NewMR Implications for Research Agencies: Jeff Miller #CASROmanage #MRX


Welcome to this series of live blogs from the CASRO Management Conference in Chicago. All posts appear within minutes after the speaker has finished. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.

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  • Burke is midsized without the some of the resources of the large companies
  • “Change before you have to” Jack Welch
  • Most MR are laggards, not at the forefront of change
  • Change is nothing new to our industry, voices are always calling for more and cautioning for less, trends get hyped, promises get made, alarm bells get run, the future is never quite how it is made out to be
  • We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the changes that will occur in the next ten – Bill Gates
  • What about the people managing the other 4000 US research firms? The industry is too big for first movers to scale. Secondary market rises to meet the need. Most take a wait-and-see approach to change.
  • Pressing issues – data quality, blurring of quant and qual, big data and analytics, mobile, unstructured data
  • Mobile – self administered surveys, so much talk about it and the business has been so small for a number of years now, will that change? 85% of population owns a cell phone but only 40% have a smart phone. Only 25% of people 55+ have used a browser on their phone. One of fastest growing areas but on a very small base. Mobile is where online surveys were in 1997. Surveys just can’t be moved over  to mobile like they sort of can with paper to online. “In the moment” is the sweet spot, a transactional based research. panelists are increasingly trying to access web surveys with their phone – even though it wasn’t designed to work right there.
  • Mobile is too big, too pervasive to ignore but there is no immediate threat to revenue. Panels are there so you don’t need to build your own. This is the new way to interact with younger people as email is less and less how they work.
  • Unstructured data – 85% of data is unstructured. replacement and supplementation debate will continue for a long time. Is it for PR? Marketing? Research? Where is the ownership? It doesn’t always correlate highly enough to be a complete substitute for trad research. Best insights come from targeted analysis [ah, you mean have a research objective!].
  • Market has many many options. Companies have been formed, acquired, and sold back off.  mid-sized company can’t keep pace. Better advised to know how to take the information and combine it with your existing data.
  • Qual/quant – problem is misuse of some data. Communities are growing in popularity. Temptation to survey a community is high even though it’s a very biased source. We are trained better than this but our resolve is weakening. Quantification of social media continues – tweets, positive mentions. Hybrid techniques continue to evolve.
  • Data quality – the crisis of confidence is over but now we have issues of routers. People who never qualify for surveys can indeed qualify if you use a router. Standards are helping to raise the quality of research. Quality has a cost. Making it right has a higher cost than doing it right.
  • Big data –  Promise is fantastic. Skill is analytics, not just survey analytics. We lack this understanding. Maybe MR doesn’t have this skill.
  • Other items – Neuro – quant estimates are made on very small samples but we don’t question these [fab point]; Standards – Do you want to conform to standards? Will clients insist on it?
  • Don’t measure the wrong thing with incredible accuracy [ love it!]
  • Fit for use matters – there isn’t one method that solves every problem

2 responses

  1. Exactly on point: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the changes that will occur in the next ten – Bill Gates”

    Thanks for the updates!

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