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Compliance with GDPR
This is one of the biggest changes in data privacy regulation for 20 years. So, while harmonising data privacy laws across Europe and protecting EU citizens from privacy and data breaches is absolutely critical. In terms of market research, 75% of data will become unusable when regulations are in place. From May 2018, it will be important that opted-in data is quality checked and well maintained, otherwise, it is at risk of becoming uncompliant and unusable.
Collaboration between researchers and other departments
This is a trend I hope to see more off in businesses especially those with multiple functions and departments. We have tended to work in silos. Researchers like to take pride in their work and sometimes ‘put off’ by sharing their own creative work with others. Having said that, more and more times we now see collaboration between market researchers and marketing and sales teams. Better yet, more and more strategies have a focus on understanding customer needs which research and insight can sit and the forefront.
Technology is something I think will be commented about for years to come because there are so many different products and software’s out there. I think this will come in the shape of artificial intelligence for analysing big data sets, and use of chatbots for data collection and perhaps even delivery. Keep a watch for new technology entering the sector especially if it can interact with consumers at different points in their journey Deliver purposeful insight to our clients with human understanding that they can use to make better decisions.
Gone are the days of endless projects. Clients are now requiring research that creates impact and insights at speed. Many agencies have various means and ways of accommodating this ever-changing landscape. This goes hand in hand with the use of technology. And I predict agencies and businesses will use technology more to provider insights at speed. Never the less, the power of a humanist touch will not be lost, but job roles may change. You now see more data strategists and big data geeks than ever before, and I don’t see the demand for data skill sets decreasing any time soon.
The focus on providing quality work for a cheaper price will be the biggest trend for next year. This will not only lead to further automation and a larger focus on delivering actionable insight but could also result in the consolidation of smaller agencies. You have seen this with much larger organisations such as Research Now and SSI. But with more and more pressure on costs and the profit made from projects, smaller businesses could be priced out of the market sooner rather than later. One way of mitigating against this is by creating unique products that customers/clients can use.
As we move closer to 2018, I thought it would be useful to step back from market research. New to the sector, a lot of learnings have taken place. And some spring to mind…
- Individuals are worried about technology!
More and more individuals are worried about technology and how this could change their job. Or whether a computer/robot could take their role. In my opinion, this is many years away, the sector should keep moving in the direction it is going. Everyone likes to be efficient and technology can only enhance the opportunities to work on some very interesting projects. Having said that, it should challenge our thinking for the future to deliver work for clients and businesses.
- Market Research training
A topic rarely discussed but something I find very interesting. In a sector that is constantly client or/and customer related, any training opportunities are within a classroom. At present, training opportunities are put in front of individuals.
Isn’t this the opposite way around to how market researchers work?
We work in a world that first wants to understand what the customers would like, then use insights to deliver/create a product.
What training needs are required by you to develop in the sector?
- Being nice (I hate that word!) to clients!
In a sector that is client friendly, its seem to be a fashion statement to be nice to clients. Clients receive reports that may not detail the full story. But show results they may like on the face of it. For example, showing a high percentage rather than a figure that could actually help but may not look as good.
This lends its self to number 4…
- How many clients challenge you constantly?
Not enough. You see different reports published each week by leading market research agencies whether that is client work or their own internal piece of work. Sometimes I question why businesses have selected a specific agency because the standard is questionable. This will always depend on what the client has received previously but if you are paying for a service, you must question things; don’t except the norm.
- Don’t forget to reflect
My final though for 2017 was the fact that individuals in the sector do not necessarily look back in time. Yes, it is all well and useful to talk about new methodologies and automation, and how to improve the sector. But remember where we have come from. The sector has come from paper surveys in newspaper to VR and using data from Pokémon Go and other Apps. The data utopia we live in today is frightening but something the sector should be proud of.
5 ways to improve your Net Promotor Score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) question puts respondents into Promoters, Passives and Detractors; and then appears as a score. In fact, the index could range from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a product/company or services to others. I deem a score of 0-50 being seen as good and a score of 50+ as excellent.
Low and behold, we go to a meeting and we see someone rambling on about a single NPS score. A figure we are somewhat meant to make sense of. For the naked eye or those none research/insight savvy individuals; a number on a screen could mean many different things.
But is it a victim of its own success?
How could NPS be integrated into other research methodologies?
Here are 5 top tips and ideas you could use..
There are many different agencies and technology advancements that enable individuals all around the world to take a recording of themselves. This could be their opinion about the product or specific company. You can then relate their NPS score, whether they are a promoter, passive or a detractor against their video. So, you can put words and scores against actual meaning. For a research or Insight manager, what a valuable tool and process to go through, that can be translated for product or marketing managers to understand what customers are talking about.
THE INVALUABLE TEACHERS
Many companies can become disheartened by the fact that individuals do not like a particular product they have worked so hard to create and develop. However, they are the most invaluable teacher for your business to grow and improve. Finding out why they are unwilling to pass on the good word about your product can be more valuable than evaluating the consumers who like you most. Poor customer service can be rectified, as can glitches in your product that make it second best to your competitors.
FOLLOW UP WITH RESPONDENTS
Have you made some changes from your NPS? Even if they are minor changes that customers may not actually recognise. You now need to let them know about the improvements that have come from their feedback. There’s nothing more satisfying as a customer than taking the time to fill out a survey and then actually seeing your feedback make a difference. It could be anything, as long as it closes the feedback loop.
GO BEYOND “WHY”
Depending on what you want to know, you could deviate from the standard “Why?” question. Some would say this is heresy, but there is no harm in testing and it could serve you well.
THE DREDDED BIAS
I don’t like naming companies and I am sure you can have a think of those who create bias within a survey, specifically an NPS question. You could argue, this is helping those individuals who do not understand the concept and therefore, it helps them to make a clear decision instead of a middle ground. Alternatively, it could actually attract someone to make a favourable score.
If you’re going to spend the time to track your Net Promoter Score, you need to actively and continuously try to improve it. By turning more customers into promoters and eliminating detractors, you will increase customer loyalty significantly. However, there are other metrics and ideas that you could use:
- customer satisfaction
- Customer effort score
- First response time to communication
- Van Westendorp pricing
- Repurchase ratio’s
What step are you taking to improve your Net Promotor Score?
Tweet me at @Jakepryszlak with your thoughts and how you are going to improve your NPS!
How much is the term ‘Market Research’ used?
WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY ‘MARKET RESEARCH’?
In one sense the professional history of market research could be defined by professional associations such as the MRS and ESOMAR in the late 1940’s.
Definitions typically suggest that marketing research is a broader term implying understanding of customers that happens within organisations and marketing functions. Market research is a more macro analysis reflecting work done by research agencies. It is notable that whilst professional associations, such as the MRS or ESOMAR, provide their own definitions these seem designed more as a means of marking professional territory than in providing clarity to researchers or users of research. In practice, this is how you notice differences between market research in the UK and USA.
In the late 1990’s an additional term ‘insight’ began to emerge in addition to and as an alternative to market research. This can be seen as a response to the need to generate greater influence amongst stakeholders, particular amongst senior management. The term customer insight emerged not from the field of market research but from the emerging field of customer relationship management, where agencies became aware that they needed to sell both the technology and the benefits it would bring to the bottom line.
Research within this post has been created and analysed by myself, and anyone wishing to use the information should contact me to ask for permission.
To analyse the use of the term ‘market research’ I looked for data representing views from a number of stakeholders. Such key stakeholder groups were identified as market research agencies, professional bodies, and obviously the more general public perception of research.
Firstly, the most recently available league table from the MRS at the time of analysis (2017) ensures the maximum value of findings.
For each of these agency public facing websites the following were analysed:
- The presence of the term ‘market research’ in a description of the agency in the page title
- Presence of the term ‘market research’ in description of the company’s core activities on an about page, or similar page explaining core company activities.
- Presence of the term ‘market research’ in a business unit or set of product offerings.
- Alternative phrases used instead of, or in addition to, market research to describe core business activities
FROM THE TOP 50 CONSOLIDATED BUSINESSES RANKED BY TURNOVER
Out of the top 10 ranking agencies =
|Rank||Company||MR mentioned on Homepage?||MR in About Page||MR in Product Description|
|2||Wood Mackenzie Research and Consulting||NO||NO||NO|
|CRITERIA||% of all top 50 agencies in Consolidated table|
|The term ‘market research’ is evident on the home or/and description page||28%|
|Presence of term in product descriptions and ‘about us’ pages||36%|
These were some of the key descriptions of core business products:
- Research, data and insight
- Technology research
- Survey research
- Strategic insight
- Market intelligence
- Customer experience
- Generating insight
- Understanding consumer decision making
- Social research
This data provides only a partial picture in that it measures the presence or absence of the use of ‘market research’ in certain contexts.
But what industry am I in?
What is its relevance in 2017?
The evidence suggests that the use of the term market research today is as a placeholder or a descriptor of a certain set of skills and it appear to be largely used within the industry. The potential for research to grow has, arguably, never been greater. However, the term market research is at the intersection of a number of declining factors – not least a perception in the decline in the value it can generate for its customers. This raises a number of important questions that need to be address by key stakeholders in research, including:
Should universities continue to offer courses that are labelled ‘market research’?
Should new graduates and other young professionals seek skills to develop a career in market research?
At this stage it would be tempting to make a recommendation that the market research world needs to reinvent itself but the data analysed suggests that the industry is already doing so. In conclusion, the market research ‘industry’ has moved on and is increasingly defining itself in other ways – and in showing this flexibility helps to secure its future success.
SHOULD I MAKE ONLINE SURVEY QUESTIONS REQUIRED?
You’ve designed your survey and you’re ready to launch.
But one of my problems and a question clients ask all of the time is: I’ve put all this work into writing my survey, but what if people skip some of my questions? Ah-hah! I’ll just require that respondents answer all my questions—problem solved.
Not so fast. According to researchers there are some definite downsides to requiring questions.
If you require all questions in a survey you might end up with fewer responses overall. How does that work?
Say your survey included a question like ‘What is your favourite fizzy drink?’, and you made the question required.
How can you answer this question if you don’t have or like any fizzy drinks, yet the question requires an answer in order to continue through the survey? This is a frustrating experience for a survey taker, and they may get so frustrated that they drop out of the survey entirely. Not good.
Similarly, if you ask personal or intrusive questions, people may choose to end the survey rather than give an answer. Recent pieces of research have shown that 35% of respondents dropped out of a survey when they were required to answer personal questions compared to 9% when they were allowed to skip questions that felt too personal.
This particular survey asked about relationship satisfaction and sexual history, but other types of questions that may be considered personal are those about health and medical history, criminal behaviour, income and debt, or questions that just don’t seem relevant to the topic of the rest of the survey.
An even bigger potential problem with requiring questions is getting wrong responses. Let’s go back to the two scenarios above: the question that isn’t relevant (What is your favourite fizzy drink?), and the personal question that people don’t feel comfortable answering. Faced with either of these types of questions the survey taker could choose to drop out or they could choose to make up an answer or pick an answer at random in order to continue.
How honest do respondents answer?
In reality, dishonesty like this is even more problematic than missing data because enough of these untruthful answers could lead you as the survey designer to draw incorrect conclusions. So what are you to do if you want to get as much (accurate) data as possible?
The best advice? Only require questions when absolutely necessary. For example, it’s a great idea to make a question required in order to create weighted responses or to cut your data.
Some of this comes from the survey taker’s level of engagement. The more someone cares about a survey, the more time and effort they will put into completing the survey. Since Audience members are contributing to charity with each survey, they care a lot about the surveys they take.
Uncovering true insights using video surveys
When it comes to engaging your customers, market research has been trying to stay ahead of the curve of innovation. This has been helped by organisations such as Plotto who have created a new and exciting product enabling users to uncover true insights using video surveys.
Why use the product?
You’re already aware that video content on your website and social media channels is more valuable than written content when it comes to engaging customers.
It is the modern way after all…..
And with the growing prevalence of mobiles, webcams and affordable digital cameras, along with video sharing sites like YouTube, everyday folk also have the opportunity to create and share their own videos easily.
With ever more affordable options for businesses to create videos, and so much user-generated content being shared online, there are numerous opportunities to use video to reach out to new customers or to cement your relationships with existing ones, whether it’s you or your customers who create those videos.
Plotto is one of the best platforms that enables researchers to create, analyse and edit video surveys quickly and efficiently
Plotto’s mission is to bring together new media and storytelling; oriented towards privacy and qualitative content relevance. But what is special, it allows you to turn big data into smart and actionable insights that can be used at a strategic level.
I think there are 10 main areas why Plotto is the GO TO platform to use:
- It allows for product feedback and sampling
- Video ‘free text’ in online research surveys – More and more individuals want to freely speak about products in their own time. And on the sofa!
- It can enable ethnographic research and video diaries that can be transcribed and used
- Creative testing pre & post campaign
- Video testimonials
- Surveys and content for pitches or PR
- Insight generation
- Customer satisfaction
- Employee engagement & client feedback
- Focus group homework or pre-screening
Areas of improvement
With any platform, there are areas for improvement and I am sure Plotto are already a step ahead of these, but…
Is the platform accessible for all communities whether they are elderely, disabled, young or from a community where technology is not as important to use?
Also, the willingness of so many to share the intimate details of their lives, coupled with the rapid development of technology allowing them to do so, presents numerous unprecedented opportunities for researchers…
And it will take brave organisation to take a new step into the world of video technology and surveys. Until the mass market do; the product needs real life case studies and impact.
My final recommendation for the product to take that step further is to look at ways of innovating data into a wide range of data visualisation formats enabling the less data savvy individuals to interpret the information quickly and efficiently.
Did the product live up to expectations?
From using Plotto and testing the platform I am going to give it a score of 8/10. It is one of the easiest platforms to use and better yet, you can:
- Create your survey quickly using the drag and drop interface making it a doddle to use.
- Get straight down to the core insights when you are up against it and short of time, using the interactive analytics tool.
- Create video testimonials for presentations using the very simple showreel creation meaning bullet points and insights can be brought to life
- Export all of the data and information; enabling you to show information to clients away from your desk at any time
The real value for researchers, though, will come in the form of opportunities to take a first-hand peek into important aspects of people’s lives, such as what they do in their spare time, which topics they’re talking about and how they really feel about them. We’ll also get insight into how they present themselves publicly – and while it might never quite be possible to know how these people behave when they’re not being watched, observing their online persona can still tell us a lot…
With so many possibilities emerging, it’s an exciting period of time where live streaming technology is becoming increasingly accessible. And I feel Plotto is one of the first organisations to nail it!!
Using Plotto, you will be able to gather new data that will help you understand people’s lifestyles, emotions, and how they share them online quickly, and cost effectively.
FACE-TO-FACE DATA COLLECTION WITH A TWIST
From watching the Market Research Society Awards, I came across Jump Research who won the best face 2 face data collection award for 2016. They are an innovative market research & social research consultancy specialising in distilling insight from any data source. And lead by Louise Fraser.
The consultancy arm of Jump Research was established at a time when declining response rates were a real issue to the Market Research industry. Face-to-face research is often cost prohibitive for some clients but the rewards enable businesses and clients to gain insightful knowledge from their customers.
Jump Research was founded in Scotland, where there it is difficult to gain a geographical sample, and they came up with an effective framework and initiative I think moves the sector forward into the next generation era.
So, how could you take the best snippets of online research that delivers fast results, and use technology and gain a broad geographic reach and then even combine face-to-face interviews with participants?
Jump Research launched their mobile research van!
Designed to enable quantitative and qualitative research to be conducted anywhere. The van is like no other, and equipped with iPads, WIFI, video cameras, TV/DVD players and cooking facilities that provide clients with an all-round research package to solve their solutions
Why do I think the Jump Van is innovative?
Well….first.. Who else has a van they use to gain valuable data and information from customers that breaks down such barriers as Geographic’s, cost, time and efficiencies?
- The Van, provides 8 people at the same time to complete an online survey, allowing for multiple completions at ever one time.
- A new and innovative idea brings foot fall, and the Jump Van have seen increased sample sizes compared to other projects.
- It is cost effective as it only requires one interviewer and supervisor to help individuals to come and visit the van.
- Whether it is raining, snowing or even if the sun is out, the Van is always on the move, and offers indoor and outdoor seated spaces
All in all, it enables you to interview anywhere from a remote island to a busy city centre, and reaches rural and young audiences not normally included in face-to-face research.
But there is a catch!
Mobile research vans as such are a convenience sample, meaning the sample is a target population when the client can not afford or can not reach a certain percentage of the population.
But convenience samples do not produce representative results
The tendency when using convenience samples is to treat the results as represented, even though they are not. And many people do not understand the theories underpinning such, and may treat any given survey as representational.
The results from such a sample are hard to replicate
If you analyse the data of a convenience survey by list source, you will often find differences in the answers from the different lists, often in ways that confound easy explanation.
OK.. But in a nutshell..
The concept and idea Louise and her team have come up with in collaboration with a range of universities is admiral. Even a research agency collaborating with a university is a new and exciting venture many others should follow..
Jump Research and their mobile research van provides rich quantitative and qualitative information and correlations. And some what sets the bar above traditional online sampling and methodologies.
This method is a mix of the next generation, as well as retaining our core values of market research
How do innovate to provide rich data and information for your business or client?
Is it a new idea, and something that will challenge the sector?
Tick tock, tick tock, are you a business or agency that is not using technology or online methodologies, and are routed by traditional ways – Is this the way to go in market research?
Is it time for market research to use modern and efficient methodologies?
Or should the values of MRX stand?
ROBOT WARS VERSUS INSIGHT
AI (or, artificial intelligence) is a topic which is becoming increasingly prevalent within the world of market research. Whilst it is becoming common within the industry, I don’t believe it can replace human interaction and collaboration. And better yet, if it was becoming ever so common, then we would need to find new jobs! But I don’t see that happening, the humanist method of market research cannot be lost and I don’t think it will be. Companies small and large generating more and more data than ever before so, so don’t get me wrong, anything that makes our lives easier would be beneficial, and artificial intelligence could speed up research to be advantageous to us all including clients who are becoming ever so reliant on fast turnaround of data. However, there are some reasons why I strongly believe that artificial intelligence isn’t the magic ‘produce insight’ button we’ve all secretly been wishing for. I still believe a researcher can deliver excellent insights that clients want and expect.
Questioning the Data
If you just give a client numbers, they’ll drown in them. Whilst they’ll have the data, they won’t have the insight, to use those numbers and make business decisions from. And to get the latter you need human brains to question the data. A human (maybe not a researcher) can ask those questions that artificial intelligence tools can’t; they can look further into the survey results, ask those relatable questions to unearth the ‘why’ from the ‘what’ and the ‘so what’ factor. They can give you true insight. The researcher can also decide which cross-tabs to run, which filters they need to apply to be able to really understand the story. For example, a researcher will see the NPS score and rather than taking it at face value; they’ll look to explore the factors that have contributed to it, build the background story and identify how the business can go forwards making improvements.
Asking those ‘why’ from the ‘what’ and the ‘so what’ factor questions
With artificial intelligence you could calculate your NPS score quickly and accurately, but there would be little depth of understanding behind it and the business won’t know how they can go about improving the score – they’d have the result but not the insight without going into the results themselves. An NPS score can give businesses 24/7 opportunities to showcase outstanding work with internal stakeholders and colleagues or rectify an issue. A researcher can understand the data quickly and potentially talk to members of the correct department to discuss issues. Artificial intelligence or robots wouldn’t be able to do that, and it would take a human to make those decisions whether it is something that needs improvements.
What About Qualitative research?
At the moment, robots or artificial intelligence isn’t brainy enough to be able to handle qualitative information. For sure, It can help out with projects including data and run your basic frequencies. But in the case of qualitative research, where you might have tens of thousands of words to read through as part of your analysis – it might be good to have a helping hand. In these cases, you’re going to need a researcher. Once the robots have been developed further to be able to handle theming, sentiment analysis and other key qualitative analysis techniques, it can help with the bulk of analysis from online live chats, online research communities where the volume of content is staggering plus online surveys. But then the same issue will emerge with qualitative information that did with quantitative. You will still need someone to go through and make sense of the themes and sentiments emerging from the research. And you would still need someone to make sense of the data and information so you can translate this to your internal/external stakeholders and/or clients. If you have applied a principle called triangulation to your work, then you’re going to have to look to a researcher to blend the findings from all the different elements of the research to give you the insight and articulate in ‘business jargon’.
Bringing the Story to Life
There might be some great data visualisation tools available that give you a quick glance at the data in charts and tables (there are some freebies that offer you a starter for 10), however, without a humanist approach, the data will not be able articulated effectively to create visualisations.
How do you get this?
The story of the research needs to be brought to life; this could be a narrative or a simple infographic. Therefore, you need someone who has been delving into the data and information, becoming part of research and the data behind it. Unfortunately, even though many online survey platforms could argue that they show survey results in graph or easy to read forms, this is not bringing research to life, it’s much more than this, which robots can’t do just yet.
You Can’t Replace Experience
Someone like an account executive or a research manager would have an understanding of the business/client and the challenges they face that is something invaluable for adding insight to research findings.
Being able to see the problems, apply the insight and tell the business what it really means for them is something that only an experienced researcher can achieve.
Whilst robots might be intelligent and able to save time for the researcher, I can’t see it being able to replace their knowledge and experience a research has gained over their career. I’ve always come back to needing a researcher who is then able to bring out the insight from research. Robots can help with elements of the analysis process but for the insight to be delivered, you need a humanistic approach to data detraction and analysis. If robots can be incorporated to make our lives as researchers easier then I am up for it; but there is a time and a place for a researcher to take over, ask those questions which automation can’t deliver the insight.
How do you think artificial intelligence or better known as robots will impact the market industry? What percentage of a research project do you think could be automated by robots?
Tweet your thoughts and opinions to me @Jakepryszlak
The days of the two-phase research project are over!!!! Well, not really, but they are becoming less necessary.
Market research has been split into silos of qualitative and quantitative research, with these two streams emerging from two very separate disciplines. This separation is particularly noticeable in larger and more progressive markets such as the UK and Europe, where increased specialisation has enabled this separation of skills and has left the Insight buyers amongst you all, to piece them together in some way.
This landscape of the market research industry is changing rapidly. Markets are competitive and clients too time-poor to pull two ‘languages’ into a single insights story they can use for future reference or to use at a strategic level. Furthermore, the landscape of research tools and respondent interactions (both consumer and Business to Business) is changing, fuelled by new media interactions; technological advances and the demand for faster, shorter, more instantaneous information. The ever-changing environment places new demands for smart research talent that is bilingual, creative and dynamic in their approach to client challenges and can design and apply new research approaches in online settings.
Todays digital research tools make integrated quantitative and qualitative research easier than ever while introducing some real advantages such as:
|Lower cost||The survey operates as two functions (data collection and recruiter)|
|Speed||There is no wasted time between phrases, and the research design doesn’t take any longer than a particular quantitative survey|
|Deeper Insights||In-depth qualitative information alongside the survey provides opportunities to the reasons and motivators behind the survey responses|
|Engaging reports||Think about the use of online platforms such as videos, webcams, mobiles etc. And enhance reports and presentations with powerful customer insights|
Technology can link directly to almost any survey platform. The link can select potential respondents based on survey answers. The qualitative experience occurs in the middle of a survey or after the survey has completed. Once selected and opted-in, respondents can participate in virtually any qualitative experience. Some of the most common are: webcam interviews, mobile interviews, chat interviews and Qual Board discussions with or without video uploads.
Yesterdays Market Research world has already changed, insight buyers demand fast and strategic level insights to create and manage change, meaning online presence and user ability is much more demanding and important.
How are you conducting Market Research?
Is it towards the next generation of thinking?
Tweet your thoughts to @Jakepryszlak or comment!