Feedback from the MRS Conference in London

This week’s MRS Conference in London was one of the best events I have been to in the last year, generating lots of material to think about. There was a great mix of thinkers from the industry, ideas from outside market research, discussion, and good networking. The conference was true to its theme of the ‘Shock of the New’. The only weakness that I think is worth mentioning, because it is a reoccurring problem, is that there was too little international content. If the UK is going to command a position as an innovator, it needs more input from outside the UK, IMHO. Key elements, for me, included: The limitations of Big Data The panel discussion, including great contributions from Lucien Bowater from BSkyB and Mark Risley from Google, emphasised the current limitations of big data in terms of the sorts of problems that market research is asked to answer. Big data approaches work best when there is a clearly defined, narrow question, and sufficient resources to find an answer. In many cases, market research is being called on to answer a more general, less well defined problem. Lucien, more than once, made the plea for research to tell him […]

Is your mobile market research ethical?

As I have mentioned before, Navin Williams, Reg Baker, and I are producing a course on mobile marketing research for the University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research course. As the materials are developing, I am posting some of the items here to get your feedback on whether we are on the right track and to acquire additional cases for the course. I have just finished a section on laws, guidelines, regulations, and ethics and I have included a checklist. I would appreciate hearing you views on the checklist below. Ethics Checklist – Mobile Marketing Research No list can be complete or fully up-to-date, but this checklist should be useful when scoping a mobile marketing research project, in terms of ethics and guidelines: Is it legal? Check whether, in the country where the research is happening, with the approaches being used, and for the topic being researched, is it allowed within the relevant laws? In all cases the law should take precedence over industry or company guidelines. With a mobile study this includes when and how you can contact people (auto-dialers are not legal in some countries), what you can record (location and traffic data are restricted in some countries), […]

Two disruptive ideas for a disruptive conference

This year’s MRS conference looks to be the most unsettling for years. The conference includes a range of new topics, each talking about how the non-research world will impact the cosy world of market research. If you can make it to London on the 19th and 20th March, I’d recommend it – if not, watch out for the digital outpouring. I am lucky enough to be involved in two sessions and my colleagues at Vision Critical are the sponsors of the Research-live.com hub. The two sessions, both with the potential to be disruptive, are: A workshop on the application of scenario planning, futuring, trendspotting, cool hunting. Which I will be co-presenting with my Vision Critical colleague Niamh Tallon. A panel discussion on crowdsourcing, with four practitioners from outside the world of market research. The session is intended to highlight where crowdsourcing is at in 2013, and why market researchers should be learning from it. Read About The Crowdsourcing Panel Not everybody can attend the MRS Conference, and even for those who do, there is never time for long introductions. So the downloadable documents below provide an initial briefing on crowdsourcing, and the four organisations who will be taking part in […]

Is it a bad thing that 80% of new products fail?

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, one contributor suggested that 80% of new product launches fail. This sort of statistic occurs in marketing discussions on a regular basis, with varying definitions of failing and various values being quoted, sometimes as high as 95% sometimes as low as 75%. But I feel that these discussions are often addressing the wrong issue. When they discuss ‘Why is market research concept testing so bad?’ Whenever I hear stats like ‘80% of product launches fail’, I ask myself, what percentage of new launches should fail? I think that we need to move the question away from percentages and ask ‘How many product launches, in absolute terms, could be successful?’ As people like Mark Earls (author of Herd) have shown, we are creatures of habit and we mostly copy behaviour. As an individual most of us are only going to fully adopt a handful of new products each year, and we are more likely to adopt a product if others do. So, I would contend that within any specific market, there is a limit to the absolute number of new products that can be successful. In my 35 years in research the number, of new product […]

A Short History of Mobile Marketing Research

Navin Williams and I are creating an MMR (mobile marketing research) module for the University of Georgia’s MRII’s Principles of Marketing Research course (under the guiding eye of Reg Baker) – click here to read more. As part of that course we need to provide a very short summary of the history of MMR. So, the text below is my starting point and I would love to hear any suggestions, corrections, etc that people out there might have. In terms of context, the course takes the term MMR to include: Self-completion surveys via mobile devices (i.e. not CATI) Qualitative research utilising mobile devices Passive data collection via mobile devices Mobile devices are taken as mostly being mobile phones, although more recently the term has been expanded to include tablets. Other devices exist, such as PDAs, but they have never been central to the bulk of MMR. Phones tend to be divided into smartphones and feature phones. However, the definition of a smartphone keeps changing, and a feature phone is pretty much any phone that does not meet the current criteria for a smartphone – and yes we are assuming that smartphone is now a single word. A Brief History of […]