TMRE TV: Ruben Alcaraz, Meijer

At The Market Research Event 2011, Marc Dresner sat down with many of the industry’s leading researchers to discuss their strive for the best insights in addition to how they work with fellow researchers to find the insights they are striving for better research and insights.  This is TMRE TV.

This week, we’re featuring our interview with Ruben Alcaraz, Director, Consumer Insights, Meijer.  In this interview Ruben shares his insights into why he believes that researchers should look at retail as a brand.  Lots of research is conducted for individual brands, but what about retail stores?  Should brand research be used when opening a store?  Alcaraz believes yes.

Watch this edition of TMRE TV here:

The Market Research Event 2012 will take place November 12-14, 2012 in Boca Raton. The TMRE program is now available for download!  See this year’s program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register and mention code TMRE12Blog, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!

What do you think?  Should retail be researched as a brand?

Shopper Spotlight: For PepsiCo, India is a Land of Shoppertunities

This blog is co-posted with the Shopper360 Blog.

Shopper Insighter Podcast Interview Takes a Research Tour of India
By Marc Dresner, IIR USA

India’like many emerging markets’has been undergoing tremendous transition at retail.

‘The Indian market is actually at a very, very nascent stage where modern trade is concerned,’ said Sangeeta Gupta, Senior Consultant, Insights & Consumer Strategy for PepsiCo India.

‘The big challenge is how do you put all of the changes taking place together and actually foresee what the landscape of the modern trade industry is going to be’? added Gupta.

In this exclusive interview for the Shopper Insighter podcast series, Gupta discusses:
‘ The introduction of ‘choice’ at retail and how research into decision makng is being deployed to manage this major development
‘ The rise of ubiquitous mobile in India and its implications for the shopping experience
‘ Partnering, innovation and experimentation’

Listen to the interview!
Download a transcript!

At The Market Research Event 2012 this November, Pepsi will be on hand to share many of the aspects of their shopper research including Understanding Local Culture to Build Effective Research Strategies in International Markets: A Focus on Russia; The Next Evolution of Shopper Insights’Behavior Design; Show Me the Money: The Role Psychology & Understanding Emotions Play in Shopper Store and Product Selection; The Art of Storytelling: Getting Traction and Action and more.  For more on Pepsi’s presence at The Market Research Event, download the agenda here.  If you’d like to join Pepsi at TMRE, register to join us today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

Editor’s note: Sangeeta Gupta will be delivering a presentation titled: ‘The Five Cs of the Bazaar in Modern Retail: Context, Conversation, Comfort, Celebration and Culture’ at the 12th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference taking place July 18-20 in Chicago.

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s senior editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the market research industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

No Excuses!

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.

Complacency. Inertia. Same-old, same-old.

These are perils that we all face, whether we are client-side researchers or research suppliers.

Unless you work with a wide variety of clients on a regular basis, there’s a danger of becoming stale…and if you let that happen, you’re doing a disservice to yourself (and your career!), your company, and your clients.

I think I’ve heard every excuse in the book for why someone may not want to pursue training or continuous learning:

“I can’t travel”
“Our training budget was just slashed”
“I don’t like face-to-face events because I’m an introvert and don’t know anyone”
“I do very specialized research, outside training just doesn’t apply”
“There’s nothing out there for me”
“I’m too junior-level…”

Come on folks! No more excuses – it’s time for some tough love. No matter your budget, age, type of research, there ARE training opportunities out there. Let’s review some of the wealth of resources that are out there:

There are a number of fantastic market research blogs. Add them to your reader and peruse on your own time. If you don’t already have this blog in your reader, I suggest you add it. Then, take a look at Next Gen Market Research blogroll for more.

How about some lunchtime learning? You can often catch a market research webinar over your lunch hour. Because you’re not working over your lunch hour…right? If you’re interested in specific technology, suppliers often have webinars that provide an overview. Or, if you’re more interested in market research practices and theory, there are options for you too. And they always have the attendees on mute, so don’t worry…no-one will hear you munching on the potato chips. I’m a fan of the webinars that Revelation and Communispace produce.

Have nothing to do on your commute, other than listen to NPR? Consider downloading market research podcasts to your MP3 player and listen to them while driving, riding the train, etc. Research Access has some great ones to start with, then search iTunes and Google for more.

Training via social media? Yes! Follow the #mrx hashtag on Twitter and the members of the market research community will link to articles of interest that will keep you reading for days!

Face-to-Face Events
I have a particular love for face-to-face events. Partially because my company produces face-to-face events, so much of my research focuses on how successful that medium is. But also because I feel I get the most out of my training budget when I attend conferences.

When thinking about events to attend, consider what will give you the most bang for the buck. For my company, TMRE is the best bang for the market research buck as it provides us the widest variety of session options (138 of them!), the most people for networking (1,200+) and topics that are relevant to me and my work (mobile, generational research, big data, and more). If you’d like to join me November 12-14, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida, as a reader of this blog when you register and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

I know that face-to-face events are tough for some of the more introverted among us. The prospect of networking can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time at a particular. Here’s my suggestion – avail yourself of the mentor program so you can receive some guidance as to how to navigate the event, and with your mentor you’ve made your first networking contact!

There are also some great print resources – what books and magazines would you recommend? Add your thoughts in the comments!

More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

A Glimpse into the Future of Market Research

What will the market research industry look like 5, 10 even 20 years from now? Wouldn’t you love to find out today, so you could start making the necessary preparations and changes to ensure your relevance and impact in the future?

Well now you can. Let The Market Research Event 2012 be your crystal ball into what’s next for the market research industry. At TMRE 2012, Keynote Bob Johansen will explore the external future forces that will re-shape market research and challenge you as leaders of market research.

Bob Johansen, Author

Bob Johansen, Future-Forecaster, Former President and Current Fellow, Institute for the Future, Author, Leaders Make the Future will present Leaders Make the Future (of Market Research and More). He is a ten-year forecaster who has outlived his forecasts more than three times over. In his presentation he will focus on the importance of digital natives (those 16 or less in 2012), as well as cloud-served supercomputing that will change the nature of in-person and online shopping – as well as market research. Words like “consumer” and “marketing” are likely to become obsolete in the future worlds where engagement will be key to market success.

In addition you will have access to an entire track dedicated to Strategy & Futuring, in order to “future proof” yourself and your organization.

  • ‘ Shattering the Proverbial Glass Ceiling: Tools & Techniques for Getting in the Game
  • - The Walt Disney Studios, Ticketmaster, Post Foods, Decipher, Inc.
  • ‘ Creating and Fostering Strategic Partnerships: Leading the Change from Functional Silo to Engaged Strategic Partnership – GE Healthcare Systems
  • ‘ The Changing Role of Marketing Research – What Served You in the Past is Unlikely to Help You Today & in the Future – Shire Pharmaceuticals
  • ‘ Taking Risk to Push a Company’s Strategic Thinking – Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • ‘ Giving the Gift of Insight to Your Company – Kraft Canada
  • ‘ Unlocking Critical Points of Difference to Stand Out in Cluttered Categories – Energizer Personal Care, The Pert Group
  • ‘ Playing Leapfrog with a Unicorn? Reinventing a Banking Brand after the Economic Storm – Citi

Download the brochure to see the full program.

Join us as we help transform insight partners into strategic consultative leaders. Register today and save 15% off the standard rate. Mention code TMRE12BLOG. If you have any questions about this year’s event, feel free to contact Jennifer Pereira.

What are a few misconceptions about big data?

Immense amounts of data is being gathered every day.  However, with all this new data that is being collected, there are still a few things that researchers misunderstand according to Brian Gentile at Mashable. What are a few of them?

  • -Big data is more than the amount of volume that is produced. It’s about the velocity at which the data is produced. The variety of data that is collected is important as well.
  • - There is not a one-size fits all program for big data. The program used to analyze the data should be should be customized to handle and output the data with the results in mind for each project.
  • -Even though there are a variety of data points collected from the big data, this does not mean it’s unstructured. Gentile at Mashable believes it should be called multi-structured
  • -Big data is not just for social media analysis and feelings. It may have begun this way, but now more companies have the power to analyze the data they bring in.
This fall at The Market Research Event, we’re introducing the all new track “Data Analysis and BIG Data.”  In this track, we’ll hear from companies who are entrenched in this new form of analysis including LinkedIn, Nestle Purina Petcare, Advance Auto Parts, Home Depot, Heineken Mexico, Gerber Products, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Fidelity Investments.  For more information on their presentations, download the program.  If you want to know more about this year’s program, download the agenda.  If you’d like to join us this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, as a reader of this blog when you register to join us and mention code TMRE12BLOG, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!
What are some other common misconceptions about big data?  

Infographic: #TotalCEL 2012 Retrospective

Total Customer Experience Leaders may be behind us, but the learning and sharing doesn’t end with the event. Be sure to join our LinkedIn group to network with your customer experience colleagues all year long and stay tuned here or follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more industry and event updates.

Speaking of Twitter, we had a great conversation during the event on our #TotalCEL hashtag. This infographic from sums up some of the highlights:

create infographics with

Thanks so much to everyone who came and tweeted from the event!

If you missed our 2012 event, or need a reference now that you’re back in the office, you can read recap posts of each day here:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Immerse Yourself

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark.  She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven. 

Immerse Yourself

We’ve all been through the drill:

  • ‘ Draft the survey
  • ‘ Field the study
  • ‘ Gather data
  • ‘ Write the report
  • ‘ Present the data

The client leaves the meeting with the report/data sheets/PowerPoint slides’and we hope the findings inspire them to take action.

More than anything, as researchers we want the work we’re doing to be actionable! But it’s up to us to help tell the story, to help our clients interpret the data, and really make our end customers come alive through the data. To that end, an alternative to the scenario I outlined above has been on my mind recently: immersion experiences.

I’m not speaking of immersion in terms of doing the doing the (ethnographic, qualitative) research but about presenting the research to clients.

So, how to use an immersion experience to present data in such a way that really engages the client, helps them digest the data well, and inspire them to want to take action on it?

One example that has influenced me was a session I attended last year at TMRE by Heiko Sch??fer, Vice President of Consumer & Market Insights at Henkel Consumer Goods (now Senior Director, Global Customer Insights & Analytics at Walmart).

In his presentation, Bringing the Consumer, Shopper and Customer to Life, Sch??fer provided a fascinating case study of an immersion session he produced. The immersion experience was set in the company cafeteria (a place that his internal clients couldn’t avoid!), and contained a set of interactive (and insightful) games. From the feedback he received and documented, the immersion session looked like it was a great success in getting his clients to really react to customer data, feedback, and experiences.

During that TMRE last year session, Sch??fer shared something that really resonated with me as it pertains to creating immersion experiences: ‘We’ve become journalists, storytellers, videographers, entertainers’it’s important to bring in the voice of the customer every day.’

Some other immersion experience ideas I’ve been hearing about and kicking around include:

  • ‘ An ‘immersion room’ at corporate headquarters with the walls lined with customer data, stories, and feedback presented in a visually impactful way. After an initial introduction and mini-presentation, clients can walk through at their leisure’especially when they need inspiration!
  • ‘ An engaging video presentation that brings customer data to life via visuals and storytelling.
  • ‘ An experience designed in a virtual reality space that allows clients to ‘walk through’ a customer daily routine, pain points about a product, or experience at an event, for example.

What else, what am I missing? What other creative and interesting ways of immersing clients in the data can you think of? I’d love to hear your stories.

Inspired to learn more? (I am!) Here are a few of the sessions I’m considering attending at TMRE this year that focus on immersing clients in the research findings:

  1. 1. The Art of Storytelling: Getting Traction and Action, given by Sara Bergson of PepsiCo
  2. 2. Bringing Research to Life through Collaborative, Engaging and Inspiring Work Sessions, given by Maisha Cobb of Logitech and Jason Kramer of Vital Findings
  3. 3. Using Data and Insights for Storytelling by Jeremy Murrell of Brown-Forman
For more on these sessions, download the TMRE brochure.
More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications.  She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.  If you’re interested in joining Katie at TMRE 2012, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

TMRE TV: Ron Austerlade, CVS Caremark

At The Market Research Event 2011, Marc Dresner sat down with many of the industry’s leading researchers to discuss their strive for the best insights in addition to how they work with fellow researchers to find the insights they are striving for better research and insights.  This is TMRE TV.

This week, we’re featuring our interview with Ron Austerlade, Director of Market Intelligence for CVS Caremark.  In this interview, Ron takes us through the different divisions of research at CVS Caremark, including the Market Research Branch, the Client and Member branch and the competitive analysis branch.

One of their key parts of research is with their customer satisfaction and loyalty.  They have a customer satisfaction dashboard with all of the data they continuously collect to monitor the relationship between the company and their clients.  By moving away from written surveys often sent through the mail to telephone surveys, they’ve been able to decrease the amount of time for data capture as well as decrease the amount of time it takes to analyze the data.

Watch the interview here:

The Market Research Event 2012 will take place November 12-14, 2012 in Boca Raton. The TMRE program is now available for download!  See this year’s program here.  As a reader of this blog, when you register and mention code TMRE12Blog, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!

During the interview, Ron discusses keeping a dashboard to measure the health of the relationship between the company and their clients.  What are the benefits of doing something like this for your company?

Leveraging digital insights throughout the entire journey to purchase

64% of smartphone owners are now using their mobile devices to shop online.*
43% of smartphone owners have used their mobile device while in a store for a shopping purpose.**

Mobile and social commerce have completely redefined the world of shopping and your consumer’s shopping experience. Talk about adding a layer of complexity to understanding shopper behavior and preferences, your consumers are using mobile and social technology to coupon hunt and find the best prices, share product reviews, use geo-locating to find nearby retailers, and that’s just the beginning. Add flash sales and it’s a whole new retail world’

This phenomenon has created a new breed of ‘smarter’ shoppers ‘ empowered with more information than ever before. But, it has also created a HUGE opportunity for you to truly understand your consumer ‘ with more data accessible than ever before.

Shopper Insights In Action Conference

Join us at the Shopper Insights in Action Conference, July 18-20 in Chicago to hear real stories and case studies from today’s top mobile and ecommerce experts showcasing how to leverage digital insights throughout the entire journey to purchase. Learn how to build brand awareness, drive engagement and prove ROI through digital strategies.

Visit the website to download the full conference brochure.

Key focus areas include:
‘ From Check-in to Check-Out: How American Express Connects Buyers & Sellers in the Digital Space
‘ How Mobile Shopper Insights Empower You to Make Decisions Based on Facts
‘ Mobilizing the Path to Purchase for Consumers and Merchants
‘ Web 2.0 Something: The Future of Online Shopping
‘ M-Powerment: How to Leverage Mobile Video to Create a Winning M-Commerce Strategy
‘ How to Drive Sales Through Ongoing Consumer Conversations
Don’t Miss our Full Day Symposia focused on Mobile and Social Commerce
‘ Leveraging Digital & Mobile Insights throughout the Entire Journey to Purchase
- Catherine Roe, Head of CPG, Google and Lisa Landsman, Team Manager, Commerce CPG Sales, Google
‘ The Hidden Dangers of Using Aggregate Data to Develop Mobile Marketing Strategies to Reach Consumers
- Rafael Alcaraz, Ph.D., Vice President, Global Advanced Analytics, Digital Media an Strategic Foresight, The Hershey Company
‘ Reinventing Retail for the Next-Generation Customer
- Chip Jessopp, Vice President, Groupon

We hope to see you at the #1 action oriented industry forum of the year.
The Shopper Insights in Action Event Team

*Source: Gartner, 2012 ** Source: comScore Inc., and The Partnering Group, 2012

Mention VIP code to save an additional 15% off the standard and onsite rate: SHOPPER12BLOG.
Phone: 888.670.8200

Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit Day 3 Recap

The final day of the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit certainly didn’t disappoint as we were privileged to hear an amazing line up of leaders who are aligning organizations around a customer experience mission and teaching us to effectively do the same.

We started the day discussing customer experience in a digital age. How to effectively implement customer experience loyalty programs and communicate the needs and action steps of the program to our organization.

We learned about the power of happiness within our organization to engage employees and unite people around a customer experience service mission. We also explored a case study of an airline that has effectively implemented a successful, premium flight experience in an age where customers are shopping for bargains. Here’s a recap of some of the key discussions on our third and final day of our customer experience management conference.

Delivering Customer Experience Value in a World Gone Digital

Neff Hudson from USAA masterfully showed how USAA has been able to leverage technology to bring the clients at USAA the greatest value in service.

Customers today are spending more time researching, connecting, and interacting with our organizations before ever picking up the phone and interacting with a human being at the company. Because of this, it’s not enough to have a great Web site today

We need to develop systems within our companies that connect our people, to our site, and our customers so that we know about our customers as the customer contact is being made. Using the latest technology available we can create smart call centers where customers are connected to agents who are armed with all of the tools and information about the customer and is able to bring real value to the customer interaction.

How a State of the Art Customer Experience Program Can Prevent the CEO Losing Sleep

Bill Barnes, from Burke, Inc., broke down the worries and concerns of executives when it comes to customer experience programs and shows us how to prepare our company executives to embrace customer experience and see the value it brings to the organization.

The most important question that any customer experience professional has to answer to the organization is: What is the financial impact to the organization for improving the customer experience?

We answer that question, by laying out a customer experience program using the linkage process. Within the linkage process we:

  • Blueprint – lay out all of the business processes changes required in customer experience.
  • Assess – review what systems contain information that will be needed for customer experience change.
  • Analyze – propose changes to existing business systems and processes to contribute to a better customer experience
  • Simulate – test out the changes and determine if the change is significant to be fully implemented.

Following this pattern when implementing customer experience programs, ensures us that we complete all of the requirements for effective customer experience change:

Case Study: The Porter Airlines Customer Experience

We were privileged to have Robert Deluce, CEO of Porter Airlines, with us at our conference. Robert discussed the Porter difference in how they have been able to thrice as a premium regional airline in a time where the margins in the airlines business are slim and customers are looking for bargains.

Porter Airlines goes above and beyond by carefully targeting their customer base and masterfully defining their brand and service experience. They realize that the most budget conscious consumer may not be willing to choose Porter, but providing a dignified, exceptional service experience still matters to many customers.

Toronto-based Porter Airlines enjoys the highest ratings in its airline category and is currently ranks along the lines of JetBlue and other award-winning service-based regional airlines. They truly show that service matters.

The Value of Happiness in Creating Positive Customer Experiences

JoAnna Brandi, a certified happiness consultant, expounded on the importance of culture in gaining a competitive advantage. JoAnna taught us that you can’t put in place great experiences unless you have a culture of great people behind a great mission.

Customer experience is creating organizations that can out-think and out-perform the competition. As we invest in our company culture, the positive emotion we create within our organizations is contagious and helps us become successful in positively connecting with our customers.

Organizations with higher employee engagement have:

  • 27% Higher Profits
  • 50% Higher Sales
  • 50% Higher Customer Loyalty

So why is creating this happiness and focusing on an exceptional customer experience important?

Customer experience is what you’ll do after marketing. It’s taking care of the customers you’ve brought in. If you want to keep them, you have to care for them.

Creating a Customer Focused Culture

Janet LeBlanc rounded out our conference talking about the responsibility to develop a customer-centric organization. Ultimately, it’s not the CEO’s responsibility to create the customer culture and it’s not the customer experience manager’s responsibility to do so.

The responsibility to create a customer-focused organization lies with every employee of the organization. It’s a team effort. Customer experience can’t be seen, it can’t be heard, it can’t be smelled or touched. Customer experience is intangible, it’s the feelings you create within the customer.

Every customer touch point or experience has the potential to improve or diminish the power of the value of your brand. Everything the customer encounters is part of the customer’s experience.

  • 87% of organizations want to be customer experience leaders.
  • 13% have achieved any level of customer-centricity.
  • The key is making memorable connections.
  • Your culture is who you are as a company.
  • Culture is an organization’s personality.

Customer focused organizations focus on customer action. They share the same characteristics:

  • Customer requirements are considered first.
  • Customer is talked about constantly.
  • Customer feedback mechanisms are built into everything.
  • Leaders visit with, talk to, and talk about the customer regularly.
  • Employees feel connected to and are able to act for the customer’s needs.

Customer experience focused organizations share the same benefit:

  • Better financial performance.
  • Higher employee involvement.
  • Stronger internal communication.
  • Healthier risk-taking and more innovation.

Putting the customer first eliminates the disconnect that companies often struggle with. Throughout our 3 days of customer experience we learned about the big things and little things that matter in exceptional customer experiences and customer experience programs.

We learned from organizations that get customer experience and from those that have learned to successfully align organizations around a customer experience mission.

With this rich experience, we’ll now be able to be more effective at understanding the trends, the processes, and best practices to engage employees, educate executives, and manage the processes that allow our companies to deliver an exceptional customer experience.