Market researchers are grappling with the new opportunities provided by the social web. Clients that once leaned on panels or focus groups are now - following the recession - increasingly asking for the cheaper research option of "river sampling" - extracting and refining tweets, blogs, comments and like.
And it was these opportunities which most concerned speakers at this week's Online Research: Now & Next event, organised by Warc. Subscribers can read our conference report - written by Merry Baskin of consultancy Baskin Shark - for a full rundown of the day's presentations. But I also shot some video interviews with speakers at the event - clips from which are below.
First up is Reg Baker. Marketing Strategies International's chief operating officer was bracingly sceptical on the digital revolution in his presentation - pointing out that, while cheaper, online research could often be less effective than traditional MR; for example, response rates on surveys tend to be lower. He expands on this point - which is, after all, crucial for clients pondering what proportion of their research budgets should be given over to online - in our video:
Reg also wrote a great blog post about the event, which you can read here.
The day's afternoon keynote was delivered by Niels Schillewaert of the Vierck Management School, who advocates a more market-driven MR model, where the actual business effects of research are key.
Schillewaert also wants researchers to pick up on the online and mobile-driven trend towards gamification in designing more engaging, more fun consumer research projects.
This last point was echoed by Jon Puleston, vice president of GMI Interactive, who also pointed out an easy-to-rectify shortcoming of a lot of MR: badly-designed surveys. Researchers, he suggested, should take note of the ongoing gamification trend and make their surveys more fun and challenging.
The benefits of doing this could be huge - according to Puleston, it could increase engagement sixfold and boost brand awareness among participants by 20%.
All in all, a useful day for attendees - we hope.
If you didn't attend, you might like to check out MAP 2011 - a two-day event Warc is organising on March 30th-31st. For more information, including how to book, please visit its page on the Warc Store. Or you can just browse the agenda - potential highlights (for me at least) include McDonalds on achieving 360 degree feedback, Barclaycard on taking a global approach with marketing and a joint presentation from Heinz and AMV BBDO on what is described as a recent "emotional" campaign for the brand.
British readers will probably be able to guess which...