The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

The obsession with 'granular' data
 
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB
 
Mythbuster

Some years ago, we met a client who was wildly excited about large customer data sets. "It's the granularity that's so amazing," he enthused. "For instance, people who shop in petrol stations on a Thursday…" and so it went on. Eventually, we asked a simple question: what was happening to market share? He seemed slightly annoyed. Market share wasn't relevant for a complex business like his, he said. He wasn't selling baked beans!

So we analysed his data in a different way, not drilling down into the detail but aggregating up to find the trends. And we quickly found patterns that his data-mining techniques had missed. We identified six key measures of market share, and all were in long-term decline.

It is commonly assumed that the more data you have, the better. But in our experience, the more granular the data, the harder it is to see the wood for the trees. Digital data is often daily or hourly, which makes it easier to measure short-term marketing effects. But it makes it harder to measure long-term effects, which get lost in the noise. Similarly, if you analyse sales by store and SKU, the effects of promotions seem huge. But brand-level data shows they are much smaller once cannibalisation and store-switching are taken into account.

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Subjects: Data

14 May 2015 09:21

The Death of Offensive Marketing
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by David T. Scott, CMO of Gigya.

As a marketer, nothing is more rewarding or lucrative than knowing exactly who your customers are, and being able to provide them with what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. As a customer, nothing can be more frustrating than receiving marketing communications from brands that disregard all of this.

Achieving a long-lasting business-to-customer relationship requires a significant amount of data-driven intelligence, as well as the willingness to embrace new advances in marketing and data management technologies. According to Teradata, just 18 per cent of marketers say they have a single, integrated view of customer actions.

Some businesses are able to thrive by understanding their customers on a granular level, while others struggle to paint a picture beyond simple demographic data. However, two things are abundantly clear. Firstly, the more brands learn about their customers' identities, the more effective they are at marketing to them. Secondly, irrelevant marketing communications are a waste of both time and money at best. At worst, these irrelevant messages can even cause offence. In order to best understand customers and avoid such instances, organisations must break through the identity barrier and market in a more personalised fashion.

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Subjects: Data, Marketing

13 May 2015 11:20

What pollsters can learn from brand marketing
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Helen Rose, head of the7stars' Lightbox.

The Sun's 'Well Hung' splash on May 7 left no doubt that Britain was heading for a hung parliament by morning. According to polls, the UK was gearing up for the tightest election in decades. By May 8, the Conservatives had won by majority.

Pollsters are now facing a "post-mortem", launched by the British Polling Council, to determine why their predictions, which vastly underestimated the Conservative's vote share while simultaneously overestimating Labour's, fell so short of the mark.

A pre-election study by the7stars' research and insight division, Lightbox, of over 1,000 18-24-year-olds revealed similar results to early polls, with Labour coming out the clear frontrunners taking 30% of the millennial vote. The study also found 80% said they planned to vote, far more than the 66.1% who actually turned up on Election Day. In short, the polls across the board didn't come close to reflecting the actual results. So what went wrong?

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Subjects: Data, Consumers

12 May 2015 12:31

Ask a Silly Question: Why the UK Polls Got it Wrong
 
Posted by: David Penn, Managing Director, Conquest
 
David Penn

The UK polling industry is currently tearing itself apart over its failure to predict last week’s general election result. Basically, the (mainly online) polls showed both main parties – the Conservatives, led by David Cameron and Labour, led by Ed Miliband – polling at around 34%, yet it was Cameron who won by a margin (37% to 31%) too great to be explained by statistical error. There have already been plenty of theories advanced, including differential turnout figures, and ‘late swings’ (a convenient myth in my view). Instead I want to focus on an issue that has been a hot topic in the commercial MR world for at least a decade now: Are we asking the right questions?

Mark Earls (author of Herd and most recently, Copy Copy Copy) once challenged the market research industry to ‘stop asking silly questions of unreliable witnesses…or at least stop listening to the answers’. Ouch! I thought this harsh because some of us in MR twigged some time ago that people do not always answer the question we think we’re asking them.

People don’t usually ‘lie’ in surveys (why should they?), but often they don’t know their own minds, and sometimes they’re really answering a different question to the one we’re asking. Thus some may interpret a purchase intent question as a kind of ‘brand liking’ scale – I’ll say I’ll buy it because I like it, but I don’t really know if I will. Often we think we’re measuring behaviour when what we’re really measuring is attitude, or a vague disposition.

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Subjects: Marketing, Brands, Data

11 May 2015 14:55

Are marketers just too timid to embrace System1?
 
Posted by: David Penn, Managing Director, Conquest
 
David Penn

Are the traditional tools of market research – surveys with explicit, direct questions – still up to the job of measuring brands in the new era? The explosion of new understanding about how the mind works could not have been foreseen by the founders of market research, back in the 50s, but modern practitioners have less excuse for still using more or less the same approaches. Traditional (System 2) methods still dominate: researchers still ask direct questions (and people still answer them), but any marketer or MR professional with even a smattering of knowledge of recent developments in mind science would surely ask: Is that all there is?

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Subjects: Marketing, Brands, Data

23 April 2015 10:49

Understanding multi-platform media audiences – Are we keeping pace?
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Angela Canin, Senior Manager Development and Editor Research World at ESOMAR.

In researching this theme for the ESOMAR Summer Academy Seminar (1-4 June in Amsterdam) it's become apparent just how complex audiences have become. The implications for all stakeholders is immense and the shift in how, when, where and what to communicate has shifted completely in under a decade.

According to Ansgar Hoelscher, VP marketing intelligence & innovation at Beiersdorf "The old broadcasting paradigm is over. We have to establish a one-to-one connection with consumers and engage in dialogue. That means having something interesting and relevant for the other person – and that's not always the product itself. Relevant content is the name of the game. Relevant means interesting, exciting and useful for the consumer. It's the only way to have good one-to-one dialogue."

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Subjects: Media, Data

08 April 2015 09:17

The search for 'truth': Measurement formats in research
 
Posted by: Peter Mouncey, Editor-In-Chief, IJMR
 
Peter Mouncey

In the latest issue of IJMR, we are publishing three papers on the theme of measurement formats. The first is a comprehensive literature review, by Callegaro et al, that in addition to summarising 'best practice' in the search for 'truth' in data collection, also identifies gaps in current published knowledge in this field.

In particular, the authors discuss in detail the impact of using a forced-choice versus check-all formats. One major gap identified in the paper is that most research to date in this field covers research undertaken in English speaking countries, with limited cultural range.

However, our second paper on this theme by Revilla, starts to address this gap through research undertaken in Spanish speaking countries, comparing forced-choice and check-all methods in the search for 'truth'. The final paper by Rossiter and Dolnicar explores the theme from a brand-image measurement perspective, arguing the case for applying Level-free Forced-Choice Binary measures when undertaking research in that field.

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Subjects: Data

02 April 2015 15:17

Welcome to the Age of Big
 
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
 
Waqar Riaz

Imagine someone persuaded Ferdinand Magellan and his crew to abandon the Great Big Victoria in exchange for 271 canoes to help them successfully cross the Pacific. Without a doubt, the agent selling the canoes would have made a very profitable deal, however, it is almost guaranteed that Mr Magellan and his crew would never ever be in the list of those who crossed the Pacific (though probably the first ones to successfully accomplish mass sinking of 271 canoes).

In this new richer and bigger world the words selling, persuading and advocating small ideas sound no different to me.

When I hear that Big Ideas are dead and small ideas are ‘in’, I feel genuinely depressed.

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Subjects: Brands, Marketing, Data

26 March 2015 16:06

The only number you need to know: Fit-for-purpose sample quality measures in the internet age
 
Posted by: Peter Mouncey, Editor-In-Chief, IJMR
 
Peter Mouncey

I'll let you into a secret – maths was NOT my strong point at grammar school. I never really got the hang of algebra, and the maths teacher I had for several years did little to stimulate interest and understanding in his students. However, going to college changed all that. We had a young, inspirational lecturer for statistics, and suddenly the fog lifted, and I got the point of it all. Enough to say that I achieved a high mark in a maths related field for the first time in my life. I was weaned on texts such as Moroney's 'Facts from Figures', and for research methods, Moser and Kalton's 'Survey Methods in Social Investigation'.

So, when I first worked in market research, as part of Fred Johnson's team at the Gas Council, I never thought of myself as a statistician, but I felt I knew the principles and theory of sampling – high quality research design being crucial to the major studies we used to help our internal clients forecast demand, such as the Peak Load Survey for energy consumption and the then AGB Home Audit for measuring appliance ownership.

Then, further on in my career, running market research at the AA, quality survey design was crucial for measuring demand for roadside services, new products and developing the Members Satisfaction Index that transformed the quality of service delivery in the mid 1990s. Quality research design was also crucial to measuring trends in motoring expenditure, published each quarter in 'Drive' magazine, and in supporting the AA's public policy activities – including the replication of the seminal study by Colin Buchanan, 'Traffic in Towns' (1963) which we undertook in the 1980s. Representativeness was key.

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Subjects: Data

10 March 2015 10:05

How to drive in-store purchases test effects of ad exposure on in-store neural responses for a major North American retail corporation
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post details research by Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy of Neurons Inc. He is a speaker at the Neuromarketing World Forum in Barcelona March 25-27.

Little is still understood about the actual in-store purchase process, and research is often limited by traditional research methods that rely on conscious self-reports. While traditional market research methods only allow recording of actual purchase and customers' self-reports about the reasons behind their choices, neuromarketing methods allow better assessment and understanding of key unconscious processes underlying consumer choice. Here, we report the result of two consumer neuroscience studies that explore whether in-store decisions can be traced to immediate neural responses that precede conscious deliberation.

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Subjects: Data

03 March 2015 12:43

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