Some recent events make me hopeful that major moves are afoot with enhancing panel quality.
Since the beginning of online surveys, there have been questions about how clean the online panels that enable them are. Questions abounded about representativeness, fraud, professional survey takers, inattentive survey takers and the like. The response from panel vendors has been that they have strong measures in place, and that the problems were overstated. Naysayers have claimed bad sample numbers that range from 20-30%. Buyer's of sample were largely in a "trust me" position, since most of the quality measures were in the hands of the panel vendor. Associations (such as ESOMAR and ARF), have come up with protocols that all good panels should follow, and many have.
Marketers don't think they're very good at measuring social media.
When my colleague Emily Riley asked marketers to
rate their ability to measure the impact of their social media
initiatives, the average grade they gave themselves was 4.5 out of 10.
Not a great score -- especially given that accountability is one of the
key selling points of interactive marketing. So I've spent a lot of
time this year trying to understand why marketers aren't good at
measuring social media -- and how they can do better.
Last week I co-hosted a session at Forrester's Consumer Forum on innovative research. John Kearon, CEO of Brainjuicer, lead a discussion with panel members Sion Agami from Procter and Gamble, Jan Angel from Altria and Bob Pankauskas from Allstate.
These three market researchers shared how introducing innovations to the research mix lead to additional insights and increased commitment from senior management. But it's not always easy. Some best practices they've shared with the audience:
Social networking, watching user-created video, and listening to user-created audio online are at the top of social media activities that youth engage in at least monthly. Data from our Technographics online US Youth survey shows that boys and girls use social media in different ways.
Girls favor communication activities, such as posting comments on other people’s profiles, commenting on blogs, and contributing to online discussion groups and they are also more active at maintaining their own blogs and Web pages.
For a new report I'm writing I'm looking into knowledge management and what this means for Market Research. Currently, in most market research department each survey is a standalone project and it's close to non-existent that results are analyzed across surveys or data sources for gathering insights and trends. On the other side of the house there are colleagues analyzing web statistics, DM and email marketing data, brand trackers, and CRM outcomes.
However, this set-up will no longer be acceptable in the future. Consumers connect with companies through different channels and leave their feedback about the company in different places. They expect companies to understand that and they dont want to be asked about things they already shared.
I am thrilled to welcome Augie Ray to Forrester! Augie is coming aboard as a Senior Analyst supporting interactive marketers and focusing on Social Computing. He's starting on November 15 and will be based in Forrester's Foster City offices (Augie is relocating from Milwaukee and eagerly anticipating the warmer weather!).
I've been the hiring manager for nearly a dozen positions at Forrester, and I've come to recognize a particular feeling when I'm talking to a special applicant. Sure, there are lots of people with strong CVs and interviewing skills. But a great candidate brings ideas to life, and the interview becomes a fun gallop through the world of marketing themes, customer behavior, and the craft of writing. My first conversation with Augie was exactly that.