Tag Archives: conference

I Wear Your Shirt: Life as a market research consultant #MRX #NewMR

I can hardly believe I’ve been an independent consultant for a year and a half. The new lifestyle comes with pros and cons.

Cons: If I wake up early, it doesn’t mean I finish my day early. If the printer runs out of paper, I can’t ‘accidentally’ leave it for the next person to fill. I will have to find the lost, squished grape on the floor myself.

Fortunately, there are pros.

Pros: This is the best commute I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I work with clients whose standards and ethics match mine. My lunchtime walks are through treed neighbourhoods not industrial parks. My dress code has loosened up drastically to include a wide range of ultra casual, industry billboards.

Yup.

I wear your shirt.

Over the years, I’ve received many marketing research t-shirts at conferences. When I don’t feel a kinship to those shirts, I always find a happy taker in a client or colleague. The t-shirts you see in this image, however, made the cut and landed in my closet. I love the bright colours, the witty remarks, the nonblack options. A few are women’s sizes and I like those the most.

What else do they have in common? Except for one, you don’t see logos or brand names. All of these shirts actually do have logos either on the back or the sleeve but none of them are simply logos or brand names or [your unoriginal and actually uninspiring] tag lines. In other words, don’t waste your money creating a t-shirt that is a blinkin’ billboard. [Side note… unless your company name is Irrational in which case you’d get bonus marks for having a brand name that is also a witty comment.]

You’ll also notice that none of these shirts incorporate odd brand colours. I’ve gotten many shirts that were exact on-brand cousins of puce and turquoise that looked weird even with blue or black jeans – out the door!

Basically, if you’re pondering new t-shirt designs, choose colours that fall within the range of human perception, and then go witty or go home.

In case you’re not sure, the companies that are finalists in this extremely tight t-shirt branding competition are…

Jibunu, Qualtrics, Confirmit, iModerate, Bayasoft, Sentient Decision Science, AYTM, Conversition [my previous company, acquired and disbanded], SeekResearch, Sentient Prime, Zappi.

Congratulations 🙂

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#AI and #VoiceSearch and #Chatbots, oh my at the #TTRA2018 conference!

It’s hard to beat a lizard laden, sun shiny, ocean retreat like the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, but add in the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) conference and you’ve got my attention.

CDJ customer decision journeyI quite enjoyed a number of the talks. Michael Rodenburgh from IPSOS Canada spoke about behavioural data and offered some fascinating tidbits about where people go to and come from during the tourism and travel customer decision journey. Passive behavioural data collection is a fabulous data collection tool and if you’re careful about obtaining explicit consent, I’m a big fan of it.

lgbt gender question format

I was fascinated by a talk that Thomas Roth and David Paisley from Community Marketing and Insights gave about research with people who are LGBTQ+. Terminology seems to be in a permanent state of evolution and I never know what the most current respectful terms are. Needless to say, Tom and Dave will now be my go-to experts.

TTRA holds a number of academic tracks throughout the conference. In these tracks, graduate students and professors share their academic work which means there is a heavy contingent of highly trained, highly specialized researchers at the event. For those of you who love statistics and the nitty gritty of research details, these tracks are definitely for you. I love them for two reasons. First, of course, you learn about the research itself. But second, and most importantly for me, they are a great way to refresh your statistical and methodology training. ANOVA results take front stage and we see betas, f-values, p-values, and all the supporting statistics. People comment on and strategize over minute details. These discussions make me rethink what I thought I already knew and update my opinions about how to use statistics. Love it.

I was delighted to speak on the main stage Thursday morning about AI, chatbots, and voice search (my slides are below). I shared results from a Sklar Wilton & Associates white paper showing that the general population is fairly knowledgeable about the state of AI. AI can now write newspaper articles about anything you ask of it, AI can create humour that people actually laugh at, in some sense AI can even read your mind, and Google’s millions of dollars have allowed them to create an AI voice that is practically indistinguishable from the human voice. Of course, AI isn’t perfect and Joy Buolamwini of M.I.T.’s Media Lab has conducted research showing how facial recognition technology has trouble recognizing dark faces.

Technology for the regular folk who don’t have millions of research dollars backing us up has progressed to such a point where it is useful for customer service reps, marketers, and market researchers. Customers regularly use AI to book flights and hotels whether through chatbots on Facebook or voice assistants, we can now use AI moderators from companies like Quester to conduct surveys with anyone who has a voice assistant, and chatbots from companies like Elsient to conduct text surveys.

As fabulous as AI is, people are still unmatched for their ethics, emotions, and genuine caring for other people. This is what market researchers bring to the research table. Sure, we bring tech. Tech speeds things up and helps reduce technical errors. But people bring research results to life.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the diversity of speakers, put your hands up, they’re playing our song, 54% of speakers were women. Rock on, TTRA!

Thank you Kathy and Scott for putting on a fabulous conference. We’re off to Melbourne Australia next year!

I OBJECT: My reaction to Per Håkansson’s talk at #IIeX @perhakansson MRX

It’s rare that a conference talk generates outright rage but that’s what happened today. Twitter got angry and an audience member asked a question that didn’t get answered.

In his talk, Per Håkansson (Per on twitter ) shared his personal experience as a digital nomad. He shared that he owns about 100 items, and own no car, no home, no TV, no CDs. As a beneficiary of the crypto currency movement, he travels the world and has lived in many different cities. He shared that this could be, or will be, the way of the future for most people.

So why were some people so enraged, myself included?

I think it was two-fold.

1) The talk wasn’t focused on the needs of the marketing research audience. As a personal story of how he weaves in and out of different cities with little physical baggage to restrict his movements, it was a fun tale. But it wasn’t a market research tale.

By not focusing the content to the needs of the audience, we were left clinging to irrelevant pieces of information. We heard a fun tale of a wealthy, white person on extended holidays. Instead, we needed to hear a tale of how research companies can support a nomadic lifestyle that might be more attractive to younger workers, e.g., remote employees, no need to buy physical offices and a central location. And this extends to our services, e.g., we can store data and reports in the cloud, use Software as a Service. It can extend to employee benefits, e.g., healthcare services that are accessible in many countries. This is the story we needed to hear.

2) Further, we heard that many/most people should/will become digital nomads. By renting BnB residences, using public transportation, and using Netflix and Spotify, we can free ourselves of physically owning stuff we don’t really need. As someone who doesn’t own a phone or a car, I’ve got an overwhelming surplus of diggity with that.

Of course, this idea doesn’t account for all the people who make public transportation and hotels and restaurants happen – bus drivers and cleaners and repair people, housekeeping staff, restaurant servers and cooks and dishwashers, all of whom earn extremely low wages and live pay check to pay check (as 78% of American do according to Diane Hessan).

These support people make it possible for wealthy people to zip around the world and live in luxurious places. These support people can never ever dream of living a romantically nomadic lifestyle. Besides, most jobs can’t be virtual jobs – 13% of jobs are mining/construction/manufacturing, 12% of jobs are health care, 10% are in leisure/hospitality, 12% are government.

On the other hand, Sinead Jefferies wrote this excellent post on Research Live in which she advocated for workplace flexibility and how it could help retain the best talent within our industry. This, I think, is the story that would have resonated with more people as being realistic and relatable.

I’d love to hear what you think.

The audience doesn’t care about your company and other tactical tips for conference speakers

As a conference speaker, the best sales pitch you can offer on stage is a presentation that educates and entertains the audience. One that explicitly shows them you understand what the audience needs.

I chat with a lot of speakers who assure me they didn’t do a sales pitch and then are astonished to find out that they did. I also chat with other speakers who are so paranoid about NOT doing a sales pitch that they strip out all the good parts of their presentation. Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do to prevent both of these situations.

Ban these words

Never say the word we. Never say the word our. Never say the word us. These tiny unassuming words automatically turn the most glorious presentation into a horrid sales pitch. And your audience has no need for a sales pitch. They are sitting in front of you because they are desperate for knowledge and insights. They want to know your personal opinion, what you have discovered from your techniques. They want to engage with and listen to you as a person. They’d rather not tweet how boring and out of touch you were.

Don’t name-drop your products

Companies spend thousands of dollars trademarking brand names. While it’s helpful to have names so that your employees and your clients know that they’re all talking about the same thing, no one in the audience cares about your cutesy names. They don’t care that you use SalesForce or SurveyMonkey. They care that you understand marketing and research. So if you find yourself wanting to say the name of a tool while you’re talking, instead simply say ‘these types of tools’ or ‘these types of companies.’ I can assure you that you don’t need to use any of your brand names or trademarked names in your presentation.

Don’t describe your company

Your audience doesn’t care about your company and they certainly don’t need you to present a detailed explanation of all the products and services your company offers, even if that slide only takes 3 minutes. That slide explaining your company needs to be turned into a discussion of how your specific topic impacts the industry. Don’t tell the audience that Annie Pettit Consulting is a business that combines artificial intelligence and eye tracking. Instead, tell the audience that eye tracking has seen huge advancements with the application of artificial intelligence. Strip out the branded content and focus on the educational content.

Don’t describe your company philosophy

Don’t waste valuable presentation time talking about your company mission and philosophy. It is not important for the audience to understand your company philosophy in order to understand the research. The audience doesn’t need to know that your company believes research should be easy. The audience DOES need to know how research can be made easy. They also don’t need to know that your mission is to solve problems. Instead, explain to them how research processes can be used to solve problems.

What is your reward?

If you do a great job of educating and entertaining your audience, they will line up to ask questions, get your business card, and they will email you afterwards asking for advice and copies of your presentation. Guaranteed.

Sincerely,

Every person who’s ever sat in a conference audience

2018 Market Research Conference Speaker Gender Tracker #MRX #NewMR

Diversity - market research speaker trackerThis list shows the gender ratio of speakers at marketing research and related conferences during 2018.

These data are not 100% accurate. I am not always able to identify whether a speaker is male or female based on their name. Online programs aren’t always up to date, and printed programs often change at the last minute and don’t reflect who was actually on stage. If you are able to correct my numbers, I would be grateful for the help.

And yes, there is far more to diversity than gender. Diversity of age, ethnicity, ability/disability, sexuality, and more also matter. But let’s at least measure what we can from conference programs.

Please contribute: If you have a PDF or image of a conference program, email it to me so I can include it in this list.

FYI, I put a ⭐ beside any conference between 45% and 55%  and a 👎🏻 beside any conference under 30% or over 70%.

 

  • QRCA, Arizona, January: 19 female, 7 male=73% female (Qual research has more female than male specialists)
  • Qual Worldwide, Spain, May: 20 female, 9 male = 69% female
  • Qual360, Washington, March: 17 female, 11 male speakers = 61% female
  • ESOMAR World, Amsterdam, March: 15 female, 11 male = 58% female
  • Customer Experience Strategies Summit, April: 15 female, 12 male=56% female
  • NewMR Festival, online, February: 16 female, 13 male=55% female
  • TTRA, June, 49 female, 41 male=54% female
  • IMPACT MRS Annual, March:  45 female,  42 male = 52% female
  • ⭐ Market Research Summit, London, May, 18 female, 18 male = 50% female
  • ⭐ ConsumerXscience, The ARF, March, New York, 24 female, 25 male= 49% female
  • ⭐ Africa Forum 2018 AMRA, Nairobi, February: 19 female, 20 male=49% female
  • ⭐ MRMW APAC, June: 9 female, 10 male = 47% female
  • ⭐ MRMW NA, April: 21 female, 24 male = 47% female
  • ⭐ MRIA, Vancouver, May: 25 female, 30 male=45% female
  • Sentiment Analysis Symposium, New York March, 9 female, 10 male=45% female
  • The Insights Show, London, March: 19 female, 25 male= 43% female
  • CX Next, Boston, April:  10 female,  13 male = 43% female
  • TMRE IN FOCUS, Chicago, May: 10 female,  13 male = 43% female
  • Quirks LA, January: 45 female,  63 male=42% female
  • Insights NEXT, April, New York: 28 female, 38 male=42% female
  • Customer Experience & Digital Innovation, San Francisco, April: 5 female, 7 male = 42% female
  • ESOMAR MAIN FEST Latam, Buenos Aires, April:  23 female,  33 male = 41% female
  • Quirks Brooklyn, February: 55 female,  81 male=40% female
  • FUSE Brand & Packaging, New York, April: 19 female, 28 male = 40% female
  • SampleCon, February, Texas: 13 female, 25 male = 39% female
  • IIEX, Amsterdam, February: 50 female, 84 male=37% female
  • Qualtrics experience summit, March, Utah, 32 female, 57 male = 36% female
  • IIEX, Atlanta, June: 44 female, 85 male speakers = 34% female
  • Sysomos Summit, February, New York: 6 female, 12 male=33% female
  • Sysomos Summit, London, April: 4 female, 10 male = 29% female
  • 👎🏻 Insights CEO Summit, January, Florida: 4 female, 13 male = 24% female
  • Insights50, May 2, New York: 1 female, 4 male=20% female
  • 👎🏻 Sawtooth conference, March, Florida, 12 female, 58 male= 17% female

—————————————————————————————————————–

  • MRMW Europe, September:  female,  male = % female
  • PMRC : female, male=% female
  • AMAART Forum, June: female, male=% female
  • AMSRS, September:  female ,  male =% female
  • Big Data & Analytics for Retail Summit, June: female, male=% female
  • CRC, October: female, male=% female
  • CX Talks, October: female, male= % female
  • ESOMAR Big Data World, November: female, male=%female
  • ESOMAR Congress, Berlin, September: female speakers, male speakers =% female
  • ESOMAR Global Qual, November:  female,  male=% female
  • ILC Insights Leadership Conference (Insights Association), September, female, male=% female
  • Insights Corporate Researchers Conference, October, Florida: female, male=% female
  • Insights Leadership Conference, November, San Diego: female, male=% female
  • MRIA Net Gain, November, Toronto: female, male=% female
  • MRMW Europe, November: female, male=% female
  • MRS Driving Transformation Through Insight, October:  female,  male= % female
  • MRS, Customer Summit , November: female, male= % female
  • MRS, Financial, November: female,  male=% female
  • MRS, Methodology in Context, November: female, male=% female
  • Omnishopper International, November, female, male =% female
  • Qual360 APAC, Singapore, October: female,  male=% female
  • Sentiment, Emotional & Behavioral Analytics, July: female, male=% female
  • Sysomos Summit, September: female, male=% female
  • TMRE, October, female, male=% female

Gender Ratios of Years Past:

How do speakers see themselves? A survey of Speaker perceptions

The entirety of this post is available on the Gender Avenger website. 

.

Why are women underrepresented as speakers?

Why are women underrepresented as speakers, particularly at the conferences I go to where half of the audience members are women? Does fear chase them off the stage in disproportionate numbers?

I’ve pondered this question for years but I never knew if my hypothesis was grounded in fact or in stereotype. Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, the opportunity presented itself and here we are pondering real data from a survey I did of 297 male and 252 female computer or data scientists, and market researchers aged 25 to 49 — people who ought to be on their way to securing spots on the conference circuit.

One of the questions in the survey asked people to imagine speaking at an event and to choose any attributes that would describe themselves as a conference speaker. I was careful to include an equal number of both positive and negative attributes so as to avoid leading people to choose a greater percentage of positive (or negative) items.

Curious how men and women viewed thselves? I know you are. Read the entirety of this post on the Gender Avenger website. If you’re braver enough. 

2017 Market Research Conference Speaker Gender Tracker #MRX #NewMR 

This list shows the gender ratio of speakers at marketing research and related conferences during 2017.

These data are not 100% accurate. I am not always able to identify whether a speaker is male or female based on their name. Online programs aren’t always up to date, and printed programs often change at the last minute and don’t reflect who was actually on stage. If you are able to correct my numbers, I would be grateful for the help.

Please contribute: Some conferences remove their information immediately afterwards. If you have a PDF or image of a conference program, email it to me so I can include it in this list. If you have a paper program, mail it me or do the counts and simply send me the final numbers.

  • ESOMAR Global Qual, Porto, November: 25 female, 17 male=60% female
  • MRS Driving Transformation Through Insight, London, October: 15 female, 12 male= 56% female
  • ⭐️ AMSRS, Sydney, September: 3 female keynotes, 3 male keynotes, 1 female invited, 1 male invited, 28 female speakers, 19 male speakers=53% female
  • ⭐️ MRS, Financial, London, November: 11 female, 12 male=48% female
  • ⭐️ Qual360 APAC, Singapore, October: 16 female, 17 male=48% female
  • ⭐️ TMRE, Orlando, October, 79 female, 88 male=47% female
  • ⭐️ MR and CI Exchange, St Louis, May: 13 female, 16 male speakers=45% female
  • MRIA, Toronto, May: 25 female speakers, 33 male speakers, 6 female panelists, 4 male panelists, 1 female keynote, 4 male keynotes=44% female
  • CRC, Chicago, October: 37 female, 55 male=40% female
  • Market Research Summit, London, May, 22 female, 29 male=43% female
  • ESOMAR Congress, Amsterdam, September: 62 female speakers, 83 male speakers =43% female
  • MRS, Customer Summit 2017, November, London: 6 female, 8 male=43 % female
  • MRMW Europe, Berlin, November: female, male=43% female 
  • IIEX, Amsterdam, February: 52 female, 76 male=41% female
  • MRS, Methodology in Context, London, November: 40 female, 6 male=40% female
  • Customer Experience Strategies Summit, April, Toronto: 12 female, 18 male=40% female
  • Sysomos Summit, February, North Carolina: 16 female, 25 male=39% female
  • Sysomos Summit, September , NYC: 6 female, 10 male=38% female
  • MRIA Net Gain, November, Toronto: 6 female, 10 male=38% female
  • ILC Insights Leadership Conference (Insights Association) Chicago, September, 13 female, 24 male=35% female
  • IIEX, Atlanta, June: 58 female, 108 male speakers=35% female
  • 👎🏻ESOMAR Big Data World, New York, November: 10 female, 24 male=29%female
  • 👎🏻Sentiment Analysis Symposium, New York, June, 14 female, 35 male=29% female
  • 👎🏻Omnishopper International, Spain, November, 4 female, 13 male =24% female
  • 👎🏻CX Talks, Atlanta, October: 7 female, 25 male=22 % female
  • 👎🏻Big Data & Analytics for Retail Summit, Chicago, June: 5 female, 19 male=21% female
  • 👎🏻 Sysomos Summit, June, London: 3 female, 14 male=18% female
  • 👎🏻 Insights50 (Insights Association), Chicago, October: 1 female, 7 male=13% female
  • 👎🏻 AMAART Forum, Seattle, June: 4 female, 32 male=11% female
  • 👎🏻Sentiment, Emotional & Behavioral Analytics, July, San Francisco: 4 female, 36 male=10% female
  • .
  • PMRC Speakers not available online

Gender Ratios of Years Past:

I thought we had this single-gender #speaker thing sorted out in #MRX #NewMR

Some of you might remember a long-running and regularly updated post I created last year listing the gender ratios at marketing research conferences around the world. I stopped doing it because an entire year of data is sufficient for an industry that depends on data to see what’s happening. The data showed that women were vastly underrepresented as speakers at conferences. Conference organizers could see that this was an industry issue, not a “just them” issue. The data gave us the perfect opportunity to make great progress in how we source speakers. 

I’ll admit it can be difficult to see the problem but Twitter and Facebook make the job of spotting single gender panels much easier. Now, I truly don’t care about single gender, or single race, or all young, all old, all differently abled, or whatever the panel bias is. I DO care when the only type of biased panel I ever see is middle-aged, white, male panels. Has any #MRX conference ever had an all black panel not talking about black issues in #MRX ? Or an all woman panel not talking about women’s issues in #MRX? That’s the problem. That’s the statistically improbable problem

So that’s why posts like this are so disappointing. 

There are literally hundreds of Twitter lists labeled as #WomenIn_________, insert industry category. (Some of the relevant lists are on my twitter account.) There are hundreds of websites listing #WomenIn_________.  There are Facebook groups, google plus groups (yeah, tons of techies there!), Reddit groups, you name the digital channel, they have #WomenIn___________ groups. There’s #WomenAlsoKnow. There are thousands of lists of women experts if you look for them. You don’t even need to ask a woman/black person/differently abled person if they know another woman/black person/differently abled person who is an expert on a topic. You just need to know how to use the google. Or the internet explorer if you work for a company that still operates in the dark ages. 

But with that tweet, and the emails that came my way to complain, I guess I ought to do the counts again. I hope that while we may have not reached peak equality, e.g., at least 45% of one gender, we at least have shown improvement. I hope that instead of 35% of speakers being women, that at least 40% of speakers are women. 

Please do send me PDFs of any market research conference agendas you have saved. I’d appreciate the help. So would your friends and colleagues. My gmail address is anniepettit. 

Fingers crossed!

Changing the game: Sports Tech with the Toronto Argonauts and the Blue Jays, #BigDataTO #BigData #AI

Notes from the #BigDataTO conference inToronto 

Panel: Mark Silver, @silveratola, Stadium Digital; Michael Copeland, @Mike_G_copeland, Toronto Argonauts; Jonathan Carrigan, @J_carrigan, MLSE; Andrew Miller, @BlueJays, Toronto Blue Jays

  • There is a diverse fan base across all Toronto teams, and their preferences and values are diverse in terms of who are they and what drives them to watch and attend games. There are many segments of people not just ‘fans.’
  • Fandom takes many shapes and sizes and you always need to grow and rebuild the fan base. You can’t appeal to only avid fans. You must also appear to casual fans. You need to go beyond the narrow focus of superfans.
  • The strategy of loyalty programs is that they are an engagement tool to gather data for mining, generate in-game activation, let people win prizes by participating, help partners better understand the fans, and this creates wins across the board – for the team, the partners, and the fans. 
  • The teams want to learn what people are doing during the game as opposed to guessing. Which benefits do they use their points for, what do they choose at the concession stand, are they watching road games. And this is not just for season ticket holders but people across North America watching games. We need to use the data to learn how to scale beyond ticket holders.
  • People want more meaningful and personal relationships with their sports teams. We need to learn what food they want, what environment they want in the venue, what relationships they want outside of the game. And we need to filter out the noise and deliver.
  • We’ve all done the analogue research. It’s been done for 100 years and it’s not unique to sport. How do we use technology to do it better now. WHO – we need to stop guessing and start using more efficient research. This massive data we have will tell you many things like WHAT do they want. They might want NEW THINGS that you didn’t offer before, an app, an emoji. The data will also ASSIST your team with player recruitment and roster management. We’ve been doing all this for ages and now we want to do it better, more efficiently, most cost effectively.
  • Big data is not free though. Not all stadiums have wifi to do wifi research and it’s expensive to invest in putting wifi in a stadium. We need to spread the cost among multiple agencies.
  • This isn’t a technology project. Rather it’s a people project. For instance, a chef can do vastly more with ten ingredients than I can. We need to change the way we engage with fans and leverage partner relationships. Yes, we’re investing in technology but the focus is people. We need to translate tools for each part of the business, reimagine how we engage with fans, and how we make a profit. You can buy a beautiful car but you need to learn to drive to take full advantage of that new car.

Cognitive Analytics: Enabling assisted intelligence in human resources recruiting and hiring by Noel Webb, @CognitiveHR, Karen.ai, #BigDataTO #BigData #AI

Notes from the #BigDataTO conference in Toronto

  • He realized that HR teams were spending too much time prescreening resumes before they could even meet with the best candidates
  • Recruiters only spend 6 seconds reviewing a resume which means they end up accidentally discarding some of the best ones. Time crunches mean they may only be able to get through 20% of candidates. ML can solve these problems .
  • 75% of candidates who apply to jobs do not hear back from the company because there are simply too many candidates and not enough time to do so. NLP and chatbots can solve this problem.
  • AI will not steal all jobs but it will automate processes and allow you to engage with potential hires in a more meaningful way.
  • Shortlisting is a huge challenge for HR as reducing a huge list of resumes into a screened list takes a lot of detailed attention. Technology such as direct keyword matches aren’t the best option as they eliminate people with relevant skills but not the exact words. For instance, know R is just as good as knowing SAS but a keyword search wouldn’t know that. NLP would work much better.
  • Personality insights can also be collected using sentiment analysis to get a functional understanding of the Big 5 Personality traits. [Wow, I can’t imagine how valid it is to do personality assessments with resumes which are often written by third parties and without traditional grammar and style]
  • Chatbots can take an applicant through hiring and onboarding processes by answering questions that would normally be asked of an operations officer. [imagine how many stupid questions the chatbot would be asked that new hires are too scared to ask people]
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