Quirk's Blog

E-com earning trust? Social networking has a ways to go

Consumers don’t trust and don’t use social networking sites when it comes to e-commerce, new research for YouGov shows.

The “E-commerce: Trust in online transactions” report shows that 55 percent of online shoppers say a store having a presence on a social networking site makes them trust the retailer less, while 27 percent say it makes them trust it more.social

YouGov found that there is only a marginal increase in the level of trust among Facebook and Twitter users toward retailers on social networks. Fifty-five percent of Facebook users say presence on a social networking site makes them trust the retailer less, while one in three (33 percent) say it makes them trust it more. The numbers are similar among Twitter users (52 percent say it reduces their trust in an outlet and 37 percent say it increases it).

The report reveals that many e-consumers segregate their online shopping and social habits. Almost four in ten (39 percent) like to keep their social media and shopping activity separate, with around the same proportion (42 percent) believing that networks such as Facebook and Twitter are for friends, not retail. There is limited support for logging into social networks to shop, with just one in seven (14 percent) believing it is easier to sign into retail sites without having to put in their details again.

Interestingly, the youngest online shoppers (16-to-24-year-olds) are the keenest to keep their social networking activity separate from their shopping activity. Fifty-seven percent don’t like sites such as Twitter and Facebook to be linked with their purchasing history and three in five (61 percent) like to keep their social networking and online shopping activity separate.

YouGov’s report shows that when it comes to researching products, online shoppers are much more likely to turn to adverts on TV (26 percent) or newspapers and magazines (15 percent) than to social networking sites (10 percent). However, all of these trail behind customer reviews on a retailer’s own site (60 percent), shopping comparison sites (48 percent) and consumer reviews on third party sites (40 percent) when it comes to where consumers research their online purchases.

James McCoy, Research Director at YouGov, says: “The rise of social networks over the past decade has coincided with the growth of online shopping and many retailers have tried to harness the power of sites such as Facebook to increase sales. However, it appears that consumers prefer to keep their shopping and social sites separate, with online consumers not trusting retailers that are on the likes of Twitter. What is worse for retailers is that younger, more social media savvy consumers are the ones who have the greatest objections to using their Facebook and Twitter accounts for shopping. This is something they will need to address if they are to effectively deploy online marketing budgets.”


Posted in Advertising Research, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Research, Public Opinion/Social Research, Social Media and Marketing Research | Comments Off

Q&A: How research partners can take advantage of big changes in MR

forwardIn conjunction with his speaking appearance at its Research Asia Interactive Conference in June, the Asia-based magazine Marketing published an interview with Tyrone Almeida, director, insights and planning, Asia Pacific/S.S. Africa, Kellogg Company, to find out how Kellogg’s has taken advantage of the new wave of market research to better understand its customers.

Marketing: How has the use of market research at Kellogg’s evolved over the years?

Almeida: There have been a number of aspects that have changed over the past few years in terms of how we use market research.

The first big change has been in using MR to be more forward-looking versus just seeking to explain the past or have a gauge of the immediate future (like gauging a proposed product’s market potential). This means that the same MR we did in the past is now redone, allowing us to understand shifts in the market dynamics and their underlying micro and macro causal trends. An understanding of these underlying trends then helps us build possible scenarios for the future and in a way predict what kinds of ideas or product streams are likely to be more successful than others in the future. This is far more efficient and I would dare say more accurate than the old process of brainstorming based on today’s market conditions.

The second big change has been in terms of the places where MR insights are applied. Traditionally it has been in marketing and product development. Now it is playing an increasingly prominent role even in areas like supply chain – right from ingredient-sourcing options that best resonate with consumers to location of warehouses and depots that best balances sales coverage with cost of coverage. PR and corporate communications are other areas that MR is increasingly influencing. In a nutshell, the application of MR is going wider and deeper.

The third big change has been our shift to reuse and re-mine existing data rather than just generate new data. Each new piece of data or information is actually just one part of a large jigsaw puzzle (or the market) with the added complication that this jigsaw puzzle is an evolving one. So the best way to understand the jigsaw is to always look at any new piece in the context of all the pieces you have so far and not in isolation. What this means is that all new pieces of data are examined in terms of how they fit in with past data – what is consistent, what is different and what that means to our overall understanding of the evolving marketplace. To do this we’ve had to shift some of the focus to reanalyzing past data through different lenses versus just generating new data. This has also been helped by the fact that new analytical approaches applied to old data sets often yield new insights.

Marketing: What are your views on traditional marketing research versus emerging marketing research?

Almeida: Well this is a topic where any answer is going to sound very cliché. So let me get a few patently obvious observations out of the way first. MR, or for that matter any field, has to continuously evolve with the environment to stay relevant. Like many other industries, in MR the forces driving change have largely been technological, social and economic. We have newer ways of generating, collecting and analyzing data. We have a better understanding of the science of consumer behavior and that’s driving new research methodologies. As markets become more sophisticated with newer trade channels, modes of buying, newer communication, interactive forms and so on there are more avenues to apply MR work. So on the whole, MR has rightly had to evolve.

I specifically refer to the emerging and recently emerged practice areas like social listening, behavioral economics, neurosciences and others which have not been fully integrated or made fully compatible with work from traditional MR – the case in point being the still long drawn-out process of trying to create new unified media measurement metrics that merge traditional media GRPs with those for new age digital media.

This is because, unlike many other industries, the emerging approaches have come from agencies or vendors not traditionally involved in MR (social media research, neurosciences and others). This has created two distinct sets of players in the industry – those pushing the traditional approaches and those advocating the new ones – while what is really required is for both to be compatible. Perhaps the collaboration of multiple countries or merger and acquisition activity in this space might be in the interest to the entire MR industry.

Marketing: What are the top challenges for market research as a discipline?

Almeida: If I take the role of MR “to inform stakeholders to make better decisions,” then based on that premise there are two key challenges I see for MR as a discipline.

  1. Providing insights in a timely and easy to understand way: The biggest barrier here is the dramatic proliferation of data sources, which often leads to conflicting views of what exactly is happening in the market. This same data proliferation also slows down decision-making because data is being generated faster than it can be analyzed and put to use. So the critical need is to reconcile the different sources and provide an integrated view of the marketplace using the different sources and doing that in as real-time a way as possible.
  2. Organizational structures that best enable the use of MR insights.

The best and most action-oriented insights come from MR practitioners who possess the following skills:

  • MR technical knowledge so that they understand what the best tools are to solve a particular issue;
  • brand, category and market knowledge so that insights can be tailored to the context of the problem being solved; and
  • organizational knowledge so that they can navigate organizational complexity (identify and convince the right stakeholders) and ensure that the insights are acted upon.

Unfortunately given the complexity of each of these skills and the trend of outsourcing complex tasks to specialized firms, it’s very difficult to develop people with all the three of these skill sets. In the current ecosystem of client companies, consultants and MR firms, each party comes with one or two skills but almost never all three. Clients, consultants and MR firms that work in long-term partnerships with joint training and development programs and have an intimate understanding of each other’s businesses and operating practices come the closest to achieving an organization structure that can seamlessly leverage all three skills to deliver the best and most action oriented insights.

So for me this continues to be one of the biggest challenges today.

Marketing: What are some of the current research tools employed by Kellogg’s?

Almeida: I’ll cite three examples:

  1. Demand space-driven segmentation which looks at the what, when, where, with whom, why and why not. Segments created in this way often tend to be far more insightful than just clustering consumers or their needs.
  2. Mix-modelling for both understanding category and brand dynamics as well optimizing our spending and efforts.
  3. Element-wise driver analysis, which looks at the different components that go into a product or proposition and quantifies their end impact on consumer appeal so one can optimize for the product experience and the cost.

Posted in Big Data, Consumer Research, Product Research, Promotion Research, Research Industry Trends, Social Media and Marketing Research, State of the Research Industry, The Business of Research | 2 Comments

Relocating consumers look to relieve stress and build new relationships


In today’s world, a move to a new home may damage more than your personal belongings. A new national survey commissioned by Our Town America reveals moving also scars personal relationships as couples fight over why and where they moved while struggling with money problems and decreased intimacy. And talk about relationship revenge in a move! Nearly one in three survey respondents admitted to “accidentally losing” a significant other’s prized possession or purposefully tossing it in the Goodwill bag.

The survey was released for May’s National Moving Month, the start of the busiest moving time of the year. More than 40 million Americans are expected to relocate this year and most will make their move during summer months when the weather is favorable and kids are out of school.

The national survey of more than 300 men and women who have moved in the past five years reveals:

  • Of those in a relationship, more than one third (35 percent) say moving has scarred their relationship due to increased fighting (51 percent), decreased intimacy (49 percent) and financial strain (49 percent) – the top three moving relationship stressors.
  • Forty-six percent of respondents say they disagreed over where to move and 42 percent say they fought over the reason for the move – negative feelings that can linger long after they unpacked the china.
  • Those with children say the stress hit the whole family with “choosing the right school” and “helping the kids find new friends” as the top two moving stressors related to their kids.


Dirty dumping  

  • Nearly one in three (30 percent) respondents admitted they had “accidentally” lost one of their partner’s prized possessions – by breaking it (43 percent) or dropping it off at Goodwill (34 percent).
  • Topping the “I hate it” hit list of the five things people secretly toss are knick knacks, photo albums, books, decorative towels and old trophies.


Unfriendly neighbors add to moving stress

More than half (53 percent) of the respondents said that today’s neighbors are not as friendly as the neighbors they remember as a child because they “seem too busy.” This is unfortunate as nearly half of respondents (49 percent) also voted “meeting new neighbors” as a top three requirement to feeling comfortable and settled in a new home.

Housewarming gifts matter

More than half (54 percent) of survey respondents have moved six or more times and more than two in three (67 percent) have moved out of state or out of the country. Today’s movers need a helping hand to feel comfortable and learn more about their brand new surroundings.

  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents said that receiving a housewarming gift would make them feel more comfortable in a new home/neighborhood, yet less than half (46 percent) have ever received a housewarming gift when new to a neighborhood.
  • Eighty-one percent of respondents said they would have liked advice about their new community upon move in. Ninety-three percent say they would take advantage of an offer from a local business that took the time to welcome them to the community.


This online survey of 306 men and women was conducted by a third party and commissioned by Our Town America. Survey participants have no affiliation with Our Town America.

Posted in Consumer Psychology, Consumer Research, Lifecycle/Lifestyle Research | Comments Off

Is the engagement off? E-com comes to wedding-dress shopping


In an attempt to slowly check off items on my wedding to-do list (I’m getting married in 2015) I found myself shopping for the most expensive piece of clothing I will ever purchase: a wedding dress. Standing at the crowded check-in counter filling out the shop’s customer information form, I confidently wrote down my price range. My range was probably a bit lower than that of the 15 other women in the room, according to TheKnot.com’s latest U.S. survey, which lists that the average bride spends $1,281 on a gown.

In an industry that screams “once-in-a-lifetime” and calls on brides to forget looking at the price tag, I found it necessary to peruse the Web and determine an initial budget range for my dress before stepping into a store. I didn’t want to walk into my first appointment and fall in love with something I couldn’t afford.

Traditionally, the bridal industry is one that has remained focused on the brick-and-mortar store. Brides still desire that in-store experience of saying yes to the dress (thank you TLC for fostering the dream of well-lit podiums and three-tier mirrors). But the bridal industry is not immune to e-commerce. Whether buying a wedding gown online to take advantage of a huge discount, simply perusing the Internet for styles and prices or searching for the perfect store, brides are taking to the Web.

According to a recent article, David’s Bridal has latched onto increasing online engagement with brides through the IBM e-commerce solution to boost overall sales. Since launching, the company has seen a 20 percent growth in traffic year over year and pages-per-visit have increased from 20 to about 30. While the article doesn’t go into what this means for online (or in-store) sales, it does show that brides are interested in more interactive online engagement.

How will the bridal industry take further hold of e-commerce and online engagement? Are stores (unlike David’s Bridal) currently missing out on a huge marketing opportunity by maintaining that an in-store experience is necessary? Or should the industry be applauded for creating an exclusivity that requires an in-store purchase? What are the implications when a purchase that is so laden with emotion moves to the dispassionate (at least in theory) e-realm?

Posted in Apparel, Retailing, Shopper Insights | Comments Off

As World Cup nears, ambush marketing takes to the field

With international marketers readying for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA) has released Ambush Marketing: A Global Legal Perspective, which summarizes laws and other rules governing ambush marketing in 52 countries around the world. “Ambush marketing,” a controversial marketing practice that pits non-sponsors against rights holders, is as prevalent as ever, as marketers seek to associate themselves, rightly or wrongly, with significant sporting or entertainment events.

481459817According to the Ambush Marketing Report, most countries do not have specific legislation addressing ambush marketing. Therefore, rights holders, event producers and official sponsors generally have to rely on traditional trademark and unfair competition law to protect their rights.

Some jurisdictions have enacted event-based legislation that addresses ambush marketing practices when they were required to do so by rights holders, such as the International Olympics Committee or FIFA, in order to get the rights to host the event. For example, Brazil enacted its General World Cup Law (“Lei Geral da Copa” — Law 12.663/2012) in June 2012 after being awarded the right to host the FIFA World Cup.

“We anticipate that more countries will enact event-based legislation to help protect against unwanted ambush marketing,” said Alex Kelham of Lewis Silkin, GALA’s United Kingdom member, in a press statement. “Existing laws are often not sufficient to combat or deter many creative forms of ambush marketing. Rights holders therefore push governments of host countries to enact special legislation to protect their sponsors’ exclusive rights of association, and thereby preserve a primary source of funding for the event,” she said.

Major event producers also continue to aggressively enforce their rights against ambush marketers, according to the Ambush Marketing Report. “With the FIFA World Cup only a few weeks away, we are seeing extensive efforts by both the Brazilian government and FIFA to guard against unauthorized marketing efforts,” said Valdir Rocha, a partner at Veirano Advogados in Brazil and GALA’s vice chairman.

Countries take many different approaches to addressing ambush marketing, adopting a wide variety of rules and enforcement practices. “It is critical for global marketers to understand the rules of the road,” said Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, managing partner of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein and Selz in New York and GALA’s chairman. “With markers using social media to try to stay relevant to consumers on a real-time basis, it is easier than ever for marketers to unwittingly step over the line.”

The report, which updates GALA’s 2011 edition and is available for download here, addresses legal, regulatory and commercial considerations and includes recent enforcement actions in the field of ambush marketing.


Posted in Advertising Research, Brand and Image Research, Marketing Best Practices, Media Research, Television Research | 1 Comment

Photo recap from Cocktails with Quirk’s in New York!

We’ve been having a blast hosting Cocktails with Quirk’s, a series of free networking events for researchers to network with their peers in a casual, comfortable environment. Our next party is coming up on Monday, May 19th, at the Karl Strauss Brewing Company Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles from 8-11 p.m., in conjunction with IIR’s Future of Consumer Intelligence Conference. If you’ll be in the area, feel free to join us! Register now!

We also thought this would be a great opportunity to share some photos of our New York event, which took place at The Latitude Bar in New York on March 24th, in conjuction with the Advertising Research Foundation’s annual conference.

Many thanks to Nelson Davis of AIP for photographing the event. Click here to view the rest of the photos.

IMG_9293  IMG_9361 IMG_9357IMG_9289

Posted in Market Research Best Practices, The Business of Research | Comments Off

Digital execs see wearable devices going mass-market in 3 years

An overwhelming majority (89 percent) of digital executives questioned by San Francisco research firm AnswerLab believe that wearables – those futuristic devices beginning to adorn the wrists and spectacles of some early tech adopters – will gain mass-market adoption in the next three years. And, while more than half (52 percent) of that same group saw relevant applications for wearable devices in their own business in the same time period, only 27 percent said their companies were integrating wearables in the short-term, underscoring a need for a range of industries to better prepare for how wearables could impact their own businesses.

478461335Devices thought to have the most staying power were led by fitness monitors, with 89 percent of those questioned pointing to Nike+ FuelBand and FitBit Flex (78 percent) as most likely to gain mass-market traction. In addition, 67 percent of participants envisioned Google Glass as gaining broad adoption, followed by the Samsung smartwatch (41 percent).

In the survey, AnswerLab queried digital executives who are driving product development, marketing and research at companies – ranging from well-known Fortune 500 brands to start-ups – about the future for wearables (defined in the query as “always-on, sensor-based or interactive digital devices” that some early adopters of technology are beginning to make part of their everyday lives).

“Many top digital business minds seem to agree: wearables are quickly evolving from a niche to mass-market. Whether they’re designed as bracelets or eyewear, these devices are a major trend to watch and something to inform future digital plans,” said AnswerLab CEO Amy Buckner Chowdhry in a press statement. “But as we listen to the marketplace, it appears there is a big gap in what businesses see as a growth category versus actual investment in a strategy to meet demand or opportunities provided by what is expected to be a boom in wearables. Ultimately, the devices that offer the best customer experience will win hearts, minds and dollars. With broader market penetration right around the corner, it’s time for businesses to develop strategies that anticipate and support the wearables market.”

More than half of the executives (52 percent) who participated believe that wearables will be relevant to their own business within a three-year time frame. Respondents felt that wearables have the most potential in the fitness (96 percent), medical (85 percent), gaming (56 percent), entertainment (56 percent) and lifestyle (52 percent) arenas. But only 27 percent were aware of plans to integrate wearables into their own businesses.

According to those questioned, current challenges in the wearable category today include the need to improve battery life, a high price point, data accuracy and addressing consumer concern about privacy and security.

More details about the survey are available here.

The findings are based on an online survey conducted in February of senior-level professionals who are directly involved in the strategy, design, development or marketing of digital products or services.

Posted in Apparel, Health Care Research, Lifecycle/Lifestyle Research | Comments Off

Version updates and price changes boost apps’ iTunes list rankings

New York-based The Loadown, a marketing optimization platform for mobile apps, released a new report, Using Version Updates and Price Changes to Improve Mobile App Discovery, showing that, based on U.S. market data collected by The Loadown in 2013, iOS app publishers and developers making version updates and price changes improve their positioning on iTunes’ Top Paid, Top Free and Top Grossing lists.

“When a paid or free app is updated to a new version, the developer can change the name, icon, description, screenshots and keywords of the app as well as force users to notice the new update,” said David Renard, CEO of The Loadown, in a press statement. For price changes, “sales get featured on an Apple RSS feed that is distributed to thousands of sites and Twitter feeds focused on promoting apps that have gone on sale or have recently become free,” he said.

The Loadown’s data (see graph) indicates that free apps making version changes increased the number of days they were ranked by an average of 45 percent in Apple’s Top Free list and 73 percent in Top Grossing (19 more days), compared to apps that never updated their versions. In terms of rank, these free apps improved by about 17 percent in Top Paid and 21 percent in Top Grossing (45 rank positions).

loaddown_imageSimilarly, compared to apps that never changed their prices and never updated their versions, paid apps that did had an average increase of 36 percent in the number of days they were ranked in Top Paid and 96 percent in Top Grossing (22 more days) along with a 23 percent improvement in their Top Paid rank and 21 percent in Top Grossing (50 rank positions).

The Loadown’s data provides supporting evidence that active involvement by apps in their positioning on Apple’s App Store through version updates and price changes significantly improves their discoverability, downloads and sales.

Posted in Market Studies, Smartphones | Comments Off

Lily Allen deems MR ‘totally unhelpful’

RecordThough she may not have the late Steve Jobs’ clout, British singer Lily Allen is yet another celebrity who’s spoken out to publicly criticize the value – and validity – of marketing research.

According to an April 24th interview (warning: explicit language) with Popjustice’s Peter Robinson, Allen says that she was accidentally copied on an e-mail containing market research results for her work and that reading it was one of the most horrible moments of her life.

Allen goes on:

The thing is, people who take part in market research: Are they really representative of the marketplace? Probably not. I find it totally unhelpful. My mom’s a film producer and they do these market research screenings and more often than not, it’s just like school: People don’t have opinions but because they’re asked for them, they come up with something and then it becomes a statistic. It’s like, he didn’t actually think that, he was just trying to impress the bored-looking girl in row three and he thought this could be his in with her. I’ve yet to see an example of market research where it’s actually good.

Ouch! It’s possible that Allen simply didn’t like what the research yielded and if the results had skewed more in her favor, she’d be singing a different tune. It’s also possible, however, that she has a point. Does marketing research force opinions out of consumers who would otherwise be apathetic or oblivious? How much of consumer feedback is the result of grandstanding, posturing and trying to impress? Is this more likely to happen in certain industries, such as entertainment, where hipness very much matters, or health care, where doctors try to impress each other in focus groups? How about with different demographics? Are younger respondents more prone to this type of behavior?

Aside from Allen’s unfairly black-and-white assessment, does her argument hold?

Posted in Brand and Image Research, Consumer Research, Focus Groups, Market Research in the News, Qualitative Research | 9 Comments

What needs are driving the 55-plus car owner?

80404231The age of new-auto purchasers is rising and that will have implications on many related areas, including service, according to Foresight Research, Rochester Hills, Mich. “In the past few years we have seen a dramatic trend in the age of new auto purchasers, where adults aged 55 or older were one-quarter of that group in 2008 and now represent almost one-half,” said Nancy Walter, vice president of business development at Foresight Research, in a press statement. “This shift has a big impact on the purchase influences and processes of buying cars. But what we didn’t expect was the implications for car service expectations.”

Foresight surveys weekly in markets across the U.S. from September-April. Recently the firm included some specific questions about service and got strong responses from the 55-plus car owners. For instance, when asked where they go for routine service, over one-third of this group take their cars to their dealership and another quarter take them to an independent local repair shop, both of which are significantly higher than the total population.

“It is the ‘whys’ that are really interesting,” said Walter. “When asked why they chose the place they go for service, the 55-and-older owners value quality and convenience.” Specifically, senior adults list convenient location, quality of service and good customer service as their top three factors in going where they go for auto service. They also value skill/training/expertise of technicians, use of genuine parts, and loaner cars/shuttles at a rate of 20 percent to 50 percent more than the total population.

“Price is just lower on the list for the mature adults. It ranks fourth on why they go where they go for service, while for 18-to-34-year-olds, price is a definitive No. 1. In fact, adults 55 or older were significantly less likely than the total population to cite ‘price matching/same price as other maintenance shops’ as something that would encourage them to take their vehicle to a dealership for routine maintenance if they currently were going somewhere else,” Walter said.


Posted in Automotive Research, Customer Satisfaction, Seniors/Mature | Comments Off