Tag Archives: Jeffrey Henning

Failing Forward by Jeffrey Henning, #AMSRS

Live blogged at #AMSRS 2015 National Conference. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.


  • there is always a tremendous fear of failure, an F on a report card or being called a failure at a business meeting
  • father in law joined an electronics store and sold transistors, started his own business which was successful, wanted to pass business onto his son who refused because his son knew the internet would change everything, so he kept doing things the same way as he always did and his business when bankrupt – he wasn’t willing to risk what he knew worked
  • Bill Gates – success is a lousy teacher, it’s an unreliable guide to the future
  • there are day to day opersonal failures, short term tactical failures, long term strategic failures
  • operational failures – terrible response rates, bad lists, didn’t budget for incentives, twitter sampling leading to spam attacks, skip logic error – testing logic not how people would actually answer the survey 
  • you can prepare a survey checklist of every item that must be checked before a survey goes live [i do this 🙂 ]
  • also consider doing a survey post-partum – what went right or wrong
  • tactical failures – recurring problems – clients couldn’t edit their charts so they had to change the system to accomodate that, though clients may be happy with the end project you might be very unhappy
  • They use a lot of software – excel, hermes, poseidon, fogbugz, questionpro, survey gizmo, decipher, surveymonkey, verint – they have templated checklists for all of these, constantly keep track of things they want to change or improve, learn on what to improve from every project
  • strategic failures – mainly product launches, tried a text analytics product in 1996 way ahead of its time when people didn’t have a lot of text to analyze, last three products failed but led to success of  their last product a survey product
  • He coined the term Enterprise Feedback Management. [how cool is that!]
  • you can’t coast on one success
  • pretend before you spend – pretotyping
  • The Palm Pilot was planned as the inventor carried a block of wood from meeting to meeting pretending to use it as he would use a real product
  • what is the smallest product you can build that will be viable – check out StatWing, very limited SPSS type of product
  • don’t build the pieces of the product – build a skateboard, a bike, and then a car

Transformation of Market Research by Jeffrey Henning #NetGain8 #MRX

Live blogging from MRIA’s #NetGain8 conference in Toronto. Any errors or stupid jokes are my own.

Netgain8The Transformation of Market Research: Where to next? by Jeffrey Henning, President, Researchscape International, Boston

  • Innovation in 1994 – a bike lane on Davenport
  • 1923 – it was a railway
  • 1904 – it was horses and buggies, beginning of electrification
  • Previously, the road was a first nations pathway and that is why it doesn’t follow traditional street ways – it used to be the shoreline!  [Cool!  I live here and didn’t know that!]
  • profession of building canoes probably lasted thousands of years, building buggies was probably hundreds of years before they went obsolete
  • So will market research become obsolete? [and here, Jeffrey yells it out 🙂 ]
  • Only methods become obsolete, not professions.
  • Currency will always exist but it will look and work differently
  • Market research is eternal, or nearly
  • Pressure points on survey research – victim of its own success – overloading inboxes, bad questionnaire design, long surveys, complex designs
  • Drivers of survey research – mobile surveys. micro surveys, DIY, Enterprise Feedback Management, Voice Of Consumer systems, emotion capture, feature wars, automation, very crowded space
  • In 1987 – questionnaire design was in wordperfect, surveys were by phone mail or face to face, results analyzed in spss and lotus, results presented in wordperfect — the human provided most of the value
  • In 1997 – finally a product to help with survey design (surveysolutions or EZSurvey) and fielding and analysis, results were now presented in powerpoint – more automation now but still a lot of human work
  • In 2013 – survey templates and question libraries, automated fielding, partially automated analysis, partially automated presentations
  • More companies are doing proprietary analytics with traditional questions and choosing pictures to represent feelings
  • Weighting used to be cone using statistical systems under direction of an analyst, open ends were rarely analyzed, and crosstabs showed everything not just the meaningful differences
  • Google applies automatic weighting to its analysis though it’s not perfect, they guess who you are based on your browser data
  • WYWIWYG – what you want is what you get – the system knows exactly which statistic should be applied – you just say what variables you want to test, you don’t need to understand how to use SPSS or SAS or R – StatWing
  • Automation to come – crowd shaped surveys, better weighting, text analytics, proprietary analytics
  • 2018 – human designs the questionnaire and not much else of the process – self driving car… self driving survey research not so far fetched – maybe we should become qualitative researchers 🙂
  • We need to develop proprietary indices, pioneer new techniques, invent unique interfaces, build proprietary panels, custom programming, more qual, benchmark databases, text analytics, be creative, good infographics, internalize research
  • “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” – Theodore Hook

The Roles of Blogs in Public Opinion Research Dissemination #AAPOR #MRX

AAPOR… Live blogging from beautiful Boston…

Reg Baker, SurveyGeek

  • First blog post was on randomization
  • His company considered him to be a methodologist because he subscribed to POQ, he kept answering the same questions so he wrote the answers in a blog and referred everyone there
  • Twitter is how you build blog traffic, We love the retweets of our blogs
  • There is a social media bubble of all the people talking about the same things you do, and you meet people around the world only because of your buzz
  • Two families of blogs – those sharing research results and those in the commentator category
  • Biggest peak of all – sarcasm sells – begged people to not use words like disruptive, holistic, superlatives; next largest blog was how to write a mobile pitch piece about the hyperbole around mobile research
  • Conference blogging gets lots of hits, as do posts in a series
  • Hardest thing about blogging is you need to do it all the time and it’s hard, you need to do it day in and day out, something people care about want to hear about
  • Useful and fun way to share information, it can get you into trouble, say things you wish you didn’t say

Annie Pettit, LoveStats

Adam Sage, SurveyPost

  • Put a viewpoint out there to start a discussion
  • Peer reviewed research takes a lot of time
  • Focus on twitter, crowdsourcing, infomatics, concepts that are difficult to publish before they are outdated
  • Blogs consider the readers to be the jury
  • Ripe for innovation, more than just you shouting with a megaphone

Marjorie Connelly, New York Times

  • They post blogs and vet blogs that go on many different places on their site
  • Website has no print deadline so they can post at any time
  • Blogs offer a different voice than the print paper, columnists often have their own blogs and they often use polls to support their arguments – they have no control over those polls
  • Often breaking news or incisive posts
  • Use live blogging for celebrity events like debut of the ipad, Tony Awards
  • Venue for things that wouldn’t be accepted into the paper
  • Let authors say more and more deeply than the printed paper
  • Can do early releases of data in order to tease a later print version

Jeffrey Henning, ResearchScape

  • Started his Vovici blog as part of content marketing, and he needed something to do in the newly formed merged companies
  • First blog post was about asking demographic questions, designed only by considering what google wanted
  • His new company “ResearchScape”  needed the same kind of marketing work
  • His ranking of 50 top blogs turned into 50 days of posts
  • Realized not a lot of people are sharing results of studies – white space in the blogging world to support more
  • Journalists do a poor job of putting research results into context – Jeffrey gives them an F. Researchscape is trying to fix this and Jeffrey gives himself a D for what he’s done so far. He wants to improve to a C+ next year.
  • A blog is a place to practice in a small audience, help you become better at explaining methodologies

Casey Tasfaye, FreeRangeResearch

  • You don’t know your opinion until you write it down
  • Assumptions about what research is changes when you try to write it down
  • Place to combine all her data sources – school, friends, talks – and make sense of it. It’s about her trying to figure things out.
  • Her blogs explores intersections of different worlds, shares discussions about polls, reports events and conferences, things she reads, research findings
  • Her meditation calendar is a good source of  blog posts
  • Good place for problem solving, discuss them in a public way
  • Also talks about digital parenting – how does she deal with her kids and social media
  • Tries to have a blog roll, lists of organizations, lists of helpful links, lists of good tools
  • Twitter is a good tool for listening, amplifying, and discussion
  • very little engagement on the blogs themselves but lots on twitter
  • #WJchat is good to listen to
  • Twitter is a great way to follow conceptual trends
  • A lot of research doesn’t get published and blogging can deal with this

Do not disturb (but only when it’s convenient for you)

Skyline of Toronto

Image via Wikipedia

With the Toronto Mayoral election upon me today and two major candidates fighting for the lead (George Smitherman and Rob Ford), I came to appreciate just how important our Do Not Call list is. This is a list people can add their phone number to which tells telemarketers not to call them. If a telemarketer phones a number on the list, there will be penalties for the company. Market researchers, social researchers, and political pollsters have been granted special permissions which allow them to call numbers on that list without penalty.

And that brings me to this past weekend and the impending political vote. I received over ten phone calls from people “hoping to count on my support.” A couple of calls were real people but most were automated calls that droned on and on filling up my answering machine. A couple of calls were negative campaigns but most seemed to be professional. I have to say most because I turned down the volume of my phone and stopped listening to them once I realized what was happening.

I have full respect for the political process and urge everyone to vote (or spoil their ballot) in every election that they are eligible to vote in. But boy, did I take a second ponder at that Do Not Call list. If I didn’t put my name on the list, how much phone spam would I receive?

Which brings me to my real point. Social media research of course. Jeffrey Henning of Vovici tweeted me this weekend to ask my opinion about groups that are password protected but can be instantly accessed by anyone as soon as they create a password. I immediately thought of the Do Not Call list.

Both systems are examples of lists that are easy to sign up for and easy to ignore. I CAN call someone on a Do Not Call list. I know they don’t want to talk to me but their phone number isn’t physically broken. I CAN sign up for a password to a forum and receive instant access but I know the password means this information is not for public consumption. I CAN ignore people’s polite attempts to tell me that I’m not wanted but I can usually take a hint.

Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you should. What do you think?

MRA Boston Day 2 – More good stuff!

[tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]The weather was gray and dreary today but with the MRA schedule, it was nothing but a great day. It started, of course, with breakfast and while there was no bacon, there were blueberry blintzes. I’ve never had them before but it was a like a party in my mouth and everyone was invited.
Blueberry blitzes mmmmm dessert for breakfast :) #MRA_AC  on Twitpic

First up was the general membership meeting. It seemed that half of the audience was the board of directors, all of whom sat in the seats that no one ever sits in – the front row seats. I was prepared for boring and dull but the in fact, they managed to keep the meeting light and only highlighted the tidbits of info that would be interesting to most people. During this meeting, next year’s board of directors was duly sworn in. I was quite amused that they are now required to obey the standards of the MRA. Because they weren’t before? 🙂

Next up was Adenia Cooper from McDonalds. She was absolutely hilarious. Hecklers, people who refused to try Angus burgers, and McDonalds fans alike were all given, or thrown, gifts. The audience couldn’t help but laugh along with her as she shared what McDonalds has learned about speaking to consumers who represent different ethnic groups. Truly a fun and informative presentation.

I attended Aaron Reid’s presentation called In Defense of Marketing. He showed some great BBC video of birds including some who did the most incredible dances and the most incredible sound mimicry – camera sounds, car sounds, music sounds. The point? That every aspect of your life is a marketing experience. The way you dress, speak, move is your attempt to market yourself to other people. Even more interesting, and really reaching the psychologist in me, was the recognition that these types of behaviours are interpreted by others almost completely unconsciously. Which means any time you market a product, there are reasons, far from logical, causing people to purchase it. Watch the whole video. It’s amazing!

Then came the networking lunch. The intent was good I think, but in the end, we ended up chatting with each other as we might have at any other table. So the blue rope separating the “networkers” from the “regular people” didn’t seem to make much difference. But that was ok. Lunch was a tasty salad, with cheese ravioli, and caramel mousse. Yum!
Do not cross the line! One side networking, one side everyone... on Twitpic

After lunch came a session by Kathryn Korostoff, @ResearchRocks, in which she talked about ways of making people actually USE research results. She actually made me think of ways of sharing research results that I had never considered before. Why not videotape yourself presenting results so that other clients who weren’t at the presentation can watch too! Why not start the presentation with a quick quiz that you developed based on the results of the research? Good stuff!
Kathryn speaks. Pretend you're here. #MRA_AC  on Twitpic

Finally, I attended the presentation by Bernie Malinoff, @BernieMalinoff, and Jeffrey Henning, @JHenning, about using rich media in surveys. This is the kind of research on research that tickles my fancy. Forget whether the research is about soap or cars or banking. What is it about HOW the questions were placed on the page that affects the answers. There were tons of interesting factoids in the presentation so be sure to have a look at it when it goes public (i assume it will!).

It's a tweetup before the tweetup! #MRA_AC  on Twitpic

Who ended up with Conversition shirts today? These folks!
Watch out for @Jhenning wearing the @tweetfeeldotcom shirt. #... on Twitpic Here is my hero! @SpychResearch saved the day. Did YOU say th... on Twitpic

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