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On July 15th at The ARF, we caught lightening in a bottle. A dozen industry leaders met to discuss how to listen to the naturally occurring conversations of consumers via blogs, search, etc. and wound up beginning a journey that will transform the research function and the marketing organizations they serve. Researchers becoming the new rock stars?! If we inspire the organization based on a willingness to hear the unexpected from consumers, absolutely!

The ARF plans a two-step to point the industry down this path:

1—AdWeek (Sept 22nd). A two hour introduction to the subject of listening during AdWeek, moderated by Jonathan Carson of Nielsen Online (includes Buzzmetrics).

2—Thinkshops (Oct 29th). We plan a full day Thinkshop entitled, “Transforming Research: Are You Listening?” You will hear a call to action and case histories from Procter, General Mills, Unilever, among others that will change the way you think about the future of research.

I would love to “listen” to your thoughts on this subject. Welcome to the revolution!


8 Responses to “Transforming Research: Are You Listening?”

  1. Hey Joel.

    The July 15 session was truly revelatory and transformative, and I look forward to participating as this revolution permeates the advertising and marketing research communities. So I’ve just registered for both these events.

    I’ll be listening carefully…



  2. Very excited to be a part of this Joel! Wonderful to see ARF taking a leadership position on these big issues.


  3. Joel Rubinson

    all I’m doing is shining a bright light on what you and some others have created. You’re the rock star and I’m the roadie!

  4. […] First, let’s put this comment in context. I am reacting to a post by Joel Rubinson, the chief research office for the ARF, on his blog, CRO-ing About Research. The post is titled, "Transforming Research: Are You Listening?" […]

  5. joel

    Hi Nigel–
    I’m glad you commented on my blog posting. I do not mean to imply that survey research is not useful, only that we have this incredibly rich stream of data that comes to us in an unfiltered way. We hear new phrases, we see sensitivity in the change in quality and quantity of comments in response to marketing initiatives and political events…etc, etc. This is useful stuff! HOW it gets integrated into traditional research still needs to be fleshed out and the ARF plans a serious initiative. You are welcome to join us, as you were invited to the meeting on July 15th. it was an amazing meeting. It received comments like Artie Bulgrin (research director at ESPN) saying it changed the way he thinks about the future of research. I know we’re onto something important. You’re an industry innovator, I invite you to help us!

  6. Josh


    I recently found out about your work (from an interesting Ad Age article), and I think you might be interested in some of the work we’re doning here at Wharton on tapping into and leveraging natural conversation. We’ve focused mostly on mobile but our work applies to most mediums. Let me know if you’d be interested in talking further.



  7. Joel Rubinson

    Hi Josh–
    Yes, I’m interested. please contact me via

  8. Hi Joel – I’ve been following the recent push of ARF toward more “listening” approaches, I am glad that the industry is catching up… I’ve been preaching “listening” for a while on my “” blog and I am glad to see that the ARF is psuhing the industry to relate to a research pardagim change, I would have love being in NY on October 29th but might not be able to… So keep in going…I think that beyond “passive listening” or netnography there are many other ways to listen even from the traditional survey based questions where the question is not any more to ask only but really to better listen I call this “active listening”…
    Below a post back in 2006…on the topic:

    I will be happy to connect and discuss further, thanks