Live from TMRE 2011: Great first day at TMRE

After an 11 hour long lasting but still comfortable flight on Sunday from Hamburg, Germany
I arrived safely and in good conditions in Orlando, Florida. As I learned today
‘ more about this later ‘ Sunday is NFL day, so I went to a nice sports bar and
watched some American Football. Very nice experience’
Today I was
curious and excited to see The Market Research Event started at The Peabody in
Orlando.
So I went quite early to get my registration
done and to join the first session from the Ad & Media Research track: ‘How
US Consumers’ Ethic Identity Influences Media & Purchase Habits’
.
I picked
that one because I was hoping to hear some interesting thought both on
methodology and results. And both presenters from Yahoo!, Lauren Weinberg and
Edwin Wong did a great job with their presentation.
But what was it about?
They showed
us a number of fact based recommendations how to do appropriate multi cultural marketing.
This is
important to a number of different companies and brands (and also Yahoo!) because
the purchase power of different ethnicities is huge and still rising. They
report an overall purchase volume of the four most relevant ethnicities
(African America, Asian / Pasific, Hispanic / Latino and Caucasian) of 2.5
billion dollars.
To gain a
larger share of this purchase power
it is important to understand how ethnicity
impacts preferences and how marketing can be as authentic as possible for this
targets.
To find
appropriate answers to this Yahoo! conducted a huge survey, consisting of
expert interviews, online communities, focus groups and quantitative elements.
It is always nice to see that a client sees the need to do market research. And
it is even nicer if this research isn’t conducted for the sake of doing
research. But it must have been a hard fight to set the budget free needed for
this scale of survey’
Anyway, I learned
a lot about the meaning of ethnicity to the groups, with very special area of
identification (e.g. music, food, gender roles, appearance, celebrating
holidays, language and even the family name). And it differs depending on the
ethnicity you are trying to talk to.
If you look
at the Caucasian-focused advertising out there it is not surprising that the ethnicities
feel underrepresented. But they feel much more underrepresented in traditional
media than in online media (e.g. 72% of the Hispanic feel underrepresented in
traditional media and only 39% in online media). 
My explanation would be that it
is much more easier to find yourself represented in the diversity of the www
than in 30 seconds TV commercials. And again the drivers of preferences are
strongly driven by the ethnicity.
In order to overcome this issue authentic
marketing has to face a basic paradox: On the one hand ethnicities have a
strong wish that the ethnic diversity (which they feel to be a part of and
which they see as representative for the US society and the real world) is
shown. On the other hand they are seeking for well targeted ads in order to
deliver a stronger ‘for-me-ness’ and to be represented in a better way. So
authentic marketing has to kill two birds with one stone: mainstream versus
uniqueness.
This is not
easy. And this is a risk.
 
This is why 66% of the Asian ethnicity say that the
can’t think of any brand, that perform well (Hispanic 42%, African American
51%). 
It is most
important to avoid stereotypes. And these again are ethnicity-specific. Aisans
don’t want to see the nerdy asian guy or somebody who is unable to attract
women. Huge families and Mariachi with Sombreros is forbidden if you want to
sell into the Hispanic ethnicity. And don’t show African Americans in a
commercial together with alcohol and tobacco and avoid Hip Hop and dancing. 
The true
understanding is the basis for success, execution is nuanced. Saying this, to
my point of view a strong need for pre-testing, co-creation or crowd sourcing
is identified. This is, because if you are doing it in the right way success
can be seen in trust, purchase and last but not least activated word-of-mouth,
offline and online. And here is a TV commercial shown by the presenters a best practice. 

Enjoy!
The
next session I attended was some sort of childhood memories. It was about a
multi platform approach for Sesame Workshop by Diane Polvere and James
William-Ness
.

I have learned that not only my favorite characters from
Sesame Street have improved their style (the equipment of Super-Grobi ‘ his
German name ‘ is amazing) and some of them were new to me, but also
requirements of research improved. James
pointed out that 2005 there were 6 channels where you could get in contact with
Sesame content, 2011 they have 21 channels. 

No wonder
that they need to know a lot of different things about their audience: unique
audience, total audience, device interaction and sources of engagement, just to
name a few. TV is still
key, but gaming devices, audio, web, mobile, podcasts and other devices are
emerging and covering a relevant art of channel preferences in the pre-school target
group.
After a huge
secondary analysis they decided to conduct a huge quantitative study with 2.000
children aged under 8 years. That gave them the opportunity to drill down
contact clusters on iTunes, podcasts, amazon etc. as well as important results
for future purchase of newer devices in order to spotlight trends. 
Together
with existing data from Nielsen, comScore and so on they were able to build a
model and bridging the custom data with these common sources.
It was
quite interesting that they found a way to develop a multiplatform model to say
that over 50 million are in contact to Sesame content. This is an important
number for their revenue model (what I didn’t realize is that Sesame workshop
is a non-profit organization) in order to give value to their reach. 
And of
course ‘ like in every huge surveys ‘ there are a number of other interesting results.
Just to name two of them. TV is still number one and key to deliver a first
experience of Sesame content. But Online and Mobile is important to engage and enhance
frequency of usage.
And I found
myself belonging to the ‘Digital Dads’ which bring a new gatekeeper segment to
the responsible people at Sesame workshop. They usually stick to the ‘sesame
moms’ (described as mothers, who interact with their children and Sesame content
on TV and web). But ‘Digital Dads’ bring Sesame content with Apps on iPads,
Smartphones and Podcast to their kids. 
Interesting.
Something not completely different but important
in a broader sense was presented by Dr. Timothy de Waal Malefy from BBDOs Cultural
Discoveries
. It was all
about rituals and how brands could benefit from this. He pointed out that
rituals are nothing new for humans, but for most of the brands. 
The basis for
exploring rituals is to look at people. Because consumers use brands to suit
their needs and to share their experiences with others. So there is a huge
opportunity to learn from the customers in order to identify rituals and make
them work for brands. A brand’s benefits can be (among others) to give guidance
for a meaningful live to customers. 
But it is
not easy to find the ritual, because there are a lot of requirements that needs
to me fulfilled before you can call it a ritual. Generally speaking a ritual is
a fixed sequence of behaviors that transform us from one state to another,
emotionally or physically or both.
It is a powerful
motivating experience and develops strong loyalties (best practice: the ritual
of weddings
). Rituals operate in a clear framework and are highly sensorial,
memorable and pleasurable. 
Timothy
compared rituals with habits, while habits are single and functional tasks, do
not transform a brand benefit and require low or no conscious effort. 
The
distinction between the two concepts is clear, but it stayed theoretical to me
unless he said that the ritual is ‘the journey’ and the habit is ‘the destination’.
This again is true for wedding, although some people regard a wedding as a
habit or other like this ritual so much that they want to have it again and
again :-)
But basically
it makes a lot of sense to look at rituals in this way. Timothy showed a lot of
research and advertising for ‘The art of shaving’ and he mentioned the ritual
of making your own coffee. 
First of all I
was thinking about rituals as some sort of elitist’s doing in order to differentiate from others, because
rituals show knowledge and express mastery. But and the end and by answering
questions from the auditorium Timothy pointed out that even this is mostly the
case and rituals is not for every brand, there are some examples for rituals in
mass market. Barbie vs. American Girl Doll, Build a bear or even the ritual of
Hispanics in the US starting to drink wine are good examples for this.
Next session was about women, apparel and the
NFL
. Alicia Z. Ranking presented backgrounds, process and results for a
re-positioning of NFL Womens’ apparel (and the success of it). 
 

Although I am
more into soccer I could understand most of the
things that were said. It is important to make good offers for women, because
445 of NFL fans are female and they are nearly 8 hours a week engaged with NFL.
Even more important is the fact that they spend $ 315 million on NFL apparel.
I like Alicia’s
descriptions of the former approach to make a good offer to women. It is called
‘shrinking & pinking’ and says that they took the men’s apparel, shrinked
it and made it pink.
The basis
for improving this was a huge online research with some face-to-face
components. And they build a segmentation on this survey, which revealed a lot
of shopper insights such as affinity to NFL apparel and purchase behavior as
well as attitudes and insights for product development.
One of the
key findings, which they used for developing the campaign, is that women pay
more attention towards fashion related items of NFL apparel and men basically want
to show their team affinity. And they also found out, that the female core target
consists of active and family-oriented women, aged 20-39 years.
So they
decided to create awareness for NFL women’s apparel by leveraging a health and
fitness performance that fits with the target’s fashion style and lifestyle. In
addition they wanted to feature women as NFL fans, which they achieved by
featuring real NFL women (I forgot their names. If this were soccer ladies I
would probably remember :-) ). But look at this:
They did a
lot more to support this campaign (events, microsite, contests, cause-related
etc.). And the business increased by 40% and 75% were aware of redesigned
product line
. Even the campaign was a huge success, 70% recall overall and 63%
recall brand related. 
To my point
of view this is a good example for having success when you have your business objectives
clear and stick to a limited number of relevant results but keeping these at
the spearhead of your marketing activities.
After this
I attended the Social Media & Communities track to hear Nick Mysore talking
about ‘Trend Spotting with Social Media to Grow Your Business’.
He introduced
his speech by focusing on using social media for strategy (and therefore for
business) and so (I thought) he would go one step further than saying that
listening to consumer on Facebook etc. is important. 
He had a
lot of numbers (very good and convincing ones) to support the fact that social
media is here to stay, and that is becoming more and more important for
marketing. I really liked the style of presentation, very entertaining and very
convincing. But for my personal scope there wasn’t much to learn than good
examples to show people that social media is important. 
Anyway, it
is important to listen and it is important to learn how to listen from these
how do it well (like US Gov. for instance). And it is also important to connect
the listening with the strategy. Therefore Nick recommends focusing on themes.
As an opposite of ‘a shotgun approach’ he mentioned that of course a selection
of themes is of course a risk (to choose the wrong ones). But otherwise complexity
is too big and it is impossible to deep dive into themes and to deliver
results. To create such patterns depends on the strategy and you must be brave enough
(or your internal or external clients) to take the risks of social media.
Social media is less reliable. But it is more penetrating and honest response. 
This leads
to the daily practice that social media is not replacing anything. But it is simple
to track and must be simple to implement into marketing (controlling).
The last
track I attended was about Celebrity and Engagement in a DVR world by TiVo.
Most of the time I saw impressive spots. And I learned that the spending in TV
ads are worthwhile, despite the fact that 54% of all primetime TV is
time-shifted. 
This
relates to former results 5-10 years ago, where it was revealed that is
important to keep the engagement high within the audience in order to keep
their attention for TV advertising. This is the same now, even if the forward
advertising. Let’s take Mad Men as an example.
This Suave ad was
shown and people who forwarded advertising thought the film would continue. 
Or
let’s have a look at snickers and Superbowl:
People are
repeating this spot, because it supports the feeling of the sports. 
The same
for X-factor and Pepsi:
Different name for the same things…
All in all it
was a very exiting day. 
Looking forward to tomorrow and more hot market
research stuff. 

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