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Julie Kurd

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CRC 2018:  How to Engage Today’s Corporate Research Buyer

Posted by Julie Kurd

Wed, Oct 10, 2018

To kick off the Corporate Researchers Conference, a panel of experienced corporate researchers spoke in earnest about what they value in their ultimate research partner. What they value and look for coincides with the “TUFA” strategy that every supplier should practice when building relationships with prospects and clients.

TUFA (them, us, fit, action) is the playbook for real business to business partner relationships that F500 clients yearn for. TUFA involves understanding them (the client/prospect), highlighting what of your research consultancies may be useful to them given their context, demonstrating the business fit between the two companies, then understanding the actions and positive impacts of a successful partnership. 

 Here’s a summary of what we heard:

  • Them. Each of the panelists begged suppliers to please understand their business, products, their goals and direction. Account intelligence is the basic blocking and tackling and it’s important to really understand the client/prospect before attempting to persuade them you’re the right fit. Corporate researchers are inundated with requests for meetings every day and their time is precious. What’s in it for them? For example:
    • Kelly Bowie, insights leader at Guardian, said to please know what lines of business Guardian is in before calling on her. 
    • Amy Basile, Sensory and Consumer Insights Manager at Little Caesars, simply said, “Know my brand and know how to spell it.”
  • Us. Corporate researchers schooled suppliers in what they hear from every Gold Top 50 research company: you are a full service, primary market research firm with exceptional execution, advanced analytics, compelling storytelling, and are innovative and global. As the panelists added to the buzzword pile, the audience collectively groaned.
    • Colette Thayer from AARP challenged the concept of “full service.” If you’re strong at statistics, modeling and sampling, are you also really excellent at writing? Know your firm’s strengths and highlight appropriately as they relate to your clients’ needs.
    • Cole Horton from EA says, “Don’t fake it.” Researchers supporting EA need to fully understand games and need to obsess about gaming themselves. He added, “Don’t overpromise and please be honest if you can’t do something”—citing a time when a supplier wasn’t able to do basic skip logic in the research design but wasn’t upfront about it.
  • Fit. Identifying the best fit requires understanding the client/prospects’ business and understanding our own unique value proposition. Some of the corporate researchers believed not much has changed in terms of turnaround times in the last 10 years. Understandably, they want better and faster for less money because they’re being pushed by stakeholders.
    • Colette from AARP says it’s a huge risk and time investment for a corporate researcher like her to onboard a new research partner, so she wants proof the marriage will likely endure. For example, she asks to see a sample report or other exemplary evidence the investment is worth her time and resources.
    • Amy Basile from Little Caesars said business fit can be as simple as, “Be sure you can connect me to real customers who patron my brand in a cost-efficient way.” She cited challenges that come with panel sourcing, for instance.
  • Action is what happens next.
    • Kelly from Guardian says that while an insights partner might feel like they’re doing all the work, it’s her team that’s bringing the insights to life at the company. Don’t underestimate that side of the partner equation and the importance of business activation.
    • Cole from EA wants research partners to get beyond the basics—to take on a proactive and consultative role and “bring the outside world in.” He acknowledges it’s hard to find and tell a story that is new and actionable, but actionability is the key to moving forward.

There were valuable lessons to be learned from this corporate research panel. Fundamentally, they want research partners (not suppliers) who truly understand their business, can clearly communicate the business fit, and provide an action plan/next steps.

CRC image for blog

What stops a supplier from meeting a buyer's needs? An inability to execute on the fundamentals!

For more on TUFA and the approach, please connect with our partners at IMPAX.

Julie Kurd is the VP of Business Development at CMB and will be at TMRE next week in Scottsdale. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn before the conference. 

Topics: conference recap

Optimizing Your Conference ROI

Posted by Julie Kurd

Thu, Aug 02, 2018

attending a conference (Resized)

With tightening travel and professional development budgets, I've adapted an earlier blog post about making the most of your conference experience. Conferences are expensive and so your company wants to know what’s in it for them.

And while of course you need to prove the ROI, you also need to think about it as "WIIFM" ("What’s in it for me”) to squeeze every valuable ounce out of your conference experience and delight your company.

With the US insights community’s largest industry conferences (TMRE and CRC) right around the corner, let’s talk personal branding and ROI:

  • Block off your office calendar during the days of the conference. Activate your out of office message and be sure to mention that you’re WORKING offsite all day.  It is really a crime against your boss and company to be dialing into staff meetings or writing emails from your hotel room when you mutually agreed that you’d be learning at a conference. The conference ROI of you missing the conference because you were sitting in your hotel room…it’s not pretty.  Thank your boss/peers/staff for this critical professional development opportunity as appropriate and promise the right person at your company a brief ROI summary (more later).
  • Highlight the agenda prior to the conference. Map out which sessions you want to attend. When there are several tracks running concurrently, I circle my agenda with all the sessions I want to see and then go back and refine when I’m actually at the conference. Sometimes the same (or similar) session is held at two different times during a conference so you don’t have to make tough tradeoffs. Or sometimes the keynote has a working session and after their opening presentation, so you could hear them twice or try something new.
  • Plan your elevator pitch and ask: Whether you’re reserved or chatty, you’re going meet a lot of new people at conferences, so make sure to prepare your elevator pitch:
    1. “My name is ___ and I work for ___, the makers of ___. In the coming year we’re focused on improving our ___, and for that reason, I’m here at the conference to learn more about ___.” 
    2. Here’s an example: “We just finished up a big customer journey project, which will help us drive the right messages to the right people at the right moments.” You can follow up with something like: “In the coming year we’re going to do a lot of messaging optimization and concept testing to bring those moments into focus by segment.” That’s your hook, and your reason for the conversation you’re having.   
    3. Next comes your question. You’ve offered a bit about what you do, but who are you talking to?  If they are a peer or competitor, ask, “How about you?”  That’s it.  You need to bring this information back to your company.  If they are a supplier of research, ask, “How would you approach this if you were pitching to me?” 
  • Recap at least three sessions in writing so you can talk specifically about the cases during a future lunch and/or meeting:  Don’t just return to the office and proclaim, “the conference was great; I learned so much.” Listen fiercely and write down who spoke, what they said, how they presented. Take something forward that you can apply in your own career. Why was that session useful?  Did the speaker talk about a new technique? Did they present in a style that you want to mimic? Did they talk about the world of tomorrow in a way that’s accessible to you, can you bring it to life back at your company? Once you finish writing and are back home, how can you mention that session 3x, so it sticks in your active memory and changes something about your habits? 
  • Make a few new acquaintances (and connect on LinkedIn):  You want to keep actively learning and building your professional network, so connect on LinkedIn with speakers and conference goers. One of our F100 clients recently told me, “I’m painfully introverted so I just go to the sessions.” And while of course I understand, it’s vital to us all to expand our network, from a peer, collaborator, and employee recruitment perspective. Let’s always be learning together.
  • Bonus tip—take a photo of yourself with one of the famous speakers and share it with your CMO: OK, you don’t NEED to do this, but you need to come up with one visual representation of you broadening your horizons at the conference. If you’re speaking, get a photo of you while presenting (any of us will take it… just ask).  If you’re attending, snap a picture of your favorite speakers or in “Booth City” where you’ll meet a number of suppliers.  Share your photo with your company so they can experience your effort (and visualize you learning vs. at the pool). If relevant to you, even consider sharing it on LinkedIn or Twitter because a picture tells a great story (and gets a lot of likes!)

Are you heading to CRC or TMRE? If so, reach out and let’s connect while there!

Julie is an inspired TMRE Sponsor, participant, amplifier, socializer, and spotter, interested in your stories; follow her on LinkedIn.

Topics: conference recap, professional development

Consumer-Driven Ideas from Leaders at Keds, NYU, and Alibaba

Posted by Julie Kurd

Thu, May 17, 2018

Yale header-2A few hundred of us attended the annual #YaleInsights18 conference to listen to leaders at companies and universities including L’Oreal, Warby Parker, Keds, Alibaba, Yale and NYU Stern. Three of the sessions are recapped below. 

Are you seeding the clouds for earned impressions?  Keds CMO Emily Culp talks about the shift from the 2-minute “long form” ad to a more integrated digital strategy that incorporates quick five second video GIFs. This strategy pulls together media impressions from a mix of sources like celebrities (1M+ followers), regional influencers (500k-1M followers) and micro-influencers (1-100k followers). Keds understands that a celebrity can get 150,000 likes on a picture of them wearing Keds vs. the Keds website that can’t get the same brand heat and wholesale interest. Keds is seeding with bloggers and consumers with the goal of getting their shoes in the hands of influential people who will be loyal brand ambassadors. These shoe-wearers in turn create user generated content. Keds then builds on this digital native-first strategy by leveraging their website, social media, PR/seeding, emails, and their sell in/sell through data.

Are you using AI to personalize promotional offers? NYU Stern School Professor Anindya Ghose explained that mobile devices provide atomic levels of behavioral data because they are owned and used by a single person. Specifically, companies can “know” the device’s location with 91% accuracy and within three feet. He says that in addition to location, as researchers, we need to layer in time, context, crowdedness (how crowded the location is), weather, trajectory, social dynamics, saliency and tech mix to really optimize the “in the moment” promotional offers. For example, if I’m walking to the train station during my morning commute, I might be enticed by an offer at a coffee shop I never frequent.  In the evening when I return, I might be more likely to divert my habitual path for a different promotion, but not likely for a coffee. So, depending on the time of day, the offers that need to pop are different.  In fact, commuters are ALWAYS more likely to redeem an offer than non-commuters. 

Can you see the human in your consumer data or are they just IP Addresses?  Alibaba’s Lee McCabe talked about the future of commerce in a connected world. At Alibaba, they’re focusing on context, convergence and contact. Alibaba is fully vertically integrated so they can take data and consumer insight to a whole different level of identifiable, analyzable and reachable. They have real person identity, full dimension analysis (all the sites and businesses they own have a single sign on so they can see across browsing, social, media, purchase, pay, logistics, entertainment, travel) and measure all around touchpoints for the consumer. On 11/11, Singles’ Day, (think of Singles’ Day as Black Friday on a global scale), Alibaba sold 100 Maserati’s in 18 seconds and 350 Alfa Romeo cars in 33 seconds. In fact, 140,000 brands participated in Singles’ Day across 225 countries/territories, and consumers placed 812M orders that generated $25B in sales that one day.   

How are we all using multi-method and multi-source to grow our brands?  These are a few of the ways.

Yale often posts conference content to its YouTube channel to broaden its reach, and we will append this blog post if/when that channel appears.

Topics: conference recap, Artificial Intelligence, integrated data, consumer insights

Beer, Pot, Car Racing and More: A brief roundup of Quirks East 2018

Posted by Julie Kurd

Mon, Mar 05, 2018

quirks east poster3.png 

Here are a few learnings from last week's Quirk’s East Event in Brooklyn:

Measuring the success of Corona’s new nonlinear ads. Samrat Samran from AB InBev and Pranav Yadav from Neuro-Insight shared Corona’s advertisements that focus on the lime ritual. These “story fragments” equate the 'feeling' you get when a lime goes into the beer bottle with a surfer plunging into the water. To quantify success of a non-linear advertisement, they established guardrails on five key branding moments (brand memory, emotional intensity, and engagement etc.). Through this framework, they were able to see an increased recall on the second ad view because interestingly, a nonlinear story is challenging enough that the brain seizes on new aspects of the story in the second viewing.

Legal Cannabis is a Brand Innovation Game ChangerIn a time where many Fortune 500 companies are still asking for drug tests, it may not be intuitive to account for cannabis in your innovation pipeline—especially if you don’t work in the cannabis industry. But marijuana pairings are occurring beyond the music, snacks, etc., so it’s time to start paying attention to this growing category. In the BDS Analytics presentation, of those studied (28% were users, 34% were acceptors, and 38% were rejecters), almost everyone (including rejecters) universally accept some form of marijuana use as ‘acceptable’. And in this case, rejecters aren’t necessarily opponents, they just choose not to use. The cannabis market is diverse in generation, gender, and motivations—and likely will continue to grow in complexity.

NASCAR’s Passive Metering and Digital Media Tracking. NASCAR’s Norris Scott and Luth’s Candice Rab spoke about their behavior-based insights research. In the study, respondents downloaded an app that passively tracked behavior across devices—from PC, smartphone, and tablet. Integrating digital data with survey research helped contextualize participants’ behavior and shed light on the “why” behind attitudes and consumption of digital sports media among NASCAR fans and super-fans. Through this approach, NASCAR discovered that fans are also looking at a range of other sports content, such as ESPN, Yahoo Sports, etc., and half the fans use digital to enhance their race viewing experience.   

Gen Z (Tweens, Teens) and their Secret (Visual) Languages. Kids have always loved having secret languages that bonds and empowers them. Writing has given way to typing to tapping to snapping, per Stephanie Retblatt of SmartyPants. Text has morphed into videos, and videos to emojis, GIFs, memes, filters, and stickers. This evolution marks the significant shift in how kids and tweens experience emotions in ways that text hasn’t kept up with. “Animoji” and “Bitmoji” are part of a new visual curation brought to us by Snapchat.

Changing role of Artificial Intelligence in research. Whether you’re a F500 company or a Consumer Insights firm, Peter Mackey of Wizer says we need to take AI seriously. Peter showed how a chasm is starting to build between client reality (speed over quality, tighter budgets) and traditional consumer insights. In traditional insights, qualified thinkers brainstorm with you, frame the challenge, and craft the research design—all of which is time intensive. These days, budget-conscious marketers have resorted to DIY surveys, templated survey automation, human supervised/semi-automated coding and transcription. Today, we’re all experimenting with AI in market research world (#MRX):

  • Input – Automating the survey
  • Data Processing – quantitative and qualitative quality control such as respondent fraud detection algorithms
  • Output – positive findings in green and negative in red.  Natural language interpretation.
Co-Creation and the Future of Loyalty & Rewards with the Hilton. To break out of the “sea of sameness”, executives and consumers can come together to ideate innovative solutions using a co-creation approach. My company, CMB, presented with our client, Jessica Boothe of Hilton, on a recent co-creation session that explored the future of Global Loyalty and Rewards programs. Hilton has renovated its rewards program, simplifying both the earn and the burn aspects of rewards. This co-creation initiative discovered and re-discovered potential new emotional and functional rewards for both elite and non-elite members of the Honors program.      

Whether you always have a travel bag to unpack, or you ‘never get to go anywhere,’ learning is always available to everyone. Sign up for our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, 3/7 at 12pm ET.

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Topics: conference recap

Don’t Throw Away Your Shot: the 2017 Corporate Researchers Conference (CRC)

Posted by Julie Kurd

Thu, Oct 19, 2017

CRC creative-1.png

It was quite a week to be in Chicago for lovers of musicals and insights!  As one of the lucky market researchers who got to attend the Corporate Researchers Conference AND see Hamilton, I knew I couldn’t “throw away my shot” to share just a few highlights that inspired me and made me think.

First up, the critical question: Marketers and Researchers, how are you helping your company to differentiate, separate, and grow? If you want to be “in the room” with your company’s decision-makers, and not just the bearer of insights, you’re going to have to employ art and science. Here’s what some of your peers are doing:

  • Judd Antin of Airbnb will ONLY hire “full stack” researchers—those with 1) formative qualitative (ethnos), 2) evaluative qualitative (usability), 3) survey design, 4) applied statistics (yeah), and 5) SQL (merging data sets etc.). He sees the sciences as key to growth, a solution to homophily and the confirmation bias that limits our thinking and growth. He is definitely not throwing away his shot. He challenges us to get outside of our point of view and has established guidelines for non-English surveys in a company that is in hundreds of countries.  His group is redesigning the host interface, conducting ‘check-in’-a-longs (take me!) and he’s demanding rigorous quantitative analysis to prioritize the strategically important improvements and operational optimize the tactical elements. They have a full time international community member panel in 10 countries and in 10 languages and they translate surveys in and out of native languages for results in a single week. As Alexander Hamilton would say, “Learn to think continentally".
  • Charise Shields from Toyota reminded us that women buy cars. Millennials buy cars. Millennial women buy cars. They are redefining the two-year intender path to purchase, and they aren’t a monolithic block. They are single parents, married parents, couples without kids, and childless singles. The upper funnel of the purchase decision funnel has been democratized because the path to purchase begins online. This shift in the anatomy of the purchase journey means researchers need to reevaluate their preferences for relying solely on advanced quantitative research. Charise’s presentation was a great example of why I love CRC—talking to researchers who are flexible, innovative, and willing to try new things.
  • Ronda Slaven from Synchrony Financial and Neil Marcus from MetLife were not afraid to discuss the disturbing implications of poor participant experience on deflating brand equity. Both Ronda and Neil spoke candidly about their experience and the work they are doing to improve the participant experience. It seems like a simple gesture, but Neil shared a video (shot with an iPhone!) of himself thanking participants for their time. MetLife embedded the “thank you” video at the end of a survey, and saw a significant increase in participant satisfaction among those who watched the video over those who didn’t. Ronda and Neil are challenging their teams to push the envelope on improving participant satisfaction—practically shouting “I’m past patiently waiting, I’m passionately smashing expectation, every action is an act of creation.”  These brave researchers are reshaping the industry’s poor habit of cramming everything into a questionnaire or moderator’s guide. After all, in a way, participants are an extension of the organization and their happiness matters.
  • Mark Stephens from American Family is an agent for change, Mark and Judd are very alike in that they see the power of both qualitative and quantitative as a pathway to company growth and to making the world a better place. OK this is CMB’s co-presentation, and I work at CMB, so it’s easy to see your own work as a masterpiece, but, sitting in a full room of the LAST session of the LAST day, the researchers in the audience asked two dozen questions about proxy variables and appending data and drilled for understanding like Hamilton….studying profoundly, day and night so their minds are obsessed with “the fruit of labor and thought”.
  • Kate Morris of Fidelity presented on her public relations research work. She drilled home the importance of being memorable because memorable is actionable. Of course, storytelling is a typical imperative in the research world, Kate’s wonderful defiance and unique perspective reminds us, as Hamilton reminds us, to ask “who tells your story?”
The market research industry is maturing, and with maturity comes the responsibility to deny the mediocrity of “talk less, smile more” and to insist that the tactics and strategy are shaped by advanced quantitative and qualitative research and not by habit or blind conformity. It’s time to ask…“If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?”

 

Topics: conference recap, Market research