Welcome to New York!
As a blogger, I ought to begin with full disclosure (so I learned today). This was the first ARF conference I’ve attended so my remarks reflect the opinions of a newbie.
Compared to the last few conferences I’ve attended, this one had the most jam-packed session schedule (8am start to 6pm finish), and the shortest break times (15 min). Phew! We barely had time to breathe before the next session started! There was almost no time for networking if you wanted to catch every single session.
The day started with what could potentially be the most boring talk ever – the US census. But it wasn’t. A few cute stories, including one about a lady dressing in her sunday best and waiting for the enumerator to arrive in 1930, and other interesting research details made it a great keynote. As researchers, we found it quite humorous that their goal is a 100% response rate when we struggle to achieve rates in the teens. And numerous speakers afterwards were eager to reference it in their talks.
Since I’ve never been to an ARF conference, I’m not sure what is new or different. But, compared to other conferences, I’ve already learned far more at this one. I probably have less experience in advertising than most attendees so that was probably a big factor. It was great to hear new factoids and new theories instead of rehashing ones I’ve heard five times before.
I also noticed a greater tendency to discuss stats and research not just ideas. There was constant talk of regression models, significance tests, test control methods, and confidence intervals, words which rarely come up at other conferences. It certainly met with my approval and I hope to see tons more of it at MRA and MRIA! That is, not including the session which seemed to masquerade regression as a new fangled branded proprietary tool. It just felt like taking advantage of people who might not realize it’s just regression.
Lunch, of course, must be discussed. Lovely salad with a choice of hot dishes and a choice of cakes. Cheesecake and carrot cake since you ask. Attendees had the choice of sitting at a company sponsored table where they could talk business with that company, or a regular table where you could talk anything with anyone. I tried both. I started with a social media table for the main course and then drifted to a regular table for desert. The topic table was an interesting idea. Everyone was ready to hear about the same idea. But it only works if your table moderator stays at the table. Oops!
I made great use of the flip camera I won from the ARF. Stay tuned for the video on how BP is six degrees from Kevin Bacon! Mmmm bacon.
Day 1 score? A!
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[tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]
How did I win? I just so happened to be the first person to answer this question correctly:
In the 1940’s NBC owned the Red Network and the Blue Network among others. What entity did the Blue Network eventually become?
Heck if I know the answer to that but thank you Google! I just entered the question word for word into Google and it brought me to wikipedia.
The Blue Network was the on-air name of an American radio production and distribution service from 1942 to 1945, which traced its formal origins back to 1927. It was born of a divestiture, arising from anti-trust litigation, of one of the two radio networks owned by the National Broadcasting Company, and is the direct predecessor of the American Broadcasting Company.
Thank you ARF! I can’t wait to post video of the conference!
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Having just attended and presented at several conferences, and with one more on the list, I’ve seen more than my fair share of powerpoint presentations in the last few weeks. Some had some great slides, and, well, others I can’t say anything about because I couldn’t read them.
As a presenter, I know you have a ton of things to worry about. Is your topic interesting? Are YOU interesting? Can you fill up so much time and not flub it all up? It seems we leave building a readable presentation to the end of the list and then we never actually finish the list.
With that in mind, here are just a few tips that will result in your audience being more appreciative of your presentation. And they’re quick so try them out!
- If one line or bar represents the “right” number, colour it green. And vice versa, if one line or bar represents the “wrong” number, colour it red. People are primed to interpret green as go and red as stop so help them understand your data more easily.
- If you’re using a line chart, make the lines really thick, thick as in 5 to 10 points. There will be people at the back of the room because there are no seats at the front (yay!). Help them like your presentation by allowing them to see the data too.
- Increase the font sizes to crazy big numbers everywhere. Do you need a vertical scale? Increase that font! Need a horizontal scale? Increase that font! Make it so big and fat that it looks wrong – because it will look right from the back of the room. Font sizes should be at least 20 points but go with 30 or more if you can make it work.
- Make the chart as big as you possibly can. Take extraneous words off the page to give more room to the chart. If the words aren’t on the page, it will give you something to say instead of read. And people will be grateful for it.
- For the love of God, don’t make your chart 3D! Sure, it may be pretty but 3D in presentation style is ten times worse than 3D in paper style. There’s no way your audience can pull your slide close to their face to more accurately interpret all the extra chart junk that 3D creates. Simple is good. Simple is readable.
5.367. Do not default to the default chart. Default charts are there for people who shouldn’t be using charts in the first place. You are smarter than your software so think about your audience, your purpose, the room where you’ll be presenting and create a custom chart that will work for that specific situation.
Why 5.367? Because people are more likely to believe numbers that use decimal places. Do you believe that?
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Day 2 brought lots of interesting topics as well. We started off with updates on the ESOMAR 26 document, the ARF quality initiative, and the ISO process. I did not know that the first ESOMAR code was developed in 1948! I did not know that people from 26 countries were involved in the ISO process. It was not a surprise, however, to hear the findings of the ARF quality study .
- data quality is not the serious issue that was previously thought
- panel duplication is really only about 16%
- heavy responders provide good data
- response rates are not the best indicators of quality data.
After the ARF presentation indicating a complete lack of ability to identify a weighting system that would equalize panels, one unlucky speaker had the unfortunate time slot of presenting his work on how the CART system can indeed weight data sources to be equal. Personally, I’m still on the side that panels cannot be weighted to be equal. I’ve participated in so many parallel studies for so many different types of surveys and categories of products and have yet to seen a perfectly successful case. Sure, you can always weight a few variables into comparability, but you lose out on a bunch more. Maybe CART is the magic solution. Time will tell.
Once again, survey panels took the hit on not being representative of the general population. Really, come on folks, what method of marketing research IS representative of the general population. None. End of story. In the end, the only kind of representativity that matters is making sure your sample suits the purpose. And, if your results never predict the marketplace, get out of the business.
Kim Dedeker was kind enough to share a few thoughts on the state of the industry since she first caused a good storm. Her advice – the industry can only be sustained through quality, we need to continue having and creating leadership through getting involved.
The last major topic of the day was mobile research. I must confess that I am STILL not a believer. I just don’t see how the ability to answer a 20 minute survey on a 2 inch screen as you ride the bus or pay for your new purchase is going to bring the survey industry back from the deadly response rate dive.
Feel free to also read a few other thoughts I had about ESOMAR Chicago in a piece I wrote for research-live.
Below is Kim speaking and a presentation about social media that mentioned the tweet-up at Lux Bar.
Congratulations to some friends at Ipsos!
The ARF congratulates the esteemed recipients of the ARF 2009 Great Mind Awards! The Awards were presented on Wednesday, April 1 at a special luncheon during Re:think 2009: The ARF Annual Convention + Expo. Sponsored by Harris Interactive, The ARF Great Mind Awards recognize individuals who bring excellence to advertising research in the categories of research innovation, rising research stars, important member contributions to the field and lifetime contributors to the industry and ARF.
For individuals who made an outstanding contribution to the ARF in the prior year. From above-and-beyond duty to providing pro-bono services, these are members who have made significant contributions to the success of the ARF and the industry.
Efrain Ribeiro – Ipsos
Renee Smith – Ipsos
[copied from the ARF website]