Posts Tagged ‘Spych Market Analytics’

It’s not a secret that in the craziness of the current economy many companies are going “broke”.  But, there is a currency in which our beloved industry operates upon that truly comes before money.  That currency is called trust, and recent articles and statistics that have surfaced make me worry about the overall health and liquidity of our nation of researchers.

Jeffrey Henning recently wrote a great and enlightening post titled “Consumers Don’t Want to Hear from Social Media Researchers, Unless…”, where he shared some interesting findings from a recent surveying of people about their desire/lack of desire for researchers to utilize their social media-based opinions for market research.  The results were basically on the side of …no…but the more interesting and disturbing part was the “why” (I know, my quali is showing ..via Jim Longo) behind those findings.  In all seriousness, the most interesting part, or shall I say most disturbing part, was why they were against market researchers utilizing those opinions and comments.

The majority of responses fell into two categories of “Market Researchers will willfully misinterpret their responses” and “Fear of researchers getting it wrong through incompetence”.  Take a deep breath, pull your tongue from the bottom of your throat and bite it for just a minute while you ask yourself….do they have a point?

Say it ain’t so, or question the credibility of the findings, but the fact is that those feelings are present in the population, and there is something that makes people feel that way.  Is it really the representative majority of folks, who knows, but there is a population that exists.  The more important question is are they validated in their concern?  Are they over-reacting?  Why do they feel that way?

If people cannot trust us then what do we have to offer, other than an incentive, to trade them for their time and opinions?  There are implied “conditions of satisfaction” that exist between us, and the folks we speak to in front of the one-way mirror.  Somewhere along the way, our beloved industry has lost some credibility, at least in a small population of people.  Hard to swallow that medicine?  Yeah, it was for me too!  Instead of questioning the credibility of the statements and the size of that population, let’s do the more important thing…figure out how to gain that trust back from everyone!  Because, from other recent things I have seen, it is not just respondents that have voiced these concerns.  I also saw an interesting video of the head of insights for VW, Steve Gatt, speaking on video about our industry not being “up to scratch”.  Do you believe this is true?  If you know me personally, you know that I am a huge advocate for the future of our industry and want nothing but the best for all of our fellow colleagues and clients.  So, I ask you, what do we do to grow and encourage trust with everyone regarding the quality of work our industry represents?  What do we do to position ourselves as the keystone to successful marketing and advertising, the building blocks for new product development and the key player in providing value to our clients?

I’ll start:

1)   Think of the customer/consumer/respondent as your client – go where they are, listen and respond to their needs and then communicate those needs and wants to the companies and brands that are interested in them.

2)   Add your value on top – less journalistic and more strategic consultation is the way of the future.  Do not lose the neutral unbiased edge, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and showcase your expertise.

3)   Embrace change – Be smart and approach the future with open arms and open minds.  Remember every angry person is a frightened person who is afraid of some loss.

4)   Embrace technology – Whether you are a research noobie or a veteran of our industry, good research is good research, and technology does not change that.  You are relevant and provide value, just learn the new buttons to push in the new environment and execute the same core principles that market research is founded upon.  (this statement does not suggest online will fully-replace in-person, Twitter is the new focus group,  Facebook is the new market research, or any other outlandish statement of the kind)

5)   Embrace collaboration and possess humility – Collaboration is the key to the future, both for us and the companies and brands that we assist.  Know your strengths, focus on them, and partner up to shore up your weaknesses.  Not EVERYTHING we do is extremely proprietary and secretive.  Remember, as the tide rises, so do all of the boats.

I love the market research industry, and I know many of you who do as well.  It’s a compelling time for change and growth, so who will lead the way?  What would you add to the list?  What would you remove?  How do we fill the reserves of trust equity and build an industry that is greater than ever?  Do I sound like a cheerleader?  That’s ok, because I know I stand in a crowd of others equally as loud.  Insert thoughts below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Ben

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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.