Refresh. Or Perish: What Doesn’t Kill You Will Make You Stronger

Evolve or die. It’s a truism. But it has never been more true than right now. The world is changing faster than ever, and as the world changes the people in it change. And when people change, what they want from the things they buy changes too. For a brand this boils down to the fact that today standing still is as good as going backwards.

The good news is that if you understand and embrace change (before your consumer does) you can gain access to unprecedented opportunities to grow.

So where does change start? How does it happen? And how can we spot it? It’s a question of chicken or egg, which changes first: people, or the world?

Cultural change is an intricate feedback loop that makes it hard to know where to begin.

But understanding the cultural world that surrounds us is what it’s all about. It may be amorphous and invisible, yet culture is everywhere. It is part social, part political, part environmental and part physical stuff; it makes up most of our lives. And so understanding culture, and cultural change, is vital for brands that want to grow today and, more importantly, ensure they’ll also keep growing tomorrow.

It’s been said that the CEO should know a little about a lot, the CFO should know a lot about a little and the CCO (Chief Culture Officer, a term coined by Grant McCracken in his book for the same name) should know a lot about a lot. What McCracken explores here is the need for businesses to always be tuned into what is going on in the world at large.

It’s no mean feat: you need to understand everything that isn’t your business all of the time and you need to change your brand to fit a future that hasn’t happened yet. It sounds next to impossible. But it needn’t be.

Here are 3 ways of understanding culture that can help you anticipate change and use it to mobilize your brand for growth:

1. The monster on the horizon. If you don’t eat it, it will eat you. We’ve all seen it happen: it’s the sad truth of the now defunct video store making the shift to DVDs when others started streaming direct from the Internet. Sometimes the world will change without telling you and that change will be driven by something that you didn’t think had anything to do with you.

Every now and again we think you should put your head above the parapet, and look at the trends that are least likely to affect you and imagine what would happen if, somehow, they did. To imagine a future where you have been legislated into non-existence or can no longer afford the rising price of a core ingredient. The exercise will be useful for innovation ideation, if nothing else. And might even keep you in business longer than the competition.

2. Know your landscape. You can’t understand people without understanding the world. Consumers might be able to tell you what they think of something but not necessarily why. As we grow up through life, culture teaches us what things mean: this is an essential rule of basic survival (yellow + black + insect = don’t eat it) and social survival (jeans + trainers = sorry sir you can’t come in here).

But it’s not that simple, culture is not uniform. To grow a brand you need to know the culture of each of your markets. Bringing your own cultural assumptions with you when you travel is a recipe for disaster and cultural understanding can show you spaces of opportunity that might not exist at home.

It’s just as important to apply this thinking to the rules your category operates by. What are the signs and symbols at play? What visual and verbal language is used to call the shots in your world? By looking at how categories play out differently within your culture and others and by seeing how they map from a conceptual and cultural point of view, you can see the world in a whole new light.

3. Time travel (aka using culture as your springboard). Once you’ve got your bags packed, you can use culture as a way to travel through time using emerging culture as your conduit to the future.

This way you can make sure what you do and say feels relevant and fresh to your consumers. Culture can answer questions that consumers sometimes can’t: how is the role of chocolate changing over time? What will femininity mean in Russia in the future? Will naturalness still mean tomorrow what it means today?

This is the most important part of understanding culture. It’s where brands get their cultural vibrancy from. It’s what makes some brands feel like living, breathing parts of life and others like cumbersome juggernauts stuck in the slow lane.

These three approaches can really help brands build cultural vibrancy, the ability to connect with consumers in a way that feels consistently ahead of the curve. It’s a start, but the trick really lies with finding the right part of culture to tap into that works for your brand and for you. Part creativity, part insight, part intuition it’s a key way to getting to growth through culture.

It’s time to turn on your cultural antennae.

About the Author

Izzy Pugh, Cultural Insight Director, Added Value UK. This blog was originally published on Added Value’s blog.

You can learn more about Cultural Insights from Added Value North America, CEO, Maggie Taylor, as she presents ‘Refresh.  Or perish.  Why Cultural Vibrancy Counts’ at TMRE in Nashville, on October 21-23, 2013.

4 Things that are Killing Your Customer Experience

As the marketplace becomes increasingly crowded with products, it is becoming tougher for companies to stand out amidst the noise and clutter. In the past, product packaging and messaging were the most important aspects. Now, those elements are still critical, but in addition, you need to offer your customer a unique experience they won’t get anywhere else.
The customer experience (CX) is a blend of a company’s physical performance and the emotions evoked, intuitively measured against customer expectations across all touch-points. This means that every time a company and a customer interact, the customer learns something about the company that will either strengthen or weaken the future relationship – and with that – the customer’s desire to return and recommend. Excellent customer experiences are still so novel that, when we have one, we talk about it. 
The CX is all about doing things that will be memorable and of value to the customer. Start with the basics and fundamentals. Once you’ve gotten them right, you will have earned the customer’s trust and repeat business. There are plenty of companies offering what you offer, so be decidedly different. With that being said, according to Business2Community, here are four things you must stop doing if you want a stand-out CX.
  1. Stop asking the customer to repeat information. This includes asking them to repeat identifying information already keyed in while listening to prompts.
  2. Stop having all employees greet the customer when entering a store. Let one do it and then stop.
  3. Stop being oblivious. Get your team to recognize current customers. Encourage them to check the database and acknowledge the customer specifically.
  4. Stop being scripted. Customers want a real person delivering sincere service. Allow your team to build a relationship and use judgment.  

There are an array of things organizations need to start doing but get started by stopping certain irritating behaviors – it gives the customer a chance to think about taking their business to the competition.
Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmanadCicc.

Official Call for Presenters Now Open: Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit

The Institute for International Research (IIR) presents
Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than Thursday, August 29, 2013 to Rachel McDonald, Senior Conference Producer at or 646.895.7405.

The Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit is an event that showcases B2B and B2C trends, insights and best practices for designing, measuring, aligning and communicating your customer experience strategy to ensure business relevance.

A Three Day Conference Experience Featuring NEW Topics:

Customer Experience Design & Measurement
  • User Experience Design
  • Design Research & Methods
  • Redesigning a Program
  • Analyzing VOC
  • Design Thinking
  • Loyalty Measurement
  • Data-Rich Insights & Analytics 
  • Big Data Initiatives 
  • Social Media Engagement & Feedback
  • Customer Insights 
  • New Technologies & Methodologies
  • Internal Customer Index Scoring vs. NPS
  • Enterprise Feedback Management

Strategy & Alignment
  • Using VOC to Take Actionable Insights
  • Engagement Learnings
  • Monetizing Your Customer Experience
  • Recovery Strategy
  • Linkage to ROI
  • Customer Service Strategies
  • Aligning Customer Touchpoints
  • Combating Survey Fatigue 
  • Linking Data Sources
  • Personalization & Customization 
  • Driving a Customer Centric-Culture

High Level Keynote Sessions that Focus On:
  • Innovation & Creativity
  • Operational Perspective
  • Chief Listener 
  • Customer Before Profit
  • Culture & Change Management
  • The Role of Emotions 
  • Developing Relationships
  • Digital Customer Experience
  • Customer Behavior / Generational Nuances 
  • Leadership
  • Global Perspectives

We are also happy to consider topics not listed here that you feel would add value and be appropriate.

Speakers receive FREE admission to the conference. PLUS! Idea gathering forums following each session topic.

The Audience

Individuals within the company responsible for customer experience, voice of customer, customer research
Individuals with direct experience for the customer experience and/or voice of customer collection, dissemination, interpretation and results
Individuals seeking to enhance their own company’s capabilities in these areas (become more customer-centric and drive business results through improved customer experience), and willing to help others advance through sharing of best practices and experiences
Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities
If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities please contact Jon Saxe, Business Development Manager at or 646.895.7467.

Interested in Becoming a Media Partner or Featured Event Blogger?
Contact Maria Orlova, Marketing Manager, at

Call for Presenters:

  • For consideration, please email with the following information by Thursday, August 29, 2013.
  • Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
  • Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
  • Talk title
  • The main theme you plan to address
  • Summary of the presentation (3-5 sentences)
  • Please indicate what is NEW about the presentation
  • What the audience will gain from your presentation (please list 3-5 key “take-aways”) 
  • Previous conference experience
  • Short bio

Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will be notified shortly after the deadline.
Thank you for your interest in the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit. We look forward to receiving your proposal!
The Total Customer Experience Leaders Team

The Marketing of Creating Product Anxiety

Daily, we hear of a new fad in the world of thirsty consumers. Apple rules the roost of having new products yearly. Recalling the years when Harry Potter and Twilight releases meant brands clamoring for attention still rings a marketing bell. Teetering on borderline obsessive, the anxiety attack is something I have explored several times before, and its a psychological facet that continues to amaze me.

makes these tremendous launches a mega success even before they hit the
earth are the hype  that they generate, which in turn induces anxiety
amongst a majority of populations. Hype truly resonates with today’s
yuppy and less yuppy generations alike, and is the apt verb used by‘s
ecstatic fashionnistas trying to carve a name or make a few friends
based on inspirational looks. With multiple footholds of hype, anxiety
comes into play, which in turn represents the gap between needs and

needs and wants represent the degree to which we aspire something, it
is the level to which its utility and our anxiety align that predicts
how popular it will be when it hits the public. This in turn can allow
firms to manage their marketing expenditures, for if something creates
an unaided hype, it can be profitable to reap the benefits of this
induced anxiety. Yet, for a sustained hype, the product must also be
positioned as somewhat useful; hence the utility aspect.

This gives rise to the Anxiety Framework, whose parameters and quadrants need not be confused with the Shopper Psychology framework. Utility describes the usefulness of something that we desire ‘ a movie, a product, or anything. Anxiety is the level to which we want it (where notice that the want can be created, as  in aforementioned examples).


When high on utility and anxiety,
products and experiences become a necessity. They are useful on many
fronts of daily life, and with the ability to create enough anxiety to
make the waits worth it, this is where every company, manufacturer, and
experience maker wants to ultimately be. Apple often holds this enviable
spot, being a category creator for MP3 players and tablets alike. The
Macbook Pro (so frequently not called a laptop), with its
portability and ease of working ability, is by far a necessity. Other
laptops are substitutes in comparison, or perhaps a functionality.


A functional product or experience is
one that is high on utility, thus incredibly useful in the objective it
fulfills, but low on anxiety. Marketers have often either not adequately
created the hype, or have not felt the need to create it at all. And
yet, if sales are high, then unaided awareness shows that the product is
truly a success. Showbiz underdogs and word-of-mouth movie hits like
Slumdog or Million Dollar Baby exemplify this. And of course, the
underhyped releases of laptops that still place Dell and Sony in
business sans inflated anxiety shows that functionality can be a
bread-and-butter winner for any corp.


Products and experiences that are so
high on anxiety with a low relative utility are a craving. Our urge to
watch cinema, for most, falls into the craving quadrant, unless of
course we are aspiring showbiz stars seeking inspiration. A craving is
the dream of modern day marketing, where with the use of public
relations and social media can enable the creation of hype to fulfill
the initial costs of investment. Thus, even though media showed a slump
in the Deathly Hallows penultimate theatrical revenue, the tremendous hype ensured record openings. iPads can fall into this category, as many have reviewed that they are not the best for what they cost. And yet the sales refuse to
plummet, as competitors come out with their own versions. My favorite
craving was from Spanish accessory and jewelry line Uno de 50 ‘ claiming to make only 50 pieces of any ensemble that was created. Scarcity indeed induces anxiety!


Low on anxiety and low on utility? While
this lethal combination would make it sound like a company ought to
close shop, products and experiences here thrive on the fact that they
are a support to others. Often product complements, and sometimes even
substitutes, fall into the support category. A cool multi-functional
gadget (where the strangely shady advertising does not indicate the
longevity of the product), a cheaper tech gadget, an unhyped, marginally
ineffective but more economical smartphone would fall here. For even
the worst of smartphones still have a market! As would the series of tech accessories ‘ from
underperforming stylus pens to low budget unexpected hits  that garner
revenue nonetheless ‘ Snakes on a Plane, anyone?

Notes to take?

As a corporation,
try to always allocate marketing budgets wisely, bearing in mind what
position your product, experience, or consumer output is attempting to
take. Hype is a useful tool to generate anxiety in both your target
market and growth opportunity markets. The key is to learn how to
sustain the hype.

And consumers,
watch thy anxiety level! Always try to match it, or rather pre-empt it,
with utility. The ‘do I really need this’ clich?? never fails, albeit is
often forgotten or found to be duller than a ‘I want it!’ urge.
Emotional drivers are always challenging to manage, as discovered in a
study of emotional decision making. As always, things are easier said than done.

Sourabh Sharma,
Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international
consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering,
marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton
School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and
product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting,
he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every
platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer,
and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called
3FS. He may be reached at Follow him on

How to aggregate & synthesize rich information into a future vision?

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and future owner of the Washington Post, has a profoundly intriguing explanation as to why he is building a $42 Million, 200-foot clock called “the 10,000 year clock” that will commemorate the anniversaries of every year, decade, millennium and 10 millennia.

 via CrunchBase

“The reason I am doing it is that it is a symbol of long term thinking and the idea of long term responsibility”

“We humans have become so technologically sophisticated that in certain ways we are dangerous to ourselves. It’s going to be increasingly important over time for humanity to take a longer view of its future”

Here’s your chance to connect with the future: FT’13: The Foresight and Trends Conference, on Nov. 13-15, is a cross disciplinary experience for translating visionary knowledge into commercial opportunities.

FT’13 synthesizes consumer insight and foresight into a clear vision for capturing future opportunity.  Hear from leading experts about new techniques to aggregate and synthesize rich information into a future vision – helping you transition trends from hindsight to foresight.

The agenda is designed to fit your needs – FT’13 will aid the transition from insight to foresight, pushing you to become more agile, predictive, and show you how to activate trends within your own organization.  Build on what you already know, tell you MORE OF what you NEED to know and put you to work in thoughtfully curated working sessions designed to provide tangible output for COMMERCIALIZING vision.

Find out how FT’13 is relevant for you: Download the agenda to see the speaker faculty along with full detail on Contextualization sessions, Implementation workshops and Exploratory experiences which cater to the specific needs of YOUR role.

Come build YOUR vision of the 10,000 year clock with us. This is your personal invitation to take part in leading the trends in your industry. Be inspired to think differently at FT’13. Register today & Save 15 % off the standard rate, mention code: FT13BL.

TMRE: The Proof is in the Pudding

We’ve been telling you from the start, TMRE 2013 is the year NOT to miss. From the
180+ rarely seen speakers, 130+ content driven sessions, 100+ cutting edge exhibitors
to the 1200+ attendees,  60% of which are client side, TMRE truly is more
than just an event, it’s a game changer.

But don’t take our word for it, it’s important to hear feedback check out what
your peers have to say about their experience at TMRE as well as why they are
excited for this year’s upcoming experience:

“I’ve attended this conference (TMRE) many times, last
year I tried a different conference and didn’t learn nearly as much – so I’m
excited to be going back! Looking forward to learning all that’s new in the
Market Research world!” – Sheila Dreyer Van Buskirk, Market Research
and Competitive Intelligence Manager, GE Capital Retail Finance
‘TMRE is a staple conference/experience for our organization
in knowledge sharing, networking, and innovation techniques, as well as sharing
our own techniques, knowledge, and findings to the research community. TMRE is
a huge asset to the Artist Analysis & Research Department at Universal
Music Group.”- Alisa Olander, Artist Analysis & Research, Universal
Music Group
‘I found The 2012 Market Research Event to be one of the
most academically and technically stimulating conferences I’ve been to in quite
some time.  Of particular interest was the “Storytelling” track
as we have built our internal Insights Team around this premise.  The
successful research professional of today must elevate their skill sets well
beyond the traditional qualitative and quantitative analytics to include
refined leadership skills, data visualization, and compelling storytelling. 
Looking forward to TMRE 2013!”- Katie Ozdemir, Director, Consumer
Insights, Universal Orlando Resort
‘Last year was my first ever TMRE conference and now it will
always be a staple in my professional development schedule.  It’s the only
place where you can interact and borrow market research ideas with peers from
so many different industries.  Each session provides great takeaways that
you can leverage in your day-to-day as well as insightful keynote speakers that
prompt our community to think about the broader impact research has on the
world.  For me, attending TMRE is my yearly reminder of why I love doing
research.” - Kassandra M. Barnes, Research & Content Manager,
‘I’ve attended three TMRE events and will continue to attend
because of the high quality presentations and networking opportunities. 
There’s no better way to interact with market research professionals to learn
about new techniques and approaches. I look forward to the next TMRE so that I
can catch up with friends I’ve made at previous conferences, as well as make
new connections.” – Todd Blickenstaff, Lexus Product Planning
This year we couple best in class business cases with
professional development sessions focusing on building skills like data
visualization, story-telling and strategic thinking and transforming
researchers into game changers. Download the brochure and see for yourself:
Want to become a TMRE Ambassador?
If you’re a loyal TMRE attendee and singing
TMRE’s praises, we want to recognize and reward you, support your efforts and
make your mission little easier and a lot more fun. By empowering our
ambassadors with tools to spread the word about TMRE, you’ll be able to offer
exclusive discounts to your contacts and rack up VIP experiences and other
perks for yourself. TMRE ambassadors are an eclectic mix of past attendees,
former speakers and long standing sponsors ‘ all those that know, trust and
love the brand. To learn more, contact please contact Ali Saland at
Make the choice the industry
TRUSTS every year. Register today:
October 21-23,
Nashville, TN
Mention code TMRE13LINK & Save 15% off the standard
rate. Register today:
The TMRE Team

Game on!

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

‘It’s like adding a game layer on top of reality”
And that’s when my staff looked at me sideways.
Yes, I have to admit that it’s not every day in our business we talk about ‘gamification’ in the office, but we strive to have our collective ears to the ground for what’s coming next in research, and the topic did come up and caused a lively discussion.
It’s hard to ignore the topic of gaming nowadays, from hearing about hardcore gamers playing 16-hour stints to the prevalence of smartphone and tablet apps that turn even grocery shopping into a game. 
How have games encroached on everyday life?
-You can check into a sub shop, check out the challenges for that location on SCVNGR, and unlock badges and real-world rewards.  (Interested in more game theory? Check out founder Seth Priebatsch’s TED talk about “Building the game layer on top of the world.’)
-Ready to get in shape, but want social support with aspects of a game? There’s Fitocracy, whose founders Brian Wang and Richard Talens ‘understood how addictive it could be trying to get to that next level, beating that next boss, and completing that next quest’ and decided to apply that to fitness and weight loss.
-Are you an avid cyclist who wants to challenge one of over a million other riders to a virtual race? There’s Strava for you, which according to Outside Magazine is ‘changing the way we ride‘ and has spawned a verb: to Strava. 

One of the leading speakers on gamification is Jane McGonigal, the Kickoff Keynote speaker at The Market Research Event 2013.  McGonigal is a game designer, the author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, and a noted TED speaker whose talks have garnered millions (and millions) of views.

I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to hear McGonigal in person at #TMRE13, and the fact that she is keynoting underlines something I (and my team) have been discussing’If the world is going the way of games, research simply must keep up, right?
I’m no expert on research through gaming (for that I humbly direct you to Betty Adamou and her Research Through Gaming team), but I’m intrigued as to how often this topic continues to bubble up in research industry discussions about the future of research. 
As a client-side researcher firmly rooted in reality (without a game layer currently!), I’m interested to learn more at TMRE this year both from Jane McGonigal and from other presenters as to how others may be using game thinking and game mechanics in research.  I always expect to hear about the hot new topics in research in the hallways and exhibit floor of TMRE, and I fully expect this year will be no different. I’ll be curious to hear how others are currently exploring this topic, and who has put this into practice already.

Speaking of games, it’s time I get back to Candy Crush Saga,
level 147 has me flummoxed!

More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie is the Senior Research Manager at Diversified Business Communications, managing a team of skilled researchers busy gleaning insights for products around the globe. She has worked with companies large and small in industries such as software, seafood, fragrance and entertainment to help companies move their business forward supported by actionable insights derived from market research. She loves to find the story in the numbers and is passionate about bringing the ‘Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. Active on social media as @InsightsGal, Katie actively tweets and blogs about the market research industry. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer. 

Official Call for Presenters Now Open: The Future of Consumer Intelligence

The Institute for International Research
(IIR) presents
The Future
of Consumer Intelligence

May 19-21st, 2014 | California

Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal
early and no later than Friday August 30th to Romina Kunstadter, Conference
Producer at or 646.895.7453


A gathering of “consumer culture” collective exploring common ground
across roles and industries for translating behavioral information into
business opportunity.

Specific Topical Discussions Include:

  • The Convergence of Insights & Intelligence: Consumer,
    Social, & Cultural
  • Big Data & Analytics: Connecting the Dots for a Holistic
  • Strategy & Action Planning:  Data Driven Marketing
    for Driving Consumer Strategy 

****Please see below for what topics our audience said are top of mind for
Two NEW Symposia’s
  1. The Future Researcher: What are the skills, tools,
    methodologies, capabilities & culture – turning data into meaningful
    stories, digital disruption, the entrepreneurial spirit, becoming agile &
    predictive, engaging your consumer.
  2. The Future Consumer: A 360 degree view: What is the future
    of how people live, how they shop, how they can be engaged.. understanding
    behavior, the quantified self, and generation next.

The Audience
VPs, Directors, & Managers in the fields of Market Research, CRM,
Innovation, Technology, Marketing, Analytics, Consumer Insights, Business
Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, Social Media, Mobile, Data Mining, Text
Analytics, IT, Design & Engineering. Speakers receive FREE admission to the
conference as well as any pre-conference activity such as workshops or

Sponsorship & Exhibition

If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities please contact
Jon Saxe, Business Development Manager at or 646.895.7467.

Interested in Becoming a Media Partner
or Featured Event Blogger?

Contact Kacey Anderson, Marketing Manager, at

Call for Presenters:

  • For consideration, please email with the following
    information by Friday, August, 30th, 2013.
  • Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
  • Contact information including complete address, telephone,
    fax number and e-mail
  • Talk title
  • The main theme you plan to address
  • Summary of the presentation (3-5 sentences)
  • Please indicate what is NEW about the presentation
  • What the audience will gain from your presentation (please
    list 3-5 key “take-aways”) 
  • Of the Audience above who would this most appeal to?
  • Previous conference experience
  • Short bio
  • Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to
    respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will
    be notified shortly after the deadline. 

Thank you for your interest in The Future of
Consumer Intelligence
. We look forward to receiving your proposal! Here are some of the topics
attendees said are top of mind for them:

The Future Researcher:
What are the Skills, Tools, Methodologies,
Capabilities, & Culture
Topic: Future of Consumer Insights Department
Becoming a better listener/ Crowd sourcing for insights/ Gamification -
engaging your consumer/ Engaging your team to explore & collaborate

Topic: Turning Data into Meaningful Stories
Innovation, methodology and insights as far as storytelling and bringing the
message back in a memorable & digestible way

Topic: Becoming Agile & Predictive in Real Time

Leveraging technology to make consumer insights process more
streamlined and shorten the overall timeline- I am interested in alternative
approaches- I think consumers are ever evolving in how they like to be
surveyed- a lot of people fall back on traditional methodologies but is that
always the best?

The Future Consumer: A 360 Degree View
Topic: The Future of How People Live
Public Transit, City Planners (Future Landscape), Home Environment,
Environmental Factors and Impact, Health Care, Values, Education, Workspace,

Topic: The Future of How People Shop: On-line & Off-line
I have a great consumer facing seat but not enough time to think about how to
engage with my retailers and I need help with that- what are retailer trends
and retailing trends

Topic: The Quantified Self
Wearable technology- customer experiences is at the heart of all things- the
right insight that you get will help determine what you will be doing and the

Topic: Digital Natives

The Convergence of
Insights & Intelligence: Consumer, Social, & Cultural

Topic: Semiotics & Motivation Theory

Topic: Insights Deciphered through Digital
Big push around emotional marketing and I am wondering what comes after that-
uncovering-triggers and activating behind them-a lot would be research but more
would be understanding how television and digital are taking insights and
translating them

Topic: Converged Intelligence: When Insights & Intelligence Collaborate
Topic: Leveraging Social Media to Fill the Gaps
Social media insights & text analytics pro’s & cons- how do you create
a social presence & excitement – social chatter  for deeper insights

Big Data & Analytics: Connecting the
Dots for a Holistic View
Topic: Finding the Why in a Sea of Data
Data point tells you what not WHY- you can make inferences but it doesn’t tell
you why- you can make leaps of faith- most data is about what happened focusing
on the hindsight instead of understanding insight and foresight and how do we
act upon it- awakening and invigorating consumer curiosity

Topic: Successful Data Integration:
What Big Data encompasses when it comes to businesses- how do you implement
this into your business- even if you figure out the direction you want to go
in, implementation takes a long time as does building a strategy and figuring
out the technical requirements

Topic: Tools for Digital Marketing: Digital Marketing
Very interesting in learning more because this is one of the new tools tThe new
marketing- I think in a few years most of the people are going to use Internet
to do everything

Topic: Product’s that Emerge As a Result of Connecting the Big Data Dots

Topic: Analytics that Changes How Business was Done

Strategy & Action Planning:
  Data Driven Marketing for Driving Consumer Strategy
Topic: Big Data Improving a Consumers LifeInsight into big data- not how can it
benefit us but how it can benefit the consumer and the key is the quantified
application — how your activity can be compared to other people

Topic: Privacy Please!(Delivering solutions while protecting consumer privacy-
knowing how to target your consumer without being intrusive)

Topic: Data Forecasts your Relationship with Competitors How have you used big
data to change how you have worked in comparison to your competitors?

The FOCI Team

The 9 Commandments of Being Customer-Centric

You may have heard people say, ‘It’s not about us. It’s about them, the customer! The implication ‘ what sounds enticing to the recipient ‘ is that these people believe that customer-devoted organizations drive significant profitable revenue growth and they execute strategically against their proclamation daily. Unfortunately, most often, nothing could be further from the truth, which is why many companies’ PRG remains anemic ‘ a sign of a non-customer-focused organization. According to Kansas City Business Journal, here are nine proven methods of living the customer-centric mantra.

9. Your customer’s issues ARE your issues. Third Door clients understand that the function formerly known as sales is now 80 percent ‘research.’ They know that relevancy, demand creation and attraction are the front-end drivers of sustainable PRG, replacing ineffective sales techniques. Therefore, what procedures and technology are used to feed you this information that helps create the desired positioning?

8. Honor thy customer. Think about a card section in a local grocery store that showcases designs by customers, displaying where they’re from by city and state. How do you think that makes the consumer feel? How is your customer council structured and how is the all-important state of co-destiny achieved?

7. Further your customer’s purpose. Try this as a sales call opening: ‘I understand what you do. However, I’m curious why you do it? If I can understand that more clearly, I can better determine if we’re a good fit.’ With this information secured, share how your value proposition helps strengthen the client’s ‘true north.’ And because your organization’s objective should be profitability, so it can provide jobs and sustain the community in which it serves, then your primary prospect qualifier is shared purpose, right? 

6. Help advance customer’s value proposition. The definition of value proposition is, ‘The crystal clear statement of the tangible results the customer receives from your products, services and experiences.’ So how are you positively impacting your customers’ tangible results? If you’re not influencing customers’ key performance indicators then you’re a commodity.

5. Fortify customer’s competitive advantages. What your customer’s top brass wants more than anything else are new, challenging and effective ideas. If you’re in sales, when’s the last time your boss asked, ‘When is the last three times you challenged a customer and provided new, innovative thoughts’?

4. Delight your customer’s customer. What are the needs of your customer’s customer? The only thing more important to your customer than his/her profitability is creating more happy and loyal customers.

3. Pay it forward. A past client, a well-known restaurant, is led by a chef who had an idea to reward loyal patrons, by surprising them with their favorite dinner served at home, with live music. Then, the couple suggested the chef do the same thing for a family in need they knew. How does this story square with your charitable efforts? As has been said before, the greatest marketing strategy ever devised is care.

2. Employ customer-centric key metrics. How do you integrate the ‘voice of the customer’ into your management dashboard? One team, one all-important score, people. And that ‘score’ should lean toward some type of ‘customer delight’ measurement.

1. Customers help design your value proposition. When strategic planning is performed at your company, the customer’s voice is absent. Have you ever asked customers why they buy from you?

Getting Beyond the Buzz: Making Big Data Work For You

We’ve all heard the buzz about Big Data and its
promise. Specific to market research, the discussion largely centers on whether
Big Data will replace traditional qualitative methods and quantitative surveys
as a primary approach to developing strategic insights. Marketers often favor
Big Data as winner-takes-all in this debate; while market researchers
frequently argue that Big Data provides a useful complement to traditional
research, rather than being a replacement.
Although the debate is fascinating, I’d like to take a
practical approach to help you begin to think about how Big Data could drive strategy and insight
at your company:
  • What can we learn from Big Data?
  • How can it help us improve business outcomes?
  • Where might Big Data fit into our existing insights program?
  • Let’s start by considering the types of questions Big Data
    and traditional research help us answer and then move on to a series of thought
    starters to help spark ideas about how to leverage your company’s Big Data

 The What and the Why
of Customer Behavior

At this year’s ESOMAR and CASRO conferences, our own Greg
Mishkin and Dr. Reg Baker addressed the roles Big Data and traditional research
play in understanding the customer experience and providing intelligence to
drive business decisions. To paraphrase:
It turns out that Big
Data (and behavioral observation in general) are really useful when it comes to
describing what people do. But they cannot effectively determine why people do
it. The why is best identified by talking to customers and asking them
questions. That’s the job of traditional qualitative and quantitative research.

The magic happens when
Big Data are combined with traditional market research, allowing attitudes and
motivations to be projected onto a large population. Optimizing the interplay
of Big Data and traditional research to jointly understand the what and the why
is the foundation for Market Strategies’ Continuous Improvement Cycle, which
minimizes business risk while maximizing business impact.

Two Plus Two Equals
While the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of
its parts is clich??, it does tell the story. Combining the behavioral
information from Big Data with psychographic and attitudinal information from
traditional market research helps companies make more complete, connected and
confident business decisions. It allows us to understand why people do what
they do. It allows us to understand what can be done to positively influence
customer behaviors. And it limits the risks associated with resulting decisions
and actions, while maximizing the impact to the business.
Integration Thought
Each company and industry has a somewhat unique Big Data
exhaust. But the general business questions we all seek answers to are fairly
similar. I’ve chosen three strategic issues to frame our thought starter
  • Customer Churn
  • Call Center Monitoring
  • Market Segmentation

 Although these issues are merely the tip of the iceberg in
terms of the types of insights Big Data can help us uncover, they provide a
useful starting point to get the conversation going.

As you read on, keep in mind that we are talking about
combining Big Data with survey research. We’re looking at the what together
with the why. We’re jointly deriving insight from both behaviors and attitudes.
And we’re talking about using projective techniques so that we can marry survey
insights from a sample of customers with a larger Big Data source that includes
all customers (and sometimes prospects) of interest.
Customer Churn
Brands do many things to assess customer churn: Company
records are examined to analyze the churn rate. Surveys are sent to lost
customers in post-hoc efforts to understand why they departed. Focus groups or
in-depth interviews are conducted among at-risk customers to uncover the emotional
forces behind their intentions to leave.
These are all valuable approaches. But suppose we take a
combined approach. What more is possible if, over time, we project customer
satisfaction measures and churn diagnostics (our traditional data source) onto
our customer database (our Big Data source)? Here are some of the issues we
could explore by leveraging Market Strategies’ Continuous Improvement Cycle
  • Churn Lifecycle‘At
    what point in the relationship does dissatisfaction typically occur? Does it
    emerge at two days, two months or two years? Does dissatisfaction taper off or
    remain steady over time? How long after dissatisfaction surfaces does churn
    occur? What is the window for intervention?
  • Churn Contagion‘When
    dissatisfaction occurs, is it isolated to individuals, or can it spread to an
    unhappy customer’s network? Can we identify behavioral or contextual triggers
    that are related to widespread dissatisfaction and churn among customers with
    common experiences or contexts?
  • Churn Pathways‘Is
    a single behavioral, contextual or attitudinal trigger driving a majority of
    dissatisfaction and churn? Or are there churn pathways involving combinations
    of experiences and attitudes that need to be examined as a process to address
    dissatisfaction? Where is the threshold in the experience pathway? How can we
    best test and monitor interventions for maximum impact?

Call Center
We’ve all had the experience of calling customer service and
hearing a recording that says, ‘This call may be monitored for quality
assurance.’ Well, it turns out that those recordings are a source of Big Data.
What’s really special about this type of Big Data is that it uniquely contains
information about the social exchange between your brand (via the service rep)
and the customer.
As with churn, there are a variety of traditional approaches
to monitoring call center performance. These methods usually involve fielding a
survey within a short window of the interaction that asks customers to evaluate
the performance of the service rep; whether their issue was resolved to their
satisfaction and how likely they are to recommend the brand as a result of
their transaction experience. These efforts can be massive, often representing
the largest chunk of a brand’s total research budget.
To address our clients’ interests in gleaning incremental
insights, Market Strategies developed a Calibrated Monitoring approach that
combines expert ratings of call center recordings (the Big Data source) with
subsequent survey ratings from a sample of the same interactions from customers
(the traditional data source). This approach allows us to explore answers to
questions that we couldn’t ask using either approach alone, such as:
  • What is the impact of representative accent or dialect on
    the customer’s willingness to recommend our brand?
  • Are our representatives showing appropriate empathy, and how
    is the display of empathy related to customer satisfaction?
  • As a result of the representative’s interaction with the
    customer, did the customer’s demeanor improve, stay the same or remain
    unchanged from the beginning to the end of the call?
Now consider what we could do if we append the call detail
records, or CDRs, to these data and watch to see if the service interaction
(and any subsequent intervention) is associated with positive or negative
customer behaviors as time moves forward.
Market Segmentation
Market segmentation is one of the most exciting areas where Big
Data can help brands minimize risk and maximize impact. Market Strategies’
blended approach to creating segments has always emphasized the combination of
behaviors, attitudes and other variables as a genesis for developing
segmentation stories that are strategic and actionable. The emergence of Big
Data provides us with a richer array of options for incorporating behavioral
and channel marketing linkages into our segment views.
Below are two ideas that illustrate how Big Data could help
you better understand and frame your market:
  • Consumer Population
    ‘Imagine a segmentation approach that uses both Census data (our Big
    Data source) and customer needs and preferences (our traditional source) as a
    foundation for creating segments. From a strategic standpoint, such an approach
    could be useful to assess regional candidates for footprint expansion or to
    drive the development of needs-based products that vary by geographic factors.
    From an action standpoint, this approach could identify pockets of customers that
    are most likely candidates to receive tailored messaging. And these customer
    pockets could be split into test/control groups to pilot an examination of the
    effectiveness of different marketing treatments.
  • The Internet of
    ‘What could be done by incorporating telematics data into your
    segmentation story? Consider data generated from health monitoring applications
    on smartphones; from vehicles as they are driven; or from cable boxes as
    consumers watch programming or flip through channels. Each of these data
    streams contains information on product usage which, when combined with
    attitudes and customer evaluations of the product, could produce an interesting
    segmentation that connects needs, usage and satisfaction. Once key segments are
    identified, in-depth-interviews (another traditional source of data) can be
    conducted to understand pain points and delighters in the product experience.
    The insights from this qualitative approach could, in turn, drive the
    development of improvement programs to address pain and expand delight. A
    handful of improvement programs could be evaluated among test and control
    groups to determine their effectiveness, which could be measured by both
    changes in usage (?? la Big Data) and attitudes (?? la survey measures like

The combination of Big Data with traditional qualitative
methods and quantitative surveys is a critical step toward ensuring your
segmentation has the strategic value that’s necessary to guide your brand and
the tactical content needed to facilitate segment specific program development
and deployment.
Making It Work for
Your Company
I hope that some of these ideas have sparked your interest
in Big Data and how its marriage to traditional qualitative and quantitative
research can deliver a superior level of insight and confidence in decision
Have you determined how to balance your approach to insight
development across traditional qualitative, quantitative and Big Data
approaches? Are you confident you have the right mix and level of connectedness
across data types to minimize risk and maximize impact for your company?
About the Author: Contact
Dawn Palace at 734.779.6860 or Greg Mishkin at 404.601.9561 of Market Strategies to learn how we
can help your company understand the what and the why of customer experience to
make more confident and connected business decisions. Greg will be presenting
“Traditional Market Research and Big Data Integration: A case study in
what works and what doesn’t” at TMRE
in Nashville October 21-23