Lenny Murphy: Riding the Change Wave #MRIA #MRX

mria 2012Welcome to this series of live blogs from the MRIA Sample the Edge conference in St. John’s Newfoundland. All posts appear within minutes after the speaker has finished. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.


  • Forces of changed reached tipping point in 2008 – financial meltdown, explosion of social media, intro of smart phone
  • Evolutionary shift in our culture
  • Nowadays, kids can multi-task with multiple devices far better than we ever could, his kids want to move things on the TV simply by touching the TV screen
  • Studies show brain changes are occurring due to text messages, is autism a natural evolutionary response to sensory overload?
  • New competitors are emerging, tech and agencies are offering access to data that used to be the domain only of researchers
  • Data is a free or cheap commodity now
  • Biz intelligence can deliver predictive modeling more cheaper now, competitors we didn’t have to deal with previously
  • We used to simply explain what happened but now clients want foresight
  • What appears to be a gaming company may actually be a data collection company
  • Cheaper fast better – it’s no longer pick two. You must have three.
  • Google consumer surveys – Google has world’s largest panel at a fraction of the cost
  • More sociologists and anthropologists leading in our space [and so they should! that is what MR is all about]
  • 1.8 Zettabytes (18 million libraries of congress)- that is INSANE, this is the volume of data we are talking about from mobile devices; the bulk of this data is unstructured text data, not numerical data, this is why text analytics is so important
  • Market research used to be data ponds – methodological rigor, objective reporting, low touch, slow to adapt, process vs people, market focus
  • The transition of research is data rivers – methodologically curious, narratives, high touch, partnerships, technology, people vs process, regional
  • The future of research is data oceans – methodologically agnostic, narratives implications and outcomes, high touch, integrated with clients, leading tech, people driven, global focus
  • There is more experimentation in market research today than in our entire history – biometrics, neuromarketing, holographic interviewers [go star trek!]
  • Kantar says their growth is qual – must understand minds and hearts of consumers, a qual focus, focus groups won’t work for everything but communities and ethnography are important
    Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
  • There are more regional business models, not just brazil but latin america, not just canada but north america
  • What do clients want?  innovation, ROI, quality is table steaks, faster, cheaper, better
  • Nice big shout-out to Bernie Malinoff [darn right he’s awesome!]
  • What techniques will be used in the future? online communities, social media analytics, mobile surveys, text analytics, webcam based interviews are at the top of the list
  • Mobile is real time 24 access to the consumer, engage at point of experience and interaction, it is not asked for or structured but initiated by consumer, deliver more value to consumer with special offers and deals, interact from marketing and research simultaneously – brands expect this, if we don’t other companies WILL
  • The top growing methods have nothing to do with surveys but rather drivers of consumer behaviour
  • Crowdtap, gigwalk, hyve, wayin, into_now, mu sigma are growing competitors and they are NOT members of MRA, MRIA or any mr industry, not bound by our standards of ethics, they embrace joining marketing and marketing research, they embrace how clients want it delivered not how we want to deliver it
  • Ray Poynter thinks MR will become a job function not an industry, brands don’t lead with research, they lead with delivering value, no silos, no departments, good or bad that’s where we are
  • Forecast:
  • Surveys will get really smart e.g., one question surveys, game mechanics, real time trackers fed from CRM and social media
  • Qual will emerge as driving force – they are positioned to connect the dots, sociologists, ethnographers
  • Emotions – brain implants, social media
  • Google gobbles up data collection, and salesforce, facebook, microsoft, ibm adobe, yahoo, hp, synga will be there to
  • Other trends: Research redefined by new client demands; Going glocal; Big data = big bucks; Mobile; Brands put their money with their mouth is
  • “Strategic differentiation does not occur by delivering data, it occurs by redesigning thinking”
  • We must rethink client needs, process, people skills, and technology enablers
  • New vision – holistic model based on leveraging key values and strengths in new ways to lead the future – data synthesis, measurable ROI, innovation, leading edge tech, curious
  • New skills – futurist, journalist, strategist, analyst, consultant, anthropologist – we must better engage with academia
  • Researcher of future – storytellers, method agnostic, synthesizer, consultant
  • How do we bridge the innovation gap – embrace and fund innovation
  • For success – need insights, need consumer engagement, need experimentation and evolving models
  • [good job with tweeting while you spoke lenny! I love it!]

4 responses

  1. Interesting summary, thanks!

    Great point:
    “Strategic differentiation does not occur by delivering data, it occurs by redesigning thinking”

    It is interesting to me that there is so much talk about analysis without theory when it seems like theory is the crucial missing piece in understanding big data in any form…

    1. Glad to do it! I think lots of people have lots to learn about theory. We come from so many different backgrounds. I have stats and psychology. Someone else has economics and business. etc. We must use each others strengths.

  2. Wow! Just, wow! Very impressed with the speed and detail of this post. Quite surreal following the conference from different viewpoints and platforms whilst thousands of miles away. Anyway, really like the ponds, rivers and oceans analogy.

    1. @lennyism will be pleased to hear that. 🙂

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