I thought I’d summarize a few takeaways from Tuesday afternoon for those of you who couldn’t make it.
The Future of the Internet
The Luncheon Keynote, Tim Wu - Professor at Columbia Law School and author of The Master Switch spoke about The Platform Wars. He felt the Internet was headed towards greater consolidation and or a monopoly much like previous media platforms before it.
He believes there are four companies, Amazon, Apple, Face book, Google, and maybe five if you count Microsoft who are going to dictate the future of how the internet works. Whomever wins will dictate whether we will follow an advertising, sales or tax/donation revenue model.
Being a lawyer he was a bit too careful for my taste in not predicting exactly what he thought would happen. When asked a question about the tax/donation model related to National Public Radio and Public TV he said he preferred not to comment.
David Poltrack, CRO of CBS Corporation and Kevin Bowen of The Cambridge Group discussed a segmentation study utilizing Nielsen data from an impressive 375K member panel and ad-hoc research with n=7,000 interviews covering 34K viewing occasions. The segmentation research resulted in “9 Programming Palates” [segments], and argued that media should be purchased based on what the audience that buys a product enjoys watching.
Couldn’t argue with the findings, but it seemed a lot of money and time was spent to determine that ad recall is higher when viewers are engaged in the programs, it’s better to advertise to those who buy your products, and not to forget the growing Age 55+ segment.
Neuroscience or Magic
Duane Varan CRO, Disney Media & Advertising Lab and Horst Stipp EVP Global strategy of The ARF discussed the ARF Neuro Standards Collaboration, an independent peer review program of Neuro and biometric market research.
The way it works is that a network of ‘independent’ peer reviewers (2-3), via The ARF, will comment on a clients proposal, report et. They will provide their comments, not a letter grade. Neuroscience providers “may choose not to participate…but if they don’t it’s up to the client to determine what that means”
Horst Stipp also suggested and commented, “Don’t use Neuro science as replacement, use it in addition… we’re not picking on this field…”
I couldn’t help to think about the field of text analytics. There are some similarities for sure. While both have been around for a while, both are also on the cutting edge. With so much growth recently there’s undoubtedly a lot of smoke and mirrors, or “magic” rather than science.
So while I’m all for eliminating the bad apples from the good, I can also see why a company which is operating in a growing/cutting edge field with a lot of new intellectual property would not be interested in participating in anything like this for various reasons.
Next Gen Market Research Panel
OK, that wasn’t what is was called, but it was very much about the issues we so often discuss in NGMR. The session was called The Need for Speed –Use Social, Mobile and More to Accelerate Your Insight Strategy. This was by far the highlight of the day as far as I was concerned in no small part due to Merrill Dubrow, CEO if M/A/R/C Research, excellent moderation of the group!
A large panel consisting of clients like Coca Cola (Stan Sthanunathan - Vice President, Marketing Strategy & Insights), Taco Bell (Lynn Hemans - Director, Industry & Competitive Insights), L’Oreal (Angelike Galdi - Director Skin Care) and Sesame Street (James Williams-Ness - Director Media Research) as well as panelists from suppliers uSamp, J.D. Power, and NetBase (The latter two of which Dave Howlett and Lisa Rosner, will also both be presenting at the Text Analytics Summit May 18th).
A few notable quotes:
Vitamin Water - Facebook Connect [project] broke all traditional research rules, but was fantastic! (Stan of Coke)
iPhones is being used for research in Ethiopia, taking pictures and notes and uploading!” (Howlett/JDPower) “Yes, cause they just do it! They don’t over think it! (Stan/Coke).
Most firms prefer working with trusted research partner rather than DIY” (L’Oreal)
though I’m guessing that this has a lot to do with firm size, and I think both Merrill and myself got the feeling they were not fully forthcoming in the degree of DIY they engaged in and why.
It’s even more important to experiment and takes risks with new techniques when your budgets are small” AND “You shouldn’t say ‘I have very little money and therefore I can’t do any experimentation. No! The opposite is true, therefore you have to make it go further. When we have small budgets, that’s when we take more risks and experiment more (Stan/Coke)
It’s not about price, if you do good work u should be rewarded”(Stan/Coke)
Yet he also admitted they have to be large global suppliers. Apparently a long relationship is more important than innovation to Coke
Even Businesses see market research as boring” (Dave/JDPower)
about why we don’t have a better seat at the table.
In regard to new techniques and privacy, Stan from Coke mentioned interesting work being done in Japan where facial recognition and GPS/RFID/Mobile is being used to record and capture the entire in store shopping experience. Lynn from Taco Bell mentioned she was interested in understanding where people had been before Taco Bell and whereto they were going next, but both felt actual ‘tracking’ rather than ‘asking’ was far better.
In terms of the future, speculation about whether Facebook and LinkedIn will try research again and whether in such case Facebook, FourSquare et. al. are “friend or foe?”. James of Sesame street wondered if social media can be trusted “loudest voice” and representation, as did someone in the audience. But these questions have always been asked, agreed Stan and said Merrill, “they were asked about mail, phone and web once…What about when we were disturbing people in their homes knocking on doors? Did anyone ask about bias and representation then? This is far less intrusive”
Again the session was a great success due to all involved, especially Merril Dubrow as well as Stan Sthanunathan who was sharp and honest in his responses.
My personal takeaway. Clients want better insights faster. Better means not asking questions, but actual tracking data. There is no obsession with traditional research quality, that’s an academic luxury none of the clients have time for. They are interested in helping quickly guide decisions of their business. Vendors who can do that better than others will remain viable.
What else to say…
Whose idea was it to shut the bar down 10 minutes into the event and then not open it up until 2 hours later?
I’ll leave you with a visualized timeline of the History of Social Networking that marks the Advertising Research Foundation’s 75th Anniversary. It illustrates current social media sensations, such as Rebecca Black and Charlie Sheen, and historical milestones dating back to the 1930s, and was illustrated by Adam Long.