Seeing the big picture on social media analysis and research
It was billed as a power hour from Ireland's top research agencies as presentations were made by nine members of Association of Irish Market Research Organisations (AIMRO) to brand owners in Dublin's Sugar Club venue. Tourism Ireland's Peter Nash said it was no mean feat for the researchers to operate as a self-managed team working to a 60-minute stopwatch, helped by Mercator's Tim Healy and his "come in, your time is up" side-line gestures.
Not so long ago, research was in danger of being reduced to a future shaped by A/B web analytics testing and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Red C's Sinead Mooney said the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for social media analysis had spawned new data segmentation based on imagery rather than text. It generated insights during the Repeal referendum.
Lynsey Carolan, Spark, said while algorithms were useful, they don't define consumers. "If social media is mainly showing the perfect me," Carolan said, "we must continue to use conventional qualitative techniques to understand the many different versions of me". Ceara Nevin of W5 said audiences and research samples drawn from beyond the usual suspects can prove valuable.
Tim Healy made a case for selecting the best research stakeholders with images of burning bank buildings and Tesla's Elon Musk smoking marijuana. Mark Nolan, Core Research, said design thinking should be seen as part of the research armoury rather than a rival - with the reminder that ROI really means return on insight.
Damian Loscher, Ipsos MRBI, used multinational data to caution about cultural bias and drew attention to Ireland's strong awareness in understanding consumers. Maureen van Wijk, Kantar Millward Brown, spoke about helping clients learn fast through research which grows brands. Only 6pc of brands enjoy growth. Dr Maggie Matthews, B&A, referred to real-time collaborations between her agency and third-level colleges in helping researchers be "masters of all trades and masters of our art". As Peter Nash observed, having a solid intellect often seems to matter more to researchers than marketers.
* Commenting on the digital duopoly of Google and Facebook while speaking to the Marketing Society in Dublin, World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) president David Wheldon called on clients to question what's being done to adland's supply chain. There was a time when agencies were allowed a 17.65pc commission. "I saw a recent case with Tesco where the margin was 0.5pc," Wheldon said. "We need to help our supply chain partners to make money - transparently." He said a brand is what a brand does. If you drive costs down, it doesn't mean you get value.
* Leadership, insights, trends and best practice in design is the focus of the Skillnet one-day design leaders' conference in the Light House Cinema on November 8. Up to the Light agency founder Jonathan Kirk will present UK research into what marketers think of graphic design.
Base Studio founder and creative director Thierry Bruanfaut will explain how he developed his business across studios in New York, Brussels and Geneva. How best to integrate design and business is the topic for McKinsey's Kwame Nanning.
* To promote Lidl's role in the Federation of Irish Sport's 20x20 drive to increase media coverage, attendances and women's participation in sport by 20pc by 2020, it hired Aaron Chalke's Foe and Mediaworks to roll out a new campaign. Research conducted by Nielsen for the federation found that only 3pc of sport's print coverage and 4pc of online is dedicated to women in Irish sport. The Lidl 20x20 ads have run in INM titles in recent days.
- Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; firstname.lastname@example.org