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Joy or Gnashing Teeth: The Future of MR

Posted On  June 4, 2013
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The debate rages on: will the mainstream of the market research industry be able to adapt to the rapid pace of change, much of this change coming from technical disruption. This week, Lenny Murphy in his post “A Rising Tide Floats All Boats: Thoughts On Where MR Is & Where We Are Going”  suggests researchers rejoice rather than gnash our teeth.  It got me thinking.

Let’s consider the goings on of the CASRO Technology Conference in NY a few weeks ago, where MR technologists and innovation-oriented thinkers gathered to explore the impact of expanding platforms on our industry. There I found both joy and gnashing.

Here’s a few highlights & hot topics from the CASRO Technology Conference:

Mobile Goes Mainstream, Researchers’ Ramp Up Is Slow-w-w

The adoption of mobile devices around the globe continues at breakneck speed, but generally, researchers’ pace of innovation lags far behind marketplace dynamics. Most agencies don’t have a proactive policy to allow or disallow mobile entry into the majority of surveys, and only 70% of research firms employ device detection at the start of the surveys. (Joy. At LRW, we have both in place. #Idontwanttobrag.)

MR technologists understand the  research and survey design processes need an overhaul to address inherently different interface needs, survey-taking patterns and “drop-off” issues. But because they’re still unsure about whether researchers are willing to change their ways, most surveys are accordingly designed for PC users.

The implications of neglecting the current realities of mobile are significant, leading to issues of biased samples and poor quality insights. Teeth are gnashing.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Some in research can seize new opportunites from the wealth of meta-data when respondents opt to share their geo- and behavioral-data from their mobile devices, helping clients learn from the marketplace in new.   At the conference we heard a case study about  a new app that fills in many information gaps in consumers’ path-to-purchase, providing unique insights on both purchase influence and marketing effectiveness. It’s a different kind of insight process, but research is about solving business problems. Joy ensues.

Does Size Really Matter? Or How Big is Your Data?

It’s difficult to comprehend the exponential growth of data in volume, along with the diversity of its shape and form.  Along with the promise of big data, researchers face numerous hurdles when it comes to aggregating, synthesizing and leveraging the data pile up. Teeth are gnashing.

Ironically, it seems one way to get value from Big Data is to “Opportunity Data” i.e. convert it to small data, allowing us to focus, target and contextize the data. In this way, we might find more success by structuring our analysis to solve business questions, rather than exploring open-endedly.

Big Data will not have all the answers and will likely stimulate an understanding of the what but not always the why.   At LRW,  our goal is to become more and more data agnostic, willing to merge data sets to allow us to view different angles of a problem, market or opportunity.

One presenter suggested we should “Wake Up or Die.”  Yipes! Teeth chatter.

There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

If you’ve had any conversation with an LRW’er in the past year, you’ll know that we fully understand that direct questioning and explicit measurement don’t always yield the full and accurate picture of consumer motivations, beliefs or attitudes.  At CASRO tech we enjoyed seeing new ways to interact with consumers to gain a deeper understanding of the whats and whys.

Gamification approaches can uncover insights about brands without explicit measures while delivering  engaging experiences to respondents. Facial tracking can help us understand young children’s reactions to “the new,” when they lack the ability to verbally articulate themselves.

Virtual reality…wait…they didn’t even talk about that at the CASRO Tech conference! Thankfully, we will bring it to the The Market Research Event in Nashville, Oct 21-23 and reveal VR’s awesome potential. (Shameless plug, shameless plug.) See you there!  We’ll bring the blue body paint.  Joy.

Written by Scott Luck
Senior Vice President, Tracking Innovations
Scott heads up LRW’s tracking discipline, managing the company’s largest business unit. He particularly enjoys bringing innovation and evolution to tracking programs to keep them relevant and topical for some of the world’s biggest brands. He has been with LRW for about 20 years, serving in multiple capacities during his tenure, with an entertainment research consulting stint in between LRW gigs. Prior to launching a career in marketing research, Scott earned a B.S. in journalism at Arizona State University and a MBA from Vanderbilt University, with a dual emphasis on marketing & operations.

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