Tag Archives: Market Research Technology

What do the Olympics and the Market Research Industry have in common?

This weekend, the Olympics draw to a close in London.  There have been many great amazing and surprising upsets. Beyond the sports, market research lies at the heart of these successes.

Let’s take a look back at how our guest bloggers have shared the importance of market research as it relates to the Olympics.

How is market research impacting these games and sports in general? Kelley Styring, TMRE guest blogger, recently compared the advances in technology and advancements in swimming to market research: ‘Swimming have shown the most statistical progress over time versus something like Short Distance Running. That’s because Swimming has benefitted from technology: better swim suits, less turbulent pools, etc. And that Running is something anyone, anywhere in the world can do versus Swimming where you need a pool you probably don’t have in, let’s say, Somalia. Good points, both.’ Why is that relevant to market research? 

How is the massive amount of data coming out of these ‘digital’ Olympics offering limitless of opportunity to market researchers across the globe?

Here just a few facts from blogger Katie Clark’s blog post:
-For the first time ever in the United States, NBC is offering every moment of competition live via nbcolympics.com, which equates to around 3,500 hours of coverage. Many of you reading this work in media research and know that’s a lot of video storage bytes!
-There were an estimated 1billion people tuning in to watch the opening ceremonies worldwide, and a documented 40.7 million people tuning in on NBC, making it the most-watched opening ceremony for a summer or winter Olympics ever.

What can come of all this data? Katie has a few ideas.

With these things in mind, we have to look at how these trends parallel market research today. What’s the impact of technology on the industry? This fall at The Market Research Event, JetBlue, Maritz Research, Best Buy, ABC Television Network and more will join us in the Mobile and Technology track to look at how they’re using technology to revolutionize the industry. Gerber Products, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Fidelity and others will join us in the Big Data track to look at how the amounts of data, comparable to those coming out of the Olympics, can be used to transform the industry. For more on these tracks and the rest of the agenda, download the agenda.

Would you like to join us this November 12-14, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida? Register today and save 15% off the standard rate when you mention code TMRE12BLOG. If you have any questions about this year’s event, feel free to contact Jennifer Pereira.

Are We Leaping Ahead? Or Running in Place?

Bob Beamon breaking the long-jump record
at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City ‘
this record remains unchallenged today.

‘Which records will get shattered’? writes Nate Silver, sports analyst, in the New York Times.  Good question.  His argument is based on sports, of course, and he argues that sports like Swimming have shown the most statistical progress over time versus something like Short Distance Running.  That’s because Swimming has benefitted from technology: better swim suits, less turbulent pools, etc.  And that Running is something anyone, anywhere in the world can do versus Swimming where you need a pool you probably don’t have in, let’s say, Somalia. Good points, both.

Why should you care?

Two reasons: 1) new developments in the field of Market Research have been almost exclusively technology-based; and 2) for every trend there is a counter trend.

While our development of new techniques is headed quickly and staunchly down the technology road with Big Data, Mobile and Modeling leading the way, we should see great progress on the part of our clients.  I expect record-breaking accomplishment.  While this may be the case, it’s hampered somewhat by the fact that my clients have trouble communicating or even internalizing the output of such complex solutions to what they perceive as simple requests.  AND the accomplishments are of diminishing size, just like breaking world records, forcing some clients to ask ‘ ‘Do I really need this much elegance in a solution for such small gains in the market’?  Good question.

Which brings me to counter trends.  This is highly observable in life all around you.  For every person blogging on their mobile you have a person learning to knit.  Maybe it’s not 1:1 ‘ often the counter trends are smaller.  But it’s undeniable that for every Hummer there is a Mini.  For every Burger King there is a slow food alternative kitchen. Again not 1:1 but you get the point.

What are we developing on the slow side, the less technology-based side?  What have you done to help your clients come to simple solutions to questions that set new records by increment?  Maybe’ just maybe, it’s the combination of slow and fast, simple and technical that breaks the boundaries and sets the new records by a mother load.   I’ll be on the lookout for this type of new thinking at TMRE 2012 in November.  

What is the crisp new thinking that takes us beyond the technology and into the realm of record-breaking accomplishment?

** ** **
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!

#TMRTE Live: Top Tweets from Day 1!

Today was the first main day of The Market Research Technology Event 2012 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas! Here are a few of the top tweets and insights from the day:

Thanks for following us today on The Market Research Event Blog! We encourage you to join in on the conversation on the last day of The Market Research Technology Event at #TMRTE!

Sweaters for Chameleons: How I’ll get the most from The Market Research Technology Event.

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 TMRTE in next week in Las Vegas, April 30-May 2, 2012.
For more information on TMRTE, visit the webpage.  If you’d like to join us, as a reader of this blog when you register and mention code MRTECH12BLOG, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!
Sweaters for Chameleons:  How I’ll get the most from The Market Research Technology Event.

That ancient art of weaving is based on a simple principle of physics. The warp and weft of the weave create a tensile strength in whole cloth that exceeds that of fragile threads. I’ve been thinking about this as I ponder how to better integrate innovative technologies into my market research consulting practice.

I’m as intrigued as anyone else about new things – exciting shiny widgets offered by technology to build deeper, broader understanding. Scraping, Mobile, Cloud, Big Data, etc. In fact technology is moving so fast and impacting our industry so much that I often feel I’m knitting a sweater from floating bits of dryer lint and not thoughtful threads, snatching one then another out of the air and pushing them into the system. While it may be an interesting looking sweater it’s certainly not strong enough to be useful. And that’s the problem.

There’s a real temptation to attend an exciting conference like The Market Research Technology Event and collect a satchel full of shiny new widgets – single function solutions that are cool and eye-catching but stand alone without integration to existing ways of doing business. I find this to be the key barrier to bringing innovation solutions to my clients – that adoption often means a step change rather than a slide into solutions that expand existing capabilities.

So I’ve decided to attend this conference as a chameleon. No – not blending into the background. I can do that my wearing black to an agency meeting in New York. I’m thinking more about how a chameleon sees. Its two eyes operate independently, each looking a different direction. So, while I know my eye will be drawn to clever, new, standalone technology solutions that will also pique my client interest – I will be consciously looking for ways to augment or enhance the existing approaches that my clients are comfortable with – so that I have a better chance of near-term client acceptance and increase my engagement rates. I’ve built a worksheet to help me with this. It’s a simple grid with space for new technologies I’ll see at the conference along one axis and existing market research applications along the other. For every new technology I add, I will then force myself to think of ways to also integrate it into existing techniques or approaches to market research. That way, I can see beyond the shiny new technique and have a better shot with my clients.

SEE LIKE A CHAMELEON YOURSELF: I’ll be blogging “live” from the event, so look for me in the back of the room. Come by, say hello, and I’ll give you a copy (Or you can download it here) of the worksheet so you can try it yourself. Looking forward to the conference!

Sharpening the Saw: The Market Research Technology Event

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 TMRTE in las Vegas this April 30-May 2, 2012.

For more information on TMRTE, visit the webpage.  If you’d like to join us, as a reader of this blog when you register and mention code MRTECH12BLOG, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!

Sharpening the Saw: The Market Research Technology Event

Whenever my 12 year old daughter and I want to talk about girl things in the presence of men, we just start talking about shoe shopping. You can see their eyes glaze over as they go off into a happy place, annoyed and bored to death about women’s shoes. Then we can say whatever we want – because they aren’t listening anymore. The same thing happens to me when someone starts talking about Technology. One whiff of Gigawhatevers and Appwhatnots and I drift off to a happy place. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge user of technology – a gadget early adopter – and I would take my iPad to the grave before I’d give it up in a dark alley. But here’s the thing – I like to drive the car, not know how everything works under the hood. Put the key in, turn it and go! Then, I’m happy.

The problem with my attitude is that Market Research is bifurcating – becoming at once more grounded in real people through the rise of ethnography and shop-along interviews where real people bring you into their real-ish lives (or as much as they can given you are an interviewer with a giant video camera in their very very clean house) and at the same time, MR is becoming more Technology centric and dependent. And, it is the intersection of these two where some true beauty happens in terms of human understanding.

So, to be an expert in the real human, we must also know the Technology that helps us reach them in masses, or track them more elegantly, or even know them more deeply because sometimes, they’re more honest alone in a room with a Flip camera than squeezed into the bathroom with you and me and the cameraman. I must embrace my demon and learn as much as I can about Technology and how it is impacting – and even driving the future of my industry. It’s only with this knowledge that I can delve into and help create the future.

I’m attending The Market Research Technology Event to sharpen the saw on my command of Technology and how it is impacting Market Research. Join me there for provocative presentations and interact with leading researchers who are driving Technology ahead for all of us. I plan to walk away with at least ten new ideas for research applications, new tools to develop, and new contacts for future collaboration. And, the next time someone says speaks in Technobabble to me, perhaps it will actually peak my interest and spark new ideas. Otherwise, I should stop researching and just go shoe shopping.

Create the Future With Better Insights at The Market Research Technology Event!

For three days this spring, at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, we’re calling out to all change agents to come together and co-create the future around the structure of insights, implications and intelligence to drive innovation at The Market Research Technology Event. In a world where real-time feedback is not only and option but an expectation, where mobile is a lifestyle and social is a culture – where understanding customers holistically is the new norm, keeping up with the latest trends, tools and techniques is an absolute requirement in order to unlock new opportunities and protect a profession from some folks’ alarming predictions of extinction.

The Market Research Technology Event covers more than primary research, it’s business intelligence, market intelligence, data visualization, consumer insights, market insights and the result of convergence of all the BIG data.

What are a few of the presentations you can look forward to?

  • - How Mobile Video Can Help You Win presented by Hewlett Packard (HP)
  • - Robot Researchers Conducting Netnography presented by Brainjuicer
  • - Innovation as a Core Competency Presented by Xerox Company
  • - The Role of Flexibility in Using New Technologies Presented by Del Monte Foods
  • - Using Google for Consumer Insights Presented by Google
  • - Consumer Insights at Facebook Presented by Facebook

For more information on these events and the rest of the presentation, download the brochure.

As a valued reader of this blog, we’d like to offer you an exclusive discount of 15% off the standard rate when you register and mention code MRTECH12BLOG! Plus When You Register by this Friday, You Will Receive These Exclusive Benefits: Access to a Private Cocktail Reception with Dr. A.K. Pradeep, Copy of Drinking From the Firehose, by Christopher Frank, Vice President, American Express & Copy of TMRE 2011 Executive Summary.

If you have any questions about the event, feel free to email Jennifer Pereira.

Text Analytics for (Very Smart) Dummies, Part I

Today’s Most Popular and Least Understood Research Tool Explained’Sort Of
By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

So you think you know text analytics? Maybe. Or not. We hear about this ‘revolutionary’ methodology all the time now, but it clearly means different things to different marketers, let alone researchers.

Ill-defined is oft ill-conceived in my book, but this seems hardly the case.

Not too long ago, after a series of conversations on not necessarily related topics, it occurred to me that there’s a somewhat alarmingly nebulous aspect to this seemingly straightforward concept.

So I ask you: What is text analytics’

Don’t look to me for answers, because like most people I’ve spoken with in research circles, I thought we had this figured out. I daresay we may have been wrong.

To illustrate, I present the first of three simple text Q-&-A interviews.

Each represents neither an entirely consistent nor contradictory definition, but on the whole they most certainly affirm my argument that many of us misapprehend the meaning of text analytics as a methodology and as a tool on some level or other.

About our select three:
- The first is a niche provider and trusted personal favorite who doesn’t mince words, has the right background to speak to the topic and who has even developed a new DIY text analytics software.

- For Part two, I’ve Q/A’d a Fortune 500 corporate research functionary with a unique inward focus and a firm grip and smart take on text analytics.

- Part three features a very special guest, representing an internal research dept from a more forward thinking vertical of a classic company with an outward, traditional consumer perspective.


Lest I get ahead of myself, for Part One, let’s turn loose Tom H. C. Anderson, Founder and Managing Partner of Anderson Analytics OdinText

Anderson’s award-winning firm was notably among the first in MR’circa 2005′to provide text analytics. Over the past few years, based on tremendous experiential knowledge and continous feedback from its clients the firm has developed text analytics solutions for data from large scale survey and call center comments for such clients as Starwood Hotels and Kodak, to social media data for firms like Unilever and LinkedIn.

Q. Please tell us briefly about your current role and your company.

Anderson Analytics helps clients in various industries leverage their structured and unstructured [text] data. My role and my company’s role have been evolving from a more full-service approach to helping clients take a hands-on approach to unstructured data analytics. It’s probably a 50/50 mix, now, but we’ve tried to make our software’OdinText’as intuitive as possible so that our clients can feel comfortable doing most of their own analysis.

Q. Define “text analytics”Is it all the same?

There are certainly alternatives to the more linguistic approach’which has fallen out of favor a bit now’to statistical and machine learning methods, which seem to be proving more effective.

We’ve also done quite a bit of work related to measuring emotion in text. This technique was first pioneered in the field of psychology.

While you don’t need to be wed to any one tool or approach, we’ve found that for most clients accurately understanding what is being discussed (verbatim concepts) is more important than sentiment or emotion. But it really depends on both the business objectives as well as the data source.

Q. There are different use cases for text analytics and, more recently, text analytics firms are turning their attention to MR. How has market research, specifically as a use case, evolved in importance for the text analytics industry in general and for your company specifically?

Market Research has always been our primary use case, though customer service is obviously very closely linked. MR has reacted slower than expected in my opinion, but the industry is coming around.

Our use case is very different than, say, public relations, which uses [text analytics] mainly to monitor comments broadly on social media and then to engage with specific influencers.

Market researchers need deeper insights, and we also have a lot of valuable data in our organizations from survey open ends’especially trackers’to call center logs, etc. These are very rich insight sources with obvious value.

Admittedly, I think social media data has been hyped, but my job is not to sell a specific data source as being more important than another, but to help clients get an accurate read on un- or undermet needs and to help them move up the text analytic value chain.

Q: What are some of the most important use cases?

Within marketing research, relatively speaking, I think there is a bit too much attention focused on social media monitoring. This is just one single source of text data. Most firms have a wealth of rich unstructured data within their organization already that they need to understand’larger survey data studies, CRM feedback etc. There’s also some confusion surrounding the appropriateness of text analytics for qualitative research.

While this can certainly help smaller samples, the ROI is difficult to justify depending on the circumstances: Some of our clients who’ve been using our software on larger data sets have asked us if they can use it on much smaller studies as well. So our clients are actually changing mymy thinking in this area, and I’m now a bit less concerned with how much data you have.

If you’re comfortable using a specific tool, and it’s designed well, then leveraging it on smaller data sets doesn’t require as much of a time investment, and in such cases, the text volume threshold is much lower.

I would say, though, that you still probably want to have at least a few hundred comments and/or multiple sources of smaller samples before text analytics makes sense. While text analytics can technically offer value to even a single focus group, the ROI here is less promising; you should be able to read and synthesize all the responses of a single focus group yourself.

Q: What are the benefits to an enterprise approach to text analytics versus specific use-case approaches?

There’s even more confusion around this than about what text analytics is and isn’t in general.

Enterprise as in ‘Enterprise Content Management’ is one of the many buzzwords that intersect the market research, text analytics and business intelligence fields. All ECM really means is a formalized means of storing data or documents, usually with a simple search function built in.

Somehow ‘Enterprise’ has taken on a level of importance that lacks meaning. Even survey companies have started calling themselves Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) firms now; I suppose mainly to differentiate themselves from the popular tools out there that do pretty much the same thing as they do for free (Survey Monkey etc.). The idea seems to be if we can’t beat them let’s change what we call ourselves’

Anyway, getting back to your question and how it relates to text analytics’ Some text analytics firms have taken the ECM approach, probably because they came from this BI space before they got into text analytics.

‘Enterprise’ by definition has to be simplistic. So if you’re looking for a very simplistic search type of solution across your enterprise, then ECM may be an option. There is quite a bit of debate on how useful it is to look at customers and data holistically across organizations and departments.

The approach we’ve taken is to develop software with specific departmental use case in mind, as a SaaS (Software as a service). This means clients don’t need to invest in their own IT hardware or support.

Of course ECM and, more specifically, SaaS applications are not mutually exclusive. Many clients have integrated survey data, CRM data and social media into our tool. We’re also looking into how we might fit our tool into a client’s ECM from another vendor. Secondly, for clients who want to run software on their own servers and do their own integration and upgrades, licensing the more specific SaaS software is also usually an option.

Q: How does Big Data fit into text analytics, and do you think market researchers have the skills and tools needed to leverage what’s available?

Depends on how you define Big Data. Generally, I would say no. Even the larger traditional market research houses have few if any staff with the experience or tools necessary to handle Big Data. And MR industry statistical packages’the usual ones-typically crash with larger data sets, and sampling becomes necessary. This is one of the other reasons we developed OdinText: The datasets we were working with started getting too big for some of the tools we had been using!

Big Data becomes more important further down the text analytics value chain when predictive analytics and modeling are used. I’d love to see more market researchers get past just monitoring and do more of this really interesting work.

Q: What criteria should an organization use to determine whether to (a) develop an in-house text analytics capability, b) outsource text analytics or c) adopt a hybrid model?

I think initially a hybrid model may be ideal. Select a vendor that has experience with text analytics in your specific use case. Ideally, the vendor should be able to train you in best practices and use of their tool, but also be able to handle more full-service approach assuming an important out-of-the-ordinary analysis need comes up or your staff is spread too thin.

Q: What questions need to be asked in order to identify the right capabilities provider when one is required?

You need to ask, ‘So what’? Don’t fall for a bunch of techno-jargon you don’t understand. If the provider is not able to speak specifically about how text analytics can help your department become more valuable, and make specific contributions and improvements to your decision making and process improvements, then you should be talking to someone else. Simple as that.

Editor’s note: Next up, IBM’s take on text analytics for internal understanding!

For learn more about text analytics, don’t miss The Market Research Technology Event ‘ a unique forum dedicated to the exploration and promotion of technological innovations in consumer and market research and business intelligence’taking place April 30 thru May 2 in Las Vegas.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us, mention code MRTECH12BLOG and save 10% off the standard rate!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/INTERVIEWER
Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead specializing in audience engagement. 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.

What is the best way to collect & analyze data to communicate service opportunities?

Volunteers are abundant, but often, many times those volunteers don’t know the opportunity is available. Co.Exist recently wrote a piece about the data that is created daily that if presented in the right formats, can provide information that can create a social web that can contribute to making our society better. It can also show where the need is the highest.

In a way, this is the same need that is currently being shown in market research. There’s so much data being collected in the field, how do researchers collect it all and visualize it to fit the needs of their customers. What’s out there? What are customers looking for?

At The Market Research Technology Event,Shubber Ali, Innovation Lead, Accenture will be on hand to present “Creating a Holistic View of the Consumer” which will look at how to gather data and identify holistic data around individuals.   For more information on this session and the rest of the agenda, download the brochure here.  As a reader of The Market Research Event Blog, when you register to join us and mention code MRTECH12BLOG to receive a discount of 15% off the standard rate.

What do you think is the best way to collect and organize data for the service and volunteer sector would be?  What medium to present this material?

UT-Austin Supercomputing Center Scales Big Data

Research Insighter Podcast: Academic Lab Makes Big Data Analytics/Visualization Manageable

By Marc Dresner, IIR

‘Everything’s bigger in Texas’ ain’t just some old saw; not when it comes to Big Data. No, think chainsaw on steroids.

The Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas-Austin in its first six months of work on the public-private smart grid cooperative dubbed the ‘Pecan Street Project’ has successfully managed and analyzed energy consumption data from 100 wired homes collected at 15-second intervals’resulting in more than two billion records.

And they’ve got much bigger plans: more HHs, more data streams’no problem.

Someday probably not too far away, Paul Navratil predicts this research will result in energy efficient smart appliances’washing machines that switch on off-peak when juice is cheap, for example.

And true to his job title, the Scalable Visualization Technologies Group Research Associate & Manager also has a 12-megapixel touch display’basically the world’s largest iPad’at his disposal to make visual sense of the mountains of data being analyzed.

In this episode of the Research Insighter podcast interview series, Navratil outlines the ambitious Pecan Street Project and discusses its implications for market researchers trying not to drown in data.

Listen to this episode of the Research Insighter here.

Download a transcript of our interview here.

Editor’s note: The Research Insighter is brought to you by The Market Research Technology Event‘a unique forum dedicated to the exploration and promotion of technological innovations in consumer and market research and business intelligence’taking place April 30 thru May 2 in Las Vegas.

For more information or to register, please visit www.iirusa.com/technology

ABOUT THE RESEARCH INSIGHTER

The Research Insighter is a special interview series delivering the insight scoop on the world of consumer and market intelligence from experts and leaders in the field. Each episode explores the trends, technologies and drivers shaping the world of research today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/INTERVIEWER

Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead specializing in audience engagement. 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.

What draws a person to a brand?

It’s clear that many companies aren’t properly engaging their market when it comes to new products.  According to a recent article at Forbes, nine out of ten new products fail.  But Buyology is a company looking to understand the minds of consumers more by conducting market research that looks into both the conscious and unconscious mind of the consumer.  What they found was that the most appealing brand to consumers, both men and women, was Southwest.  They pinpointed the fact that the brand lends itself to connecting to the consumer through providing affordable and accessable ways to make memories.  It also connects with the customers on another level by highlighting their employees in their commercials as the actors.

Other brands that struck chords with both men and women were Dove and Google.  Surprisingly, Bed Bath and Beyond ranked high for men as all of the gadgets and the clean layout.  Dove, surprisingly for men, was identified do to the fact that they grew up around the brand.  Now, Dove For Men has resurrected their feelings and further connected with this audience.

At The Market Research Technology Event this April 30-May 2, 2012, Dr. A.K. Pradeep, the CEO of Neurofocus, will be spending an entire day with attendees at the NeuroImmersion Workshop to educate and discuss with attendees that functions of the brain, and share how neuroscience is applied to the world of brand,product and packaging design, shopper experience, market research and advertising. For more information on this full day workshop, download the brochure here. As a reader of this blog, when you register and mention code MRTECH12BLOG, you’ll receive an exclusive discount of 15% off the standard rate!