Creating a research transformation agenda for 2015
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research Consulting blog.
The two most powerful concepts in marketing research — trends and norms — are also the biggest enemies to innovation. For example, as many as 70 percent who say they "definitely will buy," don’t but because we have norms we refuse to give it up. We know trackers have to evolve but we don’t want to disrupt trends.
The result? Our research programs are falling more and more out of sync with marketing in a digital, social, mobile world. So how to get out of the rut we are in?
When I was chief research officer at the ARF, I created an initiative called "Research Transformation" that benefited from the participation of Unilever, P&G, Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss, General Mills, CBS and other industry leaders. An "Insights Value Creation" (IVC) model was created as an "audit" for method innovation.
So let’s take two dusty systems and evaluate them against the IVC pyramid to see how we can do better.
Brand tracking. Our current tools often miss some or all of the following important information feeds: digital (e.g., first party clickstream data), social, transactions, customer care, etc. Data science can make sense of this but that skill is often lacking on insights teams. When we bring together different streams, however, there will be an emphasis on synthesis, rather than just reporting the survey tracker results.
New product concept testing. Once we have picked the winning idea and have created a marketing budget to generate trial, the next thing we need is triers. So let’s make the top of the IVC pyramid "maximizing trial with our given budget." In other words, we want to beat the forecast. The "take a stand" item we are missing is a set of media planning rules based on predictive analytics (e.g., logistic regression) to target likely triers via digital and social media. Going to the bottom of the pyramid, regarding information feeds, we are missing ad targeting data that can be used for programmatic advertising. We could get this by matching concept testing results with 3rd party profiles such as Facebook and Twitter interest data or 3rd party aggregators’ audiences. We should also be testing search terms that we could buy, measuring click rates.
So what are your transformation goals for 2015? I recommend the following process:
- Pick an important business need and research program that are most ripe for reinvention using the IVC pyramid as your audit tool;
- Identify the needed new data streams and skills;
- Create a new vision for the program;
- Search for partners who can best enable this vision;
- Choose a partner and carefully guide the initial work.
What’s missing from traditional marketing research methods in the digital and social age? What research transformation goals would you recommend?