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Showing posts from 2009

CMB Research: Most Don't Return Unwanted Gifts

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As reported on Boston's CBS News, we did some recent research on what people do with unwanted gifts and found that 59% of people simply kept them around instead of returning them for credit, selling them through online sites like eBay's Kijiji or Craigslist. Watch the clip for more on the story!


Secret Santa or Secret Motivations?

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As holiday parties kick into full gear, many of us are scrambling to find an appropriate “grab bag,” “Yankee Swap, ” or “Secret Santa” gift. Of the 29% of people planning to participate, we found that motivations varied. According to recent research conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey of 1000 consumers:
71% want their gift to be something they would like to get and maybe will end up with it
25% want their gift to be in high demand and the one that is stolen most often
Only 4% want their gift to be the least desired and look forward to someone getting stuck with it

Just getting started on your holiday shopping? Recent research shows you’re not alone

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My wife and I are seemingly crazy. We still care about buying thoughtful gifts and spend all year building up our pile so that we’re not wed to craziness at the local mall. But we’re clearly not normal. According to recent research conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey of 1000 consumers 19% of people (25% of males) don’t get started until December rolls around. In fact, when we asked people in October, 12% already knew they would wait until the last minute to buy all of their gifts (17% male, 6% female.)

So, as you finish shopping take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. And think of me sitting by the fire with a nice glass of wine. Happy Holidays!



1 Topic, 5 Blogs – “Interactive Questions in Market Research”

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I am privileged to be one of 5 bloggers who, each 15th of the month – will produce a POV on an issue facing the Marketing Research industry. You’ll also be hearing from Annie Pettit (organizer), Bernie Malinoff, Joel Rubinson and Brandon Bertelsen. Links to their posts will follow.

I am also particularly excited about this first topic: interactive questioning and its impact on the research industry. A little background… I work at Chadwick Martin Bailey, a high end, mostly quantitative research firm with a focus on segmentation, brand, product development, and customer loyalty work. I have been here for most of the last decade, with a two year stint at Invoke Solutions in the middle. So I see the traditional angle and the non-traditional angle from an inside perspective.

Question: Is technology helping or hurting the research industry?
Answer: Yes.

That is to say that it is not a matter of helping or hurting, it’s about accepting and embracing the reality of technological advances and the…

Why Market Researchers Struggle with Web Listening

In a recent blog post, Forrester's Brad Bortner lists three ways that researchers might want to consider utilizing social media:
Create a private Market Research Online Community.Mine open communities for discussions of interest. Harvest quantitative sample from social networks.
These are all completely valid ways of using available resources that live within the comfort zone for researchers - or at most, slightly outside it. But it misses a big opportunity to (in the words of Crimson Hexagon's Candace Fleming ) "listen to consumers in the wild."

With constantly improving tools that are tunable to answer specific questions it is now possible to really "hear" the online conversation and make sense of it all. By determining tone and level of influence you can glean tremendously valuable information that feeds other explorations and informs potential online strategies.

So why do researchers scratch their heads? We don't know who these people are, what t…

Holiday Travel in 2009: Leave the Lights On, Grab The Tylenol

We recently conducted some research on holiday travel plans for the 2009, finding that 39% of holiday travelers will stay with friends or family and43% of those traveling will drive instead of fly .

The study also found that over half of all Americans will still travel this holiday season, 85% are traveling to visit friends and family.

"We see this news as very positive for travel companies," comments Judy Melanson leader of Chadwick Martin Bailey’s Travel and Hospitality practice. "At least for the holiday season we are not seeing big drop-offs in actual travel or spending. People may be shifting their dollars but they are not simply staying home."

There’s also good news on the spending front. Most are spending the same or more on holiday travel this year than last. Many (43%) are choosing to drive instead of fly this holiday season, while 39% are staying with friends and family instead of staying in a hotel. All of these measures are helping consumers to still trave…

Defending Market Research

An interesting post today over at Nigel Hollis' blog about academics at the 7th Annual Marketing Directors Conference in Athens, Greece minimizing the value of research in their speeches.

When probed further they stated that it was the literal interpretation and simple surveys they were referring to.

I think the big difference between quality research and simple data collection is the value proposition that all good custom research firms provide. We may write better questionnaires or more tightly manage projects, but the special sauce is generally in the interpretation of data, not the collection of it. And just as much in the evangelization of it (or at least facilitating evangelization).

As Andy Vranesic of GE Healthcare said in our joint webinar today (watch here) - 10% of it is the research, 90% is putting the research to work in a business context.

Thinking About Customer Service Strategies and Brand Detractors

Just last week I was reading a recent article by CMB's John Martin and Rob Davis, one of the CMB Advisory team members about how call centers and their corporate owners need to focus on fixing relationships, not just "resolving problems." (Read the article here)

It made intuitive sense to me, and even more so after having a first hand experience with a call center that was less than... brand complimentary. In the company's defense, I had already switched to another provider based on something they could offer that my previous provider could not (my beloved iPhone.) But the way I was treated and the fact that they summarily dismissed what another call center rep had told me as "mis-information" took me from brand neutral to brand detractor. And then the call ended with the always popular "is there anything else I can resolve for you today?" from the manager.

If the company's service strategies had been relationship focused they would have …

Why People Bother With Black Friday

We just finished up some research about holiday shopping, trying to understand what people are doing and why and trying to better grasp the Black Friday phenomenon.

Personally, I think its crazy, but my wife loves it and aparently the 84 million adults planning to hit the stores on Black Friday, 18 million before 6AM, agree.

It’s no surprise that the majority (85%) of Black Friday shoppers hit the stores to take advantage of the sales, while others (18%) want to get the hot gifts before their gone, but Black Friday is becoming much more for some holiday shoppers. We found that it’s also the element of competition and a sense of camaraderie that drives many of these early morning shoppers to engage in the thrill of the hunt.

"For many Americans shopping on Black Friday has become an annual tradition and a fun way for friends and family to spend time together," comments Jeff McKenna senior consultant at Chadwick Martin Bailey. "Still, while many consumers will be out on Bla…

B2B and Mid-sized Firms Struggling Most At Improving Marketing

Some interesting insights from our recent research....

Marketing Performance Advantage Study of 400 companies links performance
to specific marketing management best practices


Boston, MA (11/3/2009) – Mid-sized firms and B2B companies are struggling the most at improving the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, according to the results of a landmark survey of more than 400 companies by strategic marketing consultancy CMG Partners and market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey. The recently released study -- entitled The Marketing Performance Advantage -- found that while 75% of all participants expressed interest in measuring the performance of their marketing initiatives, mid-sized firms and B2B companies were also more likely to report having no measurement in place or only limited measurement.
For example: B2B companies and mid-sized firms were both three times as likely as other companies to have no measurement system in place 44% of B2B firms report limited or no marketing mea…

Summing up The Market Research Event

Great week at The Market Research Event in Las Vegas. The mood was generally positive although some companies are still struggling to meet their goals. Lots of great conversations, great people, and great presentations. Looking forward to San Diego next year!

In case you missed it, here is the lowdown on our presentation with Facebook's Meg Sloan.
http://themarketresearchevent.blogspot.com/2009/10/skinny-on-marketing-research-at.html

And read here for more great on-site blogging from April Bell, summing up the event:

http://themarketresearchevent.blogspot.com/



The Redemption of Microsoft?

With the upcoming launch of Windows 7 - and the hope that people will soon forget the Microsoft Vista debacle, we reecently conducted some research to see what IT professionals thought about the new release and their plans to adopt or not adopt Microsoft's latest operating system.

One of the things we found was that for Netbooks specifically, Windows 7 is likely to make huge inroads and continue Microsoft's stronghold over Netbook OS's. Read more in Computerworld...

The Best Loyalty Program?

Interesting post over at Colloquoy commenting on an Ad Age article touting Harrah's loyalty program as the gold standard. While the science behind it and the organizational commitment behind it are hard to question, there are many now competing on its level.

Neiman Marcus, Starbucks, Borders and more have made huge strides in the loyalty program space by delivering real value to members and ensuring that the program is a positive brand experience, not just an initiative that lives in its own silo.

What do you think?

Read the article here.

Only ¼ of Companies Are Managing Marketing Effectively

A snipit from CMB and CMG Partners' upcoming white paper, the Marketing Performance Advantage.

Boston, MA (10/7/2009) – Only one-fourth of companies believe they are managing their marketing efforts effectively, according to the results of a landmark survey of more than 400 companies by strategic marketing consultancy CMG Partners and market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey. But the study also found that those companies that actively use marketing effectiveness best practices are reaping positive results in areas such as share gains or revenue growth.

The study, entitled The Marketing Performance Advantage, surveyed more than 400 companies across a variety of industries and company sizes to determine the key attributes of successful marketing organizations and to understand what marketing practices they employ.
“We found a high degree of interest in marketing measurement, but surprisingly very few executives reported success with translating that interest into improved marketing…

CMB and Facebook at The Market Research Event

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We're looking forward to co-presenting with our client from Facebook at The Market Research Event in a few weeks. The conference is fast approaching and we hope you can check out our presentation at 8:30 AM on the 19th!

Topic: The New School of Market Research – Creating An Insights Practice in the World of Social Media

Learn how Facebook, along with help from Chadwick Martin Bailey, is building an insights practice specifically designed to support decisions in the world of social media that include information from and for employees, users, and advertisers.


Get a peek inside the world’s preeminent social networking company

Learn how to create a research department that meets the needs of a constantly evolving business

Get tips on how to best partner with research firms to enhance your position within a client organization

Speakers:


Brant Cruz, Vice PresidentChadwick Martin Bailey

Meg Sloan, Facebook

Visit www.themarketresearchevent.com for more information.


EXPLOR Awards Join The Market Research Event

Very interesting development in the research conference series with the EXPLOR Awards moving from the AMA Research Conference over to The Market Research Event.This takes what in my opinion was already the best research conference on the market and makes it even better.

I had always assumed that EXPLOR was an AMA offering, but this is just another signal that the AMA needs to step up their game if they want the conference to remain viable. Speaking for myself, I would have had a hard time justifying two west coast conferences in two weeks, especially when I found last year's Boston based event to be very disappointing.

As a former local AMA President and AMA member, I wish them the best of luck and hope it rebounds.

Read more at:

http://www.iirusa.com/research/track-six.xml

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS161794+11-Mar-2009+BW20090311

Researching the IT Services Industry, Branding the Biggest Challenge

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In case you missed it, here is the wrap up from our recent Technology Pulse Series on IT Services.

Series Summary: IT Services
This week marks the final installment of our Pulse series on IT Services. Before moving on to our next series on Operating Systems and Web Browsers, we've pulled together some of our key findings from the IT Services series research. You can also get a full rundown of the results by watching last week's webinar on the topic. Click here to watch a playback.

What We Learned:
IT Services provisions are increasingly becoming the standard across organizations and verticals to enhance internally deployed IT services. Although these services can be extremely varied within companies we chose to focus on 3 generic types: professional-consulting, annual subscription (most often maintenance and monitoring) and outsourcing services. Overall, we found that these IT services have become essential to the enterprise. This is illustrated by the fact that few IT professiona…

GE Healthcare at The Market Research Event

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We're looking forward to supporting our client, Andrew Vranesic from GE Healthcare as he presents on B2B Segmentation at The Market Research Event coming up soon in Las Vegas. If you're attending, make sure you check it out and swing by the CMB Booth to say hi!


B2B Segmentation: Helpful Hints to Address Challenges in Segmenting Organizations

While its true that even in a B2B setting people buy from people, research conducted to understand the decision making process needs to incorporate a different set of parameters to make sure the insights are actually useful.B2B purchases often involve multiple and sometimes competing belief systems, have longer decision and product life cycles, and unit purchase amounts that, as a consumer, can be hard to comprehend.

This session will share some of the valuable lessons we have learned over the years that you can use to craft a successful B2B segmentation model.


Know what type of segmentation is appropriate to use
Using pattern recognition to …

Marketing and Researching Beyond Your Core

Seth Godin's blog post today is about marketing (or the lack thereof) to the second circle - beyond the people who already know you, the ones who the people you know talk to about your products and services.

In research we see this issue every day, clients who only want to research the people who know them well - those who have considered, purchased, repurchased, etc. This is, of course, necessary, but its only telling one part of the story.

The people who are not currently considering you (or your category) may be just as viable a target. You need to understand their goals, needs, and hot buttons so you can either add them to your target set or rule them out altogether. But wihtout understanding where they stand, you'll never be able to significantly grow beyond your core market.

The Online Shopping Cart

Nothing huge today, but did want to share a nice write-up by Charles Nicholls, Founder of SeeWhy on a new study by the University of Glasgow and agency Amaze.

The study found that 87% of online shoppers had abandoned an exommerce shopping cart in the last 3 months, but that 74% planned to return later to complete the transaction. This behavior reflects a trend to use shopping carts as wish lists, where items can be stored for later purchase.

Not shockingly, there is huge dropoff between planned and actual. Read more...



How Not to Send a Follow Up Email

A couple of months back a friend of mine was looking for someone to help on a telemarketing project. In the end, the project never happened but she did receive a follow up email this week to see how things were going.

There are lots of ways to follow up effectively, but this one goes a bit over the top. Enjoy, its good stuff!



Subject: Happy Labor Day

Dear XXXX,

Labor Day lies ahead of us and there are many things that are going on with all of us, both professionally and personally. This time of the year represents the "harvest period" and I wish that all will benefit the from the Fruits of your Labor.

Please let me know how I can assist you as you begin harvesting those seeds you have planted. I wish you a wonderful Holiday weekend and look forward to speaking with you soon.


Sincerely,


XXXX

How Not to Send a Follow Up Email

A couple of months back a friend of mine was looking for someone to help on a telemarketing project. In the end, the project never happened but she did receive a follow up email this week to see how things were going.

There are lots of ways to follow up effectively, but this one goes a bit over the top. Enjoy, its good stuff!



Subject: Happy Labor Day

Dear XXXX,

Labor Day lies ahead of us and there are many things that are going on with all of us, both professionally and personally. This time of the year represents the "harvest period" and I wish that all will benefit the from the Fruits of your Labor.

Please let me know how I can assist you as you begin harvesting those seeds you have planted. I wish you a wonderful Holiday weekend and look forward to speaking with you soon.


Sincerely,


XXXX

Conference Season

This month's Quirk's Magazine enewsletter has a nice little piece on whteher or not people should go to trade shows. Its a tricky question that really depends on your goals and your execution plan.

In my mind there are four main benefits to attending.

1) Spending quality time with the clients we are co-presenting with (this year includes Facebook and GE Healthcare).

2) Connecting with potential clients who are both interested in high quality research and work for organizations willing to invest in finding good partners.

3) Acquiring a lead source we can utilize throughout the year.

4) Listening to the "industry conversation" and getting involved.

In my last job, co-workers often lamented about the lack of booth traffic but I believe that quality outpaces quantity at conferences. We also build a strategy around setting up meetings in advance, gathering key learnings, and making every opportunity count. Without those pieces in place it may be a waste, but for us it pays divi…

UK Research Industry Report

Just reading an interesting report on the state of the research industry in the UK from RSM. Seems similar to what we're facing in the US, although at least here at CMB we're seeing fits and starts more than continued recovery. Still, people are spending and while cost is important, it is not the only factor we're seeing in decisions. (Which is good for us!)

Here are the key summary points from the report:

Recession bites
Six out of ten research professionals have seen their budgets decline in the past six months and only one in twenty have experienced an increase.
This decline is expected to slow down over the next six months but a third still expect budgets to drop. The proportion expecting an increase is static at one in twenty.
Even with this slightly more optimistic outlook budgets are expected to shrink by 3.5% over the next six months (indicating a year on year decline of at least 7%.
Research activity in most sectors is expected to experience a net decline - most sign…

Thinking Social Media: AMD's CMO Speaks Out

As we do more and more work around understanding and strategizing for comanies deciding whether or not to get involved with social media, the bigest misnomer seems to those who only think about Facebook or Twitter. That's why I loved this quote from AMD's CMO, Nigel Dessau, from an interview on B2B online.

"To use social media effectively, you have to have a very strong sense of what is and is not social media. At a minimum, social media is a two-way conversation that emphasizes relationship-building with your audience and customers. It's a means of spreading messages and influence, and something that should be equally applied across all corners of your brand. On the flip side, social media is not just a new way of push marketing. For us, it's not just a Facebook or blog strategy alone. And it's not just for business-to-consumer marketing.

We have a thriving online community with our partners and enterprise customers who appreciate the value of having AMD empl…

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness

Short post today, but check out my interview with Cathy Harrison from AMA Boston on measuring marketing effectiveness at: http://www.connect.amaboston.org/profiles/blogs/measuring-marketing

Shopper Insights Take Away 1: Shopper Emotions

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Here is the first of the takeaways from presentations at the Shopper Insights in Action Conference earlier this month in Chicago.

This presentation was from Chris Gray, Vice President of Shopper Psychology (cool title!) at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Winning Her Wallet By Meeting Her Mind.
33 percent of brand loyal customers in 2007 abandoned those brands in
2008

Shopper marketing has 3 secomds to make an impression, which is long enough for people to decide

Shoppers are consumers on a mission... they become task oriented, make choices beyond their normal considersation set (when not shopping), are pressured and bombarded while choosing, and are decision makers.

Deselection (being automatically ruled out) is the worst case scenario for brands

Ratonal claims work because they speak to consumers' emotonal goals.
Make your teeth 30% whiter = i want to feel more confident and attractive

Positive emotions drive positive behaviors and the converse is true.

Narrowed focus, smaller budget, faster trips,…

How to make graphs that work

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Seth Godin had a great post on the use of graphs in the business world that I thought was particularly useful after being at the Shopper Insights in Action conference last week.
It is fascinating, but not shocking watching people perk up for images and stories and videos and slump into their chairs at the sight of charts on a screen.
It's not that the data isn't important, it is just that the data should be used to support a story, not to tell the story.
Over the next week or so I'll be posting notes from select sessions at what was an excellent conference. Stay tuned!

The Big Challenge: Getting Insights Used

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As anyone who does research for a living knows, the two biggest challenges are getting funding and getting insights used. And in design and engineering driven cutures this is even more of a challenge.

BusinessWeek ran a great case study earlier this month on how the team at Steelcase "turned research into innovation gold."

One key to their success? Bringing the entire team together for a a two-day event that included marketers, engineers, industrial designers, and other stakeholders. This event was used to combine all of the data collected over months with their own knowledge and experiences to come up with actual insights.

Read the entire article here.

4 Tips for Brand Launches

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Earlier this week, we re-launched the Chadwick Martin Bailey brand and web site internally and I thought I'd offer four tips for a successful re-launch beyond just throwing a party.

1) Tell people why you made the changes and how it supports the business

2) Arm people with all of the tools they need (spend a lot of time thinking this through!) and be responsive to those needs you hadn't anticipated

3) Dont get bogged down in the details at the launch, those can be worked through in smaller groups at another time.

4) Give people hard copies that they can refer back to and show off to others.

Chicago Bound for Shopper Insights

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Sorry for the lack of recent posts, but next week is a big week. The new CMB website launches Tuesday and Wednesday we'll be in Chicago for the Shopper Insights in Action Conference - always an excellent event!

My friend Brant Cruz will be presenting alongside EA Sports' (It's in the game) Stephen Day about work we did together to help develop a strategy for the new 'gamer' market. The first tangible result being the very cool EA Sports Active.

Drop a line if you're going or swing by our booth to say hi!

A Taste of Our Own Medicine: Researchers Using Research

In professional services firms you always hear the "cobbler's kids have no shoes" mentality about their look and feel, use of research, etc. Well, we may not (and you may not) have huge budgets but that doesn't mean we can't follow our own advice and find out what our market is looking for and move in that direction.

For years we have been conducting client feedback but like many of our clients it has been used largely for score keeping. Right now, we're wrapping up a broader A&U project about what companies are looking for from value-added research firms and now we have the opportunity to take a fact based approach to addressing it.

The takeaway - even if its a simple methodology find out what your customers are looking for and find a way to provide it to them.

My favorite comment from the research about why they would choose a small/medium provider over a large one:

"Smaller providers are more like a Partnership. They are easier to meet with the enti…

Was this worth the time?

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I love the USA Today. I do. It has been a staple since my college days for quick hit news and charts with pretty colors. But as I got into the research industry a decade ago I started to wonder if anyone thinks about finding something interesting before they conduct these surveys or if they just want something to fit in a pie chart.

Primary exhibit is today's breaking news that frequent fliers don't like US airlines' food and service. Really? I am shocked.

Well thought out custom research reports struggle to get read in corporate America yet this survey is leading news in an international setting. Clearly we all are working way too hard!

The World's Worst Survey? Or Think Before You Act

Up front, I admit that I am "borrowing" this right from the Fresh Minds Research Blog but this is too good to ignore.

The BBC is conducting an online poll asking people if they are one of the 30% of UK citizens without internet access. Read that again. Or read it at the site of the Register.

Just one of those classic cases where people didn't think about the audience before launching a poll or survey. I love online research, especially with interactive functionality, but its not for everyone. Much like music and beer, there is a time and place for everything. And sometimes that means a mail survey, an in person interview or the dreaded telephone interview.

Should Panel Companies Lower Costs for Engaging Questionnaires?

Most people agree that including interactive elements in questionnaires is a good idea and produces similar data to traditional formats. From a research analyst perspective, i understand the "who cares then?" sentiment because good data is good data. But from a brand or panel company perspective its imperative to make participating in research a positive experience. After all, like any interaction, its a brand interaction that need to support your positioning in one way or another.

Thanks to Jen from iModerate for re purposing her CASRO presentation on this topic for the group at CMBearlier this week. It was interesting and sparked a great discussion about cost vs. benefit for research providers and panel companies in programming interactive elements. Seems to me that panel companies should actually discount data collection for more enjoyable surveys. It keeps panelists engaged and eager to participate more.

Perhaps that is too much common sense. What do you think?

Studying Social Media

With all the talk about social media and specifically social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it is amazing that most of the research associated with social media revolves around counting numbers and presenting them in pretty pictures (everyone loves a word cloud).

Well, we love word clouds too but have found that just getting a count of what is going on is not enough. And not paying attention to message boards, blogs, etc. can lead to some wild misrepresentations of the truth. Especially when you consider, according to our neighbors at Harvard University, that only a tiny fraction of the world is actually posting on twitter.

Both in stand alone projects and in conjunction with trackers, we use a multi-faceted approach to understanding what is going on, what best practices exist, the rules of engagement and what you can do about them. Counting is important, but these mediums are about information exchange and emotion.

Want to learn more?

Still not sure what social media is all…

Studying Social Media

With all the talk about social media and specifically social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it is amazing that most of the research associated with social media revolves around counting numbers and presenting them in pretty pictures (everyone loves a word cloud).

Well, we love word clouds too but have found that just getting a count of what is going on is not enough. And not paying attention to message boards, blogs, etc. can lead to some wild misrepresentations of the truth. Especially when you consider, according to our neighbors at Harvard University, that only a tiny fraction of the world is actually posting on twitter.

Both in stand alone projects and in conjunction with trackers, we use a multi-faceted approach to understanding what is going on, what best practices exist, the rules of engagement and what you can do about them. Counting is important, but these mediums are about information exchange and emotion. Want to learn more?

Still not sure what social media is…

Studying Social Media

With all the talk about social media and specifically social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it is amazing that most of the research associated with social media revolves around counting numbers and presenting them in pretty pictures (everyone loves a word cloud).

Well, we love word clouds too but have found that just getting a count of what is going on is not enough. And not paying attention to message boards, blogs, etc. can lead to some wild misrepresentations of the truth. Especially when you consider, according to our neighbors at Harvard University, that only a tiny fraction of the world is actually posting on twitter.

Both in stand alone projects and in conjunction with trackers, we use a multi-faceted approach to understanding what is going on, what best practices exist, the rules of engagement and what you can do about them. Counting is important, but these mediums are about information exchange and emotion. Want to learn more?

Still not sure what social media is…

Shop Til You Drop?

I have long thought that while the recession has slowed spending, people still have their needs and desires. Or on the business side, things that need to get done and cost money.

USA Today agrees (at least on the consumer side).

"There are positive signs. Shoppers are less willing to "limit their spending, seek deals or trade down to lower-priced brands and retailers" because of the recession, finds a survey by market research firm Retail Forward."

Shop Til You Drop?

I have long thought that while the recession has slowed spending, people still have their needs and desires. Or on the business side, things that need to get done and cost money.

USA Today agrees (at least on the consumer side).

"There are positive signs. Shoppers are less willing to "limit their spending, seek deals or trade down to lower-priced brands and retailers" because of the recession, finds a survey by market research firm Retail Forward."

The Five Stages of the Purchase Cycle?

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I was just reading an article over on Searchengine land (courtesy of Marketing Profs' email) about tailoring your ad copy to people at different stages of the purchase process. These five stages (Stage 1: Awareness. Stage 2: Information Search. Stage 3: Alternative Evaluation. 4: Purchase Decision. Stage 5: Post-Purchase Behavior.) are fairly common in marketing publications and in research studies designed to measure the impact of of communications and other initiatives. Unfortunately, they don't apply universally in today's world.

As consumers have taken more control of the buying cycle the traditional buying process has been thrown out the window in many cases. What used to be linear now could take on any sort of shape. For that reason its important to map out the decision process of today for your products and services before any campaign or research project is launched and confirm it with your findings. People may be buying differently than you expect and your strategi…

Some Quick Social Media Thoughts

We've been doing a lot of digging around on social media recently. 3 quick tips from the NExpo on tuesday coutesy of an excellent panel of speakers.

Social media should be measured in years not days. Need the human piece.
Need to be a publisher and utilize people as the voice who engage with consumers.
Not measured in numbers... Measured in engagement. It is about 2 way conversations and you need more than authenticity, you need ruthless honesty.
Make sure your content is relevant. Relevance and benefits are better than strictly promotion.Very funny viral video from VistaPrint today as well. I learned about it from their twitter site. As always, integration is the key to success! Enjoy!

Some Quick Social Media Thoughts

We've been doing a lot of digging around on social media recently. 3 quick tips from the NExpo on tuesday coutesy of an excellent panel of speakers.

Social media should be measured in years not days. Need the human piece.
Need to be a publisher and utilize people as the voice who engage with consumers.
Not measured in numbers... Measured in engagement. It is about 2 way conversations and you need more than authenticity, you need ruthless honesty.
Make sure your content is relevant. Relevance and benefits are better than strictly promotion.Very funny viral video from VistaPrint today as well. I learned about it from their twitter site. As always, integration is the key to success! Enjoy!

Don't Miss our Loyalty Program Webinar This Friday

Shameless promotion today of this Friday's webinar on loyalty programs...

You're invited to the next session of CMB's free webinar series on May 22 at Noon ET. Hilton's Vice President of Customer LoyaltyBusiness Optimization and Guest Intelligence, Joe Rhodes, will join Judy Melanson to discuss "The power of loyalty programs" and what companies are doing with their programs in light of the current economic situation.
The state of loyalty programs: Cut-backs and increased investments in today's business landscape Does loyalty still matter? Program changes: Best practices and issues to considerWe hope you can make it!


Time and Date:

May 22, 2009, Noon ET

Registration:

Register via webex here.

Wifi in the Air

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I am very excited that AirTran announced they will have wifi available on every flight starting in July. For the short period that they have the competetive advantage, they need to be promoting the heck out of it. I recently flew a Delta flight with WiFi and was shocked that it was an option. And because the airline industry is so full of parity, AirTran can win just by being first.

Good work AirTran!

Read the article here.

(Everyone else, get on the ball!)

Wifi in the Air

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I am very excited that AirTran announced they will have wifi available on every flight starting in July. For the short period that they have the competetive advantage, they need to be promoting the heck out of it. I recently flew a Delta flight with WiFi and was shocked that it was an option. And because the airline industry is so full of parity, AirTran can win just by being first.

Good work AirTran!

Read the article here.

(Everyone else, get on the ball!)

Google Apps Pave the Way to Success

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Mirroring the comments of Chadwick Martin Bailey's Chris Neal pointed from a recent webcast on Cloud Computing (watch for yourself here), The Metro has an interesting article on Google's free business apps and their impact on emerging businesses, specifically startups.

“Today you can start your own company from your living room at almost no expense,” says Louis Rosas-Guyon, author of the new book “Nearly Free IT.” “That’s why the recession has led to an explosion in entrepreneurship.”

Google apps and other free or inexpensive business applications are a boon to all of us trying to do more with less. And it is not just for documents and email. We recently discovered this when figuring out how to make sense of Twitter posts and found numerous free downloads that could help identify trends instead of spending money on paid solutions before we needed them. Now as researchers we are able to take advantage of these free solutions that present data simply and make them useful for ours…

New Research Shows Boomers Not All They Were Supposed to Be

For years we have all been reading studies about the power of Boomers, including our own, however recent research from PhocusWright shows that, at least in the travel sector, Boomer power may be dwindling. Now finally Boomers can see the power of younger generations correctly (take that Mom and Dad!)

Certainly this group has more reason to be concerned about dwindling 401Ks than the Gen X and Y crowd who won't be touching theirs for decades and its showing in travel bookings. According to the study, "trailing-edge baby boomers (45-54 years old) actually spent the least of any age group per household on travel. They are also the most likely to reduce their travel spending in 2009, with 27% planning reductions in travel frequency and spending. "

Read the entire article here.

More In House Research?

We seem to be seeing lots and lots of client-side researchers being laid off lately, so a story in yesterday's Daily Research News caught my attention stating that many companies are bringing more research in house. This conflicts with other reports I have seen, so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out through the rest of 2009. Certainly activity is picking up, but summer is coming so stay tuned.


Excerpt: Research suppliers may see declines in 2009 revenue as more clients prepare to take a proportion of their online research in-house, predicts an industry survey conducted earlier in the year.

The survey, conducted online in February among senior research practitioners and co-sponsored by online-oriented companies Cambiar, MRops and Peanut Labs, suggests that the decline in research industry revenues in 2009 may be higher than suppliers are expecting. While clients are anticipating that budgets may be flat to falling, the fact that they intend to do more in-house sug…

Thinking Ahead: It was Just a Matter of Time

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For a few weeks I have been wondering which companies were going to take advantage of the reduced number of advertisers and lowering rated by expanding their own spend. Its been obvious on the local level, where local businesses have gotten increasingly better placements. Or they have been sending the right bribes to media traffic staff.

On the national level, it looks as they Dr Pepper and Snapple are among the first to raise their spend. A good move in my mind, we'll see if it works the way it has in the past.

From Flex News via Reuters:

Company executives said they decided on the strategy after research firm Nielsen produced a study for them that detailed ad spending patterns during the early 1980s, the last prolonged advertising downturn."We wanted to find out what were the brands that were successful in '83 and '84, coming out of the recession?" said Trebilcock. "What did they do differently than others during the middle of the recession? Uniformly, the th…

Thinking Ahead: It was Just a Matter of Time

Image
For a few weeks I have been wondering which companies were going to take advantage of the reduced number of advertisers and lowering rated by expanding their own spend. Its been obvious on the local level, where local businesses have gotten increasingly better placements. Or they have been sending the right bribes to media traffic staff.

On the national level, it looks as they Dr Pepper and Snapple are among the first to raise their spend. A good move in my mind, we'll see if it works the way it has in the past.

From Flex News via Reuters:

Company executives said they decided on the strategy after research firm Nielsen produced a study for them that detailed ad spending patterns during the early 1980s, the last prolonged advertising downturn."We wanted to find out what were the brands that were successful in '83 and '84, coming out of the recession?" said Trebilcock. "What did they do differently than others during the middle of the recession? Uniformly, the th…

The Down Side of Social Media

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In marketing pubs and blogs you often see people raving about the power of social media and web 2.0, but our friends at Domino's had quite a different experience last week. In case you missed it, two uniformed employees posted a video of them making a mess of someone's order, boogers and all. Not surprisingly this made its way around the web in record fashion. Watch the video here.

The lesson: Not all buzz is good buzz.

It will be interesting to see if there is a real impact, but at least for a few weeks many consumers will think twice about what toppings they are really getting with their Domino's pie.

Here is a great article on how one YouTube Video can ruin a brand, including some research on the video's impact.

...And the pretty well thought out response from Domino's

The Down Side of Social Media

Image
In marketing pubs and blogs you often see people raving about the power of social media and web 2.0, but our friends at Domino's had quite a different experience last week. In case you missed it, two uniformed employees posted a video of them making a mess of someone's order, boogers and all. Not surprisingly this made its way around the web in record fashion. Watch the video here.

The lesson: Not all buzz is good buzz.

It will be interesting to see if there is a real impact, but at least for a few weeks many consumers will think twice about what toppings they are really getting with their Domino's pie.

Here is a great article on how one YouTube Video can ruin a brand, including some research on the video's impact.

...And the pretty well thought out response from Domino's

Thinking about Net Promoter Score: Apple Wins

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Brandweek recently published an article proclaiming that (based on NPS scores) Apple is the most recommended company by consumers, just in front of Amazon.com and Costco. I happen to be a huge fan of all three, so I can't question Satmetrix's methodology. In fact, I love the concept of Net Promoter Score as a key metric and when attached to other useful data it can be a great predictor of brand strength and customer loyalty.

Here at CMB, we run one of the world's biggest custom NPS-style programs and have found that for the right audience it can be incredibly useful and powerful. Stay tuned for a webinar and booklet on the topic. In the meantime, we'd be happy to share some slides from a co-presentation on the topic we did with eBay last year. Just let me know!

More importantly, would you recommend this blog to a friend our colleague?

Conferences and Trade Shows

One area of the marketing world particularly hard hit in this economy is trade shows and conferences. And for companies like mine it is hard to know how to plan. Conferences have always been a great source of leads at a relatively affordable price, but given travel restrictions and budget cuts, who is going to be willing or able to go? Definitely a challenge worth monitoring.

In this article, USA Today explores what the economy is doing to the trade show business and the great cities who host them.

"A double whammy has come down," says Geoff Freeman of the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group. "There's no doubt that all types of business travel are paying a heavy price, but meetings and events are paying the heaviest price."

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2009-04-12-canceled-conventions-virtual-meetings_N.htm?csp=usat.me

Conferences and Trade Shows

One area of the marketing world particularly hard hit in this economy is trade shows and conferences. And for companies like mine it is hard to know how to plan. Conferences have always been a great source of leads at a relatively affordable price, but given travel restrictions and budget cuts, who is going to be willing or able to go? Definitely a challenge worth monitoring.

In this article, USA Today explores what the economy is doing to the trade show business and the great cities who host them.

"A double whammy has come down," says Geoff Freeman of the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group. "There's no doubt that all types of business travel are paying a heavy price, but meetings and events are paying the heaviest price."

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2009-04-12-canceled-conventions-virtual-meetings_N.htm?csp=usat.me

Retail Projections and Rumors Can Be Damaging (From USA Today)

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A little different than the custom primary research we normally talk about in this space, but an interesting article in today's USA Today about the impact of the media's negative reports about retailers and the negative impact on their brands. Three excerpts from the article...
Retail implosion forecasts typically come from the same handful of retail consulting gadflies — at least one of whom says he makes money when retailers' stock prices fall — and the forecasts are often based on subjective criteria that do not jibe with widely accepted methods of assessing corporate health.
"People are really paying attention to these articles, and the effects are extremely damaging," says Tracy Mullin, CEO of the National Retail Federation, which represents most major retailers.
The complications of analyzing retailers' financials go beyond just a sound bite. "It is very dangerous to speculate who may or may not be surviving without being inside the circle of knowled…