market research

Reflections and Learnings from the Quirks Event

A couple of weeks ago I returned from the bi-coastal experiment called the Quirk’s Event. One was held in Irvine, CA, and one in Brooklyn, NY.  I attended them both.  The consensus among attendees seemed to be that the Brooklyn event was stronger, but maybe this is because it is the older sibling to the new Irvine event.  Even so, Irvine gets the award for most exciting since the hotel lost all power on the conference’s final day, even though it was a beautiful SoCal dKermitay without a cloud in the sky.  Maybe the Californians were just being “green.”

Even without power, I heard a few things that made me stop and take note around the evolution of brands, the pace of business, and the keys to product development.

BRANDING

Some thought-provoking quotes on branding.

  • “Has the world changed more rapidly than your model?” — Amy Levin, Benenson Strategy Group
  • “What is the important (to the customer) benefit that only you can enable?”  Corollary, “First, talk to the customer, then talk internally.”  — Lori Laflin, Cargill
  • “One of the top 3 reasons people trust brands is because of their vulnerability or reciprocity” — Baileigh Allen, BrandTrust

SPEED

Speed, it seems, reigns supreme.

IBM shared details about their “Always On Intelligence Program.”  This program is driving their transformation “from a project-driven to a program-driven information system with continuous feedback.”  Reported results at IBM, “providing engaging insights at the pace of business and improved client perceptions of IBM.”  Think about the implications of this if this radical thinking becomes industry standard.  It will change everything.

Meanwhile, “We conduct fast turn concept testing all the time” was a comment from Simone Schuster of Dannon – further confirmation that we live in world where we want information, and we want it now.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

At its core, product development is about understanding the consumer. Jenni French Cyrek of Microsoft shared five questions that product managers should ask.

  1. Where are the gaps in the customer buying and use process?
  2. Where do important needs and low satisfaction intersect? That is opportunity.
  3. What concepts actually work for the customer, not the company?
  4. What is a strong value proposition for the market?
  5. How to improve the product over time? Match survey and behavioral metrics.

Hats off to the Quirk’s team for taking risks and trying some new techniques.  Maybe the West Coast event will grow to be as good or better than the Brooklyn event.  Regardless, they have re-invented a tradeshow/conference format that works. I admire smart risk-takers.

I plan to be in Brooklyn next year. The jury is still out on Irvine.  However, I might be swayed by the prospect of a few days in SoCal in February.

 

 

20|20 Acquires iModerate. Prepares for the Future.

The research landscape is rapidly changing.   Change is not coming, it is here.

We cannot sit still and expect to thrive in the transformational era shaking our industry.  Technology is creating a revolution in how we gather, analyze and use data to make marketing and strategic decisions.  Competitive pressures and faster internal processes are dramatically shortening timelines.  We as an industry must answer the call to continually develop new methods to deliver meaningful information faster and more clearly than ever before.  Innovation and transformation cannot be a one-time event; it must be on-going.

imoderate_logo_2c-1In the spirit of continuous transformation, this week 20|20 announced its first acquisition in 30 years by bringing iModerate into the 20|20 family (press release here).  Like 20|20, iModerate is a service-first technology company with a strong brand and experienced staff.  But iModerate also brings new capabilities and a renewed sense of energy and forward thinking.

iModerate is overflowing with smart, capable people who understand research.  They will challenge us to see the 20|20 products and services with new eyes.  20|20 will challenge them to see the iModerate products and services from a different perspective as well.  Together, we can focus a broader array of services on solving a wider range of the problems vexing our clients.

In the end, joining these two companies will give our clients a stronger partner to help them solve problems faster and with better information than ever before.  Business is accelerating; the tools available to all researchers are multiplying; clients must have partners they can trust with the tools they need to solve problems faster than ever before.  These trends, and others, are driving the industry’s transformation.  20|20 and iModerate will continue to serve our clients with innovative, insightful solutions that produce answers to the questions that drive their business.

We at 20|20 welcome the iModerate staff and solutions to the family.  The future will be challenging, but together, we are ready.

20|20 and Resource/Ammirati Partner for Mobile Award

This week, 20|20 won the 2016 Award for Best Mobile Qualitative from Market Research in the Mobile World (MRMW).  We are honored to be recognized.  The MRMW Awards celebrate excellence in market research and those who contribute to achievements in mobile market research.  The awards were presented July 19 at the MRMW North America Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

We also want to recognize our partner Resource/Ammirati for being willing to take a risk and try something new.  The winning project was conducted in partnership with Resource/Ammirati, a digitally focused creative agency. They approached us to assist with a study centered around baking, with the goal of tapping into the motivations of the modern baker.

20|20 used the QualBoard® discussion platform and QualBoard®Mobile™ app so that respondents could use pictures and videos to document their time in the kitchen throughout the week-long study. With the app, participants were able to upload an unlimited amount of media, which not only led to greater in-the-moment feedback, but also much more detailed insights into their experiences. So much so, in fact, that the findings were contrary to what was expected before the project began and resulted in completely different messaging for the creative work after the fact.

In accepting the award on behalf of 20|20, my colleague Isaac Rogers said it best, “Thank you to our clients for their willingness to take risks with us.” After all, the best innovations and forward momentum for the market research industry are born out of these sorts of partnerships.  It is through close collaboration and a willingness to try new things that we can uncover unmet needs and address them with new approaches.

So thanks to MRMW for the recognition, to all of our clients who support our innovation, and to the team at 20|20 who put so much effort every day into supporting our clients.  And, a special, heart-felt thanks to Resource/Ammirati for stepping out to partner with us to try new and revealing techniques.

To read more about the 2016 MRMW Awards and the other honorees, please click here: http://na.mrmw.net/blog-post/winners-of-the-2016-mrmw-mobile-research-awards-announced

 

Leaders Drive Culture. Culture Drives People. People Drive Business.

The more our company grows, the more I realize how crucial culture is to our success.  We are in a service business.  As we grow, I personally interact with fewer and fewer of our clients on a regular basis.  So, how do I ensure that the people who do interact with our clients treat them as I would have treated them?  The answer is “culture.”

Leaders Drive Culture.  Culture is set by expectations and training, but mostly it is set by example and rewards.  Company leaders, especially the CEO, set culture.  What do they celebrate?  What do they value?  What do they punish?  How do they treat clients, vendors and employees?  What do they preach?  What are their actions (which speak louder than words)?  Finally, do they have a method for hiring people who not only fit the culture but can promote it?  Company leaders set the culture.  So, they must be able to articulate it and consciously promote it every day.

Culture Drives People.  Culture is crucial.  More than rules, training or speeches, culture provides the guardrails for accepted and desired behavior in an organization.  Businesses are small societies that develop their own mores and expectations.  These mores and expectations become understood and ingrained in the members of this micro-society (i.e., employees).  Their actions reflect the culture of their shared society.  Thus, the established culture (mores and expectations) drives their behavior.

People Drive Business.  We are a service business that happens to be in the technology space.  Our clients depend on our people to be excellent at what they do and to treat everyone with the respect and professionalism they deserve.  Without people a business cannot exist.  Without people doing the right things, a business dies.  Without culture, people don’t know how to act or make decisions, especially when the “handbook” doesn’t apply.  Simply, culture gives employees context for acting.

Sometimes we take culture for granted.  A very small business derives culture by osmosis from its founder.  A larger business must take culture seriously.  As a business grows, leaders must be intentional about developing and maintaining a culture that gives all employees the context they need to make the right decisions that promote the business and project the brand.  Otherwise, inconsistency and individual personality will rule and the business will flounder.

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