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Insightrix works with non-profits like the Saskatoon SPCA Insightrix works with non-profits in much the same way it does with for-profit businesses. That’s because non-profits have the same need for market research that any other business or organization has. These needs include brand studies, donor experience surveys, awareness surveys or any number of other forms of research.     Throughout late 2018, Insightrix worked with the Saskatoon SPCA on several projects to help them better serve their community. We are truly happy to work with great non-profit and not-for-profit organizations like the Saskatoon SPCA, and as an organization who loves animals, it was hard for us to think of a better organization to highlight over the holiday season. We couldn't resist sharing our reason for the importance of our research in animal services - our very own Chief Morale officer, Presley, and how much he has contributed to the positive culture at Insightrix. You can watch Insightrix President, Corrin Harper, and the Saskatoon SPCA Executive Director, Patricia Cameron, (and of course Presley) discuss how both organizations worked together, and why it is so important for brands to make better decisions with market research. Video transcript Patricia Cameron: Insightrix is quite a dream, really, to work with. People are friendly - they’re informed. They give you guidance on how to set up this research project. So, I would say it was effortless - and yet, the return was really rich. Obviously, being connected with your community and knowing what people expect, want, like, don’t like – that’s super important for a charity. It’s really the lifeblood of what we do. So, we’ve been able to take the research and immediately apply it to our business plan and our longer-term strategy. Well, we really appreciate that Insightrix is animal friendly, has an office dog and also did a provincial, pro bono survey on a very high-level animal neglect and abuse case. That work was really, really important in highlighting how important animal welfare is in the province, and we really thank Insightrix for that. Corrin Harper: Looking at doing some work in the non-profit sector, the SPCA was a connection both in terms of the importance of what we care about here, being animals, and also our everyday work that we do in research. That was a really nice connection and something I think we thought we could really get behind. Presley’s role, I mean, his official title is Chief Morale Officer and Head of Security. But in reality, he is just a mainstay here at Insightrix. He is something that cheers everybody up everyday. He just comes in and visits staff. He’s just, basically, here to make everybody feel comfortable and have a little bit of fun at work, as well. I was coming back into the city from a weekend at the lake, and saw this little, dark spot on the highway. I realized it was a little dog, so I pulled over to the side of the road, picked him up and put him into the car and drove him into the city. And as I was driving into the city, I was started to get a little bit of attached to him. So, I brought him into the office and staff just loved him, and he just sort of took to the place. And I think he kind of hit the doggie lottery because he gets to come to work every day, he gets treats during the day – I think he ended up with a pretty good life. Being president of a market research firm really gives a great opportunity to sort of help people out and I think that’s one of the passions that, I guess, myself and I’m sure a lot of the staff here have is being able to get up every day, come to work and help people make better decisions as a result of the information you’re providing. Whether that is for-profit business or a charity, it’s something that we can be passionate about, as well. Video by The Golden Media Company Learn more about other Insightrix projects through our case studies....
 

You could be doing research for your small business Getting the chance to ask research questions for your business is often thought to be beyond the ability of most small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). Market research, while desperately needed for SMB, can be considered a lower priority when determining what an SMB should or should not spend money. With the constant need to probe, learn and collect intelligence for businesses – in an economy where everyone is trying to market their product effectively – research should not be the first budget item on the chopping block. Especially when market research companies offer cost-saving alternatives to custom research projects like omnibus research. Not only is market research a necessity for all levels and types of business – it could also save further investment down the road and have a major impact on the brand. Getting actionable insights from asking the right research questions can be both affordable and accessible to all businesses who need a pulse check.  The question is, what are some best practices to employ to create good research questions that yield actionable results? Actionable market research needs to start out right It isn’t always easy to find the right place to start a market research project. It may be there are many ideas for research that come to mind. But a good place to get rolling is to decide the exact research questions you would like to have answers for. Market research isn’t always about uncovering the hidden insights that you never knew before you started – it is also to help clarify or validate what you already knew.     Think about it this way… As an SMB, start by asking, “What kind of market intelligence is it that I want or need for my business?” or “What evidence am I after to clarify my business or marketing strategy?” Let’s say you are a business developer or a marketing specialist for a tech company. You are ready to start concept testing on a new feature of the product but do not know if your customers are interested or ready in such a feature. You may rely on your general understanding of how the product works to prepare the lot of questions in ways that make sense to you - but will that yield actionable results? You may come up with questions like… -or- But take a minute. Are these questions going to yield actionable results for the business or marketing strategy?   Think about the answers when reading the question; will it help you define if your customers like the new feature(s)? Sure. Will it help determine if the new feature is right for your customers? Perhaps not. Questions, questions… Formulating questions that need to be answered, based on the research topic, is a problem waiting to be solved. As an insights agency, we encourage our clients to deliver us their questions monthly to be included in our omnibus. And our omnibus functions as a lean research tool for businesses that need quick results. Whether it is pre-determined market intelligence that requires questions developed to explore, or if you already have research questions that need answering, our consultants can help in the formulation and fielding of omnibus research that will yield relevant and actionable information.  But before you contact your market research provider, we’ve provided some hints you can use when coming up with your own research questions. Ask research questions that can be answered. Before starting to try to answer a question, it must first be determined whether there is the time or resources available to conduct the research in the first place. Let’s go back to our first example… Finding out which age groups engage with your product or what your customers want from the new features are questions that can be easily answered! But determining the factors of influence that led your customers to be interested in your product in the first place may not be (with this level of research, at least!). Ask one question at a time. Compound questions should be avoided. Asking questions around “if they use your product” and “at what times” may seem like a good place to start the survey, but asking questions like these at the same time or all at once will result in answers that are confusing and uninformative. It is always better to ask single, succinct questions to avoid confusing your customers. Review the research questions thoroughly. Before consulting your research provider, make sure to investigate with your developers to know how your product works, and with sales managers to know its selling points. While you consult your pros, you will still need to develop your own perspective that will help validate the need for your questions.   Be straightforward. If your responding customers do not know what the research question is asking, the response given won’t be of any use to inform the insights gathered at the end of research. Avoid the use of confusing words or language – keep questions as simple and as short as possible, and try to be specific about what it is that is being asked. Avoid research questions like, “Do you like to eat a lot?” Instead, stick to questions like, “At what times of day do you usually eat?” Being specific like this will lead to less confusion for customers, providing actionable market intelligence that relates directly to the research at hand. Provide restrictive and extensive response options. When setting up multiple choice research questions, be sure to make choices exhaustive (they cover all possible choices to the question asked) and restrictive (one answer cannot be mistaken for another by the respondent). In a question like, “What is your annual net income after taxes?”, an example of a restrictive and extensive series of responses could be: In a series of responses like this, virtually all possible options are covered and none of the answer categories can be said to overlap with the others. Setting up research questions so they are restrictive and extensive will not only provide a wide range of detailed data to work with, it will avoid biasing, or presupposing the answers respondents will provide before they are asked. Give your respondents an out. Some respondents may not feel comfortable answering all research questions. If inquiring about demographic information like household income, gender, etc., or looking to gather other sensitive information, it is often a good idea to provide a “Prefer not to answer” option to respondents. Giving responding customers an opportunity to opt out of questions will keep more of them answering (instead of dropping out entirely) and will limit them giving inaccurate responses only to proceed in the survey (resulting in unreliable data). On top of this, the number of those who preferred not to answer questions is still valuable data that can used in finding insight into the research topic. Balance the scale of available responses. Think long and hard about the scale upon which responding customers will answer survey questions. Points on scales should be equally distant from one another in concept or number from one another. Meaning - always avoid response scales that do not measure the same thing. If the question were to be asked, “How would you rate your experience with my company’s product?”, it doesn’t make sense to ask customers to rate their experience on a scale of 1 – Excellent. The first response is a number; the second is a feeling. Both are much different in concept, and using them both in the same scale would not just confuse responding customers, but it would also confuse the data gathered from their responses. If the research question requires a scaled response, stick to easy-to-use scales of one to ten, or scales that involve concepts that are very easily understood at first reading. Pitch your questions to a market research firm for consultation.  Now that you know what you want to research, and you have some great research questions ready to ask, it never hurts to call in a pro to validate the direction and scope of the research before committing to the investment of time and resources to the project. Market research firms like Insightrix are experts in their field and are both accessible and affordable to all levels of business. Whether to validate a specific project, or to inform a project from its beginning, engaging a market research firm at the outset for a consultation will result in more focused research (saving your business both time and money), and will provide more actionable data when the research is done.  What's more, when you access the experience of a market research firm, you'll be sure your research project is overseen by a third party, ensuring the project design and the data it produces are free from any bias - either real or imagined by others.  Doing good research is within reach Creating market research, formulating research topics, deciding on methodologies, crafting the perfect research questions, etc. can all be heavy lifting at first, but if you stick to the tips above, the process can be made much less arduous. Do you have a question or an idea for a research topic for your business? Insightrix OnTopic omnibus surveys allow any size or type of business to ask a research question affordably. Using either the SaskWatch or ManitobaWatch online research panels, the OnTopic service can ask your question or questions for you and provide you the intelligence your business needs at a fraction of the cost of undertaking a research project yourself – and benefit from the insight and survey design experience of seasoned pros. ...
 

  Trended data specific to Saskatchewan Since 2016, Insightrix has been tracking the use of social media by Saskatchewan residents and their social lives online to understand how they engage with one another and with brands and businesses, and to find out their preferences and the ways they use the platforms themselves. When the Saskatchewan Social Media Report (2016) was published – it was presented at workshops and conferences across Western Canada, and more than 200 marketers, business consultants, policy makers and advertisers downloaded the report or benefited from its insight. Many of those who accessed the report say they have used it to validate their marketing initiatives, and as a valuable tool for planning and strategizing.   For the first time, it was possible examine the ways Saskatchewan consumers (aged fourteen years old and older) interact with social media over mobile technologies and the internet, their attitudes toward social networks and their behaviours while using them - and what their preferences might be in the future. And even more important, it became possible to compare those statistics with trended data specific to Saskatchewan social media users. A useful narrative that you can understand  Now, those with interests in the province are able to examine Saskatchewan-specific usage data that have been trended over time and make comparisons to the historical story.  The value of this trended data is obvious when comparing Saskatchewan-specific social media usage data over time. In Saskatchewan, social media use has clearly increased since 2015. Back then, 83% of Saskatchewan residents said they used social networking sites - now, that number has increased to 90% of the people in the province over the age of 14! With evidence like this, it doesn’t take a genius to see that untrended data do not give the whole picture when it comes to social media usage statistics. New to the 2018 Saskatchewan Social Media Report The 2018 Saskatchewan Social Media Report has been slimmed down in terms of raw data and beefed up with digestible and thoughtful insight - and it's been repriced to be accessible to all levels of business in Saskatchewan. Dive into this rich, trended data and actionable insight to learn how the Saskatchewan digital landscape has changed over the years with visualized reporting and a clear narrative that you can understand and use right away. The 2018 Saskatchewan Social Media Report has also added a local chapter dedicated to Saskatchewan brands and how Saskatchewan social media users engage with them. Use the report to find out why residents are following local brands, which industries they are engaged in and what they are looking for in terms of advertisement and brand engagement.  ...
 

Ad testing isn’t a thing of the past It seems like every time forward-thinking marketers bring up ad testing these days, they are dismissed by their older, set-in-their-ways colleagues.  Concerns of cost and timeliness, as well as the idea that ad testing (in nebulously described ways) diminishes the creativity of your advertising efforts are usually at the root of criticism of the practice. While it may have been true at one point – before strides in technology and methodologies were made – practical application has lifted the practice of ad testing out of focus group rooms of the nineties and back into common practice for forward-thinking marketers. This is because ad testing has evolved. While today’s innovating front-line marketers are fixated on the metrics to help justify their advertisement choices, their executives and stakeholders simply want results. Marketers believe ad results should be inherently data driven, but businesses are starting to see the need for their brands to be more daring and better represented in the media, so the expectation is much bigger than a marketer’s projected ROI.   New quantitative techniques and methodologies have been developed to create faster, more credible and more actionable quantitative testing protocols and to build and access deeper, more robust norms - making those criticisms mentioned earlier more than a little invalid and out of date. But is advertisement research really worth the effort? The short answer is...
 

Presentation of Market Research data remains a popular topic   In February of 2015, we published an article called 6 Creative Ways to Present Your Market Research Data that, before we knew it, became one of the most read and shared articles we’ve ever published. Fast-forward two and a half years, and that article is still doing well – still one of the most read and shared articles on our site. Which got us thinking that while the article still holds lots of value, some of the information in it may have gotten a little out of date in the intervening years. So, in the spirit of today’s Hollywood, we’ve decided to reboot it and make it more relevant to current audiences. Therefore, without further ado, we bring you – 6 Creative Ways to Present Your Market Research Data – The Reboot! Let’s get creative, people! With the large amounts of data that market researchers deal with, finding ways to present this information in a creative, interesting way can be a challenge. For years, some researchers have put the onus on the client when it comes to understanding, internalizing and actualizing their reports. Rather than providing concise reporting, in the past, many firms would data dump their clients with unwieldy and hard to follow reporting, thick with data and charts, and thin on actionable insight. There are better ways! Market research reporting can be interesting and assimilable! What follows are 6 creative ways you could be using to present your market research data. 1. Interactive Dashboards Interactive dashboards let you communicate important information to your audience. A dashboard is a visual display of the most significant information from a project. The information appears on a single screen, offering a quick and simple way to monitor and evaluate a study’s progress. Dashboards are a highly effective way to present data to executives who don’t have a lot of time and need to be able to check data at any point in a project. 2. Infographics Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or without an Internet connection), you’ve likely come into contact with lots of infographics over the last couple of years. They illustrate data and combine text, images and design to tell the story of a study. They have become exceedingly popular over the last few years since they present data in an engaging and easy-to-understand manner. Because the are so engaging and easy to grasp with little explanation, they are ideally suited to Internet and social media sharing. This boosts your chances for organic sharing. It’s because of this that Infographics are a great way to drive increased traffic to your website and highlight key elements of your data.   3. Presentation Software The days of coming to meetings with nothing but a few clip art-laden PowerPoint slides are way over (audible cheer!). If you want your data to stand out, try using out-of-the-box presentation software like Customshow or Prezi. These presentation platforms are a way to present information that engages audiences. They visually demonstrate how ideas relate to one another and allow collaboration in virtual space. Prezi and Customshow are cloud-based. So, you can present from your browser, desktop or tablet. Plus, you will always have the most recent version available. Presentation software like these offer visually engaging features such as zooming in and out of images and barrel rolls. This makes your insights both engaging and memorable.     4. Videos & Podcasts Sure, these formats are usually reserved for entertainment. They are also a great way to make your presentation more engaging. Podcasts [like the Insightrix Podcast] provide listeners an opportunity to immerse themselves in the narrative, or story, behind your research. They engage your audience in a way that offers you the opportunity to connect your research and your audience in meaningful ways and are relatively easy and inexpensive to attempt. Videos, on the other hand, let you put a face to your research and make study results more relatable and memorable. Vox pops (or streeter videos) are an effective way to bring research to life. They are video interviews with members of the public in which people speak on camera and tell the viewer what they think and how they feel about a particular subject. Videos and vox pops can supplement both qualitative and quantitative research. They are a compelling way to involve your audience in your research with minimal difficulty. *Pro Tip – Always make sure you have permission to film before setting up in any location.* #5. GIFs (Motion Graphics) GIFs, or motion graphics as they are sometimes called, are very short video clips. Though short, they can be a very impactful way to present your research by helping to create a story around your data. While they can be made up of video footage, they can also be used to create short, repeating slide shows of statistical data. Use of GIFs can help people understand difficult concepts and make your presentation more appealing. 6. Web & Mobile Apps   Everyone has a smartphone these days. As a result, apps are a great way to make your research more accessible to your clients. With a couple of quick taps of the screen, your clients can have access to your research at any time and at any place on their mobile devices. To top it off, the interactive nature of apps lets you control the research data you want to present. Like interactive dashboards, they can be out of the reach of most students and very small firms. That said, they are definitely worth the investment for small to medium firms looking to jazz up their presentations.     Presentation of Market Research Data can be engaging As you can see, presentation of market research data can be engaging - and it doesn't have to be rocket science getting it done. There are lots of other ways you can present your data. These examples are only a couple of ways we've found that have been especially well-received.  Can you think of other ways to present market research data?     ...
 

Customer Experience (CX) programs are constantly evolving past solely obtaining data to score or measure a persona or journey-type. To best create a customer journey map, your organization needs to Dive Deep into the different channels you use, all while learning to incorporate new-found insights into the program. Easier said than done, right!? Well… sort of. You must take the first step to capturing their customer experience – both the consumer and your client-facing employees – to make the customer-centric journey successful. To do this – simply – listen. Forming a deep understanding of your end-to-end customer experience is a powerful tool to enhance your competitive advantage. Your customers hold the key to your insights, and your client-facing employees can fill in the gaps in consumer understanding. Journey mapping can also help organizations employ techniques that are built to measure and that are designed effectively – and situationally – to help your executives “buy-in” to the CX “moments of truth”. So, knowing this -  how do professionals responsible for CX go beyond the standard approach of mapping only individual touchpoints? Let’s dive in. 1. The answer is in qualitative research Journey mapping is made through both customer research and employee understanding. And qualitative research assists by providing that “outside” perspective that should always include both the customers’ and employees' views. As a critical starting phase of any CX program (CXP), journey mapping – with the aid of qualitative techniques – should define the customer scope rather than the organization scope. Your customer’s journey should begin at the moment they interact with your brand – whether searching for your product online, engaging with a sponsored social media advertisement or visiting your physical store, you must acknowledge that the experience begins long before the traditional boundaries of the CXP. Customer journey studies are served well by multifaceted qualitative research methods.    At Insightrix, we build our CX framework as though each customer situation is different. It is our responsibility to report on insights - from many sources - including using innovative qualitative techniques such as online communities, online focus groups, employee insights and more. As a market research firm, we put together role-specific questionnaires and moderator guides to help bring clarity to the data findings and should ultimately help narrow the moments of truth in your customer’s journey.   2. Leverage Research Tools Research tools are an important part of any CX journey mapping toolkit. In order to get the most out of your framework, utilize tools that drive your methodology. By using interactive, rich media methods – your consumer is given an advantage when attempting to explain their experience. Qualitative techniques can benefit from a Market Research Online Community (MROC) platform. Online Communities allow CX professionals to easily consult with their customers and obtain the qualitative data they need to create a customer-centric customer journey map.   3. Use Solid Interview Questions Customer-centric journey mapping has gone beyond the use of closed-ended questions. Rather, it has evolved to incorporate targeted, open-ended questions intended to grasp the full pulse of the customer. Questions like these draw your customer out, and allow you to obtain qualitative data you can use to discover their key drivers and motivations. Solid interview questions provide verbatim to uncover and understand pain points in your CX and allow you to “close the loop” with dissatisfied customers.   4. A customer journey map connects organizations with customers CX measurement programs have evolved beyond obtaining data to create scores or measurement metrics. They have become customer-centric – focusing on the needs of the customer. They have progressed to where CX programs provide detailed maps of the entire customer journey. These customer journey maps speak to the qualitative experience of your customers, and allow organizations to Dive Deep into their customer’s journey.   We recently developed a free whitepaper that deep dives into ways to set up a successful and insightful Customer Experience Measurement Program for your organization:   ...
 

Digital marketing through social media is quickly changing the landscape of advertising in Saskatchewan. It is especially changing how marketers handle their overall marketing mix in influencing consumers to engage with their brand online. We marketers can no longer expect a marketing campaign to succeed without understanding our target audience, their demographics and their buyer journey. In order to figure out our audience segments, we have to cognize their motives - an apt way to do so is by employing basic market research behind your strategies. Insightrix Research is dedicated to equipping professionals with real insights from their customers in order to strengthen their brand.  To help with this, take a look at some insights from a recent study revealing how generations in Saskatchewan – from teens to seniors – use social media and what they expect from the brands they follow.     Nearly everyone in Saskatchewan is on Facebook In Saskatchewan, across all generations, Facebook dominates the media landscape by far, with 9 out of 10 using it daily ????????   But does that really come as a surprise to you? While it is probably safe to determine social media is here to stay, interestingly enough, nearly half of Saskatchewan residents (48%) believe they spend too much time on social media - yet more and more people are frequently accessing it!     Regardless, since 2015, social media has seen a slight lift (4%) in users across all platforms ????   Though Facebook dominates the social media landscape in our province, it is not a favourite among teens.  For example… Of the teens on social media, only 63% claim to use Facebook as often as other favourite social platforms, while 1 in 4 (73%) endorse Snapchat as their No. 1 platform, followed by YouTube (64%) and then Instagram (57%). Of gen-Xers (32 to 48) on social, 92% indicated that Facebook is their go-to platform, yet few gen-Xers (17%) admit they use Snapchat.   Interestingly enough, we also discovered that a number of gen-Xers (11%) claimed to have stopped using Snapchat in the past year.   What encourages Saskatchewan residents to use social media? Understanding a particular generation on social is a must for today’s businesses, as more and more corporations recognize the value of these digital tools. Because social media is no longer utilized for the sole purpose of marketing or making friends - it has evolved to help educate and actively encourage consumers to engage with businesses or brands online. So, by determining a generation’s motives for using social media, you can begin to assess what causes social media users to engage with your content. For example… While 80% of the SK population on social platforms claim to use these platforms to keep in touch with friends and family, it’s interesting to note that millennials (aged 18 to 25) flock to social media to find information (43%) regarding entertainment or events online. And… Gen-Xers (47%) use Facebook groups try to get rid of unwanted household items. Those baby boomers are somewhere in between, looking for a healthy mix of shared family photos (53%) or to get information on current events (50%). And matures 68+ (47%) are always on the lookout for those new recipes…   What do followers want from brands? We discovered that about one third (35%) of social media users in Saskatchewan follow particular businesses or brands ????????   And, while there are many reasons cited in the research as to why residents follow brands on social media, 1-in-5 millennials admit they follow a particular brand or business for the simple fact that they “like” it! Because we know almost 8-in-10 residents who follow brands do-so on Facebook, the real question is… what do consumers want from the businesses or brands they follow? The answer is in the discount!   Nearly 1-in-4 Saskatchewan residents claim discounts would likely get them to follow a business on social media ????‼   While 83% of millennials who follow brands on social media (aged 26 to 31) admit discounts encourage them to follow particular brands, only 42% of matures (68+) say it would likely make them hit the “like page” button. Interestingly enough, half of all residents who follow brands on social media (50%) flock to brand-specific channels for product/brand information and tips and advice.   The influencers in Saskatchewan consumer buyer decisions are…?     We discovered personal recommendations – including those within one’s social circles – play a major role in influencing buyer decisions of social media users in Saskatchewan. 78% of residents on social media claim recommendations from a friend, a family member or a known acquaintance have influence on their buying decisions ???? ????   Further, 1-in-3 social media users in Saskatchewan claim family and friend recommendations have a “high influence” on their purchasing decisions. Younger generations are twice as likely as older generations to be influenced by someone within their social circle during their buyer journey. It is also worth noting that 60% of millennials (aged 26 to 31) claim an online review or a recommendation from someone within their social media circle as influential, while only 38% of baby boomers use social media recommendations to influence purchasing decisions. All generations may be represented on social and some are probably following your brand, but your segments will have different expectations from you. As we have come to see it - teens in Saskatchewan use social for, well, social reasons; millennials use social to do their research and ask questions; Gen Xers use it to coordinate life events and make their day a little easier overall; baby boomers are observers and tend to use social as generalists and matures… matures love recipes. ✔ Want to know more about this Syndicated Report?   Click here!  ...
 

There is a new leading-edge tracking technology making big waves – recognition software. Global recognition (e.g., biometric recognition like infrared, odour, face recognition, fingerprint, retina, iris, palm print, voice, signature, DNA, etc.), and geolocation are emerging technologies used for examining people and their experiences - in an attempt to collect personalized information - while avoiding the disturbance of their privacy. In terms of the emerging technology itself, recognition tools are able to track your identity and keep note of things you regularly consume at a near-constant basis, and these tools have been revered as the next big market trend. The fact is, the demand is high for various industries in the race of the global recognition technology market. Government and utilities, military and homeland security, retail, banking, financial services, insurance, digital signage and web and mobile applications all have a stake in the future of recognition technology. They all want to know what you purchase, where you purchase and (the stiffest to measure) why you purchase? It is no surprise the market research industry are major contributors in the capacity to measure emotions and experiences, and with all the emerging recognition tools and technology, it begs the question - how will recognition technology effect the future industry of market research? Retail Juggernauts   Take retail into consideration. The wholesale industry is expected to experience significant growth in the use of recognition technology. Retail companies are interested in per market strategies in order to analyze customers based on target quotas, such as age, gender and other categorical attributes. Retail juggernauts are interested in campaigning to the consumers’ wants and needs, solely to hook you as a loyalist. For example, imagine waltzing into your favourite café and having your coffee already on its way to being made based on your ID via recognition technology. Imagine responding to the real-time notification to pay for your coffee. Sounds pretty forward thinking, right? Many retailers are already experimenting with recognition technology, such as with geolocation tools like iBeacons – a Bluetooth feature that can detect and record the location of smartphones. Like the purchase of a quick coffee, these beacons are often used to employ special offers to tempt consumers into purchase whether a consumer enters the store, or even when outside window shopping and passing by. Geolocation technology has a large market stronghold – with mobile media giants like Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare all adopting this special technology. Industry analysts have been skeptical for years about consumers broadcasting their locations and were fairly uncertain if this technology could even be monetized. Despite this criticism, geolocation has since created a digital bridge between communication, the Internet and the target quota where on-the-go consumers will likely benefit for years to come. How does this effect the future of market research? With target quotas come innovative methodologies such as Sentiment Analysis. And with the adoption of recognition technology, associations and organizations, both public and private, can expand on anecdotal evidence such as the type of gender and age of recognition. Sentiment analysis can lead to major breakthroughs when analyzing a consumer’s wants when it comes to special retail features. It is commonly used in targeted advertising in order to understand the voice of the customer, and where the company can then analyze consumer interactions and decide if they are being done well. Of course, with the rise in technology growth, there is sure to be a rise in security concerns as these retail giants are rapidly adopting big brother-like technology (such as CCTV recordings), which are analyzed by facial recognition techniques and used for alarm systems, source-tagging and even aggressive advertisement.   Aggressively Advertise, Analyze, Reprise   Today, recognition technology is widely used as an effective advertising campaign tool. By measuring how an advertisement spot sells has been (for years) the No. 1 question on the minds of advertisers, brand developers and marketers alike. Understanding how to sell based on buyer emotions by way of advertisement can prove useful when attempting to quantify emotional expression regarding new products and services, and even promotional events such as media trailers and advertising campaigns. Ever see the film “Minority Report”? This science fiction, neo-noir, Spielberg/Cruise flick (set in the year 2054) features a futuristic city dogged with optical recognition systems (retinal scan), exploited by a militarized government emergency service and used to scan distinctive features in the iris. In “Minority Report”, this technology is further used in the place of security badges and identification, as well as for tailored billboards and ads. Wherever Captain Anderton (good ole, handsome Mr. Cruise) goes, he is tracked by cameras and biometric sensors and, as a result, is consistently bombarded with invasive, personalized ads. In 2002, it seemed out of this world to experience the thought of mind-reading advertisements. But, what was once considered futuristic technology is now on the brink of reality. Though retina recognition devices are still considered in beta, with the progress and high interest in facial recognition, it can’t be that far behind, can it? Do you ever feel like the world of Advertising doesn't speak to you?  Well, much like in the film “Minority Report”, a German beer making company, Astra , is looking to cash in recognition technology as a vehicle for targeted advertising. In 2015, Astra introduced a new beer advertising campaign focusing on a Bavarian brand geared toward women. By using a digital billboard, a built-in web camera and the latest in facial recognition technology, Astra was able to detect if a passerby was male or female, and based on the demographic the digital billboard, would either try and sell you a beer (female) or tell you to take a hike (male) – a bold move by a company that generally sells a product focused on men. The real kicker is the public billboard was able to tell if advertisement onlookers were not legal age, and advised the minors that walked by to just keep on moving. Innovative use of recognition technology or obtrusive product selling?   Sometimes this type of targeted advertisement can be used for social awareness campaigns, too. For example, to coincide with the 2014 International Women’s Day, a London, UK-based agency teamed up with Women’s Aid and Ocean Outdoor to create some noteworthy digital billboards that brought awareness to domestic violence. With the use of facial recognition, when an onlooker paid attention to the billboard of a battered woman, the billboard would remove the injuries. As more onlookers gazed directly, the cuts and bruises on the victim’s face would completely disappear - communicating that with each bystander we can make a difference in eliminating domestic abuse.     Make way for Biometric Recognition   The human face has approximately 43 facial muscles that can produce roughly 8,000 different combinations of smiles, smirks and upside down frowns. Expressions are not voluntary, nor are they dependent on social origin or ethnicity. That is the neat thing - facial expressions happen automatically, and at a flash speed (no more than 10 to 20 milliseconds). To be able to tap into a technology that can capitalize from recognizing standardized expressions will arguably change the way that advertisement designs are conceived and tested, making them more likely to succeed in the long run. Not only will advertisement benefit from biometric technology, but as the recognition tech industry rapidly evolves as a whole, high-tech enhancements will help lead us toward a future of adapting a level of behavioural recognition across all major industries — including market research. Behavioural research (or biometric recognition) often refers to an automatic recognition of individuals based on a particular feature from their physiological or behavioural characteristics. By using biometrics, a person can be identified based on who they are (e.g., face, finger scan, retinal scan, etc.) rather than what they are (card, token, number), or what they know (password, PIN). Traditionally, passwords and key cards have been used to restrict access to secure systems, but these methods can and have been breached before. The technology has become industrially unreliable and, therefore, biometric technology can make identity virtually impossible to steal, forget or forge - creating a lust for behavioural recognition technology among those organizations with the need for high-security clearance. How does this effect the future of market research? Emotional (and behavioural) recognition is a new frontier recognition technology. This method is accomplished by identifying patterns of certain behavioural triggers as they correlate to facial expressions – which are considered universal. By doing so, researchers are able to collect psychographic data at an unprecedented rate and at a much lower cost than what we’ve ever been able to do before. This is the opportunity marketers have been waiting for –  the capacity to acquire a much deeper understanding of their customers’ needs without the barrier of being obtrusive. Not only can the market research industry benefit from the use of biometric technology as research, MRX can also benefit from its use as a security measure to house its sensitive databases.   The Push to Quantify Emotions   With these emerging technologies come promise to clients that market researchers are now able to quantify emotions. Better tools for tracking emotions hold better promise for bringing awareness to how we feel through via outer feedback. This type of technology also promises to make it easier to understand websites, mobile applications, advertisements and a consumer’s emotional state or response to the product or service. For example, qualitative tools such as speech emotional analytics work to analyze vocally-transmitted emotions in real time. This kind of technology can decipher the speaker’s mood, an attitude toward the subject and emotional personalities (drivers for decision making) – an example of the innovative methods that market researchers can utilize in order to provide a deeper meaning when attempting to achieve emotional feedback. How does this effect the future of market research? Techniques like speech emotional analytics can be employed to sort voice messages according to the emotions portrayed by the caller in call centre applications. Among other things, a dialogue system may deploy knowledge on emotional user states to select a strategy in speaking with the potential respondent. This type of technology may even change the way we survey customers on their satisfaction levels - imagine being able to deploy a customer satisfaction survey with the use of emotional analytics. Interested in how Insightrix uses recognition technology? Visit: https://insightrix.com/case-study-neuroscientific-market-research/...
 

In a recent Insightrix article on neuroscience, we discussed the trend of neuromarketing, or as preferred for our purposes, using neuroscience tools and methodologies in the field of market research. Aside from leaving many wracked with existential dread, the article on neuroscience raises a few questions about how the processes described in the post actually work and how they are useful in the field of market research. If you haven’t yet, you may want to give it a read, as it will fill in any blanks from this post and tell you why this is relevant to market research. As Insightrix is all about providing answers, we decided to write another blog article to talk about it and provide some clarity regarding the ways neuroscience is used in market research. In the last post, we mention EEG, eye tracking and facial coding, so we’ll go from there. EEG (Electroencephalogram)  EEG (electroencephalogram) can be a powerful addition to the toolkit of market researchers. In the field of market research, EEG biosensors are used to measure changes in participants’ brain activity to try to track changes in participants’ levels of attention to what they are seeing and/or hearing. With interpretation, this can be a useful tool for researchers wishing to know what parts of their content (video/commercial/film/etc.) held an audience’s attention best, and where that audience’s attention strayed from their message. EEGs monitor changes in the electrical activity in the brain and allow researchers to measure changes in the levels of attention participants  experience when viewing and/or listening to content (video/advertisement/movie clip/etc.), or when trying a new product. Theoretically, when attention is high, electrical activity in the brain increases, and when attention is low, electrical activity falls. With data derived from this process, market researchers can discover what points of the experience were most interesting (held participants’ attention), and what parts caused attention to drift. EEG biosensors are relatively small and, as a result, they are portable. This means marketers can use them almost anywhere (stores, theatres, wherever) to get responses and data in natural settings.   Eye Tracking    Now that you are armed with the understanding of what your participants’ attention levels are doing, you’ll need to have some kind of way to find out where that attention is being directed. That’s where eye tracking comes in. Eye trackers are usually portable, multi-camera apparatuses that track participants’ eye-movements (of course), how long something is looked at and (in some models) even track the number of times a participant blinks. The data generated from this lets market researchers know just where participants are looking, and for how long they looked at it. Many eye trackers are extra useful, in that they come with software that allows researchers to designate specific elements in the test material to see how many times a specific field was looked at, and how long and how many people looked at it. This can be very useful if you want to know how noticeable a brand logo or your visual messaging is. Data from eye trackers is represented with the help of some handy and sophisticated software in graphic visualizations. Generally, these visualizations can be in the form of Heat Mapping, Bee Swarms (no, not real bees) and/or Gaze Plotting. If you want to see what this looks like, check out the video attached to this post.  Like EEG biosensors, eye trackers are relatively inexpensive and can be set up almost anywhere – some can even be attached to laptops or phones.When used in conjunction with other neuro tools and tried-and-true techniques like in-depth interviews and focus groups, eye trackers can provide very powerful data.  Facial Coding Now that you think you understand at what points your participant is interested and attentive, and to where and at what your participant is looking, it would be nice to have some idea about what your participant might be feeling in regards to what she is looking at. This is where facial coding can be useful. Facial coding uses existing facial recognition technology (like the kind they use to track down criminals or create matches on dating sites) to try to learn about participants’ emotional state in relation to test materials. With cameras and some really complicated software, researchers try to detect seven basic, universal emotions in participants. These emotions have been proven through a great deal of testing and re-testing (of the scientific kind) to be associated to seven basic facial expressions (disgust, delight, sadness, skeptical, surprised, fear and negative emotions like anger). These facial expressions are universal and are the same in everybody, regardless of age, culture or ethnic background. It is hoped that using facial coding technology as a tool in market research can allow researchers to read their participants’ emotional responses before they are able to rationalize them into thought and words. The goal is to give an impression of the knee-jerk responses your test materials engender in observers – data that is useful if you want to know if your product is being well received or not. And there it is… There you have it – some of the most common tools used in the field of neuroscience, and particularly, in neuroscience as it employed in the field of market research. It doesn’t take a degree in neuropsychology or neurobiology, or even one in marketing, to understand how, when put together with the other tools described in this article and adept interpretation, combined with tried-and-true market research methodologies like in-depth interviews and focus groups, can come together to make a powerful toolkit for market researchers. With that said, these techniques require a caveat when used in market research in that they are useful and appropriate only in specific settings. The human mind is ridiculously complex, and attempting to understand its processes through machines can produce less trustworthy data if well-defined and rigorous research design is not put in place. Most market researchers who employ neuroscience methodologies advocate their use in conjunction with tried-and-true market research methodologies like focus groups and/or in-depth interviews. If you’d like to understand more about why neuroscience in market research is used in the first place, check out this article about just that. Keep checking back to the Insightrix blog regularly for updates on how Insightrix uses neuroscience and other cutting-edge techniques and methodologies in its own client projects.     Sources: neursky.com/neuromarketing-and-eeg-measuring-engagement-in-advertising scholar.google.ca/ijps/article lcbr-online.com/index_files/proceedingsemc12 greenbookblog.org/neuromarketing-identifying-the-fact-from-the-fiction/...
 

 A person is able to articulate their wants and desires through conscious, reflective deliberation, through weighing facts and arguments and through making rational decisions, right?   Right? Actually - probably not. While most of us think we are consciously creating all of our thoughts and decisions through rational processes, research in the field of neuroscience has actually told us something else might be going on. Making decisions or forming opinions like this may not actually be the reality when it comes to our reactions to new situations, ideas or even products – really, in any situation in which you react emotionally. According to neuroscience, that’s because most emotional decisions of this kind are made unconsciously. Think about it. When you see something new, and you feel a certain way about it, do you think about why you should feel the way you do first - or do you just feel a certain way about that thing or situation and then try to find reasons for the reaction you are having? Most likely, you thought about your feelings a bit, and decided why you felt the way you did. If that is the case, you are normal – or as normal as the rest of us, anyway. According to neuroscience research, qualitative decisions of an emotional nature are often made on the unconscious level – meaning these decisions are made with little or no authorship of the observer. Aside from the existential angst this may provoke (remember to breathe), this has more than a few implications when it comes to market research.   Neuroscience in market research People’s knowledge and understanding of their own wants and desires is usually dependent on their own power to describe and articulate those wants and desires to themselves. This self-articulation allows them to form opinions about those desires. This state of affairs might create all kinds of issues in the field of market research, as so much of what market researchers do depends on asking people what they think and feel about a certain thing, situation or idea. What happens when the participants in market research might not actually know why they feel the way they do – that they just feel a certain way about a thing or situation and think up reasons for their feelings after feeling them? You can imagine that in situations like this, the data gathered might be problematic at best. Many traditional, qualitative market research methods (focus groups, surveys, etc.) rely on participants’ conscious thoughts and their conscious creation of ideas and words to express those thoughts to the researcher. To try to get around this challenge, many market research firms have adopted neuroscientific techniques and methodologies, adapting them to fit the demands specific to market research. Used in the field of market research, the use of neuroscience techniques is referred to as Neuromarketing. This term, though, gives many in the field of market research serious pause, as the practice in question has little to do with marketing itself and more to do with the market research process – it has more to do with discovery than selling. For our intents and purposes, then, for this article the practice will be referred to as the use of neuroscience in market research.       So what’s it all about? Neuroscience is not about reading people’s minds or predicting consumer behaviour. As far as we know, nothing can do that. Rather, using neuroscience in market research is about attempting to use technology to get around the need for participants to describe their feelings, bypass participants’ conscious reactions and their conscious creation of thoughts and words and try to uncover participants’ unfiltered reactions about a product, idea or situation. The means by which researchers try to read participants’ emotional reactions are through an array of techniques and gadgets that monitor changes in participants’ physical states, allowing researchers to interpret these changes. It is these interpretations that result in data. Some common techniques and tools to attempt this are EEG monitoring (to try to track participants’ levels of attention to what they see and/or hear), eye tracking (to track where participants are looking) and facial coding (to attempt to track how participants feel about what they experience). All of these tools and techniques may give market researchers a look into participants’ unrationalized feelings and reactions, without having to get participants to describe how they feel. These feelings that we are told have been provided by participants without their filtering or rationalization could, ostensibly, provide much more reliable qualitative data.   For a case study describing neuroscience tools we use for market research, click here. This is probably why the neuroscience market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.9%, reaching a market value of over $30.8 billion by 2020. That’s not to say tried-and-true qualitative market research techniques like focus groups and in-depth interviewing are doomed to obscurity. Far from it. There is no one market research tool or technique that will give you all the answers – including neuroscience. In fact, most market researchers who employ neuroscience techniques and tools in market research rely on the established and dependable methods we’ve all come to count on in conjunction with neuroscience. Most market researchers believe there is a great amount of value in participants’ own descriptions of their feelings and their involvement in the research process, itself. A Proven Method? Who’s to say what the filtering and rationalization we all use to describe our emotions actually plays in decision-making and the formation of emotional reactions? There is still much that is unknown about this process. For this reason and others, forthright market researchers who employ neuroscience techniques and tools usually adhere to proven methods like focus groups and in-depth interviews to back up and gain insight from the data acquired through this form of research.  The field of neuroscience and its tools can provide a lot of data when it comes to understanding the reactions of market research participants. Through a mix of the use of neuroscience technology and methodology in addition to proven market research techniques, market researchers can better access the feelings and attitudes of their participants. For more information on neuroscience techniques and tools used in the field of market research, check out the Insightrix Blog. Also, have a look at a case study describing one of the Insightrix research projects in which these techniques were used.   Sources: http://www.marketingprofs.com/opinions/2016/29822/what-neuroscience-can-teach-us-about-marketing http://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/neuroscience-market https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/278922 http://www.greenbookblog.org/2017/01/19/neuromarketing-identifying-the-fact-from-the-fiction/ http://essay.utwente.nl/65342/1/Roth_BA_MB.pdf...