Speaker Spotlight: Kimberly Cason

I recently sat down with The
Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 
speaker Kimberly Cason, Senior Consultant,
Marketing Research, American Cancer Society, Inc. We are fortunate to have her
share her critical insight with our FOCI community before the event kicks
off in two weeks. 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 Cason 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
Cason: Marketing
has moved to a custom-level. When you walk into the Nike store, you get greeted
by name and they know how many steps you’ve taken that day (if you are a user
of their gear).  We have to move with it or risk putting ourselves into
extension by not providing relevant insights.
IIR: How is
technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the
world, business, and people?
Cason: Technology
is so engrained in our lifestyles that not only our purchasing behavior is
deeply impacted by it, but also our personal lives ‘ how we communicate with
family and friends, even.  How we integrate (or choose not to integrate)
technology into our lives defines us internally and externally, shaping our own
personal brands.  Even where we choose to engage defines us. 
IIR: How has the
role of ‘the researcher’ changed?
Cason: There is
an entirely new set of skills required to manage the holistic picture. 
I’ve become versed in Google Analytics, for example.  There are entire
semesters of information I’ve had to learn as the field evolves.  Social
media wasn’t even on our radar when I was in grad school (in 2005).
IIR: Describe a
situation where you’ve taken a risk or thought outside the box of tradition
market research methods. How did that benefit your business?
Cason: I love the
quasi qual/quant methodology that allows you to gather large amounts of
qualitative data using survey tools.  (Hot Spot message testing, for
example.)  These methods allow us to collect the data in one week compared
to 6 if we used a traditional focus group recruiting and interview
strategy.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages, of course, but
these methods allow for a disaster check when time isn’t on your side.
IIR: Where do you
see the emerging space of marketing science and role of data scientists in the
next five years?
Cason: We have
always been story tellers.  Now, we have to tell the story not only from
the driver’s seat of the car we’re in, but within the context of the entire
freeway ‘ all the other variables that come into play’is there traffic, what’s
the weather like, are other drivers distracted, how reliable is the car, how
far to the next exit, etc.?  It’s no longer useful to bring one
methodology to the table when presenting the whys behind our results.  We
have to look at all the influential factors and determine which are relevant.
IIR: How has the
increasingly connected consumer affected market research?
Cason: It’s a
huge opportunity for us!  Those that can turn down the noise and find the
nuggets of meaningful data will go far.
Want to hear more from Kimberly in person? Join her
at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in a few
weeks. She will be presenting in a session entitled, ‘Award-Winning,
Top-Tier Research on a Budget!’
** As a reader of our
blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when
you register: http://bit.ly/1mvqyD0**

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
including 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 aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.