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Detecting Tomorrow’s Patterns at TMRE Las Vegas

Posted by Julie Kurd

Tue, Nov 12, 2019

TMRE Julie and Lori at booth (2)

At TMRE, we were immersed in a world of abundance, showmanship, cacophony, laughter, and glamour. As I checked out of the Mirage Hotel in the wee hours, I wondered why the lights weren’t on in the stunning 60x10 foot aquarium at registration. That’s when I learned that the four marine biologists on staff require lights out until 7:30am because too much light stimulation interrupts the fish feeding rhythms. As we return from another stimulating conference, let’s shine a light on emerging human and technological rhythms:

  • Detecting patterns: Is it good or bad if your technology knows you completely and holistically? We know in order to develop and grow our fan, member, and/or installed base, we need to disrupt ourselves digitally. Kevin Lee, COO of China Youthology talked about Alibaba and our other global tech giants who are shifting their efforts into our homes, cars, and offline lives so they can ‘know’ us completely and holistically. example, stay at FlyZoo hotel, and you can access everything you need through facial recognition. Even when you check out, you can just walk out. Tech giants are seeking to deliver convenient and simplified experiences, and existing data isn’t enough for these challenger brands. As our tech giants acquire entire ecosystems and categories, our data is now the currency of global innovation for a nomad generation. Amy Webb, Professor and Quantitative Futurist & Founder of The Future Today Institute and the Author of The Signals are Talking, discussed the implications of “post big data 1.0” and its fusion of digital data, cultural data, social data, and even our health goals. Her description of our voice-activated microwaves popping popcorn for us on command is pure joy…or is it? What if the microwave detects we’ve been gaining weight? Will it block our command, for our own good?
    Copy of TMRE Twitter Quote Post
  • Show of hands: Who vaults out of bed and can’t wait to get to work? Several of our hands shot up, but we asked questions of one another during the break…is it this particular job that has us vaulting out of bed? Most of us have had other jobs and have always vaulted out of bed. So, essence or environment? How can you become attentive to what is and isn’t happening to live towards the world of 2029? Amy Webb, who also authored The Big Nine, describes three frameworks of thinking patterns in machines, and in people:
    • Optimistic Framers—restless leg folks, who seek interoperability, chart theoretical future states and welcome uncertainty. They seek new structures for exponential growth so they look for new patterns in what is missing, unformed, not yet present.
    • Neutral Framers— those who have limited access because tech platforms aren’t interoperable. They drive solutions that continuously improve their system. These hurdlers rely on their system fluency to drive incremental growth.
    • Catastrophic Framers— those who are trying to improve their paradoxical world through automation but haven’t yet figured out how to reduce the cognitive work stream. Life has resulted in just a lot more work. These framers are panicking and still trying to make linear decisions for everything.

During this discussion, Amy delineated the difference between bystanders—those who cling to cherished beliefs and are unwilling or unable to see welcome uncertainty—and pathfinders—those who embrace uncertainty, charting theoretical future states, and find patterns in what is missing and not yet formed. No prizes for predicting who will thrive in our increasingly connected and disrupted future.

  • While in Vegas, I netted $40. But is that good? A classic question of perspective. According to growth strategy consulting firm Innosight’s biennial corporate longevity forecast, we need to begin imagining a world in which the average company lasts just 12 years on the S&P 500. Because that’s the reality we will be living in by 2027. Examples of TMRE presenters who openly talk about how they disrupt themselves included:
    • John Copeland, Vice President of Marketing & Consumer Insights at Adobe, described the massive pivot in Adobe’s operating model and the new KPIs needed to measure it all. Adobe underwent a massive digital transformation from packaged products ($2-3k for Photoshop, Illustrator) to Creative Cloud ($20-60/month subscription), to Creative Suite (platform as a service). This re-imagined creative journey has Adobe’s true product as a top 100 global website with 24/7 relationship support. Measurement, hence, must be of the ‘experience platform’ so it measures all 5 phases (1. Discover – free sign ups, 2. Try – download & use, 3. Buy – paid members, 4. Use = engagement score, 5. Renew – retain).
    • Monika Chandra, Research Manager at Facebook, told us that there is ‘no cruising on winding roads.’ At Facebook, she works at getting ‘closer’ to the truth of international market sizing for Facebook Marketplace in order to understand the potential for new products and business areas. Monika gave us sight into her learning process. She described her robust investigation to study with rigor, validate, and consistently measure as well as question what is being measured over time. Are we measuring C2C, B2C, C2B? And share of what? How many of us can reliably report the number of times we bought online in the past week or month? Again, I heard about the human factor of needing to measure both online and offline data to gain a fuller picture and greater insight into our audiences.
  • Changing our Behavior: From answer-centric to learning-centric: We can chart the rise of the nomad generation (under-protected, over-exposed), where data is the currency of innovation. Ashmeed Ali, Senior Director and Head of Marketing & Brand Research at Buzzfeed, says that the new game is re-ordered so now it’s “Publish. Learn. Iterate.” Gen Z is producing much of the listicles, and surveys on Buzzfeed. As companies enter the experimental stage of persistent technological recognition, the insights community must build its own unconventional instrumentation to detect what truly matters. Is the solution in the staffing [anthropologists, 1st year outs (out of college/grad school)]? In the tech instrumentation? In the noticing? In the story telling? Is it in the framing?

And it’s not just people…it is tech too. As technology like Amazon’s Alexa detects a cough, a sharp tone, a voice tremor, that next adjacent business can be spawned. In our $24B global insights industry, Prudential’s Supriya Sanyal’s words echo, as she closed her presentation with these recommendations: a) connect to the mission, b) get executive stakeholder buy in from the start, c) balance flexibility with depth and consistency, d) democratize data, even though data citizens may have varied skills, e) socialize the stories internally and externally, and f) choose your partners wisely. Continuously learn…repeat and reflect.

As the lights dim on TMRE 2019, how are we all going to disrupt ourselves? How are we enlisting people and technology to learn, unlearn and re-learn?


Julie KurdJulie Kurd is the VP, Business Development at CMB.

For more insights, please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, conference recap, customer experience and loyalty, growth and innovation, Market research, professional development, technology

IA CRC - Be The Change

Posted by Julie Kurd

Fri, Oct 25, 2019

Maybe a lack of curiosity CAN kill the consumer insights professional. Speakers at the Insights Association’s Corporate Researcher’s Conference choraled symphony of voices around the concepts of exploration, trust, and curiosity. With the click of a button, Microsoft’s Anne Sedgwick and Anil Damodarans’ voices were transcribed into real-time closed captions as they shared how humans and AI make “a great orchestra.”

Here are some other key takeaways from the conference:

  • Unpacking Curiosity, by Alison Horstmeyer:  We live in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), began Alison Horstmeyer in her “Unpacking Curiosity” presentation. Alison asked each of us to pick a photo and answer key questions. My picture was a bike leaning on a tree on a beautiful autumn day. She asked what happened the minute before this picture was taken. She asked what will happen in the next minute. She asked what the most significant thing in the photo is and what the key emotions are. Throughout the session, she motivated exploratory behavior in us, asking us to be resilient, curious, and open. Thanks to her exercise, I could see more opportunities to cultivate openness and ideational fluency, through continuing to venture out of our boxes through: 1) active exploration, 2) engaged inquisitiveness, 3) openness to experience and 4) stress tolerance. She described the value of P.R.O.B.E. or Presence (open ended, listening), Reframe (‘how might we…’), Openness (“tell me more”), Bravery (resilience), Experimentation (attempts in learning).
    CRC blog quote #2 oct 2019
  • Google: “Puppy or Not a Puppy,” by Elizabeth Merrick May: In a world where the market research industry typically statistically tests at a 90% confidence, Elizabeth challenges us with a simple question: puppy or not a puppy? Using this example to describe algorithm training in machine learning, she talked about how in a world of disruptors and disruption, we need to always think about the payoff. Don’t let the world mire you in decisions with minimal downside. Incrementality requires one set of decisions. Leaps require new models. Which is worse to be wrong about: deciding in favor of something that is actually bad or deciding against something that’s actually good?  We can underfit our models (too simplistic to really explain the variance), overfit (add too many options into the possibility so we don’t risk excluding…this makes it hard to replicate). She said a typing tool with the least number of questions yielding the most ‘accurate enough’ output is the one to go with. She challenged us to not over-define things…after all, there’s a downside to being thorough. She encouraged us not to pursue ‘right’ but instead to pursue the ‘right’ amount of ‘wrong’ by setting a risk-based approach. Although pup could be a dog or a seal, ultimately, we are looking for the right amount of wrong.Twitter Mattel blog quote oct 2019 (4)
  • Taboo Discussions and Peer-to-Peer Self-Moderation, by Melissa Spencer, Merck and Kim Bowers, Brado: Want to know about emotional and functional barriers to diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s? STDs? Topics that Merck and Brado were noodling on included the elephant in the room…was it possible that the qualitative moderator impeded their authenticity by their very physical presence? Could they possibly launch self-moderated, consumer-to-consumer (C2C) discussions? They tried it. And they spoke about how C2C is messy, but the potential payoff exceeded the risks, so they recruited consumers, and, for Alzheimer’s, they asked that person to recruit a few friends for the ‘friend’ groups. They asked these groups to hold ‘book club’ style sessions in their homes, and to videotape it. For the STD discussion, they found that C2C ‘stranger’ sessions—recruited on a guide, and then brought to a facility—worked best.
  • Influence In the Age of ML, by Eric Solomon: Can you embrace curiosity, and the need to experiment? Eric shared the magic that can happen at the intersection of emergent technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and human psychology. If you believe that superintelligence is possible, that intersection shifts the way we tell and consume stories. Eric showed us advertisements that were created by AI, such as this ad by McCann for Clorets gum; And, on watching, tweeting and other behavior, I must have shifted Google’s algorithms, because I got served up the coolest, craziest ad. Does emergent technology disrupt? That girl be a tomboy.

PostScript:  Jeffrey Henning presented the new Insights Professional Certification program which will launch in 2020. The IPC, is an upcoming @InsightsMRX program, backed by @BurkeInstitute, @CambiarConsults, @ResearchRocks, @Rivainc and the @MRII_UGA and includes 5 new topic certifications (IPC Analytics, Practitioner, Qualitative, Quantitative and Specialist). Click here to learn more.


Julie KurdJulie Kurd is the VP, Business Development at CMB.

For more insights, please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Topics: conference recap, growth and innovation, Market research, Artificial Intelligence, professional development

2019 Yale Customer Insights Conference

Posted by Ann Mondi

Wed, May 15, 2019

Yale image-1

Last week I joined insights leaders at the 2019 Yale Insights Conference and WOW did I learn a lot!

As a newcomer to both the conference and the industry, I was inspired as speakers tackled some of the biggest trends, challenges, and opportunities shaping the future of insights.

The traditional market researcher role is changing. Industry leaders, including Laurence Bucher (Mars Wrigley Confectionery), Stan Sthanunathan (Unilever), and Ewa Witkowska (PepsiCo) weighed in on what this means for today and tomorrow’s insights professionals:

  1. According to Ewa, trust is one of the most important soft skills that will lead insights teams into the future. Once you establish trust both with colleagues and clients, you have the permission to challenge them. To that end, she encourages fellow researchers to get straight to the point and deliver value faster—to be inspiring and actionable. To do that, we must be trustworthy. What a great message for all of us!
  2. As Laurence pointed out, there’s innumerable amounts of data to harness—more so than ever before. Market research professionals must learn to leverage these sources to deliver sensible and actionable insights to their stakeholders. As digital transformation continues to disrupt business as usual, insights teams (well, any team, really!) need to be honest and vulnerable about what we are doing well and where we can improve. What more, insights professionals must make sense of nuanced emerging generations. Younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z-ers have distinct motivations and needs that make them unique not only from older generations, but also each other.
  3. Looking ahead to the future of insights, Stan said the following: data must become a commodity, insights must be democratized, and ideas must be deliverable. He challenged us to think critically about how we’ll use tools like AI to augment our creativity and intelligence. How will we leverage these trends and become disruptors ourselves These trends are unavoidable, so how will we use them to our advantage and become disruptors rather than the disrupted?

Next, Radha Subramanyam, Chief Research & Analytics Officer at CBS, shared how the media giant uses research and analytics to make data-driven decisions. Some takeaways:

  1. Don’t get caught up in the artificial binaries between "small" and "big" data. "Big" data is a trendy buzzword, but the reality is we need all types of data. More data guards against dissonance and diffusion when interpreting findings.
  2. This doesn't mean we should merge every data stream, rather, we should merge the insights. We need to learn to harmonize—goal being to intellectually harness data to provide a more holistic understanding of the situation at hand.
  3. I loved this part—someone asked how to transition creative-driven organizations to be more data-driven. The answer? Build interest by making data invaluable to successful creative. Radha sends out a bulleted daily email with research and analytics findings. These notes help more creative-leaning teams leverage the insights to evaluate their next steps and success with regards to the company's programming (e.g., marketing optimization before the Grammy Awards and social media listening after the awards show).

It's an exciting time to be in insights—from AI to data democratization, there are many forces shaping the industry. Consider attending next year’s Yale Insights Conference to learn more about topics like digital transformation, artificial binaries and so much more. 

Did you attend Yale Insights this year? What was your favorite learning? Share in the comments below!


Ann Mondi is an administrative assistant focusing her efforts on absorbing everything she can about the multiple facets of CMB and the market research industry at large.

For more insights, please follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Topics: conference recap

IIeX 2019: Insights Innovation and Inspiration

Posted by Julie Kurd

Thu, May 02, 2019

iiex

From left: Tom HC Anderson, Jamin Brazil, Steve August, and Julie Kurd

This year’s IIeX Conference at the beautiful University of Texas at Austin was a whirlwind tour of what’s next in insights. The content was exceptional across the board, and because others have offered terrific recaps, I’m going to just focus on three other reasons why this conference is such a success:

1. Data Scientists and Data Citizens

One question on my mind is the role “Citizen Data Scientists” will play in democratizing big data—what is the right mix of data scientists to data citizens in the game we are all entering?

I got to see this play out in real life when Anuraag Verma and Aaron Davis of Alpha let us conduct a hands-on experiment to customize the machine learning classifier on their converseon.ai platform.

The engaging experiment became even more fun when Annie Petit (@lovestats), a colleague whose PhD credentials, super intuition, and talent we all admire and I, a curious data citizen (hint: NOT a scientist) approached the algorithm training in very different ways. 

I quickly started focusing on hand coding only the negs to pos where appropriate, where Annie reported proceeding with a balanced approach. At the first level, my trainer number and hers were both over 94%, but the proof is in the model score after it's validated against a larger holdout set of data and machine learning enters the scene. It turns out, the F1s were all fairly well clustered except for a winner (screen name “Kermit the Frog) who was higher than the rest. Our industry needs our data scientists, but the data citizen may yet play a role.

2. Founders on Hand

 I’ve never met more company founders in a 3-day span. Some had their pitch down to 120 seconds, and others, deep in love with their product, were a little less polished but often just as fascinating.  There were so many, to name them would mean slighting someone, but let’s give a few companies I learned about who actually presented or were in the ‘meet the startups’ sessions:

  • ScalehouseIdentify which parts of your business are primed for scaling and growth @kristinluck and @jaranderson
  • FocalCast–CEO Devin Turner @focalcast talked about his live focus groups and interactive stimuli that work on any device, anywhere in the world
  • Adrich’s Adhithi Aje, founder and CEO @adrichtech talks about her thin sticker type IoT sensor that goes on your product, so you can track (with permission) the usage of anything from salad dressing to industrial equipment.
  • @collaborata founders talked about their product being for a buyer who only has $10k left in their budget and they can then pool that extra cash with others for some foundational deep dive research that costs maybe more like $100k but is funded like a multi-client.

3. Voices of the Industry

The IIEX is the most exceptional mix of industry amplifiers and emerging thought leadership, and I participate in a lot of conferences.

  • First, Jamin Brazil was on hand conducting podcasts throughout the sessions. His podcasts were casual and straightforward, the true sign of a master. He even demonstrated live to us with Amy Snow. During the 8-10-minute podcast, we learned that she outlived a terminal diagnosis, has two kids, was a founder of Kelton, built the team at Wonderful, and founded High 8, a firm that occupies the space between traditional research and a consultancy.  Subscribe at the Happy Market Research Podcast. Thanks, Jamin!
  • Greenbook’s Lenny Murphy (@lennysim) and team including Dana Stanley (@danamstanley) and Gregg Archibald (@greggarchibald) brought together an intense mix of amplifiers and founders. Follow this influential bunch on Twitter, including Jeffrey Henning (@jhenning), Tom Ewing (@tomewing), Steve August (@steveaugust), Jamin Brazil (@jaminbrazil), Annie Petit (@lovestats), Reg Baker (@thesurveygeek), Tom Anderson (@tomhcanderson), Kristin Luck (@kristinluck), Jackie Rousseau-Anderson (@jaranderson), Roddy Knowles (@roddyknowles). And if you're not already, you can follow me at @julie1research.

Topics: conference recap

Quirk's Chicago 2019: The Ten Quirk's Q-mandments

Posted by Julie Kurd

Fri, Apr 05, 2019

Quirks 10 Q-mandments 2019

We attend conferences to meet colleagues, present our latest and greatest, and learn more about new methodologies and approaches.

I’m just back from this week’s Quirk’s Chicago Event with its top of the line content, and I’m ready to recap some memorable moments from the conference.

This being a Quirk’s Event, here they are organized by the "Ten Quirk’s Q-mandments":

Thou shalt be...

1. Interesting

Walgreens and Verve presented “Big Data and Small Qual: Amazing Best Friends.” Andrea Golightly presented the evaluation of MedExpress (Key Research question: Is MedExpress a good complement to work with Walgreens Pharmacy?) In the big data phase, they assessed how a partnership would affect equity, traffic, and sales at Walgreens. They reviewed scanner, panel, social media, day parts, categories, and customer cohorts to size the opportunity. The findings yielded that they generally met expectations. Next, stakeholders asked: why isn’t the prediction even better? They conducted “small qual” through their Verve panel. Through open-ended online qual, they found consumers noticed the parking lot was busier than usual, so they'd drive past the Walgreens/MedExpress. 

2. Effective

Mark Garratt from In4mation Insights spoke about how companies need to use Social Media Data to predict new product success. He explained that social data projects take >1M unique posts to predict sales if they can align the words, sentiment and the motives. For example, to sell vegan organic food, a company needs to see certain tipping points of particular words, sentiments, images and motives.

3. Relevant

Nestlé talked about applying agile principles to achieve product innovation success.  In this presentation, Dawn Ferfolia, Innovation at Nestlé, and Molly Wright, from GutCheck, talked about how they used flexible agile solutions to drive faster time to market, spur collaboration, and drive iteration, reflection and optimization. We even tasted a product, a chilled power bar that resulted from this pipeline change.

4. Honest

Joel Benenson spoke on how the rules from the political war room can also be applicable to brands. The presentation clearly described how vital it was to stay on point. First, it’s essential to know what the campaign is really about. He went on to say that for politics and for brands, our greatest strength is usually our greatest weakness. We need to understand our competitive framework, that values matter (ours and theirs), and we need to have principles before policies. He said if we want to position ourselves, it’s critical to know it’s about more than just a horse race. Winning brands and winning leaders define winning on our terms; and we know the voters we need to win. His research delved deeply into the attitudes and beliefs of the base.

5. Engaging

 Jonathan Williams from Discover.ai talked about how brands can use AI on more open-ended tasks (vs. close ended, rule based, logical questions such as “Why do people like chess and how do we get more people to play”).  As a proof point, he explained how they helped DeBeers use research to reinvigorate diamonds as symbols of love in today's world. Although diamonds are forever, they are losing to other luxuries as a category among Millennial and Gen Z.  This research yielded 15 springboards or hunting grounds, including the notion that diamonds are a sign of commitment, creating a wow moment, and being responsible, ethical, and earthy, etc.

6. Memorable

Modeling the many paths to purchase to improve marketing efficacy involves delving into the adjacent field of biology for LRW.  They’ve used a DNA sequencing-like statistical analysis to figure out similarities and differences between journeys. Much like a small change can drive the DNA sequence to create a frog vs. a bird, the sequencing helps differentiate the journey. Once journeys are established, they create profiles. In a case study they presented (brand was omitted), LRW found seven fundamental journey groupings (price driven, relationship driven, website driven, offer driven, location driven, digital driven, security driven) and tied these to economic potential and the messaging most likely to drive intended behaviors.

7. Prepared

We learned about the three phases of data democratization from Debbie Fischer of AFI and Kristi Zuhlke CEO of KnowledgeHound. According to them, data democratization means making data and insights available to the broader organization. Millennials make up 35% of the nation’s workforce and expect to Google or use something like Knowledgehound to figure things out on their own. AFI says they’re growing from data adolescence to data maturity and encourage others to “cross over”.

8. Visual

RealEyes and EmotionAI work with Sunil Soman from Warner Entertainment. Together they conducted a branded content study of 20 videos and 20 thirty-second ads. They analyzed videos through both passive measures like attention (volume and quality) and emotion (feelings), and active measures such as sentiment (automated analysis of response after viewing content) and survey (ask specific pre- and post to gain extra layer of insight). This work helped guide more relevant advertising targeting. Finally, their goal was ultimately to help create and distribute meaningful content.

9. Accessible

Insights Strategy Group presented on why Gen Y and Z value happiness, friendship, money, being well-liked and dating. These age groups strive to have enough money to live the lifestyle they want to live, find a job they actually like, and express feeling helpless about what’s going on in the world. Both Gen Y and Z report happiness as their number one goal, unchanged from 2013 to 2019. They also report a 27% decline in valuing being well-liked and a 39% drop in valuing who they are dating/married to as they aged from 2013 to 2019.

10. Considerate

And of course, it’s not all about the presentations. CMB sponsored the Exhibitor’s Lounge to help provide our market research and insights industry peers with a place to work, eat, rest and talk during the conference. There, and in booth city, we met and reconnected with suppliers, friends, colleagues and partners.

What were some of your highlights from Quirk's Chicago? Let us know in the comments below!

Topics: conference recap