Market Research Council Newsletter


Upcoming Meetings.
(Our newsletter is published semi-annually and this issue covers events since March. )

October 19th
Pre-election speaker will be Peter D. Hart, Founder, Hart Research and the pollster for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal since 1989. He will peer ahead to the elections and share his views on the trends shaping our society and impacting our businesses.

November 16th
The last election hit our profession hard – how had we misjudged public sentiment? Were the polls wrong? Come to hear three top experts help us understand what happened this year, one week after Election Day. Our post-election panel will include:

o Joe Lenski, EVP, Edison Research
o Anthony Salvanto, Director of Elections, CBSNews
o Cliff Young, President, US Public Affairs, IPSOS

Please mark these additional dates on your calendar if you have not yet done so!

December 14th
January 11th
February 22nd
March 15th
April 26th
May 17th
June 21st

Monthly Presentations

Here is a recap of our five most recent meetings.

September 21, 2018

Rob Key, Founder and CEO of Converseon
Bill Pink, Head of Brand Guidance Analytics, Kantar North America
JIM SPAETH, Partner, Sequent Partners

“How Can Brands Best Understand Their Consumers: Social Listening? Traditional Brand Tracking? Or Both?”

                        Rob Key                                               Bill Pink

This first meeting of the 2018-2019 season examined and debated how the latest use of big data compared to a well-established research tradition.
Bill discussed Brand Guidance Systems and how they integrate multiple data sources for fast feedback, e.g.

o surveys (short, mobile and modularized)
o search and social digital signals regarding a brand
o behavioral outcomes (shopping, sales)

Survey “modules” can be used to probe on issues, for instance by using more open ended questions.
He noted that social and search data provide early signals for media, creative and brand KPIs. In addition the impact of media spend on search was shown to impact revenue.
Rob’s approach is totally social in nature, and seeks to capture VOC in real-time. He recognized that such data is often unstructured and can be ambiguous, with many meanings.
However, he indicated that the use of machine learning (ML) combined with artificial intelligence (AI) plus human input to resolve confusing terms is changing the game, even at times revealing new variables along the customer journey.
Such high quality social data has predictive ability, e.g. for brand preference and advocacy.
Just as the merits of qual and quant have been debated for decades, the likelihood is that combinations of methodologies will endure as a useful approach to addressing market research questions.

June 15, 2018

Hall of Fame Awards

The Market Research Council’s Hall of Fame award was introduced 41 years ago. It recognizes outstanding members of our profession who have made a unique contribution to understanding consumers. Members nominate and then vote on a list of highly qualified candidates. only!).

                               Bill Harvey (current practitioner)

                              Kathi Love (no longer active)

Kathi was honored this year as a research professional in the “no longer active” category. Bill was the recipient in the “active” (currently practicing) category.

Executive Committee for 2018-2019

If you have any questions or input, these are the people and their roles for the new year.

o Jim Spaeth, President
o Ellen Sills-Levy, VP and Programming Chair
o Josh Chasin, Secretary-Treasurer and Membership Chair
o Donna Sabino, Member at Large and 2019 Hall of Fame Chair
o Terry Kent, Immediate Past President and 2019 Nominations Chair

New Members
We are pleased to announce and welcome the following 11 individuals:

o Paula Brant, VP, Head of US Marketing Science, MetLife
o Gerard Broussard, Principal, Pre-Meditated Media
o Bill Daddi, President, Daddi Brand Communications
o Emmanuel Debuyck, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, AdWanted
o Paul Donato, Chief Research Officer, The Advertising Research Foundation
o Philippe Generali, President & Chief Executive Officer, RCS / MEDIA MONITORS
o Bill Harvey, President, Bill Harvey Consulting
o Dan Robbins, Head of Advertising Research and Insights, Roku
o David Shiffman, Sr. Vice President, National Research, iHeart Media
o Ahmet Tosun, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Poltio
o Gilles Santini, Owner, Vintco Consulting, Paris, France

May 18, 2018

Paul Donato, Chief Research Officer, ARF

“Data Privacy and Ethics, and other hot ARF Topics”

Much has been said about protecting personal data on the internet, specifically on social media.
Paul touched on 8 areas that the Advertising Research Foundation is currently focused on.

Data Privacy
Partly because of the gold David Ogilvy Award the ARF ironically bestowed upon Cambridge Analytica in 2017, they have taken a leadership position to ensure the privacy and protection of consumer data. Paul indicated that this is a daunting task to create such policies in light of the fact that most terms and conditions are extremely lengthy and generally not read.

Data Analytics vs. Insights
Paul talked about the “T-shaped people” and how personnel who look at the same material may see things differently.

The other six areas were:

o Brand Building vs. Targeting
o Viewability
o 6 Second Ads
o MMM vs. MTA
o State of Programmatic
o Influencer Marketing

The full presentation is available on the MRC website ( at the Archived Presentation tab.

April 20, 2018

“Dr. Stephen Kraus, Chief of Insights, SimilarWeb
“Seven Trends Reshaping Our World: Viewed through the Lens of Digital Data”

He explained his company’s “modest” goal of synthesizing the click stream from “every website in the world” along with other sources to identify key trends.
The other sources include:
• a panel of 400,000 devices (e.g. via ad blocking and other free apps that permit user tracking), covering at least one percent of 68 countries internet usage
• global ISP data
• direct measurement data
• data from over 3,000 clients
• google Analytics

From these combined digital data sets (all passively collected), it is possible to derive the age, gender and products purchased. As such, insights are gleaned more from behavioral data than from traditional survey research.

Technological trends
• 51% have internet access
• 41% of global ad spend is online (vs. 25% for TV)
• There is more traffic on phones (52%) than on desktops (44%), perhaps suggesting where people shop vs actual purchase.
“The big get bigger “
1. Google
2. Facebook
3. YouTube
4. Yahoo
5. Amazon

Interesting facts –
• More people “go to Amazon first” (not Google) when looking for products!
• Searches on Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant provide different results.

“The rich get richer”
The middle class is being “compressed” due to growth of the two extreme economic groups. This impacts how CPG companies market their products, by going low and high, e.g. “dollar” vs. luxury stores. Middle market retailers (e.g. K Mart) are struggling.

Demographic trends
Millennials in particular have adopted new lifestyles that disrupt many products (groceries), services (banking) and industries (transportation). Examples include increased ordering and paying online, expecting free delivery, marriage age, home ownership, and working 9 to 5.

Greater FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt)
• Dominant players -- have more followers than the populations of most countries, there are still opportunities for startups to explore new data sources and attract niche markets and communities.
• Global alliances are shifting
• Terrorism/Security issues

In this environment, marketers need to provide clarity and certainty in their messaging and descriptions.
Our info needs (desires) often exceed what consumers are capable of or willing to tell us.

Steve left a major market research firm to join a market intelligence (i.e. big data) startup headquartered in Israel. This might portend another trend and address a frequent MRC question, namely, “What is the future of our profession?”

March 23, 2018

Rolfe Swinton
“10 Reasons Why Blockchain is a Big Deal for MR – And What You Can do About It”

All transfers of information are recorded in a secure and verifiable way.
Building the computers and creating cryptocurrency was motivated by the potential value such coins would have, but nobody HAD to do that!

Bitcoin as a currency so far has a very low adoption rate.
ICO’s and digital currency is being used as a means for entrepreneurs and startups to raise funding.
So what could be the impact on market research?
Technology is being used in more ways to commit fraud.

Data security breaches make people less likely to trust panel membership. As a result many large, traditional panel companies may incur more difficulty recruiting, retaining and compensating panelists.

On the other hand, several nontraditional/Blockchain companies are emerging that are targeting the market research field.

• Consumers will own their personal data and sell it as they see fit.
• Their privacy and security will be ensured.
• People will be compensated (with bitcoin) for answering questions and completing tasks.

MRC Website
You can visit to find…
• Calendar of upcoming events
• Executive Committee members
• Archives and prior newsletters
• Resources
• … and more

Member Publications

David Tice is a media consultant whose career and research has given him a unique vantage point to observe the emergence of new television and media technologies. He feels that the emergence of connected and smart TVs has brought the TV set back to prominence. How this happened, and what it means in the future for viewers and the television business, is examined in his first book The Genius Box: How the “Idiot Box” Got Smart & Is Changing the Television Business. You can find out more at

In Memorium

Russ Haley died the day before our April meeting.
In September we lost two more members, Gerry Lukeman and Alain Tessier.
Each of these three members made significant contributions to our council and field over many decades. They were active participants well into their final few years and are greatly missed by all that knew them.


If you have any content to submit for the next newsletter, e.g. professional news, honors, major life events, publications, presentations, interesting photos, please contact:

Ira Schloss at and/or
Monica Wood at

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