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Why Social Influence is Important in Business: Q&A with Jonah Berger

We were lucky enough to recently catch up with one of our
favorite conference speakers Jonah Berger, who is well-known as a Wharton
Professor and Bestselling Author of Invisible
Influence
and Contagious:
Why Things Catch On
.
Berger shared some key insights about why social
influence is key to business from his new book Invisible Influence.

Here’s what Jonah had to say:
What is ‘social
influence’?
Berger: Social
influence is the impact people have on others around them. We vote if our
spouse is voting, run faster if someone else is watching us, or switch our entr??e
if someone at the table orders the same thing.  In each instance, others’
behavior influences or affects our own. Those others can be spouses and
friends, but also people we never even talk to, like the stranger sitting next
to us on the plane.  Social influence effects small things, like the food
we eat, but also big things like the career we choose or whether we save money
for retirement. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of all decisions are shaped by
others. It’s hard to find a decision or behavior that isn’t affected by other
people.
Why is social
influence important in business?
Berger: If we
understand how influence works, we can harness its power. We can convince
a client, change the boss’ mind, and motivate employees to take action.  One section of the book, for example, talks
about how being a chameleon can make you more successful. Researchers looked at
what makes someone a good negotiator. 
What makes them more likely to reach a deal when all looks
lost. And they found that one simple trick led negotiators to be 5x as
successful. That trick?  Imitating or mimicking the language,
behavior, or facial expressions of their negotiating partner. If their partner
crossed their legs, they did the same.  And if their partner leaned back
in the chair, they did so as well. Not obviously, but subtly mirroring
their partner.  Turns out the same trick works in a range of
contexts. Waiters or waitresses that mimic their patrons’ orders get 70%
higher tips.  Mimicry increases liking, trust, and affiliation.  It
deepens social bond and makes people feel a kinship that turns strangers into
friends and acquaintances into allies.
Why is social
influence key to reaching the right customers?
Berger: Word of
mouth is 10x as effective as traditional advertising. People trust it more and
its more targeted.  So, to reach the right customers, we have to turn our
existing customers into advocates. Use social influence to get them to
talk about and share our message and bring new converts in along the way. 
 
How can individuals
harness the power of social influence to make better decisions in their
personal lives?  
Berger: If we
understand how influence works, we can take advantage of its benefits and avoid
its downsides. Following others can provide a useful shortcut that saves
time and effort. If lots of people chose or did something, it’s probably pretty
good. So, others can be a valuable source of information, a heuristic that
simplifies decision making. Other times, however, following others can
lead us astray.  So, simple tricks like considering whether others have
the same preferences as we do can help us avoid going the wrong way.
Have you ever been personally affected by the power of
social influence? What is an example?
Certainly. I was telling lawyer friend of mine from DC about
the book and he was lamenting the effect of social influence on his
colleagues. He said the first thing new lawyers in DC do when they make
partner is go out and buy a BMW.  I said that was interesting, but then
pointed out that he himself was a DC lawyer and drove a BMW. He said yes, but
they all drive grey BMWs. I bought a blue one.
What I love about this story is that it perfectly
encapsulates the tension inherent in social influence.  People often think
being influenced means doing the same thing as others, but it’s more complex
than that.  There’s more than one flavor of influence. Sure, sometimes we
imitate those around us, but we also care about standing out and being
unique.  So, when do we do the same thing as others and when do we do
something different. 
In your book, you
share an experiment about cockroaches and how their behavior changed when they
had an audience.  What insights can you share about how we behave when our
actions are observed?
Berger: It makes
sense that people and animals might work harder when there is a
competition.  If two pigeons are racing to get the last piece of bread, or
two people are competing to win a golf tournament, the desire to achieve the
reward or win the competition might lead people and animals to work harder.
Even the mere presence of others though, can have similar effects. 
Cockroaches, for example, ran faster through a maze when
other cockroaches were watching them, even though those others weren’t directly
competing.  People behave similarly.  The mere fact that someone is
watching us can increase motivation and performance.  But for new or
difficult tasks, others can sometimes have the opposite effect.  Having
someone else in the car when we’re trying to parallel park, for example, makes
it harder for most of us to fit in the spot.  So, whether others presence
helps or hurts depends on the nature of the task.

Q&A with Nielsen’s Chief Research Officer Mainak Mazumbar

In our Insights Interview series, we sit down with insights
executives to discuss the state of insights and where it’s going in the future.
We were fortunate to catch up with Nielsen’s Chief Research Officer Mainak
Mazumbar recently.
Here’s what he had to say:
What is the state of
the media research industry in 2017?
Mazumbar: Acceleration
of fragmentation and digitization of media will continue to create unique
opportunities for the media research industry. 2017 is the year when media
research will deliver massive measurement innovation by incorporating various
data (e.g. mobile devices, set top boxes, over the top, location etc) into the
current measurement methodologies in ways no one ever has before.
What have been the
biggest changes in the industry since you started your career’?
Mazumbar: Decline
in consumer participation in surveys and rapid adoption of mobile devices have
posed methodological and measurement challenges. Researchers have much better
insights into media behavior than before because of digital data. New open
source tools and cloud now allows researcher to deliver measurement at speed
and scale’. New data science talent who are versed both in statistics and
computing.
Have the influx of
social media and mobile made your job easier or harder?
Mazumbar: It’s definitely
easier because social and mobile data now allow us deeper understanding of
media consumption in almost real time. The challenge is how we, as researchers,
develop methodologies addressing both scale and speed.
How has the media
consumer changed in the past few years?
Mazumbar: While
we see continued fragmentation, consumers are spending more time on media than
ever before. I think mobile and new forms of video make a huge difference and
have revolutionized how we consume and interact with media.
How can media
companies do a better job reaching the new age consumer?
Mazumbar: Continue
pushing forward new strategies for mobile and video.
What is the biggest
challenge in the media industry today?
Mazumbar: Three
challenges:
1) It’s all about consumers’ “attention” on
various platforms and devices
2) Get ahead of fraud/ viewability issues and regain
advertiser’s and consumer trust
3) Data protection and privacy
Where do you see
media research moving in 5 years?

Mazumbar: There is an increasing
need for a third party and objective view of consumer behavior. This will
require researchers to develop independent and high quality data sets that
reflect the true behavior of real people — to address biases, limitations and
incompleteness of device level data. And the speed at which clients need to
make business decisions is increasing. Therefore, we need to deliver research
and insights with speed and scale.
Want more expert insights on the market research industry? Attend one
of upcoming 2017 insights events:
Marketing Analytics
& Data Science
April 3-5, 2017
San Francisco, CA
Use code MADS17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/YqXZdx

TMRE in Focus
May 1-3, 2017
Chicago, IL
Use code FOCUS17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/c2UdIv

OmniShopper
June 20-22, 2017
Minneapolis, MN
Use code OMNI17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/oUB85g 

TMRE: The Market
Research Event
October 22-25, 2017
Orlando, FL
Use code TMRE17LI for $100 off

Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/SKtcUv

How the Internet of Things is changing the face of retail

By: Ali Newton

This article was originally published on SmallBusiness.co.uk

There hasn’t been an advancement in retail as drastic as the
IoT revolution since the Industrial Revolution. The Internet of Things (IoT) is
the idea that everyday objects can be connected in the same way that computers
are today. And, with consumer adoption of IoT devices on the rise, now is the
perfect time for retailers to get informed and capitalize on the IoT.
Whether it is to improve their overall customer experience,
or to create new revenue streams, the IoT truly is changing the face of retail.
Here are three ways the IoT could be integrated into every aspect of retail ‘
from store displays, to storage equipment, to the shop floor.
1. Smart shelves
Panasonic is currently developing a product called the Powershelf. These shelves
have built-in sensor technology that keeps track of inventory in real-time,
saving businesses thousands of pounds in paid hours that they could reinvest elsewhere.
However, Powershelves also have the potential to be
extremely useful on shop floors, as they can collect data about shoppers based
on the products that they have chosen. In addition, these shelves give
customers real-time prices that are based on demand. The shelf labels are
wireless and can update prices based on the quantities that are left. The
shelves can also detect when the products are about to go out of date, and
alter the price according to this information too.
Jobs like stock counting, market research and stock
replenishment can take human workers hours. Alternatively, they could be
automatically performed by Powershelves talking to each other via the IoT.
2. In-store beacon tech

In-store beacons were set to become very popular for a
while, but they haven’t quite caught on as previously anticipated. Beacons rely
on customers coming within proximity of a shop, at which point they can be sent
a message or an email to encourage them to come into the store ‘ provided that
the shop already has their contact details.
Still, it’s a solid idea in principle. A ’10 per cent
offer when you buy today’ push notification could be sent to the consumers’
mobiles as an incentive to lure them into a shop if they’re nearby.
The issue with beacon technology is that it relies on Bluetooth,
which many consumers don’t have switched on as it is known to drain battery
power. In addition, customers usually need to have the brand’s app downloaded
too. This places several obstacles in the way of the retailer before it can
contact the customer directly.
Despite these obstacles, many brands are using proximity marketing to help drive their retail sales.
3. Smart shopping carts and cashless stores
IoT is a powerful tool for brick and mortar shops to compete
with eCommerce stores that are taking over the retail world. Walmart recently
began to develop shopping carts that can drive themselves to help customers
find their way around its shops. It is also working on a technology that allows
customers to order online and get their shopping delivered by a driverless cart
directly to their car, or Uber, in the car park.
Similarly, Amazon’s Seattle shop has no checkouts. Customers
simply enter the shop, pick up the items they need off the store display, and
leave. Sensors around the shop record the items that customers pick up,
removing the need for them to check out.
Whether or not any of these ideas will become an integral
part of retail’s future remains to be seen. Predicting the future is always
difficult and businesses and individuals are right to be skeptical of anyone
telling them that the future is going to be radically different because of the
IoT.

However, just because people should be skeptical about the
idea that the IoT may change retail entirely, it doesn’t mean that they should
write the idea off altogether. One IoT development is unlikely to change retail
on its own, but as more of these technologies enter the market and they become
more affordable, a greater impact will begin to be seen throughout retail.

Is Amazon in the Room?

By: Laura Sigman

This post was
originally published on the LightSpeed Research blog.

On a recent
earnings call
, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of Lightspeed’s parent company WPP, talked
about what keeps him up at night. And no; it’s not (necessarily) his infant
daughter ‘ it’s Amazon.
‘And I would just mention the rise of Amazon, because in
answer to the question, my favorite question is what worries you when you go to
bed at night and when you wake up in the morning. It’s not a three-month-old
child (laughter), it’s Amazon, which is a child still, but not three months.
And Amazon’s penetration of most areas is frightening, if not terrifying to
some, and I think there is a battle brewing between Google and Amazon.’
The fear mostly seems to be of the unknown, as Amazon is
thought to be quietly
pursuing an advertising strategy
 carefully away from the watchful eyes
of Wall
Street
.
Is Amazon really committed? They are by pure virtue of their
strategically evolving business model. By being among the first big players on
the e-commerce scene, they cemented their early adapter consumers to them.
They’ve grown a multimedia offer around their core competency, and now Amazon
knows not only what we read, but what we search for, what we buy, what we
watch, what we listen to. I’m an Amazon Prime customer, and I take advantage of
all of the bells and whistles that come along with it. So they know what
content I’m engaging with, and whether I’m connecting to the content from my
PC, smartphone, tablet or Alexa. And they can leverage this vast supply of
shopper and behavioral data to sell hyper-targeted advertising to brands who
can then speak directly to me.
When you look at it like that, it’s really not much
different than how we’ve worked in the panel world. Historically, we have facilitated
the conversations brands have with consumers, and have evolved by taking
advantage of emerging technologies to help amplify those conversations. And,
like Amazon, we grew our business by embracing early on that panelists
(consumers) are people, too. 
(Believe it or not, it’s not as obvious to
everyone as that sounds!) Today’s consumers want to have meaningful
interactions, but they also want to have them when and where is convenient to
them. So we meet them on their devices of choice; we always design surveys
mobile-first (in fact, Lightspeed has an
entire team dedicated to this
) and we use
data appends
 to reach the right consumer with the right questions. We
invite survey respondents to answer open-ends with video
responses
 ‘ an engaging experience for them resulting in more
meaningful data for brands to act on. We’re able to blur the line between quant
and qual, intercepting surveys with invites to participate in deeper, on-point
conversations. And brands can leverage all of this to create hyper-targeted
advertising that speaks directly to their consumers. Which ties back to that
Amazon example I shared above.
As Kantar pointed out at their FragmentNation
event
, the marketplace is splintering — not with a whimper but with a
bang. So while the ad world should fear the Amazon in the room, it should also
embrace it. It’s an eye-opening reminder that consumers are advertising’s most
valuable assets in a marketplace that is more diverse and fragmented than ever.

Here Comes Gen Z: 10 Keys to Understanding Them

According to Open Mind Strategy
research, these are the top things to know about the new kids on the block Gen
Z:
1. Huge
Gen Zs make up more than
a third of the world’s population and comprise nearly a quarter of the US
population ‘ bigger than both Millennials and Baby Boomers ‘ and still being
born.
2. The most diverse
generation ever
Gen Z will be the last
majority-White generation born in the United States. Already the white majority
is holding on by a thread, only 51% of Gen Z born into non-Hispanic White
families.
This generation’s
diversity also extends to their sexuality and gender identity. More than
one-third of Gen Zs self-identify as bisexual to some degree; more than half
know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns.
3. They idolize
Influencers, not Celebrities
Most dedicate more time
to YouTube than any other social site and their view of celebrities isn’t limited
to movie stars and musicians, note the billions of views racked up by YouTube
stars RayWilliamJohnson and PewDiePie. They want to emulate self-made
Influencers who are just like them.
4. A plan to get paid
While Gen Zs are
certainly passion-driven, if they know their passions won’t lead to financial
stability, they have a plan for something that will. In everything from
entrepreneurship to sports, kids and teens are finding places to excel early
and focus their efforts in hopes of a payoff.
5. Having safe fun
Gen Zs are still
teenagers! They want to have a good time, but they don’t want to negatively
impact the successful future they are working to build. The teen pregnancy and
birth rate are at historic lows, as is the usage of cigarettes and heroin among
high-schoolers.
6. Caring about ‘cool’
Gen Z is snarky and very
image aware. With the ever-growing influence of social media, there is a
palpable return of ‘cool kids’ and ‘losers’ among Gen Z. They will quickly take
down a post that doesn’t receive enough likes for fear of someone seeing its
lack of attention.
7. Don’t share
everything online
Gen Z takes a crafted
and curated approach to posts. They are more aware of who they are sharing
their lives with and how it affects their identity, which is why platforms like
Snapchat are so appealing. They saw the devastating effects party pics had on
their sibling’s scholarship or job offer.
8. No Mo ‘Beta Boys’
Gen Z boys want to be
taken more seriously. To them, girls are certainly equal, but not better.
Gen Z boys want in on the partnership by taking themselves a bit more seriously
in school, work and relationships, but also embracing their sensitive side.
9. Mostly cynical
Gen Zs have realistic
expectations and are skeptical that the world will work in their favor. More
than eight in 10 Gen Zs were born after September 11. Growing up, conflicts
over issues like the economy, gun violence and climate change, have been
common. As a result, these teens have developed a valid claim to cynicism.
10. Still KIDS!
This generation is just
beginning to come of age, and as uptight as they may seem, they’re still kids
who haven’t quite figured it all out yet. They’re working hard and taking
themselves seriously, but they are still silly, young, fun and undeclared.
END
Open Mind Strategy, LLC, is a research and
brand strategy firm founded by Robin Hafitz, in 2010, with the mission of
providing ‘more human intelligence.’ OMS
(http://www.openmindstrategy.com/) provides
insight services, including qualitative and quantitative research, brand
studies, show and message testing, segmentation, and customized inquiries, as
well as strategic brand consulting and educational workshops. The O
MS
team is proud to have worked with leading clients, such as A&E Networks,
AMC, Amazon, Clear Channel, Cond?? Nast, Gannett, Kao Brands, MTV, NBCUniversal,
Scripps Networks, Unilever, USA Today, Yahoo!, and many more.

Online Ad Effectiveness Research Grows Up

 This article is
brought to you by Survata.

The days of giving
digital a pass are over. It’s time to grow up.’- Marc
Pritchard, Chief Branding Officer, Procter & Gamble, January 2017
When the CBO of P&G tells us to grow up,
we listen. And after speaking with clients at last month’s Media Insights
Conference, it’s clear that there’s consensus: online advertising research
needs to get more sophisticated.
We’re here to help. IAB breaks research down into phases: design, recruitment & deployment, and
optimization. We’ll walk through each phase and determine what’s most in need
of ‘growing up.’ We’ll also include questions to ask your research partner to
help increase the sophistication of your ad effectiveness research.
Design

Let’s start by acknowledging that
statistically sound online ad effectiveness research has not been easy to
implement at reasonable cost until recently. As IAB notes, ‘Questions around recruitment, sample bias and deployment are
hampering the validity of this research and undermining the industry as a
whole.’
Just because perfect research design is
challenging to achieve doesn’t mean that advertisers should settle for studies
with debilitating flaws, leading to biased, unreliable results. In addition to
challenges inherent to good research design, most ad effectiveness research
partners have systematic biases due to the way they find respondents, which
must be accounted for in the design phase. There has been innovation in this
space within the past year using technology to reduce or eliminate systematic
bias in respondent recruitment. 
Assuming you’re able to address the systematic
bias of your research partner’s sampling, the major remaining challenge is how
you approach the control group. At Survata, we think about this as a hierarchy: 
Using a holdout group is best practice, but
implementing it requires spending some portion of your ad budget strictly on
the control group. In other words, some of your ad budget will be spent on
intentionally NOT showing people an ad. A small portion of people in the ad buy
will instead be shown public service announcements to establish the control
group. We love the purity of this approach, but we also understand the reality
of advertising budgets. We don’t view holdout as a requirement for sound online
ad effectiveness research. Smart design combined with technology can achieve
methodologically sound control groups without ‘wasting’ ad budget.
Along those lines, the Audience Segment
approach has become de facto best practice for many of our clients. Basically,
you create your control group from the same audience segment that you’re
targeting in the ad buy. This isn’t perfect, as there could be an underlying
reason that some people in the segment saw the ad but others didn’t (e.g., some
people very rarely go online, or to very few websites), but it’s still an excellent
approach. It’s the grown-up version of Demographic Matching.
Demographic Matching, in which the control
group is created by matching as many demographic variables as possible with the
exposed group (e.g., gender, age, income), is still a very common strategy.
It’s straightforward to accomplish even using old online research
methodologies. As online data has allowed us to learn far more useful
information about consumers than demographic traits, this approach is dated.
Simply sampling GenPop as a control is
undesirable. The results are much more likely to reveal the differences between
the exposed and control groups than the effectiveness of the advertising.
Questions for your research partner:
  • What are known biases among
    respondents due to recruitment strategy?
  • What is your total reach? What
    percentage of the target group is within your reach? Is it necessary to
    weight low-IR population respondents due to lack of scale?
  • What’s your approach to creating
    control groups for online ad effectiveness research?
  • For Demographic Matching, how do
    you determine which demographic characteristics are most important to
    match?
  • How do you accomplish Audience
    Segment matching?
Recruitment/ Deployment

Historically, there were four methods to recruit respondents / deploy the
survey: panels, intercepts, in-banner, or email list. To stomach these
methodologies, researchers had to ignore one of the following flaws:
non-response bias, misrepresentation, interruption of the customer experience
or email list atrophy. In our view, these methodologies are now dated since the
advent of the publisher network methodology.

The publisher network works by offering
consumers content, ad-free browsing, or other benefits (e.g. free Wi-Fi) in
exchange for taking a survey. The survey is completed as an alternative to
paying for the content or service after the consumer organically visits the
publisher. In addition to avoiding the flaws of the old methodologies, the
publisher network model provides dramatically increased accuracy, scale, and speed.
Questions for your research partner:
  • What incentives are offered in
    exchange for respondent participation?
  • What are the attitudinal,
    behavioral, and demographic differences between someone willing to be in a
    panel versus someone not interested in being in a panel?
  • What are the attitudinal,
    behavioral, and demographic differences between someone willing to take a
    site intercept survey versus someone not interested in taking a site
    intercept survey?
  • How much does non-response bias
    affect the data?
  • Are you integrated with the
    client’s DMP?
  • How long to get the survey into
    the field, and how long until completed?
  • How does the vendor ensure that
    exposure bias doesn’t occur?
  • How does the vendor account for
    straight-liners, speeders, and other typical data quality issues?
Optimization

An optimal ad effectiveness campaign returns results quickly, so that immediate
and continuous adjustments can be made to replace poorly performing creative,
targeting, and placements with higher performing ones. We call this real-time
spend allocation. It’s analogous to real-time click-through rate optimization,
as it relies on solutions to the same math problem (known as the multi-armed bandit).

By integrating with DMPs, ad effectiveness
research can be cross-tabbed against even more datasets. The results will yield
additional insights about a company’s existing customers.
Questions for your research partner:
  • Are results reported real-time?
  • How much advertising budget is
    wasted due to non-optimization?
  • How can DMP data be incorporated
    to improve ad research?
Conclusion

Flawed research methodologies can’t grow up,
they can only continue to lower prices for increasingly suspect data. For
online ad effectiveness research to grow up, new methodologies must be adopted.

To learn more about
conducting your own ad effectiveness study, visit Survata

Must See Talks from KNect365′s Spring Insights 2017 Events

From former gang leaders, to cyborg anthropologists, to
biomimicry experts- KNect365′s Must See Talks will challenge you to look at
problems in a whole new way and become an ignitor of change for your organization.
‘The Centrality of a Detailed Understanding of your
Audience’ ‘ Haile Owusu, Chief Data Scientist, Mashable
Marketing Analytics & Data Science
April 3-5, 2017
San Francisco, CA
Use code MADS17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets to see Haile: https://goo.gl/YqXZdx
‘The Consumer Influence ‘ and Impact ‘ of Virtual
Reality’ ‘ Jeremy Bailenson, Founding Director of Stanford University’s Virtual
Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University
TMRE in Focus
May 1-3, 2017
Chicago, IL
Use code FOCUS17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets to see Jeremy: https://goo.gl/c2UdIv
‘Originals: How Non-Conformists Rule the World’ ‘ Adam
Grant, Professor, Author of Give and Take and Originals at The Wharton School
of Business at the University of Pennsylvania
OmniShopper
June 20-22, 2017
Minneapolis, MN
Use code OMNI17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets to see Adam: https://goo.gl/oUB85g
‘Underdogs, Misfits
& the Art of Battling Giants’ ‘ Malcom Gladwell, Best-Selling Author of
Outliers, The Tipping Point and David & Goliath
TMRE: The Market Research Event
October 22-25, 2017
Orlando, FL
Use code TMRE17LI for $100 off.
Buy tickets to see
Malcom:
https://goo.gl/gM7Dtv
We hope to see you this
spring!
Cheers,

The KNect 365 Event Team

The Ruthless Efficiency of Algorithms is Advancing Digital Frontiers

We recently caught up with Alistair Croll, Visiting
Executive at Harvard Business School as well as our Marketing Analytics &
Data Science Conference keynote speaker, to discuss the state of marketing
analytics and data science, and where it’s going in the future.
Today, Croll helps to accelerate startups, and works with
some of the world’s biggest companies on business model innovation. As an
entrepreneur, he co-founded Coradiant; the Year One Labs accelerator; and a many
other startups. Not to mention, he’s a sought-after speaker, and has launched
and chaired some of the world’s leading conferences on emerging technology,
including Startupfest, Strata, Cloud Connect, and Pandemon.io. Croll is also the
author of four books on technology and entrepreneurship, including the
best-selling Lean Analytics, which has been translated into eight languages.
What is the state of
the data science and analytics industry in 2017?

Croll: There is a realization that data itself doesn’t lead
to answers. This is really maturity: It’s asking the right question that’s
hard. Big data is replacing business intelligence, but most of it is still
being used to run reports and batch processes’rather than to find advantage or
insight.
At the same time, feeding the corpus of data into learning
algorithms holds promise. Those with the authority to do so are pointing
machine learning at their data seta to find correlations, then testing those
for causal relationships they can exploit.
What have been the
biggest changes data science and analytics since you started your career?

Croll: I’m not an analyst by trade. But the biggest change
is clear: once, we first defined the schema, then collected data. Now, we
collect the data, then define the schema.
In other words, “Collect first, ask questions
later.” This is a huge difference, but it has sort of snuck up on us. It
means we can iterate more, answering questions and adjusting our lines of
inquiry.
Have the influx of
social media and mobile made your job easier or harder?

Croll: More data sets mean more potential insights, but also
more spurious correlations. So it’s a two-edged sword.
How is data science
and analytics transforming every industry right now?

Croll: The simple, and somewhat terrifying, truth is that AI
gets unreasonably powerful, very quickly. Whether driving a car, or playing a
video game, or diagnosing a disease, or optimizing the design of an aircraft
part, algorithms are better than humans. They don’t get tired; they make fewer
mistakes; they don’t take breaks.
And what do we feed such algorithms? Data. There is no
industry that will not be changed by the ruthless efficiency of algorithms
advancing its digital frontiers.
Why is data science considered
the ‘sexiest job of the 21st century’?

Croll: Data science is the intersection of statistics,
critical thinking, and engineering. It requires a sense of narrative, and the
ability to build something. It’s that element of engineering that distinguishes
it from simple analytics, because it builds things that become products, or
processes. Rather than running a report, it improves the report’s results.
If big data is oil, data science is the refinery that makes
it usable.
What is the biggest
challenge in data science and analytics today?

Croll: We are still, sadly, trying to replace opinions with
facts. My good friend Randy Smerik argues that there’s no such thing as big
data: An airline that knows you’re running late fails to update your hotel;
false positives about in credit card management.
His point is that while we have tremendous amounts of data,
we seldom apply them to significantly improve the business or the customer
experience because doing so means making fundamental changes to the organization,
job descriptions, customer policies, and so on.
Where do you see data
science and analytics moving in the next 5 years?

Croll: Democratization, with the help of smart agents.
Pundits have been saying that for a long time, but in the last couple of years
tools like Cortana, Google Now, Siri, and Alexa’as well as various chat
interfaces like Slack, Sophos, and Skype’are going mainstream.
I also think that insurers will put significant pressure on
companies to implement better analytics and algorithms because it will be too
risky to do otherwise. If the organization can know everything about itself all
the time, it will be expected to do so. “We didn’t know this was
happening” will no longer be an excuse. And consequently, algorithms that
can parse all of that data and reduce risk will be mandatory.
Hear more from
Alistair during his keynote session, ‘Don’t’ Get Duped by Data’ at the
Marketing Analytics & Data Science Conference April 3-5, 2017 in San
Francisco, CA.

Data science and marketing analytics are transforming every
industry. There is a reason why it is being called the sexiest job of the 21st
century. Calling all professionals that want to harness analytics and data
science! Do you realize how critical you are to the future of your organization?
Learn more here: https://goo.gl/CbYosj

Use our exclusive
Blog discount code MADS17BL for $100 off the current rate. Buy your tickets
here:
https://goo.gl/CbYosj

Using Geofencing to Observe Shopper Behavior

This post was originally published on the Research Now blog.

It is widely discussed that mobile opens up incredible
opportunities for researchers. It is perhaps equally widely discussed that
mobile provides challenges for researchers ‘ especially those most reticent to
part with, let’s say, more traditional approaches. I could think of a number of
examples of this two-sided coin, but I’ll leave all of those, save one, for
future discussions.

One that the industry needs to tackle head on is the use of
geolocation for understanding shopper behavior. So much opportunity! But
logistics and analysis is so hard (for many rooted in market research)! The
notion of using geolocation itself for research is no longer new. Geofencing
has been used to target people for research for several years ‘ with the most
commonly used methodologies centered around delivering a survey to someone when
they are in a specific location or after they have left. In many cases this is
a viable approach to understanding shoppers ‘ and getting feedback close to the
point of experience.
Personally, I’m a fan of targeted and efficient research
engagements that ask people to recall their shopping behaviors before they
forget them. But I am also a fan of not having to ask what we don’t really need
to ask, for example who they are, where they shopped, and when. With this idea
in mind, and wanting to piggyback on prior years of researching Americans’
Black Friday shopping habits, we looked to explore how geofencing could be
effectively utilized to understand shoppers with minimal active engagement from
them. So, last Fall, we brainstormed with Placecast and their savvy team of
location-focused researchers on how we could shed new light onto shopping
behaviors around this critical time period for retailers.
While we did end up asking some questions directly of people,
we managed to glean a lot by matching our panelists’ location data with
existing profiling attributes. We discovered, for example, that the most
affluent Walmart shoppers came to the store on Black Friday when compared to
days leading up to and following that day.

The most affluent shoppers also proved to shop early in the
morning in the days immediately prior to and following Black Friday.
Understanding who shops where and when is crucial
to retailers and advertisers as they try to craft relevant messaging and
promotions for holiday sales. Combining geolocation data and associated
advanced analytics with known profiling attributes creates a compelling story
about shopper behavior, one that can be layered with surveys and other data
sources to provide actionable insights.

The industry has an opportunity here ‘ to use geolocation
data in a smart way and one that alleviates much of the survey burden often
placed on participants.

The OmniShopper 2017 Full Keynote Lineup

You’ve already heard about some of the biggest changes we’ve
made to OmniShopper for 2017 ‘ moving the
event to June, away from your summer vacations and changing the location to
Minneapolis, home of the Mall of America, the retail mecca.
But, what you may not have heard about yet is the FULL
keynote lineup ‘ it’s completely different from what you’ve seen before.
Covering everything from marketing in the Trump era, the future of retail, the
human side of selling, data informed design and more:
??        
Originals: How Non-Conformists Rule the World
Adam Grant, Professor, The Wharton School of Business at the University of
Pennsylvania, Author, Give and Take and Originals
??        
Marketing in the Trump Age: New Rules for a New
Reality
Peter Horst, Former Chief Marketing Officer, The Hershey Company
??        
Digital Humanism & Recoding Culture: Moving
Toward the End of Demographics, Evolution of
??        
Psychographics and the Rise of the Individual
Edwin Wong, VP Research & Insights, Buzzfeed
??        
CX Sells: How to Win with the Human Side of
Selling at Brick & Mortar
Bridget Brennan, CEO, Female Factor, Author, Why She Buys
??        
Moments Matter… Make Yours Iconic
Soon Yu, Former Global Vice President of Innovation, VF Corp, Author, Iconic
Advantage
??        
Data Informed Design: How the Evolution of Data
Science Has Permeated into Product Vision & Design
Charlie Burgoyne, Principal Director of Data Science, Frog Design
??        
Winning in Her Purse: How the Rise of Technology
has Caused Far-Reaching Disruption Even in the Most Ubiquitous Fashion and Life
Accessory
Kelley Styring, Principal, InsightFarm
??        
Panel: Shaping the Future of Retail with
Science, Technology & Consumers
Lakshmi Venkataramani, Senior Director,
Customer Insights & Analytics, Walmart eCommerce
J Lynn Martinez, Vice President & Team
Lead Kroger, Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Dr. Duane Varan, Chief Executive Officer,
MediaScience
View the OmniShopper
agenda for full session details:
https://goo.gl/EqFq4h
Use exclusive
LinkedIn discount code OMNI17BL for $100 off the current rate:
https://goo.gl/EqFq4h
Subscribe to our monthly insights newsletter, The Insighter:
http://bit.ly/2m9UIoG
We hope to see you in Minneapolis!
Cheers,
The OmniShopper Team
@OmniShopper

#OmniShopperEvent