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Advertisements may be evaluated scientifically; they cannot be created scientifically.
Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.
It is not possible to make a realistic test of the effectiveness of a commercial in a laboratory situation in advance of real-life exposure. Until this simple but uncomfortable truth is grasped much advertising research will go on being sterile and unproductive.
Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.
Research can trap you into the past.
The time has come when advertising in some hands has reached the status of a science.
There is always a need to be clear about the rational drivers of brand choice in your category, but it is rare for consumer purchase decisions to be based purely on logical grounds, and it is tapping into the emotional triggers that will make the difference between strong brand leadership and being an also-ran.
People are unlikely to know that they need a product which does not exist and the basis of market research in new and innovative products is limited in this regard.
He who asks is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask is a fool forever.
A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.
Original research tends to be a novel concept.
We do things much the same way as we did 50, 60 or even 70 years ago. The answers may not be wrong, but we haven't experimented to see whether they are or not.
The pressure on marketers to deliver faster advertising return on investment should be a good thing for the research industry because it forces us all to question some fundamental research practices.
There is no promised road leading to definite results. What's important is how to keep open as many options as possible.
Traditional measurement has been so comprehensively attacked it is amazing it is still used.
One important question is whether we can exploit the basic biology of the human brain to generate indelible memories of aspects of our creative products (or, at least, more vivid memories than the mundane ones that seem to characterise much of everyday life).
The scope of research with children is wide, but much of it relies on the expertise of the researcher, and it would be foolhardy to attempt it without an understanding of child development.
It is fairly clear that many of the arguments against proposition testing are really arguments against propositions themselves.
Research can only present data about the past. No one seriously believes that people's answers to hypothetical questions about the future accurately represent their future behaviour; they merely represent a current attitude, which may or may not be translated into future behaviour.
Measuring emotional response should be central, not peripheral, to pre-testing.
The task for qualitative research is multi-faceted. We must assess the propensity of creative material to generate attention, to be enjoyed, to be correctly attributed and to refresh or build the associations that make it more likely that the brand will be both salient and compelling in purchase situations.
An increasing number of new entrants have entered the online panel provider market. These new entrants, including existing online research panel providers, are all chasing the same respondents. As a result, there is a real danger of many respondents turning 'professional'.
For too long, research has been guilty of creating silos of methodology and techniques. Behavioural economics, and the opportunity it presents to create a holistic measurement of human choice and behaviour, provides the opportunity to break down these artificial boundaries.
Crowdsourcing can greatly increase the number of ideas entering the front-end of the innovation funnel, however, using the wrong source can result in a large number of inappropriate ideas, and the lack of defined process for managing the progress of ideas through the funnel can result in the funnel becoming blocked.
Segmentation should be a way to find the starting points for consumer dialogue. By using it in a forward manner, we can focus our listening to see how ideas and innovation can best be generated.
Every research department could learn from Katie Price.
To understand how consumers really think and feel, it is vital to go beyond words.
Eighty to ninety percent of our behaviour is determined by our subconscious mind. The problem market researchers face is that they communicate with the conscious mind of consumers.
In many circumstances, the fundamental similarity between people makes data gathering relatively simple and the wisdom of crowds may be sufficient. If you get vast numbers of people all doing the same thing then you know what people want.
Listening is not a "flavor of the month" or limited to one or two pet applications - customer care and insights come to mind, but needs to be seen as a potentially transforming practice with far-reaching and long-term consequences for advertisers, brands and their customers.
It strikes me that, throughout my career, marketing research was always tied to survey research. Now that link has been broken.
We're only at the beginning of the process where everything we consume, whether it be goods, services, entertainment or finances, will create a digital trail. Once you've got a digital trail, you've got data. Once you've got data, you have the basis for insight.
Research needs to be part of an interlocking process that systematically informs targeting and positioning; getting this right the first time is more than a priority - it's a necessity.
We need to think harder and smarter. What we really need is holistic analysis, not holistic media data. We need to make better use of what we have. We need to dig deeper and ask, 'Do you need to repeat the whole study or can you examine the bits that have changed and re-calibrate?'
Marketing of the past took us door to door. Technology today enables us to do much more. For instance, we now know when consumes do something different than what they say they do ... Listening gives us deeper, more penetrating insights.
Multi-platform, multi-media opportunities translate into multi-choices. Social media and the Internet, in general, have turned life into an interconnected open-book exam - a sharp and important difference from the closed-book-exam shape of traditional research.
If there are questions that are unanswered by research, they will be answered by a strategy division, a data-mining group or someone else within the organization. We need to be more effective at collaborating with these groups.
What if we were to repurpose our tools to get our research subjects to play to their strengths as social creatures, to tell us about those around them, rather than about themselves?
We need to be going into real environments, we need to be measuring conscious brain activity and experiences in a natural way in order to develop a true picture of how they are responding to the environment, rather than being always in the lab.
Eye-tracking is not a panacea. It is a diagnostic tool to be used alongside other methods.
With the tablet, you'll have the opportunity to make the most measurable advertising ever. Where do your fingers go? What did you do with an ad? How did you engage with the product? What engages people to put their fingers on their screens?
The most popular reporting today is a quick read on a BlackBerry. Get out your insights in real time.
It is important to understand quantitative hard facts as well as qualitative soft facts. Both are driving the business at the point of sale.
Much of the discussion among marketers about the so-called 'multi-channel shopper' has focused almost exclusively on the channel and hardly at all on the shopper.
We have the potential to provide much richer, more creative, and ultimately more valuable advice when we combine what we learned from “the study” with what we know in other ways.
The need to engage businesses and decision makers with customers can only increase in importance, and as it does, the market research industry must recognise that engagement is a facet of what we do.
The evolution of audience measurement now seems as inevitable as the emergence of digital. In fact, the two very much go hand in hand.
It is not a brave new world we are facing as researchers, but it is a more demanding one. As our tools grow in number and sophistication, we need better trained researchers to understand them and to be able to explain the results we derive from them.
The bad news for our industry is that we periodically forget that people are notoriously bad at telling us the truth.
Online data collection is here to stay in the continuous panel environment ... It is not acceptable to hide behind long established processes saying change is a risk.
After a decade of extraordinary growth, online research has now entered a period in which there are significant concerns about panel data quality and even about the validity of online as a research method.
Online's departure from our industry's long-term reliance on probability-based methods should not disqualify it as a useful survey methodology. However, it is the proverbial “horse of a different color” and as such should be thought about and evaluated differently.
The most effective online communities for research are those that are branded by the client.
Research is about engaging in a conversation with a brand.
Behavioural economics codifies principles of human behaviour that explain much of the puzzle of inconsistent and sometimes downright poor decision-making.
Traditionally, market research has not made a strong claim on the future. Its traditional methods... are inevitably limited to discovering how consumers feel today.
Driven by insight-demanding clients, the world of market research has been groping towards new methodologies and approaches that go Beyond Asking People Stuff.
If the industry is moving to a model of research where the 'instant' responses in the backroom and/or the 'raw' first impressions of the moderator alone comprise the findings, then something of immense value is lost.
The research industry needs to evolve in order to weather the digital storm of change that threatens to engulf it. The industry has the objectivity, expertise and client relationships to survive. However, it is stuck using out-dated models, old techniques and has an – at times – overly purist, scientific mindset.
I want to suggest that researchers need to talk a lot more about sampling. And population. For research to provide a distinctive contribution I would suggest that the methodologies we follow require us to construct samples that are representative of the population at large.
Let's be honest, quantitative research has an incredible ability to kill a good story. And today, if you don't have a good story, no one is going to remember it. And if they don't remember it, they aren't going to use it.
We believe that we need to look outside our classical practice to draw on alternative ways of thinking if we are to realise a step change in the role and value of market research. We need to identify alternative 'fuels' to drive new insights for brands.
While we like to believe our buying decisions are made consciously and rationally, they are far more usually made subconsciously and emotionally.
Persuasive commercials are more likely to preserve the continuity of visual imagery in consumer memory. Conversely, non-persuasive commercials are characterised by a high degree of fragmentation of picture recall. You might think of this as a kind of entropy, or disordering of the imagery of a commercial as it is stored in consumer memory.
Whilst we are all doing market research in the same fundamental way, we're not joined up and we haven't learnt from our clients when it comes to globalization, standardisation and quality of product.
Telling a story remains one of the biggest challenges facing market research today.
People may not decide rationally, but they don't decide in a totally erratic manner either. Instead, they make predictable errors – particularly when dealing with price.
Bad news sells papers. It also sells market research.
Don't come to me and talk about behavioural economics. Just say 'we can help explain the irrational parts of decision-making' and I will listen.
We must not lose sight of the need to understand motivation. Then we need a cool way of visualising it all – a mix of art and science.
If we want to increase the impact of market research, we need to focus far more on helping organisations predict, shape and capitalise on change than on carefully explaining their past.
Measuring engagement and engaging consumers are two sides of the same coin.
CRM and research are blurring into holistic feedback systems.
Research as we know it will be on life support by 2012. I know I will buy a lot less of it.
Our goal in research should be to inspire senior management to move to the front end of the curve.
We need to go beyond passive listening to connect with our customers. That’s not manipulating, but it is intelligently observing. You go out with a question, you come back with an answer.
The tradition of research has always been to keep an arm’s length in the marketplace. If you engage, you cannot get a clean data set. But there’s no longer a strict delineation between research and marketing.
You get a sense of what people think of you from a survey. But if you actually hear customers, it’s remarkable what you learn.
There is no buy button in the brain - if only it could be so simple. It's always a co-ordinated set of brain areas.
We would argue that women both need and want exactly the same products as men - albeit marketed very differently - and will not be fobbed off with fripperies such as cosy websites or chats about clothes budgets.
Emotion dominates. We used to think that it was thought [that dominated], but it doesn't. Emotion is not primitive and simple. It's unbelievably complicated.
The emotional benefits that come from the consumption of a particular product are directly linked with the actions that the consumer will take in order to possess it.
The market research department is increasingly perceived as being not just responsible for the organization of research, but also for sharing and distributing knowledge and expertise in a credible and convincing way.
I've yet to hear a neuromarketer confidently advocate the use of his methods as a stand-alone. Which is kind of ironic given that the whole point of neuromarketing - initially, at least - was that it offered an alternative to conventional MR.
In a 20-year career in which I have worked as a marketing director for Unilever, Orange, Royal Mail and TomTom, as well as in advertising and brand consultancy, it is disappointing to report that I have met only one ceo who spontaneously asked me about market research.
It could be argued that the single biggest challenge facing RPD is not client engagement or excitement but rather the evolution of standards and practices.
Research is about people. To better understand them, we can look and listen: watch how they behave in a shop, analyze what they are saying on Twitter, read what they write on their blogs and newspapers. Or we can communicate and interact directly with people, by discussing face to face, by sending a questionnaire by mail, or by using a device as an intermediary such as a telephone, a computer, or a mobile.
To read the literature on survey experience one would imagine that a poor survey experience is all about poorly worded questions, big grids and radio buttons on Likert scales. On the contrary when you ask respondents about their survey experience it is the lack of survey experience that is foremost in mind.
We are at a crossroad[s]; either we ground our research with proper theory or we lose to those who claim to read the wisdom of crowds.
We set out to write this article because of a sneaking suspicion: that the technocratic, rule-making, mode of co-creation (with its heavier focus on crowdsourcing, on rational / scale-based engagement) is taking the upper hand and that the play-making, humanistic mode may be increasingly an endangered species, much as the arrival of the grey squirrel in the United Kingdom led to the decimation of red squirrel populations.
Market research is seen by participants as an opportunity to disclose their experiences and attitudes to an understanding audience who can speak their language; a language that is often too opaque or lacking in context for clients. This positions market research as an information gatekeeper, a translator, and communicator for clients; and a middleman through which to gain access to the lives of everyday people.
We know from neurological research that the brain processes the act of purchasing – that is to say, parting with a valued resource like cash in exchange for goods or services – in the same region that it processes the experience of pain. It does in fact, from a brain science perspective, ‘hurt’ to hand over money in a transaction.
Rapid innovation is the cure for the ills we face, but because innovation is difficult and susceptible to failure, we might need to rethink the way we approach innovation and how we drive it through our companies.
Behavioural Economics seeks to understand what drives imperfect decisions, how they are influenced by systematic biases in our thinking, and how these tendencies lead to deviations from the rational norm in terms of the choices we make.
If you want to optimise loyalty, you need to be predictive – and truly predictive metrics are impossible to identify if you're relying on using historical data.
Neuromarketing does not necessarily provide an objective substitute for conventional research – simply because the outputs from scanners and EEG monitors do not, of themselves, give us a single objective answer.
The consumer and behaviour data that's currently being produced from the mobile industry is huge. It's basically the biggest chunk of data that researchers have ever encountered.
If the X Factor was ever brought to the research industry then ethnography would surely be a finalist; hotly tipped for success by both the panel and pundits.
The debate is no longer about whether we should use personalised data for marketing, but rather, what is the best way to use it?
The advent of web-based interviewing has brought with it the ability to survey populations without interrupting the continuity of people's normal lives.
Primary research materials are often uncut gems of great value and beauty in their own right.
The path to purchase was never quite as linear as some of the models seem to suggest. But now, sweeping changes in technology, marketing and shopping are making the need for a new, more flexible model even more urgent.
Sometimes, a great shopper insight is more valuable than a great product.