Tag Archives: Joel Rubinson

Brand Building in a Digital, Social and Mobile Age Joel Rubinson, Rubinson Partners Inc. #NetGain2015 #MRX

Netgain 2015Live blogging from the Net Gain 2015 conference in Toronto, Canada. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Brand Building in a Digital, Social and Mobile Age

Joel Rubinson, President and Founder of Rubinson Partners Inc.

  • Picture of brand success has to change
  • We are no longer in a push word, consumers pull information at their leisure
  • We engage in shopping behaviours even when we aren’t really shopping, we are always IN the path to purchase
  • Brands must become media
  • Starbucks is the best example of a marketer that gets it. 40 million fans on facebook. millions of website visits. millions have downloaded their app. Every interaction generates data they can use, can be used for personalization, to amplify brand communications. They no longer have to pay for every message.
  • The rise of math experts in advertising  – lift from using math to place advertising is a repeatable success
  • Programmatic messaging is key. Think about impressions that are served up one user at a time. marketers goal is serve the most relevant ad at the right price. And this needs to scale.
  • Research is missing in action when it comes to math – we lack digital metrics, still rely on survey based tracking, we have a post-mortem mind set, we are failing to change how marketing works
  • We must get serious about integrating digital – why isn’t this happening, why are we locked in a survey world
  • Our comfort zone is surveys. We know how to construct 20 minute surveys. Our learning zone is the mobile area where we unpack our surveys into smaller pieces.
  • The panic zone is digital, we don’t understand it. We must move digital into the comfort zone.
  • lets start by just looking at the data, look at page views, look at themes in social media, how big is your brand audience, how many likes on facebook, how many twitter followers, how many newsletter signups. These are unambiguous measures. Look at clicking and sharing and conversions.
  • Stop treating social media as a hobby, not specialty projects, not ancillary thing to look at. You must find ways to increase positive word of mouth.
  • Do we really need feedback from consumers every single day on attributes they never consider? Can’t social media which is much more organic do this?
  • Bring in data that you can’t get from a survey that has action value. Some online panel companies already use a social login called OAuth.  Append all the Facebook data to your survey and use it for targeting.
  • Data aggregators have lots of profiling information for targeting ads throughout the web which means different people get different ads based on cookies from their browser
  • You can also link in frequent shopper data to your survey data.
  • You don’t have to guess whether an ad is working. You can run an experiment and serve the ad to one group of people and see the change in group behaviour.
  • MR needs to know that brand meaning is done completely different now. People seek out knowledge, digital delivers information in real time. But marketing research hasn’t changed.
  • Think digital and do something big. Shift some money into datascience or integration. Conduct in the moment research with smartphones.

ARF AM5 Day 2: Bees, not buzz but busy!

Coconut macaroons, a type of popular meringue-...

Image via Wikipedia

[tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]We started bright and early at 8am again. Today, I claimed my seat in the “reserved for speakers” row right in front. Ok, so maybe I wasn’t speaking on those specific panels but people are scared to take the front row and I like it. How else are you to see peoples faces without squinting and take good videos!

The first few sessions reflected a normal curve with a yeller and a reader on the outlying points with most speakers taking a more moderate approach. My fave talk of the morning was a discussion of whether the ipad is a revolution or an evolution. I’m not sure where I stand as I don’t buy magazines to begin with and certainly wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars to then spend a few more bucks on a magazine. But then I’m just cheap. I mean frugal. Yeah, that’s it.

Then, I was off to record a 15 minute video summary of my presentation. Somehow, it turned into an hour and a half discussion as the video team and Steve Rappaport had a unique interest in my topic. It does always seem to intrigue people when I explain how social media data can be properly analyzed and turned into research. And then, Joel Rubinson arrived and I got to admire two great minds at work!

Lunch was very nice and surprise surprise, there were macaroons for dessert! Not the coconut macaroons we are used to, but the meringue style you find all over Paris. Needless to say, after I left the table, there were no more left. 🙂

Then came my session. Between myself, Stacey Hall, Heather Milt, and Sean Case of Peanut Labs, we presented a session on using social media research to evaluate television viewing. Stacey started the show by describing just how massive the volume of social media data is. Then, I followed with a discussion of the research itself. And, given that USA had just won a world cup game, it only seemed fitting to begin and end the presentation with a blast from my blackberry vuvuzela app! (On that note, if you are annoyed by the sound of the app, make sure it isn’t your own making the noise when you wander into a quiet restaurant!)

The best compliment received after the presentation came from an elderly gentleman. You could stereotype and say “what does he care, he remembers the 1930 census.” Well, age is no measure of social media research appreciation. He watched the presentation and announced to us he was a convert. 🙂

The day ended with several more panel discussions slotted quickly after each other. Again, there was barely time to breathe before more neat ideas were rammed 2 by 2 into my head. I’m going to have to read my tweets as a refresher.

Finally, the most fun of the day was taping live commentary from the ARF team. There were some refusals but they quickly turned into videos. How could they say no when I won the flip video from them! Watch this space for that video!

As a newbie to this conference, it was definitely an eye opener for me. I heard a lot of new ideas that will float around my brain while I figure out how to apply them to my work. I also heard lots of familiar buzz words, met lots of new people, and listened to lots of tweeple. Now I can’t wait for the next conference. Maybe it will have 20 minute breaks?


Read these too

  • Radical Stats
  • Ode to a Boxplot
  • Survey Design Tip #2: Short and Sweet
  • Survey Design Tip #1: Responders DON’T CARE
  • Privacy – Do you really think about it?
  • 1 topic 5 blogs: Embracing the evolution of listening

    [tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]The question posed to the group of 5 Bloggers this month was: “Qualitative Research: How has the art of listening changed, and what can we do to leverage new listening tools in a Social Media landscape.”

    Links to my fellow bloggers  Joel Rubinson, Josh Mendelsohn, Brandon Bertelsen and Bernie Malinoff are below.


    Barely one hundred years ago, the art of listening entered the scientific age. Though you may question the scientific validity, surveys became a part of our culture and researchers embraced the idea that you can learn just by asking.

    Fast forward one hundred years and the direction has changed. Researchers have discovered that you can learn just by listening.

    We’ve had the technology to listen for more than ten years now but it has only been the last few wherein the average person could actively participate. Smart phones abound and are believed to be a major, perhaps even THE major contributing factor to the listening revolution. Facebook and twitter have created the places that make contributing fun and easy and if I may say so, quite addictive.

    As I think about the plight of survey research with scary response rates and data quality issues, I must think forward to the potential but avoidable plight of listening research. Listening will only succed in the long term if we take care of business now.

    What business do we need to take care of?

    #1 Privacy for contributors: Many social media monitoring companies offer clients the ability to respond directly to the “complainer” or the “champion.” As a researcher, I predict this will only lead to the closing of the listening opportunity as people begin to protest these breaches of personal space. Researchers must be active advocates of protecting personal space. If we do this, people will continue to feel comfortable sharing their opinions in the internet space and researchers will be given permission to listen where others are denied.

    #2 Overpromising to clients: I link this item with trust and quality. It’s easy to promise that you can listen to conversations for any brand and gather tons of data. This just isn’t true. Not every brand has lots of data. Not every brand has lots of quality data. Just like survey researchers can’t promise 80% response rates, listening researchers can’t promise unlimited data to every client. Overpromising will simple cause clients to be distrustful of the method and erroneously believe that listening isn’t a good method. For the long-term good of the industry, we must be honest with our clients now, not after the contract has been signed.

    #3 Evolution is inevitable: We know how to listen now but how will we listen 5 years or even 2 years from now. Will twitter be around? Facebook? Blogger? WordPress? I don’t know but I do know that I expect things to change and I will be ready and waiting for it to change. Just as surveys moved from paper to web forms to web 1.0 and web 2.0, the same will happen with listening. Right now we’re listening to words, but very soon everyone will be able to easily listen to songs and movies and pictures and artwork. Researchers aren’t well known for taking on technology with gusto but we can do it.

    Let’s embrace change!

    Bernie Malinoff
    Joel Rubinson
    Josh Mendelsohn
    Brandon Bertelsen

    1 Topic 5 Blogs: DIY surveys suck or save the day #MRX

    [tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]

    G’day all and welcome to this months issue of 1 topic, 5 blogs. Todays topic is DIY surveys. Links to my fellow bloggers Bernie Malinoff, Joel Rubinson, Josh Mendelsohn and Brandon Bertelsen can be found below.


    I will admit. From a client point of view, DIY surveys have a ton of advantages. You can get the survey out quickly without any middle-man holding you up. Without a middle-man, the cost can be greatly reduced. And, you get exactly what you want without pleading and whining and complaining. If you have some solid experience or training in survey design, I am quite in favour of DIY for short 5 minute surveys.

    But, when it comes to substantial surveys, I have many, many issues. The issues revolves mostly around “getting exactly what you want.” Any time I review survey drafts from survey newbies, and EVEN from people experienced in survey design, I find many of these terrible problems.

    1) Leading questions: The writer usually has no intention of doing this, but they almost always give away the answer they want to receive. And whether consciously or unconsciously, the responder recognizes that and happily provides it.

    2) Missing options: The writer is so focused on the options they are interested in that they forget there are options that are far more popular. They make sure that Brand A and Brand B are represented, but completely forget about Brand C, Store brand, Never buy, and Don’t know. This is another way to get the exact answer you want purely by bad survey design.

    3) I can usually find a bunch of category jargon including words I don’t even recognize. On numerous occasions, I have seen surveys ask something like “Do you plan to purchase the X6000?” I am left trying to remember if the previous question was about televisions or motorcycles in hopes that X6000 will suddenly mean something.

    4) I can usually find survey jargon.  People don’t purchase, they buy. People don’t use gum, they chew gum. People don’t purchase the 75g bar soap package, they buy the two pack.

    Even if you much prefer DIY, I 100% believe that everyone needs a middle man. Whether that middle-man is a reputable survey company or another person in a completely different department, you absolutely must have fresh eyes. Fresh eyes find the annoying mistakes that you can no longer see because you’re tired of reading your survey. Fresh eyes find logic errors, spelling mistakes, and unclear questions. Market researchers will criticize far more harshly resulting in a far better survey, but fresh eyes of any sort are always in your favour.

    In the end, it doesn’t matter how much money you saved by going the DIY route if your survey results are useless.

    Links to the other 4 blogs coming shortly:

    Bernie Malinoff of element 54
    Joel Rubinson of the ARF
    Josh Mendelsohn of Chadwick Martin Bailey
    Brandon Bertelsen

    1topic5blogs: The only thing cell phone surveys are good fer

    The question posed to the group of 5 Bloggers this month was: “Mobile surveys – For/Against, Pros/Cons, Right Situations/Wrong Situations?” Links to my fellow bloggers Bernie Malinoff, Joel Rubinson, Josh Mendelsohn and Brandon Bertelsen can be found below.


    I’ve harped on the negatives of cell phone surveys a few times now so I think I’m due to say something nice or nothing at all.

    Because of the small viewing screen, small typing space, and portability of cell phones, they do lend themselves to a few specific purposes.
    Cell phone surveys must be fast – mere minutes, not tens of minutes.
    They must direct and clear – no paragraph long explanations.
    They must be portable – cell phone surveys are just silly if you’re near a computer.

    So here is my very short list of what qualifies:

    • Point of sale surveys: Particularly when responders can be instantly rewarded with a percent or dollar off incentive coupon, a few pointed questions about the shopping experience or the purchase drivers would work well. Responders would love to tell you which sizes or colours or styles they couldn’t find, or whether the employees were rude and the dressing rooms were a mess. Put a survey link right on the garment or on the dressing room door and see what happens.

    • Experience measures: We’ve all gotten those annoying “Tell us how we’re doing” surveys when paying a restaurant bill. The questions are horribly worded because they’re trying to fit 10 questions into a space smaller than my eyeball. And the server doesn’t have a spare pen because customers borrowed all ten that he just bought. Just imagine the response rate those surveys would get if your server gave you an easy link and you blurted out your frustrations on the spot. Add in a $1 off coupon and i’m seeing some great response rates.
    • Field surveys: Do a similar thing in outdoor settings where you’re nowhere near any kind of technology – parks, playgrounds, golf courses. Playground safety issues? New petting zoo at the park? Put a survey link right on the play structure, on the animal enclosure, or even the 9th hole flag and see what happens.
    • Entertainment: What about links at the end of books, end of magazines, end of commercials, end of movie previews? I know many of these already have links but have you really noticed them. Let’s put a good call to action instead of hiding it in the footer. Let people share their experience while they’re still in the moment, while they still remember the commercial that played immediately before and immediately after, while they still have popcorn in their hands.

    So you see, it’s not all doom and gloom. Just mostly.

    Links to the other 4 blogs coming shortly:

    Bernie Malinoff
    Joel Rubinson of the ARF
    Josh Mendelsohn of Chadwick Martin Bailey
    Brandon Bertelsen

    1 topic, 5 blogs: Rich Media in Surveys

    Welcome to the first of five blogs wherein five bloggers chatter on aimlessly about the same topic. Where can one topic possibly lead? Well, just you read on to find out.

    This month’s topic: How does rich media affect survey results?


    Did you answer any surveys when they first came online more then ten years ago? I did my own HTML coding back then and was so proud of how I managed to code a 20 item grid on each of ten pages. Nice clean lines. Scroll bars down the side. Such technology!

    Now, I hate grids unless they meet very specific criteria. One of those criteria is of course eye-appeal and interest with the goal being not to irritate survey responders. Though no longer a new technology, rich text features are still not widely used. Most surveys stick to the traditional “check the box” or “type in some words.”

    But, rich media in surveys give users new ways of interacting with a survey. These new ways are interesting to survey participants. They provide variety, a component of fun, and for some people, even a sense of anticipation as they wonder what the next survey will have to offer them.

    For me, everything comes down to data quality. If survey participants are bored, data quality takes a severe nose dive. If incentives are insufficient, data quality takes a nose dive. I see providing a variety of survey questions as killing two birds with one stone (sorry birdies). If surveys are fun, people don’t get bored and straightlining is less likely to occur. And, if surveys are fun, incentives are less important. The survey itself becomes incentive enough.

    There are of, course, caveats. Any one who’s read a book on survey design or research methods will tell you that if you change the style of a question, you change the answers you will receive. If you’ve always used traditional grids, then switching to rich media “grids” means your data will change. You will need to be prepared to see trendlines adjust to the new layout. This is NOT a reason to avoid moving to rich media. There are ways to deal with changes in trendlines.

    Why do these changes happen? Personally, I was raised in a world where words go from left to right. That’s what feels right to me. Same for traffic lights that are red, yellow and green. If stop signs were suddenly green, the city would turn to chaos. No matter how hard we try, any tampering with ingrained rules means that people will misinterpret something, even if conscientious efforts are made to interpret the new rules correctly.

    And along those lines, there are many many other things that are inherently correct to me that I don’t even realize. For example, if I’m given a drop and drag likert scale, will I be able refrain from filling up each box equally? If I’m asked to draw lines between objects, will I disregard the patterns the lines are making? If asked to choose pictures and colours, will i be able to refrain from choosing those at the top left?

    I think that using rich media in surveys is worth it. Anything that makes the survey experience more interesting to participants is worth the effort to make it work.
    Green Means Go!
    Green Means Go!‘ by Hyokano via Flickr
    Image is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence

    And the other four authors of this months topic are…
    Bernie Malinoff
    Joel Rubinson
    Josh Mendelsohn
    Brandon Bertelsen

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