Sentient Services (Ubiquity Marketing Un Summit 2009) V1
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Sentient Services (Ubiquity Marketing Un Summit 2009) V1



Is Market Research Dead in a 2.0 world?...

Is Market Research Dead in a 2.0 world?

Presentation given at the Ubiquity Marketing unSummit in Austin, TX. September 3, 2009.

Covers the current state of research in a customer driven web2.0 world. Contains tips and resources for entrepreneurs to leverage free and inexpensive market research techniques.



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Sentient Services (Ubiquity Marketing Un Summit 2009) V1 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Ubiquity Marketing unSummit
    Is Market Research Dead in a 2.0 world?09.03.09
  • 2. What we will talk about
    Is research dead – in a 2.0 world?
    Inc. article and response
    Why research?
    Ways for entrepreneurs to leverage
    Best practices – stuff you can leave with
  • 3. Who We Are
    Sentient Services is a Knowledge Studio® - the amalgamation of market research, user experience and information design practices. We leverage these core competencies for our clients in product development, interactive, sales, marketing, advertising and branding.
    Sentient provides the knowledge to lead and the tools to connect with customers through research, customer innovation and technology.
    We work with startups and F500 clients around the globe
    We specialize in technology and companies that leverage technology and the internet in their products, marketing and sales
    Accolades as a good company to work with and for:
    2008 Inc. 5000 list
    2007 and 2008 Fast 50 – Named one of the fastest growing privately held companies in Central Texas
    2007 and 2008 Top 15 agency in Austin, Texas by the Austin Business Journal
    2007 Best Places to Work in Central Texas
  • 4. What We Do
    Information design providing the right information, in the right place, at the right time.
    Usability services for web, software, product and creative with state-of-the-art lab.
    Customer insights through advanced quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
    Our Information Design practice provides an unparalleled scientific and customer research driven information platform
    Content strategy | Information architecture | Heuristic design|
    Interaction layers & dependencies | Wireframes
    Full-service worldwide quantitative and qualitative research. We cover branding, customer engagement, market analysis (segmentation, sizing, pricing), product development and usability.
    Focus groups | In-depth-interviews | Usability & Eye tracking | Online groups |
    Web-based surveys | Phone-based surveys | Custom panel development
    We conduct concise, measurable and actionable usability research, covering a range of different media including websites, software, email, packaging, interactive, print and television.
    Business definition | Contextual assessment | Heuristic evaluation | Personas |
    Task analysis | Usability analytics | Reporting (IA, content, wireframe)
  • 5. What we will talk about
    Is research dead – in a 2.0 world?
    Inc. article and response
    Why research?
    Ways for entrepreneurs to leverage
    Best practices – stuff you can leave with
  • 6. “The Customer Is the Company”
    In June of 2008 Inc. published an article about Threadless entitled “The Customer Is the Company”. MIT’s Eric von Hippel implied that their business model spelled the end of traditional market research and large R&D departments.
    You see, they get all their designs and input on what to sell from their customers via their website. Welcome to a web2.0 company.
    So, is the market research industry out of business?
  • 7. Market Research – current state
    On the surface, some major shifts.
    Web2.0 “Threadless” effect
    Response rates are declining, development cycles are shortening, costs are increasing…
    Free survey software is out there and you can now use Facebook, LinkedIn… (all actually good resources given the right task)
    Just because it worked 50 years ago does not mean it works today
    Non-response bias, large internet samples lead to false stats…
    There is still a place for market sizing and large scale quant segmentation studies
    However, these are few and far between
    Biggest value in market research for emergent sectors and companies lies in
    developing the right product/service (usability, UI, lead user and observational design)
    clearly communicating emerging and technical concepts with associated value propositions
    … all targeted to the right person at the right time via engaging and salient media (what the other fine folks are here to talk about, so I will skip this)
  • 8. What is changing, what is not.
    So, I wrote back to Inc.
    “You can call it crowdsourcing or customer-driven design, but what Threadless does is essentially market research. I think of Threadless's user base as one large consumer panel. Threadless's business model immediately implements the findings from this market intelligence. What traditional market research does is similar. It provides the framework, methodology, and discipline to solicit feedback from customers. The rise of Threadless does not mean the end of market research but a transformation in the way companies implement it. That's what's changing.”
    Knowledge by itself is not power, knowing what to do with it is. Call it what you want, but the basis of needing to understand customers and cut through questioning biases, sampling issues, analysis and then turning data into bite-sized business intelligence has not changed. Oh, and that is called market research.
  • 9. Why Market Research?
    Two main reasons: Product Development + Branding. Why these two?
    Product Development
    • If you want to keep your customers, if you want to know why you are losing business, if you want to know how to make your product/service better – just ask
    • 10. Observational design and lead-user development are key and cost-effective tools to avoid extremely costly mistakes AND to develop additional breakthroughs that internal teams simply couldn’t have imagined – “forest and trees”
    • Rapidly changing paradigms make today’s bleeding edge old tomorrow – you can get leapfrogged much too easily
    • 11. Minimum ownership of means of production – the true knowledge economy
    • 12. As quickly as tech is emerging many sectors are becoming “commodities” where good enough covers end-user needs
  • What we will talk about
    Is research dead – in a 2.0 world?
    Inc. article and response
    Why research?
    Ways for entrepreneurs to leverage
    Best practices – stuff you can leave with
  • 13. Research is important, but it costs $
    Yes and yes – but here are a few ways to get around that
    There are many great FREE web survey tools out there ( is one of my favorite, and it has discounted non-profit pricing)
    And, since the best research you can do is with current customers, typically the sample costs you nothing
    Most research does not have to be complicated! Keep It Simple. If you don’t, you will spend more time convincing others that the analysis is correct than actually taking action on it
    You can easily create basic online groups or forums to get feedback using LinkedIn. Facebook, Ning and other platforms
    There is a ton of research already done – look at SEC filings, press releases, lobbying firms for your industry do a ton of research, local Chamber of Commerce…the list goes on
  • 14. What will still cost you
    Time – if you want your research done on time, typically you will need to dedicate resources or hire an outside firm
    Advanced analytics – segmentation, conjoint…
    Nuanced survey writing – internal and external validity
    Professional research management (replicates, non-responses analysis, normalizing data…)
    In-person with facilities, one-way mirror, eye tracking
    Prospect survey or focus group respondents
  • 15. What we will talk about
    Is research dead – in a 2.0 world?
    Inc. article and response
    Why research?
    Ways for entrepreneurs to leverage
    Best practices – stuff you can leave with
  • 16. Market Research
    • What is it?
    • 17. Understanding why you are in business
    • 18. When to use it?
    • 19. When you don’t know, really
    • 20. When not to use it?
    • 21. When you can’t do anything with the answers
    • 22. What can you do with it?
    • 23. Make better products, say the right thing to the right person at the right time – spend your money wiser!
    • 24. What it is not? Why are budgets hard to get sometimes?
    • 25. Production, sales staff, advertising…not historically tangible or integrated
    • 26. Why spend money on market research?
    • 27. Because it makes the list above infinitely and measurably better
  • Scoping a Project
    What to do in-house?
    Understand your business and where you have questions – don’t pay someone to do basic homework.
    What to outsource?
    Survey writing and analysis at a minimum – these are where the adage “Forest andthe trees” can bite you.
    How to choose a methodology?
    Quant. – when you need to size, project, track and otherwise measure
    Qual. – when you need to understand, develop, “speak” and interact
    How to choose a vendor?
    Varies by your internal expertise and need for output and implementation
  • 28. Steps
  • 29. Survey Writing
    Tone – don’t speak down, assume limited time and attention (respondents will skim), but don’t make too techy
    Scales – huge debate here but some general guidelines:
    Allow a Don’t Know/Refuse option
    If the survey is short anchor all points
    Avoid a mid-point (unless you can make a strong argument)
    Create positively skewed response scales
    Design and layout
    Just because the web is “easy” does not mean that design can be ignored
    Same basic principals that go into mail surveys apply here
    Eye movement (columns, scrolling, etc.)
    Column widths, number of pages vs. scrolling etc.
  • 30. Fielding and Project Management
    Invitations and reminders
    Subject line is important
    “Need your feedback”
    Check for common words that will get caught by SPAM filters
    Have a call to action and how they benefit – “This is your chance to provide direct feedback on the products you use and to help make them better.”
    Launch Tuesday-Thursday 10-2pm CST – for US
    Majority of responses will come back within 48 hours
    Send reminders out 3-5 business days later, no more than 2 reminders at most
    SPAM and customer service
    Stay in compliance (physical address, opt-out links, etc.)
    Quality control
    Check responses – do numbers make sense, it if looks wrong it probably is
    Check for response outliers and remove if needed
    Ensure that survey fielding period is long enough to get hard to reach respondents – replicates
    Non-response bias
    Sub-par response rate
    Panels vs. RDD
  • 31. Turning Data into Insight and Action
    Don’t walk…. Run – don’t let the results gather dust
    Do share the results – don’t worry about knowledge ownership
    But, ensure that implications and application of the data is clear in presentation/ briefing
    But, don’t rush – one insignificant (there is not such thing) wrong number will call the entire study into doubt
    Don’t overcomplicate the data or the results
    Avoid weighting if at all possible
    If you can’t summarize the key points on one page, try and try again
  • 32. Market Research – Core Competency
    Our Market Research practice helps clients take the first step in interacting with customers, building better products and communicating – LISTENING
    We combine our proven research principles with a depth of experience in sociology, psychology, economics, statistics and marketing. Key business areas we provide research intelligence for include:
    Customer Engagement
    Market Analysis (segments, sizing, pricing)
    Product Development
    Social Media
  • 33. Market Research – Goals + Methodologies
    • Understand the motivations
    underlying customer behavior
    • Develop, design, refine
    • 34. Observe, brainstorm, ideate
    • 35. Develop survey content
    • 36. Marcom testing/development
    • 37. Understand how users interact with product, software, or website
    • 38. Pinpoint deficient or difficult-to use areas
    • 39. Identify ways to improve the user experience
    • 40. Increase interaction and sales
    • 41. Brand awareness/Brand equity
    • 42. Market size
    • 43. Customer profile
    • 44. Customer experience
    • 45. Product/Service development
    • 46. Marcom testing/development
    • In-person/Web-based groups
    • 47. In-person/Web/Phone interviews
    • 48. Language analysis
    • 49. Facial and behavioral coding
    • 50. Observational fielding
    • 51. Group ideation
    • 52. Projective techniques
    • 53. In-depth interviewing
    • 54. Usability testing
    • 55. Contextual inquiry
    • 56. Eye-tracking analysis
    • 57. Facial and behavioral coding
    • 58. Language analysis
    • 59. Experimental design
    • 60. Web/Telephone surveys
    • 61. Brand concept mapping
    • 62. Market segmentation
    • 63. Advanced modeling
    • 64. Conjoint analysis
    • 65. Text analysis
    • 66. Data mining/Segmentation
  • Market Research – Messaging Research Platform
    WHO ARE YOU? What is the one idea or thought that will resonate with customers above all else, match their needs and set you apart from the crowd?
    How are you better?
    Why customers should care?
    What do you do?
    Very specifically & very simply – who are you?
    True & meaningful differences. This is why you exist.
    What is in it for the customer? Why do your differences matter to them?
    Attributes, features and benefits
    Emotional derivatives of brand interaction
  • 67. User Experience – Core Competency
    We conduct concise, measurable and actionable usability research, covering a range of different media including websites, software, email, packaging, interactive, print and television. Our User Experience group works across the board from product development to creative optimization to increase business success through user-centered design.
    Business Definition
    Contextual Assessment
    Heuristic Evaluation
    Persona Development
    Task Analysis
    Usability Analytics
    Reporting (IA, content, wireframe)
    Consulting (see Information Design section)
  • 68. User Experience – Lab
    Sentient owns and operates a singularly dedicated, state-of-the-art usability lab and focus group facility. The lab has the latest technology, including eye tracking, huge HD viewing screen, remote web viewing, and studio-quality video and sound.
    We conduct:
    Eye Tracking for web, software, packaging and advertising
    Usability sessions
    Focus groups
    Our usability setup (including eye tracking) can roll mobile to any location globally
  • 69. User Experience – Why Eye Tracking?
    Eye tracking complements traditional behavioral and self-reported measures of user experience with physical measures of eye movements, showing us what users pay attention to and how they process the information they see
    Eye tracking sheds light on the why underlying the what of user behavior:
    Assess decision-making processes
    What elements of the medium do users consider before finally selecting one - all available options or only a few?
    Search strategies and efficiency
    How do users look for relevant information? Where do they expect it to be? Do they quickly recognize a relevant link/action signifier or do they need to read over it several times before taking action? How does messaging and copy interplay with the design and user experience?
    Evaluate the match between visual design and business objectives
    Which elements are users immediately drawn to during those critical first seconds of impression formation? Are the impressions formed from these images consistent with business objectives?
    When eye tracking is added to the usability arsenal, we learn not only if design weaknesses exist, but also where they lie, why they fail and how to fix them
    Eye tracking allows for meaningful benchmarking and measurable usability tracking
    Heatmaps and gaze timelines allow for easy and accurate comparison between sites, ads and other visual stimuli (e.g., does it take 8 views to find vs. 5, is X viewed more than Y?).
  • 70. Heatmaps – What Do They Tell Us?
    A heatmap is an aggregate image representing the eye gaze data of all users viewing a given page - the warmer colors at specific points on the page indicate where people’s viewing patterns converge, and thus show us which items or region draw the most attention from the group
    A heatmap image provides a single-glance depiction of information viewing and patterns of usage
    Even more importantly, it shows those areas that users never see at all – and if they didn’t see it, they can’t use it or choose it
    Heatmaps provide a powerful visual tool that is driven by user behavior and allows clients to quickly spot design gaps, capitalize on usage patterns and communicate design direction easily to teams
  • 71. Heatmap – Example
    Warmer colors indicate the areas that are viewed the most
    Symbols indicate where each user clicked to navigate away from the page
  • 72. Gaze Timelines – What Do They Tell Us?
    A gaze timeline is an individual image that indicates the path of one user’s eye gaze for the duration of each page, view or visual stimulus. Each circle indicates a fixation, and larger circles indicate longer fixations
    Analyzing gaze timelines allows us to answer fine-grained questions such as:
    What element(s) are viewed first, second and so on for a given task or impression?
    Did users have trouble comprehending the information or design before taking action?
    Did users see and then choose to skip over an area or simply not see it at all?
  • 73. Gaze Timeline – Example
    This site is well-designed for Search Task A
    This site is not well-designed for Search Task B
    Relatively few fixation points and short scanpaths (lines between the fixation circles) indicate an efficient search
    Numerous fixation points and long scanpaths indicate an inefficient search
  • 74. Gaze Timeline – Print Ad Example
    In the first 5 seconds a viewer looks at faces first
    Prices are not noticed in the first 5 seconds
    Words in bubbles get read before standard text
    Colored text and shapes draw attention to offers on the right, but not to pricing
    Bottom left corner is a “dead” spot
    5 Seconds
  • 75. Information Design– Core Competency
    Our Information Design practice provides an unparalleled scientific and customer research driven information platform
    Sentient Service’s Information Design group creates a user experience that delivers the right information in the right place at the right time
    Content Strategy
    Information Architecture
    Heuristic Design
    Interaction layers and dependencies
  • 76. Information Design – Approach
    • Our approach is user driven:
    Understand who is using, their intent and motivations for interaction
    Understand why they are using it this particular time
    Understand what information and activity is important in the dialogue
    • From here we follow these rules that drive your success:
    Reduce the interaction layers and communications layers to their essence – smart is simple
    The tools for smart design – market research, user experience/eye tracking, interactive expertise
    Increase click rates, brand interaction, stickiness and sales through an improved user experience
  • 77. Contact Information
    Paul Janowitz, CEO & Founder