Tag Archives: wall street journal

This Week In Market Research: 11/9/15 – 11/13/15

In a very compelling article by The Herald this week, the topic of market research and how critical is it for businesses is discussed and analyzed. Similar to what we already know about market research, the article argues that the longevity of a business depends on its awareness of consumer taste buds, government policies, and what competitors in the market are up to. ‘Entrepreneurs should understand that knowledge about markets is essential for the survival and growth of their business. It enables one to improve the competitive nature of their business and to reduce risks.’ The article also defines market research as the process of collecting data in order to determine if a specific product or service will meet and exceed the customer’s needs. Along with many other things listed in the article, market research has the ability to identify market trends, economic shifts, and the buying habits of consumers. Obviously this is nothing new, however it’s very encouraging to see articles argue for the importance and relevance of market research and how it can significantly alter the outcome for a struggling business.

This week Forbes posted an article on their site discussing how legal cannabis, big data, and leaders in market research joined forces to start a buzz (no pun intended). According to the article, Giadha Aguirre DeCarcer, CEO of New Frontier Financial, observed how data was powering big financial decisions on whether or not to back private companies and wondered why there was no one in the legal cannabis industry. ‘The one-time investment banker and consultant began attending the sector’s budding event circuit, pitching a Bloomberg for cannabis data. Her Washington D.C.-based startup, New Frontier Financial, began to publish reports assessing regional opportunities, upcoming legislation and the impact of looming price changes. Lawmakers, cannabis entrepreneurs and, increasingly, mainstream investors started to buy in to DeCarcer’s data.’ According to the article, New Frontier is partnering with market research firm ArcView in order to create a market leading report for the industry that will make it easier for investors to confidently invest. ‘The partnership will allow each company to focus on its strengths without worrying about competing on the same data.’ The full article is a brilliant read if you get the chance, I highly recommend it. 

The Wall Street Journal released an article this week that discusses Diageo PLC’s new effort to increase their emphasis on consumer research in an effort to reverse their weak sales numbers. Diageo PLC, a British-based liquor company, has lost a significant market share in the U.S. due to the competition from brands like Smirnoff and Captain Morgan. Due to this recent slump, the company has decided to enlist Deirdre Mahlan, the company’s former chief financial officer, to be the head of its North American business. ‘The move to beef up its marketing efforts comes during a year of tumult in the company’s North American operations. In July, the company confirmed a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into its distribution practices.’ According to the article, the SEC led an investigation into whether or not Diageo had shipped excess inventory in an effort to boost results. This marketing effort seems to have not come at a better time for the company. Hopefully market research and newer marketing tactics can bring this company out of the long slump it’s been in. 

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at Ndicharry@iirusa.com

Big Data Lessons from the NSA

One of the biggest news stories lately has been the
revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been using big data from telecommunications
companies to spy on people. The reaction to this story has been divided. While
a portion of the American public has responded with shock, anger and fear,
accusing the federal government of becoming Big Brother and ignoring citizens’
right to privacy, others have defended the surveillance as necessary to our
homeland security and, ultimately, not a big deal.
The merits of whether the government should mine
telecommunications data will likely be debated for many years to come, and it
is probably best to have that debate in the press and at dinner tables across
the nation. However, for market researchers who specialize in data sciences and
big data methodology, there are important lessons to learn (or perhaps to be
reminded of) from the NSA debacle.
There is Huge Value
Locked Away in Your Company’s Big Data

The government is interested in understanding behavior
patterns that look suspicious. They want to know who is communicating with
whom, where these communications take place and how frequently they are occurring.
From this, they can paint a picture of who might be a ‘bad guy’ at risk of
doing harm to the US.
Similarly, data generated from your customers’ transactions
reveal a treasure trove of information. While your company might not be
interested in identifying bad guys, it is likely interested in identifying
brand advocates and detractors.
Utilizing big data analytics, we can learn much about how
your customers use your products and services’information that could never be
learned through a survey. Big data analytics also help discern behavior
patterns that lead your customers to having a poor experience. Likewise, they
can identify fraud, minimize waste and isolate endless opportunities for
improving operational efficiency. Seemingly innocuous data that, when taken
alone, would appear to be meaningless, becomes valuable and actionable when
combined with other data’and data is right in front of you waiting to be
Big Data Doesn’t Tell
the Why Behind the What

If you listen carefully to how politicians and bureaucrats
describe big data surveillance programs, it is clear that mining
telecommunications data is just a starting point. While this data does a
remarkably good job of telling the government what people are doing, it doesn’t
adequately explain why people are doing it. For this, the NSA needs to go back
to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to request a new court order to
expand the surveillance to allow for eavesdropping, stakeouts and other
‘traditional’ methods of police work.
The same is true with most corporate big data analysis. Big
data reveals what happened but ‘traditional’ qualitative and quantitative
research reveals why it happened. The real magic happens by combining
traditional and big data research in a framework that looks at the way
customers interact with your company holistically. At Market Strategies, we have
created such a framework. It is called the Continuous Improvement Cycle, and it
systematically integrates qualitative, quantitative and big data analytics to
paint a complete picture of your customers, what they are doing, and, most
importantly, why they are doing it. Once you fully understand the what and the
why, you will have the power to make changes that improve both your customers’
experience as well as your bottom line.
Never Forget ‘The
Wall Street Journal Test’

The NSA and other government officials seemed surprised by
the public’s outrage. Collectively, they said the program has been in place for
seven years, and it is simply business as usual. The public is not convinced
and, as a result, the NSA is on the defensive.
In business, as in politics, every action brings with it a
certain amount of risk. In creating a surveillance program, the NSA failed to
consider The Wall Street Journal test. Simply put, this means an organization
should ask itself what would happen if the details of the proposed action were
to become a page one headline in The Wall Street Journal. Would the fallout
outweigh the benefit?
All companies should consider this test before undertaking
any big data analytics project. Big data can be scary and intimidating to the
public, and it is critical to consider the impact to your customers, investors,
regulators and competitors. By taking The Wall Street Journal test in advance,
companies can tweak their big data projects to minimize risks. Companies need
an experienced partner who appreciates the inherent risks associated with big
data analytics and is able to keep them safe while gaining the most value from
the data. Sometimes less data is beneficial in the interest of minimizing
corporate risk. For instance, a company might choose to change privacy
policies, give customers the ability to opt-out or even decide to limit which
data will be included in the analysis. The point is proactive measures can help
avert a crisis or provide a defensible position in times of crisis.
Big Data is Here to

There is no denying that big data analytics is here to stay.
Data sciences allows you to learn things about your customers that were
previously impossible to discern. Big data, however, does not exist in a
bubble, and it does not answer all things. To succeed, you need to integrate
big data analytics with the traditional methods that have served you well in
the past. In combination with traditional research methods, big data analytics
allows organizations to get past a sea of chaotic data to proactively isolate
the few individuals that really require attention. This is just as true for the
NSA trying to identify a would-be terrorist as it is for a major telecom
provider trying to identify which customer is likely to churn or to spread
negative word-of-mouth via social networking. The benefits to operational
efficiency and the bottom line are enormous and if your organization is not
harnessing this power, you can be sure your competition is.
Market Strategies is on the leading edge of market
research’s big data revolution. We have created proprietary frameworks that
integrate traditional research and big data analytics, and we know how to
extract value from all of your data assets while proactively managing risk. Let
us help you understand what is happening and why’then, and only then, can you
unleash the power of your company’s big data.
Mishkin will be presenting at TMRE
in Nashville October 21-23. Register for TMRE here: 
About the Author: Greg
Mishkin is a vice president of research and consulting at Market Strategies
International, working across all divisions and serving as the company’s
primary subject matter expert for the wireless communications industry. His
responsibilities include managing and growing key client relationships within
the Communications division while maintaining a special focus on the
integration of large-scale behavioral data with Market Strategies’ traditional
market research solutions. Greg is known for turning extremely complex data
into actionable insights and providing competitive advantages for his clients.
He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Kennesaw State
University in Kennesaw, GA; a master’s degree in clinical psychology from
University of Hartford in Hartford, CT and a bachelor’s degree in psychology
from Union College in Schenectady, NY.
Contact him at 404.601.9561, greg.mishkin@marketstrategies.com
or follow him on Twitter @GregMishkin.

More time is now spent online than watching TV

In a recent article at the Wall Street Journal’s blog Digits, they look at how consumers time has shifted and they as much time online as they do watching television. Individuals aren’t reducing their television watching time, but instead reducing the amount of time they spend reading magazines offline and listening to the radio. In a recent report by Jacqueline Anderson, she states that she believes people are most likely to adopt technology that fills a general need and fits easily with other things they were doing anyway.

Does this new finding surprise you? Do you believe that this shift in time spent online will continue to increase? How much does it have to do with the personalization that online sources and networks offer?

Black Friday E-Commerce Climbs 11%

The Wall Street Journal reports that the 2009 “Black Friday” e-commerce climbed 11%. According to the market-research firm, comScore, U.S. consumers have spent $10.57 billion online from the beginning of the month to Nov. 27, then $318 million on Thanksgiving and $595 million the following day. Pre-Thanksgiving e-commerce sales were up 3%, while Thanksgiving-day sales rose 10%.

Black Friday marked the second-highest day in terms of online spending this year, after Nov. 19, when consumers spent $641 million.

‘This is a very encouraging start,’ comScore’s chairman, Gian Fulgoni, said in a statement. He noted, however, that aggressive marketing may be responsible for some of the uptick and that the coming weeks would be ‘the real test’ for holiday-season e-commerce.

Black Friday E-Commerce Climbs 11%

Cutting off the customer

The Wall Street Journal has an article that looks at how some companies are cutting off the customer that’s costing the company more money than profit. Last year, many companies would work with their customers, offer them discounts or work with them on payment options. This year, however, many smaller companies are finding that by cutting off customers who don’t pay actually increases their profit, as they have more time to spend with those customers who are making their payments.

Do you agree with this? Have you had to break relations with some of your needy customers in order to create a better supplier for your revenue-generating customers? How do you feel about this approach to business from a customer service perspective?

Use of Smart Phones Among Doctors Up

The Wall Street Journal reports that according to market-research firm Manhattan Research LLC, of New York, about 64% of U.S. physicians are using smart phones; up from just 50% two years ago. The firm expects that figure to increase to 81% by 2011, with the majority of physicians owning iPhones or BlackBerrys.Among U.S. doctors with smart phones, BlackBerry devices still prevail, with a 37% usage rate, compared with 27% for the iPhone, according to Manhattan Research. Fraser Edward, head of RIM’s market development for health care, says he touts the BlackBerry’s reputation for security of sensitive information like patient data when he talks to hospital administrators.Smart-Phone Makers Call the Doctor

Best and Worst Small Business Customer Service Rankings

Angie’s List recently compiled a listing of the best and worst customer service small businesses. As reported in WSJ.com, based on a survey of its more than 750,000 members by Angie’s List these members attached grades to companies in more than 425 service categories, judging the companies based on overall experience, price, quality, responsiveness and punctuality. The best small business with customer service is the piano and the worst are bridal shops. Interesting finds. Check out the entire list here and let us know your thoughts.

In N Out — Fast Food Service Champions

Recently at the Wall Street Journal, they looked at the recent survey released by Sandelman and Associates which polled 94,000 as to their preferences in fast food. The survey looked at things including quality of food and service, cleanliness and value for the money. The winner of the 2008 Quick-Track Awards of Excellence was burger chain In N Out.

Do you see any chains that weren’t recognized for their great customer service?

Here’s the complete list of fast food that made the survey for quality experiences:

1. In-N-Out Burger, Irvine, Calif., 60%
2. Raising Cane’s, Baton Rouge, La., 59%
3. Giordano’s Pizza, Chicago, 56%
4. Chick-fil-A, Atlanta, 55%
5. Panera Bread, St. Louis, 54%
6. Chipotle, Denver, 52%
7. Pei Wei, Scottsdale, Ariz., 51%
8. Firehouse Subs, Jacksonville, Fla., 51%
9. Taco Tote, El Paso, Texas, 50%
10. Qdoba, Wheat Ridge, Colo., 49%

(Photo: Seattle Weekly)

How can marketers use Web 2.0?

The Wall Street Journal recently took an in-depth look at how marketers can use online communities. Some areas that have benefited from Web 2.0 tools are product development, service enhancement and promotions.

They highlighted these areas as a way to engage your communities:
-Don’t just talk at consumers — work with them throughout the marketing process.
-Give consumers a reason to participate.
- Listen to — and join — the conversation outside your site. -Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell.
Don’t control, let it go.
-Find a ‘marketing technopologist.’ -Embrace experimentation. For a more concentrated look at these items, read the article.

Abercrombie not following the market

We’ve written a lot recently on this blog about keeping your customers by giving them great customer service, and avoiding slashing your prices. One company has decided to do this. According to Customers Think, Abercrombie and Fitch will not lower their prices. They want to take the lower sales volume for a higher profit, and maintain the reputation of upscale clothing. Read more about this story at the Wall Street Journal.