The AKA Way – Insights Edition


We get people to go places. That’s our #1 passion—and it’s what we do best. So, we’re excited to bring you regular deep dives into different big ideas, insights or industry topics that you need to hear about if you’re going to stay on the cutting edge of the industry.

This month, our VP of Insights & Marketing, Janette Roush, provides a market research round-up from the recent Quirk’s Event and breaks it all down to what we really need to know and how to go about it. Over to Janette!

System 1? Binary scales? Infographics and measuring customer experience?  Welcome to the world of market research as presented by The Quirk’s Event, two days of 85 presentations from 120 research companies that AKA NYC Senior Insights Analyst Marc Jablonski excitedly texted me, “is like Disney Land!” for data nerds.

Terrific presentations included Reality Check on how humans are better narrators than evaluators—consumers aren’t equipped to judge logos and ads (although they’ll try when you ask them).  Don’t ask how they feel about your ad—ask how your ad makes them feel. That’s something your respondent can ACCURATELY answer.

This dovetailed with other presentations on System 1 decision-making, our subconscious system for making decisions (like when you walk straight home from the subway even though you meant to pick up the dry-cleaning). People are bad at knowing causation. But we think that we’re great at it! If you ask people in a survey or focus group why we picked a show or made a decision, they want to be helpful and they will make something up. Consumers operate this way 90-95% of the time—we buy on emotion and justify with logic.

People are good at knowing what they think and what they feel right now, in the moment—how an ad makes them feel, how much they like something. But they are terrible at knowing if “how they feel” has changed, or why they did what they did. When surveys ask us to read complicated questions and give answers on complicated 7-point or 10-point Likert scales, we switch to system 2 decision-making and start to rationalize our gut instincts. The presenter, Communicus, goes into greater detail on this research here. 

Dichotomous Scale – System 1 (Decision-Making)
Likert Scales – System 2 (Decision-Making)
It was fascinating to see this work from the perspective of giant CPG brands who have markets of 300 million people in the US alone and hundreds of competitors. Looking at NYC tourism, our potential market is about 62 million people. Narrowing down to the audience for Broadway (tourist and local), that market is just 3.1 million people.
No matter the scale, the insights generated by market research are built on the same foundation: we all seek to understand the human mind and translate our findings into actions using the following precepts:  
  • Data agnosticism: Pick the right tool in your toolkit for the job—when we have a question, there are multiple resources and techniques for getting at the answer .
  • Data synthesis: Combine data from multiple sources (qualitative and quantitative, primary and secondary) to provide a 360-degree view of the solution to the problem.
At AKA, we regularly dive into a variety of methods, including website and UX consumer behavior, qualitative surveys with a panel of 12,000 entertainment seekers, digital media campaign data, sales patterns and zip code trends, and a host of historical databases for benchmarking and strategy that we’ve been building for almost a decade. Each tool uncovers a piece of the puzzle of how to get people off the couch and into our theatres and attractions. And thanks to this conference, we now have a few more tools in that toolkit.
If you’ve got any market research questions, or want to dive deeper into any topic, just let us know! We’re here for you.