President Barack Obama: Redditor?!

President Obama’s “verification” that he was on Reddit. Note the Reddit insignia on the cover of his laptop. (Source: imgr)
While the last presidential election prompted the initial utilization of YouTube and Facebook to connect with voters, President Barack Obama decided to take another step toward Internet prominence this week by engaging in an AMA, or Ask Me Anything post ‘I am Barack Obama, President of the United States ‘ AMA‘in the popular forum-like website Reddit. Starting the post as PresidentObama, a feat in itself that that username has not been taken yet, Obama covered subjects in this Q&A session ranging from NASA, Internet freedom, the possibility of losing the presidential election, basketball, beer, funding for elections, post-college qualms, to Obama’s personal day-to-day time management. 
As President Obama stepped into the uncharted territory of Reddit ‘ a medium not previously utilized by past presidential candidates ‘ the Republican Party took the more conservative (pun-intended?) route to promote their ideals and direction in Tampa, Florida with the Republican National Convention. The current face of the GOP, Mitt Romney formally accepts the Republican presidential nominee center stage, in front of the more mainstream news media outlets. Obama, taking the alternative means of reaching out to voters, actually at-times overwhelmed the Reddit servers, “reddit is under heavy load right now, sorry. Try again in a few minutes,” causing Obama’s AMA post content to load very slowly, but nonetheless proving that his presence on the Internet was a hit.
My Facebook feed, the source of how I discovered this commotion, was heavy on the ‘OMG’ and ‘COOL’ in reaction to Obama’s interaction, signifying the shock my peers felt as the President was taking the time to answer questions that they could ask. Though Obama already has achieved his Internet notoriety through the widely-used Obama’s Not Bad Rage Face meme, his engagement with Redditors brings him to a higher level of relatabilty, just as PresidentObama ends his last comment in the AMA post in reference to his popularly-used Internet meme with: ‘By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience – NOT BAD!’
 
I guess we all feel the summer heat, right Mitt? (Source: Huffington Post)
Does this bring Obama to an advantageous point having tried to connect with a wide span of potential voters with a never-before-used medium, while Romney attends the GOP convention that makes note of Obama’s failures as a president? Will Obama’s entry to where the common Internet users interact prompt other elected officials, perhaps Relatable Romney, to boldly go deeper into the depths of the Internet in attempts to sway more voters, a more no-holds-barred environment ‘ where censorship is almost non-existent? 
Chester Wai is a Social Media Intern at IIR USA with a specialization in Cultural Studies and Digital Arts. He may be reached at Cwai@iirusa.com

PrideBites learns which dog toy features matter most to owners

Today’s blog post comes from TMRE Sponsor Google.  For more information on upcoming Google Consumer Survey Web Seminars, visit this webpage.

PrideBites learns which dog toy features matter most to owners

Google Consumer Surveys helps you make informed business decisions by asking internet users survey questions. Users complete questions in exchange for access to content around the web, and content publishers get paid per answer. Google automatically analyzes responses, providing the data through a simple online interface. Below we share the experiences of one of our customers, PrideBites, a manufacturer and distributor of high quality, durable dog toys with unique designs.

The four founders of PrideBites first knew they were onto something when their box of 50 trojan-shaped dog toys sold out in under an hour at a USC football game. ‘They were so different and colorful, but the stitching was still very high quality,’ says co-founder Steven Blustein. ‘It became clear that there is demand for dog toys that hit the sweet spot between design and durability.’ As new entrants into an industry with particularly established distribution relationships, PrideBites knew they needed to be smart about how they expanded their product line. ‘Retailers will always want a cheaper product that has tried and true features. We need to know that we have what consumers really want.’

As a small business, it can be difficult to quickly and affordably access detailed market research. ‘We had broad statistics about the pet goods industry, but nothing about the demand for rubber versus plush.’ Using insights from Google Consumer Surveys, PrideBites could more closely hone in on messaging and feature priorities. Surveys showing that people don’t play with their dogs in the water influenced their decision to de-emphasize waterproof features on the packaging. Similarly, surveys indicating that machine-washability isn’t important to consumers the way it is to retailers helped differentiate the important selling points across audiences. They also validated their hunch that dog lovers value contributions to pet charities, and are now developing ways to support animal welfare organizations.

After completing their first set of surveys, Blustein is excited about the future questions PrideBites will be able to answer using Google Consumer Surveys. ‘We couldn’t take our eyes off of the results and would love to ask more targeted questions about price thresholds for various demographics, and how long men versus women expect a dog toy to last.’

Joanne Schneider, Consumer Surveys Business Development

Will market research have more or less influence in 10 years? Gina G. Scott of Citi Group answers

Leading up to The Market Research Event for Non Researchers, we’ll be sharing some of the views and tips from the leaders who are participating in our event.  Consumer insights continues to be a consistent foundation for marketing strategy, business innovation and product development decisions.  These leaders  will help attendees translate market research into profitable business decisions.

Today, we’re speaking with Gina G. Scott, VP, Business Development and Strategy/Research, Citgroup – Citi Retail Services, who will be participating in the session “Methodology Assessment: An End Users Guide to the Research Arsenal.”

Will market research have more or less influence in 10 years?

Interesting question. Managers will always need market research. The point of research is to be able to make more informed decisions. Research for the sake of research is not going to be an effective use of time and resources. Research to satisfy a curiosity is not going to be an effective use of time and resources. Research to tap the market for information needed to make business decisions is the only real reason to conduct research. So as long as managers have incomplete information about what is wanted and needed in the marketplace, there will be market research. Given that, the research in 10 years will have a different look and feel than research does now. Ten years ago, much of the quantitative research was conducted via snail mail, over the phone or in person. The method of contacting the consumer has evolved as the percentage of average Americans who have access to email has increased. The labor intensive (read: expensive) phone interview has given way to a faster, simpler way to collect data. The snail mail approach has given way to a faster approach with a higher response rate. Even qualitative research taps into email in that recruiting can begin with email screening.

Even beyond email, the next game changer has already begun ‘ social media. There are different ways of collecting data from the blogs and posts of people with strong opinions. Companies ‘crawl’ the Internet for public comments with key words then sell the reports with new types of graphical representation of the results. Companies post comments in public forums asking specific questions and inviting people to participate in the discussion. Another way to gain feedback from consumers is to simply request it’ think apps.

It is hard to imagine what will be the next technology or discovery to bring major changes to the field of marketing, but in 10 years, there will be market research and it will be different.

As an end user of research, it’s your responsibility to spot inaccuracies and opportunities that aren’t yet uncovered. But how do you do this when you’re not a trained researcher? For more information on this session, download the agenda.  If you’d like to join us this November 12-14  in Boca Raton, register today and mention code NONMR12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

Infographics or Info-annoying?

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven. 

Ok folks, let’s talk infographics. They are a hot topic in business information circles (including research), and love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to stay.

Let’s break this down. Common complaints about infographics that I’ve heard include:

  • -They’re busy ‘ there’s so much information in one visual that they eye is not sure where to look’and how the heck do you print them out?
  • -Everyone thinks they are an infographics designer, even if they’re just essentially creating a colorful PowerPoint slide. Take this HOT PINK infographic about the Kardashian wedding for example.  
  • -They’re too simplistic and incomplete ‘ they’re not communicating the full scope of research findings to the customer or end-user.
  • -Unless you have in-house graphic design, good infographics can be very expensive to produce.
  • -Data used in infographics is dated, incorrect, or very biased.

Ok, let’s face it, there are some pretty awful infographics out there, and the tide of folks complaining about infographics is growing.  Witness sites such as a Tumblr for terrible infographics, articles such as ‘Ending the Infographic Plague ,’ and, well, this one from Gizmodo. There are also folks out there simply not using the correct information (i.e. old data when new data is available) to create their infographics.

All of these complaints aside, it’s hard to ignore the fact that sometimes one infographic piece can cut through the clutter of overwhelming data and give the client or end-user an ‘ah hah’ moment.  That’s when an infographic is done well, delivering data in an unexpected way that resonates. In addition to using infographics for client presentations and deliverables, infographics are typically excellent traffic drivers on your website, so it’s understandable why they’re particularly popular right now.

So, if you’re working on a project that involves infographics, remember they have a short shelf life (data gets old fast!), they can be expensive to produce, and it’s on YOU to ensure they’re done accurately.

For inspiration (and guidance) be sure to check out the fabulous Edward Tufte, ‘The Leonardo da Vinci of data,’ and you can start with some good examples curated by Kissmetrics.

Also remember that if you’re joining us at TMRE in November there are some related to data visualization, such as ‘Making an Impact ‘ Data Visualization and Deployment Techniques that Bring Research to Life.’

Finally, are you curious about research-specific infographics? Look no further than The Nitty GRITty of the Research Industry!

___________

More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.

NBCUniversal Digital Research Head: Ratings No Longer Enough!

Integrated Media Unit Upends Conventional Media Research

By Marc Dresner, IIR

If Jon Gibs were to rate the performance of media research as an industry in general today he’d give it a C+.

Not failing, but nothing to be particularly proud of, either. Gibs is working to change that.

The SVP of Digital Research for NBCUniversal’s Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media (E&DN/IM) is transforming how the division thinks about media by focusing on the consumer, not the medium’an approach more akin to marketing research than traditional media research.

‘We’re using toolsets that are much more about consumer behavior and consumer analytics than we had previously,’ Gibs told ‘The Research Insighter.’

‘We have all come to the realization that living by ratings isn’t enough’either television ratings or digital ratings like comScore,’ Gibs said.

‘What most divisions and most research groups are moving toward is helping drive business intelligence back into the organization rather than just reporting last night’s numbers,’ he added.

The transition centers on Big Data integration and analysis, but it hasn’t been easy.

For one, Gibs said research providers aren’t equipped to meet the Big Data challenge, so his organization has turned to software platforms from IBM and Microsoft in order to build solutions in-house.

‘The problem is right now that most (traditional research providers) don’t have the technical capabilities and it’s not part of their product roadmap,’ said Gibs.

‘We really need them to partner with us to be able to make these type of movements and to be able to look into the future of what we want market research to be,’ he said.

This much is clear: The industry has some catching up to do…

Play the podcast here:

Download the interview MP3!
Download the interview transcript!

Editor’s note: Jonathan Gibs will be a featured speaker at The Market Research Event 2012 taking place November 12-14 in Boca Raton, FL.

For more information about The Market Research Event or to register, please visit www.themarketresearchevent.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/INTERVIEWER
Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s senior editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the market research industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

Women: Use your OUTSIDE voice

I sorted the mail today, preparing to pay bills.  I do this only once a month and the pile is a behemoth.   Doing it once a month is my gentle rebellion against the shear amount of mail, the mewling of creditors, and general inefficiency of a world made of paper.  Near the bottom of the pile was the TMRE Brochure.

What do they talk about in there?

I’ve looked at this brochure a few times already,then it struck me that there was something odd about the keynote photos.  Yes, they are black & white and yes they are always a little weird because they’re taken by different photographers.  What left me dumbstruck is that they are all male.

This is not new news.  Women have been the backbone of this male-led industry for decades, beginning with Procter & Gamble’s “Field Girls” in the 1950s and leading up to today.   Certainly we have our icons.  Yet – the proportion of women at the lower end of the scale in Market Research is very high and the proportion at the upper end very low.  This is not a new conversation among women in this industry, we’ve just kept it in the ladies room.  The event planning is just an artifact of the reality.
  
We need the women in leadership positions in this industry to step up.  Publish.  Have a public point of view.  Take a commanding role in shaping the industry.  We know you do this daily in your roles as leaders within your companies.  Time to share with everyone.  We know you are outnumbered by male counterparts but in this case we’re also being out-voiced.  Use your OUTSIDE voice and tell us how to grow this industry, improve its technologies and build a stronger future.  Inspire us with what makes our diversity important.  And please be more visible on the platform at these types of events.  Let’s take this conversation out of the ladies room and on the main stage where it belongs.

** ** **
Today’s guest post is from Kelley Styring. Styring is principal of InsightFarm Inc. a market research and consumer strategy consulting firm. She has led insights for Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Black & Decker and NASA prior to founding her own firm in 2003. Kelley is a published author and has been featured in USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, Brandweek, Fortune, Quirk’s Marketing Research and The Market Research Daily Report from RFL Online.  She will be live blogging from The Market Research Event 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida.  If you’d like to join her, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

CALL FOR PRESENTERS: The Future of Consumer Intelligence

CALL FOR PRESENTERS:
The Future of Consumer Intelligence
May 14-16, 2013 | San Francisco, CA
Call 646.895.7335 or Email Slevyn@iirusa.com
Submission Deadline : FRIDAY, August 31st, 2012

Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than Friday, August 31, 2012 to Stacy Levyn, Conference Producer at slevyn@iirusa.com or 646.895.7335.

The nature of data and technology is changing. The upcoming year represents the year of the multi-dimensional marketplace, and just as the market researcher’s role evolves, so does our third annual event. Welcome to The Future of Consumer Intelligence – a gathering of “consumer culture” collective exploring common ground across roles and industries for translating behavioral information into business opportunity.

Confirmed Keynotes

  • ‘ Andrew Zolli, Executive Director and Chief Creative Officer, POPTECH
  • ‘ Alex Hunter, Former Head, VIRGIN ONLINE
  • ‘ Tom LaForge, Global Director, Human & Cultural Insights, THE COCA-COLA COMPANY
  • ‘ Rick Smolan, Former Time Life & National Geographic Photographer, CEO, AGAINST ALL ODDS PRODUCTIONS and Creator, HUMAN FACE OF BIG DATA
  • ‘ Jasper Roos, Chief Inspiration Officer, ABN AMRO
  • ‘ Henry Mason, Global Head of Research and Managing Partner, TRENDWATCHING.COM

Specific Topical Discussions Include

  • ‘ Analytics: “From Data to Knowledge.” Uncover connections and expose hidden patterns to predict future behaviors using technology.
  • ‘ Insights: “From Consumers to People.” Deeply understand customers and how they live.
  • ‘ Relational Database Strategy: “From Insight to Action.” Engage, build and deepen customer relationship for profitable outcomes.

Plus two NEW Symposia’s

  1. 1. Top Tech Trends: Gamification, Visualization Data, Augmented Reality
  2. 2. Market Research Technology for Financial Services: Data Security and Access Control, Collection, Analysis and Cost Effective Storage, Predictive Models, Forecasts and Trading, Enterprise Risk Management Frameworks and other topical areas around finance as a top data driven industry.

The Audience
Managers, director level and above in Market Research, CRM, Innovation, Technology, Marketing, Analytics, Consumer Insights, Business Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, Social Media, Mobile, Data Mining, Text Analytics, IT, Design and Engineering.

Speakers receive FREE admission to the conference as well as any pre-conference activity such as workshops or symposium.

Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities
If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities please contact Jon Saxe, Business Development Manager at jsaxe@iirusa.com or 646.895.7467.

Interested in Becoming a Media Partner or Featured Event Blogger?
Contact Kacey Anderson, Marketing Manager, at kanderson@iirusa.com.

For consideration, please email slevyn@iirusa.com with the following information:

  • ‘ Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
  • ‘ Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
  • ‘ Talk title
  • ‘ The main theme you plan to address
  • ‘ Summary of the presentation (3-5 sentences)
  • ‘ Please indicate what is NEW about the presentation
  • ‘ What the audience will gain from your presentation (please list 3-5 key ‘take-aways’)
  • ‘ Previous conference experience
  • ‘ Short bio

Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit 2013 Call for Presenters Now Open

INDUSTRY ALERT: OFFICIAL CALL FOR PRESENTERS 
 The Institute for International Research (IIR) presents: Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit March/April 2013

Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than Wednesday, September 5, 2012 to Rachel McDonald, Senior Conference Producer at rmcdonald@iirusa.com or 646.895.7405.

The Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit is an event that showcases trends, insights and best practices for measuring, aligning and communicating your customer experience strategy to ensure business relevance.

A Three Day Conference Experience Featuring NEW Topics 
‘ Customer Experience Design & Measurement
‘ Experience Engineering
‘ Design Management
‘ Redesigning a Program
‘ Analyzing VoC
‘ Data Deployment and Data Dissemination
‘ Social Media Feedback
‘ New Innovative Methodologies
‘ Internal Customer Index Scoring vs. NPS
‘ Enterprise Feedback Management Strategy & Alignment
‘ Using VoC to Take Actionable Insights
‘ Employee Engagement
‘ Monetizing Your Customer Experience
‘ Recovery Strategy
‘ Linkage
‘ Customer Service

High Level General Sessions that Focus On: 
‘ Innovation & Creativity in Customer Experience
‘ Operational Perspective
‘ Digital Customer Experience
‘ Behavioral Economics
‘ Leadership

We are also happy to consider topics not listed here that you feel would add value and be appropriate. 

PLUS! Idea gathering forums following each session topic.

The Audience:
‘ Individuals within the company responsible for customer experience, voice of customer, customer research
‘ Individuals with direct experience for the customer experience and/or voice of customer collection, dissemination, interpretation and results
‘ Individuals seeking to enhance their own company’s capabilities in these areas (become more customer-centric and drive business results through improved customer experience), and willing to help others advance through sharing of best practices and experiences Speakers receive FREE admission to the conference.

Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities 
If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities please contact Jon Saxe, Business Development Manager at jsaxe@iirusa.com or 646.895.7467.

Interested in Becoming a Media Partner?
Contact Kacey Anderson, Marketing Manager, at kanderson@iirusa.com.

For consideration, please email rmcdonald@iirusa.com with the following information by Wednesday, September 5, 2012.
‘ Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
‘ Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
‘ Talk title ‘ The main theme you plan to address
‘ Summary of the presentation (3-5 sentences)
‘ Please indicate what is NEW about the presentation
‘ What the audience will gain from your presentation (please list 3-5 key ‘take-aways’)
‘ Previous conference experience
‘ Short bio

Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will be notified shortly after the deadline. Thank you for your interest in the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit.

We look forward to receiving your proposal!

All the best,
Rachel McDonald Senior Conference Producer, IIR

Complimentary Web Seminar: Maximizing the Organizational Value of Insights

We would like to invite you to an upcoming web seminar!

Title: Maximizing the Organizational Value of Insights
Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/fenm0x5hjyqg
Please mention priority code: MWJ0023-BLOG

Are you frustrated by requests for new insights while those previously discovered go unleveraged? Does your organization struggle with crystallizing insights, making them accessible and understood, or translating them into actionable innovation?

About the web seminar:
Most marketers have no shortage of research findings, but to return the investment, findings must be turned into insights that are accessed, understood and used by company stakeholders.

Join us for a webinar in which we’ll share best-in-class methods for maximizing the organizational value of insights.

We’ll address solutions to challenges such as getting insights internalized by company stakeholders and getting more mileage from research by “connecting the dots” from research to insights to implications, strategies and activated solutions. And we’ll review case studies with major brand companies and retailer and offer learnings, including:
- Formal and informal methods for turning findings into insights
- New tools for socializing insights across organizations
- Techniques for aligning teams around implications and forward-thinking retail programs

Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/fenm0x5hjyqg

If you have any questions about this web seminar contact me at jpereira@iirusa.com.

Knowing When to Challenge the Research: Market Research with Perry N. Rea, Boeing

Leading up to The Market Research Event for Non Researchers, we’ll be sharing some of the views and tips from the leaders who are participating in our event.  Consumer insights continues to be a consistent foundation for marketing strategy, business innovation and product development decisions.  These leaders  will help attendees translate market research into profitable business decisions.

Today, we’re speaking with Perry N. Rea, Chief Engineer, New Airplane Studies, Boeing, who will be participating in the session “Mastering The Challenger Role’. Knowing When to Challenge the Research.”

What advice do you have for market research end users you’ve worked with?
The researchers are not the end users, their customers are. My advice for researchers is to understand your customer and make sure that you are answering the questions they want answered rather than pushing available data on them and trying to convince them it is what they need. Spend the time up front to understand the requirements and desired outcomes for the data, what it is going to be used for, how much detail and certainty is need and put together a plan to get that data, rather than going out and collecting mountains of data and trying to make it fit a number of customers. Most important, don’t fall in love with a particular set of data and try to convince me it is what I need, instead, get me what I ask for.

My advice to end users is to be specific about what you are looking for prior to commissioning research, or understand what you are getting before buying research data. Question everything about the data, starting with the collection methods, the assumptions made and any biases that the researchers may have. My rule when having data presented to me is to always ask the next question. The biggest trap however it to filter all of the research through your own assumptions and biases. Whether you agree or disagree with the data, look for nuggets and new insights in it and challenge your own assumptions. Give the researchers a chance to tell you what they think is significant and what they have learned.

Dream project?
One where the data leads me to an obvious answer rather than more questions.

What is the biggest roadblock to getting things done internally?
Getting people to realize the need to spend the money to collect data before it is needed so that the data can be used to drive the decisions.

Will market research have more or less influence in 10 years?
Depends on how you define market research? The idea of having to go out and spend major money on research to get people’s opinions will be a thing of the past. As social media increases, researchers will have instant access to millions of people’s opinions. The difficulty will be how to analyze all of that information.

As an end user of research, it’s your responsibility to spot inaccuracies and opportunities that aren’t yet uncovered. But how do you do this when you’re not a trained researcher? For more information on this session, download the agenda.  If you’d like to join us this November 12-14  in Boca Raton, register today and mention code NONMR12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!