WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!

The posts here represent the opinions of CMB employees and guests—not necessarily the company as a whole. 

Subscribe to Email Updates

BROWSE BY TAG

see all

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!

Never miss a beat when you subscribe to the CMB blog:

Subscribe to the CMB Blog

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: Chadwick Martin Bailey, news and announcements

Brand Tracking for the Digital-first World

Posted by Ashley Harrington

Wed, Dec 12, 2018

digital brand tracking-3

In today’s digital world, there are innumerable ways to reach your customers. It’s critical to know where, when, and how your brand is performing so you can prioritize your marketing resources and investments accordingly—where is your brand resonating most with consumers?

Traditional brand tracking gets at this somewhat with questions like, “Which of the following brands, if any, do you recall seeing an advertisement for in the last three months?” Respondents are then asked to identify the specific channels they saw (or heard) the ad—was it on TV? The radio? Social media?

But this questioning can be tricky because it relies on respondents’ ability to accurately recount their memory of an ad. However, remembering specific ads isn’t always easy—sometimes we’ve seen respondents citing television commercials for brands that don’t advertise on TV.

To avoid relying solely on respondent recollection, one solution is to leverage behavioral data to blend digital ad tracking (e.g., conversation rates, new sessions) with traditional brand tracking data (e.g., “Please recall a specific ad”).

At CMB, we take this traditional advertising question a step further by tagging and tracking the performance of a brand’s digital ads, then incorporating those insights into the overall brand tracking program.

We’re able to tag respondents as either “exposed” (saw an ad) or “control” (did not see an ad) so we know for sure if they in fact experienced an ad—even if they don’t remember it themselves. This tagging mechanism allows us to measure the lift in perceptions associated with ad exposure based on verifiable behavior versus just respondent recall.

Ultimately, this digital approach can help provide more context around:

  • How did exposure to a specific digital ad impact consumer perception or consideration?
  • Do certain digital advertising tactics impact particularly segments differently?
  • Which campaigns or messaging resonate best and lead to action?digital brand tracking example

Linking behavioral data to digital ad and traditional brand tracking can help paint a fuller picture of a brand’s marketing performance. It helps fill in some gaps between traditional digital ad tracking (e.g., clicks, sessions) and traditional brand tracking (e.g., “Which ad do you recall seeing?”) so marketers can better understand which strategies are working.

Of course, there are considerations when integrating this kind of data into your brand tracking study:

  • Not everything can be tagged. For example, certain channels don’t allow for this type of media tagging. So, marketing campaigns or strategies that rely heavily on the channels that are blocked may not be the best fit.
  • Weighting/sampling. In some cases, it’s possible that a “lift” we see among those who are exposed may be due to a difference in demographics related to targeting. Therefore, we recommend considering setting certain key qualities to equal when making comparisons.
  • It’s tough to track competitive ads, so it’s still valuable to ask those stated recall questions as they can tell us how recall fares vs. the competition.

As marketers continue to invest in digital strategies, it’s critical brand tracking programs evolve to consider these investments. By measuring digital ad exposure based on verifiable data, we're able to help marketers better understand what's working—informing smarter decision making.

Ashley Harrington is a Research Director at CMB who is hoping behavioral data will one day provide us with a clever solution to the age-old expression: “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Topics: brand health and positioning, brand tracking

How Triathlon Training Makes Me a Better Market Researcher

Posted by Shira Smith

Wed, Nov 28, 2018

triathlon

From training to crossing the finish line, competing in triathlons is one of my favorite hobbies. So far, I’ve completed four sprint races, each consisting of a short swim, a 10 to 15-mile bike ride, and a three-mile run. Not everyone would consider this "fun," but I love it.

When I'm not an training, I'm a market researcher who likes to draw parallels between my personal and professional life. Here are three ways training for a triathlon is like managing a research project:

Scheduling is key

Triathlons are long multievent races that require a ton of preparation and training. Months before race day, I map out a detailed training schedule that allots time for each event (e.g., swimming, biking, racing) to ensure I’m well-prepared.

Managing a research project also requires a rigorous plan. Before the onset of each project, I develop a meticulous schedule that outlines every step, due date, and expectation, from project kick off to final reporting and delivery. This keeps my team and me on track and hitting our goals.

I also share this schedule with my clients so our teams are always aligned on how the project is progressing. It sounds simple, but it's critical to be transparent and ensure everyone's on the same page.

Be flexible when plans change

Even the best laid plans can go awry. Despite my planned training schedule, sometimes things come up and I must adjust. If it's downpouring on a running day, for example, I could instead go for a swim. If the pool is unexpectedly closed, I'll hop on a bike. Whatever the obstacle, I always find an alternative that keeps me marching towards my goal.

Unforeseen events can happen in research, too. The important thing is to flex and stay nimble so surprises won’t derail the project. So long as I stay focused and proactive, my team and I can pivot, overcome challenges, and keep the project on track.

Data consistency is also key

I track data to measure and improve my race performance. With the help of a sports watch, I can analyze my pace, heart rate, distance, elevation, cadence, and more. Tracking these metrics helps me see my progression over time and can help identify variables that may be impacting my performance. For example, I often run in the morning, so external variables (e.g., traffic and temperatures) are more consistent. Since my running environment is consistent (as much as it can be) I can be more confident my tracked pace is real.

Consistently tracking data over time is critical in market research, too. In brand trackers, for example, we’ll measure the same dimensions so we can accurately compare results wave after wave. This helps ensure our clients can refine the most compelling positioning, optimize brand and market communication, and then track influence on behavior over time.

I'm glad I found a hobby that I love, and I’m even more excited that it connects in so many ways to my job as a market researcher. I’m looking forward to growing both as a triathlete and as a market researcher – and I know if I plan, stay flexible, and remain consistent, I’ll be successful at both!

Topics: data collection, research design, project management