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Why Marketers Need Social Science in Their Tool Kit

Why should social science be a part of every marketer’s tool kit? Explore brand purpose and breakout brand strategy as we answer this question in the fourth video of a 9-part video series entitled "The Future of Marketing and How to Win".

Editor’s Note: Fresh Squeezed Ideas created a video series, The Future of Marketing and How to Win, to not only share ideas on where the future of marketing is headed, but to also provoke some new ways of thinking about brand strategy and marketing.

By Fresh Squeezed Ideas

Why should social science be a part of every marketer’s tool kit? Explore brand purpose and breakout brand strategy as we answer this question in the fourth video of a 9-part video series entitled “The Future of Marketing and How to Win”

Let’s start with an example of a healthcare company that markets a medical device treatment for an acute condition that is potentially fatal. It was observed that they have two types of customers. On one hand, there are very vigilant people who own multiple devices and keep them in all kinds of locations. They protect themselves very well. On the other extreme, there’s the consumer that is quite negligent. If they even own a device, they don’t carry it, and they’re always at risk. The healthcare company thought, if we just educate the negligent people with the same beliefs and facts that the vigilant people have, surely they’ll do the right thing, and carry their device to protect themselves. Unfortunately, people don’t do rational things for rational reasons and it is a great example of attraction or a lack of attraction for subconscious reasons.

Here’s what we found out when we got up close and intimate with these people. They were so afraid of the fatality potential, that they simply denied that they had this condition, or that it would happen to them. This is not unlike how people live on a fault line in California think the Big One won’t come. That’s completely irrational.

However, when they understood that no amount of education was actually going to change behaviour, they were able to understand how to create a different kind of strategy— which was to use humour—that aligned with their values. They tried this very funny approach, which you don’t often see in medical marketing, and guess what? It doubled their business.

When you have strategies that are built on a brand purpose that’s relevant within a cultural context and respects the value of the target audience, you can have profound impact on your business. The great news for marketers is that technology has made social science investigations more accessible and more affordable than ever before. Every marketer that wants to break out in the marketplace needs these tools as part of your arsenal if you want to develop a strategy that has the power to transform your business.


Growing the Industry by Funding More Research – Part Two

Collaborata is the first platform that crowd-funds research, saving clients upwards of 90% on each project. We’ve asked Collaborata to feature two projects that are currently funding on a biweekly basis.


By Peter Zollo

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our second post featuring two projects on Collaborata, the market-research marketplace. We’re happy to support a platform whose mission is to fund more research.

And, like Collaborata, we believe in the idea of connecting clients and suppliers to co-sponsor projects. In Collaborata’s case, doing so reduces redundancy and cost. We invite you to Collaborate!

Collaborata Featured Project #1:

“Vets & Pets: The Influence Veterinarians Have on What Today’s Consumers Are Spending on Their Pets”


Purpose: This study will quantify the influence veterinarians have on what dog and cat owners buy for their pets and how to better engage vets for your brand’s benefit.

This research will assess how the pet owner-vet dynamic plays out differently among generations in order to identify distinct opportunities to grow your brand among Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers.

The Pitch: Learn how veterinarians influence pet owners’ care and feeding purchases. And, get fresh insights on how to best engage vets for your brand’s benefit — direct from the source!

If you market pet products or services, this research will illuminate how to best tap into the critical vet-pet owner relationship that drives consumers’ attitudes and pet-care purchases in your category. Become an early co-sponsor and get input into the questionnaire.

Deliverable: Comprehensive deck; management-level webinar; complete tabulations.

Who’s Backing This: RTi, an innovative, global full-service market-research agency, with deep brand strategy experience.

To become a co-sponsor or for more info: http://www.collaborata.com/projects/176 or email info@collaborata.com

Collaborata Featured Project #2:

“Prediction Markets Omnibus”

zollo_2Purpose: Get answers to your proprietary questions by leveraging the fast-growing Prediction Markets methodology. Prediction Markets are more accurate, faster, and less expensive than traditional concept studies.

The Pitch: If you’ve ever thought about testing Prediction Markets as a research method, here’s a unique opportunity to do so.

For the introductory price of $3,500, you’ll receive two proprietary questions as well as shared data in in each of three verticals: Health/ Nutrition; Finance/ Insurance; and CPG. For an additional $3,500, get three more proprietary questions!

Deliverable: Topline report; proprietary data files.

Who’s Backing This: Edge Research, a full-research firm, with expertise in Prediction Markets. Edge is supported on this project by Consensus Point, a Prediction Market Research company, who recently gave a Webinar on Greenbook about Predictions Markets, which you can find here.

To become a co-sponsor or for more info: http://www.collaborata.com/projects/167 or email info@collaborata.com


The RoI of RoRI

When a research department measures return on investment, satisfaction with that department goes way up.


By Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner

For years the question of whether or not you can measure the return on research investment (RoRI) has ebbed and flowed, much as it has for the related question on marketing investment. Most of the time, opponents of the concept have held their ground and the practice has not yet become mainstream. Today, only 30% of major corporations actual measure RoRI, according to a study that we recently completed alongside BCG and Yale.

“It’s too difficult!” goes the cry. “Too much happens between the research taking place and any in-market effects!” Research should be judged on its innate quality and the degree to which it enhances understanding of the market and the consumer, not on some artificial metric tied to business performance. There’s the effect of distribution and competitor activity, not to mention media buying and the ad agency not listening. No, it can’t be done.

Well, guess what? It can be done, it is being done and when it is being done, it massively enhances satisfaction with the research function. That’s right – when a research department actually does measure return on investment, satisfaction with that department goes way up.


It is not difficult to see why: departments that measure RoI are actually proving that what they do makes a difference – has an impact – on the business. They are able to actively market themselves within their own organization. Those that don’t, can’t. “Return” in this case does not have to be all about sales or profits. It can be about cost savings achieved, processes made more efficient, insights that changed senior management decisions and other anecdotes showing how research made an impact.

How is this relevant to research agencies? Well, the agency may be one step removed from the impact that a particular piece of work had in an organization, but it can still track the perceived return through communication with the client. In doing so, you may also be doing your clients a favor by pushing them to keep a log of research impact and return. And, in doing that, you may also be in a better position to highlight to them just how much you and your agency are contributing to their overall RoI – i.e. it is a marketing tool for you, too.

So, whether or not your clients formally measure RoRI, set up your own system. Ask your clients the question – what happened after that study? What was the impact? And show them, implicitly, not only how measuring RoRi might help them but what a great value partner you are as well.


CASRO Transformation Series: GlimpzIt – Seize The Glimpz

Can a couple of Wharton grads who started a business based on the belief there was an alternate way to do qualitative research succeed? All indicators are that Insight Innovation Exchange Competition Winners Glimpzit is doing it.

By Jeff Resnick

parry-headshotIt is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Combine pictures with video, text and a litany of other emerging forms of communication with the ability to reveal patterns in behavior or uncover consumer emotions and you have the essence of GlimpzIt.   GlimpzIt describes itself as your AI marketing assistant. Yet it does not consider itself a disrupter of the industry, rather a firm harnessing new technology that enables marketing and market research professionals to create a deeper understanding of the consumer.  Parry Bedi, the firm’s CEO provides a view into the proliferating world of machine learning/artificial intelligence driven techniques that he believes will be a core component of our future industry.  GlimpzIt is squarely in the center of this evolutionary path.

How GlimpzIt works.  From a user’s perspective the interface is exceedingly simple.  In fact, the company’s stated motto is: “A machine learning platform for marketers. Not data scientists.” Essentially, you ask a question (or as GlimpzIt calls it, start a conversation), select your target audience and the platform does the rest!

One popular use case for the platform is ad concept generation.  In one project completed for a manufacturer of denim jeans, for example, the advertising team wanted to understand how people stored their jeans as input for their creative.  The process began by asking the client’s target market the question – “How do you store your jeans?” People responded with pictures, videos and text.  The analysis revealed two groups – neat freaks and slobs plus the underlying truth that it was all about ease of access.  Information is provided back to the client through an automated portal.  GlimpzIt even goes a step further to categorize the insights into concrete action groups such as Dormant (time is not right for this action), Sustain (keep on doing it) and Opportunity (this is where you should focus). Furthermore, using statistical analysis GlimpzIt shows you potential advertising content that will most likely resonate with the target audience.

GlimpzIt’s secret sauce.  Significant advances in the converging worlds of automation and artificial intelligence/machine learning make GlimpzIt possible. Machine learning is often described as programming that mimics the learning process of the human mind.  Advances in this technology allow computers to correctly identify objects in pictures, video and other media.  Using our example of storing jeans, object identification has advanced to the point where software platforms can easily identify if a pair of jeans is on a bed, in a drawer or on the floor by analyzing the picture content.  This capability combined with the advances in natural language processing (NLP) creates the ability to make sense of disparate sources of unstructured data in a cohesive and self-reinforcing manner resulting in deep and, some say, almost human level consumer insights.  The more data is analyzed, the smarter the platform gets and the richer the information provided to the client.

Disruptive or additive?  From Parry’s perspective, GlimpzIt is an evolutionary force, not a disruptive one.  It doesn’t seek to replace existing research techniques; it is an additional tool.   Traditional firms operating in the research arena as well as new start-ups share a common goal – to better understand the consumer by building a holistic view of that consumer.  The AI-based platform built by GlimpzIt enables users to absorb massive quantities of qualitative information, essentially at the push of a button.  Parry’s argument is that while a company may still conduct a traditional deep-dive qualitative effort, for example on a single advertising concept, GlimpzIt enables the company to explore and even test a much longer list of alternative concepts at nearly the same level of depth.

The future – terrifying or exhilarating?  Parry paints a picture similar to many of today’s emerging technology CEOs – smarter machines, more automation and lightning fast speed.  If your tendency is to lean toward the dark side, Skynet of the Terminator movie series might capture your reaction to what is to come.  However, if you embrace technology as an enabler, the possible scenarios for the leveraging of machine learning are downright exhilarating.  For example, reconsider the ad concept example outlined earlier. From Parry’s point of view, the not too distant future will include an AI-driven platform that will automate holistic persona development with the identification of potential actions (Phase 1 – generally available today), the automatic creation and testing of content (Phase 2 – early tomorrow) and finally complete autonomy where business goals are understood, concepts are developed, tested and automatically placed in online media channels such as YouTube or Facebook (Phase 3 – not that far away).  Parry is committed that GlimpzIt will be an active participant in the emergence of this technology.

Parry’s top tips to entrepreneurs.  In the second phase of the Transform series, we also focus on what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur in our industry.  Here is Parry’s take:

  • Don’t let the MR industry’s often quoted gloom and doom impact your vision. Many in our industry continue to live in a world where the sun never shines.  Some with good reason.  However, Parry believes a lot has to do with how you define the industry.  If you include firms that create a deeper understanding of the consumer through all varieties of data analytics and that create knowledge by leveraging technology, the future is really bright and filled with unlimited growth potential.
  • Never start a company alone. The work is exhausting.  Failures guaranteed.  The highs are super-high and the lows are super-low.  Having others to figure out the failures, celebrate the successes and keep one foot moving in front of the other is a primary ingredient of success.
  • Be capital efficient. Whether you are bootstrapping your start-up or have successfully secured a round of financing, you have to be really smart about how you spend your money.  This isn’t about whether you buy employee lunches.   It is about whether you hire others to drive some corporate activities – such as marketing – to allow the founding team to continue developing those parts of the business that generate core value.  Sales are critical but they never arrive when you have an inferior product.

The bottom line?  Can a couple of Wharton grads who started a business based on the belief there was an alternate way to do qualitative research succeed?  All indicators are that clients believe their platform works well.   GlimpzIt has an enviable list of clients for a start-up including NBC, Hallmark, and Johnson & Johnson.  Clients are renewing subscription contracts and month-over-month usage growth has been over 20%.   Perhaps we should encourage Parry and his team to conduct their own project to capture a glimpz of how others see their firm.  I bet the answer will be intriguing.

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Why Behavioural Data Is a Key Part Of The Future

With bigger teams and more influence, market research professionals are getting more sophisticated in how they apply data. However for all the advancements the industry has made, one area that has lagged behind is how the data is collected.


By Eli Portnoy

The best companies in the world are investing heavily in their consumer insights team. Industry leaders have come to realize that great market research helps companies make better and more strategic decisions on everything from product strategy, to pricing, to marketing and everything in between. With bigger teams and more influence, market research professionals are getting more sophisticated in how they apply data. However for all the advancements the industry has made, one area that has lagged behind is how the data is collected.

The Current State Of Affairs

Market research professionals heavily rely on surveys. In fact, ESOMAR estimates that 80% of global research budgets are spent on  surveys. While surveys have benefited from a dramatic move towards online, and now a slow crawl towards mobile, the reality is that surveys have not changed in dozens of years. Market Research data is still fundamentally about asking consumers questions and hoping they remember and provide good answers.

While surveys are terrific way to collect data, they do have some limitations. Specifically, they are expensive to administer leading to a fairly small number of responses. They are prone to people forgetting or including bias in their responses. And finally, they take a long time to collect, process, and analyze. In a world where new data sources are sprouting daily, shouldn’t we expect more?

A New Source Of Data

We live in a world where almost every interaction we have can create a little digital data crumb. Not only is this true in online web browsing, but even our offline activity can be recorded thanks to the massive proliferation of smartphones and the large number of sensors packed into each of these. Imagine a market research world where instead of asking someone when they had last been to the gym, you could ask them to passively share their location data from their phone and see every time they went to the gym.

This passively collected information is a new type of behavioural data and it is going to play a very large role in the future of market research.

The Benefits of Behavioural Data

The first benefit of real-world behavioural data is that it does not rely on human memory or the inevitable bias. Instead, this data essentially allows a market researcher to observe how, when, and what panel participants do, providing significantly richer, more complete, and more accurate data.

A second major benefit is that because it is much easier for panelists to install an app and share data than it is to painstakingly answer 80 questions, it is possible to build massively larger panels of behavioural data. Instead of being limited by studies that have thousands or tens of thousands of respondents, a market researcher can work with data from literally millions of people. This allows for greater insights, deeper cutting of the data, and more granularity.

Finally, behavioural data can be collected in real-time, and thanks to advances in cloud computing, can also be processed programmatically. This allows researchers to analyze data in hours, rather than the weeks, if not months it would have taken to collect, process, and analyze surveys. In a fast changing world, the speed of insights can be the difference between growth and decline, and with behavioral panels researchers can have it nearly instantly.

The Ultimate Solution

The most progressive consumer insights professionals will find ways to blend and combine survey and behavioural data sets to find the growth levers that will propel their business forward. The future of market research has never been brighter and the data available to consumer insights professionals is about to expand from purely survey driven, to data sets that combine behavioral and observed data. This is a terrific opportunity that will enable companies to generate richer, deeper, and more actionable insights than were ever possible before.


The Problem with Best Practices

Why don’t best practices work and what is the better way? Explore why you should look beyond these best practices in the third video of a 9-part video series entitled "The Future of Marketing and How to Win".


Editor’s Note: Fresh Squeezed Ideas created a video series, The Future of Marketing and How to Win, to not only share ideas on where the future of marketing is headed, but to also provoke some new ways of thinking about brand strategy and marketing.

By Fresh Squeezed Ideas

Why don’t best practices work and what is the better way? Explore why you should look beyond these best practices in the third video of a 9-part video series entitled “The Future of Marketing and How to Win”.

Brand management in marketing has been around a very long time, and a common question is, “Why do I need to rethink my best practices?”, which is a fair question.  The problem is best practices are based on hindsight, based on all the things that have been done before, which can really limit a marketer’s thinking. What worked in the past, won’t necessarily work in the future since what mattered to consumers in the past, may not matter to them in the future, because culture changes. Foresight is not about predicting the future, but it is about anticipating the drivers of change, which give the opportunity to hypothesize around future risks and opportunities that could help drive a business.

A great example of this is the financial services industry: banks, and wealth investors. The problem with foresight is that for some organizations, they struggle with the fact you can’t quantify it. There are some organizations that are very well aware of the changes in consumer attitudes and are ahead of the technological change in wealth investment, for example. Where there are other organizations that struggle with this kind of ambiguity, and they’re behind the times.

Best practices based on models from yesteryear don’t take into account the shifts in culture, and going forward, we need a way to do that.  Now, I know that most of the marketers out there will say yes, big data will save us, and we’ll use all the analytical power we can to reveal all, and the challenge is, and unfortunately big data does a wonderful job of quantifying touch points that every brand can have based on all the click behaviour.  But unfortunately, it doesn’t answer the whys behind the behaviour.  And when we’re talking about things that are culturally relevant, they’re impossible for people to answer.  You really need to look to ethnographic investigations to investigate the whys, the motivations of the behaviour.  And this is often subconscious to people.  So, you can use your big data, but it’ll tell you what, but it won’t tell you why, and it’s really the thick data that comes from the ethnographers that allows the kind of insight that you need to build a brand that’s both culturally relevant, culturally resonant, and ultimately built to a brand purpose that will guide you forward.



Market-Research Crowdfunding Startup “Blasts Out of Beta”

Collaborata, a new B-to-B online marketplace that brings buyers and sellers together to crowdfund research projects, is moving out of beta next week as it aims to change how market research is transacted.


By Jimmy Zollo

Collaborata, a new B-to-B online marketplace that brings buyers and sellers together to crowdfund research projects, is moving out of beta next week as it aims to change how market research is transacted.

Collaborata is the first-ever platform that connects market researchers to share project results and costs. As of this week, research sellers from more than 150 companies worldwide have registered on the platform, including some of the largest multinationals such as Euromonitor, GFK, Ipsos, Nielsen, and TNS. Research buyers from hundreds of client companies are also on the site, including the likes of Clorox, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, ESPN, and Johnson & Johnson. Sharing research costs through Collaborata’s crowdfunding platform saves buyers up to 90 percent on each project, allowing even the world’s biggest research spenders to significantly stretch their budgets.

“A big challenge for many organizations is that too often research projects that could prove transformative to a brand go unfunded. At the same time, we see companies replicating each other’s research,” said Jimmy Zollo, co-founder of Collaborata. “Collaborata brings the sharing economy to the market-research industry by connecting clients with similar research needs to reduce redundancy and cost. We like to think of Collaborata as a Kickstarter for the market-research industry.”

Jimmy Zollo was most recently at Grubhub, one of most successful tech startups in the past 10 years. His Collaborata co-founder is his father Peter Zollo, founder and former CEO of TRU, a leader in youth research. TRU was acquired by WPP and Kantar in 2008. Zollo exited the business in 2012, after expanding it into 40 global markets. Rounding out the all-Chicago management team is Ben Diedrich, recently of Mesirow Financial, who heads up global sales for Collaborata.

Clients can browse Collaborata to discover new research projects to co-fund or buy for immediate delivery. Coming out of beta, the platform will feature more than 20 projects at a total value in excess of

$3 million, ranging from “The List,” a youth brand-tracking study; to “Understanding YouTube” the first co-sponsored research that reveals who’s viewing YouTube, what they’re watching, and on what devices; to “The Global Legal Marijuana Market,” from Euromonitor, the research firm famous for sizing pioneering industries.

“As we blast out of beta, we’re unveiling a host of timely projects designed and executed by the smartest experts in the industry, all at a significant savings,” said Jimmy Zollo. In this post-beta phase, in addition to offering a growing catalog of projects, Collaborata introduces a subscription model, to help clients better plan for annual spending on the platform.

“While the market-research industry continues to evolve in how it collects and analyzes data, the basic business of how research is transacted has lacked innovation and collaboration,” said Jimmy Zollo. “That’s what Collaborata is all about. Our mission: To grow the market-research and insights industry for everybody by funding more projects that grow brands.”

Peter Zollo, the author of three books on young consumers, has spent his career studying each new youth generation and helping clients tailor their offerings to the current cohort.

“Millennials are now becoming today’s research clients, and they want to buy research in an active, open marketplace, just like they buy travel, entertainment, and other goods and services,” said Peter Zollo. “Collaborata is geared to today’s research client.”

About Collaborata

Collaborata is a Chicago, Ill.-based startup, founded in 2016, connecting market-research buyers and sellers to share research results and costs. The company was a recent finalist in the global IIeX Insight Innovation Competition for new disrupters in the market-research industry.


One Small Step for Women, One Giant Leap for Conferences

Annie Pettit asked some brand new and experienced female speakers who will be taking the stage at this year’s ESOMAR congress to reflect on their experiences.

business woman - growth and success graph

By Annie Pettit FMRIA

Perhaps you’ve seen a tweet or LinkedIn update from me bemoaning the lack of women on stage at conferences. Based on my data from over 50 conferences this year, the average marketing research conference puts forward 13 male speakers for every 7 female speakers. That’s not a great statistic given that our industry is more than 50% female.

What? Why? How? These are just 3 of the 3000 questions I have regarding this phenomenon so I asked some brand new and experienced female speakers who will be taking the stage at this year’s ESOMAR congress to reflect on a series of questions.

Why did you submit a proposal to ESOMAR? Two main reasons were key for these speakers. Many submitted out of pure giddiness to share some cool insights they’d found, and they thought that the ESOMAR audience would benefit from learning about them. Since my experience tells me that giddiness leads to entertaining talks, the conference is looking promising already!  The second reason, which topped the chart, was the opportunity to demonstrate thought-leadership and innovation for the speaker personally or for their company at ESOMAR, which they view as a prestigious event.

What holds you back from submitting to conferences? These speakers recognized that writing a proposal for ESOMAR, in particular, is a lot of work and not everyone has the necessary time. And for some conferences, all the work required to write a proposal might not be worth it when research providers may be penalized for not presenting with a client. They also realized that making your work appeal to an unknown global audience from diverse backgrounds, from language to life experience to industry, isn’t easy.

On a different note, a couple of speakers mentioned that, in their household, they were the primary caregivers and, as such, weren’t as free to submit to as many conferences as they might like.

What do you worry about? The list of worries is long, varied, and extremely familiar. These speakers worry that they are less qualified than others, their topics are less interesting than others, and their work is not relevant to others. In other words, Imposter Syndrome has a hold on them, as it holds viciously on to me. And yes, some get so nervous that they wonder if there is a paper bag nearby.

On a more practical note, a few speakers lament that they are unable to talk about proprietary issues. Others were concerned that some conferences, particularly marketing conferences as opposed to academic conferences, are more concerned about the entertainment value of presentations, not the scientific merit of the content. They feel this would make it difficult for competent, but less exciting or less experienced, speakers to be appreciated once on stage, and subsequently be invited back.

How can we increase the diversity of speakers? There are so many things each one of us can do to make diversity among conference speakers a non-issue. Several people suggested that experienced speakers should encourage and mentor new speakers to submit proposals – indeed, several speakers said that they submitted simply because their employer pushed them to submit. Experienced speakers should also share the stage with new speakers who can then, over time, become mentors of their own. And, instead of putting forth a sales person who might have more speaking experience, companies ought to put the main researcher on stage and grow the expertise within the research team. Start early, and start internally! One great thing is that these women felt their employers had always encouraged them, and conference organizers always welcomed them to speak at conferences. pettit

These speakers had many suggestions for conference organizers as well. Blind submissions, where the conference organizers are unaware of who is submitting, was a popular idea. This might help to address unconscious gender issues and it would also help to get more junior, lesser known speakers on stage. And, since there may be more men in senior roles, putting more junior speakers on stage could serve double-duty to increase the number of women on stage.

They also suggested that conference organizers could be more vocal about their desire to increase diversity on stage by showing a greater diversity of speakers in their marketing materials. Sometimes, we need to see people like us doing something in order to feel comfortable doing it ourselves. In addition, some mentioned that organizers could have workshops or webinars about how to create high quality submissions, or lower fees for speakers from smaller companies or poorer countries.

Finally, our speakers recommended that being a speaker should be glamorized, particularly since ESOMAR is peer reviewed and is therefore a stamp of quality. Roll out the red carpets and put on those ball gowns and tuxedos!

To sum up, you’ve probably noticed that these opinions are gender neutral, and that you can relate to many of them. Everyone, even the most experienced speaker on the ESOMAR stage, gets nervous about public speaking or worries that their topic won’t WOW everyone in the audience. The trick is to accept that you will be nervous, and to submit and speak in spite of the nerves. The next time a request for speakers crosses your path, submit your first ever proposal. Encourage a promising young expert to submit. Encourage an underrepresented expert to submit. Don’t think about it. DO IT.

If you’ve never spoken at a conference before, you could start small by joining 1 of more than 15 New Research Speakers Club chapters around the world, each chaired by a local mentor. The club ONLY accepts people who have never spoken at a conference before so you can practice your skills among like-minded people.

So get ready to settle in for a few great days in New Orleans and say WOW as these women share their cool insights!

Thank you to Adelina Vaca Padilla from De la Riva Group, Annelies Verhaeghe from InSites Consulting, Carolin Kaiser from GfK Verein, Catherine Rickwood from MESH,  Ritanbara Mundrey from Nestlé India, Sherri Stevens from Millward Brown, and 6 other anonymous contributors, who were kind enough to share their frank opinions.


Jeffrey Henning’s #MRX Top 10: Channeling ESOMAR, Open Ends, and Research Automation

Of the 3,975 unique links shared on the Twitter #MRX hashtag over the past two weeks, here are 10 of the most retweeted…


By Jeffrey Henning

Of the 3,975 unique links shared on the Twitter #MRX hashtag over the past two weeks, here are 10 of the most retweeted…

  1. ESOMAR TV: Broadcasting 19-21 September – Can’t make it to New Orleans for the annual ESOMAR Congress? Don’t want to wait for me to liveblog some of the sessions? Then tune into three channels of ESOMAR TV to watch the main tracks as well as interviews and breaking news.
  2. Ignoring Customer Comments: A Disturbing Trend – Tom H.C. Anderson of OdinText shares a survey of over 200 market researchers: 30% exclude options for open-ended comments because they don’t want to deal with coding and analysis of such comments; 42% confess to including open-ended comments they don’t plan to use.  
  3. Everything You Wanted to Know About Automation & MR – But Were Afraid to Ask – Two key points from this free report from NewMR & GreenBook (sponsored by ZappiStore): the fundamental good news – “Automation will result in more research being conducted, and a growth in evidence-based decision making, at a lower cost per project”; the fundamental bad news – “We predict 40-60% of existing market research jobs will disappear over the next five to ten years. Roughly 20-30% new research jobs will be created.” A must read.
  4. The Silent Rise and Blossoming of Qualitative Research – Edward Appleton of Happy Thinking People looks at qualitative researchers’ embrace of digital techniques and integration of quantitative methods.
  5. The Impact of Automating Market Research – This Raconteur article follows up on the NewMR/GreenBook research into automation with the following advice: automate or become antiquated.
  6. Three Ways to Use Digital Data to Guide Your Brand – Millward Brown has introduced a tracker that integrates attitudinal surveys, search data, and social data to provide trackers to brands that previously couldn’t afford them.
  7. ESOMAR Events & Awards – The fall ESOMAR calendar includes: the Annual Congress in NOLA September 18; Marketing Intelligence and then Global Qual and then Big Data World, all in Berlin in November; and local events including meetings in Guatemala and Brazil in September.
  8. Use Big Data to Create Value for Customers, Not Just Target Them – Writing in Harvard Business Review, Niraj Dawar says that every organization should ask itself three questions about using big data: “What types of information will help my customers reduce their costs or risks? What type of information is currently widely dispersed, but would yield new insight if aggregated? Is there diversity and variance among my customers such that they will benefit from aggregating others’ data with theirs?”
  9. The Smartest SaaS Questions on Quora – Cascade Insights curates top Quora answers to questions from Software-as-a-Service businesses, and outlines how market research can help SaaS businesses grow, penetrate the enterprise, choose distribution channels, select the KPIs to monitor, and understand why customers leave.
  10. The State of Predictive Analytics [Infographic] – Econsultancy and Red Eye have a a new report based on a survey of 400 digital marketers and ecommerce pros…


Note: This list is ordered by the relative measure of each link’s influence in the first week it debuted in the weekly Top 5. A link’s influence is a tally of the influence of each Twitter user who shared the link and tagged it #MRX, ignoring retweets from closely related accounts. Only links with a research angle are considered. We also exclude any of my own articles from the list.


MR Realities: Cutting Through the Clutter

Introducing MR Realities, a series of podcasts focusing on the realities of Market Research.


By Kevin Gray and Dave McCaughan

Reality…In a world where everyone has a point of view, where marketers and their agencies are too often distracted by the tactical and immediate, it seemed to us that we both were spending an awful lot of time explaining the basics of marketing research. To clients, to colleagues, to people in general. So we decided it might be a good idea to combine our interests and backgrounds with the knowledge of some of the experts we have met along the way to try and explain, quite literally, the reality of market research.

MR RealitiesWe started MR Realities, a series of podcasts in which we discuss a wide range of topics important to marketing researchers with special guests. And our guests are special, from cutting-edge academics to veteran practitioners who have been thought leaders in our industry for many years.  We ask them questions you would want to ask, the way you would ask them.  It’s very open and free flowing.

MR Realities is not sales pitches in disguise – the purpose is purely educational. The basic idea was inspired by lunchtime (‘brownbag’) seminars which, in our experience, transfer a lot of practical knowledge very quickly, efficiently and conveniently. The podcasts are audio only so you can listen when you don’t want to stare at a computer screen or when that would be impractical, such as when you’re commuting to work.  We cover a very broad range of topics that have included:

  • Essential marketing research skills
  • Big data
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Marketing to seniors
  • Conjoint analysis
  • How to improve your critical thinking
  • Social media
  • Cross-cultural marketing
  • Qualitative research

And the great thing is we ourselves get to learn as we go as well. Nothing could be better. We talk a lot about ‘sharing’, ‘co-creation’ and ‘storytelling’ these days, and all these elements are a crucial part of the MR Realities experience.

Below we’ve listed links to the podcasts we’ve done thus far.  No registration is required.

Data, Analytics and Decisions: Rhetoric versus Reality (Professor Koen Pauwels, Ozyegin University and  University of Groningen)

Data Science Uses, Excuses and Abuses (Eric King, The Modeling Agency)

Will you still need me?  Marketing to Seniors (Professor Florian Kohlbacher, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)

The Coming Deluge of Analytics Malpractice (Randy Bartlett, Blue Sigma Analytics)

Semiotics: The Problem Child of Qualitative Research (Sue Bell, Susan Bell Research)

Tips for Marketing Researchers, Young and ‘Old’ (Professor John Roberts, University of New South Wales)

When Bringing Technology To MR Is No Longer About Being MR Driven (Greg Armshaw, Greg Armshaw & Associates)

Thinking Mistakes Marketers Make (Terry Grapentine, Grapentine Company)

When Everyone is a Single Child?? (Kevin Lee, China Youthology)

Is There Too Much Gloom and Doom About MR? (David McCallum, Gordon & McCallum)

AI: Reality, Science Fiction and the Future (Mei Marker, ai-datascience.com)

Conjoint Analysis: Making it Work for You Part 1 (Terry Flynn, TF Choices LTD)

Conjoint Analysis: Making it Work for You Part 2 (Terry Flynn, TF Choices LTD)

Social Media: Promises, Challenges and the Future (Professor Raoul Kübler, Ozyegin University)

We hope you’ll enjoy them and find them stimulating and educational!


Kevin Gray is president of Cannon Gray, a marketing science and analytics consultancy.  Dave McCaughan is both the Storyteller at Bibliosexual, his consultancy on bringing people, media and marketing together and Chief Strategy Officer at Ai.agency, an about to be launched marketing consultancy.

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