ESOMAR Global Pricing Study Out

ESOMAR recently released its Global Pricing Study.  Its mostly remarkable for the pricing stability that the global industry has seen over the past few years.  Even so, there were some nuggets to highlight.

  1. The US remains the most expensive market overall by a significant margin.  On the overall quant/qual mix the US is 20-30% more expensive than the major economies in western Europe.
  2. Developing countries are the least expensive, generally 15-50% of prices in the US and Europe.
  3. On the qualitative side, pricing appears to be pretty stable except that prices in developing countries are rising quickly.  The price for 4 focus groups in “Key Markets” consisting of the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan have risen less than the rate of inflation since 2010.  However, the rest of the world has experienced a 20% price increase.
  4. Online qualitative is now mainstream.  It is significant that ESOMAR included online qualitative in the Global Pricing Study for the first time in 2014.
  5. Online qualitative was less expensive than the “equivalent” face-to-face focus groups.  In those countries that reported pricing for both online and face-to-face, online averaged 82% of the cost of face-to-face.

Thanks to ESOMAR for conducting this study.  If you want to see the details or if you are interested in the quantitative research results in this study, go to the ESOMAR Publications Store for more data.


“7 Deadly Sins” Key to Brand Building

I had the opportunity to go to the ESOMAR Qualitative Conference in Valencia Spain this week.  They put on a good conference.  Kudos to ESOMAR and the Conference Committee for an excellent conference.  I also discovered a wonderful city in Valencia.  If you ever get a chance to visit, do it.

One of my favorite presentations was, “The Power of the Dark Side” by Shobha Prosad.  Congratulations to Shobha as she was awarded “Best Paper” for the conference.  

Essentially her premise was that the seven deadly sins are the key to brand building.  Since branding is essentially emotional and personal, these emotional characteristics are central to the brand.  Indeed, a central theme running throughout the conference was the need to capture emotional as well as rational content when conducting qualitative research.

The seven sins can be divided into two categories:

  1. Psychological:  Pride, Greed and Envy
  2. Physical:  Lust, Gluttony, Anger and Sloth

She believes that these are the 7 “sins” that drive brand building.  However, she also stated, “For every behavior there is an equal and opposite expiratory behavior.”  Therefore, she identifies opposite motivators or needs.   She distinguishes the two types by the descriptors “Devil” and “Angel.”







Shobha states that successful brands stand strongly in one or more spaces.  In fact, in each of her examples, brands occupied at least two spaces a “Devil” space and an “Angel” space.  This is consistent with the notion that brands often have a core driver that is most often self-serving to consumers (Devil motivator) and a secondary driver (Angel motivator) that is often used to rationalize purchase.

Though there was nothing ground-breaking in her overview of the “7 Deadly Sins” and their corresponding “Angel” motivators, the clarity of the concepts and admonition to keep these in mind during our brand research was a strong and needed reminder.

In summary, the presentation encouraged me in several ways:

  1. Remember to consider emotional and behavioral feedback at least as strongly as rational results in qualitative research.
  2. When confronted with an altruistic or “Angel” motivator behind a brand or action, look a little deeper for one of the more self-serving “Devil” motivations that might be the actual driver while the “Angel” is the outward rationalization.
  3. How are the various brands that I am responsible for represented here?  Time for a little self-analysis.

Mobile: “The Pocket Ethnographer”

“Mobile is an ethnographer in their pocket.” said Chris Jones of BrainJuicer today at the ESOMAR Qualitative Conference.  He was speaking of their success using mobile phones to conduct “self-ethnography.”

His case study highlighted the differences between a brand’s segmentation definitions and how that people interact with that brand in real life.  For example, an oatmeal brand may think of oatmeal as being consumed in at the family breakfast table  in a cereal bowl with some fruit on top and a sprinkle of sugar or cinnamon.  In reality, that oatmeal may be consumed in a plastic bowl direct from the microwave and eaten in front of the television while the consumer also catches up on facebook posts.   Digital ethnography is becoming so much easier and less expensive that brand teams can use it to create a much more robust understanding of their brand segments.

A Nokia case study presented by Sharmila Subramanian of Face and Katherine Gough of Nokia also demonstrated the power and capabilities of mobile diaries used as ethnography.

These case studies support a trend we are seeing at 20|20 with LifeNotes mobile app.  Mobile is finally gaining the capabilities and penetration that we have been expecting for some time.  Researchers are taking advantage of these tools to take ethnography research methods to a much broader consumer base.  The triad of mobile limiting issues consisting of cost, capabilities and reach have now intersected and the research community is embracing it.

Latest ESOMAR Market Research Report Finds Global Industry Rebounding, Evolving

Market research was a $31.2 billion industry last year, which was a 5.2 percent increase over the previous year, according to the latest Global Market Research report from ESOMAR.

The biggest area for growth: Latin America’s market research industry grew 13.9 percent, but still represents only 6 percent of the total market. While the report says this growth was stronger than anticipated, it makes sense given the general sentiment that emerging markets like Brazil will be key to economic recovery. (Hey, where there’s growth, there’s a need for MR!)

Every other world market (Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Middle East/Africa) also saw increases, but all in the single digits.

Like past reports, this one found that Europe spends the most on research, followed by North America, then Asia. The $31.2 billion breaks down like this:

• Europe: $13.1 billion
• North America: $10.6 billion
• Asia: $5.1 billion
• Latin America: $1.8 billion
• Middle East and Africa: $573 million

To view the full report, you have to pay up, but ESOMAR’s preview does a nice job of giving us the big picture.

Observations From Day 1 of ESOMAR

The following is a guest post from Steve Henke, 20|20 President, who is in Amsterdam this week at ESOMAR Congress.

Today was another very busy day for us… with a slew of researchers visiting our booth all day long. Isaac Rogers and I had a blast!

A few observations:

1. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, nearly everyone who has stopped by the booth has had no experience with online qualitative research. The good news, though, is that their sentiment is that they need to know about it. Contrast that with ESOMAR in Athens last year when there was more of the “We’re not ready for it yet” feedback. The fact is, they know it’s coming and they need to get on board.

2. While 20|20 has an array of online research software platforms to fit most any need, the two that seem to be generating the most interest here are QualAnywhere for mobile qualitative research (a great platform for those countries with low Internet penetration) and QualLaborate, a new addition to our Qualboard platform that provides for true qualitative concept testing and image mark-up.

3. Larry Gold from Inside Research came up to me and said that 20|20 was “infamous!” Concerned, I asked why he said that. His response was that we had quickly grown to become a worldwide leader in online qualitative research. It was kind of nice to hear that – unsolicited – from someone outside the company.

Our ESOMAR contact told me that they had well over 1,000 registered delegates for this event! That’s great news.

The only bad news so far… no info on where next year’s ESOMAR Congress takes place. Stay tuned…

Day 0 From the ESOMAR Congress in Amsterdam

The following is a guest post by Steve Henke, 20|20 President, who is in Amsterdam this week for the ESOMAR Congress.

Like most of the events in our industry, the first day always seems to kick off with a cocktail reception in the exhibit hall. (By the way, that’s NOT a complaint!) But unlike many first days, today we’ve been very busy in our booth. Three things were very interesting to me.

1. There’s no question that ESOMAR is THE international event in our industry. I didn’t keep track of everyone who visited the booth, but here’s a sampling of the countries that did stop by – Romania, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Japan, India, Egypt, UK, US and Argentina.

2. Doing online qualitative research is still outside the norm for nearly everyone who visited us. And in many cases, they had virtually no knowledge of online qualitative and the various online research software platforms available. That tells me that there is still a lot of change to come to research outside of the states.

3. One of our platforms, QualBoard, has some international brand recognition. It was mentioned by several of our booth visitors as a product they had at least heard of, if not had it recommended by a colleague in the industry.

Isaac Rogers and I are excited for the full conference to start tomorrow – to see what topics become the real crowd favorites… and for the throngs (I hope!) that will drive to our booth.

Made your fall MR conference plans yet?

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

With apologies to Peter, Paul & Mary… The Fall MR Conference season will be here before you know it. And it looks like another good one. Have you made your plans yet?

20|20 will be exhibiting at several this Fall… and attending even more.

The folks at Inside Research have put together the best annual conference calendar in the industry and made it available on their website.

You might want to bookmark this page, as I’m sure they’ll be updating it for the Spring in the not-too-distant future.

One note: the ESOMAR 3-D Digital Research Conference has been moved and is now scheduled for October 26-28 in Miami.

The taxi’s waiting, he’s blowin’ his horn…

ESOMAR: Tension in the Market Research Industry

The ESOMAR Online Research Conference in Berlin wrapped up this afternoon with recognition of the promise of new opportunities moderated by the tension created by them. 

While there are many reasons to be excited about the future, the industry is at an inflection point, and that means change. Change is difficult. Change produces tension. A major thread running throughout this conference was the tension in the market research industry and how we can begin to resolve it.

  • There is tension between the respondents’ right to privacy and the industry’s desire to access and use data. Though this tension is pervasive, it is particularly acute with social media.  Where does the respondents’ right to privacy end and where does the researchers’ privilege to listen and analyze begin?
  • There is tension between communities and panels. Communities are active and interesting and produce fast research results for the expected and unexpected. Panels are on-demand, cost effective and targeted. Is there room for both in our industry, or better yet, in our budgets?
  • There is tension between the promise of new technology and the technology’s ability to deliver. Online research software has improved dramatically. Quantitative survey software is becoming fairly standard. Online qualitative research software is getting better and easier every day. However, in the “hot” issues of social media and mobile research, the technology promises tremendous research opportunities. How long must we wait until the technology catches up with the promise?

ESOMAR Alerts Online Research Industry to Respondent Privacy Issues

Nielsen “breaks in” to a website to “scrape” the comments from people posting about their medical conditions. The CitiBank iPhone app leaks personal data.  Facebook admits that its apps have been sharing personal data with outside companies.

These are just some of the most recent headlines related to online research data and individual privacy.  Privacy is a huge issue to government, technology, marketing research and to individuals. The issue is so important ESOMAR dedicated an entire section of its Online Research Conference today to reporting on its study on respondent privacy.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right,” said Mike Cooke, Global Director of Online Development for GfK NOP. Therefore, it is incumbent on market research providers to ensure privacy for its respondents. Mike outlined four fundamental principles that all research firms must address:

  1. The company is solely responsible for personal data under its control.
  2. Consent of respondents is paramount.
  3. Transparency: Respondents have a right to know why research data is being collected.
  4. Secure processes are necessary.

ESOMAR and the industry are working together to develop guidelines that will protect respondents and research firms.

ESOMAR Congress: Research Buyers Driving Agencies to Online Qualitative Research

Update from Steve Henke at the ESOMAR Congress in Athens:

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better… Day 2 at the ESOMAR Congress was even better than Day 1. Excitement was high as more and more people from around the world came by the booth anxious to find out about online qualitative research. Countries as diverse as Australia, Hungary, United Arab Emirates and many more seem to genuinely want to know how they can do online qualitative research.

Interestingly, the interest seems to be driven by international clients who are asking their suppliers for online qualitative solutions. The research buyers are driving the research agencies to get up to speed with the technology and methodologies, and the buyers are pushing the innovation to the agencies.

In those countries where Internet penetration is low, interest in QualAnywhere (our mobile qualitataive research platform – using mobile phones) is very high. In these countries, people may not have access to a computer but they all carry mobile phones and use them for communicating via voice, text and on the web.

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