
@TMRE
#TMREvent
Themarketresearcheventblog.iirusa.com


Thursday, September 29, 2016

IBM's James Newswanger on The Power of Twitter Data for Corporate Decision Making

Late last year IBM entered into a partnership with Twitter which their Senior Research Manager, Corporate Social Analytics James Newswanger describes as combining "the best of Twitter with the best of IBM".  The Research Insighter sat down with Newswanger and asked him for an update on what sort of data and research IBM was working on with Twitter. Here's a brief excerpt from the video interview, which you can watch in its entirety here.
 
James Newswanger first explained to The Research Insighter what IBM's partnership with Twitter entails. "They give us full firehose access. We apply IBM’s Deep Insight through Watson computing analysis to help them find more meaning in their data."
 
The Research Insighter: "What kinds of information are you looking for?"
 
Twitter analysis is "much more than 140 characters"
 
James Newswanger: "Past the 140 character text there are 150 metadata elements that tell you info about the Tweeter. You can find out how many followers the person, organization or in some cases spam has. This is extremely useful in identifying people who are most influential; it's also used to identify spam."



Newswanger discusses IBM's own internal usage of Twitter data

James Newswanger: "In one quarter we get 500K tweets that mention IBM that need to be analyzed. Some of it is spam about products we are no longer making, some if it is robotic churn when people use #IBM in their Tweets to get attention. You have to clean data before you start analysis."  


With a clean data set it's easier to determine the story

Newswanger continued: "Once the data set is cleaned, you have to determine what is the purpose of the engagement. If we’re looking to identify influencers, we’ll be paying attention who is followed, who are they following. You also want to identify what keywords are being used in association with your key interest – say it's IBM for example."

The Research Insighter: "Is there any other data that you’re looking for?"

James Newswanger: "Location. Knowing where a person is proving to be extremely useful. The amount of posts a person makes. The amount of activity they do, the amount of retweeting a person does indicative of their activity. We look at their description. That’s very interesting when we get into personality analysis."

Twitter analysis is not just for marketing and brand equity anymore

The Research Insighter: "IBM recently issued an Institute for Business Value report called Beyond Listening. Can you tell us a little about it."

James Newswanger: "It attempts to take a step forward past text analysis for marketing and brand analysis only. Social business analysis has moved into the fundamental operations of a firm and to some extent the strategy making of a firm. Things like supply chain, HR, every element of a firm now can figure out a way to use social. We give examples of how different companies are using Twitter to unearth a different level of business analysis. That’s proven to be particularly valuable to the C-Suite."

The Research Insighter: "How would that work? Do you have any examples?"

James Newswanger: "Here are two of the most interesting examples:

Influencer identification. Many people use Twitter analysis to identify who they choose (or who they won’t choose) to be a product endorser. People also use Twitter information to decide who to invite (or not invite) to events as advocates.

Most companies sponsor events where they specifically target some people who are active socially. You see this a lot in fashion. In addition to a traditional magazine editor, you’ll see a whole barrage of bloggers and Twitter folks assigned to the front row because they’ve become important.

Supply chain. The other area that’s particulary interesting is supply chain. Companies are using Twitter to identify where people are, supplying things that are relevant to their inventory. For example, right now, the flu. If people tweet about being sick, colds or 'where should I run to the store to get a cold medicine'."

We're excited to say that James Newswanger will be speaking at The Market Research event, and on a very timely topic: "Town Hall: The State of Election Polling".

If you're interested in hearing more from IBM and other technological innovators in the market research industry, don't miss the world's leading market research event TMRE happening in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida October 17-20. Got any comments on this blog? Make yourself heard - Tweet to us at @TMRE!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

5 Reasons Wearable Tech Has Become A Crucial Tool for Market Researchers

This month Jason Davies wrote for Huffington Post Canada: “Not so many years ago the idea of monitoring blood sugar levels on your watch, checking your email via glasses, or using a winter glove to pay for a cup of coffee seemed like the impossible. But rapid growth in the Internet of Things and innovations in wearable technology have made all those things a reality.”

It looks like wearable tech has finally hit the mainstream. What does it now mean for market researchers? Here are the top five ways market researchers can use wearables to solve key problems, compiled from market research bloggers and other experts in the industry.



  • Integration of data to see the complete picture. One of the major challenges in market research right now is figuring out which data sets are important, and stringing multiple sets together to tell a story. Even with all the software available, market researchers still find gaps in the data and difficulty telling the whole story. Cathy Harrison, Project Director for Forbes Consulting had this to say about wearables and new technologies to MarketResearch.com: “Some of the most exciting technological advances in marketing research involve the integration of multiple data sources, permitting a holistic view of the person or situation. Unconscious motivational-emotional data can now be integrated with passively collected data, such as biometric measurements via wearable devices or smartphones, and social media or other digital data. Market research will continue to evolve as we shift toward creatively combining new data inputs and developing models that lead to more meaningful insights and practical applications.”  

  • Real world data is more authentic. Medical market research agency GKA explains in their blog: “Wearables remove the need for a researcher to be physically present; for example, ’always on’ head-mounted displays that send a live stream of video and audio could transform the way we understand both the behaviour of patients and healthcare practitioners. In healthcare market research, smart wearables have the potential to give companies far greater insight into how a patient uses a device or their attitude to their medication or how a doctor reaches a diagnosis, for example.” In fact Bob Relihan, Senior Vice President of C+R Research sees wearables changing not only the way we track consumers, but the methodology of how we track them: “If consumers want to track and monitor themselves and they have the technology in the near future to do that seamlessly, insight professionals should be able to tap into that stream of self-reflection. But in this world, the consumer and the response are one; we will be less able to ask direct questions. Rather, we will need to align what consumers are "tracking" about themselves with the questions we might want to ask.”

  • Wearables can allow you to get to the “whys” not just the “whats”. Adam Rossow, CMO of iModerate had this to say at the MarketingProfs blog last year: “For the marketer, wearables provide research without "doing" research, which allows you to layer on other enlightening methodologies, including qualitative questions, without it being too much. Beyond that, you can get a total picture of the customer journey that's clear and concise. You can discover where someone was before and after he or she visited your store or restaurant, as well as how much time was spent in each place. Perhaps even how his or her heart rate changed as the person moved from location to location.” .

  • Get closer to real-time brick and mortar data. 92% of retail purchases still happen in retail stores. Market research helps brands to know what's going on with that brick and mortar data. Wearable tech, such as the way consumers are paying or otherwise interacting with products in the store can allow researchers to collect data in real-time and at a deeper level, providing brands and retailers much more thorough insight.

  • It will bring advanced neuromarketing research out of the lab and into the real world. Readwrite wrote in their Neuromarketing Primer late last year: “As more companies seek to study the phenomenon (neuromarketing), wearables will become an important tool in gathering the necessary data to inspire the desired reaction from a target audience.” Neuromarketing expert Darren Bridger had this to say to readwrite about wearables increasing in use for market researchers: “I see neuroresearch tech at a point analogous to computing in the late 1970s: poised to move from being a big/expensive lab application to something more accessible to a far wider range of organizations.”

By 2020, the typical U.S. consumer will have eight wearables - that’s less than 4 years away! Are you incorporating wearable tech into your market research strategies?

Don't miss The Market Research Event this October 17-20 where some of the largest companies in the world will share their insights on everything from apps to big data as they apply to market research.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Market Research and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Immersion in the Customer is Key

The pharma industry is going through a crisis right now that’s not dissimilar from the crisis the market research industry is experiencing - dramatic and sudden change and upheaval. Amy Marta, Principal of ZS Insights writes: “15 years ago, pharmaceutical companies brought many products with tremendous value to the public, but a lot of those products are going generic. Not all new products are providing improved benefits or better outcomes than generics that are less expensive.” Upheaval has come to the market research industry in the form of incredible changes in the way we’re measuring consumer consumption and engagement now that digital has become so ubiquitous.

"It's about integrating all that information together"

Susan Kavnik Senior Director within the Healthcare Practice at Point B, a Management Consulting Firm, had this to say in her article Applying Lessons from the Retail World to Health Care: “As patients put on their consumer hats they are expecting the same level of service they would receive in retail environments.” The article advises that patients’ perspectives have changed, and healthcare (and in our case pharma) needs to evolve or risk losing customers. Much of this involves figuring out the right channels to reach consumers and providing the content they need.

Amy Marta of ZS Insights echoes Kavnik’s sentiments as far as customer-centricity: “The proof of a good research organization is in how researchers do their jobs—they’re immersed in the customer. They’ve learned about customers over time, and learned about them through different research approaches. They use ethnography, social media, secondary data, and a whole host of other information. It’s about integrating all that information together.”

But how to do all this as the research becomes ever more complex, and as Marta notes, research budgets in the pharmaceutical industry are being shrunk? Marta advises that less is more. She writes: “I prioritize research relative to the business issue at hand, and recognize there’s already a base of knowledge to leverage. I need to work with my clients to elicit what they already know to be true versus where there are genuine, relevant gaps in knowledge.

The best companies realize they can recycle. It’s not a word you hear a lot in research; it essentially comes down to knowing what you know. It’s going back and reflecting on prior research—customers generally don’t change that quickly. There’s information that you spent $200,000 to discover a year ago. The first step should be going to see what you can extract from that research. If the research was well designed, capably executed and synthesized skillfully, it’s likely that there are findings and insight that are still valuable to you today."

Marta continues: “The industries that do market research the best, like consumer packaged goods, have set the standard and established their market research organization as king—they’re contributing a tremendous amount of momentum for the company. Their industry is driven by market research.”

The Market Research Event this October 17-20 in Boca Raton, Florida will have several market research representatives from the pharmaceutical industry sharing their insights on everything from apps and digital health (Janssen) to qualitative segmentation (Noven Pharma). Other pharmaceutical companies with representatives scheduled to speak include Eli Lilly and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Carol Cunningham and Oliver Hayward: Disrupting Market Research Through Innovation

The Next Gen Market Research 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. In 2015, NGMR teamed up with Women in Research (WIRe) to encourage their members to submit nominations. What happened was unprecedented - not only were there a huge number of submissions, but over 58% of them ended up being from women. Two winners of this highly competitive race were interviewed by The Research Insighter - you can see the full interview here. Each gives their strategy and motivation for doing what they do every day. Not only is their work completely innovative, it is also apparent that they do what they do out of a passion for their customers and even for the greater good.

Carol Cunningham VP of Consumer Insights and Business Strategy, BET

Carol Cunningham, Vice President of Consumer Insights and Business Strategy for Black Entertainment Television (BET) won the prestigious Individual Achievement Award. Cunningham's work exemplifies "insight" as she applies a combination of sophisticated data and analytics skills, over 20 years of practical experience and sociological expertise about our current society to her strategies.

Carol Cunningham: "I think a lot of what I am doing at BET is about stealth innovation. Really focusing on being a change agent. I am probably one of the unique people who sits at the intersection between big data and also insights, I do a little bit of both.

My primary goal is to make sure that I give dimension to the African American consumer, change perceptions and sometimes stereotypes. We do it through a variety of different things, we have a lot of quantitative research studies that we do. Everything is to find out and probe and figure out who these consumers are, why they’re important, why they’re impactful, for any business to embrace. At the end of it we’re really trying to help people understand them a little bit more intimately.”

When asked what the greatest challenge Cunningham had in her role, her answer was surprising. (It isn't bringing the right data together to tell the story which seems to be the number one problem most market researchers face.)

Carol Cunningham: "I think one of the biggest challenges we have is that we have to constantly go in and educate people about who this consumer segment is, what they represent, how they can actually keep your business in the black if you really focus on embracing them. A lot of what I end up doing is helping people see them beyond what they know. So we will do studies on the color of beauty because one of the things that we know is that African Americans really do have their fingers on the pulse of what’s hot, what’s next and what matters. And they really are cultural catalysts and we need to have people understand that more."

Oliver Hayward, partner at Global brand consulting agency Hall & Partners received the NGMR award for Innovative Research Deployment. If you haven't heard of Hayward's innovative work and you're a market researcher  - well you may have just had all your prayers answered. While it has become a highly valued skill set to be able to actually figure out what data to put together in this "new world" of market research, Hayward is a few steps ahead of the rest. What Hayward is developing is a way for you to not only not have to dive into hundreds of spreadsheets, but you don't even have to do the powerpoint anymore (which Hayward half-jokingly asserts no one reads anyway.) Here's Hayward to more articulately describe what The Hub will do for the market research industry.

Oliver Hayward: “I look after a platform called The Hub; it’s a digital tool for helping our clients and researchers. It helps our clients who are drowning in data. We believe there’s a lot of value to be gained from “small data” the data you already have within your organization. Our mission is to help our clients manage that data, spend less time chasing data and more time on extracting the valuable layer of insight.

I am excited about the notion of storytelling. A lot of tools do a very good job of helping people get to the story but don’t do a good job of helping them tell that story. Our main focus for next year is around journalism, helping people within the platform publish well written engaging short copy stories that can engage people across the business. We know in reality people don’t open big powerpoint reports, and one of the challenges our clients have is getting their stakeholders to look at the data, let alone use it." So basically what Hayward is developing is a complete report you can give to stakeholders that will both show and explain the market research data, in story form. You can keep an eye out for this to come to fruition here.

What these two innovators have shown is not only an expertise in their field, but a drive to push the limits of what market research is and can do for business.  Want to learn about more disruptors in market research? 2016 NGMR winners will be announced at TMRE this October!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Extinction or Revolution? How Market Research Can Excel in this New World

The Research Insighter caught up with David Boyle, the BBC's EVP of Insights at our last TMRE event, you can watch the video here. Their lively discussion addressed the seemingly insurmountable difficulties the market research industry is facing right now, and offered some pretty concrete solutions.

The Research Insighter: "At TMRE 2015 there were some pretty big words thrown around, revolution, extinction... what do you make of all this with regard to the state of the market research industry today?"

The market research industry is certainly dealing with some scary stuff right now.
 
David Boyle: "Some big scary words... I think there are some serious challenges (for market researchers) from a number of different directions: New data sources resulting from digital engagement competing for business leaders’ attention, and people are doing research themselves with new tools such as: Survey Monkey, Google forms, social media analytics and data. The core work you’ve been doing for years is being competed against with all these new supposedly insightful data sources. Everyone's talking about big data or data science, it’s the topic of investment and where the future lies. So that’s what’s getting managers’ attention. There are very real risks for market researchers and the market research community."
 


The Research Insighter: "How is this manifesting itself in your world at the BBC? Obviously media is the probably first and hardest hit by all of the disruptive technologies to date."

Step one to "overcoming the peril"? Ask the business question you are trying to solve for.
 
David Boyle: "I think the 1st step is to ask what the business question is that you are trying to solve for? This is key to overcoming the peril. Let’s get really clear. If you trying to monetize TV consumption, sure the Nielsen ratings are 'the currency'. If you are trying to understand the reach of a brand in broader terms, it is not the data you should be using, it’s only part of the puzzle. You have to define what you mean by 'brand engagement' and therefore which are the data sets you want. If you’re trying to understand interest in the show that is not monetized – who’s interested in the show but not watching it. We see piracy for example, in some countries, it’s a pretty clear signal of interest in the show. We don’t see that interest reflected in TV ratings. We have to find an alternate business model by which we get the show to those people in a monetized way. That demand is by definition not in the ratings. It depends on what business question you are trying to ask. Starting from a business question and saying ’what data is available to help me answer that question?’ ‘What’s the best data I should use?’ not ‘what data do I have handy?’ and then solving the business problem carefully.
 
The Research Insighter: "How has this surplus of information affected how you operate as a market researcher?"
 
David Boyle: "You need people with skills and time to pull together multiple data sources and tell a story across that data source. Piracy, research, social media engagement and TV ratings for example. In the old world, market researchers would have a product they worked on, maybe the brand tracker, that was their expertise. They’d report the brand tracker results with great pride and then they’d run the next brand tracker. It’s no longer the world we live in.

That person now has to also take into account consumption, unmonetized consumption, social media engagement. That person has to tell a rounded story about what’s going on with that brand. Telling a story data source by data source is no longer useful to us as a business. That’s a slightly different skill set. The question for market researchers is: do people who run brand trackers have the skills, permission, encouragement and time to do rounded storytelling instead of being product focused. My opinion is yes, but they’re not always given the permission or time."
 

Key things for the market researcher to be successful: Time and Permission

The Research Insighter: "Has your department adjusted to this change with relative ease or has it been painful?"
 
David Boyle: "I don’t think it’s been easy for anybody to adapt to, least of all me. The instinct is to pull out a relevant data source to answer a question but you’re only giving part of the answer, you probably don’t have all the data sources you need at your fingertips. If I am doing research I need to reach out to the measurement person and coordinate delivery of the right data, the financial person to tell if the revenues match, the social media analytics person to see what’s going on in that world...

Suddenly I need five or six people in the room before I can answer the question, and I probably need to have a discussion or debate to tease out the different stories coming from the different data sets. The coordination and teasing out the answer is really tough but it can be done, it must be done. Therein lies for me a big part of the reason why this jeopardy, this peril that market researchers face can be overcome. Market researchers by nature have the skills. Given permission, time and the confidence to say ‘I am not going to answer this with the brand tracker, I am going to gather the right people, and pull the right data together and tell you a more rounded story’. Market research can excel and excite people even in this new world." 
 
We're excited to say that David Boyle will be speaking at the 2016 The Market Research event, his talk is entitled: The Client Vendor Tug of War: How to Handle the Balance.
 
If you're interested in hearing more from Boyle and other technological innovators in the market research industry, don't miss the world's leading market research event TMRE happening in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida October 17-20. Got any comments on this blog? Make yourself heard - Tweet to us at @TMRE!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

From the Early Days of the Internet to Crowdsourcing, Market Research Innovator Olga Diamandis Shares Her Journey

The Research Insighter spoke with market research innovator Olga Patel Diamandis this spring, and Diamandis gave a fascinating personal historical perspective on how technology has changed market research since the 1990s. You can watch the entire video here.

Diamandis began their chat with an explanation of her background: “I’ve spent over 20 years in research and innovation. I started at Procter & Gamble where I received very classical training in research methodologies and I progressed into an insights and innovation role, that’s where I was at the end of my eleven years there. I moved to NestlĂ© to their strategic innovation unit to head up the insight function there. Most recently I was at Mars and then Mattell (she's now at Smuckers)."



The Research Insighter: “Taking stock of the research landscape today, the field and the industry are in the throes of some pretty dramatic changes. Where do you see the greatest challenges and opportunities? What are you watching and paying attention to?"
Olga Patel Diamandis: “The market research industry is going through tremendous changes right now; a number of them driven by the exponential growth in various technologies: social media, digital, computer programming, machine learning, artificial intelligence, crowdsourcing, you name it. This is something that’s very new to all the researchers who are more used to traditional techniques. So I think the biggest challenge for us as researchers is to adapt to that and take the opportunities that all these challenges are bringing."

The Research Insighter: "Can you give an example of a technological or methodological innovation or novel approach that you put to work for you?"
Olga Patel Diamandas: "Information technology is driving a lot of these changes. At Mattel - we built a crowdsourcing platform, (creating) that was not possible 5 years ago. We had a community of loyal consumers participate in it and provide their ideas and comments to us.  


Crowdsourcing as agile, immediate and reliable market research
We ran several challenges where we asked them to help us develop a brand - 'Little People' line, looking for our next characters. (Crowdsourcing) took much less time than it would have in a traditional market research approach. The results came from our very involved consumers, and we knew right away that they would resonate."

Unless you adapt you are not going to move forward
The Research Insighter: "How was this experience for someone who was classically trained in market research?"
Olga Patel Diamandis: "I learned to adapt over my career. I realize that unless you adapt you are not going to move forward. I am fascinated by all the changes and opportunities that technologies are bringing. And our consumers are changing too because of these technologies. That are affecting their lives.

Market researchers are curious by nature
We researchers are curious by nature, we have to be, that’s how we derive those insights. When we talk about innovation, it’s important to understand that we’re not just talking about products and services. We’re talking about innovation in our research methods. We cannot do the same thing over and over and expect different results. We have to adapt as the industry adapts. "
The Research Insighter: "There’s a lot of resistance to change in quarters of research. What would you say to those in the market research industry who are skeptical or hesitant to adopt some of the new emerging areas that are quite outside our comfort zone, and ...a bit scary such as artificial intelligence?"

In the late 1990s, critics were quite skeptical about the internet in market research
Olga Patel Diamandis: "Going back to the late 1990s when the internet came to be... As market researchers we talked about how it would be impossible to run an online questionnaire, there’s so many things that could be wrong with it. You don’t know who the respondent is, you don’t know how robust the program or is if the results are same as pencil and paper or telephone. I remember we were at Procter & Gamble and we deliberated for three years whether the internet was something that could be used. We started to run mega survey studies in two ways, online and our old way.

The data did not match. People respond online in a much more truthful way, they are more themselves. We adapted, but it was not easy to change our attitude towards it. My advice is we have no choice we have to adapt, changes are coming and we can’t prevent them from happening."

We're excited to say that Olga Patel Diamandis will be speaking at The Market Research event, and on a very interesting topic: the future of food as it relates to dogs and humans.
If you're interested in hearing more from Diamandis and other technological innovators in the market research industry, don't miss the world's leading market research event TMRE happening in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida October 17-20. Got any comments on this blog? Make yourself heard - Tweet to us at @TMRE!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

David Eagleman's Neuroscience Research On How Consumers Perceive Brands

Neuroscience has been tapped to help brands understand consumer purchasing decisions for several years now, with methods from healthcare and academia such as EEG and biometrics applied to study the motivations of consumers. Marketing insights company Nielsen, for example, even has a branch devoted to neuroscience called Consumer Neuroscience headed by Harvard Medical School neuroscientist Dr. Carl Marci. But what have market researchers actually learned from all these efforts that can help brands?

Our brains seek shortcuts that eliminate the need to think. Photo: Ryan McGuire

Some very interesting research results have come from a Baylor College of Medicine study. A team of neuroscientists presented 40 subjects with vignettes of actions taken by both humans and corporations to monitor brain scans of their responses. This research originally stemmed from the inquiries into the legal implication of “corporate personhood” and fact that the American legal system has extended the rights of individuals to corporations and held corporations, as a collective unit, liable. Funding for this work came from the “Initiative on Neuroscience and the Law”.

Our Brains Use Different Areas to Process People and Objects
The study went like this: The vignettes given to the participants showed actions that were positive and pro-social such as donating money, neutral such as purchasing office equipment, or anti-social such as law breaking. There was also a control of vignettes about inanimate objects such as fruit or an ironing board. Baylor College’s website reported: ”When participants made judgments about people, specific areas of the brain involved in social reasoning became active. In contrast, when participants reasoned about an object, activity in these areas was diminished.” 

The Human Brain Experiences Corporations as People
The study found that people essentially used similar parts of the brain to understand corporate and human behavior. This study which originally had to do with law has applications to how consumers relate to brands – if they’re using similar parts of the brain to understand corporate and individual human behavior, they’re essentially equating brands with people! You can read the entire paper “Are Corporations People Too?” written by Mark Plitt, Ricky R. Savjani and David M. Eagleman here.

Companies Need to Work on Reputation, Loyalty and Trust
This study gives some radical insight into how people view brands; one author of the study, David Eagleman, says it tells us that companies need to work on reputation, loyalty and trust. We’re excited to say that Eagleman, host of PBS’ The Brain and NYT best selling author will be at The Market Research event this October. Eagleman’s talk is called: “Emotion, Motivation, and Reputation: What Matters to the Mind of the Consumer

Got any comments on this blog? Make yourself heard - Tweet to us at @TMRE!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Artificial Intelligence: Is This The Future of Market Research and Consumer Insights?

We already know how artificial intelligence has been affecting marketing, with everyone from Netflix to Under Armor utilizing data to improve customer experience, but how exactly can market researchers hope to use AI? And apart from all those hip and trendy businesses using it that we hear about – are there really any implications for non-tech related companies?

Artificial intelligence indeed has implications for market researchers in every industry to predict shopper behaviors such as: what and how much customers will buy, what they will pay and how they will engage (customer retention) once they’ve purchased a company’s products. Roger Perowne wrote in ResearchLive this month: “(We need) Technology targeted at understanding how and why we make choices and decisions, not just navigating us to a shopping aisle.” Well that technology is here and it’s artificial intelligence. The beauty of AI is that it gives us so much more than purchase data from brick and mortar and online stores but can incorporate shopper intent, regional patterns, comparative data from other industries and more. Here are a few examples where AI is being used for consumer insights.

Improving Customer Engagement with AI
Insurer and finance company United Services Automobile Association (USAA) uses an AI product built by Intel’s Saffron that matches patterns of consumer behavior to predict how customers might contact them, and about what products they will have inquiries about. This allows USAA to plan customer service staffing as well as be more personalized in their communications – leading to cost savings for them and better experiences for their customers. 
 
AI's not just about science fiction and robots. Photo: Ryan McGuire

Predicting Consumer Demand with AI Sales Forecasting
Analyst Greg Maczka had this to say on Quora about the future of qualitative research and product development: “AI will have a much greater impact on actual, real life analysis which will eliminate the need to set up elaborate and unrealistic testing situations in the first place. And that'll be the future of market research.” The company easyJet is already in that future, with predictive analytics helping them plan flight destinations and times as well as the food and drink items they serve on their flights. Their Head of Data Science Alberto Ray-Villaverde spoke with Future Travel Experience early this year: “According to Villaverde, the difference between analytics and AI is that the former has been about diagnostic capability and looking backwards, whereas the latter is focused on predictive capability, which can help organisations better understand and plan for the future.”

Price optimization Using Machine Learning
Companies such as Vendo, Daisy Intelligence, Fractal Analytics and Blue Yonder have begun to apply artificial intelligence to pricing. What exactly does dynamic pricing software do? Here’s a description of what Blue Yonder’s software does: “monitor(s) internal (sales history, real-time demand) and external data (weather, public holidays, school holidays, competitor pricing) leading to the optimal price point for any product… continuously tests and measures the response to price changes by analyzing interactions between that price change and subsequent changes in demand.”

Airbnb began to use machine intelligence when they realized what a difficult time their customers – typically amateurs in such matters – were having figuring out how much to charge to rent their homes. Airbnb created their own in-house software tool which offers their customers a very unique form of dynamic pricing, offering them pricing tips based on changing market conditions as well as custom pricing based on the various characteristics of their listings. You can read the very interesting story of how they designed and tweaked their internal AI pricing software here.

So there you have it, artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction, and it’s not just something reserved for trendy Silicon Valley companies. AI is on a mission to clear out the error-prone focus groups and disjointed data to bring real-time, relevant insights to market researchers and marketers.

If you're interested in this and other technology innovations in the market research industry, don't miss the world's leading market research event TMRE happening in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida October 17-20. Got any comments on this blog? Make yourself heard - Tweet to us at @TMRE!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Whole Brain Thinking: The New Insights Mindset

By: Steve August

In the September 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review, there is a remarkable article titled “Building and Insights Engine.” Its three co-authors, Frank van den Driest of Kantar Vermeer, Stan Sthanunathan, and Keith Weed of Unilever, describe how the results of a research study with over 350 businesses and nearly 10,000 practitioners show that the highest performing companies put the customer at the center of their activities through an a dynamic insights and analytics function.

But what was even more fascinating, was how the the authors laid out a blueprint for the optimal characteristics of what they term an “insights engine.”  

Ten Characteristics of an Effective Insights Engine


According to the authors, the blueprint for an effective insights engine consists of ten characteristics: seven operational characteristics and three people characteristics. The seven operational characteristics are:

     Data synthesis (ability to connect disparate data)
     Independence
     Integrated planning
     Collaboration
     Experimentation
     Forward looking orientation
     Affinity for action

The critical people characteristics as:
     Whole-brain mindset
     Business focus
     Storytelling

It is easy to look to focus on the seven operational characteristics, but actually it is first of the three people characteristics that is especially important - as it underpins all of the other operational aspects. As the authors state, “Whole-brain thinking is at the core of the insights engine.”  

This is an extraordinarily important point. Historically, insights teams are organized with left-brain quant and analytics people working separately from the creative right-brain qualitative team members. However, the research showed that a differentiating attribute of the high performing organizations was their ability to integrated the two types of thinking: 71% for the high performing organizations versus 42% for the underperforming ones. In a sense, one of the key underpinnings of a successful organization is how well its people can draw on both right and left brain thinking. Or to put it another way, the degree in which an organization can have a whole-brain mindset can very well determine how successful a company will be.

These findings send an important message to the insights industry. So often quant and qual efforts work in parallel or in sequence, but not truly together. We often treat our analytical thinking and our creative and storytelling thinking as two separate efforts, when more than ever they need to be truly integrated. We need to be able to make connections between what we find in the voluminous amounts of data at our disposal and the first hand observations of the ground truth of people’s behaviors - and then collaborate with our stakeholders translate what we learn into compelling stories that drive action.

Van den Driest, Sthanunathan, Weed summed it up brilliantly at the close of their article:

Having troves of data is of little value in and of itself. What increasingly separates the winners from the losers is the ability to transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.”

The authors showed that a truly effective insights function is as much about how people think as is it about operational capacity. It is time for the insights industry to embrace whole-brain thinking.  

About the Author: Steve August is the CMO of FocusVision, the global leader in market research technology. A pioneer in online qualitative research, Steve created Revelation, the industry leading platform for mobile diaries, insight communities and bulletin boards. Apart from speaking and hosting an array of conferences, he is fascinated with design, technology and smart methodology—and how they can be fused to get to the heart of everyday moments that reveal people’s emotions and behaviors.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why You Should Revisit Your Shopper Journey (And How To Do It Right)

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

Understanding the consumer journey has always been (and still is) a crucial piece to closing the gap between interest and purchase. But while fundamental needs haven’t changed, the customer journey is much more layered and multi-directional.

Today’s consumer doesn’t just follow one of a handful of discrete routes in their journey to purchasing a good or service. With the Internet at their fingertips, shoppers now bounce around the traditionally linear path to purchase–easily jumping from an in-store touchpoint to a digital platform in the snap of a finger, gathering information from multiple sources throughout the process.
Consumers can now leverage the wisdom of the crowd to educate themselves before ever setting foot in a store.



Keep these two major shifts in mind when deciding on research strategy for your next customer engagement journey project:

Consumers are wildly more empowered in their relationship with brands.

We don’t just live in the age of information. We live in the age of informational guidance, with unprecedented access to (and considerable depths of) knowledge about almost anything there is to know about. This is especially true when it comes to products and brands. Consumers can now leverage the wisdom of the crowd to educate themselves before ever setting foot in a store. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to garner awareness among consumers shopping for their products. At the same time, this also means exponentially more touchpoints to maintain and track, as well as heightened expectations of consistent brand experiences across platforms.

Just as every shopper is able to consume information via the Internet, they are equally as empowered to publish their own thoughts, reviews, and experiences en masse. An opinion that was once voiced to a handful of peers can now be amplified 1,000 fold by way of direct input and feedback platforms. Rapid customer service response has never been more important as a result. While companies have lost a degree of control over their digital narrative thanks to bloggers and product/service review sites, the new landscape is not without its advantages. Adding a digital footprint to brand perceptions offers a valuable opportunity to monitor and better understand perceptions of your brand, and what sites consumers are visiting online.

Today’s world is defined by options.

The market landscape has become significantly more fragmented and competitive.
Today’s world is defined by options. Consumers now have a tremendous amount of choice in what products to buy and brands to engage with in order to serve a given need. The rapid increase in number of options for shoppers to explore, coupled with more ways to access and consume products, means that consumers expect a brand experience that fits seamlessly into their lives (not vice versa). What’s more, people browsing online now have easier access to information about your competitors– even comparing their products and yours side by side. It’s important to visually communicate this aspect of a shopper journey in a way that is clear and concise, so that your internal team can understand and activate on consumers’ actual paths.

It can be difficult to capture the complexities of today’s typical path to purchase, because there’s nothing “typical” about it. Keeping to the traditional research model for path to purchase is no longer an option, because it doesn’t paint a complete picture of the varied journeys a consumer may realistically take. But abandoning the model entirely isn’t the solution, either. We believe in a differentiated philosophy based on key shifts in the landscape, integrating existing knowledge with newer techniques (like social listening) to give our clients a complete and accurate picture of the customer journey.