Insight Bytes is the official MRIA blog, capturing data, insights, and stories by research professionals from across Canada.

Do you want to add your voice to the mix of innovations with a thoughtful and well-researched blog post or article? We want to hear from you!

To feature your latest research project, ideas or perspective in this space, please contact the MRIA with the subject "blogs" at info@mria-arim.ca. 

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   Next >  Last >> 
  • 07/27/2022 9:27 AM | Anonymous

    View The Webinar Recording Here

    The terms Customer Experience and User Experience are sometimes used interchangeably and may even be confusing for some. Last week we sat down with Arnie Guha and Andreas Noe, both partners at Market Research and Consulting firm Phase 5.  We asked them to help us understand these concepts and explore their philosophy that, when CX and UX are managed holistically, the synergies, opportunities and insights developed will create the ultimate competitive advantage. 

    Our discussion explored the understanding of CX and UX and how organizations must work with them to fully leverage the power of an integrated approach.

    Why is it Important that organizations integrate their CX and UX understanding?

    According to Arnie Guha, “CX looks at the person in total, and the relationship between that person and the brand across any number of channels” Arnie further explains that “UX defines the person by the relationship or interface they have with the particular tool/channel that they are using. UX focusses on a specific channel, which is typically digital but does not have to be.”  

    Andreas Noe explains that when working with CX and UX, it is essential to be clear about the ecosystem that organizations use to define the customer. Some systems could be complex where the user, customer and payer are different people with different needs and motivations. In contrast, other systems are more straightforward, where the customer, user and payer are the same and driven by the same motivations. 

    “What’s really important is that we have to be able to align all these things however they are defined in that ecosystem, and today that point of alignment is much more around journeys” says Andreas.

    Understanding the ecosystem and how it works allows Phase 5 to better understand whether someone is a user, customer or payer. Phase 5 can do this by looking at the journey someone makes through the ecosystem and defining the user or customer experience in the context of those journeys. 

    The integration of CX and UX for Phase 5 is about how far they zoom into the journey to investigate. They may need to focus on a specific application/tool or broader to focus on a particular type of journey or what the customer is doing at specific moments throughout their journey.

    So ultimately, it is about developing insights relevant to the journey being investigated and the label of user or customer is only needed to give context to how the insight is leveraged.

    This approach has allowed Phase 5 to work with a broad group of their client organizations' stakeholders and discuss the implications of the insights that have been discovered and the resulting actions that must be leveraged to deliver a competitive advantage. The Phase 5 team calls this the ‘Smarter Together’ approach.


    What should organizations do to leverage an integrated CX and UX approach?

    Phase 5 has summarized a top ten list of actions that all organizations should implement if they are looking to integrate their UX and CX understanding and leverage the resulting insights for growth.

    • Be the steward of truth for all things about the customer and the user – hold the rest of the organization accountable. Be their champion.
    • Prioritize where you will focus your efforts – seek to drive value on things that matter most to customers / users.
    • Drop the we/they mentality. The other team has something to offer – you, and the internal stakeholders you are trying to support. You will end up working more and more together in the future.
    • Collaborate with each other, and many others – be smarter together.
    • Find ways to do everything faster. 
    • 80/20 rule – you do not need to uncover every insight to move forward.
    • Become storytellers on insights, and build that body of knowledge over time (not one book, but a whole series). 
    • Stop hoarding or withholding intelligence about customers and users – socialize it, over and over and over.
    • If you cannot get to an action, stop talking – you have nothing to say that anyone wants to hear or needs to hear.
    • Take a risk to try something different, and accept that there are different ways/ lenses to examine a problem or opportunity. Be open-minded.

    The overall message from our discussion with the team from Phase 5 was that working holistically and across the CX and UX silos allows organizations to identify more impactful insights that can then be leveraged to deliver a lasting competitive advantage. 

  • 01/30/2021 1:54 PM | Deleted user

    Some snapshots from the MRIA's Annual Holiday Party 2020.

    Trivia by Ron Sellers

    Trivia Winner: Dr. Stephen Popiel, CMRP 

    Truth or Dare by Arundati Dandapani, CMRP

    Truth or Dare Winner: Snejana Comenov, CMRP 

    Gratefulness Pitches by Jonathan Sheldrake, Noemi Gomez, Shawn Verghese, Brian Boudreau

    Tech Venue Goto Platform by ICCP

    Banner by Quirk's Media

    Thank you to all participants, Quirk's Media and to a very engaged and enthusiastic audience for supporting this online virtual party.

  • 01/15/2021 12:07 PM | Deleted user

    Thank you to our speakers, participants, sponsors, and the industry community for supporting this well-attended inaugural seminar that tackled a range of issues affecting the polling and marketing research industry today. Snapshots of the event are posted below. Attendees will receive a free recording of the event; others will be able to access at a nominal fee of (C$7).

    Download the Programme Booklet here

    Screenshots below (captured by Mausumi Pattanaik)

  • 11/28/2020 10:49 PM | Deleted user


    Humber College hosted their Annual Research Forum on November 23rd, (two days after MRIA's sixteenth birthday!), inviting us among other industry guests to their very thoughtfully curated event drawing from their top alumni, teams, and other talent. We had a great time connecting with the audience of students, faculty, and staff and sharing our career insights with the Forum. The theme for the session was rather fitting: "Equity and Technology in Research: Multiplying Benefits or Creating Divisions" 

    No better time than now to spark these conversations on the role of equity in technology-enabled marketing research, the major catalyst for growth in this just under US$90 billion global sector, according ESOMAR's Global Market Research Report 2020. The latest IBISWorld Report on Market Research in Canada reveals that locally we have experienced a turnover of C$823 million or US $616 million in the past year. This indicates a steady growth of 2.3% in the past 5 years, but lower in value than what was experienced a decade ago (2010) when we were reaping about C$924 million or US $691 million annually.

    Every research company worth their salt has been rushing out COVID-impact reports, to make sense of and communicate symptoms of this changed marketplace along with implications on consumer and citizen behaviour. In true spirit we at MRIA have been discussing the pandemic's impact on research in monthly webinars and business recovery talks as well as in other engagements and lectures.  

    The RAPP Research Forum's three keynote speakers showcased the geographic, sociological, physiological and political diversity of our industry and its resilience in moving operations online and adapting to new needs of stakeholders, consumers and clients locally and globally. They answered questions ranging from data privacy issues impacting online qualitative research, fieldwork roadblocks and breakthroughs, growth curves and scope for improving inclusivity in research design and execution particularly as we move to a more tech-enabled sector.


    Deborah Klotz of Forum Research, Kate Baker of the Ontario Ministry of Labour and Busola Akin-Olawore of Versa Research, discussed the unique issues that arose from the pandemic but also the state of industry and perceptions towards research among internal and external stakeholders. The ability to adapt and relearn quickly remain central to the researcher's toolkit as technology gains a stronger foothold in our daily research work no matter which part of the value chain we are steering. It was also agreed that "soft skills" are no more just soft skills but rather hard and fast skills that allow researchers to bring accessibility, equity, user-experience and customer-centricity to the forefront of all our work, in order to be truly empowered by technology in research.    

    The student projects on showcase reflected the versatility and range of  intellect and ambition that really captured their grasp of the big and small problems of the day -- this is an ability that will increasingly see them win in the real world as well -- being well-versed with the range, scope and nuance of problems that need to be solved short-term, long-term and ongoing. This "problems-focused mindset" (as opposed to a "solutions-for- sale" focussed one) is probably a child of the pandemic, accelerated by the pace of technological advancement, creating new opportunities and problems. Issues in app or interface usability, financial services access, newcomer mental health, generational differences in habits/preferences, healthcare services, media consumption habits and optimum pricing, opioid policy response strategy, and so much more spanned the gamut of topics from a multi-faceted and thoughtful cohort of student researchers raring to meet the "real world" and conquer in their realms. 

    Big thank you to Humber College and the RAPP program for inviting us to share our insights at their annual research forum as we sought to break the "five misconceptions in marketing research" in our talk. Congratulations again to the students for showcasing their research excellence to industry and to all those who made the event a success. We couldn't be prouder nor more hopeful of the lights that will lead us onwards.

  • 10/19/2020 10:23 PM | Deleted user

    By Cristina Onosé, MA, CIPP.C, CIPM

    The rapid adoption of technologies amid the current pandemic has pushed privacy and security to the forefront of key public policy issues. Several provinces have already announced their intent to introduce or update privacy laws, pressuring the federal government to speed up (already planned) privacy law reforms. Here are three (3) important public policy developments to which organizations need to pay close attention.

    1. A new privacy law for Ontario?

    The Ontario government recently wrapped up a public consultation seeking input from industry, consumer groups and others on the potential need for a made-in-Ontario, private-sector privacy law. This idea is certainly not a new one; in 2018, a private members bill was introduced detailing draft privacy rules that would apply to businesses operating in Ontario, but was suspended following the provincial elections which saw a new government come to power. Other provinces, including Alberta, BC and Quebec, have already enacted provincial privacy laws deemed substantially similar to Canada’s Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). 

    Ontario’s new privacy commissioner, Patricia Kosseim, is overall supportive of the provincial government’s initiative which in her opinion “recognizes modern business realities of different-sized organizations and aims to solve problems rather than add to the regulatory load”. The government initiative includes several considerations: (1) Increased Consent and Clear Transparency, (2) Data Rights: Erasure and Portability, (3) Oversight, Enforcement, and Fines, (4) Application to Non-commercial Organizations, (5) Deidentified Personal Information and Data Derived from Personal Information, and (6) Exploring the possibility of ‘data trusts’ to enable data sharing. 

    An overlap in requirements and enforcement between provincial and federal regulations can potentially increase costs and regulatory headaches for businesses. Many of Ontario’s recommendations are either currently provided under PIPEDA (e.g. consent, transparency, etc. albeit to various extents), or are currently being assessed (e.g. right to be forgotten, data portability, etc.) by the federal government as part of upcoming reforms to PIPEDA.

    2. Quebec embraces GDPR-like updates to its privacy law

    In June 2020, the Quebec government tabled Bill 64, an Act to modernize the Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector (the “Quebec Privacy Act”). If enacted, Bill 64 will expose companies to significant financial penalties and damages which may be similar, if not even more severe than those prescribed by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

    Concerns regarding the Bill’s impacts on organizations are further amplified by the fact that many of the proposed provisions not only meet many of GDPR’s prescriptive standards, but in some cases even surpass them. For example, the proposed consent requirements would require organizations to seek consent for each specific purpose, separately from any other information. The GDPR does not have such complex requirements, nor does it treat consent as the primary authority for processing personal information. 

    Undoubtedly, organizations operating in Quebec could be severely impacted by these reforms. It would not be surprising to see many of them move operations outside of the province to avoid the legal, financial and operational challenges that they would have to face if the Bill passes in its current form. 

    3. Federal Privacy Commissioner continues to push for PIPEDA reform in pandemic 

    In a recent op-ed, Federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien argues that the increased use of technology amid the current pandemic highlights important privacy risks for Canadians. In his opinion, new laws are “urgently needed that allow technologies to produce benefits in the public interest while ensuring fundamental rights such as privacy will be protected”. In other words, Commissioner Therrien says our current federal laws do not provide a level of protection suited to the digital environment.

    It is not the first time we’re seeing the Commissioner push for changes to PIPEDA, nor for recognizing privacy as a human right. The op-ed makes the case that our current privacy laws are drafted largely as data protection statutes rather than as laws that protect and promote the exercise of a broad range of rights. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t expressly make privacy a fundamental right, although the Courts do require private and public sector bodies to protect the collection of personal data and report data breaches.

    Important changes to PIPEDA are coming. The federal government’s current digital agenda includes reforms to PIPEDA. ISED, the ministry overseeing this process has already consulted with industry (including PwC) and other groups over the past 2 years. Understandably, other files have taken priority due to the current pandemic but it is clear from the provincial developments highlighted above (and proposed privacy reforms in BC) that PIPEDA reforms need to be fast-tracked. 

    What’s next?

    The provincial developments point to the possibility of competing private-sector privacy rules across Canada that could result in conflicting rules, increased costs and business uncertainty. Although provincial privacy laws can help bridge regulatory gaps with PIPEDA, a strong national law is essential to reduce red tape and unnecessary regulatory business. This is not to say that provincial privacy protections are not needed, but the main source of privacy rights for Canadians needs to come from the federal level. The provinces can then help fill the gaps. 

    Recent Regulatory Resources:

    About the Author:

    Cristina is part of the Cybersecurity, Privacy and Financial Crimes team at PwC Canada where she holds a dual role as Lead for Privacy Advocacy and Thought Leadership, as well as Cyber Threat Intelligence. She works with organizations to optimize their privacy and security programs, enhance consumer trust, ensure compliance with applicable privacy and security requirements, and intelligently assess cyber threats.

    Source: LinkedIn Pulse

  • 10/15/2020 6:38 AM | Deleted user

    By Richard Boire

    In these most difficult times, the use of analytics is certainly not top of mind for most organizations, unless it is being used to combat the virus. The challenging scenarios of meeting payroll and having access to cash are the obvious immediate priorities. But from a non-analytics perspective, like most people, I am amazed by the many acts of giving and generosity that really speak to the better angels of our nature. 

    But we will overcome these challenges and being the constant optimist that I am, this will happen sooner rather than later. In this new post COVID-19 environment, it is not unrealistic to assume that the way consumers behave and think will be transformed significantly. Of course, this has ramifications when conducting analytics exercises. Virtually all data analytics exercises deal with historical and longitudinal data. The development of models, segmentation systems, and / or reports all use historical data in their solutions. Given that much of the power of predictive analytics / machine learning solutions arises from longitudinal or historical data, this all begs the question of how we deal with data and specifically consumer behaviour data prior to, during, and after the COVID-19 crisis.

    As I thought about this, I was reminded of the last crisis that seemed to galvanize our collective consciousness and made us reflect on what is truly important in our lives. That was the 9/11 crisis. During that time, this newfound awareness did impact consumer behaviour. My organization at that time was asked multiple times about the 9/11 impact on our analytics exercises especially the more advanced analytics exercises such as the many predictive models that we had built. In other words, would model performance be significantly compromised because of these changes? 

    Our perspective in evaluating model performance was to observe the increased targeting capability where top scored names are most likely to yield the desired behaviour and the bottom scored names are least likely to yield the desired behaviour. If we place these scored names into model deciles, then the top decile should have the strongest observed behaviour while the bottom decile should have the weakest observed behaviour.  Essentially, the model can then be evaluated based on how well the model rank orders scored names based on the observed modeled behaviour. 

    Pictured below is a graph example of a response model to target existing customers in the purchase of an insurance-related product.  

    In this above example, we observe the same response model being applied during normal times and then being applied right after 9/11. In this example, the model has eroded as the slope of the line has decreased indicating the model’s reduced rank-ordering capability.

    Pictured below in this second figure is another insurance response model example of a situation where again there has been a change in performance before and after 9/11.

    Yet in this scenario, we observe that overall response rate performance has deteriorated post 9/11 but the model itself continues to perform as the slope of the line is still the same indicating no decrease in the model’s rank ordering capability. But this scenario is more highly unlikely as model erosion really represents the most likely scenario after some major crisis. 

    These examples above serve to highlight the fact that analytics solutions can change quite dramatically and for the worse both from an overall perspective and from a modelling perspective. The erosion of model performance during and after a crisis is somewhat intuitive as consumer behaviour is not continuous throughout the population. Certain characteristics about consumer behaviour such as their age, where they live, income, etc.  may all be impacted differently by an extraordinary situation.  As data scientists who are always trying to mathematically assign weights to these variables based on patterns in the data, this becomes a flawed option as we know these data patterns have now undergone significant change. 

    So, what are the options for analytics practitioners?  For many experienced practitioners, simplicity as a philosophy has always been core to what we do. Capitalizing on this notion of simplicity, one of the first concepts of basic analytics is the use of indexing where a specific consumer behaviour or demographic of an individual is compared to that same consumer behaviour or demographic of a group. A classic example of this is the use of RFM where each consumer is indexed on recency of last activity, frequency of activities, and the average amount purchased for a given activity. These indexes are then combined into one overall index. Look at the example below.


    In this simple example above, we are assuming that each behaviour (R, F, M) are equally weighted in calculating the overall index of 4.4. The use of an index is less sensitive to great changes in the data environment as we are simply trying to determine the relative difference between the individual’s behaviour relative to the behaviour of the group. Given today’s digital environment, one can translate these activities to R: recency since last visit to the website, F: # of visits to website, and M: average duration per visit.

    We have used this type of indexing or comparative approach multiple times and not always when there has been an extraordinary global event.  For example, many organizations will undergo significant changes in their corporate strategy which will dramatically impact consumer behaviour and the accompanying data environment. In these situations, we have developed indexes based on customer value and change in customer value or behaviour change. 

    Of course, in a more stable data environment, this indexed approach is sub-optimal as the advanced machine learning and deep learning technologies can really leverage the abundance of data that is now available at our fingertips. But as we enter this new post COVID phase, analytics practitioners need to be very cognizant of a more unstable data environment. As I have conveyed to fellow practitioners and students for many years, data science is about identifying patterns in the data. But if these patterns are undergoing significant changes, then a more simple and pragmatic approach such as indexing can be a very useful targeting tool in a sub-optimal data environment.  

    About the Author:

    Richard Boire is the President of Boire Analytics, has over thirty years of experience in the data science and analytics industries as one of the pioneers in the predictive analytics space in Canada, and has been a long-time contributor to the MRIA. 

  • 09/30/2020 8:04 PM | Deleted user

    By Wasim Baobaid

    Almost three out of ten small and medium businesses have successfully increased their sales during the COVID-19 period by using online marketing channels. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there was a recent study among small and medium businesses which found that the economy was lifting up during COVID-19 because of them. This report explores the Middle East’s public opinion before the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey estimates were from late June and early September 2020. Since the Middle Eastern culture is different from the Far East and North America, this report will offer some important understanding of how people think in the Middle East, and how they have reacted to this pandemic. 

    The largest share of population in the Middle East think it will take up to a year to get back to the pre-COVID-19 normal. The younger generation (between 18-24 years) in the UAE do not believe their lives will get back to normal at all.  More than half of the participants think this pandemic is worse than what they thought at the beginning of the crisis. This blog post will highlight findings from studies by Ipsos and local researchers in other countries in the Middle East. 

    Returning to Normal: Attitudes Post-Lockdown in the Middle East


    A survey by Ipsos Egypt released on September 1, 2020 revealed that close to four in ten (37%) Egyptians believed it will take between 6 months to a year to get back to normal.  Thirty eight percent of women agreed compared with 36 percent of men, while close to a quarter of all Egyptians say that it may take only 3 to 5 months to recover.

    COVID-19’s impact on different demographics revealed that the country’s health, economy and personal financial was worse than what citizens had expected. So, to balance the situation, 5 in 10 people prefer to slow down the spread of the virus and preserve the economy as much as possible, until the pandemic is over. In resilient times, people try to grow the proverbial camel’s hump. 

    More than half of all Egyptians did not expect the country’s health (56 percent), the economic situation (50 percent) and their personal situation (51 percent) to be worse than what it is actually now. These are indicators of the unprecedented nature of crisis and how its impact shocked the public. 

    Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) 

    More than half of the population in Saudi Arabia believe that there should be a balance between slowing down the spread of the virus and trying to uphold the economy as best as possible. However, 38 percent feel that the spread of the virus should be stopped completely even if it means keeping the country in total lockdown.

    Thirty one percent believe that it will take between 3 to 5 months to feel like things are getting back to normal, while 44 percent see that it will take between 6 months and a year. Even with things going back to normal, the majority say that they will either make small permanent changes in their lives or change many things about the way they lived before the lockdown.

    United Arab Emirates (UAE)

    More than half of the people surveyed in the UAE believe that it will take between 6 to 12 months for things to return to normal post the lockdown. Even with life returning to normal, the majority say that they will either make small permanent changes in their lives or change many things about how they lived before lockdown. While people were divided between those who are comfortable going back to work (53 percent) and those who are not (47 percent), the vast majority still did not feel at ease dining out, going to the gym, cinema, attending live events, or even leaving home without a mask.

    Life in the Shadow of COVID-19

    The Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi  (one of the United Arab Emirates) announced the final results of the survey it conducted in light of the emerging Corona Virus, and which was launched with the aim of analyzing the conditions accompanying the repercussions of the epidemic, and identifying community life patterns and bringing them to the attention of decisionmakers.

    The results among families indicated that 87 percent of the participants had to change in their lifestyles as a result of the epidemic, and the most prominent change cited was staying away from public places. While 80 percent considered that the crisis contributed to strengthening their family relationships and spending more time with their children. Ninety nine percent of the participants said that they encouraged their family members to take the necessary measures to protect against the virus.

    At the community level, 99 percent of the participants also confirmed that they believe in the need to cooperate with the government and all members of society to successfully confront this crisis, and 99 percent stated that facing the crisis is everyone’s responsibility, while 41 percent affirmed their desire to volunteer in the field of distributing medical needs and helping the elderly. Dr. Mona Al-Bahr, Advisor to the Head of the Community Development Department of Abu Dhabi, said: “The participation of community members showed positive and effective results in the first questionnaire (Life in Light of the Coronavirus), and accordingly we analyzed the inputs and studied the effects of the pandemic on the family and society through a set of research and scientific tools. By soliciting appropriate solutions from all partners from the relevant  authorities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, taking into consideration the conditions of the previous period, there was an actual impact made on the ground during different phases of the pandemic, through initiatives and temporary solutions for each period.

    Small Companies in the Emirates are the Most Sustainable 

    Small and medium-sized companies in the UAE have achieved a very high percentage in the continuity of their business and the ability to generate revenues during the crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, according to a recent survey conducted by Facebook in partnership with the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    According to the study entitled The Global Status Report of Small Businesses, small companies in the UAE achieved very positive results in business continuity despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and the results of the survey indicated that 65 percent of small and medium-sized companies in the Emirates are still continuing their activities. These businesses have been able to maintain their revenue-generating business activities.

    Sixty-one percent of managers of small and medium-sized companies in the Emirates predicted optimism regarding the future of their companies after the pandemic.

    The survey results also showed that 40 percent of small and medium-sized companies in the UAE achieved at least 25 percent of their sales during the past 30 days through digital channels.

    Coping Beyond the Pandemic

    The majority of survey participants cited believe that the norm will take a long time to return, and a majority of younger respondents think that their lives will never return to normal. Respondents in some studies praised the efforts of small and medium sized businesses to support the economy during the COVID-19 period, and six out of ten small business owners are optimistic about the future of their company after COVID-19.

    More than 50,000 participants from citizens and residents of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi participated in the “Life in the Shadow of Coronavirus” survey, and the department launched the questionnaire in early April 2020, and the results suggested solutions to the challenges that coincided with the pandemic. The final results showed the participation of 52.3 percent of females and 47.7 percent of males, and that 95 percent confirmed their knowledge of preventive measures to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Wasim Baobaid is a Public Opinion Research Coordinator at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and a graduate of Algonquin College's Marketing Research and Business Intelligence Program (2019-20)

  • 08/03/2020 9:37 PM | Deleted user

    By Todd Kirby

    "The medium is the message" is a phrase coined by the Canadian communication thinker Marshall McLuhan and introduced in his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, published in 1964. McLuhan proposes that a communication medium itself, not the messages it carries, should be of primary focus.

    The pendulum has officially swung.  The marketing research business, pre-COVID-19, has been digitally transformed.  This, to many Canadian brands, has meant a shift to prioritizing short-term analytics over long-term brand growth.  The age of COVID should spark a reconsideration of these priorities.  Four points signal this change: 

    1. The ‘Big Data’ Analytic Fascination

    According to ESOMAR, the Canadian market research industry has consistently been flat to declining (-2.2%), valued at US$344 Million  in 2019.  And this was pre-COVID.  According to their latest report, over 40% of surveyed research companies in Canada expect a “BIG negative disruption” to their revenues due to COVID-19. This supports the expected “relegation of consumer insights to a secondary place in the business cycle”.  

    In truth, this relegation has already been under way.  Secondary Analyses, and not Quant or Qual research, account for 19% of Canada’s research spending.  As a proportion of that country’s research market, that’s #2 globally - trailing only New Zealand (23%).

    Source: ESOMAR Global Market Research, 2019 (Table 9.4.1) 

    Big Data Analytics is great for short-term tactical validation of ad dollars.  It can - and should - inform real-time adjustments to campaign media weight, creative rotation, and spend allocations. Media Weight refers to the media ad industry standard estimating how much exposure is attributed to each medium/property, typically expressed as Rating Points or Impressions.  Creative Rotation refers to the amount of media exposure estimated to each advertisement or unit.

    However, for long-term tracking of business outcomes, it is critical to incorporate the impact of brands - media entertainment brands, and marketer brands - into study. Without this piece, marketers risk missing the long tail of business success that evolves from brand legacy, partnership, and cohesion. For example, "according to a Kantar/BrandZ analysis following the 2008 financial crisis, strong brands recovered NINE TIMES faster than the market standard” (see chart below).

    Source: Kantar/BrandZ Analysis

    2. Brand Meaning in the age of COVID

    In a 2020 survey from Edelman, 68% of Canadians say “being able to trust a brand today is more important than in the past.”  This involves an expectation of action, but also perception. It’s important to note that brand legacy + brand action is what matters.  We’ve seen, for example, that reporting from Pre-COVID on unsanitary working conditions can inform Post-COVID perceptions, despite that company’s best efforts.  

    We all know that actions speak louder than words, but those words are important when put in the context of brand legacy.  Generally speaking, brands that have significant Brand Trust/Credibility are given a “halo” credit for their Post-COVID responses.  As researchers, we must take effort to contextualize data in this way.  

    3. Measuring Media as Brands

    Are media entities considered brands?  Wholeheartedly, yes.  If it is true that brands are but a “collection of perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings in the mind of the consumer”(Internal ad agency training document), then media content, properties, events, etc. are indeed brands.  We started demonstrating this decades ago, and the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan made this a centerpiece of his work.   So, then, why is the ‘media brand’ piece still lacking from our marketing research studies?  We study CLIENT and ADVERTISER brand tracking, brand lift, brand ROI, brand attributes, brand awareness, and brand consideration - but these are independent of any impact from media/entertainment/content/tech.  

    As the streaming wars dictate our landscape, new brands, new patterns, new personalities, and new equities will be formed.  Already, we’re seeing some parsing, for example, that Disney+ is not just catering to kids, but sci fi (Star Wars), fantasy (MCU), and Broadway (Hamilton) fans.  New data needs to collect, analyze, and integrate new consumer assumptions and attachments, seek to quantify relevance and engagements.  This data will bring new, contextualized-for-COVID paths to grow client revenues.  

    4. Evolved KPIs: “I don't get up caught in the win-loss record because it's kind of fluky.” — Cy Young Award Winner, Max Scherzer

    COVID-19 resurfaces the need for insight.  Before we jump to a ‘New Normal’ that already seems preconfigured, we need to reset and align with the greater populace.  Let’s slow our roll a bit.  There is mass confusion, uncertainty, and anxiety.  Foundations are being challenged.  There’s lots to be figured out first.  And that is our fertile mining ground for insight.  The graphic below illustrates this well: 

    But how? The time is now for the marketing research industry to use its digital agility for creative solutions.   We should not be constrained by the past.  We have flexibility in mixed method research.  Nowadays, social communities can be measured with quantitative breadth, and qualitative depth.  In the same study.  And reasonably priced.  

    We can use AI to help predict the impact of media brands on wins and losses.  And we can use behaviuoral techniques to see what’s not readily seen through a single-sided piece of glass.  

    Not unlike how we think about standard brands, quantifying relevance and engagement with media brands (in concert with our brand work) will surface more truthful insight. 

    A Final Plea

    It’s time to move our industry forward.  The COVID-19 world is here. It’s a rare chance to reset.  To gain a new benchmark and to mark that as the ‘New Normal’.  What matters most for clients is the ability to make better decisions. If we implore a return to strategic insight, we must commit to its success.  That means finding and coaching experts in the space, hiring multilateral researchers who are comfortable with hybrid methods.  Who are comfortable working with diverse perspectives in finding a story within the data, and then articulating that story in a compelling way for clients.  


    Todd Kirby is a senior Research & Insight VP from the digital startup, media agency and publisher worlds based in New Jersey, USA. He is seeking a lead Insight Strategist/Practitioner role to drive growth. His forte is in understanding how media, advertising, and technology resonate with clients, brands, and audiences across all industries. 

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   Next >  Last >> 

© Marketing Research and Intelligence Association

Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management