Happy Holidays & Market Research Wishes

All of the well wishes we give and receive this time of year has me thinking.  From a market research context, what am I wishing for everyone in the new year?

  • May you win a cool gift at the next industry conference
  • May all of your research reports be error-free
  • May all of your charts be clearly labelled
  • May your clients be kind and your suppliers reliable
  • May you have time to test new market research methods
  • May you have time to read industry journals at least once a month
  • May you have time for training and learning in various forms
  • May you hear clients (whether internal or external) comment, “What amazing insights! I’m going to use this information right away!”
  • May you have time for music and merriment!

Happy Holidays!


A Razzie Award for Online Surveys?

Hollywood has the Razzies, an awards program where “winners” get a golden raspberry award for categories such as “worst film”, “worst actor”, “worst actress” and so on. 

Maybe online survey research needs the “Sazzies”, the Survey-Razzies? We can create awards for “Most onerous” or “most annoying” survey designs. Or how about, “Most spelling errors” or “Poorest chance of meeting intended goals”?

So what do you think? And what should the award be? Perhaps a golden lemon?


Market Research Holiday Fun

Before everyone scatters for the holiday season, I’d like to share a little market research fun. And what’s more fun than a crossword puzzle? I have crafted a market research crossword puzzle; it was fun to make, and I hope you enjoy it.


  1. Click here: KK’s Puzzle
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see your options (you can print out or fill in online)
  3. You can also make your own puzzle and share it!

I hope everyone has a safe & relaxing holiday season. It’s been a pleasure working with so many of you this year, and I am looking forward to 2011.

Happy holidays!


My Totally Unofficial, Brutally Honest 2010 TMRE Awards

Best Speaker: Dawn Lacallade from ComBlu. For content, delivery style and just being so refreshingly honest.

Most (delightfully) unexpected content: Kelley Styring’s presentation on the One-armed Dove Hunt, which is a core piece of research for her current project, “The One-handed World.”

Most amusing: This award goes to the Shopping Track. Apparently, research on shoppers is a rather slippery topic; I heard contradictory data from 3 Shopper Track speakers. I won’t name names. But I sat in on 3 sessions in this track, and the speakers all eagerly shared convincing data—that was inconsistent with each other.  Has list-based shopping gone up or hasn’t it? Are lists important or is it a myth? I have no idea.

Most embarrassing: A certain professor espousing on the wonders of MaxDiff for needs-based segmentation models had two major, factual errors about MaxDiff in his presentation. Ouch!

Best Keynote: Jonah Lehrer.  This was tough, as I liked some of the others too…but I have to be honest and say that Jonah’s was most filled with aha’s for me. Either that, or he hypnotized me with his ceaseless pacing back and forth through his entire speech.

Most Frustrating: The San Diego Bayfront Hilton. This is the second market research conference I have been to at this facility in the past year or so. Note to all market research conference organizers: avoid this facility until they fix the g*d d*mn WiFi access in the meeting rooms. ALL meeting rooms must have WiFi.

Most Disappointing: Transaction triggered email surveys hailed as an innovation. Really? Innovative? Um, haven’t these been around for years? Sure, lots more organizations could use them that haven’t done so yet, but innovative? No.

Nicest Keynote Speaker: Isn’t Richard Thaler, Co-Author of Nudge, just the nicest genius you ever met? Great speech, wonderful anecdotes…and just so nice about it. And he TOOK QUESTIONS. None of the other keynotes did.

Most Useful Insights about Technology: Chris Anderson, Author of “Free: The Future of A Radical Price,” “ The Long Tail,” and Editor of Wired magazine. His talk about the “closed” Internet and tablet computers was excellent. And while I am not sure I agree with all of his conclusions, I appreciate a well thought-out presentation that inspires new ideas. See my lengthy review of his keynote here: LINK.

Most Abused Topic: Market Segmentation. I attended two of the sessions on segmentation. One was from an agency that showed an approach that struck me as bizarrely inactionable. Maybe it was just intended to showcase that they are good at analytics? I’m stumped. One of the things I know about segmentation is that if you want clients to actually use the model, it needs to be clear and understandable. Not complex and convoluted. The other segmentation session is a headscratcher—see my detailed review of it here: LINK. In contrast, the best segmentation case study I saw while at TMRE was actually one where segmentation was more of a sub-topic; it was in the session “Systematically building strategic insights into the decision-making process,” by Jeff McKenna from CMB and Becky Alseth of Avis Budget Group. The information Jeff presented on the Avis segmentation research was clear and credible. For my review of that session, click here: AVIS.

Kudos to IIR for a Great Show

Overall, TMRE was well worth the time. Booth traffic looked good, most of the sessions were quite good, and the quality of the Keynote speakers was excellent.  The ratio of client side folks to suppliers was the best I’ve seen at a show all year (others were far too skewed to suppliers). I even liked the corny emcee guy—he always made me laugh. The TMRE staff were all great and helpful—an excellent team (note to IIR: all of these people deserve raises for their hard work and excellent attitudes!).

So did I miss any other awards? What award would you like to give for TMRE 2010?

And a tangent…

Just one little thing I’d like to see different at the next TMRE:

A Daily paper. Yes, we want to think everything is digital. But I spoke with many people who said, “A blog? Really, there’s a show blog?”  This is totally selfish (since I’d love to think that everyone at the show was reading my articles), but it might be helpful to pass around a daily show paper with highlights from the blogs, reminders about where lunch will be, etc. Yes, I know, not very green of me…but even a one-page paper might be useful.

Links to all of my TMRE posts:

Dan Heath keynote review:

Avis session review:

On Social media and sampling:

My review of Chris Anderson’s speech:

Me being a little too blunt on my own blog?


Letter to Client-side Researchers

In various blogs and discussion sites, you may have noticed a recent spate of generalizations from some researchers which seem to imply that all in-house research is “DIY”, and that all DIY research is poorly done. Obviously, implying that all in-house research is “bad” is as ridiculous as asserting that all agency-led research is “good.” (Anyone recall a survey that circulated in some research-related groups just a few weeks ago from a “professional” agency? Now that was bad).

So why is this happening? Unfortunately, not everyone deals well with change. Indeed, we all know from experience that change can be painful and scary.

For some researchers, the momentous changes occurring in the wonderful world of market research are troubling—especially because so many directly impact client-supplier dynamics. Old “rules” about who does what, when and how no longer apply. Of course it isn’t surprising that we are seeing a rise in in-house research. In-house researchers have access to more tools and skills than ever before. And at the same time, other shifts are reducing the role of traditional agency offerings. For some agency-side researchers, these are big, scary, uncomfortable kinds of change.

So to client side-researchers who may be appalled at some of the comments and sarcasm about DIY research, please know that most agency-side researchers do understand that there is a continuum of research quality that exists in both the client and agency sides of the research realm. Most suppliers are constructively looking at the changes taking place, seeking out new opportunities to evolve methods and business practices.

But if you do run into researchers who seem to have forgotten that all client and agency-side researchers are ultimately on the same team, feel free to send them this as a nudge in the right direction: