Navin Williams – Candidate for ESOMAR Council

 Posted by on September 22, 2014  ESOMAR  Comments Off
Sep 222014
 

I have had the privilege of being at the helm of market research’s adoption of technology for close to 20 years. Having worked across some of the world’s Market Research leaders across the disciplines of Media, Consumer (IMRB, RI & Nielsen) & Retail (Nielsen), I have spent the better part of the last decade championing digital and mobile adoption for the enhancement, evolution and continued relevance of research in today’s rapidly changing world.

I have been fortunate to have co-written “The Handbook of Mobile Market Research” and the University of Georgia’s MRII curriculum “Mobile Marketing Research” and to be part of ESOMAR’s “Mobile Monitoring Group”. I am also a frequent speaker at conferences (ESOMAR, GSMA, MRMW, MobileMonday, etc) in addition to lending my time to Universities and Schools introducing mobile market research to students and professionals.

As an ESOMAR Council Member I will support and work with my fellow council members, while ensuring the ESOMAR Council is held at the highest professional standards. I would contribute in the following areas:

  • Knowledge – To be at the forefront of promoting technology adoption to improve the quality of insight and consumer understanding.
  • Educate – To share and impart best practices around the latest technology adoption amongst market researchers and interest groups.
  • Synergy and Growth – Bring together multiple thoughts and learnings and share across the globe. Grow ESOMAR and research standards in the APAC and developing world.

I am a keen contributor to ESOMAR:

  • Member of ESOMAR since 2011
  • Currently part of ESOMAR’s MOBILE GROUP – 2014
  • Contributed to ESOMAR’s “Answers to Contemporary Market Research Questions – Mobile Chapter” – 2013
  • Nov 2012, ESOMAR 3D CONFERENCE, Amsterdam – ”IMPACT OF 3D OBJECTS IN MOBILE MARKET RESEARCH” [INNOVATIVE APP-BASED MOBILE RESEARCH]
  • Mar 2011, APAC ESOMAR Conference at Melbourne – Presented Paper “SMART QUAL USING SMART AND NON-SMART PHONES IN DEVELOPING MARKETS” [BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN EMERGING MARKETS]. Jointly presented with James Furgusson, TNS
  • Contributed Articles and Opinions (interviews) for ESOMAR RESEARCH WORLD Magazine since 2011

Like mobile has entwined itself into the fabric of humankind, I look forward to being part of the movement and force behind ESOMAR being part of the fabric of the growth and value ESOMAR brings to both its members and industry.


To see other notes on the ESOMAR elections see here.
 

The ESOMAR Elections

 Posted by on September 22, 2014  ESOMAR, NewMR  2 Responses »
Sep 222014
 

Every two years ESOMAR holds elections for its President, Vice President, and Council. The people who hold these roles have a tremendous amount of power to shape what happens to ESOMAR. A progressive group can really move ESOMAR forward, a less useful group can hold it back. Some of those elected in the past 20 years have been fantastic, some average, and some seem to have been in it for the status and the travel.

If you are an ESOMAR member, I would urge you to vote in these elections, to get the sort of ESOMAR you want. My feeling is that we need a group of people running ESOMAR who are less “white men”. The first criteria should be the best people for the job, but I think that ideally between one-third and two-thirds should be female, and that between one-third and two-thirds should come from outside Europe/North America – and I will be casting my votes accordingly.

How The Voting Works
The election is using a form of STV (standard transferable vote). This is one of the fairest methods of voting and the elector only needs to think about one thing “Put your most preferred candidate 1st, your next most preferred 2nd, etc”. Your second choice has no impact on the result for your first choice. You second choice is not used unless either A) your first choice is eliminated, or B) your first choice is elected. Your 3rd choice is not used until your second choice is elected or eliminated. If you use fewer choices you do NOT help your preferred candidate. The only way to help your most preferred candidate is to put them number 1.

The election is being run by ERS (the Electoral Reform Society) who are probably THE best people for this sort of job. The email voting links should be arriving very soon and voting closes October 20th – but don’t delay voting, voting early is the best way to remember to vote!

The Candidates
All of the candidates have their details available on the MyESOMAR website. But, since the election is of interest to a wider audience, NewMR has invited candidates to post up to 500 words about why they are standing for election. The responses are below.


 

Sep 052014
 

It’s that exciting time of the year again – ESOMAR Congress is on its way and the team at ESOMAR HQ are hard at work making sure the 67th annual ESOMAR Congress will once again provide the very best in content and business opportunities.

As ESOMAR President, for me Congress is a highlight, not only because of the opportunity to meet and greet researchers and clients from all over the globe. Congress is the highpoint of our industry’s event calendar and offers the perfect platform for bringing the ESOMAR community together by holding the Annual Global Meeting (AGM). During the AGM, we report on the successes of the organisation, hear feedback from our members, and vote on any important changes to the Society.

This will be my last AGM as ESOMAR President. And even though it is tinged with sadness in that respect, I am looking forward to communicating the great advances ESOMAR has made throughout the year.

And here are some of the biggest updates… ESOMAR Corporate membership continues to grow steadily, and while I am writing this post we have 282 organisations that have joined the ESOMAR community. It has been a great pleasure to welcome companies such as GfK, Tetra Pak, Hall & Partners, Kadence International, Electrolux, Confirmit, and of course many more, into the fold of Corporate Membership. Now, more than ever, it’s vital that we, as a profession, can be represented as a single united voice to legislators and lawmakers around the world. Corporate Membership is a key element in ensuring the industry can carry on self-regulating, always pushing to do the very best work with a strong commitment to ethical practice.

The ESOMAR Foundation also continues its successful journey. For those unaware, the ESOMAR Foundation was set up in October last year with the aim of channelling the strength and resources of the market research industry towards social good. Its projects aim at helping local charities and supporting researchers in need, local education initiatives, and research for the non-profit sector. In its first 12 months, the Foundation has provided over €60,000 to local charities. This year we have also launched a training programme in Myanmar to help deal with the lack of training opportunities in the county. I urge you to find out more about this wonderful initiative and how you can help by visiting the ESOMAR Foundation site.

ESOMAR and our fellow market research associations all have similar mandates, despite sometimes wording them differently. We all strive for promoting and supporting the industry, determined for it to be as strong as it can be. That’s why for ESOMAR it is incredibly important to reinforce and maintain strong relationships with associations across the globe. In the past 12 months, we have had the opportunity to present global updates at local association meetings in Australia, Japan and Korea, sponsor events in Thailand and Singapore, and hold joint events in Bulgaria, Belgium, Spain and Finland.

Working closely with local associations helps us better understand the needs of researchers in those regions. Combined with a greater use of live streaming ESOMAR events, we are now also able to share knowledge and important industry discussions to more professionals than ever before, regardless of location and circumstance.

Last but not least, one of the most important aspects of this year’s AGM will be the announcement of nominations for the ESOMAR Council and Presidential elections. Serving as President for an organisation with such rich heritage has been an honour. My fellow council members and I have been give an unique opportunity to assist the association in its good work, and influence the future of our industry by shaping the strategic direction of the Society. My term has also provided me with an insight into the breadth, depth and range of the activities ESOMAR conducts daily and the opportunity to contribute to business, philosophical and social debates both inside and outside the industry. So although my term is ending, I am looking forward to continuing the work and supporting the new President as the ex-officio Council member.

And so, the old guard must make way for new blood. I hope I’ll see some of the younger generation of researchers and research clients apply for nomination this year. In my travels over the last two years I’ve been staggered and delighted at the passion and integrity of the younger generation of this profession. Having a representative and diverse ESOMAR Council can only be an asset to the industry.

If you decided that running for Council wasn’t for you, then please don’t forget to vote In October. ESOMAR is only as strong as the Council and the members that vote for them. So make sure you engage with the nominees, ask them questions, understand what they can do for you and the industry as a whole. Every vote strengthens the organisation and, consequentially, our profession.

If you are at Congress this year, don’t be shy, come say hello to any of us at the Council or any of the ESOMAR team and give us your opinions on ESOMAR, the Congress, or your thoughts in general on the industry. If you are unable to attend, then please also feel free to e-mail me directly at d.foreman@council.esomar.org.


 

Sep 032014
 

Last week I posted an article looking at the decline in survey research, which included some data from ESOMAR and some predictions.

This week, ESOMAR posted the latest Global Market Research Report and it includes some interesting figures on data collection modes. Figures which are broadly in line with my predictions.

The table below is mostly a repeat of the one I included in my previous post. It shows the data from the ESOMAR reports for 2007, 2010, and 2013, along with my forecasts for 2016 and 2019.

In this version, I have added the data from the 2014 ESOMAR Global Market Research report at the bottom.

Surveys 2014
Note, the ESOMAR data refer to the final figures for the previous year, so the 2014 report is based on the completed returns for the whole of 2013.

The decline in research spending on projects where the data was collected via surveys, from 53% in the 2013 report to 48% in 2014, is a very large drop and is even faster than implied by my predictions. The ESOMAR Pricing Study would suggest that some of the drop is due to falling costs for online research and a continued switch to online from face-to-face and CATI. However, the ESOMAR Global Market Research report also highlights the growth of non-survey alternatives.

The change in other quant is broadly in line with my predictions, and the 1% change in qual could be more wobble than message. The climb in Other is, however, large, and larger than my prediction, and is one of the drivers of the fall in survey research as a proportion of the total. The key elements in Other are desk research and secondary analysis and are an indication of the move away from data collection to analysis.

BTW, if you are interested in this topic you might want to read Jeffrey Henning’s riposte, Surveys A Century From Now.


 

Feb 042014
 
Esomar book booth2

A new edition ESOMAR’s Answers to Contemporary Questions book is being produced, with three new chapters, International, Mobile, and Opinion Polling. This post is a shout out to crowd source the key questions for Opinion Polling.

What do you think about?

  1. What do market researchers mean by an Opinion Poll?
  2. Who uses Opinion Polls?
  3. What other types of polls are there?
  4. What are the key requirements of an Opinion Poll?
  5. Why might two Opinion Polls sometimes give different results?
  6. Why do Opinion Polls sometimes cause public outcries?
  7. What information needs to be published with Opinion Poll results?
  8. Must all Opinion Polls be published?
  9. My client wishes to publish a statement which is not supported by the findings of the Opinion Poll, what do I do?
  10. How can I find out more about Opinion Polls?

One of the things the chapter needs to do is to draw a distinction between something conducted according to the guidelines of the key associations, and the ‘voodoo polls’ that are popular on websites in the media.

 

Jan 192014
 
Flower

As part of the book on Mobile Market Research that we are working on we are including some tips on how to stay up to date in terms of mobile market research.

Here is the list we have at the moment:

  • Workshops and conferences organised by research bodies such as ESOMAR and MRS.
  • The MRMW series of conferences (Market Research in the Mobile World) organised by the Merlien organisation.
  • The Global Market Research report (annual) and the Global Prices Study (every two years) from ESOMAR.
  • The yearly GRIT report from GreenBook.
  • The Confirmit Annual Market Research Software report.
  • The Mobile Course provided by the University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research course.
  • Online events and recordings at NewMR.org, and its Mobile reference page NewMR.org/mobile.
  • Useful sources of data and information include ITU, press releases and reports from IDC and Gartner, and reports available from the Pew Research Center (www.pewresearch.org/).
  • Useful news sites/blogs include: Mashable.com, Techcrunch.com, ZDNet.com, and cnet.com.

Thoughts?

Jan 072014
 

As part of the book on mobile market research that Sue York, Navin Williams and I are writing we need to give an overview of mobile qual, before going into depth. Do you think the image below helps?

Thoughts?

  • What are we missing?
  • What would you change?
  • What about the titles for the segments?

By WE-research we mean projects where participants are recruited to capture a variety of qualitative data about their lives. They might be asked to capture images of waste, or videos of travel problems, or audio comments about the school run, for example. The term WE-research was introduced by Mark Earls and John Kearnon a few years ago. But, do you have a better term for this type of research?

We are planning on three chapters on qualitative research, indeed we have written three chapters, an overview which covers all four segments above, followed by chapters specifically on the top two segments. Our view on techniques like passive tracking, Google Glass etc is that there is simply not enough material yet to have a chapter on it, there is too little experience around.

If you’d like to help by reviewing one or more of these three chapters, please email ray.poynter@thefutureplace.com – we’ll acknowledge you contribution in the book :-)

Jan 012014
 

Ray Poynter, Navin Williams, and Sue York are writing a book on mobile market research, which will be published in August/September by Wiley, with the support of ESOMAR. The book has been provisionally titled, The Handbook of Mobile Market Research, and is a companion to The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research.

Are you or one of your colleagues, or your organisation, interested in helping us in any of the following ways?

  1. 1. Reviewing one or more chapters and letting us have your thoughts and suggestions?
  2. 2. Supplying case studies or Research on Research to help illustrate points in the book? Ideally, material that has already been published on your website, at a conference, or in articles.

We will, of course, fully cite and credit any help you and your organisation are able to offer.

Timelines are horrendous, of course! We’ve finished the first draft of the book and sent it to the publisher. This draft is very rough, if you have a look at any of the chapters you will spot errors and notes to ourselves in the text. The final text is being sent to the publisher 31st January, so we’d need any feedback or help before then.

So, if you are able to help, please email ray.poynter@thefutureplace.com and tell me which draft chapters you’d like us to send you. You are welcome to ask for as many or as few as possible. In doing so you are of course agreeing to not make these draft chapters widely available, as they are the copyright of Wiley, the publisher.

The chapters are: (the titles will change a bit)

Dec 232013
 
The material below is an excerpt from a book I am writing with Navin Williams and Sue York on Mobile Market Research, but its implications are much wider and I would love to hear people’s thoughts and suggestions.

Most commercial fields have methods of gaining and assessing insight other than market research, for example testing products against standards or legal parameters, test launching, and crowd-funding. There are also a variety of approaches that although used by market researchers are not seen by the market place as exclusively (or even in some cases predominantly) the domain of market research, such as big data, usability testing, and A/B testing.

The mobile ecosystem (e.g. telcos, handset manufacturers, app providers, mobile services, mobile advertising and marketing, mobile shopping etc) employs a wide range of these non-market research techniques, and market researchers working in the field need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches. Market researchers need to understand how they can use the non-market research techniques and how to use market research to complement what they offer.

The list below cover techniques frequently used in the mobile ecosystem which are either not typically offered by market researchers or which are offered by a range of other providers as well as market researchers. Key items are:

  • Usage data, for example web logs from online services and telephone usage from the telcos.
  • A/B testing.
  • Agile development.
  • Crowdsourcing, including open-source development and crowdfunding.
  • Usability testing.
  • Technology or parameter driven development.

Usage data

The mobile and online worlds leave an extensive electronic wake behind users. Accessing a website tells the website owner a large amount about the user, in terms of hardware, location, operating system, language the device is using (e.g. English, French etc), and it might make an estimate of things like age and gender based on the sites you visit and the answers you pick. Use a mobile phone and you tell the telco who you contacted, where you were geographically, how long the contact lasted, what sort of contact was it (e.g. voice or SMS). Use email, such as Gmail or Yahoo, and you tell the service provider who you contacted, which of your devices you used, and the content of your email. Use a service like RunKeeper or eBay or Facebook and you share a large amount of information about yourself and in most cases about other people too.

In many fields, market research is used to estimate usage and behaviour, but in the mobile ecosystem there is often at least one company who can see this information without using market research, and see it in much better detail. For example, a telco does not need to conduct a survey with a sample of its subscribers to find out how often they make calls or to work out how many texts they send, and how many of those texts are to international numbers. The telco has this information, for every user, without any errors.

Usage data tends to be better, cheaper, and often quicker than market research for recording what people did. It is much less powerful in working out why patterns are happening, and it is thought (by some people) to be weak in predicting what will happen if circumstances change. However, it should be noted that the advocates of big data and in particular ‘predictive analytics’ believe that it is possible to work out the answer to ‘what-if’ questions, just from usage/behaviour data.

Unique access to usage data
One limitation to the power of usage data is that in most cases only one organisation has access to a specific section of usage data. In a country with two telcos, each will only have access to the usage data for their subscribers, plus some cross-network traffic information. The owner of a website is the only company who can track the people who visit that site (* with a couple of exceptions). A bank has access to the online, mobile and other data from its customers, but not data about the users of other banks.

This unique access feature of usage data is one of the reasons why organisations buy data from other organisations and conduct market research to get a whole market picture.

* There are two exceptions to the unique access paradigm.
The first is that if users can be persuaded to download a tracking device, such as the Alexa.com toolbar, then that service will build a large, but partial picture of users of other services. This is how Alexa.com is able to estimate the traffic for the leading websites globally.

The second exception is if the service provider buys or uses a tool or service from a third party then some information is shared with that provider.

A complex and comprehensive example of this type of access is Google who sign users up to their Google services (including Android), offer web analytics to websites, and serve ads to websites, which allows them to gain a large but partial picture of online and mobile behaviour.

Legal implications of usage data
Usage data, whether it is browsing, emailing, mobile, or financial, is controlled by law in most countries, although the laws tend to vary from one jurisdiction to another. Because the scale and depth of usage data is a new phenomenon and because the tools to analyse it and the markets for selling/using it are still developing the laws are tending to lag behind the practice.

A good example, of the challenges that legislators and data owners face is determining what is permitted and what is not, are the problems that Google had in Spain and Netherlands towards the end of 2013. The Dutch Government’s Data Protection Agency ruled in November 2013 that Google had broken Dutch law by combining data together from its many services to create a holistic picture of users. Spain went one step further and fined Google 900,000 Euros for the same offence (about $1.25 million). This is unlikely to be the end of the story, the laws might change, Google might change its practices (or the permissions it collects), or the findings might be appealed. However, they illustrate that data privacy and protection are likely to create a number of challenges for data users and legislators over the next few year.

A/B testing

The definition of A/B testing is a developing and evolving one; and it is likely to evolve and expand further over the next few years. At its heart A/B testing is based on a very old principle, create a test where two offers only differ in one detail, present these two choices to matched but separate groups of people to evaluate, and whichever is the more popular is the winner. What makes modern A/B testing different from traditional research is the tendency to evaluate the options in the real market, rather than with research participants. One high profile user of A/B testing is Google, who use it to optimise their online services. Google systematically, and in many cases automatically, select a variable, offer two options, and count the performance with real users. The winning option becomes part of the system.

Google’s A/B testing is now available to users of some of its systems, such as Google Analytics. There are also a growing range of companies offering A/B testing systems. Any service that can be readily tweaked and offered is potentially suitable for A/B testing – in particular virtual or online services.

The concept of A/B testing has moved well beyond simply testing two options and assessing the winner, for example:

  • Many online advertising tools allow the advertiser to submit several variations and the platform adjusts which execution is shown most often and to whom it is shown to maximise a dependent variable, for example to maximise click through.
  • Companies like Phillips have updated their direct mailing research/practice by developing multiple offers, e.g. 32 versions of a mailer, employing design principles to allow the differences to be assessed. The mailers are used in the market place, with a proportion of the full database, to assess their performance. The results are used in two ways. 1) The winning mailer is used for the rest of the database. 2) The performance of the different elements are assessed to create predictive analytics for future mailings.
  • Dynamic pricing models are becoming increasingly common in the virtual and online world. Prices in real markets, such as stock exchanges have been based for many years on dynamic pricing, but now services such as eBay, Betfair, and Amazon apply differing types of automated price matching.
  • Algorithmic bundling and offer development. With services that are offered virtually the components can be varied to iteratively seek combinations that work better than others.

The great strength of A/B testing is in the area of small, iterative changes, allowing organisations to optimise their products, services, and campaigns. Market research’s key strength, in this area, is the ability to research bigger changes and help suggest possible changes.

Agile development

Agile development refers to operating in ways where is it easy, quick, and cheap for the organisation to change direction and to modify products and services. One consequence of agile development is that organisations can try their product or service with the market place, rather than assessing it in advance.

Market research is of particular relevance when the costs of making a product are large, or where the consequences of launching an unsatisfactory product or service are large. But, if products and services can be created easily and the consequences of failure are low, then ‘try it and see’ can be a better option than classic forms of market research. Whilst the most obvious place for agile development is in the area of virtual products and services, it is also used in more tangible markets. The move to print on demand books has reduced the barriers to entry in the book market and facilitated agile approaches. Don Tapscott in his book Wikinomics talks about the motorcycle market in China, which adopted an open-source approach to its design and manufacture of motorcycles, something which combined agile development and crowdsourcing (the next topic in this section).

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is being used in a wide variety of way by organisations, and several of these ways can be seen as an alternative to market research, or perhaps as routes that make market research less necessary. Key examples of crowdsourcing include:

  • Open source. Systems like Linux and Apache are developed collaboratively and then made freely available. The priorities for development are determined by the interaction of individuals and the community, and the success of changes is determined by a combination of peer review and market adoption.
  • Crowdfunding. One way of assessing whether an idea has a good chance of succeeding is to try and fund it through a crowdfunding platform, such as Kickstarter. The crowdfunding route can provide feedback, advocates, and money.
  • Crowdsourced product development. A great example of crowdsourcing is the T-shirt company Threadless.com. People who want to be T-shirt designers upload their designs to the website. Threadless displays these designs to the people who buy T-shirts and asks which ones people want to buy. The most popular designs are then manufactured and sold via the website. In this sort of crowdsourced model there is little need for market research as the audience get what the audience want, and the company is not paying for the designs, unless the designs prove to be successful.

Usability testing

Some market research companies offer usability testing, but there are a great many providers of this service who are not market researchers and who do not see themselves as market researchers. The field of usability testing brings together design professionals, HCI (human computer interaction), ergonomics, as well market researchers.

Usability testing for a mobile phone, or a mobile app, can include:

  • Scoring it against legal criteria to make sure it conforms to statutory requirements.
  • Scoring it against design criteria, including criteria such as disability access guidelines.
  • User lab testing, where potential users are given access to the product or service and are closely observed as they use it.
  • User testing, where potential users are given the product or given access to the service and use it for a period of time, for example two weeks. The usage may be monitored, there is often a debrief at the end of the usage period (which can be qualitative, quantitative, or both), and usage data may have been collected and analysed.

Technology or parameter driven

In some markets there are issues other than consumer choice that guide design and innovation. In areas like mobile commerce and mobile connectivity, there are legal and regulatory limits and requirements as to what can be done, so the design process will often be focused on how to maximise performance, minimise cost, whilst complying with the rules. In these situations, the guidance comes from professionals (e.g. engineers or lawyers) rather than from consumers, which reduces the role for market research.

Future innovations

This section of the chapter has looked at a wide range of approaches to gaining insight that are not strengths of market research. It is likely that this list will grow over time as technologies develop and it is likely to grow as the importance of the mobile ecosystem continues to grow.

As well as new non-market research approaches being developed it is possible, perhaps likely, that areas which are currently seen as largely or entirely the domain of market research will be shared with other non-market research companies and organisations. The growth in DIY or self-serve options in surveys, online discussions, and even whole insight communities are an indication of this direction of travel.


So, that is where the text is at the moment. Plenty of polishing still to do. But here are my questions?
  1. Do you agree with the main points?
  2. Have I missed any major issuies?
  3. Are there good examples of the points I’ve made that you could suggest highlighting/using?

Dec 182013
 

Most market researchers (IMO) who use Twitter do so with the #MRX tag, with the #NewMR, #ESOMAR and #AMSRS tags a little way behind. Indeed Vaughan Mordecai has recently posted an interesting analysis of #MRX contributor and content – and Jeffrey Henning Tweets a weekly list of top #MRX links and posts a biweekly blog on GreenBook about the top ten.

But, is all of this just creating a cozy world where a few thousand market researchers tweet to each other, and nobody else really contributes, reads, are even cares? The quickest way to get recognition amongst market researchers is to use the #MRX tag, so it becomes the default, and in doing so, perhaps, it becomes a fence or boundary of our own making?

Time add new links to the wider world?
Other leading #MRX figures, such as Tom Ewing and Reg Baker have written about what happens if you ignore the #MRX audience, your figures quickly decline. But perhaps the key is to be adding more dimensions to what we do, and for those dimensions to have an external focus?

By external focus, I mean using cues and clues that other people are likely to be looking for. Who outside the market researcher Twitterati would be looking for #MRX or #NewMR – even if they were looking for market research related material?

Options we might want to consider, when talking about the right subjects are:

  • #ROI
  • #Insights
  • #Retail
  • #B2B
  • #Mobile (we do sometimes use #MMR – mobile market research, but that does not really ‘reach out’ to the non-cognoscenti)
  • #BigData
  • #Surveys

What do you think? Is there any potential in widening the hashtags we in the #MRX chatterati use? Or, would we still be talking to the same few people?

What tags would you suggest?