Posts Tagged ‘Market Research’

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

“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.

I love baseball! If you know me personally, then you know how much I love baseball, to the extent I still play to this day on competitive baseball teams. 16 years ago, today, Cal Ripken Jr. set the record for most consecutive games played – 2,131. Pretty impressive!! There was a 22-minute standing ovation that voiced the appreciation of the fans in attendance that day – also impressive!

How often are you tempted to “phone it in” or decide to not show up and call in sick? As a researcher, you know how intense our schedules are, how easy it can be to catch a cold from flying on various planes, constantly changing climates, and germ-filled hotels (bedbugs anyone?). I learned from my mentor, Tim Ishii, while playing music professionally in college that you’re only as good as your last gig. Words that stick with me to this day.

How good was your last “gig”? Did you phone it in because the project was “just another day of toilet paper focus groups”, or the 29th IDI out of 30? Or, did you dial it up a notch and see if you could get even more from the research than you thought you could? We spend so much time in the marketing research industry talking about consistency, non-bias, etc., but how consistent do we strive to be personally? I am guilty of geeking out and being addicted to new learning, and I try to not harness it and let it go wild, but I’ll admit there have been times where I have felt like there was no new learning to be found. The funny thing is that it often turns out to be the most interesting interview of all!

Clients appreciate consistency. They like knowing that they can call on you and know exactly what to expect, and that you will give it your all each time, every time. This isn’t rocket science or new thinking, but something we must still constantly keep in mind. By game 2,131 I bet Cal Ripken Jr. had seen just about every single scenario that could possibly happen, but he still showed up. The even more impressive part is that he showed up ready to play and at the top of his game every time he stepped onto the field.

Would your clients give you the equivalent of a 22-minute standing ovation?

Quick video - http://es.pn/q1tQ6Q 

Have you visited the Spych Facebook Page ?

You can catch Tim Ishii and his sister, Leslie, as the opening keynote speakers at this year’s ESOMAR Qualitative Summit in Viena!

 

 

We’re on-site at the 2011 IIR Technology Driven Market Research Event here in Chicago this week!

John Snowden is out here with us, and we will be live-tweeting and video blogging on behalf of the Greenbook Blog, New Qual Blog, and IIR.

Look for updates from us with one on one interviews from attendees and speakers, and follow along with us by checking out the #TDMR hashtag.  Do you have any questions for any of the attendees or speakers?  What are you most excited about for the future of Market Research, specifically regarding technology?

(I have had this post half-finished, and was inspired to finish it after seeing @Frankie_Johnson’s recent post)

Enough with the Henry Ford references!

I get the point.  I really do, but it just doesn’t resonate very well with me.  True, if Henry Ford asked the people what they wanted, they probably would have said they wanted a faster horse or something of that nature.  But, equating that with MR and its “irrelevance” is somewhat shortsighted.  Though, maybe it is not totally inaccurate.

The essence of research is not to ‘parrot’ what consumers say in front of the glass.  The clients have ears, and the A/V and FocusVision tools provide that ‘insight’.  Isn’t our role to take the commentary from people and then apply our skills and knowledge to turn it into meaningful impact for the client?  Frankie’s discussion of how the conversation would have gone down, if a good researcher was involved, is probably a much more likely scenario.  Though it does scare me that the opinion of MR is that we would have walked out of the room and wrote a report on how we could make the darn horse go faster!  Maybe we feed it more protein?  Super-natural hay?

Next up is Steve Jobs.  Apple doesn’t do research.  What that really means is that Apple does not hire researchers and consultants.  There is really nothing wrong with that.  Honestly, I think they are doing a great job and are one of the most innovative companies out there, but not everyone is Steve Jobs.  Apple’s core structure allows them to function successfully in this way as well.  Not all companies are fit to allow for truly organic innovation.  In fact, many companies have a structure that is detrimental to innovative thinking.  What Steve doesn’t tell you is that they think about the consumers in ways that other companies should be doing in the MR process.  They have an innate understanding for consumer wants and needs, and regardless of what they say, they are good listeners.  They do listen to the pulse of the people, and look for opportunities to grow and innovate.  They are pros at challenging the status quo.

Not to beat a dead horse (pun intended), but this goes back to an image problem.  How do we change this image of the MR world?  How do we continue to showcase the innovations and advancements we have made and continue to make?  There has been so much buzz around the MR/Consumer Insights realm recently, and it is extremely exciting!  How do we keep this going?  My “step in the right direction” answer is to cut out the roadblocks.  Push the limits and quit being afraid to fail.  It’s key to have a voice.  In this era of equality in media, why do we not have more of a representation in the digital space?  It’s growing; it really is, but not fast enough!

I personally promise to start blogging more frequently and more meaningfully (without just writing for writing’s sake).  I also promise that the efforts we put forward in creating good content will not be self-serving, and that we will do our part to help better the MR industry and its overall image.  But, a handful of companies can’t move the needle.  Spread the word, because as the tide rises, so do all of the boats!

Honest question.  Are you/Is your company a parrot?  Or, are you striving to continually be a mechanism of innovation?

As always, thanks for reading!

Each reader makes a difference :)


Here is something to chew on as you start to wrap up 2010 and hopefully have already begun thinking about 2011.  I want to know your thoughts as well, so please share!

The walls fall down:

Researchers are finally going to get sick of talking about this qual/quant divide.  So many blended advancements will also help to break bricks and create a universal language which we will call understanding.  That is, understanding the consumer first as a person (More on that in a bit).

Another barrier that will continue to deteriorate in the 2011 is this MR silo.  It’s inefficient and quickly becoming a barrier to the almighty Understanding…at least in achieving it in an effective and efficient means.  MR is going to be a facet of the entire communications/customer relationship mix.  Those walls between marketing/advertising/PR/etc. are coming down too.  MR will follow.  Communications, driven by the consumer, are too fast to have completely segregated teams trying to keep up.  That gap between the marketing and MR teams will diminish rapidly, and it’s okay…I promise!

Consumer is King:

We’ve gone through content, the message, the medium, and a bunch of other manifestations of king, but the true focus will be on the consumer, and not as a customer….as a person.  Panel/sample providers will focus on better knowledge of them.  Researcher/moderators will focus on better relating to them.  Companies/brands will focus on treating them and communicating with them in better formats.  B2C, B2C, C2C, it’s all the same when you drill down to the basics of humanity….unless you sell to robots.  People have wants and needs, they are rational and irrational, and people work with and buy from people they like.  Are you likeable?

V=[(R+T)/A]-P:

It looks confusing, but it isn’t.  It’s about value.  It always has been, and always will be!  Value equals Relevance and Timeliness over accountability, minus price.

Expectations of relevance are extremely high, and will continue to grow even higher.  The digital persona provides a high-level of detail about our lives, wants and needs.  As people, we expect communications to be tailored and relevant, it will be researchers’ jobs to translate and interpret into digestible and executable bites.

Timeliness is redefined.  People expect faster results from Companies, Companies want faster results from MR and MR wants faster support from its suppliers.  Nothing will change that.  It’s do or die.  Embrace the tools that serve as a life vest because the storm is coming.

People want that same level of highly tailored relevance every time they interact and engage a brand.  They expect the brand to be accountable, and they will find someone else if the brand falls short.

Price is not irrelevant; it’s just not the most important piece of the pie.  Sometimes the reduction in price/monetary value is not a cheapening of status, but more-so a re-balancing and association with relevance and overall worth.  Consumers will pay more for greater value in return.  With the advancement of transparency through social media there are just less places to hide.

Under the Influence:

This whole rise of interest in the influencer model is not a fad.  Influence matters and the way in which people obtain, sustain and utilize influence will be highly studied by companies and researchers.  Do you have influence?  What is influence?  How do I get it?  What do I do with it?  How do I measure it?  Figure out the answers to those questions, because your clients are going to ask you for them.  Researchers will need to know how to identify, relate to, understand and utilize influence in the world of communication.

Hybrids:

I’m not talking about cars.  I am talking about the blend between what we call traditional and new, in-person and online, and quant and qual.  After the walls come down, we build new ponds where ecosystems consisting of appropriate blends and mixes of these variables exist in not only harmony, but synergy.  Many researchers talk about the ideal projects where clients approach them with a problem in need of a solution, rather than a request in need of a bid.  Well, I fell like you will have your chance 2011, are you ready?  We will need to know the full plethora of research solutions and how they best apply to providing specific solutions to client problems.

Mobility:

The smallest of the “three screens” is going to be the most important in 2011.  If you look at the formula for value I portrayed above, then it’s no surprise that mobile devices have a huge play in 2011.  We have only scratched the surface of what we can do with mobile.  Get ready for amazing advancements in 2011!

Leadership and Collaboration:

We’ve talked about influence, now let’s talk leadership and collaboration.  We have driven to such specialization in today’s world that in order to keep up, things are going to have to do a bit more consolidating in order to be most effective.  I see smaller companies being incorporated into bigger ones and several companies who are smaller and more specialize teaming up to go after bigger wins and offer more complete solutions.  It’s not really a surprise; it’s history.  If you are seen as a leader in the space your role with clients will evolve in 2011, from leading individual projects, to more of a consultative partnership with clients (this is a good thing!).

Collaboration on the consumer side of things is not too much different.  We’ve made enough mistakes in collaborative design and crowd sourcing that in 2011 we will maximize its efficiency and effectiveness.  It’s really not that different of a total concept from what he have always done in MR.  As researchers, our job has revolved around crowd sourcing ideas, concepts, feedback etc.

This list does not serve as an exhaustive list of changes to expect in 2011, and I may even post some additional thoughts at a later date.  But, I think it gives us something to think about, and discuss as a starting point.  What do you think?  What is missing?  What points do you argue?

Thanks for stopping by!

I sit here in the CLT airport on a short layover before my flight home to Dallas and my mind is still on info overload from the past few days.  This was my third time to attend the QRCA Annual Conference, and it will definitely not be the last!  In my opinion, attending the annual conference is one of the biggest member benefits for QRCA members.  The amount of education, networking and fun that occurs over three days is amazing.

QRCA has played a tremendous role in my market research career.  In 2007 when I joined D. Gustafson & Associates, Dave asked me to start early (Friday instead of Monday) so that I could attend the Philadelphia Chapter’s QRCA meeting.  That meeting was my first day on the job as a qualitative researcher, and the beginning of several close friendships.  The way in which QRCA’ers come together and share in mentoring and collaborating is something of a rarity in the world of professional organizations.  I know many preach of collaborative spirit, but with QRCA, I can honestly say I look forward to connecting with friends every conference…..it just happens they are also qualitative researchers!  Some of my first projects, upon starting Spych, have come from QRCA friends and I know this is true of many other members as well.

This spirit of collaboration was very strong at this year’s conference, and the topic of many sessions, like the one by Carla Essen and Amy Winstel.  The positive outlook for qualitative research relies heavily on the notion of collaboration and community.  The only way we can evolve the industry in a timely fashion and keep it on the forefront of the innovation spectrum is to collaborate and work together to educate and help mentor our quali peers.  I had great conversations with Renee Murphy, Kendall Nash and Lynn Greenberg about the need to educate our QRCA peers and industry colleagues on the world of Social Media Research, and to help position QRCA as a leader in the scene.  A few folks even brought up the topic at the Town Hall meeting yesterday afternoon, and expressed interest in helping out.

One of my favorite aspects of this year’s conference was seeing the continual growth of “young” researchers!  I say “young” because as I explained at the conference, “young” to me is young in age, young at heart, young to the industry, or young in the organization.  If you’re interested in joining the newly-formed QRCA Young Professionals Shared Interest Group let me know!  We are looking for mentors and those with experience and knowledge to share with our youngsters as well.  Kendall and I were VERY excited to have over 20 people attend the YP SIG dine-around on Wednesday night!  It was a huge success, and I hope it is a true indication of what is to come from the group!  There is a huge need to help educate others about qualitative research, and perhaps the YP SIG is a great way to do so.  Also, a huge shoutout to our International Scholarship Winner, Sophie Van Neck, from Belgium.  She was also in attendance at the YP SIG dinner, and has done some extremely interesting research work.  Get to know her and thank her for adding to the talented young researcher pool!

Going forward, I hope that after next year’s conference I can report about having the biggest conference in the history of QRCA.  I really believe this is possible, and hope that everyone will spread the word.  QRCA is a MUST for researchers that live in the qualitative space.  You will not find a source of information, education, friendship, and partnership related to the industry of qualitative research, as compelling as QRCA.  It has made me a better researcher, a better mentor, a better educator, and a better business owner.  I have made friendships with other QRC’s that I know will be ever-lasting, and I know that the organization will continue to provide these values to its members.

See you in Vegas for the 2011 QRCA Annual Conference!