From magazine articles discussing health care research and news media to e-newsletter articles looking at everything from sample quality to the LATAM market, we’ve received so many quality submissions that we were proud to publish in 2019. Before we hit the ground running with new topics for 2020, we have selected a variety of articles we enjoyed from the last year. 

Quirk’s Marketing Research Review

(listed in no particular order) 

20 steps to make Net Promoter Score more actionable for B2B

After conducting dozens of Net Promoter Score (NPS) projects for clients, we have seen successes as well as failures. The successes became more profitable as well as gaining wallet share and overall market share over time. The failures did not deliver much, fizzled out and were considered a waste of time.

Prior to writing this article we reviewed some secondary research on customer experience and Net Promoter Scores. Read more. 

Unlocking the key emotions at play in the back-to-school shopping experience

It’s no secret that the e-commerce share of total retail sales grows larger every year. It currently hovers around the 10 percent mark on its inexorable, upward trajectory.1 Brands that established their distribution channels long before the digital age ignore Amazon and other e-tailers at their peril. As H.G. Wells put it: Adapt or perish. Read more. 

The fair market value dilemma in health care research

t value (FMV) is a challenging issue, complicating the research process and can be felt at every level of our industry. As the demand for insights increases, the pressure to control clinician compensation has also increased. This has led to a fragile push and pull; with increased demand and declining response rates, market research and sample partners are often forced to undertake complex recruits with declining or highly variable incentives. Hence, we are faced with unanswered questions, such as, what is the impact to the insights we gather? What is the impact to our industry overall? What can we do as an industry to protect our most valuable asset and ensure the integrity of our data and insights? What is fair market value? Read more. 

Creating a customer-first media experience at The Wall Street Journal

News media and print journalism have faced considerable challenges in recent years. The general decline in circulation has been hotly debated and a slew of solutions have been applied across titles to ensure that news media can continue its vital role in society. For some that means pay walls; for others we have seen a pivoting to video as a more engaging medium to deliver journalism. In the midst of this, The Wall Street Journal has become a fully-fledged membership business. However, as Shelly Seale of the International News Media Association has said, “The paywall models of metered and freemium all have one thing in common: Their access rules are determined by content, rather than customer data. This has led to a one-size-fits-all approach.” Read more. 

Marketing: the memory-making business

“The human brain . . . just think about this problem for a second. Here is a lump of flesh, about three pounds, which you can hold in the palm of your hand. But it can contemplate the vastness of interstellar space.”

– Vilayanur Ramachandran, neuroscientist

You don’t often think about your brain. You use your brain to think about everything else but that “lump of flesh” doing the thinking. And that’s how it should be most of the time, at least for us non-neuroscientists. Read more. 

Quirk’s e-newsletter

(listed in no particular order) 

The importance of race and socioeconomic status to LATAM sample

For many American brands, expanding into Latin America is the next logical step in their strategic growth plan. While direct investment in the region has slowed, it is still significant, creating a favorable environment for expansion. When coupled with the fact that internet access has risen dramatically in the area, making goods and services more accessible, the potential for line extensions, new product launches and the like becomes more appealing for companies who have maxed out their potential in domestic markets. But like marketing to Hispanics in the U.S., attracting Latin American consumers isn’t as easy as translating product messaging into Spanish. Several factors impact a company’s ability to enter the LATAM market successfully, chief among them are race and socioeconomic status. Read more. 

How a lack of transparency is damaging sample quality

The need for transparency is a core trend we see across many industries. As consumers, we value transparency in the brands we buy. As employees, we value transparency from our employers. So naturally – as sample buyers – we value transparency in our suppliers. We should expect it.

But are we getting that transparency from panel suppliers? Read more. 

The value of small data in today’s experience economy 

Knowledge is power and in today’s world data holds the key. From voluminous big data to small data nuggets, data fuels the experience economy.

Steve Koenig, VP research, Consumer Technology Association, opened the 2019 CES Research Summit by declaring we are in a new age of technology trends: the data age, progressing from the digital age in the 2000s and the connected age in the 2010s. Data, he said, is central to all our technology conversations. Read more. 

Researchers, are you telling stories that inspire action? 

Research and insights have always been essential for companies to build their brands, differentiate from competitors and drive innovation. That said, things are changing in our industry and everyone knows it. The large research vendor business model is being disrupted by new SaaS competitors, different industries encroaching on MR’s turf, new methodologies, lower pricing and much easier access to consumers. 

Layered on top of this is the fact that research and insights as a corporate function is also transitioning. Read more. 

Quirk’s blogs

(listed in no particular order) 

8 steps to welcoming respectful dissent

Traditional work cultures have conditioned us to think that even a small, benign disagreement might spell our doom. This fear has produced organizational cultures dominated by what I like to call “violent agreement.” (As it’s normally accompanied by fierce head nodding and aggressive high fiving.)

But if everyone’s always agreeing, how do you know what people actually think? You don’t. Read more. 

Applying human insights to marketing research 

If you work in consumer insights, you probably hear the word human a lot these days. Everybody seems to be talking about human insights. Whether this trend is driven by a backlash to the sterile, uninspiring nature of big data or a desire to get team members to connect more directly with consumers, I think it’s a good thing.

But how do you apply human insights to your day-to-day research projects? How do you actually do human insights? Read more. 

Brand redesign? Apply behavioral science to your refresh 

Brand identity is an important component of a marketer’s brand strategy. It is the vehicle by which marketers grow distinctive brands by building mental availability to create recall in advertising and physical availability to make it easy for consumers to identify brands in buying situations.

Yet marketers face an important and ongoing tension of evolving their brands to be more relevant to consumers and their changing need, as well as staying familiar enough to trigger and reinforce existing memory structures built over time. Read more. 

Penguins, polar bears and hidden assumptions

Polar bears are apex predators. That means nothing eats them, and they’ll eat just about anything they can get their paws on. They grow to sizes that can exceed 1,500 pounds, which lets them hunt walrus, seals, caribou, musk ox and other large animals. So, it must take a lot of penguins to fill one up, right? Just how many penguins do polar bears eat?

As it turns out, I can tell you exactly how many penguins polar bears eat each year. Not about how many or a range of what it might be; I can tell you an exact number. Read more.