Archive for the ‘Research Evolved’ Category

Ben Smithee, our fearless leader, is the Chairman of next week’s Future of Consumer Intelligence (#FOCI13) event in San Fran!

He will be the emcee of the event, introducing many awesome speakers & running around like crazy — spending the days/nights talking shop with attendees about research, strategy & the future of the industry (#FutureOfMRX).  Ben, Katy & Landon from SPYCH will all be at the conference hotel (Parc 55 Hotel) from Mon-Thurs of next week, so please let us know if you’re around so we can set a time to meet & hopefully catch-up over a snack or a drink!

The Future is Here

If you take the time to “SHARE” this post, we’re using this to keep track of who from our existing network is there & will buy you a beverage (coffee… or scotch) to celebrate! :)

Please connect with us here & help us spread this message, ensuring we all get a chance to meet up & have a bit of fun while discussing the #FutureOfMRX!

Looking forward to it,

The SPYCH Team

Happy late-January! We’re wrapping-up our blog series, so thanks for your ‘likes’, emails and feedback about the posts and about Ben’s article in VUE Magazine!

Since it has taken a few weeks – and to further illustrate how quickly the environment we live in is changing – we are concluding this series by having our fearless leader, Ben, take these predictions a bit further. This will be in a post NEXT WEEK, so check out key point #3 – Evolving Media – in the mean time. We’ll see you here next week for Ben’s recap and some exciting predictions for the #FutureOfMRX! 

To ensure you’re up-to-speed, check out the last 2 posts – The #FutureOfMRX is in Fusing the Great Divide – Part 1 of 3 and/or The #FutureOfMRX is in Fusing the Great Divide – Part 2 of 3.  Key point #3 is our focus for this week, and it is all about Evolving Media:

Blog POst Photo 3

3) Evolving Media

As brands begin to focus more on mobility, it’s no surprise that advertising and marketing will follow and focus on the trending rise of mobility. However, it’s not only the media channel that will begin to shift; it’s also the way consumers engage with media that will evolve. The continuation of media’s becoming more web-based allows the pivot from a purely broadcast model to one that is more engaging and one that incorporates user/viewer interaction.

The socialization of journalism (whether viewed as a positive or negative) is a very real transition, and clearly something we as researchers must understand. All media will in some way become “social” media, and researchers will be tasked with helping brands understand this new arena, and with maximizing desired effect. Will traditional media measurement models like Nielsen evolve? Or, will new solutions and technologies (think: Social Media Listening) become the norm?

Though we have such a myriad of options and approaches to understanding people and their behaviors, it is the combination and hybrid utilization of these options that will power the researcher of tomorrow.

As you evaluate what research means in the future landscape, you must recognize that research has grown tremendously in scope, and its value to brands and organizations has never been greater. But, to capitalize fully on this opportunity, researchers must be willing to evolve and grow with the industry. We will be quicker to the draw on understanding new technologies and applications, yet we will not lose sight of our need to vet and evaluate opportunity and bias. It is clear that the research world of tomorrow is more complex and, in many ways, confusing. But we have many opportunities to add value, and we see researchers having a much more impactful seat at the table.

Like, comment and share (via icons directly below) while you can to make any valid points, because next week Ben gives his updated, more risky predictions!

Thanks, again,

- The SPYCH Team

Next Week  –  2/1/13  –  Updated Predictions

Last week, we kicked off our 3-week blog series looking toward the future and where the marketing research industry is heading. Thanks for your ‘likes’, emails and feedback about the post and about Ben’s article in VUE Magazine!

What’s next? For the next 2 weeks, we will be building off the first key point of focus – “Understanding through Observation” – and taking you further into our thoughts about the #FutureOfMRX! This quote from last week should get you up-to-speed on the post’s content:

In our opinion, the most valuable learnings are those that come from a point of observing behaviors and then, through dialogue, uncovering the underlying thoughts and emotive contexts behind those behaviors.

If you didn’t see it, check out last week’s before moving forward – The #FutureOfMRX is in Fusing the Great Divide – Part 1 of 3. Key point #2 is our focus for this week, and it is all about Multi-faceted Mobility.

#FutureOfMRX

As we continue looking forward to 2013 and subsequent years, let’s dive deeper into a few key points of focus that researchers should both understand and digest: (1) understanding through observation, (2) multi-faceted mobility, and (3) evolving media.

2) Multi-faceted Mobility

Mobile is perhaps the most important factor for the future of research and the largest contributor to why we are empowered with greater observational opportunities – although we are just now scratching the surface of what mobility brings to the game! That said, we must think much bigger than surveys optimized for the smartphone. The smallest of our multi- screen world has become by far the most important. While we still consume fragments of media through our televisions, we consume the media that drives our daily lives and actions through our mobile devices.

By learning how to navigate the world of mobility, research unlocks a plethora of understanding about consumers’ preferences, their behaviors, and the way they live their lives.

Over the next couple of years, begin to look for companies to invest really heavily in utilizing mobility for understanding. Look for things such as mobile-based communities, advancements in passive listening/tracking panels,and advancements in mechanisms for direct feedback from consumers straight to brands. We will see more and more commerce being funneled through mobile devices, as well as the integration of mobile into other arenas of media and advertising – such as second-screen applications, in-store shopping assistance, and other ways in which brands will encourage mobile usage.

The typical limitations are still applicable – for example, mobile WiFi, limited signal strength in certain regions, penetration of smartphone users and data speed – but these limitations are quickly diminishing, opening up a world of new insights for researchers to understand!

You agree? Are we missing anything? We encourage you to like, comment and share

Thanks, again for reading, and come back next week for key point #3!

- The SPYCH Team

Week 3  –  1/18/13  –  Evolving Media

As week 1 of 2013 is underway, let’s look toward the future and where the marketing research industry is heading… Most of us are familiar with the recent influx of new technologies, methodologies and theories – many of which are discussed on the Next Gen Market Research blog. Most of us are also familiar with and have recently ridden quite the economic roller coaster.

What’s next? Over the next 3 weeks, we’re diving into 3 points of focus Ben Smithee recently hit on in the December issue of MRIA’s VUE Magazine. These are our thoughts on key points we think researchers should be aware of and understand, so please read through and let us know your thoughts when you can! Future | Past | Present

While unfortunately we have no crystal ball, we definitely have some thoughts… :) There will probably be a culminating shift where the energy of the past few years of stretching, branching and exploring the new and uncharted is now focused on aggregating these efforts and skills into comprehensive solutions and approaches. Basically, as researchers continue to gain a more diverse understanding of the consumer, we will start to see things realign under a more holistic approach.

We are by no means suggesting the industry will stop growing or we will stop expanding our vision and exploring new opportunities and technologies, but we ARE suggesting that the focus of the next few years will be on bringing together all that we have learned into powerful, hybrid approaches.

As we look forward to 2013 and subsequent years, let’s walk through a few key points of focus that researchers should both understand and digest: (1) understanding through observation, (2) multi-faceted mobility, and (3) evolving media.

1) Understanding through Observation

As technology grows and researchers are equipped with more and more tools to observe behavior in real time, we will continue to see growth in the areas of research that focus on observational insights. In-depth discussions, focus groups, and other Q&A-based methods will likely still exist, but they will be utilized as supplementary methods to dig deeper into understanding the why behind observed actions.

These traditional in-person methods will also be leveraged in special niche arenas where observational techniques fall short – for example, in sensitive health-care topics, personal hygiene, and other areas where observing consumers directly will substantially bias the results. Traditional methods will also still play a heavy role in the world of advertising and messaging, as group feedback and discussion still offer tremendous value.

While many would now insert Henry Ford’s objection that ‘people would have asked for faster horses,’ we refuse to believe a keen researcher would have presented the results as ‘build a faster horse,’ and wouldn’t have dug deeper into the true consumer need state – but that’s a whole different discussion.

In our opinion, the most valuable learnings are those that come from a point of observing behaviors and then, through dialogue, uncovering the underlying thoughts and emotive contexts behind those behaviors.

Therefore, in our opinion, a researcher without some form of observational prowess (in either the physical or digital environment) will be severely limited in the future.

Do you agree? Are we missing anything? We welcome your comments, as we’re all in this together and looking forward to a successful 2013!

Thanks for reading, and come back next week for key point #2!

- The SPYCH Team

Week 2  –  1/11/13  –  Multi-faceted Mobility

Week 3  –  1/18/13  –  Evolving Media

For those who don’t know me, I am Ben’s business partner, and originally invested in the start of SPYCH. Ben often quips there are some who disbelieve I even exist, so hopefully my presence at September’s Corporate Researchers Conference in Dallas and this blog entry will diffuse some of those myths! ;)

I hired Ben almost 5 years ago.  At that time, I was extremely busy with projects and needed help. I found Ben to be bright, enthusiastic, articulate and engaged –  all the qualities clients and I would want in a moderator. He had the proverbial “fire in his belly”.

Just 10 months into his tenure at DGA, Ben approached my wife Debbie and me at our kitchen table with a foundational idea that focused on Gen Y and the notion of “empathic research,” which was essentially the genesis for SPYCH.

From that point forward, since Ben was completely dedicated and devoted to developing SPYCH, I needed to find a new person to backfill his spot and help support me. On Ben’s recommendation, I interviewed Elizabeth, who was just as bright, enthusiastic, articulate and engaged as Ben was when I first spoke to him – In a relatively short period of time, Elizabeth was conducting research projects on her own and doing great work for both our pharmaceutical and CPG clients.

What can you take from my experiences?

I am often asked by my Baby Boomer peers why I was able to have two success stories with my “young hires,” while their own experiences with Gen Y employees tended to be lukewarm/ mixed at best. Upon reflection, I believe there are some things in particular to look for when hiring potential Gen Y employees/colleagues, as well as a few things you can offer to them to make your firm a “Gen Y destination” (as Ben likes to say!):

Dave’s Things to Look for When Hiring/Working with Gen Y (in no particular order):

  1. Level of engagement
  2. Ability to quickly establish rapport
  3. Ability to think well “on their feet”
  4. A high degree of inquisitiveness
  5. Confidence tempered with the willingness to learn

“You are such a hipster.” “I am not a hipster. I am just me,” my sister replied, trying to be ironic (hallmark hipster trait), Her response proved my point seeing as according to The Hipster Handbook, “a hipster never admits to being a hipster,” (Lanham, 2003).  Still, I made a vain attempt to define it for her. This task was far more difficult than I had suspected…

Attempt A: A subculture of upper and middle class over-educated youth rejecting (or pretending to) social mores and norms. Attempt B: Self-proclaimed nonconformists conforming to a new set of “counterculture” rules. My sister looked at me with eyes that said, “seriously?”  Attempt C: Hipsters are defined by a certain characteristic sartorial choice including but not limited to skinny jeans, deep V-necks, scarves, messy hair, and obviously vintage-looking (emphasis on looking) handbags. Looking at her outfit, she was caught red-handed, but still appeared to disagree.  So, I resorted to the number one authority on definitions: urban dictionary.  I read this aloud: a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. And then, I showed her this YouTube video… I recommend it for those seeking a more comprehensive (and hilarious!) explanation of this cultural phenomena.

Hipster (Urban Dictionary): A subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.

Now, why is this relevant to a market research blog? Well, yes ok, it involves Gen-Y, but it is more than that… The emergence of the hipster trend is indicative of a greater cultural shift towards counterculture and anti-consumerist notions. We are seeing these trends on a nationwide scale, consider the Occupy rallies as exhibit A. Or the sudden couponing craze, exhibit B. Or the reintroduction of vintage into mainstream fashion, exhibit C (Penelope Cruz in a vintage dress at the Oscars in 2009, the popularity of “Fashion Hunters” a reality show about a designer second-hand store in Manhattan). My point is these seemingly innocuous bunch have (intentionally or not) set forth ideas that have permeated the mainstream. And tapping into their buying behavior is not a task for the feeble.

Check out the approach of this Australian ad by Honda. I’d be interested to know how many hipsters actually enjoyed this ad. I would argue that non-hispsters likely enjoyed this advertisement more than the hipster demographic due to the almost-mocking use of magnified stereotypes. And the fact that many hipsters don’t have TVs. That said, take a look at this hilarious mock-up  by Kurt Snibee. While it may not be a real ad campaign, it cuts to the heart of what we as researchers must do… Take the time to understand the consumer.

As the case is with my sister and her hipster friends, often the consumer doesn’t understand him or herself.

Written By:  Margo Aaron, Research Consultant

References: Lanham, R. (2003). The Hipster Handbook. New York: Anchor Books.

So, you just unwrapped that shiny new iPad here at the MRA Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago eh? Now, you’re looking for reasons to cover it with fingerprints, but you just don’t know where to start? Here are a few of my favorites and why I like them. Start here and let me know what you think. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments!

  • Tweetdeck – Free – the main Twitter utility I use. You can keep multiple search columns going, send tweets, follow trends, shorten links, all in one! Use it! Start a search column for #MRX and #CRC2011 and you’re off to the races!
  • Facebook – It’s really not just for college and high-school friends anymore. Download, play with it and understand what it is really about. It is changing the communications industries and is changing the world of Marketing Research….forever!
  • CRC Conference App – It’s really good! (Plus you can see my goofy face on the cover)
  • Flipboard – Really great app for consuming content
  • Mashable – the number one news source for social media and new tech news, I start every day reading the top stories from Mashable
  • Evernote – The way I keep track of all of those in-the-moment insights and thoughts I would usually end up forgetting. Great clipping feature and really useful for things that you need to follow-up with later
  • Dropbox – The software I use for large file size transfer. Since you have a limited amount of space on your ipad, use Dropbox to store your files in the cloud until you need them.
  • GoodReader – My favorite app for reading PDFs….I think it is the best!
  • Outlook Web Access – Great way to keep up with your email on the go!
  • CNN – Obvious
  • Sportscenter – I am a sports addict
  • Huffington Post – great news source
  • New York Times – I don’t need to explain anything here
  • Yelp – great for reviewing and looking at consumer insights about places!

What are your other favorites? Leave a comment with your favorites that I may have missed in the list! Enjoy the conference and don’t forget to say hello!!

Ben Smithee – (@SpychResearch on Twitter) or Find me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/BenjaminSmithee