Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve heard of, used, and/or own an Apple product. When Apple first debuted the iPhone in 2007, it revolutionized smartphones and changed the industry. The touchscreen was unlike anything else on the market, and with a price of $399, took some getting used to for the average consumer. However, over the past ten years, we have become accustomed to and grown to expect a higher price point for the sort of innovation Apple produces. There are now more than 700 million iPhones currently in use worldwide, and that number is expected to grow 13% over the next year.
On November 3rd, their most anticipated product was released, the iPhone X. iPhone release day has become something of a national holiday for Apple fans, and the iPhone X release was no different. In cities all over the world, eager customers camped out in hopes of purchasing the $999 phone. According to Apple’s website, the phones were sold out in Apple stores by day end in New York, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Austin, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Apple has earned a reputation as an industry innovator, and the iPhone X doesn’t disappoint. The iPhone X has facial recognition so you can bypass the fingerprint entry. Also, the home button has been removed, allowing for the high-resolution screen to cover almost all of the device, and Apple promises an additional two hours of battery life. Now for what all the cool kids are already talking about: Animojis. You can create animated emoji animals that mirror more than 50 different muscle movements of your face.
These features sound very cool, but we wanted to know—does any of that really matter to the average consumer when they are deciding which new phone to buy? We polled over 300 people across the United States to see if features such as the newest technology and brand name outweigh a steep price tag to the average mobile phone consumer. We found that an overwhelming 80% of respondents are most interested in a moderate price point. The newest technology is a selling point for 50% of our respondents, but only 29% feel features such as a megapixel camera are extremely important. 24% are interested in the brand name, and 84% of our audience is looking for a phone with a long battery life.
Apple has assembled a cult of followers, and they are always eager to purchase the newest model. Reception across the board for the iPhone X has been mostly positive, with many users saying this changes what we’ll look for in a phone from now on. Every few years, Apple has come up with a new product that turns the market upside down, and it sounds like the Apple X is no different. But if you’re not interested in the newest technology and features, there are many other great, conservatively-priced options on the market.
As usual, Amazon is on the move and presenting even more great ideas. In 2017, we have plenty to look forward to when it comes to shopping. Amazon will be opening the Amazon Go store to the public in early portion of the new year. The store will be like no other grocery store. There will be no cashiers, instead shoppers will use a mobile app to enter the store, gather what they need, and walk out. This takes artificial intelligence to the next level as innovative “walk out technology” will track what customers placed in their shopping bags and charge their Amazon accounts for those items. They are also making strides in their drone delivery system as well . The company’s first commercial drone delivery was announced last week. As large companies like Amazon strives towards creating an easy and fast shopping platform for users, these concepts leave room to be explored through market research. Amazon is accelerating technology and influencing consumer behavior. To complete these tasks effectively and keep the momentum going, an intense amount of market research is necessary.
With every new technological update or product release, there is a sense of unpredictability with how the consumer will react. This is where market research becomes pivotal. Conducting research before, during, and after the update can help understand the consumers’ mindset and the market conditions that affect their habits. Market research can also help shape and mold product revamps. Amazon is currently conducting research internally with their employee base. The Amazon Go store is currently open to Amazon employees, this a way to test the store before it opens to the public. Once the store is open to the general population, it would be helpful to gather a diversified sample of people who have been to the store and people who have not. Collecting their thoughts and opinions through an online platform could be beneficial in understanding what would draw more people to become customers.
Consumers’ behavior is also being influenced by Amazon’s innovations. This behavior is always changing due to what is made available in the marketplace. We have seen the preference of visiting brick and mortar facilities ebb and flow as online shopping has made great advancements. Amazon has ventures in both of these avenues and because of their impact on the market, it directs consumers towards their products. For example, the drone delivery service fuels the consumer’s’ need for immediacy. Although consumers are constantly shopping online, they still want the sense of immediacy achieved when they are shopping in-store. The drone delivery system marries the comfort and ease of online shopping with the sense of immediate access. However, Amazon will still need to conduct more market research to understand how consumers perceive their idea. With mixed emotions regarding the use of drones, market research could be conducted with a sample of the general population to gather public opinion. Amazon could also gather information to establish a price point for the service that consumers would find acceptable, whether than the consumer resulting to other delivery methods.
Ultimately, market research is the key ingredient for a company to be successful. When new products or services are introduced into the marketplace, in-depth market research offers insights into the consumers’ mindset and predictions on how the product or service will be perceived. Market research can help a company make changes or updates that fit the consumers’ lifestyle as well as show how much they are willing to pay for it. Companies like Amazon who are constantly releasing new innovations can benefit from collecting information through on-line sample.
For more information on how to conduct market research with online sample, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
We recently conducted a survey with our general consumer panel to explore consumer’s online decision-making process, in which over 320 respondents participated in the survey. The findings reveal that the majority of respondents find online review to be a critical piece to their purchasing decision.
Respondents who participated in the survey fall in the following demographic bracket:
– Male (44%), Female (56%)
– Millennial (22%), Generation X (40%), Boomer (31%), Silent (7%)
– Urban (55%), Suburban (34%), Rural (11%)
How do they surf the web?
In general, the most popular platform of web surfing is computer, as indicated by 63% of the respondents, followed by phone (25%) and tablet (12%). When cross-tabulated this particular dataset with age/generation data, we found out that phone usage, in terms of web surfing, declines by increase in age.
Interestingly, when it comes to surfing the web on tablet PCs, the data reveals that baby boomers were far ahead of other generations. This perhaps should be a sign for businesses to optimize their web pages for various mobile platforms, regardless of their customer base.
Do they trust online reviews?
98% of the respondents indicated that they generally trust online reviews, and they develop higher confidence with the product or service after reading 6 or more reviews, which are posted within a month. Millennials and Generation X respondents tend to read more reviews (11+) before making a purchasing decision.
Furthermore, when they were asked if they trust online reviews as much as peer recommendations, a striking 84% of the respondents agreed that they do.
Where do they read reviews?
42% of the respondents indicated that they find the reviews through major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.), followed by Amazon at 28% and major social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) at 21%. Surprisingly, while Yelp is considered to be a popular business review resource, only 6% of our respondents indicated that they use Yelp for business review. Other sources included consumer reports and manufacturer websites.
92% of the respondents indicated that they find better deals as a result of reading online reviews. Our data revealed that social media sites ranked as number one places for discount deals, followed by Amazon and search engines.
Our findings is further illustrated in the infographic below:
qSample surveyed alumni from Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, UPenn, Yale, Dartmouth, and UChicago to find out what their purchase preferences for technology products are like. Below is a summary of the findings:
Social Media may rule our lives, as qSample has demonstrated. Yet when it comes to marketing or simply engaging deeply with our audiences, email is the king of all internet media (as our president Rudly Raphael proved in his article The Dominance of Email).
The queen might be text messaging. It’s often overlooked as an efficient form of marketing, according to Small Business Trends. Regardless, the relevance of text messaging as a medium is astounding. For example, check these statistics:
– Texting is the most frequently used app on smartphones–with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day. – More than six billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day. – People worldwide will send 8.3 trillion text messages in 2016 alone. That’s almost 23 billion messages per day or almost 16 million messages per minute. – Text messaging has a 45% response rate, while email only has a 6% response rate. – Over 80% of adults text, making it the most common phone activity. – Text messages brag a 98% open rate, while email only delivers a 20% open rate.
For more context and awe, we present you our latest infographic (and please text your friends or colleagues about it; they’ll open it more than if you email them this data):
A book taking the business world by storm is Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Startup Bubble, written by Dan Lyons. The work is a scathing critique of tech startups and their Wonderland-meets-the-Hunger-Games sensibility, centered mostly on Lyons’ stint as a marketer for inbound software company HubSpot.
I haven’t laughed out loud in years while reading a book—although weeping might have been a more suitable reaction in various sections. Lyons describes the new normal of tech startups: a work culture that exploits workers within racist, misogynistic and ageist ecosystems; a business model that fosters neo-feudal economic realities where a few get very rich while the middle class gets atomized; an Orwellian atmosphere of mystic Groupthink where workers fall on their swords while simultaneously glorifying egomaniacal founders and supporting mediocre management.
Lyons, a former Newsweek reporter and current writer for the HBO hit Silicon Valley, makes HubSpot the centerpiece to his case for the toxic malady that are tech startups on the American workforce biology. Witness hallways teaming with beer taps, free candy, orange bean bags and overworked Hipsters. Witness endless meetings where a founder bestows a teddy bear an exclusive seat at the conference table. Witness realms of magic realism math where a company that has never made a profit can go public. And witness that Doublespeak tech lingo where a fired employee is called a “graduate” and never spoken of again, while management goes around telling employees that 1+1= 3 (and they better believe and make it happen).
That’s just scratching the surface of Disrupted. However, one can tell that Lyons does have fondness, empathy and even admiration for HubSpot. Personally, I can say HubSpot has brought value and useful information to my marketing life.
Lyons’ true wrath falls on an individual who seems to exemplify the corruption and greed of tech startups.
“The Ron Burgundy of Tech,” Lyons calls this person (and is the title of a chapter in his Disrupted). This is none other than Marc Benioff, the billionaire founder and CEO of Salesforce. Lyons’ revelation of Benioff occurred when he attended Dreamforce—Salesforce’s annual conference in San Francisco in late 2013. We might as well get to his insights from the book.
He starts the chapter by offering this formula:
Imagine Joel Osteen pumped up on human growth hormone. Imagine there’s a secret government lab where scientists have blended the DNA of Tony Robbins with the DNA of Harold Hill, the aw-shucks shifty salesman from The Music Man. Imagine a grizzly bear in a pinstriped suit, standing on his hind legs and talking about changing the world through disruptive innovation and transformation.
That’s how Lyons sees Benioff, watching him give the keynote speech at the Moscone Center.
The critique gets worse.
Lyons calls him “a buffoon, a bulls**t artist, and such an out-of-control egomaniac that it is painful to listen to him talk.” He says Benioff is like “some kind of cheesy talk-show host, roaming up and down the aisles, a man of the people” saying astral remarks like “the speed of now” and “the internet of customers.” He further mocks at how Benioff states: “Have you transformed the way you innovate?” (you can switch the two buzzwords around, and it makes just as little sense).
“There’s an art to this kind of horses**t, and Benioff is its Michelangelo,” Lyons declares, dejected at the speech while thousands of techies eagerly drink Benioff’s Kool-Aid. It gets worse for Lyons, as such figures as Sean Penn and Deepak Chopra appear to edify Benioff, while Huey Lewis and Green Day are prostituted to play at the festivities.
The rest of Dreamforce is a mixture of Roman debauchery and New Age spirituality. As mentioned, this where Lyons has his epiphany, the point the Red Pill fully goes down—for he sees Salesforce and the rest of the tech startup industry for they are (not companies who claim falsely, like Google and Apple, that they want to change the world). As he writes:
Having the best product has nothing to do with who wins. What matters is who can put on a great show, who can create the biggest spectacle, who can look huge and unstoppable and invincible, and who is the best at bluster and hype.
When it comes to these things, nobody comes close to Benioff. Nobody has cashed in on the bubble as well as he has. In 2012, Salesforce.com lost more than a quarter of a billion dollars, and in 2013 it will lose almost as much. In 2013 the company is fourteen years old and not making a profit. But its revenues are growing more than 30 percent each year, and growth is what investors are looking for, so even though Salesforce.com is bleeding red ink, its stock has doubled over the past two years, and Benioff’s personal net worth has soared to $ 2.6 billion.
Now, here in the Moscone Center, the P. T. Barnum of the tech industry is giving a master class in how the game is played. It’s the Marc Benioff show, brought to you by Marc Benioff, with special guest Marc Benioff. Fifteen thousand people are packed into this hall. Thousands more are packed into spillover rooms. It feels like a rock concert. In fact it is a rock concert.
Oddly enough, Lyons admits that he wanted to buy Salesforce software, such is the charisma of Benioff under the spectacle of watery lights and frenzied sound in the auditorium. More than a rock concert, the keynote speech event (and conference) is more like a religious revival where the audience devours the software like Communion.
Lastly, Lyons criticizes Benioff’s philanthropy because he makes it public and way to leverage customers—instead of being discreet like Bill Gates or other old tech guards. Okay, there’s more, but hopefully you have gained a taste of Disrupted and the alarm it sounds.
Personally, I’ve never used Salesforce and know little of Benioff. I suspect he has probably brought more light than darkness into the world. Still, Lyons characterization of the mogul, at the very least, is an allegory of what has befallen the tech startup industry. He is obviously not alone in this assessment (hey, there are more writers on Silicon Valley). The worst is not the dog and pony show of the tech startup industry, the smoke and mirrors full of self-mythologizing, or its vicious, Darwinist work philosophy dressed in Star Trek themes.
No, it’s the reality that, according to Lyons, another tech bubble bursting will soak the middle and lower classes even worse than in the 90s. Then the whole country will be disrupted in ways that might make the 2008 crash seem like a small interruption.
Note: A similar story appeared in Valleywag, Marc Benioff Is the Ron Burgundy of Tech, in 2013 and written by “Anonymous.” It’s not secret, though, that Lyons went to write for Valleywag after leaving HubSpot. No plot thickening here.
Netflix is undoubtedly one of the premier brands today. The Los Gatos, California company is so culturally revolutionary it’s even made the action of abusing television something cool. The phenomenon of “binge watching” has become a clarion call for Millennials and often a mating call for Hipsters. The vast wasteland that was television is now a vast paradise of streaming on mobile devices.
Netflix has changed many perceptions as well as overcome many societal and economic shifts—remaining at the top of the brand food chain.
Much of the success of Netflix can be attributed to founder and CEO, Reed Hastings. The essence of this former vacuum cleaner salesperson and Peace Corps volunteer can be found in Scott Smith’s book, Extraordinary People. The work uses primary and secondary interviews to mine the synergetic history of Netflix and Hastings. It showcases Hastings as a complex visionary, yet at his core with a practical approach to improving the lives and experiences of those around him.
A Common Sense Visionary
In his book, Smith reveals that the conception of Netflix didn’t begin so much with market research but a mixture of common sense and anger—the kind many of us perhaps felt decades ago when being wallet-raped by video companies like Blockbuster. A Smith writes:
The genesis of Netflix came in 1997, when Hastings misplaced a rented videotape, Apollo 13, and was hit with a late fine of $40. Afterwards, on his way to the gym, he wondered why a rental service couldn’t work like the gym: a flat fee for members to use it as much as they wanted with no late fees.
This thought-process led to the creation of Netflix. In May 1998, Hastings offered a free trial to initial adopters of DVDs for $4 rental and $2 postage. Few signed up to pay. However, a year later, he experimented with a flat monthly subscription with no late fees. The tweak worked. By the end of 2000, Netflix boasted 239,000 customers.
The company exploded, but still needed to overcome many hurdles in those early years such as:
– The dot-com bubble bust. – 9/11 and the ensuing soft economy. – Fierce competition from giants like Amazon, Blockbuster, and Walmart.
Nevertheless, in 2002 Netflix started setting up regional warehouses to speed up DVD distribution and went public after reaching 857,000 members by the end of the year. By 2004, membership ballooned to 2.6 million.
Eventually and not too long ago, Blockbuster went out of business. In retrospect, that Apollo 13 video Hastings rented might be the most expensive video in history.
A Daring Visionary
In 2007, inspired by the rise of YouTube videos, Hastings made a concerted effort to make Netflix into a streaming service. He saw the writing on the proverbial wall, but unfortunately missed a step when it came to execution, and the fall was hard. To this day, many Millennials and Hipsters must shudder when thinking of the disaster, which happened as follows:
Soon after being hailed the 2010 Company of the Year, being the U.S. Postal Service’s biggest customer, and being the largest source of Internet traffic in the evening—Netflix announced it was going to restructure its DVD business as a subsidiary called Qwikster. Customers who had been receiving disks and streaming movies under the same subscription would be forced to buy the services separately with higher prices. This business shift was done to accelerate the transition of Netflix from a company renting DVDs to a streaming service.
The reaction was vastly negative. The company’s stock dropped from its all-time high of $305 the day before to $64 in November of 2011. Close to a million customers cancelled subscriptions.
“I screwed up,” Hastings admitted soon after in a blog post. “If our business is about making people happy, then I made a big mistake. I slid into arrogance based on past success.”
He also called off the plan.
We all know how the story ends, of course (binge-watching reigns supreme). Fast Company called the turnaround “the biggest comeback in entertainment history.” And here we are, with Netflix being one of the most innovating, expanding and successful companies in the world.
A Company Culture Visionary
Beyond good ideas and reputation management, Hastings’ other achievement is creating a “culture of entrepreneurship” in his company. Netflix is notorious for paying and treating its employees well.
As Smith writes in his book, Netflix emphasizes the qualities it seeks in employees upfront in the hiring process:
1. Judgment—You identify root causes and get beyond treating symptoms.
2. Innovation—You keep us nimble by keeping things simple.
3. Impact—You focus on great results, rather than the process.
4. Curiosity—You contribute effectively outside of your specialty.
5. Communication—You listen well so that you understand before reacting.
6. Courage—You make tough decisions without excessive agonizing.
7. Honesty—You only say things about fellow employees you would say to their face.
8. Selflessness—You share information proactively.
9. Passion—You inspire others with your thirst for excellence.
Lastly, Extraordinary People presents real life lessons for all us lesser mortals who never swore revenge on a video store:
– Imagine your industry in 10 years and work towards that vision. – Deliver a high-quality customer experience no matter what. For most companies, that’s a slogan on a wall trumped by political infighting and treating front line workers as the least important. – Screen recruits for personality and values, not resume and technical skills. The specifics of a business can be learned by smart outsiders. – Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes quickly and learn lessons to prevent future errors. – Have a passion for whatever you do—making money is not a sufficient motive to get you through tough times.
Not everyone can be Hastings, and not everyone will work for a company like Netflix. However, everyone can use common sense marketing to find the needs of customers; and every company should understand that treating employees exceptionally more often than not fosters exceptional employees.
I would like to think I put the “pro” in procrastination (maybe not the “fun” in funny, but alas). I relate well with what author Robert Mckee once said:
I hold Olympic records for procrastination. I can procrastinate thinking about my procrastination problem. I can procrastinate dealing with my problem of procrastinating thinking about my procrastination problem.
Mckee and I are surely not alone in being the masters of our procrastination domains. Statistics would agree, revealing that procrastination is a widespread malady. According to The American Psychological Association, an estimated 20% of Americans are chronic procrastinators, costing one trillion dollars a year for businesses.
Yes, Dr. Evil, that was one trillion and not one million (or even billion). Procrastination is a problem, as you can see, layered like Shrek and confounding like Donkey.
There are solutions, though. They involve realizing we’ve misdiagnosed and mischaracterized procrastination for far too long. It’s time to know the enemy even if the enemy is mostly us.
Procrastination Is Not About Time But Emotion
In The Atlantic article The Procrastination Doom Loop, Derek Thompson provides an extensive evaluation on procrastination. Thompson quotes several experts, one a prominent psychologist who declares that procrastination “really has nothing to do with time-management. To tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, cheer up.”
In essence, we procrastinate because:
– We delay action because we’re in the wrong mood to complete a task. – We assume that our mood will change in the future.
All of this results in what is called a procrastination “doom loop,” where that negative mood begins a continuous feedback of anxiety, guilt and anger, all due to the very notion of confronting a task.
Here is a doom loop diagram from the article:
To combat the doom loop, Thompson’s research offers these remedies:
– Schedule one-shot reminders as late as possible—even slightly after you were supposed to start the project. Last-second reminders tend to exorcise any negative moods and ignite our fight instinct. – Have others create deadlines for us. Deadlines imposed by outsiders tend to be more effective than personal ones, even from friends or family. – Fool yourself into thinking a task is enjoyable or leisurely. Procrastinators are more likely to complete a piece of work if they’re persuaded it’s not truly work.
Procrastination Is Not About Being Passive But Impulsive
This might seem like a surprise, but an insightful article in Lifehacker offers the Red Pill to this aspect of procrastination. It’s actually very logical.
The articles explains:
In reality, impulsivity simply means that you act immediately on your impulses. When the mood strikes you to do something, you do it. Your actions are largely dictated by whatever your most immediate desire is, regardless of the long-term consequences of that action.
Procrastination is not so much about choosing not to work, but choosing the easiest task first, that proverbial low hanging fruit. As an example, we might decide to check Facebook instead of starting a report. Also, unhinged impulsiveness leads to unhinged anxiety, shutting down productivity across all spectrums.
People with ADD and substance abuse problems are pathologically impulsive. They tend to make the wrong choices to experience instant gratification. For the rest of us, it’s just damn Daniel all the way as we struggle with facing our projects.
– Practice mindfulness (even two minutes of meditation a day can assist in nurturing a poised mind). – Learn your red flags and plan around them (cursed be that “buy now” Amazon button!), as well as recognize your triggers and weaknesses. – Indulge in some productive procrastination. Scheduling some social media time at work can actually improve productivity, no matter what the HR people caw about in their memos.
Procrastination Is Not Fear of Beginning A Task But Fear Of The Big Picture
As research explains, for procrastinators a journey of a thousand miles starts with breaking down the journey into a thousand pieces. Both subconsciously and consciously, people may feel stupefying anxiety at visualizing an entire project—much in the same way the crew of the Millennium Falcon felt when they saw the Death Star in its entirety.
The whole may be too much to contend with, so the easiest way to overcome a tendency to put things off is to break a project or task into smaller pieces. Call them bite-size chunks.
Not only is the resulting amount of work more manageable, it doesn’t loom as overwhelming. Besides, once you complete the smaller pieces of the task, you can relish the feeling of accomplishment. This helps reinforce your determination to tackle other things on your list.
In other words, when it comes to procrastinations, seeing the trees and not the forest might be the best way to go on that journey of a thousand miles…or inside the Death Star’s trash compactor, when things don’t go well.
Procrastination Is a Ritual That Can Be Destroyed By Rituals
Perhaps you should worship St. Expeditus, the patron saint of procrastinators. Expeditus was not the founder of Expedia Travel, but a Roman in the 3rd century who decided to convert to Christianity. Allegedly, the Devil appeared to Expeditus and urged him to wait until the next day to switch dogmas. Expeditus refused and faced his task that day. These days, one might see icons of St. Expeditus turned upside down like an hourglass.
Okay, St. Expeditus might not solve procrastination, but he might, when he’s seen as a representation of something greater.
Find rituals that work for you or at the very least entertain you. All that matters is that you believe these rituals. The examples are legion from notable figures—like poet Edith Sitwell lying in an open coffin before writing because she believed it increased her focus; or Charles Dickens placing ornaments on his desk in a specific order to help him concentrate on the task at hand.
If you’re just too secular-minded, there are more practical (albeit) extreme rituals you can incorporate into your existence. Here are some illustrations from famous individuals:
– French novelist Victor Hugo wrote both Les Misérablesand The Hunchback Of Notre-Damein his birthday suit. Being butt-naked meant he wouldn’t be able to leave his house. As an extra precaution, he also instructed his servant to hide his clothes. – Greek orator Demosthenes would shave half of his hair off, making him look ridiculous, but it forced to stay home and focus solely on his projects. – Herman Melville reportedly had his wife chain him to his desk while he struggled to finish Moby-Dick.
If you’d rather embrace more gentle and superstitious rituals, understand that some have compared rituals to mind algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result, and these can scientifically fight back impulsiveness, anxiety and other negative symptoms of procrastination.
These solutions are not necessarily meant to be employed collectively. Yet if you draw from this pool of procrastination-killers with healthy doses of self-knowledge, you will find some silver bullets to finishing projects.
It’s your onion and your Death Star. As a last piece of advice before you shave your hair and strip naked in the middle of the office, I recommend Steven Pressfield’s book, The Art of War. I’ll leave you with a quote from the book:
“Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”
The problem is that tomorrow always seems to come, doesn’t it?
As a bonus, enjoy this time-management infographic:
In last week’s show, This Old Marketing Podcast drew future labor data from a recent MarTech Advisor research piece (which itself extracted the analysis of several economics and technology academics). The tone of the hosts, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, was alarming for good reason: the takeaways indicate that humanity won’t have to bother with the rise of The Matrix or Skynet to face its doom.
The machines have already arrived, and they are going to take our jobs very soon. That includes a merciless conquest of the market research industry.
How Bad Is The Rise of the Machines?
No one is safe. According to the research, machines could replace 100 million U.S. jobs by 2025. This data is not a conspiracy theory and not just endemic to physical labor jobs (hello, Google robots). No, many of these lost jobs are actually in the analytical and technical arenas.
The data claims there is a 61% probability that algorithms and artificial intelligence will replace close to half a million market research jobs in the next ten years. When including other marketing positions like marketing specialist, for example, the MartTech Advisor article states “it’s safe to conclude that anything from half to two-thirds of marketing jobs are at risk.”
Hasta la vista, baby marketers!
In fact, the percentage could be higher, considering much of the research was conducted in 2014. In these frenetic days, a couple of years ago is ancient history. Machines have since advanced exponentially in creativity and social interaction.
Other Industries Massacred by the Machines
These jobs possess the highest likelihood of being exterminated in the next ten years by machines:
1. Telemarketing (99% probability – 234,520 jobs)
2. Budget Analysis (94% probability – 57,120 jobs)
3. Insurance Sales Persons (91% probability – 374,700 jobs)
4. Retail Salespersons (92% probability – 4,562,160 jobs)
5. Technical Writers (89% probability – 48,210 jobs)
6. Proofreaders and Copy Markers (84% probability – 10,500 jobs)
The first four are not that surprising, considering how online and automation worlds rule consumer lives. However, the eradication of mortal technical writers, proofreaders and copy makers shouldn’t be that startling—as computer algorithms can now easily edit and craft procedural copy. And beyond even: many news stories are presently written by programs and not Louis Lane.
In an odd dichotomy, the jobs the machines are likely not to steal in their vicious invasion are, on one hand, creative jobs like advertising, public relations and event planning; and sales jobs, on the other hand. Obviously, those who create and design our future machine overlords are safe when it comes to their careers.
(The Computer Probably of Selected Occupations, by MarTech Advisor, is posted at the end of this article).
How to Rage Against the Machines (and remain employed)
For those in market research and other machine-targeted professions, understand that you won’t be alone. Some data suggests that half of U.S. jobs will be computerizable within two decades. I wish I could say that there is always work in the video store or phone book industries, but sadly it ain’t so…
In fact, that might be the goods news. Industries change and there is always a man behind the curtain of the machine. You may not be the creative/design or sales type, but beginning to migrate to computer or even engineering fields could not only save your career but upgrade it as well. Now, that’s a Red Pill you should take with tomorrow’s morning coffee.
You see, as long as we live a human consumer-based society, jobs for meat machines will always thrive. Remember, artificial intelligence is still artificial and good human judgment is what makes the business world go around…or more like forward. This is certainly the opinion of The Guardian’s Brook Rainwater in relation to lost jobs to machines:
None of this impacts human-centered work, the idea that people have critical comparative advantages that must be embraced, nurtured and developed. By using machines for things they can do better and bolstering the areas where we thrive, it provides opportunities to allow humans to focus on creative thinking and problem solving. We could in fact see a new renaissance where automation unlocks more creativity and innovation in humans as people are freed from repetitive tasks and rote production roles that we have been saddled with for generations.
If you are one of those market researchers who enjoy repetitive tasks and rote production, then you might want to fire up your resume right about now because not even Sarah Connor can save you.
For everyone else, there are experts that contend that for every job a machine takes a new one is created for humans. One such expert is tech researcher, J.P. Gownder, who stated in an interview for Wired:
While these technologies are both real and important, and some jobs will disappear because of them, the future of jobs overall isn’t nearly as gloomy as many prognosticators believe. In reality, automation will spur the growth of many new jobs—including some entirely new job categories.
For the record, this article was written by a human. Who knows about the next one…
Certain trends seem to surge and sputter, and then surge and sputter. Two examples might be 3D movies and Ska. The most recent instance is virtual reality, which surged at times in the 90s and 2000s but then sputtered without adhering to mass culture. Virtual reality is back again, with somewhat of a vengeance, highlighted by such technologies as Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung’s Gear VR.
Will virtual reality stick this time? Only time will tell, but it’s already influencing market research and could potentially inform survey research.
In a GreenBook article, editor-in-chief Leonard Murphy makes a strong case that virtual reality is now valuable for market research. Some companies are presently investing heavily on its benefits. Murphy’s findings are largely based on research by Rutgers, and here are his main takeaways:
Approximately 70% of brand decisions occur when consumers are already inside a store. Many consumers wait until the last minute to make a decision. Therefore, no amount of market research preparation can fully overcome the mentioned percentage, except for virtual reality, which can simulate buyer’s journeys in a store in real-time and in-depth behavior.
– Virtual reality seamlessly incorporates into already-proven technologies like eye tracking and heat maps, in order to gain a comprehensive view of the consumer subconscious desires. As an example, Cadbury has combined these technologies with virtual reality to decipher product shelf placing. – In virtual reality shopper simulation, multiple scenarios can be executed. This ultimately may be cost effective for businesses in research projects. – Virtual reality focus groups cost 50% less than traditional focus groups, and yield the same accuracy of data.
The pixel-sky is the limit. Virtual reality can be employed beyond just the shopping experience— such as new product concept testing, customer experience model testing and restaurant menu optimization/pricing.
Contrary to some market research Luddites, it should be mentioned that being placed in a virtual world (or The Matrix) is not detrimental to providing accurate responses. As a recent report from a market research company explained, nearly a quarter of consumers feel that virtual interactions are as good as “being there.” The numbers are higher for millennials. Thus, the future implies that virtual scenarios do not pose a problem for researchers.
Nevertheless, could virtual reality pertain to quantitative research? Of course. Google Glass may have been a failure, but it taught that individuals are capable of inputting data while simultaneously interacting with the “real world.” Questionnaires, then, can flash before respondents in virtual settings and completed in real-time. Moreover, the trending issue with widespread consumer rejection of surveys (which we reported on) could also be solved as surveys become far more entertaining and engaging at the same time.
Virtual reality surveys are basically an actual reality, as seen by this graphic from the Lieberman Research Institute:
Again, the pixel-sky is the limit. The question remains on whether virtual reality will remain as more than an ephemeral fashion. One figure who is publicly skeptic about virtual reality is computer genius and tech entrepreneur Walter O’Brien (television show Scorpion is based on him). During a recent interview on the Tim Ferris podcast, O’Brien bemoaned the fact that virtual reality has not evolved that much from its 90s incarnation. The technology still needs much more of a “wow” factor, according to him.
Even the buzz on virtual reality appears nonexistent, perhaps due to the past incarnations of the technology. As recent Horizon Media study found that two-thirds of Americans are either unaware of uncaring about having virtual reality.
Following the money trail says otherwise, though. As Murphy explains in the GreenBook article, virtual reality is estimated to generate $30 billion in revenues by 2020. Much of this is due to the increasing reliance of market research projects for this technology.
In essence, market research has time to embrace virtual reality, and those in survey research can get excited at presenting some exciting surveys that improve overall data quality.
Even Ska could be played in the background…
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