Alternative marketing thinking

iCONTRACT

Market Research Embracing New Tools

Ethnographers love it. The overload of information and data that technology is spawning. If you are a researcher in the human condition, you will understand the value of all the seemingly meaningless data that’s exploding around us.

Like the other day we were playing around with FlickrLeech a site that displays the most interesting pictures of the day, as shown on the photo sharing site, Flickr. And the number of beautiful images of the moon told us that the 20th of Feb was a full moon and that the moon looked particularly good around the world that evening. Much more impressive it was in the previous month.

We are leaving some imports bits of dust that anthropologists and others can scan and find new meanings, in our searches on Google and Wikipedia, (The link is not up-to-date) stuff that can tgive the future generations a glimpse of how we lived, what we did and what the state of the world was. Like on Facebook, a casual phrase under what are we doing now could contain rich pickings.

There are some beautiful experiments that are happening at the moment on gathering all this information and making new things out of it. And none better than the ones imagined by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar. We Feel Fine, The Universe, and their recent interactive show at MOMA, all using technology to tell human stories in completely new ways.

There was another little research experiment that was conducted during the recent superbowl where a few Forrester researchers got together and signed up people to participate in a Twitter enabled advertising rating exploration. Some 70 people signed up for the research and during the four hour show, sending in short “reviews” of ads, as they were being broadcast. In fact the results of this new age survey was not very different from the ones that USA Today has been running for some two decades now.

Many analysts are writing off Focus Groups as being a part of a different era. Now is the time to research to get into our heads with FMRI Scanners and neuro imaging. Ideo talks of unfocus groups. Someother in search of new jargon set up emmersion groups and build personas to understand how people behave.

Just like with everything around us, research too is evolving. While it maybe easy to write off the old ways and jump in and embrace the new, the thing what we may need is people who understand how things work. Old and new ways to use them intelligently because the human minds hasn’t changed significantly ever since the old models were invented. What we have are new places to leave our stories, and new ways to discover them.

Update: Similar thoughts in AdAge 

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