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SW Insights Association 2017 Educational Forum: News and Notes

By William Priest, VP – Client Relationships

This was my first time attending an event hosted by the Southwest Chapter of the Insights Association and I was pleased to get to know a broad network of insights professionals in our industry, and thrilled with the content of the forum topics and passion of the speakers.  

Below is a perspective on some key themes that stood out during the two-day conference in downtown Denver.

WHEN IT COMES TO MILLENNIAL WOMEN, SEX DOESN’T SELL

Katja Cahoon of Beacon Insight Group undertook a bold and innovative study to explore “The Newfashioned Millennial Woman: Her Paradoxes, Sexuality, and Desires.” Katja’s work found that traditional marketing approaches are in many cases missing the mark for millennial women. Not only does sexual-oriented advertising not sell with this important target, but it can be offensive to the point of creating negative backlash for brands. The millennial woman far prefers to be portrayed — and spoken to — as a smart, capable, real and multi-faceted individual.

IN A WORLD OF SOCIAL, SOMETIMES YOUR RECRUITS ARE ONLY A CLICK AWAY

In a mind-opening presentation, Tory Gentes of The Palmerston Group divulged a host of social media platforms she has successfully and creatively used for recruiting and conducting qualitative and ethnographic research. A key takeaway for me was that there is no single formula for making this work. Tory shared honest stories of how some approaches fell flat on their face, and how she regrouped to make them successful. Just a small sampling of Tory’s creative techniques included couch surfing to get to know individuals and their culture, roller-coaster interviews to help a city understand the nature of its visitors, ski lift interviews to help a brand understand perceptions of its slogan, using Snapchat to seek out existing Millennial and Gen Z perceptions of travel, using Instagram to find and recruit cell transplant cancer survivors to then participate in follow-up depth-interviews. And that’s the tip of the iceberg, the list goes on.

While I can’t say we’ve ever couch surfed to get respondents, I can say emphatically that MMR approaches every research opportunity individually. We do not have off-the-shelf products or standardized approaches that we apply to all projects; rather, we use our Decision Framing System to guide a thoughtful and creative approach to each business issue – which, thank you, Tory, just got a little more creative.    

BEHAVIORAL RESEARCH CAN BE AN INSIGHTFUL ADD-ON TO TRADITIONAL METHODS

Olivier Tilleuil of EyeSee Research posed three key reasons that behavioral techniques can layer on insights beyond traditional research methods: 1) People can’t always articulate their feelings well, 2) People don’t always tell the truth, and 3) People can’t always recall what they have done or like. Behavioral techniques such as eye tracking, facial coding and virtual shopping are common behavioral techniques that can be of value when any of the above factors apply. They are typically not a replacement for traditional research methods, but can provide a value-added perspective that otherwise would go overlooked. A few areas where behavioral techniques are often applied include shopper marketing, advertising evaluation, digital and eCommerce.   

MMR Research Associates believes behavioral techniques play an important role in many situations where implicit, or non-conscious decision making is prevalent. We have successfully partnered with a leading behavioral research firm to bring our clients integrated “System 1” and “System 2” approaches.

IF IT LOOKS UNPROFESSIONAL, PEOPLE WILL RECEIVE IT AS UNPROFESSIONAL

Sidney Clewe of The Denver Post reminded us that how we present data is just as important as what we collect. Based on the perspective of many graphic design artists, a handful of Sidney’s on-target recommendations included:

– give people a path to go down by visually making the connections for them;

– if you can’t display information clearly, it comes across as incorrect;

– if it looks confusing or poorly designed, you lose attention and you lose credibility; and

– busy-ness hides content.

My personal favorite, “people don’t notice good design – that means it’s doing a good job; people notice bad design, and it gets in the way; design is what moves you from A to B.” Sidney’s artistic perspective along with specific tips and tricks provided excellent advice for enhancing visual presentations.   

At MMR Research, we continue to challenge ourselves to make our deliverables more visual. This includes graphic video summaries as a complement to, or instead of, Power Point slides. This work helps us continue to “extend the reach” of our clients, giving them additional resources from our team of senior, experienced professionals.

 

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