Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays from Community 2.0!

We're going to be taking a much needed break from the world of online communities to celebrate the holidays with our family and friends. A huge "Thank You" to you, our loyal readers for your insight, news and communication about our shared community experiences. We look forward to 2009 and all of its glorious opportunity!

Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.

Happy Holidays from NACCM's Customers 1st!

We're going to be taking a much needed break from the world of design to celebrate the holidays with our family and friends. A huge "Thank You" to you, our loyal readers for your insight, news and communication about our shared design experience. We look forward to 2009 and all of its glorious opportunity!

Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.

Happy Holidays from The Market Research Event!

We're going to be taking a much needed break from the world of market research to celebrate the holidays with our family and friends. A huge "Thank You" to you, our loyal readers for your insight, news and communication about our shared market research experience. We look forward to 2009 and all of its glorious opportunity!

Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No more shooting in the dark- track your marketing campaigns.

So you just started a blog and have been promoting it like hell. Or maybe you just realized the power of the web for marketing and use it to promote your small business. Email signatures, emails, status messages and commenting and being a part of discussions across the blogosphere- and what is called as the social media. However, there is one problem- you just do not know if any of this is working better than the other. You spent time installing a web analytics solution, but many sources are listed as direct/others and you can’t figure out if they were from your email marketing campaigns or something else.

Whether you are a savvy blogger or a smart, hands-on small business owner who uses the web to connect, market and sell- there is one major part of the RoI jigsaw puzzle- tracking your off-site marketing campaigns. Sure you can use some existing ad tracking applications- but knowing that blogging and start ups are cash stranded, that might not be a very good idea.

I recently developed a marketing tool- a simple spreadsheet app that you can use to generate tracking tags for your marketing campaigns. And it is not just for online marketing, if you are creative, you can even use it for tracking your offline campaigns.

Interested? Read on. One caveat though. This works if you use Google Analytics (GA) as your web analytics tool. Not too much of a problem I presume- as GA is free and going by the success of it, it is likely that you’d be using this any which ways. In case you do not, I recommend that you do. (No- not getting paid to say this).

To access the tool, click on the link: ChasingTheStorm campaign tracking tool

It is a Google Docs spreadsheet- so you can log in using your Google ID, export the cells in your excel or spreadsheet, follow some simple instructions- and there you go.

There is a detailed explanation on ChasingTheStorm on how to use the sheet. Some details are also available on Google Analytics blog - and the inspiration to make the tool comes from there, though I have explained in a manner I thought would add value to the discussion. Of course, Google does not have a tool- they just have the theory.

Essentially- the sheet has 5 columns that need filled up- all according to your understanding and convenience. The 5 columns refer to the campaign variables that you as a marketer- populate. These variables will tell you about the source of the referrer and give you more detailed insights into the traffic emanating from your various campaigns.

The last cell has a formula that need not be changed- as it takes on the inputs from all those cells and then automatically develops a redirect/tracking code/tag.

What are the ways you can use this (there could be many ingenious uses that you can use this for):

  • You could insert it as links in your email newsletter- and track not only one link- but use to track what call to action drives most traffic to your website
  • If you track conversions, you could attribute this to conversions as well
  • You could use this to update your status messages on your social network- and track people coming to the site from your social network
  • You could even use it in your offline campaign- use URL shortening using a web service- and put the URL in your offline DM or newspaper classifieds ad. Track how many people visit your website after seeing this ad. Cool eh?
  • You could use the auto tagging feature for your PPC campaigns across search engines and see which KWs are converting better

Are there any other ways that you think you can use the tracking for? Let us have the discussion continue for the benefit of all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Posts at The Market Research Event

As the year draws to a close, let's look at the most popular posts from TMRE in 2008! Most of the top posts were live blogged from the TMRE conference in Anaheim! If you weren't there, take a chance to look back and find out what happened!

Top 5 posts of 2008 on TMRE:

Really Cool Research Deliverables

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s Targeted Shopper Marketing Approach

Who's Drinking the Wine?

So Many Presentations, So Little Time

What Women Want

Best of Community 2.0 in 2008!

As the year draws to a close, lets look back at some of the most popular posts from Community 2.0 in 2008!

Here were the top 5:

B2B Advertising in Social Networks are Increasing

Podcast conversation with Dawn Lacallade

American Express adopts social media: OPEN Forum

Podcast conversation with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh

Pros and Cons of Social News Sites

Customers 1st in 2008

As the year draws to a close, lets look back at some of the most popular posts from NACCM Customers 1st in 2008!

Most came to us live from NACCM. Even if you weren't in Anaheim to experience the Customers 1st event, you could still be in touch with everything that was going on at the event.
Enjoy the top posts of the year!

NACCM 2008: We Are All Storytellers

NACCM 2008: What's Your Red Ball

Day 1 Keynotes - It's all about people!

Speaker Profile: Frank Capek

Friday, December 19, 2008

Social media diary 19/12/2008 - Skype

Skype Limited

Skype launches video cards in Facebook

Just in time, perhaps, for those of us who haven't yet sent all our Christmas cards, Skype this week launched Skype Video Cards, as both an application in Facebook and also as a standalone feature at

The concept is quite simple and it works well as a Facebook application. You choose a basic card, record your video message and send this to your friends. They receive a personalised flash video message from you (and with Skype branding!). It's a nice application, and out with good timing as we enter the festive season with a force. It's simple to use (in four clicks you can create a card), creates a personal message and sends a flash video card which means it can be viewed directly from a web browser.

So what can we learn from this?

One question that this application raises is why is Skype doing this? As some people have noted, the video card tool doesn't make use of any Skype technology, it doesn't even integrate with your Skype contacts list to send to your friends.

For me this doesn't matter, especially not for the Facebook application. If this were only a standalone feature, then it would be odd that it didn't actually showcase the product whose brand it carried. But in Facebook, and indeed in other social networks, it is not so easy to market and product-place in this way.

As we've written about before, it can be very difficult to advertise in social networks. Primarily because social networks are social environments with social rules. People are there for their own, personal reasons - to upload their photos, network with their friends, plan their events and talk about issues that are of interest to them. It's a 'me' space and when brands enter this they need to be fully aware of the social rules they must abide by. It's not that easy to just place your product in front of people or pump your marketing message to them.

This is why the Skype Video Card application works for me. Rather than trying to integrate their actual product and develop an application that people will use and forward to their friends. Instead they opted for the solution of creating an application that creates real value for the users (especially those who have forgotten to send holiday greetings already) and allows the Skype brand to be associated with this.

Facebook and other social networks can be scary places for brands, and difficult places for them to succeed in. My advice: think first how you can add value to the users experience and then put your brand on it. You have a great chance of being successful, and of getting that brand forwarded round the internet faster than you could hope for.

From the FreshNetworks Blog

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Service Innovation

At Customer Experience Crossroads, the recently talked about a new customer service innovation. The CAA came to replace a car battery in a timely manner at the customers house, instead of the customer having to wait for hours inline at a store. Services like this gains trust from

Service innovation: Save your customers time. Save them hassle. Take the service to them. Result: Induce loyalty. Provide a new service that makes money. Earn unpaid media.

Market Research Through iPhone

I came across this YouTube video from the Fox Business Network with Christian J. Ward, CEO of Ockham Research, in which he unveils their new application on the iPhone called Stockrazor. Unlike the app that comes with the iPhone that allows you to solely check your stock quotes, Stockrazor gives an in-depth fundamental analysis going after cash numbers, sales numbers, and dividends. Take a look at the video here.

How can marketers use Web 2.0?

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

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cultivate your current customers

Robert G. Howard at CustomersThink recently wrote an article on cultivating your current customers. Often times, they're lost in the focus to attract new customers. If a company focuses on them, then the revenues generated from the existing customer can lead to a higher lifetime value at your company.

He related several ways you can do this for your customers:
  1. Relate: Relate with your customers through regular and meaningful contact, observations, and ongoing interactions.
  2. Retain: Retain your customers by creating barriers to switching to a competitor and create an atmosphere of exclusivity.
  3. Expand: Expand your relationship with your customers by offering complimentary products and services on an ongoing basis.
  4. Innovate: Keep your customers excited and engaged by surprising them with new product innovations or special bundles that are tailored just for them.
  5. Analyze: Analyze your customer behaviors and cultivation activities to predict and anticipate future wants and needs.

The 2009 Consumer

So are you preparing for the 2009 year? With the current economic situation, it's important to be in sync with your customers, and know what they're ready to buy. has posted some of the things consumers are going to be looking for next year.

Everything you need to know about your customers

Jacob Morgan recently wrote a great post about why your business needs to be online. He pointed out that 1.5 billion people are online throughout the world, and they're using search engines to find out more about what they're interested in. Yahoo, Google, and YouTube are some of the most visited sites on the internet. They're already taking time to find you and engage about a topic pertaining to your product or service. When they arrive at your site, you are already given useful information to determine who they are and how to target them: who they are, how they find you, where they come from, what languages they speak, what they click on, how long they visit your site, and what pay they take through your site.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Google Trends...are you following them

I recently found an article at Ezine that looks at how valuable Google Trends can be for you and understanding your market online.

Some benefits of Google Trends are:
-Viewing and monitoring online search results
-Supporting information and current relative news trends that surround your web site's focus
-Find out who is searching for your information and where they're searching from

Read the article for a focused look at what you can do to leverage Google Trends as research.

Need a holiday light tour?

Recently, at Fox News, they focused on the online community Tacky Light Tour. Matt Burgess of Richmond, Virginia, started this online community which plots houses with more than 10,000 holiday lights up on an online map. Families can then hop in the car and follow the map's directions to be treated to a festive treat. The maps started out in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, but have since spread across the country.

Dell begins to charge for American customer service

In a recent article in the Washington Post, the reveal that Dell is instituting a new customer service policy. For customers who buy a new PC, they have the option of paying $12.95 a month or $99 a year to receive a North American customer service representative as well as less than a two minute wait time. However, if customers choose not to pay this fee, they'll receive customer service representatives from India or the Philippines.

What do you think about this? Don Reisinger shared his opinion here. Should consumers have to pay for customer service? Or is Dell defining the line between technical support and customer service?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Abercrombie not following the market

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

How do people use their RSS feeds?

An interesting poll taken by the Social Media Club shows where people read their RSS feeds. Out of his 170 respondents, 146 people read their readers during work hours. Following that, 96 people read their feeds in the living room. Interesting numbers may be that 18 people read while in the car and 11 while walking.

What do you think? When do your posts go live? How can you take this information and promote your blog?

Sampling methods

Quirks recently posted the most common ways to collect data for samples in the USA. They are: face-to-face, address based, RDD telephone (random digit dialing), directory listed telephone, low-incidence targeting and the internet. The article also points out that combining several different methods can prove to be very effective. Read more here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Social media diary 12/12/2008 - PlayStation

Sony launches online community for PlayStation gamers

After many years in development, this week Sony launched PlayStation Home, an online community for Playstation gamers.

The community is something of a virtual clubhouse for PlayStation owners. All registered PlayStation Network users will be able to create their own avatar and then interact with others in a 3D environment. Some are calling this a cross between Facebook and Second Life, but this is really an online community of gamers. Members will be able to chat with and text each other, build their own 'home' and explore those of other members, and take part in mini games and special events.

Building on the popular chat functions that sit alongside many online games, the concept of a central community that allows members to meet and join games has been in development for a number of years. The beta launch of PlayStation Home this week shows us what Sony has to rival Microsoft and to enhance the gaming experience. As Kazuo Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, says:

PlayStation Home is truly a promising network community service. We are committed to providing PS3 users with exciting gaming experiences with PlayStation Home and together with our partners and users, expand the new world of interactive entertainment as we move forward.

So what can we learn from this?

To some extent Sony is providing its gamers with something they have wanted for some time - a way to meet and exchange with other gamers, to easily identify and join multi-player games and to extend and enhance their experience of using the PlayStation.

There has been much discussion over the last couple of days about the actual functionality and use of PlayStation Home. Microsoft called the technology as "outdated" and some features are not yet live - streaming video and music will be in a later release. But overall response from gamers themselves has been quite positive.

Undoubtedly Sony hope that Home will be a success, and for me success would be if they retain gamers for longer periods of time because of this. They can monetise Home quite easily, either by selling functionality or features within the environment itself (such as selling houses or other property to users or taking a cut of peer-to-peer sales). Or they can monetise through charging for downloads, streaming music and video and entry to special events and games. And let's not forget the benefit they might be able to get from advertising if they so desired.

This kind of online community may seem like a clear candidate for success, and it is certainly true that the members share a common interest and goal (something that is critical to success of any community). But perhaps the real marker of success will be if the community fills a real need that the members have. Home needs to focus on gaming and on making gaming, easier, more fun and perhaps more challenging. They're not building a new Second Life (or Facebook, Bebo or anything) as some people have suggested. Rather they've identified a need that their gamers have and are using social media and online communities to help meet this need. Always a good strategy.

From the FreshNetworks Blog

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Don't fall into the traps

At The Inquirer, they recently addressed consumer insights and how they affect market research. One particular section that caught my eye was two traps that will keep you from finding new market opportunities for your customers.

Don't fall into these traps:
1) Begin held back by your best practice, or fear of the unfamiliar
2) A mindset that complex and sophisticated search and market understanding, or market approaches that are at the expense of similar but richer ones

Sprint to cut call centers reports that Sprint CSO Bob Johnson could be planning to close as many as 20 call centers in 2009. They are expecting a 20% drop in calls about billing and handsets due to improvement in Sprint service. Johnson also cites that customers call Sprint at a very high rate, more than any of their competitors.

What do you think about moves like this? Although Sprint has improved their service, do you think taking away their customer care continue to affect the reality of the situation in a positive light?

PS3 gets an online community

Yesterday, PS3 launched its online community, Home 3D launched December 11. This space is aimed at users of the consult, and allows them to interact with other users by creating online avatars, and interact with other users by chatting and playing games. Read more here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why market research needs to stay in the budget

At, they recently wrote an extensive article on why market research needs to stay in a company's budget, despite the hard economic times. It is crucial that marketers continue to know what is going on in the mind of their customer, especially in this economic down turn. The best way to do this is to continue doing market research. By seeing what customers see as "must haves" and "have nots," motivations behind their actions can be judged, and help the company continue to meet the needs of the customer. Read more here.

Test your blog

Jeremiah Owyang recently posted a mini-test for corporate blogs. It asks you to consider your Writing style, topics, Humility, Linking Behavior, Customer Inclusion, Dialog, Comment Moderation, and Frequency. This is a great way to see how your blog is doing in the blog-o-sphere and also give you the opportunity to think about how you could improve your blog.

Good customer service can go a long way

This morning, I came across this story about a great customer service experience with Dice Electronics. Dan Kusnetzky, blogger at ZDNet, was having problems with his GPS/XM Satellite radio output device. He called customer service, and they instantly replaced the device with no troubles at all. Now, not only do they have a happy customer, but thanks to social media, thousands of other potential customers have now heard how about their excellent customer service.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Measuring data from online communities

Computer World recently took a look at how some companies are mining online communities and collecting the rich amounts of data that their users can provide by using the online community. They gave Kimberly Clark as an example as one of the companies who is using their space to collect information.

Kimberly-Clark is now using the warehouse to link data compiled on its community site with customer profile information, helping it identify its most loyal customers and determine which content they view or tools they use. Thus, the company can serve up the content most sought by the site's users, Hoerter added.

Have you started mining your social networks to find out more about your customers? What have you discovered?

Value from CRM, even in today's economy

William Brand recently posted six ways for you to derive value from your CRM in the coming year, even with the current state of the economy.

1) Emergence of the social customer
2) The imperative that CRM strategies deliver business value
3) The requirement to fully cost justify CRM investments
4) The necessity to reduce risk of CRM initiatives
5) The need to get more value from customer information
6) The battle to redefine vendor pricing and licensing agreements

The Americanization of Thought leadership on the Internet

I blog on Business, Entrepreneurship and New Media- and try to publish stuff with an Asian perspective. Like most bloggers, I also turn to existing material on the web for inspiration and thought starters. However, I have been slightly perturbed by the fact that we have very little from an Asian perspective on the web. Specially thought leadership.

Have you been following the sudden surge of material on “social media”? And how almost every other theory/example that you get is from the US?

Ever gave a thought on: Why is that everyone talking about Obama being an ‘Internet President’- like he was their country's president?

Quick- name a known ‘internet’ personality: Seth Godin? Robert Scoble? Michael Arrington? Guy Kawasaki? Who else? Mitch Joel? Don’t say Avinash Kaushik or something like that- he did all that he did- guess where? Right! In the US of A.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying it is a scam or something or that it is ‘wrong’- I like both the American enterprise and these gentlemen. But it is something to ponder upon for sure.

I listed some points on Chasing The Storm- where the discussion still continues.

Here are some thought starters from the post- but you can get the full version on the post along with the comments

The thought starters:

Why is the internet so Americanized (or ‘westernized’- at best):

• Internet was developed in the US and spread from there.

• Internet is largely an English media. And still continues to be largely dominated by English- English is the business language of the world. In this part of the world, English is widely used, but largely has been the domain of the educated and the literate. Asia has many languages and many countries are pretty much self contained. Netizens in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and some South Eastern countries publish and document information in their own languages thus preventing the spread and proper dissemination of information. (Japan has the biggest blog traffic in the world- names of some famous internet personalities or marketing/thought starter/gurus or evangelists from Japan? Anyone?)

• The American obsession with documentation- It tangibalizes stuff- and increases what I call the Hype Life Cycle of the Idea/Project. In this part of the world (Asia)- documentation has not really been the best of virtues (or culture)

What Asian Netizens need to do:

• Learn best practices from the Americans- innovate, document and disseminate effectively

• Learn storytelling- the art of conceiving an idea and selling to the audience. The plot need not be ground breaking- we all know that in the end the bad guy licks dirt and the good dude gets the pretty girl. What is important is HOW the story is told. Ask Guy Kawasaki.

• Invest in research and breed thinkers.

So Phase next on the Internet should be called the Asian Internet. Not web 3.0- or some BS like that. With half of the world’s population, more than a third of world’s internet population (and number of searches conducted) and obscenely huge mobile phone numbers in Asia, this is what should happen next.

Do you feel that most content on the internet has an American origin? Do you feel that there needs to be a shift in power here as well? Like the world economic shift, financial system shift and migration shift?

Please be a part on Community 2.0 and contribute to the discussion on Chasing The Storm

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Build your company on culture

Russ Vernon recently contributed a piece to the Ohio Journal that examined how you can focus keeping loyal customers throughout this hard time. It's important that you stay relevant to your customer base, and keep your focus on your customer. You need to seek gaps that are in your market, in addition to you hiring processes, training and great customer service. So use all of these things not only to sell a product to your customer, but value as well.

Neilson now measuring radio for Clear Channel

In a recent article at Ad Week, they reveal how Neilson plans to capture numbers of listeners and what they listen to for Clear Channel. They'll be collecting using the diary method, as well as both qualitative and quantitative methods. They'll be collecting their first round of research in March and April 2009 with groups of panelists numbering from 1,200, 1,600 or 2,200, depending on the size of the market the listeners are in.

For more information, read the article.

The Twitter Song

Someone on the Community 2.0 Twitter recently mentioned this funny video Ben Widker for Twitter. Ben believes, "You're no one if you're not on Twitter, and if you aren't there already, you missed it." It makes a strong case for the use of Twitter in your business.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Market research in developing countries

When expanding to a new country, it's important to get a grasp on the new culture your product is targeted to. With a new culture, market research could prove to be easier for several reasons: the response rates from door-to-door interviews could be as high as 90%, interviews are cheap and plentiful, and the structure of the culture often makes it easy to identify the sources for respondents. For more on effective market research in developing countries, read Quirks' An insider's guide to conducting effective research in developing countries.

Customer profitability today

At Customers Think, they've addressed a common issue -- why does customer profitability decrease as sales revenue increases? In today's current economic environment, companies are trying to keep up sales, which often leads to special buying programs, prizes, rebates, and quality purchase discounts to sell to more customers. The customers who buy at this time are the customers who only buy when the prices are low, and rarely lead to a consistent profit. The price slashing cycle leads to the same number of products sold, but a decreased amount of revenue, creating a vicious cycle. Attracting new customers is necessary, but customers who do not turn a profit are problematic.

What do you think? Have you come across this in your customer base?

Increase your readership

At Social Media Today, Josh Peters recently commented on how to increase your blog readership. Get involved in the conversation going on around the web. People are out there talking about the topic of your blog, so throw in your opinions on their posts or Twitter comments. People will make it back to your blog if you give them a reason to read it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The next generation's customer service

I found this article at Business Week which addresses how PNC Bank is attracting new customers daily. They're attracting 130 new customers a day for their simplistic new checking account called "The Virtual Wallet." They've spoken to the Generation Y by giving them a simplistic way manage their money online, with three simple options Spend, Reserve, and Growth. They've also limited the number of checks they can write in a month, and charge for transferring money over the phone.

Do you see this as the customer service of the future? PNC Bank has created a system where the only way they interact with their customer is through a website, but it's very popular with the young consumer, who will domoinate the market in 20 years. What do you think?

Social media diary 5/12/2008 - Orange

Orange launches 'Film Club' online community

I'm a big fan of mobile operator Orange's involvement with film and cinemas in the UK - from their amusing adverts in cinemas (including this with Rob Lowe) to their Orange Wednesdays offer where Orange customers can take a friend to the cinema for free.

To date they haven't formally used social media to engage people around their film associations, but this week they launched The Film Club. In Facebook and Bebo, this 'club' is actually an application that gives users access to free preview screenings, exclusive competitions, trailers, reviews and other film related content. The Club also lets you see which of your friends are taking advantage of the Orange Wednesdays offer, and if you're not an Orange customer you can poke your friends who are and ask them to take you.

For Orange this move is all about capitalising upon their association with film and being seen as providing a place for people to share this passion with them. As Spencer McHugh, head of brand communications at Orange, says:

The new Film Club communities give movie fans on Facebook and Bebo a place to come together and chat about the things they love most.

So what can we learn from this?

At FreshNetworks we talk a lot, and have indeed posted a lot in the past, about the difference between online communities and social networks and about how building a community online is as much about building an actual community of people as it is about doing it online. What Orange have done with their Orange Film Club is to cleverly and astutely leverage social networks (in this case Facebook and Bebo) to help connect their users and act as a portal for all their film-related content and activities. But building a true community in these social networks is notoriously difficult for a brand to do.

People invariably spend time in social networks for very self-centred issues - it's a 'me' place where I upload my photos, plan my events, talk to my friends and join groups that reflect me. From this angle it is clearly a great place for Orange to bring together all of its members who engage with it on film - taking advantage of their offers or watching their content. This one-to-one relationship between Orange and individual fans or customers will continue. Building a real community, where it is these fans who also grow the discussions and content and where they talk to each other and form bonds might prove more difficult.

A community tends to have a common purpose or something they are all contributing to, it tends to have no leaders but everybody (brand and fans alike) being equal members) and it needs careful design and guidance to make it grow and flourish (a bit like a garden can grow on its own but needs a gardener to look at its best). In Facebook (or any social networks) it's difficult to do the latter and as a very public space people are often unwilling to start discussions and build that real community feel.

So if Orange wanted to build and grow a large and flourishing film community, they may find doing it in Facebook or Bebo hard. If, on the other hand, they want to bring together all their activities and fans in this space into a convenient place then things will be much easier to do. I suspect this is what they want - making it easier for both parties to find content and engage on film. However, I hope this is the precursor to something. I hope they are planning an online community here. It could be great, and their brand could really help it to work - online and on the go.

From the FreshNetworks Blog

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Interesting Learnings on "The Experience Generation"

Hello all, it's been several weeks since I was on hand at TMRE 2008 and had a chance to share with you all my perspectives from the conference. There was so much to participate in, there were still some thoughts I had that I now finally have the chance to share with you all. I had the pleasure of meeting both Tamara Sachs, CEO and Robert Miner, President of SachsInsights at The Market Research Event in October. We posted some details from this presentation before. Their compelling qualitative research work is supplemented with high quality "video storytelling", and it's fascinating!

I was fortunate to sit in. So here is a small clip of the workshop Robert Miner gave on "MilleniAdults--the experience generation."

Mr. Miner mentioned several key points that define this segment:

1) Belief in a Kaleidoscope of Options

2) Definition of Success Varies Across the Segment (financially secure, life experiences, making a difference)

3) Entry Level Debt

4) Online Social Networking

For more video footage of the ethnographic study conducted by SachsInsights, you can visit their website.

Good stuff!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Asian businesses and the use of microblogging

This blog is posted on behalf of Shalabh Pandey who is Editor at

So you think you have seen and heard enough on the evolution, usage and effectiveness of this phenomenon called Twitter. Present almost everywhere on every social media or marketing centric site- this one topic is an omnipresent feature of today's ubiquitous opinion led conversation culture.

Many businesses and consultants have jumped into utilizing this tool- pushed by the harsh realities of today’s extremely fragmented consumer attention that pans across media.

Since this is causing such a storm, I wanted to do a check- like most marketing ‘hypes’- is this something that is largely US centric? A concern echoed by this post on- the Americanization of the Internet. Or is this a worldwide phenomenon?

Having worked in the Asian digital marketing space for about a decade, I know this is gaining traction very fast. A taste of this was seen recently during the ghastly terror attacks that shook Mumbai (and the world)- when Twitter was full of hash tags related to Mumbai. Ditto on the ongoing stand off in Thailand- though not of a similar scale as Mumbai.

But the issue is – are businesses in Asia using Twitter as a customer engagement tool? The answer from my post – probably not! I did an extensive research across all online social networks- tweeted on my Twitter network, asked questions on Facebook and LinkedIn, researched companies in general on twitter (using Twellow, Twitterlocal and other tools), sent DMs on Twitter- to brands and people with seemingly relevant accounts, researched whom they followed and tried to find if they had easily identifiable Asian accounts as well.

And what I found- as a result of this collective intelligence gathering was that – Businesses are not using microblogging very much in Asia. Full story on Twitter usage by businesses in Asia.

Though there are some interesting case studies in the post, and some interesting people and profiles, the number of businesses participating and using these tools is really quite limited.

Which leads us to the inevitable question- What could be the reasons behind this? Asia is home to most ‘thumb happy’ people in the world (You know what I mean). Billions of text messages flow every month- and every Asian country has its own mobile claim to fame- Phillippines becoming the SMS capital of the world, India exploding at the seams with mobile penetrations- and Vietnam and Indonesia touted as the next mobile tigers. I am not even talking about Korea and Japan, where they do unimaginable stuff (and I mean marketing and conversation wise) with their handphones. China of course has more twitter and iPhone clones than probably the rest of the world’s put together. And again, from Brand perspective- there are multinational companies that are using these tools elsewhere but not in Asia! So the big question is- why?

While the aim of the post was to gather information from the wisdom of the crowds, my top 5 reasons could be:
A) There is not enough traction in the market when it comes to online advertising. It is still treated as somewhat of a novelty and marketing budgets hover from less than 1% to close to 10% in some economies
B) Internet usage has exploded but still mobile-internet usage is relatively a niche and complex concept. Lifestreaming on the go is a novelty at best
C) Because of the above two, businesses are more interested in hygiene activities and hold on to the ‘new’ phenomenon till they start becoming mainstream
D) Marketers are more cautious in general and like to spend in tried and tested tools/vehicles
E) MNC marketing teams by regions do not converse effectively when it comes to marketing innovations (though they do so on marketing best practices I believe)

These are my takes on the results- what are yours? Have you come across any examples of businesses using twitter or any microblogging tool? Even if they are not Asian- do you have any interesting stories to share? Let’s collaborate.

Shalabh Pandey

What the Mind Believes

This is posted on behalf of JoAnna Brandi. It is co-posted on the Customers 1st Blog and JoAnna Brandi blogs.

Last week I had the honor to chair the North American Conference on Customer Management’s Customer First conference in Anaheim, CA at Disneyland. What a treat. (You can read more about it in this week’s tip)

One of the several speakers I had the honor to introduce was Robert Stephens, the founder of the Geek Squad.

I was so happy to have a chance to spend a few quiet moments with Stephen in the ballroom before the sessions began. I’ve been talking about Robert for years in my speeches and retelling a story I heard a famous speaker tell years ago. I wanted to hear Robert tell the story and add a few details.

I was shocked (not to mention embarrassed) to find out that I have been “lying” about the origins of the Geek Squad for years. Robert was gracious about it and shared a few moments with me before it was time to introduce him. I was thrilled to talk to him personally, so I didn’t read the printed introduction that was given to me in my chairperson pack.

Up I go to the stage with my printed introduction in hand. He’s an impressive guy and so I decided to read some of his interesting credentials before adding in my personal thoughts. Right there on the paper it said, “In 2002, The Geek Squad acquired Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy US and Canadian stores.”

I saw it on the page, but before opening my mouth, my mind decided this could not be so and so I said, “Best Buy acquired the Geek Squad” instead, figuring it must be wrong. Nope, it was right and I was wrong.

Later in the day, after I had made a personal apology to Robert, I apologized to the entire audience, explaining what I thought happened.

Because it seemed so impossible to me that a midsize service company could possibly buy a “big box” store, I assumed that what I saw on the page was incorrect. Talk about the old adage - when we assume it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. I’m still embarrased.

Because I wondered if this was happening to others as well as me, I asked the audience how many of them thought that Best Buy had bought the Geek Squad rather than the other way around - half the audience did.

It’s a great example of seeing what we want to see. When our belief system is strong it simply won’t let in information to the contrary.

I am truly humbled by the experience.

Robert taught us that what we need to create today is an “Authentic Experience” and I’ll tell you - my embarrassment was an authentic as it gets. Yikes.

Robert, I learned so many valuable lessons from you last week - the most important of which were those I learned about myself.

If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi was a keynote speaker and conference chair at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!

Just a little market research goes a long way

Karyn Greenstreet recently commented on the importance of market research, no matter what the size of the company. Doing a little market research, and that's more than the few people who are within your company, can go a long way. Find out if people want your product before you push it out into the market. She's also written two other articles on market research, "Ground Truth" and the Importance of Market Research and Yes You CAN Do Your Own Market Research.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

European Demography Report out

Demographics can be a huge asset when companies are trying to figure who what their customers want. The European Demography Report recently came on November 21. Have a look at it here. What kind of valuable information do you find in a report like this?

Twitter says no to Facebook for now

In San Fransisco yesterday, Twitter chief executive and co-founder Evan Williams said they've turned down a Facebook offer of $500 million, which was mostly in stock. They believe they still have many things left to do as a company, including turning a profit. This company, which is just two years old would like to stay away from turning a profit by making revenue from sales ads. For more on the story, read this article at the New York Times.

Customer loyatly goes a long way

In a recent article at The Motley Fool, they look at how some stores have made it their goal to focus on the customer, and as a result are having an easier time with the current recession. They also state that over the course of five years, companies lose 1/2 their customers, and of those 2/3 claim that customer service is their reason for leaving.

Some companies realize the value of keeping customers, and are reponsible for such statistics as increasing customer loyalty by 5% can increase your profits by 25%. These stores include Best Buy, Nordstrom, Amazon, and LL Bean.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Measuring ROI for Market Research

According to Nick Hague, 74% of Pharma companies do not calculate their ROI for market research. Of that 74%, 39% don't do any sort of performance measurement and the others rely on the satisfaction levels of their internal clients for research. Most of the companies believe that the more general the market research objective is, the harder it is to calculate the ROI for the market research.

What do you think about this? One of the major reasons Pharma companies don't do market research is because the fact that market research comes so early in the chain of events leading to a project launch – it is far removed from the end result. What do you think? Do you agree with this?

Customer service help? $15 please

With a struggling economy, many companies are trying to find the extra dollars to keep going. At The Consumerist, they tell about the latest fee at Mervyn's, a department store that's currently closing all its locations. One customer called to pay her bill over the phone, and was informed that she'd have to pay $15 for any service over the phone, whether or not she was calling to pay her bill or addressing another issue.

Even though the company is going out of business, they're still not treating their customers with much respect. What other ways have you seen customer service falter due to the current economic situation?

Twitter and Word-of-Mouth marketing

Jeremiah Owyang recently discussed the power that word of mouth marketing has, especially when combined with Twitter. The rapid speed at which information can be disbursed on Twitter makes it a powerful source for this type of marketing. If someone takes the time to retweet what you've said, not only did that take it as a source of information, but they went on to share that information with all of their friends.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Facebook's next quest

The New York Times recently looked at Facebook's newest quest to make the web a more social place. After Beacon's explosion last year, they're hoping that FacebookConnect with help Facebook users connect with their friends across the web. Users will log into certain sites, and they can see the activity of their friends across the web, with websites including the Discovery Channel, the San Fransisco Chronicle, Digg, Geni, and Hulu. These sites are also working together so that Facebook users can log in on one site and have it carry across teh web so they don't have to sign in at every single access point. Facebook is hoping this will turn into a way to generate more revenue, but also have taken precautions to offer extended privacy to its users.

What do you think about Facebook's newest tool? Will it result in another Beacon or will Facebook users begin to warm to the social web?

What may be stopping you from customer centricity

At the Top Marketing Blog, they recently looked into why some companies who are looking to develop customer centricity may be failing.

-They may be failing to understand the customer. Who is your customer? Do you realize that 20% of your customer base generates 80% of your profit?
-They may be failing to support an external customer centric strategy by not having an internal customer centric strategy. It's important to have your employees at the center of your company first so they can then turn into the face of your customer-centric company.
- They may be failing to identify the moment of truth. Companies may have problems measuring their customer service strategies.

Measuring coupon usage

In the December edition of CPG Matters, they address the issue of companies investing in coupons, and then being unable to fully understand and analyze what motivates customers to use them.

Bill Bittner, president of BWH Consulting of Mahwah, New Jersey, states "Measuring coupon effect is not done in a vacuum. It's difficult to sort out the single effect of a coupon. There are so many factors that affect performance, the general economy being the big one today, I don't know how you isolate."

To conduct this specific research, APT advocates that tests and controls be set up for retailer-CPG colalboration, by dividing a chain's loyalty cardholders into many test groups to receive different offers, based on thier prior spending patterns. The controls are samples held out from each of these group to not receive a particular offer.

Then, the researchers must look at both the tests groups and the controls. Find out more about these tests here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Trying something new

The Amarach Research blog notes that focus groups can be very difficult for a group of people to imagine doing something they've never done. They then point to this very interesting Wine Flavor chart which helps those who may not know what they are tasting.

How do you get over road bumps like this in your focus groups?

Reaching Gen Y

At Customer Experience Matters, they recently discussed how to get Gen Y's attention online. They focus the importance of immediacy, and how online websites need to reflect the the most current information available to keep their attention.

They provided three strategies:
  1. Refresh and update content constantly. Changing content frequently and updating feature page elements on a regular basis give users a reason to return over time.
  2. Expose value immediately. Delivering clear calls to action and interactive cues help draw young visitors into experiences right away.
  3. Provide frequent feedback. Presenting notifications, rewards, and other feedback to users throughout an experience keeps them alert and engaged.
What other strategies would you suggest?

Could your community already be out there?

The answer is yes. In a recent article by John Bishop, he looks at how you can find the customers that are already on the web talking about your product. Find out where they are. Use Facebook them down to specific locations and interests, the follow their chatter and monitor the buzz in the industry and react to it. Join the conversation when they start talking about your brand, and even create a few threads that promote a conversation around it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What type of research can you get from social networks?

David C. Skul has a great video up about how to use the data you get from your social networks as research. You can ask those in your targeted group for their opinions, collect data through polls, you can see the exact demographics that your targeting (as they are in your group) and it's a way to get traffic to your site.

Watch the video here:

Keeping your customers in tough economic times

Over at CustomerThink, they recently wrote a great post about what you should do in these tough economic times to retain your customers. As you'll see budget cuts to the sources that bring in your customers - like marketing and advertising - it's critical to keep the customers you currently have. Took keep them through these difficult times, you must keep your customer service quality high and give them no excuse to switch to a competitor.

What can you cook up?

Beth Dunn recently wrote about the importance of social media in the hard financial times that are upon us. However, she looks at it implementing a social media plan as something that's easy to do, and you may already have some know-how on your team at the workplace. Someone may already know how to engage the right audience through Twitter, and another may have great writing skills for a blog. With just a little time and effort, you could jump into the world of social media and start connecting with your target market. Read more here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Market entry strategy

EuroITX has a great white paper that rundown of how to collect market research and use it to enter the European market.

Where are blogs going?

What is the future of blogs? Jamshed Wadia recently explained in depth why blogs are hear to stay, because not only do they provide a face for a brand and an outlet for expressions, but they're a key part to any social media strategy.

He listed several reasons why he believes they're here to stay:

1. Personal expression
2. Stories not covered or ignored by mainstream media
3. Show case personal talent
4. Building Personal brands
5. Social Causes and non profit Fund Raising
6. Evangelistic blogs
7. Keeping in touch with customers

For a more in depth look at why he sees these as important factors, read here.

Passionate customers deserve a passionate brand

Matt Rhodes took some time to examine the relationship between brands and their loyal customers. He points out that often times, the customers are more passionate about the brand than than the brand is about them. The brand needs to find a two-way street to start recognizing these loyal customers, who can often be a solid source for word of mouth marketing. Opening up and using social media can be a great way to do this. It can open up communication, and let you show your customers you appreciate them.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Social media diary 21/11/2008 - Sydney

Sydney uses MySpace to attract visitors

This week saw the launch of MySpace MySydney, a community for people who want to move to Sydney on a working visa. The page pitches itself as an online community and 'Ben' is your host (he's the one on the video on the homepage). The site contains information on how to get a visa, travel information, advice on Sydney as a place to live and work and also aims to be a hub for networking with others in the same situation as you.

The site is from the Tourism New South Wales who are hoping to capitalise upon recent changes in the work and holiday visa regulations for US students. It's now easier than it was for those from North America to get these visas and this MySpace site supports a wider marketing and social media push accompanying the change.

So what can we learn from this?

We've covered a lot of travel initiatives recently in the Social Media Diary - from BA's Metrotwin, to Amex's community for travel managers and Air France-KLM's Bluenity. Travel is certainly an area where social networking and online communities are being used more and more to engage people. We see this at FreshNetworks, where the latest community we helped to launch this week is for a big UK travel brand. Travel has a number of great hooks for activities in social media - some people need information and have questions that other users can answer based on their experiences, it's a subject that lends itself well to media and there is the opportunity for connecting people doing similar things in similar places. We're seeing different travel brands trying different things - from setting up their own online communities, to interacting with people on Facebook or MySpace, providing social networking tools or just blogging.

Some of these initiatives are successful and some aren't. What it seems that Sydney hope to achieve with this site is to present a lot of genuinely useful information in a way that is relevant to their target audience. They also hope to leverage some social networking - getting people in similar situations to get together, meet each other, share ideas and thoughts and between them build the usefulness of the site. This is an interesting proposition and I'll be following how it pans out. Whilst I can see the clear benefit of the marketing and informational element of the site, I'll be watching to see how (and in fact if) the social networking side of the proposition develops.

Whilst we often say that it is difficult for a brand to get a real presence in a social network, there is a real power of social networks to help people find others going through the same situation or with similar interests to them. It may be that getting people considering a move to Sydney to meet each other in MySpace might just work. We'll wait and see.

From the FreshNetworks Blog

Read all our Social Media Diary entries

Subscribe to updates from the FreshNetworks Blog

Measuring social media ROI

Social media ROI is a common topic in this community. How do we prove that our online efforts are making a difference? Kyle Flaherty wrote a great article at how we can look at this.

The next generation is particularly tech savvy, and a recent social media campaign for Twilight has proven that networking with your audience can prove that good social networking can turn into revenue. The social media campaign that involved widgets and networking resulted in a soundtrack that was #1 on the Billboard charts before the movie was released, high pre-sales in movie tickets and a continual presence in the best selling category for the books. Read more about it in The Standard.

The soundtrack marketing effort has been highly successful, ranging from videos released on author Stephenie Meyer's site to exclusives available for fans depending on format and place of purchase: iTunes has a digital booklet and three additional songs, while the physical CD contains a poster from the movie, with several different posters randomly placed in the CD cases.

There was also significant buzz created by exclusively debuting the trailers online for the fans.

Online ticket sales are booming as well, spurred by everything from movie trailers debuted exclusively at different sites to widgets available for social networking sites. Those who purchase presale tickets from or Fandango receive a code for a free music remix from iTunes.

Why do you think this is such a big social media phenomenon? We already wrote in August about this community with the book series, and now it's translated into revenue for the movie industry. Now this social media and networking has translated into revenue for the record industry and Hollywood. What can you take from this example and use for your campaigns?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How to Maintain a Successful Community

This is the third and final post in my corporate community series this week. The previous posts covered planning and getting started with your corporate community, and this installment continues the discussion with tips about what to do and what to avoid doing if you want to have a successful corporate community. While some of these tips are specific to corporate communities, most of them also apply to other types of communities as well.

The are many ways for a company to encourage or discourage participation in their community just by the way employees behave in the community, the way the community is facilitated, and how the infrastructure is maintained. There are a few things you can do to help ensure that the community successful, while other activities are likely to drive the community away. This post will cover both the do's and don'ts along with some tips for maintaining a successful community.

What makes a community work

Being open and transparent. Being as open and transparent as possible will improve trust within the community. It often helps to explain the “why” behind some of your decisions to avoid being seen as closed or defensive. In general people are more understanding, especially about difficult topics if you can explain why the company responds in a certain way.

A company who listens (to good and bad). It is easy to listen and respond when people say nice things about you or your company, but you should also be responding when people complain or provide negative feedback. The key is to respond constructively with something helpful: a suggestion, information about upcoming changes, or just a simple thank you.

Actively engaged in the community. The company should not dominate the community, but they should be actively participating by creating new content, responding to feedback, and in general being visible in the community.

Encouraging new members. Whenever possible, welcome new members of the community, especially if they are particularly actively in the community.

Making it easy for people to participate. Reduce the barriers to entry for people to participate and make it as easy as possible to join the community. Allowing people to view content before joining and a simple sign-up form with very few required fields can go a long way toward reducing the barriers to participation.

Integration into other relevant areas of the site. In most cases, it is simple to pull information from your community into static areas of your website. This makes your static website seem less static, and it drives more people to your community when they see a piece of content that they are interested in reading. For example, if you have a static page describing your efforts in sustainability, you could pull the 5 most recent blog posts or discussions from the sustainability section of your community into a sidebar on the static page.

What to avoid

Community is lip service. People can tell when a company creates a community to give the appearance of listening, while not really considering it a serious endeavor. If you aren't serious about engaging with your community, then you might be better off not spending the effort to create one.

Pushing marketing messages. When pushing marketing messages out to the community members takes precedence over 2-way conversations and collaboration, you will start to see your community disappear. A community is about conversations between people, and you can talk about your products, but it should be done in a relevant and conversational tone, instead of sounding like a pitch or advertisement.

Deleting the negative. You should be responding to criticism, not deleting it. Again, communities are about conversation. If people feel like you are putting duct tape over their mouths when they express anything negative about the company, these people will simply leave their negative comments somewhere else on the internet where it is likely more people will see the criticism and not hear your side of the story.

Barriers to collaboration. Community software, configuration, or policies can often create barriers to collaboration. Configure the software to make it easy for people to find content and sign up for the community. Your policies should create guidelines for use that help keep the community healthy without being so heavy handed that people aren't interested in participating. Flickr's community guidelines are a good example of how to write guidelines that are simple and even fun to read.

Neglected communities. Nobody wants to participate in a corporate community where no one in the company monitors or responds to questions or feedback. There are too many of these floating around the internet, so make sure that you have the resources to give your community care and feeding over the life of the community.

No community is perfect

You need to keep in mind that no community will ever be perfect: things will go wrong; your community software will have bugs; and people will get defensive or irate. In addition to the internal factors in the community, there are external influences that can creep into the community. Companies have PR nightmares that drive people into the community in droves to complain, but in great communities, the company responds effectively, addresses the issue, and works to resolve it quickly. When you have one of these crisis situations, keep the focus on summarizing and fixing, instead of blaming and justifying. Maintain open communication channels and deal with these imperfections and issues as quickly and openly as possible.

What are your favorite tips to help companies have great communities?

If you are interested in reading more of my content, you can find it on the Fast Wonder Blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zuckerberg: Facebook will one day broadcast our emotions.

From Valleywag:

In a conversation with GQ, Mark Zuckerberg reveals that he hopes Facebook will one day broadcast its users very emotions. Alex French probes him on this issue in the following exchange:

(12:25 p.m.) Alex: How’s things?
(12:25 p.m.) Mark: There’s this definite evolution happening. Where the first part of the social web was mapping out the social graph. And the second phase is now mapping out the stream of everything that everyone does. All of human consciousness and communication.
(12:29 p.m.) Alex: Imagine if you could broadcast people’s emotions into a feed?
(12:30 p.m.) Mark: I think we’ll get there.
(12:30 p.m.) Alex: So how are you going to map all of human consciousness and communication?(12:30 p.m.) Mark: We don’t map it directly. We give people tools so they can share as much as they want, but increasingly people share more and more things, and there’s this trend toward sharing a greater number of smaller things like status updates, wall posts, mobile photos, etc. A status update can approach being a projection of an emotion.
(12:31 p.m.) Alex: That’s what I use it for.
(12:31 p.m.) Mark: So it’s not so crazy to say that in a few years people will be doing a lot more of that. It takes time for people to be comfortable sharing more and for the social norms to change.

For more information, click here.

New Online Research Approaches to Product Naming

In association with BuzzBack Market Research and The Market Research Event, The Institute for International Research invites you to join us for a one hour complimentary Web Seminar.

Please note two separate web seminars to accommodate our attendees from Europe and the United States.


Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 3:00 to 4:00pm GMT

Please mention priority code: MWS0016TMREEurope

Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

United States:

Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 2:00 to 3:00 EST

Please mention priority code: MWS0016TMREUSA
Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

About the web seminar:

Naming research can be particularly challenging, with different types of needs depending where you are in the naming process. In this webinar, using case studies as examples we will explore three unique online techniques that address different challenges in naming research:
IDQ, an online interactive ideation process in which consumers create and evaluate names in real time in response to a product concept. We’ll demonstrate how we generated and sorted hundreds of names in a very short period of time.
·eCollage, a highly engaging online quantitative exercise in which respondents create an online collage that communicates what a name means to them and the imagery and associations it evokes. This enables us to go beyond a name’s obvious descriptive and feature-focused characteristics to its underlying emotions and associations.
Configurator, a unique building platform for gaining quantitative understanding of naming options in context. Using this technique, names are presented in an online interactive exercise where respondents select the preferred name, icon, color and other packaging elements. Respondents decide which are most appealing and meaningful to them when imagining the products on shelf and then provide insight into why they prefer those elements.
What you will learn by attending:

New, fast and effective research methodologies that address different types of research goals in naming.


i. Name ideation: IDQ engages respondents in an exercise that generates hundreds of new name possibilities - and provides an initial evaluation and stratification of those names.

ii. Name Imagery and Communications: eCollage helps you understand emotions, images and associations that respondents have to certain names.

iii. Name selection: Configurator engages respondents in an inactive exercise that requires them to select one of several name options and then build other packaging elements around that name.

About the speaker Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Product Development, BuzzBack Market Research

Brendan leads research development and best-practices for BuzzBack. In addition to continually improving the quality of the quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytics of BuzzBack's research offerings, he pioneered BuzzBack's award-winning and patent-pending eCollage and Verbatim Viewer and leads the future development and research strategy for BuzzBack. He continues to focus on leveraging the transformative powers of the Internet to evolve respondent engagement, operational efficiency, and visualization of analytics and insight. Brendan has over 15 years of client and research supplier side experience, having also served as Research Director for Grey Interactive and as the Global Director of Ipsos-ASI Interactive.
Privacy Notice: IIR is dedicated to bringing you valuable information services such as this free Webinar. By registering for this event, you acknowledge that IIR may contact you electronically or by any other means regarding IIR's events and services. You may opt out of subsequent communications if you prefer to no longer receive them.

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Sparks fly as we dream big about Service Design

The best thing (for me) about conferences is what happens between the sessions - the conversations we have - the connections we make. We take things from various sessions and from our own experiences, share them with others and make new connections - and new ideas fly off like sparks as our community starts to connect.

A lot of those sparks this week were about Service Design.

As customer management professionals we are obsessed with perfecting the services we support:

  • Getting our people psyched to best represent our company to the customer
  • Getting the right metrics in place to drive the right behaviors,
  • Getting the variation out assuring an experience that is repeatable
  • Getting the cost of servicing down while keeping the quality up.
Sometimes it feels like we are on a treadmill that will never stop - improve, improve, improve. It’s hard, but it’s a good thing. At our best we embody what Deming was talking about with his first of fourteen points -“Create constancy of purpose towards improvement.”

But is that all there is?

From the buzz this week at the Customer 1st Conference - things are changing.

A thread running through many conversations this week has been about Service Design.

Don't just make the service better, remake the service. We are talking scary but cool – the infamous blank slate. And this conference was charged with the possibilities.

Of course improvement and redesign are related, but the change in emphasis is on what we are improving. We are more focused now on improving the customer experience than on the processes we currently use to deliver service. That great customer experience may not require ANY of the processes we currently spend a lot of time and money to make just a little bit better.

And yet, that great experience may be the key to the loyalty we almost mystically seek even while we argue a lot on how it can really be measured.

From Bill Price's opening thoughts on Sunday that maybe "the best service is no service," to a talk I heard yesterday on GSK's approach to semi-automating internal IT service delivery (I highly recommend you download this talk) - to a dinner table conversation last night about what's next in service - the possibilities for re-inventing service seem endless and the results for the customer can be what Tom Peters taught us to call WOW.

As I chatted with others this week on this topic I heard a lot of excitement, but also a bit of fear. Are the teams we lead a part of this brave new world? How do we as leaders get out in front before this wave (whatever it is) overtakes us. And there was a recurrent counterpoint in these discussions - the mantra from Day 1 - "Remember, it's all about the people."

In each of these conversations the paradoxes and the possibilities seemed to resolve towards the end. As with most problems, the answer lay within a clear statement thereof.

We weren't talking about one thing. We were talking about many things, many types of customer experiences - too often all mixed up together and measured with averages we know in our gut don't mean much.

Some experiences are and need to be very people intensive - those Disney magic moments. For others, like the GSK IT Service Catalog we just need to put the power into the customer's hands and let them do the driving.

The key, many said this week, was dreaming big about the customer experience, wondering what it could be...and then asking if you had the best service design to deliver it.