Nabob’s “Respect the Bean” Campaign

A new Nabob commercial is out that pokes fun at specialty Christmas coffees.  The ad (clip below) is part of  Nabob’s “Respect the Bean” campaign started in spring, 2014.   The campaign is brilliant at skewering specialty and flavoured coffees.   With specialty drinks at Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds and Tim Hortons, a traditional coffee might seem as out-of-date in comparison.

A Coffee Drinker Speaking With a Coffee Grower About Specialty Christmas Coffee

The Nabob campaign though, has turned this into a strength, and the “Respect the Bean” instead is directed to the segment of coffee drinkers that are looking for basic coffee.   A Strategy Online article from this past spring quotes Kraft’s marketing director coffee as saying: “Nabob believes coffee culture has gotten a little bit out of hand.”   The ads convey this quite well.

A Coffee Drinker Talking With a Coffee Grower, Speculating on the Next Big Summer Coffee

Note:  Like probably many other market researchers, I tend to pay attention to advertising more than the average person, probably as a result of working on some advertising research.  My curiosity is mostly around whether the creative appears to serve the product well, to resonate with audiences.  It is for this reason that I will occasionally write on ad campaigns.

Interview With Aaron Hill of Sawtooth Software on Discrete Choice Modeling

At the recent Market Research Association’s (MRA) Corporate Researcher’s Conference (CRC) in Chicago, I had a chance to talk with Aaron Hill of Sawtooth Software. Aaron provided a summary of the talk he gave at the CRC. A video of this interview is embedded below.

The Prince “Surprise Toronto Concert”: Another Example of the Quick Spread of Social Media

Rumours have existed long before social media existed, but certainly with social media they have been able to spread much faster. Whether or not they are true varies, as the number of celebrity rumour hoaxes that have spread on Twitter attests.

Another example happened last week in Toronto. For a good part of the day on November 4th, a rumour was circulating on Twitter and some media outlets in Toronto, that music artist Prince was going to play a surprise concert at Massey Hall.

The source of the rumour was a tweet posted by a member of Prince’s band very early that morning suggesting that something was going to happen that day in Toronto, or Otnorot as the city name was spelled backward in the post. While the post was deleted within a couple of hours (the tweet embedded below is a retweet from another Twitter user) the rumour spread.

Several hundred fans lined up in rainy weather, from early morning, until they were told in the afternoon that there was no concert taking place that evening.

A later Facebook post by Live Nation on Live Nation’s Facebook page stated that no concert was ever planned, only a rehearsal.

A story posted on the CP24 news television station’s website indicated that a CP24 reporter was told by someone claiming to be a crew member that shows planned for Tuesday and Wednesday had been cancelled.

Regardless of which version is correct, this represents another example of how quickly information can spread online.

Apple Pay Shutout Of Some Large Retail Outlets


A recent article in Slashgear a few days ago makes for interesting reading.  The posts speak of a group of retailers (including 7-11, Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic and Sam’s Club) currently using a payment system called CurrentC.

CurrentC has been in existence since 2011, and according to the article requires retailers to sign an exclusivity clause, prohibiting them from accepting other competitive systems such as Apple Pay.

While there are some significant retailers that are off bounds to Apple Pay, the post mentions that Apple Pay is available for use in 220,000 retail outlets.  Further, the article points out that:  “As history will tell you, battling Apple is a losing proposition .”

MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference — How Groupon MR Fuels Smart Products and Programs

The following are notes taken from the session “How Groupon MR Fuels Products and Programs ”, by Eric Rasmussen (Groupon) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.  This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

A video interview with Eric is below:

  • Almost everyone in the audience is a Groupon user.
  • One of Eric’s pet peeves is calling it a “coupon site”, sees it as buying gift cards, to introduce customers to businesses, so customers can try something without the risk.
  • Expanded to national brands, deals, goods, travel.
  • Groupon is the Global Leader in Local Commerce
  • Worldwide:  200 million + subscribers, 51 million active customers, 500+ markets, 600M + deals sold, $5b+ in annual billings, 12,000+ global employees.

Why did he join?

  • When he was at Shutterfly, Eric’s manager wanted him to research whether to go on Groupon would make sense.
  • Most of the Shutterfly promotions would be selling to regular customers, did little to attract new and lapsed users.
  • But for Groupon, pie split fairly evenly between new, current and lapsed users.  Eric’s conclusion was that Shutterfly should continue using Groupon.
  • Was helping a friend who ran a Yoga Studio in Palo Alto.  He was teaching a 6:30 am class, but was only getting one or two people — thought it would not last very much.  Owner used Groupon, went from one to 30 per class.  After Groupon was over, levelled off to about 17 per class, and she ended up opening up two other studios.
  • As a result he was convinced about their business model, and went to Groupon when he was called by a headhunter.

At Groupon:

  • Using MR as internal education (who and why people use Groupon)
  • External education (spreading the word)

Usually Groupon has about 12 research studies going on at any one time.


  • Merchants #1 wish — new customers, want affluent, social, influencer, adventurous, repeat visitor
  • Group demo profile — educated, affluent, social, influencer, adventurous, repeat visitor
  • Perfect match


  • While the discount is important — Discovery and Supporting local businesses are very important for 2/3 of Groupon buyers
  • Groupon has become the “discovery engine”, delighting consumers and supporting local businesses

Groupon users are:

  • Spontaneous
  • Explorer
  • Adventurous
  • Influencer,
  • Mobile

Incremental Purchases:

  • 83% were motivated by Groupon to visit and purchase
  • 54% of respondents brought companions
  • 4 out of 10 of companions made a purchase
  • 61% report improvement in merchant perception

Saks’ Off Fifth:

  • 64% of users of the promotion had improved perceptions of brand, 1% had worse impressions
  • 15% would have bought anyway
  • 50% brought a companion, who spent on average of $150

Game Industry:

  • Now selling platforms
  • Seems odd, because profile of gamers does not really align with Groupon’s users
  • Wanted to see if lift was incremental or selling to same users
  • Research:  57% bought as gift – sales they wouldn’t have had otherwise

Travel Study:

  • industry has changed, become commoditized with online sales, as people now go to the discount sites and not the hotel site
  • Result:  hotels have to pay a fee to sites, and margin shrinks

Groupon study

  • Most of the travel sites are used for price comparison
  • Most online bookings are booked by people who were planning to go there anyway
  • For people who book vacations on Groupon, only 18% would have booked it anyway, for the rest travel purchase is unplanned

Satisfaction Benchmarks

  • In B2B, tools that help you with your business benchmark is 64, whereas Groupon merchants number is 74.
  • With Groupon consumers, benchmark is very close to Apple
  • With Merchant Satisfaction, the more that people track Groupon results, the more they tend to like it

Gave a credit card swiper to some of their merchants — most didn’t like their payment system.  Made it cheaper for merchants, Gnome acted as a clearance for campaigns, point of sale, payments with Groupon.

Marketing Funnel

-traditional moves from awareness to consideration to conversion to loyalty to advocacy


  • brand impressions
  • consideration
  • in-store over-spend
  • customer list
  • comparing spend, repeat & recommend
  • lapsers regained

Leads to:  

  • Repeat customers
  • Overspend
  • Recommendations

Lessons Learned:

1.  Focus on research that can make a difference

  • what are the decisions that will be made from the research
  • will the research be done in time

2.    Anticipate questions so you have answers

  • Think about the upcoming initiatives and be proactive
  • Ask the “evergreen” questions regular (core user attitudes, comp landscape, ext)

3.   Set timing expectations early

  • Think globally — use smaller markets as test areas



MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference — Defining Innovation for Marketing Research

The following are notes taken from the session “Defining Innovation in Market Research”, by Amy Shields (MRA) and  Garrett McGuire (Quester) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.  This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

A video interview with Garrett McGuire is below:

Q:  How should innovation be defined for marketing research?

Are the top innovative companies being defined by people who are seeking innovation?

Simply put:  if innovation is not defined and used to better inform decisions….it’s not living up to it’s potential.

Conducting Research:

  • Qualitative/hybrid
  • Market research professionals
  • n=145
  • Online in-depth interviews
  • LOI: 20 minutes


  • Evenly split between Males and Females
  • 46% Corporate, 54% Research Suppliers
  • Number of employees fell as it would be expect

Innovation is a messy topic, because it can be defined many ways:

  • Improve simply an improvement on the existing
  • Impact affecting the back end reporting and providing deeper more meaningful insight
  • Transform something that has never been done before

Why do people say they are open to innovation?

  • Otherwise i will be stagnate or die out
  • To really understand how customers think and behave
  • No one wants to sit through 200 page deck

10% Say they are not open — reasons why

  • New methods are untested
  • Market researchers know what works
  • Can be difficult to understand
  • Limited budget
  • Just rehashed tried and true methods

Quotes of why not to use

  • It goes back to risk/reward
  • I know what works
  • Have to get executives onside

Challenges to applying innovative methods

  • learning curve
  • acceptance
  • risky
  • lack of resources
  • costly

Two sides of innovation


  • better way to engage with the consumer
  • cheaper and faster
  • more efficient


  • deeper understanding
  • better insights

Another way of looking at it

  • Logistics:  Alleviating the pains of research — focused on data collection, ways to collecting with target audiences and efficiences
  • Outcomes:  Making better informed decisions — Deeper understanding, better insights, solving business issues, making research more valuable

Problem:  68% of respondents in the study mentioned alleviating the pains of research, 38% said focused on better outcomes

Method=A means to an end

  • How does it save time?
  • How does it save money?
  • How is it different or unique?
  • Why should I trust it?
  • How does it work?

Innovations in recruiting is a must:

  • it allows for an improved quality of responses
  • reaches more respondents via smartphone, tablet, PC, online bulletin boards
  • faster turnaround of data
  • helps the respondents be more engaged

But that’s the baseline, should not define innovation

Innovation should improve insights for the researcher to impact the business

Prove it — Proven, Unique and Trustworthy

  • Demonstrate
  • How product works and makes MR better
  • Unique situations

I’m unique

  • Thought leadership
  • Traditional can’t match
  • Have seen before

You can trust me

  • Customization
  • Supported by reputable researchers/organizations
  • Considerate


MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference — Once Upon A Time With Sherlock Holmes

The following are notes taken from the session “Once Upon a Time With Sherlock Holmes:  How to Tell a Research Story With Impact”, by Susan Lloyd (Boise Paper) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.  This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

A video interview with Susan is below:

Susan is a mystery fan, and grew up in a story-telling household, so she sees market research through the lens of mystery

Steps in process, just like a Sherlock Holmes mystery:

  • The game is afoot (introduction/prologue)
  • It’s elementary my dear Watson (character/plot development), Case Study — Satisfaction and Loyalty
  • The ending

The game is afoot

Researcher in the middle, working to determine the target market and competitors, and along with the client and other stakeholders.

Prologue or Introduction

First step in storytelling is to set the context and fully scoping project

Scope is a written document that describes the research question and explains how it will be address:

  • Do create a formal internal scoping document for each “substantial” project
  • Do use the scoping process as an opportunity to learn about your clients’ business, strategies, etc.
  • Do included one primary client and a set of stakeholders
  • Do sync with all clients before you press the GO button (expend time and resources)
  • Do reviews and redistribute the scope each time the project parameters change
  • Don’t assume you know what the client means….ASK
  • Don’t scope by email

Parts of Scope:


  • Date and Project Title
  • Client & Other Stakeholders

The Body

  • Objectives
  • Background
  • Decisions to be made to be made and decision date
  • Project description (recommended approach)
  • Fit with Division Strategy (level and how)
  • Budget
  • Requested Start Date
  • Requested Completion Date

Scope is the heart of the project — it is the internal contract between you and your client, the basic outline for research report “story” and base for research partner “RFP”

It’s Elementary My Dear Watson

  • “I abhor the dull routine of existence” — don’t use the cookie cutter approach
  • “It’s my business to know what others do not” — You are the research expert, so bring that to bear on the project
  • “The science of deduction, there is nothing like first hand evidence” — data is important
  • “My method is based on the observation of truffles” — look for the big and small nuggets
  • “Nothing is more deceptive than the obvious fact”  – want to look at things from all angles
  • “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains is the truth” — feel confident in telling the story that may be unique

Character Development and Plot

  • After collating data, the research needs to uncover, then tell, the story
  • The best way to do this is to “play” with the data

Case #1:  Satisfaction and Loyalty


  • to verify desired corrugated packaging benefits and determine the importance of these benefits for protective packaging (PP) applications (overall and by product segment)
  • to understand how well each CPP product performs against these benefits compared to other competitive PP substrates


  • Develop baseline Metrics (1) for how well Boise performance on each of these compared to competitors (2) measuring Boise loyalty
  • Method:  VOC interviews, online survey
  • Decisions to make:  Value proposition, Product focus messaging, operations and programs investments


  • over half would feel negative if the corrugated packaging , were no longer included with product,
  • Comparison with competitors — price not a huge driver:  cushioning, customizable, portability and right support are of the most important
  • Determined which corrugated product performed best in research and then focused on that one

Loyalty data: conventional “combo-box” analysis

  • Boise version of net promoter score provides a relative, trend-friendly loyalty measure. Do the loyalty results jive with the satisfaction data
  • According to HBR the median NPS score of more than 400 companies is 28

What Can You Make People Believe You’ve Done

Every project is a new opportunity to establish credibility and build a partnership

Final Thoughts

  • Burn the candle at both ends
  • Create linkages by organizing info in new ways
  • look for anomalies and ask why


MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference — The New Living Room Study

The following are notes taken from the session “The New Living Room Study”, by Flora Kelly and Wendy Loxley (ESPN) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.  This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

Study is about understanding how video is being viewed in the home.

The pie is changing, video consumption is increasing, but not in traditional ways:

  • Netflix, Hulu, etc.
  • Problem with research on video consumption is that there are blind spots — Nielsen itself can’t provide everything.
  • Research department is tasked with getting the whole picture.


Mined data

  • Home Technology Monitor
  • ESPN Brand Tracker
  • ESPN Sports Poll
  • Expert Interviews

Signed viewers up to 45 National Tracker Workbooks, 12 “Week in the Life Programs”

  • Talked — 23 consumer in-depth ethnographic research
  • 6 friendship groups — males, 12-49, sports avidity — total of 87 sports fans

A lot of barriers to usage have dropped

Chromecast is cheap

WiFi is in a lot more households

Life Changes = Media Changes

  • Setting “Everyone discovered Netflix in the dorms.  You know one dude would get a Netflix account and the whole floor would have the password”
  • Schedule “I’m between jobs and can watch TV at different times of the day”
  • Economic Situatation “We were crunched for cash and had to cut our cable at the time so we got Roku

What Linear Brings to the table

  • Passive
  • Being part of the “current and now”

What Streaming Brings to the Table

  • Binging
  • Micro-mood
  • Lifestyle and hobby come together

What you like tells me how much you stream:

  • If you love dramas and comedies you are likely a heavy streamer.
  • If you love reality shows, not as much.
  • Sports has very little impact on whether you stream or not.

What hasn’t changed:

  • Cable is the starting point for most tv watching — whether they actively streamed or not, most men they talked to said they started at the cable box.
  • Four mindsets that shape TV viewing
  • Immersive: Planned + Active
  • Discovery:  Unplanned + Active
  • Comfort:  Planned + Passive
  • Aimless Diversion:  Unplanned + Passive

Impact of streaming:

  • Playing a significant role is “Immersive” — streaming’s influence is High.  Appointment viewing + My viewing + Binge viewing
  • and Starting to have influence on “Discovery” — streaming’s influence is Moderate.  Network Brand Navigates discovery + Algorithm Navigates Discovery

Old paradigm:  TV was just about delivering content

Streaming’s Weaknesses

  • People exhaust the available content
  • Show not amiable after immediate airing

New paradigm Content Choice plus Experience

Linear’s weakness:

  • Confusing interface
  • Bad customer service
  • Not in control

Streaming has an edge

  • Males 12-24, Netflix Advocates 77%

Where ESPN lives in the Living Room

Creating networks and shows that fit in each of the four areas.

MRA 2014 Corporate Researcher Conference: Beer and Empathy, the New Currency of Innovation

The following are notes taken from the session “Beer and Empathy, the New ”, by  Ben Feeney (MillerCoors) and Emily Grogan  (SEEK) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.  This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

Video interviews with Ben and Emily are included below:

The challenge: We need breakthrough innovation

The problem:  We needed a new “depth” of insight

Having empathy:

  • Emily played a clip where a baseball pitcher was hit by a hit ball, and his teammate the third baseman took the ball and still made the out anyway, because that is what he was programmed to do.
  • For the research they were doing, they wanted it to be groundbreaking, to make researchers move outside of where they normally were.
  • To do this it was necessary to activate the cognitive side of people’s brain.
  • Empathy requires courage, heightened awareness of yourself, and remembrance of the common human bond.

Innovation at MillerCoors — for them innovation needs to be transformational.  MillerCoors wanted to move away from the “beer insider” process and take a step back.

The Return:

  • Insights with lasting value
  • Emotive concepts with potential
  • Efficient & effective pipeline development

Male Bonding:

1.  Insight generation

  • Social media analysis
  • Training — needed to write a note to themselves that they were going to be “an empathic researcher”
  • Immersion
  • Synthesis – 3 days

2.  Insight Expression

  • Patterns clustered
  • Vignettes

3.  Idea Generation

  • Develop concepts
  • Re-connect with consumers


From Understanding to Becoming the Consumer

Without Empathetic Research

Male bonding — Guys together — need to share — portable — cold — tailgate cooler box

With Empathic Research

Male bonding — Clustered Themes — Emerging Adulthood — More Priorities, less “me” time — “I work hard today because I want to be successful tomorrow, but i am losing myself in the process”

Me time can be a smoke break at work, but it can’t be drinking beer.  Someone came up with “what about beer gum”?  They did not go ahead with that, but it was an example of how far you could go with something.

The Return

  • Insights with lasting value
  • Emotive concepts with potential
  • Efficient and effective pipeline development
  • A culture that practices empathy

MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference — Dish Network’s Research Culture Shift

The following are notes taken from the session “DISH Network’s Research Culture Shift”, by Patti Fries (DISH Network) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.  This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

A video interview with Patti Fries is below:

Dish vs. Starbucks

  • From a revenue perspective, dish has higher revenue’s than Starbucks ($14.3B vs. $13.3B).
  • From a brand value perspective Starbucks ($10B) vs. Dish ($4.8B)
  • When research asks “If dish were a car what would it be?” Answer is normally “a grey car with four wheels”.

The story of Dish

Five words to describe founder of dish:

  • adventurous
  • competitive
  • risk taker
  • tenacious
  • optimistic


  • Started with the belief that everyone would have a satellite hooked up to their TV
  • Could not afford to launch a satellite in the US, so he launched it in China, in 1995.
  • Had the first customer in 1996.
  • Consumer Research and Brand Insights Launch in 2012

Patti’s words are:  energetic, passionate, ambitious, trusting and optimistic.

The research history:

  • Did use basic research before department started.
  • Went to the DMV to conduct surveys with people.
  • Used Survey Monkey
  • People were working in silos, consumer insight not shared

Category NPS:

  • Health insurance 12
  • Cable/Satellite 14
  • Department/Speciality  Stores 62

The category challenge:  They have no retail space.

Patti would prefer to work at Dish compared to Starbucks, because there are so many things that can be changed at Dish.

Question:  Product was the king, how do you make them care about the customer?

  • The beginning:  do what it takes
  • Two years ago, had no stuff and a very small projects
  • Implemented 72 projects in the first seven months she was there
  • 25,000 people at Dish, and no one knew research existed, so she had to sell research
  • Reached out to people in silos and asked “what can I do?”
  • Seven months later, she was given a 1,000% budget increase
  • Allowed her to build a team of six people.

Develop Vision and Mission

  • Didn’t want to be order takers, wanted to move to objective, simple, strategic and inspiring

Asked who is the prime target?  18+ with a pulse, and targeting all in the same way.

  • Decided to target precision — financial and needs based segmentation
  • If someone stops using Dish after 2 years and always pays on time, Dish loses money – profit only comes after a longer time period
  • Developed a predictive model
  • Data:  less is more

Year Two: Focus on the Top Things That Will Impact the Business

  • Setup a customer panel
  • Actionable Translation of Big Data (previously were not doing anything with viewer information) to create dashboard that was useful for people — can get a one-page answer to a question if necessary, no time for the CEO to go through 200 pages of data
  • Uses six research vendors and makes sure that they understand Dish.  Pushes them to provide data simply.
  • Focus groups:  Many people in organization have never been to one.  Rented out a reality house, had 30 people in at a time, so they can see the voice of the consumer.
  • Introduced CEO of Dish to one of the focus groups, and he talked to them for an hour.
  • Difficulty getting traction:  People at Dish weren’t used to have research internally.  They would setup information sessions and five or ten people would come.
  • Used catchy posters and the 10 people increased to 90.
  • Empower others:  Taught marketers qualitative tools, and had them have conversations with customers in their homes.   It didn’t matter if they did it perfectly or not.  Marketers came back and they had found the process exciting.
  • Make it fun:  Brought Google, FB, AOL and Twitter into their offices.

The Brand:  Make Brave Recommendations:

  • Price focus –commoditization
  • Message Madness — not consistent, 25 different commercials

Brand Awkwardness: Low brand linkage (<25%) with one of the commercials:  cowboy hats, Blockbuster


  • From 2008 to 2012 number of customers flat, Direct TV is growing.
  • New ally — James Morehead — brand marketer of the year, for Old Spice marketing.  Result, brand consistency was greater than 75%.  Hopper awareness went up considerably
  • Strategic Partnerships:  Apple (Hopper) and Southwest (Free Dish TV on flight)
  • Results:  16 industry awards with the Hopper, increased NPS that is above industry norms.  But, awards don’t matter to consumers.
  • Now working on a new brand experience.

The Future:  Win Hearts and Minds:

  • Consumer advocacy is important
  • Create brand feel
  • Build on consumer motivations — more than price and features

Patti’s Playbook

  • Do what it takes
  • Win early and win big
  • Less is more
  • Embrace the fun theory
  • Make brave recos
  • Win hearts and minds of consumers






 The Future:

Drive a new strategy that will ensure the future of a consumer led Dish brand

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