May 302014

Guest post from Peter Harris, EVP & Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Vision Critical, Australia.

Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series.

I am not sure when it started but social media has completely revolutionised how I consume information, connect with friends and family, research topics within the industry and keep on top of who is doing what. That is not new news for anyone but when I think back even 3-4 years, I see it has all changed.

I no longer carry industry magazines to and from work trying to keep up with who is doing what, I rarely talk to recruiters and use linked in to keep track of people’s movement, to advertise positions and to see what my clients and competitors are up to. I can also see which of my competitors and prospective clients are researching us!

For me, social media has not been a distraction to work but a big aid. We have used @VC_APAC and @visioncritical to help build our presence in Australia and now across the Asia Pacific region. It’s so much easier to offer thought leadership on niche subjects now via social media and also to research what’s hot and what’s not across the profession. I also think it’s easier now just to post a paragraph or two on a topic vs waiting to be asked or submitting a long article which may or may not be accepted by an editor. For me, social media really has allowed our brands voice to be heard in the marketplace and the amount of content is not limited by an editorial committee or peers.

I see people managing their social media in different ways. I personally tend to use Facebook for personal stuff and everything else for business but often the two blend in together. It probably says something interesting about me that compared to many work colleagues I am not very social media savvy but to my friends and family see me as a social media addict.

The only way social media has been a negative for me personally is that I read a lot less non-work books these days as there is always so much to read/keep updating with. By the way, I don’t blame SM for that, it’s up to me to manage my time, but it’s just so tempting, AND ALWAYS ON.

Would you like to share your take on social media via a blog post on NewMR? We are happy to review suggested posts, ideally about 300 to 600 words. Send you suggested copy to

My take on social media – Dr Nasir Khan

 Posted by on May 28, 2014  Uncategorized  Comments Off
May 282014

Guest post from Dr Nasir Khan, Executive Chairman, Somra Group, Bangladesh.

Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series.

Socializing in cyberspace, in all its forms and nuances, is truly borderless, global, and hugely beneficial for an array of known and unknown (till date) purposes. Most importantly, one doesn’t necessarily need access to the internet in all cases. For instance, Facebook and Twitter have options for posting and engaging via SMS. So, in one way or the other, anybody anywhere in the world is welcome on board.

The key objective of “post, like, comment, share” – across major social media platforms – is to engage fellow humans, who could be family, friends, colleagues, current or prospective business partners, buyers of products and services, group of people sharing common interests or concerns…The list can go on until bots take over – my conscience tells me that socializing, despite all technological progress, must remain human (futurists please take note). Coming to the point of how we can make the best use of social media in general, we need to draw a clear line between simply ‘talking’ (one-way) and conversing (both ways). If we fail to start a conversation, or do not participate in one, we would actually be advertising and selling ourselves (personal branding) or our products/services. Even if ‘free’, I have doubts about how many people are interested to pay any serious attention to one-way rants. In my humble opinion, a simple announcement should also have the necessary elements to spark engagement and conversation. If there’s no conversation, the very purpose of social media (socializing) is lost.

No less important is the purposeful choice of platform. Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Blogs, so on and so forth, are unique as well as common in many ways. We tend to use these media more due to the commonalities by cross-posting (makes life easy?). Is this practice doing any good? I have my doubts. In order for us to successfully achieve our personal or business objectives, we need to be selective in terms of platform as well as the materials we share.

Now, focusing on my own belief and practice – I am a human being first, market researcher second. As a human being, I use Facebook (personal account, not considering pages), Instagram and Foursquare as media for fun with friends and family. Google Plus? (I thought it would take off well, given the huge number of people owning a google account, but rumor mills are already churning out news of its imminent death). LinkedIn is meant for professional and business conversations, and Twitter is for what it is – chirp anything personal or business. Accordingly, I enjoy these two media as a research professional first. I see Pinterest as a virtual ‘emporium’ – “show your products to your target market”. Unfortunately, MR cannot be showcased properly with a few pictures or infographics the way one can showcase bags, shoes, clothing, furniture, or even a country (for nation branding). Therefore, LinkedIn, Twitter, and specialized blogs are great places for MR.

Finally, what’s the future of MR on social media? As sources of data, all social media will become more and more useful. As platforms for development of the MR profession or business? I have a feeling (sorry, if I am wrong) that most people in the MR industry are “too busy” to even ‘like’ a professional post, leave alone comment, share, engage self and others (except a few MR groups on LinkedIn). If the current trend prevails, the future of MR on social media is a huge question mark.

Would you like to share your take on social media via a blog post on NewMR? We are happy to review suggested posts, ideally about 300 to 600 words. Send you suggested copy to

My first MR impressions: Where is the youth?

 Posted by on May 23, 2014  Uncategorized  2 Responses »
May 232014

Guest post from Jack Ramsay, Creator of

As a new face in market research – some would say a fresh face – I was flattered to be invited to write this blog post by Ray Poynter. What I’d like to share are my first impressions of this industry. And first of all, I’m going to be honest with you: I stumbled into Market Research.

It’s a confession which I hope won’t lose me any respect, but it’s the truth and has motivated me to take the steps which I have done within the industry to date.

My first impressions of Market Research were that of being overwhelmed. It was a steep learning curve. There were experienced heads everywhere I looked, professionals that been in the industry for years; masters of their craft, with limitless expertise. Another first impression was that of the distinct lack of young people in the industry, which led me to wonder how I could make a mark and why this was the case. I found reading white papers and industry related books only took me so far and frankly found the amount of information out there was hard to digest. No, the only way to understand market research was to get into the researcher’s world.

Using online Google+ hangouts as a tool, I began to approach and interview thought leaders in the industry before big research events. Nothing can replace face to face interaction, but logistically online tools were cheaper, quicker and allowed me to get directions and become educated in the field. With Google+ linking to YouTube, I was able to build a catalogue of interviews and, receiving a healthy amount of views, it occurred that there was an audience for these videos. Before long The Merlien Institute gave me the opportunity to do live interviews at a large research event and meet the industry top dogs face to face. It was a thrill, and so the YouTube community was born. Eight months and four events later, the community has grown nicely. Albeit still in its infancy, I feel confident it will continue to expand and to attract interest from those around the research globe, coming to share insight and expertise. A hub of innovation.

But I’m not totally selfish. I have not started the community and written this blog post to just talk about me and about my goal of better understanding the industry in which I work. I want market research to be more accessible for young people. I’ve found this to be a common topic in the research world, and it appears a question that has not yet been answered: How do we attract more young blood into the industry?

Upon posing this question to the research world I found the response astounding. Generation X demanding why there is a lack of millennials in the industry and wanting to support in any way they could. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do know that YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network, as well as mobile making up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time. So what better space to access the younger generation?

The reason for this blog post is to invite you to become a part of the YouTube community, as well as to watch the upcoming ‘Young people in MR’ online discussion in June, where I will host a bunch of hungry MR experts, as well as young grads hoping to enter the industry, thrashing out this issue. See you there!

My take on social media – Damian Vanderwolf

 Posted by on May 22, 2014  Uncategorized  Comments Off
May 222014

Guest post from Damian Vanderwolf, Senior Research Analyst, Marketing Communications, Tourism NT, Australia.

Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series.

LinkedIn Facebook

I’m all about Facebook. For me, it’s the one that suits my attitude to social media the best. LinkedIn has been useful in the past when I have been looking for work otherwise I tend not to use it. I find Twitter useful and fun at events – either as an attendee or if I can’t make an event, checking in on the event hashtag to see what’s going on. Otherwise it’s all a bit to ‘businessy’ for my liking. It’s useful but it’s not my ‘go to’ medium.

I get all my news from Facebook – I rarely watch the TV news or read a newspaper – only the articles that my friends have already vetted for me. I have a relationship beyond social media with all my friends on Facebook so I have developed a level of implicit trust with the people I interact with there. I also think the interface suits my needs. No restrictions on words, I can preview links easily. From an MR perspective I have used Facebook to help engage current and potential clients in a fun ‘soft sell’ kind of way. And I connect up with MR peeps that I consider to be my friends there too. Helps me to build relationships further. I also get the odd ‘hot tip’ on Facebook from my MR friends.

At work I have used internal social networking sites (currently Bloomfire) and I like using these tools as well – for the same reasons I gravitate to Facebook – trust and common interests.

Instagram is fun too – a nice distraction – pretty pictures, yay!

Would you like to share your take on social media via a blog post on NewMR? We are happy to review suggested posts, ideally about 300 to 600 words. Send you suggested copy to

My take on social media – Betty Adamou

 Posted by on May 20, 2014  Uncategorized  Comments Off
May 202014

A series of prominent users of social media are writing guest posts for NewMR on the theme of social media, in order to highlight the many options available. This first one is from Betty Adamou, found and CEO of Research Through Gaming.

Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series.

Guest post by Betty Adamou, from Research through Gaming.

When I first started RTG (Research Through Gaming), one of the first things I did (aside from attempt to make an awful website…cut me some slack, this was before WordPress!) was open a Twitter and Facebook account. But this is not unusual for any new business, as opening social media profiles is now commonplace on the ‘list of immediate things to do’ for all new business owners. After all, it’s free advertising.

Not too long after I started those profiles, a LinkedIn company page was born and then, in the last year or so, Research Through Gaming had its own Pinterest profile and Google+ profile.

All in all, Research Through Gaming currently holds social media profiles across 8 different platforms, if you count our YouTube channel as social media too (some people debate this). We also have a GitHub account and blog (if some people count this as SM too) and a small library of tools to help me, as the administrator, manage all these accounts. We use Google Analytics to get information about who is on our website and where they’re going, SumAll, is a tool to help me understand more about RTG’s impact via your more typical SM sites like Facebook and Twitter. Gravatar helps make life that little bit easier by automatically finding the RTG logo profile picture for new sites I open. Over time though, it’s become apparent which sites are absolutely crucial to focus on every day, which sites can be less of a priority and which sites are really not worth updating at all. For instance, my ‘golden three’ social media sites for business are the RTG Facebook page, Twitter profile and the Linked In business profile page. However, I actually find updating the RTG Facebook as Betty and my work-related social media accounts much more crucial. This is because, I imagine, more people like talking to me; a real human being, than RTG, the logo.

As an individual, I have too many social media pages probably! This is partly due to the fact that there are many facets of ‘me’ and many facets of you too. Some profiles I use between family and friends, (and I’m happy to say some colleagues cross over into the friend-zone) where I have my Facebook page. The ‘work me’ facet is shown through my Linked In, About.Me page and Twitter profile, then there is the ‘creative me’, where I have an Etsy shop (I just started this) a Behance page, two personal websites; one showcases my RTG work and another showcasing my artwork.

It’s quite hard to define social media these days though; where does social online media stop being just an application with a chat room, username and profile to being social media, like a Facebook or Twitter? If we count all media that is social as social-media, then RTG’s Skype account is #9 on the list.

Leaving my personal profiles aside and just focusing on the benefits of SM for Research Through Gaming in the market research realm, we couldn’t have become a ‘brand’ without it. That is, a company with a voice, an influence, and a way to spread knowledge about who we are, what we do and also what we want to do. There is no way at all that people as far as Japan and New Zealand would know about us as a business or have even heard my rants about game-based research if it wasn’t for social media! I believe in the use of SM so-much-so that it was #3 on my ‘Top 10 things to do when setting up an MR agency’ blog for Research World Connect.

While I do find updating the social media pages fun, especially when people interact with me/RTG, it is crucial to the business. To highlight the importance of using SM, let’s take a minute to think about how market researchers would live without social media:

  • You wouldn’t know about upcoming events (which provide knowledge gaining, knowledge-sharing and networking opportunities) because you probably wouldn’t set a reminder on a monthly basis to check over 10 conference/event websites that exist in the market research industry (when I was at Ciao surveys, one manager told me to check Research-Live everyday for news. Now I just follow them on Twitter for updates to new content).
  • You would know significantly less people in the industry than what you do now
  • You would not (again, unless you checked the appropriate websites regularly) know about differing trends that affect MR, emerging methodologies and important articles that might shape the direction of a conversation with a client.
  • You would spend a lot more time, and therefore money, on advertising, finding people to collaborate with and finding prospective clients.

But let’s think about the market research SM landscape in the present day, and what this will look like in future; the next two to three-ish years.

Right now, many market research agencies are not using social media sites, at least if they are, they could do better with it. By and large, it’s the individuals within MR that are ‘famous’ on social media sites, not the companies they’re from. This means that the companies that employ those individuals are benefiting from their personal branding, but those companies really do need to step it up a notch. But what will happen in the near future? I imagine that individuals and organizations aren’t just going to ‘have social media sites’ and even a (basic) ‘social media strategy’ but actually utilise third-party tools to be super-intelligent about what platforms to use, when to update each platform, what content to post and actually understand how this translates to brand engagement.

We’re already seeing intelligent tools like Hootsuite do this and the newer Hootlet making it easier/faster to update profiles. More MR agencies will actually hire a social media administrator who will know about all these tools and keep a keen eye on new tools for more intelligent updating and understanding (so to be clear, this will not just be a researcher who’s been appointed to tweet in his or her spare time). What’s more, these Social Media experts hired by the agencies will (and will have to) know how all the SM platforms being used can be integrated but also differentiated to accommodate for different audiences on different platforms (so not just one update copied and pasted across all SM profiles).

As a result of hiring someone to do this job, MR agencies will be more open to conversations online because there is someone actually manning the accounts at all times! Also, because SM experts know what to do, they will also know what NOT to do, like avoid the social media faux-pas of “Hi there! Thank you for following us! Please visit our website and buy our stuff!!” (excuse me while I unfollow you). And through more organic and catered conversations, convert those into meetings and maybe even sales or collaboration.

As a result of this, (you see a domino affect happening here), those in-house-social-media-manager-experts will be part of the quarterly and annual business meetings and suddenly, the CEOs have seen how crucial good social media management is to their business landscape and future. The social media managers can report on basics like increases (or decreases) in followers, likes and page views, but also data on the kind of interactions they’re having with the community and who they’re having those interactions with. Those social media managers can produce charts (or infographics, if they’re extra snazzy) on what percentage of those engaged with the brand are not researchers, but actually brands, or students perhaps. What kind of decisions will be made for the business on the back of data like that? Does this represent a new business model? Maybe. But the importance is that social media experts running your social media will create more opportunities for your market research business.

What this type of future ties in with is that market research companies will act increasingly like brands. They’re going to walk, talk and act like brands, even if they don’t feel it inside. And why? Because they’ll have to in order to survive. If I want data collected, I’m going to search for a third-party API to do this for me because that’s how free and readily available a lot of tools are these days. Annie Pettit mentioned in a recent blog that DIY tools are better than ever.

So, MR agencies will have to walk the ‘brand’ walk on social media to stay in the consciousness of the MR community, stay relevant and stay around. Brands will expect to use market research agencies in the future who eat their own cooking. They’ll say: “You say can help my brand grow, and essentially make more money. Great. But show me how you do yours first.”

Would you like to share your take on social media via a blog post on NewMR? We are happy to review suggested posts, ideally about 300 to 600 words. Send you suggested copy to

May 172014

Next month I will be in Atlanta as one of the co-chairs of IIeX USA. If you can attend one of the IIeX events (in Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Southern Hemisphere) I strongly recommend it.

Business is changing, society is changing, and consequently research is changing. If you hope to be enjoying work in five years then you need to have a plan for how you are going to stay relevant to clients and customers.

Why IIeX?
Most conferences and events have their purpose, AAPOR explore the methodological boundaries, MRMW advance the cause of mobile market research, the trade bodies provide coherence and shared learning for the members of the industry. IIeX has a very different purpose, in my opinion. IIeX represents the contested future, a set of different visions pitched in dialogical conflict. IIeX is not curated to find the best, or the most likely, or the most thought through. IIeX presents the superposition of differing waves of innovation, investment, and imagination.

To give you a taste of what I mean, here are some of the highlights you can see in Atlanta (June 16 to 18)

  • Clients agitating for change: Sion Agami from P&G, Ryan Backer from General Mills, Eileen Campbell from IMAX, Roberto Cymrot from Coca-Cola, Claudia Del Lucchese from Mondelez, and Laura Flessner from Pfizer.
  • Big thinkers and heavy hitters: Simon Chadwick, Melanie Courtright, David Bakken, Fiona Blades, and Mark Earls author of Herd.
  • Innovative suppliers: Steve August from Revelation, Stephen Phillips from ZappiStore, Tim Bock from Numbers, Siobhan Dullea from Communispace, Andrew Reid from Vision Critical, and Carol Fitzgerald from BuzzBack.
  • Alternatives: Me, Elina Halonen, Tom Anderson, Adriana Rocha, and, of, course, Lenny Murphy

But this is just a small representation of the many, many speakers, workshop leaders, and exhibitors. Hear why brands like Dell, Deloitte, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Groupon, Campbell Soup, The Weather Channel, AOL, Bloomberg, and Philips Consumer Lifestyle are asking for change, and understand their perspective of the future.

Don’t come to Atlanta expecting answers. Come to Atlanta to find out what the questions are and come to Atlanta to start making the connections that will engage you in the future of market research.

My presentation is on New Skills for a New Era, addressing the need to change. My workshop will use gamification approaches to explore futuring techniques. You can find out more at and if you use the code NMR20 you will get a 20% discount.


May 142014

Guest Post by Ilka Kuhagen, Co-founder of Think Global Qualitative and founder of IKM, see her LinkedIn profile by clicking here.

The QRCA Global Outreach Scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for qualitative researchers outside the US, UK and Canada to experience a QRCA annual conference. One Scholarship is awarded to a qualitative researcher in the early stages of their career, while the second is for a more senior practitioner who is well established in the industry.

This year’s recipients will have the opportunity to come to New Orleans from 15-17th October 2014.

QRCA is currently seeking candidates for two 2014 Global Outreach Scholarships:

  • The Foundation Scholarship is awarded to a qualitative researcher who is relatively new to qualitative research, but is already establishing a career path in this field. For instance, they should have developed some experience of moderating group discussions and IDI’s and of analysing the results.
  • The Advanced Scholarship is intended for a qualitative researcher who is already well established in their career, but wants to expand and deepen their knowledge of methods and techniques, and to maximize the value of the projects that they plan and execute for their clients.

The Scholarships cover the cost of conference registration (valued at up to US$1,425) and offer up to US$1,000 to cover travel expenses to the conference. QRCA’s Annual Conference provides exposure to the latest in qualitative thinking and techniques, and is an invaluable opportunity for international qualitative researchers to extend their network of contacts around the world. In addition the recipients are given free QRCA membership for the remainder of 2014 if they are not already members.

Full information about the Scholarships, including specific details about the qualifying criteria and application process, is available at or can be obtained from Darrin Hubbard at The closing date for applications is Friday 30 May 2013.

Full information is available on QRCA’s website at – The form to apply can be downloaded by clicking here.

On the website you can also watch the video (short version or in full length) with the two winners from 2013 by clicking here.


May 102014
MRMW London 2013

I am lucky enough to be invited to take part in a wide range of market research events, including those organised by the trade bodies, by specialist conference groups, and by innovators. For many years many market research conferences had been getting more and more similar, and less and less interesting as they sought to play to a wide audience.

However, in recent times that has changed, and one of the best examples of the change is the MRMW (Market Research in the Mobile World) series of conferences, organised by Merlien. I have been lucky to be involved in several of the MRMW events and I think what they offer is:

  • Focus, the MRMW events focus on mobile, this has helped develop the industries focus on developing new mobile approaches.
  • Series, the MRMW has several events a year and the series dates back to 2010. This has created an ongoing dialogue. Ideas are developed over time, rather than assuming they will appear fully fledged.
  • Global, the MRMW conferences are held in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. This enables the series to draw on regional strengths, and then take those strengths to new markets.
  • Innovations, for a small organisation Merlien have been very successful in introducing new faces and ideas, for example David ZaKariaie the founder and CEO of Glassic who brought copious sets of Google Glass for attendees to experience.

Chicago, May 27-30
The next MRMW is in Chicago, May 27-30, click here to find out more. Unfortunately, I can’t be there, but my hot picks from the agenda are:

  • The session on where investments are going in mobile MR, with Simon Chadwick.
  • The market research on trial session, with Dan Foreman.
  • Google Glass, from gimmick to tool, with David Zakariaie.
  • Device agnostic research, with Zoe Dowling.
  • Privacy and engagement – how far can you go, with Reg Baker.

I look forward to watching their contributions by video reply – check out the MRMW site to access their videos.

If you can’t make Chicago in May, perhaps you can make Berlin in September and/or Cape Town in November – the call for papers for both of these events is still open, so consider presenting something.


May 022014

One of my favourite social media/listening books is Stephen Rappaport’s Listen First!, so I was delighted when his new book ‘The Digital Metrics Field Guide’ was announced, and even more delighted to get a copy to review.

The book has been produced and published by the ARF and you can download an interactive PDF from this link on the ARF site. The Field Guide is free for ARF members and $29.95 for non-members.

To produce the book Stephen reduced a list of about 350 metrics to 197 and backed these up by referring to almost 150 studies, which illustrates the claim that online is the most measurable medium. The book covers four digital channels: email, mobile, social, and the web, and produces a really easy to use reference for anybody interested in the area.

To make things easier Stephen has organised the information in three ways, Alphabetical, Category, and Marketing Stage – to deal with different tastes and preferences.

12 Fields per Metric
The book is organised in terms of 12 fields per metric, including: where it fits in Paid/Owned/Earned, its category, a definition, and the sorts of questions it answers. The use of a standardised format makes it much quicker for the user to find and locate a specific piece of information.

Examples of metrics covered include:

  • Average time spent on page – including issues such as tabbed browsing and download time.
  • Brand Lift – Did exposure to the advertising impact brand lift measurement?
  • Conversation – How many conversations are people having about the brand?
  • Direct Traffic Visitors – how many people came to the site directly?

Who should buy this book?
I think anybody who, over the next year or so, needs to check on the meaning, use, or definition of more than three or four of the digital metrics should buy a copy of the book. If you only need to refer to one or two, you could simply Google them, find some links, read some articles and come to a view. But, if you want a handy, well-researched, well laid out reference – this is the book for you.

Note, you will not want to necessarily sit down and read this book cover to cover, it is much more of a reference than a good read (but see next note on the essays).

The book finishes with a series of 12 essays and viewpoints, from people such as Gunnard Johnson from Google and David Rabjohns from MotiveQuest. Unlike the rest of the book, these should be read as opposed to referred to. Whilst I don’t agree with all the points made in the essays, they are valid and interesting points, and ones that anybody engaged in the medium should be familiar with.

Timely publication
For me the publication of Stephen’s book is very timely as I am working on part of the IPASocialWorks project, looking at a guide to ‘measuring not counting’ in social media. The focus of our work is much more about the strategy and best practices of measuring social phenomena, but Stephen’s book provides a great reference to the variety of metrics available.