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BIG News & Reports

This is the place to find all the latest BIG news & reports

Andy Cooper, a Director from Think Tank explained at the recent BIG Forum how international qualitative projects really work. It was a full house where everyone was interested in having the chance to openly discuss challenges and solutions when conducting qual internationally, and enjoyed the lively discussion that followed. The event was a great success, and a lovely way to wrap the 2016/2017 season.

We all know that conducting global B2B qualitative projects is hard at every stage, and while clients are notoriously cutting spending and often see qual as a ‘bolt-on’ – but Andy made a strong case for the value of qual as an integral part of research that has rich value in its own right.

Andy suggests thinking about how research is approached in the B2C world, and how that can be used in B2B. Respondents are naturally hard to find and when you add the global element it is all about time and money. Obviously there are differences to B2C work - B2B executives are paid to rationalise their decisions, and our research needs to get past this and do to this, we need to think about what methods we can use in order to understand what’s really going on. In appropriate markets and audiences, we can use B2C techniques like games and projection to really engage respondents and get them thinking beyond the obvious.

Where possible, seeing respondents F2F can be crucial. Andy recreated a scene from a fascinating recent project where he and his team uncovered previously unknown aspects of the working lives of truck drivers, which would have been impossible to research from fleet managers. The choice of the team to be ambitious, to visit truck stops and ‘see the sights and smell the smells’, with 5am starts each morning, allowed them to engage with how we as humans make decisions and was key in delivering the final findings. The attention to detail you can uncover by really interacting with the respondents is invaluable to clients. The ability to engage the senses -see, smell, hear, and be a part of what is happening around the respondent can add rich context and insight and provoke self-reflection of what drives unconscious behaviour.

All this creates the benefit to the client of being able to identify levers they can pull to better engage and delight their customers by having deeper understanding of their audience, and actual context allowed Andy’s team to engage even the non-research literate in his debrief. The ability to give a 180 degree perspective and let the client see their business from a different angle can be refreshing and Andy’s clients really remembered the report because of the vivid depth of understanding it gave them.

The key takeaways that came out of the talk for conducting international qual:

o A receptive audience at the end of a project requires work at the beginning

o Client and agency need to work together to understand expectations and what the client’s initial hypothesis is – what do they already know?

o Think about the output format. What will live in the memories of the client? Be fresh in your thinking, surprise and challenge with a new perspective

o Be culturally smart and appropriate

o What we think is insightful isn’t always thrilling to the client. Make sure you understand their needs upfront and what their current outlook on the project is from the start

o Utilise games and projective techniques – take people out of their comfort zone and discover more

o Digital can enable us to bring a longitudinal element. It creates minimum disruption for respondents and maximum output for us. This can allow us to triangulate methods to achieve an holistic picture

Overall the forum was enjoyed by all, with one attendee saying “Some really interesting points made and I liked the discussion afterwards - a real eye-opener and a great way to spend a Tuesday evening. Really looking forward to the next season after summer!”

Slides from our final Forum meeting of the current session The Power of International B2B Qual (and why it's worth doing properly) are available to download here

On March 30th, Mustard Research in Manchester hosted the first BIG regional forum for 2017.

The event was organised by Amy Middleton of BEAM Fieldwork and guest speakers were Bethan Turner of Mustard Research and Barrie Hawker of Park Lane Research. The event was well attended by Market Research industry agencies, clients and suppliers.

Bethan Turner - 'Do you believe in Magic'

Bethan who studied Mathematics and Statistics at University strongly believes that Statistics and Research should relate to each other. She feels that many people believe stats are 'magic' and 'just happen' which she referred to as the ‘The Black Box’ approach, whereby information goes into the magic black box and data automatically comes out. Researchers and Statisticians are both often guilty of accepting data outcomes without questioning. She challenged the audience to question and check data outcomes as it is common sense that the research and stats should agree with each other and as Bethan illustrated, if the data is not checked then there is potential for faulty data being exposed to clients and the general public.

Barrie Hawker – ‘Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose’

This translates to ‘The more things change the more they stay the same’ and used Victoria Wood’s famous sketch of market research on mayonnaise to illustrate his point.

Barrie has over 30 years of experience working in Market Research and during that time he has seen many new techniques for collecting data come and go. He discussed the methodology and merits of:-

· Online research

· Research communities

· Deliberative workshops

· Co-creativity sessions

· Ethnography

· Infographics

But at the end of the day Barrie believes the tried and tested traditional techniques are still as good today as they ever have been and suggested that using a variety of methods to collect data is the best way forward.

After the speakers there was a Q and A session and general discussion from the floor.

In relation to Bethan’s talk there was a general discussion about having the confidence/courage to say no to clients rather than do work and get the wrong outcome.

As expected Barrie’s talk provoked a variety of responses. One member agreed with Barrie but questioned the relevance of some traditional techniques for the younger generation, who are used to working in a less formal way and communicating in many different media. There was then a discussion about clients demanding more and it was up to researchers how they ‘packaged ‘the data.

The next regional forum will be held during the summer of 2017, at a venue and location to be confirmed. Further details will follow.

On March 30th, Mustard Research in Manchester hosted the first BIG regional forum for 2017.

The event was organised by Amy Middleton of BEAM Fieldwork and guest speakers were Bethan Turner of Mustard Research and Barrie Hawker of Park Lane Research. The event was well attended by Market Research industry agencies, clients and suppliers.

Bethan Turner - 'Do you believe in Magic'

Bethan who studied Mathematics and Statistics at University strongly believes that Statistics and Research should relate to each other. She feels that many people believe stats are 'magic' and 'just happen' which she referred to as the ‘The Black Box’ approach, whereby information goes into the magic black box and data automatically comes out. Researchers and Statisticians are both often guilty of accepting data outcomes without questioning. She challenged the audience to question and check data outcomes as it is common sense that the research and stats should agree with each other and as Bethan illustrated, if the data is not checked then there is potential for faulty data being exposed to clients and the general public.

Barrie Hawker – ‘Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose’

This translates to ‘The more things change the more they stay the same’ and used Victoria Wood’s famous sketch of market research on mayonnaise to illustrate his point.

Barrie has over 30 years of experience working in Market Research and during that time he has seen many new techniques for collecting data come and go. He discussed the methodology and merits of:-

· Online research

· Research communities

· Deliberative workshops

· Co-creativity sessions

· Ethnography

· Infographics

But at the end of the day Barrie believes the tried and tested traditional techniques are still as good today as they ever have been and suggested that using a variety of methods to collect data is the best way forward.

After the speakers there was a Q and A session and general discussion from the floor.

In relation to Bethan’s talk there was a general discussion about having the confidence/courage to say no to clients rather than do work and get the wrong outcome.

As expected Barrie’s talk provoked a variety of responses. One member agreed with Barrie but questioned the relevance of some traditional techniques for the younger generation, who are used to working in a less formal way and communicating in many different media. There was then a discussion about clients demanding more and it was up to researchers how they ‘packaged ‘the data.

The next regional forum will be held during the summer of 2017, at a venue and location to be confirmed. Further details will follow.

Our Forum on April 4th presented a session on the subject of data protection and, in particular, on the GDPR and its implications for market researchers in the UK. The session featured Dr Michelle Goddard, Director of Policy & Standards at the MRS, who is responsible for promoting and protecting MRS quality standards, and Jackie Megahey, Regional Research & Quality Director at GfK UK, who leads on compliance at GfK UK and is responsible for providing advice and guidance on information security, data protection and other quality and regulatory issues.

You can download Jack Megahey's talk here

An independent fieldwork company, BEAM Fieldwork, has launched in Manchester this month to provide a bespoke, personal approach to fieldwork for research projects across the UK.

Established by Amy Middleton, a research professional of over 15 years, the company will manage both qualitative and quantitative fieldwork contracts across a variety of business sectors, and is expected to take on its first employee by the end of the year.

Previously a director at Acumen Fieldwork, part of the Fuller Research Group, Amy is a prominent member of the BIG Committee, and a full member of the MRS, AQR and ICG.

Amy plans to grow the business to a team of five by the end of 2017 and will be looking to attract commissions from research agencies and direct clients the length and breadth of the UK.

Amy Middleton, founding director at BEAM Fieldwork, said: “Since completing my degree in Marketing nearly 15 years ago and starting my career in research, I guess you could say I’ve done it all. I’ve been a venue host, a recruiter, a fieldwork manager and a director. I’ve personally managed around 1000 qualitative and quantitative research projects with budgets from £500 to £350,000. For the last seven years, I’ve worked at director level in one of the UK’s biggest fieldwork agencies and even dipped my toe into moderating, but something was missing - the hands-on, front-line fieldwork and that’s what I want to get back to.”

“I don’t plan to take over the world, but I am excited about setting exceptional standards in fieldwork, becoming integral to the success of market research projects and building my own team of research professionals, as passionate about supporting the research industry as I am.”

MRBA logo 300dpi2017 will be the 40th anniversary of the Market Research Benevolent Association, and they are starting to plan how they will celebrate and build on all that has been achieved over the years.  At that time they will also have another big fundraising push to generate the funds for all the other things the MRBA wants to do.

But this year their aim is simpler; they want to build on their success in creating greater awareness of what they do and how they help researchers in need.  They’d like to enlist your help to do this to Spread the Word for instance by putting their Supporters badge on your website, with a link to their website; by using their email signature when you email about them to your teams; inviting them in to talk to your staff about what they do and how important their help is to researchers in need.

Visit the MRBA website at: http://www.mrba.org.uk/

For more details email info@mrba.org.uk

Their mailing address is:
The Market Research Benevolent Association
15 Northburgh Street
London, Greater London EC1V 0JR
United Kingdom

BIG Awards 2015 presentation photo
I would like to start by apologising for the tardiness of this report. However for me, like I suspect many others, the MRS Awards evening has now become an annual marker for the start of the pre-Christmas silly season. After two weeks packed with industry bashes, NCT gatherings, client lunches, school nativities, supplier lunches, pantomimes, company parties, end of year presentations and numerous other random events, I am finally coming up for air. It is undoubtedly the strangest and busiest fortnight of the year but also the most fun.

The 2015 MRS Awards took at Supernova in London’s Embankment Gardens. This had been described to me as a series of tents on the banks of the Thames. I have to tell you that this bore no resemblance to the Force Ten canvas tents I remember so fondly from my childhood. It was a truly stunning venue, more than fitting for such a glamorous event.

This year's host was the English comedian and actor Miles Hugh Barrett Jupp. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia he is best known for his appearances in The Thick of It and Rev, and more recently as host of The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4. As a parent of young children I simply saw Archie the inventor. Miles was the perfect compere. His research centred jokes were right on the money and had us in stitches.

This year’s BIG table included BIG Committee members Trevor Wilkinson and myself, our guest Phyllis Macfarlane from the MRS, Nichola Kent-Lemon and Samantha Bond from Northstar Research Partners, Jon Puleston from Lightspeed GMI, Dr Nick Coates from C Space, Anna King from Aviva and Alex Johnston and Julie Knox from Jigsaw Research.

Our judging panel noted that this year’s papers were of a particularly high standard. All three of the papers which made our shortlist were excellent, but TNS UK and Lightspeed GMI were very deserving winners with their paper ‘It’s not business, it’s personal – the power of personal engagement.’ As you can see from the photo they appeared very happy. That may simply be the joy of winning our prestigious award. But it could equally be the knowledge that this year’s compere wasn’t pulling stupid faces behind them.

Many thanks as ever to our committee member Ali Pugh for managing the BIG award and organising our table for the evening. Thanks also to Damon Thomas for arranging the trophies.

The evening included many other worthy award winners. Whilst I’m sure disappointed to have missed out on the BIG award, C Space and Avivia were able to celebrate winning the AQR Prosper Riley-Smith Qualitative Excellence Award with their paper ‘Gamechanger: using co-creation to drive SME innovation and culture change at Aviva’. Nick’s personal success continued by winning the MRS Award for Financial Services Research which went to C Space and Zurich Insurance and their paper ‘ZCom: Re-engineering a complex business around the customer’. The Research-live Awards for the best agencies went to Flamingo (turnover above £20million) and to MTM (turnover under £20million).

In their sales material, the MRS invite you to “Join over 800 guests from across the sector at the biggest social event in the UK research calendar”. And that’s exactly what they delivered. For individuals, the evening offers an excellent chance for a long overdue catch up with friends and acquaintances. And for the industry, it offers an important opportunity to highlight and celebrate the best that research has to offer. Every year I am both surprised and pleased by the scale of the Awards evening. Events such as this are often seen as a barometer for the industry they represent. And this year’s was the biggest and best I can remember….

Jon Wood, BIG Company Secretary

 

We are pleased to announce that the BIG Blog is now up and running – please do go and have a look. 

The Blog is designed to comment on topical news relevant to the B2B sector, and we welcome any contributions as well as any comments on the articles already there.  You will also find regular reports from the BIG Chair. 

The Blog is a forum for ideas and conversation amongst the B2B community – so please do visit and help us make it successful. It is part of the members-only section of the website, so you will need to log into your membership to view it.

And if you have any ideas or want to contribute a blog, please email blogger@b2bresearch.org

 

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