Oct 31, 2011

Chupa Chups: Halloween Scream Stopper

Classification: Creativity: 4,1;  Will to buy: 4,2;  Empathy for the Brand: 4,2

"Introducing Scream Stopper. Designed by Chuck Worldwide Industries, the device uses Chupa Chups lollipop technology to block embarrassing shrieks of terror at their source. Bogey men of all kinds are no match for Scream Stopper. Simply stick it into your mouth for instant protection from humiliating high-pitched squeals, shrieks and wails. You could say “Scream Stopper takes the “ee” out of Halloween.” In the lead up to Halloween, thousands of Scream Stoppers have been distributed across Singapore at horror movie showings, haunted houses and other scary places."

Advertising Agency: BBH, Singapore
Regional Executive Creative Director: Steve Elrick
Deputy Creative Director: Adrian Chan and Douglas Hamilton
Engagement Planner: Lindsey Cummings
Strategic Planner: Alexis deMontaigu
Print Producer: Brell Chen
Illustrator: Kristal Melson
Broadcast Producers: Daphne NgFelicia Tan
Account Manager: David Webster, Joanna Yeo
Post Production: The Mill
Print Production: Peter Chee

Columbia's Omni-Heat Electric Vs. Wim Hof: A Day at the Office

Classification: Creativity: 4;  Will to buy: 4,2;  Empathy for the Brand: 4,3

Wim Holf tackles an obstacle course that would turn an ordinary person into a popsicle. Omni-Heat Electric, warmth at the touch of a button. 

«Why low prices kill brand loyalty»

I think it might be just about time to say your last goodbye to Sears.

Launched as a mail order catalogue in 1888, the brand has survived recessions, depressions, booms, busts, wars, the technology revolution and just about every market fluctuation imaginable. But it could soon fade away into that great check-out line in the sky because of the latest in market trends – low prices.

I know that sounds a little odd to designate low prices as an actual trend. It does to me, too.

I believe that it is more than the economy that has caused the absence of customer loyalty. there remains a sizable number of consumers who are willing to pay more for value. the major problem is a lack of consumer confidence. As a result of that lowered confidence, retailers scrambled to gain share of the market by lowering prices. now, to sell for less they must cut their costs. On top of cost cuts, many were heavy in debt -- debts which they had to pay off, pay down or be forced to fold. Those who were unsuccessful went into liquidation (circuit city, linen's and things, mervin's and most recently borders). Sears is about to become a victim, as well.

One of the primary problems with that model is that quality is often sacrificed in order to appeal to consumers' desires for low prices.

There's an old adage that one gets what one pays for. Low price is often an indicator of low quality. It's the equivalent of buying a junker car off craigslist. If you pay $500 for a car, chances are it won't last long. The same thing is the case with consumer goods. Whatever is less expensive will also likely be of lower quality and will lack durability.

The logic thread continues and those consumers who sought low price are now complaining of low quality.
Consumers are up in arms about the low quality, but retailers are already in the hole because they have hardwired consumers not to pay full price. Now retailers must deal with that mentality.

Even upscale consumers have lost confidence in many major brands. They want value and they don't feel that they are getting it. Instead of turning to lower prices, in many cases they are purchasing less, not necessarily spending less. However, there have been retailers who have not sacrificed quality and are still giving their customers excellent service while striving to do better.

The recession had an effect on these retailers, and they may have closed some of their poor performing locations. however, they have survived by not altering their standards. by doing what they do best and delivering what their consumers value, they have maintained their loyalty.

But not Sears.

Officially named Sears, Roebuck and Co., Sears is an american chain of department stores which was founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in the late 19th century. As Wal-Mart became the dominant department store during the 1990s and 2000s, Sears began to struggle, so the company merged with Kmart in early 2005, creating the Sears holdings corporation.

The problem is that joining forces strengthened market share, but not revenues. Two dying giants who merge only create one larger dying giant. The competition between the two brands continued, simply under the same roof, with Sears losing the battle. Kmart reported a 1.6 percent decline in sales in the first quarter of 2011, while Sears dipped 5.2 percent.

The end result? Look for new ceo Lou D'ambrosio to shutter the lesser performing brand, Sears, and use the additional resources to bolster Kmart. It didn't have to be that way.

Savvy retailers are up on trends and keying into regional needs. Branding is a key element. When a company truly develops their brand and helps it evolve into a changing market, they create exclusivity. If you want that brand – and Sears has great brands like Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances – you have to go to that store. The corporate management of Sears allowed their brand equity to be diminished by going after the low price consumer. Against that landscape, Sears couldn't possibly perform well. It's almost as if they set Sears up to fail. If they had simply stuck to Sears strategy of the 1880s – satisfy their brand loyal consumer – they wouldn't be looking at the gallows today.

written by Darlene Quinn a former senior executive with the bullocks wilshire department store chain and an expert in the consumer retail business.

Commercial - Peruvian Government My goal Against Scotland

Classification: Creativity: 4,2;  Will to buy: 4;  Empathy for the Brand: 4,3

On September 24th 2011, crowining a wave of violence in soccer, a fan was killed in a Peruvian stadium.
Shaken by this incident, Teófilo "Nene" Cubillas, the greatest icon in the history of Peruvian soccer, decided to return to the field to tell the story of his most beautiful and memorable goal:

The second goal in Peru's 3-1 triumph over Scotland in the Argentina '78 World Cup.

Advertising Agency: Y&R, Peru
Executive Creative Director: Flavio Pantigoso
Head of Art: Christian Sánchez
Creative Director: Germán Garrido
Copywriters: Germán GarridoFlavio PantigosoChristopher Vásquez
Art Director: Christian Sánchez
Director of Production: Patricia de la Cuba
Account Director: Sandra Zarak
Planner: Eduardo Grisolle
Production: Señor Z
Director: Z Collective
Executive Producer: Silvia Kamisato
Photography: Beto Gutiérrez
Direct Sound: Mario Rivas
Editor: Fusión Atómica
Post Production: Makaco
Audio: Audiopost

Oct 30, 2011

«Chief Marketer Annual Survey Find Marketers Believe in Power of Social»

Chief Marketer launched a survey to the CMO's about the use of social media.  I'm going to share some of the results, that I found more relevant.


The 2011 Chief Marketer Social Marketing Survey was conducted online between August 18 and August 31, 2011 and polled 750 active marketing professionals distributed across business-to-consumer and business to-business models, from brands and agencies in the manufacturing, retail, financial, healthcare, travel, entertainment, advertising, publishing, database and nonprofit sectors.


The ability to reach customers at multiple touchpoints rather than simply through one channel remains the most often cited benefit of social marketing, according to 85% of this year’s respondents (81% in 2010). And 60% of those polled this year say they’re involved in marketing through social media for the plain reason that their target customers are spending increasing amounts of time in those channels, compared to 59% who said the same last year.
For the first time, this year’s questionnaire allowed respondents to list the viral effect of social media as one of its key benefits. And it turns out that it’s a big one: 59% named it as one of the three key assets of social marketing.
Other reasons for including social in the marketing mix included a transition to one-to-one messaging, customer expectations, cost efficiencies and the chance to reach previously untapped audiences. Least important: Doing social because the boss expects it (15%).


As in the 2010 social marketing survey, the aim most often cited for doing social marketing is simply to drive traffic to a brand Web site or other microsite. Two-thirds of respondents named that among their top three goals for social marketing this year, compared to 56% in 2010. On average, respondents to this year’s survey get 15% of their Web traffic from social media, compared to only 7% a year ago.
Interestingly, a larger proportion of those polled cited “generate leads or sales” as a strategic goal for social marketing: 48%, compared to 41% who said the same last year. That increase was just enough to edge out “identify and address brand fans” (47%), the second most popular aim in the previous survey. At the same time, amassing total followers fell off as a stated aim from 34% in the 2010 survey to only 26% this year, behind driving opt-ins and monitoring brand reputation. The suggestion is that simply racking up fan counts is giving way to more hard-edged indicators of social marketing success—especially those that drive to the bottom line.


Respondents are deploying a pretty full range of social-marketing tools, but the classic still has the most appeal: More than two-thirds of respondents who use social marketing let visitors or email recipients share content to their social pages, where it can get picked up by their friends. Fewer, but still substantially more than half of social marketers, offer special content to their social media fans (59%) or place “like” buttons around their Web or social pages to connect with their supporters. And 54% of brands say they post video to YouTube, Vimeo or other aggregator sites.
Down at the more “niche” end of the spectrum, 31% of respondents say they have used Promoted Tweets in a Twitter campaign and 26% say they can conduct transactions within social media; both results seem anomalously high. Only 16% of respondents said they have offered rewards or discounts in location-based networks such as Foursquare, Gowalla or SCVNGR. And only 7% say they have marketed by offering virtual goods of branded content in a social game such as Farmville—although of course those few include some of the biggest brands in the country, from 7-Eleven and McDonald’s to Doritos and State Farm Insurance.


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Oct 29, 2011

Aardman Animation: Pythagasaurus

Aardman Animation has released the new short film called PYTHAGASAURUS, directed by Pete Peake. The film tells the story of two cavemen who seek the help of a mathematician dinosaur to deal with a live volcano.

Writer & Director: Peter Peake
Cast: Bill Bailey, Martin Trenaman and Simon Greenall
Executive Producer: Heather Wright, Peter Lord, David Sproxton
Producer: Stephanie Owen. Laura Pepper
Script Editor: David Quantick
Modelling: Tanja Krampfert, Rich Spence, David Brooks
Texturing: Tanja Krampfert, Darren Dubicki
Animation: Pascale Bories
Visual Development & Compositing: Jim Lewis
Lighting: Jim Lewis, Patrick Redmond, Martin Blunden
Character Technical Director: Steve Roberts
Technical Director: Giedrius Paulauskas
CG Supervisors: Philip Child, Martin Blunden, Tim Brade
Production Assistants: Louise Johnson, Nicola Mitchell
Editor: Nikk Fielden
Music: Alex Lupo
Dubbing Editor/Mixer: Will Norie
Foley Artist: Paul Ackerman

CHATTER MATTERS - social media research is reaching its tipping point

SummaryThis report is an overview of social media research as it appears in mid-2011, so, by the time you read it, things may have changed. Where possible, it reports the consensus view while recognizing that there are passionate disagreements about definitions, procedures and deliverables. While social media research holds great promise, most of its successful implementations are still unable to meet the requirements of anonymity, scientific criteria of reliability or any clear separation from marketing.

Copyright 2011 American Marketing Association
All Rights Reserved
Marketing Research
Fall 2011
FEATURES; Pg. 22 Vol. 23 No. 3
3942 words

Social media research is reaching its tipping point

From a commercial point of view, social media research can be divided into three categories: 
  • social media monitoring;
  • purposed communities (e.g., MROCs and community panels);  
  • other forms of social media research (e.g., research into social media, netnography and social media as a sample source).
The first two categories account for more research spend than the third, a trend that is unlikely to change before 2013


Social media monitoring (also referred to as buzz monitoring, blog mining or simply social media research) refers to research based on listening to the discourse of the Web, especially social media, and usually refers to the use of automated tools to process that discourse, looking at thousands or millions of naturally occurring conversations. 
An example of a passive or category type of social media monitoring was the CREEN project (2005). CREEN monitored 100,000 blogs for three years and recorded dual instances of science-related words with fear/anxiety-related words. The project tracked the volume of hits over time and when peaks were observed, researchers reviewed the terms that were driving the increases. Examples of spikes in the data were "Schiavo" (relating to the Terri Schiavo life support case) and "stem" (relating to stem cell research).
An example of brand-focused monitoring is the hotel satisfaction research conducted by Accor with the agency Synthesio. In this study, Synthesio tracked 4,000 specific Accor hotels, along with 8,000 competitors (in eight languages), to produce a global dashboard, 40 regional dashboards and 4,000 hotel-specific dashboards. Each dashboard displays key competitors and is updated weekly. The dashboard combines analysis of open-ended comments in social media, scores from evaluation sites such as TripAdvisor and Booking.com, and more traditional measures. The system allows Accor to quickly identify underperforming hotels and locate and act on individual negative comments. As a result, Accor has reported a rise in brand equity, satisfaction and bookings.


Although there are some free social media tools, most of them only skim the discourse of the Web. In order to conduct serious research, it is necessary to either develop tools or use one of the many commercial services, such as Radian6, Lithium or Synthesio.  
Social media monitoring starts by collecting a body of text to analyze (a corpus) and uses spiders/bots to crawl relevant parts of the Web and social media. Although the tools are increasingly powerful, they do have limitations. For example, not all of the Web is accessible (e.g., large parts of Facebook). Once obtained, the data then needs to be cleaned. Posts that originate from the client, from its various agencies and from bots need to be identified. Erroneous matches also need to be removed. For example, when looking at soft drinks, Coke the drink is good, but coke the drug is not.

Analysis includes one or more of the following: counts, trends, sentiment analysis and influence.  

Counts. Counting how often a word or phrase occurs is fairly superficial, but sometimes word counts turn out to be interesting. Several studies have reported success in correlating the frequency of politicians being mentioned and their success in elections. (This was true with Facebook during the 2010 U.S. elections and Tweetminster during the 2010 U.K. general election.) Google has shown success in mapping diseases by analyzing the words that people type into search engines to identify incidences of flu and, more recently, Dengue fever.  

Trends. Trends are an extension of counting, looking at whether a term is becoming more used or less used over time and checking to see if it can be linked to other phenomena. Looking at whether a term is trending on Twitter has become a key component in reputation management and brands look to see if they can identify social media trends associated with their campaigns. 

Sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis is either the core benefit of social media monitoring or the snake oil of 2011, depending on who is talking. Sentiment analysis can code posts as positive, negative or neutral. The number of posts collected by automated social media monitoring is too large to code manually, so one of the following approaches is followed: 
  • automated techniques, applying a variety of algorithms; 
  • coding some of the data manually, allowing software to "learn" how to code the rest; 
  • or manually coding a sample of the database.
Key disputes about sentiment analysis relate to how accurate the automated coding is and how accurate it needs to be. A study conducted by Freshminds in 2010 concluded that, when comparing posts classed as positive and negative, the accuracy was often below 50 percent.
The analysis of automated sentiment analysis needs to take into account the differences between manual coders and their costs. As Conversition's Annie Pettit has said, if manual coders are 80 percent accurate and automated systems are 70 percent accurate, we'll need to use automated systems some of the time because of the volumes they can process.
At the moment, most experienced users of sentiment analysis do some or all of it manually. Buyers need to be aware of excessive claims from some suppliers, with some even claiming 98 percent accuracy or better! 

Influence and identification. Most of the tools used for social media monitoring were not designed specifically for market research. The tools are equally suitable for marketing. As well as identifying important pieces of information, the platforms can find out who is saying what, allowing them to be targeted for marketing actions.
This power to find out who is saying what, who is listening to whom and who appears to have influence is a twofold challenge for market research. First, it risks removing the anonymity of the people being researched. Second, if market researchers are not prepared to be involved in response marketing, they may become marginalized.


Despite its earlier promise, social media monitoring has only made modest inroads into market research so far. Growth has been limited in the following ways: 
  1. Social media monitoring only reports what people are talking about. If they are not talking about you or your issues, it can't help.
  2.  Social media monitoring is much more expensive than was expected. Even monitoring a few brands and terms across a few markets is likely to cost several thousand dollars a month.
  3. The perceived need to use manual coding has held back the credibility of social media monitoring, making it slower and more expensive.
  4. Clients have been conservative about changing their brand and customer satisfaction tracking studies.
  5. Different social media produce different results. Subtle search term changes can affect outcomes, resulting in worries about the validity of the findings. 
Social media monitoring is establishing a base within market research, but an even bigger one is outside. Most brands recognize that they need to monitor what people are saying about them, even if they can't use that process to replace traditional research.
It is likely that the cost of social media monitoring will fall as software improves and as competition between the providers increases. This will increase the use of social media monitoring tools for both research and non-research purposes.


Purposed communities solve the limitations of observing naturally occurring conversations by letting researchers create conversations. Purposed communities can be specific to market research or they can be broader brand communities, such as MyStarbucksIdea. Market research communities deliver large levels of insight but are only marginally related to marketing. Brand communities tend to focus on marketing with insight coming second.  

MROCs. Market research online communities, dubbed MROCs by Forrester Research in 2008, have been growing in impact for several years. MROCs were initially pioneered by Communispace and became mainstream by 2010. MROCs tend to be branded, are composed of customers and are either short-term or long-term.  

Long-term MROCs. Long-term MROCs tend to last more than six months, usually much longer. The size of MROCs is highly variable, with some providers favoring smaller communities of 100 to 200, while others prefer larger numbers, sometimes more than 2,000, blurring the boundaries between MROCs and community panels. Advocates of MROCs claim they deliver more research for the same budget and allow brands to get closer to customers.
European low-cost airline EasyJet and its agency Join the Dots have been running an MROC since 2008 with 2,000 customers. The MROC is highly productive. The agency and EasyJet have weekly teleconferences to review the learnings from the previous week in order to fine-tune the current week and to plan the research for the next few weeks. The community is used for a wide range of research, from concept screening, to ideation, to customer experience. Sophie Dekkers, the customer research manager at EasyJet, said of the community, "We were able to conduct more research, for more areas of the business, in a faster time frame but within the same budgetary constraints." 

 Short-term MROCs. Short-term communities typically run from about two weeks to three months, with the number of members ranging from about 25 to about 300. But there are examples that are shorter, longer, smaller and larger. However, some authorities, such as Communispace CEO Diane Hessan, argue that a short-term community is an oxymoron. One of the commercial benefits is that they tend to fit a specific client need and budget, making them direct competitors with traditional qualitative and bulletin board groups--albeit with a sense of being up to date and more in tune with the voice of the customer.  

MROCs in a business context. MROCs are qualitative in nature, even when surveys and polls are used. The special nature of the recruitment of MROCs and the sensitized nature of the participants' involvement means that the data should be interpreted in a qualitative way, rather than assuming that it directly represents the marketplace.
MROCs make greater demands on clients than traditional research, especially long-term MROCs. Although some clients run their own MROCs, most find it is best to outsource the management and engagement of their community to third parties, usually research agencies.
The use of MROCs is continuing to evolve as they become more widespread. Ethnographically inspired techniques have been in use for the past three years, in particular using smartphones to enrich the data collected. Other research companies have been developing crowd-sourced creativity and insight. 

Community panels. Private panels have existed for years, but community panels are much more than an e-version of traditional in-house panels. Community panels employ the latest techniques in engagement and communities to optimize relationships with brands.
Community panels fit between MROCs and traditional private/in-house panels. Typical community panels are large enough to support quantitative research (ranging from 5,000 to 50,000), but their sophistication and interaction separates them from traditional panels. Community panels use communities, online discussions, interactivity, engaging surveys and longitudinal analysis to create a cost-effective "voice of the customer" resource.
Community panels offer several benefits:
  1. Cost: Companies report that they are achieving cost savings by using community panels, especially those with larger research spending.
  2. Speed: Studies are quicker because they are not being designed and recruited from scratch.
  3. Longitudinal analysis: Community panels facilitate longitudinal analysis of changes in views, behavior and preferences.
  4. Consistency: Using the same sample source, research tool and design increases the consistency and comparability of the results. 
Community panels also have the following limitations:
  1. They are usually branded and the members of the community know who they are dealing with.
  2. Most community panels only include customers.
  3. The members become more sensitized to the research and typically more likely to be brand advocates.
Community panels are tapping into several strong trends, including "voice of the customer," quicker/faster research and the idea of working with customers as opposed to just researching them. 

Brand and other communities. Just a couple of years ago, it looked as though brand communities were going to be one of the biggest things in marketing and an essential component of market research. Most conference presentations on communities talked about MyStarbucksIdea, Dell's IdeaStorm and, of course, Lego's communities. However, the growth in major brand communities seems to have stalled, reminding marketers that brands have to go where the people are; the people do not go where the brands are. Where brand communities exist, they are used for both marketing and market research, but they are not a current major factor in marketing or research.
By contrast, one area that has shown rapid development is that of branded Facebook pages. In April, Bright Edge estimated that 70 percent of the Fortune 200 brands did not have a Facebook page. Although most brands have a fairly weak presence on Facebook, some leading brands have attracted millions of followers. According to a list compiled by Socialbakers, at June 1, Coca-Cola had 29 million Facebook fans, followed by Disney with 25 million and Starbucks with 23 million.
Some brands are using Facebook as a place to recruit respondents for conventional research. Other brands engage with fans in Facebook itself. For example, in May 2011 Oreo asked, "How would you describe Oreo cookies to someone who never tasted them?" In six days they received 3,660 replies.
At the moment, natural communities such as Facebook fans and Twitter followers are much less significant in market research than MROCs and community panels, but this could change quickly.


This third category briefly reviews the breadth and diversity that constitutes social media research. Although this group includes some innovative and interesting manifestations of social media research, it should be borne in mind that these are currently of less financial importance to the market research industry than communities and social media monitoring.  

Netnography. Robert Kozinets' highly readable book "Netnography: Doing Ethnographic Research Online" (Sage Publications, 2009) describes netnography as human-to-human investigation, conducted via social media. Kozinets excludes social media monitoring from the term netnography and makes the case for a participant-observer model, with the researcher engaging with the participants.
Netnography can be a very powerful technique in terms of obtaining insight, but it is not a scalable approach as it requires time and skill. Netnography is likely to remain a specialized niche, applied to a subset of research situations--for example, research conducted prior to creating a survey or even before submitting a research proposal.  

Smartphone-augmented research. The combination of social media and the increasingly ubiquitous smartphone is opening up a range of research approaches. Communities are tasking members to capture slices of their lives as images and videos and to upload them. Systems such as Revelation Project allow respondents to use their smartphones to engage in auto-ethnography, while other researchers have started using smartphones as links to surveys, blogs and research tasks. 
Like most mobile research, the use of smartphones in social media research has added color and definition but has not been a major player yet. The material gathered from smartphone-augmented research tends to be unstructured text, images and video, all of which can make the analysis expensive, time-consuming and hard to scale.  

Network analysis. Network analysis is based on processing large amounts of behavioral data, including website analytics, social graphs, the flow of memes in social media, geolocation data (e.g., from Foursquare) and media behavior within social media (e.g., ads viewed, videos watched and virtual sites visited). Most of the providers of network analysis come from outside the market research industry.
Research companies are linking network analysis with conventional data. For example, Gemius provide methods of tracking the online behavior of panel members, and several panel companies are tracking their members' social media interactions. But the growth of network analysis by non-research companies dwarfs the contribution of market research organizations.

Social media as a sample source. There are several approaches to using social media as a sample source. Some organizations, such as Peanut Labs (now part of Research Now), have created systems based on a wide variety of social networks, with the sample being directed toward conventional surveys. Some brands are using their social media presence to attract sample for their qualitative and quantitative studies. A number of software vendors have apps or options that allow surveys directly from their social media presences--for example, Global Park's Social Insight Connect works directly from a brand's Facebook page.  

Research into social media. Commercial research into social media tends to be focused on understanding how to use it for marketing (e.g., to generate viral campaigns, to market services in social media and to understand the nature of influence). 
One phenomenon that holds back the commissioning of more research into social media is the widespread practice of developing social media products or services by trial and error rather than by prior research.


Social media research has created a new range of problems for market researchers to consider. Some of these problems are traditional issues in new contexts, while others are new.  

Informed consent. In terms of social media monitoring, researchers have to consider whether they have the authors' consent to read and use posts and comments, and if they do have consent, are the authors necessarily informed about what they have consented to? The issue of consent hit the headlines in 2010 when The Wall Street Journal reported that Nielsen had been caught scraping conversations from the PatientsLikeMe community, quoting a community member who said that he/she "felt totally violated."
Communities and panels also challenge the concept of consent. In January 2011 TNS Gallup in Denmark withdrew Webprofil, a product that tracked community members; members had initially consented, but had not understood the implications.  

Anonymity. Traditional market research is based on an assumption that respondents remain anonymous. However, social media research challenges that principle. In communities there is a risk that the anonymity of participants will be compromised, in terms of researchers, clients and each other; and the risk grows over time.  
Social media monitoring tools are often capable of reporting who is saying what and identifying those people across different strands of social media. This is really useful to marketers but is in direct contravention of market research traditions. Another problem arises with the use of literal quotes mined from social media monitoring. If a literal quote is reported to the client, it will often be possible for the client to identify the respondent who made the comment by using search engines. 

The conflation of market research and marketing. Social media research tends to blur the distinction between marketing and market research. One of the by-products of people being members of well-run branded, private communities is that they tend to become brand advocates, leading to increased consumption of the brand's services or products and to positive word of mouth, which breaks market research codes.
In terms of social media monitoring, many of the tools offer the client the opportunity to drill down to specific comments and individuals. This is part of what these tools were designed to do, but it conflicts with the traditional rules of market research.  

The trustworthiness of social media findings. Traditional quantitative research has well-established methods of assessing its reliability and validity. The methods of assessing the trustworthiness of qualitative research are less precise but are well-established. By contrast, the views about social media research vary widely.
Although views about social media research exist on a continuum, it is useful to think of three positions that typify the debate:
  1. Social media research is simply traditional research with a new sample source. All the traditional rules about sampling, measurement, reliability and validity apply.
  2. Social media research is different because it has not established what the population is, has not created a sampling frame and has not established that measurements from it follow a normal distribution. Therefore, traditional methods of establishing reliability and validity are unproven in social media.
  3. The third view attacks not the methods of research, but the subject of the research. This view holds that the comments people make online reflect constructed personas, with comments made for purposes other than the expression of "true" views. This third camp is doubtful that social media research can directly inform clients about the "real" world.


The major trade bodies are all working on new guidelines, or have recently published new guidelines, in an attempt to bring social media research into the broader structure of market research. However, it is unlikely that most of the successful implementations of social media research will be able to meet the requirements of anonymity, scientific criteria of reliability or any clear separation from marketing. This will either result in the rules being changed or a large part of social media research being conducted outside the realm of traditional market research.
In the last 12 months, the larger agencies have started buying social media specialists, showing that social media research is reaching its tipping point. Clients are demanding cheaper and faster research, and are demanding tangible insights. Those aspects of social media research that can deliver these in scalable ways are going to expand rapidly.
Over the next 18 months, expect to see:
  1. community panels becoming the default for a large part of quantitative research;
  2.  social media monitoring and network analysis being dominated by non-research companies, with market research picking up the leftovers;
  3. long-term MROCs becoming the default method of getting close to customers; 
  4. short-term MROCs becoming a key tool for qualitative and qualitative/quantitative research projects.
Most of the other forms of social media research require too much time, skill or investment to make a major change to research, even though some companies and agencies will find them really useful and profitable.

Author: Ray Poynter 

Ray Poynter is executive vice president at Vision Critical and author of “The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research: Tools and Techniques for Market Researchers” (Wiley, 2010). He may be reached at Poynter.Ray@gmail.com.

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