Tag Archives: Market Strategies

Insights as a Vehicle for Influence: Every Consumer is a Well-Informed Researcher

By: Amanda Ciccatelli,
Content Marketing & Social Media Strategist, Informa
Insights have become a vehicle for influencing marketing and
ultimately, the world. That’s why next in our Insights as a Vehicle for
Influence series, we sat down with Paul Donagher, Managing Director, Market
Strategies. In our conversation, he shed some light on how omnichannel is
impacting retail, how shoppers are shaping the future of retail, where retail
is going in the next five years, and more.
How has omnichannel
impacted retail positively?
Donagher: From a
consumer perspective it has opened a whole range of researching and buying
opportunities, or ‘instants of intent’. The intent has to be on both sides of the
relationship, where both the consumer has the need and the marketer has the
opportunity to have their brand positioned perfectly with the proper
connections planning. Connections planning is really what omnishopping is all about ‘ furthermore, we
believe that the best outcomes for marketers start with a thorough
understanding of consumers both from a category and brand perspective. This can
only be achieved through properly conducted research that uses all of the
attitudinal, behavioral and neuro approaches at our disposal.
What can retailers do
better to embrace the omnichannel customer journey and experience?
Donagher: Our
research shows that the relationship from the retailer side has to meet 3 key
criteria ‘ Seamlessness, Centricity and Experience. We conducted our own qual
and quant research that really narrowed down the requirements for retailers to
these 3 broad buckets.
How are shoppers
shaping the future of retail?
Donagher: The
information is all on the Omnishopper’s
side. They are better informed than ever before’which in itself poses questions
and provides opportunities to retailers.
What are some shopper
insights lifecycle best practices you can share?
Donagher: We
spend a good deal of time trying to illuminate what we call ‘Day in the Life’.
Of course, depending upon the category, the Omnishopper journey and the
constituent path-to-purchase can be weeks or longer, however we use the notion
of a ‘Day in the Life’ to look for the key sequencing that matters to the
brand. The ‘instants of intent’ I mentioned previously have to be uncovered and
the reasons for those instants (needs, motivations etc.) have to be properly
Why is it important
to link digital and physical shopper marketing?
Donagher: That’s
what the Omnishopper demands ‘ the notion of seamlessness I mentioned. The
Omnishopper loves the research capabilities of digital and the in-store benefits
of in-store (shopping with friends, touching the product etc.). From the
research perspective, understanding digital is the big opportunity. We
continually look for those data sources that are ‘organically’ created for us
and were not necessarily created for market researchers. Whether it be big data
or something else, these data exist and we are uniquely placed to capture,
process and analyze them for marketing purposes
How does omnichannel
customer experience impact customer loyalty?
Donagher: We hear
a lot about the lack of loyalty among Omnishoppers. We think that is premature
but that loyalty may have to be redefined as will associated loyalty programs.
How is digital
reinventing retail?
Donagher: Every
consumer is a well-informed researcher ‘ they know what to look for and where
to look for it.
Where do you see
retail moving in the next 5 years?
Donagher: There
have to be more ways for every party in the transaction to be compensated. If I
research on one site but then buy in-store or vice-versa, each party has
performed a service. We hear a lot of discussion on how to make sure everyone
is compensated for their part in the purchase.

Want more on this topic?
Attend OmniShopper International this November in London, England. Learn more
here: http://bit.ly/2aSfoLS

The Customer Experience: A Journey Best Understood in Reverse?

‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.’ -Soren Kierkegaard
Even after decades of study (and oodles of actual studies), the ‘Customer Experience’ remains a top focus for large and small companies alike. Work from McKinsey about the consumer decision journey (references below) is just one of many recent examples. Millions of dollars and labor hours, and prodigious efforts, are spent on the subject.
From time to time, clients ask’usually around the annual budget-setting cycle”What should our priorities be in evaluating customers’ experiences?  What’s the first, most important thing we need to understand’?  My answer often echoes Kierkegaard’s assertion above: To best understand and prioritize, begin at the end.  Although this list doesn’t include every possible flavor of CEM study, here’s my ranking and rationale for some major types:
1. Understand Churners/Defectors/Disconnectors

Three standard aims of these studies are:
  • Why did they leave (pushed or pulled)?
  • Where did they go?
  • Would they come back? (hint: many would)
But why put this at the top of the list?
  • Like the Little Dutch Boy, you must plug the holes in the dam: High attrition rates require high acquisition rates just to maintain the size of your customer base’and that can get expensive.
  • Many wounds are self-inflicted, some are easy to fix: Pick that low-hanging fruit.
  • Know when and why you lose customers to specific competitors.
  • While the reasons people leave are not always the same as the reasons they stay, fixing the former may go a long way to keeping your customers in the fold.
2. Understand Current Customers

They are the source of current revenue and profit’not to mention paychecks and bonuses. Even simple information about satisfaction based on level of product usage (volume) and specific products used (‘Is subscribing to our internet service an upper or a downer’?) can be very enlightening. There are many ways to gain useful knowledge here, for example:
  • The McKinsey paper posits that as good and bad events occur, customers may enter a Loyalty Loop: If, at a minimum, experiences nearly meet expectations, they don’t search and remain ‘loyal.’ A price increase, bad customer service or a competitive offer can disrupt this, as can small annoyances over time.  So one focus can be ensuring customers remain in that Loyalty Loop’and if they are not, figuring out how to get them back there.
  • With later follow-up, a company can discover key tipping points (e.g., 4-6 months before the end of a mobile phone contract, or two and four years into auto ownership) when it’s optimal to bolster loyalty with a proactive contact or offer.
3. Understand New/Upgrading Customers
So we now know why customers leave and maybe something about why they stay. What next? New customer studiesare the reverse of a churn/defector study: Your new customers are probably someone else’s defectors. You’ll discern why they came to you, what attractants and promotions really work, if they were pushed or pulled, where they came from, and among other options:
  • What was their purchase decision process like? Short or long, involved or impulse?  How and why did their path end with you?
  • What was their experience during the sale itself? How were they treated? What was their opinion of the salesperson and others?
  • The ‘on boarding’ experience: early disappointments and successes; that first monthly bill; so far, so good?
  • How do we find more of them?
4. Understand Prospects and the Market as a Whole

These studies place your finger on the market’s pulse, and how your and the competition’s changing images are linked to marketing programs, new product introductions, etc. It is the realm of Brand Trackers’illuminating awareness, familiarity, attractiveness of and openness to your brand, why prospects don’t chose you, and whose image is rising and falling. (FWIW, note that McKinsey’s scheme questions the relevance of the traditional funnel approach, which assumes consumers frequently go through a systematic and active re-evaluation of alternatives. That leads to often-expensive awareness building and promotions, and a possibly misallocated budget.)
Understanding the marketplace is critical. Knowing where you are ahead and behind the pack tells you what the game’s score is today. So if it’s that important, why list this last? It can be more imperative for your company to make sure you have your own house’product, price, customer service, systems, etc.’in order first, before you try to acquire a new customer. Some years ago, Ramada had to pull an advertising campaign called ‘No Surprises’: Apparently, guests were still finding too many.
Without a solid, well-running process in place, a customer’s journey with you may be short indeed!
About the Author: Randy Hanson, Vice President, Market Strategies International
Join Mark Willard of Market Strategies and Mary Lee of AAA for ‘Revolutionizing CX: How AAA Turned Satisfied Customers into Loyal Advocates’ at TMRE 2014 in Boca Raton (2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21). They’ll share how a new measurement program and a built-in, closed-loop system revolutionized AAA’s member experience program and empowered employees across the organization to make immediate and lasting improvements in customer experience. And, visit the Market Strategies team in Booth #508. Learn more about TMRE 2014 here: http://bit.ly/1pEaxzO