Scott Cho: Confessions of a Number Cruncher #MRIA


Welcome to the virtual MRIA 2011 annual conference! This post reflects my personal musings and interpretations of this presentation. It was written during the presentation and posted minutes afterward. Any inaccuracies and silliness are my own.


Confessions of a number cruncher…

Scott Cho, Vice-President – Consumer and Technology Research Practice Leger Marketing

  • Started the session with the smartphone focus group spoof, how toddlers, ginos, seniors, and hot babes use a smartphone. “I want a button on my phone that will give me a shower.” Love it!
  • We often create extremely complicated instead of just asking the question. Do we really need all those crosstabs and piles of paper on our desk? 3 statistical sins: People who make things complicated, People who run things without knowing why, People who run things so it looks like they’re busy.
  • Scott transitioned from a few groups a year to one year with 100+ focus groups, 100+ indepth interview, and 68 flights. His training was 30 minutes talking to a colleague and living near his boss.🙂
  • One client thought the focus group attendees were too dumb, they were not his target group. Hello reality!
  • We need to show attendees the materials but often they are too sensitive to share. We can prevent screen caps but people take photos of the screen. This is why some clients can’t do anything online.
  • What is a real environment for store testing? Are security guards and metal detectors part of the real store experience? Makes no sense. If everyone knows it’s a test, does it have to be realistic?
  • We test future products and compare them to products available right now. Makes no sense. Competitors won’t share their concept products so it’s an unfair comparison.
  • Some things are too complicated to talk about, particularly for innovative devices: Mobile internet device – -> computer tablet. “augmented reality product”  Point a camera on a book and extra information is displayed on a computer screen. It’s a device intended for schools. Do you have a sense of the product from that description? Maybe not, so how can you respond to hypothetical research about it.
  • Experience with a product is more important than what the product actually does. Every phone can make
  • a phone call. It’s not about the phone call anymore. it’s the experience of making a call.
  • He hates the overhead camera. Do we really want to stare at his head in the video? (No, thank you)
  • It’s frustrating to watch other people moderate. You really want to bud in.🙂
  • Moderators get the best chair in the room every single time. But… this puts the moderator on a different level. The moderator should be presented in the same way, a relatable way. (Good call, agree.)
  • Moderators can put on a persona and be whoever they need to be in a group. Be a young person. Be a dad. Be a dumb single guy. Be a rockin’ cool guy. Play the role that suits the occasion. But you must maintain the sincerity.
  • Energy as a moderator is contagious. Don’t talk dull and boring (like he’s doing this minute). Use personality, some edge, and you’ll get that in return. You want a focus group where people don’t want to leave at the end.
  • Why do we write discussion guides in powerpoint not word? Word forces you to think that it’s a script.
  • “Note passing” isn’t good. You’re messing around, interfering with the moderators connection to the responders. It disolves relationships. But, moderator does need some category knowledge. This is why you need moderators who have content area specialties.
  • Culture Code by Clotair Rapaille. Wealthiest researcher alive.:) He does 3 hour focus groups. Hour 1 he talks about anything. He says he doesn’t believe what people say. He wants to give people a chanc e to feel smart. Hour 2, they make up kiddie stories. Hour 3, they sleep.
  • What is consumer insight? It’s not just cool words like knowledge and discovery. Scott says it’s…. calculated discovery, about the aha moment and turning it into insight through knowledge of all the other surroundings.
  • It’s hard to tell what is right or wrong in qual research.
  • He no longer sees people as segments and numbers. They are people.
  • People are still surprising. Loser trackpants man is actually a brilliant person.
  • Watching insights in front of your eyes is incredible.
  • You can actually ask someone “Why won’t you buy that product?” (Put the fear into them. HA HA)

One response

  1. The frustratingly true point in this blog is that it IS hard to tell what is right and wrong in qualitative research. I’m working on a qualitative data analysis right now and pining for a good old-fashioned factor analysis.

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