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Live from #TMRE13: Day 1 Recap: Ensuring Your Seat at the Table, Evangelizing Research, and Thumb Wrestling!

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and is a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.  

Hi folks! Each day of #TMRE13 I’ll recap key insights from several of the sessions I attended. Follow the blog for daily recaps and don’t forget to follow the #TMRE13 Twitter stream for up-to-the-minute updates.

It was a
whirlwind first day of #TMRE! Sessions kicked off right at 8:30am (good
morning!) and ended with a rockstar keynote by Jane McGonigal, author of
Reality is Broken (I recently wrote about her here).  
As many of you know,
I’m on the client side and I was pleased that several key client-side themes
came up in multiple sessions today:

**We’re all looking for “a
seat at the table,” to prove to our customers (either internal or
external, depending on your research gig) that we researchers exist to provide strategic,
actionable insights and to help guide strategic insights. As Susan Topel of Centene highlighted in her session “It’s Just Not That Hard – Using Consumer Insight for Competitive Advantage” we are not in the job to be order-takers and if you’re not being invited to sit at the table, show up anyway!

**As client-side researchers, to be successful you’ll need to budget part of your time to evangelizing the research and insights function. If you do your job well, you’ll have internal clients asking “what voice of the customer research has been done for this [product launch]” before decisions are made, as has happened to Melanie Wing of Equifax, mentioned in her “The Magical Intersection: How Combining Customer Insights  Competitive Intelligence and Customer Analytics Creates Optimal Business Results” session.

**When you’re under the gun for quick turnaround on a project, remember that in addition to going out and getting insights from new data, there may be opportunities to mine your own data to help quantify or bolster those insights. Sarah Ryan of TNS and Ramona Harvey of eBay shared this in an excellent case study of a 3 week + 30k project that yielded insights looking at both existing and new data. 

**Find the right tools and implement some solid process structure in order to be nimble with your research, as there’s not always a lot of time to outsource to a research partner. In his session “Lessons Learned from Improving Strategic Market Intelligence Function,” Adam Kowalik of Ernst & Young Poland introduced us to the FAROUT framework: future oriented, accurate, resource efficient, objective, usable, and timely. 

Other highlights
from today didn’t just focus on client-side research. We heard a lot about
“reporting” vs. “storytelling” and how to get from one to
the next, both in practice, and in perception by your clients. You don’t want
to become known as the department that just sends out unwieldy reports. For
example, in the eBay presentation mentioned above, Sarah and Ramona shared that one of their deliverables for a key project
(there were multiple deliverables) was a mobile-optimized infographic sent to their
marketing teams that highlighted 5 key insights from the project.  We talk a lot about user expereince in the market research community, and several
speakers reminded us to think about your client’s user experience with your
At the end of the day, Jane McGonigal had us play an epic game of massive multiplayer thumb wrestling to invoke positive “gamer emotions” – thousands of researchers holding hands (well, thumb wrestling) at the end of a busy day!


More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie is the Senior Research Manager at Diversified Business Communications, managing a team of skilled researchers busy gleaning insights for products around the globe. She has worked with companies large and small in industries such as software, seafood, fragrance and entertainment to help companies move their business forward supported by actionable insights derived from market research. She loves to find the story in the numbers and is passionate about bringing the ‘Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. Active on social media as @InsightsGal, Katie actively tweets and blogs about the market research industry. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

Live from #TMRE13: Combining Customer Insights, Competitive Intelligence & Customer Analytics

Today we kicked off the Business & Competitive Intelligence Track with The Magical  Intersection: How Combining Customer Insights, Competitive Intelligence and Customer Analytics Creates Optimal Business Results presented by Melanie Wing, Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Customer Insights Leader, Equifax.

Start off today, by thinking about our consumer and what they need.

B2B Needs: Decision-makers are human.

Most professionals are interested in succeeding:

- make a profit
- have fun
- gain power
- avoid hassle
- avoid risk

The challenge:

- Customer needs
- competitor capabilities
- Customer behavior

- data silos: need to be aligned to get a 360-degree view of the customer, build predictive models – lose a customer/purchaser.

- Market research is now just about gaining insights that can give you direction. What it won’t give you is precision.

- You have to do it systematically. It cannot be done helter-skelter because you end up with a lot of data but no insight.

We’re making progress but the key is to put together these 3 types of insights for actionable results.


  Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista.

How to get more ideas from your customers

Getting more ideas from your customers: ‘We need just one more idea to reach our goal’!
One way to get customers to contribute ideas to your challenge is to let them know you almost have the number of ideas you are shooting for.
A key part of a successful collaborative innovation strategy is to make certain you communicate the team’s successes.  It is a terrific way to let customers know their efforts are being rewarded.  Armed with this knowledge those customers who collaborate gain enthusiasm for continuing to provide contributions.
So although it may seem like a small thing…
…showing off or reporting the progress your customers are making (toward the number of ideas you’ve set as your goal) will spur additional ideas and participation.
You know that big poster of a thermometer on the village square that notes the progress of the fund raising project?  Well it seems that works. 
Customers are more likely to contribute when the goals are close to being reached.
This means I should give you two pieces of advice when launching your idea challenge to customers… 
          1.      Shoot for an attainable target number of ideas
          2.     Raise the goal as the challenge progresses

Celebrate Quick Wins
Celebrating victories, accomplishments and milestones with your customers in the Innovation process is an important step in demonstrating a senior level company endorsement of the notion ‘we’re interested in what you have to say, Mr./Mrs. Customers’. 
By stopping to celebrate progress, to recognize a given customer’s accomplishments and reflect on the work completed thus far, it is also possible to evaluate the overall Innovation effort and course correct, if necessary.
You can communicate the progress of the challenge; the number of ideas ‘achieved’ so far by posting a progress chart on the customer feedback portal dashboard, by sending out a daily, weekly, or a monthly newsletter or by sending an email directly to the customer contributors noting the progress everyone has made to date. 

In conclusion
When you ask Customers for ideas, set a goal of an attainable number of ideas for the challenge.  Raise the goal number of ideas as the challenge progresses.  Communicate the progress of the challenge to the customer contributor community.
Cryder, C. et al., ‘Goal Gradient in Helping Behavior,’ Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (forthcoming).
Ron Shulkin blogs, researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  You can learn more about Ron at his biography web site:www.shulkin.net. You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.   
Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer??, an innovation ecosystem. CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation. CogniStreamer has been rated as a ‘Leader’ in Forrester’s recent Wave report on Innovation Management Tools. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60. Ron also manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (JoinHere).

Arguments for and against deploying a collaborative social network

Here’s the debate:  

  • Must we have a social network for collaboration at work?  
  • How about with your customers?

On one hand we want everyone’s opinion.  We appreciate that our employees and our customers have information we should collect and synthesize.  But naysayers will always point out why this premise either won’t work or that the information is unreliable.
There are always those folks within a company who are steadfastly against encouraging the use of a social network within a company.  They think their employees should be paying attention to their ‘day jobs’, not frittering away their time surfing the web.  It’s not that they can’t see the benefit of having workers talk to each other or with customers’they just believe this time is misspent. 
This is not a new notion.  That same complaint used to be made about coffee houses even though great ideas came out of these meeting places.  In the 1600′s Anthony Wood, an Oxford academic noted, ‘Why doth solid and serious learning decline, and few or none follow it now in the University’? he asked. ‘Answer: Because of Coffea Houses, where they spend all their time.’  
The smartest people of the time congregated at coffee houses to extend the discussions began at meetings of the Members of the Royal Society, England’s pioneering scientific society.  So too can collaborative social networks provide a place for ongoing collaboration in between episodic events.  You can have a big meeting, and then continue the discussion via a social setting.
Like coffee houses of the past, social networks can provide a lively social and intellectual environment, giving rise to a stream of innovations that can shape the world. We still consider coffee as the official drink of collaboration and networking (at least before 5PM).
The path of using a social network to collaborate at work requires our brains to work differently.  Some studies have shown it will take you 23 minutes to get back on track after posting a status line on either twitter or Facebook and that a social media interruption occurs every 10.5 minutes on average, and people waste 41% of that time on Facebook. Yet, a study published in 2012 by McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, found that the use of social networking within companies increased the productivity of ‘knowledge workers’ by 20 to 25 percent.
The notion of workers collaborating on line might be inevitable.  A survey by virtual office staffing agency Intelligent Office finds that more and more employees are choosing where they want to work, rather than being assigned a standard workplace location. Specifically, 70% of the employees surveyed work from alternate locations on a regular basis.  You can’t have all your meetings at work if everyone works someplace different.
Here’s another reason why a social network dedicated to collaboration is inevitable.   Most employees spend about a quarter of their time managing e-mail.  They spend about one day of the work week looking for internal information or tracking down the right people. With internal social networks, the message IS the content.  You can find the co-worker you need easily (even if you’ve never met). 
If you can have a central repository of information; of content, employees’ time (spent looking for the information they need) can be cut by a third.
And adoption might be inevitable also because it appears the speed and scale of adoption exceeds other technologies.
One danger the collaborative social network presents is when one voice is worth more than others.  The idea to encourage democracy is a constant challenge.   Just like in ancient Rome, when someone important recommended a book (and had the resources to have scribes make copies), executives today can approve content and tacitly encourage support for any given idea.
The initial promise of social media was to help ideas succeed on their own.  It was thought these open forums would remove the old gatekeepers.  In fact social media is not especially democratic. The most powerful people and institutions have the most Facebook fans and Twitter followers which means that content that serves their interests is much more likely to show up in your newsfeed.
The conclusions to be drawn? Social networks dedicated to collaborative ideation appear to be inevitable.  Methods to keep the process democratic must be part of the deployment strategy.  It takes more than just rolling out a new social network ideation tool’a strategy for nurturing a culture ripe for collaboration must be encouraged.
TOM STANDAGE,  NY Times, June 22, 2013
Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years By TOM STANDAGE

Ron Shulkin blogs researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  You can learn more about Ron at his biography web site:www.shulkin.net. You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.  
Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer??, an innovation ecosystem. CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60 . Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (JoinHere).

Your Answer May Depend On What Chair You Sit In

People lie.  That’s a fact.  Sometimes when they don’t even mean to lie.  The situation, the way you ask the question, the surroundings’ all contribute to folks’ responses.  But you can optimize your chances for the truth by manipulating external forces.

Here are some variables you can pay attention to for your next Focus Group or Collaborative Collective Intelligence Challenge’
Bigger Is NOT Better
It all depends on how you ask the question.  If you offer a product that is ‘double sized’, ‘king sized’, people will think it is worth more whether it is truly bigger or not.  Studies show people are willing to pay more for equivalent portions with larger sounding labels.  In fact they ate less of a portion when it had a larger sounding label.
Doubting Thomas Notes Details
If you want people to pay attention to details, the minor differences in your new product’If you want people to give your offering a fighting chance’Put them in a distrustful state.  If your audience thinks they might be hoodwinked, they’ll put a keen eye on the topic at hand.  A distrustful frame of mind causes people to pay attention to dissimilarity, including how things may be different from stereotypes.
I Must Be Right’Everyone Agrees With Me
There is a famous notion that the winning project is the one suggested by THPPITR (The Highest Paid Person In The Room). If you ever wondered why these CXO’s are comfortable with this path, they’re not acting with guile’it’s likely because they think everyone in the room agrees with them.  Studies show senior executives will assume everyone shares their values.  They can even project their moods on to others. 
If these senior executives are part of your ideation team, you might want to figure out a way to democratize the process so their opinions and votes are of the same value as other team members.
Wrap Up
This reminds me of something I heard in a college course entitled ‘How to lie with statistics’.  They pointed out that a company who sold toothpaste asked dentists what toothpaste they preferred.  The fact was they kept asking more and more dentists until they finally got a sample where ’9 out of 10′ dentists agreed their toothpaste was the best.  They might have had to ask a few thousand groups of ten until they got there’but they were quite patient and required a certain response.
The Truth?  You can’t handle the truth!  Or maybe you can’t necessarily trust what you’re hearing if the situational circumstances are skewed against you, or in the favor of a choice you wouldn’t prefer. 
Yap, A. et al., ‘The Erogonomics of Dishonesty:  The Effet of Incidental Posture on Stealing, Cheating, and Traffic Violations,’ Pscyhlogical Science (forthcoming).

Zell, E. & Bernstein, M., ‘You May Think You’re Right’Young Adults Are More Liberal than They Relize,’Social Psychological and Personality Science (forthcoming).

Just, D. & Wansink, B., ‘One Man’s Tall is Another Man’s Small:  How the Framing of Portion Size Influcences Food Choice, ‘ Health Economics (forthcoming).

Posten, A.-C. & Mussweiler, T., ‘When Distrust Frees Your Mind’, Journal of Perosnialty and Social Psychology (forthcoming).

Overbeck, J. & Droutman, V., ‘One for All: Social Power Incrases Self-Anchoring of Traits, Attitudes, and Emotions,’ Psychological Science (forthcoming).
Ron Shulkin blogs researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  You can learn more about Ron at his biography web site:www.shulkin.net. You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.  
Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer??, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60 .  Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (JoinHere).

The top 3 methods to make certain your customer is getting your message.

Here’s a “How To” designed to get your message noticed, read and acted upon. 
This article is about how to optimize your chances that someone will get your message.
We’re not writing this down for our health.  We want our message heard. 
1.      We all want our the messages we send to customers to be heard. 
2.      We want our selling message to a potential customer to be persuasive. 
3.      We want our message to customers acted on. 
There are some clear steps you can take to increase the chances your message will get processed in the manner you’re hoping for.
Of course your message has to have merit.  This blog entry is not discussing content.  But let’s at least say, you should be trying your best to say something important.  Time is short and we’re all busy so let’s not waste people’s time.
Statistics tell us the odds of being heard are against you.  Consider that we receive 5x as much information today as we did in 1986. We consume about 100,500 words on an average day.  We’re overloaded. 

We’re consuming most of these words on line but it’s tough to get people to interact.  Up by ?? hour each year, people spend over three hours a day on social networks while TV, Radio, newspaper and magazine reading/watching is down year after year.  Your chances of getting someone to interact with your posting are low’consider that people average 36 posts per month on FB and spend 20 minutes per FB visit. 
People are spending their time on social networks more than any other medium.  They have a lot of information to choose from.  This is why it’s important to make sure your message counts.
Most of these suggestions are things you probably either know, or thought you knew.  But I think in our haste we forget how important these persuasive steps can be to help us be successful.
Be Concise
We’re humanly no better at reading this overload of information than we were 30 years ago.  When you put your message in front of your audience, they take in about 20% of the words.  Think about that.  That means you have to keep your message short.  Concise. 
Be Aware of the Medium
Don’t forget your audience may encounter your message via a variety of media.  They can look at it:
??       on paper,
??       on their desktop computer,
??       on their laptop,
??       on their tablet,
??       on the screen in a meeting,
??       on their smart phone. 
Make sure your message has a self adapting component.  In other words, it works in any format.
Use Color
Color increases readers’ attention spans and recall by 82%. Researchers found that color visuals increase the willingness to read by 80%.  Color gains readership by 80%. It’s 39% more memorable. Color increases comprehension by as much as 73%. And increases retention even more.  It increases sales results and brand recognition.  Are you getting this?
Use Pictures
People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.  In fact this works for in person presentations and in tests 67% of the audience were persuaded by the verbal presentation that had accompanying visuals.  Think about it’when you’re looking at a news-feed, aren’t you more likely to click on the entry with a picture?
Brain Scans?
Adding pictures of brain scans and mentioning cognitive neuroscience make people more inclined to believe what they are reading.  It’s kind of hard to sneak it into your message, but it does fit into this story so what the heck.
We’re inundated with information.  Yet we all want OUR message to be heard.  Maximize your chances for successful communication by being Concise, by using Pictures and Pictographs.  Of course make certain you’re writing something worthy of being read.
Ron Shulkin blogs researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer??, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60.  Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here). You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.

“People Talk to People, not Brands”

“If you remember one thing I say today, let it be this” people talk to people, not brands.” Alex Hunter,  points out a key principle of how companies (the people who work for them, actually) should think about their customers.

The brain is hard-wired to focus it’s primary resources on relationships with other people. Assuming basic survival needs are met–food, shelter, personal safety–the brain spends the majority of its cognitive resources on interactions with other people. It is a simple neurological fact that an interaction with another person is the most engaging experience that a human being can have (with the possible exception of a cobra wrapping itself around your leg). As such, engaging with another person will activate far more cognitive and emotional processing areas of your brain than engaging with an object, even if the object embodies a human interaction, such as an email.

Alex told a story of how a friend of his tweeted about his upcoming visit to the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto, California (let’s call this friend “Fiona”). Fiona got a tweet reply, and then a hand-written note, and several tweets back and forth ensued creating a real dialogue with the brand, as represented by an actual human. What made the experience truly memorable in Fiona’s mind was that the woman behind the tweets, an employee of Four Seasons (let’s call her “Amy”), introduced herself to Fiona and thanked her for staying at the hotel.

There are two ways to express this in the Four Season’s next marketing team meeting:

“Fiona is now a loyal customer of the Four Seasons because she had a positive experience with the brand and outstanding customer service was delivered in real time by the social media team and coordinated with the onsite staff.”

Or…”Fiona is now a loyal customer of the Four Seasons because Amy responded to her tweets in real time and took the effort to personally introduce herself and thank her for her stay.”

Humans engage the brain more than any other object. Make human interactions the center of your brand strategy.

Customer Experience Experts Podcast: Dan Hill, What’s the Emotional Story?

In anticipation of our 2013 event, I recently spoke to Dan Hill, Ph.D., President, Sensory Logic and Author, Emotionomics about his involvement and experience with the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit.

We discussed the science behind gauging both verbal and nonverbal, subconscious reactions to advertising, store environments, and product design, packaging and presentation, understanding the emotional story and forecasting engagement and experience based on that emotional connection.

Customer Experience Experts Podcast: Dan Hill, What’s the Emotional Story? by IIRUSA
Join Dan Hill as he delivers a keynote address See, Touch, Buy: What’s the Emotional Story? The Sensory-Emotional Experience that Lifts the Customer Experience and Profit Margin at the 2013 Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit. As a reader of this blog, we’d like to offer you a 15% discount off the standard registration rates, use code TCEL13BLOG.

Visit our website to download the 2013 brochure, learn more about the event, or register.

About the Author
Valerie M. Russo, Social Media Innovation Lead, Senior Strategist at IIR USA, has a background in technology, anthropology, marketing and publishing.  Russo has worked in a variety of digital media roles at Hachette Book Group, Aol, and Thomson Reuters. She is a published poet and maintains a literary blog. She may be reached at vrusso@iirusa.com. Follow her @Literanista.  

How to get a free pass to the 2013 Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit

Be our official TCEL Scribe!

We’re offering an exclusive all-access complimentary pass (a $3,690 value) to the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit taking place on April 8-10, 2013 in Boston, MA!

We’re looking for an experienced blogger with an interest or background in customer strategy to live blog at this year’s TCEL event and contribute several posts afterwards.

In return for your posts, you’ll be able to connect with TCEL speakers and fellow attendees, attend summits and workshops delivered by industry thought-leaders and corporate practitioners on the hottest content areas of customer experience. The pass does not cover travel expenses and hotel.

How to apply:

To apply to be a guest blogger, simply send your name, title, company and a writing sample (a link to your blog posts is recommended) to vrusso@iirusa.com no later than April 3, 2013.

We will review your submissions and contact you directly with more details, if we decide you are a great match.

This opportunity doesn’t come often and we encourage you to apply and join us at TCEL next month!

Idea Gathering: Customer Experience News – B2B vs. B2C

Idea Gathering: Customer Experience News – B2B vs. B2C

 Not just hearing, but translating innovations and insights is a huge part of the value of the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit. Our unique idea gathering wrap-ups between sessions facilitate alignmentof customer strategy inspiration with business relevant actions and have been one of our most highly rated features in the past.

Here on the blog, we’ll be presenting weekly idea gathering wrap ups of some of our favorite customer experience strategy, design and alignment news and views.  This week our focus is on B2B experiences. Customer experience is too often associated with B2C firms which is a mistake that B2B firms are beginning to pay for.

A recent study by The Temkin Group revealed that as far as customer experiences go, B2B firms lag far behind their B2C counterparts. According to the report, apart from employee engagement (which B2B firms led by a small percentage), B2B firms are far behind B2C firms in most other fields. B2B firms struggle the most in creating compelling brand values and purposeful leadership.
What can B2B companies do to narrow this gap? Can the same customer experience development strategies be applied to both B2C and B2B companies? 
Companies should be wary about blurring the lines between their B2C and B2B clients. While some basic customer experience strategies can be applied to both, certain distinctions must be made when dealing with B2B clients. B2B clients are multifaceted and not just the product user but also the decision makers regarding the product need to be considered. 
If B2B firms want to catch up to the brand value and customer experiences that are being generated by B2C firms then they will need to invest more resources into developing their understanding and relationships with their often more complex clients. 
For more conversation on topics like this, join us at the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit: register as a reader of our blog with code TCEL13BLOG to save 15% off the standard registration rates. Visit the webpage to register today.

Jeffrey Marino is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Business Administration, Management Information Systems, and Tech Innovations. He blogs at Fordham Nights and can be reached at JMarino@iirusa.com.