Mobile Research

“7 Revolutions” by 2030

2030 will usher in a much more interdependent, less secure world dominated by Asian economies.

This is the “sound-bite” conclusion I draw from an article titled, “7 Revolutions Ahead” that appeared in the Farm Journal’s March issue. The article is summarized from a presentation made by Johanna Nesseth Tuttle, VP of Strategic Planning for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Here are the “7 Revolutions.”

  1. Population growth and shift. The developing world will grow with sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Plus, continued urbanization worldwide.
  2. Resource Management. Food and water will become more scarce and unevenly distributed. We are headed toward a “global water crisis.”
  3. Technology. 6 BILLION mobile phones in 2012. Technology advances are driving progress at an ever-accelerating rate.
  4. Information. Through the Internet and mobile devices, virtually any information is available virtually anywhere. Information changes lives, perspectives and economies.
  5. Economic shifts. Asia is emerging as the world’s economic force as their economies grow and the “developed world” accumulates ever-greater debt burdens.
  6. Security. The world becomes less secure as threats move from conventional wars to terrorism, Internet hackers, diseases and even individuals.
  7. Governance. As the world is more interdependent and complex, governments have to understand how to govern in an interdependent world of free information flow.

As a company that innovates, we think about these issues.  The implications for market research are huge.  These “7 Revolutions” explain a lot about our own “Revolution” in research and in the evolutions yet to come.  There are many implications.  Here are 3:

  1. Online research and mobile research will become ever more prevalent.
  2. The emergence of the consuming class in Asia will drive significant market research.
  3. Data security will only grow in importance.

The next few years are going to be fun.  Enjoy the ride!

MRMW and the Role of Associations in Emerging Mobile Methods

This week is the Mobile Research in the Mobile World conference in Cincinnati.  I don’t know when I have heard as much buzz about a conference.  I hope it lives up to its hype.  I will not be there but my colleague and friend Isaac Rogers, 20|20 CIO, is attending.

Foster Winter, MD of Sigma Research, is also on the QRCA Board of Directors.  In that role, he is participating in a panel discussion of the associations’ roles in the emerging mobile market research world.  Foster asked me to weigh in on a discussion on the QRCA Members Forum on this topic.  There are some very good posts by tremendous industry leaders.  While I’m not at liberty to share those, I did copy my comments to re-post here.   They are below.

 

I’m finding the “mobile” research generally falls into two categories.

1. Mobile Access. In other words, every platform very soon MUST have a way to access it from a smartphone or it will be deemed unusable. Mobile will be the “price of entry” for digital platforms. The biggest hurdle right now seems to be the fragmentation of the Android op system.

2. New capabilities. From a qual perspective, we are just scratching the surface of what we can do with mobile. First, we had to get over the hurdle of using a limited input device (140 characters SMS) for qualitative. Now we have a whole new paradigm to work with….a portable, ever-present device that captures video, pictures, voice and text. The ramp-up for online qual was long because we looked at bulletin boards as a poor substitute for focus groups. When we began to realize that bulletin boards brought whole new capabilities and opportunities to qualitative research, they began to be embraced by the qual community. Mobile is in the early stages. We don’t yet know what capabilities are coming because mobile changes the paradigm again by adding capabilities never before available to us. The ramp-up will be much faster than bulletin boards, but it will take some time to blossom.

What are the associations’ roles? I think
1. Define the guardrails. Betsy mentioned several of them. The associations are the industry’s governing bodies.
2. Embrace new capabilities, not because all are good but because it exposes them to the membership and assists in the penetration of new capabilities. In turn, this becomes a major member benefit.
3. Celebrate innovation. Associations can’t be an incubation center, but they can be a hotbox of thinking. Why not develop a capability to nuture qualitative innovation, a qualitative greenhouse so to speak.

Mobile Qualitative Finally Hits Its Stride

Mobile is hot!  Everyone in research is talking about the possibilities of using mobile phones for marketing research purposes.  Actually, we have been for quite a while.  After all, we qualitative researchers are dying to be close to our respondents at the point of purchase or when using our product or just simply to understand their environment more intimately.

Unfortunately, the mobile research applications have not generally lived up to the hype and expectations.  Finally, they are catching up and mobile research designs are entering the mainstream.  Quirks Marketing Research Review dedicated their July issue to mobile research.  I was fortunate enough to have an article in this issue titled, “Qualitatively Speaking:  Mobile Qualitative Finally Hits its Stride.” It includes applications and case studies.  The first couple of paragraphs are below.

 

Qualitatively Speaking:  Mobile Qualitative Finally Hits Its Stride

Mobile has long been a buzzword among market researchers – and for good reasons. For starters, mobile phones are ubiquitous: At the end of 2011, there were nearly six billion mobile subscribers worldwide, according to the International Telecommunication Union. That is a huge pool that actually dwarfs the number of computer users in the developed and developing world.

Next, consider the fact that most people are within arm’s reach of these devices the majority of the day, meaning engagement could be possible morning, noon or night, wherever those subscribers might be. Like shopping for baby food at the grocery store. Or at the county fair. Maybe they’re cheering on the home team at the baseball field. Or exploring a new city on a family vacation. Or simply sitting at home in front of the TV, about to tune in to a new show.

All of these scenarios offer the potential for gathering what every researcher dreams of: in-the-moment insights.

To continue the article, click here.

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.

 

Mobile surveys, mobile qual look to explode in 2012: GRIT report

A sneak peek at the 2012 Greenbook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) report reveals an anticipation in the rise of mobile surveys this year.

That’s one of the highlights of a fascinating examination of what research firms anticipate and what clients see as the techniques that will drive market research budgets this year. The GRIT report, which will be published in the next few weeks, supports the idea that online communities and social media analytics will become a prominent and “mainstream” research technique, and research firms and clients both concur with that forecast.

Mobile surveys look to be at a tipping point. While actual use of mobile surveys in 2011 were around 20 percent (17 percent as reported by clients, and 24 percent as reported by research firms), expectations are much higher for usage in 2012. Fifty-three percent of clients expect to use mobile survey techniques, and 64 percent of research firms expect to do so.

Mobile survey usage may actually be underreported, according to the GRIT report, with budget that is actually going toward mobile being attributed to Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI).

Mobile qualitative looks to undergo a big jump, as part of the shift toward mobile. With actual use somewhere around 13 percent in 2011, that number looks to accelerate upward in 2012. According to the report, 31 percent of clients, and 46 percent of research firms, expect to use mobile qualitative in 2012. 20|20 is at the forefront of this rise in mobile qualitative with the recent introduction of its second mobile qualitative application, QualBoard Mobile. QualBoard Mobile includes both a fully featured bulletin board access capability and an innovative new journaling application.

Mobile phone use while shopping is taking off

The habit of using cell phones while shopping — calling a friend, checking product reviews and comparing prices — is on the rise. Mobile usage has become an integral part of shopping in stores (the brick and mortar ones), according to Pew Research conducted in the month leading up to and in the month following Christmas.

More than 50 percent of Americans used their cell phones for one of those three activities: calling a friend, checking reviews or comparing prices. Unsurprisingly, the habit was more prevalent in Americans under the age of 50. Only 4 percent of Americans 65 and older were likely to use their cell phone while shopping.

This news raises interesting implications for mobile qualitative research. The ability to be engaged with shoppers in a manner that is truly natural and authentic to the way they shop, while they are shopping, is surely of massive interest to marketers.

What shoppers are doing after they read reviews or checking prices online is fascinating. In the study, about one-third (35 percent) bought from the store. Another third (37 percent) decided not to buy. The study revealed that 27 percent either bought online or at another store.

Mobile qualitative research will not be about reaching people while they are watching TV on the couch, clearly. It is increasingly used by researchers to analyze experiences, from seeing concerts to analyzing retail options.

Do you have stories about using mobile qualitative for dynamic experiences? Or do you have a client that you need to help with that type of research? In either case, we’d love to hear from you.

Forbes says CMOs Misunderstand Social Media Motivators

A recent article in Forbes titled, “A Wide Divide Between Brands and Consumers in Social Media” cites a survey of consumers active in brand social media sites and CMOs who are responsible for those sites.  As the title suggests, one of the most surprising findings was that consumers go to brand sites for games or coupons or something they can “get.”  Marketers tend to believe they come to learn or express themselves.  If you are responsible for a brand’s social media presence, this is a key finding that should cause you to pause and think about how you engage your brand loyalists.  But what does this have to do with research?

For me, this study was interesting for its impact on how we manage and grow our panel.  20|20 maintains a research panel of over 300,000 North American consumers with a 60,000 member smart phone panel.  Sometimes we think that they are a part of our panel because they like doing research,  sharing their opinions and learning about products through research.   While there are some who definitely participate for these reasons, we must remember that most of them participate for the money or because we provide some type of very fun activity for them.  This article was a good reminder to do what we researchers are supposed to do so well…put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.  When we do, I think we will be a bit better at engaging our panel.

Focus Group Fingers All Over Super Bowl Commercials

Super Bowl commercials generate more conversation in Monday morning meetings today than almost anything else. With social media, the conversation following a Super Bowl ad is immediate. Last year, you may remember Groupon’s commercial about the troubles in Tibet resulted in a backlash on Twitter, and a formal apology. It will be studied in business schools as a marketing misstep.

One of the lessons from that failed 2011 commercial was the alleged lack of testing that preceded its airing. Marketers weren’t going to make that mistake with 2012 Super Bowl commercials. According to a Wall Street Journal article, focus group feedback resulted in the adjustment of creative for one Hyundai commercial, removing sexist comments from the older man in the commercial and replacing them with comments about how to be successful in business.

A Chevy Sonic commercial from yesterday’s Super Bowl was met with skepticism from focus groups, who didn’t believe the stunts to be real. Chevy’s spot ended up with a text treatment at the beginning of the ad noting “100% Real Stunts. Don’t Attempt. Please.”

Of course, focus groups don’t always predict success, or what may get a marketer in trouble. Some commercials were released ahead of time, or the trailers were so extensive. Marketers weren’t willing to risk something blowing up in their face. Marvel released trailers of its Super Bowl commercial to gather input from social media viewers.

Many groups are doing in-game focus group testing, like USAToday/Facebook’s AdMeter. Groups, and events like this were held around the country.

What were the results of your Monday Morning Focus Group’s judgment on this year’s crop of commercials?

QualBoard Mobile…Born-On Date: February 1, 2012

Sometimes introducing a new product is a little like birthing a baby. There is a lot of excitement and expectation followed by some intense pain leading to pure joy and pride at the result.

Today, 20|20 Research has “birthed” QualBoard Mobile. It has been in development for a while, caused some pain as it came to fruition and has created tremendous pride here at 20|20 in the end product. QualBoard Mobile (QBM) is an innovation that delivers on the promise and expectations we have anticipated for mobile qualitative research.

QualBoard Mobile has two primary functions.

1. QBM allows mobile access for QualBoards. Using the QBM app, respondents participate in a QualBoard bulletin board discussion from anywhere using their mobile phone. This capability alone dramatically increases QualBoard’s research functionality. Participants can make entries from anywhere. More importantly, researchers can design projects that respondents can complete untethered from their PC.

2. QBM includes LifeNotes. LifeNotes is a true breakthrough because it enables participants to upload pictures, video and comments from their mobile device from anywhere at anytime. Because LifeNotes is outside the QualBoard Q&A, it can serve as a “streaming ethnography” recording moments and opinions throughout the day independent of the QualBoard structured discussion.

For pure “cool factor” I’m excited about the voice-to-text feature. Respondents can leave their comments using the voice-recognition feature of their mobile device and it is fully incorporated into QBM. No more hassle with those tiny keyboards! Plus, it simply makes participation easier.

Also pretty cool is the geo-tagging feature. With the respondent’s permission, the researcher can geo-tag each mobile entry that ties each entry to its location. Think of the implication for shop-alongs and other out-of-home experiences.

To round out the offering, 20|20 is also announcing its smart phone panel of 60,000+ potential respondents. 20|20 has been known for its recruiting and services for over 25 years. This is yet another example of our focus on helping our clients do better research.

Yes, its a proud day at 20|20. Thank you for being a part of it.

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