12 Actionable Tips from the 2014 MRA Corporate Researcher’s Conference

By Kathryn Korostoff

CRCThe MRA’s Corporate Researcher’s Conference (CRC) was full of great sessions and first-class attendees. And I came home with a pile of business cards that are covered with scribbled down notes for follow-up. If you didn’t make it to CRC this year, here is a sampling of my notes from this 2.5 day event.

  1. Sally Hogshead: High performers tend to specialize & tend to over-deliver in one area. I find this to be true, though she said it more articulately than I ever have.
  2. Sally Hogshead: Successful brands know how they are different and what they do best. They avoid the “all things to all people” trap.
  3. Adam Cook, Pilot Media: Watch Moneyball—it has lots of lessons for market researchers who want clients to take bold action with research results
  4. Adam Cook: metaphors and analogies (especially from pop culture) resonate with an audience, helps them see why your results are relevant.
  5. Stephen Paton, AGL (Australia): people experience a dopamine effect when they find out they are right. So research reports that confirm what they know will always feel better.
  6. Stephen Paton: the importance of social norms to change behavior. As a utility, AGL added data on electricity usage so people could see how their usage compares to neighbors’ usage. Goal: get them to reduce usage.
  7. Stephen Paton: 3 steps to applying Behavioral Economics:
    1. What is the behavioral challenge?
    2. Which BE concepts might be involved?
    3. Select appropriate response.
  8. Roddy Knowles, Research Now: Current data on survey completion rates by client type:
    1. Desktops: 76%
    2. Tablets: 70%
    3. Smartphones: 59%
  9. Research Now on mobile surveys: avoid questions that offer multi-response. Participants unlikely to select more than 1 item on mobile devices.
  10. Darcey Merriam, Adobe Systems: to engage clients, use language they like. For example, for a while she used the language of “lean” because the company culture was focusing on the lean start-up concept.
  11. Adobe presenter on how to do great research with a small department
    1. Do projects where there are specific hypotheses to test
    2. Data collection using “crowdsourced” panels (uses Mechanical Turks to recruit panelists!!)
    3. New tools. Example: UserTesting.com
    4. Let internal colleagues do qual research, involve them in the process. And gives them tools to determine if they should go “DIY” or work with the MR department.
  12. Michael Carlon of Hall & Partners & Joe Indusi of Research2Video: Videotaping in-depth interviews (IDIs)? Three great tips:
    1. When the participant gives an amazing sound bite, wait 3 seconds before asking the next question. This gives the video editor room to work with.
    2. If doing in-home research, be sure to take some outside shots. Gives nice context. Example: a study on couponing, some of the homes were clearly expensive—yet the residents are passionate about couponing—revealing a great insight.
    3. Screen out dog owners. Dogs bark. Perhaps especially when strangers are in the house.

For more CRC Session summaries also see:

  • Paul Long’s great article on DISH Network’s shift to a market research-friendly culture.
  • Annie Pettit’s live blogging on the Roddy Knowles’ presentation caught even more mobile research tips here.   And for laughs, check out the selfie Annie took of us, where I look like I had had waaaay too much coffee.

 

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