By Caitlin Dailey
A warning to all the college seniors thinking about a career in market research: becoming a market researcher is both a blessing and a curse. Since I began working at CMB, I can’t turn away from a questionnaire or a good read on survey statistics, and having a group of classmates and friends with the same background just adds fuel to the fire. Whenever we come across an interesting study, we just have to share it.
One study came into my inbox just 3 days ago. This particular study was about “what singles want.” I found this particularly interesting given that I’m a single “twenty-something” living in a city with a relatively large number of unmarried women. According to the “what singles want” study of over 5,000 unattached adults 21+, “54% would not date someone with substantial student loan debt.” In a world where a college degree is the norm and post-grad education is increasingly becoming a requirement, I find this statistic hard to swallow. When I first decided to attend Bentley University, I remember standing around in a friend’s kitchen senior year of high school. His mother asked the group of us what colleges we had decided on, and when I said Bentley, she responded (jokingly), “good luck finding a husband with all of those student loans you’re going to have.” This has become a running joke between us. Now that there is a statistic to back it up, the joke has turned into a reality.
And the good news just keeps on coming: “49% would consider getting into a committed relationship with someone who lived at home with parents.” I guess if I still lived at home my student loans would be less of an issue. Call me crazy, but something about living at home and being in a relationship just doesn’t add up. And let’s not neglect to mention the affect that social media has on the dating scene. “38% [of respondents] would cancel a date because of something they found while doing internet research on their date”. So your relationship could be doomed before you even get the chance to meet someone in person. And yet, finding partners online is becoming more and more common. Is your head spinning? Mine is.
So being a market researcher is both a blessing and a curse. I too easily get roped into reading all of these articles that make me contemplate life, and question whether I am in the norm or if I even want to be in the norm, but I also get to learn about market trends and answer real business questions for great clients. My head might be spinning with numbers and statistics, but it certainly makes life interesting.
Caitlin is a senior associate researcher for the Retail/Travel/Entertainment practice. Outside of work she is a company dancer with DanceWorks Boston, and continues her search for ‘Mr. Right’ despite her substantial student loan debt.
Think you've got what it takes? We're growing, take a look at our open positions here.
By Jeannine Rua
Happiness means something a bit different to each of us. To Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com, happiness means working for a company that you’re excited about, surrounded by people who feel the same way.
As a researcher, I read his book Delivering Happiness as a subliminal message to anyone working with customer satisfaction or loyalty data. Reading his book, it’s clear Tony set out to highlight his journey, not to write a comprehensive corporate history or autobiography. This is the golden rule in report writing as well – pull out the highlights and tell a story around the most important pieces.
Tony adopted another critical rule of report-writing: write for your audience. Tony admits his book is not a work of grammatical perfection, but it’s written in a way that makes it easy for everyone to read and enjoy. This separates Delivering Happiness from many of its neighbors in the world of “business books” – its informal tone is easy to digest. Throughout the book, Tony seamlessly juxtaposes comical stories of growing up with Asian-American parents with stories of his ambition, failed attempts, and successes.
Beyond the autobiographical elements of the book, I found the managerial guidance in Delivering Happiness also relates to research. The following principals are important context when writing recommendations, but also when thinking about survey design and analysis interpretation. As an added bonus these “rules” might also serve you well in your personal interactions:
1. Remember that you are an n of 1; other people have opinions, too. When Tony was first approached with the idea of starting an internet shoe website, he was skeptical because he himself had never considered purchasing shoes through a catalog and couldn’t imagine people buying shoes without trying them on. My toes are thankful that Tony realized “it didn’t matter whether I would be willing to buy shoes without trying them on first.”
2. Embrace change with an open mind.
Zappos.com was originally based on drop-ship sales, and had shied away from opening a warehouse with inventory because it was not part of their business model. When they realized they were limited in what they could offer their customers, they thought, “If changing our business model is what’s going to save us, then we need to embrace and drive change.”
3. Listen to employee’s feedback. Customer feedback is great – but it’s important to also hear from your employees. Happy employees are critical to delivering a positive customer experience, and employees working in the thick of daily processes often have valuable insight and ideas around what would enable them to better deliver.
4. Pay attention to word of mouth and the lifetime value of customers. It’s important to think about how your company is interacting with customers at every level – one happy customer with a large network of friends may be more valuable than he first appears. Zappos.com trusts their employees and empowers them to help customers in any way they can – even if that means recommending another site for their purchase.
From a research perspective, mobile technology strikes me as the most obvious application for these principals. As mobile technology changes the way consumers shop and interact, we are presented with new opportunities for listening and observing. As you think about your personal and professional goals for the new year, keep an open mind and hopefully happiness will find you.
Jeannine is a Project Manager working with our Tech, eCommerce, and MedTech practice. She finds happiness learning about new places through reading, travelling, and talking with just about anyone she can find.
What's your plan for delivering happiness in 2013?
By Jeff McKenna
The recent research study showing that marketers rank lower than politicians on the “respectability scale” might feel like a kick in the gut for most of us in this role.
From the research: only 13% of consumers agree that marketing benefits society. It’s no surprise that teachers, scientists and engineers are the top of the list, but marketing even falls below bankers (32%), lawyers (34%), and politicians (18%). One point of solace, marketers are tied with actors and dancers; so, we’re not alone.
If we deconstruct the research, we can find plenty to take issue with. What research study isn’t immune to that? For instance, the focus of the research is about online advertising, while the questions about professional respectability come after questions about the effectiveness of different marketing methods. To what extent has this approach primed respondents in a certain direction?
Additionally, when you look more deeply at the results, you find that people still “respect” the need for marketing within business. Most, in fact, consider it “strategic” and necessary for sales.
So, the research findings shouldn’t be taken too personally. As noted earlier, marketers are in the same boat as actors and dancers. It makes me think of Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy:
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
Or, as the great Willy Wonka puts it:
Who but a marketer would ever create lickable wallpaper with snozzberry flavor???
So marketers, don’t give up on your role and profession. And remember that without you, the world would be a place with much less flavor and much less fun.
When Jeff's not busy contributing to society at large, he serves as a senior consultant and methodologist for CMB; making sense of big data, and speaking on topics like mobile and the future of market research.
This November we'll be in sunny Boca Raton, for The Market Research Event, presenting with our friends at The Atlantic City Alliance and SunTrust Bank. We'll share findings, challenges, and insights from two very different segmentation studies:
Atlantic City: Building a Foundation for Future Growth
Track: Insight Driven Innovation Track
Time and Date: Tuesday November 13th @ 2:00 pm
Presenters: Judy Melanson, Vice President, Travel and Hospitality Practice, CMB and Rich Mirman, Consultant to the Atlantic City Alliance, Former CMO for Caesars Entertainment, The Mirman Group, LLC
While Atlantic City attracts over 30 million visitors a year, the popular tourist destination faces a number of challenges—including a recession and increased competition. Join us to hear how CMB and The Atlantic City Alliance took a foundational approach to segmentation—identifying and assessing Atlantic City's greatest growth opportunities to decide who to attract, and what to build.
SunTrust: Segmentation as a Change Agent
Track: Insights Leadership & Transformation Track
Time and Date: Wednesday November 14th @ 11:15 am
Presenters: Rich Schreuer, Senior Consultant, CMB; Mark Carr, Co-founder and Managing Partner, The South Street Strategy Group; Jeff VanDeVelde, SVP, Director of Client Experience and Loyalty, SunTrust Bank
Learn how CMB and The South Street Strategy Group partnered with SunTrust to develop and prioritize consumer segments based on goals and needs. This segmentation was central to forming the foundation for SunTrust’s brand strategy, and helping the bank make the critical shift from a product-focused to a customer-centric organization.
We're excited to see you, click here to register, and enter CMB2012 to receive 25% off.
Check out one of our favorite moments from last year: TMRE Highlight: The Art of Choosing
We’re pleased to announce Chadwick Martin Bailey was recently named as a “Top 50” firm in the annual Honomichl report of the top revenue-generating marketing research companies in the US. While we’re happy to be recognized for our revenue, what we are most proud of is our continued commitment to our core values—our clients, our approach, and our people.
We are a client-centered firm. Our clients trust us for the insights we provide them, and we take this responsibility seriously. Our collaborative approach and role as trusted advisors means that insights are translated into practical business advice and solutions.
Our mantra is solving companies’ problems. We provide the right information in the right way so clients gain insight—not confusing or burdensome data dumps. We maintain a methodological center of excellence, and use integrated data sources, rigorous research methods, and leading edge technology to solve real world problems and guide effective business decisions. Our offerings are not “off the shelf,” but rather acknowledge that every company’s situation is different and needs to be treated that way.
From the very beginning, we have strived to build a culture focused on team work, common sense, and excellence. The CMB client experience is so much about our people; our clients benefit not just from the efforts of individuals, but from a team of smart and committed people sharing their high-level skills and experience. We are a strategic learning organization where all of us are expected to be active learners and contributors. I am most proud of the way our consultants, analysts, and methodologists work together.
Learn more about why CMB stands out from the crowd:
Posted by Anne Bailey Berman. Anne is the President of Chadwick Martin Bailey and enjoys volunteering in the community, traveling with her family and spending time in her vegetable garden.
Earlier this month I had the chance to present at the Market Research Technology Event in Las Vegas. Beyond the fact I just could not get accustomed to watching people walk by conference rooms swigging beer and wearing in flip flops; for me the event raised more questions than provided answers.
During the conference, one of the most quoted reports was McKinsey’s: Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. For me, one of the most striking takeaways from the report was a prediction that by 2018, the US will have a shortage of talent necessary for organizations to take advantage of big data—the US alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis to make effective decisions.
After we market researchers take a moment to celebrate our job security, we should consider that skilled market researchers will be asked to fill the space by taking on more tasks and working longer hours. As the gap widens between the influx of data and the analysts we need to make sense of it, are 80 hour weeks inevitable? Certainly workforce globalization will be a key to filling “big data” needs, but I was very surprised to hear little discussion of how technology will help us deal with this shortage.
I left the conference with the theory that the “new technology” we need is the yet-to-be-realized application of a tool to change a process to yield a quicker, lower cost, or better quality outcome. I think market researchers have yet to focus on how technology can act as a surrogate for the role they play within their organizations
So what might the future hold? I expect technology will allow market researchers to develop “analytical bots” to make sense of the vast ocean of data to answer specific business questions raised by internal clients. Watching Watson and Siri answer questions of fact with extremely high accuracy makes me wonder what our role will be. If these machines “have all the answers” then what purpose do we have? I don’t believe technology will replace market researchers; their skillset and output are still critical for companies to be competitive. The purpose is to create the rules and algorithms that convert the facts into relevant information. This is where market research skills will combine with technology to fill the resource gap.
We’ve heard a lot about expert systems—computer systems that emulate human decision-making. It’s my view that the market researchers who will lead in the next 5 to 7 years will be those who are setting up and managing expert systems, that take all of the facts and computations within large sets of data and apply what is relevant, to make decisions quickly, anywhere, and at any time.
Did you miss us at TDMRE? We'll be at the Audience Measurement Event in Chicago from May 21st to the 23rd. Register for a 25% discount by entering CMB2012 here.
Posted by Jeff McKenna, Jeff is a senior consultant at CMB and team leader for Pinpoint Suite-our innovative Customer Experience Management software. Want to learn more about how Pinpoint Suite can help you make sense of your "Big Data," schedule a demo here.
A new organization in our world recently bore its first fruit, of sorts. The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) hosted its first Member Insight Exchange in Boston on October 19th and 20th. It was thought-provoking, to say the least.
The CXPA, led by customer experience industry experts Bruce Temkin and Jeanne Bliss, is “a global non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of customer experience management practices”, filling a role (as Bruce puts it) similar to the American Medical Association and American Bar Association. Now, customer experience (CX) professionals have “a professional organization that will set standards, endorse and share best practices, and raise awareness of the importance of CX and the value of CX professionals.” It seems to have scratched an itch, as it already has nearly 1,000 members, just in the first seven months since starting in March 2011.
I noticed a few research firms in attendance, many more EFM firms, and a plethora of consultancies, peppered in with a sizeable number of client practitioners. There were presentations on exemplary VOC programs, customer experience journey mapping, creating a customer experience organization, types of metrics, and best practices from customer experience executives at B2B and B2C companies.
As the organization is still seeking to establish its role within the industry, the event featured many discussions about the expectations and needs of its members. Since members come from a wide array of job roles and companies, the needs are highly diverse; which indicates to me that the CXPA has a challenge to achieve the goals of “setting standards” and “identifying best practices”. It will be interesting to see how the CXPA defines its niche within the broad landscape of professional organizations, especially when the American Marketing Association has a larger footprint.
On the other hand, the CXPA certainly focuses on a very specific purposeful business activity: that of how companies interact with their customers. And I have to admit that, as companies accept that customers are “assets” with a “lifetime value”, the CXPA positioning speaks more of value than of cost to corporate finance. (Of course, that only works up until the point when someone asks for the actual ROI on customer experience management…)
But what does it matter to us (market researchers)? I kept asking that question to myself throughout the event. Since market researchers function as the information link between customers (and non-customers) and managers who must make decisions that will affect the customers, I remain surprised that only a few research firms attended the event. Meanwhile, all of the presentations addressed solutions we continually provide: segmentation, customer experience measurement, loyalty, and product/service design – but often with different terminology and language to define their application.
It strikes me that market researchers are not always aligned with the people we should be serving. Thus, we can all do a better job of learning and using the different languages required within our business. As practitioners with the strongest (or at least, it should be the strongest) skillset for collecting and converting data (any and all types of data) into useful information, market researchers need to be “in-demand” by all parts of the organization, focused on meeting the customer’s needs. This is easier said than done; but if our task is to provide customer insights, then we should be working harder to meet the needs of our own customers.
How are you working to address and improve the experience of your own customers?
Posted by Jeff McKenna. Jeff leads CMB’s customer experience initiatives and is the chief innovator behind CMB’s new customer experience management software Pinpoint Suite.
Today CMB launched Pinpoint Suite, Customer Experience Management Software designed to assist managers and researchers make better use of customer feedback data by translating the data into actions to improve the customer experience and the bottom line. Find out more.
Over the past few months I (like most marketers) have been reading a lot about social media and its role in marketing plans going forward. We have put out our own reports on what people are doing online and eMarketer and Mashable (among others) put out tons of great content every day.
Through all of my reading and in conversations with clients and prospects I continue to be surprised how little many companies know about the people they are engaging with via social media. Thinking about Facebook specifically, as an admin of a Fan page you get access to limited data, but nothing particularly useful for developing and improving content and engagement strategies. So, as we launch a new research approach to understanding Facebook Fans it seems that there are three things at a minimum that brands should know about their Fans (or “Likers”) to develop a meaningful strategy and get results from their efforts:
1) What are they looking for from you on Facebook? To keep your Fans engaged you need to understand why they have become Fans and what content they are hoping to see from you. Also, how they expect content to differ (or not) from what they might get from you on your corporate website, blog,etc.
2) How well are you meeting Fans’ expectations? Facebook as an engagement or marketing channel doesn’t give you much for mass feedback. You can (and should) read what is posted to your brand's (or brands’) wall and keep an eye on the number of new and departing Fans, but how much do you really know about how you are doing? Asking a few simple questions of your Fans on a periodic basis can give you tremendous insight into where you can improve and what the people who don’t post comments on your wall might be thinking. And because you can’t really segment your audience, you need to understand if you are not giving most of the people what they want before they begin to tune you out.
3) How can you increase engagement and enhance the Fan experience? Once you know if you are hitting the mark with your current content, it is important to know what your Fans think of other potential Facebook initiatives before you invest too heavily. Are they interested in new applications? Contests? Videos? Tools that connect to your brand and products? Testing the waters before you spend valuable development resources can improve your social media ROI.
Facebook offers brands a tremendous opportunity to engage with customers and prospects, but much of it is under leveraged and under-utilized. To really capitalize on the opportunity, you need to tap into your Fans and listen to what they have to say, don’t assume you already know.
Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.
Very soon there will be snow on the ground here in Boston and I am determined to do a better job of preparing for the colder weather. I vow to protect my boys from the taunts of their peers for wearing “high water” snow pants. And I will not spend another moment smelling burning rubber as I try to go up our driveway because we don’t have sand.
The end of the calendar year is fast approaching and just as much forethought should be put into your market research plans for next year. There will always be unexpected research needs, but researchers can save both time and money and improve the quality of their results (and organizational standing) by doing a better job of planning.
Some questions you should ask yourself and your internal clients as you pull together your annual market research plan:
- Is it time to freshen or do a complete overhaul of foundational research? Depending upon your industry and how fast it is changing, you may need to repeat market studies as often as once a year. You should assess whether it is time for a refresh by examining the extent to which there are changes in the competitive landscape, new product innovations, and/or technological advances. Also determine whether new corporate objectives/focus require an adjustment in the types of research you will need to conduct or, at a minimum, a re-evaluation of the survey content.
- Is there an opportunity to increase the efficiency of future questionnaires? There is a vast amount of information in existing data sets that could be used to pare down those long lists of attributes you measure on an ongoing basis. Plan ahead for future research by discovering which attributes are measuring the same underlying factor and eliminate the weakest ones. This can be easily accomplished with a technique called factor analysis.
- Could I be more proactive in anticipating the needs of my internal clients? By staying informed about the most pressing issues facing your company, you can better plan for finding time/budget to efficiently and thoroughly address stakeholder needs. Too often researchers are put into a reactive mode which leads to not fully thinking through all the issues and squeezing schedules to the point of hurting quality assurance procedures.
- Have you set up a system for keeping on top of industry, market research, and consumer trends? Efficiently stay informed about industry and consumer trends by using RSS readers or news aggregators. After you set it up, the information is automatically updated with the latest information. The benefits are numerous: increase your visibility as an industry expert, uncover the ability to occasionally skip primary research if the information already exists, and make improvements to future primary research efforts (identifying key areas to measure, building upon an increased knowledge base instead of repeating what is already known, making your research results more actionable).
- Have you talked to your peers about their plans? Take the time to talk to other market researchers within the organization to see where data can be leveraged or where planned initiatives overlap. Not only will this save time and money,it will give your company a more unified perspective.
So set aside a day or two for planning for greater market research excellence in 2011; it will be time spent wisely.
Posted by Cathy Harrison. Cathy is a client services executive at CMB, loves social media, music, and kick-butt research. You can follow Cathy on Twitter at @virtualMR
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Listorious? Blowback? Chartporn? Anyone?
No doubt about it, with its virtual events and its heavy focus on social media and innovation, the American Marketing Association
can help you find and open the door to the world of tomorrow’s marketing and market research. I had the opportunity to attend the AMA Market Research Conference in Atlanta on September 26-29, and for those who missed it, here are ten of my takeaways:
10. Are you connected to the Expert Networks, the Tweets and the Tweeps?
As one conference goer described it, ‘Let me introduce you to the 12 most influential people you'll never meet.’ Why will you never meet them? Because they’re on Twitter, of course. How to get started:
- The AMAMRC has set up a ‘My Tweeps’ page at http://mrc2010.ama.sixent.net/marketing-research-tweeps so its worth considering connecting with all of them and using the #amamrc hashtag to join the conversation.
- Then connect your Linkedin to your Twitter, and get to know Listorious, Tweetdeck, Quora and Aardvark.
- And if you want to meet fellow twitterers face to face, there are Tweet Ups at all the major conferences. It’s great to actually meet people you connect with or whose musings you comment on.
9. Learn about new sites like http://chartporn.org, and no, it’s not porn
8. Can you improve the way you tell a story?
iModerate’s Jen Drolet talked about the 4 elements of good storytelling that’s so consistent with what clients need today…1) Know (KYC or know your customer, understand the business issue, investigate); 2) Analyze (explore, review from various vantage points, categorize insights/data, identify trends, interpret/formulate the story; 3) Customize; and 4) Narrate (captivate your reader, draw them in, be persuasive, put in the polish, blend the elements)
7. Is blowback good, and does your company have it?
Kelley Styring talked at a whirlwind pace about how to conduct a full cross-channel marketing communication plan… content is the hub from which everything spokes, but that no one owns content. The creator of content and the spokes for disseminating the content include locations such as ReverbNation, Blogspot, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Kelley says focus on the seed, offer and then get ‘blowback’ for incendiary viral marketing.
What’s blowback? According to Wikipedia, it’s “an espionage term for the violent, unintended consequences of a covert operation that are suffered by the civil population of the aggressor government.” For Kelley Styring, blowback is when something takes on a life of its own in an unpredictable direction. An example of this is a brand that unleashes ‘the army’ of likeminded people who have an opinion about something. Her examples were about a company named the Pink Spiders. If you haven’t seen Kelley Styring in action, it’s probably time to check her out. Go to YouTube for her “In your purse” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNphd0llnGo or her “In your car” insights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2dGW9wXyLE . Alas, I didn’t notice a YouTube of her AMA talk.
6. Do you know the 4 Market Researchers under forty? Tom Anderson, Tom DeRuyck, Nick Harrington, Kristin Luck
If you don’t, check them out. They’re all on Twitter, Linked In and they’re really firing on all spark plugs to move this industry forward.
5. Have you focused on the ultra-luxe occasion seeker lately?
Veronica Smiley from Harrah’s spoke about the VIP Concierge product they have, helping bachelorettes, 60 year old men from France, and others to set up the ultimate getaway experience for a group of people to Las Vegas. True, Vegas has also experienced the downturn, but Veronica talks about carving out new market opportunities and connecting with some of the very best occasion seekers. Her storytelling was A+.
4. Have you created a bragger’s club? Are your fans so connected that YOU are telling them “Apology Accepted?”
Wow, Cynthia Rowley of Roxy.com, you've got a powerful tween engagement strategy with that panel of KOL girls. Evidently, Roxy invited in trendsetting girls and frequently asks their opinion to guide Roxy’s future direction. Love the part where Cynthia herself is pictured on this panel as posing the questions. The girls actually email her saying things like “Sorry I didn’t have time to give you my opinion this week, Cynthia, but I was really busy with soccer and my homework.”
And in another session, we heard from NASCAR. They have a panel and get this...virtually nobody (1%) says they participate too often. 62% brag to others that they're on the NASCAR Fan Council.
3. Don’t we all want to be Chief Creatologist or a Chief Happiness Officer?
Joe Batista, Chief Creatologist at HP says of Innovation, 'the roads are wicked slippery' …is he from New England? He really said wicked! http://tinyurl.com/32gymot
2. Have you blogged lately? Have you been reading good blogs?
There are lots of great blogs and lists of great bloggers abound (including the CMB Blog of course). You can find many of them on AMA MRC site at: http://mrc2010.ama.sixent.net/marketing-research-bloggers.
1. Get out!
If you haven’t gone to a major AMA or IIR conference in the past year, maybe it’s time to put that money into the budget. A lot of new things are going on in the market research industry and it would be a shame to miss out!
Posted by Julie Kurd. Julie is a Director on CMB's Financial Services/Insurance and Healthcare Practice who loves ski racing, Tuckerman’s Ravine, sailing and bananagrams. You can follow her @julie1research