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Part 1 of 10: Tips to Writing The Perfect Survey

Lessons Learned from Programming 2,000 Surveys Over 20 Years

After 2 decades in the consumer research space, I forget that writing a survey can be daunting for the first-timer. Over the next 10 days I’ll be writing 10 posts about survey writing best practices for market research and user experience pros. Each post will have one tip which will elevate your survey game regardless if you are writing your first, or your thousandth survey and ensure you get the best possible answers.

As you are going through this post, please 👍 or share if you find things useful. 😃Thanks!

Tip 1: Question Numbering

We think of surveys as this neat linear flow of questions and answers. Sadly, that simply isn’t the case. Writing a questionnaire is a very messy process…especially if it involves getting feedback from others.

Instead of using “question numbers” use “question labels”. Why? Because each question is a variable in your dataset and variables have labels. So, why is that important? Because, in the same way that during the survey writing phase you’ll want to reference your questions with their numbers, you’ll want to reference variables with their labels throughout the analysis and presentation phases. This way, your question label can be consistency referenced during the life of your project.

I use a basic naming convention where each question is referenced more like a variable. For example,

S1. What is your gender?

  • Male
  • Female

The “S1” is the label of the question and will stay with the question regardless of its location in the survey, e.g. it may get moved, removed and added back many times during the process. This permanent reference keeps data straight as well as removes confusion when people are referencing specific questions.

Always use a letter for the first character of your question label. You can use the same letter for questions that are similar in nature, like demographic questions start with the letter “D”, psychographic questions with “P”, screening questions with “S”, etc. This gives you a cheat sheet when looking at your survey and ties your data back to your questionnaire.

PRO TIP: If you label questions that you frequently use across other projects such as…

“What is your gender?” 

…with the same label, e.g. reserve S1 to always be your gender question OR simply label that question “gender“, you create comparability across projects giving your one-off research a long tail of value for research on research. This is especially helpful if you use a tool like KnowledgeHound for data visibility and accessibility over time.

..with the same label, e.g. reserve S1 to always be your gender question OR simply label that question “gender“, you create comparability across projects giving your one-off research a long tail of value for research on research. This is especially helpful if you use a tool like KnowledgeHound for data visibility and accessibility over time.

CONCLUSION

If you are interested in my next project, you can subscribe at begreat.io. As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best. If you’d like to add to the conversation…please drop a note below. It’d be fun to chat.

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #userexperience

Live at #IIeX Austin, Key Learnings from 21 Interviews

The Happy Market Research Mafia…er…I mean Podcast was live onsite at IIeX Austin this year! Below is a quick recap of some of the onsite interviews along with my big takeaways…

Casey Bernard – Nimble Modern Radio

A fellow PODCASTER! Casey is defining a new frontier, Podcasts for Market Research firms and Brands. I spoke about this as well at IIeX. 

Why podcasts? 

1. The listener feels like friends

2. Insight consumption in any context, e.g. on a flight, commuting, jogging, etc. 

3. Content recall is much higher than written, presentation, or video

What? 

Instead of a topline report, you get a journalistic podcast deliverable. Casey incorporates the actual voices of the customers and can include additional media formats including an interactive website with videos and images. 

Honestly, this is such an effective way to communicate high level insights that engage the entire company in a regular cadence. Listen to this episode and think creatively about how you can apply the learning to grow your business. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-casey-bernard-nimble-modern-radio/

David Paull – Engagious & Dialsmith 

We talk about audience engagement and podcasting. One of the biggest challenges we, as the market research industry, face is how to effectively market ourselves. While we are brilliant at the research, we have a hard time punching through to the actual buyer. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-david-paull-engagious/

Adriana Rocha – eCGlobal Solutions 

Perspectives on being a women in context of also being a software engineer, entrepreneur, and CEO. Based in LATAM and experiencing rapid growth globally, HBO is one of their marquee customers. She applied several hacks to create a ton of value for her HBO: 

1- Create an invitation only HBO Go Panel

2- Leverage trending shows, like Game of Thrones, increasing engagement 

3- Using non traditional incentives, like badges, to certify community members as content experts

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-adriana-rocha-ecglobal-research-solutions/

Andy Greenawalt – Odin Answers

Rebranded Odin Text. They pivoted from “what goes in” to “what goes out”. Odin Answers is the intersection between the text and segments that produces a just-in-time business insight. They specialize in servicing large Digital first companies. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-andy-greenawalt-odinanswers/

David Wolfe – Inguo

Brands are continuing to narrow their targeting communications to impact sales. Inguo is a spinout from the AI laboratory of NEC Corporation. The leading-edge research into advanced algorithms led to the breakthrough in data science to provide automated Causal Discovery and Causality Analysis – a first for the data science industry.

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-david-wolfe-inguo/

Forrest Sallee – Invoke

Invoke has built a consumer-driven decision making software platform. They offer a unique real-time digital testing option that gets you to data tables in under 90 minutes. Crazy!!! They use both closed and open ended questions and support both synchronous and asynchronous data approaches. 

We have an honest conversation about IIeX’s new US location in Austin. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-forrest-sallee-invoke/

Hannibal Brooks – Olson Zaltman 

This is the first time attending a market research event. It is interesting to hear his take on Greenbook’s main event, “I love the presentations. Tons of new application of AI. Loved the presentation of AI analytics of CPGs.”

A little about Olson Zaltman. As a founder in the System 1 framework, Olson Zaltman goes beyond traditional research to reveal deeper insight into your business issues — which leads to bigger and better results.

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-hannibal-brooks-olson-zaltman/

James Norman – Pilot.ly 

Pilot.ly is all about understanding your audience and using that understanding to make better decisions in a video context. Anyone who is creating content and needs feedback in real-time…Pilot.ly is a great fit. 

They have an innovative framework James calls “signal comprehension.” Respondents are exposed to any length of video from seconds to hours. Their feedback is automatically processed, analyzed and delivered to customers streamlining the creative process. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-james-norman-pilotly/

Jennifer Lauture – TD Ameritrade 

I was able to hear Jennifer’s presentation at IIeX in Austin and was lucky enough to have a few minutes with her on the Happy Market Research Podcast. She uses this event as a way to prescreen prospective venders. Believe me, this is a common thread among the other brands I talked with. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-jennifer-lauture-td-ameritrade/

Joaquim Bretcha – Netquest & ESOMAR 

May 2nd, 2019, was the first day of Market Research & Insights institutionalized by the UN. Obviously, this day has passed but please add it to your google calendar. The hashtag is #celebrateMR. This is a huge opportunity for us as an industry to celebrate our success and importance of being a unified front to both brands and legislative bodies. Market Research stands for full respect for the respondents and the insights that serves as a rudder of the brands we serve. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-joaquim-bretcha-netques-esomar/

Kerry Edelstein – Research Narrative

Research Narrative is a full service research & insights agency. They offer services in custom market research, insights and analytics consulting, media & social impact evaluation, data journalism, and insights communication coaching for research and data-focused professionals. 

Kerry has a positive vibe that just pulls you in. Her deliverable is a combination of insights and storytelling. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-kerry-edelstein-research-narrative/

Laura Drews Freund – Cranbrook Search Consultants 

With all the consolidation over the past year, there are a ton of you who may be looking for someone to help you find your next big thing. Laura offers a deep network for both brands and prospective employees. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-laura-drews-freund-cranbrook-search-consultants/

Manish Mittal – Course5

I’ve known Manish for years. Course5 was initially known as CrossTabs. Course5 has evolved to include 3 pillars: 

1- Research AI 

2- Digital analytics 

3- Market intelligence

They have been a major player who has navigated the major pivots to stay relevant and help their customers find the key insights that move the organization closer to the customer.

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-conference-series-manish-mittal-course5/

Marc Macellaio – Fuel Cycle 

Fuel Cycle’s Market Research Cloud is the first insights platform to combine online communities, product exchanges, panels, and more to power real-time business decisions. They have been around for a long time and have a deep connection with SurveyGizmo (darn those guys…didn’t get on the show!). 🙁

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-marc-macellaio-fuel-cycle/

Patricia Houston – MMR.live

A startup within MMR Research in Atlanta. Their focus is on improving consumer experience and future proofing research. Here is the core question,

“How long until panel is no more and getting people to take a survey is too much?” 

This is a very important question for us to answer as we continue to see email open rates drop and consumer attention getting shorter. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-conference-series-patricia-houston-mmr-live/

Ray Fischer – Aha! Online Research 

First off, he is the best voice in market research. For those that don’t know, Aha! Online is a Qual Platform used by many large brands to understand video. They support an asynchronous data collection approach including digital ethnography.  

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-ray-fischer-aha-online-research/

Rick Kelly – Fuel Cycle

Founded as Passenger. Now Fuel Cycle is a research cloud that has their own set of qual and quant solutions in addition to integrating external tools. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-rick-kelly-fuel-cycle/

Rob Benson – Dwindle

“Dwindling it down” 

They are a new entrant into the market research space. For those of us who have been around the space a long time…don’t forget, learning market research is a lot like learning a new language and culture. Rob and his partner are doing a great job of helping designers A/B test in realtime. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-rob-benson-dwindle/

Sheila Akinnusi – Nedbank

A senior market research manager for one of the largest banks in Africa. She attended the IIeX event with the intent to find out what the rest of the world is doing and bring home best practices. One of my favorite parts of this interview was her assertion that the Market Research is an open community that welcomes all people and groups. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-sheila-akinnusi-nedbank/

Steve Mast – Methodify

These guys CRUSHED the event! Here are some trade show tips I learned from them: 

1 – Stickers are cool even for professionals 

2 – Have fun to maximize attraction 

3 – The big opportunity for us is to embed Market Research tech into MarTech

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-steve-mast-methodify/

Tim Lawton – SightX

Solid company. This firm has the best UX for analytics of consumer data that I’ve seen. Their designers stay close to the customers ensuring their are getting from data collection to insights as fast as possible. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-tim-lawton-sightx/

Tom Anderson – Odin Answers 

This guy is the pioneer of text analytics. I’ve been a huge fan of his and his company. We even co-presented a few years ago at the CEO Summit. 

In this episode he talks about how important it is to triangulate truth through multiple data sources while including the customer voice. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-tom-anderson-odinanswers/

Vignesh Krishnan – SampleChain

SampleChain is a young startup. Vignesh brings a breath of relevant expertise to market research and technology. He was an early employee at Lucid. After leaving he started a DMP (Data Management Platform) that has tentacles into different parts of the industry including technology and sample with the intent of helping participants understand sample sources improving transparency and quality. 

Learn More: https://happymr.com/iiex-na-2019-vignesh-krishnan-samplechain/

CONCLUSION

I am lucky to have had the privilege to do these onsite interviews at this year’s IIeX in Austin. Thank you Greenbook along with my fellow industry leaders that so warmly joined me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.

You can hear the full interviews at www.happymr.com. As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best.

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #MRx #podcast #IIeX #userexperience

Power the Future of Insight Automation at MRMW

MRMW was a fun, informative and well attended show this year. Located in the heart of CPG land, Cincinnati Ohio, the speaker line up was amazing as were the exhibitors. The venue and space between speakers created a unique opportunities to have deep connections with partners. Dan Foreman (Zappi; Dalia; Bakamo; Veylinx; eYeka; MindProber; Haystack; Course5i; Voxpopme; Borderless Access; MRSS) & Baileigh Allen (ZigZag Research & Insights; Haystack, MindProber) kept things on track and fun!

The speaker lineup was among the best I’ve experienced. MRMW started with Kirti Singh, P&G’s Chief Analytics & Insights Officer and Gayle Fuguitt, Foursquare’s Chief of Customer Insight and Innovation who both gave inspirational and informative talks about the current and future state of the market research industry. Some of the other speakers included:

  • Jeffrey Hamilton, BMW
  • Rama Mallika, PayPal
  • David ludica, Facebook
  • Hetal Thaker Patel, iHeartMedia
  • Tia Maurer, Procter & Gamble

As the official podcast of MRMW, Happy Market Research had the honor of doing onsite interviews. Here are 14 of my favorite…

1. Brian Lamar, EMI Research Solutions 

For those that don’t know Brian is the best kind of people…fun, smart and humble. In this interview we talk about the role podcasting should play in your businesses along with the genius of my friend David Buttler’s recent creation, the viral Mars video:

Have a listen to Intellicast, Brian and Adam Jolley’s podcast, which offers a fresh perspective on the market research industry, sports, life and joviality.

2. Carol Shea, Olivetree Insights

In my conversation with Carol Shea, Olivetree Insights, we discussed one of today’s most important topics, “How can research move from a support function to a growth function?” The place to start is to understand what your Key Performance Indicator (KPI) will be for the research as it is often hard (*cough* impossible) to track to Revenue. For example, a KPI could be,

“How many times is the voice of the customer integrated into the business plan?” 

We also discuss tips and techniques for managing our next generation of researchers:

  1. Context vs checkbox management styles
  2. Collaboration 
  3. Get to the “Why” of the research 

You can find more information about Olive Tree Insights at https://www.olivetreeinsights.com/.

3. Courtney Akel, Georgia Pacific

Take the time to listen to this episode. Courtney talks about how market research is evolving and how that impacts us all in two ways: 

Firstly, partnerships are evolving. For example, instead of a wholesale outsource of the entire project, brands may opt to program the survey internally and then use their partners for the analytics.

Over the last 23 years in the space, we’ve seen in times of economic retraction that firms will move their cost basis outside. Over times of economic growth, firms invest internally on systems and people. The good news is regardless of the economic state, partnerships play a key role in delivering and activating insights. 

Secondly, we need to stay current with our skills. This is something I continue to hear as we are seeing more and more emphasis on data science. For her, this means learning both… 

  1. Python
  2. R

Learning to program is a lot like learning a new language. The good news is there are a ton of resources to help you. Courtney is using Codecademy

4. Gus Valen – Curator Video 

Research is a continuous process vs an event. This is picked up straight away by Gus in this insightful interview. His point of view of how market research is moving along w/the evolving customer journey is refreshing. We have all felt the tension between Observation vs Stated behavior. While Stated is easier to get, Observed can be more accurate outcome. But, is the juice worth the squeeze?

Curator Video is an end-to-end video management technology. If you have not seen them, I’d highly recommend checking them out.

5. Guy White – Catalyx

Founder Market Fit is a real thing and exactly how I started Decipher. Guy walks us through his founder journey and provides tips for early stage firms. With a background at P&G, Guy fell in love with the pain not the solution. This is key to successful innovation. If you are a technology looking for a problem…you will fail. 

Catalyx helps brands persuade more consumers to buy more, more often. They sit right in the middle of the innovation process. Find out more at http://thecatalyx.com.

6. Jill Kushner Bishop – Multilingual Connections 

Think translation and transcription are not innovating? Think again! Jill founded Multilingual Connections and has been applying technology to streamline internal work flows for faster and better deliverables. Jill tackles her business from the point of view of a seasoned expert in the field. 

Find them online at: https://multilingualconnections.com/

7. Justin Coates – Eastman Chemical Company 

Justin has been doing consumer research for over a decade and was recruited by Eastman to build the consumer insights function. As a manufacturer of chemicals, consumer insights is a new function that sits in corporate innovation.

Most of the industry is looking at the Qualtric’s acquisition by SAP for $8B as an insane multiplier. But! I’d think we are at the beginning of the J curve. Why?

When you look at the top performers in the SMP 500, you see Consumer Insights playing a key role in the decision-making process. Conversely, under performers don’t.  

The impact? As companies seek to become consumer centric, our industry is poised to crush it! Eastman Chemical Company is a perfect example of a massive firm that has historically done little to no consumer research but is right now making the shift.

8. Ludovic Depoortere – Haystack 

Ludovic had the best presentation of all time! Sorry to everyone else. 🙂

Ludovic did an experiment with the entire audience where we ate chocolate while listening to different types of music and how the music set a mood which impacted the taste. I hope he links the deck in the comment section. 

So, what does Haystack do? It is a multi-sensory research consultancy that focuses on multi-sensory, implicit, emotive, and contextual research. Creating an emotional connection to your brand is paramount. Haystack can help.

Check them out! https://haystack-international.com/

9. Maryana Stepanova – Borderless Access

A vet of MRMW, I couldn’t agree more with her about the value MRMW gives to participants and speakers. Maryana’s company is a full-service agency that has a proprietary invite only panel in 34 countries that validates respondents via social media. 

Yup! They have a website too: https://www.borderlessaccess.com/

10. Nihal Advani – QualSights 

Getting to “why” is vital. I believe we are at the beginning of a new era in market research where qualitative will play an increasingly dominant role in the insights function. 

Why? Research is basically a conversation at scale. You really don’t need to do quantitative research when you are a small firm…because you are already talking to your customers. But, as you grow that just isn’t feasible. 

With the rise of AI and Machine Learning, now qualitative tools like QualSights and Remesh give researchers the opportunity to have a conversation at scale… 

…which provides the quant perspective you’d get from a survey, e.g. “This is bigger than that” along with understanding the consumer’s “Why”. 

For more information on QualSights, please visit https://www.qualsights.com/

11. Niklas Anzinger – Dalia Research 

Dalia is a primary research firm with a proprietary mobile technology that emphasizes quality and depth of data. They uniquely enable organizations to feel the pulse of people around the world specializing in highly niche sub groups. 

As brands continue to tailor communication to niche customer segments and even to individuals, Dalia helps firms understand and successfully connect to their targets. 

Find out more: https://daliaresearch.com/

12. Rob Pascale – MAi Research

MAi Research develops custom market research solutions to address important challenges. They focus on 4 areas. Our chat centered more around their Text analytics platform which delivers broad concepts vs straight definitions. They uncover the true product and service consumption drivers. 

As an example, Rob talked about diapers (a topic I can relate to having 5 kids)… 

“People didn’t just care about leak protection but also absorbent jell. This pivoted the brand’s communication to protection from diaper rash yielding an oversized return for the company.”  

This is something every brand should checkout: https://www.mairesearch.com/

13. Rudy Bublitz – Digital Taxonomy

Digital Taxonomy has created an application that combines AI and human judgement to transform unstructured text into actionable insights. Their app is uniquely designed to be usable by literally anyone in the consumer insights ecosystem. They also have a set of open APIs. This is a neat company that is in the hyper growth stage.

Find them at: https://www.digitaltaxonomy.co.uk/

14. Will Krieger – Research America

Will has been a long-standing employee with Research America. He talks about how they have successfully managed their M&A strategy (16 acquisitions in 5 years). It all starts with employee “Fit”. For Research America, they have collaboration & integrity that helps them mesh together as a team. So rarely do you hear this from acquired firms…tons of positive energy in this episode.

Research America focuses on delivering high touch solutions to their customers for consistently delivering best in class consumer insights. 

And, finally: https://www.researchamerica.org/

CONCLUSION

I am lucky to have had the privilege to do these onsite interviews at this year’s MRMW NA. Thank you Merlien Institute along with the fellow industry leaders that so warmly joined me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.

You can hear the full interviews at www.happymr.com. As always, I hope you found this content useful and wish you only the best.

It would mean a ton if you would share this article on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

#marketresearch #MRx #podcast #MRMW

We ❤️ Our Sponsors: Toluna

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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.

Schlesinger Quantitative is proud to have sponsored this podcast. Schlesinger delivers comprehensive online survey solutions, including survey programming, world-class project management, intelligent recruitment, survey hosting, and data delivery services. An uncompromising commitment to your success set them apart.

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This episode is brought to you by G3 Translate. The G3 Translate team offers unparalleled expertise in foreign language translations for market researchers and insight professionals across the globe. Not only do they speak hundreds of languages, they are fluent in market research. For more information, please visit them at G3Translate.com.

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This episode is brought to you by Attest. Attest is the powerful, easy-to-use SAS platform that connects businesses to over one hundred million consumers in 80 countries on demand in just a few clicks. Ask your burning questions, select who you want to answer them, view actual insights that help you grow your business. Join the hundreds of leading brands who already utilize the power of Attest’s scalable, intelligent platform. Contact Attest today at…

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Happy Market Research Launches New Website

EMBARGO UNTIL:    Thursday, April 18, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Chueyee Yang, Digital Media & Social Media Strategist, chueyee@happymr.com

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.

8 Essential Tips For CEOs in 2019

All CEOs face significant challenges regardless of their tenure in the post. As the market evolves, so too does our objectives along w/our methodology.

Here are some tips to remember if you’re a CEO or someone responsible for a product or book of business.

1. AUTONOMY AND ACCOUNTABILITY GO HAND IN HANDMICHAEL J VIGEANT, CEO OF GREATBLUE RESEARCH

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.

2. ADD VALUE TO YOUR CLIENTS; MIKE MISEL, SVP-AMERICAS OF CINT

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:

  1. Understand their real pain points
  2. 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.

3. TRANSPARENCY WINSMENDY ORIMLAND, SVP REVENUE AT PRODEGE

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.

4. CONNECT WITH YOUR PASSIONANNE BROWN, CEO GAZELLE GLOBAL RESEARCH SERVICES

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.

PS I love her website.

5. CULTIVATE SELF-AWARENESSTIM HOSKINS, PRESIDENT QUESTER

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).

6. TECHNOLOGY ISN’T 100% THE SOLUTIONANDERS BENGTSSON, CEO AT PROTOBRAND

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.

7. HAVE PATIENCE & URGENCY; CAMILLE NICITA, PRESIDENT & CEO GONGOS

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.

8. CULTIVATE PEER RELATIONSHIPSROB VOLPE, CEO IGNITE 360

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.

CONCLUSION

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.

2 Trends in Market Research from 31 Interviews at IIeX

On February 18th and 19th, Greenbook hosted the 5th annual IIeX in Amsterdam. While the venue was among the best I’ve ever seen, there was an overriding theme that surfaced, research empowerment

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

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. 

QUESTION

Where and how should researchers deploy research empowerment? To answer this, I have simplified things…maybe too much…into two types of research: 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Summary

So, what is the role of the corporate researcher? In part,

Empowerment

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. 

As always, it would mean the world if you’d share this article on Twitter or LinkedIn. I wish you all success and happiness!

Shameless Plug

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: jamin@purespectrum.com.