Editor’s Note: The Market Research in the Mobile World European Conference is being held next week in Amsterdam. I will be Co-Chairing the conference along with Guy Rolfe, Global Mobile Knowle4dge Leader at Kantar. The attendees and presenters are a Who’s Who list of the innovators and thought leaders in global market research from the biggest of research organizations to visionary start-ups and from tech suppliers to client-side leaders. I am immensely proud of the agenda we developed and am excited to have the opportunity to help drive the conversation about the future of research forward at this seminal event.
Since I’ll be too busy playing Chair I have invited a few folks to guest blog at the event, and today we have the first post by Netherlands’ own Gyurka Jansen. Gyurka is a thought leader and innovator in his own right and I am thrilled to welcome him to the GreenBook blog as we explore the wonderful information that will be coming to us as part pf MRMW 12 EU. Today Gyurka explores the implications of “SoLoMo” on market research, which will certainly be a major area of interest for many of the MRMW attendees and for readers of this blog in general.
By Gyurka Jansen
“Taking over the world” might sound overly dramatic, but actually it’s not that far-fetched when you really think about it. Considering the enormous development that ‘social’ has been going through doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to think that technology will really move into this direction. Combine that with the fact that some countries are skipping ‘landlines’ altogether and are moving directly to mobile instead, and you have a very safe bet indeed. The main challenge will be to see how ‘Local’ will take shape. For marketers and market researchers alike the main focus should be both ‘contact’ and ‘conversion’. Both will probably want to take a look at what is required to actually measure these two items as well.
In 2011, 37% of the ‘online time’ was ‘social time’. ( http://www.mrmw.net/MRMW-News-Blogs/37-of-the-time-online-in-2011-spent-on-social-networks.html ) According to some people this amounts to a real plague of society, for most of us it seems like the ultimate change to make new connections. Regardless, society seems to struggle with questions like “To what extent can we let these networks influence our social life?”. Both the ‘connection’ and ‘society’ issues relate to the two main points of focus we want to have. At the ‘Market Research in the Mobile World’ event that is supported by a broad variety of international companies next month in Amsterdam, the complications and solutions to questions like these will be discussed. ( http://www.mrmw.net/ ) But what is it that we’re really talking about here?
Contact and Conversion
Social media on ‘mobile’ is something that stimulates a type of contact that can take place anywhere anytime. This is a huge propelling force behind ‘word of mouth marketing’, of course, it is –literally- seeing and sharing. An online stimulus that you would have had to talk about later is now something that you can share instantly, either via online tools or real life contact. Or you could come up with a combination of the two. Twitterstreams, for example, are a way to combine local mobile interaction with a real life experience for people following the event from home. More than ever, marketers face the challenge to pick the right ‘point of contact’. Anywhere, anytime does make some people believe that you can just start sending, anywhere, anytime, but this is usually a sub-optimal solution. And you’d still have to figure out where to look for the right communication information. So, in terms of ‘contact’, one could say ‘Fish where the fish are’, as Dutch entrepreneur and Social Marketing blogger Sjef Kerkhofs does, and this holds true in this case as well.
The same goes for ‘conversion’: how are you going to place your point of ‘sale’ at the right moment in time in this ‘always on’ society? Of course you could just start angling and hope for the best, but this is not the best idea. The ‘local’ aspect, which we can measure due to the GPS system, seems like an appropriate instrument to help us out here. Using Foursquare to place offers is just the beginning.
Challenge for researchers
Researchers will face the challenge of making sense out of this new online world. They have the daunting task of gathering insights for marketers, among other things. This means that besides the ‘two C’s’, ‘analysis’ is an important focal point. Here we will move into two different directions. On the one hand we can see a rise in qualitative research, asking people the right questions right at the point of sale in the physical world. This is something that is already happening, but on a very modest scale. On the other hand we will see people moving towards the abstract world of quantitative ‘big data’ analysis. A world where one should be careful not to drown in the ocean of data. ‘Know what you can and should measure’ is a helpful tool to survive this ocean. Market researchers are usually very good at these kinds of things, but are sometimes prone to give in to things like ‘doing something just because we can’.
In the end, the developments in the fields of Social, Local and Mobile (SoLoMo) will present us with two main challenges:
- Contact: Where are the people I want to get in touch with, and how can I get them to talk to me?
- Conversion: How do I make sure I don’t bother people endlessly, but start a conversation at exactly the right moment?
This results in the now classic ‘big data’ discussion:
Analysis: In what way do I make connections to use in research and in what way should I do research on all the data that I get from measuring the ‘two C’s’?
The one who can find the right answer to the ‘C’ questions above in a way that also answers the questions around the ‘analysis’ is going to be a major player in the fields of market research and communications.