Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Short change of focus... taking a break

Dear reader,
You may have noticed how I've not been posting a lot lately. Due to a temporary change of focus here at my job, I'll be taking a break and won't be posting a lot.
Nevertheless, I'll sure keep on reading what's out there in the MR cyber-space!
Send me a message if you want to be in contact.
See you soon!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Meet-the-Minister: a Dutch Tweetup

Here in the Netherlands, almost everyone who's aware of Twitter knows that our Minister of Foreign Affairs - Maxime Verhagen - is a big fan of the micro-blogging service. With 17,000 followers he's one of the more famous Dutchmen on Twitter. In fact, our foreign minister was the first Dutch politician to start twittering, and in all fairness, he did so well ahead of the recent European elections. Nowadays, no self-respecting politician can afford not to twitter. One political party here went to the trouble of summarising its entire political programme in ten tweets!
Back to Maxime Verhagen: he's a frequent user of Twitter and everyone who follows him can read his Dutch tweets on what he's doing, and every now and than see what he is up to - he sometimes uploads pictures.
Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen, a famous twitterer, also shares pictures on twitpic, like this one from South Korea. Photo Maxime Verhagen / Twitter
Verhagen kind of got into trouble with our Prime Minister once for posting a picture taken during an ministerial meeting on Twitpic.
In the meantime, Twitter is fast becoming the main communication tool on the internet according to a recent article on the Washington Post and our Minister of Foreign Affairs continues to happily tweet...
Earlier this year, the minister organized a first Tweetup to meet for a relative small number of his followers and he now decided to organize another get-together at his ministry. To make a long story short: in a tweet he announced this new tweetup. More than 400 followers applied and out of those 100 were chosen (or randomly drawn?).
And I am one of the lucky ones!
So follow me on Twitter and watch out for the "#bz" tags. Most of those tweets will be in Dutch, but I will suggest another tag for English tweets about the event: #bz_en

Thursday, 25 June 2009

ARF: Industry is not served with several research quality standards

Already in September 2006 - almost 3 years ago - the Dutch NOPVO initiative was born; an industry-wide study to investigate panel effects across all Dutch online Panels.
Early June, the ARF's Online Research Quality Council presented detailed findings from a similar US based research-on-research project regarding online data quality, called “Foundations of Quality” (FoQ). The ARF FoQ study has results compiled across 17 online panel providers, it represents around 75% of the online panel sample available in the United States.
The Background
Increasingly, buyers of market research ask the question about panel effects. To what extend have the different panel strategies an effect on the data that is collected and who are the respondents that participate in such panels? There are a number of similar and comparable findings in both studies, topics include:
  • Effects of multi-panel membership on survey results;
  • Effects of respondent motivations and engagement on survey results; and,
  • Connections between proposed or commonly used metrics and data quality.

Let’s take a look on how do these findings cast out on some strongly held believes on panels particularly regarding professional respondents:

Professional Respondents

The idea behind the concept of professional respondents originates from the assumption that online research really is coming from a very small number of people who respond to online surveys for the money, the points, the rewards; they figured out how to game the system. The ARF results show that this is not at all the case.

The picture that emerged from the findings wasn’t what many researchers would have expected: not only wore most respondents not members of more than one panel, but the so called professionals – the ones who are doing most of the surveys - were actually the ones giving the most thoughtful and reliable answers. This conclusion from the ARF confirms what was found in the Dutch NOPVO study over two years ago.

But for the ARF, duplication and professional respondents is not the biggest issue here, the ARF findings highlight the fact that researchers should pay attention to other questions too.

Sample Source

The number one thing that buyers and suppliers should be talking about right now is that panels are not interchangeable. According to the ARF, buyers need to start having conversations with suppliers about the sample sources that they use, which is not a conversation they’re having today.

In a recent Research podcast, ARF’s Joel Rubinson explained how

“…operations people within the sample suppliers need to start monitoring and managing how they source sample for a given study. Not just based on sample availability and productivity, but also based on data consistency..."
This – according to Joel Rubinson – should be the number one area that needs to be attended to, to be able to establish comparability across studies.

90 Day Deadline

The ARF has several more sets of results from this study to release in the coming weeks and has given itself 90 days to come up with recommendations on metrics, business practices, definitions and training. The ARF seems to be taking this self-imposed 90-day deadline seriously.

People are out of patience and out of time and the ARF believes it should come up with solutions or chaos may occure when people find their own proprietary solutions. This is such an interraletd ecosystem, having individual solutions where one buyer has an own approach and another one found another solution will simply no serve the research industry.

Friday, 19 June 2009

The "third way" of research: Bigger, Better, Cheaper and Faster!

Two recent blog posts inspired me a lot. The first one: Ray Poynter's post on "the New MR" and how community research is taking quantitative budgets to deliver qualitative benefits. He writes:

"Head of Synovate, Adrian Chedore, has described communities as the fastest growing aspect of market research, and the reason for his deal with Vision Critical. However, unlike online data collection, online communities are a true category destroyer. Communities compete for quantitative research budgets, but deliver qualitative research benefits."

I am not convinced communities will prove to be a category destroyer, on the contrary: it may be a whole new category in it's own right. Here's the thing, different research community solution providers position their community solution differently; KL Communications and CommuniSpace are at one side of the "size" equation, advocating smaller research communities. They should be much more productive and insights will be much more "qualitatively focussed".
In traditional research companies, it will be the qualitative department taking care of the community; there will be many qualitative insights that need interpretation. Indeed, such a smaller sized research community requires above-average moderators and the application of specialist techniques.
At the other end of the 'size' equation we find providers like Jive and Lithium, allowing for several thousands of members per community, clearly skewed towards more quantitative research results. Having hundreds of members, communities allow for coverage across multiple target segments and have a huge potential for quantitative feedback. Why shouldn't we take advantage of the opportunity to contact much larger samples than was possible in the past to provide more reliable and comprehensive data?
So what will it be? Are research communities the domain of qualitative or quantitative researchers?
I think you'll agree: non of the two and both of them! Right, I almost forgot the "in between" solutions: those providers promoting mid-sized communities like Passenger, Vovici and of course Angus Reid's Vision Critical.
I am most confident with this positioning: in the middle. It's a bit like Bill Clinton's centrism (a.k.a. the "third way") advocating a mix of some left-wing and right-wing policies. This third method of market research may help us overcome the fears of the more traditional orientated researchers - both the qual and quant teams who are afraid it may cannibalise their research. It will be another method of market research, leveraging the strengths of both methods combined with the benefits of the available technology.

It may be bigger, faster, and cheaper. And this brings me to the second post that inspired me Tom Ewing's post on the same topic. In this post he also writes the following:
"The cry in online research for the last five years or so has been “simpler! quicker! easier!”. Most online communities are none of these."

I'd argue the right research community should deliver faster, more flexible, cheaper and better research insights:
The clients I've been presenting our community solution to love it just because it's all of the above:

  • Fast and Flexible: Collect insights quickly, a community is "always on" and directly accessible.
  • Better: Given the longitudinal nature of research communities, it is possible to go much deeper on a given topic than in an ad-hoc research project. Respondent will be much more engaged and should therefore result better quality of data, more reliable if you will: less straight lining, more thoughtful answers, higher response rates (we see an average of just under 50%)
  • More for Less: Supplemental research becomes available at little extra cost. Research communities are fundamentally changing the cost structure of research from a variable-cost, per-project basis to a fixed-cost “all you can eat” basis.

But it is true: with communities comes the need for reducing our dependence on evaluative research data and learn to trust listening to these new sources of consumer insights. I believe that anything our clients do to get more in touch with consumers is a positive.

Or as per Adrian Chedore:

“We don’t see how the connection through social media as any more “risky” than relying on traditional qualitative research approaches. Social media are a great way to gauge consumer reactions to trends and often provide a fast return on research investment. It is the joint task of researcher and client to come up with solutions, not that of the respondent.”

Monday, 8 June 2009

The world's biggest small research company

I have asked myself before if big research firms can act small (see the post here), and back than, I already was convinced we could. As we all are here at Synovate. Now here's some corporate Synovate arguments I simply have to share:
Synovate's new corporate video! And make sure to not miss the final 15 seconds.... here it is, I think it's great:
Well there you had the original and official corporate video. But wait, there's more: the outtakes! Will they start a fight? Check for yourself, and do mind the final 20 seconds or so....:

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Market Researchers to Follow on Twitter

There are all sorts of ways to find relevant people to follow on Twitter, but what better way than to use your network and share with all other researchers which Market Researchers are worth a follow on Twitter?
So as of today I am compiling a long-list of research professionals who you could follow, should you be on Twitter.
Now, of course this doesn't mean everyone below tweets about research 24/7, what you can expect though is that everyone on the list below is up for a chat about research and they're nice considerate people. They give out great links and aren't too fussed if you amble down the personal-interest lane once and a while.
Drop me a line if you want someone added, but please mind the following; the list should contain:
  • Actual market researcher professionals, I mean real people (so no organisations or companies like @Toluna or @TNS);
  • People who mainly twitter in English language; and
  • Those who mostly tweet about market / marketing research
Your nominations can be sent to my via Twitter: @emiel1 or send an e-mail or leave a comment below.
Here is the list (last updated: 26 April 2009 - 17:36 GMT)
  • @alisonmacleod - UK - Researcher - Following 49 and 36 followers - 1st tweet: July 2008
  • @berniceklaassen - Singapore - Head of TNS Interactive in Singapore - Following 126 and 79 followers - 1st tweet: November 2008
  • @ccsavage - UK - Christopher Savage - Researcher - Following 458 and 381 followers - 1st tweet: December 2008
  • @comerpatrick - USA - Patrick Comer SVP business development at OTX - Following 71 and 106 followers - 1st tweet: April 2008
  • @communispaceceo - USA - Diane Hessan - CEO of Communispace a Research Community Software Provider - Following 2112 and 2603 followers - 1st tweet: April 2008
  • @cristi_popa - Qualitative Researcher at Yellow Submarine research - Following 535 and 252 Followers - 1st tweet: October 2008
  • @curiouslyp - UK - Simon Kendrick - Researcher at Essential Research and previously worked at ITV and GfK NOP Media - following 234 and 244 followers - 1st tweet: Nov 2006
  • @duey23 - USA - Brian LoCicero - Director Client Relations - Kantar Operations - Following 63 and 46 followers - 1st tweet: June 2008
  • @emiel1 - Netherlands - Emiel van Wegen - Researcher at Synovate - most tweets are in English - most tweets are Research 2.0 related - following 395 and 515 followers - 1st tweet: November 2007
  • @ericsalama - Following 33 and 425 followers - 1st tweet: February 2009
  • @insightsgal - USA - Researcher - Works for a tradeshow and publishing company - Following 531 and 468 followers - 1st tweet: August 2007
  • @jeffreypeel - UK - Managing Director Quadriga Market Research and Communications Consultancy - Following 322 and 203 followers - March 2009
  • @jennibeattie - Australia - Director at Digital Democracy - Following 365 and 377 followers - May 2007
  • @jhenning - USA - Jeffrey Henning - Vovici - Geek since before Geeks were Chic - tweets focus on research communities and customer feedback - Following 1132 and 948 Followers - 1st tweet: July 2008
  • @joelrubinson - USA - Chief Research Officer at the ARF - Following 632 and 574 followers - 1st tweet: September 2008
  • @john_clay_r4 - UK - market research consultant specialising in energy - Following 375 and 314 followers - 1st tweet: October 2008
  • @johngriffiths7 - UK - Researcher - Following 60 and 181 Followers - 1st tweet: June 2007
  • @katetribe - Australia - Quantitative Researcher Tribe Research- Following 869 and 867 Followers - 1st tweet: October 2007
  • @kumeugirl - Singapore - Lee Ryan - Qualitative Director AP, LATAM, Middle East and Africa at TNS - tweets about ethnography and qual - Following 146 and 128 followers - 1st tweet: January 2009
  • @lovestats - USA - Annie Pettit - Statistician and Researcher and active blogger on MR - former VP Online Panel Analytics at Ipsos - Following 1873 and 1151 followers - 1st tweet: January 2009
  • @mattrhodes - UK - Works at Fresh Networks - specializes in online communities and social media - Following 2155 and 2027 followers - 1st tweet: March 2008
  • @mikemacleod - USA - Market Researcher at Lightspeed, previously at Harris Interactive - Following 1693 and 1908 followers - 1st tweet: May 2007
  • @montenegror - USA - Multifaceted Market Researcher at Black Mountain - Following 314 and 229 Followers - January 2009
  • @mrheretic - Market Research Deathwatch - an anonymous tweeter - mostly cynical but interesting pov on the MR industry - Following 37 and 96 followers - 1st tweet: January 2009
  • @ogaudemar - USA - Olivier de Gaudemar - SVP Online Community at OTX - Following 138 and 268 followers - 1st tweet: December 2006
  • @paulbanas - USA - so far the one and only representation of the client-side, Paul is a market researcher at Kraft Foods - Following 95 and 66 followers - 1st tweet: January 2008
  • @raypoynter - UK - Director at the Future Place - frequent speaker at MR conferences on Market Research 2.0 and winner of ESOMAR best paper award - following 136 and 187 followers - 1st tweet: December 2007
  • @researchrants - another anonymous researcher and partner in crime of @mrheretic - blogs frequently about Greenfield - in a glass half empty way - new tweeter and most tweets are on MR - Following 32 and 146 followers - 1st tweet: March 2009
  • @researchrocks - USA - Kathryn Korostoff - Research Entrepreneur and founder of Research Rockstar, a market research training company and new on Twitter - Following 42 and 84 followers - 1st tweet: February 2009
  • @rscionti - USA - Richard Scionti - Global CTO for Harris Interactive and former SVP Solution Services at TNS - Following 145 and 175 followers - 1st tweet: December 2008
  • @tomewing - UK - Social Media Knowledge Leader at Kantar Ops - 297 and 405 Followers - 1st Tweet - June 2008
  • @tomderuyck - Belgium - Connected Research Manager - Insites Consulting -Following 152 and 160 followers - 1st tweet: October 2007
  • @tomhcanderson - USA - Tom Anderson - next generation researcher and former employee of TNS NFO - Following 948 and 672 followers - 1st tweet: October 2007
  • @vincenthofmann - South-Africa - Qualitative Researcher at Submarine former employee at Synovate - Tweets on all different topics, but also on MR - Following 416 and 522 followers - 1st tweet: October 2008
  • @zebrabites - Australia - Qualitative research director at Zebra - Following 372 and 639 Followers - 1st tweet: June 2008

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Looking towards 2009+

First and foremost: all the best wishes for 2009 for you and your loved ones! It's that time of the year again: my Reader is full of good posts on the trends for this year and beyond. Last year, I had a post on the technologies that may reshape our Industry, find it here. Now I have to honest: I've been struggling with the 2009 trends. Only because of the Dutch blog did I come across the trend maps of Ross Dawson. He already posted the last version before Christmas, but hey, should you not have seen this before, take a look! Ross and his team made similar trend maps for 2007 and 2008 and now there is the Trend Blend map for 2009+. You can also click on the picture above to download the original pdf version ...
I like it how they added the Red Herrings and the Global Risks, in fact, I particularly like the risk of "People taking trend maps too seriously"
So maybe I won't come up with my own trends this year, and I'll simply take the best of Ross and the rest... How do you see the Industry evolve in 2009?