Ep. 309 – Katrina Noelle & Janet Standen, Founders of Scoot Insights, on User Experience vs. Market Research

My guest today is Janet Standen, Co-Founder of Scoot Insights; and Katrina Noelle, President of KNow Research and Co-Founder of Scoot Insights. 

Find Janet Online:

Website: https://scootinsights.com 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janetstanden 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanetStanden22 

Find Katrina Online:

Website: https://scootinsights.com  

Website: https://knowresearch.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katrinanoelle 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kat_noelle 

Find Jamin Online:

Email: jamin@happymr.instawp.xyz 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jaminbrazil

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaminbrazil 

Find Us Online: 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/happymrxp 

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/happymarketresearch 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/happymrxp 

Website: www.happymr.com 

Music: 

“Clap Along” by Auditionauti: https://audionautix.com 

This Episode is Sponsored by:

This episode is brought to you by SurveyMonkey. Almost everyone has taken its surveys, but did you know that SurveyMonkey offers complete solutions for market researchers? In addition to flexible surveys, their global Audience panel, and research services, SurveyMonkey just launched a fast and easy way to collect market feedback, with 7 new Expert Solutions for concept and creative testing. With built-in, customizable methodology, AI-Powered Insights, and industry benchmarking, you can get feedback on your ideas from your target market–in a presentation-ready format, by the way–in as little as an hour. For more information on SurveyMonkey Market Research Solutions, visit surveymonkey.com/market-research.

This episode is brought to you by Fuel Cycle Ignition. Ignition is the agile insights platform that empowers leaders and their teams to improve product, brand, customer, and employee experiences – no insights experience required. With FC Live virtual focus groups and interviews, an Ad Effective solution, and survey automation capabilities, Fuel Cycle Ignition offers the only all-in-one agile insights ecosystem for supercharging the relationship between brands and their customers and serves the world’s most innovative brands including Google, Hulu, Tufts Health Plan, Carhartt and more. To learn how Ignition can take your research to the next level, visit fuelcycle.com.


[00:00:03]
Jamin Brazil: Hey everybody, thanks for listening. You are listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast. I have two amazing women with me today, Katrina Noelle as well as Janet Standen, and if you’re involved at all in the Bay Area and user experience or qualitative research, you know both of these women’s names pop up a lot. Ladies, thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:00:25]
Katrina Noelle: You’re welcome. Glad to be here.

[00:00:27]
Janet Standen: Thanks so much for inviting us.

[00:00:31]
Jamin Brazil: Today almost everyone has taken surveys, but did you know that SurveyMonkey offers complete solutions for professional market researchers? In addition to flexible surveys, their global audience panel, and research services, SurveyMonkey just launched a fast and easy way to collect market research feedback with seven new expert solutions for concept and creative testing. With built-in customizable methodology, AI-powered insights, and industry benchmarking, you can get feedback on your idea from your target market in a presentation-ready format. Oh, and by the way, in as little as an hour. For more information on SurveyMonkey’s market research solutions, please visit surveymonkey.com/market-research. That’s surveymonkey.com/market-research. Support for the Happy Market Research Podcast comes from Fuel Cycle. This episode is brought to you by Fuel Cycle Ignition. Ignition is the agile insights platform that enables leaders and their teams to improve product, brand, customer, and employee experiences, with no insights experience required. With FC live virtual focus groups and interviews, an ad effectiveness solution, and survey automation capabilities, Fuel Cycle Ignition offers the only all in one agile insights ecosystem for supercharging the e-relationship between brands and their customers, and serves the world’s most innovative brands, including Google, Hulu, Tufts Health Plan, Gahart [ph], and more. To learn how Ignition can take your research to the next level, visit fuelcycle.com. Scoot Insights is the name of your company. Give us a little bit of context around what it is that you do.

[00:02:25]
Janet Standen: Yeah, thank you for kicking off with that question. So, well, Scoot Insights, we were born about five years ago, although between Katrina and myself, I don’t know how many years’ experience we’ve got in qualitative research, but let’s just say a combined sort of 50 years, something like that, and we won’t divvy up who’s got most of those. [LAUGHTER]

[00:02:45]
Katrina Noelle: No math, no math, please.

[00:02:47]
Janet Standen: But yeah, so I think it’s a very Bay Area company in terms of how it was created. There was a need, and that need, we were increasingly asked to just do things a little bit more efficiently and more effectively than perhaps the more traditional qualitative methodologies allowed for where it used to be a sort of seven to eight week process and what we had to do was deliver within seven to eight days half the time. And so Scoot Insights is all about driving sort of discussions and directions and making decisions with fun teams. We integrate with the stakeholders as part of our process, but most importantly what we do is bring the sort of voice of the user or the customer or the consumer to the party and manage that end of the process and then integrate that learning and understanding with the sort of stakeholder knowledge and expertise and experience. And ideally, all in a one-day process, to try and be as efficient and effective as possible, making sure by the end of the day we’ve got a sort of decision made that all the stakeholders have been a party to coming to. And that it’s born of the customer understanding or the audience understanding.

[00:04:01]
Jamin Brazil: So give me an example of a particular research question that you’ve helped customers answer.

[00:04:08]
Janet Standen: Well, so literally, I think that’s one of the things about being a broader qualitative researcher, is it’s so broad. It could be we really need to understand the positioning of our brand versus some competitors that have come into our space. Or it could be to do with a sort of design development, and that could be packaging design or it could be the user experience design of a website, and we need to make sure that we’re as effective as possible for our end users. It could be advertising testing. It could be literally a sort of shelf set test or trying to understand the behavior of a shopper in a particular type of store or when they go online. So there are so many different questions that we have the luck to try and help our clients answer. I don’t know, Katrina, do you want to add any more to those?

[00:04:58]
Katrina Noelle: Yeah, I think what the commonality is, though, with the Scoot Sprint approach is it’s making a decision. So whatever question or area of the business that it may come from, it’s about decision makers wanting to make a decision but doing it with the voice of the consumer in the mix, not leaving that out. So when people book us, it’s typically around some sort of decision. And I know that still sounds vague and open-ended, but the world of qualitative isn’t always used in that way. A lot of it is exploratory research, kind of understanding the customer, building personas, that kind of thing, which is all great stuff. But usually when Scoot Insights steps in is when there is a decision to be made and the voice of the customer needs to be integrated or understood to help the stakeholders make that decision.

[00:05:51]
Jamin Brazil: Do you have a favorite story of how a customer took some knowledge that you gave them and then had an oversized return?

[00:06:01]
Katrina Noelle: Well, Janet, do we tell our favorite story? Do we tell, do we do the video game story?

[00:06:07]
Jamin Brazil: I like video games. I feel like that’s a yes.

[00:06:10]
Katrina Noelle: I feel like it’s just a really good encapsulation of why not to move ahead without customer insights. But Janet, you were the key lead on that, so I think you should tell it.

[00:06:20]
Janet Standen: Sure. There was a– Clearly the big sales period if you’re a video game company is the sort of run up to Christmas, and there was a big decision to be made about which music should support the ad that they’ve developed for the launch of this game. And to them it was super important. There was a big discrepancy between what the ad agency thought the answer was and what the client team thought the answer was. So in a way, we were brought in to help make this decision between more sort of upbeat type of music to maybe a more somber type of music. It was a first person shooter game, so it was, upbeat is one way of putting it. But it seemed like a simple decision, so we start asking some gamers and people who were aware of this title their thoughts about it, and we played different versions of the ad with the different music. And very quickly it became apparent that there was some deeper thing going on about the sort of, the reference point of, the setting of this game. Which had actually been shot in Eastern Europe and they’d had this famous film director involved in it and it was huge investment in creating this ad. And then it became apparent that some of the American consumers were sort of uncomfortable of the setting, which to them looked like a college campus, and it hadn’t been shot in a college campus. And so suddenly, the discussion pivoted quite dramatically to be about the setting. And one of the great things about being a good listener in qual is knowing what it is your people you’re talking to actually want to tell you about rather than only answering the questions perhaps that you think you wanted to ask them. And it became apparent we had a far greater issue. This seemed like a sort of college campus shooting ad. And thank god the whole stakeholder team, everybody was there and we very quickly pivoted the research to discuss more without needing the witnesses about where they thought this was happening and the particular story in the ad. So to be honest, by the end of that day, the team had to make a really important decision to actually pull that ad and not go with it for the launch of this game, because the reputation of the parent brand could be at stake. And the week the ad would’ve been launched as actually the week of the Bernardino shooting, which many people know, and it just would’ve been a complete disaster to the brand. So that’s perhaps an extreme example, but sometimes really, truly we can save the day by really listening to what people are saying. And often there is an objective or a question that the stakeholder team think they need answering, but often the richness is in what we learn around that specific decision as well. So that’s just one example of that. I think that’s the one Katrina was referring to.

[00:09:03]
Jamin Brazil: Yeah, that is absolutely brilliant. Well, let’s switch gears a little bit. Actually, before we switch gears, I wanna, just in the last week I’ve had conversations with four people in consumer insights and primarily UX, actually. And they all talked about the importance of starting broad in a conversation and then getting more narrow, so starting macro and then going micro. And the reason why is they said that when they start at kinda getting to the diagnostic questions quickly, then you immediately lose the context and you might be talking about the wrong stuff. And so I actually am gonna use this story. Everything I’m saying is gonna get cut out, but I’m gonna use this story in that particular episode because I think it’s such a great practical example of how, had you actually started with maybe more narrow questions, you would’ve potentially missed the broader implications of what it is they wanted to tell you.

[00:09:54]
Katrina Noelle: Yeah, exactly. And you have no reference point or context. If you don’t start with broader questions, you don’t know where to fit the specific questions into. You don’t know what landscape you’re looking at it against, even from like an individual standpoint, from that participant, if you don’t have context. You can’t match it back.

[00:10:13]
Jamin Brazil: Gosh, I really wanna talk about that more, but we don’t have time. So what we do wanna talk about today is two different disciplines. One is I consider an entry or a recent emerging, massively growing space. So you have market research, which is kind of like established in the golden days of radio, really, and then you have user experience, which has started materializing, coming up everywhere in the last I wanna say five years, but I’ve probably just been blind to it before then. That’s the topic of our chat today. Can you tell me a little bit about your backgrounds, both of you individually, in terms of if you started in market research and then how you were exposed to user experience?

[00:10:54]
Katrina Noelle: Yeah, so I call myself, I’m sort of an insights and market research lifer. I really, I came very quickly to working in market research. I think I was in marketing for maybe a year and a half until I saw someone do consumer research and realized you didn’t have to poke people with a stick, you could be a feedback loop instead, and have sort of firmly been entrenched in market research ever since. It’s true. And I still say that to friends and family who don’t know what on earth I do. I say I run companies that provide a feedback loop for clients, like in its essence. And so yeah, so I came out of the entertainment space and have worked on agency side and then in my own agencies ever since, really.

[00:11:40]
Janet Standen: And my background’s a little broader initially. I was a brand strategy and innovation person and my world was filled with product development and the experience that people had of using products and developing new products for people. And it was, back in those days, there wasn’t the sort of world of technology that we have today. So I think it was born more out of the CPG world, the consumer packaged goods world, and I actually ended up working for Nestlé for a number of years in innovation and then had a strategy and innovation consultancy in London before moving to the States 20 years ago. And I honestly think that market research was the sort of granddaddy of it all just because it was around for a lot longer, and the companies like P&G, they were using consumer understanding and really trying to understand their audience needs a long, long time ago, and that included pain points and what job a product was doing for a user of the product. And I think all this change, really, is in the last sort of 20 years, technology and the Internet and websites and apps have just become part of our world. And that has become even more prevalent in the last five to 10 years. And I think it’s just that that industry has created its own equivalent to market research that happens to be born out of the need to really understand the user. And most of the tech companies that I’m familiar with started often with a sort of software engineer who had a personal need and knew how to develop a product for an app or a website that could actually deliver against it, and they did it because it was their passion project, and then they perhaps realized that maybe it wasn’t meeting as many user needs as they thought it might and they started doing their own research. And then suddenly this world of UX researchers started to become a real need. There became some value in actually asking users what they needed or wanted or what pain points they had. So I think the two have a very similar parallel, just one’s a little bit older.

[00:13:41]
Katrina Noelle: Sometimes we say when we’re having this conversation, because this is a conversation that happens a lot in the Bay Area, especially with people who are younger and trying to get into the business, and we get a lot of contacts from people: “How have you guys done it? How can we do this?” And asking us what all these job titles mean: “Why are there so many and it all sounds like they do similar things?” And so kind of unpacking that, I think I have been known to say you can have a user experience with a coffee cup. An experience is an experience with something in the world. And it has sort of gotten this technical veneer put on it because of what Janet said, as sort of how it was born. But if you think about it in essence, we are having experiences with any brand or product or service in our life, really.

[00:14:26]
Jamin Brazil: I totally agree with that. So let’s talk first about market research and then we’ll talk about user experience research. So when you think about market research, and I’m talking in this case qualitative, because I feel like it’s more, there’s much more overlap there. So in a qualitative market research project, who is the buyer, the internal stakeholder, and then what is the expected research outcome?

[00:14:49]
Katrina Noelle: I think the buyer really is any brand or company that has a product or service that they want to investigate. So that is very broad, and anyone could be interested in getting research done on their product or service. In terms of the internal stakeholder, we usually work with either an internal consumer insights person or the marketing department or the product team, anything. And those job titles and functions are getting a little fuzzier, too. We’ve just been known to ask now, “Oh, and do you work in this space?” Because we’ve got some really creative company functions now, naming-wise. But usually there’s some sort of marketing focus and/or an insights function if the company is big enough to have one. And so then they are expecting from their qualitative research provider to be given some advice, recommendations, and direction for whatever business decision they are making. So agencies like ours are brought in to help them understand their target audiences better within those specific business or research objectives that they give us to work within, at its very sort of basic level, I think.

[00:16:09]
Jamin Brazil: Break it down for me just a little bit more simply. If you think about the buyer, and I get that at a corporate level they need to have funds and product and customers, but who inside of the company is actually doing the–job title or function–doing the commissioning of the research?

[00:16:28]
Katrina Noelle: So I’m going to just, I’m not going to say it simply and I apologize for that. I think what we– Janet has sort of, actually, when she was in a panel with you, used the phrase precision qual. And I actually really think it’s so right right now. It’s whoever within that organization notices a gap in knowledge. So historically we did these big, we have no idea who our customers are. These days, all of these companies have huge amounts of data. But there are gaps. There are ways in which they don’t understand their customer. There are questions that are raised by data analytics. And so often that is when an agency in the qualitative research space is brought in to answer, to go find out that answer. But I would say, I don’t know, Janet, if you have any specific job titles in mind, but I notice there’s usually the word marketing in something or the word insights in something.

[00:17:20]
Janet Standen: Yeah, also it could be the CEO, to be honest. A lot of people in the decision. I was thinking the project we did where a company was thinking of buying another brand and the board were gonna make this decision and they had a lot of desk research and data throughout the decision, but the– Actually, I think that was the marketing director, I think was her title, rather than CMO, had this sense that it just was not a good fit from a brand point of view. It wasn’t gonna be worth the investment. And she asked us to do a deep dive into this other brand and their brand to understand what the sort of relationship would be between the two brands if they were owned within the same portfolio by this company. And that was incredibly valuable. It really threw up, they would just be stepping on the toes of each other. This new brand wasn’t gonna be bringing any equity that didn’t exist. Indeed, it would almost be dangerous to their core brand. So on paper financially, the board were ready to make a decision, and then we did this day of research and we had the head of R&D and we had the head of marketing and we had a couple of other board members there, and very quickly they realized that from a brand perspective, this would not be a smart investment. So that was definitely sort of led by the director of marketing, but there was the C-suite definitely present for that piece of research to get a sort of consumer perspective on the issue. Which you wouldn’t necessarily think was an opportunity for qualitative research.

[00:18:42]
Jamin Brazil: That makes a lot of sense. So let’s shift gears a little bit and now think about–I say shift gears a little bit, maybe it’s a lot, that’s the whole point of the conversation–user experience research. So give me a sense of the persona or personas there in the context of who the buyer is; the internal stakeholder, in other words the person that’s leveraging the insight; and then an expected research outcome.

[00:19:03]
Janet Standen: I think at the core buyer if you could name one, maybe it is a little simpler when you get into UX because it is more focused, it tends to be the director of product or the product manager. And then the team might have the character, the sort of internal stakeholder team would be much more likely to be made up of a data scientist, software engineer, UX designer, and the UX researcher’s role is to bring the sort of voice of the end user into that mix to answer a particular question. So the sort of cast might be slightly different in that particular scenario. But sometimes if it’s a really important decision, it could also bring in the director of marketing and the CEO of that company as well. And often, it’s a small startup and the founder is playing a number of those roles. So it does get messy even in that world. I think the difference is that product is the focus where it’s user experience more often than in the broader context of market research, where it can be brand positioning, communication, and competitive context. And in product terms, you’re siding with the performance of a product or a service, and understanding what features are working better for people or how the product is performing and how to make it better. I think therefore it does have a tighter focus. And I think of market research as being sort of the granddaddy or the broader umbrella, and UX is one part of that broader market research sort of world. And I think of the market as being the people who may buy your product currently or may want to buy your product if they were lucky enough to know about it, or your service or become a member of your club or whatever the area is. And I think product and service design is a core part of that often. So I see it alongside sort of CX research or human-centered design. It comes – design research would come within it as well. It’s all part of the umbrella of market research, because if you’re not developing and designing for your market, your end users, your end consumers, your customers, then I don’t really know what you’re in business for. And maybe a nonprofit is slightly different, but – or a university or some sort of association like that. You might have an even higher calling as to why you’re in business or why you exist. But in general, it’s about meeting the needs of your end users or your target audience.

[00:21:29]
Jamin Brazil: Right, which is kind of getting to the crux of the question, because if I own a market research company or a user experience company or I’m managing my own career inside of a brand, it’s important for me to understand how I need to position myself in context of achieving my overall goals. So I think about like with your company, it feels like you’re addressing both independent markets, if in fact they are independent. They are independent from a budget perspective. Maybe that’s part of the narrative. What are you seeing as the areas of overlap within the two disciplines, market research and user experience?

[00:22:07]
Janet Standen: Well, I think there’s a lot of overlap. I guess Katrina may answer this differently. But both disciplines need to understand what the question is they’re trying to answer. So you start with the question of the objective. You both have access to sort of quantitative and qualitative and primary versus secondary research to try and answer that question. Both have a very clear focus on their audience, whether they call them a user or a consumer or a customer or a member or an employee or whoever it is. That focus on the end audience is very common to both. I think both use mixed methods, whether you call it hybrid methods or multi-method. You design a research approach that you believe is going to answer that core question. So I think where market research tends to answer a broader range of questions perhaps, broader context as Katrina was saying before, UX research just has it slightly more tightly defined. And I think there is a lot of overlap. Where there may be creative differences is in the specific language used to describe certain things involved in this UX lexicon that’s being driven by Michele Ronsen. Bless her heart for doing this on behalf of all of us. But where we’re often trying to define a word or piece of terminology, and we’re discovering that we just have different words for the same thing. And that depends whether you come from a sort of UX technology background or whether you come from a sort of consumer product background.

[00:23:42]
Katrina Noelle: It’s true. There’s so much semantic difference. And having conversations with folks who do work more primarily in other parts of the country, I notice a little bit less differences. There is something to be said for the fact that in the birthplace of tech, some of this has evolved independently without knowing that the other industry existed for a little while. What I notice in terms of a difference is the concentration of the fieldwork, of the interview, of the experience of conducting the research. And I’m going to put a very big caveat on this that every company does this differently, so this is a very broad answer that may not apply to all practitioners. But that there is a focus on the thing, the experience, the product, the app, the device, whatever it may be in user experience. Whereas in market research, we tend to as a usual rule concentrate on the person. And that’s just a slight difference, but it’s like a focusing difference. Because in market research, yes, we want to know if the thing works for the person. But we also want to know all of the context around that person and their needs and their unmet needs, and what surprises and delights them and what ideas they have for improvement, and who they are and how this fits into their life. It’s that broader, bigger context, whereas I have noticed in user experience, there’s a concentration on getting this experience right rather than addressing the needs of the consumer as a whole. So again, that is a very sweeping statement. But I feel like when you get into the research itself, the focus can be different between the industries.

[00:25:19]
Janet Standen: Yes, I think the truth is we have so much to learn from each other just where you’re coming from. And that’s true of UX researchers and broader market researchers. We often have very diverse backgrounds. They’ve always come from sort of different roles and different places. And actually being able to go to college and do a degree in at least UX research is a relatively recent opportunity, whereas market research has been in the sort of world of universities for a long time. So one is newer than the other, but boy, do we learn so much from each other. And actually a number of our qualitative colleagues who’ve perhaps come from that more traditional space often are now working inside companies as UX researchers, and bringing their broader qualitative skills to the UX world. So I think the crossover is going to get greater and greater. The great news is we can all keep an open mind and learn from each other. And I think things like jobs to be done, it’s just such a great concept. But that didn’t start in the world of tech. Even though a lot of UX researchers will work with jobs to be done, that started – that broader needs and motivations started in the sort of CPG world. But it’s now being applied really effectively within the UX world. And that crossover I think is going to get more and more.

[00:26:35]
Jamin Brazil: Yes, I definitely agree with you in terms of the crossover. Part of it, the crossover converging I think is centric to discovery of each discipline. So I don’t know if this is actually correct, but an observation I’ve had is that it feels like product really didn’t understand or know about market research or have access to market research. So they just started doing user experience research, and then this birthing took place. And then similarly over in market research, we’re like “oh gosh, that looks a lot like what we do.” But to the point, Katrina, that you made, the nomenclature is very different in both disciplines. And in nomenclature we also see that that embeds in it culture, and the cultures are also very – they seem different to me as well. Can you talk a little – well, first do you agree with that?

[00:27:27]
Katrina Noelle: Yes, but how cool is that? In its essence, two different industries at different times decided that putting the user of the thing at the focus was a good idea. That’s great. We can talk about naming all we want, but the fact that there are multiple people and industries that want to put the customer first and see value in that, sorry. I just wanted to pause for a minute because that’s –

[00:27:54]
Jamin Brazil: That is awesome.

[00:27:54]
Katrina Noelle: That’s a good thing.

[00:27:56]
Janet Standen: You make smart [INAUDIBLE], right? To put your user or your consumer at the heart of what you’re doing. And yes, I agree. You’re right. That’s the essence of this and those industries, wherever it’s come from. I recognize that. I think what’s interesting, if you look back at the history of market research, if you were working for Nestle or something, to make a product change was a massive investment. It used to take two to three years. If you’re going to have change parts on a production line or if you’re going to try and get the shelf space in a grocery store and knock something else out, get the shelf space from somebody, you didn’t make any decisions likely. You really listened to the needs of your users and consumers all the way through. Whereas if you have an app and it’s a bit of software coding, and you can do it in two or three days, why not just do it and try it and see if it makes it better for the users? So speed is very different, and what you’re actually working with to make change to try and meet the needs of your users better is – that’s really the biggest difference in the equation I think for me.

[00:28:57]
Jamin Brazil: So going back to the example you gave at the beginning about the video game that was misunderstood, would you classify that as user experience or market research?

[00:29:10]
Janet Standen: Well, it was certainly user experience in terms of users of the advertising. And those big a-ha moments can come. We did a similar thing for a water jug manufacturer, and that was about the user experience. And this product is the biggest in the sector. It’s been around for years. And in the research program which was not what we were there to look at, when people were handling the jug, there was a real awkwardness about the way they had to hold it with two hands every time they used it to be able to pour this thing. And the designers behind the mirror for the first time ever really got why there was a real need to change. And the design shifted to be about the design of the whole thing, not this one feature that we were there to actually research, because they observed firsthand the awkwardness of their product. And nobody had really done that sort of analysis of the way people were holding it before. So yes, user experience is – we all use things or consume things or buy things or choose things or experience things the whole time, whether that’s a service or a product or a tech app of some sort. We’re all in the business of trying to make things better for our end users.

[00:30:21]
Katrina Noelle: What I will say though is that this is then part of the problem. Because I think the answer, Jamin, is that it would have been a user experience project or a market research project depending on who was in charge and what agency they hired and what that agency called what they were doing. So sometimes – and keep in mind, we’re also in an industry that we get requests for surveys. And they don’t mean that. They just mean some research. So we already are in an industry of language confusion. And we usually start most calls – people will email us and this is what they would like. And we say, “Can you just tell us what that means to you? What does a survey mean in your organization?” “We just want to talk to some people.” “Great. We can do that.” So I think in terms of lexicon and word choice, we are all in our industry used to asking for clarification, asking for how that company defines what they mean in that area, and honestly building a research program around it, designing something with the best methodology in mind almost regardless of naming. It’s not like there is a very clear landscape in which user experience has confused. It’s already a bit open for interpretation.

[00:31:37]
Janet Standen: I love that – how often do 300 people come to say “I need some focus groups?” And then you realize that they actually think that market research is running these sort of eight-to-ten-person focus groups. And Katrina, I look at you – we haven’t run one of those in like eight years. They just – I think if you’re doing creative concept generation or brainstorming with a set of consumers, great. You might want eight to ten people in the room and you’d structure it in the way you would if you were doing brainstorming with a stakeholder group of some sort. But the majority of the time, you’re trying to get really the insights from a few people at a time. And I do think that is the difference between market research and sort of UX, where UX tends to talk to only ever one person at a time, unless it’s some sort of creative concept creation workshop or something. Whereas we will actually value the in-depth understanding of each individual, as well as valuing allowing for group discussion to happen. And group discussion is sort of best had with three or four people at a time. And so these smaller mini-groups are definitely the essence of getting some in-depth understanding from individuals, as well as allowing some free-flowing conversation and see where it sort of takes people. And that’s where you get these a-ha moments, a big reveal where you let the people decide what matters to them and what they’re going to talk about with each other. And the role of the interviewer or the moderator changes depending on whether you’re asking some very direct questions or whether you’re actually trying to open things up to allow free-flowing discussion around something.

[00:33:06]
Katrina Noelle: No, I was going to say that’s one of the things that when I meet a UX researcher who’s grown up in UX, they have this expression of, “I don’t know how you talk to a group of people. Wow. You guys talk to more than one person at a time.” And it’s just so interesting that that feels like such a big difference. Whereas for us, we just walk into the room and however many people are there at a time – one, two, four, six, whatever. So it’s kind of interesting. That’s often a big learning curve in people in UX who are trying to get into a bigger market research role, is understanding that group dynamic component.

[00:33:41]
Jamin Brazil: Two last questions on that. One is which jobs – there’s outliers here. I realize that the old adage “averages are stupid” because on average, everybody’s a millionaire when Bill Gates walks into a bar. So that’s not what I’m trying to get to. But just from a broad perspective, market research versus user experience, does one of those two job functions pay more inside of the corporation? Do you have visibility in that?

[00:34:11]
Katrina Noelle: It’s been so long since Janet and I have had the quote-unquote “real job.” Do you know, Janet? I don’t.

[00:34:17]
Janet Standen: [LAUGHTER] I have no actual visibility of that at all. I have –

[00:34:22]
Jamin Brazil: You’re the wrong people to ask that question.

[00:34:24]
Katrina Noelle: If we found out, it might be depressing. I don’t know.

[00:34:30]
Jamin Brazil: I’m sure it wouldn’t be.

[00:34:31]
Janet Standen: I will say that I think to be a really excellent market researcher where you have this much broader perspective, you’ve probably done many more types of job in different categories. And you’re learning evolves and grows across all the different things you’ve been involved in, and you bring that knowledge and expertise to the table. If you’re a UX researcher, you tend to have worked, focused on product. You’re applying your skill sets to a new product category. And actually Jamin, we were on a panel together last year at Facebook. I don’t know if you remember that. And at the end of it, a number of younger UX researchers came up to me at the end and said, “My God, I’m just so excited because I’m in my third UX research job, and I’m just wondering where I go next after this. But it sounds like I can apply the skills I’ve learned as a UX researcher to a much broader range of things.” And I’m like “hell yes.”

[00:35:24]
Jamin Brazil: Welcome aboard. Arms are open.

[00:35:26]
Katrina Noelle: But that’s a really good point, Janet, because if you think about from market research, if you’re going to get high up in an organization with a market research function, you need not only knowledge of UX. You need qualitative. You need quantitative. You need data analytics. And big data has given a whole other skill set being necessary within market research function. So that probably is true. That is probably a progression or a growth.

[00:35:50]
Janet Standen: And you’re more focused on the broader business objectives, right? So what are the [INAUDIBLE] ? So you’ve got to understand how the business works, what matters, what impacts what, what the return on investment is going to be. Whereas I think with UX, it tends to be a little more focused on product, which of course is vital. But it’s one part of the bigger – it’s one piece of the puzzle. So I think UX often is filled with a lot of younger people as well who are learning the trade, and it’s a great way to learn qualitative and quantitative skills because you have a clearer focus of what the specific is that you’re trying to make a difference on. Whereas market research can get a little fuzzier. It gets a little broader. I think that’s why the sprints that we run at Scoot Insights have a greater impact, because it’s often a really big, important, hairy question that needs to be answered. And we bring such a breadth of experience to the way in which we tackle that question. And seldom is it just focused on products. It tends to be product as part of a bigger understanding of the brand, its role, how it stacks up against its competitors. And I’m seeing more of this now in the UX and product world as well. You can sort of work out which are your strongest features until you’re blue in the face and fine-tune and make your features better and make your product better. But in the end, the value of what your brand stands for and the emotional relationship that your end users have with that brand is starting to matter a lot. And if you’re Box or Dropbox or Google Drive, how do consumers – how do end users choose between one or the others there when they’re all offering very similar feature sets? It’s starting to matter more, and I think that’s where sort of brand and the broader market context is actually beginning to really impact in the sort of user experience world more than it has in the past.

[00:37:38]
Jamin Brazil: My guests today have been Janet Standen and Katrina Noelle, Scoot Insights. Ladies, thank you so much for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.

[00:37:46]
Janet Standen: Thanks so much, Jamin.

[00:37:48]
Katrina Noelle: You’re welcome. Thanks for having us.

[00:37:49]
Jamin Brazil: Absolute pleasure. Everybody else, if you found value like I did, please take time. Screen-capture, share on social media, Twitter, LinkedIn. Tag me. I’ll repost and give you a gift, I promise. Have a wonderful rest of your day.