Posts Tagged ‘Research’

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 – 

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?

Spych IRL #2

Posted: August 20, 2009 by Ben Smithee in Spych In Real Life
Tags: , , , ,

Today was the DFW American Marketing Association Executive Luncheon in Dallas.  It was a great event where Dana Williams and Ginger Hardage from Southwest Airlines presented on building brand culture.  Along with the great presentation, I was able to meet several great attendees, one of them being Kristy Hoover.  You can find Kristy here on Twitter – @Marketingjedi.  I have have run into her several times in the digital realm but we finally got the chance to meet In Real Life (IRL) today at the luncheon!  She is absolutely great and you should take a moment to reach out and get to know her as well.  We have worked with her company M/A/R/C on a few occasions in the past and hopefully we will have the opportunity to collaborate even more in the near future!!

If you are in the DFW area, we hope you can make it out to next week’s Ft. Worth Executive Luncheon at the Ft. Worth Club.  There will be a great opportunity to network and connect with other Rockstars in the DFW Metroplex.  I have the honor of presenting, and hope to get the chance to meet another great person for Spych IRL #3.

Spych IRL #2 - @SpychResearch with @MarketingJedi

Spych IRL #2 - @SpychResearch with @MarketingJedi

Service….With a Smile!

Posted: August 10, 2009 by Ben Smithee in Market Research
Tags: , , , ,

In today’s rapidly changing environment there is one guaranteed way to stand out in a crowd of businesses who may essentially compete based on the same core offerings that you too provide- SERVICE!

If you are another moderator reading this then you know how many points of contact we have on any given project. For the non-researchers here is a shortlist that by no means includes everyone:

  • Main Client Contact
  • Client Admin
  • Travel Agent
  • Internal Admin
  • Facility Manager
  • Facility Director
  • Fielding Project Manager
  • Client Service Staff
  • Recruiting
  • All Touch points regarding airlines and transport e.g. airline, flight attendant etc.
  • All front deck and phone staff for every external service e.g. facilities, host site etc.

I could really go on forever!  The point is this, each one of these points of contact is an opportunity for differentiation.  Sometimes companies look at things one-sided regarding this.  For example, the Facility Director has the opportunity to impress me as a client in order to encourage me to use her facility for our next research study.  In that same conversation, it is beneficial for me to not be the “hard to deal with client”, as there will be a day when I desperately need to host last minute research at her facility and will need to call in any favor possible.  For her, it is very easy to say “no, we do not have availability,” but if I am low-maintenance and pleasant she will be more inclined to help me out in a bind!  Not to mention call me when she gets a request for a moderator = Business!

Now apply this two-sided thought process to each of your points of contact with clients, suppliers, internal contacts and see where you have opportunities to increase your business.  I’ll take a moment and brag on the firm we recently chose to design our new website – Singularity Design.  Not only did they produce a phenomenal site for us, but after launch, incorporated a Spych-centric message on their homepage – go check it out and see what I mean.  This obviously is valuable for them as they can showcase their latest piece of work, but it also enhances the relationship that was created during our time working together on the site.  As you can tell from looking at their site, they did not merely throw our company logo and link on their “client page,” they took the time to incorporate the “brand” and message showcasing their talent as a design firm.

Companies need to take the time and make sure each of these areas of opportunity are met with outstanding service.  Whether you are a Fortune listed corporation or an independent researcher this is your opportunity to do something your competitor might not be doing.  When I started working with Dave, this is one of the key things he stressed about our business.  It is our feeling that even though going overboard with service may or may not “win” more work, under-delivering on service is the quickest way to lose it, so we strive to enhance our relationships in any way possible.  We encourage our clients, partners and colleagues to deliver any feedback, so if we have had the opportunity to work with you in any capacity, we look forward to hearing from you again!


Feast or Famine

Posted: April 29, 2009 by Ben Smithee in AMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


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?

Today Facebook reaches 200 million members…impressive!

Think about the value of 200 million to your brand…even more impressive.  Though you may be initially enamored with the pure number, each of these members represents more than just a marketing target and a set of eyes.  As marketers, researchers, communicators it’s important we get past the sure ambiance of the social media craze.  When you start looking at social media and its massiveness in terms of quantitative analysis, you loose the very essence of what social media is all about and where the TRUE value comes from.

Many times as I am talking to companies and c-level execs about social media I am first tasked with changing a mindset.  A mindset that for years has been focused on the value of numbers and “exposure.”

Step 1 – Change the “exposure” thought process of sending 1,000 messages that are then noticed by 100 and cause action in 10.

Step 2 – Ingrain the “relationship” model of creating 10 strong relationships and connections which then translate into 100 and on to 1,000.

Step 3 – Get past “twitter is cool, and make a FB page” – companies want and deserve more than that and need to be taught application and utilization based tools

Step 4 – Overcome the shock factor and urge to control – many teams once started become overwhelmed with the mass of information available at their fingertips and have the urge to control any perceived “fallacies or falsehoods” – Are they accurate and true? If so, change your practices.

Step 5 – Incorporate all of your channels and messages into the culture of the company and “live” your words like Zappos and SWA. Enhance  your relationships as they are the TRUE value from the millions of potential.

Step 6 – Fight the “dead zone” – DO NOT stop!  Push forward and maintain your early momentum

Of course along the way are different subtle points of emphasis and different things each company needs to incorporate differently, but time after time I work on implementing the same beginning process for those just starting.  For those who I work with that understand the basics, it becomes a question of “how do we enhance your current relationships” and how can I continue to stand out, make a difference as well as monitor the effects of our actions.  It’s hard to explain APIs to those who are still learning to RT.  But, once past the adolescent stages – your own creativity is the only limit!  This is when it becomes really FUN!  Having the opportunity to help companies stand out from their competitors and really harness the power.

200 million is astonishing and even more so is the quickness of their most recent growth.  As I have been preparing my keynote for Beyond Borders, I had a stat touting its 180 million, which I have since been required to update in the matter of a couple weeks!  So, take a step back and admire the sure volume and numbers, but then think smaller, way smaller, and start building a strong platform of relationships and connections.