Earlier in the week someone sent me what I take to be a marketing piece from Communispace called "Connecting with Connected Consumers." Its purpose seems to be to describe how mobile might be used in the MROC context to add a new dimension of insight. Two things struck me about the piece.
First, they report that when it comes to mobile advertising their MROC members report ". . . a strong appetite for contact from brands, provided that contact is both solicited and relevant, and that they are able to retain some control over the cadence and nature of the interaction." It occurred to me as a read the words a second time that we probably could say something very similar about what it takes to conduct successful mobile research or, for that matter, any kind of research. It implies subtlety, creativity and treating people as individuals rather than a commodity. Well said, but I'm not sure brands or researchers have yet figured out how to do just that.
Second, in the requisite in-the-moment section of the mobile pitch they talk about "deputizing" their MROC members "to become participant observers—not just of the lives of others, but of their own lives." The words that then immediately popped into my head were "mystery shop." I confess that those are just words to me, that I've never been within spitting distance of a mystery shop project and what little I know has never impressed me. However, in the context of an MROC it somehow seems more interesting. I'm not a mobile evangelist who believes that mobile will soon become a dominant methodology, but I have always felt that there are some really cool niche applications where mobile can add a lot of value. The MROC context seems to provide just that kind of opportunity.