Tag Archives: GreenBook

Study Shows Research Industry Braced For And By Rapid Change

April 20th, 2011 New York, NY: GreenBook today announced the release of the Spring 2011 edition of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report (GRIT).

Sponsors of the Report include Market Research Global Alliance, Next Gen Market Research, Infosurv, iCharts, Interviewing Service of America, Surveys & Forecasts, LLC, StrategyOne, OnePoint Mobile Surveys, Anderson Analytics, the FTO, Brand3Sixty, and LMC Group.

Now in its 9th year, GRIT will feature two editions in 2011. The Spring 2011 edition focuses on research technology and innovation. The next edition, due to field in June, will explore ongoing trend trackers, social media adoption in the industry, future predictions, and the role of influencers in market research.

The Report shows a market research industry undergoing systemic and tactical change at a pace expected to accelerate. Whether that change is welcomed as opportunity or resisted as a threat depends to a large extent on age. Younger researchers with less experience in ‘the old ways’ are confident they can adapt, while older researchers (with some highly notable exceptions) see their professional world and some of their professional standards cast aside as irrelevant or even damaging.

Some of the highlight findings contained in the report include:

  • ‘ The major structural and systemic changes being faced by those in the marketing research industry.
  • ‘ Despite a backdrop of professional pessimism, anticipated levels of future research spending are actually favorable.
  • ‘ The Top 50 Market Research Firms Perceived to be Innovative.
  • ‘ Gaps between Suppliers and Buyers, tenure in the industry, age of respondents and geographic location exist when it comes to emerging technology adoption.
  • ‘ Social media, mobile, MROCs and text analytics are the newer techniques most likely to be used in the foreseeable future.
  • ‘ Utilizing the latest and most advanced technology is certainly important to both clients and suppliers, but the business relationship itself ‘ personal service, responsiveness, and attentiveness ‘ rises to the very top of the list of decision-making criteria.

Leonard Murphy, Creator and Executive Editor of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report commented on the release: ‘After 8 years, GRIT is the leading and most comprehensive survey of our industry, and we believe that taking our own pulse has never been more important. We promised the industry colorful and comprehensive insights into how research buyers and providers are adapting to the current economy, to emerging technologies, and to the winds of change many feel are buffeting our profession and industry. I think the market research industry will find that we fulfilled our promise. Regardless of your role in the industry ‘ client-side, supplier-side, academic ‘ we think you’ll find the results of this groundbreaking study vitally important and intensely interesting!’

Lukas Pospichal, Managing Director of GreenBook explained the goals of the initiative: ‘For this iteration we continue to track all the trends in the industry that we have traditionally focused on, but we have made a strategic decision to turn our sights to the future. Our goal with this edition is to offer insights into innovation in the market research industry, into the pace of new technology adoption, into what companies are leading the industry forward, and into what the industry may be like in the future. We think we met and exceed these goals with the help of our sponsoring partners and most importantly, participants in the study. ‘

In years past, thousands of global industry professionals have downloaded this report, and findings have been cited at industry events, in numerous industry journals and in academic publications. This year the results will be part of the opening session at the IIR Technology Driven Market Research event in May and will be reported on in several webinars and leading blogs.

The report can be accessed at http://www.greenbookblog.org/GRIT/.

About GreenBook:

GreenBook brings resources to market researchers on both sides of the table and offers effective marketing opportunities in a variety of targeted media. The GreenBook media platform now includes the flagship GreenBook Directory (online and in print), specialized GreenBook Health directory, GreenBook Blog, Research Vibes ‘ a customizable market research portal, New Qualitative Research guide and directory (online and in print), and a new publishing program to provide stimulating, practical, and timely content on topics and issues relevant to the industry. While becoming a rich source of marketing research content, GreenBook continues to be the destination for detailed and accurate information on research providers of all types.

Lead up to the IIR TDMR Interview with Dr. A.K. Pradeep of NeuroFocus

This post is co-posted with Greenbook.

Next up in our series of interviews with presenters at the Technology Driven Market Research event (May 2-3, Chicago) is the Keynote Speaker: Dr. A.K. Pradeep, CEO of NeuroFocus. I was going to sit on this one for a bit longer, but based on the huge response to my post on the ARF NeuroStandards initiative it seemed like a good idea to go ahead and post it. We touch on the topic of the ARF program during the interview and getting a direct perspective from one of the key players in the debate strikes me as useful.

Dr. A.K. Pradeep and his lovely assistant showing off the new Mynd mobile neuromonitoring headset at the ARF re:Think 2011 Convention

Since I am tying this interview into the ARF post it seems only fair to give other stakeholders a chance to be heard too. With that in mind I have reached out to Keith Winter, CEO of Emsense and to Ron Wright, CEO of Sands Research to conduct interviews with them as well. Hopefully those will be forthcoming soon and will add to the dialogue on this important topic.

Now, how do I introduce Dr. Pradeep? I met him in 2009 in Cairo when I had an opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with him and his team during a Nielsen event I was attending. My impression of him was that he was part PT Barnum, part Carl Sagan, with a dash of Bollywood flair, a bit of Steve Jobs and a whole lot of intelligence wrapping it all together. At the time I told him that he reminded me of Jeff Goldblum’s ‘Rockstar Scientist‘ character from the Jurassic Park movies and I think that is an apt comparison. He is obviously passionate about his company and their business, and is deeply knowledgeable about the topic of neuroscience and it’s applications for research. Based on the success of NeuroFocus he is also a darn savvy business professional. I think all of this shines through in the interview below; I hope you enjoy it.
This interview was conducted via email over the course of a few weeks.

LM: Biometric techniques for research have been around for awhile, but Neuromarketing has really just begun to emerge as more than a niche segment within the broader market research space. Why now? What’s changed that has fueled the explosive growth of Neuroscience in market research and for NeuroFocus as a company?

AKP: In fact, biometric techniques are not the only biologically-based methodologies that have been in use for many years. EEG-based brainwave activity measurement has been conducted for decades in medical facilities and neuroscience labs worldwide.

That said, there are three key factors that have spurred the creation and rapid adaptation of neuromarketing today. First is the well-established fact that conventional consumer research methods have inherent, structural flaws and shortcomings. That doesn’t mean that they’re not useful or that they have nothing to contribute’but the fact remains that because surveys and focus groups must by definition rely on ‘articulated responses’, they are subject to certain core shortcomings. This is common knowledge among researchers, and it has driven the desire among marketers and researchers alike for improved means of gathering accurate, reliable information.

The second key factor in neuromarketing’s development and global application has been the technological explosion over the past several decades. It was possible to gather brain-based data before the advent of extremely fast digital data collection, processing, and large-scale storage’but the ability to analyze it was very limited, compared to what we can do with today’s computer technology. So it has been the amazing advances made in processing power, both on the collection and analysis side, that have helped drive neuromarketing’s birth and growth.

The third leg of the stool is the dramatic expansion of neuroscience’s understanding of brain structures and functions. The advances made in these spheres in just the last few years represent quantum leaps forward from where the state of knowledge was even fairly recently. We have gained amazing insights into how the brain works, in many cases in very great detail and specificity. That’s not to say that we don’t have much still to learn’but what we already know now enables us to capture the brain’s activity in real time, understand key aspects of it, and distill that knowledge into accurate, reliable, and actionable market research findings.
As always, it’s ultimately the marketplace that determines if, how, and when a breakthrough technology like today’s EEG-based, full-brain measurement will be accepted and successful. Clearly, the marketplace is giving it a very enthusiastic endorsement, exemplified by how many of the world’s leading companies are rapidly integrating this research into their operations, from new product design and packaging to branding, retail marketing, advertising, and more.

LM: Looking ahead 3-5 years, what does the market research space look like to you and where will Neuromarketing fit into the new scheme of things?

AKP: I’d use my last point as a springboard in answering this question. What we’re seeing already is a large-scale adoption of neuromarketing by many companies across dozens of categories in every region of the world. The growth rate is exciting and frankly, a little amazing even for us who have been involved in the field for the last few years.

I think it speaks to the basic need that I mentioned above: the desire for improved accuracy, reliability, and ‘actionability’ on the part of marketers everywhere. It is so expensive’and risky’to invest in new products, brand extensions, new package designs, new ad campaigns, store designs, logos’the list goes on and on. And we’ve all seen high-profile examples very recently where major marketplace failures have occurred in some of these categories.

The scientific foundations of what we at NeuroFocus do’EEG-based, full-brain measurements of brainwave activity’address that need, and offer solutions to those problems and challenges. It is possible now to know, with very high degrees of precision and confidence, how consumers respond at the subconscious level to literally anything that they can experience through any and all of their five senses. I’m often asked, why is measuring the full brain at the subconscious level so critical? The simple answer is 95%. That’s a widely-accepted scientific estimate of how much of our daily decisions are made at the subconscious, not the conscious, level of our minds.

As marketers and researchers gain understanding of that fact’and the extremely important corollary, that fundamental marketing objectives like initial product interest, purchase intent, and brand loyalty are formed at the subconscious level’they are turning to neuromarketing in fast-growing numbers. What we’re seeing is marketers and researchers responding to a clear and very significant advance in the field of consumer insights. We don’t see any impediments to that rapidly-growing acceptance’quite the opposite, in fact. As neuromarketing findings become integrated into these companies basic operations, it will be more and more an ‘organic’ process for them.

LM: With much of the focus within market research shifting towards ‘listening and observing’ rather than ‘asking’ through channels such as communities, social media analysis, mobile ethnography, etc.. where does Neuromarketing fit into the new continuum of techniques? How are your clients integrating it with other methods?

AKP: We describe what we do as ‘listening to the brain’. When you realize that the subconscious is the source for as much as 95% of our daily decisions, it becomes clear that measuring neurological responses to stimuli at the subconscious level, before they are affected by the external factors that can influence and distort ‘articulated responses’, is the most accurate, reliable, and actionable form of marketing research.

EEG-based full-brain measurements can be and are relied on exclusively, and they are also part of some companies’ overall approaches to marketing research, combined with other research means. There really is no ‘one size fits all’ that accommodates every business category, different market needs, areas of interest, corporate strategy’the ultimate point is that marketers now have a modern, neuroscience-based tool that can give them deep insights and actionable findings which are sourced at the subconscious. There are an almost infinite number of ways in which companies make use of neuromarketing, but that underlying core is the connective tissue among all of them.

LFM: There is a lot of debate in the industry regarding best practices and optimal approaches, with you and your primary competitors all laying claim to the ‘best model’ for utilizing Neuromarketing within a research context. Even the ARF has gotten involved with their initiative to standardize and codify best practices, an effort that NeuroFocus has sidestepped by releasing your own guidelines. For clients who might not have the appropriate experience or depth of knowledge to decide for themselves who really does have the ‘better mousetrap’, how can they make an informed choice with so much competing information out there?

AKP: The best answer is direct: seek out the best science. Look at the foundations of companies offering neuromarketing services’are they built upon universally-recognized and applied forms of brainwave activity measurement that the world’s leading neuroscience laboratories use? Do they measure across the full brain’which is absolutely essential for valid and meaningful neuromarketing research results? Do they have highly-acclaimed neuroscientists on staff and on Science Advisory Boards? Have those neuroscience experts published papers in their field of expertise? Is their technology, equipment, and methodology endorsed not only by the world’s largest companies, but also by major independent science-based organizations? Do they operate NeuroLabs that adhere to and are certified to strict Six Sigma standards?

Those and other basic questions are ones that companies considering using neuromarketing should ask, because they are directly indicative of the quality of the underlying science. Without the best science, it follows that the research findings will not be the best in terms of accuracy, reliability, and actionability.

In fact, I’ll take a giant step back and recommend one even more fundamental question for potential clients to pose: do they measure the brain itself, and not biometrics exclusively?

LFM: You might recall that when we met in Cairo in 2009 at the Nielsen ‘Next Big Thing’ event I told you that you reminded me of the ‘Rockstar Scientist’ character Jeff Goldblum played in Jurassic Park and you took it as a compliment (which I meant it as!). That persona and dynamism has seemed to work very well for you and the company, even earning you a place on his team during President Obama’s ‘bridge building’ trip to India last year. It has also earned you some criticism from folks who claim your very accomplished showmanship overshadows the substance of what NeuroFocus offers. How would you respond to those critics?

AKP: NeuroFocus was founded on one bedrock principle: the highest neuroscience standards. It stands to reason that without that at our core, we would not have attracted the caliber of neuroscientists that we have, for both our own staff and our Advisory Board. Without those world-class experts, and our market-proven technology and methodologies, we would not have attracted the caliber of clients that we have’who demand the highest standards, and who in several cases have conducted very stringent due diligence before selecting NeuroFocus as their neuromarketing research partner.

Nothing overshadows that fact. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we have a policy to stick to the science, stick to the facts. Being the leader always means you’ll come under criticism from some corners. We don’t let that interfere with our focus on what matters most to our clients, which is harnessing neuroscience to help improve their brands, products, packaging, retail marketing, and advertising.

Lead up to the IIR TDMR Interview with Greg Heist of Gongos Research

This post is co-posted with The Green Book.

For our latest interview with presenters at the upcoming IIR Technology Driven Market Research Event the IIR and GreenBook bring you an interview with Greg Heist, Vice President of Research Innovation for Gongos Research.

I had the opportunity to spend 2 days with Greg and the team at Gongos Research last month, and I have to say that he and the entire Gongos team are some of the smartest (and nicest!) folks I have ever met. Gongos is a great example of a company firmly rooted in the absolute best of traditional market research while also reaching towards the unlimited potential of the new research paradigm. I was impressed by the innovative thinking and creativity of Greg, the way the entire organization is embracing the ideas he is championing, and their commitment to transform their business. I expect the success Gongos has had to date is just the tip of the iceberg; this is a company that will help lead our industry in the years to come.
This interview was conducted over several days via email. I think you’ll find it interesting, enlightening, and maybe even inspiring. Without further ado (or gushing!) here is my interview with Greg:

LM: Gongos Research has been coming on strong with your roll-out of new products that are generating a lot of interest within the market research space. Why do you think that is?

GH: As an organization, there are three things that get us excited to come into the office everyday: the opportunity to work with our fellow employees, our desire to help our clients understand their customers in new ways by doing great research and our drive to leverage technology and innovation to create a new norm for marketing research.

I’d like to think that the products we’ve been developing’and in particular the ioCommunities mobile app we launched last September’are generating excitement for the same reasons we’re so excited about them: because they tap into an exciting new frontier for our field. Devices like smartphones have untethered consumers from their computers, and products like ioCommunities mobile are in sync with this cultural shift and truly create a real-time conversation with consumers wherever they are.

LM: What do you think are the major drivers of change in the market research space right now and how is Gongos Research planning to take advantage of those trends?

GH: Without question, the two major drivers of change in the research world are the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablet devices and the explosive growth of growth of social media as the primary way we engage with one another online. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that each of these is a revolution that has permanently changed our culture.
From my perspective, the fact that these two megatrends are happening simultaneously is sending shock waves throughout the historically ‘staid and steady’ marketing research industry. It’s an exciting time to be in research because it is challenging all of us to either modify how we approach traditional methods or else rapidly create entirely new approaches. It’s personally fun to see all of this innovation going on and I’m constantly impressed by all of the great work various firms in our industry are doing.
From a Gongos perspective, we have made the smartphone revolution a core part of our innovation strategy. To that end, as I mentioned, we’ve launched the ioCommunities mobile app for iOS and our smartphone-based online survey platform (which works across all smartphone platforms). We’re diligently at work on the development of ioCommunities mobile for Android and plan to roll that out in the coming months.
In the social media sphere, we’ve been providing MROCs for our clients for over 5 years, and continuing to make our communities more ‘social’ is another core thrust for us in 2011. We have various initiatives going on in that regard right now and, as I meet with employees working on them, I’m amazed by the excitement and the number of powerful ideas that are being generated. I really look forward to seeing how they all take shape!

LM: I couldn’t agree with you more, and it’s great to hear of a leading established firm like Gongos embracing these new trends and actively working to leverage them, rather than fight them! Based on your current plans regarding integrating mobile, MROCs, and other social media elements into your research offerings, what do you see as the next major development that you’ll be looking at? Gaming, text analytics, social media market mix analysis, or’?

GH: To be quite honest, we are either currently looking at or working on capabilities in all of these areas right now. There are a lot of interesting ideas kicking around amongst our team and we are working hard at prioritizing them based on our longer term innovation strategy. Personally, I’m really intrigued by the possibilities of applying gaming within an MR context. It’s probably the area that has spawned some of the most innovative ideas and everyone is really energized about them!

LM: Applying the ‘gamification’ model to MR is one of the areas I’m most excited about as well. It would seem to be a great fit for Gongos based on your MROC product and internal data collection platform. Are you thinking of applying the gaming engagement model to your ioCommunities or are you actually exploring developing gaming interfaces as a data collection tool?

GH: At the moment, we have teams actively investigating both of these areas of gaming. Developing a game interface that delivers valid and meaningful research insights across product categories and brands while simultaneously being fun and engaging for players is a considerable challenge. If we ultimately decide to go down that path, it will be because we think we have a legitimate chance of achieving both of those objectives. To get something like that really ‘right’ is going to take some time, but we are definitely interested in exploring it further.

LM: Gongos seems unusual in that you are more of a traditional Full Service supplier, yet seem to have an advanced in-house innovation and development team. Most of your competitors use 3rd party solutions. What drove you to go down the custom development path and where do you see the company headed in the future as a result?

GH: We started down the path of creating proprietary research platforms primarily because of some of the unique requirements our core clients had relative to data collection and analysis. When we looked out there for off-the-shelf solutions to meet these needs, we didn’t find any so we committed to develop them ourselves. Over time, that has continued to be true and we have been able to tightly integrate our community, survey and mobile platforms to provide some really robust capabilities for our clients.
We really like what we have created so far, but also see lots of areas where we can (take) these platforms individually and collectively. My team is focused on trying to both expand the capabilities of our existing technologies as well as developing new capabilities that will integrate with them. I certainly see us continuing to invest in this area since they really provide us with flexibility and unique capabilities that we wouldn’t have if we were solely reliant on 3rd party solutions. Needless to say, our developers aren’t lacking things to work on’

LM: Gongos is one of the few MR firms that I know of that has a senior level role, plus the infrastructure to support them, dedicated to innovation. Why did the company choose to invest in innovation as a core strategy and why do you think the industry as a whole struggles with the concept of investing in innovation?

GH: The reason we continue to invest aggressively in innovation is actually pretty simple: we’ve seen it help us deliver new kinds of insights for our clients and be a catalyst for our company’s growth. But, our experience also speaks to why it’s a struggle: it’s hard to create’and pay for’that infrastructure. Getting clients to embrace innovation requires extra work because we often need to educate them about what we have created and demonstrate why it results in good research. Finally, innovation requires constantly rethinking our assumptions about what marketing research is. It’s tempting to ‘go with the flow’ and be content with doing things the way they have been done.
Internally, we are also focusing both on methodological innovation as well as technological innovation. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to make both happen, and so I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help rally the organization around both areas and ensuring that’at the end of the day’we are delivering purposeful innovation to our clients rather than simply innovating just for the sake of innovating.

LM: Based on your inclusion on the Honomichl list, it appears that you achieved the miraculous feat of growing during the Great Recession; how the heck did you pull that off?

GH: Well, first of all, we certainly feel fortunate to have gone through such an incredibly tumultuous time without experiencing a significant downturn in our business or laying off any of our employees. I think our company’s focus on long-term strategy coupled with the great work our employees have done with our client partners successfully helped us navigate through that time. During this period of time we also began some new client partnerships that quickly grew beyond our initial expectations, so that clearly had a positive impact on our growth, as well. We were also really transparent with our staff about how we were responding to the crisis and I think that helped our employees understand what we were doing and why we were doing it

LM: Thinking ahead 2-3 years, what do you think the Market Research industry will look like? What type of companies will be successful, what capabilities will be needed, and what new types of companies will be a part of what we think of as MR?

GH: I’m literally blown away by how rapidly things are changing in the research industry. There have been more disruptive innovations in the past 5 years than in the previous 15, without question. And, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. So, looking ahead 2-3 years, I see social media and mobile research quickly becoming a mainstream part of how companies gain insights from consumers. With that will come a continuing re-definition of what marketing research is and how it is used. I also see more and more technology companies entering the mix and offering specific research solutions and becoming even more formidable competitors for traditional research firms.
Going forward, I think we are all going to be increasingly challenged to embrace change and create change in how we help our clients succeed and grow. If our industry wants to remain relevant and viable long-term, I think our very future depends on it.
At the same time, I don’t want to end on a doom-and-gloom message! This is’I think’an extremely exciting time. There is so much good work being done and an incredibly innovative spirit is flourishing throughout the industry. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds and excited and proud of the fact that Gongos is a part of it.

LM: I agree; it’s an exciting time and I’m actually really optimistic about where the industry is going, thanks in no small part to companies like Gongos! OK, last 2 questions: can you give me a ‘sneak peek’ into your presentation at the TDMR? What are you covering and what do you hope for the audience to get from it?

GH: My colleague Joyce Salisbury (Senior Manager, Global Market Research ‘New Methods, General Motors) and I are discussing the topic, ‘The App is Where It’s At: The Power of Untethering Online Communities’. In our session, we are going to be sharing our perspectives on how the powerful intersection of the smartphone revolution and online communities opens up an entirely new spectrum of ways to engage with and learn from consumers. We also will be talking about what we feel this means for the research industry from a generational perspective for Gen Y and beyond. We’ve learned a lot in the six months since the launch of ioCommunities mobile, and we’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts about where this rapidly emerging technology may lead us in the future.

LM: And finally, what’s next for Gongos Research in 2011? What new tricks that we haven’t covered do you have up your sleeves?

GH: Lenny, if I told you that it wouldn’t be much of a trick then, would it’ Seriously, though, since this interview has been about TDMR and what Gongos has been working on in the technology innovation space, we haven’t really talked about what we are doing on the methodology end of things to support the technology we’ve been developing. As researchers, we are really committed to helping our clients understand how they can best take advantage of these new technologies to produce great research. In light of that, we’ve got a ‘research on research’ initiative right now using our mobile survey platform to conduct some very statistically rigorous comparisons of data collected online and via smartphones. Michael Alioto, Ph.D,our VP of Marketing Sciences, is leading this initiative and we feel as though it has the potential to strongly challenge some of the accepted ‘givens’ about how mobile surveys and may help shape a new paradigm for them. We’re really passionate about what we are doing here and are looking forward to sharing the results of this later this year.
Great chatting with you, Lenny! And looking forward to seeing you at TDMR!!

About Greg Heist: Vice President, Research Innovation & Technology at Gongos Research
As the Vice President of Research Innovation for Gongos Research, Greg is responsible for guiding the innovation strategy at the company. From white-board concepts to product development, Greg and his team ensure that technology and innovation support a primary role ‘ to make the research process more engaging for consumers and more meaningful and powerful for corporations.

A practitioner and moderator with over 16 years of research under his belt, Greg is a visionary at heart. He believes we are in the midst of an evolution in the way we conduct research, and he plans to help pave the way. As an industry speaker at events produced by the IIR & AMA and author published in Quirk’s Marketing Research Review, Greg has examined how advanced platforms such as virtual shopping and online research communities are increasing respondent engagement, while providing customizable, forward-thinking solutions for clients.

Greg received his BS in Industrial Administration from Kettering University, and his MS in Humanistic and Clinical Psychology from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology.