Tag Archives: consumer behavior

Consumer Insight :: Go Deep or Go Home

We meet companies and non-profits who have been marketing to the same
lists for years. Often, these lists and the assumptions about the
people on their lists are more than a decade old. These aged lists may
have been scrubbed, but that is simply for those who have fallen off the
grid, one way or another. This point should be obvious: there are major problems with this scenario.

1. First off, organizations marketing to the same list for years lose
the feel of how their buyers make decisions. Their selling instincts
dull, and then they tend to think of names on the list as objects rather
than subjects with rich, full lives, motivations, and choices. In
essence, they lose their hunting impulse, their sense of courtship, and
reduce a possible valuable customer relationship into a vague,
impersonal slot machine, settling for a single transaction with low
odds.

2. Second, people are dynamic, not static. If these organizations put
their prospects into a rigid category instead of knowing them on a
deeper level, they will be marketing to a snapshot that is no longer
valid. Think of yourself or your children 10 years ago to demonstrate
this point. People are one of the most progressive species on the
planet. Fortunes can be made, lost, and regained in a decade’and if your
customer information keeps the same basic inputs, you are out of touch
with reality.

3. Third, your weakest competitors are marketing to the exact same list.
Incredibly, they are marketing to them with a similar value
proposition, brand promise, feature and benefit set, and price range
(perhaps with a few incremental differences, but nothing really
discernible to them). They, too, are eking out a living on the after
fumes of cobwebbed insights from a decade ago, and cannot think outside
of the confines of a strategy set when the world was a different place.

4. Fourth, the most egregious sin: They don’t have any actionable
insights about the market, the people in the market, the trends and
forces that shape the market, and they do not renew and transform their
innovation and marketing efforts to position as a leader in their
category. This is the classic deadly sin of sloth. If it exists in your
organization, eradicate it or risk extinction.

Face it: this is the post-industrial world, the economic era of
innovation. These innovations are steeped in human-to-human
valves’offering products, services, causes, and messages that add value
to a person’s life. You have to know a person to go this deep. You must
immerse yourself in their world and get out of your conference room to
comprehend where and how you can really add value.

Call it a deep dive, a voice of the customer, an ethnography,
narrative insight based marketing research, field studies, whatever’just
get out of your own head and your rut-like routines and get inside the
homes, routines, rituals, and hearts of your people. Honor those that
buy from you or give to you, as subjects with dynamic lives.

By investing in them, you create a win-win relationship. You offer
something of value to Joe, Betty, John, Veena, and Amir’and they, in
return, return to your offering as part of the natural course of their
lives. This quid pro quo, these repeat sales, will not happen if you
keep playing the old lists game and never spend time with your prospect
base.

Go deep.

Recap: The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014

Imagine a line drawn in the sand that is filled with hot
burning coals. To the left of the burning line stands
a group of people. And to the right of the burning line stands another group of people. The
group of people on the left are all directly facing the burning line drawn in the
sand and are staring at the opposing group. The group on the right are also all facing
the burning line drawn in the sand, staring directly at the group on the left.
The burning line drawn in the sand represents trust. The
group of people on the left believe they are entitled to the right group’s
trust because they are trying to help them. The group on the right believes
trust is earned and will not easily give it to the group on the left. The tug of
war between the two groups over trust causes friction and creates the burning
line drawn in the sand that neither can cross without the right tools.
The above scenario is analogous to what was presented at the
recent 2014 Future of Consumer Intelligence conference (#FOCI14). The group to the left was Big Business, the group to the right was the Public and we as
attendees were willing and able to sit right on the burning line drawn in the sand and
discuss how to bridge the gap between groups.

BIG DATA VS. BIG PRIVACY

As marketers and researchers we love to collect lots of data
with the intention of using personal information to improve products, services,
and lives. But at what point is it considered invasion of privacy? Do consumers
really know how their data is being used, regardless of whatever they agreed
to? At FOCI14 it was made evident that as marketers and researchers, we teeter
on the brink of ‘Empowerment vs. Endagerment’. The path to maintaining the
balance and bridging the gap on the subject of data between Big Business and
the Public was made evident: provide clear, concise rules and guidelines for
how consumer data is used that moves past legality and into the territory of
morality.
MARKETING SCIENCE VS. PEOPLE
Clearly our industry is at a point of disruptive innovation as
new technologies and methodologies allow researchers to get a clearer picture
of consumer insights. But who are behind all of these insights? That’s right,
people. In our industry we label people as consumers, customers, shoppers,
respondents, target markets and more. But remember that behind all of our
studies are people. And sometimes we can act as a barricade between companies,
their brands, and their consumers in an attempt to remain unbiased and objective. So how do we
bridge the gap?
For starters, John Havens, Founder of The H(app)athon Project, suggests we
can begin by switching out the label ‘consumer’ with ‘customer’. Whereas Elizabeth
Merrick, Senior Customer Insights Manager of HSN suggests we consider research
as another touch point of the brand, ‘We should allow customers to contribute
to a brand, not just consume it.’
So it appears the segue between marketing science and people
is essentially personal treatment and recognizing that customers are more than
a data point within a spreadsheet.

From John Havens, The H(app)athon Project
TECHNOLOGY VS. HUMANIZATION OF DATA
The more I thought about it, FOCI14′s tagline of The Convergence of Technology, Marketing
Science & Humanization of Data seemed unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) dichotomous where both Big Business and the Public were descending upon the line drawn in the sand. So
it goes with technology & humanization.
There is no doubt that technology improves lives at
blistering speeds. Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering for Google pointed
out that, ‘Information Technology expands exponentially across time, not
linearly.’ But as we become more technologically advanced, do we lose a piece
of our humanity and our identity?
As we discussed more and more about the subjects of technological advances, psychological
habits, triggers, and touch points at FOCI14, it seemed the key to closing the
gap between technology & humanization of data relied upon engagement. If new
technologies enable to us to engage with customers in a more meaningful way and
people are able to build stronger psychological connections with each other,
then the gap is bridged. If on the other
hand, the research community were to stand disengaged with customers and people, then technology & humanization in
the field will stand diametrically opposed on a bridge that is about to
collapse.
So the real question in all of this is, ‘Has your
organization bridged the line drawn in the sand’?

Tom Krause, VP of Client Services, Gongos Research
“It’s all about people”
Chris Ruby is an award-winning Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive with Fortune 500 consulting experience. His niche is the ability to turn complex data into compelling stories that induce a call for action among key decision-makers. His work has been featured by MRA, MRIA, IIR, Norstat Times, Chadwick Martin Bailey & the Optimization Group. Keep up with Chris Ruby by following him on Twitter @ChrisRubyMRX or by reading the Chris Ruby Market Research Blog.

Yes, Let’s Think Harder

‘Think harder.’ That’s the tag line that welcomed me as I
came into the opening session at the Future of Consumer Intelligence event today. For some reason, I have always looked at an
event’s tagline as an indicator of the conference coordinators; understanding of
what is relevant in market research. A wishy-washy tagline usually means a ‘kitchen
sink’ conference. A tagline along the lines of ‘evolve of die’ (usually stated more
politely but with that underlying message), tends to be heavy on vision, light
on practical applications.

But ‘think harder’ works for me.

It happens to align’and I swear it’s a coincidence’with a
post I made on May 9th: Market Research is Hard Work.

The ‘Think Harder’ theme also transitioned well to the opening
keynote by John Havens, whose talk on
personal data actually had a few specific implications for how we market researchers
need to think harder about a couple of things. Most concretely, for me anyway,
are the following two:

Think harder about
how we refer to customers
. And specifically, stop using the word ‘consumer.’
If we are trying to market to, and presumably engage during research with,
people who buy stuff, calling them ‘consumers’ is a turn off. It has negative
connotations. It’s kind of like how we researchers are often careful to refer
to ‘research participants’ and not ‘survey respondents.’ Thinking harder about
how we refer to people before, during and after the research process may help
us improve research participant engagement.
Think harder about
how we research customer behavior
. John shared the example from ‘big data’ and
personal tracking that the important findings do not come from one-to-one data relationships.
That is, if you were to only test the hypothesis that weight loss leads to
happiness, you won’t get real insights. But if you track a wide variety of possible
variables (heart rate, sleep cycle, exercise, etc.), you may discover a surprising
item (or surprising amalgamation of items) predicts the outcome of interest. Focusing
on one hypothesis at a time may be an example of not working hard enough.
While many of John’s interesting observations and anecdotes
were much broader (his information on personal privacy was fascinating), in
terms of ‘so what’ for me as a market researcher, it was his connecting to ‘think
harder’ that truly resonated.
This post was written by Kathryn Korostoff of Research Rockstar LLC. Follow Kathryn @ResearchRocks or email her at KKorostoff@researchrockstar.com.

Do-It-Yourself Research is on the Rise

Roe vs. Wade, Gun
Control, Immigration & Capital Punishment. 
It wasn’t that long ago where a simple conversation about
Do-It-Yourself Online Research (DIYOR) among the Market Research community felt
like a heated debate with the same intensity of the aforementioned topics.
For all intents and purposes, let’s not debate the pro/cons and
the validity/invalidity of DIYOR within this space. These topics and arguments
are already well documented and discussed. Instead, let’s take a look at the industry’s past,
present and future.
DIYOR began in the late 1990′s and moved past the introduction stage of the product life cycle in the late 2000′s. Its current fragmentation
of companies resembles the fragmented Market Research Industry where a handful
of major players are accompanied by a majority of smaller companies.

DIY Research is in the growth stage of the product life cycle

The DIYOR Industry, as well as the NewMR Industry in which it
is a subset, is presently within the growth stage of the product life cycle as
revenues are increasing year over year.  Some
suggest the industry is cannibalizing Traditional Research. However, relatively
recent worldwide sales figures suggest that NewMR is supplementing Traditional Research, not cannibalizing it.

Some of the major players in the DIYOR market are beginning to behave as if operating within the maturity stage of the product life cycle and are buying competitors, forming
partnerships and extending product lines. This behavior seems relatively quick as only a few years have
passed since the industry outgrew the introduction stage.  Though, perhaps the move to maturity for some isn’t so
quick after all since first and foremost DIYOR companies are technology
companies
that exist in an ever-changing market.
In terms of present offerings, two key factors have yet to
normalize in the DIYOR market: Service & Price.
Service and Research Design in the market range from truly unaided
services to aided / self-guided services. DIYOR vendors in the unaided market provide
the technology for customers to field quantitative and qualitative studies, but
do not assist the questionnaire design process and provide the results of the
survey as raw data without data analysis services.  Whereas aided / self-guided companies provide
a full suite of self-guided questionnaire design templates as well as data
analysis applications. For an extra fee, some aided / self-guided companies can
provide an experienced researcher to help design customers’ quantitative and qualitative
projects. And of course, there are DIYOR companies that exist somewhere
between both ends of the spectrum.

Both services and prices widely vary in the DIY Research market

The relative price of service in the DIYOR market increases or decreases relative to the amount of service provided and overall price points display a fairly wide
variance in the DIYOR market.  Charges range from free, to charging per respondent,
to charging per month, to charging per year, to charging with sliding-scale credits, to charging for a basic user profile, to charging for an intermediate
user profile, to charging for an advanced user profile, to charging for enterprise services, etc.,
etc. Get the picture?

It’s going to be a challenge for consumers to truly evaluate all the different price points, at all the different
offerings, for all the different users, at all the different levels of service.  Without a doubt, the rising DIYOR industry is in need of a solid pricing study that will ultimately optimize and ease consumers’ purchasing decisions.
So what lies in store for the DIYOR industry? My humble prediction
is within the next 5 years, larger full-suite, self-guided DIYOR companies will
continue to purchase smaller DIYOR companies that display attractive technology and operate within a niche of the market, in order to add to their portfolios of
services. Customers by this time will have determined for themselves which product
offering at particular price points makes the most sense.  This combination of vendor consolidation
and educated pricing from a consumers point of view will ultimately streamline the DIYOR industry as a whole and normalize its product offerings and
prices. 
In your opinion, where is the DIYOR industry heading in the next 5
years? Please comment below.
Chris Ruby is an award-winning Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive with Fortune 500 consulting experience. His niche is the ability to turn complex data into compelling stories that induce a call for action among key decision-makers. His work has been featured by MRA, MRIA, IIR, Norstat Times, Chadwick Martin Bailey & the Optimization Group. Keep up with Chris Ruby by following him on Twitter @ChrisRubyMRX or by reading the Chris Ruby Market Research Blog.

A Millennial Problem in Market Research

When you talk to colleagues in Market Research and
Consumer Insights about how they started in the Industry, how many times have
you heard the phrase, ‘I just kind of
fell into it’
? Honestly, I’ve heard this phrase more often that I would have
liked throughout the years. I recently attended a Market Research event and
heard the same phase repeated again. So I just finally had
to ask, ‘Why’?
Is it perhaps because for lack of better terms, a defined
career path for Market Research in college? Universities have Accounting, Math, and Science departments, but the overwhelming majority do not have Marketing
Research departments or offer degrees in Marketing Research.
Maybe it’s due to a general lack of awareness of our trade
among the public? Or perhaps it’s due to the nature of the work and the skill
set required? Whatever the reason, the ‘just
fell into it’ phenomenon is a foreseeable problem for our industry that is
expected to add 32% more Research Analysts over the course of the next decade. And
who are likely to fill these roles? Why, Millennials of course. 

‘Intense interest and behavior of young people can improve our research.” ~ Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP

And Millennials are a perfect fit for our industry. They are
the first generation that has lived with the internet since birth. They are technically
savvy in so many aspects and have a fantastic set of interactive, adoptive
& digital skills. With such a set of appealing traits, are we as an Industry
expecting them to ‘just fall into’ the trade as well? Or are we recruiting and
training the brightest, most intelligent, most curious young individuals that
we can? If we are participating in the former, our industry is in for quite a
shock.
A recent poll among Millennials revealed they want to work
for prestigious online / tech firms like Google, Apple, Facebook, & Microsoft.
These firms are likely perceived to be creative, innovative and push the
technological envelope. Likewise, these same firms want Millennials to work for
them for similar reasons, and are recruiting top talent among the best
colleges throughout the nation.
So if Millennials want to work with top tech companies, and
these same companies are recruiting top talent like crazy, where does that
leave our Industry in obtaining top talent? According to Martin Sorrell, Chief
Exectuve Officer of WPP (parent company of Kantar, TNS, Millward Brown &
Added Value) we are desperately in need of this talent. ‘Intense interest and
behavior of young people can improve our research and make it more accepted. And
right now our industry has the need for more skills in programming, data, &
digital.’
It’s evident we have a need for Millennials, but do they
have a need for us? Is our Industry perceived as innovative, creative, and
technologically savvy in the eyes of Millennials? Enough to join? Only time
will tell since not a single Top 50 Honomichl Company made their preference
list. (Please comment below)   
Chris Ruby is an award-winning Marketing Research & Consumer Insights Executive with Fortune 500 consulting experience. His niche is the ability to turn complex data into compelling stories that induce a call for action among key decision-makers. His work has been featured by MRA, MRIA, IIR, Norstat Times, Chadwick Martin Bailey & the Optimization Group. Keep up with Chris Ruby by following him on Twitter @ChrisRubyMRX or by reading the Chris Ruby Market Research Blog.

What’s the bigger social media threat: verification or platform overload?

Evolving is the bettering or worsening of a sturdy phenomenon. Change is
a more radical spin on the very same. But when it comes to social media
habits, it is tricky to discern what is evolutionary and what is truly
changing. Two elements that pose a risk to using social media for marketing are verification, and a simple overwhelm, particularly of visual platforms. Two trends highlighted further in Social Media Habits of 2014.

Ever had a tweet favorite or retweeted almost simultaneously after
posting? Or are you guilty of scrolling and liking or disliking? While
it may be the signs of an obsessive compulsive behavior, it becomes even
more risky in the world of big data. When emergencies happen, or
misquotes are leaked, or media puts forth information that is not
verified, the habit can become a risky one. Things like events in Boston give rise to the speed vs accuracy paradox, as do weather related calamities
like the Polar Vortex or Sandy. The key is to always ensure to verify
before sharing, before misinformation leads to virality. But is this
even possible in a me-first world?
social media @sssourabh

Similarly, ever noticed how Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Snapchat
are all driven by a vicarious sharing of images (and off late, videos)?
Sometimes even the same ones’ with some apps making it easy to cross
share. Besides a sense of overwhelm, there is also a notion of d??j?? vu.
Social media is meant to be current, but is getting muddled with the
user equivalent of recycling and content marketing. And some of these
platforms are aping one another, like direct messaging on Instagram as a war to snapchat.
Video was born to Vine, and is now popular with Instagram and
Flipagram, alike. One of these photo platforms will surely tumble under
the mounting pressure to distinguish and differentiate. Is another
MySpace coming our way? Until then, anticipate more scrolling and
observing, until there is simply less time spent on certain platforms
before the final crash.

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 s.sharma@skimgroup.com.
Follow him on
@sssourabh.

Live from #MediaInsight: Every Voice is heard: Shared Perspectives

A keynote panel featuring:

Tom Ziangas, SVP Research, AMC NETWORKS

Bruce Leichtman, President and Principal Analyst, LEICHTMAN RESEARCH
Karen Ramspacher, SVP of Research and Insights, PARTICIPANT MEDIA
Christie Kawada, SVP Client Consulting and Strategic Marketing Science, NIELSEN

Moderated by Marc Berman, Editor in Chief, TV MEDIA INSIGHTS
How do we determine what’s working and what’s not in TV?  What is the measure of success?
  • Participant Media/pivot: “the power of a story well told can change the world.”  Success isn’t only about ratings, but the impact that programming has on society.  “New heroes” are part of the millennial generation – people who are taking action to make an impact. 
  • AMC Networks: success changes across networks.  For a network like IFC, most viewing is from DVR.  For WE tv, Braxton Family Values is the top show in its time slot among African-Americans.  For shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, the social prevalence can be a measure of success.    
  • Nielsen: TV lives and dies by Nielsen ratings in many cases, but there is more to the picture.  Smaller networks may not have the ratings, but may be creating a huge emotional response with viewers, so the value of the brand plays a big role.  It’s important to understand why people are passionate about what they watch - lifting the hood on consumers and using research to dig well beyond basic demographics.   
  • Leichtman: the best predictor of the future is the past.  It’s important to look beyond the numbers of a quant study and analyze trends – tracking the industry can be the best way to truly measure success.   

Measuring success gets more challenging as new platforms emerge.  Netflix’s original programming earns critical accolades, but how can we measure success when we can’t look at ratings the same way we can with traditional TV? 

Social media is also changing the conversation, as it’s no longer clear what’s more valuable – ratings or volume of social chatter?  This poses a big question for advertisers – where should they be looking?  

For a network like pivot where social action is important, social media is key.  It’s important to see not only that people are posting, but understand what they are posting and whether that translates into the social action that pivot is looking for.  

Tom Ziangas notes that it’s a great time to be in research, where the mix between quantitative and qualitative can help to round out the picture.   

Marc Berman mentions the importance of research when it comes to understanding the industry – “if you want to be involved in media, start out in research.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Proctor is Insights Strategist at Miner & Co. Studio, a New York-based consultancy

Live from #MediaInsight: Synthesize the Data to Create Actionable Insights

Kirsten Rasmuson, Manager, Consumer Insights, Netflix, explains how research works at Netflix while taking us through a number of case studies 

Highly aligned and loosely coupled – this Netflix mantra provides a rich foundation for mining insights.

An example involves their attempt to increase retention among new streaming members – these members are the focus, and keeping them with Netflix is crucial.  They brought all of their internal teams together to set up an AB test for certain new subscribers, who participated in an online survey several days after becoming members.  The trick was that they had to wait 30+ days to determine actual retention, as they needed subjects to move beyond the Netflix free trial period.  

In analyzing the initial findings, it was interesting to see that there were people who said that they would continue their membership during their first week but ultimately ended up canceling.  Here, the mix of attitudinal and behavioral data painted a more robust picture than a single modality ever could have – which helped Netflix realize that they had to dig even deeper to understand their audience and subscriber retention habits.

Netflix has also tackled segmentation, which again required the participation of numerous internal research teams and also applied to everyone within the organization – from membership teams to the people coming up with original content.  

Some Netflix tips for avoiding “analysis paralysis”:
1. Start with the end in mind: focus on objectives, not methodologies
2. Getting to the “so what” – brevity can be an effective approach

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Proctor is Insights Strategist at Miner & Co. Studio, a New York-based consultancy

Live from #MediaInsight: Understanding Consumer Behavior, Culture and Generational Nuances

Joseph Kessler, President, THE INTELLIGENCE GROUP walks us through the changing tide of consumer behavior
The generation in which one lives is key to understanding behavior
80% of 2-year olds in the US have access to a mobile device.  What are the implications of this type of access?  In a focus group, kids were trying to ‘swipe’ the pages of a hard copy book  
Change = the new normal
Edward Snowden: how is it that people over the age of 50 see him as a criminal, while younger folks tout him as a hero?  This signals a new type of ‘climate change’ in terms of our behavior
Battle of the sexes has evolved into war of the generations.  Official Comedy video provides guidelines for dealing with Millennials in the workplace.  How could a day possibly start before 10:30AM?  You mean doing your job as asked doesn’t equal an automatic promotion and pay raise?
Understanding the “why” drives new thinking
Generational traits are influenced by six sources:
  • Parenting styles
  • Socio-economic conditions
  • Popular culture
  • Game-changing events
  • Tech advances
  • Shifting social mores
There are 80 to 90 million Millennials in the US today.  They are group oriented, need to be heard and feel special, idealistic, and tech junkies
48% say the new reality is NOT following the traditional path
Young people are driving innovation today, from app development to shaping music (i.e. the 17-year old Lorde) to delivering the comedy that often defines their lives (and certainly their use of YouTube, where comedy is the top category)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Proctor is Insights Strategist at Miner & Co. Studio, a New York-based consultancy

Live from #TMRE13: 5 Game Changing that will drive trends today and in the future

Consumers are taking control of their lives. They are
rearranging their lives to their own satisfaction for the better of their home
and family. Companies can benefit from this as they offer cusotmized solutions to these “game changing trends”, found by Campbell’s Soup.
My ROI: Consumers are taking a personal return on investment
approach to assessing. But now good value is not about paying the lower price.
Consumers are willing to pay for experiences that will matter more for them,
that fit them better individually. Service is back ‘ as people want better
value for their money.
iHealth3.0: Consumers are more concerned about health, image
management, and the general wellbeing, given the overall statistics of being
overweight, and consequential expenses.
Energy Management: Consumers are overall tired, and
consequently cranky. Energy emerges as a highly sought need, now the highest
sought commodity, ranked higher than money and time. Consequently opportunities
are like virtual supermarkets to avoid traveling and energy consumables.
The Desire to Feel Alive:  Help consumers break free and enjoy moments that
reward themselves. How can brands do this? Across ages and genders there is a
desire to be more lively, and opportunities are present in multiple consumer
and healthcare industries.
Digital is resetting expectations: Digital is an integrated
and integral part of life, and not a distraction. This affects everything from
DIY, to shopping, to connecting with others.
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 s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on
@sssourabh.

Just another Informa Telecoms & Media site