What market research trends should you expect to see in 2017?
Ah, October. The air gets crisp, the leaves begin to turn crimson and gold, jack o’lanterns are smiling everywhere, but then a chill runs up your spine as you realize – there’s not much time before the end of the year!
Your mind begins to race: How much do I have left in my budget? Have I achieved my goals? What were my goals? WHAT WILL I DO?
We tracked the purse to its natural habitat – the shopping mall – and asked women if we could look inside their beloved bags and share what was inside them with the world. For Science. And they said YES.
We found old gum wrappers, crumbs, lipsticks without caps, used tissues, cellphones, keys, loyalty cards – and billions (yes, that’s billions with a “b”) of dollars in untapped marketing opportunities across 25 consumer product categories.
Are you headed to the SOLD OUT Quirk’s Event? Make sure you attend my presentation on February 23rd. I’ll be sharing ways you can create strong connections with your consumers.
For a little preview of some of the things I’ll be talking about, I’ve posted a copy of an article I wrote for Quirk’s below. See you in Brooklyn!
As we race to the end of the year, it’s time to turn off the phone, the IM, and the email, lock the door and focus your attention on how to make yourself a big rock star in 2016.
No, I don’t mean wear leather pants and play an electric guitar.
I want you to dedicate some serious thought to identifying your BIG ROCKS. How can they make YOU a star?
Stephen Covey (the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), had a little exercise he used that illustrates what I mean.
He’d take two big, clear buckets, some big rocks and then a bunch of small pebbles. First, he would pour the pebbles into one bucket, and then ask a member of the audience to try and fit the big rocks in afterward. It’s pretty much impossible to do.
Then, he’d put the big rocks in the other bucket first, pouring the pebbles in after, so that the pebbles filled in the spaces between the rocks. His point: You need to schedule your most important priorities first, or you won’t be able to fit them in later. Your days will be overtaken by little, tactical, seemingly urgent tasks.
Thanksgiving dinner got me thinking about how market researchers can cook up more irresistible insights and have a greater impact on their business.
Often times, a market research report is presented like a ginormous roast turkey on a silver platter. We lift the dome – ta-da! – and there it sits in all its glory, complete with lavish garnishes of methodology, tricky math and plenty of numbers to savor.
It sure looks pretty, but it’s overwhelming, too much to digest, and let’s be honest, afterward, all folks want to do is take a nap.
We researchers are left crying, “What?!? We’ve slaved over a hot stove for ages, and this is the reaction we get? Why aren’t you devouring those reports and then going out to set the world on fire?”
A few years ago, I did a study of what people carry in their automobiles and why. I also asked participants about the activities that took place in the car, and found out 68% had had sex at least once in a car.
Now, looking at all the data I collected, there is a high correlation between a person having had sex at least once in a car and their propensity to have had a traffic accident at some point. This is a fallacy of course, because it’s an error of correlation and causation.
Think of it this way: The number of school teachers in any given county is highly correlated to the amount of liquor consumed in that county. But it’s not because the teachers are all heavy drinkers. It’s because counties with more people have more teachers, so there are more people to consume more liquor. The numbers correlate in a meaningless way.
The same can be said for the correlation between having had sex in a car and traffic accidents. The key words here are “traffic accidents,” not accidents of another nature (and, we’re not counting the time one person’s sweaty butt attached itself to a frozen hatch window in a private-parking-lot-moment in the dead of winter.) No, the sex and accidents correlation is strong, but it’s not causal per se.
On the other hand, what we do know from the study is that while people who have had sex in a car do not like their car any better than people who have not, they do enjoy driving significantly more. They also spend more time in their car, carry more items with them, and interestingly, have a tendency to have other people with them in the car more often than others, which eased my mind about what they’re actually doing.
So, when you’re looking for causes, don’t get caught making bad decisions because of correlations in your data.
And for the record, a full 4% of people preferred “not to answer” the sex questions. Hmmm. . . makes you wonder what they were doing.
It’s that time of year: the air gets a little cooler, the leaves take on hues of red and gold, and suddenly you realize – there’s only three months left before the end of the year!
Don’t panic. And don’t waste your precious budget dollars.
Instead, follow these three steps to put that money to work for you and your company:
- Review Your Objectives
The first thing I always recommend is to pull out your strategic objectives and go through them again. What did you want to accomplish at the beginning of the year? What haven’t you addressed yet? What can you still do that will help you meet those objectives? Always look for the best way to apply your budget to benefit your brand.
- Look at Your Wish List
When I served as Director of Consumer Strategy and Insights for Pepsi-Co’s Frito-Lay, I used to keep what I called a “Lark File.” It was a file folder where I saved articles about cool ideas for research projects that I wished I could do someday, when I had the budget. If you have a few projects you’ve always wanted to do because they sounded fun and awesome, maybe now is the time to make them a reality.
- Select the Right Partner
Carefully select a research partner. You want a company that is:
Strategic: Focused on finding smart ways to get the most out of your time and dollars
Versatile: Skilled in a wide variety of methods
Flexible: Capable of making changes quickly
Nimble: Able to work within your company’s accounting parameters
With a bit of careful consideration, you can extract the most learning out of your remaining funds before the new year rolls around.