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ARF Re:Think 2014:
A #Social Retrospective

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By The Editors


If you missed ARF Re:Think 2014, you only missed one of the biggest market research and advertising events of the year. Go ahead, #facepalm.

From March 23rd through 26th, more than 2,500 top advertisers, market research companies, ad agencies and more gathered in NYC to “Inspire Intelligent Growth” and push our industry toward making smarter, faster, and better business decisions. There were a lot of interesting talks given and exciting news announced. But if you missed it, don’t beat yourself up. We have you #covered with this quick recap of the most important happenings and news shared on Twitter.


Talks by Keith Reinhard of DDB Worldwide and James Burke and Euan MacKay of Kantar Media captivated audiences.

From our booth, we  spread love, not war–in the form of creamy chocolate hazelnut spreads, that is. Our live demo on mobile IHUTs featured results from a recent study on spreadables from Hershey’s, Jif, and Nutella (complete with samples!). Who did consumers crown as king nut? Check out the results here.

While meeting with hundreds of attendees and attending presentations, we definitely noticed more chatter over the importance of tracking and analyzing mobile data. Here’s what people were saying:

And in the mind-boggling-facts-department, presenters did not disappoint:

Legos: The Ultimate Time Killers

We also had a blast scooping Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and chatting with attendees at our booth. Plus, shirts!

All in all, the show was a great success, so much so it prompted a few post-event responses from Huff Post and Greenbook. If we missed you this time, be sure to come out and visit next year. We’ll be there, ice-cream scoops a ready.

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April 8th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Quantifying Emotion:
How to Collect Data Based on a “Feeling”
Live from #ARFReThink2014

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By Daniel Ross, SVP of Product and Technology


It’s no secret that we’re in the age of quantifying. In baseball, it’s all about the numbers – countless stats are collected and analyzed to try to predict the success and future of players and teams. However, that does not mean we can discount the “feel” of things, either. As Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide Keith Reinhard told a crowd at ARF Re:think 2014 yesterday, when you hear the bat crack against the ball, you know it’s a home run.

The same, according to Reinhard, goes for advertising. As much as there is a science behind how to make a successful campaign, so much of it comes down to a gut feeling of what will do well. Specifically, Reinhard explained, success can come when connecting with your audience emotionally. Take State Farm’s campaign, for example. Their advertising isn’t centered on their policy, it’s about the hometown feeling they offer their subscribers. Their promise to be “like a good neighbor” and be there for you when you need them most is what attracts people to their business.

So if Reinhard is right, and successful advertising often comes from emotional appeals that develop based on gut feeling, how do you gauge when you have a successful campaign? That’s an idea uSamp is continually trying to address, most recently through our expansion into Mobile. We want to get that data from our users in the moment – capturing their emotional responses as they experience them.

The possibility for reaching consumers at the moment of truth is already out there. Keller Fay Group’s CEO Ed Keller and Discovery Communication’s Senior Vice President for Market Resources Beth Rockwood addressed this idea during their ARF Re:think 2014 session “Talking Social TV 2″ yesterday. Television viewers are socially connected, with 1 in 5 viewing occasions involving social media. People are already developing the habit of cataloging their in-the-moment responses to what they see and hear around them.

If Reinhard’s right and advertising’s success is the emotional response, then businesses need to collect that data instantaneously and to have an accurate understanding of how their company and products are perceived.


Written by adrien

March 25th, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Hazelnut Wars:
Hershey’s and Jif Joust with Nutella

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Until recently, Nutella held a monopoly over the hazelnut-spread market. There really wasn’t anything remotely comparable to the distinctly Italian substance that people enjoy for breakfast, dessert, or with a spoon straight from the jar. Now, nearly 70 years after Mr. Ferrero introduced hazelnuts to the world (in order to make the most of the chocolate shortage during WWII), America’s favorite chocolate factory, Hershey’s, has entered the market with a remake of the classic. Not to be left out, peanut sweetheart Jif threw their hats in the ring. The result: a lot of chatter over whether these American copycats could eat into the territory long occupied by Italy.

This was fodder enough to inspire the uSamp Mobile team to test out the emerging product concepts. Anything for an excuse to run an In Home Usage Test (IHUT). So we nerded out.

Over the weekend, we sent our Mobile Army out to the grocery store to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the three products in this market. Over 175 people actively participated in just under 48 hours, resulting in a rich compendium of consumer testimonials rich with flavor that rivaled the nutty spread.

Overall findings suggest that the brand’s equity had influence over taste. Some findings:

  • We also learned that new entrants had succeeded in creating quite the buzz. More than half of the consumers were more excited to try the Jif or Hershey’s brands over Nutella.
  • Overall, we found the hazelnut-spread bar is low: 56% reported that the spreads exceeded their expectations, Jif being a particular standout.
  • 66% don’t like the price/value of these spreads, even when it came to their favorite.
  • Several testimonials suggested that the hazelnut spread might even cannibalize the Herhsey’s and Jif brands’ core products (chocolate and peanut butter).

This video testimonial captures the essence of our findings:

What can the brand guys can take away?

This is not just a study of taste buds. This study showcases the key benefits of mobile market research story-telling. It reveals brand equity, provides competitive analysis, evaluates new concepts, and reexamines the old.

Written by lsozio

February 24th, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Morpace Case Study:
Mobile Gives Electric Vehicle Owners a Voice

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We love pushing the boundaries of mobile market research innovation. More importantly, we love providing our clients with the platform and the freedom to take mobile in directions that we never considered. Our latest collaboration with Morpace and their panel of electric car enthusiasts (see video below) highlights a creative execution of mobile research. Not only was the vertical intriguing, but the consumer feedback proved product altering for Morpace’s auto clients.

This also got us thinking about how we can best communicate the value of mobile research to those not yet invested in this space. Interested in expanding your mobile repertoire? Check out four more ways to make mobile research work for you.

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February 24th, 2014 at 4:29 pm

GRIT Review: Are We Pioneers?
Market Research’s Foot-in-the-Past Problem

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The industry’s final word on all things market research is here at last! The winter 2014 GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report released this week, and it’s chock-full of fascinating insights, trends, and discussions about where the industry is headed. Our very own Robert Clancy, VP of Insights and Strategy, adds his commentary on the slow adoption of mobile in the industry and what might be holding researchers back. See below for more.

2014 Year-in-Preview:
Ben Leet’s Predictions

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In this post, Ben Leet shares his predictions on where the market research industry is headed in 2014.

What is your New Year’s resolution in 140 characters?

Stay ahead of the game! The pace of change will not slow down anytime soon.

What do you anticipate being the biggest trend for 2014, and why?

As mentioned before, I think the wider marketing world is going to move increasingly into big data analytics to find uplifts in marketing ROI, and I still think research has a big part to play in this area. And, of course, mobile methodologies will continue to evolve and adoption of them will increase.

What companies/brands do you think will do well in 2014, and why?

Those that understand how consumers think and move with them will do well across all verticals, but those that continue to “do what we’ve always done” will start to fall by the wayside pretty quickly.

Any thoughts on what 2014’s biggest buzzword might be?


What will success look like in 2014?

For my company it will be to continue innovating and bringing new concepts and ideas to the marketplace, and I hope the same is true for the industry at large.

2014 Year-in-Preview:
Lisa Wilding-Brown’s Predictions for Research Magazine

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In this interview with Research Magazine, Lisa Wilding-Brown makes her predictions for what’s to come in 2014 for market research.
Looking Forward

What is your New Year’s resolution in 140 characters?

Always remember the consumer when designing research studies—and drink less coffee.

What do you anticipate being the biggest trend for 2014, and why?

Rich media will be supremely important in 2014. Companies have already begun asking for photo and video submissions from customers, but we’re still far from understanding how best to utilize this type of media to gain insights. Pairing rich media with a mobile survey provides a structured environment through which we might better analyze this information.

Any thoughts on what 2014’s biggest buzzword might be?

Privacy. With great power comes great responsibility – especially when it comes to consumer data. When respondents complete surveys they invite us into their personal space, and marketing professionals and companies should respect that space. In 2013 data collection and sharing became a hotly contested issue, so as mobile market research expands, we need to be sensitive to privacy rights by maintaining transparency and handling information sensitively and responsibly.

What will success look like in 2014?

Pushing ourselves to continue leveraging technology for innovation, and to be nimble and responsive to industry needs. Success for uSamp means moving the industry forward in a way that benefits both companies and their consumers.

2013 Year-in-Review:
Lisa Wilding-Brown’s Reflections for Research Magazine

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In this interview with Research Magazine, Lisa Wilding-Brown shares her thoughts on the events that shaped the market research industry, marketing, and technology in 2013.

Looking Back

What has been the biggest development of 2013?

Mobile market research has profoundly impacted the industry in 2013 because it has added a contextual element that other research methodologies lack. Real-time interaction with the consumer at the point of purchase or consumption yields rich findings that might not be possible to ascertain from a consumer who is removed by time and space. What’s more, mobile is much less invasive and more time- and cost-efficient than traditional strategies.

What was 2013’s biggest buzzword?

Geofencing. Although still in its infancy, a technology like geofencing  is critical to implementing effective mobile campaigns. Using smartphone geolocation, we can identify consumers entering or exiting specific vendors and then send highly targeted studies that get us closer to that moment of truth at the shelf, aisle, or restaurant.

What was, in your opinion, the best campaign (ad/brand/political/social) of 2013, and why?

The recent media blitz for the new Anchorman 2 movie has been impressive. Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy has been showing up in all kinds of real-life situations and spawning dozens of viral videos. He even co-anchored the nightly news at a local station in North Dakota. I love to see creative media campaigns like this one; it’s fun when fiction seeps into reality and we can see our favorite characters come to life.

What has been the year’s biggest success story?

Netflix’s dive into original content was one of this year’s greatest successes, proving that listening to the consumer is one of the most effective strategies for developing an excellent product. Their ability to cull data and preferences from their large subscriber base to find a winning combination in producer David Fincher and actor Kevin Spacey is a great reminder for all of us that the consumer still knows best.

What has been the year’s biggest disappointment/anti-climax, and why?

The launch of the website was so highly anticipated but will likely be remembered as one of the most bungled product launches of the past few years. The implementation of the marketplace was executed poorly, and consumers were left out in the cold. We actually surveyed our panel to better understand the user experience and learned that 4 out of 5 people encountered technical difficulties ranging from error messages to not being able to create an account.

2013 Year-in-Review:
Ben Leet’s Reflections for Research Magazine

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In this interview for Research Magazine, Ben Leet reflects on the market research industry in 2013.

Looking Back

What has been the biggest development of 2013?

Without question for me it’s the use of mobile as a methodology. The technology has, to a certain extent, been here for a while.

What was 2013’s biggest buzzword?

As above, mobile! now (although development is ongoing of course!), but the industry is beginning to adopt mobile as an accepted additional methodology, and this is very encouraging.

What was, in your opinion, the best campaign (ad/brand/political/social) of 2013, and why?

I thought the out-of-home interactive advertising by Google in the UK was very clever, and probably a sign of things to come as advertisers look to customise ads to their audience across all channels.

What has/have been the year’s biggest success story?

I attended a presentation recently where AIMIA talked about correlating data across Nectar users and Facebook users for specific product promotions in Sainsbury’s; they looked at understanding the monetary value of having a Facebook presence for the first time, and I thought it was a great approach by them as they get more involved in the research industry.

What has been the year’s biggest disappointment/ anti-climax, and why?

I don’t think that the research industry has fully gotten to grips with big data, and our role to play within the wider marketing space which is looking at big data much more already (with the exception of the aforementioned AIMIA of course!). We have a great opportunity to embed ourselves as the context behind the numbers and answer the “why,” and I think we can do more in that area.


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December 30th, 2013 at 10:44 pm

2013 Year-in-Review: Top 5 uSamp Blog Posts

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Data, whether it was being leaked, mined, or modified by “big,” was on everyone’s minds in 2013. Mobile technology continued to push forward with lower-cost, higher-tech, sharper-pixelated options emerging in the market; while telecommuting, something that seemed the natural progression of the digitally savvy millennial, took a step backward. Many of these major developments also rippled through the market research community, so uSamp’s leaders took to the blog to weigh in and offer commentary on how these changes shaped the direction of our industry.

Here are our top five blog posts from 2013:


#5 An App Alternative: How the Mobile Web Expands Reach

A late entry in the year but an obvious contender for top blog post. In this piece, uSamp director of product Allen Vartazarian explains why mobile apps are not the only game in town when it comes to mobile market research.

#4 The Virtual Office Place: Productive or Disruptive?

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to pull the company plug on all telecommuting sparked huge debates everywhere from the water cooler to Twitter and more. In an age where technology has made working remotely so easy, the ban seemed a counter-intuitive move on Mayer’s part. We took the polarizing debate to our panel and received surprising results, which we pulled together in this infographic.

#3 Big Data in Market Research: Big Deal or Big Hype?

Big data was certainly the buzzword of record early in the year, that is, until over-zealous jargon junkies sucked every last drop of meaning out of it. And while data may be the new gluten-free in the media, it’s a familiar face for those in the MR space. In this piece, our former director of analytics, Siva Venkataraman, took a moment to demystify big data and articulate its real potential.

#2 Mobile Apps and Data Privacy: How Much Information Are You Willing to Share?

In hindsight, it seems less surprising that during a year when we all marveled at the power of numbers, we also become painfully aware of abuses in data collection. With the public outcry over NSA practices, we couldn’t resist polling Americans about where they stood on personal data and privacy.

#1 A Geofencing Primer

2013 was a year to stay on the fence—the geofence, that is. One of the most exciting strategies to emerge in mobile market research was geofencing, the ability to use location-based technology in smartphones to connect with customers in-store, at the very point of purchase or consumption. We found this topic so interesting, we devoted an entire three-part series to it. Click here for parts two and three.