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Do you know how to assess innovations in market research and insights?

Posted by Ray Poynter, 1 November 2018 We are surrounded by new approaches to understanding customers and markets, for example: behavioural economics, automated facial coding, neuroscience, chatbots, passive tracking, Artificial Intelligence, and of course big data. However, evaluating these new options is becoming ever harder, because there are so many of them, and because they make claims that are based on technologies that are hard for non-experts to understand. In this post, I want to share some of the techniques I use to assess innovations in market research and insight. In essence, I look at the following issues: Can it be provided by multiple suppliers? If an innovation can only be utilised via one supplier, it is much less likely to be successful, and I am much less likely to recommend it. Good innovations benefit from competition, prices come down when there is competition, and the diffusion into a market is accelerated if several solutions are available. When online surveys burst on the scene, we could use several different platforms to write the surveys, and choose between several difference panel companies for the sample – this promoted adoption, and cost reductions. Does it increase speed and/or reduce net price? In […]

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Researchers should be aware of the problems with observational data

Posted by Ray Poynter, 18 May, 2018 The world is shifting from asking questions to utilising observational data (mostly for very good reasons) and this is creating a new set of problems that researchers need to recognise and address. What is observational data? Observational data refers to information gathered without the subject of the research (for example an individual customer, patient, employee, etc.) having to be explicitly involved in recording what they are doing. For example, collecting data without people having to respond to a questionnaire, without having to take part in a depth interview, and without having to maintain a research diary. Most big data is observational data, for example, the transaction records from a bank, people’s viewing habits on a video streaming service, or posts in social media. But, observational data can also be small data (based on just a few people). For example, participant ethnographic methods, used to to study people in their everyday lives, collects observational data, that is clearly not ‘big data’. Observational data can be based on census or it can be based on sample. For example, a few years ago a leading mobile phone company was able to sell very detailed data about […]

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Five Market Research Trends for 2017

At this time of year our thoughts turn to what will excite and challenge us in 2017. Here are my five top picks. Automation This has been one of the key trends for the last couple of years, although much of the action has been out of sight; taking place in the operational backrooms of clients and agencies. Earlier this year, Lenny Murphy and I published a report on Automation, and I see little reason to change our view on the scale and direction of change. Automation is going to underpin most success stories over the next few years. At its best it will reduce costs, increase speed, and provide an opportunity to provide more evidence-based decision making. In some cases automation will result in a less good product, but in may cases the standardisation will enhance quality, as will the ability to provide relevant answers at the speed and cost needed and the ability to scale things up. Insight Finding Data is getting cheaper and more abundant, but techniques for finding the story in the data have barely moved forward in the last thirty years. That is beginning to change, as evidenced by the popularity of our series on […]

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Want to know more about Behavioural Economics?

This week, NewMR broadcast four webinars on Behavioural Economics (BE) – as part of our Research Innovation event. If you want to expand your knowledge of the theory and application of BE then you might find these presentations useful. Stephen Paton, Behavioral Economics – Is that a wolf at the door or opportunity knocking? In this 16 video Stephen give a great overview and introduction to BE and where it fits in the research picture. Leigh Caldwell & Lizzi Seear, Behavioural economics gets real: with behavioural conjoint In this 21 minute video Leigh and Lizzi start by making the case for implicit measurements and then go on to show, via a Holiday Inn case study, how conjoint analysis can be updated using behavioural economics. Colin Ho, The Connection Between Big Data and Behavioral Economics In this 14 minute video Colin shows how BE can be used as a lens when working with Big Data. Raj Sandhu, Behavioural Economics: Marketing’s latest shiny new thing, or a tipping point? In this 17 minute video Raj highlights the need to evaluate implicit measures and goes on to show how BE can be applied to the development and evaluation of snack foods. Note, the […]

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5 things researchers should do in 2016

Last week, I shared my 5 top tips for things I think market researchers should do in 2016, as my closing keynote at IIeX Amsterdam. These tips were both a response to the ideas presented at the IIeX Conference and also a general view of the challenges and opportunities in 2016. 1 Mobile First In 2015 the talk was about the need to be device agnostic, i.e. the need to make sure that research exercises, for example surveys and online discussions, worked on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Whilst that is still true today, the focus has shifted and is continuing to shift from device agnostic to smartphone. With a few exceptions, in 2016 mobile first is the key design element. Start by designing research so that it will utilise and work with a smartphone, and as a second consideration assess whether and how it can also be configured with tablet and PC. In most cases, it is straightforward to ensure research can also embrace tablet and PC, but not if location, push notification via beacons, the use of apps, or the collection of in-the-moment information is a key part of the research. 2 More time talking with the users of […]

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My Predictions for 2016

Despite Nobel prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr’s advice that ‘Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future’, here are my predictions for 2016. 1) Bigger Legal Problems for Google and Facebook This year has shown an escalation in problems for Google, Facebook and other major players. European Governments seem to be getting into their stride, Governments as diverse (and repressive) as Turkey, Russia, and China are putting obstacles in the way of the hegemony that has been created by the major platforms. One judge in Brazil took WhatsApp away from 90 million users for 48 hours with a bang of his gavel. I think this will get more common in 2016, firstly with more fines, secondly with more restrictions, and possibly with jail sentences. These altercations will have implications for people using cloud services, the free flow of data internationally, and probably on the options for marketing to and speaking with people. 2) Automation The big push is (and always has been) for Cheaper, Faster, Better, but in most cases the real winners are cheaper and faster and good enough (to borrow a phrase from Zappistore’s Stephen Phillips). How do you achieve cheaper, faster and good enough? Automation! Expect to see […]

The world is changing, so market research must change too

Market research is an applied discipline; its core purpose is to help organisations make better decisions. When the needs of the organisations change then market research needs to change to, to ensure it remains relevant. I’ve been involved in market research for over 35 years and during that time the world has changed dramatically and the problems confronting organisations and brands have changed also dramatically. However, a growing number of organisations are saying that market research has not changed. The fear is that market research is becoming less and less relevant to the complex, digital, hyper-connected world of today. Whist it is easy to find plenty of examples of market researchers leveraging the new realities, for example the growth in the use of behavioural economics, passive data collection, and insight communities, there is a feeling that the main body of market research is losing touch with the needs of today. To help tackle this issue I have written an eBook on the topic “The Smarter Researcher”, which you can download from the Vision Critical website. The book spells out the nature of the changes that have happened over the last few decades, such as the shift of power from manufacturers […]

Market Research in the Time of VUCA

VUCA is a term that we are going here a lot over the next few years, it is a term that goes to the heart of paradigm shifts in the world that require changes in how we deal with our world. These changes reach far beyond the sphere of market research, but they do impact market research and the way we try to help organisations make better decisions. VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. The term VUCA dates back to the 1990s and emerged from military vocabulary and has gained much wider usage following it being adopted by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile. The key point being made is that the has been a fundamental shift away from a world that is largely predictable to one that that is less predictable, where black swans (unpredictable, major events) are more common, and where the world has moved from mediocristan (a world where the norm is the normal distribution) to extremistan (where the key events do not follow the distribution of the bell curve). What is a VUCA world? One great example of the changes wrought in a time of VUCA is the life expectancy of major companies. […]

What are the key MR Buzzwords for 2015?

In a recent NewMR LinkedIn conversation I asked what people thought the MR buzzwords for 2015 will be. This generated a great debate with 64 comments to date. This post is a review of the comments and some thoughts about the trends and emotions they reveal. A Wordle? Normally I am not a fan of word clouds, since they are simply counts of terms. However, in this case the source material was a set of words, so a Wordle seems like a good place to start (click on the Wordle in this post for a larger view of it). In order to produce the Wordle, I did some pre-processing of the words, for example: aligning the spelling (e.g. Behavioural and Behavioral), putting in some hyphens to keep words together (e.g. Internet-of-Things), and some essence drawing as in the different uses of the term automation. It’s not all about tech Perhaps the most interesting thing that jumps off the page is that the top term is not about technology, it is the term “Agile”. Other key terms that link to a non-technology focus include: Impact, Behavioural, Privacy, Authentic, Collaboration, Actionable, and Emotion. Observational Research Most of the technology-laden terms relate to […]

How should we improve the research participant experience?

At the Festival of NewMR, December 2014, Annie Pettit gave a great presentation titled “Behind your back: What research participants really think about researchers”. You can see a recording of her presentation below: Market research needs to balance the following issues: Making the research experience sufficiently interesting that people are willing to take part. Making the process clear enough for people to be able to answer correctly. Utilising techniques that allow the responses to be translated into insight and impact.* * this last point has many sub-parts to it. For example, asking questions that people can answer, bearing in mind that people are often poor witnesses to their own motivations and future actions. Also, the need to ask questions that are capable of functioning as a research instrument as well as being engaging/friendly/comprehendible. So, taking Annie’s presentation as a starting point: What are your thoughts about the points raised in Annie’s presentation? What additional points would you make? What research-on-research do you think is needed? What immediate changes would you recommend?