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

MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference — Bringing Insights to the Table and Keep Them There

The following are notes taken from the session “Bringing Insights to the Table and Keep Them There With Behavioural Economics”, by Stephen Paton (AGL) 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 Stephen is included below:

Behavioural Economics:

  • It matters — it is about decision making, and how we influence people
  • Adds another layer to our knowledge
  • It brings attention, not just researchers but marketers, finance and other areas
  • It adds to your offer, at AGL their insights have become stronger

Why we exist as researchers?

  • To bring understanding
  • To show how to influence
  • To predict the unknown

We continue to try new things:

  • new methodologies (apps for example)
  • have presentation skills
  • story-telling

Mantra of people client researchers report to:  “You need to get better, faster, cheaper”, even though with technological changes things are getting faster.


  • CATI to online
  • Improved Technology
  • MROC
  • Mobile Qual
  • Crowd Sourcing

It used to be better:

  • Market research used to be much more lucrative in early days
  • There was a mystique around it
  • The mystery was mainly around how we collect data, back then we knew much less than what we know now
  • We have forgotten the magic

Daniel Kahneman (“Thinking Fast and Slow”)

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it”

“We are to thinking as cats are to swimming.  We can do it if we have to.”

Dan Ariely (“Predictably Irrational”, also has a Coursera course)

You can understand behaviour, and use it

In summary there’s a lot going on under the hood:

  • Context
  • Bias
  • Shortcuts

People are Kind, books to read:

  • The Herd
  • The Psychology of Price
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty
  • Influence the Psychology of Persuasion

Online References:

  • Coursera
  • TED Talks

At AGL (Australia Gas and Light)

  • Demand is going down
  • Regulation is increasing
  • Prices are increasing
  • People don’t want to think about the product
  • No real difference with competitors
  • Have been able to create some advantages over the past few years over competitors — one is the customers service, which has been built on insights they have discovered

Early Success

  • Stephen gave a presentation on Behavioural Economics to the marketing team
  • Worked on a lot of case studies
  • Hollingsworth an expert from the UK did a workshop and came up with the idea that they should be using BE
  • Began using it on some projects
  • Used an energy monitoring app, is influencing people to do things that are beneficial for them

Evolved Into a Dual Focus

  • Flow — What is the behavioural challenge? — Which BE concept could be involved — Select appropriate response
  • Traditional insights also considered
  • Now internal clients are no longer saying “Cheaper, faster, better”, but “How much does it does it cost?”

The EAST Concept

  • Easy
  • Attractive
  • Social
  • Timely

Result:  We’ve Got Our Mystique Back

Survey Monkey wants your job — if you don’t know your job, they will teach you.

MRA 2014 Corporate Researcher’s Conference — Adobe Presentation: Scale and Speed

The following are notes taken from the session “Scale and Speed — Essential Ingredients for Corporate Innovation”, by Darcey Merriam  (Adobe) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago. This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

Realized when putting together the presentation that wasn’t accurate, since there are a lot of small companies that can act quickly as well.


  • has touched any type of print material you may have seen

Innovation at Adobe


  • Acquisition — for example purchased an analytics company recently
  • Incremental innovation — changes within individual products
  • Disruptive innovation — giving customers they don’t even know they want or need — this is where Darcey’s team works

What is different now?

  • New products, services and markets — changes can be put out frequently, because many of the products are distributed by the cloud
  • Multiple small distributed teams charged with innovation
  • “KickBox” Innovation Revolution — created by Mark Randall, employees given a $1,000 gift card, told to come up with a product and research it, causes a little panic for research

There are different contexts that people act in their life — using a product to send a photo, versus creating a website.  Innovation team is trying to capture this nuanced vision of the individual.

What they are experimenting with:

  • Narrow hypothesis studies
  • new samples (crowd-sourced panels)
  • new tools (user

How did they scale?

Want to make sure the people in the “Kickbox” program do the right things

  • Educate: put together a library on research on topics such as sampling, where to meet, summaries, how-tos, help to determine whether they should use DIY, qual/quant etc.
  • Partner:  Seek out partnerships that allow them to leverage existing organizations and activities, collaborate to share best practices on application of approach.  Learn how to adapt.
  • Consult: Project based, advise on methods, sample design, confidence in findings.  Facilitate/participate in mining the data for insights.
  • Conduct:  Lead key strategic efforts.   Spearhead cross-team foundational research, experiment with tools, methods and sample and document to share learnings.

Lessons Learned


  • added complexity when prioritizing and resourcing projects
  • constantly changing and evolving partnerships
  • eduction: empowering vs. undermining


  • Finding a research cadence that works
  • Aggregating “bit-size” studies
  • Sharing findings — how and when

Role of the department is to help share all of the projects across the organization.

Q:  You addressed speed and scale and not cost.

A:  Surprising nominal to use those types of research tools.  Pay a small amount for the first survey, and then recruit from those who were engaged and pay them more for the survey you really care about.

MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference — What’s Beyond Mobile?

The following are notes taken from the session “What’s Beyond Mobile?  New MR:  General Mills Goes All In ”, by Ryan Backer (General Mills) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.  This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

In 2011 General Mills saw mobile interesting with MRX, thought they had figured it out in 2013.


Bet big, spent a better part of a year to figure out what to do with mobile research.  Were convinced that by 2014 they would be doing 80% of research on mobile.

Chased 80% because:

  • Because they had to:  adoption growth, default access, growth targets
  • Because they wanted to:  consumer 1st, multimedia, in-context, real, not recall  — they wanted to get research about how consumers were using the product when they were using them,
  • And because it felt right

Now two ways that General Mills does reasearch:

  • Mobile quantitative
  • Traditional focus groups

Mobile quant is a good way to do ethnography research, because it is a lot more natural.  Also, a good way to prove things to internal clients — for example if getting photo after photo of out-of-stock shelves.

How did it go: good enough, move on.

How did they get to that point:

1.  Heavied up and sold hard:  

  • scaled,
  • hand-held
  • showcased — put people monthly on stage to explain what they were doing, so they had people wanting to take part as well

2.  Redefined best practices:

  • With mobile ethnography they had a larger breadth of coverage and far more natural.
  • Shopper satisfaction was much easier on mobile being able to do in the moment.
  • IHUTs — were able to save on shipping costs by asking respondents to purchase items themselves and use phones.
  • Instant A&Us speed at which they were able to get research result was very fast.

3.  Invented new capabilities:  

  • Mobile missions – any time you want to send consumers out to do something, such as viability of a product by going to a store, having a picnic.
  • Geo-intercepts – using GPS to know where respondents are without having to be there, can ask them to do a survey if they are in a specific place
  • LaunchWatch – can launch a product in one specific market and get the demos of those buying product, as well as find out what else they are buying
  • OTC Ad-Tests:  Have people do ad tests while they are just sitting on a couch and using a second screen

4.  Also stubbed their toes:

  • Lift and shift ROR — shorten questionnaire make mobile friendly
  • Multimedia paralysis — the first time you get back hundreds of pictures the first thought is “now what?”, no equivalent of a Wordle for images
  • New Method Flops — were times in which the new method did not work, if they interpreted the wrong way for example
  • DIY “Scissors” — junior researchers or marketers doing research on their own which can be like running with scissors


  • They disbanded their mobile-specific team in 2013
  • They’ve reached the tipping point — want to be device agnostic
  • Have not converted 80% of research dollars to mobile
  • Have a solid rolodex of partners, after vetting over 100
  • They know the barriers they have in conducting mobile research  — Global Panel, Low Incidence Targets, Data Stitching, Gamification, Next Gen Toolkits, True Full Service
  • They are salivating about what’s next in technology

Exponential change:

  • Internet of things
  • Augmented/virtual reality
  • Robotics
  • 3D Printing
  • Syncing information about oneself online — FitBit for example
  • Artificial Intelligence — Watson IBM supercomputer for example

 Looking for:

  • New applications
  • New data streams
  • New technology

MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference — Community Co-Creation: Facilitating Better Shopper Insights

The following are notes taken from the session “Community Co-Creation: Facilitating Better Shopper Insights”, by Colleen Harris (Market Vision Research) and Rachel Petusky (Cox Automotive) at the MRA 2014 Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago.  This post had limited editing and likely contains typographical and grammatical errors.

A video summary of the session is below.

Key take-aways:

  • An understanding of how co-creation was used to enhance a creative process
  • How we structured the feedback using the MROC platform
  • What was the unplanned, but obvious benefit

Background of

  • Objective is to connect buyers and sellers
  • Atlanta-based company, 3.4 million vehicles on site, have mobile and tablet platform also
  • Mission to dramatically improve how people buy and sell new autos


  • Create an experience for clients regardless of what device people use
  • Needed to redevelop fast, testing ended at needed launch date, so looked at real time options
  • Decided to use an MROC


  • Allowed Cox to have an online iterative process, used tools to engaged customers including:  quick polls, discussions, surveys, blogs, collages, photos and video exercises
  • Planned the work schedule to make sure that feedback from MROC fit into the design process, and find out what they are being used for

Assumptions vs. Key Learnings:

  1. A brand focus in the app experience — Reality — search doesn’t always have to begin with the brand
  2. Shoppers want social integration opportunities — Reality — consumers view their shopping carts as private
  3. Saved search can come in a later release phase — Reality — Consumers want saved searches
  4. Tablet  shoppers may not need all of the tools on the core site — Reality — Comparisons are more important

MROC Facilitated an Iterative Design Process Show — Ask — Incorporate

  • When showing original App landing page, found that people did not start at the brand.

Schedule things like an editorial calendar for content. Logistics of Panel:

  • They were able to change how often they were delivering reports — two infographics per week in some case.
  • Can put things up on the community in hours, and get feedback directly from the community.
  • When members login they see content specifically targeted at them by demographics or owner type.
  • From the AutoTrader researcher perspective about a total of one hour of work per week, mainly confirm the question that is going to be asked.
  • Began with 30 recruits, now up to 250.
  • Specifically needed people who were looking at purchasing a car within the next three months. They get screened out if based on discussions it looks as though they are not actually going to buy within three months.
  • If people are not commenting, they are not kept in the group.
  • A range in terms of frequency people want to see information. Many on the client team were logging in every day, many others were fine with a monthly meeting.
  • They often include questions in the forum that clients may be interested in like “would you want to sync Apple’s new iphone to your car”, even without specifically been asked.
  • Consumer engagement varies depending on the nature of the panel: Market Vision has one CPG community has gone on for seven years, but for auto purchases, there is the purchase timeline, and then a little while afterwards.
  • Expect to have members of community to spend 15-20 minutes per week contributing, though it is likely longer.
XSLT by CarLake
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