How much should clients know about New Market Research?

The other day I saw a comment that clients have a duty to keep themselves up-to-date with all the latest changes in market research, to make sure that their organisation is getting the benefits that are available. However, as soon as I read the comment, I was troubled. After some thinking about the proposition that clients need to be up-to-date I was able to isolate my concern. It is unreasonable to create a duty or expectation that is not possible. It moves the blame from somewhere else to an unfair location. And, I believe that it is not possible for most clients to be up-to-date, or fully informed, about all that is new in market research – not even all the major trends and changes. Nobody is fully informed The first point is that it is not just clients who are not fully informed; providers and researchers are not fully informed either. No researcher I have ever met or heard of is fully up to speed on: Social media monitoring, mining, and research Neuroscience Discourse analysis Gamification Computer Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Big Data Adaptive discrete choice modelling Smartphone, participative ethnography Predictive markets Behavioural economics Virtual focus groups To name […]

Does commercial market research deserve special exemptions?

In this month’s ESOMAR Research World magazine David Stark, GfK’s VP of Integrity, compliance and privacy for the Americas, has written a great article on W3C’s Do Not Track project (DNT). DNT extends the logic of Do Not Call legislation to the internet. If DNT (Do Not Track) is implemented, which it probably will be, probably next year, then a large part of online passive market research will become impossible. It will also be much harder for website to analyse their visitor and user statistics, which will, in turn, make it harder to optimise their sites and harder to make a living from selling advertising. ESOMAR is involved in the WC3 DNT working group and is making the case that market research should be exempted from the DNT rules (for anonymous market research), just as market research tends to be exempted from DNC (Do Not Call) rules and some provisions of data protection laws. Clearly, defending the role of market research in these discussions is in the financial interests of market research companies and market researchers. However, do we feel that there is a social justification for what we are asking for? In discussing ethics, we probably need to distinguish […]

10 Reasons to buy ESOMAR’s new book

1 It’s not your classic textbook This book focusses on the questions that are part of the everyday practicalities of market research, the advice you don’t typically get from a textbook – the type of advice researchers would ideally have a mentor or more experienced colleague to ask – unfortunately not everyone has these support networks. 2 The contributors are practitioners The content has been prepared by a team of experienced researchers, so the advice is relevant for researchers who are talking to clients, writing proposals, managing projects, developing questionnaires, analysing data, reporting results, etc. 3 A great resource for the generalist or research all-rounder (Thanks to Sue Bell for emphasising this point.) Many conferences and events, social media forums, and journals focus on specialist areas. This book, doesn’t cover everything, but aims to give a solid grounding on the basics, written and reviewed by experienced market and social research industry heavy weights who know what you need to know. 4 A balance between traditional and new techniques The book covers the traditional areas – questionnaire design, qualitative, pricing research, B2B – as well as the emerging techniques, for example, communities and social media research. 5 A variety of views […]

The Gen2 Advisors’ Social Media Analytics Report

The Gen2 Advisors, headed by Lenny Murphy, have produced an 80 page report on Social Media Analytics, entitled “From online chatter to meaningful insights”, which is available for purchase, and they have produced a free 10 page resource as a ‘How to’ guide (click here to access the free guide). The Gen2 Advisors were kind enough to share a copy of their full report with me and here are my thoughts, reactions, and observations. The report starts by highlighting that social media analytics is necessary but not sufficient. Brands need to use it, otherwise they will miss key insights, but on its own it can’t provide everything that is needed. Although the report is a bit more evangelical than I would be, it does, mostly, manage to stay on the metaphorical ‘yellow brick road’, by providing information and views that are useful, rather than just hype. The report is targeted at marketers who want to use social media analytics – which makes it of great interest to insight professionals, since we want to know what the marketers know (and ideally be a step ahead of them). End-user view and quotes Within the report, extensive use is made of interviews with […]

An illustration of what happens when evidence, marketing, and customers are ignored

Marketers and market researchers are always looking for stories that provide evidence for the value of what they do. Sometimes we get the evidence in the form of stories where people implement the research and the campaign and there is a positive outcome. But it is rare for the other story to be told, what happens when marketers, market research, indeed the whole principle of evidence based decision making, is ignored. However, the New York Times has a very clear expose of what happens when evidence is ignored, the story of Ronald B Johnson’s 17 months at the top of US retailer JC Penney. It would not be fair of me to steal all of the story, and I would not write it as well as Stephanie Clifford has written it, so please read it here. However, a few of the key points are: Johnson arrived with a stellar reputation after helping build the Apple stores. “many of his ideas were not tested and soon backfired” “he was pretty sarcastic about our marketing and how ridiculous it was” “He ignored a study Penney had just completed on customer preferences, and gave merchants a one-sheet grid explaining what prices they could […]

How much of your research should be with customers?

One of the questions I am frequently asked about insight communities is ‘Why are most of them composed solely of customers?’ ‘Surely’, some people ask, ‘we should be conducting market research with the whole market?’ My feeling is that this question fails to recognise how much market research has changed over time. Over the thirty-five years I have been in the research industry there have been quite a few changes, in terms of technology, organisation, methods etc. One of these changes has been a major shift from researching whole markets to focusing research on customers. If we look back at the 1970s and early 1980s, most market research was conducted with the whole market. But that approach reflected the times. There were fewer products, fewer brands, and fewer channels for advertising. Markets were less mature, brands were establishing themselves, they often had genuine product differences, and market researchers were like explorers, mapping an unfamiliar land. Moving to the later 1980s and the 1990s we see a shift to researching target groups and customers. Ad and brand tracking focused on target groups, customer satisfaction focused on customers. Concept and product testing, which had previously used whole market samples, started to focus […]

The Myth of the Poverty Premium

There is a widespread view that people in poverty pay more for their products and services than richer people. This price difference was described by C.K Prahalad and Allen Hammond as the poverty premium, in an article in the Havard Business Review (HBR) in 2002 – which Prahalad expanded on in his book ‘The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid’. However, an article by Ethan Kay and Woody Lewenstein in the April 2013 edition of the HBR cast doubt on the theory, and showed results of an experiment that illustrated that the poverty premium is not always present. The implications for this theory being wrong can have major implications for marketers and by implication market researchers. The idea behind the poverty premium is that more affluent shoppers can buy more efficiently, for example by driving to discount stores or by buying in larger pack sizes. At one level we can see this is true, the price paid for a can of Coca-Cola in a convenience store in a poor neighbourhood is likely to cost more than the proportionate costs of one can of Coca-Cola purchased as part of a multi-pack from the local equivalent of a WalMart. Kay and […]