Second Screen TV - Research

07/11/2014

Second screen walking deadPicture this.

It's been a stressful week and you're looking forward to a night of vegging out. The telly goes on and perhaps there is an adult beverage or two nearby. It's a scene played-out in many homes for nearly 70 years.  

Over the past few years a there have been a few changes in How we watch TV. 

On goes the TV set, you flip open your tablet and smart phone ready to watch. Only now you can chat with your friends about the show, play a few Walking Dead games and perhaps even buy that cute dress one of the actresses is wearing. Welcome to Second Screen TV and SocialTV. . 

A couple of weeks ago Joel Rubinson, President and founder of Rubinson Partners, Inc., and CivicScience took to the reseach road to learn more about second screen viewing. The results, which they shared with the industry, TV Viewing and the “Second Screen” – What Audiences are Doing with Mobile, Tablet Devices,  is a report based on the CivicScience data collection and research platform. Joel conducted the analysis and partnered in formulating the research questions.

Joel rubinsonJoel kindly agreed to answer a few questions and give us his views on the future of second screen TV and socialTV. 

Diva Marketing:  The Insight Report you did with CivicScience indicates that multitasking is the name of the game for 45% of respondents who acknowledged using a ‘second screen’ (smart phone, tablet or computer) while viewing traditional broadcast TV.  

It was also  interesting to me that 80%, were not engaged online with content related to the show. 

In your opinion is this a trend and if so, where does it leave content producers in terms of advertiser value?

 Joel Rubinson: Hi Toby, thank you for your question.  First, let me clarify that it is 45% of everyone watching TV who multi-task so it is actually a higher percentage of those who own an internet access device and watch traditional TV.

The fact that 80% or more of multi-taskers are doing so in unrelated ways means that media might have the wrong idea about what people want to do with the device in their hands. They are more interested in passing dead time than they are in enriching the TV experience. 

  • Will this change? Perhaps, but media will need to offer more enticing experiences to get viewers to engage.

The value of this research we did using CivicScience’s data is understanding that the current crop of synchronized tools are not yet substantially changing viewing behaviors. Yet media and marketers desperately want it to work because it would add value to media ad inventory and impact to marketer advertising efforts.  In the meantime, marketers should look for synergistic opportunities for their advertising on unrelated websites.

An exotic sounding but quite doable idea is for marketers to use real time bidding engines to bid for inventory at the precise moment that their advertising is airing on TV. Hence, if I’m seeing a commercial on Judge Judy and happen to be on a news site with RTB inventory at the moment, an advertiser could make sure I am seeing a display ad for the same brand.

Diva Marketing:  In the report there was mention of “synchronized second screen experiences.” Would you please explain the concept and the opportunities as you see them?

Joel Rubinson: Synchronized experiences refers to using your internet device in a way that is related to the TV program you are watching. 

This could be answering quizzes about what you think will happen to Rick in Walking Dead as he is face to face with a horde of Zombies (via an app for the show), or voting on Twitter for who should get kicked off American Idol or The Voice.

In contrast, unrelated multitasking is when I’m checking e-mail or messaging a friend on Facebook while watching a show.

I think the biggest opportunity is to build interest in real time viewing rather than recording the show on a DVR and potentially fast forwarding through the commercials.  Synchronized experiences only work in real time.

Diva Marketing:  How do you see the intersection of broadcast TV and online content being mutually beneficial for (1)  audience/ratings growth , (2) advertisers and (3) viewer experience  … or do you?

Joel Rubinson:

I believe that over the past 5-10 years all networks had to decide if online content was a threat to program ratings. 

  • I believe they all came to the same conclusion that online viewing does not cannibalize TV viewing appreciably and actually builds ratings indirectly by getting someone more into the show.

This has been presented by Alan Wurtzel the research lead at NBC regarding the Olympics.

Online content was mostly viewed by those who wanted to relive favorite moments and seemed to go hand in hand with more TV viewing hours, not fewer, for the Olympics. Overall, the great majority of video content is still viewed in real time on the TV even with 5-10 years of significant growth of DVR use and live streaming over the internet.

TV watching is still the 800 pound gorilla (or at least 720 pounds) but watching content online is also a reality, it is growing and all progressive media companies need to embrace it and make it work for them. 

The researcher in me wants to point out that one simple payback is realizing that the dot.com parts of TV networks have the ability to better track viewer interests via online digital behaviors, yielding first party data that can result in very powerful insights and promotional targeting.

Diva Marketing: Thanks Joel! I'm off to make sure my ipad, iphone and laptop are charged and I know the Twitter handle of the show. 

More About the methodology, CivicScieince, Joel Rubinson and Partners

CivicScience is the provider of the real-time polling and consumer insights platform used by Joel Rubinson in this study. The second-screen questions were added to thousands of other questions running through the CivicScience polling platform and published via hundreds of web and mobile websites, and the data from the anonymous respondents were aggregated and mined using automated data science technology.

CivicScience's platform is used by consumer brand and media clients to quickly and deeply understand consumer sentiment and behaviors. 

Joel Rubison is President and founder of Rubinson Partners, Inc. marketing and research consulting for a brave new world and a member of the faculty of NYU Stern School of Business where he teaches social media strategy. Started in 2010, Rubinson Partners, Inc. (RPI) has already helped position several clients for success in a digital age. 

Interview with Tamar Rimmon: Analytics Without The Glazed Over Look

03/24/2014

Part Two of a series of interviews with Adobe Digital and Social Media Summit Speakers & Attendees. 

Tamar Rimmon, Conde Nast, tells us how her team provides meaningful insights to senior managment and internal clients that support the brand's goals. 

Tamar Rimmon _ Conde NastAbout Tamar Rimmon - Tamar is Senior Manager of Analytics and Audience Development at Conde Nast. She works with Conde Nast’s brands – including The New Yorker, Glamour, and WIRED – helping them deliver unique brand experiences for their audiences and drive engaged users to their sites. Tamar’s career spans the television, publishing and digital media industries.

Toby/Diva Marketing: As Senior Manager of Analytics and Audience Development your days are filled with numbers. Often the people that ask for analytic reports may not live in your world. How do you tell the story of the numbers so your internal clients don’t get the ‘glazed over look?’

Tamar Rimmon/Conde Nast: My team’s goal is to help guide brand strategy by providing meaningful insights to our internal clients. I found that the best way to bring value is to get into my clients’ shoes and understand what matters most to them.

The story should not be about the numbers in and of themselves – it should be about what the numbers tell us regarding the things that are important to our clients, and how they can make better decisions by leveraging these learnings. I’m also a big believer in data visualization.

Presenting the numbers in a visual way is a great way to convey insights and make the data accessible and easier to grasp even to those who are not experts in analytics.

Toby/Diva Marketing: We understand that measuring success starts with goals/objectives. However, sometimes is seems like “data data everywhere and not a drop to drip.” (Apologizes to  Samuel Taylor Coleridge). How have you determined which analytics to focus on in terms of demonstrating value to senior leadership?

Tamar Rimmon/Conde Nast: It's easy to get overwhelmed by data overload, but we have to be in control of the data instead of letting the data control us. Analytics must be derived from and aligned with the goals of the organization.

Conde Nast has always been focused on creating high quality content that caters to valuable audiences, so we structure our analytics around this objective. My focus is on harnessing the analytics to understand who our high-value audiences are, how they behave, and what we need to do to engage and delight them.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What is a must bring to Adobe Summit for you?

Tamar Rimmon/Conde Nast: A notepad! (mine is digital, though…) Adobe Summit is a great opportunity to meet fellow analysts and marketers and learn about all the innovative things they are doing. I like to keep track of the new ideas that I hear about and the thoughts they inspire in me, and I make sure to bring it all back with me to the office when the Summit is over.

Tamar's Adobe Social Sessions: Social ROI all star panel & The rise of the social analyst

This Diva Marketing post is part of an influencer Adobe Insider program for Adobe Summit. I receive incentives to share my views. All opinions are 100% mine.

News Flash - Innovative New Idea! Listen To Your Customers.

10/17/2011

Women talking 2
She asked, "What should we talk about in this new social web of yours."

I responded. "It's not necessarily my social web. It's yours and your customers and their friends and their family and .. and .. and. Ask them what they want from you and how they'd like to interact in the digital world."

"Ah," said She. "What a great idea!"

Recently I've been noticing more posts, tweets and social network updates by marketers who have had ah ha moments that customers hold the golden key to their business profitablity. And .. this is their BIG Revelation .. talking to customers can bring valuable insights. 

Hello out there! Girlfriend, I don't know whether to shudder, scream or just sigh. Just for a giggle I dug out my dad's marketing research text book from the 1950's. The following is from the first chapter:

  • American business lulled into a state of complacency during the early post-war period, tended to forget the time-proven truth that the "Consumer is King." ~ John P. Alevizos Marketing Research published 1959. 

Flash 52 years into the future and we hear author and social media professional Geoff Livingston saying to top host Wayne Hurlbert in a BlogTalk interview, "It's not about you it's about them." 

Good business professionals have known this secret way before 1959. Take a look at my Corner Grocer Store Relationship post. How we do it might change but talking to your customers In 1959 or 2011 or 2072 .. it's just a good business practice. 

Social media provides an amazing way to listen not only to what your customers might tweet to you but what they talk about with family and friends. While traditonal market researchers may argue that these behind the curtain conversations are not scientific or statically valid, they do provide rich insights. Often they can serve to complement quatitative research by providing the passion or emotion that can be missing.

Informally reaching out to your customers, while it may result in some bias, is at the very least a way to not only gain insights but to keep in touch beyond the purchase and holiday card. In his MSN Business On Main Street post How To Pump Your Customers For Regular Feedback Randy Myers offers a few ideas on how to secure this type of customer feedback. Note to Randy: while I might agree with your suggestions I do have a bit of a problem with the word "pump". It seems to me to be one sided and negative. Just saying ...

One of my favorite ideas from the MNS post is from Chuck Reeves. ~ "Give the customer a summary or a detailed copy of your findings and ask for any corrections. Giving feedback demonstrates sincerity, invites further comment, and shows that you value and will act on the information provided."

At the end of the day, or post, we come full circle from wha John P. Alevizos said .. customer is king or queen and getting to know him or her is was and will always be .. the 1st step in the road to business prosperity. 

Read More

For free digital tools to help you listen that go behind Google Alerts (which are great by the way) here is the monster list of 198 links (and counting!) from Sales Rescue Team.

Two Sides of Consumer Generated Media: Listening and Participating

 Graphic: Ann's Girls 

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MSN Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Go Behind The Numbers To Determine Success

10/05/2011

Sesame-street-flashers_counting

How do you determine business success? Not only in marketing communications but in customer service or even with nonprofit programs. Just asking .. 

"Why Toby," You might say. "You set a numerical goal and then see if you can meet it. It's called measurement and metrics." 

"Ah, " I might say. "Yes that's good. Or is it really? Or might it be misleading? Is it enough? Could it be doing us a disservice?"  Just asking ..

This week I was chatting with a friend who recently joined the staff of a nonprofit organiztion. Her focus is to manage social media for one of the non profit's community education programs.

She said two things to me that inspired this post.  #1 - Her boss expected the number of friends, followers, hits to the site, etc. to increase within weeks. #2 - The major funding grant placed a high emphsis on site visitors.

Sidebar: In another lifetime I was marketing director for a nonprofit. Among other elements, our grants measured success by the number of people we serviced; as well as the out reach we did. So I am familar with the demands of funding source reporting. However, In this case, there is a huge disconnect and lack of understanding of social media from my friend's boss and the funding source. Perhaps a post for another day.

We use numbers as a gauge of success. It's fairly easy to count. We learned it watching Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, The Count and my favorite Elmo!

But is that really sufficient to determine the worth of your strategies? Just asking ..

I admit, going behind the numbers takes more time and resources. When was the last time you determined if you hit the "right" people? Or if "they" took away the end objectives e.g, behaviour changes (finding information online versus your call center), perception changes (branding), new skills learned (training)?

  • What was the impact beyond the numbers? Just asking ..

It's not difficult to understand the why we are stuck on the numbers. The history of  business "success" is based on the quantitative.

Back in the Mad Men advertising days broadcast media success was about the reach and numbers. High Nielsen ratings were the gold ring. Decisions lived and died based on the figures. In newspapers and print publications (remember those?) the number of subcribers were what drove the ad dollars. It gave us a baseline. It was ok.

Then we stepped into the digital world and WoW! it was like walking into the Disney World of analytics. We could count Everything .. happy days! Our challenge became which ride (metric) to go on first (or pay attention to).

Then came social media. We had learned how to count our online strategy "results" from banner ads to website analytics. We transfered our hard earned knowledge from the web and began counting. Counting followers, likes, comments, posts. Life was good. Management could understand that type of "success." 

However, with social media came something else. Something that we were never able to determine: who were the People Behind The Numbers. Huge. Powerful. Scary. 

Hold on to your boas .. we can determine:

.. if we are reaching our target audiences

.. if we are acheiving our beyond the numbers goals 

.. if we are relevant to our target audience 

We are now really accountable for if our strategies resonant with our customers and prospects. Oh sure the numbers should matter but to a lesser degree. We should also be paying attention to if we are attracting and sustaining the right people. 

Go Beyond The Numbers Tips

1. Review the profiles of the people who are Likes, Followers,  G+, etc. 

2. Analyze your LinkedIn connects based on the niche you want to attract as clients. 

3. Segment as much as possible within limits of the social network platform. For example, on LinkedIn tag people, in Google+ put them into circles, on Twitter create lists. 

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10! What are your thoughts?  Just asking ..

Update: Example of going behind the numbers - Brian Solis and ReSearch.ly analyzed 50,000 of Starbucks’ Twitter followers. What resulted was a rich,complex profile and a indepth understanding of likes and lifestyles. So much more interesting than just the numbers. 

3 Questions To Ask Before You Build Your Social Media Plan

09/30/2011

Questions Ask two people if you should include social media as a part of your business communication strategy and you'll get at least three different answers.

MSN Business On Main offers an interesting post written by Polly Schneider Traylor Are You Wasting Your Time On Facebook and Twitter? Polly's post includes insights from a range of people working in B2B and B2C. She reminds us that for social media to be effective it circle backs to building a strategy that takes into account not only business goals (that can be measured) but understand where your customers are, as I like to say, hangin' out on the social web

Part of my due diligence in helping people create social media plans includes talking .. lots of talking. Well .. perhaps not so much talking on my side more so listening. 

I listen to the people within the organization. I listen to their customers/clients. I listen to what is happening in the "industry village" of their social web. This occurs before a decision is made on where to go or even if go. 

Everyone who has ever created a stratgic plan understands this first step is nothing new but it is a critical piece of the foundation. Not only is it important to understand the views and expectations from both employees and the people they service e.g., customers but it's often the first step in building cross department buy-in. Keep in mind social media is more than a new tool; for many it is a change in how they approach business .. internally and externally.

To help you structure the due diligence part of your planning here are a 3 Questions To Ask to get you started on the road to building a successful social media stategy. Of course you will include more in your guide that reflects your objectives, customer needs and industry. 

3 Questions To Ask Before You Build Your Social Media Plan

1. What does social media mean to you? The answers may surprise you. You'll find some people will define social media by the tools e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. while others by the outcomes such as sharing information online. The insights from this one question are extremely valuable to help you understand the different orientations.

2. Who do you think is doing social media right and why? This question has a couple of benefits. First, it provides tangible insights into what the person thinks is of value. Second, if nothing comes to mind it is a red flag the person might not be as active in the social web as he indicated. Or it could be an indication that there is a gap in the industry when it comes to providing social media innovation.

3. What type of content would add value to you building your business? This seems like a no brainer but lots of surprises surface when you include the words add value to you. You're taking this into what I call the realm of selfless content that may not directly include information about the your brand or products or services. The result is a stronger parternship relationship. 

 Bonus Tip! If you feel that you have to jump in and justify or respond to the answers then you are not the right person to conduct this type of interview. The more you (or someone else) is able to stay objective .. to listen .. the more you'll learn. And the result is? Right! A Successful Social Media Plan.

I'd love to hear and to share with our communty other questions that people ask as part of their pre planning due dilegence. Drop a comment. Thanks!

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MSN Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Social Media Idea Management: An intellectual capital hustle?

07/16/2009

Idea light bulb Imagine this scene - You've invited me to your home to discuss my ideas that may help you .. fill in the blank .. do your job better/make a better product/write a job description, etc. You also invite lots of other people. We find our way to your house. Instead of drinks together in your living room or coffee around your kitchen table you show us to separate rooms.

Then you walk away. However, naive that we are, we assume you are listening, care about us, that we matter to you.  So we happily share our creative ideas. Although our thoughts echo in our empty rooms we smile pleased to be of service to you. Every once in awhile some one wanders by and chats briefly. But rarely if ever is it you. Not even to say "thank you." 

Where are you? You're sitting behind an online dashboard gathering our intellectual capital as if it were digital diamonds. No girlfriend, it's not a focus group. Or maybe it is. Maybe this is the social media version of a focus group but with less honesty and less transparency. It's called IdeaXYZ or IdeaFireStorm or My(your brand) or ShareYourIdeas ... But don't expect anything back other than the satisfaction you derive in a bit of ego boosting on a brand site with some people who might vote you up or vote you down.

Are The Brands exploiting customers in the name of "engagement?" Are we so excited that The Brands have given us a way to directly and easily express our opinions that we clamor to give mega brands our creative ideas without even expecting a "thank you" in return?

Or is this simply the way that Brands approach the interaction of social media. Is it the way they view their role in the "conversation" of social media? Is it naivety or is it digital social media ineptness on how they perceive what is appropriate to build and nurture relationships?

Social media has two aspects. The first is digital research. That simply means reading posts and tweets of your customers to better understand who they are, what they care about and what they say about your brand. I think of it as raw, informal, qualitative, real time or what should be the  "first listening post" in your marketing research strategy.

The second aspect is something that is unique to social media. Other than trade shows, there are no business initiatives that I know of where marketers can hang out with their customers. Like any person-to-person exchange it's rarely structured. It can get messy and to make it work there has to be genuine interest on both sides.

  • Establishing an authentic presence in social media is where many marketers fall down. "Most brands aren't doing it successfully." Shiv Singh, vice president/global social media lead Razorfish (study)

Then there is a new kid on the block - Digital Idea Management or Viralsourcing - which seems to me a mash-up of these two concepts. Although based on the user group experience this has a stronger social media overlay. Customers are invited into a special company-based website to talk about what would make a better computer or latte or retail experience.

It's highly social since comments are open, often voting of each idea is encouraged and of course every post comes with the opportunity to be Dugg, Tweeted, Facebooked (new word) etc. One would naturally assume that the people who are on The Brand side would pop in to offer encouragement, provide feedback, say thank you. In other words to join in the conversation or as Shiv Singh says, "Establish an authentic presence." Rarely happens.

 If I were a bettin' diva I would say that Digital Ideology sites will become more prevalent across industries and sectors. Maybe even to engage in real exchanges. For now it seems that companies are using it in a traditional media/marketing way.

Dell is exploring this model and sharing learnings. This presentation from Dell details their Idea Management strategy behind IdeaStorm.  On slide 12 Dell outlines customer expectations as positive experience, action taken on ideas and recognition. With tactics on How To Address including: timely feedback, clear status updates, thank you mechanisms.

Happy to help you out dear brands but I expect you to join in tThank-youhe conversation with me and at least say 

Butterfly Moment

05/31/2009

Butterfly with purple flowers Walking Max yesterday and saw a beautiful butterfly on a flower. We stopped. We watched. We were quiet for a moment.

I wondered how many times we miss butterfly moments with our customers? Social media listening gives us the opportunity to do just that: to stop, to watch/listen, to be quiet for a moment.

Enjoy my white paper - Two Sides of Consumer Generated Media: Listening & Participating

Thanks to Timothy Hamilton on Flickr

Many Ways To Listen & Learn

05/15/2009

Heart_5 One important outcome of social media is the ability to listen and learn from our customers, and even our employees, through the unfiltered conversations of consumer generated media. However, there are other ways to understand our target audiences and that of course is through primary research.

Skipping around the blogosphere I found three posts that included research studies that might be of help to you:  women in social media, engaging employees and marketing to African American women. I'm leaving a few virtual bread crumbs for you to follow and perhaps travel down a few new paths.

One - A must read is the BlogHer Second Annual Women and Social Media Study. Elisa Camahort, BlogHer, explains the history of the study. The research takes a close look at the habits and attitudes of heavy users - women who participate in any social media activity at least weekly. 

Participants, who were online were more likely to spend less time engaging in traditional media activities like watching TV (30%), listening to the radio (31%), and reading magazines (36%) or the newspaper (39%).

A few more findings - Women are nearly twice as likely to use blogs than social networking sites as a source of information (64%), advice and recommendations (43%) and opinion-sharing (55%), while they are 50 percent more likely to turn to social networking sites as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family (75%),

Two -  Continuing my virtual blog travels I found that Sybil F. Stershic at Quality Service Marketing wrote a great post based BlessingWhite’s 2008 Employee Engagement Report. We're learning that social media influences more than marketing. It's not just about the brand <-> customer relationship. Social media impacts the entire organization from who is hired to management's trust of employees. It becomes even more critical for mangers to understand how to inspire and engage their staff.

Three - Michele Miller, Wonder Branding, concentrates on marketing to women. She well understands that success is dependent on realizing that this segment is more complex than it may appear. There are niches within niches. One important segment is African American women.

Michele points us to an interesting study by Lattimer Communications  that found " 86% of African-American women say that advertisers need to do a better job of understanding and marketing to them." Lattimer-communications-six-personas-black-woman-2008 Lattimer has developed six psychographic profiles.

Social Media Research: Interview with Joel Rubinson of ARF - Part 2

02/23/2009

Arf logol This is the second part of my interview series with Joel Rubinson, Chief Research Officer at ARF, Advertising Research Foundation. Part I of Interview with Joel

The ARF mission is to improve the practice of advertising, marketing and media research in pursuit of more effective marketing and advertising communications. When I learned that ARF was actively leading the charge to bring social media research into the mainstream of the marketing research industry I reached out to Joel. He graciously shared his insights on changes and future trends in marketing research.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The amount of consumer generated content is over whelming. One - What is the best way to mine that information?  Two -  Does using free tools like Google Alerts or Technorati still work?

Joel rubinson Joel Rubinson:

Social media and the internet in general have turned life into an interconnected open book exam while traditional research is a closed book exam. 

In real life, access to friend’s opinions is almost frictionless while in surveys, we spring a subject on someone out of the blue, don’t allow them to research the topic or ask friends. That discrepancy is striking to me especially for those products and services where people have a naturally tendency to turn to digital sources. 

If you are hearing different things in social media it either means that comments are sparse or that something has truly happened and you’re the first corporate eye-witness.  You have to decide and we’re still learning how to do that. Also, let me say that focus groups have their own problems when a strong personality becomes the group leader, which often happens.  Much qualitative research has gone to one on one, and triads because of this.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  In addition to conversations that evolve quickly changing opinions, what is your stance of content that is based on the person receiving payment for content (pay per post)  or receiving free products? Can it skew the data?

Joel Rubinson:  I’m not that familiar with that. In general though, I think there are two legitimate strategies for getting input which I gleaned from Dan Ariely’s book, “Predictably Irrational”. There is the social contract and economic contract. Sometimes you need to use the latter but then you need to get the exchange right.

Toby/Diva Marketing: You’re designing a research initiative. What does that look like in the year 2009?

Joel Rubinson:  We have formed a Research Transformation Super-Council of the top leaders in our industry which started on July 15, 2008 with a small group of industry leaders.  The atmosphere was electric, as we had direct competitors in the room; Procter and Unilever; Nielsen, TNS, and Motivequest. 

We started out talking about listening and within 45 minutes we were talking about the very mission, vision, and scoping of the research function. Kim Dedeker from Procter expressed the opinion that research as we know it will be on life support by 2012 and Donna Goldfarb from Unilever said, “My God, we’re all having the same conversations!”  This was really explosive. 

Now, we have run two conference events that were incredibly successful on research transformation and we have a core leadership team that will propose a new path forward that will probably be based on creating a learning organization predicated on three cornerstones:  putting the human at the center; bringing the human to life; and business impact. In only 5 years, the terminology of the future of research has completely and utterly changed and we are leading this initiative, which is very gratifying.

At the end of March, at the ARF annual “ReThink conference 2009” the journey continues with the most amazing learning event ever in our industry. The first day will start with industry leaders from Unilever, J&J, Microsoft, and MTV conveying a sense of urgency.  Then we will have a panel of scientists (anthropology, behavioral economics, cognitive science) advise us.  Then the leaders of Nielsen, WPP, and IRI will reveal plans for moving our profession forward.  Finally, the former president of the Institute for the Future will talk about foresight, insight, and how to “get there early”.  Day two, we have leaders from media talking about the 360 world we live in (including the head of NBC research talking about learnings from the largest media experiment ever called the Olympics) and how the only answer is to put the human at the center.  Day three will be about “innovating innovation” with the kickoff coming from Gary Flake innovation leader at Microsoft.  All of this will be supported by presentations from 20+ leading advertisers and a hands-on “listening zone” where you will learn all there is to know about listening tools.  Repetition, reinforcement, constant communication—we won’t be able to change the industry without this.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  Glad to hear that The ARF is taking a leadership role in how social research finds its place in the marketing research mix.

For the marketing research director who is exploring how and where social research “fits” into a marketing research project would you advice her to use CGM as a first step in the process and then bring in traditional research? In other words where do you see social media “research” fitting into the traditional marketing research world at the tactical level?

Joel Rubinson: Preliminarily, I believe it would fit in to a comprehensive research and learning plan in three main ways.

First, I would use it for continuous monitoring to spot corporate reputation issues, customer care problems, emerging social trends, and new vocabulary. 

Secondly, I would use it as a front-end tool for significant new business questions that require their own project plan, coming before survey-based quantitative research and experiments. 

Third, I would create an on-going “enthusiast” community for innovation and dialogue in the brand backyard such as Dell Idea Storm or Starbucks.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Joel Rubinson on Social Media “Research”

Joel Rubinson: Thanks for giving me this platform.  I think this is the research profession’s moment in time if it has the courage and vision to transform and to drive a culture change at the enterprise it serves. 

The new central concepts will be learning and bringing the human to life.  Market Research should become the SPOC for bringing the human (the shopper, the consumer, the person living their life) into the boardroom for shifting focus from a product centric to a human-centric lens. The head of Consumer and Market Learning must synthesize the different data feeds and bring insights to life via storytelling, insights that can galvanize an organization like “only 2% of women think of themselves as beautiful” did for Unilever and Dove. 

Over the next five years, you will see research shift focus to synthesized learning about the human and you’ll see a big change in who enters the profession.

It’s already happening at places like Crispin, Porter, + Bogusky where the planning function has researchers but also includes anthropologists and news reporters. Research, account planning, and consulting will begin to blend as research departments at leading advertisers begin to retool. Innovative research organizations will enable the change.  Some of which will come from companies you haven’t heard of and some from the big guys.  The ARF has become the industry’s leader at devising a listening strategy to extract insights from social media and how to integrate that into the broader range of tools.  We welcome that responsibility.

Toby/Diva Marketing: This aint your father's (or mine) industry .. or then again perhaps it's just beginning to be ..Ellington surveys _3

Social Media Research: Interview with Joel Rubinson of ARF - Part I

02/16/2009

With the rapid increase of digital conversations the importance of not only listening to consumer generated content (CGC) but the analysis of this new data set is finally taking its place at the marketing research table. However, the industry is still at the early stages of determining how social media research (my term), which is based on the raw talk of our customers, can be used as a credible decision making tool that complements traditional research methodologies.

The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) is taking a leadership role helping the profession determine best practices. Joel Rubinson, Chief Research Officer - ARF, and I had an extensive email conversation about some of the issues facing the industry ranging from the validity and trust worthiness of the information and content creators to where and how "social media research" fits into a marketing research initiative. Joel's responses were insightful and our interview ran longer than anticipated so this will be part of 1 of a series that will post through the week. Part 2 Interview with Joel Rubinson

Sidebar: It's interesting to see how Joel's views and the perception of social media research differ in 2009 from the 2006 interview I had with Bill Neal, former chairman of the board of AMA.

Arf logol The Advertising Research Foundation
The principal mission of The ARF is to improve the practice of advertising, marketing and media research in pursuit of more effective marketing and advertising communications.  We are the only organization with a complete view of the media and marketing ecosystem as we have 400+ corporate members who represent each of the key stakeholder groups:  advertisers, media companies, media agencies, creative agencies, research organizations, and academics.

Joel rubinson Joel Rubinson
I have been the Chief Research Officer and head of analytics at a number of big research companies, head of the research practice at a leading marketing and innovation consultancy, and started at Unilever.  I have an MBA in statistics and economics from the University of Chicago.  At the ARF, as Chief Research officer, I constantly speak with industry leaders and try to assemble the pieces I hear into a cohesive set of industry trends and priorities.  This approach got us to our three top priorities of research transformation, 360 media and marketing, and reestablishing trust in online research panels.
Joel's Blog CRO-ing About Research @joelrubinson on Twitter.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Let’s take it from the top. Why do you think that "listening in on the raw voice of the customer" has merit?

Joel Rubinson: In a world where consumers are in control, where social media provides unprecedented velocity to the spread of messages like the reaction to the Motrin campaign, a marketer must commit to continuous learning. In turn, “learning” comes from hearing the unexpected. 

If we only rely on traditional research approaches where the researcher controls the dialogue, your vocabulary will always trail the market and you’ll be much slower to sense the next move of the market than organizations that continually listen and learn. Listening to naturally occurring conversations in what we call both the consumer backyard (social media, search, @comcastcares in Twitter) and the brand backyard (like Dell Idea Storm) is essential for the continuous learning organization.

Social media and search provide a continuous flow of undisturbed insights giving us a continually refreshed picture of marketing opportunities and threats.  Also, the picture is always on consumer terms not yours (the marketer).  If people want to talk about a product in terms of the solution or social factors, if they want to find substitutable purposes for things that never sit next to each other on the retail shelf, God bless them.  If activists start to trash your brand, like happened with Motrin, you need to be there immediately to sense, respond, and dialogue.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you say to those people who question the credibility of consumer generated information/data?

Joel Rubinson: Marketing decision making is inherently risky business.  80% of new products fail. 50% of ad campaigns provide no sales lift.  Marketers are in the business of making decisions based on hunches that come from what Bayesian statisticians would call “priors”.  Acid tests are, “Does listening to CGM add to better hunches, improve the priors…does it increase the probability of an “aha” moment vs. the use of traditional research methods alone?” 

Many cases are now documented in books, articles, presentations where it did…by Nielsen Online, by Charlene Li at our recent conference in San Francisco, by MTV and Schwab via managed online communities. Others will be presented at our annual conference at the end of March. Also, no one is suggesting that it is an “either/or” situation as listening should go on simultaneously with survey-based information.  Listening can help brand tracking be more agile where new vocabulary is injected much faster into the tracker based on what is learned from listening.  I’ve seen better brand equity analysis from TNS/Cymfony who integrate their brand equity tool with listening.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What do you say to people who question the credibility and the statistical reliability of the “sample/people” who produce content and comment on social media platforms such as blogs, social networks, Twitter, review sites, etc.?

Joel Rubinson: Purists challenge listening to social media on the basis that the statistics of sampling can’t really be applied, at least not yet. However, that is not the same thing as saying there is no statistical validity. For example, there is published evidence from regression modeling that measures of brand affinity or equity can be calculated from social media which, in turn, correlate with sales trends.  Personal experience with publicly available tools like Blogpulse indicates for me that CGM trends pass the sniff test. 

Recently, the NY Times created a great tool for analyzing tweets from the super-bowl.  It seemed more “true” than commentary by trade journal columnists and was closer to biometric results in terms of which super-bowl commercials really popped.  While we might not yet fully understand the science, the natural state of these comments often provides more honest feedback than respondents’ answers to questions in a survey if they aren’t worded quite right.  However, we must acknowledge that these are still early days for this new type of data and the science of how to analyze it in some valid way. 

Clearly, there are certain types of marketing situations where CGM is of less value as the target consumer might not be active in social media or where the product is so “low involvement” that there is not enough input coming through.  Back on a positive note, CGM can either be thought of as a flawed sample (glass half empty) or a census of something really important (glass half full); what people are saying about you online, sometimes in direct reaction to a viral marketing campaign you purposefully executed. If you believe that comments in social media by consumer activists are important, you really must monitor social media. 

While there is push-back from some quarters on analyzing social media, it is a combination of legitimate questions based on the state of the art mixed with risk-aversion and change anxiety. Those who tenaciously hold onto old methods without considering this new source of insights will lose relevance as marketers will just go directly to those who mine social media, customer care, etc.

The ARF is committed to experimentation and harvesting industry experience to fully examine its usefulness and those key business issues where it is proven to add value. Ultimately, we hope to provide roadmaps for research buyers as to how to best incorporate social media in their “data feed” strategy.

Toby/DivaMarketing: Given as you indicated that decision making is risky business are you saying that the data (which assumes the people producing the content are trusty worthy) from CGM is a credible source of information for marketers to base important strategic initiatives?

Joel Rubinson: While we still need to create the roadmap for using CGM as a source of insights, I am very optimistic that it will add value, so credible?  Yes, I think it will have credibility as providing useful information and being believable to senior management. If by “base” you mean, use in isolation, no, that isn’t the model we are proposing. 

We believe that there is such a thing as a research value chain where the center of gravity is shifting from the activity of data collection to synthesis.  CGM will be a slice…one input…that will always be triangulated with other approaches.