Tag Archives: marketing science

Recap: The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014

Imagine a line drawn in the sand that is filled with hot
burning coals. To the left of the burning line stands
a group of people. And to the right of the burning line stands another group of people. The
group of people on the left are all directly facing the burning line drawn in the
sand and are staring at the opposing group. The group on the right are also all facing
the burning line drawn in the sand, staring directly at the group on the left.
The burning line drawn in the sand represents trust. The
group of people on the left believe they are entitled to the right group’s
trust because they are trying to help them. The group on the right believes
trust is earned and will not easily give it to the group on the left. The tug of
war between the two groups over trust causes friction and creates the burning
line drawn in the sand that neither can cross without the right tools.
The above scenario is analogous to what was presented at the
recent 2014 Future of Consumer Intelligence conference (#FOCI14). The group to the left was Big Business, the group to the right was the Public and we as
attendees were willing and able to sit right on the burning line drawn in the sand and
discuss how to bridge the gap between groups.

BIG DATA VS. BIG PRIVACY

As marketers and researchers we love to collect lots of data
with the intention of using personal information to improve products, services,
and lives. But at what point is it considered invasion of privacy? Do consumers
really know how their data is being used, regardless of whatever they agreed
to? At FOCI14 it was made evident that as marketers and researchers, we teeter
on the brink of ‘Empowerment vs. Endagerment’. The path to maintaining the
balance and bridging the gap on the subject of data between Big Business and
the Public was made evident: provide clear, concise rules and guidelines for
how consumer data is used that moves past legality and into the territory of
morality.
MARKETING SCIENCE VS. PEOPLE
Clearly our industry is at a point of disruptive innovation as
new technologies and methodologies allow researchers to get a clearer picture
of consumer insights. But who are behind all of these insights? That’s right,
people. In our industry we label people as consumers, customers, shoppers,
respondents, target markets and more. But remember that behind all of our
studies are people. And sometimes we can act as a barricade between companies,
their brands, and their consumers in an attempt to remain unbiased and objective. So how do we
bridge the gap?
For starters, John Havens, Founder of The H(app)athon Project, suggests we
can begin by switching out the label ‘consumer’ with ‘customer’. Whereas Elizabeth
Merrick, Senior Customer Insights Manager of HSN suggests we consider research
as another touch point of the brand, ‘We should allow customers to contribute
to a brand, not just consume it.’
So it appears the segue between marketing science and people
is essentially personal treatment and recognizing that customers are more than
a data point within a spreadsheet.

From John Havens, The H(app)athon Project
TECHNOLOGY VS. HUMANIZATION OF DATA
The more I thought about it, FOCI14′s tagline of The Convergence of Technology, Marketing
Science & Humanization of Data seemed unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) dichotomous where both Big Business and the Public were descending upon the line drawn in the sand. So
it goes with technology & humanization.
There is no doubt that technology improves lives at
blistering speeds. Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering for Google pointed
out that, ‘Information Technology expands exponentially across time, not
linearly.’ But as we become more technologically advanced, do we lose a piece
of our humanity and our identity?
As we discussed more and more about the subjects of technological advances, psychological
habits, triggers, and touch points at FOCI14, it seemed the key to closing the
gap between technology & humanization of data relied upon engagement. If new
technologies enable to us to engage with customers in a more meaningful way and
people are able to build stronger psychological connections with each other,
then the gap is bridged. If on the other
hand, the research community were to stand disengaged with customers and people, then technology & humanization in
the field will stand diametrically opposed on a bridge that is about to
collapse.
So the real question in all of this is, ‘Has your
organization bridged the line drawn in the sand’?

Tom Krause, VP of Client Services, Gongos Research
“It’s all about people”
Chris Ruby is an award-winning Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive with Fortune 500 consulting experience. His niche is the ability to turn complex data into compelling stories that induce a call for action among key decision-makers. His work has been featured by MRA, MRIA, IIR, Norstat Times, Chadwick Martin Bailey & the Optimization Group. Keep up with Chris Ruby by following him on Twitter @ChrisRubyMRX or by reading the Chris Ruby Market Research Blog.

World Cup Advertising Wars, Part 3: Your Audience is More than Soccer

Editor’s Note: This
blog post is brought to you by Mattr, a
company that is leading a new era for consumer insights, providing brands with
a deeper, more colorful view into their social audience. Through a unique mix
of personality data and demographics, Marketers can begin to discover what
really makes their audience tick.

Ask many a sports enthusiast and they would probably agree-
a sporting event just isn’t complete without a cold beverage. 
Specifically, a cold beer.  And that mentality holds true for the
previously dry stadiums of Brazil, which will be required to serve beer in all
12 stadiums hosting the World Cup matches.
That’s reason enough for Budweiser to take the role of
official beer sponsor again this year (they’re one of FIFA’s longest standing
sponsors).  Pushing to be recognized as an International beer brand, U.S.
brewed Budweiser has a suitable Marketing canvas through the World Cup. Their
‘Heroic’ World Cup campaign,
themed ‘Rise as One’, will be highly visible now through the end of the
month-long tournament.
Budweiser became one of the first World Cup sponsors to
announce significant partnershipsfor
World Cup- specifically with Fox Sports and Vice Video- to unveil several
documentaries celebrating ‘humanity and perseverance’.  These partnerships
lead nicely into part three of our World Cup series, which focuses on
identifying your audience’s interests and most shared media to improve your
overall campaign.  We’ll discuss ways Budweiser might enhance their ‘Rise
as One’ campaign, as well as ways that rival Miller Lite, which has yet to step
into the World Cup Marketing trenches, might compete with the official sponsor.
Their Eyes Are on
More than the Ball

Digging deep into your audience’s interests isn’t a new
Marketing concept, and it’s one all Advertisers should take advantage of in
order to gain an advantage in any campaign.  It’s important to know where
your audience’s eyes, wallets and loyalties lie. Looking at the @FIFAWorldCup audience,
you can identify not only their most popular interests- everything from brands,
to media, to celebrities- but also those interests that are most unique to
@FIFAWorldCup engagers in relation to all of Twitter.
Looking at the list of ‘Top Unique Interests’ below, you’ll
find that most of them might seem somewhat obvious for a soccer fan- so they
might already be areas that are saturated with World Cup noise.  But
you’ll also find more unique interests buried in the list, like tennis player
Andy Murray or the founder of the Virgin empire, Richard Branson.
Partnering in some way with tennis-themed media or
television might have been a good decision for Budweiser, assuming the same
eyes will be fixed to the World Cup in June.
Similarly, if you’re on the Miller Lite Marketing team and
you’re planning a unique ambush attack, partnering with Virgin might be
successful- perhaps a series of in-flight TV ads on all Virgin flights or a
series of YouTube ads with Richard Branson as the celebrity endorser. If you’re
a smaller brand with a smaller budget, you might have to be more creative using
the same themes. How can you incorporate tennis or Richard Branson in your
online campaign?
Put Content Where
Content is Shared

Looking at the media that your audience shares the most is a
great way to identify where to promote your campaign. Take a look at the FIFA
audience’s most currently shared media below:
After examining the most shared media for @FIFAWorldCup,
either beer brand might decide to initiate a World Cup themed Instagram
campaign, since it tops the list of shared media.  Or they might utilize
the largest soccer website in the world, Goal.com, for online ads,
interesting polls and other Marketing tactics- assuming that since the FIFA
audience is sharing a lot of information from the site, they might also be
clicking through to get more info.
These are just a few hints on unique ways Advertisers can
push through the noise of the World Cup, and get noticed by their fans. 
Beginning next week, we’ll publish the first of a series of reports to track
the Personas of both the FIFA audience, as well as the World Cup official
sponsors and ambush Marketers, to see which brands are on the right track with
their campaigns.
Mattr is a sponsor of
The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014
taking place next week in Los Angeles, CA. This year, FOCI explores the
emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points -
insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with
technology as a central driving force and profound connector.

As a reader of our
blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use
code FOCI14BLOG when you register: http://bit.ly/RRvQzl

World Cup Advertising Wars, Part 2: How to Boost Your Campaigns

Editor’s Note: This
blog post is brought to you by Mattr, a
company that is leading a new era for consumer insights, providing brands with
a deeper, more colorful view into their social audience. Through a unique mix
of personality data and demographics, Marketers can begin to discover what
really makes their audience tick.

Rewind 4 years, and you might recall Adidas and Nike as the
top Marketing contenders for World Cup gear, with Adidas as an official
sponsor, and Nike as their ambush Marketing competitor. Both brands were
extremely successful with their campaigns, partly because the 2010 World Cup
events showed the highest numbers for a sporting event ever on social, providing a great way to increase engagement
amongst soccer fans.
Fast forward to 2014, and not a lot has changed in the
battle of the boots and jerseys. Adidas has again claimed a spot as an official
sponsor, with Nike looming in the background ready to pounce. In fact, Nike
wasted no time, and was the first brand to launch a World Cup
spot
 this year with the inspirational theme ‘Risk Everything’.
And Adidas should take note of Nike’s presence, especially
since Nike brought the pressure last year when Adidas sales slumped in Western Europe. Truth be told, it’s
anyone’s game when it comes to which brand will come out on top after this
year’s World Cup.
Segmentation- From
Planning to Launching

Elaborating on last week’s post, we plan to reveal some
Marketing tactics that might help each of these brands (and smaller brands)
gain the World Cup Marketing advantage, by moving away from the campaign
‘Planning’ phase and into the ‘Active’ phase.

To start, let’s look at the changes in the @FIFAWorldCup
Personas. Last week, the most engaged Persona was ‘Wholesome Males’. Another
sample of tweets this week reveals that ‘Reliable Males’ are now just as
engaged as ‘Wholesome Males’.
So how can brands use this information? Let’s start with
Adidas. They’ve hit social hard for their last few soccer-themed campaigns,
introducing several hashtags (including #FastOrFail for their AdiZero f50 boot,
and #GetReady for their Body Care line). A very smart move on their part.
Now it might also be smart for them to use real-time
segmentation to ‘boost’ any online campaigns running concurrently with their TV
spots. This week, that means speaking to the ‘Wholesome’ and ‘Reliable’
Personas that are actively engaged with @FIFAWorldCup and soccer.
Campaign Content
Shouldn’t Stay Static

Maybe that entails creating some fresh, new content (social,
online advertising, etc) that these Personas can relate to better, because as
mentioned last week, personality types unconsciously ‘Respond To’ or ‘Get
Turned Off’ by certain language. The newly engaged ‘Reliable Male’ Persona
break-down is below:
Popular Hashtags Lead
Back to You

Another way to boost their campaigns might be to use the
favorite hashtags from both Personas, to encourage engagement with the Adidas
campaigns. The current ‘Reliable Male’ favorite hashtag list is below (and what
do you know, #Adidas made the cut). Using these hashtags in addition to the
unique campaign hashtags might bring in more eyeballs from the online soccer
audience who Adidas is looking to sell to.
Next week we’ll look at the @FIFAWorldCup top shared media
and interests, and discuss how Marketers can use that data to make unique media
placement and brand influencer decisions.
Want to look at your own brand audience’s personality
breakdown or favorite hashtags? Click here.
Mattr is a sponsor of
The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014
taking place next week in Los Angeles, CA. This year, FOCI explores the
emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points -
insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with
technology as a central driving force and profound connector.

As a reader of our
blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use
code FOCI14BLOG when you register: http://bit.ly/RRvQzl

Speaker Spotlight: Greg Heist

I recently sat down with The
Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014
keynote speaker Greg Heist, Vice President,
Strategy & Innovation, Gongos Inc., who discussed how the role of ‘the
researcher’ has changed as well as how the increasingly connected customer has
affected market research, among much more.  
We are fortunate to have him share his critical insight with
our FOCI community. This year, FOCI explores the emerging role of
decision science and the convergence of knowledge points – insights,
foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology
as a central driving force and profound connector.
We are barraged by information – and within this sea of data
we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can
we use this convergence of information to better understand people.
 Translating the new “understanding” into future opportunities
means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive
innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think
outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new
and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what
people say they are going to do and what they actually do.
Here is what Heist had to say:
IIR: How has the
role of ‘the researcher’ changed?
Heist: Great
question.  In many ways, the bar continues to be raised with regard to
what executives expect of researchers. In particular, research professionals
are being challenged to provide greater context to insights by triangulating
them with past learnings.  Simultaneously, they’re being asked to find new
ways to bring insights to life in a clear and compelling way.  All of
these are broadening the role of ‘the researcher’ from being an objective
reporter of results to a strategic catalyst of deeper meaning. 
IIR: Where do you
see the emerging space of marketing science and role of data scientists in the
next five years?
Heist: It’s
difficult to overstate the importance of data science and how it will fuse with
what we think of today as ‘marketing sciences.’ The incredible abundance of
data flowing into corporations that is not primary market research data is
mind-numbing.  As a result, organizations instinctively know there are
significant consumer insights to be unlocked within these enormous and
disparate data sets. Traditional marketing sciences techniques are, in
most cases, inadequate to meet this new challenge.  As a result, we will
continue to see greater reliance on data scientists (and the innovative use of
applied mathematics) to unpack these insights and extract new value.  At
Gongos, we are so convinced of the significance of this trend that we launched
a decision sciences business unit, O2 Integrated, at the start of 2013. 
We’ve already seen the ways O2 talent is engrained with clients to help solve
some of their most complex business challenges using highly advanced
approaches.
IIR: How has the
increasingly connected consumer affected market research?
Heist: We’ve only
seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the ‘connected consumer’ will
affect market research.  Right now, we’re seeing tremendous investment in
mobile technologies on the agency side, with much slower adoption of mobile
methods by clients, particularly in the quant realm.  At the same time,
there is an uptick in mobile qual methods since they provide a level of immediacy
and authenticity that traditional online methods can’t match.  In the
future, I believe we are going to see greater adoption and integration of
location-based, behavioral and biometric data streams into consumer research,
with new kinds of insights emerging as a result.
IIR: Tell us a
little bit about your upcoming presentation taking place at The Future of
Consumer Intelligence 2014 entitled, ‘Reinvent & Realign: The Insights
Organization Reimagined.’ What can we expect from it?
Heist: As
insights professionals, we live in very exciting times. We’re emerging
from a relatively stable, collective understanding of what ‘market research’ is
and how it’s perceived within corporations.  The currents of change (some
of which I referred to above) felt across our discipline are significant.
 So significant, that the traditional MR business model and skillsets are
not going to be sufficient to meet the challenge before us.  Our
presentation will provide glimpses into how to reimagine the role, structure
and competencies of the Insights Organization.  Using video-based examples
from clients, we hope to provide the audience with a foreseeable vision of the
future.  My co-presenter Tom Krause, who spent 16 years collectively at
Advance Auto Parts, Best Buy and Pillsbury, is also incredibly passionate about
this topic and we look forward to sharing this vision with FOCI attendees.
Want to hear more from Greg in person? Join him
at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May.
He will be presenting a keynote entitled, ‘Reinvent & Realign: The
Insights Organization Reimagined.’ To
learn more about the event and register, click here:  http://bit.ly/QUSg1I
** As a reader of our
blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use
code FOCI14BLOG when you register **

About the Author:
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and
print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing,
and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs
including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business
Analysts
, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,.
She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where
she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She
can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

Technology is Changing How We Understand the World

I recently sat down with Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 keynote speaker Magnus Lindkvist, Trendspotter & Futurologist, who discussed how technology is not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people as well as the emerging space of marketing science.
We are fortunate to have her share her critical insight with our FOCI community. This year, FOCIexplores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points – insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.
We are barraged by information – and within this sea of data we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can we use this convergence of information to better understand people.  Translating the new “understanding” into future opportunities means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what people say they are going to do and what they actually do.
Here is what Magnus had to say:
IIR: A big theme of this year’s conference is ‘humanization of data.’ Why do you think understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic action?
Magnus: Because people have secrets and all opportunities begin as secrets.
IIR: How is technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people?
Magnus: It visualizes the fringes of society in a new way. Before, the mainstream was dominant by its strength in numbers. But in the ‘thoughtsphere’, a Minnesota flute tribe or Namibian upstart company can have the same perceived presence as a king or queen.
IIR: How has consumer intelligence strategy and action planning helped drive your business?
Magnus: It only helped early on as I was learning the ropes. Once you grasp the basics, you are free to challenge them known as “you-have-to-get-an-invite-to-change-music’-paradigm.
IIR: How has the role of ‘the researcher’ changed?
Magnus: The title has been completely eroded in that everyone points ‘research’ these days and quotes some arcane, Googled study. But I see the role of the good researcher as having been expanded and deepened in that everything from product innovations to president reelections use research as their fuel.
IIR: Describe a situation where you’ve taken a risk or thought outside the box of tradition market research methods. How did that benefit your business?
Magnus: All available research said the book business is a dying market. I wrote three books anyway. They all failed.
IIR: Where do you see the emerging space of marketing science and role of data scientists in the next five years?
Magnus: I see a new role emerging called Chief Imagination Officer or C.Im.O.
IIR: How has the increasingly connected consumer affected market research?
Magnus: Negatively. It dilutes opinions. It’s harder to find quirky, off-the-grid people who give those valuable sideways kind of insights.

Want to hear more from Magnus in person? Join him at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. Magnus will be presenting a keynote entitled, ‘When The Future Begins – A Guide to Long-Term Thinking’ on Wednesday, May 21st at 12:00 pm. To learn more about the event and register, click here: http://bit.ly/1lGi6Ur
** As a reader of our blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when you register **

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

Speaker Spotlight: Magnus Lindkvist

I recently sat down with Future
of Consumer Intelligence 2014 
keynote speaker Magnus Lindkvist, Trendspotter
& Futurologist, who discussed how technology is not only changing how we do
things, but also how we understand the world, business, and people as well as the
emerging space of marketing science.
We are fortunate to have him share his critical insight with
our FOCI community. This year, FOCI
explores the emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge
points – insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and
intelligence with technology as a central driving force and profound connector.
We are barraged by information – and within this sea of data
we must remember to think of the problem we are trying to solve and how we can
we use this convergence of information to better understand people.
 Translating the new “understanding” into future opportunities
means that the role of a researcher is changing. FOCI accelerates disruptive
innovators in the research space and pushes people to take risks, to think
outside of traditional research methods and insights gathering and explore new
and alternative tools and technologies. FOCI will bridge the gap between what
people say they are going to do and what they actually do.
Here is what Magnus had to say:
IIR: A big theme
of this year’s conference is ‘humanization of data.’ Why do you think
understanding PEOPLE (not consumers) presents an opportunity for strategic
action?
Magnus: Because
people have secrets and all opportunities begin as secrets.
IIR: How is
technology not only changing how we do things, but also how we understand the
world, business, and people?
Magnus: It
visualizes the fringes of society in a new way. Before, the mainstream was
dominant by its strength in numbers. But in the ‘thoughtsphere’, a Minnesota
flute tribe or Namibian upstart company can have the same perceived presence as
a king or queen.
IIR: How has
consumer intelligence strategy and action planning helped drive your business?
Magnus: It only
helped early on as I was learning the ropes. Once you grasp the basics, you are
free to challenge them known as “you-have-to-get-an-invite-to-change-music’-paradigm.
IIR: How has the
role of ‘the researcher’ changed?
Magnus: The title
has been completely eroded in that everyone points ‘research’ these days and
quotes some arcane, Googled study. But I see the role of the good researcher as
having been expanded and deepened in that everything from product innovations
to president reelections use research as their fuel.
IIR: Describe a
situation where you’ve taken a risk or thought outside the box of tradition
market research methods. How did that benefit your business?
Magnus: All
available research said the book business is a dying market. I wrote three books
anyway. They all failed.
IIR: Where do you
see the emerging space of marketing science and role of data scientists in the
next five years?
Magnus: I see a new role emerging called Chief Imagination
Officer or C.Im.O.
IIR: How has the
increasingly connected consumer affected market research?
Magnus: Negatively.
It dilutes opinions. It’s harder to find quirky, off-the-grid people who give
those valuable sideways kind of insights.

Want to hear more from Magnus in person? Join him
at Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 in Los Angeles, CA in May. Magnus
will be presenting a keynote entitled, ‘When The Future Begins – A Guide to
Long-Term Thinking’ on Wednesday, May 21st at 12:00 pm. To learn
more about the event and register, click here: http://bit.ly/1lGi6Ur
** As a reader of our
blog, you get an exclusive 15% discount on your FOCI 2014 pass. Use code FOCI14BLOG when
you register **

About the Author:
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and
print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing,
and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs
including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business
Analysts
, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,.
She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where
she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She
can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

Tweet & Win a Free Pass to The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014

Fans and followers of the The Future of Consumer Intelligence
are invited to enter the Tweet & Win
Contest 
by following @TMRE and/or visiting and tweeting
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    Intelligence 2014
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The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014 explores the
emerging role of decision science and the convergence of knowledge points -
insights, foresights, social science, marketing science and intelligence with
technology as a central driving force and profound connector. The Future of
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Rats, Responders, or Consumers: What do we call these people?

As scientists and researchers, the lowly or lovely rat,
depending on your perspective, has allowed us to research many things over the
century. Rats have told us how live tissue responds to a variety of diseases
and drugs. Rats have also taught us about concepts like positive reinforcement,
punishment, socialization, team work, and much more. Rats have taught us so
much that for a long time, we used the same vernacular in our research with
human rats, or ‘subjects’ as we more kindly referred to them.
Over time, we realized that even that kind term wasn’t as
nice as what we’d been led to believe. The term ‘subjects’ still seemed to infer
that humans were disposable live samples to be treated and mistreated however
we desired. Clearly, treating our moms, granddads, and loved ones as subjects
didn’t feel right.
In recent years, we’ve worked hard to find words that more
aptly described what we perceived the relationship between research and human
subject to be. We sought words that focused more on the contributions our
humans made, on the respect and trust we have in them, on the effort and
passion they’ve gladly given us. We stumbled over words like responders,
participants, consumers, and people, each one of them lacking in various ways
to truly describe what really takes place.
But have we ever asked the human subject what they wanted to
be called? I hazard a guess that for most people, the answer is no! Recently, I
had the opportunity to do just that. I was able to simply ask a human subject
what they wish to be called. And the answer was surprisingly simple.
‘Call me your client.’ Full stop.
That never occurred to me before.
But really, when you think about it, aren’t people,
responders, participants, humans, consumers really our clients? We conduct all
this marketing research to provide better products and services for them. Which
means, of course, that they are our clients. How did it take me decades to get
to that answer? I really don’t know but at least now I have a good answer.

And on that note, perhaps I will pop into a #FOCI14 presentation by Kelley Peters, Neil Fleming, and Emily Stern of Post Foods when
they discuss how consumers are people too.
Annie Pettit, PhD is the Chief Research
Officer at Peanut Labs, a company specializing in self-serve panel sample. Annie is a methodologist focused on data quality, listening
research, and survey methods. She won Best Methodological Paper at Esomar 2013,
and the 2011 AMA David K. Hardin Award. Annie tweets at @LoveStats and can be reached at annie@peanutlabs.com.

The Best Time To Post On Social Media is…?

We’ve all been there before. We are about to post across Social Media (SM) and that foreboding question finally hits us. ‘When is the best time and day to post on SM’? I mean, we want as many relevant (maybe even irrelevant) people to see our postings and content, right?

This ever evolving digital social process is called ‘The Science of Timing’ (SOT).  If we get it right, everyone lives happily ever after.  If we get it wrong, no one gives us a second thought.

The “Science of Timing” predicts the optimal time to post on Social Media

SOT (a.k.a. the optimal time to post) revolves around 5 different paradigms and approaches otherwise known as: The Common Sense Approach, The Segmentation Approach, The Best Practices Approach, The Auto Scheduling Approach, and the Contracompetitive Timing Approach.

Huh?  Keep reading.

The Common Sense Approach is based on an intuitive sense of when people would or would not be on SM. For example, when people are asleep, at work, or at school, they are probably less likely to interact with SM. Whereas, if people are awake and the timing is before, after, or outside of work or school, their likelihood to use SM increases on average.

The Segmentation Approach involves timing based on the SM habits of your targeted audience, which coincidentally, you’ve collected over time. For example, if you and your organization are targeting teenage gamers during the upcoming summer, you’ve likely monitored their SM patterns over time, and will run a campaign based on the SM idiosyncrasies they’ve displayed. In all likelihood, their SM behavior will be different when compared to the entire online population as a whole.  Hence, the Segmentation Approach.

In contrast, The Best Practices Approach is based on how the entire SM audience acts as a whole and provides optimal timings based on aggregate online behavior.  You can think of it in terms of talking at a cocktail party, where there is a lot of chatter at its peak attendance point.

The optimal time to post on Twitter is late in the weekday, between 2pm ‘ 5pm EST

Dan Zarella, SM Scientist for Hubspot, recently addressed the SOT Best Practices Approach for both Twitter and Facebook.  ‘The optimal time to post on Twitter is late in the weekday, between 2pm ‘ 5pm EST, as this maximizes ReTweets. Coincidentally, we’ve found there is no significant difference in clickthrough rates according to the time of day or the day of the week, so it’s okay to experiment with your Tweets on the weekends and during late hours.’

Zarella further explains, ‘We’ve discovered clickthrough rates dramatically reduce, the more you post within an hour.  The clickthrough rate for a second post drops to 50%. The clickthrough rate for a 3rd post within an hour is almost nil.’  Zarella is not suggesting to Tweet less as he points to a strong relationship between the number of tweets per day and total followers.  Instead, he suggests not to ‘crowd out’ your tweets per hour.

Zarella also suggests three key timing points for Facebook: (1) post every other day as  mainstream pages that did this displayed the most likes, (2) post content on the weekends since it elicits the most amount of shares and (3) post content in the morning as shares tend to do marginally better than those published at other times.

Don’t “crowd out” your Tweets per hour

But if everyone uses The Best Practices Approach, wouldn’t the SM landscape become overcrowded during those specific times and diminish the likelihood of anyone hearing your message?

Great question.  Keep reading.

The three previous methods require someone from within to personally determine optimal timing.  Whereas with The Autoscheduling Approach, 3rd parties determine optimal posting times.  But what are these 3rd parties’ optimization practices you say?  And how do they measure up to yours?

After investigating Autoscheduling practices, two unique terms surfaced: static vs. dynamic. A static Autoscheduling system optimizes timing based on The Best Practices Approach, not on individual behavior. While a dynamic system optimizes timing through individual / follower behavior, and gets better over time. So which method would you prefer? Find out which method your provider utilizes.

Last but not least, there is The Contracompetitive Timing Approach. This approach is actually the opposite of The Best Practices Approach and circumvents its downside.  This territory lies at the beginning and tail-end of the cocktail party, where crowds are smaller in number, thereby improving the odds of individual engagement.  By utilizing Contracompetitive Timing, smaller crowds are more likely to hear your voice that would otherwise be lost in the chatter of a full-swing cocktail party.

So which SOT approach is the best? The Common Sense Approach of when people are online? The Segmentation Approach that profiles your specific target audience?  The mega-blast to a crowded room, Best Practice Approach?  Perhaps the best is The Autoscheduling Approach which leaves it in the hands of the experts? Or maybe the Contracompetitive Timing Approach seems like a valid alternative, so your messages aren’t lost in the masses? Perchance it is a combination of all the above? 

In your personal experience, the best SOT approach is _________. (Please comment below)

Chris Ruby is an award-winning Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive with Fortune 500 consulting experience. His niche is the ability to turn complex data into compelling stories that induce a call for action among key decision-makers. His work has been featured by MRA, MRIA, IIR, Norstat Times, Chadwick Martin Bailey & the Optimization Group. Keep up with Chris Ruby by following him on Twitter @ChrisRubyMRX or by reading the Chris Ruby Market Research Blog.


Why Habits are the Lifeblood of Your Business

Editor’s Note: This
essay is adapted from Hooked: A
Guide to Building Habit Forming Products
by Nir Eyal. Nir also blogs at NirAndFar.com.
Habits are one of the ways the brain learns complex
behaviors. Habits form when the brain takes a shortcut and stops actively
deliberating over what to do next.1 The brain quickly learns to codify
behaviors that provide a solution to whatever situation it encounters.
The success of many companies depends on their ability to
find a way to get users to go from infrequent use to being dependent on the
product. It is at the point when customers start to use it on their own, again
and again, without relying on overt calls-to-action such as ads or promotions,
that the product becomes a habit.
These habit-forming products change user behavior and create
unprompted user engagement.  Habit formation is good for business in
several ways. Building for habits increases customer lifetime value, provides
pricing flexibility, supercharges growth, and erects competitive barriers.
1. Increasing Customer Lifetime Value
Fostering consumer habits is an effective way to increase
the value of a company by driving higher customer lifetime value (CLTV). CLTV
is the amount of money made from a customer before she switches to a
competitor, stops using the product or dies. User habits increase how long and
how frequently customers use a product, resulting in higher CLTV.
Some products have a very high CLTV. For example, credit
card customers tend to stay loyal for a very long time and are worth a bundle.
Hence, credit card companies are willing to spend a considerable amount of
money acquiring new customers. This explains why you receive so many
promotional offers, ranging from free gifts to airline bonus miles, to entice
you to add another card or upgrade your current one. Your potential CLTV
justifies a credit card company’s marketing investment.
2. Providing Pricing Flexibility
Habits give companies greater flexibility to increase
prices. For example, in the free-to-play video game business, it is standard
practice for game developers to delay asking users to pay money until they have
played consistently and habitually.
Once the compulsion to play is in place and the desire to
progress in the game increases, converting users into paying customers is much
easier. Selling virtual items, extra lives, and special powers is where the
real money lies.
As of December 2013, more than 500 million people have
downloaded Candy Crush Saga, a game played mostly on mobile devices. The game’s
‘freemium’ model converts some of those users into paying customers, netting
the game’s maker nearly a million
dollars per day
.
3. Supercharging Growth
Users who continually find value in a product are more
likely to tell their friends about it. Frequent usage creates more
opportunities to encourage people to invite their friends, broadcast content,
and share through word-of-mouth.
Products with higher user engagement also have the potential
to grow faster than their rivals. Case in point: Facebook leapfrogged its
competitors, including MySpace and Friendster, even though it was relatively
late to the social networking party. Although its competitors both had healthy
growth rates and millions of users by the time Mark Zuckerberg’s fledgling site
launched beyond the closed doors of academia, his company came to dominate the
industry. Facebook’s success was, in part, a result of the more is more
principle ‘ more frequent usage drives more viral growth.
4. Creating Competitive Barriers
When it comes to shaking consumers’ old habits, better
products don’t always win ‘ especially if a large number of users have already
adopted a competing product. For example, August Dvorak designed a keyboard in
1932 that is far more efficient than the QWERTY most people use today. Dvorak’s
design of vowels in the center row proved to increase the speed and efficiency
of typists. However, despite having built a better product, the switch to his
keyboard never happened. Why? QWERTY survives because the costs of switching
user behavior after habits have been formed are too high.  
For many products, forming habits is an imperative for
survival. As infinite distractions compete for our attention, companies are
learning to master novel tactics to stay relevant in users’ minds. Today,
amassing millions of users is no longer good enough. Companies increasingly
find that their economic value is a function of the strength of the habits they
create. In order to win the loyalty of their users and create a product that’s
regularly used, companies must learn not only what compels users to click, but
also what makes them tick.
You can hear Nir speak
at the upcoming Future of Consumer Intelligence Conference 2014 in Los Angeles,
California.  The Future of Consumer
Intelligence 2014 explores the emerging role of decision science and the
convergence of knowledge points – insights, foresights, social science,
marketing science and intelligence with technology as a central driving force and
profound connector. For more information
on the event, click here to download the interactive brochure: http://bit.ly/1h9MG2Q
Register for FOCI and see Nir in person! http://bit.ly/1eozvcg

1. Dickinson, A. &
Balleine, B. (2002) The role of learning in the operation of motivational
systems. In Gallistel, C.R. (ed.), Stevens’ Handbook of Experimental
Psychology: Learning, Motivation, and Emotion. Wiley and Sons, New York, pp.
497’534.