Thoughts from ARF: Rethink 2013 — It’s Time To Stop Talking And Start Doing

 

If you read my blog regularly, it should come as no surprise that I am an ardent fan of using mobile devices — whether mobile phones or tablets — for market research purposes. I have discussed how consumers are already forcing our hand into the world of mobile and that market insights professionals are not conducting mobile market research but instead are conducting market research in a mobile world.

Given this, I was both delighted and dismayed when attending this year’s ARF Re:think 2013 conference. Why was I delighted? There was a marked increase in the number of talks that focused on the role mobile plays — whether as a research technique or how it plays a significant role in consumers’ lives. Of just the talks I attended, which were a lot, almost 60% of them discussed the role of mobile. And a lot of these “mobile” talks were in the main track session. Talking with colleagues who attended last year, it’s clear that mobile has definitely moved front of mind compared with ARF Re:think 2012.

But I was dismayed that it was still just talk, talk, talk. At the conference, I was surrounded by tablets and smartphones, and people were using them all the time. And while we’re living this mobile life, we’re listening to speeches telling us how we need to start thinking about the role of mobile. Dare I say that we need to do a bit more than just thinking at this point in the game? We clearly have to get our act together soon.

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Galaxy S 4 Launch Reveals Samsung's New Market Position

At Samsung's New York City launch event for its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S 4, the company continued the "thumb in Apple's eye" approach that has characterized its marketing campaigns of the past six months. Apparently using the same time machine that every other smartphone and tablet OEM employs to transport us back to the PC market of the late 1990s, Samsung revealed to attendees (and gobs of live blog observers) the usual deluge of tech specs that — for some unfathomable reason — populate the initial paragraphs of every device review: 8 core processor, 13 megapixel camera, 5 inch AMOLED display…

BO-RING! Every Android phone and tablet maker touts these specs because CPUs, image sensors, and displays are the rapidly evolving technology waves that they ride and where most of their evolution resides. To be fair, Apple too is quick with its own spec comparisons, but because Cupertino controls the entire platform from hardware to OS to APIs to cloud and other services, they have a much greater playing field on which to innovate.

With Samsung staking out its ground as Apple's foremost competitor, the Galaxy S 4 and its launch event reveal several insights into the state of this competition today:

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So, You Think You Can Disrupt?

If you’ve turned on reality television lately (and I’m sorry if you have), you have seen a lot of overconfident folks who think highly of their ability to cook, sing, model, dance -- whatever -- when in actual fact most of them stink. The spectacle of these shows comes from watching to see if these people ever accept the painful gap between their perceived and actual abilities. 

From data we have just published today in a new Forrester report, Assess Your Digital Disruption Readiness Now (client access required), it turns out that digital disruption is like reality TV in at least this one way: There is a significant, even painful, gap between how ready some executives think they are to engage in digital disruption and the actual readiness of the enterprise. 

This disparity rears its ugly head at a crucial time. As Forrester principal analyst James McQuivey has recently written in his book Digital Disruption, digital disruption is about to completely change how companies do business. Digital tools and digital platforms are driving the cost of innovation down to nearly zero, causing at least 10 times as many innovators to rush into your market while operating at one-tenth the cost that you do. Multiply that together and you face 100 times the innovation power you did just a few years ago under old-fashioned disruption (see figure). 

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