From June 27-30, I will represent Fors Marsh Group (FMG) at the 2018 USF Social Marketing Conference. Every year, social marketers from all disciplines congregate at this conference for the latest guidance on the best techniques for developing and evaluating behavior change programs and campaigns. I’m looking forward to participating in many of these training sessions and presenting my poster “‘Can You Say More About That?’ A New Moderator’s Perspective on Qualitative Methods and Market Research” at the poster session on Friday, June 29.
Over the past year and change, I have conducted more than 100 focus groups and interviews with Fors Marsh Group. During this time, I have acquired a variety of moderation best practices for getting the most out of consumer or market research at different stages in the CDCyngery Social Marketing Process Steps. In the poster that I present on Friday, I will share some case studies from my experience this past year and suggestions about how they might be applied to formative research, concept testing, or stimuli/pre-testing endeavors for social marketing interventions. My main message is that a good moderator is like a ship captain-—they need to be as hospitable as they are technically savvy, and as focused on their final destination as they are capable of coming up with creative solutions for getting there. I am excited to share my ideas with my fellow conference attendees and see how I might incorporate their research and experience into my own moderation and social marketing tool kit.
With that in mind, one of the sessions I am most eager to attend is titled “Evaluation Design for Health Communication Efforts” by Ashani Johnson-Turbes. At Fors Marsh Group, many of us are experienced program and campaign evaluators, but we are always interested in improving our techniques and developing new approaches for achieving our goals. As a member of FMG’s Communication Research, Strategy, and Outreach team, it is especially exciting to encounter new guidance in this practice area.
I am also hoping to attend a stream of presentations on social marketing interventions used to prevent excessive drinking-related morbidity and mortality. Fors Marsh Group has conducted extensive research around excessive drinking, but most of this has been formative research around audience attitudes, norms, and beliefs. I will be curious to see what methods presenters in this stream have brought to bear when developing applied social marketing interventions for excessive drinking-related social challenges.
On the Communication, Research, Strategy, and Outreach team, we do work at the intersection of behavior change and social marketing and pride ourselves on staying abreast of the most up-to-date theories and methods for achieving that work. Although it can be hard to step away from a job that you love, I am grateful to have these upcoming couple of days to pause, refresh, and immerse myself in social marketing research and learn with and from experts in this burgeoning field.