TMRE International Session Spotlight: Role of Genetic Algorithms in NPD Concept Optimization

Leading up to The Market Research Event, we’ll profile the keynotes, tracks and themes at the 2011 event.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at the international sessions new to the event.  For more information on TMRE, taking place November 7-9, 2011; in Orlando, Florida, download the brochure now.  If you register by October 14 using code TMRE11BLOG, you can save $300 off of the standard registration rate plus the first 10 to register get a free FlipCam!

Featured Region: European Union
Featured Session: Role of Genetic Algorithms in NPD Concept Optimization
Featured Speaker: Michelle Gansle, Innovation & Category Insights Manager, CMI, MARS FOOD
About the session:  Based on a case study from MARS Europe, this session will detail how ‘Survival of the fittest’ techniques can be combined with a choice-based consumer input to deliver better concept scores.

Insight Driven Innovation: The Case of Facebook

Let’s talk about Facebook, shall we?
Innovative? Yes.
Driven? Yes.
Insight driven? Meh.

In case you haven’t logged into your Facebook account recently, you have missed a few’ changes. ‘Top stories’ are broken out on the top of the homepage, followed by ‘recent stories,’ and a ‘ticker’ now provides a live-feed of all ongoing information (a Facebook inside a Facebook?). Innovation ‘ great. Problem? Outrage. User outrage. They flocked to Twitter and soon ‘new Facebook’ among the top discussed topics on the social media site.

Where did it go so wrong? I once heard someone say (I wish I could remember who) that innovation is only meaningful if the consumer wants it and it solves a problem. By this statement, innovation is only meaningful if it is insight driven. I believe that many B2C organizations understand that technology is important, social media is almost imperative, and increasing sales are a must. With increasing pressure from stakeholders to perform, innovation, it can be argued, is at the forefront of many conversations. Without a need from the consumer for such innovation however, it’s pointless and provides a reason for the consumer to believe that the organization can’t meet their needs ‘ it doesn’t understand them.

Facebook is in a unique position that many organizations wishes they were in. It seems that any changes, good or bad, cannot keep people away from the social network. In part, I believe that’s because they have invested so much in the original innovation that is – Facebook. Users will get used to the changes, and move on. Can your organization afford to take that risk?

Other examples of insight driven innovation will come in the weeks leading up to The Market Research Event. But, you should know, there will be some interesting discussion around the topic at the actual Event in Orlando, Florida this November.

Garrett McGuire is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, “The Journal of mAD Man,” that explains the theories and methods of advertising.

White Paper: The Generational Effect

Today, in anticipation of the 2011 NACCM conference, we’d like to share with you this new whitepaper from NACCM partners GfK Custom Research North America, “The Generational Effect.”

From Traditionals through to Generation Y, is there a ‘generational effect’ when it comes to customer loyalty and satisfaction? This paper explores the concept of generation and the extent to which various generations are both similar and different in their degree of loyalty, and the drivers of loyalty to companies in the various sectors. GfK compares key loyalty metrics from their benchmark surveys in the banking, automotive, credit card and cell phone sectors to reveal insights associated with this conjecture.

To read the paper, click here.

Want to hear more from GfK? Join us at NACCM for the session “Become a Leader in Customer Loyalty: Customer Loyalty and Experiences across the Generations on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011.

Drawing upon GfK Customer Loyalty cross-industry benchmark surveys, this session compares the generations in terms of the delighters that drive customer loyalty and dissatisfiers that drive customers crazy and lead to defection. Explore the similarities and differences between generational cohorts, such as Millenials (GenX) and GenYers, Boomers, Traditionals and emerging Gen Z. To learn more, download the brochure.

Readers of the Customer’s 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog. Register here.

Curt Carlson On Customer Experience

In this new series of posts, we are joined by guest blogger Curt Carlson, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience Management ‘ TNS North America. Curt is in the TNS North America Customer Experience Management (CXM) Area of Expertise. In this role, he is responsible for supporting strategy development and Customer Experience ‘ related business, which includes Customer Loyalty, Employee Engagement and Corporate Reputation. In the 20+ years that Curt has spent in Customer Experience-related research, he has also held senior positions at Walker Information, J.D. Power and Associates, and Ipsos Loyalty. Curt received his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Iowa, and his M.A. and Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology) from Kent State University. Curt has also presented at many US and International conferences and workshops including those sponsored by The Conference Board and EFQM, as well as by numerous clients. He is also a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA).

Hi. I’m Curt Carlson and welcome to my blog, which will lead up to the NACCM conference. It is my hope that this will stimulate some ideas that you can discuss with others at the meeting.

Why am I doing this? I love the customer experience arena. After over 20 years of helping some of the greatest companies in the world with their customer experience programs, I like to think of the good we as practitioners bring: customers have a better experience, clients make more profit, as does my employer, and I earn a living. So what’s the problem’if there is one?

Customer Experience Management (CXM) isn’t working for most companies today. Every company will eventually begin to notice a lack of improvement in customer experience performance metrics that goes on and on. Moreover, they also see few if any strategic insights coming from a program that touches most of their customers and costs six or seven figures. Why?

Let’s start with the flat-line problem. We’ve seen this in all sectors’Tech, Telecom, Financial Services, Retail, to name a few. Everyone’s head nods in agreement when I bring this up in front of large audiences. The critical business issues are that over time, customer experience management programs 1) do not inform change management, and 2) do not contribute to profitable growth. The scary thing for both suppliers and clients is that eventually their relationship will end because of these issues. And like a divorce, it is painful and expensive for both sides.

The lack of strategic information should be no surprise. Programs that measure relationships report the same key drivers over and over; new insights stop in Year Two or Three. Transaction surveys are short, limited to a single touch-point, and intended for Ops management. Over time, however, that’s not good enough for executives who need more value from these programs to impact their company growth. As a transportation company exec once told me, ‘I’m spending seven figures on my study and not getting any strategic value from it’what can you do’?

The good news is that the problem lies not with the programs, but with us. Practitioners, both client side and supplier side, have a bad case of tunnel vision. Over the next three blogs, I’ll be talking about these programs in more comprehensive (I refuse to say ‘holistic’) ways. These wider perspectives will begin to reveal how companies can unlock the inherent tactical and strategic value of their CXM programs.

Join this community’Share your stories about how your customer experience programs have worked for you over time in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, meet Curt next week, Oct 3rd to 5th, at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit in Arizona, or join TNS this November at NACCM for a session on Best-in-class Customer Experience Management.

To learn more about NACCM, click here. To register, click here. Readers of the Customer’s 1st blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate with code NACCMBlog.

What if we were paid for clients’ Return On Insight?

Last week I dreamt an unusual dream: I landed up in market-research-future-land…  

The market research world
there had changed, everything was different. Much of the
dream didn’t make pretty much sense to me from today’s perspective. 
But one part of the dream I had to think
about a little bit longer:
in today’s time ROI was one of the key parameters for the assessment and classification of success. At least because of this
interesting post it becomes clear that it
is not always easy
to determine ROI as return on investment for market research
services. But in my
dream’s market-research-future-land however
much more research activities were rated
by clients on the basis of ROI
How could that be?  
How did they resolve the problem of a
clear definition and inter-individual clarity of what
ROI means?
It didn’t last long until I
realized that ROI wasn’t meant
as Return On Investment but
as Return On Insight. What had happened?
Central changes in the market research industry, which could be slightly observed and forefelt today, had been manifested in new
concrete requirements and business areas.

research’s clients were no longer willing to pay for (high) expensive and highly specialized external
service providers and service units.
Shortage of information about markets
and market participants became increasingly smaller, the value of the complex gathering and
surveying of this information declined
as rapidly as continuously

Most of the
information and the most important parts of it for the companies were easily
accessible via intelligent social media
approaches and progress in the DIY market research ‘ without a large investment. The MR-agencies, which had focused on the
information gathering, were caught in a negative relevance swirl and thereby
lost income until they lost all of their justification they once had.  
Quality, efficiency, methodology and last but
not least price had been arguments
in which the MR-agencies did not differ a lot from each other. 
Consequently, the investment, which the
purchasers of market research have issued
to the agencies for the collection of data and information, had become vanishingly small.

the industry had not disappeared from earth, but it had changed significantly. Insight
became the central proof to evaluate the performance of market
research. The generation of insights
had detached itself from the value of data gathering, this was
already re-integrated within the
organization of commissioning companies. To
connect relevance and significance to existing data and results had become the
most important competence, and clients paid a lot for it and loved to do so.

What I especially liked about market-research-future-land
was the fact that clients included Return On Insight as a flexible
component into their pay
. Only those agencies, that had been able to provide
insights that were able to influence the
client companies’ success in a positive way, were also paid with the flexible part
of the fee.
I’m sure
that Return On Insight for market research is as difficult to be determined as
Return On Invest. But I’m also sure that the assessment of our performance by our
clients via Return On Insight is trend-setting. For this we would be forced to:
- give up
our silo-thinking,  
- deal with
marketing and advertising in a more extensive way
- be less of craftsmanship and more to believe
in relevance and
- ultimately be prepared for the future

ourselves have not yet tried to
agree with the client about a flexible part of our fee, depending
on the quality of the Return on Insights
we deliver. But we are thinking about it, and who knows, maybe it will happen soon that we are working with one of our clients on
such a trend-setting model.
I’m curious how ROI will be discussed at The Market Research Event in Florida. IIR, USA,
the conference organizers have put it on the agenda.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Qualvu Launches a New Platform that Encourages Researcher-Stakeholder Partnerships by Enabling Market Research Data Sharing and Encouraging Discussions that Lead to Innovation

Denver, CO ‘ September 23 ‘ Qualvu is known for empowering businesses to connect with their consumers in a more meaningful way so that they can make better business decisions. And the leading video-based qualitative research provider has just launched a platform that takes business empowerment to the next level: Qualvu Share.

Qualvu Share enables stakeholders and researchers to share consumer stories and insights that emerge from rich video highlights via a blog environment. It allows businesses to tap into a private platform that leverages social media dynamics and interactions to share unprecedentedly rich video consumer insights while empowering internal company teams to take a collaborative approach to research data analysis and interpretation. In addition to enabling multi-media sharing, discussions built around consumer candid video comments can be downloaded in the form of a PDF, enabling internal teams to share content not only within their company but also with external stakeholders. ‘Ultimately, our goal is to empower researchers to become more of a thought partner within their organizations by providing transparency and collaboration throughout the research process,’ said John Williamson, Qualvu CEO & Founder.

Insights drive new questions, and new questions drive new opportunities. Businesses can now share and discuss findings on a wider scale, sparking ideas that lead to more innovative, accurate, and inspired business decisions. Empowering stakeholders to share and create conversations around newly discovered insights helps inspire creative business solutions as well as new areas of exploration. By providing a platform on which businesses can share and discuss collected data and insights, Qualvu provides an end-to-end solution that keeps them engaged, gives them a voice, and drives cross-organizational decision-making.

Learn more about Qualvu Share by registering for our upcoming webinar.

Qualvu is a sponsor of The Market Research Event 2011.

How will the new Facebook changes change your strategy?

Facebook changing out it’s layout without warning to users has happened so many times now that it has become the butt of jokes. But what will the new Facebook changes mean for you and for your brand?

Under pressure from Google+, Facebook has rolled out some serious changes, including new privacy features such as being able to view your profile as anyone and enhanced friend list. The new news feed and introduction of the ticker add an additional layer of change.

To top that off, soon we will be seeing the “Timeline

So what do all these changes mean for brands using Facebook to market? All Facebook wonders: “Will pages be able to reach their fans? Will it be worthwhile to spend ad money to build fan bases?”

And the answer is, it may. As it is currently, it appears that Facebook’s new feed will be prioritizing posts that have a high engagement rate, fan pages with low engagement may have even more trouble reaching fans.

Perhaps the most important change to pay attention to is the introduction of GraphRank. As a part of EdgeRank, this new feature will primarily effect App usage. According to AllThingsD “Social discovery of apps is seen as the next frontier in solving the troublesome problem of finding useful and relevant programs from among hundreds of thousands of choices.”

So what do you think of the new Facebook? Are you looking forward to Timeline? Are you considering joining the ranks of Facebook App developers? Let us know.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at

TMRE International Session Spotlight: Consumer Practice As A Starting Point For Innovation

Leading up to The Market Research Event, we’ll profile the keynotes, tracks and themes at the 2011 event.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at the international sessions new to the event.  For more information on TMRE, taking place November 7-9, 2011; in Orlando, Florida, download the brochure now.  If you register today using code TMRE11BLOG, you can save $300 off of the standard registration rate plus the first 10 to register get a free FlipCam!

Featured Country: Finland
Featured Session: Consumer Practice As A Starting Point For Innovation
Featured Speaker: Oskar Korkman, Consumer Analytics & Insights, Insights& Creation, NOKIA
About the session:  In this session, Oskar Korkman, Consumer Analytics & Insights, Insights Creation, NOKIA will share how consumer insights is fueling innovation success at Nokia ‘ specifically how consumer practice is a source for innovation. Leveraging ethnographic research and modeling practices, the insights creation team has built insights around many different opportunities that Nokia is pursuing. Thus making the insights creation team a vital component of innovation success at Nokia.

  • - Leveraging ethnography to identify opportunities for innovation
  • - Employing breakthrough modeling techniques to prioritize ideas
  • - Insights as an owner and champion of innovation

Coca-Cola Research Boss Bets On Passive Listening Over Response, Social Media Over Surveys

‘Research Insighter’ Interview Probes Call to Reinvent or Face Irrelevance

By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

Stan Sthanunathan believes market research’both as a profession and as an industry’may be on a collision course of potentially Titanic proportions with an iceberg called change, and he’s urging all hands on deck to help turn the ship around.

‘We all must accept one truth in life: Change is not optional, but acting or not acting is a choice we make’We either act or we will become irrelevant and maybe even perish,’ Sthanunathan said.

Coca-Cola’s global head of marketing strategy and insights has never been one to mince words or shy away from controversy, and his views may be unsettling in some research quarters.

In this exclusive podcast interview for ‘The Research Insighter’ series, Sthanunathan argues the industry urgently ‘needs to reinvent who we are, what we stand for and how we add value to business’ or risk losing out to a rising class of non-traditional competitors that will include the Facebooks and Googles of the world.

He predicts conventional response-based research will ‘probably be irrelevant in the next decade’ and that ‘social media services could potentially become the biggest insights generators in the industry.’

And, Sthanunathan pointed out, these emerging competitors have an advantage over traditional research providers and most client-side departments when it comes to attracting talent: They’re willing to pay more for a more diverse range of skill sets within a culture that encourages experimentation and provides the freedom to fail forward.

How can researchers compete in this environment?

Sthanunathan insists the time has come to focus on next practices’not best practices.

‘No driver has reached their destination by looking through the rearview mirror in a car,’ he observed.

‘If you focus on consumer insights, you will develop consumerist strategies,’ Sthanunathan said. ‘But if you focus on understanding the human condition, then you will understand people’s lives in totality and, therefore, probably have a much better chance of coming up with breakthrough ideas.’

Listen to the interview here.

Read the transcript here.

Editor’s note: If you’re intrigued by the issues raised in this podcast, you won’t want to miss TMRE 2011, because this year’s conference theme is ‘Leading in a New Direction: Revolutionizing an Industry in an Era of Transformation.’

For information or to register for The Market Research Event 2011, taking place November 7-9 in Orlando, Florida, please visit

Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead with a background in trade journalism and marketing. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

How Mobile Is Changing Research

Remember when cell phones were primarily used for emergencies? My first phone did have a color screen, but games were limited, texting was unheard of, and minutes were saved with a two-way walkie-talkie function. Oh, and I didn’t get one until I was old enough drive.

Today, for the most part, mobile phones are known as smartphones; they make information instantly accessible and where the Internet can’t help, I’m sure I have an app that can. These phones are not exclusive to particular age group, ethnic heritage, or social class and are with us when we wake up, go to bed, and most of the time between.
For researchers, mobile advances have provided a faster and more interesting way to reach desired respondents. Of course, the tricky part is identifying the appropriate use of mobile surveys.
It’s important to note that mobile can not replace traditional research methods, but it certainly can help increase response rates during times and events that people are not expected to be near their computers. Because the survey is likely being taken on a smartphone, photos of products, places, and people can be shared (photos really can be worth a thousand words) offering the ability of fewer words to be used and more ethnographic-type research to be completed.
Technology in general, including smartphones, is evolving market research methods and the respective businesses we serve. With immediate consumer perceptions, we can make more effective and efficient recommendations to business leaders.
As research methods evolve to include mobile and other technologies (like iPads and other tablets), we must understand the appropriate times for traditional and new data collection methods. More importantly, we must understand the data we can collect and how we can use it to make more informed decisions.
For more on this topic, join us at The Market Research Event this November in Orlando, Florida!

Garrett McGuire (@GJMcGuire) is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, “The Journal of a mAD Man,” that explains the theories and methods of advertising.