Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Power of imagery in surveys


Over the last few years we have conducted a number of experiments exploring the role and use of imagery in online surveys, mostly as part of more wider research looking at how to effectively engage respondents in research. A lot of it is hidden away across several papers and reports and so I thought I would try and consolidate this learning into one blog post. This is my guide to the use of imagery in online surveys.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Assessing the nutritional value of your survey?



Is the feedback from your survey the equivalent of a double quarter pounder burger with extra cheese and a side of fries?

Yep you get the quick hit from it you want, you are filled up with facts - people strongly agreeing that your brand or is great and a whole load of nice descriptive words that people associate with you product that you can talk to people about at your next marketing meeting.  

My question is....have you assessed the real nutritional value of your survey?  Are you actually getting any actionable information that you can use to improve your product or services or are you feeding your organisation with a whole load of pretty useless information that is clogging up the communication arteries?

If you interview 1,000 people and 50% of them say they are aware of your brand and they rate it highly, this might make everyone in the marketing department happy but apart  from slapping yourself on the back what are you actually able to do with this information? To know that your brand is seen as being modern, technologically advanced & innovative, is that just nice to know or is it going to help you move your brand forward?

I see so many surveys that are just plane too fat!

My primary target for this type of criticism would be customer feedback surveys which are often stuffed full on benchmark questions that tell you how much people rated various aspects of  a companies service rather than focusing on having a conversation with customers to find out how they feel and what the company could do to improve themselves.

I just came back from a trip with an airline, I think it probably diplomatic for me best not to mention their name and completed their customer satisfaction survey. It included over 100 questions covering in fastidious detail every aspect of my journey with them. All hail the companies attempt to be thorough and is concern about every detail of their service but the survey was just over weight.

I was asked 6 specific question about the staff custom service: if the staff were friendly, were they open and up front; did they make things easy for me; did they care if I had a good experience; did they treat me as an individual etc All these were asked on a x point scale and so I click the same option for all 6 questions because their service was well, fine, they were nice, I had no opinion about it! If fact i didn't really notice them I am afraid I am sorry. So  I didn't need to answer 6 questions.

 I wonder how many people have done this airline survey, I guess well over 50,000?  I wonder how much over the course of a year the rating of their staff customer service actually changes?  I bet the first 500 on average deliver pretty much the same answer as the last 500.  So why ask all 50,000 people all 6 of these questions, why not just ask one in 10 people one of these question and aggregate it out.  I bet that would be statistically good enough to get a good steer on their customer service.

What is more this extremely long survey it was also totally self obsessed.   I was not asked for example to rate how good their staff customer service was compared to other companies and whether I thought it needed to be improved or was good enough, That really was the only question I really needed to be asked in this case.

What was ironic about this was that in amongst this whole survey it did not ask me about the one thing that had actually bothered me about my flight..

Why could then not have just asked me just one question - how was the flight?

5 tips for tackling survey obesity

1. If its a tracker or customer feedback survey where you have some existing data I suggest the first thing you do is get someone to through the answers to that survey and looked at which questions predict the answers to other questions and looked at which questions are actually delivering unique incite.

2. Work out statistically how many people need to answer each question to get a statistically accurate indicator.  For some question it might be closer to 50 people than 500 people.

3. Next question has anyone sat down to find out the answers to which questions are actually being used by anyone in the organisation?  Ask the marketing department if they had to buy the data back what they would pay for the answer to each question?  Ask them what decisions will be made as a result of each question.  If they don't have an answer to this then challenge them to ask them why they want to know.

4. Has anyone thought about exactly what questions would be useful to ask each customer and thought about customising what question were asked based upon the attitudes of each customer?

5. Randomise:  I think the problem we face particularly when we are doing exploratory research is we have slipped into a habit of using a scatter gun approach of asking questions with a hope that some will deliver back some incite.  There is nothing wrong with doing this at perhaps the pilot phase of a survey.  There is nothing wrong with asking lots of question so long as I don't have to answer all of them - I would advocate where there is doubt randomise splitting samples so you ask more questions but each to less people!  (see last post on the monte carlo method)


Monday, 13 May 2013

A Monte Carlo approach to asking questions


In the early days of the internet in designing websites you would often have a discussion with clients about routing to different pages and setting out which link should take you to which page and after that to which page. Navigating a website in the early days was like going through narrow tunnels and then you had to back out of them to get to anywhere else. Then some bright spark realised you could have more than one linkage point to each page on more than one page so you could navigate from one part to another more easily.

I make this point because I think we have a similar degree of tunnel thinking when we write surveys, in that we only ever think of asking a question in one way. What I would encourage you to think about is the opportunity of asking questions in more than one way.

How often do you struggle to pin down the exact wording of a question in a survey and be in two minds how to word it? Rating something is a classic quandary. Do you ask them how much they like it; how appealing is it; how keen are they to buy it; how much better or worse it is than other things etc. Asking people to give open ended feedback is another area where a possibly infinite way to word a question exists, and I have had a career-long obsession about the best way to word this type of questions. For instance, if you want to ask for feedback about a product you might word it "please tell us what you like or dislike about this product" or "what do you think about this product? what do you like or dislike about it" or "if you were in criticising this product what would you have to say" or "what is the best thing about this product and the worst thing" . Everyone answering these questions will respond in a slightly different way. Some will deliver better answers than others, some will work more effectively with some groups of people than other groups. Some may not deliver the same volume of feedback but more thoughtful responses. Some may trigger more thought than others.

OK, so the survey has to go live today and you don't have time to test and you are not sure which wording will generate the most feedback; what do you do?

The approach most people take is to pick the one wording you think is best or the one a small committee of you think is best. But have you ever thought about just randomly asking this question in every single conceivable different way to reach respondents and then mashing up all the answers.

Now, I have been playing around with doing this of late. It's not difficult to do from a technical point of view and I am really loving the data I get back (sorry not sure if you are supposed to love data or if that phrase is appropriate).

What I am finding is that in closed rating questions, asking a question in a random basket of ways appears to deliver* more stable answers that iron out the differences caused by question interpretation effects, and for open ended questions it appears to deliver* a greater range of more nuanced feedback than asking a question one way.

I would described this as a Monte Carlo approach, because that is essentially what this is; what I am doing is netting out mass random predictions of the best way to ask each question. I have no way of knowing which is the most accurate, but netting out their predictions is more reliable than asking the viewpoint in one single dimension.

What do you think? I appreciate I probably need to back this up with some solid research evidence as there are lots of issues here and so I am planning to conduct some larger scale experiments to test this theory more thoroughly. But before I dive in, I am open to some critical feedback.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

5 nice questions to ask about your own survey

 1. Would you do it yourself?

 This has to be the key question you should ask yourself.  If you were sent your survey by someone else would complete it? Would you give it your full attention to every question?    If the answer is no, then in that case don't expect the average respondent to answer your survey properly either.  

2 Does your survey pass the presentation test?

This is a good way of looking at things.  If your survey was a presentation that you were delivering to a room full of 50 people how much more effort would you put into the design of it?  I bet you probably would want to add a few more visuals for a start to liven it up. Where would you add these images?  Would you change the flow of it to ensure it made sense? Would you trim back the text?  Would your presentation be crammed with pages of dense bullet points?  Now imagine you were presenting this to say 500 people or or even 1,000 presumably you would put even more effort into the design of the presentation?  Well these are types of number of people who might well be consuming your survey so why not put the same effort into the design of it as you would a PowerPoint presentation.

3. Have you written the press release yet?

 One of the best way of understanding what you really want to get out of the data generated from your survey is to write the press release summarizing its fantasy findings after you have drafted the survey. Its amazing when you start doing this what you focus on and what you leave out.  All off a sudden half the questions in your survey might start to seem irrelevant. Its a brilliant way of refining and editing back your survey.  This tips was given to my by one of my old bosses, Ivor Blight whilst working at Mirror Group newspapers and its been one of the most valuable pieces of survey design advice I have ever received.

4. Why are you asking that question? 

Is it because it will produce a nice looking answer or because it is actually generating useful actionable feedback?

Take a customer feedback study where you ask your customers to rate you product or service.  You find out that after polling 500 people that they score it a 4 out of 5.  Now tell me apart from feeling pleased what are you going to do with this information to improve your product or service?   What if instead you asked those 500 people to name ONE thing that might make your product or service better, how much more useful would that information be?

We also have a habit of making huge assumptions about about what a question will actually measure.  A classic example would be the purchase intent question, "would you buy this new product?"  This as I hope most of your reading this will be aware is proven to have little or no value as a predictor of sales.  A far more predictive question would be to ask them if they think they would buy the product instead of the the main brand they buy.

I would challenge in particular you to consider the value of those banks of questions that so often get asked in surveys that attempt to measure brand characteristics like.. how much do you agree or disagree with these statements about this product... "its a modern brand", "its a trust worthy brand", etc. What are are these types of question actually telling you? Are you trying to find out the driving reasons why people buy a particular brands? Well why in that case don't you simple ask people that question "why do you buy this brand"  . We did exactly this recently in an experiment to find out the driving factors behind why people purchase different brands of shampoo,  there were over 50 clear reasons cited why people choose a particular brand ranging from the smell through to the size of the bottle, the impact of advertising, the type of ingredients, the appeal of the packaging and how well each shampoo cleaned different types of hair, some people don't believe there are any differences in one shampoo to another so buy the cheapest  some people buy shampoo because it was recommended by their hairdresser,  others chose a brand because they liked the cream feel of the shampoo or the way it lathered up or they thought it was more ethical, but only 3 people out of a sample of 500 said they chose their brand because the felt it was modern that is 0.6%.

5. Have you tested the survey?

And I don’t mean for routing errors and spelling mistakes. I mean have 30 people done your survey and have you had a really good look at the data to see what it is delivering and how useful it is and  what its missing and what could be improved?  So few people in my experience properly pilot their research studies or use piloting as a means to develop and improve their survey and yet this in my opinion is the single most effective way of improving your market research.  

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Where can we inject more creativity into survey design



Here are my thoughts on some examples of the areas where I feel we need to inject a bit more creativity into the design of surveys. This content is taken from one of my presentations on the topic.

Monday, 4 February 2013

A guide to writing open ended feedback questions





There are various goals to an open ended question but in most cases it is not about the volume of feedback but about the quality. Whether you are trying to get respondents to be analytical, creative or spontaneous, the biggest challenge you face is encouraging people to think and think in the right sort of ways.

The average respondent spend 15 seconds answering the average open ended question, and you get on average of 5 words. Five words might be enough if it constitutes meaningful feedback, but often it is humdrum verbiage, a bit of a nightmare to analyse. If you were to ask people to watch an ad and write down what they thought of it, the most common response would be "it was OK" . The second and third most common remarks would be, "I liked it" and "I didn't like it" , the 4th would be "I don't know" . These responses are clearly not a great deal of value, so that you might as well have asked a yes no question, “did you like it or not”.

This is a guide to show you how to write more effective open ended questions to improve the quality of feedback and to encourage respondents to:

- Put more thought into their answers
- Be more creative
- Be more analytical
- Be more reductive
- Be more free form in their thinking

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

20 new buzz words for 2013

I have had an amazing opportunity to attend market research conferences around the world over the last year and so been exposed to all sorts of fantastic ideas and innovations and some brilliant thinking.  Stuck on a plane for 5 hours last week with not much to do, I though I would try and condense the best of the best of this thinking and use it to try and identify some research trends of the future.  Here is what I have come up with. 20 new buzz words for 2013...

Qualitic analysis: You heard it here first . Qualitic analysis is where you use qualitative research methods to help analyse and process large scale volumes of open ended feedback.  Text analytics software is powerful but largely stupid and so letting humans train these systems through qualitative analysis is the way forward.  With the merging of social media and traditional research I think this sort of hybrid approach is going to have a big future.

Lifestyle mapping : with geographical tracking now readily available via mobile phones I believe we are going to layered on top of maps a whole lot more information about people's lifestyles and activities and when we start wearing glasses (https://plus.google.com/+projectglass/posts) which act as mini computer screens which I believe is pretty inevitable all this information is gonna get a whole lot more valuable.

Social influence tracking: Mark Earls has be evangelizing how many of our decisions are influenced by the crowd, but who is taking account of this in their every day brand tracking research. I think tracking of social influence it going to become an important benchmark measure for certain categories of products in the future.

Tribal research: Linked to this is looking at people as tribes and the people who buy certain types of brands as tribes of consumers. There is some very interesting pioneering work being conducted by the University of Bath School of management that is worth checking out. This book is worth a read on this topic.

Bonzia research: there is a global trend toward working out how to make shorter more efficient surveys with mobile phones set to become a primary channel through which research is conducted pressures to do this will only increase. Bonzia research is the art of designing small but perfectly formed surveys

Habit specialist: understanding how we get into habits how we break them and how we set up new ones is a really valuable piece of knowledge for market researchers trying to understand how to influence behaviour. Everyone should read this book i can see it being a hot topics in the next year.  The Power of Habit 

Research data banks: We are generating shed loads of personal data that is clearly potentially very valuable. Right now Google and Facebook and Twitter etc think it's theirs, its not its ours!  I envisage a consumer revolution over the ownership of all this information in the future.  The furore caused by Instagram trying to claim ownership of the picture we upload is a case in point to illustrate the power of mass consumer revolt, causing them to instantly back track on their plans.   Someone someday is going to create a bank for it all and turn it into a personal asset that we and only we control and have the marketing rights to. You can have my purchase history if you like I am selling it to you for £10!

Implicit research:  The mutli award winning work by Cog research showing how the speed of association between words and brands can help understand the underlying personality of brands is I think going to turn this into a must have technique for research tracking studies in the future.

Things research: all sorts of things now have technology embedded into them from cars to fridges to billboard. I see new research companies will emerge that specialise in turning these into to data gathering research tools.

Now research: OK we currently have some pretty quick turnaround research products out their that can give you responses in hours. The demand for this is growing and could fuel new breeds of research companies that offer instant real time research.

Social research networks: I see the potential for a next generation group of micro social pollsters and aggregators who keep abreast of what their friends think and report back.  A step up from mroc.

Smart intercept research: as the quality of research that can be conducted on tablets improves (watch this space next year) I believe we are going to find these anchored all over the place to gather consumer opinion related to the experience people are having, be it in the queue to the bank in the changing rooms of shops handed around on train and planes, in hotel receptions, at the exit of every Mcdonalds. The future will be made up of an increasing amount of intercept research with a menu of research studies that people have the option to do based upon their experiences.

Segmenting by decision making processes: Watch this presentation delivered at the recent New MR festival by Elina Halonen I think she is onto something! Understanding how we "like to think" and how it effects our decisions is the hot new area of behavioral economics for next year.

Organic respondent generated research : Instead of writing a survey you simply pose a question and let respondents work together to answer it.

Consumer media: newspapers radio already heavily rely on consumers to shape content. Next stem handing it all over to them completely a newspaper entirely written and produced by the crowd, a radio station who's entire content is crowd driven.  Researchers could have a critical role in helping to facilitate this.

Consumer products : likewise we have seen the emergence of co-created products in recent years but again the role of the consumer has in the main been that of a  bit part, the last decisions being left in the hands of the marketeer. I see consumers taking over and completely ruining things in the future. Why not have consumer run bank where they vote on the fees they charge the profit they make co-create their own advertising promote the bank themselves. Instead of passive shareholders we have active ones who contribution is rewarded buy partial/micro ownership. Why not set up 2 banks like this at the same time and let them compete with each other.  I am not sure if this is research or marketing but surely its an opportunity.

Prediction research: has not the us election proved to us the power of predictive markets once and for all? Why are we not all doing more of this.  I think we will all be in the future.

Social brains: looking at the collective thinking of social networking and treating them like a giant brain. Now I am not talking about large scale semantic analysis. More mass ethnography mapping the patterns of thinking expressed in social

Survey games :  Obviously this is a specific area of interest for me, surveys that cross the divide between entertainment and market research that can sit and be positively recieved within the social media space - watch this space

(ok this is only 17 as someone has pointed out!  - any suggestions to fill the last 3 spaces?)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The 4 killer stats from the ESOMAR 3D conference

I was only able to attend one day of this conference, for me without doubt this is the most useful research conference of the year and so I am sorry, I am only able to give you half the story, but  here is what I brought back with me, 4 interesting stats, 3 new buzzword and 1 stray fact about weather forecasting.

350 out of 36,000: This is how many useful comments Porsche manage to pick out from analysing 36,000 social media comments about their cars. So the cost benefit analysis of this runs a bit short and this was probably the headline news for me from the ESOMAR 3D conference: No existing piece of text analytics technology seems to be capable of intelligently process up this feedback. Every single one of these comments had to be read and coded manually I was shocked. I thought we were swimming in text analytics technology, but apparently most of the existing tools fall short of the real needs to market researcher right now (I spot one big fat opportunity!).

240 hours: This was the amount of time spent again conducting manual free text analysis by IPSOS OTX to process data from 1,000 Facebook users for one project (and from this they felt they had really only scratched the surface). As Michael Rodenburgh from IPSOS OTX put it "holly crap they know everything about us".  There are, he estimated, 50 million pieces of data associated with these 1,000 uses that it is possible to access, if the end user gives you a one click permission in a survey. He outlined the nightmare it was to deal with the data that is generated from Facebook just to decipher it is a task in itself and none of the existing data analytics tools we have right like SPSS now are capable of even reading it. There was lots of excellent insights in this presentation which I think deservedly won best paper. 

0.18: This is the correlation between aided awareness of a brand & purchase activity measured in some research conducted by Jannie Hofmyer and Alice Louw from TNS i.e. there is none. So the question is why do we bother asking this question in a survey? Far better just to ask top of mind brand awareness  - this correlates apparently at a much more respectable 0.56. We are stuffing our survey full of questions like these that don't correlate with any measurable behaviour.   This was the key message from a very insightful  presentation. They were able to demonstrate this by comparing survey responses to real shopping activity by the same individuals. We are also not taking enough care to ask a tailor made set of questions to each respondent, that gleans the most relevant information from each one of them. A buyer and a non buyer of a product in effect need to do 2 completely different surveys. Jannie senses that the long dull online surveys we create are now are akin to fax machines and will be obsolete in a few years time. Micro surveys are the future, especially when you think about the transition to mobile research. So we need to get the scalpel out now and start working out how to optimise every question for every respondent.

50%: The average variation between the claimed online readership of various dutch newspapers as publish by their industry jic and the readership levels measured from behavioural measurement using pc and mobile activity in tracking as conducted by Peit Hein van Dam from Wakoopa. There was such a big difference he went to great lengths to try and clean and weight the behavioural measurement to account for the demographic skew of his panel, but found this did not bring the data any closer the the industry data but in fact further away. Having worked in media research for several years I am well aware of the politics of industry readership measurement processes, so I am not surprised how "out" this data was and I know which set of figures I would use. He pointed out that cookie based tracking techniques in particular are really falling short of delivering any kind of sensible media measurement of web traffic. He cited the "unique visitors" statistics published for one Dutch newspaper website and pointed out that it was larger than the entire population of the Netherlands.

Note: Forgive me if I got any of these figures wrong - many of them were mentioned in passing and so I did not write all of them down at the time - so I am open to any corrections and clarifications if I have made some mistakes.

3 New buzzwords

Smart Ads: the next generation of online advertising with literally 1000's of variant components that are adapted to the individual end user.

Biotic Design: A technique pioneered by Yahoo that uses computer modelling to predict the stand out and noticeability of content on a web page. It is used to test out advertising and page design and we were show how close to real eye tracking results this method could be. We were not told the magic behind the black box technique but looked good to me!

Tweetvertising: Using tweets to promote things (sister of textervising)

One stray fact about weather forecasting

Predicting the weather: We were told by one of the presenters that although we have super computers and all the advances delivered by the sophisticated algorithms of the Monte Carlo method, still if you want to predict what the weather is going to be like tomorrow the most statistically reliable method is to look what the weather is like today, compare it to how it was yesterday and then draw a straight line extrapolation! I also heard that 10 human being asked to guess what the weather will be like, operating as a wisdom of the crowns team, could consistently out performed a super computer's weather prediction when programmed with the 8 previous days of weather activity. Both of these "facts" may well be popular urban myths, so I do apologise if I might be passing on tittle tattle, but do feel free to socially extend them out to everyone you know to ensure they become properly enshrined in our collective consciousness as facts!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Big data and the home chemistry set


Are we all Dodos?   I heard a couple of people tell us at the ESOMAR 3D conference that we are perilously close to extinction,  that we market researchers are dodos. In fact this has been a bit of a common theme at many of conference I have attended in the last few years a prediction of the terminal decline of research as we know it. The message is that our industry is gonna be hit by a bus with the growth of social media and the big boys like Google and Facebook and IBM muscling in to our space. We are also in many parts of the world facing tough economic times and tightening budget.

Yet despite all this it appeared that this was the best attended 3d conference ever, and it's not just this isolated conference either. I have been going to research conferences all around the world over the last year and they all seem to be seeing growing numbers of attendees and all I can sense from these conferences and particularly at this event, is an industry brimming with confidence and ideas.

So are we all putting on a brave face? Are we naively sleep walking into the future?   I don't think so...

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Future of Market Research

What do you get if you Google the future of market research? Well not a link to this blog post, as Dan Kvistbo @kvistbo noticed.   I am glad someone actually checked.

This post is part of an experiment to see how a single post gets tracked on google search and how easy it would be to find if you searched for it.

I will actually be doing an article about the future of market research which I will be writing shortly as part of a conference being organised by http://www.warc.com/ about the future of market research.

Monday, 17 September 2012

ESOMAR congress: the buzz

This is a summary of some of the buzz I picked up at the ESOMAR congress.

There were 3 dominant phrases I heard over and over again at this years ESOMAR congress: big data, social and story telling...

Big data: I estimate that nearly 50% of the presentations I sat through mentioned the term big data in one context or another. Taking over from the term "mobile research" which has held the number one slot of market research buzz words for the last 2 years. Despite this we did not exactly see many presentations demonstrating the execution of big data mostly its use came in the form of a warning sign to the industry that big data is about to engulf us all and change all the rules of engagement and encouraging new competitors in our market research space.

Social: One of the most prominent nouns used by market researchers at the ESOMAR congress, the word social seems to have become detached from the word media and has taken on a life of its own. It has now been attached to the word research and survey so we heard mention of a social survey - one that uses the language of the consumer.

Story telling: We were told over and over again that incites are not enough, as an industry we have to become better story tellers. We were also challenged to ask the right questions. We were told that agency planners are better story tellers and management consultants ask better questions and if we could do both of these things better we could "wop both their arses"

Behavioral economics the star of the show

Behavioral economics was undoubtedly the star of the show though. Papers exploiting the idea picked up best paper award from Tom Ewing @Brain Juicer, and best case study from Florian Bauer and for my vote best presentation from Kevin Kary @Affinova.

All 3 demonstrated the impact of thinking about the behavioral psychology of answering questions in survey and how rational or irrational it can be and if you can account for this you start to see a completely different picture in the data you are gathering.

Tom Ewing in his most eloquent style showed how turning off peoples rational decision making process allows them to measure the impact of more emotional decision making processes. Florian Buaer ground breaking pricing research demonstrating that unless you take into account the behavioral psychology of pricing when conducting price research you will under estimate how much you can push up prices - which I am slightly concerned that if the whole marketing industry cottons on to this it could trigger global hyper inflation. Affinova identified a big whole in existing concept development work, that when we evaluate choices we forget about whether or not we would purchase any of the products at all. By plugging this gap through a change in the way they asked the question they were able to far more accurately predict the the success of new concepts.

Other observation...

Constant connectivity/Welcome to the new normal: There were many observations made at the congress about the changing relationship between brands and consumers. With an abundance of easily accessible data and consumers taking over the brand message through social feedback mechanics we are moving from a push relationship with consumers where we spend millions feeding them information through advertising and branding to a pull relationship where consumers go out and get it on demand. This requires totally different thinking about how to position brands.

Customer-centricity: On the back of this, there was a lot of talk about placing the customer at the heart of decision making and we commonly heard phrases like customer centricity, customer facing, Empathetic relationship with customers, How we are engaging with customers every day of the conference. Clearly the market research industry has identified that the custom is now king, not to say that it has not always been, but now it is a nye on dictatorship!

Iteration/beta test norm: Consumers expect products now to evolve and expect this to happen rapidly. There was a lot of talk about this idea and how it is changing how we think about developing products and researching products, in a sense these two things are becoming merged. Consumers buying experiencing and reporting back their opinions on product are now part of the product development cycle. The mantra seems to be get your product out there and see if it flys, if not iterate.

Google: The no.1 brand on everyone’s lips this year was Google, perhaps because of the entry into the market research sector with a research offering, but also because they epitomise the big data players moving into the little data market place.

The rise and fall of prezzi:  Over the last year seen the rapid rise an rapid fall of the use of prezzi.  Prezzi dominated the last few conferences I went to but only a couple of uses at Congress. Perhaps we all got fed up of feeling sea sick?

A few new buzzwords:

This conference was bit light on new buzzwords but here are a few I picked up on:

Flawsome: this was the best one, mentioned by of Wendy Clark Coca Cola, flawsome means awesome with flaws. The idea that great should not get in the way of good, that consumers are getting used to beta testing product and should not let perfection hold you back, in fact a slightly flawed querky concept can give a brand more humanity.

Innernet: kids spending more time inside consuming the internet

Outernet: how the internet is now being used outside as part of our everyday lives 

Super abundancy: the prevalence of data and easy access to information in this digital world

Now: News is old hat! It frames the idea of information in the past tense. We don't want news any more we want to know what is happening NOW!!! The time delay between events happening and us as consumers finding out about them has gone done to zero. With Twitter and live streaming, news is dead, long live NOW.

Invent Forward: A "reinvention" of the word reinvent

Phrases I heard used to describe our function as market researchers:

Insight intrapreneurs: mentioned 3 times

Agents of change: being the agent of change was a common call to action

Business story tellers: we don't deal insights any more we have to tell stories

Data synthesizers: the future of market research in the world of big data

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Thoughts on more effective use of Twitter #tags by the MR industry

Twitter has emerged to become one of the primary news and discussion platform for market researchers over the last 2 years. I use it alongside 1,000's of other researchers around the world. It is one of the most amazing ways of keeping in touch with developments in market research. But I just wanted to open up a discussion about how we as an industry could use it more effectively.

Here are the issues I have:

1. getting swamped in tweets and having no means of effectively sorting them other than by @individual or common #tags

2. Not using twitter for a while and then there is a massive backlog that I can't easily deal with

As an industry we use a confusing array of end #tags: #mrx, #newmr #research #ngmr etc which assigns a text to be about our industry could we not all settle on just one?

We also have not established any consistent end hashtags to describe the type of content the tweet is about within the field of market research.

In rather obsessive compulsive style I downloaded 1,000 mr tweets and tried to classify them and many of them do fall to easily classifiable groups. Primarily I think they could be grouped into: ones that include links; news items; incidental serious remarks; incidental whitty remarks; guidance/advice & pieces self publicity.

What I think this highlights is that if we could introduce some more descriptive #tags we could start filtering out a whole load of fairly useless chatter which is great if you are an active user but makes navigating through tweets really difficult if you are not on top of things.

I think we need to focus on a protocol where in each tweet we has: One industry #tag or event #tag and 1 or 2 primary descriptive #tag

Here are some suggested new hash tags we could use to make tweets more descriptive and sortable, they obviously must be short and we cannot have more that half a dozen else they will clutter up the tweet.

News = #mrxn
Comment = #mrxc
Link = #mrxl
Guidance = #mrxg
Calls to action/publicising events=#mrxe

For retweeting
Funny = #mrxf
Perhaps a point scoring system =#1+

Anyone else got any other ideas/thoughts?

I wonder if we might set up an industry tweet committee, made up of some of the leading research tweeters to agree upon a new descriptive #tag language with which we can all adopt to more effectively communicate news across the MR industry?

Acknowledgement:

This post was inspired by Dana Stanley's great tongue in cheek suggestions for new mr industry tweet hastags that I read last week:  http://researchaccess.com/2012/09/10-Proposed-Market-Research-Hashtags/

Friday, 6 July 2012

A clutch of new Buzzwords


Here are some new buzz words and interesting phrases that I have collected recently that I think market researchers might be interested in.

Intrapreneurs: the entrepreneurs that instead of setting up and running their own business, work within larger businesses or organisations and drive entrepreneurial activity within these organisations. Source: Maryan Broadbent, David Smith & Adam Riley ESOMAR Asia 2012

Linguistic anthropology: Social media data mining is leading to a new bread of research focusing on understanding the detailed use of language and the processes of human communications, variation in language across time and space, the social uses of language, and the relationship between language and culture.

SoLoMo: social-local-mobile. A word made for market researchers lips that combined the hot 3 topics of social, local geographical targeting and mobile. Source: http://mashable.com/2012/01/12/solomo-hyperlocal-search/

Micro-multinationals: A new breed of entrepreneurs creating “micro-multinationals”, organizations that are global from day one. Source: Amit Gupta & Terry Sweeney ESOMAR Asia 2012

Social looping: Connecting and taking control of your disparate set of social network connections and connection channels. Source: marketing age http://sedatedworld.com/?p=947

Personal branding: The idea that people now are thinking about themselves as brands. Source: various  (Elina Halonen rightly pointed out that this is not exactly a new buzzword, but all I would say is that I have heard it being used quite a lot at the moment!)

Crowdfunding: The new trend for social crowd backed business ventures  e.g.  http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/,  http://www.crowdcube.com/

Global villager: The globe has been connected into a village by digital technology - an idea originally presented by Marshall McLuhan, popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) but really only realised since the advent of the web. So if you are hooking up on twitter with people in another continent you are one of the global villagers. Source: Maryan Broadbent, David Smith & Adam Riley at the ESOMAR Asia 2012

Research Improv: Using some of the theatrical techniques of improvisation in focus groups or workshops to develop and explore ideas.Source: Lee Ryan: http://appliedimprov.ning.com/profile/LeeRyan

Kinesthetic research: Kinesthetic learning is a style of teaching where pupils carry out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration. Kinesthetic research is where we conduct research through a physical activity or immersive activity and is tipped to be a growing area of research innovation.   Research improv is a branch of  Kinesthetic research,  clients participation in co-creation exercises with end users is another example and  so too is I suspect next example Socialized research which I spotted as a topic at the forthcoming ESOMAR congress.

Socialized Research:  This is the title of what looks like it might be a hot ticket presentation at this years ESOMAR congress by OTX Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange "a brave new world of immersion, augmented reality, geo-location, co-creation…" the addition of a little “social” into everything we do so that consumers are engaged in ways that capitalize on and mimic their expectations given the realities of today’s new world. Welcome to the new normal. Are you ready?

Decision making science: We started with psychology, this branched off into social psychology then behavioural science and got refined into behavioural economics now we have a new one decision making science. A nice all explaining concept. Source: http://www.research-live.com/features/measuring-emotion/applying-the-science-of-decision-making-to-marketing/4007689.article

Creative leaders: people in organisations to act as grit to drive innovation. Source: Maryan Broadbent, David Smith & Adam Riley at the ESOMAR Asia Conference
Social graph: the global mapping of everybody and how they're related.  Source: Brad Fitzpatrick http://bradfitz.com/social-graph-problem/

Being the wide angle lens: The person in an organisation who offers a more panoramic viewpoint on a business. Source: Maryan Broadbent, David Smith & Adam Riley at the ESOMAR Asia Conference

Chief customer: Person on persons who represent the embodiment of a customer in a business.  Source: Maryan Broadbent, David Smith & Adam Riley ESOMAR Asia 2012

Fremium: This is a is a business model by which a product or service is provided free of charge, but a premium is charged for advanced features. Source: This term has be around long enough to grab itself a wikipedia entry  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemium

Showroom retailing &  Monitor Shopping:  A shift to retail spaces like electronic and book shops to become showrooms where people look at products and then order them online.  Monitor shopping is the process of going shopping online.   Source: various

Sharkonomics: Taking a shark like approach to battling with your competitor i.e. sneaking up behind them and aiming taking great big chunk out of their market share though some clever strategic move.  This seems to be the way that some of the big boys in the mobile and internet businesses seem to be operating now.  e.g. Microsoft launching a premium tablet. Source: title of book by Stefan Engeseth

Finally a couple of twitter specific buzzwords:
Trashtag: A hashtag that someone tries to establish for purely self-centred and/or commercial reasons, rather than to create a strand of content that might actually be useful or interesting to someone else.
Twitchunt: torrents of me-too sentiment on twitter gathering mass and momentum very quickly.
Obsoltweet: a tweet that has missed the boat
source: http://www.abccopywriting.com/blog/2012/05/10/12-new-twitter-buzzwords/


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

How to calculate the length of a survey

As an industry we tend to use survey length as the cornerstone for how we price surveys, but often the estimated lengths and real lengths of surveys can turn out to be wildly different. Leading as I have experience to potential conflict.

The reason is we have not established in the research industry a common and reliable way of estimating the length of a survey.  The most common method in circulation is to assume we answer surveys at 2.5 questions per minute but this technique is fatally flawed.  This is because question themselves can vary wildly in length e.g. a survey with 10 grid question with say 50 options may take 50 times longer to answer than a survey of 10 simple yes no questions.

So I have been on a bit of quest to work out some slightly more accurate ways of do this. As a result of some recent work we have been doing to examine in detail how long respondents answer survey I have come up with 3 new alternative methods I would like to put forward to more accurately calculate the length of a survey. 

I hope they may be of use to some of you.

Method 1: Survey length = (W/5 + Q*5 + (D-Q)*2 + T*15)/60


This is the most accurate way of doing it (though I recognise it take a quite a bit of work). This formula will given you the length of an English language survey in minutes.

W = word count: Do a word count of the total length of questionnaire (questions, instructions and options). An easy way to do this is to cut and paste the survey into word but don't forget to remove any coding instructions first and it will tell you the word count. Respondents read English in western markets at an average rate of 5 words per second.

Q = Number of Questions: Count how many questions the average respondent has to answer. Allow 4 seconds per question general thinking time and 1 second navigation time* (assuming 1 question per page).
*this may vary depending on survey platform if it takes longer than 1 second to load each page adjust accordingly

D = Total number of decisions respondents have to make: Count in total how many decisions the average respondent makes in total using this guide below and allow then 2 seconds per decision.

Single choice question = 1 decision
Multi-choice question = 0.5 of a decision per option
Grids = 1 decision per row

T = Open ended text questions: Count how many open ended text feedback questions a respondents has to answer and allow 15 seconds per question. (note this may vary quite dramatically based on the content of the question but on average people dedicate 15 seconds to answering and open ended question).

Method 2: Survey length = (W/5 + R*1.8)/60

If you want slightly simpler approach use this formula which is not quite so reliable but will get you close...

W= word count
R = total number of row options: Note this is just rows and not columns on a grid. This can be quite easily done by cutting and pasting your survey into excel and then in a side column mark up all the rows and then sort.


Method 3: W/150

If you don't have enough time to add up all the number of questions and row options this is another quick a dirty method (though I would not vouch for it being much more acurate than the 2.5 questions per minute approach).

This will give you a rough estimate of the length of a survey in minutes.  It is no where near as acurate as the above 2 more detailed methods but it will be someone in the correct ball park. Careful though if  you spot your a dealing with a particularly verbose questionnaire.

A wisdom of the crowd approach I would recommend would be to use both the 2.5 question and W/150 methods and compare the differences - if they produce just about similar figures well go with that, if they generate big differences it might be worth adopting method 1 to do it properly.


Where all these formula will fall over?


1. If all the respondents don't see all the questions: Skip logic can mean not everyone sees every question in a survey which means it can be hard to work out the average number of question respondents will have to answer which you will need to know to accurately work out the average survey completion time. Most errors in estimating survey length centre around this issue. There is often no easy way of doing this other than manually working it out using a spreadsheet.

2. Not properly taking into account question loops. This another issue that leads to people miscalculating the length of a survey. If for example there is a loop of question that you ask for a set of brands people often forget to include the extra time it take to answer these question and only count one loop.

3. If you are working out the length of a survey not conducted in English: or where English is not the primary language (India for example) you will need to weight for longer reading, comprehension, consideration and survey loading times in different countries. Below is a rough weighting guide if you are working from a translated version of an English survey, (sorry that I don't have time weighting data from every country):

            Length   Weighting
Japanese/Korean 0.95
Netherlands 1.00
Germany 1.05
French 1.06
Spain 1.09
Scandinavia 1.10
Italy 1.11
Chinese 1.13
India 1.34
Eastern Europe 1.35
Russia 1.37
Latin America 1.43

4. If there are a lot of images in the survey:  you will need to allow for extra loading times. Allow between 2-10 seconds per mb.

5. If you are including a lot of  non-standard question formats in the survey e.g. sorting and drop down style question take longer to answer.

6. If you are boring people to death with a long highly repetitive survey!  Respondents will start speeding when they get bored and so average decision making time can drop.

Do you have any thoughts?


Now I would love to hear from anyone who has some thoughts on this or have come up with what they think is a more effective means of doing this. My ultimate aim is to find an agreed means for the who industry to adopt to use as a more effective trading currency when pricing surveys.




Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Gamification interview with Ray Poynter


Here is a link to a short interview with Ray Poynter at the Swedish Market Research Day which I recently attended discussing gamification.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpY4Tr1zA9w&feature=relmfu 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Ginny Valentine Badge of Courage Awards

I had the honour to attend this week  the Ginny Valenine Badge of Courage awards organised by Fiona Blades and John Griffiths on behalf of the Research Liberation Front  http://researchliberationfront.com/ginny-valentine.html and I wanted to pay tribute to the organisers and to all the winners. What a wonderful moving event this was and long may it live in the future.

Very rarely in a job like market research can I say that I have been emotionally moved by something or really felt such a strong sense of pride as I did at this award ceremony which celebrated some of the less prominent hero's of market research.  It is an award ceremony set up specifically to celebrate those people in market research who had the courage to stick their necks out and do something different, to go against the flow and who battled on through adversity to reach their goals.

The highlights for me were:

Simon Lidington who nominated his own daughter Rosie, for the efforts she put into established the Big Sofa research company. For 4 years she took a sofa around the shopping centres of the country to conduct face to face interviews with the public before pulling in there first major pieces of business.  http://www.thebigsofa.com/about_businessbenefits.html

Betty Adamou's nomination from Ray Poyner for having the courage to put her money where her mouth was and set up her own research gaming company.http://www.researchthroughgaming.com/

And Alison White who was actually brave enough to nominate herself. She explained the battle she had to set up here own field research company, her first attempt was stolen off her, the second her offices were burnt down twice.  http://facefactsresearch.com/ 

But the most astonishing tale of all though was told by Finn Raben who on behalf of ESOMAR nominated an Afghan company ORCA who had 2 researchers shot dead while collecting data.  Which puts all our own battles into perspective.

There were no black ties, 3 course dinners and celebrity presenters at this event, instead home made sandwiches and pay bar but all the better for it. Ginny Valentines son gave a wonderful eulogy to his mother and it was lovely to see him handing out the awards at the end to the winners.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

200 question surveys?!!!!

In the presentation I gave yesterday at the MRS conference I mentioned that we had been working on some experimental survey games where we had managed to get people to voluntarily complete a 200 frame survey.

Now firstly, this has been quoted as a 200 "question" survey which I am afraid is a bit of an exaggeration, as a lot of the frames were feedback pages and not questions, it was about 120 questions in total.  I apologise I did not make this clear during my presentation.

I am NOT, may I repeat, NOT espousing or suggesting that anyone does a 200 question survey or indeed a 120 question survey for that matter!!!!!!!

I am slightly concerned about the mixed message this is conveying  and so I thought I should clarify things a little with this blog post about the details of this experiment.

This survey in question was designed purely as an experiment to see how many question respondents were prepared to answer, when instead of doing a survey they were playing a game and getting feedback that was  of some use and interest to them. This was not a traditional survey but a shopping game we had specially designed, that stepped away from the thinking constraints of a typical survey and focusing purely on the game and feedback mechanic.

The respondents had to work their way through a series of  "levels" where they were are asked to do things like guess the most and least expensive products, the most and least popular products, the prices of products and try and predict what different celebrities and types of people would buy. See below screen grabs of what the survey looked like.


 They would get points for getting things right and at the end of each level they would find out how well they did and we also revealed to them what this told us about the type of shopper they were.  So for example the respondents found out how price concious they were compared to other people and whether they were a social shopper who buys popular products or a individualist who buys not so popular products.  Each level was voluntary, they were asked if they wanted to proceed to the next level. There were 6 levels in total and 15-20 challenges in each level and we found 94% voluntarily completed all 6 levels spending over 20 minutes on average completing it.   The survey had an enjoyment score of 9.0 out of 10. The highest audience evaluation score we have ever achieved for a survey.

We often say that surveys should not being longer than 20 minutes. That is because most if not all surveys are not entertaining enough to persuade  us to want do them for any longer. Most surveys fail to cross the entertainment divide.  20 minutes is in effect a tolerance limit for expecting anyone to do anything they find boring.  But if you start to look at a survey through the lens of being a piece of entertainment or a game then yes it does open up possibilities for surveys that are genuinely entertaining to be longer than 20 minutes.  After all we happily will watch a film for a couple of hours, read a book all day on holiday play Angry Birds in any spare waking moment we get with our mobile phone.   But the aim of this research was not to path the way for, or encourage the industry to start churning out ever longer dull surveys!


Monday, 5 March 2012

7 factors, No sorry, 78 factors influencing the authenticity of responses


Note:  Having written my post outlining the 7 factors influencing the honestly of responses, Edward Appleton rather politely pointed out that I may well have missed one or two issues! Directing me to this great list of cognitive biases listed on Wikepedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

Enjoy reading though them. I think  Confirmation, Congurence, Hindsight Hyperbolic discounting biases are ones I need to watch out for.  I wonder if I should offer a prize to anyone who can come up with any more.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Evolution of Advertising v Survey design


Designing surveys is without doubt a creative process similar in many ways to other creative commercial art forms like advertising and presentation design.  I feel there is something we can learn from looking at the evolution of these other sister creative processes...

Quirks Research Gamification Article


Here for those who have not seen it yet is a link to an article I have written on Research Gamification for Quirk's online Marketing Research magazine.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Honesty of responses: the 7 factors at play



I read this very interesting post by Edward Appleton about the authenticity of peoples online behaviour published on the Greenbook blog. http://www.greenbookblog.org/2012/02/01/how-authentic-are-we-online/

The authenticity of online respondents is a very interesting philosophical question and is an area we have been looking at recently too - albeit in perhaps in a more literal way...

We have been examining ‘honesty’ within the online survey environment, by comparing answers to questions where we hold known norm figures about behavioural activity and building up a picture of levels of honest answering to different types of questions.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Fun = Feedback

We have recently done an experiment where we asked respondents to complete a series of survey questions designed in different ways and then at the end of the survey asked them how much fun it was to answer each question.

We then analysed the results to look at the time they spent answering each question, the volume of feedback and the level of data granularity as measured by the level of straight-lining.

In total we had data like this asked across 20 different questions and each question was asked in 2 or 3 different ways.

In every single instance the most fun version of the question encouraged respondents to spend more time answering the question, generated more feedback and resulted in least straight-lining.

Now think about a survey from a consumers point of view, it is as much a piece of entertainment as anything. Most people do survey in the spare time as a bit of fun as an alternative to perhaps playing games or going on Facebook.

 Like any form of entertainment, the more entertaining it is, the more time you we dedicate to consume it.

Friday, 16 December 2011

A Year of awards that probably won't come round very often



I am very pleased to have won our third award of the year, this one, The MRS Award for Innovation in Research Methodology that we won with Deborah Sleep at Engage Research.

You wait half you life for an award and then 3 come along all at once.   Therefore I accept in pure statistical terms this may well be the very last award I win for the rest of my life, so for the moment, forgive me I while I bask in some level of glory!

Hopefully won't last too long, my girlfriend thinks 3 awards in 1 year is bordering on greedy and has already decided I need to be brought down a peg or two starting with the washing up and sorting out the leak in the hallway.




Thursday, 15 December 2011

#MRX Tweets Awards Top 100


Well done to the winners of the inaugural #MRX Tweet Awards and thank you to @ResearchLive and Brian Tarran (follow him personally @ Fatso_Jetson ) for giving such who hearted support.

There was lot of passionate voting, 590 votes were caste in total.  It was a very close vote only 20 votes sepatated the main pack from 2-10.   Please note, to make it fair as we could, we only registered one vote per computer finger print  for any one nominee.

Here is a link to the Research Live summary:
http://www.research-live.com/features/and-the-mrx-tweeter-of-the-year-is/4006573.article

But I thought I would also share with you some additional information.

The top 10 voted individual tweeters in the public vote:
1  @tomderuyck
2  @lennyism
3  @VirtualMR
4  @kristinluck
5  @tomewing
6 =  @LoveStats
6 =  @TomHCAnderson
8  @LongoMR
9  @RayPoynter
10  @DanaMStanley

Over the last year their have been over 110,000 tweets using the #MRX tag which was used for the analysis.  The overall volume of #mrx tweets in 2011 has nearly double compared to 2010 (95% increase).

List of the 100 most retweeted #MRX tweeters in rank order:

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

@Researchlive #MRX Tweet Awards Top 20 Tweeters of 2011


I am delighted to announce that @ResarchLive have taken the ball and ran with the idea of some #MRX Tweet awards and have teamed up with Dollywaggon to conduct a full scale analysis of the #MRX twittersphere.  The results of this analysis will be available soon but in the mean time here is your chance to vote for your favourite market research tweeter of 2011.


In no particular order these are the top 20 #MRX tweeters shortlisted for the best tweeter award. These are the tweeters who have had the most #mrx re-tweets in 2011 as logged by http://twapperkeeper.com (which thanks to Cathy Harrison who set up this search term have been tracking #mrx for the last year).

Vote here on who you want to be the winner: 
http://www.globaltestmarket.com/survey/s.phtml?sn=212786&lang=E&secid=26197f
(Please note you will only be able to vote once and voting is open until Weds 14th Dec 2011)

Here is the full list of short listed nominees:


 
 


 Vote here:
http://www.globaltestmarket.com/survey/s.phtml?sn=212786&lang=E&secid=26197f
(Please note you will only be able to vote once and voting is open until Weds 14th Dec 2011)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

#MRX 2011 Tweet Awards

I am thinking about running some #MRX Tweet Awards at the end of the year to celebrate the best tweeters in market research.  But I realise it is the sort of idea that should not really be done by one individual but co-created by collective of industry Tweeters as I think it would have more value.

So 4 questions...

1. Who wants to be involved?
Tweet me if you would like to be involved as either a judge, or would volunteer to help organised

2. What awards should we have? 

My suggestions are:
1. Top tweeters
2. Best single tweets
3. Best rolling tweet discussion
4. Best tweeted #mrx event
5. New tweeter of the year?

Tweet any suggestions/thoughts.

Thought in from Tom Ewing about best single tweets - does anyone store favourite tweets?


3. Anyone want to sponsor it? 


Or perhaps who do you think should sponsor it?  Though I was not thinking that this should be a commercial exercise but if someone want to so stump up the cost of buying some gongs that would be great.

4. One other thing what should the hashtag be?

 #mrxta is a bit dull #mrxtweetawards is too long an unreadable.  Over to you with suggetions.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Editorial: Pop Science Books


Reg Baker in his inevitable style posted a wonderfully forthright blog piece (click here to read) bemoaning the industries taste in books, pointing out that a great majority of the books in the list of nominees for the books that had the most transformative impact on market research were Popular Science and highlighted how unscientific some of these types of books are, championing potentially totally bogus theories that have not been subjected to proper scientific scrutiny. 

Now I can total understand his emotional reaction to this. I have exactly the same response when I go into health food shops and see all homoeopathic remedies on the shelf and am horrified that they can get away with their often totally bogus healing claims that have not been subjected to any rigorous medical trials.

But I have a few points on this that I thought I would share:

1. Books are not apples:  and in most cases not in the class of homoeopathic style remedies, one or two bad ones do not rot the whole crop.  Whilst there are some very bad pop science books, there are also some really brilliant ones that help, as Tom Ewing has pointed out, eloquently digest and explain often very complex subject matter in a clear and understandable way. To draw over riding conclusions about pop science books on the bases of analysis of parts of the sample is in itself is bad science.

Friday, 4 November 2011

What is the next big thing?

I asked the panel of judges of the my research transformation awards, who were made up of industry thought leaders and innovators from across the global market research industry, to make their prediction of what they thought would be transforming market research in the future. There were some very interesting and intelligent thoughts and so I thought I would share these predictions with you:

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Winners of The Research Transformation award

These are the result of the Research Transformations awards which I was asked to organise for a special session at the NewMR Festival.   These awards were initiated to celebrate the things that have had (or are having!) the most transformative impact on market research.  The awards have been judged by an esteemed panel of 30 leading research innovators and thought leaders from across the industry.  The full list of judges is published below and I would like to thank them all for their time and active contributions to these awards.

This is the judging survey and if you would like to CAST YOUR OWN VOTES on these awards please do,  and I hope to be able to publishing the results of this open vote in the future, it may be interesting to compare the open vote with those of the judging panel:
http://qsurvey.gmisurveys.com/dc/index.html?p=jwoYlg

The big ideas that are transforming how we think about market research
The first award is for the big ideas that are transforming how we think about market research. Over the few years a number of major ideas and theme have emerged that have shaped the way we think.

1. Listening rather than asking
The emergence of social media has opened up a whole new viewpoint on how to conduct research moving away from asking questions to listening to what people are saying.  What is has spawned a whole new  industry monitoring and measuring and analysing what we are saying when we are not asked questions by market researcher.  Listening is becoming more important than asking.
2. The hidden decision making process of our brain 
We are slowly learning more and more about how our brains work and we are finding out that the way we decide things and make decisions is a lot more complicated that we think and a lot of it happens outside of our consciousness.  This thought is really transforming how many market researchers think about conducting research, no longer can we rely on simply asking questions we have look further.
3. Information can be beautiful 
We in the market research agency can be labelled by the outside world an boring numbers people but the arrival of inforgraphics onto the scene and new story telling technique have started to make our industry a whole lot more sexy!

This is the full list of nominations.... 

Wisdom of the crowds: Discovering that groups can make intelligent decisions
Information can be beautiful: The idea that data can be sexy, and there are a lot more creative ways of presenting data than a bar chart
The hidden decision making process of our brain: Leaning that our concious mind is not always in control of our decisions
Herd thinking: Understanding the power of social influence
Co-creation: We can work together to create things
Gamification: Using gaming techniques to get respondents to think more effectively
Listening rather than asking: The idea of gaining incite from the mass of communicaton happening on the internet and using observation and means of conducting research
Big data: The emerging opportunity to consolidate information from all sources of sources to undertake super analysis
Thin slicing: The idea that you can generate a lot more incite than you think from very small data sources
The communitisation of market research: We are all sharing a lot more ideas & information with things like twitter, linkedin and blogs and this is "superscalling" our industry