This week is the Mobile Research in the Mobile World conference in Cincinnati. I don’t know when I have heard as much buzz about a conference. I hope it lives up to its hype. I will not be there but my colleague and friend Isaac Rogers, 20|20 CIO, is attending.
Foster Winter, MD of Sigma Research, is also on the QRCA Board of Directors. In that role, he is participating in a panel discussion of the associations’ roles in the emerging mobile market research world. Foster asked me to weigh in on a discussion on the QRCA Members Forum on this topic. There are some very good posts by tremendous industry leaders. While I’m not at liberty to share those, I did copy my comments to re-post here. They are below.
I’m finding the “mobile” research generally falls into two categories.
1. Mobile Access. In other words, every platform very soon MUST have a way to access it from a smartphone or it will be deemed unusable. Mobile will be the “price of entry” for digital platforms. The biggest hurdle right now seems to be the fragmentation of the Android op system.
2. New capabilities. From a qual perspective, we are just scratching the surface of what we can do with mobile. First, we had to get over the hurdle of using a limited input device (140 characters SMS) for qualitative. Now we have a whole new paradigm to work with….a portable, ever-present device that captures video, pictures, voice and text. The ramp-up for online qual was long because we looked at bulletin boards as a poor substitute for focus groups. When we began to realize that bulletin boards brought whole new capabilities and opportunities to qualitative research, they began to be embraced by the qual community. Mobile is in the early stages. We don’t yet know what capabilities are coming because mobile changes the paradigm again by adding capabilities never before available to us. The ramp-up will be much faster than bulletin boards, but it will take some time to blossom.
What are the associations’ roles? I think
1. Define the guardrails. Betsy mentioned several of them. The associations are the industry’s governing bodies.
2. Embrace new capabilities, not because all are good but because it exposes them to the membership and assists in the penetration of new capabilities. In turn, this becomes a major member benefit.
3. Celebrate innovation. Associations can’t be an incubation center, but they can be a hotbox of thinking. Why not develop a capability to nuture qualitative innovation, a qualitative greenhouse so to speak.