Emerging Research Techniques in 2012

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Interestingly, I found this chart about projected use of research techniques for this year. One of the biggest pieces of news for this year is that there was to be massive growth of social media analytics, MROCs, data mining, mobile, and text analytics. This growth in some cases was almost double from projected usage for 2011.

What do you think about the projected usage? Do you think it lines up with research techniques that were actually used this year?


Juicing Brains

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...and reinventing market research.

You guys have to check out BrainJuicer, a maker research company that is truly trying to redefine market research for its clients.

At BrainJuicer, their purpose is to create innovative market research so that clients can better understand and predict consumer behavior. For the past 11 years, BrainJuicer has been experimenting to produce a set of tools they have dubbed their "Juicy Tools". They are a public company that strives to compete with larger research firms, but will not be bought out by them.

Check out what BrainJuicer is doing to reinvent market research today!

Children & Research: What Codes of Conduct are Being Used?

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Children as subjects of market research is always an extremely sensitive topic.

As new technologies are offering an increasing array of research tools, such as mobile apps and other digital products, researchers and research firms are continually faced with the question of how to ensure that children are able to participate in research in ways that exploit them in no way. Unfortunately there is no way to quickly and easily find answers as to what codes of conduct are acceptable when it comes to children.

I think that the key to ensuring that children's interest is always at the heart of market research is to always be engaging in an on-going discussion so that researchers can identify what the best practices are for children.

Check out more here.

Are Market Segments Like a Zoo?

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I found this picture, and it makes me question a lot about the ethics of market research. Are researchers always fair, is there always consent from subjects?

Or are researchers treating the subjects in their sample pools like zoo animals?

What do you think?

Interest in Pinterest?

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Who uses Pinterest? What activities and behaviors are they engaged in? What kinds of products are they "pinning"? Why?

Pinterest, a popular online "pinning" service and social network, has a unique demographic skew. Pinterest is the only major social network that is SO heavily female-driven. Amongst American women ages 18-44 engaged in social media, Pinterest is the third most widely used site, falling short only to Facebook and Twitter.

The Social Habit, a new social media research series from Edison Research, has recently released a stand-alone report called Pinterest Users in America 2012. This data provides more than 30 all-new, data-rich charts of data about the popular service, including the following:

  • Demographics
  • Comparative usage to other social networks
  • Impact of Pinterest on purchase behavior
  • How Pinterest browsers buy products seen on Pinterest
  • What types of products are pinned
  • Differential pinning reasons for 12 categories of products, including Food, Fashion, Gadgets, Travel and more

The report can be purchased for $99 here.

One individual asks the questions, and another individual answers them.

Successful surveys, much like successful conversations, have a natural flow and feel, according to survey company SurveyMonkey.

The two most important things to take into consideration when striving to create a fluid survey is question ORDERING and question PHRASING. Your questions should appear in an order that makes sense, and you need to make sure your questions are phrased in a conversational manner.

Check it out here.

The Smithsonian, one of the most prestigious public institutions in the world, has dipped its hand into the mobile game.

The Smithsonian consists of 19 different museums, as well as the National Zoological Park. As an extremely important educational and research institution, the Smithsonian had a desire to figure out just how mobile technologies could help it to flourish in the digital.

The Smithsonian led a mobile strategic planning effort in 2010 to find out exactly what it was that their audiences wanted from a more mobile experience. This extensive and extremely involved market research effort resulted in a full-blown plan for mobile strategy that the institution is wasting no time kicking off!

Check out exactly what the Smithsonian is implementing here.

Are you interested in how to conduct research on consumers using various tablet devices?

I was browsing around and found an interesting webinar being offered by QuestionPro, an online research company.

They are offering the webinar on December 18th. The webinar will focus on SurveryPocket, a mobile application offered by the company that aids in making online surveys offline compatible. Attendees will learn how to collect respondent data, both online and offline, using iPads or Android tablets. They will also feature a real success story from one of their clients, Dr. Cyrus H. McCandless of Merchant Mechanics. Dr. McCandless will discuss his experience with SurveyPocket and the results they have been able to achieve.

QuestionPro will also cover SurveyPocket's features, including 1-click sync, geolocation, mobile ethnography, video questions, audio questions, photo questions and signature questions.

To register for the webinar, click here.


It seems that a little market research was all it took for Starbucks to release it's newest and lightest coffee yet: the Blonde Roast. It's a personal favorite of mine.

Jeff Hansberry, president of Channel Development for Starbucks said in a press release that "StarbucksĀ® Blonde Roast is our answer to providing a premium lighter roast coffee to appeal to those who describe StarbucksĀ® signature roast as too intense. This new roast profile will allow us to increase our share of the brewed coffee market down the grocery aisle where a majority of coffee sales are in the light and medium roast categories. This segment of the market represents a $1 billion opportunity for the company in the U.S. alone."

Market research by Starbucks has shown that shoppers spend around 60 seconds making a decision about what coffee to buy while standing in the coffee aisle at the grocery store. Market research by Starbucks has also shown that about 25 percent of the shoppers who have been shopping for coffee leave the coffee aisle without making a coffee purchase.

Shoppers that ultimately give up on their search for coffee have given in market research several reasons as to why they do this: because the coffee isle of their grocery store is too confusing, or because they are just not able to find the type of coffee they are looking for at the time. After conducting this research, Starbucks' moved towards a strategy to package by roast type: dark, medium, and blonde. Starbucks' new system for packing coffees by roast type will be a benefit to those coffee shoppers who have been hindered by the confusing and often large selection of coffees, the qualities of which have been largely obscured -- until now.

Go pick up Starbucks Blonde Roast today. It's great, even if you like darker roasts, I still suggest trying it!

Snowballing: It will RUIN Your Work!

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According to Government Executive magazine, there are THREE bad research techniques that will ruin your organization's work and they all have to do with one thing: SNOWBALLING. According to the magazine, these three techniques are:

  1. Snowball Sampling
  2. Snowball Research
  3. Snowball Point-of-View
Snowball sampling is a research method in which you identify a group that you wish to study, and then ask members of the group to identify acquaintances to also join the study. Because of this, the sample group is no longer random. It does not represent the population at large. Without a completely random sample, a researcher will be unable to apply the results of their research to the population at large. The value of the research is completely diminished by this.

In a snowball research technique, a researcher may read an article, and then look at that author's sources. While a researcher can continue to find more and more sources using this technique, there are serious drawbacks. A researcher may be able to find a large number of sources, but the information can often be biased, and lead to serious gaps in results.

A snowball point-of-view, which is also known as confirmation bias, there is an extreme tendency for researchers to test their hypothesis using only positive examples, and not any negative ones. This means that researchers tend to use sources that agree with their hypothesis or argument, instead of listening to respondents that go against the hypothesis. This leads to a snowballed perspective and flawed outcome in research.

So remember people: Stay away from SNOWBALLS when it comes to research!!!