Current Day Qualitative Market Research in a Nutshell…

ImageIt’s been a while since I have had the time to blog about some of the excellent articles I am reading regarding trends in marketing and market research.  Well, have a got a great one for you.  It’s from the folks at GreenBook.  I have relied on the GreenBook for my market research needs for more than a decade and they have really hit it out of the park with their new book entitled:  New Qualitative Research.  It’s the quintessential guide to qualitative research options today.

Here are some of the highlights that I think you will find interesting…

They break out qualitative research into two buckets:

  • Real-time (live)
  • Non-real-time (asynchronous)

Here’s what they are saying fit into these buckets:

Real-time (live) qualitative options

  • Face-to-face one-on-one or group sessions, at research facilities or other locations
  • Webcam/video one-on-ones or groups via computers or mobile devices
  • Text chat, instant messaging, or SMS texting dialogues with individuals or groups, using computers or mobile devices
  • Landline or mobile phone one-on-one or group discussions — with or without web support for showing multi-media information or concepts, collaborating with markup tools, sharing computer screens remotely, and more

Non-real-time (asynchronous) qualitative options

  • Online discussion boards, forums, or collaboration platforms for one-on-one or group interactions that may include Q&A dialogues, projective or immersive activities, journaling/diaries,/blogs or other multi-media activities accessed via computers and/or mobile devices
  • Longer-term insight communities, co-creation networks, or other longitudinal approaches
  • Social media listening/observing, or engaging social media users in market research

Ok, now that you have the techniques…when do you use them.  I say, read the article and decide for yourself what makes sense for your business. I am partial to focus groups and social media listening myself, but I am sure that I could gain a lot from building a discussion community.  Ah if only I had the time and money!

Happy Marketing!

Marketing Automation Success Factors…

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Anyone that reads my blog knows that I am all about automating your marketing.  As marketers, we just don’t have the time and man/woman power it takes to hand crank marketing campaigns.  That’s why I love all the strides marketing software companies have made in help crazed marketers like me automate their marketing campaigns.

Now all of this said, even in this day and age, marketing automation systems are not completely automated.  And you need to know that before jumping in and laying down a bundle of cash for a marketing automation system. 

I recently read a great blog article on the MASG website about the subject; it’s by Justin Gray , CEO of LeadMD called Marketing Automation ROI: Myths and Facts.

While I encourage you to read the full blog, here are some of the key takeaways for me that you might enjoy (by the way, I am paraphrasing and adding my own spin here):

  • Start at the beginning not the end…Make sure your database is in order before you start
  • Marketing Automation is One Big IF/THEN Statement— Make sure you have a leads process in place, the system just automates your manual process; having a detailed leads process map will be required!
  • You need lots of content—you need to think of your marketing automation as a campaign, not as a series of “once and dones”
  • You don’t just flip a switch and turn marketing automation on…it can take months to get it up and running (in a smooth manner)
  • The results of marketing automation aren’t immediate—some campaigns have a long tail
  • Measuring the success of marketing automation takes time—good things come to those who are patient (not those who wait)

Four success factors of Marketing Automation:

  • Executive Buy-in
  • Good to great content
  • Milestones and success factors
  • Know when a lead is a lead and when it is still a prospect

What to read more about this?  Click here:

Happy Marketing!

QR Code or Not to QR Code…

Ok, believe it or not…that’s not the question.  At least it shouldn’t be your first question.  Your first question should be strategy related, not tactical.  So your first question should be something like:  “what do I want my marketing to do” or “what is the overall goal of my marketing efforts”.

Ok, now that you’ve got that down, you need to ask yourself “who is my audience”?  Much of the QR code success has been in the B2C space, not B2B space.  But if you don’t have a B2B focus, don’t fret…there is an “app” for that.  Check out my next Blog about Gamification.

So who is using QR Codes and where are they using it?  The best usage statistics comes from ComScore.  According to Comscore, the leading consumer research company, 14 million people in the U.S. used QR codes in June 2011–equating to 6.2% of the total mobile audience in the U.S. having scanned a QR or bar code on their mobile device in June.  A strong number considering that QR Codes have really only been actively used in the U.S. for a couple of years

Who are using QR Codes? 

  • Males: 60.5% 
  • Gen Y and Gen X:  53.4% of the 18 to 35 segment

What media do they prefer to scan?

  • 49.4% say magazines and newspapers
  • 34.4% say product packaging

Where do they prefer to scan?

  • 58% say at home
  • 39.4% say retail stores

ComScore’s report was based on a sample of 14,452 adults. The study was the first time comScore measured QR code use.

So consumers are using them, but are they using them to buy stuff?  Check out my upcoming blogs to find out…

Happy Marketing!

Getting the Most Out of Your Direct Marketing Campaigns

I have been in the marketing field for almost 20 years now.  And, this not only makes me old, but it also gives you the understanding that I have been there and done that with a lot of things…particularly when it comes to market research and direct marketing.

Recently, I was speaking with someone who was relatively new to the field of marketing…you know the one…the person who uses the word “advertising” as a synonym for marketing.  This person had no idea that how you approached marketing differed depending upon whether your marketing effort was aimed at pure brand building play or if it was focused on getting someone to take immediate actions (direct marketing).

Here’s briefly what I told the marketing novice:

  • Know what success is before you start—make it specific 
  • Give them an offer they can’t refuse—also known as target your message to your target market 
  • Give them the WIIFM—if they know what’s in it for them, they are more likely to respond 
  • Make responding easy—and don’t assume everyone wants to go to a landing page/website or email you…some of us old timers want a good old-fashioned business reply card 
  • Don’t be a one-shot wonder—you need to think campaign, not once and done (which I like to call once and none) 
  • Include your Superman copy—make sure your copy gives them your unique selling proposition (aka how you are faster than a silver bullet and leap tall buildings with a single bound 
  • Test and learn—don’t shoot the wad before you know your direct marketing strategy is going to work
  • Spend enough—think about your prospects and what will motivate them to respond and hopefully convert and spend accordingly—think lifetime value of customers you bring on board

These insights were helpful to the novice, I hope they are helpful to you as well.

Happy Marketing!

When Bad Journalism Impacts Your Public Relations/Marketing Efforts…

I have heard time and time again that any PR is good for you…even if it is negative.  And, while I don’t necessarily agree with this assertion, I do believe that you need to get your name out there, through PR in particular, as much as you can.

But, what happens when the wonderful interview you did with a “journalist” not only gets miss quoted but your cool new product/service gets associated with your competitor’s name?    It happened just the other day to my husband’s company by a journalist for USA Today.  Here’s the link, can you tell from this piece that Haws Corporation owns the name Hydration Station?    Click Here.    After the gnashing of teeth and tearing of clothes is over, what can you really do?  Well, in this day of social media…plenty.

 

1)      E-mail the Publication—the first step should be to email the publication about the mistake and ask for a retraction in the next printed issue or in the next electronic publication.  This will get your name out again and could be even better than the impact you would have achieved through the first article. 

  • What if they say no?  Well, there is nothing you can do with the printed version, but you can use the comment section for the article as a way to correct the author.  I would recommend that if you are going to take this action that you have a friend or business associate do the comment for you so that it does not appear self-serving.

2)      Share the article through Social Media—in this way you get your name associated with your product and with the great newsworthy article.  It makes you and your product “visible.”  Encourage your fans/friends and others to pass it on.

3)      Place a link to your article on your website—having fresh content relating to your brand/product/service on your website increases your “Google” juice and makes you more visible on the internet.

4)      E-mail the Author—you would have thought that I would have put that first wouldn’t you?  But in many instances the author is a freelancer and has very little control over (or desire to) fix their mistakes.

5)      Acceptance—you need to accept that many publications are using freelancers and that you are not going to be entirely control of your message.  Be prepared (and prepare your boss!).

Mistakes in PR are going to be more and more problematic as the switch from full-time journalists to freelance “experts” and writers becomes more mainstream.  You need to be prepared to deal with the mistakes  quickly and decisively. 

Happy Marketing!

Social media marketing for the big and the small…

You know what is great about social media marketing?  You can do it successfully whether you are a multi-billion dollar organization or a small mom and pop style grocery store.

  • For the mom and pop store, it allows you to seem bigger than you are.  You know, what having a cool website did for you about 10 to 15 years ago!
  • For the large corporations, it allows you to become smaller.  I know what you are saying…”what? Seem smaller?…Why would I want that?”  Ah, grasshopper, the reason is community and relationships.  As companies grow, their line of sight to individual customers narrows to something that you need a telescope to see.  So, by actively listening and then engaging in social media platforms, large corporations can get back to the one-to-one marketing they used to do when they first started out.  It makes a difference…really.  Just ask Starbucks!
 
A mentor of mine, Dr. Bret Simmons, posted a question on Facebook asking about how conducting social media marketing would differ (if at all) for a company in a metropolitan area than for a company in a rural area. My short answer to this question is:  it really shouldn’t be any different…that is the beauty of social media!  
 
The only difference in social media marketing in a rural area versus a metropolitan area is reach.  Because rural areas tend to have fewer options when it comes to internet connections and fewer people in general, the reach you will get with your social media marketing efforts  in a rural area will be much smaller than in a metropolitan area.
 
One point to be made about social media marketing…it cannot be done in a vacuum.  Your social media marketing campaign has to be:
  • Integrated into your company culture:  You can’t say one thing in social media and then do another during the purchase or post purchase experience.
  • Integrated into your marketing campaign:  To get through today’s clutter, you need to integrate your social media into an integrated marketing campaign.  So, combine your social media efforts with your direct mail, advertising and digital marketing efforts.
  • Fully emersed:  You can’t just do a couple of tweets and expect the world to come to your door.  You have to consistently be there and engaging with your community.

So, how are you integrating your social media marketing efforts into your customer service efforts and your marketing campaigns? 

Happy Marketing!

 

Entrepreneurial Permission

As I toiled away on my elliptical machine tonight, I re-read Tina Seelig’s book “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.”  And what I love most about this book has to do with what makes a small business owner successful.  Is it being a marketing genius? Is it being a financial wizard?  Is it having a parent with a very large bank roll?  They all help, but that’s not it…at least not for the long run away.

At the end of the day, it really just boils down to a couple of traits or states of mind; traits/states of mind I would like to share with you.  The presence or absence of these traits/states of mind will tell you if you have the stomach and the know-how to become a successful small business owner.

  • Turning failure upside down—entrepreneurs can take failure because they know that failure shows them how to succeed the next time.  Failure is temporary.  Failure is sometimes necessary.  And, guess what? It took Thomas Edison something like  1,000 “steps” as he liked to call it to perfect the light bulb.
  • Knowing that “no” sometimes means not now—let’s face it, very few people in life like hearing the word no; especially as it relates to their business/baby.  Successful entrepreneurs understand that “no” might mean call me next week when I am in a better frame of mind.
  • Try everything, at least once—Successful small business owners will do just about anything to keep their dream alive.   And, they get creative…both inside and outside the box.  They are constantly thinking about what is next for their business and questioning whether if they are doing everything right and everything they should be doing.  Just like their business, they are in constant motion.
  • Test and learn beats fast and furious (…just ask the rabbit)—successful small business owners don’t waste money on big splashes, they take a disciplined approach to just about everything. They aren’t tentative, but they do their due diligence.

Here is my favorite and the most important part of being a successful entrepreneur.

  • Give yourself permission—the permission to start, the permission to stop, the permission to take risks, the permission to accept failures, the permission to say you were wrong, and the permission to say you were right.  Whatever permission you are denying yourself…give it freely.  You don’t have to wait for permission from someone else.  Who cares what they think?  Give yourself permission to start doing what you love today!

Since this blog isn’t about my normal marketing or market research topics, I have decided to end with a quote from Thomas Edison rather than “Happy Marketing”.  Here goes:

 

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

 

Here’s something from me…I give you permission.

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