Posts Tagged ‘Market Research’

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!

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!

U.S. Small Business Outlook…

Building and running a successful business is difficult period. Add in a weak economy and woe is the business owner, small businesses in particular.

That said, I am happy to see that even though times have been tough, small businesses are keeping a stiff upper lip. According to a new survey conducted by EMPLOYERS®, America’s small business insurance specialist® (through ORC/Inforgraphics), almost half of small business decision-makers (46%) feel that the U.S. Economic Outlook will be better this year than last— a significant improvement compared to 25% measured when they did the study in Dec. 2008.  And, 41% of small business decision-makers expect their revenue to grow this year over 2010 levels.

While the survey showed a ray of hope glimmering in the eyes of small business decision-makers, it did show some lingering pessimism. Specifically:

  • 69% of small business decision-makers say that some worry about their business keeps them up at night.
    •  The most often reported worries were: the economy, figuring out how they can grow/maintain their business, operating expenses and rising fuel prices.51% of small business decision-makers believe it will be more than 12 months before their sales revenues return to pre-recession levels.
  • 49% of small business decision-makers say it will be more than six months before they begin hiring again.

Here’s how they did the study: The study commissioned by EMPLOYERS surveyed 501 owners or managers of small businesses with 1-99 full-time employees. Data was collected through telephone interviews during the period February 23 – March 1, 2011 at the 95 percent confidence level.  The survey was conducted by ORC International, an Infogroup company through their Small Business CARAVAN.

That’s how the average small business owner is feeling…what about you?  Are you bullish or bearish about the U.S. Economic Outlook in 2011?

Happy Marketing!

You Stink But I Love You Anyway…the Loyalty Ladder

href=”https://sharonmarkovsky.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/shutterstock_587661402.jpg”&gt;<a

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!

KPI or ROI in social media measurement…you be the judge!

This week I have spent a bunch of time reading news and blogs relating to last week’s Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.  One blog of particular interest to me highlighted a speech given by Margaret Francis, VP of Product at Lithium entitled  “Measuring the Future: New Metrics for New Media”.  Here’s the gist of it: in her presentation, Ms. Francis talked about the need to focus on KPI (or Key Performance Indicators) rather than just on the ROI of your social media efforts.   This idea of KPI over ROI really resonated with me. 

Now, you must be wondering if I am out of my mind.  How could I possibly forgo ROI for KPI?  Well, it’s simple, the results of social media efforts generally have a long tail, meaning it can take a long time to reap the rewards of your efforts.  So what is a poor marketer to do when the boss wants ROI metrics and all you can tell them is “we will have to wait and see, be patient?”

So what KPIs would I use when it comes to social media?  Interestingly, they are in some ways very similar to the KPIs I use for my traditional  marketing campaigns.  They are:

  • Improving Brand Equity and Preference—is my brand presence increasing among my “community”?  Are my social media efforts generating better brand recognition?  Are my social media efforts moving my brand up on the Top-of-Mind Meter?  Are my social media efforts driving affinity for my brand?  Are my efforts helping me charge a premium for my brand? These are the types of things I would be measuring here.
  • Increasing the Quality of My Lead Generation—did my efforts on social media help me obtain not just leads, but quality leads?  At the end of the day, I would much rather have 10 highly qualified leads than 1,000 unqualified leads (meaning that they aren’t able to buy my product any time soon). 
  • Making My Customers More “Sticky”—are my social media efforts assisting in my customer retention efforts.  If I am focused on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), I want my customer relationship social media efforts helping me keep customers longer so that they can bring more value to my organization.  Oh, and I want to make sure my efforts are providing value to them as well…don’t misunderstand me here.
  • Moving the Revenue Needle—is topline growth being impacted by my social media efforts?   This is a no brainer, but it needed to be said.  This can be one of those long-tail things that I worry about….just it is easy to measure.

And, now for the big question in all this…how am I going to measure my social media success?  Well research of course!  I bet you knew that I would say that!  And guess what?  I can do a lot of my research digitally.  To the Cloud!    

What KPIs do you use to measure the success of your social media spend?

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!

%d bloggers like this: