Live note taking from #IIeX in amsterdam. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
- The five stages of grief – you show us things we don’t we to hear, you make us question our sense of purpose, create a sense of loss for ourselves and our team, people go through denial as they read the results, it takes a while to accept the final results
- Mission statements are a call to action, be part of the change, have clear direction, creating a vision is less functional
- Define the problem you want to solve next year, create a team to act on a critical issue, don’t make people boil the ocean, get value this year so you can create a budget for next year
- Assess the ideal situation, work requires part of a person not a whole person and it’s expensive, find out where the data is, where the expertise is within your company
- Plan for a win, get results in 6 to 9 months minimum, don’t demonstrate technical competition yet, demonstrate value for the business within the budget timeframe
- Solve your mission problem with incremental wins
- Communicate, don’t communicate your wins or learning, also communicate what you can do better, help other people see other areas where they can contribute or add to your success
- Create the right environment, who is the lead – the CRO, CEO, or someone else, the spehere of influence is quite broad
- Its better to focus on learning how to improve things rather than asking questions that reflect your KPIs
- 46% of impressions are not viewable, this costs 1.6 billion pounds per year for UK companies
- What do people actually look at online, do they look at native as much as display advertising
- Infra-red eye tracking technology is available
- Eye tracking showed that people weren’t pay much attention to a text ad, indexed it to a penguin ad and you could see much more attention paid to the image ad versus the text ad, more people viewed, for longer time
- Only 35% of ads we purchase are viewed by people, only 9% of people look at them for more than one second
- This is low in comparison to traditional ads, press gets more views because there is no load time and it’s viewed longer, 40% look at the ads for more than one second, 2.2 seconds average for print
- But you cant just lift the print ad and use it is a a digital ad
- Ads aren’t always immediately viewable and sometimes they switch to a different ad immediately
- Viewable does not mean its being viewed
- Think like.a poster not like direct mail
- User cost per view, not cost per thousand
- Citigroup is over 200 years old
- Ingenuity has been art of their DNA
- Banking isnt just credit cards, it’s advising, investments, money transfers, bill payments
- The bank is the hub of people’s money but there our spokes coming out of it
- Half of millennials are already using financial tech solutions, 60% are happy with it, two thirds will use more going forward
- Only half of millennials would be happy if they only had financial tech, but the trend is similar for older people, B2B are the furthest behind but still want digital
- We can’t be all things to all people
- Six markers of progress makers – optimistic, driven, resilient, future focus, worldly outlook, generosity of spirit
- These come from motivations as people and how they view their lives, not just how they use banks
- They use communities, advisory boards, innovation labs around the world
Live notetaking at #IIeX in amsterdam. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
- What do people think about research – political polls, representativeness, big data, how slow research is
- What is real time research – can be from NOW to one week to complete, real time is related to historical timelines
- We need to be where the respondent is, need to ask less, engage more, connect more – keep surveys under 16 minutes and avoid dropouts, remember than mobile surveys take 10 to 20% longer to complete
- Let clients access data in real-time but tell them its preliminary, train clients and consultants to use a dashboard, have dashboards that switch between weighted and unweighted data
- People want to share opinions even if you don’t want to hear it or don’t agree with it
- #MRX is struggling to adapt to millennial user behaviour – longer questions are good for researchers but not for respondents
- Money is not a sufficient incentive
- An app that allows people to interact with each other, compare opinions, create polls and gather opinions is very engaging
- Ensure questionnaires are mobile optimized
- Do purchasers have emotions about steel? Of course they do. Emotion is involved with everything. Emotion isn’t just anger or disgust.
- Germans like to be funny not just measure efficiency. Being funner is teh container, the vehicle.
- Evolution made humans emotional, we used to be emotional about safety and now we’re emotional about product packaging
- Our consciousness is there just to get orders from our subconscious
- You can apply KPIs to emotions
- Our brains is very activated when we see brand names we recognize versus made up brands
- Our heart beats at different rates for different emotions, fear, trust, anger, skepticism, stress, relelvant, attraction, closeness [ask to see the charts, quite cool]
- You can feel trust and skeptisism at the same time
- [never occured to me to treat emotions as KPIs]
- People who though a zoo is safe even though a gorilla was supposed to have escaped assumed zoo handled the situation properly, these people read a certain type of newspaper
- Priming means setting you up to feel something, lead to a preference, lead to a purchase
- We could connect a gorilla to chocolate in a commercials, people who like one will like the other
- You can’t simply look at one aspect of an ad, you need conscious and unconscious effects
- people will say something looks good but their unconscious might be noticing the pretty lady on the side, if there is too much attention in the wrong place, then you have an issue
- The four Ps: primal, priming, preference, purchase
- People don’t think how they feel, and they don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they way
- We can map disgust in the brain as well as other emotions
- Funny ads engage the heart and the min
- Annoying ads evoke negative emotions and high attention
- Positive and negative mentions can impact sales an this is measureable
- Were able to match the results of the ad concept with the finished ad
This year’s overused image was the iceberg, two of which appeared in this track. And the second iceberg speaker chuckled over it as his slide appeared. Sorry Homer’s brain, you’re last year. 🙂
Live note taking at #IIeX in Amsterdam. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
The showcase is a collection of small companies used by Unilever.
- What is touchcasting
- [Speaker is now projecting himsel onto his slides using a green screen]
- Its the next best thing to being in a room with someone, use this to communicate with employees around the world
- [he’s choosing video from his screen and has removed himself from the big screen]
- Use for training, meetings, presentations
- Can use different backgrounds, put yourself in google maps, use a TelePrompTer on the screen, and this draws teh speakers eyes to the right place on the ipad
- Can use multiple camera angles by using an ipad and some iphones
- Can adjust the lighting yourself on the screen, can use filters like Instagram, can put titles on the screen
- Automatically creates multiple clips and then you can edit out your stumbles or miscues
- Unilever uses this because it lets you place content inside a presentation, video apps, documents, spreadsheets, polls, surveys, live social content, webpages, multiple videos can be shown at once
- Can be viewed on any device, tablet, phone, computer, you just need a modern browser
- It’s a container for long form content
- What do people say, see, and do when you aren’t there
- Do you go deep and small in scale and lack statistical accuracy? Many start small and qual and then go large and quant
- Don use surveys or panels, they use an app that anyone can download [isn’t that just a new kind of panel?]
- Request people to video a task the next time they do it – the laundry, the cooking
- You can google pictures on google but it wont be quite what you want, won’t be specific to your question
- They don’t put people in a room, a focus group, and interview. They have them engage during the usual task whether in a cafe or at home
- Ask people to log everything time they do something, a quick photo of the food or the situation, what emotion, what drivers, chat choices, snacks and meals are blurring
- Verify people with technology from native language speakers in the country, photos and videos are verified as real [by a researcher type of person not by traditional validation]
- Transcribe, translate, observations via machine learning
- You can recontact people based on their contributions
- They graduate people after two years and then people can’t provide consumer opinion anymore, they become retail experts [this is an excellent idea. Traditional panels should take note.]
- Majority of the planet is low income, they lack the basics in quality of water, food, housing, education, many deal with safety issues that researchers cannot overcome
- You can train young people within the communities to use handheld devices to do interviews, high quality data and they get information, products and services in return
- Unilever got huge surge in brand awareness, revamped their marketing messages, restructured distribution; communities increased their use in hand washing and increase in water treatment frequency
- In another project, they were able to correct the govts illness incidence rate which was four times higher than thought; realized they needed to use different words to describe the product because people didn’t understand the word
- This model creates work in unemployed areas, facilitates one on one conversation to create change
- Have done research in the USA as well, poor area where one third are obese, 14% have diabetes, and one third live under poverty line, highest morbidly rate in the area = we have emerging markets in our own backyard
- Could we increase their use of vegetables, where do they buy groceries
- Keeping research within the community increases response rates and engagement – locals talk to locals, builds trust and credibility, fosters opennes and deeper insights
- Creates a customer feedback loop, gives access to essential quality products and doorstep education [we need to build this into all the work we do, research for the greater good not just the greater buck]
- Find a partner and tell them something you are deeply passionate about [live demo after a brief sing. Now give that person a big hug.Yeah, don’t do this if you have a short shirt on. :)]
- “Who is Elvis” around here – who here is a brand, a maverick, breaks the rules [ha! Interesting concept!]
- We all have a bit of Elvis in us and business need this Elvis
- Help to drive a culture change, to deliver more ideas and partner better to make change happen
- You can’t think yourself to get ten out of ten, you need to take a creative leap
- You need to be more confident, bring passion, bring more of yourself
- Find the people who can impact colleagues on a day to day level
- People will always try to make you be more professional, be more of what other people want you to be, socialize to norms, emulate the leaders, lose touch with your unique and specialness
- Where do you have your best ideas [when i go for afternoon walks to take a break from work]
- Best ideas come when we realize or when we have fun
- People are good with the thinking part but less so the feeling part, people often do 80 percent thinking and twenty percent feeling for personal decisions but it’s more fifty fifty for business decisions
- Do you do the same thing every single day? That’s not insightful, need to adjust as appropriate
- [now instructed to make the best paper airplane you’ve ever made, people ripping out paper now}
- Would you change your design the next time? [everyone says yes] We just make it real and do it everyday and thenwe apply what we learned to the next time.
- We spend much of our lives on auto-pilot, same route to work every day, same dish at the restaurant every time, same side of the bed every time, we are creatures of habit and auto-pilot kicks in, not attuned to the uniqueness of the situation
- Need to learn how to wake up, need to have a clear intention for it
- Participation within TV shows is very different – family feud slogan is survey says and people try to predict answers of a random crowd, participates one way, it’s transactional, nothing matches among episodes, people give out nouns
- Whose line it is anyways – contestants interact with each other, create experience real time, topics may return in later parts of the show, its songs and action as and dance
- Hard to co-create with a mob, communities are good for a insights, but active creatives are even better
- Active creators are hard to identify
- Participation depends on the channel, the time, and need to be aware of this when you use it for predictive purposes
- Worlds first fully automated restaurant “Eatsa” everything is done by robots and self service, people took a survey and got a free lunch there, focus group of food and preferences, vegan or gluten intolerant, got invited back numerous times and were talking about dining expectations and technology not just type of food you like
- Needs are verbs
- Participation is a spectrum, mobs or community or active creations
- Co-creation looks tot he future – needs are verbs, projects needs through participation
- You’re already two thirds complete – existing community and research is foundation, engage creators next, fin a project, understand what works
Live note taking at #IIeX in amsterdam. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
- Scent goes directly to the limbic system in the brain, the only sense to do that, hits the emotions directlyfr
- Fragrance is hard to shut down because you must breathe, it’s hard to not smell something but you can not see or not hear something
- Companies that have the sense of smell right make a difference [i do buy shampoo by smell, kids shampoos are the best!]
- M&Ms don’t smell so they need to use other emotions
- Consumers need scent but this changes over time, it’s not a change of needs but rather a stacking of needs, we don’t talk about the old needs, the table stakes, but they still need to be there
- Think about laundry detergent, conumsers touch the fragrance at multiple point from shopping to hanging up to sleeping on; this is all very different for hand soap; its not a strong clean now, its a care for hands
- Think about how the fragrance is released, eg the sun releaseing scent from drying laundry or fragrance released with high temperature of iron or only released during active body ovements [when you sweat?]
- Three parts – gather data, analyze data, impact with data
- Used to spend 95% of time gathering, 5% analyzing, 1% impact (the debrief)
- We need to change this balance to 40/30/30 – how do we do this build a new S curve
- Affinity for action, need to collaborate with consumers partners and internal team, need to to deep need discovery, need to story tell and visualize
- Need to use bold imagination, simple stories, and step outside of your world
- For 5000 years, we were horse riders, it made a lot of sense to work in the horse business, you know what happened after that
- Think of a world without electricity, we would be chopping wood within a week, you’d be walking everywhere (I’m good then!), but we don’t even think about it
- Why does shampoo smell like fear to me, shy do we use shampoo every day since it was only invited in the 50s, shampoo will collapse someday
- Science says its not great to wash your hair everyday, about half wash their hair every other day
- What is the outsider’s perspective, what if there iesn’t electricity or shampoo
- Let’s consider that the unthinkable is inevitable [i love this idea, how often do you do this?]
- We must pick up on the signals, if kids are wearing masks because of pollution what should the detergent companies do? Focus on freshness, teh grandparents know what nature smells like but the boy does not, he would change his clothes a lot because they smell, companies can share fragrances with him that he doesn’t know
- Be prepared and know where to look
- Technology lets us travel around the world physically and digitally, we have a fascinating future because of technology
- When products and services collide with human behaviour
- Micro emotions, emotional granularity, and emotions as the gateways to relevance
- Products evoke more emotions than we realize
- Top of mind products are the tip of the iceberg, unconsciously they influence our preferences
- A Fitbit make syou feel curious, then you learn all of the things it can do, then you wonder can it help your health, then you realize how bad your health is, so many emotions along the way, how many emotions do you have about one product
- Holistic experience scan, a panel of people who understand all the detailed emotions and know how to map them and score them
- Emotional life is diverse, worry, confusion, anger, contempt, guilt, disgust, hate, sadness, anxiety, reluctance, doubt, etc
- Researchers are often interested only in the positive emotions
- Created formulates to generate specific emotions for flight attendants about to go in the air, showtime curtain to create anticipation, nature section to encourage care
- Emotions reveal our deepest needs and values
- Can you ask and receive or should you instead focus on values and aspirations, learn about their deep needs
- Used the method with viewers and a news show, learned that the content of the news item need to guide the presentation of the format, let the newscaster be the guide not the teacher, other news shows are now following suit
- they have a list of 24 positive emotions
- Can you choose pretty visualization or functional visualizations, can you have both
- Is the purpose of the chart to look pretty or communicate the insights
- [oh, first use of Alexa] ALexa responded to the research question, we can interact with data via voice [oh, imagine giving your client an Alexa instead of a dataset!]
- [i look forward to the day when live demonstrations just work and you dont question it ever]
- Video will soon be the vast majority of internet content and in many ways its inaccessible
- How do we get from massive video content to shorter accessible video
- How do you beat one very articulate and passionate consumer so why don’s we use video more? Because it’s painful to gather and curate
- Half of executives would rather watch video than read text
- If you use video just to answer an open end question then you’re missing something
- Video is more than a 2 minute highlight reel or talking head
- How much time have you spent collecting data and how little time have you spend Rudly analyzing it, we can automate the collection part so we can spend more time on the analyzing part
- Analyze layers of data including speech or sentiment, facial emotional recognition, tone of voice recognition, Extremely useful at scale
- Use video to understand how long different cultures brush their teeth, how different they brush their teeth
- How people feel about preparing dinner, conversations during dinner, and treat these as datasets
- Understand emotional spikes by demographic groups
- What happens to social media listening when we switch over to video?
Live note taking at #IIeX in amsterdam. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.
- Our personal lives have blurred, it’s an always on world, a do it yourself mentality prevails
- Expertise still drives world progress, but what is the role of expertise
- There are barriers associated with building expertise in the new digital era
- Even simple analytics are not straightforward
- Human cognitive capacity is inadequate compared to what is required in today’s digital world
- Advances are ushering in a new era of computing, no more punchcards, no more simply programming, now we’re in cognitive systems era
- To error is human but to really mess things up requires a computer, now computers can learn and build expertise
- What is so unique about human intelligence, ability to create a novel idea, ability to differentiate between causality and correlation, ability to combine intuitions with intelligence, ability to ask questions
- The essence of being human is asking questions, not answering questions
- Technology boosts the expertise of intelligence professionals – enhance, scale and accelerate expertise
- computer system confirmed 99% of medical diagnosis but added diagnosis precision to 30% of them
- Think of technology as an enabler, let it cut through the ego and bias of humans
Automation: Robot vs Researcher by Paul Albert (Zappistore) and Tony Costello (RB)
- WHat used to take 6 months is now being done in hours and TV marketing budgets have gone up
- Research budgets are continuing to decline for three years in a row
- In fifteen years, half of Fortune 500 companies have disappeared
- Data and digital requires more research to fuel profit, Netflix and uber have grown immensely but TASI and blockbuster are dying
- We need lower cost and more speed but we also need validated methodologies
- Do you delay until the method os fully validated or launch Asap
- Business that don’t adopt technology are destined to fail, bravery is need to adopt new approaches
- Now they can test many more ads for more brands and chose more effective ads
System 1 Driven Brand Insights by CHristian Ohm (Magda) and Karthik Posnanski (BrainJuicer)
- Mazda has rebounded because of the product line, youngest
- They moved from lower premium and generic to more premium and distinctive, premium experience not high price
- Have a strong product perception but a weak brand image perception, most brands don’t
- Fragmentation leads to a weak brand, in message or tone, sounds like a different brand in different markets
- Took a co-creation approach, more people than marketing need to understand the brand – call Center, dealer, sales person
- People knew the brands and could talk about them but there isn’t a lot of emotion but some people just love driving and are passionate about it, they want to deliver on this experience
- Spirit of Hiroshima – challenger attitude, never give up, we can do it
- Emotional connection is achieved when care and driver are in perfect harmony
- Created a brand book to share with everyone
- Tracking needs to be fast and actionable, cover emotions, simple and engaging, modular and flexible, adapt latest MR thinking, forward focused and predictive, strategic and tactical, more qualitative [excellent advice for research in general]
- Considered fame, feeling, and fluency for brand growth
The nature of consumer emotion by Aaron Reid
- Visceral factors theory – Lowenstein, falling asleep at the wheel – extreme deviation from a desired equilibrium point
- It was a bold man who first ate an oyster – well, maybe a crazy person or simply a very hungry person
- System 1 ans system 2 interact, it can’t be one or the other
- The proportion of emotion model combines emotion and reason in a single predictive algorithm, we are more accurate in predictions if we use both
- You can’t measure racism explicitly, emotion interacts with reason
- We see eye tracking and emotion tracking of the Budweiser immigration ad, can see attention in the right places and emotion being positive or negative at the right moments
- Adding implicit facial coding and implicit impact of ads greatly increases ability to predict virality of an ad
- Need to quantify the emotions from pride, gratitude, and anxiety
- They engaged with startups so they could increase the work with half the cost, half the time and better quality
- Have worked with 800 startups in recent years – the Shark Tank, piloted 200, recruited 30 for research and the new way of doing business
- Want to move away from asking to observing, people forget, they give estimates (not because they’re lying)
- Used google glass technology and advanced video analytics
- Move from asking to sensing, though people struggle to articulate emotions, FMRI, emotion coding, facial coding, they use facial coding on every ad
- Why should we ask at all? Asking reveals needs, combine what people search for on google with what people say on social media to replace traditional research
- Move from studying consumers to building relationships with people
- The technology enables them to string together a more powerful story
- Let’s move to “i have the answer what is your question’
- The pyramid of tomorrow: Input powered by tech, output enabled by tech, outcome delivered by people
- Make the leap from insights to ideas
- They pay their vendors bonuses if they do a job well [fabulous idea, will you do this?]
- Can you buy an ad for a segment?
- Geolocation, attitudinal profiles, likely voters
- Need to use machine learning and targeting to buy thousands of direct targeted ads
- Microsegmentation has its use but you still need to use classic segmentation for higher level needs
- Alternative lenses for segmentation – demographics are targetable in media, behaviors for usage styles of path to purchase, attitudes for believes about category or self, needs for key buying factors, occasion based for needs that vary by occasion
- Right now demographics and behavior segmentation are highly used
- Challenges with segmenting – surveys are too long and phones are too small, we don’t know what we don’t know, self report behavioural data is not very accurate or precise, targeting segments is hard to do in advertising
- Can profile based on quantative data but people are bad with numbers, qualitative research brings richness and texture, plus can add real world behaviours like actual online activities or models propensities
- Audiences are identified and you can message them differently by segment
- The new tools are making classic segmentation more actionable than ever before
You’ve seen the commercials on TV where the host or actor discussing the fantastic properties of the amazing product is wearing clothes and accessories that match the product perfectly. Sometimes it makes for creepy over-branding whereas other times it makes the commercial more calm and focused. In either case, the intent is to teach you the brand colours so that when you are in the store, the familiar colours will draw you in, consciously or unconsciously.
However, the world of research is different. Using brand colours as part of questionnaire design can significantly affect the outcome of research and whether that results in increased or decreased scores, the impact is negative. Results from surveys should reflect in-market experiences, not unconscious associations of colours, fonts, formats, and brands. If you plan to measure brand recall, awareness, purchase, attitudes, or perceptions within the the general population or within category users, particularly if you want to compare the results with those of other brands, never brand your questionnaires with colours, text styles, or formats.
So when is it appropriate for questionnaires to use brand features in the design? When can you use your brand’s colours and fonts and styles to pretty up what are often generic, boring pages?
When you’re contacting existing clients or customers to ask about a specific purchase experience or brand experience. That’s about it.
In such cases, the bulk of the questionnaire will focus on the specific experience with the specific brand. There may be a couple of generic introductory questions, but 90% of the questionnaire will focus heavily on your brand, the employees, the shelves, the website, the selection, etc. There is no point in creating a sense of blind review or uncontaminated response because the brand must be revealed early and significantly.
If you’re wondering which way to go, think about it like this. Never brand your questionnaires unless there is no way around it. Better safe than sorry.
I LOVE FREE.
Free white papers, free webinars, free registration, free food. Mmmmm. What’s so bad about free?
Well, students and interns can’t live on free. Just as you live in a heated/air conditioned 3000 square foot home, eat freshly cooked food, and choose a beautiful outfit from your full closet everyday, students and interns also have to pay rent, fill stomachs, and clothe bodies. And their bank accounts aren’t happy like yours. Their bank accounts begin with a delightful character those of us in the numbers business like to call the negative sign. Promises of great work experience and a chance of future employment don’t feed and clothe and house them. Pay your interns a living wage. Every intern. Every time.
If the work you need performed is so important that it MUST be done and you MUST find someone to do it and that person can’t be your adorable six year nephew, then the work has value. Value is not expressed through free tweets of thanks, $10 Best Buy gift cards, $4 coffees, or $8 lunches. If you need work done, it has value which needs to be exchanged for actual, real money.
It doesn’t matter whether the value exchange is money for product or money for service. Knowledge does not appear out of nowhere. As the quote goes (can you tell me who said this please?), a piece of art may have taken 1 hour to create, but it grew out of 30 years of dedicated life experiences, training, education, successes, and failures. That piece of artwork took 30 years to create. The expertise of professionals is no different. The unique skills and knowledge they developed took years of dedicated effort, not simply the 30 minutes you chatted over a $4 coffee. If this seems a little odd, then have a look at the video below. I chuckle every time I watch it even though it’s the reality that many people live in.
I have been asked to work for companies for free, more frequently now that I am a free agent in hunting mode (Got a lead on a crazy cool research position? Hit me up!). And, even though my fridge is full, my home is heated, and my closet is full of mismatched clothes that I thought were perfect in the store (Oh, how I hate shopping for clothes!), I generally say no. Why? Because I don’t work for companies that have earnings, budgets, and finance departments for free. A company’s desire for a great deal, the best price, a real bargain does not match up with my priorities.
However, if you are an unemployed market researcher and can’t afford to have someone review and edit your resume. cover letter, or LinkedIn profile page, I am totally there for you. Need advice and guidance to submit your first ever speaking proposal to a conference? I’m there for you. Fighting with your Imposter Syndrome? I’m there for you again. This is where I prefer to spend my ‘free’ time. Ask me for help.
Read this far? Like what you read? Hire me! I’m looking for a permanent family where I can practice as a research methodologist and educator specializing in survey design and analysis, data quality, and innovative methods. I am an invited speaker at research conferences around the world and have published numerous refereed and industry articles. My awards include a 2015 Ginny Valentine Award, 2014 MRIA Award of Outstanding Merit, and 2013 ESOMAR Best Methodological Paper. I wrote People Aren’t Robots, a questionnaire design book. Plus I’m fun, cool, and still play the ukulele pretty poorly after 2 years of instruction.
Forget for a moment the debate about whether the MBTI is a valid and reliable personality measurement tool. (I did my Bachelors thesis on it, and I studied psychometric theory as part of my PhD in experimental psychology so I can debate forever too.) Let’s focus instead on the MBTI because tests similar to it can be answered online and you can find out your result in a few minutes. It kind of makes sense and people understand the idea of using it to understand themselves and how their reactions to our world. If you’re not so familiar with it, the MBTI divides people into groups based on four continuous personality characteristics: introversion/extroversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perception . (I’m an ISTJ for what it’s worth.)
Now, in the market and social research world, we also like to divide people into groups. We focus mainly on easy and quick to measure demographic characters like gender, age, and region though sometimes we also include household size, age of children, education, income, religion, and language. We do our best to collect samples of people who look like a census based on these demographic targets and oftentimes, our measurements are quite good. Sometimes, we try to improve our measurements by incorporating a different set of variables like political affiliation, type of house, pets, charitable behaviours, and so forth.
All of these variables get us closer to building samples that look like census but never all the way there. We’re so close and yet still missing the one thing that properly describes each human being. That, of course, is personality. And if you think about it, in many cases, we’re only using demographic characteristics because we don’t have personality data. It’s really hard to measure and target. We use age and gender and religion and the rest to help inform about personality characteristics. Hence why I bring up the MBTI. The perfect set of research sample targets.
The MBTI may not be the right test, but there are many thoroughly tested and normed personality measurement scales that are easily available to registered, certified psychologists. They include tests like the 16PF, the Big 5, or the NEO, all of which measure constructs such as social desirability, authoritarianism, extraversion, reasoning, stability, dominance, or perfectionism. These tests take decades to create and are held in veritable locked boxes so as to maintain their integrity. They can take an hour or more for someone to complete and they cost a bundle to use. (Make it YOUR entire life’s work to build one test and see if you give it away for free.) Which means these tests will not and can not ever be used for the purpose I describe here.
However, it is absolutely possible for a Psychologist or psychological researcher to build a new, proprietary personality scale which mirrors standardized tests in a shorter format, and performs the same function. The process is simple. Every person who joins the panel answers ten or twenty personality questions. When they return to answer a questionnaire, they get ten more personality questions, and so on, and so on, until every person on the panel has taken the entire test and been assigned to a personality group. We all know how profiling and reprofiling works and this is no different. And now we know which people are more or less susceptible to social desirability. And which people like authoritarianism. And which people are rule bound. Sound interesting given the US federal election? I thought so.
So, which company does this? Which company targets people based on personality characteristics? Which company fills quotas based on personality? Actually, I don’t know. I’ve never heard of one that does. But the first panel company to successfully implement this method will be vastly ahead of every other sample provider. I could help you do it. It would be really fun. 🙂
Last year I wrote two completely different books. The first, called People Aren’t Robots, is a practical guide to questionnaire design. The second book details strategies and tactics for becoming a thought leader. As I said, two completely unrelated books. But as I pondered about those books in general terms, I realized they actually have a lot in common. Both books devote much content towards treating others as real people – flawed, subjective, emotional human beings.
In the world of questionnaire design, this means realizing that people want to help by answering questions even when researchers think they don’t ‘qualify.’ That people want to help researchers by finding the best answer even when no answers are correct. That people want to finish questionnaires even when those questionnaires are painfully long, confusing, and boring. It means that researchers need to rethink how they write questionnaires so that the human on the other side is treated with respect rather than as a source of data.
In the world of thought leadership, it means letting employees talk to clients in their own voice, without formal language and without trademarked terms. It means letting employees share their personalities and interests when they chat with customers online so that they become genuine friends. It means that employers need to trust their employees to relate to others in the online world as people, not logos.
My wish for 2017 is simple. I wish that people would stop engaging with other people. Stop communicating, stop connecting, stop broadcasting. Instead, let’s chat. Let’s noodle over ideas. Let’s ponder and debate and talk. Let’s prattle on and yak and gab. Let’s drop the formalities of standard social media connections and business conversations and start behaving like genuine human beings with faces and names. People who share silly jokes and terrific research design tips, funny cartoons and cool SQL code bits.
Not only is it more natural, it’s good for business. Think about some of the customer service experiences that have gone viral. This Netflix agent who pretended to be a Star Trek captain (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/netflix-customer-service_n_4178662.html) or this Amazon agent pretending to be Thor ( https://www.joe.ie/movies-tv/great-odins-raven-amazon-customer-service-agent-pretends-hes-thor-and-its-fantastic/459458).
Of course, this isn’t a call for everyone to start pretending to be superheroes and cartoon characters. It is, however, a call to let the inner geek and nerd out of the box. Let the inner human out.
Annie Pettit, PhD, FMRIA is a research methodologist who specializes in survey design and analysis, data quality, and innovative methods. She is the author of People Aren’t Robots: A practical guide to the technique and psychology of questionnaire design as well as 7 Strategies and 10 Tactics to Become a Thought Leader, available on Amazon.
Like many other Canadians, I received a card in the mail from the Government of Canada promoting a website named MyDemocracy.ca. Just a day before, I’d also come across a link for it on Twitter so with two hints at hand, I decided to read the documentation and find out what it was all about. Along the way, I noticed a lot of controversy about the survey so I thought I’d share a few of my own comments here. I have no vested interested in either party. I am simply a fan of surveys and have some experience in that regard.
First, let’s recognize that one of the main reasons researchers conduct surveys is to generate results which can be generalized to a specific population, for example the population of Canada. Having heard of numerous important elections around the world recently, we’ve become attuned to polling research which attempts to predict election and electoral winners. The polling industry has taken a lot of heat regarding perceived levels of low accuracy lately and people are paying close attention.
Sometimes, however, the purpose of a survey is not to generalize to a population, but rather to gather information so as to be more informed about a population. Thus, you may not intend to learn whether 10% of people believe A and 30% believe B, but rather that there is a significant proportion of people who believe A or B or C or D. These types of surveys don’t necessarily focus on probability or random sampling, but rather on gathering a broad spectrum of opinions and understanding how they relate to each other. In other cases, the purpose of a survey to generate discussion and engagement, to allow people to better understand themselves and other people, and to think about important issues using a fair and balanced baseline that everyone can relate to.
The FAQ associated with MyDemocracy.ca explains the purpose of the survey in just this manner – to foster engagement. It explains that the experimental portion of the survey used a census balanced sample of Canadians, and that the current intention of the survey is to help Canadians understand where they sit in relation to their fellow citizens. I didn’t see any intention for the online results to be used in a predictive way.
I saw some complaints that the questions are biased or unfair. Having completed the survey two and a half times myself, I do see that the questions are pointed and controversial. Some of the choices are extremely difficult to make. To me, however, the questions seem no different than what a constituent might be actually be asked to consider and there are no easy answers in politics. Every decision comes with side-effects, some bad, some horrid. So while I didn’t like the content of some of the questions and I didn’t like the bad outcomes associated with them, I could understand the complexity and the reasoning behind them. In fact, I even noticed a number of question design practices that could be used in analysis for data quality purposes. In my personal opinion, the questions are reasonable.
I’m positive you noticed that I answered the survey more than twice. Most surveys do not allow this but if the survey was launched purely for engagement and discussion rather than prediction purposes, then response duplication is not an issue. From what I see, the survey (assuming it was developed with psychometric precision as the FAQ and methodology describe) is a tool similar to any psychological tool whether personality test, intelligence test, reading test, or otherwise. You can respond to the questions as often as you wish and see whether your opinions or skills change over time. Given what is stated in the FAQ, duplication has little bearing on the intent of the survey.
One researcher’s opinion.
Since you’re here, let me plug my new book on questionnaire design! It makes a great gift for toddlers and grandmas who want to work with better survey data!
People Aren’t Robots: A practical guide to the psychology and technique of questionnaire design