World Electric

Why Are Communities Taking Over The Insights World?

OK, let’s start with a clarification, when I say taking over the world, I mean they seem to be everywhere (like Starbucks or Uber) not that they have become masters of the world (as in War of the Worlds or Invasion of the Body Snatchers). For the last few years the GreenBook GRIT report has reported that, along with mobile surveys, research communities are the most widely adopted new research approach – making them more mainstream than new. This year’s ESOMAR Global Market Research Report shows that research communities account for about 5% of total global market research spend – that’s one dollar out of every twenty, and my own experience with most service brands, IT and information companies, most retailers, most media companies and many manufacturers is that in many verticals, using one or more research communities is the norm. Why? Why in a little over ten years have research communities gone from innovative idea to almost being ubiquitous? That is the topic of a webinar I am taking part in on December 14 with Dan Fleetwood of QuestionPro (click here to find out more), but here are a few thoughts. Because it was Possible: Back in 1999 the […]

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An Introduction to Market Research Tables – Request for Feedback

Most market research textbooks (for example Malhotra) do not really cover the sort of tables we use in market research. The main reason being that there is almost no academic justification for the way we market researchers use tables. We tend to use data that ought not be in tables, frequently use the wrong types of statistical tests, and our tendency to cross everything by everything is more like a fishing expedition that a scientific evaluation of hypotheses. However, whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue, tables are probably the most widely used tool in commercial market research. A few years ago, I wrote some notes on how to use market research tables and I currently updating my notes with the intention of publishing them as a book or at least as an eBook. I have reached the first draft stage and would really appreciate some feedback. In particular I am looking for feedback from: People who are unsure how to use tables – do these notes help? What else would you like to know? People who use tables regularly – what have I missed? What is wrong or inadequately correct? People who supply tables – what have I […]

Having a look at – a mobile-based survey service

Last week I had was invited to have a play with the system, an innovative and new alternative for market researchers and marketers. is a panel, currently with a North American focus, that operates via consumer’s phones. Like a growing number of new survey and micro-survey options the platform is very DIY. You can log in, specify the sample, the questions you want to ask, pay with a credit card and launch a survey, all within a few minutes. The system also allows geo targeting. One feature of the platform is that it pushes clients, strongly, to use very short surveys in two ways: 1. The pricing model is per question, per participant. So, 1 question to 1000 people costs the same 2 questions to 500 people. This is likely to make people think hard about how many questions they need. Further questions can be asked in the future to people who take part in surveys, via the DIY platform – this can be done in a way that creates a virtual panel of your own. Market Research And Marketers? For a few years now I have been predicting that marketing and market research will become more […]

Nutonomy taxi

Driverless Taxis – sneaking up in plain sight

For me the concept of the driverless car exists in my mind as two contradictory elements. Firstly, it exists in my science fiction loving mind, as a key element, along with jetpacks, hover cars, and everybody being slim enough to wear lycra. Secondly, I am aware that there are test driverless cars on public roads all around the world, especially the Google ones in California – a current reality. I am wondering if other people are similarly suffering from this double vision and whether it is obscuring their perception of how close we are to massive changes in society. In the same way that the gradual growth of digital assistants such as Siri has infiltrated our daily lives without any large-scale sense that we are living in a world we thought of as science fiction relatively recently, and one that is rapidly changing. My thinking about driverless taxis and the curious lack of excitement about them was kicked into higher gear by the recent announcement that a driverless taxi service has been launched in Singapore by Nutonomy (read more here). OK, it is from only one destination and there will be a safety driver in the car – but it […]


Are ESOMAR’s Plans for Three-year Terms a Threat to Member Interests?

UPDATE! ESOMAR have announced that, because some people are concerned about the change and the limited discussion so far, they are withdrawing the plan for a vote on three-year terms and in the words of ESOMAR President Laurent Flores “instead, we will open up the debate to seek more input from you – our members.” Well done ESOMAR! This is exactly the way a member-centric organisation should respond! ESOMAR is proposing to changes the rules about its governing body, the ESOMAR Council, with a motion to be put to its AGM later this month and then to conduct a referendum. In general I support most of the recent changes ESOMAR has made and I look forward to the new codes of conduct – but I am not sure the new rules for electing the governing body will be good for members. The Current Situation The ESOMAR Council is made of 8 directly elected members, plus the President and the Vice President and the previous President. At present elections are held every two years and all of the positions serve two years, except for the President who has two as President and then stays on for two more as Past President – […]

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3 Key Problems that Hold Innovative MR Companies Back

There are three key challenges for any company trying to operate at the cutting edge of market research and insights: Money – until the revenues come in there are bills to pay, and without some money coming in it is often hard to gain investments. Awareness – you may have a great product or service, but you need a lot of people to be aware of you before you get a good flow of business interest. In the early days you might find you need 100 people to be aware of you to get 1 person interested in talking to you, and you might need to talk to 25 people who are interested to sell a single project. Feedback on your idea – you might think your idea is great and that it solves a key business problem. However, you will be unaware of what many other companies are doing, especially in other countries. Claims that you are the first to tackle X or Y or Z can make you look pretty silly if the people you are speaking to are familiar with other solutions. Using IIeX to tackle these three problems There are lots of ways of tackling these […]

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The key areas of innovation in Market Research in 2017?

In February next year, I am, once again, curating and co-chairing IIeX Europe. We are currently putting the structure together and will be issuing a call for speakers and contributions shortly. For the last few years IIeX has been at the forefront of showcasing innovative MR and we want to ensure that 2017 is another leap forward. IIeX will be held at Beurs van Berlage in, Amsterdam from 20 to 21 February 2017. You can see the slides and videos of many of the presentations by clicking here. In good NewMR fashion I would like to crowdsource ideas for where the cutting edge is going to be in 2017. Here are a few questions and I urge you to either: enter your suggestion below as comments, or contact me directly via   1 – What cutting edge topics should IIeX should cover in 2017?   2 – What companies are you keen to hear more about?   3 – What new thinking is most worth sharing?    4 – Which new technologies are you most interested in?  BTW, if you think you or your company meet one or more of these four criteria, give yourself a shout out below […]


5 Rules for How to Chair a Conference or Webinar

OK, to some extent I am going to stick my neck out here, and I would love to hear alternative opinions. I am lucky in that I have chaired hundreds of sessions at conferences, webinars and workshops, with audiences ranging in size from over one thousand through to just two. Note, I am not going to cover, in this post, how to help create and curate an event – the focus of this post is entirely about the event on the day. Let’s assume that somebody else has selected the speakers, the topics and checked the presentations. Rule 1 – It’s not about you You should be honoured that you have been selected to chair the event, and it is probably going to be good for your profile, but it is not about you. Your role is to make sure that the objectives of the organisers, the presenters, and the attendees are met. What does this mean? It means no long introductions for the session, you, the speaker or anything. No stories about you (e.g. ‘This reminds me of the time I first saw Hans Rosling present …’). You only ask questions if the audience doesn’t come forward with a […]


Automation the Driving Force Behind Agile Research

Two of the hottest topics at the moment are Automation (especially developments utilising Artificial Intelligence) and Agile Research. Separately, they are both interesting, but the key story is the way they interact and the role that automation has in facilitating and enhancing Agile Research. Agile Research is a movement that has borrowed its approach (and name) from the world of agile software development. For decades, software was developed through a process of mapping the space, developing a plan, and implementing it with a big bang approach (for example the move from Windows XP to Windows Vista and then Windows 7). However, the software world realised that their planning was often faulty; the world tended to change between design and implementation, and the effectiveness of the final product was often limited by the designer’s ability to envisage how the product’s use would evolve once it was available. Agile research picks up on many of the same trends as agile software development, for example: Accepting that forecasting the future more than a few months ahead is usually beyond us; That new products and services are unlikely to be designed right the first time (or the second); That an iterative, test and learn, […]

Risk and Reward

What is Conjoint Analysis?

Conjoint Analysis is used when a brand wants to know how important different elements of a decision are. We know from neuroscience that people (people like you and me) cannot put numeric values to how important is, say, flying direct versus flying on your preferred airline. But brands need numeric values when they seek to maximise revenue, profit, customer choice and satisfaction. Consider an organisation producing tablets, perhaps a competitor to the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy. The organisation needs to understand how different customers value Attributes such as Size, Brand, Price, and Battery Length. Armed with this information they can create their product range and offering. Conjoint Analysis seeks to assign values to these product Attributes and Levels by creating realistic choices and asking people to evaluate them. Maths are then used to calculate what the underlying values are. Example In the case of Choice-Based Conjoint Analysis (currently the most popular form of Conjoint Analysis) participants are shown a series of options, like the one below, and asked to select the one they would be most likely to buy. Choice-Based Conjoint asks people to pick the option they would be most likely to buy, other forms of Conjoint Analysis […]