FOCI Speaker Spotlight: Earl L. Taylor

We recently sat down with Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 keynote
speaker Earl L. Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Science
Institute. Taylor discussed the humanization of data and how the role of the
researcher has changed and evolved over the last few years.
We are fortunate to have him share this critical insight
with our FOCI community. This year, FOCI
explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge
points – insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and
intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.
We are barraged by information – and within this sea of data
we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can
we use this convergence of information to better understand people.
 Translating the new “understanding” into future opportunities
means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive
innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think
outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new
and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what
people say they are going to do and what they actually do.
Here is what Taylor had to say:
IIR: A big theme
of this year’s conference is ‘humanization of data.’ Why do you think
understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic
Taylor: With the
rise of social/mobile networking, the role of ‘consumer’ is increasingly
intertwined with the many other roles people play in the course of their
lives.  A holistic understanding of how people today juggle overlapping
identities is essential if marketers want to understand how–and how not–to
engage them on their own terms.
IIR: How is
technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the
world, business, and people?
Taylor: Continuous
and nearly instantaneous access to almost every kind of information has the
potential to enrich our lives, but also to overwhelm and distract us. 
Designing rewarding customer experiences in such a data-rich environment
presents both opportunities and challenges.  Increasingly, the necessary
insights may come from studies of play, art, ritual and other ‘immersive’
IIR: How has the
role of ‘the researcher’ changed?
Taylor: Traditional
concerns about research design and hypothesis testing will be supplemented by
(or give way to) observation of social media and other sources of insights
and/or machine learning algorithms applied to large masses of transactional
data.  Deriving actionable insights in real time will require the skills
of both data scientists for inductive ‘data discovery’ and of ethnographers
trained in ‘thick description’ of social actions and structures.
IIR: How has the
increasingly connected consumer affected market research?
Taylor: Historically,
market research often claimed to understand consumers better than they
understood themselves and was needed to guide companies in developing a limited
number of options to appeal to broad demographic segments.  The
availability of individual-level behavioral data and predictive analytics and
the increasing role of social networks in influencing consumer choice up to the
‘zero moment’ of truth may finally make possible true ‘one-to-one’ marketing
where consumers themselves in effect do the market research by sharing data and
preferences allowing customization of offers ‘on the fly.’
Want to hear more
from Earl in person? Join him at Future of Consumer Intelligence
2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. To learn more about the event and
register, click here:

** As a reader of our
blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when you register **

About the Author:
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the 
Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print
journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and
technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs
Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business
, and a regular
contributor to 
Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,.
She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where
she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She
can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.