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Another Look At The Top Influencers In Market Research

We noticed some of the comments here on the blog to previous discussions about influence rating with great interest. Our response is: Yes, Frankie, Kristin Luck is Influential. And so are Betty Adamou, Katie Clark and Diane Hessan.

social network

 

Editor’s Note: Recently Ray Poynter conducted an experiment to understand the role and definition of influence in the Twitterverse among market research professionals. That was an exercise that generated a lot of interest from the research community, and now our friends at LRW have thrown their hat into the ring using their own proprietary influence model.

So what does this tell us?  It’s seems that there is no clear cut model of measuring influence today, but it’s important that as an industry we understand the various approaches and work to develop some standard “common core” on what denotes influence.

Here is LRW’s take on the matter. It’s good stuff!

 

By The LRW Team

We noticed some of the comments here on the blog to previous discussions about influence rating with great interest. Our response is: Yes, Frankie, Kristin Luck is Influential. And so are Betty Adamou, Katie Clark and Diane Hessan.

We start with a hat tip to Ray Poynter and Lenny Murphy for bringing the subject of influencers and social media analytics to surface via the August 19thblog post, “Who are the Top 25+ Market Research Influencers on Twitter?”  We wholeheartedly agree that to serve as good consultants, researchers must remain abreast of new data sources that can be used to help companies with their marketing challenges.

At LRW, we’ve partnered with some of the leading technologists in the fields of network and influence analysis, who began their work while active in the US intelligence community tracking terror networks.  Together we offer these thoughts on measuring social media influence, in the spirit of enriching the discussion started a few weeks back.

 

Top25_ForWeb

 

  1. Understanding the dynamics of social influence is critical for the modern marketer.

Modern marketers must understand and master the art of social influence if they hope to leverage word-of-mouth social networks to their advantage. Identifying and converting online influencers may sound simple, but it requires both analytical and marketing prowess. The reward for influencing the influencer is more effective and efficient brand and product messaging.

Imagine the marketing goals of an independent film studio launching a period piece set during the Civil War. Taking a segmented approach, the marketing team would target and engage key influencers across a set of special-interest networks on the web, such as Civil War aficionados, Lincoln enthusiasts, independent film devotees, and fans of the lead actors. With these influencers on board, the filmmakers could extend both the reach and credibility of their marketing efforts.

  1. When analyzing influence, think in terms of networks, not keywords or counts.  

Kristin Luck and other influencers made our list because they are deeply connected to and influence the conversation in the market research network, though they do not always hashtag their remarks.  Keywords and hashtags are a great place to start analyses, but shouldn’t define the network or limit the analysis. Letting the network go wide and then pruning back irrelevant connections provides the most accurate view of linkages and conversations representative of a given network.

In kind, don’t be fooled by counting techniques. High followers don’t necessarily mean high influence. There was only one courier between Bin Laden and the rest of al-Qaeda. Furthermore, if Justin Bieber tweeted under the #MRX hashtag about market research, few of his 54 million followers would care. Followers ≠ influence.

  1. Use tools that offer Google-esque understanding of influence networks.

As our technology partners frequently point out, Google changed the face of the search-engine business by employing a sophisticated algorithm that dealt with networks’ complex centrality issues. More relevant search results followed. The same principle holds true for influencer searches: the better the algorithm, the more relevant the results.

Marketers who want to effectively and efficiently get their message out will target social media influencers to bring attention to and shape the conversations around their products, brands and solutions. To do this successfully, they need sophisticated tools and thoughtful partners to help them sort through the noise around the subject…because gaining influence isn’t about luck.

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Nice Was Very Nice Indeed! ESOMAR Congress Review

The ESOMAR Congress had the advantages of good weather, the friendliness of the people in Nice, great restaurants in the town, a good agenda, a great exhibition, and over 1000 delegates from over 70 countries.

nice-landscape

 

By Ray Poynter

Some locations make conferences better, and Nice (in the south of France, just a few miles from Monaco and Italy) is one such location. The ESOMAR Congress had the advantages of good weather, the friendliness of the people in Nice, great restaurants in the town, a good agenda, a great exhibition, and over 1000 delegates from over 70 countries.

The key takeaway, for me, from ESOMAR Congress was optimism and a lack of angst. This year there was none of the woes and worries that have been common in recent years. There were no widespread wails on the topics of DIY, management consultants, Big Data, lack of relevance, sampling problems, and economic decline.

The main thrust of the papers and presentations was “look at what we can do”:

  • Using new stuff to deliver research results – particularly behavioural economics and new qualitative approaches.
  • Collaborating in new/better ways, with customers, with other suppliers, and with clients.
  • Drawing on new sources of inspiration, in particular the arts.
  • Showing how research can deliver actionable results.

One of the key features of Congress was the emphasis placed on new talent, including the expanded role of the students, the young researchers, the talent competition, and the soap box sessions. One of the stand out sessions was a keynote from 14 year old Jordan Casey who is the CEO of two start-ups, in the tech space.

For me the best moments included:

  • Didier Truchot, the founder of Ipsos, sharing his thoughts on the future of research, intertwined with the story of how he built Ipsos from a startup to one of the five largest agencies in the world, blending insight, honesty, and humour.
  • Christina Nathanson from MasterCard, showing how a variety of research approaches had helped keep their ‘Priceless’ campaign fresh and successful.
  • Jon Puleston and Hubertus Hofkirchner using an interactive section to bring predictive markets and the challenges of predicting to life for the audience.
  • Annelies Verhaeghe and Natalie Malevsky showing how to make research more inspirational, making it more widely shared in the organisation, and therefore more impactful and useful.
  • Vivek Banerji gave a great illustration of how to turn pharma research into insight.
  • Coca-Cola’s Vanessa Oshima and Tobias Wacker from BrainJuicer gave perhaps the bravest presentation, showing how they had completely messed up a project in Japan, using Digividuals. The story was unusual in its honesty, but it did have a happy ending as on this occasion the agency were given a second chance, and it went much better the second time.

From a personal point of view, one of the highlights was the launch of our new book “The Handbook of Mobile Market Research”; followed by two sessions of book signing.

Of course, not everything was perfect, there were rumblings about the food (or lack thereof) at the dinner on the Tuesday night, the air conditioning for the AGM seemed to break down, making the attendees emerge looking like they had been in a sauna, and the soap box was perhaps in the wrong place. But when you put on a show as big as Congress, running from Sunday to Wednesday, with that many moving parts, there are going to be some challenges.

Next year ESOMAR Congress is going to be in Dublin. Dublin is a great location for Congress because a) people love going there, and b) it is small enough to create a real buzz (two advantages it shares with Nice). If you have a big story to tell, a project that has delivered value, or a great example of learning from failure, then Dublin will be a great place to tell that story.

 

didier

Didier Truchot addresses a packed meeting room at ESOMAR Congress

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AMSRS 2014: Context Is King Down Under

The AMSRS 2014 event was a roaring success – a shot of optimism and energy for the industry, as shown by the very busy Twitter feed that managed to hit the Top 3 trending Twitter topics in Australia on both days.

 

By Tom Ewing

In an ever more international industry, great research events need to balance the local and the global. They have to be a showcase for awesome local work and an opportunity for networking and catching up with friends and rivals, but at the same time they need to reflect a business that is changing rapidly across the world. Some of the most enjoyable events I’ve been to achieve this balance – a strong flavour of a specific research market, combined with content that tries to move the worldwide research conversation forward.

The AMSRS (Australian Market & Social Research Society) annual conference is one of these events. It handles the balance of local and global in a unique way, inviting a set of international keynote speakers to showcase their latest work and introduce themes, while running parallel sessions and panels showing off work that speaks to Australia’s unique cultural mix and distinct research issues.

Here’s where I have to declare a sizeable interest – I was at this year’s AMSRS in Melbourne as one of those international keynotes, and I am enormously grateful to the AMSRS for their kindness in inviting me to come and give a talk. The theme I chose was “Reasons To Be Cheerful” – an optimistic keynote celebrating our industry’s capacity to change and adapt. Too many conference speakers nowadays harangue the research business, preaching that it needs to change – which is condescending and tiresome for the thousands of researchers who already have changed the ways they look at things.

If you’re flying to the other side of the world, I reckoned, you need to put on as good a performance as you can once you get there. It felt like the other keynote speakers agreed. Fiona Blades of MESH talked about her agency’s pioneering work in tracking brand experiences via mobile in the 00s, and how that’s led to her current work bringing research know-how to the work of mining social data for insight. Leigh Caldwell of The Irrational Agency introduced the audience to a goals-based model of the unconscious mind and was entertaining and bullish about research’s prospects of measuring it directly. Betty Adamou of Research Through Gaming wowed the conference with the lavish research games she built to get below the surface of young people’s attitudes to privacy and sharing. Caroline Hayter of Acacia Avenue filled us in on how qual research is adapting to behavioural economics, training us to spot the linguistic “tells” of heuristics in everyday speech. And finally Joel Rubinson of Rubinson Partners gave a bracing update on the world of digital media and advertising in a personalised and programmatic era.

 

Keynote-speakers-at-AMSRS-Conference-2014

 

What did these six speeches have in common? Context. From the paradata created invisibly by a research game, through the predictive power of context to serve you ads, to the goals you unconsciously pursue, uncovering the hidden context of behaviour quickly emerged as a genuine theme. From a personal perspective, this was extremely refreshing. Recent interest by researchers in behavioural economics is occasionally dismissed as a fad, and while “big data” has passed the fad stage, it’s often seen as too vast a topic to get to grips with. But both these subjects are facets of a “contextual turn” in research, away from direct questioning and towards handling large existing data sets and looking at the environment decisions happen in. The AMSRS conference felt like it happened in a world where this contextual turn wasn’t something to be debated or fought over, but something that formed the bedrock of the event.

That didn’t just come across in the keynotes – the theme came through in the local papers too. With three separate, paper-packed tracks there was a lot to take in. My personal highlights included a paper by Betfair and The Lab on user experience of the Betfair smartphone app. UX is a booming field at the moment which rarely gets enough credit in research events – Betfair’s method involved real-time recordings of app use, capturing location and background audio as well as on-screen activity. This gave a really full picture of behavioural context. Where the presentation really shone for me was in its candour about the snags of using new technology in research. All too often tech innovation as presented as a simple, “plug-and-play” process at conferences. In reality, anyone who has ‘enjoyed’ the unique combination of research deadlines, third-party technologies and real-time research participants will know that smooth sailing is very rare. The Lab offered excellent tips on creating more resilient innovation: practise tasks, technological stress-testing and constant expectations management.

Another favourite was Derek Jones of D&M Research, exploring whether and how a context of abundance changes people’s enjoyment of everyday pleasures. Does someone with music downloads at their fingertips enjoy it as much as their equivalent 40 years ago saving up for a vinyl LP? Do digital pictures feel as exciting as getting film developed? Intuitively the answer for many older people is no, and D&M expected to find as much when they did a cross-generational study of enjoyment and perceived scarcity. But in fact the modern, convenient, digital world of abundance is generally more satisfying and enjoyable than previous eras of scarcity – the nostalgic aura created by our own happy memories makes us predict newer things will be less enjoyable than they are.

Other well-received papers I didn’t see included Penny Burke of QPMR talking about using “conflict groups” and other discomfort tactics in qual. If you bring people together who disagree and force them to communicate, the resulting friction can be an invaluable and revealing source of insight. Paul Vittles of consultancy firm instinct and reason talked about his life-saving mission to use an understanding of behavioural context to transform suicide prevention – an idea he’s also presented at TedXSydney. Other presentations had a distinctively Australian feel – a country with high population growth and migration rates, whose culture increasingly bridges European roots and Asian proximity, is better placed than most to address the topic of the ‘global citizen’, which Hall & Partners presented research on.

Not every presentation was gold – a couple of them suffered from an excess of “buzzword bingo”, with abstract calls for disruption matched with windy appeals to authenticity… but that’s true of every conference. All in all the AMSRS 2014 event was a roaring success – a shot of optimism and energy for the industry, as shown by the very busy Twitter feed that managed to hit the Top 3 trending Twitter topics in Australia on both days. It was a really friendly event – being greeted after your presentation with “FAN-bloody-TASTIC, mate!” makes a welcome change from the usual London “I, er, liked your talk.” It had great food. And half its speakers were women – which shouldn’t be a rarity, but is. If you get the chance to attend, you should. And IIEX, which is bringing its unique conference approach to Sydney this December, should realise it faces perhaps its toughest local competition yet.

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Brain Scans, Cultural Popularity And Sample Sizes

A new study demonstrates how a small sample of brain scanned participants can predict popularity at the cultural level. Why is neuroscience such a different – and often better – ball game?

Mynd

 

Editor’s Note: The business of market research is changing rapidly, and nonconscious measurement techniques are growing ever more important as a class of consumer insight techniques. Nonconscious methods are an area exhibiting rapid cycles of innovation and growth. Certainly adoption has been slow for a variety of reasons, but the impact across many categories has been high. In today’s post one of the preeminent applied neuroscientists in the world today, Dr. Thomas Ramsoy, gives a bit more insight into why this is such an important and topic and what traditional market researchers need to understand about the science behind the techniques.

We think this is such an important topic that we’re launching a unique one day event in November that is designed to advance the conversation and increase collaboration among corporate clients, market research consultants and technology providers.

Save the date for the Nonconscious Impact Measurement Forum (#NIMF) on November 6th! Brought to you by GreenBook and the Burke Institute, NIMF is an intensive day of learning and collaboration around the business impact generated by the dynamic and growing field of nonconscious measurement. You will learn the business case for and be inspired by nonconscious measurement methods, including applied neuroscience, implicit approaches, behavioral economics techniques, biometric measurement and holistic nonconscious models, and have the opportunity to test out many methods being discussed for yourself!

Today’s post is a great lead in for the type of bigger conversations that will be happening at NIMF.

 

By Thomas Ramsoy

One of the key criticisms and concerns one hears towards applied neuroscience and neuromarketing is the sample size. Is it really valid, let alone representative, to test 40 people? In traditional methods, such as surveys, interviews and even focus groups, the number of test persons tested usually runs in the hundreds or thousands. In applied neuroscience tests we usually see test of around 100 people in nation-wide samples. In studies in mobile settings, we can see test with as few as 40 people. Surely, that is a problem?

Maybe the reason that applied neuroscience is not testing hundreds or thousands of people is that it will be too expensive or too hard to scale? Testing a single person with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (or fMRI) often costs something like $2,000. Even with other methods such as EEG (electroencephalography), although the price can be down to $100 per person or lower, it may be hard to scale, since every person you test simultaneously requires a full hardware and software setup.

Things have changed dramatically. In several neuroscience studies, it has been found that neuroscience measures can predict behaviour. Even in studies using very small samples, neuroscience can predict not only individual choice, but effects at a cultural level. For example, in a recent study by Dmochowski and colleagues (Dmochowski et al., 2014), brain responses of only 16 participants could predict effects at the cultural level. By using EEG, the researchers developed a novel method that assessed how consistently the brain activation was across the group. Higher group consistency to TV series and commercials was related to both higher social activation (the number of Tweets) as well as stated reference (Nielsen rating).

Other studies have found a similar pattern. In a study by Berns and Moore (2012) the researchers went back to older fMRI data in a study of responses to music. Here, they found that activation of a deep brain structure – the nucleus accumbens – predicted whether the music had become a massive cultural hit, far better than self-reports from the same people. These and other studies have hinted that there may be some common brain activations in a group that is representative for how a whole culture will respond.

So the criticism towards applied neuroscience on sample size is erroneous, and the concerns are unwarranted. One part of the problem with these attitudes is that they assume that traditional research methods are the golden standard. Think of it this way: in traditional methods, each person contributes with only a few data points, as given by their answers. Furthermore, traditional methods only assess measures that a person is privy to, and is willing and able to share. In neuroscience measures, an fMRI scan divides the brain into 3D boxes (voxels) of an approximate size of 3x3x3 millimeters, thus measuring in several thousands of voxels across the brain. Each voxel value is assessed about every other second, and thus a test lasting 20 minutes provides a raw data value of 2.1 million data points per person. In EEG, we see that each electrode samples the signal with a millisecond resolution. This signal is then divided into several frequencies (e.g., alpha, beta, delta, gamma, theta), and therefore a single person can contribute with an order of magnitude more in data power than in fMRI, with 60 million data points or more per person. By merely contrasting the data load of traditional methods and applied neuroscience, we can see that we’re in a completely different ball game.

Crucially, neuroscience measures do not only assess a limited set of responses that a person has conscious access to. These measures provide deep insights into what people are attending and missing; how consumers’ emotional responses occur within milliseconds after seeing a message, a brand or a product; and how particular motivational responses drive attention, desire and ultimately choice.

Today, the scientific foundation of applied neuroscience is unparalleled, and continues to grow both in our insights and application. For those who employ and adapt these methods (with the premise that they are used correctly) consistently see an improved understanding of their consumers, increase their communication effects, and thereby increased their revenue.

Today, it is fair to claim that the obstacles for adopting applied neuroscience now lies not in the science or the methods, but within the market research industry.

 

REFERENCES

Berns, Gregory S, and Sara E Moore. “A Neural Predictor of Cultural Popularity.” Journal of Consumer Psychology 22, no. 1 (2012): doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2011.05.001.

Dmochowski, Jacek P, Matthew A Bezdek, Brian P Abelson, John S Johnson, Eric H Schumacher, and Lucas C Parra. “Audience Preferences Are Predicted by Temporal Reliability of Neural Processing.” Nature communications 5 (2014): doi:10.1038/ncomms5567.

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CASRO Transformation Spotlight: Gongos Research – Putting the “H” in Transformation

For Camille Nicita and her strategy team, transformation is a process that is integral to Gongos. It is the result of committing to become the next best version of itself and taking steps toward that goal every day.

 

 By Jeff Resnick of Stakeholder Advisory Services

camille1For Camille Nicita and her strategy team, transformation is a process that is integral to Gongos.  It is the result of committing to become the next best version of itself and taking steps toward that goal every day.  Gongos is a HIPP place to work, and HIPP is an important element that makes transformation possible.   HIPP stands for humanistic, intelligence, passion and pride and it is the core of the Gongos culture.  As Camille explains, humanistic is the encouragement and support of others; a communal pride in unleashing excellence and innovation.  Combined with high impact strategic planning, it is the essence of the transformation story at Gongos.   Let’s dig a little deeper.

It’s all about the right people doing the right things.   According to Peter Drucker, “whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”   At Gongos, that decision was to focus on people.   This is not to say clients are less important.  In fact, the reverse is true.  But without the right people, put in the right place in a culture that truly values and supports them, clients will never experience what every client wants from its partners – insight, excellence, commitment and the ability to continually add value to the relationship.  Over the past 20+ years, Gongos has honed its ability to identify individuals who will thrive in its culture.  Once the right people are in place, Gongos works very hard to keep them.

Effective strategic planning provides the road map.  The strategic planning process dates back to the early days of Gongos.   The process begins with a 10 year envisioned future and then establishes three-year goals  that  are broken into annual goals and specific quarterly tasks necessary to meet those goals.  While this isn’t rocket science, most companies fall down on the execution of the strategy – Gongos does not.  Discipline is essential. Answering the question “What should the next best version of us look like?” is essential.    Staying true to their purpose, culture, foundation and core values during the process is a mandate.  According to Camille, transformation isn’t revolutionary, it’s evolutionary.

Know who you are and what you stand for.  Stick to it.  Decisions about how to grow are always filtered through Gongos’ four core competencies:

  • Identifying and synthesizing “aha” moments for clients
  • Communicating insights effectively and persuasively
  • Identifying, developing and retaining top talent
  • Smart innovation

Any new business decision designed to help the company grow must further support these competencies.  One example is the launch of O2 Integrated.  As Gongos saw the market research industry changing, they took a step back and asked the question “Is there a way we can combine our core competencies in different ways to create new and better value for our clients?”  O2 Integrated is more consultative and heavily decision sciences driven with a focus on fusing disparate data sources including primary research, third party and enterprise information to help solve higher order business challenges for clients.  The development of the capability enables Gongos to play more heavily in what it is defining as the decision intelligence arena – an important strategic focus for Gongos and one that is helping client organizations to develop the capacity to gain and apply wisdom that inspires great consumer-minded decision making..  O2 is a natural fit as it leverages all four core competencies – it helps to develop more “aha moments,” provides insight necessary to communicate the “aha” moments and helps to retain top talent as this is an area of intense interest.  Clients see it as helping them make more intelligent business decisions and reinforces their view that Gongos is an innovator and a firm they can partner with long-term.

Be fully transparent in communication.  It is the bedrock of trust.  According to Camille, you can never communicate enough, although this was a hard-learned lesson.   When the strategy team realized it had an issue relating to the understanding of why O2 Integrated was so important, Camille and her team took three months to execute an internal communication plan including a great deal of face time – from one-on-one meetings to town halls.  The focus of the message was reinforcing the overall Gongos enterprise vision, purpose and core values and how O2 fit in.   Leadership linked forces shaping change in the market research arena with their decision so everyone fully understood.  The time was well spent with staff members who were once apprehensive now asking what they could do to help Gongos move forward and make O2 a real success.

Does it work?  The proof is in the numbers.  The company experienced 12% organic revenue growth in 2013 and has charted 70% five-year revenue growth, matched with 70% full time employment expansion.  Do employees thrive in the environment?  They must – employee retention was at 94% in 2013.  It’s not the result of revolution, it is the result of an organization committed to evolution.

Gongos continues to experience success which emanates from the core values, culture and purpose that were the foundation of the company from its inception.  While John Gongos, the founder, is no longer with us, I’m sure he is smiling at the success of the company and very proud of the entire team that made it happen.

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ESOMAR Congress: Finding a Role in a Crowded Space

Reflections on the role of face-to-face events in general and ESOMAR Congress in particular.

finding-your-niche

 

By Ray Poynter

I have the good fortune to be the GreenBook rep at the ESOMAR Congress in Nice this year. The ESOMAR Congress is one of the international research highlights of the year – which this year also saw the launch of my new book, The Handbook of Mobile Market Research.

I will write more in another post about some of the events from this year’s Congress. But in this post I want to reflect on the role of face-to-face events in general and ESOMAR Congress in particular.

ESOMAR Congress is the leading global event in its niche, and this year over 1000 delegates from more than 70 countries gathered in Nice to celebrate research, to network, to enjoy good food and wine, and learn more about what is happening in research. food

Perhaps the key word in the previous paragraph is niche. These days, successful events need to meet specific needs. The days of offering a general conference and expecting large numbers of attendees are gone. For example the IIeX series of events have been successful because they meet a need that relates to new, busy, and entrepreneurial people, often with a penchant for tech. This year’s ESOMAR Congress is successful because it meets the needs of its niche, and because the niche is quite big.

What is the ESOMAR Niche?

The key characteristics of the ESOMAR niche are:

  • International. If you want to be known as an international researcher you need to be associated with ESOMAR and its events. Note, this is different from just wanting to sell international; it is also about creating and maintaining international networks of suppliers, peers, and clients.
  • Grounded in the confluence of academic learning and the canon of established market research thinking. The papers at ESOMAR tend to focus on new material which is based on what has been published before and/or on academic thinking, applied to current or future research needs.
  • The ‘club’. Many people go to ESOMAR Congress (and other ESOMAR events) because they want to. They like the people, they like the social side, the good food, the wine, the parties, and the continuity of relationships over many years.
  • Classy. ESOMAR’s audio visuals are some of the best around, the locations are great; the presentations are typically very well prepared and very visual. Congress is definitely classy.

Talking about the benefits of the event to a delegate who had travelled all the way from Australia to Nice produced the following observation:

“I find I always get one or two really useful ideas that help me develop my business. Some events might offer a window on the future, some events might offer a comprehensive view of a method, or technology, or vertical. ESOMAR may offer fewer ideas, but often bigger ideas, and typically ideas that are already in use somewhere in the world, which can make them quick to apply”.

This means that ESOMAR Congress is not for everybody. For example: it is not for

  • Low budget companies – it is not a budget option – but getting a paper accepted and staying at a cheaper venue make it much more affordable.
  • People focused on their domestic market.
  • People who do not really see themselves as part of the market research community.
  • People who come across as sales people (sales people are welcome, but they need to adapt their approach).

The Future?

This year’s ESOMAR Congress is shaping up to be a great success. Good presentations, good keynotes, a good exhibition, in a great location, with masses of people from over 70 countries. If Congress keeps developing in the current direction it will continue to thrive, in the way Wimbledon, the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, and the Super Bowl thrive. It is a place where lots of people aspire to be.

However, we are all aware that there are new arrivals on the scene and Congress cannot rest on its laurels. ESOMAR can and should keep trying new ideas on the fringe, it should keep working at bringing in young people, people from adjacent industries, and more clients. But it should ensure it maintains its lead on its core proposition, i.e. as an international, aspirational destination. If you are an international researcher, then attending ESOMAR Congress means you have ‘arrived’.

 

raybook

 

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Visualize Your Data With Storytelling

This article reviews the presentation possibilities that are now available using modern data presentation platforms, and outlines some common mistakes when moving from PowerPoint to an online reporting process.

instagram-storytelling

 

Editor’s Note: Visual Storytelling is an immensely important topic in MR that doesn’t get nearly the level of attention it deserves. There isn’t a single client that I know who isn’t clamoring for concise, engaging, and impactful reporting. In fact, I know one very large global CPG company that is looking to shift all of their reporting to video; they would like every report to come as a mini movie! So much of the business of MR is based on mass production and standardization that it’s been challenging to focus on the need to identify new tools, human capital, and business models to support a richer, more creative set of deliverables. Luckily, those are all relatively easy solutions to implement, especially on the tool front. Many new platforms are available on the market to help shift away from simple charts and graphs to more interesting visualizations; here is a list of many to look at if you are interested.

Included in that list is the offering from today’s guest poster, Rudy Nadilo of Dapresy  (Here’s a plug: Dapresy is the real deal, and I like it so much that GreenBook and Gen2 Advisors have a license so we can use it for our own visualization needs).  In today’s post Rudy draws on the experience to lay out some very pragmatic and focused suggestions on how to incorporate visual storytelling into your reporting regardless of what tool you use.

It’s all great advice and provides MR organizations with a foundational “how to” list to begin migrating from the tyranny of SPSS/Excel/Powerpoint to a more creative solution.

 

By Rudy Nadilo

In my daily work, I see a clear trend. The research buyer is looking for better and more effective ways to present survey results to their organization. Their motivation is simple. They need to extract more value from their investments in data collection by getting more stakeholders in their organization involved with and acting upon the data.

This article reviews the presentation possibilities that are now available using modern data presentation platforms, and outlines some common mistakes when moving from PowerPoint to an online reporting process. The following are some of the things to keep in mind to increase the value when presenting data online instead of using PowerPoint or Excel.

Don´t Replicate PowerPoint Online

A very common mistake is trying to replicate PowerPoint reports online. PowerPoint is linear while a modern dashboard reporting tool allows one dynamic slide to literally replace hundreds of PowerPoint slides. The magic behind this capability is something called dynamic filters. A dynamic filter is a dropdown menu placed on top of a web-based dashboard. When clicking the menu, the user gets a list of different alternatives to select. Selecting a filter dynamically generates the view of the data based on the selected criteria. For example, a typical tracker deployed in PowerPoint might have hundreds of slides for countries, regions, brands, salesperson, etc. All of these can simply and easily be replaced with a dynamic filter.

Don´t be Bound by the Limitations of Traditional Reporting

It is critical to change your thinking to capitalize on the benefits of a dashboard tool. We are so programmed by years of using PowerPoint and Excel it is easy to be bound by the restrictions of these tools. They are static, linear and iterative. For example, with online reporting, a few clicks allows you to add benchmark values to a report. Or, imagine you are reporting on customer satisfaction and want each manager responsible for a group of customers to compare his results with the average or best-in-class results from other managers. With traditional reporting, producing this volume of reports is labour intensive, time consuming and cost prohibitive. With dashboard reporting technology, it is very easy to accomplish and results are dynamically generated through hierarchical access rights to the data. These hierarchical access rights are another benefit of a modern reporting tool, which makes it easy to create user- unique views for each user or category of users.

A dashboard tool offers the ability to select a variable in your data and configure the system to create a unique report for each instance of this variable. Let’s say you have a variable called “Customer Type,” and that variable has the associated values “Standard Customer,” “Important Customer,” “Customer to be Developed.” It is very easy to first create a dashboard for all customers and then, with a click, create a unique view for each type of customer. The dashboard tool will automatically create one unique report per customer type.

A Dashboard Tool will Never Fully Replace PowerPoint

Another common mistake is to believe that the dashboard will be the single channel for an organization to use when consuming data. This is normally not the case. People still want to have a PowerPoint deck for a variety of reasons. A dashboard tool is used to efficiently deploy results to the organization so team members can explore and understand results. These users then need:

  • The ability to download the full online report to PowerPoint for making their own notes and to be used in combination with other slides.
  • The ability to pick and choose individually filtered results from the dashboard and save them as a customized “story” that can then be downloaded to PowerPoint.

Providing the user the ability to custom-filter their specific results to be viewed online or downloaded to a PowerPoint is an essential capability.

Use a Combination of Infographics, Dashboards and Charts and Tables

Use infographics to tell your story. A dashboard tool must provide full functionality to visualize data in free form.The picture below is a good example of a way to visualize data from a set of important metrics.

dap1A well-designed dashboard provides an engaging experience for the report user and allows non- technical users to appreciate and explore the results.

Using infographics creates initial interest and will engage your audience. By clicking on the infographic, the users can drill

down further into the result. Combining infographics with an engaging dashboard will solve these information requirements. A dashboard is normally a report with more comprehensive information compared to an infographic. In my experience, it’s best to use an infographic as a door-opener and then follow with a set of dashboards like the image below.

 

dap2

 

Note the filters on top of this dashboard allow the user to generate 300-plus unique views.

When designing a dashboard, you normally cover the requirements for the majority of your users in terms of information sharing. But for those who want more, you can create added value by building up a set of traditional charts and tables for details.

These views are good to use when the need is to find complex and detailed patterns based on the findings made in either the infographic or dashboard view. The image below is one good example of a more comprehensive view.

 

dap3

 

But don´t forget to consider specific heavy users: data analysts, category managers, product managers, etc. In almost all information deliveries, you have a few users that want to have the ability to interact with the data on a table level. It is recommended to include an online cross-tabulation and charting tool as part of your information delivery.

 

dap4

 

Views Depend on User Type

The most common – and deadly – mistake when moving from PowerPoint to online reporting is the desire show everything to everyone. But the expression “less is more” should be the rule of thumb in this situation. It is important to scope out the dashboard and get the user organization to agree on what the various user groups should see. It is best to limit the majority of the users’ access to only part of the information portal – ideally the sections that show results as infographics.Then, allow line or middle managers access to dashboards and traditional reports. Finally, only allow a few people from an expert group access to the cross-tabulation tools.

Finally, and most importantly, make sure your dashboard tool retrieves the data and calculates the data from the same data source and in the same manner.You don´t want to end up in a situation where you get different results for the same query.

Happy dashboarding!

Rudy Nadio is president of Dapresy North America, Inc. He can be reached at rudy@dapresy.com.

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Why Democratizing Your Brand Is Good For Business

Why should you democratize your brand and bring customers inside the business? Here are three key reasons.

Democratizing Brands

 

By Ray Poynter

Why should you democratize your brand and bring customers inside the business? For some, it’s a matter of conscience – opening up the business for customer insight is simply the right thing to do. For most, it’s because it’s profitable. The growth in the number of companies opening up to customers (through sharing and collaborating) stems from hard-nosed commercial considerations. Research shows that democratizing a brand is good business.

I make the argument more fully in my recently released book “The Customer Relationship; Your Last Competitive Advantage” available from Vision Critical, but if you want the abridged version the three key points are:

  1. Democratizing a brand generates business benefits
  2. Customers are the last, good competitive advantage
  3. Involving the customer involves a range of approaches

1 Democratizing a brand generates business benefits

Studies such as IBM’s 2013 ‘The Customer Activated Enterprise” have found that outperforming organizations are much more likely than underperforming ones to be collaborating with customers. A study by the Aberdeen Group suggested that organizations that used social collaboration had 30 percent higher levels of customer retention and a 55 percent increase in revenue, compared with organizations that did not use social collaboration. These and many other studies make the point that working with customers can help grow the bottom line.

2 Customers are the last, good competitive advantage

In the past, brands could sustain a product difference. Some products washed whiter, some products lasted longer, and similarly, some service levels were more personal, or faster, or supportive. Today, however, parity can usually be achieved in every aspect of a product and/or service. In general, product and service differences have ceased to be a source of sustainable competitive advantage. This is why industry executives like P&G’s AG Lafley and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have prioritized customers, because customers are a brand’s last, best source of competitive advantage.

3 Involving the customer involves a range of approaches

In the book I identify three levels of engagement that help ensure the customer is brought inside the organization. These three levels are: i) Listening to the customer, ii) Crowdsourcing innovation, and iii) Co-creating the future. This three-step process involves assembling a range of tools. Everything from social media to customer feedback and insight communities need to be leveraged in order to make changes in business decision-making. There is no silver bullet when it comes to being genuinely customer-centric. Being customer-centric requires a wide range of tools and approaches to be adopted.

Change from within

These three layers are not just a set of tools; they represent a change in the nature of business. Don Tapscott said, “Smart companies will bring customers into their business webs and give them lead roles in developing next-generation products and services.” To do this requires businesses to change, to welcome the customer, and to cede some comfort and power.

If you’d like to access the references, the thinking, the cases studies and the detailed recommendations from this work, download a copy from http://www.visioncritical.com/customer-relationships

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Guest Post: The ALS Challenge And The Value Exchange

Why market researchers need to rethink their incentives programs

Ice-Bucket-Challenge

 

Editor’s note: Mark Hughes is the Manager, Global Payment Solutions at hyperWALLET Systems Inc., a leading global payments provider.

By Mark Hughes

By now, not only have you heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, chances are you’ve participated in the fundraiser, either as a watery victim or a trusted videographer. A viral fundraising sensation that’s dominated social media for the past few weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge had raised more than $42 million for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as of August 21st.

Here’s how it works: videotape yourself pouring a bucket of ice cold water on yourself. Then, challenge your friends to do it. They have 24-hours to either publish video evidence of their ice bucket experience, or else make a donation (usually $100) to the ALS Association. Amazingly, most participants will do both – donating even after they’ve enjoyed an icy shower.

Designed to raise awareness for this rare and debilitating neurodegernative disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t your average fundraiser. Sure, it asks for money. But it does so in a way that’s undeniably human. Simply put, the Ice Bucket Challenge makes fundraising… fun.

Unlike traditional fundraising campaigns that shine a light on the recipients of the donations, the Ice Bucket Challenge is as much about those who give donations as those who receive them. As Shahrukh Khan of the Harvard International Review stated, it’s the “participatory nature of the Challenge” that has helped “increase the willingness of people to look into what ALS is and thus spread the message. The Challenge is based on an engagement model that’s hinged on a value exchange. Simply put, if you want to add to the wave of watery awesomeness and join the likes of David Beckham, Pamela Anderson, Bill Gates and Jimmy Fallon in the exclusive Challenge social circle, you’ll need to first open your mind and your wallet for the ALS cause.

So what does this have to do with market research and incentive systems? Well, how about everything?

If the Challenge has taught modern fundraisers anything, it is that building a relationship between those who give the donations and those who receive it is critical; a connection must be forged in such a way that everyone wins. It’s thus feasible to suggest that a similar engagement model, one that’s based on forging a relationship between researchers and their survey participants, could help enhance the data collection process and improve panel retention rates going forward. And what better way to do this than to offer and incentives system that encourages interaction, boosts brand engagements and delivers the freedom of choice?

Tapping into the Relationship Economy with Your Incentives System

Unlike previous economic and industrial shifts, which have focused on quantitative improvements (optimizing production methods, reducing costs and improving quality), the relationship economy has flipped the fundamentals of consumerism on their head. Now, instead of pursuing profits in order to reap social rewards, organizations need to pursue social benefits in order to drive profits. For market research, the approach is slightly different: rather than pay participants for their time and information, researchers need to empower respondents if they wish to establish trust and inspire participation.

So, what’s the easiest way to introduce a relationship-based value exchange into your research process? How about inside your survey incentives program? According to research from Eleanor Singer of the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan, incentives increase response rates to surveys in all modes, including the web, panels and cross-sectional studies. Additional research by Singer has also shown that respondents prefer to receive this incentive in the form of cold, hard cash.

Even with this information, market research firms will normally opt for an incentive that suits their budgets and administrative limitations rather than offering compensation that fairly addresses a value exchange. This is because, in most cases, issuing a cash incentive as part of the research process requires significant effort such as printing and distributing paper checks – a costly and cumbersome undertaking, particularly for smaller value payments and global incentive programs.

So, instead of participating in a balanced exchange, market research companies have sacrificed true value for convenience, utilizing cheaper, easier to implement payment methods. Common alternatives have included restrictive closed-loop gift cards, vouchers, coupons and contest giveaways.

Fortunately, new, advanced incentive fulfillment systems (like ours here at hyperWALLET) are making it easier and more affordable for researchers to issue cash incentives and live up to their end of the relationship economy. This includes prepaid and virtual cash cards, as well as the ability to issue real-time payments onto already existing debit/credit cards. Now market research companies can issue incentives quickly, efficiently and without any unnecessary administrative overhead or operational hassle.
Just as the ALS Challenge has made the donor the focus of the fundraising process, a renewed approach to your incentives program can clearly recognize the immense value brought forth by respondents and participants.

When it comes to incentives fulfillment, researchers need to re-examine their relationships with participants so as to better compensate respondents for their role in the data collection process. While it might not be as chilly as dumping a bucket of freezing cold water on your head, I’m willing to bet the results will be just as refreshing for your market research organization!

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How BPOs Are Helping Research Companies Build More Valuable Client Relationships

Below are four examples of client service successes that illustrate how important it is to focus on customer needs and deliver what they want when they want it.

Handshake

 

Editor’s Note: Few industries have a more tumultuous relationship with offshore Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organizations than market research; after all, most MR firms built their business models on a “field costs +” model, so keeping internal infrastructure in place and working has been a strategic business imperative. However, as new technology and new entrants into the space have increased the pressure on costs and value delivery, BPOs have emerged as an important part of the marketplace. Rather than being seen as competitors, most have worked hard to develop great partnering programs with a variety of research suppliers. In some cases, (like today’s contributor Ugam) these companies have morphed into highly innovative full service agencies in their own right, developing new solutions and unique offerings that address many critical business needs for both end clients and supplies alike.

Leveraging the economic, technological, and education resources of emerging markets like India, Romania, and Cost Rica these companies have become the vital field work, operational, and technological flex resources many MR firms rely upon to stay lean and agile. As more research suppliers make the shift to insight consultancies, the need for strong partners to deliver on operational needs will only increase.

With that in mind, todays post by Madhav Mirani of industry leader in managed analytics Ugam is a great overview of the importance of BPO partners to help deliver an edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

 

By Madhav Mirani: 

Market research firms are facing many challenges, from the way their end clients want to consume data to the way survey participants want to take surveys. Regardless of the changes taking place in the industry, these firms need to remain focused on delivering rich, actionable insights to their customers to succeed. Below are four examples of client service successes that illustrate how important it is to focus on customer needs and deliver what they want when they want it.

Example #1: We received a call from one of our market research clients at 11 a.m. one morning, stating that they had a meeting with their client the very next morning with an opportunity to displace another supplier for a particular book of work. They wanted to make a strong impression with their client and go in to the meeting with some specific insights. So we fielded a study, collected and analyzed the data and put it into a reporting format that enabled our client to easily add their own insights and conclusions before the day was done. As a result, our client made the strong impression they wanted to and won the book of work.

Example #2: Another one of our clients provides research and insights to a large IT company. The challenge for this client was that the IT company was not happy with the speed of the service they were getting – they wanted the ability to analyze data and get insights in near real-time without losing any service customization. Leveraging a combination of technology, process and people around the clock, we enabled our client to deliver what the IT company wanted, and build a more valuable client relationship.

Example #3: One of our clients works with various retailers, and one of their retail clients tasked them with getting insights from non-shoppers in real-time. Over 70 percent of their store traffic did not end up purchasing and they wanted to understand these non-shoppers and why they weren’t buying anything. They did not want to conduct a recall-based survey, but wanted insights in real-time. We partnered with a location analytics company and were able to engage with non-shoppers in real-time and provide some very valuable insights.

Example #4: One of our clients runs a large syndicated study where they reach out to thousands of respondents on a monthly basis. They had been seeing a decline in response rates and one of the reasons identified was the challenge of multiple devices and multiple browsers. The respondents were increasingly participating in the survey from all types of devices which had different browsers and different versions of browsers. We enabled a solution that ensured their syndicated survey worked in every device and every browser and every version of browsers. The process is now institutionalized such that it will work going forward as more and more devices and browsers and browser versions emerge.

The list could go on in terms of the different challenges market research firms face as well as end clients’ changing research and insights needs. And we do see some common themes emerging.

One consistent client need is speed. They want insights faster, in real-time, in a customized manner, on-demand, 24/7. Another need we observe from end clients is that they want to combine different types of data to provide richer insights. They are interested in how survey data can be combined with other types of data such as location data, transactional data, internal company data, etc. to provide more insights.

To respond to these changing needs from end clients, market research firms need to change in some fundamental ways. They need more analytical talent that can deal with and fuse all these different types of data. They also need to change their organization structures to be more external facing to deal with the need for speed in insights. In addition, they need to change their delivery interface to clients so they can provide insights in real-time. Finally, they must change their technology infrastructure to be more in-sync with client needs. Today, many market research firms treat each research project as a discrete project that needs to be executed from scratch where data collected is stored in silos and is not going to enable them to meet the needs of end clients.

Besides dealing with the changing needs of their end clients, market research firms are confronted with some seismic shifts in the respondent world. Companies have to think even harder about how we can engage with respondents to get them to participate in surveys, to collect data from them. One fact that is inescapable is that respondents are engaging with companies through multiple devices. We left the PC-dominated era a while ago, but most market research firms still engage with their respondents primarily via email and PCs.

In addition, the industry has talked about declining response rates for a long time, but nobody has bothered to analyze how the multi-device world in which we live is contributing to the decline, and how respondent engagement practices have not kept up. Another challenge with respondent engagement is the length of surveys. In conversation, most everyone agrees that 30- to 45-minute surveys are contributing to declining response rates. However, when it comes to trying to change this, the argument always used is that clients want to maximize the length of surveys to make maximum use of their budgets.

Market research firms need to demonstrate to clients that they can get richer insights by either fusing data together from shorter surveys with the same respondents or different respondents on a significantly larger scale. The technological capability exists today to enable such data collection, processing and analysis.

In this increasingly complex world, we believe that market research firms will be best served by investing in their core customer base. End clients come to market research firms to get insights, to be guided on making decisions that will impact their business. To effectively compete and differentiate themselves, market research firms need to invest in the right type of analytical resources and more client-facing staff who can engage and understand clients’ business problems and provide actionable insights. Market research firms need to be far more externally focused and have their research consultants in front of clients as frequently as possible.

At the same time, decisions need to be made about how to re-architect the technology infrastructure and processes to deal with the challenges of respondent experience, the need for speed, the need to combine different types of data, etc. The outdated technology infrastructure and processes put in place during the era of PCs and online respondents is no longer going to work. Similarly, delivering insights to clients in batch-mode or responding to their requests in hours is no longer going to work as they increasingly seek real-time answers. The infrastructure where each research project is treated as a discrete project and data is collected and stored in silos is no longer a viable business model.

Our view that it is unrealistic to expect research companies to effectively invest in both client-facing and infrastructure/process areas because each requires significant investment on an ongoing basis. The complexities needed to address the challenges in both areas are very different and require different core competencies. The market research firms that focus on delivering richer, more actionable insights to their end clients faster will win in the end.

Companies like Ugam exist to address the challenges of research operations execution. Our core is to understand the changing needs of market research firms and ensure that we have the technology infrastructure and processes in-place to meet those needs. We help answer questions such as:

  • How do you ensure that surveys are completely device and browser agnostic?
  • How can you deliver insights in near real-time?
  • How do you build repeatable and reusable custom research assets so that each project need not be executed from scratch?
  • How do you analyze data from different sources in a way that provides actionable insights?
  • What kind of technology infrastructure is needed and how much is it going to cost?
  • How do you find respondents based on location data or transactional data?
  • How do you deal with clients who expect to be serviced at all times irrespective of whether it is late in the night or the weekend?
  • How do you address the challenge of declining response rates without impacting the quality of data and insights?
  • How do you achieve defect-free research operations execution?

Companies like Ugam are completely focused on finding answers to the above questions. We invest in the talent that is needed to help find those answers, and the talent needed to answer some of the questions is quite different from the historical norm for the industry. Ugam also invests in the technology infrastructure that can tackle many of the problems in a far more automated and systemic manner than has been done in the past. We create frameworks and processes that leverage our talent and technology. A lot of this comes from our learnings and insights from different industries. For example:

  • The IT industry provides an excellent roadmap to address some of the technology and process challenges;
  • The online advertising industry provides some great takeaways for respondent engagement and automation of access to respondents; and
  • The manufacturing industry provides some great examples of how to create organization structures that can deal with the demand of real-time insights.

By working with a company like Ugam, market research firms can focus on delivering  client-facing insights – their core deliverable –  without having to worry about how research operations gets executed. They are able to invest in people and processes that enable them to better engage with their clients, get closer to them and better understand their business problems, and provide them with actionable insights.

In terms of how the research gets executed, market research firms can feel safe and secure knowing their partner’s core business is research operations execution. Our focus is to have answers to all the above questions. That is what we invest in on an on-going basis, and how we help research companies build better relationships with their clients.

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