Posts Tagged ‘Social Media 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

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

We made it through Thanksgiving without eating too much (although my suit was tight this morning) and survived “Black Friday” with a little technological assistance. On that note, we should point out that Black Friday online sales TOPPED $1 BILLION for the first time in history. To help you prep for next year (and for Christmas), there are a couple apps and sites someone on our team used or we know others enjoyed – and here is our quick explanation/use case:

ShopSavvy is great for comparison shopping while SnipSnap helps you to “cut coupons” and be pinged by your phone when close to stores you have coupons for. Wallaby keeps track of your rewards cards and suggests what card might be the best to make a purchase based on what rewards you will earn. Obviously, there are MANY more, but those are the ones that we directly saw/utilized and that came to mind. If you want more reviews, you know the drill – “google it”. Some big brands that did it right were Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Apple as they offered mobile couponing and other in-the-moment rewards (even some rewards for hidden items). For the record, TaskRabbit is more my (Landon’s) speed… Long story short, it lets people do your shopping for you which I will never complain about! :)

Okay, now it’s “Cyber Monday” which – based on what we’re projecting – will be dubbed “Mobile Monday” moving forward. We’re a research firm at our core, so we have plenty of facts, figures and detailed explanations as to why this will happen. However, for brevity purposes, we will only share 2 simple reasons:

1) It sounds better

2) Internet access is WAY too accessible (from numerous types of “mobile” devices) for everyone to just wait around until Monday

This is where we need our fellow tech geeks’ help… Below are a few options for “Mobile Monday” shopping (some mentioned above) and we need to know what we’re missing. Check out the list below and let us know if we’re missing some apps that really enhance the mobile shopping experience!

Android:

iPhone:

Windows Phone:

What else?

Happy shopping, and we look forward to your help in updating this list! If you need us, we’ll actually be working! :)

- Landon

“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.


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!