Last year around this time, I published “The State of the Union – Privacy Law’s Impact on the Sample Industry” sharing my views on how privacy legislation impacted the sample industry in 2019. Since then, the world has radically changed. A worldwide pandemic sparked a global health crisis. Social and political unrest upended the status-quo, and Joe Biden was elected the 46th President of the United States. The election was so bitterly contested that it resulted in a violent attack by extremists on the U.S. Capitol. Many are wondering how we can collectively move forward.
A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with an SBA Business Opportunity Specialist who was lamenting the absence of SBA 8(a) program applicants. At the time, she was seeing three to five businesses graduate the Small Business Set-Aside program for every new one applying. I did the math and realized most of the graduating 8(a)s enrolled during the Great Recession. By 2018 things were going well enough in the economy that perhaps small businesses felt that pursuing government work was not worth their time and energy. Due to COVID-19, however, the economy is once again unsteady.
Latin American brands often feel overly confident in entering the U.S. market. Having experienced success in their home markets, they look to replicate that brand affinity north of the border, often using the same strategy that won at home. But, that affinity doesn’t always translate into a successful entry, especially when brands fail to realize and plan for the shift from a mostly homogeneous cultural group to a more diverse society composed of varied multicultural backgrounds, cultural influences, and behavioral drivers. The tendency of LatAm brands to target their core Hispanic constituency can cause missed opportunities to reach broader markets.
Across industries, the pandemic has radically altered the way we conduct business and communicate. Market research is no exception, with social distancing requirements prompting innovation in online survey instruments, panel selection, focus groups, and other data collection methods to mitigate the risk of coronavirus spread. Despite this year’s challenges, 2020 has also presented new opportunities for market researchers to pivot and connect with one another, clients, and respondents in more authentic ways. Digital tools like webinars, online chats and surveys, and a resurgence of traditional practices like conference calling and phone intercepts facilitate new networking and collaboration prospects and provide greater access to panelists.
Spotify, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon are some of the world's most successful tech companies. They all share a common denominator – a subscription-based business model that requires users to input personal information to opt-in. Once connected, users can stream their favorite music and movies, buy and sell in the online marketplace, and engage on social media. Each interaction creates data points that feed algorithms and appeal to advertisers. Similarly, today’s online sampling platforms are constructed from the data provided by subscriptions. Due to the high quantity of customer impressions available online, the insights gathered far surpass older, manual sourcing methods like cold calls and government-sourced lists. As technology continues to evolve, online sample providers will need to incorporate these platforms and other innovative web-based methods into their toolkits to stay competitive amid the uncertainty of a rapidly changing market. However, in my experience, there are a few essentials needed when building an online sampling platform that will not change no matter how much technology advances (at least for the next few decades). In Subscription-Based Models, Email is King. Email has endured the test of time and is almost always required when subscribing to any platform. While some marketers blast the masses via email, savvy marketers leverage email’s personalization capabilities to facilitate more individualized experiences. We see this play out as more companies shift away from transactional customer relationships to value-based ones that come with a monthly commitment and customized content. This is excellent news for the sample industry, which has come to rely on data from the tech giants (Google and Facebook) for panel recruitment. When creating an online panel, always give the person the option to subscribe with an email address. People are more
Bilingual and bicultural Latino Americans often serve as “digital sherpas,” or guides, for foreign-born family members who have yet to master the American ethos and language. Navigating the intersectionality of both U.S. and Latino value systems, these interpreters often inform brand and product purchases, search, and content consumption for friends and family members from an early age. These “digital sherpas” wield their authority at many points in their lives by influencing purchase decisions and demystifying new technologies and services.
As a strategist, your clients look to you to develop a solid strategy that leads to their next successful product launch or branding campaign. Essential to making a business case for your ideas is data. Identifying the insights you need requires sifting through an enormous amount of secondary data via search engines and subscription research services like eMarketer and Statista. This desk research involves a lot of time because it’s difficult to find the EXACT data point(s) you need to validate your strategy. You are often relying on multiple data points from various sources that may indirectly support your hypothesis but fails to provide the exact data point needed to build a compelling case.
2020 has been one of the most polarizing years in recent history. A global pandemic decimated the economy. The murders of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd sparked a worldwide outcry for social justice. And the presidential election and ensuing calls for recounts and litigation gripped the nation while the world watched. All of these events culminated in a complex display of cultural dynamics that influence contemporary consumer attitudes and behavior. In our 2020 ThinkNow Year-End Report, we examine the effects of these influences through a multicultural lens to provide actionable insights on key consumer trends to watch heading into 2021.
Market research has traditionally been more reactive, “reinventing the wheel” with each new client request, resulting in new trackers and survey instruments. Extracting accurate multicultural insights from these methodologies are difficult to obtain, as most surveys aren’t designed to attract or engage ethnic audiences. Market researchers must include more multicultural developers in the research design and development process to solve this problem. Diversifying your team will help organically eliminate survey bias and add more culturally relevant perspectives to questionnaires and other data collection methods.
In what seems like a lifetime ago, we began the year full of ambition and resolve because 2020 represented more than a flip of the calendar. In pun worthy comparison, 2020 or “20/20” was supposed to be the year of great vision and clarity. We energized our sales teams with it and redirected our strategic plans. But now, just a month away from year-end, we realize that the clarity we sought didn’t elude us. We clashed with it violently in the streets and on the front lines. The past few months have been some of the most polarizing in recent history. A global pandemic decimated the economy, and the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd sparked a worldwide outcry for social justice.