My TMRE 2013 Takeaways Part V: Everyone wants to access the unconscious

Invoke Solutions qualitative quantitative online focus group employee motivation

OK, so I know I have been slacking on my TMRE takeaways, holding tight to my last little trend as Gollum clings to his precious (sorry, the Hobbit is coming out this weekend). And I know you are all, “TMRE? That was an elf’s age ago.” Ahem, sorry. Hobbit.

But work has been taking me away from blog posts. I apologize, but I gotta make that money.

As you may recall, my colleague Amos Wagon last talked about the need for integrated data based off the growing industry-wide desire for the riches of the all-knowing and all-seeing yet often unattainable promise of Big Data (

Another big trend that may be out of reach for many, but is still receiving a lot of buzz is this whole idea of accessing the unconscious. Through methods like eye tracking, virtual reality simulations, biometrics, etc. researchers are looking for ways to get beyond ask-and-answer types of research and understand what really motivates consumers. At the show, there was a lot of talk about this on the show floor and in many keynotes and presentations.

Unfortunately, aside from how cool most of this is, the tools used to access the unconscious are expensive and out-of-reach for many companies (much like Big Data). And honestly, I feel like with most of the research being done, accessing the subconscious is not going to get us to a level of insight that will enable us to make recommendations all that much better than we can with online qual/quant. Understanding internal motivations and consumer emotion remains important, but much of what we need to learn in this space, we can do with tools much like the ones I use now.  As a researcher who services clients of all sizes, I need to continue to be thoughtful in constructing discussion guides for my sessions to try and ask questions that get at subconscious motivators as well as conscious ones.

When conducting attitudes & usage types of sessions, for example, I often start them off with general behavior questions unrelated to the brand or product I am dealing with. This helps me understand who these consumers are, what’s changing in their lives, how they are going about their day-to-day and then connect these findings to their brand perceptions and behaviors, thus better understanding internal motivations before I get to the more concrete usage, appeal and other types of “key metric” types of questions. The nice thing about the toolset at my disposal is its qualitative strength, group dynamic simulation and overall “conversational” feel aid in extracting deep, emotive responses key to understanding consumer motivations and behaviors. Additionally, the ability to add on-the-fly questions and chat one-on-one really enables me to dive deeper with respondents and understand what makes them tick.

Overall, it was a really great year this year down in Nashville. I definitely love the networking and pomp-slash-circumstance of a conference like this, but I really appreciate when I can walk away with real learnings that can help me deliver better research for my clients.

Thanks TMRE and see you next year!

If you want to check out the other TMRE Takeaway posts, here you go:

And I wish all of you a happy holiday season and a prosperous, joyous New Year.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.