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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.

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.

How to Make “MR Speak” Work for You and Your Clients

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By Tina Day, Director of Organizational Development & Quality

As the Director of Organizational Development & Quality at uSamp, I keep my finger on the pulse of the many conversations that occur during the data collection process. We may all share the same research objectives, but we speak different research dialects based on our industry, our roles within our company, market-specific jargon, and many other factors that build our personal frames of reference. Because of these varying influences, there is room for interpretation with our use of research-specific terminology and therefore, there is also room for misinterpretation.

This guide is intended to help those who aren’t methodologists navigate semantics. We recognize that we haven’t fully detailed all aspects of the given term, but my goal is to cut through the terminology so that the research objective can be seen more clearly and executed successfully.

The first topic I want to tackle is a term that is widely used, and yet often the cause of much confusion: Census Representativeness.

Why does my client need their completes to be “Census Rep”?

The truth is that they often don’t. Sampling terminology is sometimes used interchangeably and sometimes even misused. The original definitions can morph over time and alternative meanings begin to seep into common vernacular. Thus, we end up using the same vocabulary, but our definitions have diverged.

Some common industry terms that have fallen prey to this disconnect include: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by lsozio

August 22nd, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Value Co-Creation: Mobile Consumers, Smarter Brands

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by Jacob Tucker, Research Analyst, uSamp

In 2013, consumers have become primary drivers of content, of product and of brand. Able to upload user-generated video to YouTube and broadcast affinities to Twitter fans, consumers have overturned the traditional model where a business builds a product in silo and offers it up to consumers. Sound archaic?

Recognizing this new, “empowered consumer,” many brands have turned to value co-creation or crowdsourcing. By involving the consumer in the creative process the brand temporarily suspends authority, and collaborates with the consumer in an effort to co-create the product. In this collaborative process, value is driven by the people instead of appropriated by businesses.

In the market research industry, value co-creation has been facilitated through survey research. IHUT (In Home Usage Testing) and diary studies are just a few examples that enable researchers to see through a consumer’s eyes. Yet the industry still has a long way to go in order to truly leverage the value of co-creation. To get there, we need to reach consumers whenever, wherever, while respecting their privacy. We want that front-of-mind, in-the-moment view of their experiences at a sensory level.

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Written by lsozio

January 31st, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Email Sampling Is Dead: Long Live The Web (and mobile)!

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by Matt Dusig, Co-founder & CEO

Every once in a while, I like to rock the boat. With this blog title, it seems I’ve just predicted the demise of one of the core functions of sample delivery and it’s not only a challenge to the MR industry, but to uSamp as well. This doesn’t mean we’ll stop recruiting panelists into surveys using our email sampling systems — that would mean cutting off the lifeline of the millions of panelists that come through our systems every month. But, having experienced many technological changes in my life, I have become more adept at recognizing the decline of traditional methodologies. And in this case, the next casualty of panelist recruitment and engagement will be email delivery.

Technology eclipsing itself is nothing new. Look at the terrestrial radio industry and the constant decline of listeners and advertising revenue to online and satellite streams. Over-the-air broadcast radio still works and millions still use it, but it’s on the decline and the industry is undoubtedly changing forever.

Market researchers may not being dealing with the loss of radio listeners, but they can certainly learn a lesson from their peers in the music business. The writing is on the wall: Over time, email-based sampling and recruitment will diminish in value.

When I started in sampling in 2000, email response rates were high and email marketing was a valuable way to drive web traffic for lead generation and monetization. But today, just like radio, response rates for email continue to decline.

So what’s next?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by lsozio

November 20th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Man vs. MR’s Goldmine, Mobile: The Medium is the Message

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by Ben Leet, Sales Director, uSamp

I recently attended the Esomar 3D conference in Amsterdam and, unsurprisingly, much of the content focused on emerging technologies and techniques such as social media monitoring and of course, mobile devices. The content was wide-ranging, diverse, and thought provoking. I came away with one very clear message – the MR industry was about to experience imminent upheaval.

My philosophy behind this is very simple – there will come a point in the near future where our mobile devices (note: they are not just phones any more!) know more about our habits than we do, as they morph into our brain’s external hard drive. Since market research is all about delving into people’s brains, it seems only fitting to delve into mobile devices in order to more accurate access this data that we crave as an industry.

My phone already knows a lot about me; it knows which flights I have taken in the last year; it knows which shops I have recently visited; it knows where I ate dinner last night. And most of all, it knows my Facebook profile and my Twitter handle; hundreds of valuable nuggets of information, a goldmine of data waiting to tell a story about me, my friends, family, likes, dislikes, media consumption, the list goes on. And this is the tip of the iceberg when I think about how much more intelligent and familiar it will become in just a few short years.

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Hybrid Technology: The Fabulous Phablet [INFOGRAPHIC]

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by Dinaz Kachhi, Manager of Research Insights, uSamp

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a convergence of devices taking user convenience and experience to another level. The combination of iPod and phone led to the creation of iPhone, which was one of the best examples of unification on a mobile platform. From that point on, there has been a proliferation of devices that have the ability to perform multiple functions – the most recent hybrid? The“Phablet”.

In order to keep ahead of the curve and create a niche in the market, the mobile industry packaged two highly popular consumer devices (the smartphone and the mini tablet, in case you haven’t guessed yet).  Samsung was one of the first movers in this space, introducing “Galaxy Note” which offers the unique combination of 5  x  7’’ screen along with smartphone capabilities. As other tech companies started to realize the huge potential, they came to market with similar offerings.

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Written by lsozio

October 9th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

2012 EU Forecast: Can the market research industry beat uncertainty in Eurozone?

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by Ben Leet, Senior Director HRT and Survey Solutions

Ben joined the uSamp UK team at the very beginning, and is charged with building out our new client relationships in Europe. Prior to joining uSamp Ben held senior positions with Decision Tree Consulting, Toluna and Ugam, the first of which saw Ben designing, conducting and delivering full service research programmes to blue chip clients for over 5 years, before joining the online panel business at Toluna in early 2008. This combination allows Ben to understand all aspects of the market research process, adding value to uSamp clients along the way. Ben is a Graduate of the Nottingham Business School in the UK with a BA (Hons) in European Business.

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Does Size Matter…for online panels?

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by Matt Dusig, Co-Founder/CEO

uSamp is a little over three years old. To date, we’ve seen over 6.5 million people globally register and double opt-in for our research panel websites. We register about 10,000 new panelists every day, adding over 300,000 panelists to our database each month. Sounds cool, right? But does the size of the panel at 6.5 million really matter?

Most sample companies market themselves according to panel size, quality of respondent data, variety of the traffic sources and customer service excellence. I am guilty about marketing the size of our panel. We announce the size of our panels to show scale, and to impress clients. Do you blame us?

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5 Tips For Smarter Investment in Market Research Technology

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by Scott Weinberg, Director, Enterprise Hosted Technology, uSamp

Scott resides in Minneapolis, MN and joined uSamp in February 2011. Scott is active with the Market Research Association (MRA) and is the President-Elect of the MN / Upper Midwest MRA chapter. He has spent the majority of his career in the Market Research industry, starting as a project manager on the supplier side, eventually moving into turnkey project design, before spending the last several years focused on online panels and in particular emerging panel management technologies. Scott earned an M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin and is on Twitter @ScottWeinberg and LinkedIn.

Over the past 15 years in the Market Research industry, I’ve had the opportunity to work with companies to develop and implement strategies for organizing their customer feedback efforts. During this time, I’ve noticed two prevailing technology acquisition themes:

The first acquisition theme is the approach that results in a fragmented, piece-meal process that relies on a ‘blended’ supplier approach. On first blush, the blended approach seems reasonable, and financially sound. Specifically, in this scenario, different supporting technologies (i.e. survey program, reporting program, analytical application, panel management program) are each vetted and acquired independently.

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