Listening is the new asking

‘Listening is the new asking’
Social Media Monitoring & Text
Analytics Event

March 8, 2011

Click the icon below to download the full programme, or read the details of who, what, and when further down the page.

Recordings from this event are now being released at the rate of one session per week.

Click here to view released recordings

Session 1
Sydney 2pm to 4pm (3am-5am GMT)

Sue York will chair Session 1.

Session 2
London 10am to midday (10am-12pm GMT)

Session 3
New York 3pm to 5pm (8pm-10pm GMT)


The Speakers

Below are profiles of all the people who presented at the Listening event.

Ray Poynter

Managing Director, The Future Place
Ray runs The Future Place, a UK-based thought leadership consultancy, having previously held director level positions with The Research Business, Millward Brown, Sandpiper, IntelliQuest, and Virtual Surveys. Ray is a frequent speaker and workshop leader for the MRS, ESOMAR, and AMSRS. He is the author of a chapter in ESOMAR’s Handbook of Market and Opinion Research (on the impact of technology) and is the author of the Data Analysis and Advanced Data Analysis modules of the University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research course.
Ray’s mission is to make techniques accessible, to demystify the mumbo jumbo, to spread the joys of discovery, and to leaven this with a note of caution (both theoretical and practical). Recent awards include: MRS Conferences – winner of the best presented paper and special contribution awards at the 2007, winner of the special contribution 2008, nominated for the special contribution award 2009. BIG Conference – winner of the special contribution to conference award. ESOMAR – two nominations in 2009 for an ESOMAR Excellence Award, the Asia Pacific Conference in Beijing and the Online Conference in Chicago.

Ray is the author of The Handbook of Online and Social Media research, the leading guide in the area of the latest trends in market research. The Handbook is available from and (in both hardback and Kindle editions), also from the ESOMAR and Wiley websites. The Handbook is also complemented with a website to help keep the material current.

You can find Ray online via:
Ray’s Blog

Theo Downes-Le Guin

Theo Downes-Le Guin is Chief Research Officer for Market Strategies International. He has been an agency- and client-side researcher and methodologist for the technology industry for the past 18 years in roles at Market Strategies, as a founder of Doxus, and at Intel. Previously he worked in health policy research at RAND. Theo holds a MA in Applied Social Research from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, and a BA from Columbia University in New York. He has published and presented on diverse topics including online panel data quality, online research participant experiences, online research incentives, and public opinion about terrorism.

Theo can be found online at LinkedIn

Can Software-Driven Qualitative Data Analysis Replace the Seasoned Researcher?

In most research engagements, gaining meaningful insights from textual and qualitative data still depends heavily on the skill and intuition of a senior researcher. This is true for traditional modes (such as focus groups) but also for online and new MR modes (netnography or social media monitoring). At the same time, qualitative data and text analysis tools are improving in direct response to a rapidly expanding body of unstructured textual data. Is reliance on the seasoned individual mostly a force of habit, or is it still the only way to get beyond superficial results? To address this question, we conducted parallel but independent analyses of a large amount of semi-structured text, using both the traditional ad hoc approach as well as a software-driven approach. The ad hoc analyst was a seasoned researcher, deeply familiar with
the subject matter; the software-driven analyst was new to MR and completely unfamiliar with the subject matter. We compared results in terms of substantive meaning, value to the client and operational cost. The answer is, of course, complex and not definitive but suggests that a happy middle ground exists—but the
MR industry is not yet uniformly equipped or trained to reach it.

Jess Whittaker

Jessica Whittaker is the lead Product Evangelist for BuzzNumbersand works alongside clients in their initial stages of understanding their online and social media landscape and how to make the first steps in the monitoring journey.

BuzzNumbers is Australia’s leading provider of Social Media Intelligence and Monitoring. Through its Web Software, BuzzNumbers enables companies to track online social media, news, blogs, forums & video and provides powerful analysis capabilities

With a growing portfolio of over 100 Australian and Global Multinational clients across several sectors, including government, BuzzNumbers is the fastest growing provider for social media monitoring in Asia Pacific.

The company has been recognised in several awards programs and was most recently named the Start-up Company of the Year by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).
You can follow Jessica on twitter @jessdoulbeya and find her on LinkedIn. BuzzNumbers tweets at @buzznumbers.

Paul Vittles

Paul Vittles is Chief Executive of The Vittles Organisation. Paul is a Fellow of the UK Market Research Society and a Full Member of the Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS). Paul was co-chair of the highly successful 2009 AMSRS Conference, ‘100 Stories’. Paul has been involved with the research industry for more than 25 years as a researcher, consultant, CEO of a UK research firm, and Director at Nielsen and TNS in Australia. Paul trained as an executive coach in 1997 and has coached more than 400 executives, directors and CEOs. His main focus these days is team visioning and engagement.
Paul can be found online at:

Listen Hear: Transformation through Learning How to Listen

We often hear the new generation of web analysts telling us that the future lies in listening not asking questions. I agree to some extent and disagree to some extent. We still need to construct great questions whether we ask them to others or to ourselves to shape our ‘listening activity’. Also the processes of listening and asking questions feed off each other in much excellent research so it is not really an either/or situation.
But other challenges I would issue include: ‘are researchers really listening?’, ‘have researchers ever really been listening?’ and ‘how can we raise the general standard of listening skills?’. My own research among researchers suggests that in many cases researchers do not listen effectively when they are moderating groups, carrying out interviews, undertaking online research, or facilitating online conversations. In MR groups on LinkedIn, the discussions are full of misunderstandings, incorrect assumptions, failure to properly read all of the content in a post before responding, failure to read previous contextual data, etc – it doesn’t reflect well on those who are supposed to be professional listeners! The fundamental issue is not the method but the ability and desire to listen.

The recent developments in Web 2.0 research have to some extent caused an accidental revolution in moving some researchers away from their anti-listening structures to more listening-conducive approaches. It is an accidental revolution because the initial intention was not to improve inherent listening skills but researchers have been forced to abandon their self-created barriers to listening.

In another sense though the transformation is still to come because researchers have not addressed the fundamental underlying issue of their ability and desire to listen and their clients’ ability and desire to listen. Also, some of the methods now being employed by researchers are moving us further away from deep, empathic listening. Observation of online behaviour, analysis of online conversations, analysis of Twitter feeds, etc can be free of listening as most consumers and citizens would understand the term and there is enormous scope for misunderstandings, which again means an absence of effective listening.

If we can truly listen, if we can really let consumers and citizens set the agenda, and if we can raise the bar for the profession in our ability and desire to listen, then we will see fundamental change in offline and online research!

Anna Tomkowicz

Anna is a Lead Research Manager at FreshMinds. She has taken a leading role in developing social media research methodologies within FreshMinds. She has delivered analysis in this area to a range of global clients within retail, FMCG and technology. Recently, she conducted a multi-national study into online mentions of a famous toy brand, and was asked to present the results to the global executive board.

More broadly, Anna has worked on a variety of complex projects in her time at FreshMinds, ranging from exploring strategies in the luxury sector for a global luxury brand, through to managing international quantitative projects including brand tracking, segmentation and market sizing.

Anna holds a degree in Marketing and Management and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. In her spare time she reads Organisational and Social Psychology as part of her MSc at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Top 10 Tips

Welcome to the oldest new game in town
Text analytics is new. The principles should not be. Good research is still good research. And, of course, good high quality analysis and insight. Without that, you might as well not bother. It’s just that now we have incredibly powerful tools to help us. Social media monitoring is a force multiplier. It can enable you to do in days or weeks what would have taken weeks and months. But it’s not perfect – one needs to be careful.
Based on our comparison of some of the leading SMM tools and our recent experience with our global clients, Anna will take you through the top ten tips of ensuring that your social media analysis remains robust and returns not just the black and white metrics, but all the shades of grey.

Catriona Oldershaw

Catriona is Managing Director of Synthesio UK.She can be found online at Twitterand Synthesio tweets here
You can view the Synthesio blog here

How to combine social and surveys to deliver One Voice of the Customer

The increasing sophistication of social media monitoring tools opens the way for brands to get closer to accessing ‘One Voice of the Customer’. This is a synthesised view of Customer Experience drawn from both online and offline channels (surveys, Net Promoter Programmes, contact centre call logs etc). The goal? Actionable insights enabling brands to optimise their current activities and predict future growth. Catriona will take a look at the challenges involved, and share examples of projects where brands are working to achieve this Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

Liz High

Liz is Senior Director of Strategy and Insight at Alterain.
Liz was one of two founding partners of Intrepid, which was acquired by Alterian in September 2010 to establish a services capability to support SM2, their social media monitoring tool.
The resulting Strategy and Insight team are focused on combining the best in software tools with the best in thinking to create commercial relevance with social media data for a wide range of direct customers and Alterian’s extensive partner network.
Liz has been working in the marketing and research industry for 18 years, 12 year spent building Intrepid into a global boutique insight consultancy and constantly striving to develop new techniques that drive and prove ROI of investing in customer relationships delivered face to face, digitally or through brand promotion.
Key areas of expertise are using social media as a data set in strategy development for Media, Financial services and IT&T businesses.
Liz graduated in 1990 with a first class degree in Geography. She also has an MA in Leisure and Tourism studies and the CAM Diploma in Advertising and Marketing. Before starting Intrepid, Liz worked for BEM, a specialist CVA consultancy and Sports Marketing Surveys, where she worked for the European Golf Tour, McLaren F1 Racing team, Manchester United and the RFU.
She is a full member of the MRS.
Liz and her two daughters Sapphire and Scarlet live with an artist in a mess of oil paint and giant canvases. She’s currently working for her Wine and Spirits Diploma with the aim of becoming a Master of wine when she finally has some time to devote to her true passion.

The Power of Earned Media:Using Traditional and Social Media Research to Drive Advertising ROI

We were asked by CNNI to prove that investing in social media tools would deliver return on investment through new ad formats that capitalised on the power of news sharing in driving engagement with readers.
Using a series of social media monitoring tools, combined with traditional online research methodology; we were able to show that adverts contained within shared content were more accurately recalled, trusted more and more powerful in driving positive attitudes to the advertisers brands.
This case study shares some key insights about the motivation, modes and power of sharing content through social media.
You will leave the session with some clear ideas on how the power of social media can be harnessed by digital publishers to drive incremental revenue for them and incremental brand value for their advertisers.

John Griffiths

John has been running Planning Above and Beyond since 2000 – a consultancy pushing the boundaries of research & communications planning. Clients include Cisco, Tesco and Kodak. Open source projects John has initiated include the Research Liberation Front, Waggledancers and the Cloud of Knowing, the last being an exploration about how to incorporate online content as part of sound research practice. From this last project came a paper called the Cloud of Knowing given at the 2010 MRS conference which has won the award for Best New Thinking.

Stephen D Rappaport

Stephen works for The Advertising Research Foundation and can be found online at:
His blog can be found here

Putting listening to work: achieving business objectives

Listening is more than “the world’s largest focus group” and “free research.” Used well, listening helps companies achieve marketing objectives that span customer discovery through new product development, messaging, reputation management and loyalty. Steve’s presentation will describe through case studies the ways brands global and local use social media monitoring or social research to develop “signal advantage” that leads to insights that create business advantage.

Catherine van Zuylen

Vice President of Global Product Management, Attensity
Catherine brings more than 15 years of experience thriving on the passion and intensity of technology startups and rollups. Prior to Attensity, Catherine was VP of Marketing for the Block Shield family of companies, where she defined and implemented new positioning, product, and branding strategies in support of company restructuring and acquisition of technology assets. Previously, Catherine was Director of Marketing at Business Objects, an SAP company. She came to Business Objects through its acquisition of Inxight Software, where she led product management and assisted in the repositioning of the company as “going beyond Google”. Catherine has also held product management and marketing roles at a variety of technology companies, including Butterfly Security, Kovair (CRM), iSyndicate (internet media), and Metcal (electronics manufacturing). Catherine holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA in English from the Johnston Center at the University of Redlands. She is a true California native who enjoys working hard, but also enjoys playing hard in trail, surf, and snow.

Social Media: The Next Frontier for Text Analytics

Today customers have a powerful, real-time medium in which to voice their opinions. In addition to traditional contact through call centers, surveys and email (and often instead of) they say what they think in online reviews, ratings websites, and to contacts on social media sites. Now more than ever, organizations need to be able to understand what is being said about them, derive actionable insights, as well as route and respond to the conversation. But social media has changed the face of text analytics altogether and traditional manual and keyword search alone is insufficient for locating information trends in a timely, reliable manner.
How do you know if you are getting the most from your text mining solution?
It has become critical for companies to be able to take all of this “unstructured” information and classify it for use in downstream data analysis to drive business decisions across the enterprise. Because of this crop of highly visible and interactive social media more departments are interested in text analytics. Product, PR, Operations, IT, and Service functions are all at the same table together!


  • About real world examples of how the traditional keyword approach no longer works
  • Why reliable and fast text analytics is the only way to analyze what’s being said in an accurate and scalable way
  • What you should look for in a next generation text analysis solution
  • How text analytics can help marketers and customer relationship managers take back the 1-to-1 customer dialog

Carol Haney

Carol is the thought leader in the development of Research Lifestreaming, a panelist-based approach to social
media research. Carol’s expertise is in the intersection of market research and social media research. She builds bridges between market research communities and existing social media properties (Facebook, Twitter, for example). Carol has spent most of her career specializing in public sector research solutions. She consults with the Centers for Disease Control, where she helped reduce critical cycle time by 60% (the time period from instrument design to production data collection start) for outbreak and surveillance data collection. In addition, she modeled the automation of hand-offs of necessary collateral to internal CDC oversight groups, such as the Public Health Information Network analytic team and IRB approval process. She also architected a data collection system for NCID to automate a 50-site, paper-based data collection effort and worked with the Kenya team on strategies around hand-held data collection devices. Much of Carol’s career has been spent at NORC at the University of Chicago, where she was Director of Data Services. She was the technology team lead on the Qatar National Education Reform initiative, a win resulting in the largest single contract NORC has received. In conjunction with NORC’s stats and methods group, she architected a solution for managing national frame data based on the Census, developing a speedy mechanism for pulling and marking area probability sample from the national frame, and led the architecture of the logical and physical data schemas. She was part of the team that created an interactive web site (which won the AAPOR Innovators Award in 2000) for the General Social Survey. She contributed to the technical implementation of numerous studies at NORC, clients including BLS, NIH, Federal Reserve, and Census. Carol has been a member of the University of Michigan’s expert committee for the Data Definition Initiative as well as is a member of AAPOR. She is currently an expert reviewer for CASRO’s social media privacy guidelines. Carol works at Harris Interactiveand can be found online at:

Annie Pettit

Annie Pettit, PhD is the Chief Research Officer of Conversition Strategies. She has more than 15 years of experience as an online market researcher and specializes in data quality and social media research. Annie is a member of the CASRO, MRA, and ESOMAR social media research committees. Annie was previously the VP of Online Panel Analytics at Ipsos as well as the Research Scientist at ICOM. Her expertise in research methods and data quality has been highlighted through numerous conference presentations, including ARF, CASRO, MRA ,MRIA, NetGain, and IIR. She has also published numerous articles in both professional and refereed magazines and journals.

Annie tweets at @LoveStats and maintains the LoveStats marketing research blog where she occasionally showcases her attempts at being a better baker and gardener.

Quick and Dirty or Slow and Careful: Social Media Data Speaks

Social media research seems like a quick and easy solution to surveys. The data is instantly available to anyone whether you are a researcher and whether you have access to any specialized tools. But, this paper will demonstrate, with real data, how your research results can be negatively affected if you don’t take care at various stages of the research process. We will evalute how results are affected when care isn’t taken to develop the initial search set, to create the variables being measured, to measure sentiment, and to select the websites being reviewed.