Market Research 20/20: Levy, Murphy, Skillen, Sandler #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.


  • Steve Levy
  • Top Priorities in 1991: New product development, brand equity, customer sat, marketing effectiveness, talent
  • Top priorities now: Market productivity (ROI), brands and branding, managing customers, growth innovations, attracting new talent
  • Different rank order, same issues, more ponderous words [yes, bigger words means it’s more important]
  • Lenny Murphy
  • How do we compete against globalization
  • Predictive analytics and big data are growing quickly, massive massive new data that we never had before
  • Now we have big data in behavioural data – CRM, social media data, loyal data [sure it’s new data but we always had big data]
  • The world is interconnected from data and we didn’t have this just a few years ago – we can use this for predictions
  • Recall the case where a teenager was sent marketing materials about pregnancy, which upset her dad because “my teenage daughter isn’t pregnant!” But she was. Her behavioural data predicted it – e.g., the types of lotions she bought.
  • In 2020, big data will be the defining technology factor of our lives and research will fit into this warehouse
  • data is meaningless unless you do something with it
  • Imagine if Target knew you bought shoes 2 years ago and they send you a text that said if you go buy shoes in the next 20 minutes, we’ll give you 20% off
  • Tim: Researchers consult, advise, partner – he never said “collect data”
  • Corrine Sandler
  • Imagine being able to connect unconscious emotion states nionverbal cues purely based on visuals
  • Adidas uses facial recognition software to scan your body to ascertain your age gender height and serve up product/promotion specific ads as you walk by their store
  • Mobile is your “alter ego”
  • Mobophobia – fear of being without your phone [I do NOT have that]
  • Imagine doing your shopping but NEVER going to a cashier. You just walk out. Every product has a tag which is associated with your tag and the payment is automatic when you walk out the door. [COOOOL!]
  • Immigrants know nothing about our brands – we should better understand them, we should quota sample for immigration groups
  • Social networking is going purely visual like pinterest, it is things you are passionate about, aspire to be

    Photo from Bernie Malinoff

    Photo from @BernieMalinoff

  • How do you convert a pin to a purchase – that will come in 8 years
  • Shane Skillen
  • We don’t treat respondents well – we call them at dinner, knock on their door, screen them out, give them really long surveys, and give them no incentives
  • The future of survey research is questionnable
  • How do you get a grunge rocker to answer a 25 minute U&A survey?
  • Kids today don’t even talk in full sentences – they talk in text speak
  • In 8 years, data will be voice and automatically collected as you go about your day
  • Will social media replace surveys? No. What you look for creates the answer.
  • Social media is an early warning system. When a big decision needs to be made, we need to use traditional survey methods.
  • Eric Kandell – memories are embedded at our cellular level.
  • We will be able to reverse engineer the human brain at some point
  • You can measure how people are feeling just by measuring their bodily fluids
  • 90% of the worlds data has been created in the last 2 years [i think 3 presenters have hit this stat, soak it in people]
  • 900 million people on facebook. where was it 8 years ago?
  • facebook is not going to go away unlike what corrine said
  • Watson, the computer, will soon be able to answer “How can I be happier”
  • Steve Levy could be on the cover of Time in 8 years time
  • The more you spend on research, the less likely it is to fail
  • Huge product mistakes – Coors, new coke, tropicana packaging due to poor research
  • Tassimo bar coder was the differentiator – it came from RESEARCH
  • What do you DO? Be inspirational. Market researchers shape where we are going.
  • Panel
  • Fad or trend? We need to get into people’s heads without huge expensive machines
  • Understand unpoken is not a fad. The process to get there will get sorted out. Can we analyze video pictures automatically? Not just yet.
  • Is anyone paying for SMM? Do we expect it for free? People are paying for the REAL services.  People don’t need to pay for it [oh I so disagree, quality costs money] Need an expert who knows how to pull out insights
  • SMM will be much better in 8 years
  • Sentiment can’t be done by machines [ouch again 🙂 ]. You must have context or its meaningless
  • Big data early warning signals is a fantastic use
  • Don’t base business models on data collection. Human element is what matters.
  • We don’t speak to “respondents” as if they are human. People don’t SPEAK like this. ten point scales? who does that? [Hello mother, please describe the nutritional supplements that you prepared for our family of two adults and any associated children in the last 24 hours.]
  • Story telling is massively important. People don’t always write what they think but their stories do.
  • [I couldn’t help it. I had to bud in with a comment and demonstrate that human coders have strong weaknesses just as automated coders do. Do YOU know what SMH, lekker, clutch mean? Do YOU know when I’m being sarcastic?]
  • If something is in the public domain, we have a right to use it
  • Are people buying multicultural research today?  Yes, it’s expensive and harder to obtain. Sample sizes are smaller.


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  1. […] talked a lot about these themes during my keynote  and panel discussion at the MRIA annual conference last week in St. John’s, Newfoundland. If you’re […]

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