Paul Long's Blog

Posts on Market Research, Social Media and Technology

MRIA 2015 National Conference: Marie Wolfe’s “What is i? Transforming Market Research from a Cog in the Wheel to being the Wheel” Keynote

The following notes from Marie Wolfe’s “What is i? Transforming Market Research from a Cog in the Wheel to being the Wheel” keynote have been live blogged during the session at the MRIA 2015 National Conference.  Limited editing has been done to this post, so there are likely to be typos.

The Pace of Change Will Never Be As Slow As It Is Today

Accellearated by:

  • The Internet of things — more things online than people
  • Social visual
  • Convergence of digital/ecommerce
  • Artifical intelligence
  • Mobile everywhere
  • Data
  • Programmatic buying
  • Content curation

Marketing is fundamentally changing, demanding a more central and important role from Insight Leaders

1.  Individuals, not aggregates — have the capability to hyper-target people, and contact them on an individual level — ex. Marie googled Transcendental Meditation on her phone last year and kept getting ads showing up on her phone

2.  Clarity and consistency for brands — must be a priority — must find amazing insights because they will have to stick with them for a few years.

3.  Be Authentic — To penetrate the culture — “The people who shoot it have to be young.  The people who cut it have to be young.  The hosts have to be young.  If something is created in a boardroom, it will not work.”  Shane Smith, VICE

4.  Brands with purpose — marketing for people — example Dove #speakbeautiful


Runners don’t get judged by amount of time they spend in gym, are only judged by their time.

At the end of the day, research should be judged by whether they help their client.

Rapid changes blur & threaten traditional industries — yellow pages died because they did not change fast enough to combat the internet, they tried to do the same thing online.

Disruptors are gathering forces:  Marie is meeting one company each week that say they can eliminate the client researcher job.

Today role of insights

-Generation of insights

-Sharing of insights

Today — News Reporters

The Dark Side of a Reporter:  Sensationalists, Being Out of Touch

Insights Roles are Shrinking — and we are no longer the only source for insights


Tomorrow is about ideas

Next step is hatching insights into ideas

Instead of debating ideas we are researching the past, 80% of budgets are rear mirror looking


RIP Norms and trended data (Paul’s note:  really, not sure I like this, let’s not throw everything out!)

Inspire the future:  Instead of dating the past — search to find what people are talking about now

Empowered to stomp more elephants, instead of stomping ants (debates about historic data)

Leveraging the bet in new methods to unveil new ideas


The Future Researcher is a Mix of:




Start-up mentality — faster, better, cheaper

If an internal client asks to get data tomorrow, we become like a drive-thru

Study found that best hockey players touch the puck less often, because when they are not touching the puck they are setting up opportunities.  Researchers should act like this — setting up opportunities for internal clients.

Always anticipating & Quantifying the Business Impact


We’ll need brilliant talent:  Right now young talent thinks market research is either a robot, or deadly boring.

Time to relaunch market research

“Market research emphasizes the process and not the potential of what we can do to transform our businesses and world.”

Introducting “the i-function” — insights, integration and irreplaceable.

MRIA National Conference 2015: Panel – “Best practices in Market Research/Consumer & Shopper Insights”

The following notes from “Best Practices in Market Research” presentation have been live blogged during the session at the MRIA 2015 National Conference.  Limited editing has been done to this post, so there are likely to be typos.

The presented was given jointly by  Kamal Sharma, (Hersheys) Susan Innes (BMO Financial Group) and Jovana Stranatic (Humber College).

Kamal and Susan spoke with me before their presentation and gave me a brief overview.

Changes in research:

changes in titles, budgets cuts to research departments, but  need to tell a story to answer the question

Need to understand the question:

RFP the first document that goes to the supplier.  Incumbent upon client to ask lots of questions internally to make sure the RFP going out is correct.

Questions (example):

  1. why are you doing the research
  2. how will it be used
  3. what business decisions are being made
  4. who do you want to speak with
  5. where do you want to do the research
  6. when do you want this info?

BMO has developed a research request form:

Background — statement of the factors leading to the project (ex. review of previous learning or ideas)

Target market — statement of key groups of interest (ex. target user info customers, regions etc.)

Research objective — what is the key learning, what do we expect to learn, how will it be used?


  1. Background
  2. Objectives
  3. Retailer/shopper to be included
  4. Methodology
  5. Cost and timelines
  6. Strategic or tactical?

Role and Project Clarity

  • Develop a research document that outlines the details of the project and timelines
  • List desired outputs in the RFP (such as daily updates on recruiting)
  • Provide a brief overview of internal clients (sensitive topics to avoid, key topics of interest to cover, preferred chart formats etc)

Strong Communication

  • Give advance warning of delays (on client side)
  • If incremental costs occur, inform the clients
  • On supplier side, be candid about supplier issues

Sharing Findings from Multiple Sources

Decision makers love to cast a wider net — on average a recent study showed 8 or more, not just market research

Struggling with data — not everyone is great at interpreting data — types of DMs — 1) visceral decision-maker — have weak analytical skills, 2) informed skeptic –proficient and 3) data shoppers


  1. Disputed decisions
  2. Misleading performance measure
  3. Exaggerated/overlooked opportunities
  4. Underestimated risks

Addressing Conflicting Information

BMO had a situations where they were getting conflicting information depending on the method used (online, mail and phone).

To try to determine what actual answers were, looked at: timing of study, demographics of respondents etc.

Found out that the parameters around each study were different, which meant the studies could not be compared on an apples-to-apples basis.

Data Integration Tools

Lean and agile

Ability to scale

two others I missed


  • Choose items based on taste, inclusion, accessibility
  • Snacking habits are for more extraneous
  • Unique in shopping habits
  • Compulsive buyers and purchase snacks at places known for instant consumption
  • Cause supporters
  • health conscious
  • Brand loyalty
  • Social media — in everyday lives
  • Variety of stores — like specialty stores

Elite Daily Survey

62% believe if a brand engages with them on social media they are more likely to be brand loyal

42% are interested in helping companies develop products and services

75% feel it is important that a company gives back

48% product quality is the most important attribute

Marketing to Millennials

  • Word of mouth
  • Product development
  • Health appeal
  • Nostalgia
  • Colour cues

Proactively Share at Project Outset and on a regular Basics

  • Be proactive — share new info with business partners, clients side — internal stakeholder and research suppliers, supplier side client side partners
  • Share information
  • Synthesize information — from various sources to present a story with relevance to business

Involve Stakeholders through the Research Process

Shopper Van Groups/Safari — involve stakeholders through the research process; participants and client stakeholders travel together to store for observations; post shop the participants complete an exercise privately

Proactive Sharing Pointers

  • focus on key points mentioned in a meeting
  • do not hesitate to ask questions
  • be proactive on following up on the discussion
  • get clarity on objectives at the start of fiscal year

We Are Technical Not Strategic

Perception of market insights role by research users:

Current role — 36% strategic, 64% technical

Desired role — 36% technical, 64% strategic


  1. Nailing the business issue upfront is the foundation to success
  2. Communication is key
  3. Integrating information is valuable
  4. Be proactive and strategic, it yields benefits


MRIA 2015 National Conference: Cedric Painvin’s “Tested For Life In Canada” Presentation

The following notes from Cedric Painvin’s (Canadian Tire) “Tested For Life in Canada” keynote have been live blogged during the session at the MRIA 2015 National Conference.  Limited editing has been done to this post, so there are likely to be typos.

Canadian Tire has what is expected of all retailers:  logo, app, loyalty etc.  but his talk is on “Life in Canada” initiative.

Fundamentals in Retail

  • Increase traffic
  • Increase basket size

Most initiatives are designed to increase one of these.  Sometimes there are initiatives that are designed to build equity, not either of above two, but have increased revenue as an indirect result.

Long Term Goals

1.  Innovation

2.  Quality

3.  Life in Canada

Have “product ambassadors” (real customers) to test products strongly, then the product gets the “tested for life in Canada” badge.

How it works:

1.  Choosing products that are tested

2.  Find customer to use as tester — logistics team will send product to customer

3.  Testing — give them two – three weeks

4.  Results — get honest feedback from consumers — pain points, honest feedback

Program evolution

  • 2013 — was supported by management right away
  • 2013-2014 — had 70k say they want to be testers, through a link on Canadian Tire website problem, they knew nothing about the testers (used an Excel spreadsheet)
  • 2014 — Designed to merge testers into panel database with their existing research supplier
  • 2015 — Gated community — Facebook for the most engaged testers they have
  • Considering advisory committees for specific types of products

Importance of Research & Insights

  • Powerful platform
  • Survey development expertise
  • Proper screening/segmentation
  • Analysis framework
  • Applying reporting best practices
  • Interpreting results

Panel Statistics

  • 15,000 testers
  • 150 real customer videos
  • 1000s of profiling variables
  • 190 products tested
  • 20 different product categories
  • Feedback in 1-2 days

For example, was able to send tires to Quebecers owning a pickup truck in rural areas from their database

MRIA 2015 National Conference: “Ties That Bind” Presentation

The following notes from Camilla Jenkins (Kellogg’s) and Caroline Fletcher’s (Sound Research) “Ties That Bind” presentation have been live blogged during the session at the MRIA 2015 National Conference.  Limited editing has been done to this post, so there are likely to be typos.

Challenge:  one emerging category showed significant opportunity, but in two very disparate markets and across three unique consumer types.

Research had to inspire and compel

Needed to bind the markets together

What did they do:


  • Chinese & US consumer feel similarly about breakfast (role of meal, not necessarily meal)
  • both have highly evolved relationships with mobile tech

Universal Tools

  • 5 day mobile morning ethnography (including videos, text messages, etc)
  • In home filmed immersive interviews

Asked same questions

  • to identify barriers and opportunities in both markets we asked questions as similarly as possible
  • partnered with a talented Chinese agency to ensure the US market didn’t serve as a control

Used Film To Make Some Noise

  • More than selling research up the corporate ladder, wanted to inspire through true human experience and storytelling

How Did It Turn Out?

  • Beyond functional breakfast opportunities, they uncovered significant emotional territories that were missing from the current category
  • They were able to more efficiently to identify and highlight strategic opportunities that could help both US and Chinese teams win
  • Film continues to serve as a key tool for inspiration and bringing the spirit of the consumer to the boardroom

MRIA 2015 National Conference: Krystin Luck’s “Storytelling: From Insights to Impact” Keynote

The following notes from Krystin Luck’s “Storytelling:  From Insights to Impact” keynote have been live blogged during the session at the MRIA 2015 National Conference.  Limited editing has been done to this post, so there are likely to be typos.

Kristin spoke to me the previous day, to give a hint about her presentation:

Kristin started her presentation by playing “Two Truths and a Lie.”

Told three things about herself, and asked if we felt we knew her better after sharing the stories.

Kristin continued for the first part of the presentation telling stories about stories about herself growing up with her family, and used the rest of the presentation to show how storytelling can make an impact on people:

Steps for a story

Establish Connection

“Words are how we think, stories are how we think”

Had her first sales meeting at P&G — nervous because it was P&G.  Became clear within the first 30 seconds that the potential buyer had no interest in her company’s products.  Kristin found the pitch was becoming awkward after 45 minutes, but was petrified of leaving after a sample.

Started to ask about his summer vacation at a guitar camp by referring to the Simpsons episode “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation” because she couldn’t think of any other question — this broke the ice and he became her biggest client.

Make it memorable.

  • Come up with nicknames for people, whether or not you actually — this makes it memorable.
  • Researchers looked to find out why James Bond would have taken his martinis shaken.  According to the CAGE scale (needing to cut down on drinking, annoyed by people asking them to cut down, feeling guilty about drinking)
  • Researchers felt that Bond would likely be at risk of cirohsis, and difficult to make a good shot — perhaps was not able to stir it if he had a shaky hand.

Deliver meaning

  • When joined Decipher in 2007 company had flatlined — commoditized — hosting, but not into licensing yet also very strong competitors such as Qualtrix.  Wondered “what have I gotten into” after one year.
  • Decided had to move to an aspirational branding strategy — which was risky.
  • Was successful, had double-digit growth annually from 2007-2015, huge increase in awareness.
  • This type of communication can work.

Two key factors:

1)  Hook

2)  Link

Kristin mentioned  Infotools, Prezi, Tableau and Dapresy as software that can do a great job of helping to present using storytelling.

“Great stories happen to those who tell them”  Ira Glass


« Older posts

© 2015 Paul Long's Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: