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The Fall 2014 GRIT Report Is Here!

The 15th edition of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report is here! Nearly 80 pages of the most recent trends data, incisive analysis and thoughtful commentary on the state of the market research industry and where we are heading in the future.

GRIT Consumer Participation in Research


I’m thrilled to announce that the 15th edition of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report is here! Using data collected in Q3 2014 and examining the time period of Q1-Q2 of 2014, this is the most current snapshot of the trends in the industry available, and it’s chock full of great information to help both clients and suppliers help chart their course as we head into 2015.

This is also our largest report yet: it’s nearly 80 pages of incisive analysis and thoughtful commentary on the state of the industry and where we are heading in the future.

In the last report we determined that 2013 was the year that the wave of predicted change finally came to shore. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the main theme emerging in 2014 is adaptation to change. Rather than being swamped by the new, our industry is absorbing the change and finding out what works (and what doesn’t) in an ever-expanding toolbox.

However, it’s not just tools that are changing; client needs and expectations, required skill sets, and even the view of what market research is are also undergoing a shift.

Download the report and access the interactive dashboard to do your own analysis and dig deeper into the data here:


In this edition, GRIT continues to track trends that it has historically focused on, including the adoption of emerging technologies and methods. GRIT studies drivers of supplier selection, changing ways in how we collect data, and the characteristics of the researcher of the future. For the first time, we include a “Hacking MR” section to identify problems and solutions proposed by our respondents. We also include a special section on the client views of the impact of research based on a separate but connected study we conducted with InSites Consulting.

We also continue with a series of thought-provoking commentaries written by GRIT supporters. These expert opinions provide additional depth and richer context for the report.

There are some surprises here, and some things that should be no surprise, although overall a clear vision of the future has emerged that will have profound implications for all aspects of the industry over the next few years. This isn’t navel gazing: it’s vital; strategic intelligence to inform business decisions.

As always, we think you’ll find the report informative, provocative, and useful.

Lastly, a big thank you to our partners and supporters: without them GRIT could not happen and each played a vital role in bringing this report to life.



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Using Research To Make a Difference

Paul Vittles, MRS Fellow and Director of Instinct and Reason, will be speaking at the IIeX Asia-Pacific Conference in Sydney 4-5 December. Here, he draws from some of the themes in his recent AMSRS Conference presentation to emphasise the importance of researchers ‘making a difference’.



Editor’s note: Paul Vittles, MRS Fellow and Director of Instinct and Reason, will be speaking at the IIeX Asia-Pacific Conference in Sydney 4-5 December. Here, he draws from some of the themes in his recent AMSRS Conference presentation to emphasise the importance of researchers ‘making a difference’.


By Paul Vittles 

Making a difference as a fundamental driver of motivation and positive mental health

It’s the phrase we hear again and again at job interviews, staff appraisals, and coaching sessions. “I want to do research that makes a difference”. It’s the ultimate motivator – knowing you have made a difference, and seeing your research being applied with impact. And the lack of evidence of making a difference is the biggest single cause of mental health issues for researchers.

My presentation to the 2014 AMSRS Conference in Melbourne was entitled “Don’t just ‘do research’, change something…and be healthier for it”. A central theme was the importance of making a difference, and I also presented case studies of how we have been making a difference.

In my 30 years in research, which has also included many years in CEO and senior leadership roles, 17 years practising as an executive coach and change consultant, and a period running a human and organisational development consultancy, I have trained, mentored and coached around 1,800 researchers. I have been able to combine this ongoing analysis with my research projects to identify the factors that motivate and demotivate researchers, and which lead to mental health issues in the workplace. It’s a long list but ‘making a difference’ is way out in front as number one.

Making a difference in our work

Over the years, I have been privileged to work on many research and consultancy projects that have made a difference. This has included helping commercial organisations to develop new products, increase their sales, and map out new strategies. It has also included transforming public services and assisting many not-for-profit organisations in setting and achieving their goals.

My most famous project was in 1996 when I was asked to lead a team to decide what to do with the site of 25 Cromwell Street in Gloucester, the home of the serial killers Fred and Rosemary West, branded the House of Horrors. I met with the victims’ relatives to get guidance on site options that could be ruled in or ruled out and to better understand their issues and needs. The research team then worked with the local community to develop options for the site, take into account the needs of the different stakeholder groups, re-develop the site, and help to bring some sense of closure.

Thankfully, that project was an extreme, once-in-a-lifetime episode. However, it was life-changing in a number of ways for all those involved, including the researchers working on it. We learned that a lot of our research tools and techniques, which we thought were designed to help us listen, were actually barriers to listening. Many of our tools are actually designed for time management because we try to squeeze so much in rather than just take time to listen. We certainly learned about the value of deep engagement in finding a lasting solution.

In the past two-and-a-half years, I have been working with Instinct and Reason and we do try to use both our instinct and our reason in our work to help make a difference for clients. Here are a few examples of how we have ensured we are making a difference.

Practical application of the science of choice modelling

Instinct and Reason has taken the Nobel Prize winning science of discrete choice modelling and turned it into a practical research tool for clients. We discovered that clients bought into the concept of assessing the sub-conscious drivers of choice but found that trying to commission such work was a slow and expensive process with complex outputs that were difficult to understand and explain to internal stakeholders.

Instinct and Reason founders – Paul Wiebe (based in Canada), Sally Faedda (based in the UK) and David Donnelly (based in Australia) – translated the science into a highly practical survey research approach, automated and efficient, with clear outputs, and then created interactive predictive tools for clients wanting to make practical use of this science.

Recent projects have covered topics such as tropical holiday destinations, new food products, new farming products, desired approaches for teaching music in schools, choosing a funeral services provider, getting advice on home improvement, nominating people for major national awards, how to make rural communities more sustainable, and recruiting the workforce to deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The exemplar project described below also neatly links in to our theme of workplace drivers and positive mental health.

Transforming workplace mental health

The recent research carried out by Instinct and Reason for beyondblue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance demonstrated that a mentally healthy workplace is second only to pay in driving the job choices of employees in Australia today. Note that respondents were shown a selection of job offers with randomised attributes so all they had to do was say whether they would take the job and we could calculate the sub-conscious drivers of choice. And in the introduction no mention was made of mental health or who the survey was for to avoid bias:

Key drivers of job choices among Australian employees (from discrete choice model). Base 1025, May 2014

More specifically, what often drives recruitment and retention once basic hygiene factors are accounted for are positive mental health policies effectively implemented and an open conversation culture in the workplace.

It was seen by many as a surprising result so it got lots of publicity, including more than 90,000 views of the infographic video on YouTube.

Some commentators queried the result by saying ‘no-one seems to raise these issues at job interviews’. The point is that we are measuring sub-conscious drivers of choice. We know it is in the sub-conscious of candidates when they ask questions about things like ‘culture’ and ‘management style’. And they also do more due diligence these days to check out the culture.

Revolution in online qual research and engagement

In early 2013, Instinct and Reason carried out an evaluation of the market for online qualitative research and engagement tools. We spoke to clients about their knowledge, perceived needs, potential solutions and issues around online qual. There was a lot of hype at the time but few clients were actually using online qual or comfortable using online qual.

We then got recommendations from researchers, drew up a long list of potential platform providers, made an initial assessment, drew up a shortlist, and undertook a thorough assessment of the shortlisted providers, spanning Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. GroupQuality emerged as the best platform provider in the market (based on product, services, support, price, culture, flexibility, etc) so Instinct and Reason effectively formed an R&D partnership with GroupQuality.

We have since carried out dozens of projects, designed & facilitated more than 100 online forums or discussion boards, and fired off hundreds of queries and suggestions to GroupQuality, observed GroupQuality taking all the feedback on board with great skill and enthusiasm, and seen our clients become at ease with the approach.

Once again, the approach has cut across commercial market research and sensitive social research to help make a difference. To prove that anything is possible, we have designed and facilitated online forums among people aged 55+ (we had no problem getting interaction among those aged 65+ online – indeed they tend to be more flirty!), people who have recently arranged funerals, people who have recently experienced relationship breakdown, people with gambling addiction, and homeless people.

In the field of gambling addiction, we had a government client who wanted to target those who are problem gamblers who need help but are reluctant to seek it to try and encourage them to call a helpline or go to an online gambling website. In the initial brief, it was acknowledged that this is a “hard-to-reach” group. However, we believe in the philosophy of ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’. By visiting 40 bars and clubs, making thousands of calls (thanks Action Market Research) and screening online panels (thanks SSI), we were able to find 500 problem gamblers in two weeks.

Some questions were asked about whether these were ‘genuine’ but once we got them talking in online forums, the heartbreaking personal stories demonstrated they were genuine. We asked participants to describe their gambling behaviour and its impact on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. We asked them to describe their lowest point, which generated some shocking stories. We then brought them out the other side with discussions around help available, why they don’t seek help, what would encourage them to seek help, and how they could be supported.

The online forum lasted for 3 weeks and several problem gamblers said they had not gambled whilst participating in our discussion. We explained from the start that it was a time-limited research discussion not ongoing support or counselling. However, our final discussion topic was around ongoing online support, participants made recommendations to each other, and we also added a few other services that had not been mentioned by participants.

This online forum – complemented by face-to-face groups – certainly made a difference for the participants and for the client in guiding their strategy and campaign execution.

Helping Australia lead the world in suicide prevention

I will talk more about this ground-breaking work at the IIeX Conference in Sydney, but here’s a brief summary. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for its 192 member countries to reduce their suicide rates by 10% by 2020. Japan has committed to a 20% reduction. In Australia, we are going for 50%! This will obviously need transformational change and breakthrough ideas. Australia is already a world leader with some of its initiatives, eg around media reporting of suicide, but it will need to continue to be innovative.

I have been supporting this cause as a Director of Instinct and Reason, as Chairman of RSA A+NZ, and as a concerned individual who has personally been touched by this issue. I was asked to speak at the 2014 National Suicide Prevention Conference on Instinct and Reason’s work in the field of workplace mental health. I was then asked to help the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention to put together a National Research Action Plan for halving the number of suicides and suicide attempts. This has involved designing and facilitating workshops and online forums for researchers, policymakers, service providers, funders of research and people with lived experience of suicide.

I have also facilitated a global conversation on Big Ideas for Suicide Prevention which has generated 10 Big Ideas, including innovative use of technology, big data, and social media monitoring to help bring about the necessary transformational change.

It is the ultimate example of ‘making a difference’. Suicide is the most common means of death among 15-44 year olds in Australia and many other countries. Using our research skills and experience to save young lives and help people to live longer, happier, more productive lives would be the ultimate legacy.


Paul Vittles is a Director with Instinct and Reason and a Fellow of the UK Market Research Society. Paul has spoken at many conferences and events in Australia and the UK, winning the Best Paper Award at AMSRS 2005 for “Research as a Life Changing Experience” and the Best Presentation Award at AMSRS WA 2008 for “The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It”. Paul is also Chairman of the RSA in Australia and New Zealand http://rsaanz.org.au/rsa-anz-agm-2014-our-past-our-present-our-future/ . The RSA is a UK-based social innovation network with 27,000 Fellows which has been making a difference in the world since it was founded in 1754 http://www.thersa.org/ . It was through the RSA that Paul was able to facilitate a global conversation on Big Ideas for Suicide Prevention.


An #MRX Hallowe’en Parade

Let’s open up market research’s own house of horrors, and let loose the creatures of the night – the most terrifying monsters of modern-day research. It’s a Hallowe’en parade with a ghastly research twist, and perhaps along the way we might learn how to banish these fiends from our lives for the other 364 nights of the year.


By Tom Ewing

It’s the scariest time of the year. Wherever people care about Hallowe’en, they are hoarding candy and choosing costumes, from the topical to the tasteless, and often both (yes, you CAN buy a “sexy Ebola containment suit”, thanks for asking).

So let’s open up market research’s own house of horrors, and let loose the creatures of the night – the most terrifying monsters of modern-day research. It’s a Hallowe’en parade with a ghastly research twist, and perhaps along the way we might learn how to banish these fiends from our lives for the other 364 nights of the year.

Ghosts: What would Hallowe’en be without a bunch of spectres, revenants, and sheets with eyeholes? Research has its own ghosts – the spirits of dead projects that haunt attempts to innovate or change methodologies. “It’s been tried before.” “It never works.” “What about the norms?” As Ray Parker Jr tells us, ghostbusting makes you feel good – and so does trying something new.

Frankenstein’s Monster: The shambling brute built from body parts and given life on a madman’s operating table has its analogue in the research presentation sewn together entirely out of lifeless buzzwords. “Engagement… authenticity… proprietary metric… millennial…” The best way of fighting it, unfortunately, is not to create it in the first place.

The Wolfman: He seems harmless enough, but every month he transforms into a terrible monster that devours anything it can reach. Most people who’ve spent time analysing or reading a monthly tracking study can sympathise with this curse. Save money (and silver bullets) by not asking so many questions.

Dracula: You can’t have Hallowe’en without the Lord of Vampires – and for a long time you couldn’t have market research without long, overly rational questionnaires that similarly drained all life from a topic. Like vampires, these could change form – from face-to-face, to pen-and-paper, to online – will mobile finally be their garlic?

The Mummy: You open the Mummy’s Tomb looking for hidden treasure, but instead you find a horrifying curse. It’s a bit like unethical research that brings a terrible PR curse upon those who tamper with it – think Facebook’s emotional experiments. Some things mankind was not meant to know – at least without informed consent.

The Headless Horseman: Here he comes, galloping across the land – and his research equivalent is badly planned DIY work. It’s extremely fast, but there’s an unfortunate gap where its brain ought to be. (Used well, of course. DIY tools are far less scary.)

Zombies: The zombie apocalypse happened in research a while ago – we’re infested by what the planner Martin Weigel calls “Zombie Ideas”: they were discredited years back but they simply won’t lie down and die. We call have our favourites – influencer theory, purchase intention, or how about brand loyalty: it’s been decades since Andrew Ehrenberg started his work showing how rare “loyalists” really are, but brands still doggedly pursue them. A shot to the head is long overdue.

Cthulhu: A relatively new addition to the horror pantheon, HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos posited a world of cosmic terror where man is simply an insignificant speck, doomed to madness if he ever perceives the true order of the universe. It’s somewhat like the vertiginous terror researchers seem to feel when they confront the vastness of big data: how can our work possibly have meaning in the face of its computational power? Lovecraft was not an optimistic sort, but we are surely made of sterner stuff, and can master our fear of the unknown. I hope.

That’s BrainJuicer’s selection of research demons. But what are your favourite market research monsters?



Photo Credit: legOfenris


Jeffrey Henning’s #MRX Top 10 – From Wearable Tech to Implantable/Edible Tech

Of the 3,766 unique links shared on #MRX last week, here are 10 of the most retweeted...



By Jeffrey Henning

Of the 3,766 unique links shared on #MRX last week, here are 10 of the most retweeted…

  1. Support for EU membership highest for 23 years, even as UKIP rises in the polls – An Ipsos MORI telephone poll of 1,002 UK adults found 56% wanted the UK to stay part of the EU, while 36% wanted it to withdraw.
  2. When it comes to mobile respondent experience and data quality, survey design matters – Writing in Quirks, Nicole Mitchell of SSI reported research on research showing the increase in dropout rates for “mobile unfriendly” surveys taken on smartphones and tablets. Laptop users completed the survey more quickly than mobile-device respondents, even when the survey design was optimized for the mobile experience.
  3. SurveyMonkey and NBC News in Polling Partnership – MRweb reports that SurveyMonkey will provide NBC News online public-opinion polls and the two will work together to develop best practices in online surveys.
  4. Research agencies should ‘be more advertising agency’ – Writing in Research, Jon Puleston argues that research firms should think bigger and should learn from ad agencies: “Stop selling only what we can do ourselves, instead act as a buying and decision-making center, an analytics and advisory unit. Specialize in spending research budgets and employ research planners and buyers. Invest in survey copywriters and research art directors to produce cutting-edge survey solutions. Build close long-term relationships with the marketing director and CEO.”
  5. How equality is changing the face of business – Kristof De Wulf, co-founder of InSites Consulting, asks how equality creates new opportunities for your business. “Equality is becoming ever more central in modern businesses with open information, zero marginal costs, mass collaboration and sharing creating more freedom in the business world for everyone.”
  6. Join Euromonitor for a mobile payments Twitter chat – Check out the Euromonitor Twitter discussion of the impact of mobile payments on industry.
  7. What do wearable devices bring to market research? – Alex Johnson tested wearables including wrist gear, eyewear and life-blogging cameras.
  8. Tribes Research buys EasyInsites – Jo Winning, co-founder of Tribes Research, purchased the previous company he co-founded, EasyInsites, consolidating its custom panel capabilities with Tribes’ digital MR capabilities.
  9. Nine real technologies that will soon be inside you – Forget wearables, Mike Edelhart summarizes 9 techs that can be inserted into the human body, from implantable smartphones to cyberpills.
  10. The data skills crisis – The Market Research Society shares a video interview with Tesco Clubcard pioneer Edwina Dunn.


Note: This list is ordered by the relative measure of each link’s influence in the first week it debuted in the weekly Top 5. A link’s influence is a tally of the influence of each Twitter user who shared the link and tagged it #MRX. Only market research links are considered.


The “Synergist”: Big Data + Social Science = The Future of MR

As corporations reinvent themselves from mass marketing to a “one-to-one” customer-centric focus, the ability to synthesize disparate forms of qual/quant insights into a strategic vision will emerge as the ultimate leadership trait.



By Kevin Lonnie

When I was a young pup starting out in market research, there was an ongoing debate between two industry leaders, Bill Neal and Harry O’Neil.  The respectful discussion between the two gentlemen concerned whether market research was more of a science or an art.  Mr. Neil argued for the former and Mr. O’Neil for the latter.

I am reminded of those debates when I look at the current landscape and try to put my head around the potential synergy of customer co-creation and Big Data.

Big Data, to me, represents the science (left brain) of MR.  There is so much more data than ever before.  It’s the role of data scientists to crack the whip and organize all this behavioral and neurological data (the stuff people really do rather than the lies we get from surveys) into tidy organized gestalts.

Yet, at the end of the day, all the data in the world doesn’t get you closer to “why” people are behaving the way they do.  It’s OK for customers to be irrational as long as they are “predictably” irrational.  As Dr. Dan Ariely has stated, our misguided behaviors are driven by emotions and social cues.

In order to make sense of behavioral data and to tap into the potential of customer innovation, we need to return to the art (right brain) of MR and that falls to the “qualies.”

NOTE:     Never use the term “statistical significance” or “confidence intervals” with qualies, unless you enjoy watching facial tics.

Qualies apply social sciences tools from various disciplines (sociology, psychology, etc.) to decipher what is actually triggering customer behavior.

While there has been plenty of press and attention heaped on the emerging role of data scientists (a sexy term for quant jocks), that still only gives us one side of the coin. I would argue that we need someone equally comfortable with qualies.  Let’s call this individual, The Synergist, a person as adept at discovering behavioral trends as they are in using social science methods to determine causation.

As corporations reinvent themselves from mass marketing to a “one-to-one” customer-centric focus, the ability to synthesize disparate forms of qual/quant insights into a strategic vision will emerge as the ultimate leadership trait.  For the first time, a holistic understanding of customer needs and behavior will be used to drive company strategy.

So 25 years after the Neal vs. O’Neil debates, let me ask the question again, are we a science or an art?   Can we conclude that MR needs to integrate both the science and the art of our industry to thrive?

Sometimes the best way to reach a desired destination is not to move systematically forward, but instead leapfrog over your obstacle.  The Synergist will finally combine the art and science of MR into one all-inclusive view.

The Synergist won’t settle for a seat at the table; he/she will be sitting at the head of the table.


Guest Post: A Class in Bridging the Gap – When UX and MR Meet

When face to face, UX and market research experts naturally realize how much they have to learn from each other and begin to build bridges. Here is an example from the recent UX Masterclass event in NYC.



By Pamela Stoffregen-Gay

It should be no surprise – user experience (UX) researchers go out of their way to give good experiences to the marketers and researchers who use their findings. Consider the UXalliance. When global brands began turning to user experience insights more and more, this UX network organized to agree on standards for metrics and deliverables. Now nine years old, with 25 member companies worldwide, the UXalliance offers a consistent quality standard from all vendors, ensuring comparable results, and fosters a connected community for shared learning.

The UXalliance’s latest gathering – a one-day UX Masterclass hosted by GfK in New York City– focused on another development that is poised to take UX adoption to new levels: the growing integration of UX and market research. Though they naturally intersect in focusing on brand and customer experiences, UX and MR remain in separate silos within most organizations today. And, to some degree, they speak different languages; MR is usually quantitative in focus and numbers driven, while UX has more in common with ethnography and qual studies.

But the benefits of bringing UX and MR together were readily apparent at the NYC UX Masterclass. Experts from Axance, Mitsue-Links, GfK, and others showed how research and design could be combined to fuel innovation, deepen understanding of brand/customer relationships, and enrich consumer insight.

GfK’s David Krajicek (CEO, Consumer Experiences North America) opened the day acknowledging that, as consumers touch brands in more places, understanding and controlling experiences is becoming indispensable. Frederic Gaillard (Managing Director, Axance) and Mike Murphy (Senior Design Director, GfK) showed how specific UX methods and techniques connected research and design to create a sustainable cycle of innovation. And Francis Fung (International UX Business Manager, Mitsue-Links) observed that, despite the obvious connection between UX and MR, sometimes corporate culture, country culture, or both play roles in deciding the type of research chosen.

Other presenters looked at the latest developments in UX research – techniques, advances, and applications in the corporate world. James Kalbach (Principal UX Designer, Citrix Online) showed how UX studies can identify key “jobs to be done” (JTBD) to understand what customers are trying to accomplish. And a panel of thought leaders from Estee Lauder, athenaCare, ViralGains, and GfK talked about the challenge of creating alignment around UX and MR priorities (also known as “herding cats”).

A highlight of the day was the keynote by Richard Zackon (Facilitator, Council for Research Excellence), who brought the crowd back to basics, inspiring group discussion on what experiences are and why they matter; Zackon used examples of how UX is shaping new ways to measure ad impressions in the cross-platform, multi-screen world. The audience, which represented a cross-section of generations and expertise, was engaged from the start, trading observations and ideas.

One conclusion, heard repeatedly onsite, is that simply bringing UX and MR experts together in one room goes a long way toward tapping this synergy-in-the-making. When face to face, UX and market research experts naturally realize how much they have to learn from each other and begin to build bridges. The experience is powerful, and the possibilities are endless.

Pamela Stoffregen-Gay is Global Strategic Marketing Director of User Experience at GfK.


REVISED & UPDATED! The Top 30 Most Influential Trade Orgs & Information Channels in Market Research – A GRIT Sneak Peek

For the third time, the GRIT study included questions about influential industry trade bodies and information channels (support organizations). We thought it would be interesting to share another sneak peek of this highly interesting section before we release the report.



Note: a previous (and incorrect) version of this ranking was published as a “sneak peek” on GreenBook Blog. Due to some feedback we received by readers and our own internal QA process, we decided to double check the original coding and take it through a third level of validation. During that process we did discover some inconsistencies in how the original coding was applied. The issue was primarily around the original coders double counting multiple mentions within a single response, or due to misspellings and assigning codes erroneously.

We apologize for that confusion and offer thanks to various commentators who suggested we take another look. 

This has produced a revised list of most influential organizations, or at least their rankings by number of mentions; the organizational list itself didn’t change. In looking at the top 5 for instance: ESOMAR retained their number 1 ranking while the number of mentions for them went down, GreenBook slipped to number 3 with a reduced count as well and LinkedIn took the 2nd spot with more mentions. AMA moved up but with fewer mentions than previously reported, Quirks went up in both rank and counts. From there the top 20 shuffled places, some going up, and some down.  We decided to only list those organizations with 20 or more mentions overall.  

The information here is definitive and has been crosschecked by Numbers, Inc. and Bottom Line Analytics to ensure consistency. The full list with original mentions can be accessed via the GRIT dashboard, which will be released next Tuesday. If you use the Explore mode in the dashboard you can click on any chart and then use the Cells button to select the counts (i.e., n).


Recently we’ve been examining the concept of influence here on GreenBook blog in a series of posts focused on the definition and process of measuring individual influence. The results prompted quite a bit of debate, mostly due to the wide variety of approaches (and disparate results) used in those analyses. However, what was not in doubt was the underpinning that the idea of influence, and even more importantly how it is used, has real business implications.

Today we’re tackling the idea again, but rather than using social data, we’re treading on more familiar ground for most researchers and relying on survey data.  To be precise, data from the upcoming GRIT Report.

For the third time, the GRIT study included questions about influential industry trade bodies and information channels (support organizations). The full results will be detailed in the upcoming report being published next week, but we thought it would be interesting to share a sneak peek of this highly interesting section before we release the report.

Let’s put it out there: it may be seen as self-serving for an organization like GreenBook to include questions related to our own role within the industry into GRIT.  We do it because we believe it’s valuable for researchers to understand how different organizations and information channels contribute to the market research industry and profession, each in its own way. Since we’re one of those organizations, of course we are curious as to our positioning, but whether we were number 1 or 100 in the rankings (we’re neither of those!) we believe it’s beneficial for suppliers, clients, and the supporting organizations themselves to get a glimpse of where they stand and how they are perceived. Consider it a brand tracker for industry support organizations.

Because we always take some flack for this piece of GRIT from certain quarters, before we get into the data  a few notes for the sake of transparency are in order.

GRIT authorship is a collaborative effort with many participants, but due to the perhaps controversial nature of these findings, specifically the inclusion of GreenBook in the rankings, we feel it’s important to identify the analysts and authors here. Data for this section were collected as top of mind responses, and the following analysis was based solely on coded verbatims. Coding was performed by GMI and Bottom Line Analytics. Additional analysis was conducted by Ellen Woods of Gen2 Advisors and Masood Akhtar of Bottom Line Analytics. Ray Poynter and Lenny Murphy contributed as advisors solely in ensuring organizational “rollups” (meaning multiple sub brands of a brand were coded as one like GreenBook, IIeX, Lenny Murphy, etc.. were all coded as “GreenBook”) we’re counted and categorized correctly.

The design here was as simple and straightforward as we could make it. We asked GRIT participants a series of verbatim and ranking questions:

  1. List the professional and/or trade associations, business event organizers, blogs or professional social network groups relevant to the marketing or marketing research industry you are a member of, pay attention to, or contribute to (up to 7).
  2. Which do you consider to be the most influential to your strategic decisions?
  3. What is the main factor that makes them stand out for you as influential?
  4. Which do you consider to be the second most influential to your strategic decisions?
  5. Which do you consider to be the third most influential to your strategic decisions?

In total 129 organizations were mentioned with a cumulative count of 2,461 distinct mentions. The absolute base size was 703.  About 50% of the respondents were from North America, and the other half were predominately from Europe, with a small sub set from Asia Pac and EMEA.

Sample came from a variety of partners and here is the breakdown by source:


GRIT respondents


It’s important to note that of the sample providers only GreenBook, Research & Results, QRCA, NGMR and NewMR appear within the list of most influential organizations.  We believe this adds great credibility to the results. However, as with all aspects of the GRIT report, the reader should take into account the composition of the participants when interpreting and generalizing the findings.  The data is what it is; the interpretation is what you make of it.

With all caveats covered, the table shows the top 20 organizations, in order of their cumulative mentions.  Other organizations had fewer than 20 mentions. In total 129 organizations were mentioned with a cumulative count of 2,461 distinct mentions. The absolute base size was 713.


LinkedIn 167
Greenbook 166
AMA 116
Quirk’s 107
BVM 106
MRA 88
ARF 67
Research & Results 51
newMR 49
marktforschung.de 43
MR WEB/Daily Research News 32
Planung & Analyse 20


Here is how each of the twenty organizations listed performed from a percentage of responses perspective. We have broken this out by the ranking by participants of their own “most influential” vs. “other influential” lists.



It should be noted that among respondents, 50% came from outside of North America, and for clarity, brands like ESOMAR, MRS, and GreenBook had all sub-entity responses rolled into a singular brand response (examples include Research World Magazine = ESOMAR, Research.live = MRS, IIeX = GreenBook, etc..). Where the response data was related to LinkedIn as a brand, it was counted under “LinkedIn”; where specific LinkedIn groups were referenced, those groups were listed separately and not as a part of the “LinkedIn” response totals.

Unsurprisingly, the top 3 performed relatively well globally, although ESOMAR has parlayed their positioning as the de facto global trade body well and are top of mind in Europe and the rest of the world more than LinkedIn and GreenBook combined, although they lag behind in North America.




In this ranking what jumps out is the emergence of LinkedIn as a brand by itself. Since the platform has evolved from a pure networking utility to a repository of content with extensive knowledge sharing, discussion forums and general information dissemination it very obviously fills a vital niche in the global influencer network. Since it does not have “a horse in the race” in this specific category (it’s business model focus is far broader than market research professionals)  and offers access to millions of users, groups, and content pieces from around the world and on virtually any area of interest that can be thought of, GRIT participants found that combination to be important and useful.

There is a lesson here we think regarding openness and accessibility via social networking as an important consideration for any organization wishing to develop influence in this (or any other) category. The days of exclusive content as a trump card may well be past, supplanted by the sharing model of LinkedIn. Time will tell whether this trend continues.

What Makes An Organization Influential?

Now, rather than letting this be a popularity contest, we wanted to understand why these organizations were considered influential, and the results are illuminating.

The next table shows the top 20 mentioned organizations by the codes for why they are influential.


gritheat copy2


ESOMAR performed strongly in all influence categories and is considered the top influencer. Respondents cited the organization’s reach and inclusivity as the strongest differentiator. LinkedIn was similarly strong across almost all drivers with the variety of topics and big picture thinking being their defining characteristic, a trait shared by GreenBook that actually was most highly rated on that, along with information sharing and access.  The AMA outshone everyone else on quality and relevance of information.

The top mentions as noted above were Info sharing & access and the Variety of topics and big picture thinking. One point of interest is the lack of representation for big data and analytics among the top information channels. Many of the responses also pointed toward a stronger affiliation with and rating for multi-channel organizations as evidenced by the performance of ESOMAR, Greenbook, and LinkedIn who continually distribute content through multiple channels.  This was true even where the content was largely online or presented in interactive discussion formats.

Another point of interest is the relatively weak level of influence given to innovation. This may be due to the fact that a fairly large number of respondents were suppliers and also to the fact that many of the organizations were not considered to be innovation focused or were representative of a particular method or technique that is marketed as an innovative approach.

The volume of response related to information sharing and big picture initiatives indicates a hunger for content and a need for direction. While it has been previously noted that the industry is in a state of transition, the direction often remains unclear. So it seems likely that influence to a large extent depends on how an organization helps others navigate change and whether it offers a road map towards the future.

When looking at the breakdown by Clients/Supplier a few interesting points jumped out: Clients & Suppliers were generally equally focused on info sharing, variety of topics, and reach/inclusivity as being key drivers while clients were also swayed by quality & relevant info, being informed & up to date, and the respect of the organization. Unsurprisingly suppliers put more stock in networking, innovation and commercial focus.



On the geographic front a few surprising differences emerged as well:



If the “rest of the world” can also be considered emerging markets (which we think is a fair categorization more or less) then the stark differences make a lot of sense from a career and business development perspective. The other interesting difference is the high priority given to Innovation in North America, which certainly fits with our own experience as well.

The lesson here is that organizations wishing to expand their influence in these markets should build these considerations into their strategies.

Top Performers

For this analysis of this study, the concept of influence was divided into three basic areas: connectivity & reach, thought leadership & information sharing, and innovation. A further assessment was done on the level of influence associated with each entity, which is demonstrated in the size of the dot associated with the entity.  The graphic below demonstrates performance within the three analysis areas while the larger circle defines the coded points of differentiation (in no particular order or relevance).



Based on GRIT participants these are the industry support organizations that are considered most influential, with an analysis of their strengths. Based upon what is important to you or your organization, each of these entities should be a part of your planning for industry involvement, marketing activities, and engagement.

Congratulations to every organization that made the list and keep up the good work; the industry needs us all!

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How Many Researchers Does It Take To Convince A Light Bulb To Change Itself?

Intellectually, we researchers understand that the marketer’s goal is to sell more stuff. Our problem is, we often don’t focus our efforts on what marketers can do to sell more stuff. And our bigger problem may be that we think we do.



Dr. Stephen Needel

It’s always seemed to me that marketing is a pretty straightforward proposition. You figure out what you can sell to people and then you sell it to them. Of course it’s a little more complicated than that, but then, you don’t have to do this alone. Today’s marketer has a manufacturing team that specializes in how to make stuff. If you have a good team, they figure out how to make stuff better and cheaper than the other marketer’s team. The marketer has a sales team who’s good at convincing people who sell lots of stuff why they should sell your stuff. The marketer may have an advertising team who’s good at telling buyers why they want to buy your stuff and not the other guy’s stuff. And you probably have a finance team that’s there to make sure you make money selling the stuff you sell. So with all these teams an essential part of the marketer’s world, why does the research team feel left out? The answer is simple – we’re not using the same playbook as the other teams.

Intellectually, we researchers understand that the marketer’s goal is to sell more stuff. We get that the sales team wants to sell more stuff, that most of the time the advertising folk want their output to lead to greater sales, manufacturing would love to add another line or another shift, and the finance guys would be happy with more revenue too. Our problem is, we often don’t focus our efforts on what marketers can do to sell more stuff.

And our bigger problem may be that we think we do.

Back in 2006, I gave a talk about the dangers of shifting to a “consumer insights” approach to marketing research. My argument was that the need to come up with insights takes us away from doing good research that would actually help our companies/clients sell more stuff. Alex Batchelor gave a great talk at IIeX Atlanta this past summer in which he pointed out this same fallacy – research is not about insights. He took it a step further and pushed for behavior change (or as he would write, behaviour change) as the goal of research. This would be a radical shift for our industry, perhaps as radical as when we were silly enough to adopt the consumer insights mantle. But this may be what we need to get back on the team and in the game.

What do we do differently if we’re focused on behavior change?

  • We stop worrying about tracking studies for one. That doesn’t mean we stop doing them, we just don’t devote a lot of time to them. Tracking studies become your early warning system, identifying trending problems. These can be automated and should be automated, giving you alerts based on a good set of rules. When you’ve got a problem, you worry about it. When you don’t have a problem, go off and do something more productive.
  • We stop worrying about how much people like our stuff. We figured out whether they liked it when we introduced it. Our sales data tells us if they like it more, less, or the same – if we’re selling less, they like it less. That’s when we should start paying attention – when our sales begin to decline.
  • If we want to see if we can make our stuff better, great, if that leads to more sales. But when we make our stuff better and nobody cares, give it up and move on to something else. It’s the same for line extensions – how many fragrances or flavors do we need? Actually, that’s a good question, and it would take approximately one study to answer it. After that, move on to doing something for your brand that’s not cannibalistic.
  • We stop worrying about the path-to-purchase. Indeed, please, in the name of God, can we stop talking about the path-to-purchase? I’ve lost track of how many different path-to-purchase models there are and the one thing I know for sure is that almost all of them are wrong. There are no quantified path-to-purchase models that have been validated and we’re unlikely to see one for some time to come. That doesn’t mean someone (read “academics”) shouldn’t be trying to build one. It just means that we corporate researchers and we research suppliers are not likely to build one soon.

What do we do instead? Easy – we get smarter.

  • We learn what leads people to choose the products that they choose. We understand why our products are what they want and, more importantly, why they aren’t what they want. Then we fix our product, create a new product, or just accept that our product is what it is and move on. We don’t need to keep on doing this repeatedly because why our product works isn’t likely to change much over time.
  • We learn how to measure the variables that drive our brand’s sales and stop worrying about 50-item surveys and descriptor check lists and purchase intent questions and whether it gets the blood in the brain flowing. Is our brand subject to social media influences? Do the experiment and if the answer is no, move on. Is it price sensitive? If so, figure out by how much and optimize.
  • We learn what happens when a shopper comes to our shelf. Are they just grabbing their usual product by habit (in which case we may need a disruptive package to break that cycle)? Are they comparing products (in which case, we worry about where we are on the shelf in order to force more favorable comparisons)? Are they price or value shoppers (in which case, we play with our value proposition)?

Most importantly, we recognize that the marketer has got to change consumer and shopper behavior in order for our team to win. We focus our research skills on figuring out what will produce a change in behavior and go do that. And we automate the rest. It’s like the old joke: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb really has to want to get changed. Marketers need to get the light bulb to want to change and researchers need to help them figure out how to do that.


Supercharging The Evolution Of New Market Research

I am delighted to announce that GreenBook and NewMR have formed a strategic alliance to make us better able promote the events, ideas, and changes that we think will benefit insight professionals and the users of insights.



Editor’s Note: Today we announced that GreenBook and NewMR have formed a strategic alliance to support and reinforce both organizations’ industry leading offerings of thought leadership, multi-media, education and events. A particular focus will be deep collaboration on the further development of the global Insight Innovation eXchange (IIeX) conference series.

The plan has many dimensions and lots of different initiatives are being looked at, but it starts with Ray Poynter, founder of NewMR, becoming the Chief Architect of IIeX in Europe and Asia Pacific. Those events could not possibly be in better hands.

We are thrilled to have someone with Ray’s unrivaled industry stature and experience leading the charge for IIeX in Europe and Asia Pacific. His unique view of the global marketplace and passion for creating new models of engagement and knowledge sharing is just what IIeX needs to maintain its status as the home of thought leadership in our space.   NewMR and GreenBook have a rich history of past collaborations and share a similar outlook on the future of insights, so this is an ideal and natural match.

That is my take, and below is Ray’s. I hope you’ll all join me in welcoming Ray and his team into the GreenBook family!

By Ray Poynter 

Since the arrival of online market research in the mid-1990s the speed of change in market research has been accelerating. In addition to online surveys and online qualitative research we have seen the ascendency of access panels, the arrival of social media research, growth in implicit and neuro approaches, and an avalanche of mobile approaches. In addition to the changes in techniques there has been a shift in how market research is seen, from a supplier of information towards a supplier of advice and becoming advocates on behalf of (and increasingly in collaboration with) customers and citizens.

This period of rapid change has brought with it many benefits, many new options, and many new challenges. The challenges include:

  • New competitors from outside market research
  • Pressure for faster speeds and lower costs
  • New privacy and informed consent issues
  • Assessing the validity of new techniques
  • Moving from data delivery to storytelling
  • The need for new ways to create and sustain an insight community

For the last few years #NewMR has been at the forefront of sharing and facilitating the growth of new market research ideas, through networking, virtual events, and the production of content designed to combine the best of the new with the best of the old. During that time we have worked increasingly closely with the Greenbook portfolio of initiatives, such as the GreenBookBlog and IIeX events. This working relationship has highlighted the opportunity to work even closer to help supercharge the movement towards the better use of new market research.

The New Global Strategic Alliance
I am delighted to announce  that GreenBook and NewMR have formed a strategic alliance to make us better able promote the events, ideas, and changes that we think will benefit insight professionals and the users of insights.

The sorts of things this alliance will deliver include:

  • Shared guidance of the IIeX events. I will be taking the lead on IIeX Europe and APAC, Lenny Murphy will continue to take the lead on IIeX North and Latin America.
  • Integrated virtual events in 2015, combing the best of NewMR and GreenBook events.
  • Greater integration of GreenBook into the Festival of NewMR.
  • A face-to-face series workshops in North America, leveraging The Handbook of Mobile Market Research.

So, fasten your seatbelts, the pace is about to get even faster!


Ethnography: The Gateway Into Customer Experience Research

The principles that drive traditional ethnography are alive and well in the connected world.
Payday Loans Now Company

virtual ethnography



By Stephen Cribbett

Qualitative research, even in the relatively new field of online qual, has traditionally been conducted after the moment or experience of interest has taken place. Participants are asked to report what they saw or experienced, how it made them feel, what they recall about the brands they encountered, and so on. This questioning and interrogation, which typically takes place days or even weeks afterwards, can lead to inaccurate reporting and memory lapse.

The first, and foremost, problem with this method of reporting is that it relies heavily on the notoriously fickle human memory. Memory is affected by many things, including fatigue, emotion, environment, attention and other factors. As far back as 1860, Laycock T., in his paper titled Mind and Brain, noticed that a lot of perception memory and behaviour occurs without consciousness, deliberation or will.

One solution to this problem is ethnography, or even better, self-ethnography. Ethnography is a research tool borrowed from anthropologists which sees a researcher spending hours or days with a participant or family, observing them in their natural environment, going about their daily lives and rituals. Ethnographers will record and document every moment, every interaction, every behaviour, and every decision the participants make. The researcher might accompany the participant to a car showroom or supermarket, for example, or just spend time in their home observing them preparing the family dinner.

Ethnography has the ability to uncover some big stuff: instead of just capturing the customer’s thoughts and opinions (meta-thoughts, as it were), researchers are able to see, record, and analyse the full range of behaviours and interactions. Every interaction with a brand or consumer product is a complex event; location, accompanying actors, time, mood, and response are just a few of the incredibly important contextual data that enrich the insight gleaned.

It’s not easy for participants to remember all of these things in an interview or a focus group that takes place after the event. And many people’s actions actually contradict their self-reports; not because they’re trying to mislead the researcher, but because they see their actions in a different way than they might be interpreted by a more objective observer or by using neuroscientific research methods.

As you can imagine, this is a very time and labour-intensive endeavour, and consequently can be very costly. What’s more, having one or two people with cameras and notepads following you around all day is likely to result in unnatural and forced behaviours. Therein lies the big challenge (yep, another one!).

Enter self-ethnography and customer experience tracking. When consumers turn into the researchers and report their everyday lives and experiences, research professionals are better able to understand what motivates them to make decisions, and how they feel and think in-the-moment. You can even begin to gauge happiness, a key new contextual measure that’s long been forgotten.

The rise of mobile and device-agnostic research technology has enabled this new and exciting way to follow and observe consumer behaviour close-up without the need to physically be there. Ethnographers need no longer be in the field; now consumers are the researchers and collaborators, effortlessly (and naturally) capturing and sharing their own lives, minute by minute. SMS-based, device-agnostic, and app-based mobile research software enables the consumer to record their brand every moment and interactions as it happens, and with higher-quality contextual data.

For example, say you want to understand opportunities within food categories. Consumers could be tasked with taking video of their meal preparation times, or rituals during the day that involve food. At the same time, they would record their emotional state, how they feel about what took place, and why they did what they did. This would see the data captured as close to the moment as possible when the mood and emotion is current. More details of the interactions and greater richness around the emotion is captured.

It’s this type of always-on, real-time customer experience tracking, enabled by software (cue shameless plug!) like Dub’s for example, that lets researchers build a rich and colourful picture of consumers’ lives and their multitude of experiences and interactions. In the past, the focus of researchers was on touchpoints from brands, most of which took place once the consumer was already in the acquisition funnel, giving those companies skewed results. By capturing real-time updates from a variety of participants, researchers can tell a fuller and more cohesive story of consumers’ lives and what motivates purchase decisions.

The principles that drive traditional ethnography are alive and well in the connected world. No matter which style of mobile ethnography you use, remembering to place the emphasis on lives, rituals, habits, behaviours, feelings and emotions, and not just the brand touchpoints, will help you uncover the real truths that make a difference. There’s a danger of over-simplifying your understanding of consumer behaviour, and of narrowing the focus of qualitative research to specific times and places. Taking advantage of the full spectrum of capabilities afforded by device-agnostic research technology provides the insights needed to really get a handle on what’s happening in customers’ lives and how it affects their decisions.