By Jared Smith, Senior Marketing Manager
It’s that time of year again when we take a look back on the Instantly blog. We’ve heard from several Instantly team members on a regular basis and had contributions from some of the leading voices in market research as well. In more than 250 posts, we’ve delved into topics as varied as the bone broth trend to the differences between Millennials and Gen Z. Here are the top ten posts that got the most attention from our readers this year.
It’s no surprise that one of our first posts of 2015 was one our readers liked the most—especially because it focuses on the ever-popular topic of trends in market research. Last January, EVP of Global Business Development & Mobile Innovation Edan Portaro predicted several fascinating shifts in market research, including the rise of personalization and agile research. It’s fun to look back at this post and consider which of those trends took hold in 2015 as well as what might still be around the corner.
Another big trend in marketing this year was the return to consumer emotion. Even though we live in a data-rich world where every click and decision made online can be tracked and measured, there is no mathematical equation for buying and selling. In this post, CMO Andy Jolls delves into how emotions impact the decision-making process and how we might use research to measure them.
In market research, it seems like every year is the year of mobile. That’s not a knock on the industry, but an acknowledgement of the complexities mobile research presents and the persistence of leading researchers year after year to figure out how to do it well. We often check-in with industry experts for their thoughts on the toughest issues in research, which is how we ended up with this post on the types of studies that are best-suited for mobile. Our friends Ray Poynter and Jeffrey Henning join a number of Instantly leaders to make a pitch for why things like in-home usage tests (IHUTs) and diary studies just make sense with mobile.
In the last couple of years, the rise of online shopping, foodie culture and health-conscious, well-informed consumers has changed the way we buy, eat and prepare food. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the grocery store. In August, VP of Product Innovation Justin Wheeler teamed up with The Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert to host a webinar on innovation in the consumer packaged goods industry. Among the interesting topics discussed was the imminent re-imagining of the grocery store. Check out this post by Wheeler to learn what the next grocery store environment might look like and how brands should be bracing for its arrival.
Natural was definitely the new black for CPG brands in 2015. Brands from Nestlé to Kraft to Panera ditched artificial ingredients in their products or made plans to phase them out. But the all-natural movement is much more than a passing fad. Announcements from some of the largest global food brands signal a shift in consumer perception around what goes into our food. Consumers are not only more informed than ever before, they’re more inquisitive about how food is sourced, produced and packaged. To dive deeper into this trend, I wrote this post about our survey of more than 4,000 people about their feelings on artificial vs. natural ingredients in products. We learned a great deal, primarily that people are largely skeptical of artificial ingredients and the brands who use them.
For brand managers looking to extend their product line to a new market, this post by Sales Director Richard Merrick is a great how-to. The iconic brand Kellogg’s faced this very challenge when trying to bring its Crunchy Nut cereal—a U.K. favorite for decades—to the U.S., where consumers tended to be health- and taste-oriented. They relied on a mix of market research and concept testing to develop a go-to-market strategy that resonated with Americans.
As a market research professional, you may not be in the business of selling products directly to consumers, but you are responsible for getting stakeholders on board with the conclusions drawn from your research. Gathering data into a presentable format can be a colossal task, which is why you need the right tools at your disposal. In this post, Director of Mobile Innovation Emily Tomasiewicz lists her five favorite presentation tools. These easy-to-use, web-based tools and apps generate slick data visualizations and charts that will wow your audience. You’ll never want to open PowerPoint again.
Did your data yield actionable insights? Is quality being impacted at the respondent level or the response level? Should you survey a community or a panel? Every industry has its own language, codes and jargon—market research is no different. It can be especially difficult to grasp the nuances of related words. In this post, Merrick breaks down some of the more slippery terms in market research, so you won’t ever have to wonder whether it’s analysis or reporting that you’re doing, or if you’re sharing results or findings with colleagues.
When it comes to survey writing, there’s always room for improvement. Not only can unclear writing result in bad data and misguided insights, but bias can linger behind a question without you knowing it. The best practice is to always have one or two colleagues edit your survey before you launch. In this post I wrote, these six mistakes can also act as a helpful checklist to ensure the best survey results and no wasted budget.
Staying ahead of trends in market research requires constant self-education. That’s why we asked research experts VP of Insights Karyn Hall, Senior Director of Insights Jane Klopp, Henning and others for their book recommendations. This list includes titles both new and old—like Daniel Kahneman’s groundbreaking “Thinking, Fast and Slow” and Darrell Huff’s classic “How to Lie with Statistics.” We chose the word “own” in the title because these books aren’t just one-time reads. They’re so good they belong on the researcher’s nearest shelf, where he or she can reference them again and again.
Of course, it’s hard to sum up an entire year of blogging in a top-ten list. There were so many other posts that didn’t make the cut. Feel free to Tweet us your favorites from 2015 @Instantly, and we’ll see you in the New Year.