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.


 

Sep 022014
 
Coloured Rhino

One of the most frequent lamentations at market research conferences relates to the boardroom. Market researchers are not well represented in the boardroom and many seem to think this is proof of our weakness as a profession/industry. However, I think this is mistaken, I think that market research should only rarely be involved in boardroom decisions, and indeed that majority of what we do should be tactical not strategic.

Boardrooms are not places where many decisions are taken, and those decisions tend to be about issues such as mergers and acquisitions, accounts related issues, strategic decisions about estate management, strategic decisions about issues such as outsourcing etc.

The management of companies is not, typically, achieved at the boardroom level; it is provided by the managers and the specialists. Market research is at its most powerful when it is integrated into the wider knowledge base and information system of the organisation, and this integration happens best when done by the people working with the information, not externally, and not at a level too senior to understand the complexity.

Similarly, most companies make 1000s of tactical decisions for every strategic decision. If a company is making a large number of strategic decisions, they are not actually strategic, they are more likely to be panic. Market researchers certainly want to be involved in the strategic decisions, we have a lot to add and they tend to be interesting projects. But the bulk of the industry should be focused on the tactical if it is going to grow and be profitable.

If we look at the ESOMAR Global Market Research report we can see that the continuous projects account for the bulk of market research spending by clients, including audits, market measurement, customer satisfaction, brand and advertising tracking, usage data. All of this data is used strategically occasionally, but it is principally used to manage the delivery of services and products – i.e. it is used tactically. Ad hoc research such as product testing and ad testing are, in most cases, tactical. A company makes a strategic decision to launch X new products a year, the NPD, the pre-testing, the testing, the comms testing, the monitoring of sales and advertising are all (mostly) tactical. Of course, we would encourage a company to review its tactical data to gain inputs to its strategic thinking, but that is in addition to using the data tactically.

Am I talking about me or about the industry?
One of the reasons I think the MR industry gets confused about whether its core target should be the boardroom or senior management, and about whether its bread and butter should be strategic or tactical, is down to the opinion leaders in market research. Most of the opinion leaders are more strategic than tactical, they personally do more big picture work, and they do less testing whether the font on the pack should be serif or sans serif.

I worry that too many people who do the big thinking (or who try to do the big thinking) are generalising from their own particular. If the market research industry were to focus on the strategic and the boardroom, to the exclusion of the tactical and the everyday, the market research industry would be much, much smaller, many people would have to lose their jobs, and another business sector would need to do the tactical research that clients need.

The importance of the tactical and practical
The ability of some market researchers to focus on the strategic, to offer consultancy services, rests on the scale of the market research industry and its reputation for measurement, independence, and relative objectivity. The stars in our industry are there because of the field managers, the interviewers, the programmers, the operations staff, the coders, and research executives that facilitate the scale of the MR industry.

Yes, let’s keep developing the consultancy services, let’s keep trying to garner a bigger role in strategic decision making, let’s embrace insight management, but let us also keep developing the tactical, the practical, the everyday. We need a parity of respect for all aspects of the market research profession.


 

Aug 192014
 
NodeXL

Back in July I asked ‘Who are the most influential market research people on Twitter?’ After some banter we narrowed the question to the #MRX tag and mid-July. I asked for nominations, Jeffrey Henning prepared a special version of his #MRX tweeted links report, and we have had input from ColourText, Texifter, and NodeXL.

You can read the full report by clicking here, and the full report includes several links back to much fuller and interactive information form some of the people who have made this report possible.

But here is a meta-analysis of the findings. To produce the list I tabulated who made the top ten of at least one of the lists, counted how often they made the top ten, and ranked them by that.

So this meta list is a follows:

Account

Score

euromonitor

5

lennyism

5

mramrx

5

raypoynter

5

researchlive

5

jhenning

4

thomasjohne

4

ipsosmori

3

kristofdewulf

3

tomderuyck

3

darrenmarknoyce

2

djsresearch

2

gavinspavin

2

lovestats

2

1sue3

1

colinstrong

1

edward04

1

effectiveresrch

1

erica_dfirst

1

joelrubinson

1

jonpuleston

1

lrwonline

1

mdmktingsource

1

tomewing

1

tomhcanderson

1

tweetmrs

1

visioncritical

1

A five means the account was identified as ‘influential’ or widely linked or widely reacted to or linked to popular links by most of the routes used in the report. A 1 means the account made one of the top ten lists.

Of course, this does not mean these 27 are the most influential, nor does it mean the people at the top are the most influential, and it does not mean that influence exists in the way it is often assumed to (see this great TED talk by Sinan Aral on this topic).

Read the full report by clicking here.

I’d like to give my thanks to NodeXL, Jeffrey Henning, Texifter, and ColourText for helping produce this report, and to @lennyism for his support in getting the idea off the ground and for helping share the results.


 

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 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.


 

Jun 282014
 

This week’s Economist has an interesting article about the founders of Napster (Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker) and the difficulty they have had in coming up with a successful second presence in the market. Towards the end of the article the Economist refers to one of my favourite terms in the area of new business, “First-mover disadvantage”.

First-mover advantage?
Whenever I meet start-ups, or people back from the latest hi-tech innovation fest, the talk is often about first-mover advantage. The idea is that a company gets in first and secures a long-term advantage. However, although there are examples of first-mover advantage (e.g. when a first mover can tie-up the market for scarce materials), it is much more common to see first-mover disadvantages.

First-mover disadvantage
Examples of first-mover disadvantage go back at least as far as the printing press, noting that in the 16 Century Gutenberg died bankrupt). The economist article quotes Motorola and the mobile phone along with Netscape and the browser. To this list we could add:

  • Alta Vista had first mover status in search engines, but was overtaken by Yahoo! and then Google.
  • When personal computers first appeared the early advantage was with companies like Commordore, then Apple, then IBM, and now the PC is largely a commodity item, with a range of manufacturers, and most of the early leaders no longer in the market (Apple is still making personal computers, but has a relatively small market share).
  • Henry Ford appeared to have secured a first-mover advantage in 1908 with the Model T, but was overtaken in the 1920s by Chevrolet.

The awareness of first-mover disadvantage dates back a long way, for example here is a Forces article on it in 2007. In 2001 the Harvard Business Review reported a study that found that first movers in consumer goods and industrial goods tended to have a 4% LOWER ROI than later entrants to the market.

There are numerous causes of first-mover disadvantage, most of which relate to second mover advantage. The second mover can see what is working, they can aim to meet the unmet needs of the incumbent (which often means cost, but can mean efficacy, range, style etc).

Another source of first-mover disadvantage is that if a first mover is making money from its current model it often neglects the need to change, to disrupt itself, leaving it open to be disrupted by others.

So the next time somebody is pitching a product, investment, or job opportunity, watch out for that use of first-mover advantage.

In-and-Out
When somebody is talking about first-mover advantages. It can be a good idea to check whether it represents and in-and-out opportunity. An in-and-out opportunity is where there is a short-term first mover advantage, and there is an understanding by the people running it that the optimum strategy is to ramp it up quickly, generate revenues, and then get out.

Other Examples?
What are your examples of first-mover disadvantage?


 

Jun 132014
 
Steve Wills

On July 16 Steve Wills will be giving a NewMR lecture on Insight Management and various initiatives to make it a recognised professions – click here to find out more about the lecture.

One of those initiatives is the creation of a MSc Insight Management degree by the University of Winchester, in the UK (to the South-West of London). Below you can read more about the course.

 

MSc Insight Management

The University of Winchester’s MSc Insight Management is designed for working managers, delivered on a part-time weekend basis. It will appeal to managers from diverse business support organisations such as market research, data analytics and competitor and market intelligence. The degree will give students an understanding of the Insight Management function and equips them with key skills in insight generation and delivery for business decision-making.

The degree develops students’ ability to critically evaluate the information needs of an organisation and the potential value it can generate. It explores ways in which organisations make sense of the information they generate, examining consumer decision and business decision processes. It examines the barriers to getting that information used when decision makers are swamped in diverse and often conflicting data and reviews approaches to generating insight through creative thinking techniques, within both divergent and convergent processes.

Being able to convey and articulate the meaning of insight at all levels from the Board through to those working at the sharp end of organisations forms a major part the degree.

You can find out more about the course from the Winchester University website.

Winchester Business School is a signatory to United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education and the programme has been designed to fit within this framework.


Jun 012014
 

Guest post from Sue Bell, principal Susan Bell Research, Australia.

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


Over the last few months, we have been conducting a bit of an experiment (using the term in its everyday sense) with the Susan Bell Research Facebook page. At least twice a week, we post links to a recent blog, or a tip or quote about the kind of research we conduct. We also regularly share other people’s content there. For example, we have shared 3rd party content from ESOMAR such as the recent article on Qualitative Research and Flex MR’s article about nurturing your consumer panels.

Why are we doing this? We are putting into practice a core belief about communication which is that to communicate clearly you should ‘show’ not ‘tell’. As Mark Twain put it:

  • ‘Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.’ (Mark Twain)
  • Creative or very visual agencies can use website design to convey a creative image, but it is more difficult for specialist service agencies like ours to use websites to demonstrate what we do. Efforts to explain tend to become words, words and more words – all telling and no showing.

    Unlike websites, Facebook is a ‘show’ sort of place which allows us to show what we specialise by posting content about qualitative research, communications research, sensory research, semiotics and language.

    Although it has its limitations, Facebook is my preferred ‘show not tell’ platform because it is easy to post links to our blogs, and to tips and quotes that appeal to us, in a reasonably consistent manner. We plan several weeks ahead and only post on certain topics, making sure that any personal stuff stays on personal pages.

    Being active on social media is also the best way – bar none – to teach yourself how to advise clients about using social media. Sharing content also helps us to build a network of like-minded agencies internationally, and it encourages other people to share and comment on our stuff, which helps get our message out.

    To use it well you have to remember that social media is exactly that: social. It is not a platform to only broadcast information, updates and content from your own business; that is for your website. Social media is about connecting, sharing and starting conversations about our industry and interests. Is it successful? That depends on the success measure you use. In our case, this is not about reach because reach is not what we are after. Image perceptions are more relevant. Any agency thinking of doing what we are doing needs to ask questions like:

    • Do you want to position yourself as an expert in your field?
    • Do you want to connect with like-minded professionals?
    • Do you want to gain more fans or sales leads for your business?

    Chances are there is a social media platform out there that will facilitate those needs, so long as you approach it in a realistic and strategic manner.

    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.


    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 www.iiex-na.com 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 www.qrca.org or can be obtained from Darrin Hubbard at assistantexdir@qrca.org. The closing date for applications is Friday 30 May 2013.

    Full information is available on QRCA’s website at www.qrca.org – 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.