Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

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

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(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 🙂

Astronomical ClockConference season is in full swing, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to speak at this year’s AQR/QRCA joint conference in Prague, as well as the MRA Annual Conference in Boston this week! Both conferences were phenomenal, and the atmosphere and energy at both were uplifting and inspiring.

There is definitely a theme of evolution, growth and new outlook in the industry. For some, maybe it is getting involved in more online research. For others, social media is entering their toolbox. Some look toward experiential and scientific methods. Whatever the vehicle ends up being, the fact is simple. The industry is quickly growing and evolving, and the professionals I have spoken with over the past month are eager to learn and grow.

The buzz of expanded online, social media and MROCs is here to stay, and the reception to learning about these new platforms is increasing steadily. I want to thank everyone who has attended the presentations I have given over the past several weeks, as I truly value your support and guidance! We are all in a learning mode and I am happy to help our industry grow and thrive.

I am definitely looking forward to QRCA in October, and seeing many friends in Philadelphia! I am excited to have the opportunity to present and look forward to hearing and learning from the plethora of experts!

Thanks again for all of your continued support!

-Ben

SEEKing the Next Big Thing

Posted: March 6, 2010 by Ben Smithee in Market Research, QRCA
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SEEK Research Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to the OH/IN/KY chapter of QRCA at SEEK Research’s new headquarters in Cincinnati. If you are ever planning on being in the Cincinnati area you definitely should drop by and check out their space! I posted several pictures and a video of their slide on our Spych Facebook page for your viewing….and laughter!  And, yes I meant it, a slide. We are not talking a little mini slide either, we are talking about a 2-story, 50/50 Olympic luge style slide! Go check out the videos!

What I want to talk about today though is the power of collaboration in finding something new. More and more, I think about the ideas of collaboration within the marketing research industry. In an industry where many successful icons are independent or members of small boutique firms, I am always shocked by the relatively small amount of collaboration that occurs. I personally enjoy working with other research firms and other moderators on projects, and feel like some of the most creative and successful projects are a result of collaboration.

After the meeting, I had the pleasure of enjoying a couple different great conversations with Jim Berling, Kendall Nash and Foster Winter. We talked about the art of collaboration and how our respective companies utilized collaboration to its fullest. Maybe it’s not always bringing in another researcher. Maybe it is bringing in a professional photographer for a project with photo junkies. Maybe it’s bringing in a linguistics expert or an artist? Who knows what types of creative folks you could bring into the mix to really enhance the project and value-added you bring to your client.

What types of creative collaboration have you brought to a project before?

What works, and what doesn’t?

What types of helpful hints can you give other researchers?

’til next time!

Ben

Feast or Famine

Posted: April 29, 2009 by Ben Smithee in AMA
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Those of you know are in the market research industry are well-aware of the cyclical nature of our business.  In addition to the natural economic fluctuations, we face all of the market characteristics that a stock broker would. e.g. mergers, acquisitions, leadership change etc…  All of these things tend to affect the flow of research that brands and companies conduct.

Luckily for us, the famine seems to have ended and things are beginning to pick back up!  For now, we hang-on, dig in and enjoy the ride.  Dave and Elizabeth will be off shortly on a practical world tour as I will be speaking at the AMA MR SIG and at BigD, as well as working on two other potential Spych projects.  This influx of time consuming tasks is the major cause for the lack of a recent update, but not to worry, we will keep you updated!

Things are really starting to take shape with the new website design as we have signed off on the final design and are moving into the production phases.  Everyone is excited and the demos I have seen are phenomenal.  It will be cool to see a totally new looking site in the MR realm.  The next task is revamping our business cards.  We are looking for a cool design and for the right printer.  I recently received some great samples from BLANKS in Dallas and they look great.  I will continue to browse and narrow the choices as we begin to formalize a design.  If you have any thoughts or suggestions feel free to let me know!!!

I will be traveling back to Dallas for a good part of May and hopefully if we have not had a chance to meet yet, we should!!  Feel free to give me a shout via twitter or any other channel through our website and I will make every effort to find a way to meet up and chat.  The Spych consumer team is still brewing and we will be reaching out to teens and young adults everywhere in a short time.  It will be such a cool way for you to stay connected with the companies that you love and help give a voice in the production and ideation process that goes into the products you buy.  If you have ever asked “why doesn’t ___ make this” or “__ company should do this,” then the Spych consumer team is your way to finally voice your opinion.  We are working toward bringing you some of the most popular companies as well as some local smaller shops that you can help take to the main stage!  More updates to come!

What companies would you like to work with and give advice to?