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AI You Can Drive My Car: Anxiety and Autonomous Vehicles at CES

Posted by Megan McManaman

Wed, Jan 16, 2019

autonomous cars

In December, The New York Times reported that disgruntled Arizonans were lobbing rocks at Waymo’s autonomous (but not unoccupied) vans. Experts, and the rock-throwers themselves, blamed the attacks on a combination of economic anxiety and safety fears (a woman was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber in Tempe last March). While it’s unlikely any modern-day Luddites attended last week’s CES in Vegas, companies like Intel and Baidu, and even Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao were hard at work addressing consumer fears.

With Congress expected to consider legislation regulating autonomous vehicles—the intense conversation and debate over security and safety will remain front and center. Counting out the projectile-hurling robot-haters (for now), what’s it going to take for average consumers to purchase, ride in, and share the road with these vehicles? That’s the billion(s) dollar question we set out to answer in our self-funded Consumer Pulse.

We surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers (thanks to Dynata for providing sample!), conducted ethnographies, and in-depth interviews—including ride-alongs—to identify the segments of the adult U.S. population that have different reactions to and perceptions of a range of assisted and autonomous driving scenarios. We went beyond the typical examination of functional benefits to understand the emotions (both positive and negative) driving and deterring greater acceptance and adoption.

Chris Neal, CMB’s VP of Tech and Telecom, will share the results at the Quirks Event on March 5 at 4:15pm in Brooklyn.

Want an advance copy of the report this spring?

Click here

Megan McManaman is CMB's Marketing Director, she welcomes our new robot chauffers.

Topics: Artificial Intelligence, technology research, Consumer Pulse

The Essential Ingredients of a Successful Market Research Project

Posted by Youme Yai

Fri, Jan 11, 2019

baking ingredients-1.11.19

I’m a big fan of The Great British Baking Show—a tv series following the trials and tribulations of amateur bakers vying to be named the UK’s best baker. Each episode, the bakers tackle a different skill with increasing difficulty as the competition unfolds.

For those unfamiliar with the delightful show, the second portion of the competition, called the Technical Challenge, requires bakers to make an unfamiliar recipe with scant instructions. They must leverage their baking prowess and creativity to successfully make the recipe and impress the judges, Paul and Prue (or Mary, depending on which season you’re watching). Meanwhile, the competition is timed—which can be really tricky when baking time is unspecified.

As a custom market research project manager, I empathize with these contestants. Here are three ways the Technical Challenge is like managing a market research project:

  1. It's possible contestants have come across the Technical Challenge bake subject or recipe before. But even if they’re somewhat familiar, the recipes always have some unique element—making them feel new. Similarly, as a project manager you’ve probably done your fair share of customer journey, segmentation, or optimization. And while you may be an expert in each topic and approach, every project is 100% customized and will almost always include “new” elements. Maybe the sample is unique, or your client has a very specific business objective. Whatever it is, you’ll need to approach each project armed with your industry experience and thinking cap. Even with brand trackers which are usually repeated, each wave is unique and poses different circumstances. There are no exact prescribed instructions in market research—you must be innovative and open to new challenges.
  2. Ingredients are provided during the Technical Challenge, but not always with an explanation of how to properly integrate them into the bake. In a new research project, research objectives, desired business outcome, and potentially a sample list, may be the “ingredients” provided, but you as the project manager must successfully incorporate these components to uncover actionable insights that meet clients’ (or judges’) needs and expectations. While a crude “recipe” exists for research (e.g., Step 1: Questionnaire Development, Step 2: Fielding, Step 3: Analysis, Step 4: Reporting, Step 5: Delivery and consultation to client) it’s up to the research team to use their industry knowledge and experience to successfully account for all "ingredients."
  3. A fielding period, like the bake time in a Technical Challenge, may not be explicitly specified at the onset of a project. Therefore, you must use your best judgment and expertise to determine the length of fielding. Much like the bakers watching the oven, you must carefully monitor the metaphorical research oven—response rates, panel entries, etc.—until you’ve achieved desired results.

Unlike the British cake bakers and pastry makers, research project managers are backed by a dedicated team that is integral to the success of each project. From the Advanced Analytics team and Senior Consultants with robust industry expertise, successful custom market research projects are a team effort.

Of course, there are a few more differences (no worries about soggy bottoms or overbaked Genoese sponge for example).

At the end of the Great British Baking Show, the bake is eaten, contestants are judged, a winner is announced, and that’s that. But as market researchers, we don’t just deliver a final report and the show ends. A successful initiative means socializing the findings, conducting follow-up discussions, and more--being true, consultative strategic partners to our clients. 

Still, when our clients tell us how our insights and recommendations have made a concrete difference in their business—well that’s as good as a Paul Hollywood handshake.

Youme Yai is a Project Manager at CMB who is on a search for the perfect chocolate chip cookies recipe (suggestions welcome!)

Topics: project management, research design

3 Search Behavior Trends to Know in 2019

Posted by Savannah House

Fri, Jan 04, 2019

woman using mobile phone-1

Last month, Google published its annual top search trends report—a look into what people were most interested in 2018. From Avicii to Black Panther to polling information, search behavior reflects the events, people, and cultural moments that defined the year.

Beyond a cultural snapshot, search data lets us tap into real insights around what people want, need, and intend to do in their daily lives. And thanks in part to the Amazon Effect, consumers expect to find what they’re looking for faster and easier than ever before. To meet these rising expectations, brands must understand what, how, and when people are searching to better address their needs throughout the journey.

Here are some key search trends brands can leverage to better serve their customers:

Personalized search is on the rise

AI technology has made it easy to be conversational and personal in search. Like asking a friend—or Alexa—for advice, more and more people are using natural language when searching and asking questions. Instead of the traditional utility search (e.g., “best car”), we now ask specific and personally-relevant questions about products and services (e.g., “best car for me”) that feel more human.

In the last two years, mobile searches for “Do I need” and “Should I” have increased by over 65% while “Can I” mobile searches grew by 85%—indicating consumers now trust and expect search technology to answer their most personal and specific questions.

While this hyper-personalization is exciting, the focus must remain on the consumer—not the tech. Because customers are increasingly casual in their search, brands mustn’t lose the human element and use natural language in their product and service messaging. People are busy and won’t waste time on superfluous or overly-technical language.

This trend also suggests people are a lot more comfortable with using technology for a variety of their everyday needs—whether it’s shopping for a new auto insurance policy or locating the nearest open food delivery option. Consumers expect frictionless experiences, so brands need to ensure their digital touchpoints are human and intuitive.

People want things nearby and now

Whether it’s a manicure or a special shampoo brand, people expect something the moment they need it. And not only do they want it right now, it must be nearby.

Google reported a 500% growth in “near me” mobile searches containing a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” over the last two years. Further, more and more consumers are searching for specific items like “riding boots near me” in addition to general “restaurants near me” queries.

All of this is to say that “near me” search is no longer just about location; it’s about finding a certain thing, in a specific place, at a specific time.

More than ever consumers expect to find exactly what they want when they want. Brands must work to provide the answers consumers are looking for—accurately and quickly—to capture their consideration. You don’t need to be a brick in mortar for this to apply to you. Whatever your business, help your customers and be absolutely explicit about your products and services.

People (and not just insights professionals) are research-obsessed

Today’s research-obsessed consumers use search to make the most of their experiences and optimize their lives. Whether it’s planning a vacation or going out to dinner, gathering information helps get them excited and feel confident about an upcoming experience.

Google reported a 120% increase in mobile searches for "wait times", indicating more and more people want to know what they’re getting themselves into prior to an experience.

This is an opportunity for brands to understand the different moments and mindsets of their customers and become part of their consideration early in the decision-making process. Customers want to feel confident while making planning decisions, so brands should do all they can to empower these decisions.

Make it easy to plan a trip to one of your hotels, for example, by offering pre-built itinerary suggestions. Or if you’re a financial services provider, consider offering a straightforward budget planner if you're targeting new college grads just starting on their financial journeys.

Whatever it is, take advantage of consumers’ desire to research by providing materials/content that will get them excited about choosing your brand.

Search data isn’t a magic bullet, but it’s a critical source of insights for engaging and inspiring today and tomorrow’s consumer. Tell us how you’re leveraging search and what you’re seeing in the comments!

Savannah House is a Marketing Manager at CMB who as a child, received movie times and the weather from SmarterChild, the OG of virtual assistants.

Topics: consumer insights

2018: A Year in Review

Posted by Savannah House

Wed, Dec 26, 2018

2018 blogging recap

It's been a busy and exciting year at CMB! Before we turn the page to 2019, here’s a look at some of our top-performing blog posts from 2018:

“What’s in a Name?”

While the historic $69 billion CVS-Aetna megamerger raises a lot of questions about the future of the healthcare industry, we’re particularly interested in how these two companies will approach the merger from a brand strategy perspective—remain separate brands, merge, or create a new? Either way, aligning on a brand strategy is as important as sorting out financials, operations, logistics, and everything else that comes with the complexities of this kind of deal.

“5 Questions with Qualitative Moderator Eileen Sullivan”

Earlier this year we were fortunate to welcome Eileen Sullivan to our growing Qualitative Practice. In this post, Eileen shares her perspective on the latest and greatest in qualitative research tools and methods, what it takes to be a successful moderator, and the critical role storytelling plays in research. And for any Quallies heading to QRCA in Savannah next month, be sure to keep your eye out for Eileen!

“Emotions Run High with Virtual Assistants”

Even though virtual assistants are evolving to do some pretty amazing things, most people are still only scratching the surface with the basic Q&A function. Asking Siri or Alexa for the weather forecast is a fine experience when they’re cooperating, but it can be extremely frustrating when you don’t get the right answer—like getting the current temperature in Cupertino when you live in Boston. CMB's Chris Neal dives into the emotional dimensions of using virtual assistants—what's driving and deterring widespread adoption.

“Why Standing up for the US Census Still Counts”

In a follow up to her 2017 post, “Why the Market Research Industry Must Stand up for the Census,” CMB’s Athena Rodriguez shares the latest on the state of the US Census 2020 as uncertainty surrounding the current administration's plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 poll is just one of a number of critical issues plaguing the U.S. Census Bureau.

“To Label Me is to Negate Me”

Sometimes you crave an IPA, other times, a lager. It depends on the occasion. Segmenting your audience by motivations behind each occasion can be the key to a much more nuanced approach to winning more overall spend from each customer.

“Celebrating our First Year as Part of the ITA Group Family!”

Time flies when you’re having fun! September 2018 marked the one-year anniversary of joining the ITA Group Family. It's been an incredibly busy and exciting year, and we’re thrilled to work with a company that shares our values—and our commitment to delivering world class solutions to clients.

Thanks for reading along with us this past year. We look forward to sharing more insights, tips, and trends in 2019. Best wishes for a successful New Year!

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Welcoming the New Year with Excitement and Enthusiasm

Posted by Jim Garrity

Tue, Dec 18, 2018

2018 into 2019

As 2018 winds down, I'd like to reflect on this past year and share my excitement for 2019.

First, a sincere thank you to the CMB community—our colleagues, clients, partners, and friends. 2018 was a fantastic year for CMB and we have a lot to be both proud of and thankful for.

I admit to a naturally forward-looking disposition, but it would be a real disservice not to recognize our team’s hard work and accomplishments in 2018. Over the last 12 months, we experienced strong growth, welcomed many new and talented CMBers, enhanced our partnership with ITA Group, and invested in agile and other future-focused frameworks.

These achievements are the result of strategic initiatives that will better position CMB for success as we continue to be a trusted research partner for our clients—helping them make critical business decisions with confidence.

Yes, the world is changing rapidly. Disruptive forces such as AI, big data, and automation are upending industries—including the insights industry—at breakneck pace. But while these trends continue to challenge, they also provide endless opportunity to those who embrace change rather than struggle against it. 

At CMB, we’re in the business of helping our clients navigate change and uncertainty. We’ll meet these disruptive changes head on as a collaborative, decision-focused, creative and forward-thinking partner.

As we head into 2019, we look forward to building on this momentum and embracing the new year with enthusiasm:

  • Focusing on agile research. Stakeholders want insights faster than ever before. We are investing in leaner, smarter, and iterative approaches at scale to meet these rising demands and expectations.
  • Investing in building data-driven, evidence-based narratives that compel action. From the most foundational questions to the thorniest analytical problems, we understand the results mean little without essential context and resonant deliverables.  
  • Empowering CMB talent. We’re only as strong as our people. We’ll continue to hire and empower smart, curious, and collaborative researchers, strategists, analysts, consultants, storytellers, and designers to reflect the dynamic nature of our changing industry.
  • Advancing product development. We’ll continue to partner with our clients, prospects, and ITA Group colleagues to build data-driven solutions that leverage our unique combination of consumer psychology and advanced analytics expertise.

The future is bright for those who embrace change with focus and confidence. I have no doubt 2019 will be another successful year for CMB and our clients as we continue to partner to drive engagement, innovation, and growth.

I couldn’t be prouder to work with such a talented group of colleagues and clients.

Have a restful holiday and I look forward to working with you in 2019.

Topics: news and announcements, Chadwick Martin Bailey