Posts

Showing posts from 2008

2009 Market Research Predictions, Forrester Style

Forrester's 2009 Market Research Predictions are out and if you're not a subscriber, you can at least read the executive summary here...

One prediction of note: "Traditional qualitative research will see erosion as market research online communities (MROCs) and fusions of quantitative and qualitative research from firms such as Invoke Solutions gain steam. In short, everyone will be looking for ways to gain insights to succeed in a troubling market in as cost-effective a manner as possible. This means that newer research modes will gain traction and grab more share of stable or declining market research budgets — even among research buyers who have been more traditional in the past."

Black Friday Marketing

Image
I'll be honest, I don't get the Black Friday thing. My wife wishes we had been home to go shopping. My sister-in-law and father-in-law were out at 4 AM searching for deals. A worker in New Jersey gets trampled to death. Hmmmm.

I have long believed that the media and entertainment are unfairly blamed for negative actions taken by average people (see the letter written to Tipper Gore back in my early youth about music censorship.) I do, however, point the finger at least partially at marketers for the tragedy at Wal-Mart this past week.

Every ad is designed to create a first come first serve frenzy, yet people are shocked that a crowd would react as instructed and go charging in to a store as it opens to get the best deal. Perhaps next year retailers could develop a less chaotic way to promote and execute on this key revenue generating day.

Now excuse me, but I have cyber-monday deals to find!

Black Friday Marketing

Image
I'll be honest, I don't get the Black Friday thing. My wife wishes we had been home to go shopping. My sister-in-law and father-in-law were out at 4 AM searching for deals. A worker in New Jersey gets trampled to death. Hmmmm.

I have long believed that the media and entertainment are unfairly blamed for negative actions taken by average people (see the letter written to Tipper Gore back in my early youth about music censorship.) I do, however, point the finger at least partially at marketers for the tragedy at Wal-Mart this past week.

Every ad is designed to create a first come first serve frenzy, yet people are shocked that a crowd would react as instructed and go charging in to a store as it opens to get the best deal. Perhaps next year retailers could develop a less chaotic way to promote and execute on this key revenue generating day.

Now excuse me, but I have cyber-monday deals to find!

Getting LinkedIn

Image
As a huge fan of LinkedIn, I am very excited to say that Invoke Solutions is among the first companies to have access to LinkedIn members for research purposes.

Using our Engage Open methodology, we'll be able to target business respondents and get their valuable qualitatative and quantitative input for our clients.



Data Quality: Invoke's Take

Invoke's Peter Mackey was recently on a panel at the Research Industry Summit in Chicago hosted by IIR and the Research Report's Bob Lederer. In preparation, we were asked to answer a few questions about the data quality issue and we thought the responses were worth sharing.

1) How do you define quality?

There does not appear to be a universal definition for quality. Most of the discussion around quality has been focusing on quality of the participant and placing the burden for improving quality on the sample providers. I believe this is a superficial view of the issue.
At Invoke, we define quality in three ways.

First, is quality of the participant. We need to ensure that people are who they say they are and that their responses are truthful. Given the Engage Live experience and the transparency to the data it provides, we have a real-time window into respondent integrity. As a result, we make an extra effort to screen properly. And we pay close attention to participant…

Free Upcoming Webinar

Image
If you like this blog I think you'll enjoy an upcoming free webinar from Invoke Solutions, featuring Forrester Research’s Principal Analyst Brad Bortner:

Merging Qualitative and Quantitative Research for Better, Faster, Product, Communications, and Positioning Insights

December 10, 2008 at Noon ET

Register here: https://invoke.webex.com/invoke/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=486505370

Invoke Solutions, a pioneer in online research, will be joined by Forrester Research’s Principal Analyst Brad Bortner, for a webinar about using innovative approaches to deliver better, faster, more cost effective research that supports specific product, communications and positioning decisions.

Together, Brad and Invoke’s Peter Mackey will define some of the changes in today’s research environment that have altered the optimal modes for data collection and analysis.

They will specifically be focusing on Invoke’s breakthrough solutions that gather qualitative and quantitative data at once, turn projects around in …

Double Quarter Pounder Please

Image
My friend Brian passed this on to me... McDonald's has been experimenting with an unbranded store that only sells quarter pounder value meals. Simple, clean design, and a whole new target audience. Call me crazy, but I think it will work.

Read more here: http://inventorspot.com/articles/mcdonalds_japan_goes_nobrand_with_quarter_pounder_shops_19505

Double Quarter Pounder Please

Image
My friend Brian passed this on to me... McDonald's has been experimenting with an unbranded store that only sells quarter pounder value meals. Simple, clean design, and a whole new target audience. Call me crazy, but I think it will work.

Read more here: http://inventorspot.com/articles/mcdonalds_japan_goes_nobrand_with_quarter_pounder_shops_19505

Marketing Tips for the Current Economy

There is a great article on the Go To Market Strategy website about what to do in the current economy. I've summarized it below or you can read the whole thing here.

Data from past recessions has shown we must continue to market. Those that do, win. They win during the recession, and perhaps more importantly they win even more after.... Three tips:
Mine your existing customer base.
Use this time to meet with EVERY single current and past client.
Network, Network, Network. The companies who take advantage of this opportunity will success in the short term and thrive in the long term!

Marketing Tips for the Current Economy

There is a great article on the Go To Market Strategy website about what to do in the current economy. I've summarized it below or you can read the whole thing here.

Data from past recessions has shown we must continue to market. Those that do, win. They win during the recession, and perhaps more importantly they win even more after.... Three tips:
Mine your existing customer base.
Use this time to meet with EVERY single current and past client.
Network, Network, Network. The companies who take advantage of this opportunity will success in the short term and thrive in the long term!

A New View of Panel Quality

Image
My colleague, Peter Mackey, took part in IIR's Research Industry Summit and was particulary taken back by a presentation on panel quality by our client at Washington Mutual, Ron Gailey.

Ron and his team began studying the impact of panel quality on research results to see how big an issue existed and what the real drivers of inconsistent data were. Three big findings:

1) The longer a person has been part of a panel and the overall number of surveys they have taken has a significant impact on ratings.

2) New panelists and panels tend to give higher scores than long standing panels and panelists

3) The lower scores tend to be more accurate because new survey takers suffer from a "halo" effect

So, what next? Ron states that its essential to understand the makeup of online panels and to adjust to create consistent, balanced sample plans. Furthermore, using a single sample source could be unintentionally biasing your data. Looks like professional respondents might not be the pr…

Lawn Sign Dating Revealed!

Image
I really have nothing to add to this guy's blog other than I too have noticed the scarily local dating websites posted on lawn signs in small towns... you really have to read this exploration of who is behind it and how wide spread it is!

Read on here...

Lawn Sign Dating Revealed!

Image
I really have nothing to add to this guy's blog other than I too have noticed the scarily local dating websites posted on lawn signs in small towns... you really have to read this exploration of who is behind it and how wide spread it is!

Read on here...

Face to Face Survey Research: The Lighter Side

Some comic relief from The Daily Show's John Oliver, conducting a survey with Iraq's ambassador to the UN.


Hybrid Research: From the Market Research Event

One of the presentations I attended at The Market Research Event was Tina Bronkhorst from Digitas and Jen Drolet from iModerate talking and why and when to use Hybrid methodologies.

We live the the "hybrid" world, so much of this was not new to me, however at least once audience member asked "what exactly is hybrid?", reminding us once again that most research is still being done the old fashioned way
They discussed three main ways of conducting hybrid:Online survey with IM-like chat intercept (iModerate)Online focus groups/interactive research sessions with closed ended, open ended, IM-like chat and redirects (Invoke)Online communities (Communispace, Passenger)
Watch here where Tina and Jen give a few tips from their workshop. Thank you both for a great workshop!





Read the full post on the TMRE Blog here

The Grey Sweatshirt: Part 1

Image
My favorite story from the last two conferences came from a cocktail party conversation I was having with a senior level executive of a large, traditional research firm. He said "I feel like I am a Walmart buyer at a Couture fashion show. My clients buy grey sweatshirts and are happy with them."

Going to as many conferences as I do, I tend to forget that while all of the talk is on the cutting edge, most of the research being conducted is traditional, simple, expensive and slow.

The good news is that I am seeing incremental improvement that at least acknowledges the participant experience and begins to take advantage of technology. As made famous in the classic move What About Bob, "Baby steps to the car..."

I'm in Love

For those people who think that just because I have multiple Tivo's I never see commercials, you are certainly wrong! I have seen the scary Southwest Ad too many times, but am absolutely in love with with the Nike ad that follows Troy Polomalu and Ladianan Tomlinson through their football life until they meet in the NFL. I get the chills every time and actualy rewind to watch it. If Nike is trying to inspire, they've got me... now if only their shoes were cut a little wider.

I'm in Love

For those people who think that just because I have multiple Tivo's I never see commercials, you are certainly wrong! I have seen the scary Southwest Ad too many times, but am absolutely in love with with the Nike ad that follows Troy Polomalu and Ladianan Tomlinson through their football life until they meet in the NFL. I get the chills every time and actualy rewind to watch it. If Nike is trying to inspire, they've got me... now if only their shoes were cut a little wider.

The Market Research Event

Image
If you only go to one conference a year, I really recommend IIR's The Market Research Event. The speakers are great, the presentations are practical, and the attendees are excellent to talk to. I'll be blogging about a few of the presentations over the next few days, but hope everyone who went got as much out of it as we did. Thanks to IIR and everyone who participated. More to come...

Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

I love this video posted by Hubspot!


Inbound vs Outbound Marketing

I love this video posted by Hubspot!


ESOMAR Congress

Image
This past week I made my first trip to the ESOMAR Congress, where Peter Mackey and I presented on Tuesday. Part 2 of a busy conference season! There were some great presentations which I won't get into but you can read a write up of many of them at the WARC blog at http://www.warc.com/ConferenceBlogs/ESOMAR-092008.asp.

We'll be presenting again at the upcoming Market Research Event along with our client from Liberty Hardware. You can read what's going on at that one through their blog at: http://themarketresearchevent.blogspot.com/

AMA Research Conference Observations: Part 2

Image
One of the sessions I attended was a panel discussion of how to use the internet to its full advantage and improve the respondent experience. Some best practices:

Respect the survey taker
Take your own survey (I have a hard time believing the 70% of the room that claimed they did this on a regular basis)
Clearly define the value proposition for the survey taker
Do not ask the same question over and over
Listen to the supplier and demand creativity
Collaborate more effectively and leverage new tools to bring new solutions to clients
They went on to remind the group that online surveys don't just compete with each other for respondent attention, they compete with all online entertainment options. Some of the online companies/tools that they thought helped compete and engage respondents were:
Visual questions
Dial research
Web bytes
Discussion boards
Invoke
Nielsen IAG
iModerate
OcucomIt was good to see the non-traditional methods coming to the forefront and will hopefully drive continued adoption.

AMA Research Conference Observations: Part 1

I spent much of this week at the AMA Research Conference here in Boston and am continually surprised at one fundamental disconnect between buyers of research and providers of research. Providers don't grasp that not every study needs to be "perfect" to be useful while most buyers are forced to settle for slightly less in exchange for speed.

We definitely see the difference. That's why its not surprising that a large percentage of our clients rely solely on the Live session experience, automated reports, and a consultative discussion to make their decisions instead of waiting for a full report. They don't have time to wait so we give them everything we can in a couple of weeks so they can move forward.

The Way of the Web: Ample Open Ends

Over the weekend I was catching up on back issues of The Marketing News and came across an article by Elisabeth Sullivan titled Delve Deeper: Online Research Developments to Understand Consumer Motivation. The article quotes Nora Ganim Barnes of UMass Dartmouth's Center for market research about the need to do better than traditional online feedback mechanisms.

"The last thing you want to do is have someone go to your web site and you say 'Click on this link' to provide feedback,' and you have a box pop up that's limited to 120 characters. That's cold, impersonal." She continues to say "...while online feedback surveys give customers the sense that they're throwing their opinions into the void, blogs provide a forum in which customers can interact with one another."

Throwing opinions into the void. I agree. Our (Invoke) research sessions simulate a live discussion experience so respondents feel like they are part of a group. It als…

Corona: A Charismatic Brand

Image
We're recently been doing a lot of research around brand charisma - what drives people to thaink of brands as a trusted friend and choose one brand over another in the face of parity or even cost and convenience hurdles. One of the brands that has risen to the top is Corona because of the way the way people want to spend time with Corona and enjoy a relaxing moment in life. They've illustrated this beautifully in the contrast shown between Corona and non-Corona drinkers in this video on their web site. (click to play)



Check back for our white paper about brand charisma and a case study on the beer category.

Some Common Sense

I applaud MarketTools recent announcement of their quantitative tool to evaluate survey engagement as documented in the July/August Research Business Report. I really do. But to me the issue of engaging surveys is simpler. Take it yourself and see how you feel. If you can't get through it without getting bored, distracted or angry than participants will feel the same way. And when clients push for more information to be included, have them take it as well!

Because Invoke's Engage methodologies are designed to be engaging and interactive, we can get away with longer research sessions (60-90 minutes) but for standard survey environments a little common sense can go a long way.

I'm glad you're just sorry

Image
There has been lots of talk recently about J. Crew's public apology about issues with their web site and whether or not they should have offered a "sorry gift." Two things I love here.

1. They have had a problem and they admitted it unprompted. Instead of trying to hide from their mistakes they went out of their way to tell people - who may or may not have experienced the problems - that they were sorry and fixing it.

2. They didn't bribe customers for forgiveness. Too often today company's throw free stuff at a problem and hope it will go away. Personally, I appreciate the apology for what it is and know that they are trying to fix it. I feel better about it than if they had simply given me $5 off my next purchase - which of course gives them more revenue in return.

Good work J. Crew. Apology accepted.

I'm glad you're just sorry

Image
There has been lots of talk recently about J. Crew's public apology about issues with their web site and whether or not they should have offered a "sorry gift." Two things I love here.

1. They have had a problem and they admitted it unprompted. Instead of trying to hide from their mistakes they went out of their way to tell people - who may or may not have experienced the problems - that they were sorry and fixing it.

2. They didn't bribe customers for forgiveness. Too often today company's throw free stuff at a problem and hope it will go away. Personally, I appreciate the apology for what it is and know that they are trying to fix it. I feel better about it than if they had simply given me $5 off my next purchase - which of course gives them more revenue in return.

Good work J. Crew. Apology accepted.

Being Green When Creating Your Reports

Image
Right now we’re conducting interviews to help finalize our upcoming analytics and reporting tool and one comment jumped out to me as a surprise. She said “it’s very green.” She’s right – being able to easily review and manipulate data on a screen sure beats printing out reams of data as part of your normal process. It is amazing how much paper is wasted in the creation of a normal research Power Point report. While admittedly it was not our intent, its nice to know that we’re doing our part to help!

Have you thought about how you can reduce your printing?

Is market research recession proof?

Bob Skolnick, North American CEO of Synovate seems to think so in this month's Marketing News...

This heightened need to understand competitors and consumers may well prove a boon to the market research industry, despite the struggles of the economy at large. Bob Skolnick, North American CEO of Chicago-based market research firm Synovate, predicts "was abobe average growth" in the overall demand for data. Because of the demand for data, Skolnick notes, Synovate has been under greater pressure to yield applicable results.

"Client companies need to see smart research done to make sure they are satisfying their best customers and developing new business where they can," he says. "The market research business, while not recession-proof, is much less susceptible to budgets being cut."

The Consumer is Boss: Shopper Insights Part 3

Image
Three quotes from Procter & Gamble's Dina Howell about the mindset of today's consumers:


"The way people shop is constantly evolving but people don’t just want the next thing, they want the next 'best' thing."

“Great brand building can inspire shoppers to do things differently. That's why P & G is focused on engaging consumers in non-sales conversations through microsites, forums, advice, etc."

"The consumer is boss."

The Lighter Side: Market Research on Showtime's Show "Weeds"

From one of my favorite shows on TV, Showtime's Weeds, Andy and Doug show that you always need to conduct good research before launching a business. Enjoy!




My awesome new cell phone

Image
Yesterday I purchased an LG Voyager - despite my yearning for an iPhone. The iPhone presented a bunch of problems (wrong carrier, not enough storage to replace my ipod) yet I wanted one because I love Apple and I love my iPod. So after three unsuccessful attempts to buy a new phone (stories of bad sales and service for another time) I wound up in a Verizon Wirless located in Circuit City and ended up buying a sweet new LG Voyager.

The Voyager and its new brother the LG Dare are clearly meant to cut into iPhone sales. They have a full html browser, music capabilities, and a better phone. The Dare even looks like an iPhone.

But the point of my story is that the sales person, Thom, didn't try to sell me an iPhone alternative. He asked what I was looking for and found a solution. I came away excited about my new Voyager and without the feeling that I was "settling" for less than I really wanted.

The big takeaway - sell what you have, not what you don't and your shoppers w…

My awesome new cell phone

Image
Yesterday I purchased an LG Voyager - despite my yearning for an iPhone. The iPhone presented a bunch of problems (wrong carrier, not enough storage to replace my ipod) yet I wanted one because I love Apple and I love my iPod. So after three unsuccessful attempts to buy a new phone (stories of bad sales and service for another time) I wound up in a Verizon Wirless located in Circuit City and ended up buying a sweet new LG Voyager.

The Voyager and its new brother the LG Dare are clearly meant to cut into iPhone sales. They have a full html browser, music capabilities, and a better phone. The Dare even looks like an iPhone.

But the point of my story is that the sales person, Thom, didn't try to sell me an iPhone alternative. He asked what I was looking for and found a solution. I came away excited about my new Voyager and without the feeling that I was "settling" for less than I really wanted.

The big takeaway - sell what you have, not what you don't and your shoppers w…

Heard at the Shopper Insights Conference (Part 2)

Image
Four great lines from an extremely entertaining and informative presentation by Stew Leonard Jr. or Stew Leonard's - the regional grocer known for delivering great customer experiences and phenomenal fresh food in Connecticut and New York.

“Always 'Think Yes' instead of why you have to say no”
“Look at competitors not to see how you’re better but to see where they are doing something superior”
“All of the great customer service companies are dissatisfied with their customer service”
“The big don’t eat the small, the fast eat the slow
With all of the time spent on the complexities of planning, research, insights, category management, etc. it is refreshing to hear someone apply logic to building a phenomal brand with customers who are also overwhelmingly loyal advocates.

Heard at the Shopper Insights Conference (Part 1)

Image
One of the many excellent speakers at IIR's Shopper Insights conference was Bob Thacker, SVP of Marketing and Advertising at Office Max. While his presentation wasn't very insights centric, he did make a number of excellent points. Some of the highlights:

“People relate to companies like people”

“Look before you leap, but leap!”

Office Max is trying to make news not ads.

“You have to learn from the mistakes of others, can’t afford to make them all yourself”

They need to get $5 of value for every dollar they spend

“If you don’t have big bucks, have big ideas”

Office Max is trying to transform the lousy state of the American workplace and add some personalization - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC0Nsba1fWQ

The OMX brand itself had no personality until the rubber band ball and now their involvement in reality tv and cause marketing (see below)
http://officemax.mediaroom.com/index.php/adaymadebetter
http://www.worldslargestthings.com/press/newbigball.htm
http://officemax.mediaroom.com/index…

Online Research Doesn't Mean You Know Online

We recently conducted a study testing branded applications for use with leading social networking and gaming web sites and it occurred to me that knowing online research is different than knowing the online space as it exists today.

We spend a lot of time understanding the way people interact with the web and other digital media to help clients maximize their investment there and connect online and offline behaviors. I am not sure that is the case for many people who just conduct research online.

We're focused on enhancing consumer engagement, etc. and improving our online applications so next time you're looking for research about online content - ask your provider if they know the online space or just do some work there.

The latest Buzz

In the marketing and research industries there are more buzzwords than you can "shake a stick at." If you were to "boil the ocean" you might come up with some "breakthrough thinking" that provides true "business transformation" and gets you a seat at the table.

You get my point.

Many of the consultants that I have encountered of the past ten years think that speaking in marketing tongues or "research-ese" is what helps get them in the door at big companies. These same consultants wonder why research isn't consumed more at the top levels of organizations. The truth is that senior level (especially at the C-level) don't have the time or inclination to translate findings and recommendations into plain English.

It really isn't so hard, it just takes the discipline to say what you mean as concisely as possible. There is a great article today over on the 1 to 1 Blog about this topic today. Take a read here.

The Good and Bad of Buzz Words

In the marketing and research industries there are more buzzwords than you can "shake a stick at." If you were to "boil the ocean" you might come up with some "breakthrough thinking" that provides true "business transformation" and gets you a seat at the table.

You get my point.

Many of the consultants that I have encountered of the past ten years think that speaking in marketing tongues or "research-ese" is what helps get them in the door at big companies. These same consultants wonder why research isn't consumed more at the top levels of organizations. The truth is that senior level (especially at the C-level) don't have the time or inclination to translate findings and recommendations into plain English.

It really isn't so hard, it just takes the discipline to say what you mean as concisely as possible. There is a great article today over on the 1 to 1 Blog about this topic today. Take a read here.

The Good and Bad of Buzz Words

In the marketing and research industries there are more buzzwords than you can "shake a stick at." If you were to "boil the ocean" you might come up with some "breakthrough thinking" that provides true "business transformation" and gets you a seat at the table.

You get my point.

Many of the consultants that I have encountered of the past ten years think that speaking in marketing tongues or "research-ese" is what helps get them in the door at big companies. These same consultants wonder why research isn't consumed more at the top levels of organizations. The truth is that senior level (especially at the C-level) don't have the time or inclination to translate findings and recommendations into plain English.

It really isn't so hard, it just takes the discipline to say what you mean as concisely as possible. There is a great article today over on the 1 to 1 Blog about this topic today. Take a read here.

Join the Party!

Image
As we bask in the glory of our sports teams here in Boston I can't help but wonder where the Bruins were last week. Running marketing for the team is my second dream job (the NHL is first) and I have to believe that there was an opportunity to come out on TV and in the papers to do three things at the same time:
Congratulate the Celtics publicly and garner some good will from the fan base
Take the opportunity to remind people how great their playoff series was against the Canadiens while featuring the team's up and coming stars
Acknowledge that they aren't holding up their end of the bargain and that they are going all out to join the party.
"Congratulations to the Celtics, Now its our Turn!"

Again, maybe its just me but chalk this up for another lost opportunity. It's called Bruins.

Join the Party!

Image
As we bask in the glory of our sports teams here in Boston I can't help but wonder where the Bruins were last week. Running marketing for the team is my second dream job (the NHL is first) and I have to believe that there was an opportunity to come out on TV and in the papers to do three things at the same time:
Congratulate the Celtics publicly and garner some good will from the fan base
Take the opportunity to remind people how great their playoff series was against the Canadiens while featuring the team's up and coming stars
Acknowledge that they aren't holding up their end of the bargain and that they are going all out to join the party.
"Congratulations to the Celtics, Now its our Turn!"

Again, maybe its just me but chalk this up for another lost opportunity. It's called Bruins.
Image
Along the lines of the prior post. Our friends over at Chadwick Martin Bailey have a great article up about the value of Net Promoter Scores and what you can find in verbatims that goes beyond simple quantitative measures. Their VP of Retail and eCommerce, Brant Cruz (the self proclaimed funniest man in research) says simply:

"We’ve learned firsthand about how important this is recently with one of our clients: verbatims picked up an important pain point (and improvement opportunities) related to a business change that would have been completely missed in a more traditional tracking instrument."

Read the full article here.

Traditional quant has its place, but no one can doubt the power and insight that comes from hearing customers' voices through rich verbatims (especially in an easy to use format like Invoke.)

A Real Research Connection

A recent post over on the "Church of the Customer" Blog spoke about how the writer was asked to participate in a survey and obliged but felt that it was sorely lacking and wanted to drop off after the second question because it was boring, repetitive, and he didn't feel like he was giving valuable feedback. He suggests trimming it back to 4 main questions:
Would you recommend? Explain why you answered that way. How would you describe the company? What can we do to improve?In general I agree. Surveys are too long and still fail to ask the key questions that people want to answer. he also unknowingly suggests a qual-quant survey design. But even more important, he makes the case for an interactive experience where customers and prospects feel like they are actually communicating with a company not just filling out a survey. That's the whole basis for what we do at Invoke and why after a "non-live" experience with our Engage open methodology, people …

Using a Captive Audience

Image
I spent the last two weeks on vacation in Europe and took advantage of a great deal from IcelandAir to fly through Reykjavik and spend time exploring a fascinating country. Those exploits aside, I was very impressed with the airline and not just because of the brilliant marketing partnership they must have with the Icelandic Tourism Board to reduce costs of flying to Europe if you include an overnight stop over.

The airline has installed personal entertainment systems in their new planes and along various TV, movie, and gaming options has included a survey mechanism for people to provide feedback while on the flight. While the survey quality wasn't great, the fact that they are taking advantage of a captive audience to improve their service was refreshing and much appreciated.

When is your audience captive and do you use that time to help improve your business?

Don't forget the basics

Image
I spent the last two weeks in France on vacation with my family and found myself making decisions about where to eat or shop based on the the most basic marketing principles.

We "in the industry" types spend a lot of time talking about the next great thing, but when it came to choosing a winery to stop at (and buy about 15 bottles of wine from) it came down to one with welcoming, clear and compelling signage along the highway. Who knew?

So as you move forward, don't forget the basics!

Don't forget the basics

Image
I spent the last two weeks in France on vacation with my family and found myself making decisions about where to eat or shop based on the the most basic marketing principles.

We "in the industry" types spend a lot of time talking about the next great thing, but when it came to choosing a winery to stop at (and buy about 15 bottles of wine from) it came down to one with welcoming, clear and compelling signage along the highway. Who knew?

So as you move forward, don't forget the basics!

Don't Move Too Fast

Image
A colleague of mine is on a panel at this week's MRA conference discussing technology's impact on research, and specifically what the switch away from analog tv means for this industry.

In discussing the topic with him it dawned on me that as technology leaders rush forward with the latest and greatest, it is important to remember that researchers rely on normal consumers to feed us information and that they are who we should be focused on, not the small percentage of people who have pre-ordered the Blackberry Bold or bought the iPhone the week it came out.

Certainly the expectations of online interactions have changed. People expect to have a say and want the opportunity to express themselves fully through open-ended comments. They want to be a part of the conversation, not just listeners. They expect research environments to function smoothly and incorporate more than text.

But its important when you are desigining a study to think about the target audience and their comfort …

Great Sales Quotes Part 1

Image
Yesterday I was shocked that a colleague of mine hadn't seen any of the great "sales" movies out there so here is part 1 from a movie that doesn't count completely as "classic" but is still a fantastic watch!

"And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can't. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless, that's it, I'm done. "

Probably more relevant than my favorite line when Ben Affleck throws his keys on the table and says "I am a f**cking millionaire."

Great Sales Quotes Part 1

Image
Yesterday I was shocked that a colleague of mine hadn't seen any of the great "sales" movies out there so here is part 1 from a movie that doesn't count completely as "classic" but is still a fantastic watch!

"And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can't. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless, that's it, I'm done. "

Probably more relevant than my favorite line when Ben Affleck throws his keys on the table and says "I am a f**cking millionaire."

Exactly How They Drew it Up

Image
The biggest challenge with any marketing initiative or promotional idea is that what looks great on paper often doesn't translate to the real world.

This past weekend a cross-promotion between Dunkin Donuts and Six Flags New England worked exactly as it was supposed to.

1. On Friday I was getting coffee at Dunkin Donuts and noticed a flyer on the counter for reduced rate tickets to Six Flags New England.

2. When I got to the office I emailed my wife suggesting that we go over the weekend.

3. On sunday morning we stopped at Dunkin Donuts to get iced coffee and pick up the coupons before driving to Six Flags and paying child rates for adult tickets (love the Dark Knight and Superman coasters!)

4. All week I have been telling people about the experience and the promotion.

Just like they drew it up! I am, and always have been a sucker for a good promotion or selling strategy, but this one get my kudos!


Exactly How They Drew it Up

Image
The biggest challenge with any marketing initiative or promotional idea is that what looks great on paper often doesn't translate to the real world.

This past weekend a cross-promotion between Dunkin Donuts and Six Flags New England worked exactly as it was supposed to.

1. On Friday I was getting coffee at Dunkin Donuts and noticed a flyer on the counter for reduced rate tickets to Six Flags New England.

2. When I got to the office I emailed my wife suggesting that we go over the weekend.

3. On sunday morning we stopped at Dunkin Donuts to get iced coffee and pick up the coupons before driving to Six Flags and paying child rates for adult tickets (love the Dark Knight and Superman coasters!)

4. All week I have been telling people about the experience and the promotion.

Just like they drew it up! I am, and always have been a sucker for a good promotion or selling strategy, but this one get my kudos!


Team Tomorrow: Driving Innovation Internally

Image
One of the presentations I saw at the FEI conference was by the leader of WD-40's Team Tomorrow. They gather ideas from their own employees, publicly reward them for their help, bring together key marketing, product, and research groups to choose the best ideas then test the best ideas with the market. Two things stuck out...

1. They have made it easy for employees at all levels to submit ideas and praise them for doing so. If you're not utilizing your best resources, you're missing out!

2. Even with a low rate of ideas that actually get to market, WD-40 is making innovation a priority and a way of life in a company probably not thought of in that way.

What are you doing with your teams to drive the realities of tomorrow?

Conferences Made Easy

I go to a lot of conferences and have grown very comfortable with the process over time, whether I am working a booth or attending sessions. I consider them the best way to meet people and the source of my pseudo-MBA. Here are three tips to help you make valuable contacts and get the most out of your time.

1. Its quality not quantity. Focus on having conversations that people will remember when you follow up with them next week. A large stack of business cards does little good if you've made no impression.

2. Take the initiative. Nothing is more uncomfortable to watch then someone who is over eager to launch into their company's sales pitch around the coffee or lunch table. Ask someone what they do and almost every time they will return the favor and feel good about it. This also gives you the chance to adjust your elevator pitch to their needs to start a real dialogue. No one makes a sale at a conference, but lots of people lose them.

Also remember that everyone at an …

Conferences Made Easy

I go to a lot of conferences and have grown very comfortable with the process over time, whether I am working a booth or attending sessions. I consider them the best way to meet people and the source of my pseudo-MBA. Here are three tips to help you make valuable contacts and get the most out of your time.

1. Its quality not quantity. Focus on having conversations that people will remember when you follow up with them next week. A large stack of business cards does little good if you've made no impression.

2. Take the initiative. Nothing is more uncomfortable to watch then someone who is over eager to launch into their company's sales pitch around the coffee or lunch table. Ask someone what they do and almost every time they will return the favor and feel good about it. This also gives you the chance to adjust your elevator pitch to their needs to start a real dialogue. No one makes a sale at a conference, but lots of people lose them.

Also remember that everyone at an …

Ideas are Everywhere!

Image
At Invoke, we're in an interesting position regarding Innovation because we are constntly innovating ourselves and often play a role in our clients Innovation process. To learn more we attended IIR and PDMA's Front End of Innovation Conference this week.

Three of the top themes I picked up...

Ideas are everywhere and in many cases the easy part of the innovation process. Its narrowing the field and actually bringing them to market that is the hard part.

Almost every company who presented has some sort of stage gate process in place for new product development. Research can drive this, but in many case its more a valuable input from the consumer perspective that is used at key points in the process.

If Innovation is being used to solve problems, look outside your company, outside your industry, and potentially outside man-made products to see what has already been done that can be transferred. Innovation does not necessarily mean invention!

Bad Sales Story Part 1: A for Guts, F for Execution

You’ll all enjoy this…

I took a call from a salesperson today – prearranged by him – who spent at least ten or 15 minutes of a 20 minute call telling me why my company wasn’t necessarily a good fit because we weren’t focused enough on cpg – despite my saying its one of our top 3 verticals, showing some long term interest in understanding what they do, and asking questions about it. I am big believer in saying that its not a good fit when its not a good fit, but this was absurd and he was excessively blunt about it.

He asked a bunch of qualifying questions which I did my best to answer, but never once did he take what I said and try to turn it into an opportunity for himself.

And then at the end he had the guts to ask me if I could refer him to anyone else at other companies.

Amazing.

Thoughts?

Bad Sales Story Part 1: A for Guts, F for Execution

You’ll all enjoy this…

I took a call from a salesperson today – prearranged by him – who spent at least ten or 15 minutes of a 20 minute call telling me why my company wasn’t necessarily a good fit because we weren’t focused enough on cpg – despite my saying its one of our top 3 verticals, showing some long term interest in understanding what they do, and asking questions about it. I am big believer in saying that its not a good fit when its not a good fit, but this was absurd and he was excessively blunt about it.

He asked a bunch of qualifying questions which I did my best to answer, but never once did he take what I said and try to turn it into an opportunity for himself.

And then at the end he had the guts to ask me if I could refer him to anyone else at other companies.

Amazing.

Thoughts?

We Want Tang! (Reviving Classic Brands)

Cutting through the clutter is a huge challenge, especially if you are creating a new brand. That's one of the reasons River West is reviving Brim, Salon Selects, and other brands that were least seen in the 80's. Through research they found inherent strengths, even where they weren't accurate (see the Stanely Tools section below) but clearly there is something to the notion of leveraging brands that already have a place in your conciousnesss (90% aided awareness) and updating them rather than starting from scratch. Read a sampling below or check out the whole article article from today's New York Times. Can a Tang comeback be far behind? After all, we've already seen Pabst Blue Ribbon come back from the dead.

A sampling...

"A great deal of what happens in the consumer marketplace does not involve brands with zealous loyalists. What determines whether a brand lives or dies (or can even come back to life) is usually a quieter process that has more to do with ment…

We Want Tang! (Reviving Classic Brands)

Cutting through the clutter is a huge challenge, especially if you are creating a new brand. That's one of the reasons River West is reviving Brim, Salon Selects, and other brands that were least seen in the 80's. Through research they found inherent strengths, even where they weren't accurate (see the Stanely Tools section below) but clearly there is something to the notion of leveraging brands that already have a place in your conciousnesss (90% aided awareness) and updating them rather than starting from scratch. Read a sampling below or check out the whole article article from today's New York Times. Can a Tang comeback be far behind? After all, we've already seen Pabst Blue Ribbon come back from the dead.

A sampling...

"A great deal of what happens in the consumer marketplace does not involve brands with zealous loyalists. What determines whether a brand lives or dies (or can even come back to life) is usually a quieter process that has more to do with ment…

Are Out of Date Brands Really Out of Date?

Image
Everyone knows how hard it is to create brand awareness today if you're not the latest greatest thing in a fast moving industry. As pointed out in this article from today's New York Times, there is an inherent value to well known brands of the past. In this case Brim, which through research that stated they had 90% aided awareness and the push of River West in Chicago, is being relaunched in the marketplace. Fill it to the rim!

A sampling...


"A great deal of what happens in the consumer marketplace does not involve brands with zealous loyalists. What determines whether a brand lives or dies (or can even come back to life) is usually a quieter process that has more to do with mental shortcuts and assumptions and memories — and all the imperfections that come along with each of those things.

Stanley hired Beanstalk about nine years ago. Stanley conducted “consumer permission research” to try to determine where the Stanley brand could go. “I remember looking through the focus…

Reseach for Innovation

I am attending IIR's Front End of Innovation Conference this week and am very excited about it. The vast majority of conferences I go to are marketing or research centric, but this is much more about the steps that go into innovation, only one of which is market research.

We do a lot of innovation related work ourselves, so I am curious to see where it fits in the eyes of clients and what they are really looking for. Our clients tell us we're invaluable for two main reasons.
We don't slow down the other processes We get the qualitative and quantitative insights they need at once so they can really understand what people want, need, like or dislike and why in a single research environment.I'll have more thoughts as the week progresses!

Shocking, Just Shocking

Just had to share the response from a VP of Marketing at retail company when a colleague of mine tried to start a conversation about using Invoke's research methodology.

"As it is we do not do any advertising so consumer reaction is moot."

I'm sure it came out wrong and I still shop there, but it does explain some things!

Shocking, Just Shocking

Just had to share the response from a VP of Marketing at retail company when a colleague of mine tried to start a conversation about using Invoke's research methodology.

"As it is we do not do any advertising so consumer reaction is moot."

I'm sure it came out wrong and I still shop there, but it does explain some things!

Measuring Word of Mouth

For the past few years I have been very intrigued by the power of word of mouth, starting from work I was involved in at Chadwick Martin Bailey creating presentations about advocacy and conducting a “marketing” project that attached dollars to word of mouth in the travel and hospitality industry. Soon after I was hoping to work at BzzAgent, a leading WOM marketing agency before joining Invoke.

There are many good companies that are focused on measuring word of mouth or at a minimum embed it in their research designs. But without using a mix of qualitative and quantitative research its impossible to really understand what people are doing and why.

Download the 13 page report here and let me know what you are doing to drive word of mouth for your business.

The Power of Word of Mouth

For the past few years I have been very intrigued by the power of word of mouth, starting from work I was involved in at Chadwick Martin Bailey creating presentations about advocacy and conducting a “marketing” project that attached dollars to word of mouth in the travel and hospitality industry. Soon after I was strongly hoping to work at BzzAgent, a leading WOM marketing agency.

Recognizing WOM’s role in marketing today, I thought it was import to examine it further using one of our Invoke Live sessions. We explored a bunch of different verticals and have pulled together great insights on why people provide positive and negative word of mouth and where its most important.

Download the 12 page report here and let me know what you are doing to drive word of mouth for your business.

The Power of Word of Mouth

For the past few years I have been very intrigued by the power of word of mouth, starting from work I was involved in at Chadwick Martin Bailey creating presentations about advocacy and conducting a “marketing” project that attached dollars to word of mouth in the travel and hospitality industry. Soon after I was strongly hoping to work at BzzAgent, a leading WOM marketing agency.

Recognizing WOM’s role in marketing today, I thought it was import to examine it further using one of our Invoke Live sessions. We explored a bunch of different verticals and have pulled together great insights on why people provide positive and negative word of mouth and where its most important.

Download the 12 page report here and let me know what you are doing to drive word of mouth for your business.

Think Like a Good Marketer

Often times researchers sadly forget to think like marketers, business people, or consumers when evaluating what needs to be measured and how. Here are some great marketing principles you can embed in your mind when you're designing your research projects, programs and budgets (courtesy of Seth Godin).

People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.
If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.
Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.
Products that are remarkable get talked about.
Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.
You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.
You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t care about you.

Think Like a Marketer, Even If You're Not One

(Stolen from my Better Research Blog)

Often times researchers sadly forget to think like marketers, business people, or consumers when evaluating what needs to be measured and how. Here are some great marketing principles you can embed in your mind when you're designing your research projects, programs and budgets (courtesy of Seth Godin).
People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.
If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.
Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.
Products that are remarkable get talked about.
Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.
You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.
You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t…

Think Like a Marketer, Even If You're Not One

(Stolen from my Better Research Blog)

Often times researchers sadly forget to think like marketers, business people, or consumers when evaluating what needs to be measured and how. Here are some great marketing principles you can embed in your mind when you're designing your research projects, programs and budgets (courtesy of Seth Godin).
People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.
If you are marketing from a fairly static annual budget, you’re viewing marketing as an expense. Good marketers realize that it is an investment.
Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.
Products that are remarkable get talked about.
Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.
You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.
You’re not in charge. And your prospects don’t…

Why another blog?

I love my better research blog, but its for me and my company and a bit research focused to keep me "completely satisfied."

(which of course means very little compared to loyalty and advocacy)

Whether you're a researcher or advertising rep, in operations or a sales person you'
re also a marketer. You market your company, your product or service and most importantly yourself. And I think you could do it better. I know I could do better.

So here is a place for tips, for stories, for distractions... I love all three!

Why another blog?

I love my better research blog, but its for me and my company and a bit research focused to keep me "completely satisfied."

(which of course means very little compared to loyalty and advocacy)

Whether you're a researcher or advertising rep, in operations or a sales person you'
re also a marketer. You market your company, your product or service and most importantly yourself. And I think you could do it better. I know I could do better.

So here is a place for tips, for stories, for distractions... I love all three!

A Weekend of Questions

Image
I did the unheard of this weekend for today's professionals... I didn't check my email. Not once.

But apparently I was in demand because one panel company sent me 23 invitations between the time I left work on Friday and when I arrived this morning at my desk. 23!

Even if I chose to participate, where would I begin?


The Internet is Evolving, So is Online Qualitative Research

Image
While some people still are still hesitant about online qualitative research, our friends at Maritz Research have layed out some of the most viable options, including their qual-quant Dynamic Insights (powered by Invoke) offering.

Certainly there are still times when focus groups or one on one interviews serve the need, but don't forget that as the internet and internet usage evolves it is creating more and more opportunities to get great insights from consumers online.

Read the article here.

Real Qual-Quant Really Works!

Often times we hear objections about how qual-quant doesn't really work or isn't truly blended, which is true in many cases when its cobbled together, but not when the methodology is designed to be used for this purpose. In the latest issue of C&R Research's KidzBeat newsletter there is a nice piece from Kelley Styring of Insight Farm about how their IQ offering (powered by Invoke) really does the trick... Here is a sample (you can read the whole thing on page 11 here).

As a Consumer Strategist, I struggle with this daily when it comes to Market Research tools. My clients want and deserve to get the most value they can from every study, sometimes pushing what a technique can do until they break it – or under-serve their learning needs by compromising what a tool is intended to do. We ask people in focus groups to raise their hands and count the numbers. Ugh.

We ask people in online surveys to describe the feel of their hand on a suede jacket. Really? While we design s…

Music is Good

Image
In this month's Quirk's magazine there is a blurb about a partnership between EMI Music and Lightspeed Research that will offer UK and Western Europe respondents free music and video downloads as incentives via the http://www.songs4surveys.com/ website. I say brilliant! I don't care much for points and never seem to receive any cash incentives, but free music, now you're speaking my language!

Even better, I admire the creativity that Lightspeed is showing and that they recognize the changing landscape of consumers' online behavior. Good for Lightspeed and I hope more sample providers follow suit.

Speaking of music, I'll be out for the next few days at the world's greatest music and food experience (in my opinion): The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. If you love music, food, and people its a must do at some point... and don't forget that New Orleans still needs your help!

Until next time, keep being creative and thinking about how you can conduct be…