Location + time= purpose

We’re in a constant stream of change. Being ahead of the digital game, Google is one of the first companies to acknowledge this. At the Marketing Insights Event (MIE) 2013, Joris Merks (Research Manager Google) took us on a journey of the mobile revolution – from the early days of the Internet with rattling routers to the current era of data here, there and everywhere.
In the beginning, online conversion was all that mattered. Get yourself a website, create some content and be lucky enough for someone to hit the featured banners of your affiliate partners. Standing out became different when the Internet became more common. Those who were successful had been able to gain reach, but most of all: to engage their online customers.
Today, we’re living in an era of converging. Social media, location-based and mobile marketing come together in ‘solomo’ – an abbreviation that a MIE visitor could not have missed. This does not only require the creation of cross-media marketing campaigns, but also a catchy approach in the interpretation of loads of data.
Joris MerksThis is not new to Dutch DM Man of the Year, Joris Merks. Indeed, he acknowledges the many different sources of data. A key insight is that there’s less need to differentiate in devices than to differentiate in location and moments. It is true that we use devices differently (on average, we use our iPhone for 33 minutes and our iPad for 22 minutes a day). And no, it is not hard to separate a smartphone from a regular sized tablet – but what to do with the models in-between: larger smartphones which are more of a tablet and mini-tablets?
In contrast: yes, it does make a big difference when and where you are ‘Google-ing’ the keyword ‘pizza’. Doing so on Monday at 8am on your mobile phone would probably be a search for a to-go supermarket for a frozen pizza to eat later that day. Hitting the search button on this word at your desktop at home around 7pm, you’re probably longing for a pizza delivered to your home. When searching for a pizza at midnight, walking the streets after partying with the guys, you might be looking for the best place to have your midnight snack. By putting all this together in a simple formula ‘location + time = purpose’, Merks underlines Google’s vision on investigating data of the future.
In the meantime, the industry has made some serious progress in measuring the customer online through classical surveys. Nonetheless, there were some other stories too. Martin Warmelink (Client Services Director TNS NIPO) showed how surreal survey data can be sometimes. For instance, participants seem to underestimate the number of brands they will have in their consideration set when it comes down to actual decision-making. Moreover, they have a hard time estimating the number of times they will be involved in a certain activity.
So how should we deal with that? Google and TNS NIPO joined hands and developed a mobile application which tracks their behaviour, resulting in an overview of locations and moments and therefore purposes of their search queries. At the same time, rich data was gathered from different kinds of smartphone users and the usage of mobile Internet.
Clearly, market research calls for methods which fit our rapidly changing times. At InSites Consulting, we believe in advancing the industry by – among others – the use of contextual surveys, i.e. surveys in which participants do not only answer questions, but actually ‘take part in the field’. For instance, they are asked to explore their environment, to make pictures, and to fulfil ethnographic tasks next to answering regular questions. These task-based questionnaires differ from classical surveys by being more of a collaboration tool than a validation tool. We believe in the location and time vision that really adds to the data. Our goal: inspiring and engaging both clients and participants, while still generating the information we are always so hungry for.
We are in the right time and place for this purpose. Are you?
Want to find out more? On Tuesday March 12, InSites Consulting organizes our Research in the Mobile Mindset Smartees Webinar on how research can help in your mobile marketing. Check the full program online!

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