Aug 142014
 
Godzilla

One of the questions I get asked most often is “What’s hot in market research?”. I will be broadcasting my update as NewMR lecture next Wednesday, August 20, (you can register for it here).

But here is a sneak peek into what is hot, still hot, bubbling under the surface, and not so hot.

Still Hot
It is important when looking at the ‘new stuff’ not to ignore stuff that has been around for a while, but which is still growing in market share, importance, and usage:

  • Mobiles in traditional research. Mobile is a big and growing part of CATI, online surveys, and F2F – this trend has a long way to go yet.
  • Communities. Communities (including Insight Communities and MROCs) have been the fastest growing major new research approach for a few years now, and this is going to continue.
  • DIY. We hear less about DIY these days, that is probably because it has become normal, this sector is growing, both in terms of part of being a key part of existing MR and partly because it is growing the scope of market research.

Hot!
These are three of the items that I think are the hottest topics in MR, in terms of their growth and potential. All three of these are going to be game changers.

  • Beacons. For example iBeacons, which use geofencing and allow location-based services (including research) to be offered in much easier and more practical ways than is offered by methods such as GPS.
  • In the moment research. Research using mobiles and research using participants to capture information as people go about their normal day, including qual, quant, and passive, is making research more valid and sensitive.
  • Micro surveys. The most high profile micro (or nano or very short) provider is Google Consumer Surveys, but there are a variety of other providers, such as RIWI. Also, Beacons, In the Moment, and Communities are all leveraging Micro Surveys.

Bubbling
These three are going to make a major impact soon, but not quite yet.

  • Text analytics. The technology is not quite here yet, but when it clears the last few hurdles it will hit market research like a freight train – for example shifting the balance from closed questions to open questions, and finally driving more value out of social media discourses.
  • Web messaging. Apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Line are growing faster than anything else globally. A few people are looking at how to leverage these for market research, and more will follow.
  • Research bots. One of the key factors limiting the use of social media, communities, and the use of video is the requirement to use people to do the moderation and analysis. Bots (software applications short for robots) are going to change this and open a new, vast range of options.

Not So Hot
These three are all interesting niches, some people are making a good living from them, but they are not scaling in a way that makes a difference to most brands or researchers.

  • Facial Coding. It answers some questions, but is limited in terms of its range of uses, delays, scalability, and cost.
  • Webcam qual. The benefits are usually too small and the resistance from potential participants are too high to make this a generally useful approach.
  • Social Media Research. Whilst social media research, especially monitoring, has become essential, it has not grown into what was expected.

What about?

  • Big Data
  • Behavioural Economics
  • Gamification
  • Smartphone ethnography
  • Neuroscience
  • Geotracking
  • Wearbles
  • Quantified Self
  • Biometrics

Want to know where these items fit in this picture? Tune in to our webinar next Wednesday, 10am New York time, which is 3pm London time. Click here to register.


 

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?


 

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 admin@thefutureplace.com.


Mar 082014
 
Marina Bay Sands

This post is written as I reach the end of the first week of a three week Vision Critical trip to the Asia Pacific Region. For the last few years I have been spending about ten weeks a year in the APAC region, typically spread over three or four separate trips – because I am convinced that this is where much of the future (especially in terms of commerce, marketing, and insights) is being made.

Singapore Client Round Table
I arrived in Singapore Monday evening and the week got off to a flying start with breakfast with my Vision Critical colleagues from Sydney and from our newly opened Singapore office, followed by a meeting with the CEO of Indian partner, Majestic and lunch with an insight community client, Google. The afternoon was devoted to a client round-table meeting where several of Vision Critical’s clients gather to hear a keynote presentation (from me on this occasion) and then spend time sharing their learning with each other. This event was hosted by Google in their superb offices overlooking the Marina area, with key contributions from SingTel, Sony and others. Client roundtable sessions are a great way for clients to share their experiences with insight communities.

MRMW – Market Research in a Mobile World
Wednesday and Thursday was the APAC incarnation of MRMW, the leading global series of conferences on mobile market research, organised and promoted by Merlien. The keynote presentation was given by SingTel’s Melissa Gil, talking about how their three Vision Critical Insight Communities (Indonesia, Australia, and Singapore) provide them with rapid and cost-effective insight into digital consumers. One of the key points that SingTel made was that the speed and usefulness of the insights they produce mean that the SingTel insights team are involved in meetings and decisions at all levels of the business.

One of the key topics at the Conference was the evolving data protection picture in Asia and on the Tuesday Sue York from the University of Queensland (and curator of content at NewMR) moderated a panel on Data Protection, with Derek Ho (Senior Counsel from MasterCard), Dan Foreman (President of ESOMAR), Martin Tomlinson (Vice President of the Market Research Society of Singapore), and Stephen Jenke (Global Head of Data Collection at Kantar). The key points being made was that the picture on Asia was developing quickly, rules are becoming more onerous, and different countries have different rules.

Google Ray

One of the high points of the Conference was a presentation by David Zakariaie of Glassic who had brought ten sets of Google Glass with him to the event and who co-ran a session with me looking at the technology and the opportunities for market research to utilise this technology. Other key elements of the conference included: using feature phones as well as smartphones, utilising automated techniques for facial coding, video processing, and image processing (in all three cases the main theme was limited, but impressive, success), and moves towards geolocation and geofencing.

Effective Presentation Workshop
On the Friday I ran my “Secrets of Effective Presentations” workshop, which seemed to go down really well. I love workshops in multicultural situations as I am sure I learn as much as the attendees. Some of the secrets of creating and giving great presentations are global, but having a group from a wide range of countries (in this case Singapore, Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, and Australia) and with people who have a variety of first languages (and with a mixture of clients, suppliers, and academics) means that nothing can be taken for granted.

Key Singapore Takeaways
Compared with Europe and even with North America, Singapore embodies a ‘can do’ attitude, where the expectation is that tomorrow will be better than today, and that we are on a rapid path to a better, more technical, more insightful, richer society. Singapore also embodies the strength of cultural diversity. Most meetings with clients include people from a wide variety of countries. In order to get to Singapore, and in order to do well, most people have something special about them, and this tends to be blended to create something greater than the parts.

 

Nov 292013
 
By Peter Harris, Managing Director, Vision Critical Asia Pacific.

I’ve had the opportunity to attend a few MR and Marketing Industry conferences in Australia, North America and Asia over the past 12 months. As always, these conferences are designed to scare the living daylights out of marketing and research professionals. They are highlighting how much things are changing, that consumers are more empowered than ever, that technology is the driving force, that clients are demanding more, faster, for less, and the fast flowing giant river of information (big data). In short, they are driving home the fact that the Revolution is on, i.e. “If you don’t like change, you will like relevance less”. In general I think this is right. But each of us has a chance to make a difference.

As a global profession, our biggest opportunity and biggest threat will be defined and determined by how much we ourselves are willing to be flexible in a digital driven world. We need to find ways to keep up with change and feel comfortable in a land where we don’t know what is around the corner. It’s hard for many MR professionals to do this (as we love to be in control and understand) but we need to try.

It’s cliché now to say the world is changing quickly, but it is. MR is driven by speed, agility, ROI, obtaining answers using multiple data sources and real time reporting. The biggest threats I see for MR in this world include:

  • Ignoring or not letting new players/experts into our tent so we can learn and collaborate from and with them. We also need to co create the new privacy world, convince governments of the benefits and ensure all players follow the rules otherwise we all risk being shut out in a world where customers do want a say in how things are.
  • If we continue to be obsessed with representative samples in a world where this is virtually impossible to achieve and do not take advantage and find ways of using new sample sources that are well profiled.
  • If companies continually try and make all of their money on fieldwork, surely with b2b sample sources like LinkedIn, improving customer databases and the growth of insight communities the days of high margin fieldwork are short-lived.
  • If we don’t change our approaches to contacting people so that we fit more into their lives, vs. interrupting them. Our contact with customers, consumers, citizens needs to be shorter, more engaging and we need to give back once they share with us.
  • If we fail to highlight and monetise our real expertise which is organising and analysing customer or consumer responses (however they are collected) and uncovering real answers to business problems and this doesn’t mean simply what was stated. We know it is about understanding what was meant.
  • If we don’t take advantage of the benefits that technology solutions can bring to MR.

There are however many exciting opportunities to balance out the threats including:

  • Making the most of mobile and new forms of sample to understand in the moment and how people live.
  • Leverage technology to understand the unconscious, reduce time, be able to deliver more for less and more frequently and develop longitudinal sight of customers over time that helps us put the pieces together as to why things happen.
  • Find ways to tell more stories that highlight ROI of MR investment and the impact of getting a customer voice into the organisation.
  • Work more cooperatively and develop trust between clients/agency and between agencies that can complement each other.

I’m extremely positive about our profession’s future and most global studies say that MR professionals want to change. Consumer empowerment and putting the customer at the centre of decision making is a shift, not a fad, so in simple terms the market is heading towards us, and we need to be flexible as we continue to evolve.

Click here to read other posts in this series.

Nov 242013
 

To help celebrate the Festival of NewMR we are posting a series of blogs from market research thinkers and leaders from around the globe. These posts will be from some of the most senior figures in the industry to some of the newest entrants into the research world.

A number of people have already agreed to post their thoughts, and the first will be posted later today. But, if you would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to submit a post. To submit a post, email a picture, bio, and 300 – 600 words on the theme of “Opportunities and Threats faced by Market Research” to admin@newmr.org.

Posts in this series
The following posts have been received and posted:

Sep 112013
 

By common consent, research communities seem to have been the fastest growing new research approach over the last few years (a view that was supported by the latest GRIT report). Indeed, in some sectors, such as media, brands are beginning to worry about being the last to adopt the idea of having meaningful and on-going conversations with their customers.

However, given the speed that the area is moving, there are a variety of definitions and concepts being used. For example, one hears talk of MROCs, consumer consulting boards, and community panels, to name just three. My preferred term is insight community, and that is the title I have used in my latest book “Insight Communities – Leveraging the Power of the Customer” [a PDF version of the book can be downloaded from here]. The book has been produced by Vision Critical University and I’d like to record my thanks to them and all of those who have helped review material and helped source the many case studies used in the book.

The book is a short read, but covers key elements such as: short-term versus long-term, large versus small, and branded versus blind. The book is packed full of examples and case studies from organisations such as NASCAR, Discover Communications, CBS Outdoor, Diageo, Banana Republic, Avianca, and Cathay Pacific – covering Asia, North America, Latin America, Europe, and Australia.

As well as being an online book, professionally produced bound copies are available from Vision Critical’s London and Sydney offices.

Given the topic of communities is such a dynamic field, I’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas about research communities, where they are going next, and the ideas expressed in the book.

May 192013
 

1 It’s not your classic textbook
This book focusses on the questions that are part of the everyday practicalities of market research, the advice you don’t typically get from a textbook – the type of advice researchers would ideally have a mentor or more experienced colleague to ask – unfortunately not everyone has these support networks.

2 The contributors are practitioners
The content has been prepared by a team of experienced researchers, so the advice is relevant for researchers who are talking to clients, writing proposals, managing projects, developing questionnaires, analysing data, reporting results, etc.

3 A great resource for the generalist or research all-rounder
(Thanks to Sue Bell for emphasising this point.)
Many conferences and events, social media forums, and journals focus on specialist areas. This book, doesn’t cover everything, but aims to give a solid grounding on the basics, written and reviewed by experienced market and social research industry heavy weights who know what you need to know.

4 A balance between traditional and new techniques
The book covers the traditional areas – questionnaire design, qualitative, pricing research, B2B – as well as the emerging techniques, for example, communities and social media research.

5 A variety of views of expressed
In some areas of our profession there is not a consensus view – particularly in new and rapidly developing areas. This book highlights areas where consensus does not exist and presents the differing viewpoints.

6 The Client perspective is explored
Special attention is paid to one of the key relationships in market research, that of client and research provider, with an emphasis on the points of tension.

7 A Global Perspective
Unlike some textbooks, which focus on specific markets or regions, this book recognises many researchers are operating in international markets and also the issues and challenges faced by those working in markets with different levels of economic and technological development.

8 Ethics, Laws, Codes and Guidelines
As could be expected of book put together by ESOMAR, the book explains in simple and clear terms why we have these and how to fit them into everyday research.

9 Advice for both new researchers and more experienced researchers who are new to a topic
Thanks to Phyllis Macfarlane for emphasising this point.

10 It’s great value, at 20 Euros (including postage and packaging)
And, if you like it so much you want to bulk order for colleagues, clients, or students – better prices are available via ESOMAR!

Join us at the book launch
On Wednesday, 22 May, ESOMAR and NewMR are holding a virtual book launch, where contributors to the book will explain the book’s mission, its content, and more about how you can be involved. Click here to find out more details and to register to attend.

So what do you think?

Declaration of interest, I am one of the Editors and Curators of the project (as was NewMR’s Ray Poynter) – Sue York

Apr 262013
 

I have spent the last couple of weeks in Australia as part of my role in Vision Critical University visiting a number of clients, and several of them have, or are in the process of, creating B2B insight communities. One of the great things about this sort of concentrated activity is that it encourages examination of the key issues, and this time that has included the question ‘why do people join online insight communities?’.

I think the key point that companies need to remember, when designing, creating and managing insight communities, is that most people only join a B2B community because they think there is something in it for them and/or their organization. Further, they only stay engaged if they believe they are actually gaining a benefit.

The benefits from being a member of a B2B community can be summarised as:

  1. Special access, including networking with others in the field.
  2. Growing the business through learning more
  3. Growing the business by shaping the future
  4. Reducing costs through learning more
  5. Reducing costs by shaping the future

A successful community does not need to offer all of these, but it needs to offer something. At the stage the community is created the prospective members need to have the benefits outlined to them, along with the scale of the commitment expected.

The community also needs to be engaging, but in the case of a B2B community, engagement is a necessary but not sufficient element.

As the community develops, the members will assess it on whether it delivers against its promises. Members will assess whether they have learned useful things (from the process, form each other, and from the client), whether they feel they have been listened to, and to what extent their feedback has shaped what the organisation does.

Research communities in APAC?

 Posted by on February 7, 2013  Asia, Community Panels, MROC, NewMR  Comments Off
Feb 072013
 

Randomised ListI am just about to submit my paper to ESOMAR on research communities in Asia Pacific, and I would love to bounce my key points off the NewMR crowd.

Globally it looks as though about 50% of researchers interested in New market research are in an organisation which is either buying or selling research communities (e.g. MROCs, Community Panels etc). And this figure is the same in APAC as in Europe and North America?

Globally about 6% market research agencies are offering research communities, and this is similar in APAC?

In APAC, excluding Japan, Australia, New Zealand, communities have developed more slowly than in Europe and North America?

In APAC, excluding Australia and New Zealand, the majority of community projects have been MROCs (i.e. qual and relatively small) rather than Community Panels (larger, quant + qual)?

In APAC, excluding Australia and New Zealand, the majority of community projects have been short-term (weeks rather than years)?

One of the key factors that limits large scale community projects in APAC is the absolute size of the research market (often $100million or less per year)?

The relatively small size of research markets in much of Asia often requires projects to be multi-country, multi-ethnic, multi-language from the start?

I would love to hear support or opposition, and I am looking for a few key quotes to include in the paper and the presentation.


This part of the post has been updated to reflect the tremendous amount of help and suggestions I have received. What is clear is that there are a wide variety of approaches, and the picture is an evolving one with new partners and offices opening on a regular basis.

Western community specialists with offices in APAC include:

  • Vision Critical (Japan, Hong Kong, Australia)
  • Face (Singapore and Hong Kong)
  • BrainJuicer (China and India)
  • Communispace (China)

International, general or field-focused, companies offering communities in APAC include:

  • Ipsos
  • ToLuna
  • Lightspeed/TNS
  • Pulse

Many Western companies are offering research communities in APAC from their Western locations, some with local partners, some with local moderators.

APAC based companies offering communities include*:

  • ABN Impact (Thailand and Hong Kong)
  • Cimigo (China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Singapore, Vietnam)
  • Colmar Brunton (Australia)
  • Lucid360 (China)
  • Buzz Channel (New Zealand)
  • Camorra Research (New Zealand)
  • Index-I (Japan)
  • Latitude (Australia)
  • Control A (Japan)
  • Mitsubishi Research Institute (Japan)
  • Direction First (Australia)

* All lists tend to be partial. However, the list of APAC based companies is likely to have missed most APAC based agencies who are not actively engaged with English-speaking social media or English-focused organisations such as ESOMAR – and some that are. If you feel you have been missed, please contact us as we will add you to the list.

If you know of others, please add them via a comment or email me, and we will update this page. On another occasion we will look at platforms and software solutions.