Monthly Archives: March 2012

Sex, Southern Baptists and Starkville, Mississippi

Several people have asked me to expand on my experience that was mentioned in the QRCA Views Winter 2012 issue and included in a recent blog post “Road Warriors Reveal Steamy (and Funny) Side of Qual.”  So, below is the whole story as I sent it to Joel Reish of Next Level Research, former QRCA President, article author and friend.

My favorite was the time I was brought in on a study regarding sex education materials among Southern Baptists in Starkville, Mississippi.

There was no facility so we had to contract with a hotel.  So I made arrangements for the hotel to host the group and to stay there that evening.  The hotel didn’t have A/V services so we contracted with the Mississippi State A/V dept to video the group.

We were able to work everything out and get it all arranged.  20|20 Research recruited 12 Baptists to come to the hotel to talk about sex eduction.  It was all set.  You can’t fly into Starkville; but you can fly into Columbus, rent a car and make the 45 minute drive to Starkville.  So I did.  As luck would have it, my flight was late and I arrived in Columbus about an hour before the group was to begin.  I rushed to the car and drove to Starkville as quickly as possible wondering what it would be like to be arrested for speeding in rural Mississippi.

I finally pulled up to the hotel about 15 minutes before group time.  The hotel was historic (old) and had obviously been through several renovations.  I remember thinking it seemed  to be straight off the set of a John Wayne western.  When I walked in, there are several people milling about the lobby, obviously my Baptists.  As we often do, I tried to enter without being to conspicuous.  Upon arriving at the counter, I find my “State” A/V man standing there waiting on me.  I felt a huge sigh of relief when he assured me that everything was “already set up and ready to go.”

He offered to lead me to the filming location so I could double-check the set up and prepare for the group.  He led me through numerous hallways that seemed to snake forever through this old, renovated hotel until we finally reached the door.  He smirked as we arrived and I wondered what he was thinking.   Then he opened the door to show me his camera set up.  To my shock, he had set up the camera in my bedroom!  The reason for his smirk became obvious as my mind raced to understand how to deal with my  Baptist sex education group.

I was horrified.  Within minutes, I was relieved to discover that the hotel had a spare conference room available.  The Mississippi State A/V man moved his equipment very quickly and we were able to start the group only about 15 minutes late.

Not only was the set-up nerve-wracking, it was a prelude to one of my “worst-group-ever” experiences.  But thats another story for another time.

If you have a story to tell, please share it.  This is one of the greatest professions in the world!


Market Research Radio: Love It!

Radio is so much fun!

Over the years, I have bee fortunate to do a good bit of radio. I hosted a 3-hour show once on the #1 station in the market and had a blast.

Today, I tried something new, Internet radio. It was even more fun. I joined Kevin Lonnie of KL Communications as guests on NewMR Radio. We discussed the state of online qualitative research and its future. The discussion was uninterrupted by advertising and will be available on demand at NewMR Radio.

Among other things, Kevin talked about the immenent threat of “big data” and the need to step up respondent engagement. I talked about the oncoming train that is data security and the huge potential of reliable, in-context text analytics.

Thanks to Lenny Murphy and Ray Poynter for hosting the show. It was a great discussion and I hope to do it again. I only wish we had more time.

Where are the social media research successes?

Would someone please share a social media research success story with me?

This week I was with a multi-billion dollar, multi-brand, company that is generally considered a thought-leader in the research industry.  The person in charge of “listening” (i.e., social media monitoring) said they really have not figured out how to use social media to generate brand insights.  It turns out that people are much more likely to talk about their kids than brands.  This researcher said that sometimes “listening” leads to research, but it is never the research itself.

A few months ago in QualBlog, chronicled the statements from Bob Pankauskas, Research Director at Allstate last year when he said they were pulling back on social media because there was simply not much meat there.  Following that post, I received several comments via Twitter using the fact that many major companies employ social media monitoring so it MUST be a great tool.  I challenged those researchers to give me a single decision that had been made using social media monitoring as a primary research method.  You could have heard a pin drop.

Social media can be helpful.  Like my client, it can prompt questions that should be followed up through other means.  It has some use in identifying trends.  However, so far, I haven’t found it is the promised “treasure trove” or “rich river of information” that many have promised.

Would someone please share a social media research success story with me?


Technology Evangelist Organizes Qual Event

Charlie Rader is a technology evangelist.  Officially, he is the “Digital Insights Tools Leader” at P&G.  I have seen a lot of evangelists, and Charlie is one.  Not only did he organize today’s “Online and Mobile Research Vendor Fair,” he spent the day running from place to place and literally shouting over the crowd to keep the event on schedule.  He is a bundle of enthusiastic energy for online qualitative and mobile research.  Thank you Charlie, for a great event and for inviting me and 20|20 to participate.

2012 is obviously the year of mobile qual as discussed in the GRIT report and a recent post on this site.  In past years, panel firms have dominated, then social media firms.  Now virtually every technology company has some sort of mobile offering.  Quant research moved into mobile but qual lagged behind for several years.  The proliferation of smart phones has eclipsed the problems qual had with the limited nature of text messaging.  Now that smart phones comprise 46% of the total US mobile phone market, qual platforms have the platform “space” to get deep insights anywhere and everywhere.  Its amazing that just a few years ago, researchers required respondents to come to facilities.  Then we figured out how to take the research into their homes via online.  Now we are with them everywhere via smart phones.  Its been a fast transition.

The P&G researchers were excited about mobile too.  Our QualBoard Mobile collateral was the first to fly off our table.  These researchers were hungry for ways to understand those moments in a user’s day when they made decisions or interacted with their product.  Mobile can provide that answer.

Thank you Charlie for all your hard work.  You pulled together a terrific set of companies who are pushing the envelope of qualitative technology.  It was a true honor to be a part of it and to enjoy your enthusiasm for online and mobile qual.


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