Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Research and Relationships

Session 3 panelists included: Max Kalehoff (Nielsen), Aaron Coldiron (Microsoft), Amy Shenkan (McKinsey), and Ellen Konar (Google)

Max Kalehoff started the session sharing a Nike 'Brand Association Map' which is used to visually gauge the temperature of the Internet - what's the theme, brand identity, reputation by looking at what's posted on blogs, forums and other user generated media.

He then shares his 'Top 10 Disruptions in Measurement':

1. Rise of online and digital (basically that there is a new way to collect data)
2. Attention erosion, research aversion-engagement (people don't want to be interrupted)
3. Speed of measurement increases
4. Data commoditizing and democratizing
5. Passive behavioral and attention measurement (where are people going and for how long?)
6. Measurement and analysis of unstructured data
7. Consumer centric measurement and planning
8. Qualitative comeback
9. Data integration comes of age
10. Attention-data ownership (who owns what?)

The viral component of the Internet is not always positive. An example of the Kryptonite Lock was mentioned - when a rumor that had been known for some time hit Internet and spread like wildfire in a viral video crumbling their brand and their credibility. The thing that makes this interesting is that they had the opportunity to prevent this - that had learned of the security flaw two years prior but chose to ignore it - had the pulled from the shelves then and corrected the problem they could have saved a lot of heartaches.

Ellen Konar from Google shared some interesting insights on what she explains as a 'peer-to-peer network' inside their firewall. People just find what what they are looking for "using search, duh." The information is unstructured and simply made available and if it's good enough to travel, it will. I think generally this works and for the next generation it will probably work just fine since grew up searching and know how to do it. It ties in perfectly with my belief that we are all in information overload putting us in 'just in time learning' mode - when I need to know I know it's out there and I will find it. There are two problems with this thinking - the first is one that I think will correct itself over time and that is that there are still a lot of people who don't know how to search; and two, we don't know what we don't know so there still needs to be some level of outward communication.

Amy Shenkan says 'The hardest thing to do is make sense of all the data.' It's all out there - digital breadcrumbs everywhere but what do we do with this information? Ellen Konar points us to Google Trends as a way to see what's hot at the moment and explains that they are looking at better ways to break up the data to make it more useful. But it's not just data anymore - we need to measure the stories and conversations that are happening and somehow quantify the valuable insights we are gaining from these conversations.

A woman sitting behind me silenced the crowd with her question about the privacy a user has when surfing the Web. For those who don't already know a lot of websites are passively collecting' information about you including where you came from, what you clicked, how long you stayed (or if you are on their site now). Did you opt in to that? Well there is that little privacy policy link on the bottom of most website.

Surveys - valuable or not? Ellen wasn't satisfied with the number of responses she got back from a Google Happiness Survey so they decided to start sharing the results - not just with those who took the survey but with everyone who was invited to take the survey whether they responded or not. This simple sharing of information makes the uses feel like they are getting something in return making them more likely to participate next time (what's in it for me?).

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