Tag Archives: Marketing Research

5 Ways to Work it Like a (Go) Pro

We love doing
in-context or ethnographic research. 
It’s so fun to immerse ourselves into a respondent’s environment and
learn ‘what’s really going on’ vs. ‘what respondents say’ in a focus group
setting. And, yes, video is a great way to effectively capture the interviews ‘
it provides authenticity but also comes with some drawbacks. Regardless of someone’s
moderating skills, it’s more awkward for a respondent when you add a video
camera to the mix.  For the last few
years, we rarely take video during our
ethnographies due to the ‘cumbersome nature’ of the equipment.   

 To solve one of these problems, we could enlist the help of our clients.
However, walking them through operating a camera is technical and takes away
from the ‘in the moment’ learning.

At ABRG, we found
a small and mighty answer to this multi-layer dilemma. Insert GoPro Hero 4 Silver! 
We chose a GoPro because its versatile capabilities allow flexibility for any
ethnography or in-context research situation.

  1. Mounting accessories:  we love the Go Pro’s various accessories and bought
    the suction cup, flex clamp, and hand grip. These make it easier to walk with it
    or mount it wherever you need to take video ‘ bathroom, kitchen, etc. The clamp accessory especially,
    is useful doing in-homes because furniture can easily become camera equipment.
  2. Size:  It’s tiny, which is another asset when
    recording. Because it’s not bulky, respondents don’t notice it when they are being interviewed ‘ it fades
    into the background.
  3. Great
    quality video at close proximity
    ‘ the video quality on a GoPro is stellar,
    especially when it’s put on the ‘narrow’ setting.
  4. Mark-up ability:
    it is easy to mark up interesting, noteworthy parts of the interview in the
    moment!  This makes sorting through
    footage later so much less painful!
  5. Remote
    control via iPhone app
    : the GoPro contains a remote feature that allows you
    to control angle, start/stop, etc. from your iPhone, which is awesome.  If needed, the interviewer can both record
    and conduct interviews without enlisting the help of another team member or client.

All of these features are great but getting up to speed and
feeling comfortable with it requires bit of ‘ramp up’. We believe in creating step-by-step
Process Documents to keep us from reinventing the wheel so we put all our
knowledge into words in the format of a laminated Process
Document containing
the ins-and-outs of ‘how to use a GoPro.’ To easily access this guide when we are in the field, we made it so that
it easily fits inside the GoPro’s case and color-coded it based on topic.
Additionally, the GoPro, its parts and mounting accessories are labeled and
correspond with the user guide as reference.  In conjunction with the
process document, we also labeled all of the parts of the GoPro and the
different mounting accessories. Wherever
the GoPro goes, a user-friendly guide goes with it.
To GoPro or not?  That
is the question.  So far, we’re loving
April Bell. Owner, Researcher, Facilitator and the ‘force of nature’ at April Bell Research Group, a full service boutique market research agency helping researchers shine.

What Marketing Researchers Can Learn From Digital Marketing: 5 Common Mistakes

By: Eric Lindner,
Client Operations Team Lead, Americas, Lightspeed GMI

Originally published on
GMI Blog
I recently attended a webinar where Linda West, Director of
Digital Marketing at Act-On Software, discussed five common digital
marketing mistakes. After hearing what Linda had to say about the five common
mistakes, it got me thinking about what we, as Marketing Researchers, can learn
from digital marketing. While digital marketing strategies are laser focused on
creating value for the consumer, we should have that same focus on our
panelists. Panelists are a core part of what we do in the Marketing Research
industry, and our panelists are people. These people’s voices and opinions
are front and center in how we interact with them.  
So, how are those five common mistakes relevant to Marketing
missed opportunities for testing and optimization
. Avoid making
assumptions about how people will respond. Don’t delay, test out your
innovative questionnaire design, gamification, quizzes, etc. at your next
Curse of
unrealistic expectations in testing and optimization
. Allow time for
your test to mature and be realistic about how soon to expect results. It will
only waste time by ending without conclusive results. See it through to the
shiny objects
focusing on the new
and hot vs. the best for your research
. Doesn’t mean that you should
abandon everything, but may be a good idea to explore. Keep doing what works
for your research, even if it is not what’s trending. A part of your budget
should be reserved for experiments (10%), and accept that a percentage of them
to fail. As with anything, introduce change in small doses. You want to find
the right balance of old standbys and new hot techniques.
mobile is just for B2C.
 It is increasingly important to know your
audience. Every interaction you have with people should be optimized for the
device that they are the most comfortable using. Test, test, test! People
should be able to easily interact with things like surveys from a mobile
content quality
. By offering something unique, getting personal with
your interactions, and taking a data-driven approach will help you stand out.
Good research begins with a good understanding of the people you’d like to hear

Research Teams Must Be Bold, Agile and Embrace Change in the Digital Age

Is your research operations team ready for the new face of consumer insights? Today, it’s key
for research teams to remain relevant in the midst of changing digital age and
be able to create a roadmap to success to stay relevant.
Ryan Shell, founder & CEO, The Home T, knows this
better than anyone. He sat down with us in an exclusive interview to shed some
light on how research teams are changing in the digital age and why it’s
important to be agile.
How are research
operations teams changing in the digital age?

I may be one of the few people in the United States that
didn’t watch Mad Men when it was on TV, but I recently started binge watching
it on Netflix. While watching the first few seasons I couldn’t help but notice
that some of the research techniques that were done “back in the day”
are still present in today’s environment.
Things such as focus groups surely serve their purpose,
especially for making billings higher and giving a client something flashy to
see, but there are so many digital tools at our disposal to drastically
increase the research lifecycle. The faster we obtain research to enable
strategic decisions to be made the faster we have an opportunity to positively
impact revenue and performance.

Research operations teams in the digital age are faster,
leaner and smarter. And I might also add that they are bolder when it comes to
decision making.
Why is it important
to be an agile market researcher today?

Agile market research can at times be hard for traditional
researchers to get on board with. The train moves at a fast pace and it can
change tracks with ease. 
While this may not have been how things occurred during the
Mad Men era, it’s a required pivot based on today’s consumers buying behavior.
They simply don’t wait months for you to make a decision or to get something
Want to hear more from Ryan? Hear his presentation ‘I Didn’t Get Eaten
by the Sharks’ at TMRE in Focus: The New Face of Consumer Insights later this

From the producers of TMRE: The Market Research Event, The New Face of
Consumer Insights explores how companies are redefining their structures,
processes, skillsets and team composition to ensure future relevance in this
fast changing environment. To learn more about the conference and to
register, click here: http://bit.ly/1Uwdpxk

Do Traditional Research Methods Still Have a Place in Market Research?

At TMRE 2015, we caught up with some attendees to discuss
the topic of traditional research methods and their place in the industry.
Today, when it comes to market research, there are
traditional methods and new methods and they must work together to be successful.
Traditional methods aren’t as static as people believe they are ‘ they are
actually very fluid if it’s a good agency.
‘If you are not moving and changing even within a traditional
method, you might not survive, so you have to be fluid,’ explained Nancy Cox of
Hallmark Cards Inc.
Cox still likes talking one on one to consumers. She will
talk to people who love to talk about Hallmark Cards, and she will ask about
your story about Hallmark Cards or the Hallmark Channel or Crayola.  She will listen and tell you she’s doing
research, which is a very traditional method that will never go away in market

According to Michael Lewis of PepisCo, the fundamentals are
always going to be really important. Understanding how to compliment what we’ve
always done with new techniques is important because is the evolution of the industry.
More importantly, you have to think about what makes sense for the business question
you are trying to answer. It’s key to figure out what methods are going to make
the most sense for the questions you have, the budget you have, and the time
frame you have to answer it.
‘There will always be a road for customers providing input
directly,’ said Kumar Mehta of Blueocean Market Intelligence. ‘Maybe the way we
do it, the speed in which we do it, and the other stuff around it may change.’
There are ‘hallmarks’ of traditional methods like
understanding the consumer’s story, building empathy for what a consumer wants,
and understanding what a consumer needs will always have a place. ‘But how we
get there has to change because the market’s changed and consumers have
changed,’ added Anne Thompson of The Garage Group.

Check out the below
video for more:

To hear more on this
topic, download The Future of Insights Study.
This groundbreaking initiative by TMRE & GfK assessed the evolving role of
the researcher, future skillsets and capabilities, current and future resource
allocation and more. This video series gives you a snippet of insights from key
questions the survey asked participants. Download the study here: http://bit.ly/1QjyJ2a

Three Predictions for Marketing Research in 2016

By: David Shanker, CEO, Lightspeed GMI, The Americas
is an evolving industry; with opportunities for those that can
quickly adjust to the changes and discover creative means to do more with less.
Clients expect deeper, enriched results at an accelerated pace. I see three
trends in our industry in 2016:
like a start-up, act like a researcher: 
Automation is the newest ‘game
changer’ in our industry and will continue to be. But while automation will be
a catalyst for change, new models will need to be created to meet client
demand. Faster, better, cheaper hasn’t gone away ‘ as a matter of fact, it’s
been amplified by a business climate that demands more ‘ much more ‘ without
the sacrifice of quality. Companies that can think, act, and execute like a start-up
will prosper.
the survey design agenda: 
Many researchers continue to struggle with
survey length, and as innovators in the survey design space it is up to us to
lead the way’ we are the research Sherpas. Guiding clients to design shorter
and more creative surveys for a fast growing group of mobile respondents
demands thoughtful design and structure. We need to communicate with consumers
in the way they wish to be communicated with. Surveys that are not device
agnostic are no longer an option. And, we can now better leverage easily
accessible behavioral data to help with crafting shorter surveys.
our teams from insights to innovation:
 It’s all about the people –
and here I specifically mean employees. Companies with a culture of innovation
will thrive. Building and maintaining a workforce of highly engaged employees
is critical to our success, and something on which we will keenly focus in
2016. The quality of what we put to market, of the surveys we put in field ‘ is
all a testament to the hard work of our people. We would not be where we are
without them.
Every minute we are online, we create data. Real time
insights and predictive analytics build better strategies, better business
performances. And as researchers, we need to raise two key questions in the
year ahead. Are we doing things right? Are we doing the right things?
From mobile design to panelist engagement, new opportunities
will emerge in the coming year. Overall I would say that 2016 will be a
challenging, yet interesting year. Companies that can leave a client meeting
and return the next day with solutions will be the darling of the industry. We
are in for massive change.

About the Author: David
leads the Lightspeed business across the Americas region, unifying and focusing
systems and expertise to meet clients’ dynamic needs and consistently exceed
their expectations. A veteran of 20-plus years in sales, marketing,
operations and research, he has served in senior management roles in
established, start-up and turn-around business situations

How to Tell a Research Story

The job of research has clearly evolved. Historically, the
role of research was to create data where there was none, but we no longer live
in a world where data are rare. We have more data than we know what to do with.
And the job of the researcher increasingly will be to make those data usable.
It’s going to take an infusion of new skill sets.

Stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems’just as flight
simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Storytelling has
evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival. Stories can also change
the world for the better. Most successful stories are moral’they teach us how
to live, whether explicitly or implicitly, and bind us together around common
values. We know we are master shapers of story.

Several attendees, speakers and sponsors at TMRE 2014 shared
with us some best practices on how to tell a research story.

Watch the full video below:

Insights without impact are worthless. TMRE is the most
trusted, supported insights event in the world and delivers more proven value
than any other of its kind. Beyond “how to,” TMRE is always focused
on the business value of insights – the meat that really matters.

TMRE has grown to be the most comprehensive insights conference in the world.
Focused on the business value of insights, we unite leaders across market
research, consumer insights, strategy, innovation, marketing, analytics,
shopper insights, media research, UX, customer experience, business
intelligence, competitive intelligence and more. Learn more about the event
here: http://bit.ly/1N0CRX1 

Live from #Insightech15: why surveys are necessary but not sufficient

Stacey Symonds of Orbitz presented a future looking case for surveys not being the end all of research. An interesting insight showcased different types of research and how they matched objectives, bringing to light the need to fulfill business problems, not plug methodologies.

Several examples came up for the types of Orbitz products and how they emerged from research, from digital to rewards to travel journey to email research.

Orbitz also unveiled 5 insights from this type of research, relevant to the travel industry as well as progressive research too:
1. Consumers want to and are able to reduce the gap between thinking and doing
2. Queues help consumers manage tasks, content, buying and time.
2. Consumers are seeking to maximize their attention
4. The journey is now a constant state of moving through modes
5. Consumer behavior demands more than omnichannel offers. Thinking on channels must evovle.

Sourabh Sharma,
Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international
consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering,
marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton
School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and
product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting,
he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every
platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer,
and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called
3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com.
Follow him on

Live from #Insightech15: harnessing the power of social, attitudinaland behavioral data

Twitter had Manish Gupta of insights and analytics speak on the largest data creator of our times. Speaking of volume and reach , the focus was on what to do to capitalize on the reach of tweets and use it as an info source. 

The existence of Ellen’s famous tweet that broke he internet feed literally showcases the power of teach and heat can be done about it. 

Two of my most interesting takeaways were around TV and twitter interfaces, for many tweet as a consumer basic behavior. Twitter didn’t invent this but  questioned if the action can actually increase ad watching and effectiveness, demonstrated by the visual.

The future of big data like that created on twitter is definitely a signal that insights need to be distilled in addition to just collected. Only then does it become actionable. 
Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh. 

Tools & Techniques: Too Many or a Bigger Picture?

From checking e-mails, to ordering lunch, technology has fundamentally
changed how we go about our day.  Additionally, technology
has changed market research
.  Advancements are helping us become more
efficient and agile and has created brand new opportunities for obtaining valuable
business intelligence. 
Today, technology (particularly the automated kind) will
continue to supplement and in cases displace traditional tools and techniques,
but it will NOT render direct response techniques obsolete. 
At TMRE last year, Richard Owen of Crowd Lab, Ed Morofksi of
Vision Critical, Bob Lederer of RFL Communications, Sandeep Arora of
Datamatics, and Diane Chang of Intuit talked to us about why it’s important to
utilize the latest market
research technology
and tools.

The market research landscape is growing by the minute. There
are a lot of new tools around, but it’s not just about the technological
innovation ‘ it has to be about methodological innovation as well, according to
Owen. When it comes to mobile, if all we are going to do is put online research
on the phone, then we are really missing the opportunity that mobile provides
to immerse itself in peoples’ lives.
Hear what the experts
have to say in this exclusive video below:

Learn more about the new market research tools, technologies, and methodologies
this May at InsighTech in San Francisco. Visit our
to learn more.

Live from #TMRE14: Food Futures: A Portrait of the Food Connected Generation

Being a prolific foodie, which I learned was a word with negative connotations, I was pleased to attend the Food Network and Cooking Channel VP talk about millennials from Gabe Gordon.

Talking about an interesting juxtaposition of millennials, who don’t inherently watched TV, connect with shows, celebrities and reality television. The joy of cooking is an analog and senatorial experience in the digital world for the younger generation. The joy of cooking has grown exponentially over time, as well as just the need to consume more interesting food.

In terms of drivers, Facebook remains the key driver of conversations on food, as does Pinterest for repeat sharing, ideas and inspiration. Suprisingly, a social media addict’s favorite Instagram falls to the bottom of the pack.

Some interesting factoids include

  • Consumers are hungrier – 70% of people are finding food more important than 4 years ago!
  • Roughly half of food connectors are millennials, and half of those are me. Men have a deeper relationship with food than millennial women
  • 90% of women think a man that cooks is a turn on. 77% of men find cooking makes them feel good about themselves.

Probably one of the most disturbing thoughts was that millennials like their parents and GenX don’t, which is why the family phenomenon and the learning from parents is coming back as a saving behavior via food.

Sourabh Sharma,
Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international
consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering,
marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton
School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and
product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting,
he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every
platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer,
and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called
3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com.
Follow him on