Blurring The Lines In Market Research

This week Lenny Murphy talked with our own Jill Chiara about the newest Technographics® offering, Community Speaks. This particular project take the trends we're seeing in our Technographics data and explores them qualitatively in our MROC. The result is a rich understanding of current consumer technology trends.I’ve been working on this project with other Forresterites for some time now, and I’m very excited about the final product because to me, it really symbolizes the future of market research (MR): combining the best of different methodologies to get at true insights.

The great thing about this change that’s occurring within the market research industry is that the boundaries that once existed between qualitative and quantitative research are beginning to deteriorate. In fact, the most successful researchers (and research companies) will be those that can identify the most important and most valuable aspects of each methodology-whether it's qualitative or quantiative, online, offline, or mobile- and blend them together. The fast-moving acquisitions within market research show just how important this melding of data is. People have finally taken note that a one-dimensional understanding of consumers is not okay and businesses are putting money up to support this realization.

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What Happens To Our Traditional “Crutches” As We Adopt New Methods?

I have been chipping away at a unique research project for quite a few months now. This particular project has me diving into a data set comprised of respondents who have taken our Technographics® mail surveys for the past four years. My plan is to examine the technology behaviors and attitudes of these individuals over time, exploring things like how they adopt technology and how their attitudes change (or don’t change). While the exercise is challenging, and at times utterly maddening, it got me thinking about the role of trending and other traditional research approaches in the world of “new” market research (MR). Referring to trend lines created in quantitative surveys has been a staple of traditional market research, and benchmarking one year’s numbers over another is a must-have in any report. But do these traditional research activities still fit into the world of new MR? And if so, how? For instance:

  • What happens to trending? New methods such as social media monitoring don’t lend themselves to trend lines and cohort analysis very well yet. Does this mean we need to pivot our thinking away from leaning on trends to “normalize” our data? Or do we need to establish new benchmarks?
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Youth Research And 21st Century Market Insights

This week I’ve been busy at our Marketing Forum having some amazing conversations with phenomenal market insights professionals. These conversations have centered on how we can move the piecemeal research we’re doing now to research that really helps understand consumers more completely. As consumers entrench themselves in a 360-degree experience with companies, it becomes more important that we understand them as 360-degree consumers. Anyone who deals with researching young consumers already knows how important this is, and there are lessons that youth research can teach us in general. For example:

  1. We can’t be afraid to try new methods or meld old methods in new ways. Sometimes we wed ourselves to a particular method at a particular time and for a particular purpose. We resort to our arsenal of tried and true approaches and feel limited by the methods that others within the company have bought into. Researching young consumers forces us to think outside the box about everything from question wording and type to selecting new methodologies. There’s no reason the same can’t (and shouldn’t) be done for general consumer studies. What we need to do is step back and consider what would really help us understand the consumers we’re trying to research and then devise a research plan that matches that need. It sounds basic (and is), but oftentimes we get stuck in a rut of how research is always done and forget to take that first important step.
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Youth Research At Marketing Forum 2011: A Glimpse Into 21st Century Market Insights

As my colleague Tamara Barber mentioned, we are in full countdown mode to our Marketing Forum 2011, to be held April 5 and 6 in San Francisco — only four weeks to go! For me, the weather isn’t quite the draw it is for Tamara (I’m based in Denver, and we’ve had some very nice spring weather as of late). But I’m very excited about two things. First, the ocean views (this is what I miss most about the East Coast, and I need to soak up the sight of the ocean any chance I get). Second, the content we’ll be unveiling over the course of the two days, three if you count the Market Insights Council sessions on Monday. These days are going to be jam-packed with fabulous speakers , so many that I’m glad I still have four weeks to figure out how I’m going to fit them all in!

Of course, I’m partial to the sessions that we’ve created just for Market Insight professionals. And even more partial to my session: “What Can Youth Research Teach Us About 21st-Century Market Insights?”Throughout our sessions, we’re exploring the future of market insights, and what better way to dive into the topic than to examine researching the very consumers who are companies’ futures?

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A Little Holiday Cheer From Our Team To Yours

Amidst all the craziness that the end of the year can bring, it’s always refreshing to take time out from the madness and enjoy something a little more light-hearted. So, in reflecting on the mixed bag of craziness and joy that is the holidays, we’re dedicating our holiday blog to market researchers everywhere. Hope you are enjoying this holiday season with some quality moments with your family and friends.

We present to you: eight ways market research feels like the holiday season all year long:

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For Consumers, TV Vs. The Internet Isn't An Either-Or Question

Our post last week on consumers’ reported TV and Internet consumption has attracted a lot of attention.[i] The data behind the annual report we published on the topic is fascinating in the trends it reveals on how consumers perceive their interactions with media outlets.[ii] While this report is dedicated to understanding consumers’ changing online and mobile behaviors, the data behind this report also lends itself to a conversation centering around the changing landscape of consumers’ media behaviors.

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US Consumers Now Report Spending Equal Time With TV And The Internet

 There was a lot of buzz last week about Procter & Gamble’s decision to move spend away from TV soaps and daytime dramas and toward digital channels. And our most recent report (our annual look at consumers' online behaviors), published today, supports this trend. For the first year ever, the average time US consumers report spending online is the same that they report spending watching offline TV. While Gen Yers have been spending more time online than watching TV offline for a few years now, this is the first year for Gen Xers. And Boomers now report spending equal time for both. Of course, Seniors Boomers still report spending most of their media time offline.

The data we present in this most recent Technographics® report is self-reported, so the metrics aren’t the same as those you’d see from a Nielsen or comScore. But, the data tells a very important story that is coming directly from the mouths of consumers: They now see themselves splitting the time they spend with offline and online media at least equally. The other interesting piece to this media use puzzle is that, looking over time, this change hasn’t come as a result of a drastic decrease in the time consumers are spending with their TVs. Rather, the change is due to the explosive growth in the time consumers are spending online.

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From Creativity To Technology: Insights From The Market Research Event

Two weeks ago marked the annual IIR Market Research Event. TMRE, as it’s fondly called, has been my favorite MR event for a few years now, and this sentiment was echoed by almost every attendee I spoke with on-site and off. If you haven’t attended this event in the past, you should put it on your radar for next year (which happens to be at Disney World). Not only are there great presentations (like my own on aligning segmentations with newer research methodologies : )) but also tons of great people attend. My favorite part of the conference is sitting down with vendors and client-side MR professionals alike and hearing what’s on their minds at the moment. In fact, a lot of these conversations have served as great fodder for our annual MR predictions doc, which will be released next month; for last year’s, clients can click here. My only regret is not having enough time to connect with everyone! If you missed any of the content or goings-on of the event, TMRE has posted links to all the great blogging that was done over the course of the event.

Overall, I left with a few major impressions:

  • We are a great group of professionals! Everyone at the conference was so passionate about MR, its current state, and what lies ahead. Every conversation I had was infused with excitement about the possibilities for MR and MR professionals in the near future. Whether it was those of you excited for the additional research you’ll be doing with new DIY tools or those of you embarking in startups for new methodologies, everyone is eagerly awaiting 2011.
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The Latest Global Social Media Trends May Surprise You

Two and a half years ago, Forrester introduced Social Technographics®, a way to analyze people’s social technology behavior. Today, we want you to take a moment and think about the uptake of social media in your company. Ask yourself the following question:

From the following list of statements, please select where your company stands with social media. (Please choose all that apply)

  1. My company currently has a social media strategy.
  2. My company is thinking about developing a social media strategy.
  3. My company is trying to defend why we don’t have a social media strategy.
  4. My company is currently trying to understand what social media is.
  5. None of the above.
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Examining Consumers and Technology: The 2010 US Benchmark Data Report

Yes, we did it again: Hot off the presses, I’d like to present our annual State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark Data Overview report . If you need to know anything about consumers and technology, then you need to read this report!

As usual, we’ve analyzed the newest installment of our consumer benchmark survey and updated the numbers on everything from mobile Internet adoption to home network proliferation. In fact, most anything related to consumers and their use of and interest in technology can be found in these pages!

In this year’s report, we segmented consumers by generation, examining Gen Y, Gen X, Younger Boomers, Older Boomers, and Seniors. This view provides some very interesting and actionable consumer insights into how technology behaviors vary across generations. Which devices are Gen Xers more likely to own? Who’s spending the most money online? How are Boomers engaging with mobile? All these questions are addressed throughout the report. The graphic below shows, for example, how the generations compare across mobile adoption.

A few other interesting general insights we uncovered:

  • Gen Yers live and breathe a digital social life. In almost every online or mobile behavior, Gen Yers lead the adoption curve. To these consumers, digital is the norm. About two-thirds update or maintain a profile on a social networking site, which for them is a way to facilitate all social aspects of their lives
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