In the second day’s fast-paced ‘Ideas Rush’ session, three agency side researchers and a client gave their personal take on the issues currently facing the MR industry. DRNO’s News Editor Mel Crowther watched on.
Easyjet Customer Research Manager Sophie Dekkers outlined her dilemma of needing to react quickly to market changes, while using her research budget more effectively.
Dekkers – who suggested the term ‘DIY or Die’ as an analogy for her issue – explained that as 98% of Easyjet’s customers book online, she has access to a ready-made sample for online survey use. Within 24 hours of rolling out a DIY survey on, for instance, when customers plan to take their summer holidays, she can receive and react to the resulting data.
Like all clients, Dekkers says she is looking for added value from the agencies she uses, and this includes them taking on the international qualitative work and providing benchmarking data which her own team can’t offer.
Next up was Jeffrey Henning, the founder of Vovici, who proposed a new respondent code entitled; ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Respondents’. He criticised the industry’s handling of respondents as ‘subjects’ rather than as individuals, and added that the worst thing we can do in the customer satisfaction process is to dissatisfy customers. [One could argue that it’s our short-term need to satisfy our actual customers that often leads us to sideline the long-term good of keeping respondents happy?
Rachel Lawes, who is Principal of ethnography specialist Lawes Consulting, then pitched in with the phrase ‘where there is choice, there is meaning’.
To illustrate her point, Lawes used images of two weddings – the first of the very conservative royal marriage of the queen’s eldest grandson; contrasted with the flamboyant £100k ceremony held for 16 year-old, caravan dwelling, surgically enhanced Missy Quinn. The idea was to help us think about the semiotic signs we all use to display our membership of specific social groups, and through each image, Lawes aimed to help us understand our own flawed preconceptions of where people actually fit into society.
Finally, Alison Macleod from The Human Element knocked the industry for its inability to shout about the good things we do. While she accepted the need for client confidentiality, she suggested that researchers are ‘party poopers’ who often hide behind the data.
Now that the MR territory is being encroached upon by others such as sentiment and web analysts, Macleod said that researchers need to be able to do more than simply offer sample at a good price, and instead, acquire the skills they need to adapt to this changing world.
Indeed, if there are researchers who do know no more than that, they could do with skilling up, but coming back to Macleod’s first point, let’s not forget that we do some very good things, and try and talk about successes and opportunities as well as threats.
On a general note, did we need another ideas rush? There seem to be more and more sessions based around ‘rushing’, packing in lots of speakers and quick fire ideas - pecha kucha, one slide presentations and rapid debates between panellists with no time for questions from the floor. Fast does not always equal interesting, nor slow equal boring. How about a chill-out session next year – a nod to the wonderful worldwide slow movement
giving discerning attendees a bit of time to mellow, in company with other laid-back types, and ponder the true meaning of insight with the help of a bit of Bach or Pink Floyd, if not actually mind-expanding drugs. You may book in a couple of MrWeb delegates right now.
[concluding remarks by Nick Thomas