Traditionally after Thanksgiving dinner, one can expect to enjoy postprandial somnolence, family banter, and hours of NFL football. But at some point, gradually yet noticeably, the focus began to shift. Today, Thanksgiving activities now include holiday shopping with retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day; promising dedicated holiday shoppers a “pre” Black Friday shopping experience. The Friday following Thanksgiving has morphed into a widespread consumeristic holiday of its own. With new consumer holidays emerging, including Cyber Monday and #Giving Tuesday, holiday consumerism is an epidemic. Holiday consumerism isn’t necessarily new. However, it is evolving thanks to technology. As shoppers began to rely more heavily on their devices, it is steadily changing the consumer landscape during the holiday season.
This year 82% of shoppers plan to spend their Black Friday perusing the aisles of big box retailers. New shopping practices, including digital couponing, webrooming, and endless aisles, are increasing in popularity amongst Black Friday shoppers. With cell phones and tablets in-hand, shoppers can now leverage big data in the palm of their hands. Subsequently, we see retailers approaching consumers with more transparency, offering price comparisons/price matches or displaying online consumer ratings in stores. This Friday shoppers can feel a little more prepared and self-assured when making purchasing decisions, thanks to their mobile device.
Coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation, Cyber Monday gives bargain shoppers the opportunity to enjoy doorbuster sales from virtually anywhere. Last year shoppers spent $3.37 billion on Cyber Monday, with spending only expecting to increase this year. Traditionally Cyber Monday has been a lucrative event for only big box and e-commerce retailers. However, more small businesses are establishing their own online presence. According to Amazon, last year shoppers ordered nearly 140 million units from small businesses and entrepreneurs. More players in the retailer market results in more options for Cyber Monday shoppers.
Profoundly different from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #Giving Tuesday focuses on giving rather than receiving. Established in 2012, #Giving Tuesday has a growing following. Last year #Giving Tuesday raised over $300 million in over 150 different countries. Social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, have helped increase impact and visibility. Also known as hashtag activism, participants are given the opportunity to give back from anywhere, anytime, and in any way they see fit by simply using hashtags. For those interested in ending their holiday spending binge on the right note, give #Giving Tuesday a try.
Happy Holidays and happy shopping, from your friends at W5.
At W5, clients probably know us best for our custom qualitative and quantitative research. It’s the heart of what we do. But behind the scenes is the strategy practice that infuses much of our work.
We understand research can at times be obtuse and picking a narrative from myriad data points can be a challenge. W5’s strategy practice weaves disparate sources of information to tell a relatable, human story. It leverages many different research methodologies, working closely with qualitative and quantitative researchers, and expresses the results in a variety of ways. Just this year we have:
- Developed Personas to bring segments and consumer groups to life
- Created research ‘Highlight Reel’ videos to give clients an up-close look at our ethnographic research
- Conducted hybrid research studies and integrated findings from qualitative and quantitative research to tell a cohesive research story
- Designed infographics to share in-depth research results in a simpler, more visually appealing way
- Conducted a meta-analysis of existing research reports to identify future opportunities buried within the data
- Designed infographics to share in-depth research results in a simpler, more visually appealing way
To learn more about W5’s strategy practice, check out our Strategy page on the W5 website.
Featured Design Driven Deliverables created by the W5 Strategy team.
The annual Corporate Research Conference (CRC) hosted by Insights Association facilitates a 3-day experience tailored to market researchers, data scientists, and consumer insights professionals on both the corporate and vendor side.
Among the sea of research conferences, CRC stands out with an agenda and sessions that recognize marketplace challenges and the need to come together as an industry to face problems head on. CR-Only and Vendor-Only sessions facilitate opportunities for open, transparent discussions about the frenetic pace of today’s market.
For example, the Provider-Only session, How to Engage Today’s Corporate Research Buyer, was a rare opportunity for sellers and buyers of research to come together and talk about what’s working and what’s broken. With a focus on discussing how clients meet new suppliers, the session provided a greater understanding of the “client journey” in commissioning insights projects and how new suppliers get into the fold. The #1 way a corporate research buyer become aware of a new supplier? Peer recommendation or WOM (word of mouth), followed by conferences and webinars.
Beyond the 75 groundbreaking sessions, CRC featured keynotes to inspire us to go big and ground us in the realities of the marketplace. Phil Penuela, Director of Consumer Insights at Redbox, discussed how Redbox has maintained a focus on consumer value while driving meaningful entertainment occasions. Jason Smith, President of Mac & Mia, spoke to playing in a New Retail Sandbox and never neglecting your employees (or Stylist in his case), as they are your best brand advocates and experience makers.
Jeff Fromm, President of FutureCast, made us all feel old (yet hopeful as marketers) with his keynote on How To Drive Profit Growth Through Youth Culture Trends. Focused around Gen Z, Fromm spoke to the mindsets of the emerging cohorts said to comprise 40% of consumers by 2020, considerations when partnering with Gen Z on their journey to discover “Brand Me,” and how to earn loyalty with a strong “proof of purpose.” He joked about Gen Z’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the addition of wifi to their physiological needs, which now reads: food, water, warmth, rest, wifi. (We all laugh uncomfortably knowing how true that is.) Fromm’s new book, Marketing to Gen Z, is based on original research and in-depth interviews that uncover who these buyers are and how to authentically connect with them. A staple for any marketers’ library.
Lastly, if access to the full 3-day event with 75+ groundbreaking sessions, over 100 cutting edge speakers and 700+ attendees isn’t enough to spark interest….all Insights Association proceeds are invested back into the industry to support programs, services, standards and advocacy to ensure the insights community thrives. For the full agenda and more information on the 2018 conference, visit the CRC website.
We here at W5 had the honor to partner with the folks at Quirk’s Media to develop an exciting and engaging way to showcase the results from the annual Q Report. A two-page spread was developed for publishing in this month’s issue of Quirk Magazine. This year the W5 team was challenged to tell a story that focus on internally and external communications while showcasing the report’s data points. It would take a meeting of the minds to develop an idea and execute a clear and concise deliverable.
The roles fleshed out as the following:
Amy: The Wrangler, headed up all communications and project direction
Andy: The Fact Finder, hand-picked data sets with impactful insights
Tristan: The Game Planner, forged a concept using the gathered insights
Adam: The Executer, crafted the illustration and layout
Allison: Eagle-Eyes, made sure I’s were dotted and T’s were crossed
With our powers combined, we were team AATAA—really rolls off the tongue.
Once there was a general idea of the story we were wanted to tell, I got to work developing some mock ups. Simple black and white designs gave the team a general idea of layout, placement, and illustrative narratives. The goal here was to provide quick options and troubleshoot all preliminary details before worrying about style, color, and pinning down the final layout and illustration.
We had our visual direction, our stats, and our story. We then had to strip out the jargon and translate the findings into easily translatable assets. I’d advise always consulting crack wordsmiths like Amy and Tristan to clearly communicate your message.
After a few rounds of tweaks and edits, we arrived at our final image ready for production! We are pleased to share the final infographic below:
In market research, we often seek out the needs and values of consumers as if they can be captured and presented, but in reality our needs and values are constantly in flux as we discover new problems to solve and new ways to solve them. To better understand what consumers want in a given moment, it is crucial to leverage qualitative research to understand how those wants evolved over time and how they might evolve in the future.
I technically became a father on July 7th at 11:03am when my first child Everest was born, but in reality it was a transformation much longer in the making. It happened over the course of many moments leading up to that day and has been happening every day since.
It happened while we made the decision to start preparing for pregnancy and got all our ducks in a row. It happened during all the anxious doctor appointments and tests all the way that rule out, one by one, any issues that might require special attention. It happened as we set up the nursery to make a loving, special space for our upcoming new addition.
All along the way there were new things to learn, new concerns to manage, and new problems to solve. We swallowed new costs when we signed up for a grocery delivery service and traded in our tiny two-seater for a bigger ride. We also made new efforts to save money, spending countless afternoons and weekends picking up second-hand items we found through Facebook groups or craigslist, including our crib, bassinet, changing table, and countless baby clothes. Over these past months, what we wanted and what we valued were in flux. We made decisions about our money and time that solved problems we’d never had before and involved new kinds of activities for us.
As a market researcher, I couldn’t help but think about how this shift in my own values is emblematic of the values I seek to uncover through my research. When I try to find out what matters to, say, a grocery shopper, it’s like taking a freeze frame out of a film. Needs, desires, priorities, and the practices we engage in to meet those, evolve over time. Understanding that evolution can reveal new opportunities for meeting those needs.
As parents, my wife and I found parenting guidance not just by asking friends for parenting advice, but also by uncovering how they came to advocate for the products or practices they told us about. We learned how one parent had a doctor’s office around the block but could never get an appointment. Another couple thought their baby, who was having trouble sleeping, hated being swaddled, but in fact she slept like a rock once they found an alternative design. Our friend’s deluxe stroller was unusable half the time because only her husband could lift it. This personal research allowed us to develop our own approach informed by others’ experiences, not just values, allowing us to better prioritize our own values and anticipate our own needs.
At W5, we like to think of our ethnographic research as an opportunity to meet consumers where they are, but this doesn’t just mean a physical location, like a home or a store. It also means meeting consumers where they are in the trajectory of their lives, revealing more about who they are now through where they came from and where they are going.