Jul 282014
 

During the last week I have made three separate presentations in Tokyo on the topic of the key trends in mobile market research and I have found that creating a big picture has helped get my message across. I use the big picture as the first and last slide of the presentation to show where I am heading and to sum up the message. The audience seem to feel that a big picture makes the ideas clearer and helps provided an integrated understanding of what is happening and why.

So, in this post I share my Big Picture of the Key Trends in Mobile Market Research.

Why is mobile so interesting?
The key reasons are all shown inside the phone. Ubiquity refers to the fact that about 70%-80% of the world’s adults have a mobile phone, and the penetration is growing. Mobile phones are the most widely owned device on the planet, and they are changing the way humans communicate.

Because people have their phone with them all the time, 24/7, they provide a better way of contacting people. Better than waiting for people to answer the phone, open their email, or answer the door. The phone is with people ‘in the moment’, i.e. when they are actually doing things.

Increasingly phones are smartphones and connected to the internet. In 2014 we can’t assume that enough people have smartphones connected to the internet to ignore other methods and options, but the trend is towards most of the people that we tend to research being fully smartphone and tablet connected.

Mobile devices can do so much more than just surveys, passive data, push notification, and location based services are just the start. The phone is becoming a window into people’s lives.

Mobile is already a major part of ‘traditional’ research
Marketers, insight professionals, and market researchers need to be aware that mobile is already a major part of existing research methods. In terms of CATI, the amount that is conducted via mobile phone has been rising in most developed markets and is currently around 40%-60% in many markets. In the emerging markets, such as most of Africa, the mobile percentage is much HIGHER. In countries where incomes are lower, it tends to be just the well-off who have a fixed-line telephone, most people have just mobile phones.

20%-30% of online surveys are being attempted by people using mobile devices (phones, phablets, and tablets), so most people doing online are already doing mobile.

In terms of face-to-face and qual research, mobile devices are increasingly being used, for example in mCAPI where the interviewer has a tablet or phone instead of a clipboard.

Mobile is creating/expanding other forms of market research
Participative, or WE-research, is enlisting the person previously known as the respondent to be an active player in the research process. Participants are seeking out experiences, capturing photos and videos, and suggesting commentary. This reaches places that researchers could not reach and empowers customers and citizens.

Passive data collection adds objective information to the subjective picture the participant can supply, and with no effort required by the participant, and no reliance on their memory. Passive data is telling us what people do, when then do, how long they do it, and in many cases where and with whom they do it.

In the moment research is reminding us of how bad our memories are. Collecting fresh insights, in the moment when products and services are being experienced is opening the door to much more accurate, detailed, and relevant research. Location based services are allowing us to follow people through their day and ‘push’ requests to them based on where they are and what they are doing – giving us the best possible in the moment data.

Want more?
Of course, whilst a big picture is all some people need, a detailed picture is what others want. For mobile market research the detailed picture is going to be available in about a month with the release of our new book, “The Handbook of Mobile Market Research”, which is being published by Wiley and is available from Amazon. You can download a free chapter from the NewMR website, click here.


 

Jul 252014
 
The customer relationship

Most companies claim to be customer centric, but when you look at what they do you will see that the customer is all too often treated as a cross between an outsider and an enemy – someone to be persuaded, entrapped, or smooched, not somebody in true partnership with the brand or organisation.

I think there are two reasons why so many brands talk about being close to customer while at the same time failing to achieve it:

  • They don’t realise that doing it right can make the business more profitable and more sustainable – so they just talk-the-talk.
     
  • They don’t know how to operationalise a relationship with tens of millions of customers – so they don’t try.

I think both of these positions are wrong and I have set out my observations and findings about how some companies are truly putting the customer into the decision making process in a new (short) book. In the book I highlight cases and show the tools they are using and the rewards they are achieving.

The four main points I make are:

  1. 1. Customer engagement comes in three layers, Listening, Crowdsourcing, and Co-creation – and the best companies do all three, using a variety of tools and approaches. Companies as diverse as Molson Coors, Kimberley-Clarke, SingTel, and Avianca are all using multiple strategies to sit side-by-side with customers.
  2. 2. Research from the likes of IBM, Aberdeen, and Forrester show that customer involvement can increase revenue and profits.
  3. 3. With the rise of the collaborative economy, for example Uber, AirBNB, and Kickstarter brands cannot sit above the fray, they need to be part of the answer or they will be part of the problem.
  4. 4. In the past brands and companies had product differences, but in most cases these have been eroded. The final competitive advantage for a company lies with its customers – not with the product or the service, but with what customers can help create and sustain. However, the overarching message from all these cases and examples is that brands have to mean it, they can’t just talk about involving customers, they have to believe in it and they have to make it happen.

If you’d like to read the full book you can download it from the Vision Critical website (in exchange for handing over a few details about who you are).
 

Jul 162014
 

Sometimes when I run a workshop or training session people want detail, they want practical information about how to do stuff. However, there are times when what people want is a big picture, a method of orientating themselves in the context of the changing landscape around them. Tomorrow I am running a workshop for #JMRX in Tokyo and we are looking at emerging techniques, communities, and social media research – so a big picture is going to be really useful to help give an overview of the detail, and to help people see where things like gamification, big data, and communities all fit.

So, here is my Big Picture of NewMR (click on it to see it full size), and I’d love to hear your thought and suggestions.

Big Picture

The Big Picture has five elements

The heart of the message is that we have reached an understanding that surveys won’t/can’t give us the answers to many of the things we are interested in. People’s memories are not good enough, many decision are automatic and opposed to thought through, and most decision are more emotion that fact. Change is needed, and the case for this has been growing over the last few years.

The four shapes around the centre are different strands that seek to address the survey problem.

In the top left we have big data and social media data, moving away from working with respondents, collecting observations of what people say and do, and using that to build analyses and predictive models.

In the top right we have a battery of new ways of working with respondents to find out why they do things, going beyond asking them survey questions.

In the bottom left we have communities, which I take as a metaphor for working with customers, co-creating, crowdsourcing, treating customers and insiders, not just users.

The bottom right combines elements from the other three. ‘In the moment’ is perhaps, currently, the hottest thing in market research. Combining the ability to watch and record what people do, with interacting with them to explore why and what they would do the options changed.

Thoughts?
So, that is my big picture. Does it work for you? What would you add, change, delete, or tweak?


 

Jul 062014
 

I am teaching a series of market research lessons in Tokyo at the moment (based on the ESOMAR book Answers to Contemporary Market Research Questions). At the first lesson one of the questions from the audience (who were all people with Japanese as their first language) was about the difference between Market Research and Marketing Research. I explained (and Tweeted) that there is no useful or meaningful difference between the two terms – which led to a few counter tweets. So, I thought I would set out my thoughts in more than 140 characters.

To most business people, to most market/marketing researchers, to most users of marketing/market research the two terms are interchangeable. Whilst most people seem to have a preference for one over the other, a writer/speaker cannot expect an audience to draw a distinction between the two.

There are some people who assert that there is a difference between the two words. However, these people tend to disagree with each other. For example a Qualtrics blog post in June 2010 asserts that Market Research is a subset of Marketing Research. Conversely Wikipedia says of Market Research (in the entry on Marketing Research) “Market research is broader in scope and examines all aspects of a business environment. It asks questions about competitors, market structure, government regulations, economic trends, technological advances, and numerous other factors that make up the business environment.”

The definitive description of Market Research, for international purposes, is probably the one offered by the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce)/ESOMAR Code on Market and Social Research. The Code says “Market research, which includes social and opinion research, is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organisations using the statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied sciences to gain insight or support decision making.”

My personal preference is for Market Research, but that is perhaps not surprising as I am from the UK, and in the UK almost everybody says Market Research (as supported by entering the two terms into Google Trends and restricting the search to UK). The terms Marketing Research is more common in the USA, but even there Google Trends would suggest more than twice as many people are looking “Market Research” and “Marketing Research”.

I could try making the semantic argument that Market Research relates to every aspect of the market, whilst Marketing Research only relates to that sub-set of markets that pertain to marketing. However, that would be folly.

Most articles that look at the two terms say they are used by most people interchangeably. If you want to confirm this get hold of a few introductory text books on market research and marketing research and inspect the contents – they overlap entirely.

If two terms are used interchangeably, and, if those people who believe the words are distinct ascribe very different meanings to the words, then there is no useful difference between the words. Speakers and writers do not own the meaning of words; meaning is determined by the people who read and hear the words.

I suspect that those people who argue that there is a difference between Market Research and Marketing Research are saying:

  • There used to be a difference.
  • And/or they would like there to be a difference.

PS, in this post I have used caps for Market Research and Marketing Research as I am drawing attention to the two terms and wanted to highlight them. Please, normally, do not use caps for market research, it is not a proper noun.


 

Jul 032014
 
Example of PowerPoint used by Ray Poynter at IIeX in Atlanta, June 2014

Well, to be more precise, if you want to present well, learn to be a good presenter using PowerPoint and then start experimenting with other options.

If you are a good presenter, you can present with PowerPoint, Prezi, without a screen, with a flip chart, or with interactive graphics. If you are not a good presenter, you will not be any better if you use the latest 3D, sound-a-round, animated, virtual presence.

The key to any presentation is the presenter. The reason that so many people give bad presentations with PowerPoint is that the presenter has not mastered the skills of presenting and has not created the right message/story. PowerPoint does not make you put too many words on the screen, it does not make you read every word, and it does not make you use bullet points.

In a standard PowerPoint configuration there are 9 default layouts. Of those 9, only 4 have bullet points as a standard option. When bullet points are a standard option, so are 6 other elements, such as a table or chart. So, out of 33 options in the standard set of layouts, just 4 of them include bullets – so why are so many slides using bullets? I think the answer is lack of imagination, lack of training, and lack of skill – but I don’t think it is because PowerPoint makes people do it.

The presenter needs to be clear about the message, they need to think about what they are going to say and how they are going to say it, and then support that with visual and animated aids that have been chosen (or created) to help them get their message across in the best way possible (usually engaging, informative, stimulating, and energising).

Have a look at Hans Rosling present at TED in the clip below. Yes, he makes great use of animated graphics – but then ask the question, would he still have been great if he had used simple slides? I think the answer is yes, the GapMinder material simply make great better. In fact, Rosling is using PowerPoint (or similar) for sections of his presentation.