Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mobile Market Research Association is born

On Wednesday, January 18, Mark Michaelson stood up at the Qual360 Conference in Milan and announced that this was the birthday of the Mobile Marketing Research Association (MMRA).  It was the first day for the association and the group was now accepting Charter Members.

Hats off to Mark and his enthusiasm for mobile.  There is no doubt that “mobile” is hot in our industry and that the promise for conducting research using smart phones is immense.  Mark is a friend whom I have known for about 15 years as a researcher who is a serial entrepreneur at heart (a very rare combo).  He started the Mystery Shoppers Providers Association.  Now he turns his attention to mobile.  Cheers Mark.  I wish you tremendous success in this new industry venture.

Will this new association be successful?  I don’t know.  Does the industry need to add MMRA to the alphabet soup of existing organizations?  It doesn’t seem like it.  However, one must admit that mobile research has challenges and opportunities that are unique.  Existing industry organizations are not known for addressing new challenges in a fast and thorough manner.

My prediction:  Mobile methods will benefit from an advocacy group focused on promoting the method and solving the legal, technical, ethical and regulatory problems of mobile research.  MMRA will thrive on the enthusiasm and hard work of its core advocates and the dreams of us all for the mobile methodology.  Within 10 years, mobile will be mainstream and MMRA will have served its purpose and will become a division of one if its bigger association cousins.

I applaud Mark and his colleagues for their initiative and vision.  Happy Birthday MMRA and may we all benefit from your arrival.

On the final day of the Milan qualitative conference, Siamack Salari interviewed Mark Michelson about MMRA.  See the youtube version here

Learning from Social’s Influence on Mobile: Applications for Qualitative Research

As we discussed in a QualBlog post earlier this month, mobile qualitative research methods are becoming a necessary component of market research. With mobile’s ability to reach a diverse, global sample of participants in their real-time context, market researchers are avidly seeking ways to best use its capabilities to their advantage.

A recent TechJournal article, Social and Mobile Interplay a Major Consumer Trend, cites a Pivot Conference study that may provide a new way to approach mobile qualitative research efforts. According to the research, smartphone users are spending a large amount of their mobile-focused time on social media apps. Specifically, 30% of the apps accessed on an Android are social, while iPhone users devote a whopping 44% of their mobile access to social apps. Of all the apps available, Facebook Mobile dominates consumers’ time, with 83% using it. And the most commonly shared information among all social app consumers is music and video, with location check-ins as a close second.

What does this mean for market researchers? Consumers have now made it clear that they want their mobile space to revolve around engaging their social network, learning from others’ content and interacting directly with brands through a social exchange. And what’s more, they have proven that they will devote time to apps that meet this criteria.

Transferring these needs to qualitative market research could be the key to more successful mobile research. By creating an app that engages a participant’s social network, encourages the sharing of related content and gives incentives directly from the brands that the participant discusses and evaluates, market researchers may be able to position mobile users in their preferred mobile environment. The resulting app could provide a more interactive message board to keep participants actively engaged in the research studies in a way that would provide more valuable data and insights.

What else could we learn from to enhance mobile qualitative research’s capabilities?

Qual360 Conference: PANDA STORE key to online success

The Merlien Institute hosted the Qual360 Conference last week in Milan, Italy.  As with all conferences, there were some great presentations and some that were less than stellar.  Since many readers of this blog are ‘in the trenches” qualitative practitioners, I wanted to share the highlights of a very practical presentation from my friend Josephine Hansom on “10 Ways to Improve Online Qualitative Engagement.”

  1. Personality — Be human.  Be yourself.  Just because its online doesn’t mean you can’t relax and have fun.
  2. Active listening — Prompt, probe.  Don’t simply load and forget.
  3. New language — Remember that online language is more familiar and people often use  slightly exaggerated speech.
  4. Digital Trust — Contrary to expectations, people are very trusting online.
  5. Assimulate — Be willing to use various methods in combination within a single study.
  6. Sense of Shared Wisdom — People like to share with others.  This can be a very powerful moderating tool.
  7. Tasks — Don’t be content with asking questions.  Be imaginative in assigning tasks that will engage respondents and interface with their offline life.
  8. Offline Context — Assignments and questions can focus easily on offline behaviour.
  9. Re-Sharing — Remember that people like to affirm or re-post statements or links when participating.  Be careful that their responses are their own.
  10. Experience — Create an experience.  People will enjoy it more and be willing to put more into the project.

The easy way to remember this when designing your project:  PANDA STORE.  Once her presentation is uploaded, I’ll post it.

Josephine Hansom is Associate Director, GfK Innovation Team and works in London.

Mobile’s Trajectory is Undeniable

Although traditional qualitative research methods remain highly useful and well received, constant technological innovations and trends are creating a new ground to adapt traditional methodologies and technology uses. In this new space, mobile trends are consistently reaching the forefront and are causing a pretty big stir within the industry.

In a recent Research Access article that transcribed a Market Research Trends 2012 webinar, panelists Leonard Murphy of the Greenbook Blog and Romi Mahajan of Metavana agreed that mobile will be a necessary market research component in the future. “Within the next two to three years, a device similar to– probably somewhat bigger than a iPhone, smaller than an iPad, will be the primary means of communication for our entire species, globally, period… So the impact of global cannot be underestimated, in particular in the emerging markets, because they will leapfrog the PC experience in almost it’s entirety. The growth of broadband and PC penetration in Africa, Latin America, and Asia Pacific is effectively already stopped. So there’s whole generations that will grow up that will look at a PC like we would look at a typewriter and just think it’s just an antiquated piece of technology. So their experience with communicating with each other and the world around them will be via this mobile device,” Murphy said.

Murphy believes that mobile’s true benefit lies in its ability to reach a large sample of research participants all around the world and at any time of the day or week. He anticipates that the future of participant sampling lies in a mobile app that allows users to opt into a virtual research panel and give their permission to send and receive certain amount of information. “That opens the door for an amazing opportunity to be able to engage with consumers 24/7/365, in most any situation that you can imagine, and to gain real feedback at the point of experience, whether that be at an event or while shopping or making purchases in a retail environment, whatever the case may be,” Murphy said. “We have the opportunity to engage them, if we make it a fun and rewarding and meaningful experience for them.”

Although the sampling capabilities are impressive, Mahajan, on the other hand, focuses on mobile’s ability to capture a participant within his or her context. He believes mobile’s best feature is its attachment to the consumer during the entire consumer experience. “For instance, if I leave a movie and I get on a mobile app to say if I like it or not, I’m right in the midst of that experience,” he said. “I’m in situ, as it were. And so when I think about mobile, I think about the fact that people are interacting on their mobile devices in a time and space in which their context is more profound, which is actually itself the benefit here.”

At 20/20, we agree wholeheartedly. If the goal of qualitative research is to gain access to the human emotional profile and how it affects our choices and behaviors, then this trend is an undeniable step in the right direction. And with our mobile research platform QualAnywhere, researchers can embrace consumers within their individual contexts to gain insights from real-time data.

How have you effectively used mobile in your qualitative research methods?

In 2012, All Signs Point to Qualitative Research

In a recent Greenbook Blog post entitled “Will 2012 Be the End of the (MR) World as We Know It?”, Greenbook Editor-in-Chief and CEO of RockHopper Research Leonard Murphy gave his predictions for market research trends and changes in 2012. Lenny’s prediction that qualitative will become even more important dovetails nicely with our view. As access to data grows, understanding the meaning behind the data becomes ever more important. Here is Lenny’s eloquent delivery: “Qualies rejoice; your time to shine is nigh! The skill sets of storytelling, connecting disparate data points to form recommendations, and applying the social sciences to understand human behavior will grow in importance. Driven by the demand from brands to truly understand consumers and enabled by the growth of communities, virtual ethnography, ‘Big Data’ analytics, etc… some one will have to step up to make sense of the implications, and researchers grounded in qualitative techniques are well positioned to fill this need.”

At 20/20, we’re doing just that: rejoicing. With many of our online research technology products, we are already prepared to offer easy online qualitative solutions for many of Murphy’s predictions. Of the ten trends he identifies, we are very much on top of at least 3 of them.

1. Surveys get smart: Murphy predicts that surveys will move away from the traditional format of discrete ad hoc surveys that pose 30 questions or more in one sitting. He foresees surveys changing into “broad tracking systems that dynamically create targeted questions based on the synthesis of consumer data from social media, panelist profiles, CRM, POS, and any other data source we can get our hands on.” Already, 20/20’s technology product QualLink offers seamless integration of traditional quantitative surveys with a qualitative online bulletin board discussion. With this product, simple quantitative survey results are used to create hybrid quant-to-qual research, transforming a traditional survey’s capabilities and insights.

2. Once more, with feeling: “As technologies that help us understand emotional decision making mature and new approaches come to market, the merger with behavioral economics models will become the norm. Whether biometric/neuro/facial or cognitive modelling based, brands will be investing heavily in the quest for the Holy Grail: understanding the levers of choice and learning to optimize their offerings based on those drivers,” Murphy said. While stated opinions and preferences will still play a role in market research, technology like our QualBoard 3.0 that accommodates nonverbal, physical cues through webcam videos will help researchers gather all the richness of a participant’s response – body language, tone of voice and emotion.

3. Mobile, mobile, mobile: From Murphy’s viewpoint, mobile will be the defining technology of the next five years, which will greatly affect all market research. At 20/20, we’ve anticipated this trend by offering QualAnywhere, a mobile platform that allows researchers to collect real-time data through texting and picture messaging.

2012 Tech Predictions Impact Research

Happy New Year!

With the turning of the calendar and the sense of renewed optimism always brings a new wave of predictions.  As someone who enjoys thinking about the future, I find them interesting, and sometimes quite amusing.

So far, my favorite tech predictions are from VentureBeat.  This is my favorite so far because 1) I agree, and 2) the article is short enough to hold my attention.  The article is titled Five Tech Industry Predictions for 2012.  Though it doesn’t relate directly to the market research industry, there are many research implications.  Here are their 5 predictions:

  1. Social Media will lose its sizzle. Will we finally have rational discussion about our ability to conduct research via social media monitoring?
  2. The bubble will pop for the current crop of tech IPOs. Will this prediction hold true in research where M&A is more common than IPO?  We have seen a lot of M&A activity.  Will it slow and/or will values fall?  Frankly, I don’t think so.
  3. An explosion of the tablet market driven by sub-$100 tablets. WOW.  Think of the implications for online qualitative research if respondents can participate ANYwhere.
  4. Voice recognition goes mainstream. I’ve been thinking about this since I bought my iPhone 4S and got to know Siri.  She is a clever thing that I did not have to train.  If respondents can participate online without typing…..hmmmmmm…using their sub-$100 tablet maybe?
  5. “Cloudburst” shakes the tech industry.  Data security is the monster in the closet.  Can the market research industry take advantage of the “cloud” and secure its data properly?

Do you see additional trends?  How will they affect market research?

Welcome to 2012!

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