helping you master the people side of data & analytics

Awards & trends for Research 2015

NASA Television 2009 Philo T. Farnsworth Primetime Emmy AwardEven though we are still fresh into a new year, it is around this time that we often see a spate of awards and pundits forecasting the key trends for the year. A few of these have caught my eye so I thought I’d share those I think add value. As there are developments in each of the technical disciplines which make up Holistic Customer Insight, it will be a review which covers a number of weeks. To start this week, let’s focus on the awards & trends for research in 2015.


The award I want to highlight is the DIVAs Europe award run by Infotools. What strikes me as important about these awards is the focus on best practice examples of storytelling and data visualisation in research reports. For that reason the examples of winners & strong contenders here should also be of interest beyond the research community – there are lessons that could be learnt by plenty of analytics professionals as well. Anyway, judge for yourself and if you’ve been delivering quality storytelling & visualisation to help your research make an impact, then consider entering. Here are the details: (more…)

Do your products inculcate helpful habits?

HookedThanks to Jeffrey Slater of Nomacorc for sharing this great YouTube video of Nir Eyal from Stanford University presenting at The Next Web 2014 conference in USA. It is a brilliant exploration of how design can exploit behavioural psychology to the benefit of consumers (the users of products designed to promote habits that are better for their users).

Right from the start, the definition of habit as “a behaviour done with little or no conscious thought”, is clearly aligned to Kahnemann’s System 1.

Principles in this video like the ‘hook’ (an experience designed to connect a user’s problem with your solution with sufficient frequency to become a habit), all behaviours needing motivation + ability + trigger, the brain’s reward for anticipation (especially of the unknown) – these should all be trained as design principles for product marketers. But they are also relevant to Customer Insight work. Understanding what psychology can teach us about how our customers are actually experiencing our products is a Customer Insight priority.


Looking forward at this time of year

Russian icon of the Theophany (wikipedia)
Russian icon of the Theophany (wikipedia)

Well here we are on the fourth day of Christmas, so I hope those calling birds have arrived!

If you’re like me, right now you are probably feeling a mixture of awareness that the over-indulgence over recent days needs to end soon and excitement at the prospect of a fresh start in the New Year.

It can be a very peaceful and productive couple of days between the celebrations.


I don’t know about you, but traditionally this is a time when I tend to reflect on how I’m doing against my life priorities and consider setting goals. This year I’ve been nudged in that direction by a vodcast from Jeff Walker, a timely reminder of how we can spend this time productively:

As a trained executive coach, I fully endorse the power of goal setting. But I would also recommend taking that time out first to reflect on “why” you want to set that goal in particular roles within your life. A structured questioning session can help you do this, ideally using an appropriate coach for you, but this can be a useful practice by yourself.

The G.R.O.W. model is a well practiced simple framework for such a review, to help you set goals. Try these questions as an example on a role in your life:


Motor Insurers’ Digital Marketing Effectiveness

insurance disclaimer
andrew steinmetz (flickr)

A new type of ‘other post. Given the number of our readers who work within the Insurance sector, I thought it might be helpful to share the results which Global Reviews shared with me, from their Digital Marketing Effectiveness Study (Q3 2014) of UK Motor Insurance providers.

There are some interesting lessons for customer insight leaders from other sectors as well, when you reflect on the key findings into consumer behaviour.

Here are the highlights:

  1. One third of consumers decide, which car insurance provider to go with, via a comparison website

While 92% of UK consumers will use a search engine at some stage of the pathway to purchase motor insurance, 87% actually start the journey there. 30% then move to the brand website, however almost half go to a comparison or aggregator site. 29% are then making the decision to purchase and stopping their journey on the aggregator site. A further 9% of those who visit provider’s site are going back to aggregator sites. (more…)

Celebrate the Health Survey for England 2013

bathroom scalesOver the last couple of days there has been plenty of media coverage as to what the results of this health survey mean. The BBC in particular has debated whether it shows ‘more pill popping’ as a poor substitute for healthier lifestyles, or more ‘treatment where needed’ to prevent more serious conditions.

However, from a Customer Insight perspective, there is something else to celebrate here. That is the continued existence of a large quant longitudinal study of the type that does not happen elsewhere in Europe. A survey that interviews nearly 9,000 adults and over 2,000 children is not to be taken for granted by any business. Couple that with capture of consistent variables (in addition to topical ones) over 23 years, and you have a serious contribution to research evidence in the UK. An interesting throw away remark on Radio 4 yesterday was that the UK is often criticised as the ‘fat man’ of Europe, sometimes on the basis of the weight measurements taken in this survey, however at least for the UK we know the data. Such consistent record keeping of population height & weight does not exist elsewhere in Europe.


Festive Others

Christmas_lights_in_Sloane_SquareAs we approach December and experience ‘Black Friday’ becoming more established in the UK Calendar (perhaps without Thanksgiving we can make it a holiday to remember that retailers systems do crash too?), it’s time for a more festive post. This time I’m sharing a few Christmas related insight posts from others. Hope you enjoy them. Ho ho ho…

First, how about some gift ideas for your insight team?


Otherwise, perhaps it’s time for an infographic on the big bird for the big day?


If you’ve avoided the queues, enjoy reflecting on the number of Behavioural Economics biases being used by retailers on ‘Black Friday’ shoppers…


Hope that was a little fun as you look forward to those Christmas parties. Do you have any favourite festive data, analysis, research or database marketing stories to share? If so, please let us know below.

Get your geek on and enjoy the visuals

SEO-ChartFor those you who have been asking for more digital specific insights and technical advice, I have been listening. To complement our recent content more focussed on effective insight leadership (see our ongoing ‘3 tips’ series), here are two guest items with a digital and technology emphasis.

First up is a post from BraveMedia’s blog, shedding some light on the murky and ever-changing world of Google’s search algorithms, for those challenged with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for their digital marketing content. What drew me to this post in the first place is the rather cool and eye-catching visualisation, so it is also another example of effective information visualisation.

The next guest content covers the potentially dry, but vitally important, topic of data modelling, when building or enhancing databases. I’ve recently been reviewing training material on this topic for a client who now needs an ‘in house’ CRM system. What struck me about is the simplicity and effective summarisation of material which is too often left to appear overly complex, perhaps so non-IT types don’t challenge too much? So, I share this as an example of both an important skill for customer data management teams (within customer insight not just IT) and as an example of keeping it simple.

I hope those were helpful and you enjoyed some unashamed ‘geekiness’ this time. But for those of you are thinking “all I heard was blah, blah, blah, blah”, don’t worry I’ll be returning to the English language next week.

Have a good weekend and do share your best tips for SEO or Data Modelling, I’m sure there are plenty of equally good resources out there.