December 2012 Archives

Although this article doesn't necessarily relate to research as directly as other articles I have looked at, I felt this was somewhat refreshing. It provides a simple reminder that as essential and influential market research can be, sometimes it is still best to do what feels right.

"I remember getting quite a bit of criticism for my first Madonna cover, and it was, you know, 'She's not Vogue, and 'She'll never sell'. It was a little risky and it was up something extraordinary like 40% on the newsstands, so that was a eye-opener I think to all of us. ... I don't really follow market research and in the end I do respond to my own instincts," Vogue's Chief, Anna Wintour said according to Ad Age.

Someone once told me that if you have never failed, you haven't taken enough risks. Taking some risks in adverting, marketing, PR or any professional field may just be what sets someone or a particular brand apart. Research can do many things and is important for marketing decisions, but research can only do so much.

Bravo's Andy Cohen's Thoughts on Research

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Andy Cohen, exec VP-development and talent for Bravo, once said "We snort up research like fine Colombian Cocaine." Bravo makes sure that they know what their viewers are tuning into, as well as who its viewers are. Research has become a very important resource for television networks and stations. They can now be familiar with their audience, and know what they are watching and how to target them.

"I love Twitter because it's like a live focus group," Cohen said, according to Ad Age. I hadn't thought about social media in this way before, but it can be very similar. For example, when events like the elections or a premiere of a popular show occur, social media blows up. People are adding their commentary and have discussions with people through this online interface. It will be interesting to see how researchers use these sites in the future. They may become a very useful tool.

Deep See Research Firm

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Deep See Research is a research firm specializes in international consumer research including consumer research, advertising research, brand research, mystery shopping, social media research and marketing research. They have an established global network of offices, with researchers in just about every language.

This firm seems to specialize is online research from social media, to websites, to branding, etc. This is something I think that sets this firm apart from others. A lot of marketing and advertising messages are going online, so a firm that specializes will be very useful in the coming years.

Running in Reverse

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In a study published last year, researchers had a group of runners stride forward and backward at a steady pace along a track equipped with force sensors and cameras. They found that running backwards enables people to avoid or recover from common injuries, burn extra calories and sharpen balance. Specifically, 30 percent more energy than running forward at the same speed.

This was an excelled qualitative research study. It was researching to find information to explain the qualities and benefits running backwards can provide. It uncovered new insights and allowed for greater understanding of why and how backwards running is a beneficial way to mix up a work out.

This study used a online survey of over 3,000 women which revealed that women have a very instinctive way of thinking about shopping. Throughout the article it appear that the survey was successful in its goals to understand the thought-process of women in terms of their shopping patterns. Based off the survey results, the shopping mind-sets were broken out in the four different categories.

Although the questions were not shown in the article, it appears that they successfully were able to word the questions properly to get informational responses. They also appear to have gotten a very wide sample within the audience they were looking for, making their results more reliable and valid. With the large, random sample this information can be more generalizable of women as a demographic category.

This is a quantitative research study because it is looking to understand the extent of awareness beliefs, opinions and behaviors of women in terms of their shopping behavior. The finds are also generalizable to most women.

How Persuasion Works

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This article discusses the different tactics marketers (as well as, the general population) use to persuade. Through several new experiments, researcher Dariusz Dolinski of the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland found that when people were first presented with a highly unusual question initially, they will be more inclined to comply with the request that follows.

His methods of determining this information was through experimental research. One group would get a routine marketing survey, while another group was asked an unusual request. Those who were asked an unusual request were more inclined to accept a different request later on. From the sounds of it, the participants were not informed beforehand that they were part of an experiment, but to do so would likely affect the outcome of the study. Although this may be considered an ethical issue in some people's perspectives, I think it is morally sound as long as they are told at some point during the study - no one is being hurt by no knowing initially, but it is necessary that they be told.

Insomnia Is Linked To Trouble Sleeping

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In a recent issue of the journal, Sleep, a report was published which found that chronic insomniacs who woke up approximately 30 times a night on average was actually linked to respiratory problems. None of these chronic insomniacs had a any idea that their sleeping troubles was linked to a respiratory problem.

The article does mention that this study is in no way conclusive, because it included just 20 people and had no control group of normal sleepers to compare with. This article presents an excellent example of a study that wasn't necessarily reliable, but was valid. It presented consistent information among the few participants it did have, but because of the small group of participants and the lack of a control group the study was unreliable.

As the article mentions, although this study is not reliable or conclusive, its findings shouldn't be ignored. A follow-up study would provide an opportunity to uncover the reasons for these chronic insomniacs inability to sleep in a more reliable, controlled experiment.

This article discusses study surrounding the Millennial Generation and their perspectives on cause messaging. The study found that "when a cause message is linked to a brand in an authentic and today's most relevant way, it can gain the attention and respect of young people today."

Although their findings and the purpose of the study is surrounding cause messaging, the majority of this article is about the millennial generation as demographic. It goes into explicit detail of who this generation is and how they can be marketed, as well as how they compare to other generations.

The method of research for understanding the Millennials was through a survey, though the specifics of the execution or question style are not described. What can be inferred is that this was a Quantitative study, looking to generalize this generation as a certain demographic. This study is used to understand the extent of awareness, beliefs, opinions and behaviors of the Millennial generation.

Carlson Student Survey

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A more informal research opportunity was presented to me recently be a Carlson student here at the University of Minnesota. This particular survey was about coffee consumption, more specifically consumption of coffee from outside sources (i.e. Starbucks, Caribou, Dunn Bros. etc.). It was presented to me when it was sent out over my sorority list serve. This where my major critique lies.

Although this is great convenience sample and an excellent way to reach a large number of people, the sampling is going to be very biased. All the girls in the sorority are of a very similar, very specific demographic. This being: Female college students, ages 18-22, the majority being Caucasian, and in a sorority.

The questions were also no effectively worded, and many were often leading. For example, one asked something along the lines of what it your favorite coffee place? And, provided the standard Starbucks, Caribou and Dunn Bros, but failed to recognize that some people may prefer home-brewed or a local café.

Small Change Inspires Healthier NYC Teens

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This case study by AMP Agency discusses a campaign to motivate teens to develop healthier eating habits. Through observation and research, AMP was able to uncover what NYC teenagers were currently eating and how to effectively advertise their message.

AMP set up in-person discussion groups, as well as shadowed teens for a day. Through this observation of teenager, researchers were able to see and better understand the food options teens were served and the decisions they were making throughout the day.
AMP also has students create their own advertisements, which allows AMP to get an understanding of how to advertise to this demographic.

I would say that this particular study was qualitative research. AMP was looking to gain a better understanding of the audience they were targeting. Qualitative research allowed the researchers to better understand motivations and emotions related to NYC teenagers' decisions.

This research was well executed, ethically sound and was able to develop the findings needed to target this particular demographic.

The Unsolved Mystery of Why You Just Yawned

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I chose this article surrounding research of yawning simply because I found it very interesting. To start, I had never really thought too much into why we yawn or its purpose, but after reading this article it is certainly interesting to wonder.

One area of the article talks about the contagious quality of yawning. Specifically, It mentions that it is even suggested that simply reading an article about yawning can trigger the reflex. Throughout the article, I found that I was yawning more than I had been.

Although this article didn't really dive into any sort of research methods or logistics nor did it really establish any sort of concrete results, this article provided a reminder that even with all the research out there, there is still much more to be done.

Gifting & Regifting

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With the holiday season in full season, this article in The Wall Street Journal is very timely. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers found that thoughtful gifts don't necessarily lead to greater appreciation. The benefit of a thoughtful gift actually is related to the giver, who derives a feeling of closeness to the other person.

This article also discusses regifting. According to a different study regifting isn't necessarily as offensive as anticipated by most. According to the research apparently the original giver of the gift isn't likely to be offended is their gift is regifted. The study showed that people weren't bothered by a regifter regifting a gift they had given, because they generally felt the recipient was free to decide what to do with an item.

Although not many details are given about either study, it sounds as though the second was well executed. The article brief describes the study, and mentions that researchers conducted five separate experiments involving approximately 500 people, in bother real and imagined scenarios. This seem to be a very reliable way to attempt to research such a topic, and their sampling was substantial making the study more generalizable to the general public.

The Trouble with Background Noise

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This article featured in, The Wall Street Journal, discusses a current research study in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health elaborates on background noise and its effect on people's cognitive learning and unconscious physiological processes. The study showed that these background noises do have negative effect on people's cognitive learning.

One critique I would make about this article is that its audience was not random. They selected 59 Austrians in their mid-20s. This seems to be a pretty specific group of respondents. With the topic at hand, I would think that a more random sampling may show more generalizable findings.

Other than the sampling selection, I found this to be a pretty well-done research study in terms of its control groups and variables. The findings were very interesting!

My initial critique of this study resides in the main challenge. This challenge was described as "Obtaining feedback from hard-to-reach respondents on an ongoing basis to brainstorm new products, learn about attitude and usage, and uncover new insights." This is further elaborated to describe that engaging purchases of a specific sleep product can be difficult if done in an ad hoc environment, so having purchasers and purchase intenders pre-identified is essential.

Throughout the case study, this challenge is dominating (even included in the title). What I find interesting is nowhere in this written document does I mention, how their respondents were hard-to-reach. They appear to have a clear idea of who they intend to target, but it is unclear how these respondents are difficult to reach.

Another bizarre thing about this study was the results section. Here I was expecting to see how their respondents were feeling towards the company, but instead it starts with how the company saved on research costs. I'm not certain how this information is a result of the research or even necessary to include in this case study.

One last note was this document had a typo. They say: "Sleep Innovations® has expanded its planned research program, and done so by creating easy-to-use package testing survey templates that not only streamline the research process, bur provide consistent comparable results over time, with a database that is capable of tracking progress over time."
--In my opinion this greatly discredits this case study.

1. The Faces Marketers Need to Know Before Using QR Codes

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When looking for research news or articles this one, in particular, caught my eye. In several of my other classes in the Journalism school we have discussed QR Codes and whether or not they are effective. According to the information gathered by Chadwick Martin Bailey, there is a correlation between scanning a QR code and making a purchase. Apparently 1 of 5 people who scan a QR code, make a purchase. I have several critiques surrounding this research, mainly surrounding the lack of information provided in this brief article. It failed to mention how the information was attained, and really doesn't elaborate on the specifics of the survey, focus group, experiment, etc. that was used.
Also, the facts that they say "stood out" don't seem all that informational or useful, in my opinion. For example, 46% of those who've scanned a QR code did so because they were curious. It is unclear to me how this fact is beneficial or useful to a marketer. Another, 81% say they've seen a QR code, but only 21% knew what they were called. This just doesn't seem like it would provide too much insight on the usefulness of QR codes.
As the reading "Research with Legs" explained, research must "have legs," it must say something. In my opinion, this research didn't necessarily have legs.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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