Marketing and Research Consulting for a Brave New World
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What were the hot topics in 2015 for marketing research? One barometer comes from over tens of thousands of page views of my content in 2015 and identifying which blog posts were “voted” as most important, treating each pageview as a vote.

The top ten for 2015 suggest the following research priorities for 2016…

  • Integrate and synthesize. Go beyond the survey…integrate digital and social data along with surveys and sales data into one data system.  Give your DMP a second purpose beyond media targeting…turn it into a fully loaded intelligence engine that you use to query insights out of. This will fundamentally change tracking and segmentation research.
  • Predict and act, going beyond insights and embrace the world of action.  Embed the insight into prediction equations of future share, equity, and which individual is most likely to respond to an ad exposure. This not only makes insights more useful, it validates that the insights are true.
  • Fix and trim stuff that has never worked well and where expenses are needlessly bloated…segmentation, concept testing, and brand tracking are top of the list
  • Move to “decision time” from slow and retrospective research systems.  Anything that is brand and campaign tracker-like really needs to be refreshed in close to real time to affect marketing tactics and improve ROI.  Strategic and foundational research can move slower because the cadence of such decisions does not demand real time.
  • Understand customer journeys that intertwine shopping and media behaviors and environmental exposures (e.g. seeing someone else use a product in public, walking past a store display) as a framework for fully integrated communications and experience planning

Here are my top ten blogs in 2015, starting with the most viewed…

What marketing research must do differently in a data driven age. Marketing research thinks it has always been data driven but it really has been study-driven in a data poor age. That won’t be good enough going forward. Market research must tap into the digital data deluge so insights have tactical relevance while keeping the brand strategic.

Why the insights value of digital data cannot be ignored (LinkedIn pulse blog). While a paid ad impression says that the consumer is interesting to the advertiser, digital data gives us something new…it reveals if the brand is interesting to the consumer.  The basis of always-on marketing and a new source of brand metrics.

The future of research by one of its agents of change (interview with Larry Friedman, recently retired CRO at TNS). The future of Mkt Research is to bring it beyond insights and into the world of action by using digital and social data and yes, still surveys.

Four new approaches to consumer segmentation in a digital age. Written two years ago, this is a perennial winner with over 3,000 shares! Traditional consumer segmentation is maddening because it is rarely actionable.  Here is how to fix this in a digital and social age. See the more recent companion piece to understand how your DMP can leverage your segmentation for more effective targeting.

Clients have unmet needs yet you can’t get a meeting (Advice from Joan Lewis, Former SVP Global CMK Procter). Dear suppliers: lead with your capabilities that stretch client thinking about possibilities…you have 15 minutes! Then, maybe then, if what you have is interesting, I will open up about my issues.

The 5 point purchase intention questions sucks, or does it? New product failure rates are unacceptably high but is it the fault of bad research or the media strategy? Can we use contemporary digital targeting approaches to concentrate efforts on those most likely to become triers?

Conclusive proof that social media predicts sales…now what?  Written last year but still going strong…a landmark study proves that social media data are quantitative and predictive, so now we must create research protocols to harness their full transformative power.

How do you build brand meaning in a digital age? Digital IS a brand building medium…IF you create valuable content and share your brand values as a force of attraction to encourage consumers to spend more time with your brand

One simple marketing metric? MASB and marketers need to keep looking The new MASB brand metric won’t make marketing better. Here is the preferred alternative

Marketing thinking fast and slow Despite the change in marketing from slow to fast decision making based on automation, algorithms, and data…most research teams are still operating as if it’s a slow world. Researchers must start reporting results in “decision time” (fast for tactical action, slower for strategy and foundational learning)

And one bonus, not a blog but a slideshare presentation: What behavioral economics can teach us about shoppers (Presentation given at IIeX Behavioral Conference, posted on Slideshare). How behavioral economics helps us to understand and influence shopper choice processes and outcomes.

Success in 2016 requires a foundational piece…you need to understand how the digital data ecosystem works to support marketing activities to begin exploring insights possibilities. It’s scary to some but I have created workshop materials that explain and demystify, helping to equip a number of insights teams via workshop materials that have positioned them for success in a digital age.

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