We asked current students to summarize their takeaways from the 2015 Summit sessions they attended.

The Digital Consumer Collaborative

  • Everyone is a digital native these days. Now it's about being context comfortable- the understanding that you are giving up data, but doing so with the expectation that platforms use it to create better experiences. There is an exchange element.
  • Consumers are expecting to close the gap between thinking and doing. (Example. I think about paying my bills, but I already am through autopay. I think about deleting a photo, but I already am with Snapchat.) Events that were once episodic are now continuous.
  • Queuing - What you're most likely to do next (example: apps that make the home screen, or when you have a bunch of tabs open on your browser, with each tab acting as a placeholder "to do" list) This is another perspective on consideration sets.
  • The Power of While - what are you doing while you're doing something. (Adjacencies - things that hinder current activities. Overlays - things that enhance the experience, like using a GPS while driving).

Members of the Stone Mantel Collaborative (Target and Orbitz) discussed this qualitative digital research collaborative that shares the cost of qualitative research. They walked through archetypes of on-line consumers (the deck has many details). They showed an example of one consumer’s on-line journey and how that consumer transitions between modes (full list in the deck). Some examples of modes are learning, socializing, planning and browsing. According to their research a consumer switches between the modes they outlined sub-consciously as they move between tasks on-line. I loved this presentation and thought their model of consumer’s on-line modes serves as a great intuition pump to think about how a consumer responds to content on-line.

Marketing Mix Modeling 2.0 presented by "T" from Nielsen.

I thought this was an extremely valuable session. He talked about the future of Marketing Mix Models which is an area that all of us will likely have to deal with at some point in our careers and is likely on the mind of many of the other participants of the survey. The basic idea is that the old method of Marketing Mix Models to not fully capture the multiple touch points that consumers interact with in today's marketing world. With the continued rise of mobile and questions about the effectiveness on marketing platforms, being able to properly attribute the effectiveness of various marketing methods is becoming increasingly important.

"T" was the perfect person to present on this valuable topic. He was able to speak authoritatively and knowledgeably on the topic. Being from Nielsen who is in many ways at the center of this topic also added additional value to the talk.

Gongos Fuse or Lose - Data Stitching:

Better survey participation can be found through the use of phasing. In the study Gongos presented, they had three different phases with different questions in each. Respondents would be assigned randomly to one of the three and would be told once they were done completing the section for another $X they could take another section. This process showed better participation through all three sections than when all three sections were combined into the same survey to be taken all at once. The compensation for the entire survey was equal to that of someone opting to take all three sections, one at a time. I also learned more about what they called cyborgs and monsters. Essentially, the monsters are like Frankenstein where panel data is stitched together from actual data. Whereas cyborgs are created through a process that uses some real data but then predicts how the remaining questions would be answered. Each type of surveying poses benefits and drawbacks. Overall, my biggest takeaway was that respondents are more likely to complete a whole survey if divided into sections and invited to take more once completing a section. Some of the group discussion was around maybe respondents are more inclined to take on another section because they had been shown gratitude for completing the first section and were invited again to take another small survey. The respondents were opting in rather than experiencing survey fatigue from a longer survey. Fatigue appears to have been avoided since the respondents chose to continue on. Overall, a very interesting discussion!

Paul Hoban - Digital Advertising

Paul Hoban introduced a new model for understanding online display ad effectiveness. When he implemented his model, he discovered that while companies spend much of their digital ad budget on reaching consumers who had previously visited their site but did not make a purchase, the most effective ads were those that targeted consumers who had either made a purchase or had never visited the site at all. I took away a few key points: we as marketers need to keep up-to-date with the research on online ad effectiveness so we know how best to allocate our ad dollars, why click-through rates are not a good way to measure, and how to optimize advertising while limiting the sample size on which you test.

Academic Research Influencing Industry Neuroscience: Social Decision Making & Neuroeconomics- Professor Scott Huettel

While I have had experience with the idea of behavioral economics and decision making, this was my first time really hearing about how neuroscience can play a role in marketing as well. He went through a very comprehensive deck on the research that has been done from a basic level and then used that information to apply it to marketing activity. There were a few key points that stuck with me as I left. First, 20% of all energy resources go to the brain. His point here being that this is highly disproportionate to the actual size of the brain within the body. Furthermore, beyond the difference in size, 20% is a lot of energy resources going to one organ in the body, meaning it is prone to getting tired. This led us as a species to work on ways to not use up so much of that energy with subconscious decision making.

There were two vocabulary words that I better understand because of the talk.

  • Range Effects, which are the sense of meaningful difference is inversely proportional to its range. For example, even though the rational thought process would recognize a difference in price ($1.50 to $2) is the same, a larger range in possible options makes the brain think that difference is smaller than if the range of options were less. Another example he used was the idea of waiting in line at a drive thru versus driving an extra few minutes to get to a McDonalds. Our range of time at the drive thru is much smaller, say 0-4 minutes waiting. In this case we value an extra minute of waiting much higher than an extra minute of driving to another McDonalds, since the range of possibilities is much higher, say 0-20 minutes.
  • Reference Dependency, which implies that judgments are always compared to some reference point. The best example here is watching people win gold, silver and bronze medals. The person who wins gold is always happy, as is the person who won bronze (“hey, I’m at least on the podium!”) Those who win silver however are not nearly as happy since their reference point is having not won the gold.

He then looked at these effects through the eyes of brain activity. Dopamine, a chemical released associated with pleasure, is released based on reference points. Reward that is expected leads to no increase in dopamine neurons firing, while an unexpected reward leads to more dopamine, and, therefore, more happy chemicals in the brain.

The talk wasn’t necessarily too complex, but the concepts were understandable and he related them well to our everyday lives.

Marketing Research on Mobile Devices Panel

I attended the Marketing Research on Mobile Devices panel in the afternoon, and this was a phenomenal part of the Summit. I think that the selection of panelists, having a client-side user, big player, and emerging player, was perfect because it provided diverse perspectives to the topic. Paul Metz hit the nail on the head with title of "Mobile Research: Is it like Teenage Sex?" because everyone says that they're doing it, but they might not be doing it [or doing it well]. It's not just about having surveys that feature mobile-friendly displays/navigation. I thought the use of gamification presented an interesting application of marketing research, and hearing from the company representative caused me to think about the possibilities for research in that space.