Tag Archives: Future of Consumer Intelligence

Live from FOCI 13: Tap into Consumer Trends and Spur Innovation

Trendwatching. Done it for fashion and food, and now time to do it for the consumer landscape. Henry Mason gives an insightful slice of what the upcoming trends are and how brands can benefit from them. 

Macro trends – business and strategic
Consumer trends – what consumer desire
Industry trends – developments in product categories

Trendwatching can be used to better society and gratify consumers, as well as gain profits from consequentially satisfied consumers.Vision, new business concepts, new products or services or experiences, alongside marketing and advertising needs to all resonate with consumers to make them understand that you are living their trends.

Here are some key consumer trends:

Pretail
Is this the end of retail? Crowdfunding platforms are the new shopping malls. This flips the production process and raises opportunities for designers or startups.

Custowners
Consumers who move from passiely consuming to funding and investing in the brands they buy from. For example, give consumers interest in store credit, or investing in sustainable communities, with a consequential holiday reward (versus a no-return charity donation).


Again Made Here
Customize and readily made items in front of you. Consumers like to see sourcing that is local, even if it is manufactured on the spot, which lowers product turnaround and satisfies consumers with specific, tailored and niche products.

Safety Net
Consumers like to know they are safe. And technology can help this be more accessible to boost awareness.


Full Frontal
Most consumers need to understand exactly what you are doing as a company, and what social-environment targets you have. Consumers want to see the back-end factory works. To enhance loyalty, this is essential for guaranteeing consumer loyalty.


Demanding Brands
If consumers see brands as an ethic journey, brands are aware that they cannot do it themselves, and will need to earn the participation of the consumer. Think of Japanese restaurants who fine consumers for leaving food behind.

Consumer trends ultimately need to excite your consumers and be relevant to them. Reminds me of my article on a complex modern shopping trip.

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 FOCI 2013: Big Data: Powerful Predictions Through Data Analytics

Nate Silver, a world renowned statistician and founder of fivethiryeight.com, spoke of the world of errors and predictions, very relevant to the big data environment. He evoked the thought of what kind of predictions we can trust, and how much can we trust forecasters?

Judging from Hurrican eSandy or terror attacks or unforgiving hacked tweets and the widespread reach of all these, the topic is very relevant in a world where we want to know what happens before it happens, and wish to micromanage while it happens.

Nate’s 4 suggestions are as follows:

1. Think Probabalistically: convey uncertainty knowing what can go wrong. Only if you know what you do can you know what goes wrong.

2. Know Where You’re Coming From: Know that you have a point of view, it is helpful in identification and forecasting.

3. Survey the Data Landscape: What makes data rich? Quality, quantity and variety. Understanding if you’re in a data rich or data poor environment is critical.

4. Try and Err: Experiment with real data, test hypotheses, segment the big data, and converge to a great solution.

We live in a big data and uncertain world. Never has it been more obvious that we need analytics to navigate better.

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 FOCI 2013: Big Data & Attribution, from Fedex

2,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of data created every day. 
And are we still thinking of big data as a phenomenon?
Its a reality.

Its not just that the data is generated, its the rate at which it is generated. 90% of it has been generated in the last 2 years! Even though statistically less than 0.1% of it is useful, when you do understand and engage with the data, it adds tremendous value in fundamentally engaging with them differently. Or correctly.

Big data depends on analytics. That’s the only way to make sense of it, because data is all about the big 4 V’s.

Volume: There’s a lot of it.
Velocity: It travels fast. And is growing.
Variety: Unstructured, structured, and in various mediums – its all there.
Variability: And with variety comes the variability and usefulness of it.

The goal is to first start small: have questions you want to answer, and then get your analytics. This resonates well with social media research and related unstructured data that I’ve spoken about before too.

Ultimately, Ned Kumar from Fedex sums it up quite well, after startling statistics like 3000 transactions made per second (WOW!). “The issue isn’t information overload, its filter failure”.

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 FOCI 2013: Taking Choice Modeling to the next level

Survey taking is an ardent task, and day in day out, it presents rather archaic responses which almost mandate innovation. Joris Huisman and Eline van der Gaast presented new innovations of understanding a changing consumer and service landscape with 3 innovations that can help to better consumer understanding.

Menu based conjoint allows you to understand consumer choices based on services that are made of a plethora of permutations and combinations. Think of automobiles, Dell laptops, salads or burger menus. Understanding consumer sensitivity to different levels of options is what SKIM excels in understanding, which in turn provides actionable recommendations in markets where customization is critical.

When multiple stakeholders are involved, adaptive conjoint analysis is needed to gauge interactions between different stakeholders that affect a product’s uptake. Exemplifying this through the controversial healthcare industry and its players of physicians, patients and their interaction for product sales. Clearly, an intermediate is needed to understand which of these pools of thought should drive strategy.

And lastly, instead of asking questions, consumers can be engaged in surveys that mimic reality. Using a virtual shelf design to enable consumers to feel like they are shopping, heat maps and the lies can be brought to life to understand what consumers are looking at before the point of purchase. Facial recognition takes this a step further in understanding what a consumer actually feels, bringing to light the emotional understanding.

New ways of research are critical to understanding consumers in a rapidly changing consumer landscape. Innovation is thus valued as a mandatory step for marketers and researchers moving forward.

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 FOCI 2013: Social Media Insights made Actionable

Being aptly titled social media expert, and with a personal passion for the
arena, I was obviously front and center at the panel of social media insights.
With Clorox, Heineken and Johnson and Johnson coming together to share their
views on a rapidly changing consumer landscape in the social context, the
learnings were as strong in variety as they were packed with information.

Here were some key takeaways:

Make it actionable: The point of
social media rises from the need for market driven reactions and actions that
can hopefully lead to insights. One can think of this as exploring white space.
However, no one product comes out of it for Johnson and Johnson, but General
Mills however has pizza crusts and gluten free products that come from social
media listening.

Understand your consumer: Heineken
has success from permission to follow its uber men on instagram and facebook,
in order to understand relationship dynamics and influencers. This is much
deeper in engagement and fosters better understanding.

Try to understand the ROI in the social
space
: What is the real value of paid, shared or earned followers? Its all
about actively engaging. The ultimate goal is to drive engagement, increase
customer loyalty and eventually induce purchase. Paid owned earned space isn’t
figured out, because they can’t prove the value to find out what the ROI is.
ROI is what is used by classical marketing, and often gets muddled with social.

Tie in your social and classical
channels: You
need to integrate consumer affairs and social media
listening. They will tell you different stories, as they work with different
consumer segments. Listening to only one source (classical or social) will only
give you part of the story, and cannot be the basis of a strategy. Because
after all, consumer affairs, social insights and listening. Ultimately everyone
is trying to find actionable insights.

Social media action should be driven
by objectives:
never ask a question of what happens with social media or
what do you do with it’ It’s as simple as not letting method drive your quest
for insight. Rather, focus on your objectives.

Overall, we’re at the point of expanding connections ‘ and social media makes
it even easier. The irony of social media joined with classical marketing boils
down to money and budgets, for when it comes to spending corporate, one seeks
ROI, despite knowing that simply being on the social channels is essential.

Ending anecdotal-ly with a KY learning from social media relating to men and
women doing dishes, this panel brings to mind that social is awesome.

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 FOCI 2013: Big Data, Little Data, New Data. aka Evolution

Always nice to get a big picture style history session: market research started because the data needed to make decisions was rare, which then transitioned into specialized skill sets revolving around analysis and such.

So then when did things blow up into big data?

Fast forward to today, and you have long surveys, declining responses rates, flat lined metrics, very little tie in to business performance and very low actionability. The reason for this is that data is not rare. Exponentially growing with population, it has exploded as both a challenge and an opportunity.

As Larry Friedman pointed out, its an evolution that now needs a new mind set. Old approaches are not necessarily right, and the assumption of truth is often wrong. Its almost like parenting and the generation gap, only applied to an industry. Technology will play a big role here, as he mentioned that SPSS and the likes may not work so well anymore. Multi source versus single source data will be necessary for modeling. Social media monitoring and discussion makes it easier to monitor and track responses to questions that need not be asked anymore, mostly psychographic or tracking related. What people say is acquired from social media, while tracking and timing behavior is found from other sources.

Ultimately its about the integration of different data sources – of which only one is on a survey. Evolution has never been as apparent as it is now.

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 FOCI 2013: Utilizing Mobile Devices as a two way street, by GM

There is no question that mobile is here to stay. Love it, hate it, live by it, obsess over it, or turn your head away… but a marketer, researcher and consumer cannot ignore that the world of mobile is relevant and prevalent to daily life.

Nina Leask from General Motors (GM) shows how the power of mobile devices can not only give convenient and concise feedback, but even do so in a timely manner. And time is essential in a world where consumer tolerance levels are plummeting. What’s surprising is that length of positive feedback, which is surprising given that the majority of the planet prefers to vent on social media rather than praise. But clearly this demonstrates a room for immense opportunity.

The mobile camera is also a communication and operation tool – more than the highly talked about vine and snapchat, or the infamous world of photos and selfies. As a marketer and a researcher, this allows consumers to offer clarity to communicate messages more effectively. Almost replacing the need for an in-person chat. Now the fact that cameras are on mobiles makes the conversation more of a two way street. And isn’t that what every company wants?

The approach is an interesting twist to classical research, given that one ensures that respondents are empowered with the level of commitment and engagement. It almost always guarantees quality feedback that is specific and immediately actionable… albeit all depending on mobile video quality. Never has the need for impeccable technology been this strong.

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 FOCI 2013: The Future Consumer, brought to life by one shot visuals

Perhaps the most refreshing start to the day is having a presentation that is essentially not a presentation, but rather a movie, a conversation, or simply a kaleidoscopic peak into the future. The opening at FOCI13 epitomizes the fact that there is no room for templates, formality or the usual conservativeness usually associated with crisp corporate.

The learnings are that consumers and corporate are becoming more open to informality, change, and embracing the variety of options to communicate – via mobile, social, or simply empowered with the notion that their opinion matters. And with more ways to communicate with each other and brands – the one spiking currently being Snapchat, the market is becoming crowded, busy, and with the need for sounder research. Ethnic diversity, cost savvy-ness, sharing (versus ownership) and the likes are all consequential findings. It ends on an interesting note of the existence of technology, and if there is really a threshold of how much we really need it.

Jaspar Roos, with all his Dutch humor (having lived in Holland and working with a Dutch company, I’d know this!) and livelihood of poking fun at industries from banking to insurance, made for an engaging opening speaker. Not only did he share the aforementioned learnings, but brought to life an important point: you don’t need a slide deck for an effective presentation. An apt collection of powerful images is sufficient to relay a truthful, often harsh, but very candid reality.

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.

Nate Silver on What We Really Know vs. What We Think We Know at Future of Consumer Intelligence

World Renowned Statistician and Future of Consumer Intelligence keynote Nate Silver, has shared that “people sometimes have difficulty picking out the reality, or signal from the noise. The result, there is a widening gap between what we really know and what we think we know.”

With so much transformation in the financial services industry today, it’s more important than ever to truly know your consumers, not just think you know them.

The Market Research Technology for Financial Services Symposium, a highlight of The Future of Consumer Intelligence event, presents the knowledge and tools for collecting real-time insights to truly understand your customer. From big data, to social media, to the mobile wallet, The Future of Consumer Intelligence covers everything you need to know.

Keynote Spotlight-

The Future Consumer: An Adapting Force to Take into Account for Your Corporate Strategy
Jaspar Roos, Chief Inspiration Officer, ABN AMRO

Consumers are getting impatient and are starting to take control over production and consumption processes. How can you cope with these emergent developments? Can you create a dynamic corporate strategy that fits these patterns? The future belongs to those who are agile.

Jaspar will do a beginning to end exploration of how to leverage trends and methodological innovation to get to the heart of the future consumer. This keynote will challenge the audience to think about consumers in a different way.

Download the conference brochure for the full agenda.

Together, let’s embrace new opportunities and new ways of thinking about our industry.