Tag Archives: mobile

Why You Should Use Mobile To Conduct Market Research

Market research is a valuable tool, and one that the smartest companies invest in. Companies like Lego, McDonald’s and Apple have been utilizing market research (MR) for years, and dominate their respective markets. But MR is not just for big companies with even bigger budgets; with today’s technology, every company has the ability to conduct research.

In the past, this data took a long time to gather because the only options were focus groups, mailings and phone surveys. Today’s modern technology makes research more accessible to companies than ever. In 2017, there were an estimated 227 million smartphone users in the United States. Smaller companies can use the data to help their growth, thanks to quick turnaround, affordable options and personalized service options. We’ve listed just a few of the advantages to conducting research via mobile.

Cost Effective

We mentioned focus groups previously, but what we didn’t mention was how costly they are—the average focus group project runs $8,000. With mobile, the audience reach is greater, and the cost is lower. Conducting research with a mobile app guarantees results from your target audience, and at a fixed price.

Convenience

Researchers are able to access consumers via their preferred mode of communication, which works best for busy consumers. Additionally, the participation rate of respondents is higher, as the respondent can answer from anywhere.

Speed

The speed at which mobile research can be conducted is a huge advantage. According to eMarketer, American adults are expected to spend on average 3 hours and 23 minutes on mobile media in 2018. Mobile research provides the benefit of instantaneous results and a shorter wait period. Also, it is perfect for surveys when you want immediate reactions. Answers are given in real time, while fresh in the consumer’s memory.

Access to a Larger Audience

Market research companies have access to large panels of participants from all demographics. In addition, they have the ability to gather other pertinent information such as geolocation data and reach your target audience in an efficient way.

QuestionPro’s mobile app, MyPinion, is the fastest market research tool that allows mobile users to provide critical insights to leading brands by participating in short surveys. With our mobile panel of more than 250,000 active smartphone users around the United States, you are able to get thousands of responses within minutes with the highest respondent engagement. Our respondents are pre-screened and highly qualified to participate in a variety of research studies of any level of specificity.

Wearable Technology on the Rise!

What is Wearable Technology?

Wearable technology encourages wearers to be more engaged in their health and lifestyle choices. In addition to being a fashionable accessory, wearables collect pertinent data that can be sent to the wearer’s physician. This market is growing at a rapid pace, with 1 in 5 Americans owning a wearable tech device. In contrast to a one-time blood pressure reading at an appointment, wearables provide data taken over a period of time, such as sleep patterns, heart rate, and activity levels. This additional data can help alert doctors to issues that wouldn’t have been apparent otherwise.

Initially, wearables such as the Fitbit gained popularity by their ability to monitor the steps a person took throughout the day, and motivate them to reach a certain goal. With obesity being a global epidemic, doctors were particularly excited by this technology because it encouraged wearers to be more active. Many companies, who have an interested stake in keeping their employees healthy in hopes of cutting healthcare and insurance costs, started offering wellness plans to employees with incentives tied to using wearables to achieve health goals. Currently, about 46% of employers offer fitness trackers as part of their wellness programs.

The wearable market has evolved from technology that merely tracks fitness to impacting how wearers with chronic diseases conduct their daily lives. Currently, almost half of all American adults have one or more chronic health condition, which often arises due to unhealthy living, poor diet, little to no exercise and stress.

For example, roughly 30 million Americans are living with diabetes, a disease which requires daily monitoring of blood sugar levels. These levels are typically monitored through daily finger stick blood tests, and adhering to this rigorous care plan is a common challenge among diabetic patients. New wearable technology on the market such as K’Track Glucose may change that. K’Track Glucose is a wearable that allows diabetics to self-monitor their glucose levels without the need for blood-based tests. Wearers are encouraged to keep it on all day so it can monitor blood glucose, particularly during exercising, when glucose levels are apt to spike. The device alerts users to potentially dangerous spikes and lulls in their levels.

Today, the wearable technology market consists of clothing, earware, wristbands, eyewear and clip-on devices, and is expected to expand even further. Now that consumers are aware of the benefits these products can provide, the industry is working to improve and enhance the wearer’s experience. According to data from the International Data Corporation, an estimated 125.5 million wearable devices will be sold this year, up 20.4% from 2016. The wearable industry is anticipating to double by 2021, with an estimated 240.1 million units to be sold.

How Mobile Apps are Changing Travel in 2018

Experts are predicting 2018 to be the year mobile technology officially takes over travel. Gone are the days of making blind booking arrangements and hoping for the best, or using a travel agent. Even sitting down at a desktop computer is no longer necessary. Today, 77% of Americans own smartphones and a recent Global Traveler study found that one in three travelers now books on a mobile device. Companies are using their mobile applications to reach the consumer directly, therefore eliminating the uncertainty that has existed when previously booking travel.

Mobile technology creates a completely different experience at the airport, for both the customer and airline. A good mobile app adds to the customer experience, and creates brand loyalty. Users are able to easily check in and be notified of any flight delays or gate changes. For the airline, apps make it possible to pass information to the traveler immediately, which ultimately eliminates confusion and makes the traveler’s experience less stressful. In addition to communicating with the customer, airlines use mobile apps to create an easy user experience for their customers, with the ability to manage your trips, check-in, and pay for checked baggage and flight extras such as wi-fi, all in one application. In 2018, it is expected that 79% of airports around the world will offer CRM tools in their mobile apps to help track customer behavior and improve personalization and brand loyalty, up from 30% in 2015.

Airlines are looking to extend the customer experience in 2018. They plan to evolve their apps to create a digital travel companion experience, rather than just taking the customer from point A to point B. By integrating third-party companies into their app, they can make the app a one-stop shop for customers. The recent JetBlue and Lyft partnership allows customers to earn JetBlue loyalty points when they use the ride-sharing service, and American Airlines and Grab Food partnered to provide customers with the ability to pre-order food at the airport.

Companies such as TripAdvisor, Expedia and Booking.com have utilized the benefits of mobile technology, using their respective apps to notify customers of deals and flash sales. In addition to booking travel, TripAdvisor expanded its services to let customers grade and review airlines. In 2018, the focus will be on using location, previous purchase history and demographic trends to push last minute offers to travelers while they are in destination, completing the full trip lifecycle.

Industry experts predict 70% of all booking transactions will be via mobile by 2020. As technology continues to evolve, so will the way consumers and businesses interact. It’s important for companies who are serious about mobile communication with their customer to listen to their demands. And it looks like in 2018, consumers will be getting what they want—mobile.

The Right Place and Right Time: The Google Pixel Launches

 

Since the first release in 2007, the iPhone has become the world’s most popular smart phones – selling more than 800 million devices worldwide. Nine years later, Apple has kept the innovative trend, by introducing a series of new models of the iPhone, each with new cutting-edge features. Apple’s latest edition, the iPhone 7, boasts new specs such as its waterproof capability and a 12 megapixel camera. Of course Apple’s competition is not far behind. Apple has been competing against major players such as Samsung, which has sold more than 200 million Galaxy models, since their first release in 2010. However, with Samsung experiencing a series of glitches with their Galaxy Note 7 release, the company is losing market share and possibly loyal customers. This could result in a serious momentum shift for Apple, but there is another competitor entering the market. On October 4th, 2016, one of the world’s leading technology powerhouses launched the Google Pixel. To Google, it is not just any smart phone, it is a Google phone.

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL have been positioned in the market as premium devices with the capabilities to compete against major players such as Apple and Samsung.  Ana Corrales, Vice President of Global Operations and Google Store, claims that the Pixel is a device that will give users choice. “We’re not necessarily trying to compete against Apple. We’re just trying to provide choice at every level and continue our Android strategy.”   Google might want to claim that they are not trying to directly compete against major players, but their latest device suggest otherwise. The Google Pixel comes with a dedicated switch capability that allows users to transfer photos, videos, contacts, messages and more from one device to the other. The Pixel also hosts a feature called Google Allo, which allows users to video call their contacts. These features are coincidentally quite similar to the iCloud and Facetime function available on the iPhone. With this new capability, Google is able to target a wide range of customers, beyond just iPhone and Samsung users. The Google Pixel is targeting anyone with a Gmail account.

There are millions of individuals utilizing Gmail and Google services for either personal or work related purposes. Subsequently, there are also thousands of corporations and institutions that use the Gmail platforms as their internal business communication tool.  The Google Pixel phone will allow users to seamlessly integrate their work and personal documents in one space without compromising storage – a feature that could be attractive to millions of Google users. Although Apple provides its users with 5GB of free iCloud storage and Samsung offers 15GB free storage, the Google Pixel provides users with free unlimited cloud storage – something the competition simply can’t match at this time.

Google is finding its own voice in a market that Apple and Samsung have dominated for almost a decade. The introduction of the Pixel gives Google another opportunity to showcase their capabilities as another telecom tech giant. According to Digitimes, approximately 3-4 million Google Pixel units are expected to be sold by the end of 2016. The Google Pixel might not set record numbers, in terms of worldwide sales, but it has the opportunity to show consumers what the first generation of Google phones are capable of doing. The Google brand’s prestige will attract a myriad of customers trying to find the next generation of smart phones. This is an opportunity for the Pixel to become a huge success. It is still uncertain what the main impact of the Pixel will be against major players like Apple and Samsung. Regardless, the Google Pixel is raising the bar for new parameters in the smart phone industry. We are standing by to see what happens when the Pixel hits the market this October.

 

The Nine Circles Of Survey Research Hell

 

When Dante Alighieri was composing the Inferno section of his epic poem, the Divine Comedy, he was surely thinking of online survey content and execution. Okay, maybe he was thinking of something else. Nonetheless, Dante’s visionary landscape of falling into a place where everything around you burns to ruin can apply to various situations. It certainly applies to how shoddy survey research can incinerate your market research.

Let’s keep it heavenly then, by avoiding these survey circle hells.

 

First Circle (Limbo)

 

 

This place (or state of being) is not that bad. It’s full of nice gardens where pagans like Plato, Virgil and Julius Caesar hang out. They never had a chance to convert to Dante’s religion, but get a pass for being notable and thus hang out in blandness for eternity.

Here on earth, that’s the problem when it comes to market research. Nothing happens. You’ve released a survey, and it’s as quiet as a Nickelback internet fan site. Response rates are low. Why is this happening?

How to get out of this hell: There are many explanations, as you will see, found by plunging deeper into the rest of the survey circle hells.

 

Second Circle (Lust)

 

 

In Dante’s poem, the condemned here float continually by the fury of strong winds. It’s an allegory of what happens when one lacks emotional control. Helen of Troy is imprisoned here, and surely Bill Clinton and Don Draper will join her in time.

For researchers: You’ve allowed your passion for the project to pollute the survey. You have a bias, and it’s often unconscious. As one researcher wrote:

One of the leading causes of misleading survey data is researcher bias that comes directly from the survey writer. This bias is sneaky. It’s caused by survey creators who innocently influence the results to reach an outcome they hope or expect to reach. It’s sneaky because survey creators are typically unaware it’s happening.

How to get out of this hell: Allow others to edit the questionnaire; keep questions concise and neutral; offer opt-out questions so other souls don’t drink (and later spew) your Kool-Aid.

 

Third Circle (Gluttony)

 

 

Here the three-headed mutt, Cerberus, makes sure that all gluttons linger in frozen, dirty slush (people in Chicago can relate when commuting in the wintertime).

For researchers: You’ve overstuffed your questionnaire. As our research reveals, respondent fatigue sets in at approximately 20 minutes of a survey. Respondent fatigue may result in respondents exerting less effort and spending less time thinking about their answers.

How to get out of this hell: Keep questionnaires as short as possible; keep your vocabulary simple or at least at the level of your audience; place important questions at the beginning.

 

Fourth Circle (Greed)

 

 

Greedy and hoarders end up stranded in this dimension, forever carrying bags of money they can never enjoy, under the control of Pluto (the Roman god of death, not Mickey’s dog).

For researchers: You’re pressured by a budget and end up skimping on respondent incentives. Bad move.

As we’ve reported, incentives have these benefits:

–  Response rates that are 10-15% higher
–  Improved response rates from hard-to-reach groups
–  Increase efficiency, especially when it comes to non-response follow-ups

How to get out of this hell: Reward your survey participants, bro. With online surveys flooding the market these days, it might not be an option—unless you want to carry around bags of non-filled surveys for Pluto.

 

Fifth Circle (Anger)

 

 

For some reason, Dante envisioned this place being the River Styx with the condemned floating on or under its icy waters. We do find a city called Dis that is about as attractive as Gary, Indiana.

For researchers: You won’t let anyone edit your survey, or you place too many trap questions (which we revealed can harm survey data—by shifting the thinking of respondents to critical thinking from “optimal thinking,” the state of mind they reason as they normally would in daily life). No one better get in the way of your research project, or it’s Khan wrath, baby!

How to get out of this hell: Place fewer trap questions and make sure there is a second or third set of eyes on your questionnaire. Yes, these circles overlap like an infernal slinky.

 

Sixth Circle (Heresy)

 

 

Welcome to an eternal landscape of flaming tombs. You should avoid this place at any cost unless you’re doing a heavy metal video.

For researchers: What is worse a heresy in market research than not checking your data? As examples, you don’t notice that some respondents are finishing surveys in less than 30%-50% of the median time; that others are marking the same line in each question; or that some are even leaving a Christmas Tree pattern in the survey (it does happen!).

How to get out of this hell: Double-check, my friend, like we keep saying, and don’t go at it alone.

 

Seventh Circle (Violence)

 

 

Witness a place where all violent thugs spend time beating each other up, under the governance of a Minotaur, harpies and whatever monster Dante must have found in his ancient copy of World of Warcraft. It’s a cosmic Fight Club!

For researchers:  Your survey research may not be threatening you, but a lack of empathy can be just as perilous. As qSample’s president Rudly Raphael stated:

Companies need to have more empathy for the research participant. The person(s) who writes the survey instrument should ask themselves if they could sit through that survey for 25-30 minutes. Companies should make surveys fun and engaging, regardless of the topic. They should test their surveys over and over again to identify the fatigue points in the survey. This is usually the area where data integrity is compromised.

How to get out of this hell: Did you not hear Rudly through the din of the harpies? Cultivate empathy. Picture yourself taking the survey, perhaps on a smartphone waiting for a bus in the rain. Picture the vocabulary of your audience as well as their habits.

 

Eighth Circle (Fraud)

 

 

Some monster called Geryon goes around in this place harassing all manner of fraudsters. We’re sure that this includes the founders of the startup you invested in back in 2012.

For researchers: It’s still surprising that so many researchers don’t communicate to participants the length of the questionnaire or clearly explain the purpose of the survey. They avoid placing progress bars or timers. They don’t engage the respondents after the survey. It may not be a scam, but it certainly makes survey participants provide lesser data quality.

How to get out of this hell: Like the figures who guided Dante in Inferno, take a journey with your respondents. That in itself lets them know that they’re actually heading to a paradise.

 

Ninth Circle (Treachery)

 

 

This level is the sucky-suck of all places. It’s hot, and you’ve got the company of such fiends as Cain, Mordred, and Judas. Need we say more? Should we include Carrot Top to seal the deal?

For researchers: We don’t have to say anything else, really, pointing to the vibe of the Seventh and Eighth Circle. Your survey ultimately represents your brand or client. You are truly your respondent’s keeper. Anything but utmost professionalism can go beyond compromising survey data and response rates. It may hinder future surveys.

How to get out of this hell: If you’re this low, ignored all the advice from the other circles, then may it’s time switch to selling insurance or swindling people by founding a startup. There is little hope.

 

Conclusion

 

 

At the end of Inferno, Dante crawls through the center of the earth and enters Purgatory. If you avoid these circles in your survey research projects, you won’t have to worry about any purgation. You’ll be already rising through heavens of quality data.

 

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The Dominance of Email: Penetration and Performance

 

Many in the research industry banged the mobile drum as if mobile data collection would replace online in only a few years. This mindset, like other delusions of grandeur, ignored the clear challenges ahead for such a victory. Mobile data collection certainly managed some progress in the space and according to the latest GRIT industry report published by Greenbook.org, it is producing some respectable numbers. However, it still has a long way to go; furthermore, it fell short of other outlandish claims like its potential to end email. The emergence of new research methods without question tears market share away from online data collection, but is that enough to say email is dying?

The tyrannosaurus and email belong to the same species according to many analyzing the impact of email in the age of mobile apps, omnichannel integration, and other competitive technology. Though other options certainly perform well, and possess growing user bases, email remains king with no signs of slowing down.

Users find email, as allegedly the most used application type, trustworthy, valuable, and comfortable in contrast to other options. It offers the versatility and ease of use other applications, even the most well-engineered, do not.

In the age of choice, with so many competing technologies and services, a stalwart like email endures attacks from all sides. Email stands in the way of new media organizations and application organizations that see an enemy rather than a resource to leverage, a view likely resulting from the dramatically different profit margins of email and SaaS. This article explores the state of email both as a channel and web application type, and its relationship with users.

 

The Birth of Email

 

 

The concept of mail, passing messages verbally or in written form, likely began ages ago. Documented evidence reveals Pharaohs utilized couriers to deliver documents throughout Egypt. Other regions eventually caught up to the infrastructure and theory of Egypt employing their own mail systems.

The United States’ mail system began in the late 1600s with personal mail delivered by associates and assistants. In this era, a governor established the first formal post system, between New York and Boston. 5 It took roughly over 200 years for the postal system of today to develop from poorly-constructed, individualized systems relying on various transportation methods. These cobbled together systems relied on odd combinations of coaches, horseback, steam ships, trains, and hot air balloons.

Military communication, in its never-ending quest for new and better technology, spawned a plethora of tools, however, the military nor its internet birthed email. Email began humbly in the early 60s as nothing more than shared access (i.e., time-sharing) to a system, much like the collaborative software used today. People placed messages in another user’s directory through the mainframe they shared and accessed with workstations.

When the military’s ARPANET grew, like other aspects of computer use, email experienced dramatic changes in use and technology. Email, a defining moment for ARPANET, arguably saved the project and gave us the internet.

Today, email remains the most important type of application on the internet. Some believe it transformed the internet from something critical only to certain users to something the average person wanted to use.

 

Trends

 

 

Business Email 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Average Daily Email 105 110 115 120 125
 
Average Received 72 75 78 81 84
 
Average Sent 33 35 37 39 41

Table 1: Corporate Emails Sent and Received Daily Per User 2012 to 2015 23

 

Daily Email Traffic 2013 2014 2015
Sent/Received Per Day 182.9 191.4 196.4
Growth 5.00% 3.00%
Business Emails 100.5 108.8 116.2
Growth 8.00% 7.00%

Table 2: International Daily Email Traffic 2013 to 2015 22

 The steady growth, and continued growth, of email coincides with penetration of communications technology and services. Email began with expensive computers only accessible to public organizations, businesses, and those of means; however, as the technology developed, prices fell.

The early 90s saw the internet opened to the general public as prices continued to drop, and distribution of product expanded. The internet reached substantial public penetration by the late 90s, and connection speeds grew. Mobile technology prices, as a result of Palm devices, plummeted, and found their way to the general market. Mobile devices and supporting wireless service too began to see prices dip, improved speeds, and more penetration.

The cultural response to the technology held just as much power as its progress and expansion. Though absolutely absurd, the average person was convinced (by marketing and their peers) to acquire a cell phone. This came after years of viewing the devices as practical only for critical professions (e.g., medicine and military). Mobile technology morphed into a status symbol and trend with entertainers singing about the latest devices. Individuals and organizations also promoted the idea that people without the devices were troglodytes. Despite trends and marketing, the technology did (and continues to) enhance quality of life such as supporting education, productivity, and socializing.

In this era with new connected devices continuing to emerge and support related technology, the presence of services like email only grows. Email clients for Apple mobile devices currently dominate the client market space.

email statistics graph

A readership survey from Success magazine reveals in-person and email (40%) communication as the two most preferred forms.15 A study conducted by NewVoiceMedia found 19% of respondents considered email the  most effective way of contacting businesses and solving problems.16 A MarketingSherpa study shows 72% prefer for this communication to occur via email; furthermore, email outperformed traditional media and new media. Email proved popular across almost every demographic.

An ExactTarget survey found email to be the favored channel for deal searching, sharing content from family and friends, and financial alerts.18 A recent syndicated research conducted by qSample.com  explored workplace productivity tools, and more than 51% of those surveyed preferred email to in-person meetings, email besting all other forms of business communication.

 

The Big 3: Gmail, Yahoo, and MSN

 

 

Three free online email services currently dominate the space and public awareness: Gmail, Yahoo! mail, and MSN (an umbrella for Outlook, Hotmail, and Live mail) mail. Hotmail began as one of the first free webmail services, and shortly after launch, Microsoft acquired the service. Yahoo benefited tremendously from the dotcom era, and quickly acquired a promising company for its Rocketmail webmail service. Both companies enjoyed popularity and a high profile during their eras as fresh and appealing companies. At the time, Google remained an almost obscure metasearch engine.

Both email services generally satisfied users, but suffered from performance issues due to their simple HTML design. Google, one of the first large organizations to recognize its potential, developed a service using dynamic code now known as AJAX. Their design featured a robust service with function more like an application than a site.

Gmail boasts 900 million users as of May 2015 with MSN claiming over 400 million (as of January 2016), and Yahoo estimating 273 million (as of February 2014). Outlook’s support for over 100 languages and Gmail’s support for over 70 further extends their reach in existing and growing international markets. 26 Litmus, an email marketing testing and analytics application, analyzes and publishes email market share data. 11 Litmus data reveals Gmail holds 15% of the market while MSN holds 5% and Yahoo stands at 3%.

Users associate certain email addresses with professionalism, and consider email as essential as a phone number. A report from Visible Logic, Inc. reveals 70% of respondents believed non-domain-level email addresses made an individual appear unprofessional, “lazy,” and “cheap.” They ranked a branded email as most professional, with Gmail in second place.

 

The Future of Email

 

 

Email use, applications, and the needs it satisfies remain essentially the same as decades ago. Only its integration has experienced substantial change such as creating accounts, customer support, account management, and more.

Email serves a need not easily replaced because strong options (e.g., text, collaborative software, mobile apps, and social media) fail to pull users away.6 Many SaaS based research tools, like QuestionPro, collect hundred of thousand of surveys monthly, using email as a vehicle to invite users to participate in such surveys. These numbers continue to increase steadily year after year.

Of course, one cannot argue that the medium is causing some level of fatigue, among email recipients who are constantly exposed to a barrage of product offers, sales pitches, network invitations, etc. It will be up to email marketers to find a better way to sanitize and communicate their message. However, the argument that email is dying is as absurd today as it was 5 years ago when people like Facebook’s co-founder (Dustin Moskovitz) made that claim.

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The Man Who Predicted the Internet & Today’s Media Landscape

It is a rare occurrence when an academic reaches widespread fame beyond their specialties, such as in the case of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, or Joseph Campbell. It is almost unheard of for such a figure to be essentially prophetic when it comes to cultural and market shifts in society.

That individual would be Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher of communication theory and a public intellectual. In the 60s, he held the same public prominence as such pop intellectuals as Andy Warhol and Timothy Leary. McLuhan was honored yearly by hippies with a festival in San Francisco, regularly appeared on television talk shows, advised John Lennon, and later in the 70s made a cameo in the film Annie Hall.

All of this attention to McLuhan, who was basically a dry scholar, was due to his pioneering ideas. One such idea was the prediction of the internet—something only touched upon in science fiction by authors like William Gibson.

By understanding McLuhan’s ideas—these days somewhat overlooked like his past fame—one can certainly gain insights on today’s seemingly frenetic media landscape and market research.

 

But Did He Really Predict the Internet?

“We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”
― Marshall McLuhan

It is rarely disputed by scholars or biographers that McLuhan foretold the internet. 30 years before the World Wide Web came into the scene, in 1968, McLhuhan wrote in his book The Gutenberg Galaxy:

The next medium, whatever it is—it may be the extension of consciousness will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.

McLuhan used the term “surfing” for traveling across this new medium, and is the originator of the term “Global Village.” To him, though, the new medium would be more like the Wild West and less like a Golden Age. As he wrote:

When people get close together, they get more and more savage, impatient with each other. The global village is a place of very arduous interfaces and very abrasive situations.

One does not have to go far to see his oracular words come true in the caustic neighborhoods of the internet: anonymous comment sections, social media bullying, Laissez-faire male sexuality on Reddit, and downright societal revolution of hackers on 4Chan.

McLuhan made other contributions to advertising, marketing, and media theory, but it was his ability to see patterns in societal evolution that impressed so many. As biographer Douglas Coupland explained in a New York Times article:

One must remember that Marshall arrived at these conclusions not by hanging around, say, NASA or I.B.M., but rather by studying arcane 16th-century Reformation pamphleteers, the writings of James Joyce, and Renaissance perspective drawings. He was a master of pattern recognition, the man who bangs a drum so large that it’s only beaten once every hundred years.

The article further states that McLuhan “came up with a theory of media generation and consumption so plastic and fungible that it describes the current age without breaking a sweat.”

In addition, McLuhan deeply studied and warned of the darker effects of mass media on the mind long before any therapist or sociologist. In the end, though, McLuhan is probably best known for his timeless adage:

The medium is the message.

 

What Does That Mean?

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.”
― Marshall McLuhan

“The medium is the message” may same sound strange in a world where content is king and big data is savior. Yet it does make sense, especially when McLuhan explained that a characteristic of a medium is it being an extension of a culture. Consequently, how a civilization embraces and reacts to a medium is just as relevant as the information it expresses. To McLuhan, “the medium is the message” primarily meant that not only should the content and data be studied, but the very medium that hosts is as well. As an example, McLuhan would contend that an ancient oral society would be more honest and honorable than a writing society, simply because of the more necessary honesty that is face-to-face communication.

To McLuhan, “the medium is the message” primarily meant that not only should the content and data be studied, but the very medium that hosts is as well as it rewires the very brainwaves of humans. As an example, McLuhan would contend that an ancient oral society would be more honorable in many ways than a writing society, simply because of the more honesty necessary for face-to-face communication.

Wikipedia further states on “the medium is the message”:

For McLuhan, it was the medium itself that shaped and controlled “the scale and form of human association and action”. Taking the movie as an example, he argued that the way this medium played with conceptions of speed and time transformed “the world of sequence and connections into the world of creative configuration and structure.” Therefore the message of the movie medium is this transition from “lineal connections” to “configurations”.

Likewise, the message of a newscast about a heinous crime may be less about the individual news story itself — the content — and more about the change in public attitude towards crime that the newscast engenders by the fact that such crimes are in effect being brought into the home to watch over dinner.

 

How is This Relevant to Market Research?

“We don’t know who discovered water, but we know it wasn’t the fish.”
― Marshall McLuhan

Today, it has become essential for any marketing to navigate various online mediums (often at once), in order to understand both shifting consumer sentiments and even brands themselves. Many marketers and researchers feel that we are entering a fruitful yet intricate era of qualitative research. Companies like Google and Microsoft, who combine predictive analytics and big data, certainly advocate prognosticating future consumer patterns as much as present behavior within online mediums.

Here is an example of “the medium is the message,” from our own primary research. In Mobile Vs. Online White Paper, we found that respondents using mobile technology were far more enthusiastic and engaged in surveys than those using personal computers. The quality of data was superior overall. Basically, the medium was the message, and that message was that respondents were more open and content within the medium of mobile technology.

There are other examples, but the main point is that not only is the psychology of consumers more important than ever, but how it changes like a chameleon in different online ecosystems.

The Global Village may not be the utopia researchers and idealists expected, far from it, but McLuhan would be very eager to engage this Wild West (he left the mass media called life in 1980). That is until he predicted the next great media arrival, which most experts wouldn’t even know was here.

Then again, McLuhan did once comment: “I don’t necessarily agree with everything that I say.”

5 Veterinarian & Pet Health Trends Taking Over

Veterinarian taking sample from kitten's mouth with qtip

What does the future hold? For the veterinarian industry, it means Marmaduke strides in pet healthcare. Everyone wants to be able to keep their furry friends healthy, and with the new trends of the future it is becoming easier and more manageable.

With that in mind, here are five trends that are creating a vast impact in the veterinarian industry:

Holistic Medicine

 

 

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association defines holistic medicine as “treatment that is minimally invasive.” This means the techniques and products used to treat the animal cause less physical stress and typically produce fewer side effects than with traditional drugs.

According to statistic from the National Center for Health Statistics, almost 40% of Americans in 2007 utilized holistic medicine (also referred to as integrative/complementary/alternative medicine).

Holistic medicine’s popularity has sprung from the fact that many pet owners have personal experience with alternative medicine themselves (herbology, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic, etc.). In turn, they are searching for less invasive ways to treat their pets. Holistic medicine is traditionally a natural, nonintrusive, and often affordable alternative that focuses on preventative treatments—as well as the emotional wellbeing of the patient. For more information on the topic, visit our article Is Holistic Medicine for Pet Care the Next Big Trend?

Pet Insurance

 

 

Treatment for pets isn’t cheap, and pet owners don’t mind putting down the money. According to a recent survey by Kroger Co., 61% of pet owners say they’d spend between $100 and $1,000 for life saving medical treatment. Another 15% would be willing to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for treatment. 10% of owners said they would be willing to pay $3,000 or more for medical care if their pet required it.

Beyond the heroic sentiment, animal health insurance has become increasingly popular in a world of unexpected veterinarian costs and tightening budgets. Several years ago, few companies existed that offer animal health insurance. Now the market is booming. Our internal research found that 97% of pet owners surveyed had personal health insurance, and 60% of those employed animal health insurance for their pets. Pets Best and Petplan were the most popular choices.

Women Veterinarians

 

 

Women have come a long way from what once a male-dominated field. The Houston Chronicle reported: “As of 2010, the veterinary profession was about 50% men and 50% women, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.”

Fast forward two years, the percentage of female veterinarian students grew immensely in 2012. Dvm360 noticed this trend when more than 75% of graduates were women, with Tufts University leading the pack with almost 88% of its graduating class represented by female students. The current enrollment in veterinarian medical colleges is approximately 80% female.

Move over boys, the girls are taking over.

Mobile Technology

 

 

Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone and access to mobile apps, and this is spreading into the animal kingdom.

Mobile technology has facilitated the communication between pet owners and veterinarians. Through numerous mobile apps and automated SMS messages, facilities can transmit patient test results, appointment reminders, and notifications pertaining to new services and/or medications. Clinic techs are even able to perform an x-ray on pets and send it to the veterinarian for a review within just a few minutes.

Other apps that assist pet owners are real-time webcams to ensure the safety of animals (and slippers, too!), pet training programs, and (yes) social media platforms exclusively for pets.

Exotic Pets

 

 

There are no sightings of a Baby Groot as of yet, but exotic pets is certainly a trend. For example, in the UK alone:

“The number of monkeys and other primates being kept as pets has soared to an estimated 9,000 animals in England and Wales as rising interest in exotic creatures fuels demand while the internet makes them easier to trade.”

According to the American Pet Products Association, cats and dogs were still king in the pet world in 2013, but already 19.4 million U.S. households owned exotic animals. The term “exotic” is loosely defined, but it commonly refers to reptiles, amphibians, birds, and small mammals. The reasons for owning exotic animals go beyond just being provocative and unusual; they can include being suitable for people with allergies (as with reptiles) or that they require less space than dogs or cats (as with hamsters).

In other words, it’s not just hipster monkey business.

We are still waiting for that flying car and commercial trip to the moon. Yet it’s wonderful to know we are close to a future where a large percentage and variety of animals are treated well and with the best possible care. With the continued support of a maturing and hard-working veterinarian profession, all dogs might possibly be in heaven while on earth.

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Our top 10 FREE Apps for Enjoying the NBA Playoffs!

The NBA Playoffs began on April 19th, and it’s looking to be one for the history books. For the first time since the beginning of the NBA, the Lakers, Celtics, and New York Knicks are all missing from the playoffs at once, but the fans aren’t missing anything.

With TV coverage, live streaming online, smartphone and tablet apps, forums, and much more, the list of ways that fans can interact seems endless. That’s why we looked into the best ways to stay updated and connect with everything.

For smartphones, most people opt for the NBA League Pass app. This app allows users to stream games live, and catch news, scores, alerts, stats, and much more. Usually it costs $55 to receive content, but since the regular season is over it will only cost $16.99 to catch the playoffs. Android users will need the NBA Game time 2014 app to use your league pass.

Of course, not everyone wants to dish out the big bucks for that kind of access, so we’ve also decided to put together a list of Top Ten Currently Popular Playoff Apps for Your iPhone and iPad, and since we want fans to spend their money on something useful, like tickets, snacks, and a bigger TV, all of these apps can be downloaded for free!

Top Ten Currently Popular Playoff Apps for Your iPhone and iPad

1.      WatchESPN

2.      Yahoo Sports

3.      FanFinder – Sports Bar Locator

4.      365Scores – Sports Live Scores, Results & News

5.      Yahoo! Sportacular HD

6.      Betting Odds – Vegas Lines, Picks, Scores

7.      KNBR

8.      Playoff Hoops

9.      Tickets on the Fly

10.  Beyond the Box: Real-time sports Instagram photos and

 

Warning, these apps may be free, but as always, some have fees to unlock features, so the full experience may still cost a few bucks!