A Cynic Ponders at the AMA Research Summit #AMAresearch #MRX


Over the last day and a half, I’ve listened to a number of speakers at the AMA Research and Strategy Summit in Las Vegas. Some of them made me ponder and rethink what I thought I already knew. Here are just a few my take-aways.

  • A number of presentations showed videos of in-depth interview with target consumers. On the one hand, this is a really great way for back office people to internalize the consumer experience. When you don’t conduct the research yourself, it’s easy to lose focus of how real people feel about and use your product. On the other hand, those videos are an overt reminder of how participating in research changes how you view products. When we make people think deeply about their product opinions, we cause them to create opinions that they didn’t have to begin with. People don’t often think about products in deep ways. We make those thoughts happen. And that’s just not an honest and valid opinion.
  • If you do not know what success looks like, don’t waste your time and money conducting research. If you aren’t going to action the research results, don’t waste your time and money conducting research. Don’t waste mine either.
  • OstrichI found it shocking that 37% of marketers made no mention of financial outcomes when they defined ROI. People are in business to make money. If you can’t measure your outputs in terms of money, how are you in business? You’re not REALLY running a facebook page to grow engagement. You’re running a facebook page because it leads to money. Don’t fool yourself.
  • I do not believe for one second that consumers who use loyalty cards knowingly trade privacy for rewards. Consumers use loyalty cards to get rewards. End of story. At some point, some of them realize something else must be going on. Do they really know what is going on? Absolutely not. Don’t fool yourself.
  • Partnerships, schmartnerships. Vendors want a partnership. Clients want you to bug off. That’s a little harsh but how many vendors and clients TRULY have a partnership? One where each party shares 100% of all information freely,  immediately, and without being asked. Unless the vendor has an in-house seat at the client’s office, it’s likely not a partnership. It’s a business arrangement. I think most “relationships” are really just habits. Don’t fool yourself.
  • Researchers really need to stop trashing DIY. Do it yourself research is not inherently bad. If I used a DIY survey tool, it would be a DIY survey. But it wouldn’t be a crap survey generating crap results. However, if my brother used a DIY survey tool, it would generate crap results. The differentiator is skill and expertise, not the DIY part. If you want to hate, start hating people who write 60 minute surveys with 100 grid items and highly technical language. Wait a minute. Did that describe you?

Below are the live blog posts I wrote during the conference. If you see something you like, do get in touch with the speaker. I’m sure they’d be happy to share their slides. Enjoy!

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3 responses

  1. Placing a comment about reactive measurement first in your list is uncannily appropriate. How many researchers using invasive techniques (e.g., biometrics) include any assessment of how measurement may have altered response? In most cases, we assume that the phenomena under observation are basic or robust enough to withstand measurement without being changed in the process. How valid is that assumption, and who routinely takes the time and effort to assess it critically?

  2. Nice blog…

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