EmergeSmarter Blog

“Innovate or Die” Stories about Market Research in an Age of Winner Take All

Posted on Thu, Nov 3, 2011

By Walt Dickie, Executive Vice President

When my two college-age sons were younger they each went through a period of fascination with what I think of as “alternate reality” or “science fiction presented as fact” cable TV programs. Our house was awash for years in aliens hidden in secret government facilities, Sasquatch sightings, and paranormal activities of all kinds.

None of this bothered me too much. Although the sci-fi-as-sci-fact genre hadn’t been so popular when I was a kid, I had loved Erich von Dänigan, and devoured everything I could find about Bigfoot – once even giving serious thought (for a week or two) to writing my Ph.D. dissertation about Bigfoot lore before coming to earth on the realization that my paltry linguistic skills weren’t up to the challenge of the Northwest Coast languages.

But my kids were getting all this via cable at a much younger age than I was, and they didn’t have the grasp on the “science” part yet. I had to have some way of talking to them about what they were seeing that admitted its attraction while warning them about taking it all too literally.

Talking to my older son one day about extraterrestrial visitors, and struggling with the knowledge that the stories of little green men that he found so fascinating certainly had some scientific plausibility, I told him that I thought it would be so cool if it was true. And I saw that what I was trying to say had finally clicked for him. Of course he was fascinated, of course people wrote about this, went to conventions, and searched the skies (and their backyards) for aliens because it would be so cool if it was true. Once the aliens, Yetis, time travel, ghost sightings, and all the rest were seen as powerfully compelling stories, he got the point I had been trying to make about his fascination with them and my parental concern.

That experience had a real effect on me; it was the first time that I fully realized how our entertainment-driven culture has become fascinated by things that are cool to think about, even when we know at some level that they aren’t true. It’s not that we value illusions of truth, it’s that we value cool so highly. This is where internet memes are born – internet flash mobs playing all the variations on a theme that is experiencing its moment of coolness.Market Research Innovations

I think about that experience a lot these days; only I’m not thinking about possible remnant populations of otherwise extinct giant apes wandering around barefoot in the Himalayas. I’m thinking about the unceasing drumbeat of blog posts and articles hawking the embrace of all-out innovation as the only means of escape from certain commercial death.

“Innovate or die” has been with us since the tech boom of the 90s, and it has evolved from a taunt thrown out by a few hard-charging internet entrepreneurs to well-nigh the accepted gospel of modern business. It seems to be especially popular among bloggers and other bystanders; a hair trigger response to any commercial stumble, good for a quick post requiring little thought. Lately it’s become the war cry of the marketing research commentariat, who would have us toss off the shackles of hide bound, obsolete, research techniques – apparently abandoning clients and revenue streams in our haste to get out of long-standing but soon extinct business lines.

C+R and I both survived the 90s – by innovating – and I’ve had a lot of time to think about the events of those years and what they mean to our future. Our experience put me firmly in the pro-innovation camp, and I thought I was comfortable there. Then, a few years ago, my college alumni magazine, Technology Review, which has become a fairly successful commercial enterprise itself, announced that “innovation” would henceforth its theme, its be-all and end-all.

I found that strangely troubling. I’m an MIT grad, but I am not now nor have I ever been an engineer, scientist, or even a technologist in any very serious sense. I’m an anthropologist by professional training, and what technical expertise I have has always been harnessed to business issues.

But when Technology Review started to really harp on “innovation,” I found myself wondering about all of the engineers who had spent their careers improving processes, increasing the accuracy and speed of measurements, making things more efficient, safer, or economical. Certainly those achievements required something reasonably called “innovation,” but that kind of innovation wasn’t what the “innovate or die” crowd were talking about.

You don’t “innovate or die” just by improving something. You invent something “revolutionary.” You “change the world.” You overthrow the old and embrace the new. You cause a “paradigm shift.”

I have a visceral understanding of the allure of paradigm shifts. The voice of Thomas Kuhn, extolling the concept of “paradigm shifts” in the history of science during the 60s, sang as sweet a song in the corridors of academe as The Beatles or The Dead. We wanted to get high, get laid, and cause a paradigm shift that would overthrow the stodgy dogma of whatever we were majoring in – not necessarily in that order. I remember it well. And, like most young academics, I loved the smell of it in the morning.

So why, I found myself asking, does it bother me, 40 or 50 years later, that my alumni magazine has gone all innovation on me? Was I now backing the fuddy duddies? This question really bothered me, raising the possibility, as it did, that I was not only backing them but also joining them.

In the past few years I think I’ve finally figured it out. Kuhn was writing about big-S Science, and the Tech Review has chosen to concentrate more on Big-T Technology rather than the small-t technologists it used to write about. Paradigms are the right thing to think about when you’re talking about big-S, big-T stuff. I thought so in the 70s, and I think so now.

But if you’re a small-letter scientist, technologist, or marketing researcher, then the issue isn’t as clear. Should you, in fact, stop wasting your time on something that will be displaced by a paradigm shift?

Let’s imagine you live near Lake Michigan, as I do. It’s summer, it’s warm, and the sun is shining. The gorgeous blue waters and fresh breezes beckon. You know, of course, that the paradigm of gorgeous weather will shift, possibly very soon. And, this summer at least, you have every reason to believe that 60 mph winds and 20’ waves may make that shift very unpleasant indeed. For purposes of this little example, you have no access to any weather forecast of any kind. What do you do? Stay on shore or get in a boat?

The fact is that, until the advent of modern computerized weather models, no forecasting tools could consistently beat the prediction that tomorrow’s weather will be very much like today’s. Your best bet, then, in the absence of better information like an online satellite view, is to predict a continuation of more of the same. Shove off, hoist the sails, and enjoy the continuing lovely weather. At least in the short run.

Let’s try another analogy. You’re a marketing research company that has a good-sized survey research business. You’ve been doing well on survey research for many years, you negotiated the transition from phone and mall to the internet, and you’re doing well getting your head and hands around the mobile revolution.

But you see a paradigm shift coming. Big data could shift the paradigm and undermine the market for survey research because, given enough data, what people actually do as reflected in their searching, shopping, purchasing, friending, tweeting, and other choices on millions of web sites is a much more reliable indicator of their future behavior and their opinions. And a paradigm shift in cognitive science says that people don’t even know what they’re thinking when they’re thinking it; that what they think they think and whatever “thought” it is that drives action in their world are two totally different things, often in conflict with one another. Who will care about what people imagine they think in the future? Your survey research could be shifted right into the trash.

Or will your recent good results from survey research continue, like the weather, at least in the short run? For that matter, even if your business tanks in the long run, what exactly does “long” mean? Do you get out of the business today? Next year? Suddenly? Gradually? And what does “out” mean? Quit? Put less emphasis on selling and marketing? Stop developing completely and freeze everything just as it is today?

Since we’re talking here about you, a small-m marketing researcher, not the big-M marketing research industry as a whole, it’s pretty hard to know the right answer. Certainly these, and other equally large, evident paradigm shifts, are going to impact Marketing Research – or Consumer Insights, Decision Guidance, or whatever we wind up calling what we do. But what happens at big-M scale may not be what happens in your immediate neighborhood.

Famously, buggy whips went out a century or more ago, killed by the big paradigm shift to internal combustion engines, automobiles, and global warming. But there are still buggy whips being made and sold, and someone is probably making a nice living off them. Along about the same time that the horse-and-buggy went out, a huge industry based on fancy feathers for ladies’ hats, that had shipped tons upon tons of feathers annually, died out, swamped by a sea change in fashion. But there are still feather merchants to be found, and their industry, once dominated by sales to fly fishermen and Vegas-style costumers, is booming thanks to a fad for hairdos incorporating feathers. I remember reading a story a few years ago about a local firm’s turnaround – they had gotten out of their struggling “modern” electronics business and established themselves as the dominant player in the global market for replacement vacuum tubes for legacy equipment and were making record profits! Vacuum tubes! Who knew? And closer to home, there are still many phone rooms plying their trade for marketing research long after the online paradigm shift moved the industry in a new direction.

Let me be clear: I’m not arguing that it’s better, wiser, or more lucrative for your career or business to live on the backside of a paradigm shift, only that there are a lot more choices and possibilities than just “get with the new paradigm” or “drop dead.” Anyone who tells you otherwise has either never managed a real business or going for sensationalism over sense. Hooey!

It’s pretty clear why we’re so enamored of “innovate or die”– you don’t have to have paid much attention in any of your lib arts courses to recognize and understand the appeal of a story arc. We humans all crave stories and are fascinated by them, so condensing the complexities of actual life into the simple narrative of “innovate or die” is perfectly understandable, even if pretty much useless as advice. Innovators on one side – successful, profitable, with it, and future-oriented – and dead companies – foggies, fools, and bankrupt stick-in-the muds – on the other!

It is, I think, a winner take all fable for a winner take all age.  It would just be so cool if it was true!

Tags: Market Research, market research tools, Misc

5 Ways to Know If You Have an Insight or Observation

Posted on Mon, Oct 10, 2011

By Robert Relihan, Senior Vice President

For as long as the phrase “Consumer Insight” has been used, I am amazed that I still see discussions of its meaning.  Don’t we all know what an “insight” is by now?

Well, maybe not.  The word certainly has been overused; every observation about consumer behavior and attitudes becomes an "insight."

Market ResearchAnd, unlike a mere finding, it has an air of inevitability, not to be questioned.  Perhaps, the use of "insight" is an example of language creep — using words of greater and greater intensity to describe our actions in an attempt to endow them with more importance than they deserve.  It is a bit like using wind chill factors to convince ourselves that winters are re-e-e-ally cold now.

Yet, the word is useful.  Who doesn’t want to get into the head of a consumer?  That’s what an insight is — an authentic vision of how consumers view themselves and connect with brands or categories.

So, here’s five ways to know you have a true insight and not a mere observation.

  • An insight is clear and simple.  One short, declarative sentence is best.  If you need three sentences to explain it, you don’t have an insight.   Most of all, it can’t be a multi-layered, logical construct.  A syllogism is not an insight.
  • An insight is a surprise. You may discover insights, but you can’t necessarily search for them.  Insights into the consumer give us new and fresh perspectives; they are unexpected.  Consequently, we are more likely to discover insights by being open and not wedded to particular methods.
  • An insight is a game changer.  If an insight is a surprise, if it gives us an unexpected vision, it must drive the development of different products and different ways of communicating them.  The recognition that consumers wanted small indulgences in every category transformed the coffee shop into Starbucks.
  • An insight is often a mash up.  How can you be surprised?  How can you be open to discovery?  If there is one rule to developing insights (I resist calling it a method), it is that you need to combine perspectives.  You might never have had that “Starbuck moment” watching people getting coffee in traditional coffee shops.  But, if you also observed them in bakeries and wine bars, the light would go off…insight.
  • An insight is not immediately translatable.  We have spent most of our careers looking for “actionable results.”  It is a laudable goal and, in many circumstances, it is an essential goal.  What good would a taste test be without actionable findings?  But, if insights are surprising, game changers, they may not have a direct immediate utility.  We need to be prepared to follow the insight, to push the insight to its ultimate game-changing conclusion.

Check us out at C+R and discover how we can be your partner on that journey of discovery, from insight to game-changing conclusion.

Tags: Market Research Reporting, Market Research, Misc

Market Research Reporting - Getting to the Heart of It…

Posted on Thu, Aug 18, 2011

By Lynne Bartos, Vice President

There is nothing more embarrassing for a researcher than to hear a client say “…this doesn’t really address the business questions that we set out to answer.” This is more common an occurrence in research reporting than most of us would care to admit. But unfortunately, much report writing these days falls short of expectations for those on the client side.  This is likely due to more emphasis on methodology or analytic technique at the expense of clear graphics, creative story-telling and actionable direction.

What often happens during the report-writing process is that market researchers have their direct research client in mind.  They neglect the fact that their direct contact must present these findings to the ultimate stakeholder in the process — someone in senior management or the head of marketing who does not function in the research realm. 

We need to take conscious steps to break out of our little bubble to avoid some of the lingo that is prevalent in research circles. You know what I mean if you’ve ever found yourself presenting your findings to marketing folks.  While peppering them with terms such as “mean,” “monadic,” “DK/NS,” “latent class,” and the like, you suddenly notice the deer-in-the-headlights reaction.  Worse yet, your audience’s eyes glaze over completely.  These terms are foreign to many marketers and, frankly, most of them couldn’t care less about such things.  They simply want a viable solution to the particular business need they set out to address.          Market Research Reporting

So, when writing a research report for my clients it helps me to keep a few things in mind….

Speak to Marketers in Their Language

Focus on what marketers care most about — getting customers, keeping customers, and increasing their share of the customer’s wallet.  So tell them what is meaningful to them….

  • How to position their brand
  • How best to price it 
  • Who their best prospects are and how to reach them
  • What message should they be communicating 
  • Who are their most loyal and valuable customers
  • How do they keep them loyal to their service or brand 

Net, net — put some Marketing-Speak into your report, and leave out the Research-speak.

Tell a good story

A good report tells a good story.  So, how do you tell a compelling story?  Start by getting organized!

  • Develop an analytic plan that focuses on business issues and objectives — the questions that need to be answered. 
  • Outline how the questions will be. 
  • Once the data is in, all team members should know how the data relates to those question, and they can craft the best story together.

Remember, every page in the report should contribute to the story!  If something doesn’t contour well with your story, stick it in the Appendix.  How many hundred-page reports have you been subjected to where the charts are all in the same order as the questionnaire?  Where is the story?  

It’s also important to stick closely to your analytic plan when crafting your story. The analytic plan is what helps to keep everyone focused on why the research was conducted in the first place.

Insightful Headlines and Bullets

What I also find helpful in getting my arms around the story is to write effective bullets and headlines for the data presented.  Too many people think an insight is reiterating the numbers that are in the charts.  Remember, anyone can read the numbers on a chart – our job, as researchers, is to pull the deeper insights from seemingly obvious data.

Be Creative and Have a Llittle Fun

Creativity also comes into play!  Package the story in a creative way. No one wants to see rows and rows of data. Make the report visually appealing so you don’t intimidate those who are going to be using the findings to help drive strategy.  Avoid too much text and too many numbers.

And, don’t be afraid to insert some humor here and there. It reminds your clients that you are human and helps to lighten the tone and keep things relaxed.   

Get to the Heart of It

And finally, probably the hardest part of the report process for any researcher is to get straight to the heart of it… what is the story – conclusions, implications, and recommendations.  Go to the next step to tell them what the data MEANS, and what they might consider doing to maximize their investment.

And there is nothing sweeter to a market researcher’s ears than to hear a client voice saying, “Thanks, this really addresses the business questions that we set out to answer!”

Tags: Market Research Reporting, Market Research, market research tools, Misc

The Key to Reporting Discovered?

Posted on Fri, Jul 22, 2011

By Walt Dickie, Executive Vice President

Marketing research reports tend toward data-laden step-by-step arguments. Detailed discussion about specific data may – or, to the frustration of clients, may not – lead to a conclusion about the overall business implications of the analysis. 

This traditional narrative approach is under pressure from many quarters: a sound bite culture; the sometimes cryptic style of text messaging, Twitter, and email; an increasing reliance on visual display over written exposition; and a general disinterest in, and even distrust of, data and evidence.

How should a report be structured that has the power to change minds and generate consensus?

Many believe that the key lies in more and better graphics and everyone seems to call upon Tufte as a guide to graphic design. His The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983), Minard’s famous graph of Napoleon’s march to Moscow and its aftermath, and Tufte’s later books can be found, I think, in every MR industry office, and his influence has been largely responsible for the industry’s infatuation with graphing data.

Yet the more we try to create engaging representations of our data with novel graphical treatments, the more we run the risk of confusing those we hope to excite with our results.Market Research Rsporting

This seems to be an impasse. To grab the attention of an audience that may not already be involved deeply requires novelty, but novelty impairs communication. Now what?

The Poynter Institute is a journalism school in St. Petersburg, and they’ve been conducting studies on the impact of layout and design on newspaper reading since 1990. In 2006, they used three different formats to set up the same news story about bird flu, and then tested the effects of the designs. The information in all three versions was identical. (The three prototypes have apparently been removed from the Poynter web site, which indicates that they have been published in book form.)

The Institute describes them this way (emphasis added): "Prototype 1 was conventional, with headline, narrative and photograph … Prototype 2 contained a narrative story with some of the information broken out in a map and some in a fact box. Prototype 3 was very visual with no traditional narrative. It featured . . . a map, a Q&A, a numbers chart and other graphic storytelling."

The Poynter study used eye tracking to follow what people were looking at and for how long, and they also tested recall of the stories. Miner again: “Readers read the prototypes for five minutes and then were quizzed on bird flu. Readers of Prototype 3, the one that did away with narrative, got the most answers right. What's more, these readers came away most interested in the subject of bird flu and most open to learning more.”

This is an amazing result: a non-narrative presentation of the disjointed components of a story generated more reader involvement and better recall of the facts.

This has several implications for MR reporting:

  • It isn’t novelty, “creative” graphics, or bright colors that compel attention; it’s a clear presentation of all of the elements of the story.
  • We are shooting ourselves in the foot by trying to lead an audience through our arguments in step-by-step fashion. This is yet another indictment of PowerPoint, with its bullet-pointed lists on slide after slide. We need to develop a “collage” mentality and present the parts of the story simultaneously.
  • Our reports should encourage a kind of do-it-yourself involvement with the story we want to tell, encouraging the reader to impose order on them. Discussion is likely to be more powerful than exposition. Anything that encourages the audience to work things out for themselves will generate involvement and recall. This means laying out all the steps to the conclusion, but letting the conclusion itself be discovered.
  • We needn’t constantly come up with new graphic formats to present the data we include; in fact, we can rely on the familiarity of standard graphic forms to enhance the clarity of the presentation. This doesn’t mean we can’t use more creative graphics; only that we don’t need to rely on them to do the job alone.
  • When we use the “infographics” approach, we should avoid a linear narrative, and, instead, strive for a presentation that gives each story element space to breathe and encourages the eye to wander from one to the other.

I’ll let Miner have the final word: “Enjoyable as it may be, linear narrative is nowhere near as predictably efficient as is deconstruction of a story into its…components…the reader creates the narrative rather than having the writer impose it on him or her.”

PS: It is either ironic or pathetic that this post is in the form of an essay.

Tags: Market Research, market research tools, Misc

Latest Market Research Trends At Youth Mega Mashup

Posted on Thu, Jul 7, 2011

By Darren Breese, Director

The recent Youth Mega Mashup Event was a tremendous opportunity to learn the latest trends in the  Youth and Millennial space. There is considerable agreement among leaders in the field.  This is a new generation of consumers who value the environment and social causes, interaction with each Youth Mega Mashupother and with brands,  entrepreneurship, customization and personalization, technology, and above all else—authenticity.  The implications for brands and businesses are vast as this new generation’s spending power becomes stronger and stronger.

One of the most anticipated presentations of the Mashup Event came from Jane McGonigal, PhD, an acclaimed game developer, researcher, and author.  Her research in the field of gaming underscores the idea that gaming produces positive stress which creates “Super-Powered Hopeful Individuals.”  She presented the shocking statistic that human-beings spend 3 billion hours/week worldwide playing video games.  In comparison, 100 million TOTAL man hours have been spent creating maybe the most widely used online resource—Wikipedia.  To ask, “Is it worth it?” is an understatement to some.  But, McGonigal is convinced it is, and she answers the question with the acronym PeRMA (Positive emotion, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment) created by Dr. Martin Seligman, which she contends is a by-product of playing games.   She contends that games can actually solve larger social problems by increasing individuals’ PeRMA.  Her perspective suggests that researchers should be building more feedback loops into their instruments.  We need an approach to this new generation that is less task-based and more game-like to help engage research respondents and, in turn, elicit higher quality insights and feedback.

McGonigal’s keynote was foreshadowed by an earlier presentation by the insights and research folks at MTV that argued “Gamification” is the future of Marketing.   By making a game of Marketing, brands and companies engage and motivate their consumers while also creating lasting relationships with them.  Brands using games as part of their Marketing campaigns are in a better position to create emotional relationships with their consumers. 

Connecting with consumers by letting them create the content of their Marketing strengthens consumers’ perception of a brand’s authenticity.  Doritos and Ford presented ways in which they engaged their consumers by allowing them to create video content and let their voices be heard.  Brands and companies have seen increased success through transparency and allowing their consumers to tell them what they’re all about. 

The use of social media within the generation was a hot topic as well.  Social media allows Millennials  to share their opinions and recommendations and to spread influence.  This new generation of consumers harnesses the power of peer-to-peer relationships to democratize influence and recommendations.  The term “Repfluence” was used to describe this trend in consumer interaction.  To make an even more informed decision, consumers can decide how trustworthy their peers’ influence is by their Klout score, which measures not the quantity of content but the quality with which they spread it.  The younger generation of consumers is more likely to be influenced by their peers than by traditional advertising, which means today’s Marketers are re-thinking the way they connect with consumers.

Tags: Market Research, Market Research Conference, Misc

Marketing Research is Still Behind the Curve of Online Privacy and Security

Posted on Wed, Jun 1, 2011

By Walt Dickie, Executive Vice President

C+R started moving online in the late 90s, and the trickle became a flood in 2000 when we launched www.kidzeyes.com, our first online panel. From that point on we always had the Children’s SAS70Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in our minds. The result was that an awareness of online privacy and security issues got baked into C+R’s DNA.

We were lucky because we were prepared when the Sarbanes-Oxley Act made companies re-think their risk management strategies, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act drove our financial clients to focus on privacy, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act changed the focus in healthcare. And big public privacy gaffes – most recently, the disclosure of customer data connected with 77 million Playstation accounts – brought the importance of protecting customer data to the fore for almost everyone else.

As part of our regular SAS70 review we recently re-drafted our Privacy Policy and website Terms of Use statements to make them easier to understand and to bring them up to date with changing technologies and methods.

We have a procedure in place for reviewing our data collection partners’ data handling policies and practices to determine whether we can trust them to receive protected data, such as personally identifiable financial or health data. We’ve scored phone rooms and focus group facilities for a while now, but until recently hadn’t considered online community platforms, bulletin board systems, journaling sites, webcam focus group facilities, or other suppliers catering to the skyrocketing online qualitative arena.

We’ve realized two things: one is that we have to be prepared for the explosion of MR methods that’s going to turn the field upside down in the next few years and expand our supplier review to cover new methods as soon as possible; the other is that the MR industry hasn’t gotten the message.

I’m not going to name names; that’s not the point of this post. But having recently scoured suppliers’ websites for Privacy Policies and formally requested documentation from vendors ranging from major software providers to online start-ups, we’ve found an industry that’s at least 10 years behind the curve.

The major MR organizations, such as CASRO, of which C+R is a member, have spoken loudly and clearly about these issues for some time. Any number of conference presentations have been given. Leading edge clients have demanded proof and audited results from us. But we found that minimal steps, such as a well thought out privacy policy, are above the reach of many vendors. And more serious programs, such as security audits and regular penetration testing haven’t generally been so much as considered.

Will it take a Playstation-sized data fiasco for the industry to finally understand what we are risking – for ourselves and our clients – by our cavalier attitude?

Tags: Market Research, SAS70, Misc

Crowdsourcing Research for Co-Creation with Bloomberg Fantasy Sports

Posted on Thu, May 26, 2011

By Shaili Bhatt, Senior Analyst

Event coverage of the following session from the 2011 IIR Technology Driven Market Research Event (TDMR) in Chicago, May 2-3, 2011 #TDMR: “Crowdsourcing Your Research as Co-Creation” presented by Kevin Lonnie of KL Communications and Miguel Ares of Bloomberg.

As a fellow Fantasy Sports enthusiast, Kevin Lonnie and Miguel Ares’ TDMR presentation on the use of crowdsourcing a new fantasy football platform for Bloomberg Sports was like getting a backstage pass into the locker room of a big game. (Bloomberg is apparently a resource for much more than financial news!)Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is an iterative ideation quali-quant method where a crowd is challenged to solve your problem, allowing market research to provide “illumination” rather than “support.” (This invalidates a quote by David Ogilvy involving drunks and lampposts).

Crowdsource the Issue, Weave the Narrative

With crowdsourcing, Kevin encourages the use of “crowdweaving”— the action of weaving the voice of the consumer into collaborative, challenge-solving initiatives.  An exemplary innovation model for crowdweaving is “Idea Sculpting,” where members are first asked to articulate their understanding of the challenge before they present their ideas for solving it.

As Kevin described it, “the race starts with everyone.”  They select the top 3-5 entries, and the challenge is to improve the concepts over a six-week process.  Good ideas transform into better ideas, until they find themselves at the threshold of a “Great Idea.”

Superior analytics have been the foundation for Bloomberg’s tools, including its Fantasy Baseball tool in 2010.  According to Miguel Ares’ from Bloomberg, however, player engagement and retention was not as high as expected.  The question was, “What is the level of satisfaction that the customer is really looking for in the world of Fantasy Sports?”

For Fantasy Football, the objective was to create a new platform to improve the user interface and experience with constant consumer feedback.  Crowdsourcing during game play was right on target!  Kevin also stressed that it is critical to involve all key stakeholders in the process so that the resulting ideas are shared and jointly owned.BloombergSportsScreenshot 300x225

Who is crowd-worthy?

This begs the question: “How do we identify who we want to speak with?” Miguel suggests not to pick professional experts, per se, but instead to pick people who think highly of the brand and really want to make a difference.  The crowd works directly with the programmers and developers—an important step for the literal metamorphosis of the ideas—in order to articulate the final product.

The researchers were able to use the crowd to tell them what they needed, and the programmers streamlined the app and the Fantasy Sports experience with this real-time feedback.  According to Kevin and Miguel, “It was a bulletin board on steroids…  In this world, the crowd rules,” and in the end, Bloomberg wins and the customers win.

Tags: Market Research, Misc, qualitative research

Market Research Technology is Moving so Fast…So Why Aren’t We There Yet?

Posted on Wed, May 18, 2011

By Anne Wall, Senior Vice President

The research/consumer insights industry has developed a slew of new tools that harness both technology and the ways people currently interact with one another, with products and with media.  We have been buzzing about online communities, mobile surveys, crowdsourcing, video journals, neuroscience, social media, text analytics, social gaming and more. Market Research Technology

These are important and necessary tools, but, they are only tools.  The community needs to continue to design research around business objectives and not around cool new tools. The recent Technology-Driven Market Research Conference was an ironic illustration of the ways in which we’re not there yet.

Conference attendees saw PowerPoint presentations that were nothing but pages of numbers and text – no audio, no video — in fact, no movement on the screen at all.  Continued failure to engage our audiences is providing our competitors from outside the research community with opportunities to move right in.

Our insights and implications need to speak to the heart of the business decisions being made.  It’s been said before, and for many years, but I’ll say it again: pages and pages of research results don’t cut it.  And, a “technology-driven” conference should have been a showcase for presentations demonstrating a visually engaging, interactive, multimedia approach. 

Tags: Market Research, Misc, qualitative research, C+R News

EmergeSmarter — A Marketing Insight Resource

Posted on Fri, Apr 1, 2011

By Robert Relihan, Senior Vice President

Reading Robbin’s description of our re-branding efforts has, I have to say, re-energized me once more.  Déjà vu all over again, in the words of Yogi Berra.  I have been part of at least half of C+R‘s history.  It’s exciting to take all of that experience and learning, gather it up, and take it into the future.

And, that’s what we are doing here in our blog — EmergeSmarter. C+R is a group of exciting, smart people, all with different voices and perspectives.  We welcome you to share with us the many things we find new and useful about research, the industry, and people.

  • A new technique
  • A new perspective
  • A new method
  • A fresh insight

Why are we doing this? Well I know why I am doing this.  I have conducted many different projects and enjoyed the prospect of getting shoulder to shoulder with consumers – discovering how they live, exploring what they want and feel, and producing some unique insights. But, so much of life and work doesn't fit neatly into this or that project.  These are the things I and the rest of us at C+R want to share…and perhaps, even engage in a bit of dialogue.

It is our hope that, from these encounters, we will all emerge smarter.

EmergeSmarter — A Marketing Insight Resource

Tags: Misc, C+R News