The Secrets of Effective Presentations

Quite often when people talk about presentations they talk about the need to be engaging, amusing, and informative, or they talk about the need to use storytelling, visualisation, and performance skills. Whilst all of these have their place, for market researchers and insight professionals these factors only address the symptoms rather than the core need. Market researchers and insight professionals give presentations for a reason, and in most cases the reason is to debrief a project or to pitch for a project. These presentations are not for entertainment (even though they should seek to be entertaining), these presentations are not just a ritual (although there are some elements of a presentation that should almost always be there). These presentations are there to achieve a business purpose, they need to be effective. What is an effective presentation? I think there are three key outcomes that define an effective presentation: They should make the audience want to hear from you again. They should communicate the key points you want to make. They should result in action. Making the audience want to hear from you again This is where things like engaging, timely, visual, amusing all come into play. As a presenter you […]

Key learnings from the European IIeX

I’ve just spent two days at IIeX in Amsterdam, and had the pleasure of being a co-chair for the event. IIeX was a great success and I think the event has several lessons for other events (including my own NewMR events) and for the research industry; and here are my initial thoughts and observations. (BTW, the image is of Patricio Pagani form Infotools, and in the background you can see the wonderful architecture of the venue). Fast, exhausting and big The main event was two days long, starting at 8:30 and finishing after 6pm (just one of the North American influences on the event). I am not sure how many presenters/speakers/sessions there were, but I know that the chair’s briefing pack included notes, photos, and bios for 123 people – a testament to the hard work of the behind the scenes admin team (you would be surprised how hard it is to get photos and bios from speakers!). A large part of both days was delivered in two streams, which means that nobody saw everything. One of the key things about this sort of event is that you need to give yourself permission not to try and see everything. It […]

The Strengths and Limitations of Research-on-Research

As part of writing our new book on Mobile Market Research (which should be available in September) I have been reading a lot of research-on-research (RoR) related to mobile studies. RoR can provide insights into whether a research technique works or not, or the extent to which it works, or how it works. However, RoR is often over-interpreted. Running a single test does not ‘prove’ a technique works, nor does it very often prove a technique is without merit. The following observations should be kept in mind when reading the results of RoR. For the purpose of this illustration, consider the possible outcomes of on an experiment with two cells. Each cell examines the same phenomenon (e.g. survey questions) via two methods (e.g. online versus mobile) – calling the methods A and B. A and B produce results that are statistically significantly different. This does not mean that A and B will always produce different results. The difference in the results could be the result of chance, or there could have been a flaw in the test. But, even if the test was fair and well-constructed, the difference only indicates that the methods A and B will sometimes produce different […]

BRC Customer Insight Conference – London

Today I attended the BRC Consumer Insight Conference in London as was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the event and the speakers. Here are a few notes I jotted down during the day. Peter Williams, former CEO of Selfridges and board member of ASOS.COM – highlighted some of the fundamental changes in retail, including a long-term move to a smaller retail footprint with lots of consequences for malls, high streets, and especially secondary locations. Rory Sutherland and John Kearon presented overlapping presentations that highlighted the shift in marketing away from the rational to the emotional. At one level this was refreshing, with its emphasis on behavioural economics and psychology, on the other hand it flies in the face of the trend towards the metrics of clicks, likes, and shares. Rory and John also had a few unkind words for economics and market research – a topic I will come back to in another post. Ruth Spencer from Boots, Mike Coshott from B&Q, Caroline Pollard from Debenhams, Alex Chruszcz from ASDA, and Robin Phillips from Waitrose all spoke to different elements of using technology and systems to understand the customer. At the heart of the conversation was a core […]

Ask, Measure, Learn – Lutz Finger and Soumitra Dutta

I’ve just finished reading this book and I would strongly recommend it to anybody seeking to understand the methods and challenges of measuring phenomena in social media. The book is probably stronger on talking about things that don’t work, as opposed to things that do work, but in this time of hype that is probably no bad thing. For example, the book shows why the ROI of many types of activities can’t be measured without making some large assumptions about how things work, and point out that in many cases it is the ‘R’ in ROI that is the problem. Key themes addressed by the book include metrics for different sorts of social media activities, the problems of assessing causality, the tension between influencer models and homophily, and the difference between reach and intent. The book provides an excellent list of links to further sources (especially if reading the ebook), and provides a great overview of measurement in areas such as social media marketing, CRM, sales, and PR. This is the best primer on the subject I have read so far and it is, at the moment, sparklingly up to date. The print copy of the book is not currently […]

Does influence exist, or is it homophily?

One of the growth areas over the last few years has been in the interest in influence marketing, with books such as “The Influentials: One American in Ten Tells the Other Nine How to Vote, Where to Eat, and What to Buy”, metrics such as Klout and Kred, and marketing services such as Klout’s Perks. The appeal of the influencer model is mostly common sense and has been popularised by writers such as Malcolm Gladwell in his book Tipping Point. New ideas are picked up by key people, people with extensive networks and who tend to be trend leaders, they adopt something and influence the people around them. Looking at social data it is easy to find, for any given trend, people who were in at the start and how the trend flows into the rest of the network. The concept of influence dates back to Paul Lazarsfeld in the 1940s, who suggested that the media were intermediated by influencers. Homophily However, there are alternatives to the influencer model, and the key one you are going to be hearing about more and more is homophily. Homophily is the tendency of people with similar tastes and preferences to form networks, the […]

What are the top ten questions for Opinion Polling?

A new edition ESOMAR’s Answers to Contemporary Questions book is being produced, with three new chapters, International, Mobile, and Opinion Polling. This post is a shout out to crowd source the key questions for Opinion Polling. What do you think about? What do market researchers mean by an Opinion Poll? Who uses Opinion Polls? What other types of polls are there? What are the key requirements of an Opinion Poll? Why might two Opinion Polls sometimes give different results? Why do Opinion Polls sometimes cause public outcries? What information needs to be published with Opinion Poll results? Must all Opinion Polls be published? My client wishes to publish a statement which is not supported by the findings of the Opinion Poll, what do I do? How can I find out more about Opinion Polls? One of the things the chapter needs to do is to draw a distinction between something conducted according to the guidelines of the key associations, and the ‘voodoo polls’ that are popular on websites in the media.  

Brand esSense – two books in one from Neil Gains

Neil Gains has been kind enough to send me a copy of his new book, Brand esSense and I wanted to share my thoughts about this useful book. In the title to my post I say it is two books in one. The first three-quarters of the book do a great job of taking the reader through a well annotated and easy to read overview of the role of senses in marketing and market research and the way these link to the way people make sense of the world around them. This sense making focuses especially on symbols, signs, storytelling, and archetypes. Most market researchers and marketers have an incomplete understanding of the senses, somebody might be quite good on taste, but less familiar with the body of learning about touch, or familiar with symbols and semiotics, but less familiar with the use of brand archetypes. Neil’s book facilitates a levelling up of one’s learning, highlighting to the reader areas where their knowledge might be weaker, giving them an initial grounding and signposting options for further reading. The final quarter of the book shows how Neil has developed methods of utilising the approaches described in the earlier part of the […]