Tag Archives: tmre 2013

Can healthcare companies learn about social media from consumer products?

Given that we live in a consumer savvy world, its logical that social media uptake is heaviest by consumer brands. However, despite my own consumer focus, I do have a background in healthcare and have often wondered how this regulated industry can navigate the social space by learning from its consumer counterpart. Having been published for this topic before, these are four things I hypothesize.

Listen Carefully

In the world of social media ‘listening,’ there is virtually
no end to the ways you can slice, dice and cull social media content. This
makes it easy to filter out valuable competitive insights by listening too
narrowly, such as by ruling out content from rogue bloggers and advertisements
that could prove useful. Healthcare brands can benefit from listening to patient and
provider reviews of themselves and their competitors, perusing online ads, and
monitoring the blogosphere for competitive intelligence. Social media is also a
great way to keep up with the industry reaction to regulatory changes including
interpretations and opinions.

Brands love to love themselves, and social media lets them
do it on a grand scale. However, CPG brands have learned that the key to
mutually fulfilling social media relationships is to give and take. By actively engaging stakeholders in a two-way dialogue
through various platforms. Healthcare and pharmaceuticals are particularly
segmented industries with complex decision-making ecosystems. Whereas in the
‘real world’ this presents a marketing research challenge, social media is the
perfect place to find self-segmented groups. Physician groups, disease-specific
support groups and health care news aggregators are online right now,
exchanging unedited, unfiltered insights. Those insights are an invaluable
complement to traditional marketing and advertising. 
Develop Thought Leadership
Personal care CPG brands know the value of using Twitter to
share a beauty tip, not just a coupon. Social media thought leadership content
is all about enlightened self-interest. Healthcare brands have an opportunity
to share highly relevant, altruistic content with highly segmented audiences
that have ‘opted in’ to what the brand has to say. And by sharing high value
information, the notion of ‘benefits before brands’ can really strengthen a
brand’s credibility. In order to provide quality healthcare in our fast moving
modern world, healthcare professionals have to stay on top of an almost
overwhelming amount of information. Social media is already being used as a
tool that filters, aggregates and delivers information that is specifically
relevant to various practitioners. In return, they are contributing to the

Discover Opportunities
Classical research usually delivers insights based on a brand in the
absence of competition, or within a constructed, stagnant competitive
environment. The insights are usually brand-specific, and a function of the
questions asked. But social media lets marketers see the whole, dynamic
competitive ecosystem, as everybody chats about everything. And since everyone
in this ecosystem has access to the exact same information, the first to stake
a claim wins. The healthcare industry still has lots of unclaimed territory on
the social media space. While several studies have revealed that over two
thirds of medical practitioners utilize social media weekly for professional
purposes, the activity can be harnessed by patients or brands alike. 
Over time, I feel that healthcare will overcome many barriers that consumer has learned to conquer via practice. But the industry is perfectly poised to uptake social media in a stronger way. For at the end of the day, even a healthcare consumer is a consumer, after all.


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

The Key to Branding: Evoke Love and Respect

Being a fan of consumer behavior, it is no wonder that I have discovered, having worked with a plethora of brands, that brands should always provide both love and respect for their consumers. Having blogged about my passion for the subject at length, here is one of my favorite two by two matrices on branding.

The key to strong branding is ensuring that it sustains through the
test of time. Branded products that rigidly hold on to their
positioning, contrary to what one may believe, are not the ones that are
most successful. Being rooted in your origins and true to what your
identity is different from having the same associations and execution
throughout generations. Branded products must connect with the consumers
in such a way that they evoke both love and respect.

This is by far the best marketing matrix I have come across, for
every product that I eat, use, see, feel and experience can easily fit
into one of the categories. It identifies the crux of what I, as a
consumer, will think about when using or consuming a product, and
ignores other linguistic and technical jargon, by focusing only on my love and respect for it.

Most branded products fall high on the love, but only momentarily, or at most, for one generation. These are fads, which are aptly described as a craze for a brief period of time.
Crocs, which are quickly languishing, or AOL Instant Messenger, are
good examples. Fads have a short shelf life. True, they are created by
the age-old principle to make hay while the sun shines, and if one is
content with this, then it is an apt strategy.

Others ape the trends of the present generation, without
differentiating themselves from competitors. The many celebrity colognes
that flood the market, or better yet, the clothing brands we have, fall
into this category; Express, Gap, you name it! [I do quite like some of
these well defined brands, but as they say, my love is disloyal to most
of them, despite my high respect for their
competitive/vibrant/social-media-friendly advertising]. Brands tend
to get lost in a competitive landscape, where they employ ancient
strategies to offer slight differentiation, without any aptitude for
risk or creativity. Whilst not as temporary as fads, they may not garner
as much attention. Perhaps the archaic definition of trademark, or related negative associations of the word ‘brand’, are what contribute to this category being low on love and attachment.

Lets not talk about products who, in a perfectly competitive market,
are equally substitutable, without offering any unique value
proposition. These would be the reason that our grocery stores have
entire aisles for things like pasta sauce, or cereal.  Commodities, as the derogatory tinged word suggests, are simply that; perfectly substitutable products. Cost leaders will often lean towards this strategy.
The ones that retain themselves in our minds and lives are those
which rise to more respectful levels than fads, and feel closer to our
hearts than brands. These, as Roberts rightfully put it, are lovemarks.
Despite the teasing compound word, it fits the emotional association of
its meaning. I have bucket fulls of examples of these in my bedroom,
bathroom, kitchen, and garage! But it’s not by coincidence that they
make it to this stage. These must a) entail real value propositions, b) retain the core identity, and c) evolve brand positioning to keep up with evolving trends and demographics, as I believe that these are the three primary principles to create lovemarks.

There is an element of cyclicality that I would like
to suggest to this matrix. For instance, over time, a fad may become a
commodity, or if its execution becomes more apt, it may become a brand.
And with the right promotion and product mix, it could become a
lovemark. Similarly, lovemarks could topple down as brands without
sustained interest. So, in addition to fulfilling the aforementioned
three principles, branded products must consistently race on a
treadmill, which in turn is on a slippery slope.

Welcome to the world of branding!

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

TMRE 2013: A Truly Transformative Experience

I want to make sure that you are aware of The Market Research Event (TMRE), the world’s
#1 insights event. TMRE presents an unbiased platform for competing viewpoints,
diversity of perspective and an invitation for all. And this year, we have two
days of sessions dedicated to innovation.

Are you a disruptive innovator?

TMRE is hosting the annual EXPLOR award and the NGMR
Disruptive Innovator Award, recognizing breakthrough innovation in technology
in market research. All award entries must be submitted by Friday, Aug. 30th.
Enter to win a FREE pass to TMRE and the opportunity to present the winning
case study during the event! To submit an entry, click here: http://bit.ly/17oZpdi
TMRE is ONLY event that brings you what’s new and next
before anyone else.  This year’s theme is about your dual role: protecting
the science of understanding while translating insights into confident business
Here are some sessions that may be of particular interest
to you:
  • Upping Your Seat at the Table – Transforming Market
    Research Into Business Insights Teams Through Big Data & Analytics – Aaron Fetters, Director KNA Insights and Analytics
    Solutions Center, Kellogg’s
  • Connecting the Intelligence Dots for Value Driven Strategy – Eric Jagher, Senior Director – Strategic Guidance,
    Insights and Planning, U.S. Cellular
  • Segmentation in a Big Data World – Shawn Utke, Vice President, Brand Insights & Research,
    Panera Bread
  • Leveraging Graphs of Data to Understand Your Customers’
    Values – Ravi Iyer, Principal Data Scientist, Ranker

To see the full TMRE 2013 agenda
including sessions organized across the following themes: Your NEW Hybrid
Skillset, Transformational Leadership, Predictive Insights & Futuring,
Strategic Planning, Disruptive Technology & New Methodologies, Customer
Driven Innovation, Big Data, Analytics & Measurement, Brand Strategy &
Engagement and many more, click here:  http://bit.ly/17oZpdi
October 21-23,
Nashville, TN
Mention code TMRE13LINK & Save 15% off the standard
rate. Register today: http://bit.ly/17oZpdi
The TMRE Team

CALL FOR PRESENTERS: The Market Research Event 2013

The Market Research Event 2013
October 21-23, 2013 | Nashville, TN
Email kvazquez@iirusa.com by Friday, February 22, 2013.
Submissions due by Friday, February 22, 2013
NOTE: Presenters are accepted on a rolling basis so early submissions are encouraged.


About TMRE
The Market Research Event (www.TheMarketResearchEvent.com) is the “World’s Top MR Event” focused on the business value of consumer insights and market research. Designed to empower the researcher to move from insights partner to strategic, consultative leader, TMRE has more than 140 sessions and 175 speakers, making it the most comprehensive market research conference in the world. Multiple tracks and symposia allow participants to truly customize their experience based on their unique learning goals.

Presenter Qualifications
TMRE is seeking client side executives to join the speaker faculty. Speakers can come from any department within the organization. Content must be original and not have already been presented at this or any other industry conference. Note: ONLY client-side submissions will be reviewed. If you are a market research firm, vendor, or consultant, please see below.


The Audience
In 2012, TMRE drew more than 1000 participants with more than 60% representing client side companies from all major industries including: CPG, Media & Entertainment, Finance & Insurance, Travel & Tourism, Durable Goods, Pharmaceutical & Healthcare, Retail, Energy & Utilities, Telecommunications, Technology, Automotive and more.

Attendees have backgrounds in market research, consumer insights, marketing, intelligence, brand insights, marketing analytics, R&D, product development, innovation, customer experience, strategic planning, shopper insights, advertising and customer experience among other related areas.

Suggested Topic Areas
1. Social Insights: Data Collection, Listening & Analysis
2. Shopper Insights
3. Consumer & Market Trends
4. Segmentation
5. Biometrics & Neuroscience
6. Ad & Media Research
7. MR Leadership & Strategy
8. Marketing & Brand Insights
9. Insight Driven Innovation & Product Development
10. Business to Business Research
11. Data Analytics & Advanced Analytics
12. Innovation in Tools, Techniques & Methodologies
13. Global Insights
14. ROI & Measurement
15. Activating Insights
16. Big Data
17. Mobile & Technology
18. Storytelling & Data Visualization
19. What’s Next & The Future
We are also happy to consider topics not listed here that you feel would add value and be appropriate for the audience.

Submission Guidelines

Those who wish to be considered for the TMRE speaker faculty should send the following via email to Krista Vazquez, Conference Director at kvazquez@iirusa.com no later than Friday, February 22, 2013. Due to the high volume of responses, only those selected for the program will be notified.
1. Benefit oriented title of session
2. Summary of session (no more than 100 words)
3. Full contact details for speaker including name, title, company, email, phone and mail
4. Speaker bio

If your submission is selected, portions of your summary will be used to promote your participation. In an effort to ensure the utmost quality, all final presentations will be subject to review by our content review board prior to the event.

Past Speakers Include:

Stan Sthanunathan, Vice President, Marketing Strategy & Insights, The Coca-Cola Company, Paulette Kish, Strategic Insights Officer, Mars Petcare, Julia Oswald, Vp, Strategy & Insights, Domino’s Pizza, John Wright, Director, Consumer Insights, Safeway, Renee Pezzi, SVP, Research, Citizen’s Bank, Mike Greco, EVP of Strategic Insights, A&E, Bill Hoffman, SVP, Consumer Insights Best Buy, Susan Wagner, VP, Global Strategic Insights, Johnson & Johnson, Stan Turek, VP Customer Strategy & Shopper Insights, PepsiCo, Dan Zigmond, Technical Lead & Manager, Ad Quality & Pricing Group, Google TV, Joel Aach, VP Consumer Insights, Darden Restaurants, Barry Blyn, VP, Consumer Insights, ESPN

Benefits to speakers
Each speaker receives the following:
1. Free pass to the event including access to all pre-conference symposia and workshops
2. Continental breakfast and lunch
3. Admittance to exclusive networking activities
4. Unique discount code entitling anyone who uses it to 20% off the standard conference rate

Special notices to market research firms, vendors and solutions providers 
This call is limited to client side presenters. If you are a vendor, consultant, solution provider, or technology provider and would like to speak at TMRE, please contact Jon Saxe at jsaxe@iirusa.com or 646-895-7467.