Tag Archives: The Market Research Event 2011

Live from TMRE: Day 3 – what a day wth Intel, Disney, YouTube and Microsoft BING (and CIA)…

Could there
be another TMRE day tomorrow? Should there be one? Hmm, I think we all have to
go back to work and do interesting research stuff and thinking.

But I will bring
a lot of interesting thoughts back with me to Germany. I saw a lot of
interesting sessions and talked to a lot of interesting people (some which I
only knew from Twitter). But before I’ll have to leave I would like to share my
thoughts on this third day of TMRE.
I started
the day with the two keynotes, ‘Why Bad Behaviour Is Good Politics by Bruce
He started with some interesting sentences:
are deadlier in Iran or China than Chile, Honduras or Italy’
‘All of the
world’s top universities are in democracies’
exported baby formula and food in the 90s while over 500.000 of its children
died needlessly from malnutrition and disease’
another quiz:
You want
job security? Huge income? The need to do want you want? Everyone should praise
you? Looking for perfect job privacy balance? Become a dictator! :-)
drilled it down to five rules, applicable for all organizations (families,
charities, companies etc.)
1. To be a
successful dictator rely only on as few people as possible, only use a small
coalition of supporters
2. Get a small
‘coalition’ of people and drawn them from a large pool of people, the larger
the better. It is important that they know that they can be are easily
3. Tax max! Get
out of customers as much as possible.
4. Pay your
coalition just enough so they don’t think to switch to the other side. But don’t
pay more than that.  If you pay them too
much, they are able to gain wealth and spend the money and at the end fights
5. Don’t
waste money on improving the lives of the people you rule. They aren’t
important because you don’t benefit from them at all
Very charismatic
speech, but I didn’t really get the connection to market research, promise to
think harder :-)
The second
one was Jeremy Gutsche, founder of Trendhunter.com, again a very engaging
presentation. You could see that he is a ‘man for the stage’.
He was all
about two different trends in recent times:
1. The
supremacy of culture
2. The tragic
return of gut instinct (which we don’t like that much ;-) )
He pointed
out that market research used to be driven by product. But that isn’t hitting
the nail anymore. It’s about experience. Most of the companies sell products,
but consumers buy experiences (see Harley Davidson).

So, to his
point of view, we are hunting for the cool stuff, because cool stuff is unique,
cutting edge, viral, the next big thing’ So you’ll have to create a culture!

Great case
study about littering. See the answer from the research and the execution from
ad agency and goolge for ‘Don’t mess with Texas’. Here is the link.  
important notes for me: Create a connection to the research! Or connect the
research to an experience!

 Then I went
to some cool sessions. YouTube, Disney, BING, Intel’
Good stuff: 
Sundar Doraj-Raj from Google showed how to measure the impact of advertising. They
have instream ads, overlays, banner / rich media and promoted videos (yes, they
belong to google)
And YouTube
is incredibly growing. 3 billion views a day, 48 hours of videos uploaded every
day’ Why is this important? It is, because they earn money with this. 2 billion
monetized views every week.

So they did
some experimental designs and found out that instream ads (those that are
running prior to the video you choose) are most disturbing the users. Not
surprising at all, because they stop you from doing what you want. This is
getting slightly better when the instream ad is skippable, but this kind of
advertising remains one of the most critical issues in terms of usage and
visiting YouTube.  But be sure they will react
on this.
I also
heard some inspiring words about culture in a creative organization from Yoni
Karpfen, Consumer Research Club Penguin (Disney
). It was very impressive to see
how children aged 6 to 12 deal with daily politics in a playful way (like 9/11,
breast cancer day or Japan tragedy).
But this
kind of product need perpetual creative development and the question is how to
do this and what to develop next? Yoni led us through their research process
which delivers a highly creative experience. They listen to the players, live
and breathe the experience. And they have a huge community support team which
is connected to the users anytime.
They are trying
to make research free or cheap instead of expensive, fast instead of slow, friendly
instead of controversial, trustworthy instead of questionable, tailored to the
audience instead of complicated and cool & fun instead of boring. And of
course they have to in order to fuel the creative network and their core

Inspiration meets information, creative has to be compatible to operational.
Empathy is the key, and that itself refers to culture. 
Microsoft /
is measuring social network conversation and WoM to understand how Gen Y
is talking about their brand to get more emotional connection insights of
Generation Y. They better do, because 10.1% of Gen Y visits MSN.com on a
monthly basis. So MSN and Bing’s target for 2011 has been Gen Y for all their
media spend & targeting. It is a little bit confusing, because Lise Nicole
Brende told us that the Bing research team mainly consists of Gen X
researchers. So how can Gen X researchers deep dive into the habits and rituals
of Gen Y (but this is another story’).
They moved
their attention towards so called Connected Socialiszers (Facebook centric) which
produce 47% of all BING searches. In former time they focused on Information
Seekers (responsible for 20% of BING searches).

We heard a
lot about Gen Y then, taken from the Cassandra Report, and how BING tries to
adopt these findings. They constantly try to get in touch with this optimistic,
control demanding, group oriented and sometimes overwhelmed and stressed Gen Y.
One of the key assets BING has is Gen Y trend seeker panel, providing feedback to
them, a very interesting and valuable source.
Last but
not least I attended the session by Intel about Experience Driven Innovation.
It was again very interesting and presented on a high level.  Tony Salvador was pointing out that Intel is looking
for long term evolution trends to use for corporate development. He said that
experience that is based on data is future. It delivers new ways of business,
new way of making money, new ways of interacting. And he left us with 5 take
- Exchange
drives markets
- Many
markets are comprised of people
- People have
values and they seek value
- Organized
complexity is right there
- Cultural
values in Flux drive Expertise
I have to
say good-bye for now. See you later! Don’t forget to follow me on twitter
@olympiamilano :-)
Btw, for
more check out the gorgeous twitter hashtag #TMRE

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Low level of social media connection and social media spirit for Germany’s MR industry

Recently Q ‘Agentur f??r Forschung and linkfluence released an inventory of the German market research network. You can access the interactive dataviz here (which is highly recommended).

What can we learn from the results?

Well, first of all we learn, that the internet network of market research in Germany not yet developed and divided into two parts.

First of all there are traditional market research players (left side) that exist on the internet mainly isolated and ‘for themselves’.

And then there’s the networked side of the industry (right side). Here you find blogs and social network presences of agencies or individuals who produce (also) market research related content (including my German blogs Olympiamilano and FOYER for dedicated market research).

The degree of linkage between the two sides is rather weak and limited to a few connection points. Although the market research industry as a whole picks up momentum in the social media world social media agencies and specialized player are very active and much stronger located in social media than “classic market research”.

In addition, you can see that the German market research blogosphere is relatively small and personal. While in other communities the content is mainly delivered by bloggers and they discourse on issues play a central role, the market research blogging scene is very ‘manageable’. You probably won’t find open discussion on market research topics currently in the market research web. It therefore can be considered rather a Web 1.0 experience than Web 2.0. The German market research web is not dominated by user generated content or active exchange, but mostly by news, press releases or articles.

One could assume that the German market researchers have moved to a presence in social networks like Twitter and Facebook. But this is not the case. Here, too, German market researchers are very cautious and reserved. There are only a few active presences and little more intense exchange. #mr-Buzz is limited to a few activists. Public discourse or even public controversies are rare.

Explanations are easily found:
1. Traditional understanding of “secret”: news from the fields of techniques, methods, products or results are ‘ from the inside perspective ‘ highly confidential information that cannot be made available to the public under any circumstances
2. As long as the fear of lifting industrial secrets is that large, the exchanged and visible information thus is superficial and unsatisfactory. Exchange doesn’t exist.
3. Open and honest opinions and provocative theses are only very seldom to be found in the German MR-network. One of the main reasons for this is the perceived fear of negative consequences caused by the employer. The dominant opinion that it is not appropriate as an employee of a reputable company or a reputable agency to set up a provocative thesis on the future of market research or even comment this. Finally, you have to stand behind your corporate philosophy
4. Another explanation for the fact that almost nobody actively participates in knowledge sharing across the web 2.0 lies in the fact that they don’t receive any instruction from the management level for this. There is rather the attitude “I can take without giving”.

So no wonder that awareness and interest from outside the industry for the subject of market research is sometimes low. This is quite a shame as that here is an opportunity missed to directly interact with clients and customers and to design the role of market research more active.

Social media, networking and market research be on the agenda in Orlando, Florida at The Market Research Event 2011 , hosted by IIRUSA. Looking forward to having interesting chats about this.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

End of the rise of social media? What about social media research?

Social media is still on the rise. Large networks, especially Facebook, increase not only their reach, most users use the site also more intense the longer they are members. These are findings from a recent research report by Gartner. But the report shows more: 

Gartner surveyed 6.295 people aged 13-74 in eleven different markets between December 2010 and January 2011 .37 percent of respondents – most of them from young target groups – stated that they use their favorite social network more intense than at the beginning of their membership.

However, in some markets there seems to be an end of the rise of social media usage among consumers. Nevertheless, 24 percent said that the intensity of usage has decreased.

The markets where the users are more engaged with social media include, among others, South Korea and Italy, while the users in Brazil and Russia are tending to be less on the social web. The most important argument for reduced use: data protection and privacy.

What does this mean for Social Media Research? 

The same as for Social Media Marketing. That’s easy enough…
It isn’t enough to have a survey or even a poll on Facebook. That’s not how it works. We need innovation, we need inspiration. And we need to know the users of social networks annd their behaviour before we can survey than. Actuality is king as well keeping the attention high in order to use the very short attetion span in social networks. That, by the way, is to my point of view one of the most important reasons why gamification is more than a buzzword in recent times. 

So let’s get creative, and start by attending The Market Research Event 2011 in Florida, hosted by IIRUSA

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

Market Research Leadership at the end of the year 2011′

The year 2011 is drawing to a close. November and December are not only in Germany traditionally fully packed market research months. But there is the TMRE 11 in Orlando, Florida knocking on the door.
That’s exactly the right time to think about market research leadership. Almost exactly 2.5 years ago Boston Consulting Group has introduced the Consumer Insight Benchmarking. A study among clients an vendors of market research related services which a lot of interesting stuff.
One of the key findings at the time: market research often isn’t able to draw on its full potential, regardless of whether it is called Customer Insight Research or not ;-)
There are four stages of progress, which outlines the process of development of market research in their role of “orders from the internal divisions” to a source of competitive advantage”.
Level 1 is defined as “Traditional Market Research Funcion”. The focus here is on the tactical use of market research. Any qualitative and / or quantitative test scenarios fall into this group. Market research here is usually a demand from marketing, always with a specific requirement (eg product or campaign testing). Or, as a CEO is quoted in the study: “The sample-size police in the back room … Which research is focused on and is not valid rather than provide meaningful business advice.”
Level 2 is titled as “Business Contribution Team”. The role of market research goes further than in level 1, because here a greater level of cooperation between Market Research and (internal) client has been created. This often leads to a more strategic use of market research services. Recommendations that are strongly related to business processes are kind of output of market research at Level 2. Nevertheless, the insight department (just to use a synonym for market research) only acts if it is asked to support. Synchronization with other information from the past or from other sources does not take place here.
Stage 3 is called “Strategic Insight Organization” and the role of market research is more important than level 1 and 2. Market research is an integral part of critical business processes across marketing and sales and beyond of it. Market researchers are required as part of project teams, regardless of whether it is a market research project or not. Relevance for the divisions is caused by a close cooperation of market research with the relevant project managers. And knowledge of the sales force is growing little by little.
Stage 4 is in very many ways the supreme discipline, which can only work under certain conditions. It is called “Strategic Foresight Organization” and expands the processes from step 3 by a thinking that dissolves the boundaries of individual business units. This means that market research occupies a cross company position, which enables it to attend strategic decisions and support and steer them. This positioning includes extending the focus on ‘ besides the status quo – future trends and predictions.
In 2009 we learned that 90% of companies surveyed are located at Level 1 or Level 2. This matches perfectly what we experience here in Germany. So we try to achieve a constant “up-levelling” for market research leadeship.
The remaining companies are mainly found in stage 3 and only a few companies are on stage 4.
Also quite interesting is the different perception of the terms of the quality of output between those who produce it and those who buys. 73% of the “manufacturers” say that they answer all “so-what?-questions” with their results. If you ask the recipients of the results only 34% agree to this.
How does this look like today? Make sure to attend The Market Research Event 2011 in Orlando, Florida, hosted by IIR USA, to find out’

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

Recruitment of participants for Online Research Communities, the role of Online Access Panels

you know the business of online access panels maybe because you sometimes need
that kind of service, you may know that providers of online access panels
position themselves on the ground of huge panelsizes or because
of delivered quality. The respective
underlying business model is correspondingly
either quantities or it is
defined by the quality of respondents’ information.
models of course have several advantages and disadvantages.

Even small audiences with low incidence rates can be reached adequately
High demands on field time and costs can be met
- Large numbers of cases
are possible

- Higher fluctuation
and “panel-mortality”
- Only
few qualifying information about the participants available
- Recruitment
methods are not always transparent
Only little knowledge about the influence of the panel model on panelists self-perception
as survey participants

High quality responses on more strict rules of access to new panel members (eg
- Extensive screening
Qualitative analysis of the panelists (eg minimization of screen-outs as the
basis of the relationship management)
- Limitation
in case of low incidences are needed
- Limitation on
the number of cases to be achieved
- Slightly higher costs
Photo by http://blog.allworkandnoplay.de/
In the
context of online research community projects it is necessary to recruit
participants not only to because of their target-group characteristics. You
rather put demands on communication skills beyond ‘tip-the-box’ as well as sufficient
intrinsic motivation to participate.

it is generally a good idea to recruit participants via online access panels,
we prefer those providers with a
quality-driven approach. Results
always are extremely high response rates, low drop-out rates over time (even in
communities with longer durations) and last but not least positive effects in
terms of ??panelists’ appreciation being a participant in market research. Without
participants and their willingness to share their experiences, attitudes and
preferences, we would have a hard time. 
So it is always a
pleasure to read feedback like this after completion of online research
‘Thanks a lot to the moderators and creators of
this community. I had a lot of fun and I have learned a lot. I’m happy that I
was able to exchange with others and there were a lot of good hints. You, the
scribblers, have been a great group! Thanks a lot. I wish all the best to all
participants and perhaps we will meet one day on the internet or even in real
Make sure to join the discussions about panels and communities at the upcoming The Market Research Event  in Florida, hosted by IIR, USA. We’ll have plenty
to discuss…
About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

Is facebook a research platform? And if so, how could we use it?

Stating the obvious social
have changed communication among people as well as the communication between
brands and their users significantly. And
it is no secret that facebook is currently the largest social network (and according
to this infographic will probably remain No. 1).
In times where communication
channels change
to that extent, this should however challenge market research. Because
we are dependent on the communication between people to learn and explore with
our entire tool box of methods, what people think, feel, and how they might behave.
Actually, the
conditions for utilizing facebook for market research purposes are very good. Facebook
as an internet platform is easy and always accessible from anywhere at any
time. It reaches outs in a wide range of target audiences and markets. In most
markets the penetration of the regular user base hits high double-digit
percentages. And the typical question-answer logic is widespread among the

So the question
is why this utilization works so poorly and nearly only from the social media
monitoring perspective.
I have noticed a number of reasons for that. Here I
will focus on three of them.

1. Market research is used to standardization,
social networks are not to standardize
One of the main parameters of market research has
been the degree of standardization of their tools. The
lower the need for adjustment of solutions the higher is the value. This
golden rule is now tried to be adopted on social networks and therefore on facebook.
This is supposed to
be a deadlock, for two reasons.  
of all, because facebook is continuously changing and evolving, in certain
areas with unnoticed changes, it is absurd to create standardized page
templates. Requirements,
guidelines and other conditions for pages are also changing constantly.
facebook users show a communication behavior on the social network that can be
controlled only in very, very few cases
by someone in the role of a market
researcher. Discussion paths, topics and content areas on the sides are
specified, structured and extended by the users themselves,. This works well without a
2. The possibilities for the use of Facebook in the DIY market research
mode are relatively comprehensive (Poll / Questions) and therefore there is no
need for “real” market research 
Building “surveys” on facebook

Facebook is a
platform that’s added values are mainly recognized and exploited by marketing
departments. Mechanisms
of market research, such as short polls and One-Question Surveys have always
been popular within marketing departments to build relationship between brand
and users.
modules are no substitute for market research with users of brand’s fan-sites
on facebook . Many
marketers, however, prefer the use of marketing-oriented marketing research
methods on facebook. An
understanding of the needs for “real” facebook-market research is only
slightly developed.

3. Facebook is confused with community  
Though online
research communities are a growing field in innovative research methods, there
are clear differences between them and facebook. Facebook
or a brand page on Facebook is not per se a research research community.
brand and fan page on Facebook can provide very good services for brand
building and communication of brand content
. They
are very well suited to increase brand loyalty or brand engagement. But
it is very difficult to achieve, that the user of a page do not only talk with
the brand but talk with each other. Even
those brands, which manage to do this, have only limited success in turning
this conversation into real relationship
However, there
are ways to get quick and easy information about users of facebook brand page. If
you agree to the following methodological issues and assumptions, a survey on facebook
is very useful:

- The target population is defines as people who have connected to a brand page by
the “Like”-button. All
results are only valid for this group and generalizations for brand users,
potential, etc. should be treated with caution.  
- In order to control the response there is just the number of completed
interviews. Since the population of the users is unknown in its structure, the
set of participants with regard to their structure cannot be compared with anything. 

There are many use
cases for such a research

- qualification
of existing “fans” in order to learn more about their structure,
- evaluating
and optimizing the Facebook pages,
- recruitment
of research participants for studies outside of facebook, e.g. online research
- for sites
with high “fan-numbers” special surveys in target groups which are in
general very difficult to reach.


For mein-lesetipp.de,
Germany’s leading facebook page dealing with books and reading,
we have developed a number of different facebook surveys in the past. 
our experience, above all you must ensure that the barriers for participation on
this surveys are as low as possible. It is true that establishing the look and
feel of the facebook environment is very important for users. But it is also
true, that the use of applications are barrier, at least because of privacy
reasons. Additionally, the use of apps on Facebook, as previously reported here, is below average.

In this research triangle
of DIY, Social Media and Community Research, new potential and opportunities
for market research occur. These issues are addressed at The Market Research Event in November 2011
in Orlando, Florida. It will be interesting, how our industry will talk about these
issues on that conference organized the IIR, USA.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Insight ‘ does the content always match the label?

If someone asked me today, “What is an insight?” I have to ask back first “Who wants to know?”.
In my personal perception, there is no other word that has taken a faster rise on the market research hype cycle than insight.
And the faster the rise, the larger becomes the range of possible meanings.
Photo by Thea Kamilla
To the same extend differentiating power and accurate meaning of insight has suffered. Insight planning, insight management, consumer insights, strategy insight, insight-based segmentation,etc.; in German and other non-English languages these sound fantastic (they are not translated into locallanguage). That in fact might contribute to the confusion and disorientation.
For me it has always worked well to define the insight-concept, depending on the discussion partners and their backgrounds (target group-oriented approaches are known to have never hurt anyone ;-) ).
From my experience with clients from various industries, it makes sense to distinguish especially between how an insight is generated on the one hand and how it is than utilized and implemented on the other hand.

You will find alot of different definitionsof insight. However what all definitions have in common, is: An insight’
- has to be unexpected and previously unknown
- is strong enough to create change
- can be used for unique benefits and / or brand or product USPs.

The following definition is a little more related to market research: “An insight is a key piece of in-depth understanding about a target audience thatwill unlock a true business potential”
Regardless of which direction one goes or what definition one sets, it becomes clear, that for well founded insights it is necessary to think outside of the research-box.
How else would you be able to estimate insights’ business-potential?  
How else would you evaluate whether an insight is unexpected or new?
Therefore we always emphasize to clearly consider all aspects of a certain project’s context, such as market, competitors, former communication in the category, etc. (for more details about “insight and context” read here)
It is in the nature of insights that they need time to evolve, spontaneous moments of Heureka are very seldom. Market research here only contributes parts of the insight (the rest is strategy consulting, advertising, PR, marketing & sales, etc.). Interdisciplinary skills are needed and much appreciated.
Clearly not every research without insights is worthless ‘ because not every research is designed to gather insights. Many market research studies remain at the level of results and answers, and that is more than okay.
But if this is the case, please avoid the word “insight“, let’s call it result, finding, information, ‘ 
In order to keep things simple it is important to deal with the term “insight” in a responsible way.
Insights in general are going to be on the agenda at ‘The Market Research Event‘ in Orlando, Florida this year, which is organized by the IIR. I’m very curious about the discussion.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Colors of cars, what do they tell you?

If you are in the automotive research then you know what I’m talking about. In nearly every study we have done for the automotive industry, at a certain stage the question about colors play an important role. Sometimes it’s the question about the dominant color of a car in the local market, sometimes it is about to decide which color a car scribble should have as stimulus material for group discussion (or should not have). And sometimes you want to know if a given car color represents mass taste.

In a world of deep depth of information about a huge range of topic you will need to mix the sources of knowledge. It is indeed important to know your category before starting a research. Sometimes you are lucky and you will find the information you need.Let’s have a look at this piece of information.

Let’s have a look at this piece of information.

Source: Kraftfahrzeugbundesamt, Germany

Accordingly, the 1980s in Germany, red was 22% of new registrations, more than any other. A similar proportion (21.6%) was gray it was followed by white with 20.6% ??and blue with 15.7%.

Since then, Germany has become colorless. Just 6.8 % of new registrations in 2010 were still red. Thus, the red cars have quickly become less important. Even with green, it went down (from 5.5 to 1.4%), also with blue (15.7 to 10.5%) and the other colors (10.6 to 6.9%) as brown or orange.

Big winners are the black colored cars. In 1986, only every 25th car was black (4.0%). Today, however, black is regarded as noble and almost one third (30.4%) of all cars is painted black. Only in silver / gray, there are more cars (32.6%).

Is that all the numbers could tell you?

Source: Kraftfahrzeugbundesamt,Germany

If you ‘ like me ‘ like accurateness and precision the answer is No! Our philosophy is to go that extra mile to deliver better results.

You can see some kind of color fashion over the years. And it would be interesting to map the socio-demographic change against these numbers.But most important is the fact that every brand (and even every model) has its own hypecycle. In 2010 it is very hard to find a non-black Jaguar, Porsche or Jeep, because all brands have a proportion of black cars registered in this year of more than 50%.

And be careful to think that every silver / gray car is premium. Smart has a proportion of 58.4% for this color. This is a good example of how putting together different sources of knowledge from existing information about the market helps you produce better research results. Let’s see what we will learn about the topic of “mixing information” at the The Market Research Event 2011 in November in Orlando, Florida, hosted by IIR USA.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Social Media and Communities

The key to shaping perceptions of brands, products, or services comes from an intimate understanding of consumers’ experiences and preferences in their natural settings. As new media transitioned to social media, consumers began forming communities to discuss these very aspects of their lives. As market researchers, we now have the ability to not only tap these communities to hear what the consumers of our brands are saying, but we also have the ability to form these communities.

At one time, conversation between a consumer and a brand was limited, if not nearly impossible. With social media and online brand communities, conversation is not only possible, but also instantaneous. Consumers now expect to be heard and they know we’re listening.

Market and brand researchers now have the ability to track online conversations. As not all campaigns are designed to increase sales, conversation tracking has become a part of many business’s tracking strategies. For research initiatives, we can pose specific questions to gain the feedback from the consumers closest to our brands. By understanding these perceptions, marketers can act much more quickly than ever before to responding to the needs of consumers.

There are other benefits to social media and online brand communities. I truly believe that consumers are much more comfortable typing their opinions, attitudes, and beliefs about a brand than they are in interviews and focus groups. Without a researcher present, or at least in person, consumers seem to be more candid in their responses ‘ providing rich and meaningful data for researchers about their brands.

For more information about social media and communities, join us in Orlando at The Market Research Event in November where experts will discuss the new opportunities of these resources.

Garrett McGuire is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, “The Journal of mAD Man,” that explains the theories and methods of advertising.

TMRE Keynote Spotlight: The Predictioneer’s Game

Leading up to The Market Research Event, we’ll profile the keynotes, tracks and themes at the 2011 event.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at the exciting keynote sessions.  For more information on TMRE, taking place November 7-9, 2011; in Orlando, Florida, download the brochure now.  If you register using code TMRE11BLOG, you can save $400 off of the standard registration rate!  This rate is only available until August 19, 2011.

Featured Session:  The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future

Featured Speaker:  Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Silver Professor of Politics, New York University; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Consultant to CIA

About the session:  Since the 1970s, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita has been making amazingly precise and accurate forecasts of future events in politics, government, and business. Working with the State Department, CIA, and the Defense Department Bruce predicts how the leaders involved in making decisions will act over time, based on their own self interest, their predilections, and given their relative influence on any particular issue. He uses complex computer algorithms, along with a deep understanding of the players in the geopolitical game, to predict outcomes. Bruce was recently profiled in a cover story in the New York Times Magazine. He is also the subject of a recent History Channel program entitled, The Next Nostradamus.