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Today’s podcast is sponsored by Schlesinger Quantitative, your trusted provider of global online surveys that drive the best decisions for success in the marketplace. Schlesinger Quantitative has built an entire division of experts with extensive online research experience and an unparalleled understanding of quality drivers across panel, sample, and data.
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Happy Market Research Launches New Website
FRESNO, CA – The leading market research and insight podcast, Happy Market Research, launched its newly designed website at https://happymr.com. Given the volume of valuable content created by the podcast, our web traffic has been growing at a substantial rate making it vital we invest accordingly. The website has been designed to give users a more interactive experience with improvements in functionally and navigation.
“It has been a blast interviewing leading insight pros from top brands and agencies including Adobe, Coke, ESOMAR, General Mills, LinkedIn, Mastercard, Microsoft, P&G, Pfizer, Qualtrics, TNS, and Toluna,” said Jamin Brazil, Host of the Happy Market Research Podcast. “Each episode tells the story of how they ended up in research, current unmet needs, and keys to driving success in life and business. These interviews are our story, our journey into research, our pain points, and the core values that define us.”
The new website will enable listeners to find specific episodes and desired insights, as well as have the ability to join the Insights Nation newsletter. We are thankful for the financial support of our sponsors: Attest, Clearworks, G3 Translate, M/A/R/C Research, Schlesinger, and Toluna.
If you’d like to show your support, visit the Happy Market Research’s Patreon page.
About Happy Market Research
Founded by Jamin Brazil in July 2018, Happy Market Research is a podcast show that delves deeply into the challenges and opportunities facing the market research industry. With expertise from Brazil, cofounder of Decipher and former CEO of FocusVision, the show highlights important industry topics and has interviews from some of the top industry experts and major brands, such as Merrill Dubrow, CEO of MARC; Rogier Verhulst, Head of Insights of LinkedIn; and Stacey Walker, Consumer Insights Leader at Adobe.
We already know that our success is predicated on the success of our team. But, how do you give staff just the right amount of responsibility?
Michael J Vigeant, CEO of GreatBlue Research, has this practical advice…
I ask my staff this question, “When do I get in your way and how can I get out of your way?”
These simple questions put both autonomy and accountability squarely on the shoulders of your team.
By asking, “When do I get in your way?”, you are removing any outcome-based excuses. And by asking, “How can I get out of your way?”, you are creating a solutions-oriented conversation that requires any performance-based issues or blind spots to be addressed.
This will create a clear set of steps towards transferring work from you to them.
If you are playing the long game, add value. It is as simple as that. Founded in 1998, Cint was the first player in the sample market place. Mike Misel, SVP of Americas says,
“It is our job to make our customers’ lives easier. We think about ourselves as in the supply chain management space. We are adding value by taking their antiquated processes and bringing them into a modern place.”
By viewing your product or service through the eyes of your customer you will do 2 things:
Understand their real pain points
See how your solution helps them
This framework gives you a clear basis for doing business and changes the conversation from one of sales to helping. And, we all like helping a heck of a lot more than salesing.
As pricing pressures drive down overall sample costs, we have to understand that this impacts how much a sample company can spend on their people and service. This principle holds true for any industry.
Given the enormous pricing pressures among publicly traded companies, sample (people that take surveys) has taken the brunt of the pressure resulting in an increase of concern around data quality.
Meanwhile, under Mendy’s leadership, Prodege continues to have a thriving sample business. Why?
“The market appreciates our high level of transparency.”
There are many different brands of cars. Some are cheap and some are expensive. Why the variance? They each attract and contribute to a different set of needs. The motivation around buying a BMW is different than a Teslsa…which is different than a Civic.
By understanding the market and your customer, you know where you win and where you don’t. In the same way you wouldn’t try and sell a Civic buyer a BMW; you need to know your target customer and focus your solutions to their needs.
I call this the “Right Shoe for the Right Foot” principle.
Anne’s husband was one of the Freedom Riders (a civil rights activist who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Morgan v. Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional).
Anne is vocal about issues around diversity,
“How is diversity going to play into the lives of our future leaders?”
CEOs have a huge opportunity to support underrepresented and suppressed groups. One of my favorite examples of this is AT&T’s multi-year commitment to The Trevor Project and $1 million donation.
Know who you are and stand by that. If you try and maintain relevancy to everyone, you’ll wind up being relevant to no one.
As a leader, we will all experience breakthrough revenue quarters along with periods of retraction. Don’t be fooled by periods of prolonged prosperity. Merrill has a saying, “Profits hide problems.” Be constantly humble.
“What type of a leader do I need to become. Take a good hard look at the resources available. Pull from many different inspirations so you have a solid foundation to build upon. For me, Founder’s Mentality is one of those inspirations.”
If you are humble, then you’ll look outside yourself which creates inspiration and maintains relevancy. As Tim explained in his talk, when he applied this self-reflection he became the leader Quester needed. As a result, 2019 will be the best growth year they have ever seen (that is my prediction based off some data and my gut).
In the early days of Decipher, I tried to sell my first accounts access to our DIY survey tool. This was met with, “I’d rather someone else program my surveys.” So, we pivoted to offer services. Over time the market evolved to adopt our DIY platform, but services always played a linchpin role in all our enterprise level deals.
Anders nailed this point in our interview,
“End clients in North America are more interested in software enabled services…but services are still part of it.”
All too often, technology is seen as the Unique Selling Proposition. But, it isn’t. What doeswin is your connection with your customers at a human to human level. That is why I’m bullish on Microsoft’s recent announcement of moving from AI to Human Augmented Intelligence.
Wrap services around your customers and you’ll expedite corporate adoption and shorten sales times.
We’ve likely all been guilty of making an announcement in an All Hands meeting about some new policy or strategic direction and expected everyone to jump right in line. Of course we know what happens…as soon as you are done speaking, people forgot and get back to doing things the same way.
My rule of thumb is that every change you introduce will take 3 months before your team can get on board. And, if you layer in an additional change before the full adoption of your first change then you are undoing any work done to date and likely will loose credibility with your team.
Camille has experienced consistent growth at Gongos. One of the reasons she gave for their success was their application of “urgent patience“,
“The Art of Urgent Patience. As the CEO, I know where we want to go. I can see it. But you’ve got to meet people where they are.”
I have never heard of the concept before…but she just nailed it. Patience isn’t passive. It is active and creates focus. Successful CEOs know change is necessary so you better get to the grind so you can move to the next big thing.
The adage, “It’s lonely at the top” is 100% true and the bigger your organization, the higher the mountain…thinner air…colder…more isolation…scarier.
I loved my conversation with Rob Volpe, CEO of Ignite 360,
“It’s very difficult being the CEO of a company and you don’t have easy or frequent access to other CEOs. This conference is great for meeting other CEOs and hearing their struggles, wins and tactics.”
Rob is exactly right. I’ll end this bit on another old adage, “You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most.” Actively seek to level up your peer group.
I am lucky to have had the privilege to do these onsite interviews at this year’s CEO Summit. Thank you Insights Association along with the fellow industry leaders that so warmly joined me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.
You can hear the full interviews here on www.happymr.com. As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best.
After doing over 80 interviews on the Happy Market Research Podcast among some of today’s top minds in market research, a theme is coming into focus: Research Empowerment.
There were a ton of great talks and exhibitors a this year’s IIeX Amsterdam. Here are my 2 big takeaways from:
1. Regardless of where you sit in your organization, consumer experience is part of your job.
It used to be the case that doing a survey or one-on-one was hard. Those days are long gone. Today there are a host of tools including SurveyMonkey and Discuss.io that facilitate nearly instant access to consumers.
Today’s tools are easy enough for even my mom to use but robust enough for most professional researchers. But that doesn’t mean research rigor is in place.
Most people who need the consumers’ point of view to inform their work have the ability to do a survey. For example, about 10 years ago a colleague told me there was a study done by Oracle on what tools their staff used to conduct research. They were surprised to learn that there were about 5,000 individual subscriptions to SurveyMonkey!
Each person who has to make a decision about design that impacts the customer journey, al needs the customers’ point of view in near real-time. Tools make getting this point of view easy. But is that good?
The problem with the democratization of research is that non-researchers often don’t understand the basics. Jake’s tweet on the right talks about many issues facing modern researchers. But show that list to non-researchers and see how much they actually understand.
The question isn’t,
“How do I get untrained researchers that are not in my department to stop doing research?”
The question is,
“How do I empower them to get quality insights?”
2. Insight Automation is a tool, not the answer.
Research Automation as a value proposition has come into full bloom in market research. It addresses the conundrum,
“Quality. Timing. Cost. Pick 2.”
By automating the logistics function of research, we can spend more time on the “Now what and so what” of research. The real value prop is “Quality, Timing, and Cost…now you get all 3.”
Leveraging research automation can make hard things like adding external behavior data from your firms data lake become easy…even automated. This leaves you time to build a journalistic narrative that moves the company to change.
But, if Research Managers democratize insights as opposed to trying to centralize them, there must be an approval process. For example, in a recent chat with a P&G exec…they are concerned about research findings from different studies being compared over time.
“There is a lot that can change between studies including market conditions. With out setting the context or understanding what the business has done, you may misunderstand the drivers of of change.”
Across your organization, people are doing research. This is why you have such a significant rise in data scientists and user experience researchers. Both of those job functions usually sit outside the purview of Market Research and are leveraged heavily because they have integrated insights into the daily tasks and workflows of designers and developers.
Where and how should researchers deploy research empowerment? To answer this, I have simplified things…maybe too much…into two types of research:
Macro: These are commissioned by executives and have strategic implications for the business. Researchers must always be involved, if not outright in charge, of this type of work.
Micro: These spawn when there is a question like, “Which graphic is better?” or “What would the customer want to see here?” or “Is there a missing feature?” These are numerous and made through the organization. While they are not mission critical, the right choice has impact; so we want the person to have the tools and knowledge to incorporate the customer into their thinking.
Most research that is done outside of the market research function is stuff we’ve been doing for decades: Satisfaction, Usability, Conjoint, Segmentation, etc. This is where we, as market researchers, can pull ahead and offer…
Research automation tools such as Zappi or PureSpectrum offer firms the opportunity to standardize common methodologies and question types. This takes much of the risk out of the research. Additionally, by employing a research knowledge management system like KnowledgeHound you can create visibility on active and past projects ensuring presentations are inline with findings. This is a hell of a lot better than pretending research isn’t being done.
Guidance: Once a month, a colleague of mine creates a SlideShare and then hosts a lunch-and-learn for the User Experience team where they cover a methodology, best practices, new tech, research tips, and Q&A.
The technology should centralize the research putting research as the principle of insights and allows the organization to become better at getting and understanding the consumer voice.
So, what is the role of the corporate researcher? In part,
We need to establish best practices and guide the use of the right tools for the right jobs to ensure the implications from the customer views is accurate and impactful.
PureSpectrum has a lot to offer on this front. By partnering with existing automation solutions or by building them from the ground up, you can help improve your velocity of insights while saving money. Let me know if you’d like to talk: email@example.com.
In my recent interview on the Happy Market Research Podcast with Shelly Bouren, Head of Research for the Detroit Pistons, she gave a transparent view of how the Detroit Pistons are using market research to engage both Fans and Sponsors.
You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or your player of choice.
PDFs provided by Shelly Bouren, that will be referenced in this article including the research framework for the Detroit Pistons…
While relatively new to the world of market research, Bouren has a strong background in analytics from her experience in banking. This unorthodox background gives her a unique view of how and where insights should be integrated into the business to improve outcomes for both customers and owners. Her approach to research is both accessible and practical for us all.
As part of, and an industry-leading, data & analytics department, Bouren manages research for all of the Detroit Pistons’ business departments; including operations/guest experience, marketing, entertainment, ticket sales, and sponsorship sales.
1. DATA DELIVERS ACTION
This moniker is the hallmark of modern researchers. However, Bouren, takes this to a whole new level. On the walls of the office you’ll find signs like this,
“Without context, the amount of data that is generated each season can be overwhelming. When current results were shared, there was a lot of head-nodding, and not a lot of action being taken.”
By clearly and publicly articulating the rubric of research, you create a self-policing culture of action. It also creates a constant reminder to executives that, “We use research” to make decisions. This supports a culture of data driven decisions and supports the continued investment in research when budget time comes around.
2. BUILD RESEARCH AROUND COMPANY INITIATIVES
Having worked with hundreds of companies, this is harder in some and easier in others. It all depends on the transparency of the organization and degree of access you have to executive staff.
Bouren has designed her research around 6 questions which gives the Detroit Pistons clarity and opportunity to improve. She displays each question as a cog. If the machine of business is going to run efficiently, then we must invest in insights:
“Who are our customers?”
“Are we reaching them?”
The adage, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” is vital when it comes to maximizing your Ad spend.
One trend I’ve heard over the last 50 interviews is that top firms are measuring not just the topline returns but also measuring at the individual level. For example, if you are selling in a B2B environment, LinkedIn now has a Social Selling solution which gives you a view of a target company’s org chart and the ability to be notified when buyers post or interact.
HACK: If you want to sell to P&G, start interacting with the buyers on social. This helps build a non-threatening relationship, informs you about who they are and what they care about (both professionally and socially), and will make your first meeting feel a lot more like a meeting among friends.
“What do they think of us?”
Don’t have your finger on the pulse of the consumer? SAP’s CEO, Bill McDermott, feels it is so important they paid $8 billion for Qualtrics on a $400 million-dollar gross revenue. Honestly, there simply isn’t anything more important that knowing how your customers are feeling about you.
Fans: Brand Health Study
Attendees: Pistons Gameday Survey; Secret Shoppers; NBA Game Experience Study
Members: Fan Loyalty Tracker; Rewards Survey
Groups: NBA Group Leader Survey; Group Planning Surveys
Partners: Sponsor Satisfaction Study
HACK: Social listening is so important and easy to implement. If you say, “but I’m not on social,” you and your firm are in trouble. According to Edwin Wong, head of insights for Buzzfeed, “We created the largest Facebook group by simply going where the people are and talking about what they care about.” Your customers are on social and they are talking. Be there and engage…your competition is.
“Do sponsorships benefit them?”
Havas Media improved their win rate by 50% by incorporating data into their pitches.
The rate of innovation is by no means slowing down. Voice, AI, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, etc. are changing the way consumers interact with the world. By allocating resources here, the organization is ensuring it is well prepared for these changes and whatever else might come up.
Bouren put this cog at the bottom of the slide. In fact, it really isn’t number 6. It is the underpinnings of the whole machine. Being customer focused is not enough. You must have an engaged workforce.
Employee Survey; Pulse Surveys
HACK: Every company that is adding or subtracting headcount should do a pulse survey. For me, this was a weekly survey sent every Thursday at 3pm PT. The sooner you start tracking, then the sooner your baseline will come into focus; and you can start measuring things like the impact of 401ks or acquisitions or benefit changes or major company wins or major losses or…. Keep it short, 2 questions: NPS surrogate and an open-ended question. Best part is, you can do it for free using SurveyMonkey.
3. CREATE A DASHBOARD FOR AN “AT A GLANCE” COMPANY HEALTH CHECK
“The insights process dashboard has helped the organization understand how research can answer the questions that drive business and growth each season. It provides the framework for monthly executive level meetings, and has been a great communication tool to increase the reach and influence of our insights. With the increased exposure and understanding, I have been included in more strategic and planning conversations and am able to guide more data-driven decisions.“
AGENCY: If you sell into the market research industry, Bouren has given us one of the greatest gifts, a glimpse of how she frames and uses research. It is a clear roadmap of where you can add value and create clarity around your offerings, so they add value to your customers.
BRAND: If you are inside the walls of a brand, Bouren has given us a comprehensive way to frame what we do day-to-day that will keep us managing up and ensuring our brands are acting with data.
Did you like this article? To receive my own monthly top industry insights—on topics like social media, marketing, leadership, market research and tech trends—sign up for my newsletter.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee will change jobs every 3.8 years. Put another way, over a 40-year career that is 11 transitions. Why? LinkedIn recently released a study which shows that “opportunity for advancement” is the number one reason exceeding even “poor management”.
1. FOCUS ON YOUR BRAND OVER SALES
Value will always win, and success will always follow.
In the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, a child was offered a choice between one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes.
Last year, at the Insights Association’s CEO Summit I met a remarkable young CEO, Colson Steber. He was facing many challenges including pressure on sales, operational issues, and rising debt service. After my presentation Colson grabbed me and we worked through a 30,000-foot tactical plan that would help turn the business around. Colson did the hard work and took our conversation to the next level created an amazing 2018 outcome:
Stabilized the business
Revenue up by 30%
Established an engaging culture
Raised employee pay
Improved his Gross Margin
Grew Net Income
At this year’s CEO Summit, Colson gave a presentation in front of the 80 CEOs about our conversation and how he implemented it. He literally leveled up my brand.
The advice I was giving him was the culmination of nearly 20 years as a leader. It would have been easy for me to frame our discussion in a consulting agreement, so I totally skipped over the monetization opportunity and we went to work.
Never miss an opportunity to help someone in need. It is ok to stay late, answer questions or just help clean up. Please know that people will take advantage of you from time to time…but if your motivation if their success…who cares.
In addition to capitalizing on spontaneous opportunities, go out of your way to ask your boss and peers, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Kindness and hard work are strong differentiators and are core to the type of person any high-performance culture wants to employ.
2. MEASURE, LEARN, & IMPROVE
Find an aspect of your job that you can quantify and then do it. Why? Because this data will give your performance a benchmark that you can use to quantify the impact of changes you make.
Why is this useful? Using data in your life will…
Before you say, “This is impossible.” consider this example:
Jane does video production in addition to a heap of other things. Currently, videos take 8 hours to create. She monitors how much time each video takes for the next few months. This creates a performance benchmark, e.g. 8 hours.
This leads Jane to ask herself,
“How can I get it to 7 hours?”
She thinks, maybe I can leverage existing assets to save some time and it will not jeopardize the quality.
She uses Adobe Stock Images and BOOM…2 hours are saved on the next video. “Hrm”, Jane thinks. “I wonder if the performance of the videos is the same?” She looks at that data also.
During her 1 on 1 with her manager, she tells the story and quantifies her improvement. Jane’s boss is impressed and even has Jane do a training with her peers.
Now, imagine she is applying for a new job? “Over 2 months, I improved video production by 25% across my company.” It is easy to see the outcome of that job interview.
3. CREATE LINKEDIN CONTENT WEEKLY
Brand is performance over time.
LinkedIn as a platform is evolving. More and more of us are using it as a place to find current content, see what is trending, and connect with peers and influencers.
Putting yourself out there may seem scary. Don’t worry. We all have bags under our eyes, pimples, and stumble over our words. Just get out there. The key is to be authentic. One of my favorite examples of this is Ryan Berry. Just checkout his feed to see what I mean.
What content should you post? Pick a lane and stay on point for a few months. Here are some tips…
Write a blog post. Break it up into a 4 parter. This will give your voice shape so people know what to expect and start positioning you as a thought leader.
Don’t like to write? That is fine, post a video. Just use your phone. Quality is something you can worry about once you get better at the craft.
Start a podcast and start interviewing people. This is a fantastic way to extend your reach and, if you are like me, gets you out of the spotlight.
Pick your medium and outline your first few topics then shoot your video, write your blog, or line up your podcast interviews. The key is to just start.
LEVEL SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS
This is going to take time.
One of my employees who recently joined Twitter said, “I’ve never had anyone interact with my tweets so just dismissed the platform.” When you first start, it is going to be slow going. That is just part of it. Consistency is 80% of the game. The best part is: by doing you will hone your craft and quality along with building an audience.
As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you the best.
The end of 2018 was marked by Customer Experience being named King. With the acquisition of Qualtrics by SAP for $8b to be completed in Q1 ’19, Customer Experience is on track to have an incredible global era for the next decade, and we are just starting.
Everyday there are brands impacted by customer experience through the use of online ratings and social media. Consider this…
According to a study done by Nielsen, over 65% of consumers prefer other customer recommendations over any other sources when choosing a product or service.
Additionally, Sprout Data showed, “Two out of three (66 percent) respondents said posts from brands rarely or never influence their opinions.”
In this article, I give advice on how to grow your business (this especially applies to Market Research companies) by creating and capitalizing on amazing customer experiences based on my recent interview with Kantar’s Ann Green and Stephen DiMarco.
1. EXTEND YOUR VIEW OF THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TO TIME AND SPACE
Consider the last time you had a hot date. You likely picked a fancy place for dinner and everyone would have been excited. But then you showed up and the parking lot was full, and you had to walk half a mile from the parking garage in the pouring rain with no umbrella. Your experience had to have been downgraded. Does the restaurant owner own the parking lot? Most likely no. Do they own the experience? 100% yes!
During the interview Ann Green used the example of Delta Airlines, “Delta used to be a means to get from one place to another. It was a flight. Now it is an experience. It is everything from onboard services to ordering a drink at the gate.” She went on to say,
“People are spending more on experiences than they are on things or products. So, marketers have to spend a lot more time and money getting to know their customer, so they impact not just the exact product but also the time and area around that consumption.”
To create a successful experience, we have to view the experience through the eyes of the consumer. In short, the context of the experience is just as important as the food, flight, insights report, or whatever else you are delivering.
2. SOFTWARE IS ONLY PARTOF THE SOLUTION
Technology enabled data collection through Software as a Service is employed across most large companies in the same way that they have CRMs like Salesforce.com. But you still need professional services.
How? These are some tips from Kantar:
Partner: Start with an investment with clients on discovery that creates a shared point of view of the customer pain points. Ideally, these pain points are unfilled by competitors.
Listen: You have to use the right shoe for the right foot. There is no one size fits all here. Sometimes you’ll need an ethnography, IDI, Focus Group, Survey, Diary, or all the above. No matter what you employ, be open minded…this came up in many of the interviews of 2018. Check your assumptions at the door and get ready to learn.
Delivery: Data tables, PowerPoints, Dashboards…these don’t get consumed by the organization. Consumer insights must facilitate a conversation that concludes with, “What is the action?”
Prioritize: Action Over Answers
But to help the brand recreate the brand promise, research needs to identify an unmet need and extend to the operational plan to meet that need. This is why Kantar is finding purchase in Professional Services that take the data to the next level.
Basically, current CX solutions are great but need a lot of contextualization around them to be useful and brands need help with the specialized expertise to ensure decisions are driving successful business outcomes.
As researchers and business owners, once we recognize that software is just part of the solution, then we can see the opportunity to shine for our clients.