Last month, we offered to send spiffy CSR thumb drives to the first three readers who responded to our newsletter. Thank you to all of you who reached out to us! And to our winners: Monika Twiehaus, Ken Greenman, and Nina Kreienbrink, we hope you enjoy what’s in “store”!
Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.
– Charles Kettering
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Beyond enduring the cold and having to backspace over the last digit in “2014” for the first six weeks, what will the New Year bring? To see CSR’s predictions for 2015, read this month’s edition of Research with a Twist, penned by CSR’s SVP of Operations, Jennifer Lacy, “Small Medium at Large.”
Julie Brown President
Mark Palmerino Executive Vice President
Small Medium at Large
The marking of the New Year always makes people want to anticipate what’s next – this is the time of year for predictions. For example, I predict I will keep none of my New Year’s resolutions beyond February 1st. I wouldn’t bet against me if I were you.
Predicting the future makes me think of a cartoon I saw when I was a kid. A television anchorperson sitting behind a desk reports that a very short psychic has escaped a mental institution. He sums up the story by saying there’s a “small medium at large.” Still cracks me up to this day!
Here at CSR, we are not particularly small, and only sometimes prescient. Escaped from a mental institution? Well, we’ll let you decide that!
Given that it is the New Year, and that we’ve noticed some important shifts of late in the world of market research, we’ll try our hand at the “medium” thing. Based on our experience and what we’ve heard from clients over the past year, here are the top five market research trends we predict will take center stage in 2015:
Leveraging Executive Communities for B2B Social Listening
In our experience with helping clients establish and maintain executive communities, social listening is being taken one or two steps farther than the online interaction typically associated with it. This is achieved by adding phone and in-person components to the channel mix. While executives will communicate with each other about certain issues online, they are much more likely to benefit from the networking aspects of the interaction, and therefore to share their thoughts, expectations and concerns, with one another in a more personal setting. And among many executives with certain responsibilities, such as CFOs and CEOs, there is little to no interest in putting anything that is remotely meaningful in writing, for obvious reasons.
Depending on the circumstances, such as the nature of the discussion and the confidentiality parameters established with members, these interactions can be leveraged for needs identification, new product and service development, sales efforts targeting both executives within the community and other leaders and purchase decision-makers outside of that community, as well to generate material for content marketing efforts (see #4, below). Here’s an example.
Using Text Analytics to Gain Insight from Social Media Listening
Listening to what customers say about your organization on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter provides a treasure trove of useful information for marketers. But what do you do with it? Reacting to individual posts and to topics that are trending are important tactics, but companies are beginning to make social media listening more strategic, by coding, warehousing and tracking the data collected from these sources.
Increased Use of Qualitative and Quantitative Hybrid Approaches
We’ve noticed that client companies are increasingly accepting the concept that qualitative and quantitative methodologies do not always need to be segregated. For close to thirty years, CSR has specialized and excelled in supporting clients with a powerful hybrid methodology. Our proprietary approach derives greater depth than online surveys, and greater validity than other qualitative methods, particularly focus groups, can provide.
We’ve used this hybrid process in many different circumstances, and one of the most beneficial is longitudinal qualitative initiatives – using data gained from structured, open-ended questions to understand significant differences between groups and over time. We’re glad that the market research world acknowledges the value of this approach!
Creating Substance for Content Marketing Efforts
Building relationships with prospects and clients through helpful, educative material is becoming an effective addition to many organization’s marketing programs. Companies that are most successful at content marketing often sponsor research studies in order to better understand their market, anticipate future trends, convey insights about current and future developments to their clients and prospects, and in doing so, be seen as a thought leader in their industry.
Here’s a great example of how research can effectively support a content marketing initiative. This is a publicly released study that CSR was retained to conduct on behalf of a forward-looking, world-renown insurance company. It is used by marketing, sales, client service, and leadership stakeholders across the organization to build brand recognition and to enhance relationships with clients and prospects.
Conducting “Wins and Losses” Research to Support “Smarketing”
Smarketing. In addition to being a cool new catch phrase, it’s an important business concept – alignment of sales and marketing functions so that contact is consistent from prospect-hood through client or customer status. A focus on Smarketing brings an elevated level of service and an enhanced capacity for cross-selling. Pretty smart (keting)!
An effective, enlightening way to monitor and drive this integration is through an analysis of wins and losses. This begins with research conducted among customers and prospects who have recently completed the sales cycle at your organization and have either decided to purchase or not to purchase your products and services. Great, actionable insights abound. Viva la Smarketing!
Here’s the Twist: This is a transformative time for market research, and we wish you the resulting riches of insight in 2015. Through no small effort, we hope that you will use the research mediums above in order to be largely successful this year!
Mixology (Putting Research into Practice)
We are fortunate to work with clients who are very often willing to push the boundaries of traditional market research. Aside from that, how do citizens of the research world keep on top of trends? Here are some of the ways we stay in tune:
Attend conferences: We are always impressed by the creativity and passion expressed by professional researchers, and continue to learn a great deal at conferences such as TMRE and LIMRA.
Join social media groups: We follow some great research posts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and love to browse TED Talks and the Do Lectures for inspiration as well. Thank you to those who actively share their thoughts and perceptions – it’s great food for thought.
Read newsletters: ‘Nuff said!
The Center for Strategy Research, Inc. (CSR) is a research firm. The “Twist” to what we offer is this: We combine open-ended questioning with our proprietary technology to create quantifiable data. As a result our clients gain more actionable and valuable insights from their research efforts.
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