Archive for the ‘Market Research’ Category

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!

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Social media = brand engagement

In my last blog, I’ve talked about the fact that we are now in the age of the consumer.  Today I want to further this discussion by talking about some stats put out recently by emarketer. Specifically, I want to talk about some research conducted by ROI Research and how the majority of consumers are using social media to provide feedback (and connect) with brands.

In this research, ROI Research found that people using social media to discuss products and services on social sites were:

• Price shopping (59%)

Talking about offers (56%) <–as a marketer…this really excites me! 

• Providing feedback (53%)

• Giving advice (50%)

• Telling others where to purchase items online (49%)

Expressing disappointment about a product or service (47%) <–I have done this many times!

• Tell folks where to purchase items offline (47%)

• Talking to customer service (36%)—WOW!

Another great bit of information about how consumers engage with brands comes from a study from a MarketTools survey. In this survey, they found that although US travelers may be embracing social networks to express feedback more frequently than in the past, social media as a feedback or customer service channel is still in its infancy.

This study is near and dear to my heart considering I blasted Southwest Airlines for bad customer service through all forms of social media for them to completely ignore me. Oh well, they do offer cheap flights as long as you aren’t traveling across the country.

What are you doing to engage your customers through social media? 

Happy Marketing!

In the Age of the Consumer, Engagement is King!

While it’s usually used to describe the housing market, the phrase “it’s a buyer’s market” now describes most consumer markets.  Why? The amount and depth of information that is available at the consumers’ fingers of course.

I was just reading the blog by Josh Bernoff entitled Welcome to the Age of the Customer. Invest accordingly and it really had me thinking…as a researcher and a marketer, what does this shift to the “age of the consumer” mean to me?   I am guessing lots.   If this topic interests you, I highly recommend you (buy and) read the full report from Forrester on the topic.   Click here to go to the report site.

Here’s a great chart that Forrester has put together explaining how the influence of the consumer has changed over the years.  Basically it shows the balance of power shifting from the manufacturer to the consumer and the impetuous being access to information.

So at the end of the day what does the age of the consumer mean?  It means that we marketers need to think engagement rather than revenue.  We need to focus our resources on building the appropriate sharing and engagement tools—and this has to go beyond social media.  This means we need to keep in contact with our customers and prospects.  At the company I work for, we use a marketing automation system to nurture our prospects and keep our customers engaged.

Now—back to my market research side…as a market researcher, the age of the consumer has serious ramifications.  These ramifications range from more and more people trying out DIY market research (probably much to their detriment), the touch points that need to be measured in our customer satisfaction and loyalty, transaction and AAU (attitudes, awareness and usage) studies are going to increase significantly. And, the way in which we complete surveys is also going to change.  And, we need to be prepared for the change.  It’s not just conducting studies via telephone and online, we also have to consider mobile surveys and virtual focus groups.  So many choices, so little time!

While we are truly facing a brave new world, it can be lucrative for those who build their operating and marketing strategy around customer engagement first, and revenue generation second.

How are you engaging your customers and prospects in this age of the consumer?

Happy Marketing!

You Stink But I Love You Anyway…the Loyalty Ladder

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One thing that never ceases to amaze me are customers who continue to patronize a company even though the company is not providing the service and/or value that should warrant the loyalty. While we can’t discount the masochists out there… I think there is a very simple, but very important answer, and it has to do with the various rungs on the Loyalty Ladder.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s, we were all about measuring customer satisfaction. Then one day, someone got the bright idea that we should be measuring loyalty (usually in the form of willingness to recommend). At the turn of the century (wow am I that old?), we started using the Net Promoter Score (NPS)…which is a kissing cousin of loyalty, but goes a bit further. What should we be measuring? I think it depends…there is a lot of merit to NPS, but I like other types of measurements as well.

How do I categorize customers so that I really understand how likely they are to continue to buy from me? I put people on the rungs of what I call the Loyalty Ladder (shown in bulleted form).

• Raving Fans—these are folks that are giving me the highest scores possible on my survey. They are also going to recommend me every chance they get and will be willing to pay more for me (because I am just that good). I try to get everyone into this bucket but hey I am human…

• Always Done It That Way—these are folks that buy from you out of habit. To them , you are like the comfy blanket (or binky) that they had as a child. This type of loyalty is good, but not entirely loyal.

• I Have No Place to Go—these are the folks that feel trapped, but don’t spend a lot of time looking for alternatives. For example, cable companies had a lot of loyal customers before consumers were aware and understood the service provided by DirectTv and Dish Network. So what happened? Once these two companies (and others like them) became mainstream…these once loyal customers were not so loyal.

• Asleep at the Switch—these are the people that are using you and don’t even know that you are providing the service. They have no loyalty to you but they started your service some time back and forgot to turn it off.

• I Have a Coupon—consumers switching to you for discounts and other couponing are not necessarily going to stay with you. If they switched to you for a discount, they can easily go in the other direction (a competitor) the next time they need your product/service. For these folks, you need to add value beyond the coupon.

So why is this so important? When defending and/or attempting to increase your customer base, you need to know where your customers and prospects are on this loyalty ladder (for lon-term success that is).

Where are your customers on the loyalty ladder?

Happy marketing!

Small businesses & social media usage statistics

In the middle of last year, I wrote a blog about small business and their usage of social media entitle “Small businesses are getting it!”.  In the blog, I gave you some stats on small business’ usage of social.  Well I am happy to say that I have some updated small business social media stats to share with you from the next wave of the study.  And, the results show that social media utilization grew among small business decision-makers from the first half to the second half of 2010.

In the past 12 months, owners have made key accomplishments with social media, including:

  • Staying engaged with customers (63%)
  • Increased brand awareness (61%)
  • Identifying and attracting new customers (59%).

Here’s what small businesses are using as it relates to social media:

So what do small business decision-makers think as it relates to technology and the future? 

  • Nearly half expect to have a social media presence (46%)
  • 66% expect to have a website
  • 36% expect to have an SEO plan

On a not so positive note, more small businesses have found that social media is not meeting their expectations:  36% feel that their use of social media has fallen short of expectations and just 9% say their social media efforts have exceeded expectations.

Visit http://www.networksolutions.com/smallbusiness to download a full copy of the Small Business Success Index Wave-5

So, small business owner what are you waiting for?  And large businesses…your customers are online and engaging in social media.  Where are you?

Happy Marketing!

Four Quick and Easy Tips to Name Generation…

While most of us would agree that great care should be given when selecting a name for a new company or a new product, many people don’t have a true process they go through when selecting a name.

Since the name of your company or product/service is going to be with you for hopefully a very, very long time, it is important that you get this part of building your new business/product/service right.

Here are four quick and easy tips to naming a new business, product or service.

  1. Keep it Simple— less is (most often) more when selecting a name.  Think about your target audience when you are naming your company.  Since you are building your product and service around their wants/needs…why wouldn’t you build your company name around these wants/needs as well?   For some, simple could mean naming it after the family like SC Johnson (who makes things like Windex).
  2. Make it Memorable—while “being memorable” means different things to different people, to me it means selecting a name that is easy for your target market to remember.  So nothing complicated or hard to remember.  Or worse yet…one that is so close in name to a competitor that you often get mistaken for them (which could be a good or bad thing depending upon the competitor).  For example:  JiffyPop.  How could you forget that name?  Popped corn in a jiffy!
  3. Make it Relevant—is important for you to select a name that is easily relatable (by your target market) to what you do.  For example:  Toys”R”us.  When seeing this name for the very first time, would you have any doubt or misunderstanding as to what this company does?   Another great example is ProPixFix…a new online photo restoration service.  The name clearly tells you what they do.
  4. Make it Familiar—my final and favorite naming tip is make it familiar…meaning make it sound like you have heard of that company before.  When you start a business, you will have almost no brand recognition or equity.  By having a familiar sounding name, you might get people comfortable in giving you a shot, even though you are new.   For example: Fast Forward Strategies.  This marketing strategy company started in 2002 with no brand awareness/equity.  The company benefitted from the name sounding like a strategy company their target market had heard of before.

Ok, so what do you do if you have a “bad” name and you are stuck with it?  Help fix the bad name with a tagline.  Look for a future blog post on the topic of taglines coming soon to my blog.

Have more quick and easy tips on selecting a name for your new company, product or service?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Happy Marketing!

A 10% Response Rate? Who’da Thunk it?

So, you are probably thinking, okay you got me with the 10% response rate…now what gives? Did you really achieve a 10% response rate?  God’s honest truth here:  YES! For one of the main direct marketing campaigns I am running at work I am achieving a 10% response rate (or better).  How’d I do it?  Well, believe it or not…the old fashioned way.

A lot has been said lately about the effectiveness of going digital and using social media in your marketing efforts.  I agree that they can definitely be effective…for the right audience.   But…my audience for this mailing has been a little slower in adopting social media…I know this because I do a lot of research with my target markets.

So now what?  Yes, right, the old fashioned way…direct mail and telephone calls.

As I stated in my post, Direct Mail Is a Viable Option for Marketing to Small Businesses, direct mail is not effective in a vacuum.  Direct mail alone won’t do the “heavy lifting” for you.  To be effective, direct mail needs to be part of an integrated campaign. 

And, in this case, my integrated campaign includes a few things:

  • Targeted message letters
  • Outbound telemarketing
  • Email follow up with support information—opt in of course

I know that others are replicating my success with integrated marketing campaigns focusing on direct mail. 

What’s your marketing success story?

Happy marketing!

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