The Words & Ideas That Captured Our Imaginations in 2016

2016 FreshMR Word CloudIt’s my last day of work in 2016, and I’ve been taking stock of what I’ve done as well as what we as a team of colleagues have done this year: what we’ve focused on, what we’ve written about, and ultimately, what we’ve learned. All told, it’s been an amazing set of adventures and accomplishments. Here at Market Strategies’ FreshMR blog, we’ve been sharing our thoughts on market research since 2011. So far this year, we published 109 posts with 69,706 words and 369,665 characters, covering scores of topics including.

What we do: Research on brand, communications, customer experience, product development, segmentation, syndicated research.

How we do it: Qualitative and quantitative data collection, marketing & data sciences.

For whom: Clients in Consumer & Retail, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Technology and Telecommunications.

Of all we covered in 2016, a few topics stand out distinctly:

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A Researcher’s Perspective on What “Millennial” Really Means

Selfie

The term “Millennials,” describing today’s youngest generation to reach adulthood, is thrown around a lot. When you think of Millennials, do you think of privileged hipsters with a knack for tech? If so, let’s take a step back. It’s time to admit that the Millennial has become a caricature. This might produce some great entertainment (like this SNL skit), but it’s not helpful to those trying to glean real information about generational groups. We’ve got to understand that Millennials are not a clique of hip, white 20-somethings with rich parents; they’re America’s largest and most diverse generation, and when it comes to analyzing them or any other age cohort they deserve a fair shake.

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What Modern Romance Can Teach Us About Generational Research

tech-modern-romanceI was recently inspired by Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance—a well-researched, insightful look into the rapid changes in modern social life: meeting, dating, coupling, cheating, uncoupling. His book provides many great lessons about a changing world, perhaps none more so than his concept of a “phone world” which many of us now regularly inhabit:

“Through our phone world we are connected to anyone or everyone in our lives, from our parents to a casual acquaintance whom we friend on Facebook. For younger generations, their social lives play out through social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, and Facebook as much as through campuses, cafes, and clubs. But in recent years, as more and more adults have begun spending more and more time on their own digital devices, just about everybody with the means to buy a device and a data plan has become a hyper engaged participant in their phone world”.

The advancement of technology, including its adoption and influence, is moving fast—fast enough to reshape our thinking about how to best approach generational research. We often consider Millennials—those roughly age 18-34—as a homogenous group. Yet, there are distinct differences in technology device usage and technological perceptions between those in emerging adulthood (18-24 years old) and those in young adulthood (25-34 years old). These groups are adopting technology differently, and we need to approach them as distinct segments, particularly when conducting technology research.  Continue reading