Market Research Council Newsletter



* New member drive. Now is the time to submit names and qualifications of candidates. There is room for several new members. Application deadline – April 28, 2017.

* Hall of Fame. It is also time to suggest candidates for our annual awards. Deadline for Nominations – April 21, 2017. * Meeting Dates for the remainder of this fiscal year are:
  • April 21st
  • May 12th (earlier than usual)
  • June 16th
* MRC website. (“Yes, Virginia, there is a website!”)
   You can visit to find…
  • Schedule of upcoming events
  • Executive Committee members
  • Hall of Fame winners
  • Newsletters
  • Archives and prior newsletters
  • Resources
  • …and a few nice photos.

Whether you attended or not, following is a recap of our meetings since the 2016 holiday season, presented in reverse chronological order.

February 24th, 2017

Amazon and Other Key Issues Roiling the Luxury,
Affluence and Wealth Markets

Speaker: Bob Shullman, Founder & CEO, The Shullman Research Center

Bob has spent many years studying the affluent, luxury and/or wealth market. How people in these upscale markets define, identify research and ultimately purchase products is undergoing some surprising changes.

Among other insights from his current company’s syndicated research is the fact that “luxury” does not necessarily mean “expensive”. Consumers may treat themselves to something as simple as a pricey cup of Starbucks as to a new BMW sports car. In fact, brand plays as big a part in defining what one considers to be a luxury item as does price.

What Bob has observed and reported on is the increasing role that online retailers like Amazon, Walmart or eBay can play in how (and where!) affluent consumers shop, make buying decisions, and ultimately purchase luxury products

January 20th, 2017

“Predicting Prediction Research”
(Go to Archive Presentation tab at
Speaker: Brent Stinski, Founder, Media Predict; Co-Founder, Future

Shortly after earning his PhD from Cambridge, Brent founded Media Predict. This year he helped to start another new company, Future, with a focus on a predictive casual game.

At our meeting, Brent spoke about one branch of predictive research, “community forecasting”, a field that includes prediction markets (like Predict It and the Iowa Electronic Markets), as well as predictive communities like the Good Judgement Project.

Those who participate in such research may earn a small reward for being correct. “Super forecasters” are among the top 10% of such respondents. What makes these studies different from others is that people are “betting” on an outcome -- whether or not it reflects their personal preference. Among several applications is the ability to look at media alternatives in such areas as sports, politics, program themes and content.

December 16th, 2016

“The Mind Behind: How do people end up doing what they do instead of something else?”
(Go to Archive Presentation tab at
Speaker: Langbourne Rust, PhD.

Lang’s presentation began with where the mind begins to develop, namely very early in one’s life. How does one “see” the world? First we recognize an “it” before we assign any attributes. The early mind can only focus on one thing at a time – so no comparisons (of attributes or similarities) are yet able to be made.

In a sense, our focus tends to be on “autopilot” and we steer towards what we know best rather than to options/alternatives. Thus, familiarity trumps evaluation, and makes life simpler.

Against this background then, how does anything get known? A few examples were given, such as

* End aisle display
* Celebrity intro or endorsement
* Product or physical demo
* Movie trailer

It turns out that a lot of choice behavior is not the result of rational thought processes but rather due to a mind that developed early in childhood. In most cases, this determines what people do and thus what they buy. Lang believes that repeated exposure leads to familiarity and the use of multiple media at/near the same time will create synergy. A brand can have a psychology associated with it. For example a “feeling”, like one gets from kids, pets, sports, music or aromas causes a reaction that becomes associated with the “it” that one sees – and causes people to end up doing what they do. He concluded by talking about the way the mind sees and reacts to “abstract” vs. “concrete”. In the recent presidential election, Trump became more concrete while Clinton was more abstract, a factor that could have influenced many voters.

November 18th, 2016

"UncoVRing Virtual Reality: Opportunities for Content Creators, Publishers, Brands and Consumers"
Speaker: Julanne Schiffer, Sr. Vice President/GM, Nielsen Content Solutions

To what extent will Virtual Reality (VR) be used for advertising? How will VR impact brands? These were some of the questions addressed by Julanne.

Julanne’s group is charged with tracking and profiling VR users and studying their usage and reactions to different kinds of content.

Some media (e.g. Discovery Group, New York Times) and advertisers (e.g. McDonald’s “Happy Goggles”) have begun to explore this new and growing technology.

It was noted that VR is not just for entertainment but may also be used when searching for a home or for training medical professionals.


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

Ira at
Monica at

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