Tag Archives: voter

The Fascinating Founders Of Market Research

 

In a past article, I created the quote: “Those who do not learn from market research history are doomed to average data.” As far as I know, the quote hasn’t made it to any social media memes or posters with cats. I still stand by it. I’ve advocated the importance of retaining some understanding (and context) of the history of market research—on this blog and in such sites like The American Marketing Association. As with the pioneering concepts of Edward Bernays, many market research ideas can actually go full circle and become relevant today.

In this article, I present a summary of all the principal Founders of Market Research. I drew from various resources, but mainly from Paul A. Scipione’s A Nation of Numbers: The Development of Marketing Research in America. It’s an excellent book we included in our article The Best Books On Market Research.
Get ready to journey on a Tardis of market research chronicles (or perhaps modified DeLorean if you have more American time travel sensibilities). I believe you will find that these fathers of market research to be far more interesting (and even controversial) than you could have imagined.

 

George H. Gallup (1901-1984)

 

 

Most Americans are aware of the Gallup Poll, but few know about the individual it’s named after, George Gallup, who also happens to be the chief developer of public polling.

Gallup began as a journalism and advertising academic, teaching in such hallowed institutions as Columbia University and Northwestern University. His breakthrough happened in 1932 when he helped his mother-in-law, Ola Babcock Miller, during her election for the position of Iowa for Secretary of State. No Democrat had won statewide office in Iowa since the Civil War. Gallup’s polling of the counties gifted Miller the insights to understand voters. The only question on his questionnaire was, “What are you most worried about?” Miller calibrated her political message depending on the majority answer of each county. This resulted in a landslide victory.

The Iowa election not only propelled Gallup to nationwide celebrity, it eventually led him to found the American Institute of Public Opinion, which soon became a perennial bellwether for national politics. His one black eye would be his calling for Thomas Dewey against Harry Truman in 1948 (Gallup blamed the blunder on closing polling too early).

Market Research Legacy: Gallup was a champion for dry quantitative research, claiming one should focus on the “what” instead of the “why” in research. He held little patience for research that delved into the subconscious motivations of respondents, as well as focus groups in general.

Quote: “I could prove God statistically.”

 

Arthur C. Nielsen (1898-1980)

 

 

Nielsen is also a household name like Gallup. His story is one of how adversity can create opportunity. During the Great Depression, Nielsen’s firm ACN (which tested and measured technologies) struggled like most businesses.

Struggling for income, Nielsen came up with two innovations in 1936: the Nielsen Drug Index (NDI) in 1933 and the Nielsen Radio Index (NRI). These innovations were based on his idea that he could develop a nationwide probability sample of drugstores. His company began auditing key brand statistics like purchase invoices and shelf stock, and then plugging those numbers into a proprietary equation. This analysis produced sales and mark share statistics for competitive brands of the over-the-counter drugs.

Large companies like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble soon began paying Nielsen for his insights. This gave birth to the power of price reductions, sales, and promotions within stores. In time, ACN became the first market research firm to exceed a billion dollars in annual revenue. Later on, of course, Nielsen entered the television market to become truly immortal.

Nielsen always claimed he “accidentally” entered market research.

Market Research Legacy: Beyond his sample statistic innovations, in 1948 Nielsen’s company built the first ever general-purpose computer, the Univac, for $150,000. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would later work on cheaper products, thankfully. Moreover, Nielsen Ratings have been the standard-bearer for marketing television for decades.

Quote: “The price of light is less than the cost of darkness.”

 

Alfred Politz (1902-1982)

 

 

In this pantheon, Alfred Politz balances the dry countenance of Nielsen. His life is closer to that of a movie star or international spy.

Politz worked as a marketer in Germany in the 1930s, even though he was a physicist by education. He fled his homeland to the US, aided by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley. The reason was that Politz feared that Hitler would force him to work on weapons of mass destruction.

Once in America, Politz worked in advertising, claiming he wanted a job where he could make the most money for the least amount of thinking. His fiery personality led him through many companies, producing great marketing work but also great enemies. Eventually, he founded Alfred Politz Research, Inc., which would become a chief market research firm. His company dominated the development and implementation of new quantitative methods for advertising research for nearly 30 years. During his meteoric rise, he lived the life of a rock star: flamboyant and hedonistic (and often entertaining to the press).

Market Research Legacy: His advocacy of random probability sampling shaped market research. His influential, high-visibility studies for Life Magazine became legendary in marketing circles.

Quote: “Repeat exposure without repeat payment.”

 

Ernest Dichter (1911-1991)

 

 

We provided an exposition in Freud and The Intriguing History of the Focus Group. Like Politz, Dichter was a complex and fascinating character, a press celebrity who even appeared on The Tonight Show. Furthermore, the Viennese Dichter also came to America to avoid Hitler, but the reason was that he was a Jew.

Ironically, Dichter and Politz were lifelong enemies, their antagonism a symbol of the yin and yang tension of qualitative and quantitative polarities.

Certainly, Dichter was a trailblazer of qualitative research, as well as a Freudian who believed in manipulating the “beast mode” forces bubbling in the human subconscious. From phallic-looking cigarettes to the legendary tiger in the gas tank, Dichter played with symbols and archetypes to manipulate consumers.

Market Research Legacy: Developed and perfected the focus group (and coined the term), permanently injected psychology into market research.

Quote: “What people actually spend their money on in most instances are psychological differences, illusory brand images.”

 

Charles Coolidge Parlin (1872 – 1942)

 

 
Like Nielsen, you could say Charles Parlin accidentally entered market research.

A Wisconsin schoolteacher with no marketing experience, Parlin was hired by Curtis Publishing Company in 1911. He didn’t even receive a job title. His job was to provide better advertising insights on an agriculture magazine the company had recently bought.

Parlin created market research out of thin air, from data gathering to best practices, interviewing subjects and breaking down the findings in sober numbers. Almost overnight after his groundbreaking work for Curtis Publishing, logical rule replaced intuition in the marketing world. He eventually started his own firm, National Analyst, and further pioneered market research as we know it.

Market Research Legacy: Founded the first market research company in history, parlayed one set of simple insights into an entire set of standards that still govern market research and general marketing to this day.

Quote: “Advertising, properly applied, reduces selling cost. The consumer pays the expense of advertising which therefore justifies itself.”

 

Conclusion

 

 

If there is a main takeaway to the lives of these individuals, it would be that market research is often as accidental as it is analytical. It’s a cauldron of invention as it is a laboratory of data, producing a $24 billion a year industry that employs more than 150,000 workers nationwide. Also, market research doesn’t have to by dry and rigid, or at least perceived as such, and that often common sense rules the day for individuals trying to make sense of market forces.

Most of us probably won’t appear on The Tonight Show or have to worry about fleeing despotic governments. Nevertheless, we can have a good time and change the flow of this nation of numbers.

 

A version of this article appears in Quirks

 

Trust, Joy, Sadness And Fear. Primary Election Emotions In 2016

Picture of Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

 

graph on candidates

Click for full view

 

I decided it might be interesting to analyze the tweets of the main political players in the run-up to Super Tuesday. The methodology was simple, follow their official twitter accounts and then analyze the tweets for emotional word content. 1029 tweets from official twitter accounts for Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were collected. The collection started on February 23rd and continued through to midnight February 29th, the day before Super Tuesday. A breakdown of the volume of tweets per politician is shown on the right.

Obviously, there were a huge amount of other tweets relating to the individual politicians but I wanted to see what their core message was in terms of the use of emotionally related words. It’s of note that Cruz , the youngest of all the candidates analyzed , sent out the most number of tweets, followed by Sanders. Cruz was also the only one to use no capital letters in his screen name “tedcruz”.

Words were categorized using 8 types of emotion, which could overlap. The types were fear, anger, sadness, disgust, anticipation, surprise, joy and trust. It’s an approach which treats text as a “bag of words”, no attempt is made to parse the text for grammatical constructions in this case.

As an example I searched for the word “food” in a collection of 1.5 million random tweets. The search revealed 7319 tweets with the word “food” in them, the analysis of these tweets for emotional content is shown below:

 

graph on candidates2

Click for full view

This ring is like a pie chart, except its thickness is in proportion to the numbers of words which could be classed as emotional out of all the words in a tweet. The percentage in the center is the value for this, so 33% shows that 33% of words in the tweets with the word “food” in them could be put into one of our emotional types. This is a measure of how emotionally expressive the tweets were. The circle on the lower right shows the percentage of emotional words that are either classed as positive or negative within all the words classed as emotional. Blue means positive, red means negative. In way of contrast a search for the word “death” shows a very different result:

graph on candidates3

Click for full view

For our candidates, we see some subtle differences. Both Trump and Cruz share the same level of “positivity”, with a score of 59% but it would be useful to remember nothing is exact with any analysis of language.

 

graph on candidates rectangle

Click for full view

 

Cruz uses fewer words that are classed as emotional words in total, yet with more tweets overall.

Turning to Clinton and Sanders we see this:

 

graph on candidates rectangle2

Click for full view

Here we see a different pattern. Levels of positivity are slightly above those of Cruz and Trump at 64% for both candidates with Clinton using less emotional words overall in a similar way to Cruz.

The top three emotional categories for Clinton and Sanders are trust, anticipation and joy. For Cruz the top two are trust and anticipation. In contrast, Trumps’ top two categories are trust and joy. Trump and Cruz also differ in the third highest. For Trump, his third category is sadness, for Cruz fear.

Bag of words approaches to text analysis are well established in the realm of content analysis of huge text collections. It’s interesting to see that they might have some application to smaller problems. The key point to remember is that this is one way of looking at text, there are many more. None of them can be said to be correct, it all depends how useful the results are.

 

Andrew Jeavons is Founder and CEO of Mass Cognition – a company that specializes in helping clients understand the deeper meanings in text and social media data.  He was previously the CEO of Survey Analytics, a major survey software vendor serving Fortune 500 customers and the international community.  He was one of the founders of e-tabs and has a (too) long history in the market research technology industry. He is a well-known award winning speaker and blogger.

Voter Panel Meme

The Train Wreck Reason Trump And Sanders Are So Insanely Popular

Smoky train crash with Sanders and Trump floating in smoke

 

As the political primaries heat up, little doubt exists on the public’s captivation with presidential candidates Donald Trump (Republican) and Bernie Sanders (Democrat). Trump has kindled a feverish right-wing populism never seen before in this nation, while Sanders “berns” the passion of millennials and staunch progressives. Although both individuals are galaxies apart in their ideology, a major reason for their attention is shared in a quality as American as apple pie:

The love for the outlaw and antihero.

How could this be? After all, the two candidates are as establishment as one can get. Trump is a seasoned businessperson entrenched in extroverted capitalism; Sanders is a senator with decades of political experience in Washington DC. Perception is reality, though, and the reality is that the two men have carefully marketed themselves as unadulterated outsiders. It makes sense. According to Gallup, 65% of Americans are dissatisfied with the government—the highest rate ever polled.

However, simply branding oneself as antiestablishment would make a Tea Party darling like Ted Cruz a shoe in for the Republican candidacy. The same could be said for any Libertarian/Green candidate out there. That hasn’t happened.

It has to be more than the current bad political mood of voters, then. Trump and Sanders aren’t just perceived as foreigners to politics as usual, but outlaws and antiheroes in all their romance, as will be demonstrated.

 

What do you mean by outlaws and antiheroes?

 

 

By outlaw, I don’t mean a criminal—but certainly an individual that stands on the fringes of societal norms, near the borders of amoral deserts. America was founded on gritty pioneers and explorers, wily figures that forged their way to new frontiers at any cost, legal or illegal. In the bestselling book, Everyone Loves a Train Wreck, Eric Wilson describes our infatuation for the outlaw:

Think of our vexed cultural relationship to the cowboy. We might disapprove of his lawless gun slinging and Indian killing, but we laud his indifference to the East Coast status quo and his fearless trekking into the Western wilds.

The outlaw, in all of his or her dangerous curiosity and individualism, is just an archetype that Americans relate to, even if they don’t consciously embrace. Furthermore, knowing that the outlaw’s ending will likely be memorable (but perhaps not positive) arrests our attention…like stopping to see a train wreck. Edward Snowden or your classic country music protagonist are two obvious American examples. This reminds me of a quote by Tom Robbins, “Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules.”

Then there is the antihero. Medical Daily defines the antihero as “Someone who straddles the line between deviant morality and a justified cause, reminding us of the flaws inherent in our own behavior.”

The attraction is easy to see: We simultaneously escape and test our moral principles through the narrative of the antihero. It’s cathartic and educational at the same time. We project our darkest desires onto the antihero in order to reflect upon them. We love their shooting from the hip, their bravado, and their continual emigration from constricting community constructs. As illustrations, one just has to think of Walter White in Breaking Bad or Don Draper in Mad Men.

 

But does all of this apply to Trump and Sanders?

 

 

With Trump, it seems obvious. His career has been one of taming cattle in the Wild West that is the real estate world and verbal gun fighting in corporate boardrooms. His policies tap into the dark corners of many voters’ psyches: the concern with immigration, the fear of terrorism, the seemingly dusk of an empire. Thus, in a deeply symbolical way, Trump is both an outlaw and antihero. His political incorrectness is liberating for many in a social media inquisition climate, while his policies are purgative to others.

What about Sanders? How can an affable, patriotic and polite senior citizen fall outside the rubric of the mainstream? Ironically, an anti-American quality makes him so American in his outlaw and antihero characteristics: socialism. Sanders heavily leans towards socialistic policies; and according to a Gallup poll socialism is the least popular quality of any political candidate (50% of voters say they would not vote for a socialist). That makes him an outlaw of sorts, an antihero to the American consciousness—and of course attractive to younger, more rebellious demographics.

Also, Sanders’ message and persona harken to some of the classic fringe elements of recent American history: the hippie, the beatnik, the pacifist. He is an individual who also wants to bring more European elements to government (importing Danish economics, for example), just as the original explorers brought European elements to North America. Despite his calm reputation, Sanders, like Trump, is notorious for shouting down those who confront him publicly (even constituents). Lastly, his campaign has made a huge effort in leveraging perhaps the most lawless and perilous frontier today: the internet.

 

Conclusion

 

 

Machiavelli famously mused on whether an individual benefited more from being loved or hated. In these short-attention-span, information-overload times, I would say that fascination is the ultimate benefit. Fascination earns zealous attention without needing the soul-commitment of either love or hate. Trump and Sanders are swimming in oceans of fascination, partly because of the uniting streams of American folklore and psychology. This means that many enthusiasts assume their candidacies will end in a train wreck, with more establishment candidates taking the party nominations.

Regardless, the outlaw and antihero motifs have served Trump and Sanders well. They served past candidates such as Obama or Reagan, both who early in their candidacies branded themselves as outsiders ready to gun duel established government systems. Neither Obama nor Reagan was as radical as Trump or Sanders, mind you. Yet these are radical times when a restless electorate seeks more for a gun-slinging attitude than an apple pie mentality.

 

qSample VOTER PANEL

 

Will Office for iPad Make Tablets the Tool for Work?

Last month, Microsoft shook the tablet world by finally launching its Office for iPad apps, and the reverberations may be felt for years to come.

While tablets have become extremely popular, with many users preferring smaller to bulky and more awkward laptops, they have yet to truly find their niche in the business world. Even with bluetooth keyboards, and writing tools like Google Docs and iWork, many businesses refuse to adopt the device as a serious business tool. In the academic arena, many students prefer tablets for note taking and research, but find it awkward to use for papers and presentations. The launch of Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps is designed to change all that.

We conducted a survey with our general consumer panel to gauge their level in the new Microsoft Office for iPad app. The survey was fielded in less than 2 days during the first week of April, with more than 400 respondents sharing their insights on this new product and what it means to them professionally.

Survey results clearly indicate that tablets are still very popular with the general populaltion. Unsurprisingly, Apple was king among those devices with  almost half (40.45%) of our panel indicated they own a version of the iPad, but a mere 26.18% claim their primary uses for those tablets are for work and school. Confirming our suspicions, we found that entertainment rules the tablet world, with a staggering 69.12% of our panel logging on for fun. As always, internet surfing, watching videos, and updating social network pages continue to be a staple of tablet use.

Clearly this isn’t a hardware issue, and many who own Apple devices, such as the iPad, prefer to use the Microsoft Office software. This suggests that the new apps will be very well received by tablet owners, but there is a lot more involved than ease of use. Our survey showed that there was a strong positive reaction to the Office for iPad apps, as 63.02% said that they plan on using the new apps now that they are available, yet 76.56% didn’t feel that the apps were worth the $99 subscription fee. This is likely due to the abundance of less powerful, but free, programs/apps that will allow users to run similar tasks. Price does seem to play an enormous role, as 64.58% of our panel is considering the free Microsoft Office smartphone apps as a serious alternative. This poses the question of whether or not smartphones may find a place as a document editing tool in the business world as well.

The smartphone apps may be free, but lack many important features that are available on the iPad and laptop versions. In addition to features, portability seems to be a factor. Today’s “on-the-go” lifestyle means that document editing on a smartphone may be preferable to carrying a bulky laptop, or even a tablet. On the down side, small screens and lack of features may discourage users from choosing apps like Office for smartphones, even if they’re free. Our panel was also concerned about storage space on their devices. These apps can take up a considerable amount of space on users’ iPads, and 67.71% claimed that this alone would discourage them from downloading the software.

Cloud services have been available for some time, but there is no question that Microsoft has arrived very late to the game. This may be due to the company’s efforts to streamline their products for unconventional devices, or a simple lack of attention to the tablet market. In either case, this is definitely an interesting move for Microsoft. One pitfall of releasing the apps for the iPad is that this may have a negative effect on the sales of non-Apple tablets, including Microsoft’s own Surface. In addition, the Office for iPad apps are significantly better looking and much more streamlined than other versions. This may influence which tablets businesses buy for their employees, and ultimately hurt Microsoft’s Surface sales as well. Apple will receive a percentage of Office 365 subscription fees sold through iTunes, which will also add to the funding of their competition. All of these factors make the late release of the Office for iPad apps a very interesting decision. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s new launch was a brilliant strategy, or too-little-too-late, but in any case, the world is taking a second look at the tablet as a serious business tool.

Microsoft Office for iPad Infographic (3)

Louisiana Statewide Survey

qSample’s pulse report is a collection of short research studies conducted each month, using one of the ten specialty panels currently owned and managed by qSample. We believe the survey results from these studies are of interest and we want to share them with you. The reports will be presented in an infographic, depicting research results on various topics. The monthly infographics will always reflect current events and topics of interest.

This past month, we tapped our Likely Voter panel to gauge Louisiana residents’ attitudes towards topics that affect them. The survey was deployed to our Louisiana Panel.

la

by Rudly Raphael

Florida Survey Report: Gun Control

qSample’s pulse report is a collection of short research studies conducted each month, using one of the ten specialty panels currently owned and managed by qSample. We believe the survey results from these studies are of interest and we want to share them with you. The reports will be presented in an infographic, depicting research results on various topics. The monthly infographics will always reflect current events and topics of interest.

This past month, we tapped our Likely Voter panel to gauge their perception and attitude toward the much controversial Gun Control issue. The survey was deployed to our Florida Panel with more than 400 respondents who completed the survey. The data was collected during the first week of March.

gun control

by Rudly Raphael

Online Poll: Debate Has Little Impact on Florida Voters

Only three percent of survey participants believe the October 22 showdown changed how they will vote on November 6th, according to a survey conducted with Florida Voter’s Voice, an online research panel of likely voters developed and managed by qSample.

This unique survey was deployed immediately after the debate and indicates the state’s voters are skewing towards Barack Obama, but with 23% still undecided.

debate

Of note – 64% of panel participants indicated the foreign policy topics debated are important to them in this election. When asked whom they think won the debate, 52% choose President Obama versus 31% for Governor Romney. Also, 42% of respondents confirmed that they consider themselves a Democrat versus 35% of the survey population that declared themselves Republican.

In fact, 99% of voters who consider themselves “strong” Democrats believe Obama won the debate last night and 72% of “strong” Republicans considered Romney the winner.
These party affiliation numbers are not as tight as those forecasted in the nation-wide presidential race, but it confirms how influential the Independent voters are in this key campaign state.

Florida has 29 electoral-college votes to be won, and when asking these Independent voters who won Monday night’s debate, 55% gave the nod to Obama, while 30% sided with Romney and 15% called it a draw.

Florida Voter’s Voice participants are highly committed to this election, with 98% of respondents planning to vote in next month’s election and the remaining 2% indicating they had voted early. Other majority characteristics of this survey include: 70 % of the respondents are Caucasian, 93% are over 35 years old and gender evenly represented.

Florida Voter’s Voice is part of VoterFeedback.com – a robust online panel of likely voters nationwide, developed by qsample. For firms that are in need of a quality sample of likely voters, VoterFeedback provides access to millions of respondents who are highly profiled and recruited to participate in a variety of research initiatives.

by Rudly Raphael