A look back at TMRE 2009: Lessons from the White House from Joel Benenson

The Market Research Event 2010 is taking place this November 8-10, 2010 in San Diego, California. Every Friday leading up to the event, we’ll be recapping one session from The Market Research Event 2009.

Lessons from the White House: Stories From Obama’s Lead Pollster & Strategist
Joel Benenson, Lead Pollster & Senior Strategist, The Obama Administration

What does a politics pollster know about market research’s issues? While looking at the agenda, he saw a session doing with inspired performance, and it’s contending with a session on online communities, as well as building a teen brand, and finally one about leveraging knowledge to prepare for and outwit the competitors. For nearly a century that campaign teams have understood political marketing and how it combines with brand marketing.

In a world of politics, they’re driving by a world that corporate don’t embrace, and they have one measure of success that’s determined on one day. They win or lose. And they’re driving by competition, and they face competitors.

YouTube didn’t exist when Bill Clinton left office, and now consumers can post a video about whoever they want whenever the want. George Allen’s senate race campaign was crippled by a handheld camera taken by an intern in his party. 27million people watch a speech by Obama in February of 2007. This technology creates turbulence that’s new.

-Risk takers
-Challenge convention thinking
-Embracing heated debates to get to the right strategy

If you’re a pollster and want to have an impact in the debates, you must be there to tell them where the numbers are coming from and why. What are their underlying attitudes that make them determine why voters are voting for a certain politician.

There would not have been a campaign if Obama wasn’t willing to challenge the conventional thinking of the time. In politics you’re never as smart as you look when you win, and you’re never as dumb as you look when you lose. You have to be willing to take the loses, and continue to be daring to keep winning.

Beninson realized that any democrat would be change from Bush. They had to make it so that the only way there was change would be if Barack Obama was the change. They set out to define Clinton’s experience as irrelevant.

What they wanted to do to define change with Obama as the answer . They could gain more quickly and convince voters that they represented change, than trying to convince with democrats that they could compete with Hillary on experience. This set up a template. They defined a change that they could believe in. People were hungry in America, and they wanted to end partisan conflicts, and they wanted a president that they could believe in. A speech in November 2007 in Iowa set up a situation where the candidates had to give a speech. There were no teleprompters, they made an ad of this speech, this message shared the campaign where Obama wanted to create a unified America. Next in South Carolina, and they were holding back.

They took this ad and put it in front of focus groups for African Americans in South America, then it lead to the backing of Obama by African Americans in South Carolina. Campaigns are all about the delegates. The delegate gain is very complex. They have to go down to the congressional districts. Strategy for the Obama campaign was to build up a delegate lead for Obama. On February 5, 2009, the critical day in California, they’d be targeting specific congressional districts. On February 18, 2009, there was a caucus in Idaho. In the last week, they had to decide where to send Obama? They took the risk and sent Obama to Idaho on February 1. There were 14,000 people lined up to see Obama speak at the Boise State arena. They focused their efforts in Idaho. Clinton got a predictive win in California, and she did win, but by marginally less. They neutralized Clinton’s gains in California with Obama’s huge gain in Idaho.

From this, Beninson stated that it’s not about knowing who your customers are, you must understand who your valuable consumers are. You should spend your dollars on them so that profitability is high when they spend their dollars.

The public wanted someone who was strong and steady in the crisis, so when John McCain wanted to cancel the debate the week the stock market crashed, Obama wanted to continue on with the debate because the commander and chief must be able to multitask.

So today, where are we? Obama won by 50% in the popular vote, which hadn’t been done in a long time. Today, Obama’s approval ratings are high, as well as confidence, which is important. He’s also dealing with education, health care and energy.

Parallels between polling and market research client on marketing side: if you’re a researcher on a client side, how can you be more strategic player. Maybe you’re asking yourself the wrong questions.

Clients with strategic research partners should wonder why they aren’t hiring them. How does your organization react when someone comes up with an out of the box solution. What kind of constraints are you placing on thoughts and ideas? You have to breakthrough unfamiliarity. Take a leap, do something different. How many risks have you taken with the data you have in front of you.

Have you let science restrict your creativity? Vendors sell things to people, strategic partners bring something to the table that no one else can. Do you need to reevaluate what you’re addressing your services as?

Call for Presenters: Future Trends 2010

The Institute for International Research (IIR) presents:

From: Jennifer Finer
Re: Future Trends 2010
Event Date: October 18-20, 2010
Location: Eden Roc, Miami, FL

Feed your mind. Build the future
Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than Friday, May 7, 2010 to Jennifer Finer, Event Director at jfiner@iirusa.com or call 1-646-895-7335.

This is your opportunity to join the most forward-thinking minds in the world.
Future Trends is the annual gathering of futurists, content experts, corporate visionaries, trendsetters, market researchers, product developers, innovation practitioners, insights professionals and revolutionaries to discover and uncover the trends that matter most to you, your business and society.

This event is a catalyst for attendees to embrace trends and incorporate them into business plans, track the top trends that will affect us most, measure the impact of trends, and make trends actionable- from strategy to design to product development.

Speakers receive FREE admission to the conference as well as any pre-conference activity such as workshops or symposium.

To find out more about the topics at the event, view the full Call for Papers here:

Two Auburn students harness the power of social media

This past week, Taylor Swift made a visit to the Auburn campus. She was stopping by to give Ryan Leander and Matthew Mahaffey a hug. In January, they set out with a goal to get a hug from Taylor Swift. By harnessing the power of Facebook, Twitter, a webpage, YouTube and a little bit of word of mouth marketing, they won fans over, and reached Taylor herself. She then issued them three challenges through YouTube. Each challenge was accepted and Leander and Mahaffey created a video with their responses integrated with their fans videos.

Through these videos, they engaged their audience, inspired collaboration and built buzz to achieve their goal. What can you take from their social media marketing campaign and use it to engage your audience? Visit their webpage for the full story.

Here is the video inspired from their second challenge:

Source: Washington Post

Smaller banks provide better customer service

According to the Buffalo News, a recent survey by J.D. Power & Associates found that small Pennsylvania banks offer the best customer service. Northwest Savings Bank of Warren, PA came in #1 on the survey. They article credits smaller banks for receiving the best customer service due to their in-service attention to customers and ability to attract new customers due to this.

Read the full article here.

Market research in the publishing industry

The publishing industry, a major industry on its own, looks at market research differently than many other industries. The decisions of this industry can’t be changed or altered once a final product of theirs is done. They produce many more items a year than many other industries, and often on much smaller margins. Rachelle Gardener recently took a look at this on her blog.

Instead, their market research is done for them. Publishers looking to do market research in their field simply have to look at pop culture and trends, and note what is most desired by their readers.

She concludes the article with a quote from Mark Cubin:
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Are you monitoring trends in addition to market research to develop your new products? How important is it to develop something that reaches far beyond what your consumers are asking for in market research?

UPDATED: Hey Boston! Join us for a Tweet-Up!

Social Innovators Tweet-up! Join us and other attendees from around the world, leaders in innovation and social media, as we converge on Boston for 3 major industry conferences. Mix and mingle with the best and the brightest market researchers and innovators on May 3rd at Lucky’s Lounge.

Monday, May 3

Lucky’s Lounge
355 Congress St.
Boston, 02110

Click here to RSVP

Delivering superior customer service

In an article at the Miami Herald today, they look at the disconnect many companies have between customers service expectations they have for themselves and the expectations their consumers have.

A. Parasuraman points out these three simple requirements:
Delivering superior customer service requires
(a) understanding customers and their expectations, especially when things go wrong;
(b) ensuring that companies’ communications and service strategies are aligned with those expectations
(c) excelling on service basics before investing resources on enhancements.

Do you disagree with any of the things above about how to deliver superior customer service?

How can eBay help your research?

In a recent article at MJLComputer.com, they look at eBay as a valuable tool for market research. The website Pulse.Ebay.com looks at the current trending topics on eBay. This can be benficial to sellers who are looking to appeal to consumers tastes. Since eBay is a market place that is open 24 hours a day, it’s appeal to the market and ability to show current desires is huge.

What do you think? Do you see eBay Pulse as a valuable tool?

The interactivity on your webpage

Shane Richmond adds his views to a current debate currently happening in the UK: How much commenting and interaction should take place with the community when it comes to online newspapers? The article points out that the majority of those who contribute are a small segment of angry readers. There also needs to be a way for users to interact beyond the small comment box typically found at the bottom of the article.

What do you think of these points? Is this part of the reason your company is having trouble diving into social media? While one or two boisterous readers may dominate your comments, how can you join them in the conversation? Is there a way to promote interaction from your other readers who may be content to just read your articles? How can we learn from this debate that is taking place and apply it to our own online communities?

Spirit Airlines looking at profits over customers

I came across a recent article that looked at how Spirit Airlines has begun charging for carry on luggage in addition to checked luggage. While they charge for checked bags, this new rule allows for individuals to carry anything on that will fit under the seat, but charge for anything that must go in an overhead bin.

While customers were clearly not in mind when this decision was made, who much will it affect those already flying Spirit Airlines? This is a budget airline, so fliers do fly it in order to save their money. So will they be willing to spend a few extra dollars to bring a bag on board? Or will this new fee result in customers looking to other airlines? They may be able to spend the same amount of money on another airline and carry their luggage on.

What do you think a decision like this does for the customer?

Read the full reaction article from Brent Batten here.