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

Telling Your Insights Story: Reflections from a 2018 Qually Award Finalist

Posted by Kelsey Segaloff

Wed, Apr 04, 2018

Earlier this year, I ditched snowy Boston for the Qualitative Research Consultants Annual Conference in sunny Phoenix. I’d been to the conference before, but this year was particularly special because I was a 2018 Qually Award Finalist—a competition that challenges researchers to demonstrate a creative approach to problem solving.

In the competition, we were asked to respond to a client RFP. The three finalists then were invited to present our proposals to a live audience at the conference. While I didn’t win the competition, it was an incredible opportunity to challenge myself to think creatively about how we can approach qualitative research.

Since working in the industry, I’ve learned that storytelling—finding and communicating the story from the data—is one of the most important skills a researcher can have. It’s our job to dig into the data and create a compelling narrative so that our clients have relatable and actionable insights.

I wanted to incorporate storytelling into my proposal in an unconventional way. So rather than looking at how other researchers tell stories, I looked outward—how are people telling and consuming stories in everyday life?

One of the most powerful and culturally-relevant ways stories are shared today is through podcasts. I listen to them every day on my way to work, so I thought, “Why not create an insights podcast?”

I proposed taking the audio gathered from in-person interviews, ethnographies, shop-a-longs, etc., and piecing them together into a podcast. It’s a simple yet powerful way to tell an insights story.

Too often our minds default to a PowerPoint presentation when we talk about storytelling. But as you’ll see in the video below, inspiration for storytelling can come from anywhere:

Kelsey Segaloff is a Senior Qualitative Associate Researcher at CMB and an avid consumer of true crime and Bachelor-themed podcasts.

 

Topics: qualitative research, storytelling, conference recap

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

CMB + ABC @ TMRE 2017: Attracting Viewers (& Customers) in the Golden Age of Content

Posted by Megan McManaman

Mon, Oct 23, 2017

abctmre.png

We're less than 24 hours into TMRE 2017 and it has been a whirlwind of sessions and great conversations with researchers and marketers from all over the world. If you're not one of the 1000+ people who've converged on Orlando for one of the biggest market research events in the U.S., don't worry—we won't let you miss out. 

This afternoon, CMB's own Judy Melanson and ABC's Lyndsey Albertson presented an in-depth look at how ABC is building a deep understanding of what drives content discovery and what keeps viewers watching! You don't have to be ABC Disney to know how critical it is to gain traction for new products while navigating a market in flux.  As you navigate your customer journeys, amid seismic shifts, are you asking and answering these 7 critical questions?

  1. What does “new” mean to your consumers; what content, products, and materials can you re-merchandise?
  2. Do you understand how your industry’s disruptors are meeting customer needs?
  3. Are you regularly evaluating your schedules to ensure offerings break through and remain relevant?
  4. How well is your brand’s story connecting with your customers’ emotions?
  5. Are you fully leveraging the power of social to engage?
  6. How are your distribution points ensuring relevance and stickiness?
  7. Have you adapted your product availability to better fit with consumer needs (that may be changing due to competitor offerings)?

Learn more about how we're helping leading brands ask, answer and act on the questions that matter, drop us a note or give us a call:

Contact us!

At TMRE now? Stop by Booth 409 to chat! 

 

Topics: conference recap, digital media and entertainment research, customer journey