View from Ericsson – When Mobile Market Research turns you topsy turvy!
Ericsson’s regional head for Consumer Insights, Jasmeet Sethi, presented during the May 2014 Market Research in the Mobile World North America 2014 event in Chicago. A fascinating view of mobile space from the perspective of a technological giant like Ericsson can be gleaned from Sethi’s presentation.
Mostly, Sethi’s presentation hinged on a feel-good, chirpy recounting of the challenges and successes in market research. His pointed quip on how conferences for market researchers can breed self-doubt was brazen and keen. Typically hosted by agencies and industrial suppliers, market-research events and conferences can, indeed, inadvertently “push their agenda” down people’s throats. This does not bode well for the industry as a whole. Certain research methodologies, for instance, may end up being set aside in favor of those that are wildly flouted during conferences.
Almost 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs across Ericsson networks. This means, among many things, having easy access to consumer data. According to Sethi, his employer was able to amass a huge amount of passive consumer data from mobile devices. Ericsson also pioneered the collection of mobile qualitative data through cloud applications. Sethi then raised a crucial point: research methodologies and approaches change according to the data collection and sourcing platform.
The crux of the talk by Ericsson’s Jasmeet Sethi was mobile behavioral data, which had not been widely tapped due in part to the data’s apparent inadequacy in reflecting the how and why of consumer preferences. For the most part, consumer behavioral data is vital to Ericsson’s operations. So, it was not only in the interest of market research that such data were gathered and aggregated. For example, Ericsson people have to understand how consumers use mobile devices so that Ericsson networks can be planned accordingly. This is because each type of mobile device poses a unique demand for capacity from the network.
The key takeaway from Sethi’s talk has practical significance in mobile market research. Mobile behavioral data–such as the mountain of user information that can be harnessed from social networking sites, mobile apps, and online services–are yet to be tapped, because mobile researchers are mostly dependent on traditional market surveys. Sethi, however, did not address the obvious setback. For a regular mobile market researcher, the sort of behavioral data discussed by Sethi is out of reach. Getting hold of user activity and other consumer data from network traffic, for example, is out of the question for a conventional market research firm.
He then described Ericsson’s forays into transforming mobile behavioral data into a form that’s actionable and usable for decision making. Working with an analytics vendor, Sethi’s team discovered the most frequently used applications in consumers’ mobile devices. They were video streaming, browsing, and shopping apps. Peak hours showing the busiest level of user activity were late nights and early mornings. Since the reasons for these behavioral data trends could not be obtained, traditional surveys were then sent out to consumers. It was a brilliant move, demonstrating how mobile device users can be naturally segmented based on their mobile behavioral data.
You can watch Sethi’s MRMW Chicago’14 presentation by clicking on the YouTube link below:
When mobile MR turns you topsy turvy!
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