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New Research Study Reveals Consumer Preferences for Incentives and Rewards

First round of released findings reveal a fine line between personalization and privacy, among other points



The mission of marketing is to Engage, Understand and Activate consumers. Research traditionally has only been focused on the “Understand” phase of that process, but increasingly the shift to insights, in all it’s many forms, is creating a more holistic view where the lines between each are blurred, and instead are self-reinforcing. In that world, traditional market research must play a role in engaging and activating consumers, either as part of the research study, in support of the brand as a whole, or even as part of a panel building or community initiative.  That is why I remain interested and engaged in exploring incentive and reward programs; it’s not simply an operational issue any longer, but rather is an important part of the entire marketing life cycle.

With that in mind, my friends at Virtual Incentives have released the first round of data from a new research study on consumer perceptions and preferences surrounding incentives. The study, formally called “Incentive Research Paper” also explored how the incentive itself impacts brand perceptions, while studying influencers like gender, age, income levels and political affiliation. Alter Agents designed the study and provided analysis; Voxpopme provided video answers technology to video capture and analytics technology; and MindField Online supplied programming and sample for the research project.

Jonathan Price, CEO of Virtual Incentives, said, “The information we gathered for this study is vital in helping brands make informed decisions when it comes to incentivizing their target audiences. After all, we want the reward or incentive moment to truly resonate and create an engaging moment with the recipient – that means we need to be educated on what different consumer groups are really looking for when it comes to incentives.”

Data surrounding reward personalization revealed insights in to just how accustomed and willing consumers are in having personal information used in conjunction with incentive delivery:

  • Receipt of personalized reward: Only two out of every five respondents have received a personalized incentive and, of those, just over half said it increased their consideration of the brand.
  • Brand perception, general: Fifty-six percent said that receiving a personalized incentive would improve their consideration of the brand
  • Brand perception, specific: While the vast majority indicated that use of personalization made a brand seem smart, unique and caring, a meaningful minority of 16 percent find it “creepy”
  • Trust: Most respondents felt that a personalized incentive made them feel respected as a customer, while 1 in 4 feel it is a violation of their privacy.
  • Type of personalization: Sixty-three percent prefer a reward based on purchase history, rather than the less popular reference to a purchase location (24 percent) or use of name (23 percent)

In addition to personalization factors, the study found that more education and higher incomes drive interest in incentives programs. In fact, the more educated and higher income level the consumer, the higher participation across the board – for all incentive types. More importantly, incentives programs lead to more expensive purchases, larger quantities, and shifts in retailer choice for these higher-status customers. For example, 20 percent more of those with an income over 50K would purchase a more expensive item based on receiving an incentive.

One thing that stood out was that, no matter the income or education level, one-third of respondents agreed on preferred reward: a virtual gift card that could be used anywhere they chose, such as Visa® or MasterCard®.

As data from the study is further analyzed, more trends will be released including political affiliation influence on reward preference, just in time for the elections. A paper summarizing the findings of the study will be available in early October.



Automation – Help or Hindrance?

Automation is very much among us and here to stay. The big question is whether it will kill us or make us stronger.


By Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner

The campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have both focused on the role of offshoring manufacturing to explain the loss of factory jobs and increased economic pressures on the middle class – a message that has resonated. Neither they nor the Clinton campaign, however, have really focused on the real bogey man – automation. For example, the automotive industry is experiencing the best of times, yet with far fewer workers than they employed pre-recession. Why? Those jobs have been automated.

For a long time, the white-collar middle class thought “it can’t happen to me.” Well it can and it is. Just last month, a large NY bankruptcy law firm laid off 50 lawyers because IBM’s Watson is now taking over their jobs. And, yes, it’s happening in research too. Whether we are talking about the automation of downstream DP and IT jobs, the rise of the DIY platforms or the arrival of MR app stores, automation is very much among us and here to stay.

The big question is whether it will kill us or make us stronger.

There is no doubt that, for some, this is a death knell. If you work in DP or Project Management, your prospects of future employment are dim. If you are a vanilla, undifferentiated research agency still basing your business model on data collection, your prospects of existing five years from now are nil to zero. But there are very substantial silver linings, too.

For example, there is every reason to believe that the DIY platforms will expand the market, bringing small and medium-sized enterprises into the fold for the first time. As they and their sophistication grows, so will their need for specialist and expert input. If you are a differentiated MR agency bringing real value to your clients, you will now be able to divert resource from non-value add functions to hiring more consultants, more graphics specialists, more data scientists, more synthesists and more story tellers. You can increase the value that you bring.

In essence, the effect that automation will have on you as a purveyor of research is very much down to you. It depends on where you want to take your business and what your value proposition is. Get it right and these could be the best of times.


Economic Eras and Brand Consumption

How does the value of a brand change through different economic eras? Explore how these cycles change brand impact with us as we answer this question in the fifth video of a 9-part video series entitled "The Future of Marketing and How to Win".

Editor’s Note: Fresh Squeezed Ideas created a video series, The Future of Marketing and How to Win, to not only share ideas on where the future of marketing is headed, but to also provoke some new ways of thinking about brand strategy and marketing.

By Fresh Squeezed Ideas

How does the value of a brand change through different economic eras? Explore how these cycles change brand impact with us as we answer this question in the fifth video of a 9-part video series entitled “The Future of Marketing and How to Win”.

As a marketer, if you are truly customer centric, then you want to understand what is different about your customer.  You see, cultural beliefs are shifting.  Customers simply don’t act the same way as they did when brand strategy models were developed back in the 1950s.

People are fundamentally changing their behaviour as they make different decisions as our culture evolves in this new economic era. For example, at retail, what’s winning are the discount retailers and, interestingly, also the premium retailers. The middle is actually dying. That’s a very different behaviour that’s driven by economic instability and people making different choices.

Now, if you ask somebody, “Why are you shopping at discount, and then going across the street to a premium retailer?” they can’t rationally tell you.  But, what’s driving it is the new cultural beliefs around economics.  So, the brands that are attracting customers, are those that are culturally relevant.

Phillips Design has put forth a model for understanding the economic eras that consumers have moved through. It started with the industrial era, where it was all about ownership driven by mass production, through the experience economy of the 1980s, where brands and marketing really came into the fore offering promises of experience. Now, we’re living through the knowledge economy, where consumers want to be fully self-actualized, and knowledge platforms like Google help get them there.

As culture moves forward in time, new brands are born. In 2008, the American Dream collapsed, along with the economy, and a bunch of brands were created out of that. First was the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the Tea Party, and though they’re not brands you normally think of in terms of products and services, they were consumed by the public through their participation.  The other change that is really interesting to note is how, prior to 2008, the most popular meme in popular culture were vampires. Vampires are very interesting because they have a lot of personal agency, like people did before the economic collapse. After the 2008 collapse, what became the most popular in pop culture?  Zombies—and zombies have no personal agency.


System1 Politics Spotlight: Hillary Clinton

The System1 Politics experiment explores the strengths and weaknesses of Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton.



Editor’s Note: GreenBook has no position on the U.S. Presidential Race. As Editor, I’ve chosen to showcase the System1 Politics experiment by BrainJuicer because I believe it is relevant, interesting, and perhaps even disruptive to traditional political and social research. With that in mind, I asked Tom Ewing to do a deep dive into what their 3Fs model says about Clinton and Trump individually as we also report the results of the tracking study leading up to the election. We’ll publish the post about Trump in about a week or so.

We’ll know how well the application of behavioral economics models can predict political outcomes in just a few weeks, and of course this will likely be a major topic at our IIeX Behavioral Science Forums event in Chicago on November 14-15. 


By Tom Ewing

Our System1 Politics experiment uses three key decision-making shortcuts – Fame, Feeling, and Fluency – to anticipate the outcome of the US Presidential election. The 3 Fs are the heuristics that underpin consumer decisions from buying to voting.

Fame: how quickly does a choice come to mind? Feeling: how good do I feel about it? And Fluency: how easy is it to recognize (and process)?

Sometimes the various choices open to people are quite stark. In the Republican Primary race, for instance, Donald Trump was clearly and obviously ahead on all three fundamentals. There was never any chance of Rubio, Cruz, Bush or the rest catching him. But the presidential election is not like that. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both have particular advantages. But these advantages are also potentially fragile. From our very first wave, in January, we’ve been saying the election was going to be extremely close, and the polls right now are bearing this out.

We’ll have to wait until November 8th to find out how predictive the System1 Politics methods are. But they’re also designed to work diagnostically – to dig into what’s driving the emotions behind each candidate, and what distinctive assets they can call on.

With that in mind, Greenbook asked us to write two special posts, each one exploring the System 1 strengths and weaknesses of a candidate. First, Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton.





For several weekly waves of data, our Fame, Feeling and Fluency model has shown Hillary Clinton in a dead heat with Donald Trump – it’s only in the latest wave that she’s re-established a narrow lead. If she does win in November, it’ll be down to these three key factors, in order of importance.

  1. THE FEEL-OK FACTOR: Most people don’t like Hillary Clinton very much. If she was up against a candidate people did like, she’d probably be doomed. But when we ask how people feel about each candidate, Clinton holds a consistent advantage over Trump. In the last few weeks of data, we’ve seen the proportion of people feeling happy about each candidate rise. Around 3 in 10 Americans now feel Happy about Trump – it has been as low as 17%, so these are strong figures for him. Clinton has hit lows too – 21% Happiness is her bottom end. But she’s currently scoring 40% Happiness, comfortably the highest we’ve seen for her. Why the improvement? As the election nears, people harden in their choices – and they’re wanting to feel good about their candidate, not simply neutral. If Clinton can maintain a strong Feeling gap over her rival, her chances will be far better.
  2. EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE: What about Clinton makes people happy? The qualities our respondents point to tend to be ones that don’t have much to do with her personality. It’s Clinton’s experience in government and knowledge of politics and international affairs that they like. “Knows the international arena”; “Has dedicated her entire life to service”; “The most qualified for the job”. Also often mentioned – Clinton’s work ethic and her caring side, working for women and families. But it’s the experience issue that shines through – and seems perfectly calibrated to play against Trump’s negatives of arrogance and ignorance. (Though as we’ll see when we look at Trump, his positives fit her negatives just as well.) The question is – will experience matter? We think it all depends on how much the election becomes about fear. Fearful people often default to caution and the status quo – which in this case is Hillary Clinton, and may explain why her support seems to jump every time Trump gets close to her in the polls.
  3. THE TRAPPINGS OF OFFICE: Clinton’s third advantage is closely related to her second. She doesn’t have a lot of distinctive assets, as we’ll see, but what she does have is a stronger association with the trappings of office: the White House, the presidential seal, the oval office. Obviously, you might think – she’s lived in the White House and worked in government! But when we asked about Joe Biden, the sitting Vice President, his associations were far less strong. On a basic associative level, Clinton feels more ‘presidential’ – and in the voting booth, that might just be enough to sway last-minute deciders.


Clinton has a narrow lead in the polls and in our Fame-Feeling-Fluency model, but Trump has overtaken her before and might do again. What three factors weaken Clinton as a candidate?

  1. CROOKED HILLARY: People who like Hillary Clinton express a bunch of reasons for it. People who dislike her tend to have just one. They think she’s a liar, and often corrupt too. It’s hard to overstate how often this comes up in our verbatims: “Lying criminal”; “Corrupt liar”; “No integrity”; “Liar, liar, liar”. Sometimes they mention reasons, mostly related to her private email server, but often the accusation stands by itself. These negatives certainly contribute to polarization, but they haven’t stopped her Feeling steadily rising. Their effect on the vote may be to steel the resolve of wavering Trump supporters and help his turnout rise.
  2. FAME, FEELING, AND WHAT?: Fluency is one of the drivers of rapid, System 1 decisions. How quickly you recognize a brand (via its unique assets) and process a choice makes a huge difference. Clinton has lagged behind Trump on Fluency until very recently. Now they are almost level. But not because her Fluency has risen – his has slipped back. Hillary is still simply not seen as a distinctive politician – she’s “politics as usual”, as one respondent put it in the verbatims. If Trump can get his mojo back and recover some Fluency, we’d say she’s in trouble.
  3. WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?: Back in January we predicted the debates would be good for Donald Trump. We’ll see very soon if we were right, but our reasoning remains the same. In terms of rapid System 1 associations, Trump “owns” a lot of the slogans and concepts that have defined the campaign, from immigration to “Make America Great Again”. During the Primary Season, we noticed that almost every slogan – even Democratic ones, like Bernie Sanders’ “A Political Revolution Is Coming”, was credited to Donald Trump. As for Clinton, her grasp of detail is famous, but she doesn’t have the same level of distinctive assets she can lodge in a nationwide audience’s mind. Our studies showed she owned gun control as a policy – powerful but highly controversial – and performs fairly well on the typical Democrat areas of health and education. Beyond that, her distinctive assets are limited: to seize the initiative firmly in front of millions of Americans, she needs something simpler and stronger.

We update our study every week on http://system1politics.com – the next wave is timed for a little later than usual, to take the first debate into account.


Why Marketers Need Social Science in Their Tool Kit

Why should social science be a part of every marketer’s tool kit? Explore brand purpose and breakout brand strategy as we answer this question in the fourth video of a 9-part video series entitled "The Future of Marketing and How to Win".

Editor’s Note: Fresh Squeezed Ideas created a video series, The Future of Marketing and How to Win, to not only share ideas on where the future of marketing is headed, but to also provoke some new ways of thinking about brand strategy and marketing.

By Fresh Squeezed Ideas

Why should social science be a part of every marketer’s tool kit? Explore brand purpose and breakout brand strategy as we answer this question in the fourth video of a 9-part video series entitled “The Future of Marketing and How to Win”

Let’s start with an example of a healthcare company that markets a medical device treatment for an acute condition that is potentially fatal. It was observed that they have two types of customers. On one hand, there are very vigilant people who own multiple devices and keep them in all kinds of locations. They protect themselves very well. On the other extreme, there’s the consumer that is quite negligent. If they even own a device, they don’t carry it, and they’re always at risk. The healthcare company thought, if we just educate the negligent people with the same beliefs and facts that the vigilant people have, surely they’ll do the right thing, and carry their device to protect themselves. Unfortunately, people don’t do rational things for rational reasons and it is a great example of attraction or a lack of attraction for subconscious reasons.

Here’s what we found out when we got up close and intimate with these people. They were so afraid of the fatality potential, that they simply denied that they had this condition, or that it would happen to them. This is not unlike how people live on a fault line in California think the Big One won’t come. That’s completely irrational.

However, when they understood that no amount of education was actually going to change behaviour, they were able to understand how to create a different kind of strategy— which was to use humour—that aligned with their values. They tried this very funny approach, which you don’t often see in medical marketing, and guess what? It doubled their business.

When you have strategies that are built on a brand purpose that’s relevant within a cultural context and respects the value of the target audience, you can have profound impact on your business. The great news for marketers is that technology has made social science investigations more accessible and more affordable than ever before. Every marketer that wants to break out in the marketplace needs these tools as part of your arsenal if you want to develop a strategy that has the power to transform your business.


Growing the Industry by Funding More Research – Part Two

Collaborata is the first platform that crowd-funds research, saving clients upwards of 90% on each project. We’ve asked Collaborata to feature two projects that are currently funding on a biweekly basis.


By Peter Zollo

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our second post featuring two projects on Collaborata, the market-research marketplace. We’re happy to support a platform whose mission is to fund more research.

And, like Collaborata, we believe in the idea of connecting clients and suppliers to co-sponsor projects. In Collaborata’s case, doing so reduces redundancy and cost. We invite you to Collaborate!

Collaborata Featured Project #1:

“Vets & Pets: The Influence Veterinarians Have on What Today’s Consumers Are Spending on Their Pets”


Purpose: This study will quantify the influence veterinarians have on what dog and cat owners buy for their pets and how to better engage vets for your brand’s benefit.

This research will assess how the pet owner-vet dynamic plays out differently among generations in order to identify distinct opportunities to grow your brand among Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Boomers.

The Pitch: Learn how veterinarians influence pet owners’ care and feeding purchases. And, get fresh insights on how to best engage vets for your brand’s benefit — direct from the source!

If you market pet products or services, this research will illuminate how to best tap into the critical vet-pet owner relationship that drives consumers’ attitudes and pet-care purchases in your category. Become an early co-sponsor and get input into the questionnaire.

Deliverable: Comprehensive deck; management-level webinar; complete tabulations.

Who’s Backing This: RTi, an innovative, global full-service market-research agency, with deep brand strategy experience.

To become a co-sponsor or for more info: http://www.collaborata.com/projects/176 or email info@collaborata.com

Collaborata Featured Project #2:

“Prediction Markets Omnibus”

zollo_2Purpose: Get answers to your proprietary questions by leveraging the fast-growing Prediction Markets methodology. Prediction Markets are more accurate, faster, and less expensive than traditional concept studies.

The Pitch: If you’ve ever thought about testing Prediction Markets as a research method, here’s a unique opportunity to do so.

For the introductory price of $3,500, you’ll receive two proprietary questions as well as shared data in in each of three verticals: Health/ Nutrition; Finance/ Insurance; and CPG. For an additional $3,500, get three more proprietary questions!

Deliverable: Topline report; proprietary data files.

Who’s Backing This: Edge Research, a full-research firm, with expertise in Prediction Markets. Edge is supported on this project by Consensus Point, a Prediction Market Research company, who recently gave a Webinar on Greenbook about Predictions Markets, which you can find here.

To become a co-sponsor or for more info: http://www.collaborata.com/projects/167 or email info@collaborata.com


The RoI of RoRI

When a research department measures return on investment, satisfaction with that department goes way up.


By Simon Chadwick, Managing Partner

For years the question of whether or not you can measure the return on research investment (RoRI) has ebbed and flowed, much as it has for the related question on marketing investment. Most of the time, opponents of the concept have held their ground and the practice has not yet become mainstream. Today, only 30% of major corporations actual measure RoRI, according to a study that we recently completed alongside BCG and Yale.

“It’s too difficult!” goes the cry. “Too much happens between the research taking place and any in-market effects!” Research should be judged on its innate quality and the degree to which it enhances understanding of the market and the consumer, not on some artificial metric tied to business performance. There’s the effect of distribution and competitor activity, not to mention media buying and the ad agency not listening. No, it can’t be done.

Well, guess what? It can be done, it is being done and when it is being done, it massively enhances satisfaction with the research function. That’s right – when a research department actually does measure return on investment, satisfaction with that department goes way up.


It is not difficult to see why: departments that measure RoI are actually proving that what they do makes a difference – has an impact – on the business. They are able to actively market themselves within their own organization. Those that don’t, can’t. “Return” in this case does not have to be all about sales or profits. It can be about cost savings achieved, processes made more efficient, insights that changed senior management decisions and other anecdotes showing how research made an impact.

How is this relevant to research agencies? Well, the agency may be one step removed from the impact that a particular piece of work had in an organization, but it can still track the perceived return through communication with the client. In doing so, you may also be doing your clients a favor by pushing them to keep a log of research impact and return. And, in doing that, you may also be in a better position to highlight to them just how much you and your agency are contributing to their overall RoI – i.e. it is a marketing tool for you, too.

So, whether or not your clients formally measure RoRI, set up your own system. Ask your clients the question – what happened after that study? What was the impact? And show them, implicitly, not only how measuring RoRi might help them but what a great value partner you are as well.


CASRO Transformation Series: GlimpzIt – Seize The Glimpz

Can a couple of Wharton grads who started a business based on the belief there was an alternate way to do qualitative research succeed? All indicators are that Insight Innovation Exchange Competition Winners Glimpzit is doing it.

By Jeff Resnick

parry-headshotIt is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Combine pictures with video, text and a litany of other emerging forms of communication with the ability to reveal patterns in behavior or uncover consumer emotions and you have the essence of GlimpzIt.   GlimpzIt describes itself as your AI marketing assistant. Yet it does not consider itself a disrupter of the industry, rather a firm harnessing new technology that enables marketing and market research professionals to create a deeper understanding of the consumer.  Parry Bedi, the firm’s CEO provides a view into the proliferating world of machine learning/artificial intelligence driven techniques that he believes will be a core component of our future industry.  GlimpzIt is squarely in the center of this evolutionary path.

How GlimpzIt works.  From a user’s perspective the interface is exceedingly simple.  In fact, the company’s stated motto is: “A machine learning platform for marketers. Not data scientists.” Essentially, you ask a question (or as GlimpzIt calls it, start a conversation), select your target audience and the platform does the rest!

One popular use case for the platform is ad concept generation.  In one project completed for a manufacturer of denim jeans, for example, the advertising team wanted to understand how people stored their jeans as input for their creative.  The process began by asking the client’s target market the question – “How do you store your jeans?” People responded with pictures, videos and text.  The analysis revealed two groups – neat freaks and slobs plus the underlying truth that it was all about ease of access.  Information is provided back to the client through an automated portal.  GlimpzIt even goes a step further to categorize the insights into concrete action groups such as Dormant (time is not right for this action), Sustain (keep on doing it) and Opportunity (this is where you should focus). Furthermore, using statistical analysis GlimpzIt shows you potential advertising content that will most likely resonate with the target audience.

GlimpzIt’s secret sauce.  Significant advances in the converging worlds of automation and artificial intelligence/machine learning make GlimpzIt possible. Machine learning is often described as programming that mimics the learning process of the human mind.  Advances in this technology allow computers to correctly identify objects in pictures, video and other media.  Using our example of storing jeans, object identification has advanced to the point where software platforms can easily identify if a pair of jeans is on a bed, in a drawer or on the floor by analyzing the picture content.  This capability combined with the advances in natural language processing (NLP) creates the ability to make sense of disparate sources of unstructured data in a cohesive and self-reinforcing manner resulting in deep and, some say, almost human level consumer insights.  The more data is analyzed, the smarter the platform gets and the richer the information provided to the client.

Disruptive or additive?  From Parry’s perspective, GlimpzIt is an evolutionary force, not a disruptive one.  It doesn’t seek to replace existing research techniques; it is an additional tool.   Traditional firms operating in the research arena as well as new start-ups share a common goal – to better understand the consumer by building a holistic view of that consumer.  The AI-based platform built by GlimpzIt enables users to absorb massive quantities of qualitative information, essentially at the push of a button.  Parry’s argument is that while a company may still conduct a traditional deep-dive qualitative effort, for example on a single advertising concept, GlimpzIt enables the company to explore and even test a much longer list of alternative concepts at nearly the same level of depth.

The future – terrifying or exhilarating?  Parry paints a picture similar to many of today’s emerging technology CEOs – smarter machines, more automation and lightning fast speed.  If your tendency is to lean toward the dark side, Skynet of the Terminator movie series might capture your reaction to what is to come.  However, if you embrace technology as an enabler, the possible scenarios for the leveraging of machine learning are downright exhilarating.  For example, reconsider the ad concept example outlined earlier. From Parry’s point of view, the not too distant future will include an AI-driven platform that will automate holistic persona development with the identification of potential actions (Phase 1 – generally available today), the automatic creation and testing of content (Phase 2 – early tomorrow) and finally complete autonomy where business goals are understood, concepts are developed, tested and automatically placed in online media channels such as YouTube or Facebook (Phase 3 – not that far away).  Parry is committed that GlimpzIt will be an active participant in the emergence of this technology.

Parry’s top tips to entrepreneurs.  In the second phase of the Transform series, we also focus on what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur in our industry.  Here is Parry’s take:

  • Don’t let the MR industry’s often quoted gloom and doom impact your vision. Many in our industry continue to live in a world where the sun never shines.  Some with good reason.  However, Parry believes a lot has to do with how you define the industry.  If you include firms that create a deeper understanding of the consumer through all varieties of data analytics and that create knowledge by leveraging technology, the future is really bright and filled with unlimited growth potential.
  • Never start a company alone. The work is exhausting.  Failures guaranteed.  The highs are super-high and the lows are super-low.  Having others to figure out the failures, celebrate the successes and keep one foot moving in front of the other is a primary ingredient of success.
  • Be capital efficient. Whether you are bootstrapping your start-up or have successfully secured a round of financing, you have to be really smart about how you spend your money.  This isn’t about whether you buy employee lunches.   It is about whether you hire others to drive some corporate activities – such as marketing – to allow the founding team to continue developing those parts of the business that generate core value.  Sales are critical but they never arrive when you have an inferior product.

The bottom line?  Can a couple of Wharton grads who started a business based on the belief there was an alternate way to do qualitative research succeed?  All indicators are that clients believe their platform works well.   GlimpzIt has an enviable list of clients for a start-up including NBC, Hallmark, and Johnson & Johnson.  Clients are renewing subscription contracts and month-over-month usage growth has been over 20%.   Perhaps we should encourage Parry and his team to conduct their own project to capture a glimpz of how others see their firm.  I bet the answer will be intriguing.

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Why Behavioural Data Is a Key Part Of The Future

With bigger teams and more influence, market research professionals are getting more sophisticated in how they apply data. However for all the advancements the industry has made, one area that has lagged behind is how the data is collected.


By Eli Portnoy

The best companies in the world are investing heavily in their consumer insights team. Industry leaders have come to realize that great market research helps companies make better and more strategic decisions on everything from product strategy, to pricing, to marketing and everything in between. With bigger teams and more influence, market research professionals are getting more sophisticated in how they apply data. However for all the advancements the industry has made, one area that has lagged behind is how the data is collected.

The Current State Of Affairs

Market research professionals heavily rely on surveys. In fact, ESOMAR estimates that 80% of global research budgets are spent on  surveys. While surveys have benefited from a dramatic move towards online, and now a slow crawl towards mobile, the reality is that surveys have not changed in dozens of years. Market Research data is still fundamentally about asking consumers questions and hoping they remember and provide good answers.

While surveys are terrific way to collect data, they do have some limitations. Specifically, they are expensive to administer leading to a fairly small number of responses. They are prone to people forgetting or including bias in their responses. And finally, they take a long time to collect, process, and analyze. In a world where new data sources are sprouting daily, shouldn’t we expect more?

A New Source Of Data

We live in a world where almost every interaction we have can create a little digital data crumb. Not only is this true in online web browsing, but even our offline activity can be recorded thanks to the massive proliferation of smartphones and the large number of sensors packed into each of these. Imagine a market research world where instead of asking someone when they had last been to the gym, you could ask them to passively share their location data from their phone and see every time they went to the gym.

This passively collected information is a new type of behavioural data and it is going to play a very large role in the future of market research.

The Benefits of Behavioural Data

The first benefit of real-world behavioural data is that it does not rely on human memory or the inevitable bias. Instead, this data essentially allows a market researcher to observe how, when, and what panel participants do, providing significantly richer, more complete, and more accurate data.

A second major benefit is that because it is much easier for panelists to install an app and share data than it is to painstakingly answer 80 questions, it is possible to build massively larger panels of behavioural data. Instead of being limited by studies that have thousands or tens of thousands of respondents, a market researcher can work with data from literally millions of people. This allows for greater insights, deeper cutting of the data, and more granularity.

Finally, behavioural data can be collected in real-time, and thanks to advances in cloud computing, can also be processed programmatically. This allows researchers to analyze data in hours, rather than the weeks, if not months it would have taken to collect, process, and analyze surveys. In a fast changing world, the speed of insights can be the difference between growth and decline, and with behavioral panels researchers can have it nearly instantly.

The Ultimate Solution

The most progressive consumer insights professionals will find ways to blend and combine survey and behavioural data sets to find the growth levers that will propel their business forward. The future of market research has never been brighter and the data available to consumer insights professionals is about to expand from purely survey driven, to data sets that combine behavioral and observed data. This is a terrific opportunity that will enable companies to generate richer, deeper, and more actionable insights than were ever possible before.


The Problem with Best Practices

Why don’t best practices work and what is the better way? Explore why you should look beyond these best practices in the third video of a 9-part video series entitled "The Future of Marketing and How to Win".


Editor’s Note: Fresh Squeezed Ideas created a video series, The Future of Marketing and How to Win, to not only share ideas on where the future of marketing is headed, but to also provoke some new ways of thinking about brand strategy and marketing.

By Fresh Squeezed Ideas

Why don’t best practices work and what is the better way? Explore why you should look beyond these best practices in the third video of a 9-part video series entitled “The Future of Marketing and How to Win”.

Brand management in marketing has been around a very long time, and a common question is, “Why do I need to rethink my best practices?”, which is a fair question.  The problem is best practices are based on hindsight, based on all the things that have been done before, which can really limit a marketer’s thinking. What worked in the past, won’t necessarily work in the future since what mattered to consumers in the past, may not matter to them in the future, because culture changes. Foresight is not about predicting the future, but it is about anticipating the drivers of change, which give the opportunity to hypothesize around future risks and opportunities that could help drive a business.

A great example of this is the financial services industry: banks, and wealth investors. The problem with foresight is that for some organizations, they struggle with the fact you can’t quantify it. There are some organizations that are very well aware of the changes in consumer attitudes and are ahead of the technological change in wealth investment, for example. Where there are other organizations that struggle with this kind of ambiguity, and they’re behind the times.

Best practices based on models from yesteryear don’t take into account the shifts in culture, and going forward, we need a way to do that.  Now, I know that most of the marketers out there will say yes, big data will save us, and we’ll use all the analytical power we can to reveal all, and the challenge is, and unfortunately big data does a wonderful job of quantifying touch points that every brand can have based on all the click behaviour.  But unfortunately, it doesn’t answer the whys behind the behaviour.  And when we’re talking about things that are culturally relevant, they’re impossible for people to answer.  You really need to look to ethnographic investigations to investigate the whys, the motivations of the behaviour.  And this is often subconscious to people.  So, you can use your big data, but it’ll tell you what, but it won’t tell you why, and it’s really the thick data that comes from the ethnographers that allows the kind of insight that you need to build a brand that’s both culturally relevant, culturally resonant, and ultimately built to a brand purpose that will guide you forward.