Friday, February 27, 2009

Market research helps companies go global

Web Surveys recently reported that 62% of companies who were international remained optimistic about the current state of the economy. When thinking about going international, it's very important that companies do their market research. Not only are the countries possibly speaking different languages, but they also have dramatically different cultures. Conducting market research is a must for any company thinking of going global. Read the complete article here.

Social media diary 27/2/2009 - UK National Museums

Nine museums in the UK launch Creative Spaces

This week in the UK saw the beta launch of Creative Spaces. An online community and federated search project across nine National Museums, part of the National Museums Online Learning Project (NMOLP) and involving the Tate, V&A, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, Royal Armouries, Wallace Collection and Sir John Soanes' Museum. The core idea is to provide a way for people to find, discuss and be inspired by the collections of all these museums.

The project really has two components:

  1. A federated search, allowing users to search and explore the collections across all nine museums in one place, online.
  2. An online community, allowing people to create notebooks (their own collections combining objects from the museums with their own content), create and join groups and review and add comments to objects that they like (or otherwise, of course).

It's been an ambitious project, running for a number of years and the outcomes are exciting. The ability to search across and explore the collections is of huge value. But the social elements of the site allow individuals to essentially curate their own experience. Bringing objects from the different museums together with their own content, annotating them and making their own notebook - an exhibition for others to view and comment on.

So what can we learn from this?

This is a great example of using social media and online communities in a museums context. But it is also a great example of When thinking about how to use social media and online communities, it is important for brands and organisations to explore what it is they can uniquely offer. What do they have that they can share with people, and why would people come to a site that they were running to interact.

With Creative Spaces, I think these nine museums have got it right. They have not just launched an online community, asking people to talk about art - there are many places you can do that. What these organisations can offer that is different is access to their catalogues, and by coming together to make Creative Spaces they are offering something even more unique - the ability to search the collective catalogues of some of the leading museums in the UK. They have something unique and of value that they can offer to people with this search, and also with the online community they have built to support this.

One problem with some online communities is that they focus too much on forums and verbal communication. Other media can sometimes be a more effective way of communicating: video can be a great way to engage some people, others want to express themselves with images or objects. In a museums context this becomes even more important. I may not want to discuss my reaction to an object, but I might want to upload an image of my own as a reaction to it. Creative Spaces lets you do this, and indeed let's you curate your own collection (they call it a notebook) with objects from the collections alongside your own content or content you've got from elsewhere. This is clever, allowing people to react and respond in whatever medium is most appropriate to them.

Creative Spaces is a great idea, it brings social media to a museums context and creates a social experience online that centres on the unique content these museums have - their own collections. It's easy to set up a site and expect people to come and engage there, but this rarely happens. You need to build a site that meets a need and offers something new, leveraging your own position to give a real reason for people to come and engage on your site rather than elsewhere.

If you decide to join up, feel free to add me as a contact: Matt Rhodes.

(In interest of open disclosure, I should say that FreshNetworks has done some strategy work with the NMOLP to help them launch and grow Creative Spaces. But it would always have been a great example of social media!)

From the FreshNetworks Blog

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Sitel: The Call Center People

In the Star Gazette of the Buffalo, New York area, they share that Sitel is hiring more customer service representatives to man customer service calls. This company provides the customer service call centers for many of the Fortune 500 companies, and fields an average of about 99% incoming calls. Each employee answers 25-30 calls a day.

Sitel site director Jeffrey Mortlock said
"It's a hard job. Ninety-five percent of the people calling in have a problem or they are upset about something. We have to teach employees how to solve people's problems, and that's what our goal is."

For more, read the article here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

TMRE LinkedIn Roundup Available!

Here's the February edition of the newsletter we regularly send out to our TMRE LinkedIn group members. Remember to join our TMRE LinkedIn group if you haven't so already in order to receive these communications on a monthly basis. Enjoy!

Read the Newsletter

February Community 2.0 RoundUp

Here's the February edition of the newsletter we regularly send out to our Community 2.0 LinkedIn group members. Remember to join our Community 2.0 LinkedIn group if you haven't so already in order to receive these communications on a monthly basis. Enjoy!

Read the Newsletter

More Interactivity is now available on YouTube

I came across this post from Adam Ostrow on Mashable in which he highlights some new social features that YouTube has recently added. If you haven’t noticed yet when you login to YouTube you can now view activities like commenting, favoriting, and information on uploading videos from your friends. It’s taken a while for YouTube to get on board with this, but glad they have!

Archived Web Seminar: Unlock Survey Secrets: Turn Text Responses into Insight

If you missed the SPSS web seminar Unlock Survey Secrets: Turn Text Responses into Insight yesterday, here’s your chance to view it at your own leisure. The web seminar is 60 minutes long with a very informative Q & A session at the end. Enjoy!

View the archive

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New way to measure online communities

Are you having trouble tracking the progress of your online communities? Lithium Technologies announced the software Lithium Insight, a new technology which will help businesses measure and benchmark the health of their online communities. The software comes with two key features: Lithium's Community Health Index and The Lifestyle Benchmark Service. For more on the product, read the article here.

Customer service and customer experience

Recently at Retail Customer Experience Magazine, the address the issue of customer experience versus customer service, and how the two should not be confused. Bruce Temkin, a Forrester blogger, said, "For most companies, customer service deals with some key 'moments of truth' for customers," he writes. "So that function is an important participant in most efforts to improve customer experience. But firms can’t just focus on customer service interactions or offload responsibility for customer experience to the customer service organization." They also provided the diagram to the right.

How do you keep the two separated for your customers?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

5 Recession-Busting Customer Service Strategies

Christopher Musico of, reports that the one thing that happens in a downturn is that everyone is focused on keeping customers," explains Natalie Petouhoff, senior analyst at Forrester and co-author of the report "The Economic Necessity of Customer Service." "Don't you spend on advertising? Of course you do, and it costs money -- but it has value if it's done well. The same goes for investment in customer service."

Petouhoff's 5 Recession Busters:

make self-service work across all channels;
be proactive about chat;
invest in online social-networking communities;
explore unified communications (UC); and
empower sales agents with co-browsing tools.

What do you think? Could you add a few more to the list?

Why Social Networks Are Good for the Kids

Sarah Lacy of, contends that social networks are good for kids. Her theory that sites like Facebook and Twitter are more about extending your real identity and relationships online and that's what makes them so addictive: The little endorphin rushes from reconnecting with an old friend, the ability to passively stay in touch with people you care about but don't have the time to call everyday. It seems Ms.Lacy looks to social networks as extensions of 'real life' personalities--but then again, what is real life? As far as her theory on social networks being okay for kids--its a new way to grow up, and for many parents, teachers and professionals, that can be difficult to accept. We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Polls on social network allow for more customer insights

Recently at Web Surveys, they look at the new functionalities starting to appear on the popular social networking sites across the web. LinkedIn already has the capabilities, and Facebook has announced that they'll soon be there. Engagement Ad will allow for marketers to have a targeted polling system in the form of an ad model on Facebook.

This is a new, inexpensive method to collect the feedback and opinions from the exact target audience you're looking for. Have you already used these tools on LinkedIn? What have your results been?

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Deal with Social Media Conflicts

I came across this post on Mashable today that discusses how to handle disagreements and criticism one might encounter on Facebook, twitter, or even a blog. The article highlights 3 perspectives to remember when you respond to these comments. Here they are:

1. Don’t take it personally
Most negative comments are about what you wrote, and not you. So don’t take it too personally, they just don’t agree with what you wrote.

2. Process before responding
Think about what you write before responding back. Sure you might be tempted to write a quick rebuttal but it is important to understand the other person’s opinion as well.

3. Find something to agree with
Finding a common ground (even if its small) to agree on can break the ice in many occasions.

Do you have any more tips on dealing with social media conflict?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Customer service and your stock value

According to a new article at Business Week, researchers at the Michigan Ross School of Business and Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, customer service has a direct impact on the investors. The study comparing customer service and stock performance showed that as customer satisfaction scores rose over time, stocks outperformed the market.

When a company’s customer satisfaction score has improved over the prior year’s results and is above the national average (currently 75.7), studies show its shares have a good chance of outperforming the broad stock market in the long run.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wachovia ranked first for customer service

Its not often that a large corporation, so poorly managed receives awards for customer service--perhaps something was right after all. Wachovia, who has recently been purchased by Wells-Fargo, has received top ranking among U.S. banks in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. According to Birmingham Business Journal, although Wachovia led the banks for customer service in the last eight years, its score fell to 76 from 79 in 2007. The bank scored 79 in 2005 and 80 in 2006, on a 100 point scale.
Can customer service be outstanding even when business is failing?

How to research on a tight travel budget

I recently came across the Project Management Tips blog, and they gave five way to continue effective market research even though your travel budget may be down.

1) Use the phone. People love to give their opinions, so dial a few people up to see what they think about what you're doing.
2) Use online marketing tools. By using GoToMeeting or WebEx, you can see how your customer will use your product by meeting virtually. And they're cheap compared to a plane ticket.
3) Send out open ended surveys. Join an online survey company, and send out questions that ask for text responses. You'll receive rich insight by giving your customers a flexible way to answer your questions.
4) Travel locally. Talk to your customers within your region. They'll provide some insight as to whether you're targeting your customers correctly.
5) Double up on your travel. If you'll already be out of town for a business related event, see if you can spend another day and gather opinions of your customers in the tow you're visiting.

These are some great tips. Do you have anything to add?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

LG enlists director Edward Zwick for 'Life Looks Good' campaign

According to Brand Republic, LG has enlisted director Edward Zwick for 'Life Looks Good' campaign. Andrew Warner, marketing director UK & Ireland, LG, said: ‘Previously our adverts have promoted individual LG products, but the ‘Life Looks Good' campaign focuses specifically on building an emotional connection with the brand. To create this, we have used subtle branding and made Mr. Zwick the focal point of the campaign, bringing a personality to the brand.' It sounds a lot like the American Express campaign, or even the Visa Check Card campaign from a few years ago? Are people really going to respond to celebrities in a finicky environment?

Are you Tracking Customer Feedback?

Jackie Huba recently posted on the Church of the Customer Blog that a CMO survey showed that most companies are not tracking customer feedback. This poses as a huge problem because companies can not improve if they do not track what is being said about them. Here’s a recap of the findings of the survey conducted on 400 senior marketers.

Of the survey participants:
  • 56% said their companies have no programs to track or propagate positive word of mouth
  • 59% don't compensate employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction
  • only 16% said their companies have a routine system in place for monitoring what people are saying about them or their brands online
How is your company listening to customer feedback?

Facebook Goes Back to Old Terms of Service

It seems that Facebook’s new Terms of Service didn’t last too long. According to this post on Mashable, days after the new terms went into effect only 6 percent of Facebook users supported the changes while 56 percent opposed it. This was enough for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to pull the plug on it.

From now on, Facebook plans on taking in more input from their community members and have even created a Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities Group. Looks like Facebook is stepping in the right direction here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Community 2.0 Speaker Profile: David O. Sacks

With the Community 2.0 event coming up in May, we're going to take the few months before that to introduce you to our keynote speakers for this year's event. Twice a month, we'll share with you one of our featured key note speakers. Community 2.0 is May 11-13 in San Fransisco, California at The Palace Hotel. This week, we're featuring keynote speaker David O. Sachs, founder and CEO of Geni Inc and Yammer, and former COO of Paypal.

Sachs was the founder of Paypal, and created a company worth $1.3 billion when sold to eBay in 2002. He then moved to Los Angeles and produced the movie Thank You for Smoking.

You can see David present his keynote speech "How Micro Sharing Tools Make Enterprise Communication More Efficient" on Tuesday, May 12 at Community 2.0.

Listen to David O Sachs' podcast with Venture Voices here.

Watch the trailer for Thank You for Smoking:

Bringing customer service back to the company

Customers of SourceGas will soon be receiving better customer service. The company will be bringing both billing departments and customer service call centers back into their company.

Director of Corporate Communication Lin Mize had this to say about the service overhaul:

"We are bringing the billing and the call center in-house to be staffed and managed by SourceGas employees. We apologize for the inconvenience this [billing issues with the current system] has caused, and our employees are excited to get this opportunity to directly help customers."

There will be extensive testing of the new billing system. They will also use the working in-house call center they acquired when they purchased Arkansas Western Gas Company.

For more information, visit

This company sees a need to bring customer call centers in-house. What do you think about providing customer care call center in house? Is this something that could improve your relationship with your customers?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Facebook's "25 Random Things" Phenomenon

By now you may be among the hundreds of thousands who have shared "25 Random Things" about yourself to your Facebook community. The "25" phenomenon has spread so quickly that now its being picked up by major news organizations. The Washington Post's online webmag, Slate carried an interesting take on the 25 fad in their piece, "Charles Darwin Tagged You in a Note on Facebook, The evolutionary roots of Facebook's "25 Things" craze." Writer Chris Wilson suggests, that the "25 Things" was an evolutionary exercise from the original "16 Things." States Wilson, "Late last fall, a chain letter titled "16 Random Things About Me" began to chew its way through Facebook. The author of one of these notes would itemize her personality into "16 random things, facts, habits, or goals," then tag 16 friends who would be prompted to write their own lists. And so on and so on." Read the rest of his article here. We'd like to hear your thoughts--if not, 25 at a time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Social media diary 13/2/2009 - Agent Provocateur

Tree decorated for Valentine's Day in San Dieg...Image via Wikipedia

Agent Provocateur engages women consumers across multiple platform

Appropriately for the day before Valentine's Day, this week saw lingerie brand, Agent Provocateur, launch a social media campaign to promote its HelloAgentProvocateur blog. As you might expect from a lingerie brand, the blog includes a range of posts from the relatively tame advice on relationships and dating, to the more provocative (appropriately enough). One recent post, for example, included a post featuring a chart of exciting and mood-killing things to say during sex.

Alongside the blog post, they've launched a Facebook page and also a Twitter stream allowing micro blogging from MsProvocateur. The idea, according to Scott Goodson, CEO of StrawberryFrog, the agency working on the project, the first time a luxury fashion brand has launched a provocative social media campaign tying together their various data-linked platforms, like a multi-entry daily blog, Twitter feed and Facebook

With a launch tied into a new ad campaign (itself designed to coincide with Valentine's Day), this looks like a real attempt for a co-ordinated marketing approach. Using traditional and social media and then tying together online activities with a central micro blog.

So what can we learn from this?

We wrote earlier this week about the continued growth of social networks in 2008, and in particular the tremendous growth for both Facebook and Twitter. What Agent Provocateur appear to be doing is to use the different social network tools and online community platforms to engage people in different ways.

  • The blog is being used for regular posts that discuss issues of relationships, dating, and Agent Provocateur's products in some depth. They run news and features alongside it and this really capitalises on the role that a blog can play as a content-rich information source.
  • Facebook is being used to showcase content and ideas from the blog and the campaign, and to gather friends. It capitalises upon the networking aspect of Facebook by encouraging people to connect with it. This is much softer than some of the activities that take place on the blog and reflects the difficulty that brands have marketing directly in Facebook (and other social networks).
  • The use of Twitter allows Agent Provocateur to bring together all of this activity and to broadcast what they are doing and saying on a regular basis. They can capture contacts in a way similar to in Facebook, but Twitter offers something really different. It's not just a medium for releasing content (as is the case with the blog) nor on for accumulating friends and showcasing the best of what's going on (as is the case with Facebook). Twitter allows them to actually engage.

It is rewarding to see that even with only 351 followers on Twitter, MsProvocateur is starting to engage and respond to people directly. When one follower tweated about the gifts their boyfriend had bought them, MsProvocateur responded with some thoughts on gifts that are good to buy in return.

The real value of Twitter is both in acting as a central portal to bring together and point to all social media activity, and also a true engagement tool. In fact, when brands use Twitter, it really is a case of the more you put in the more you will get out. It is worth finding people who are talking about your brand or the topics and subjects you discuss and following them. Do respond to people, give advice and suggestions. And make this not just an overt marketing message. Really engage people and you will then reap the benefits of this activity in sales.

It's not the use of Twitter that we like of Agent Provocateur's campaign (although it is good), nor the topical nature of the subject. Rather it is that they are using a range of social media tools to engage people in different ways. A sensible approach.

From the FreshNetworks Blog

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Understanding the Customer Lifetime Value

Earlier today I came across this post on Performix Integrated Marketing in which they highlight a recent article that Michelle Eggers of SAS Institute wrote about the importance of implementing marketing metrics and Customer Lifetime Value in your business.

Here’s a brief summary of the article as described by Performix:
  1. Look at the processes your marketing department is using. Are they ahead or behind schedule on jobs? Efficient, or chaotic? Keep a grasp on the people part of the process to be able to increase productivity.
  2. Distinguish between measuring campaign performance (e.g.. how the cross-sell campaign did online in the last 3 months) and look at the OVERALL effectiveness of all marketing programs, direct and traditional or broadcast media. You need to have the data on how all are performing in order to develop the right media mix.
  3. Develop and focus on broader business metrics that are not specific to any marketing program, like: sales growth, market share, total sales and total profits, Are they aligned? How do they interact?
  4. Look at the customer: except for managing marketing processes, all of the above relate to the customer. Are they affecting the customer positively or negatively? Create customer metrics, for things like: products (owned) per customer, customer profitability, customer satisfaction, net-adds, and customer lifetime valiue.
Does your business fully understand CLV?

Social Networks to Grow Dramatically as 3G Expands

The latest trends from eMarketer shows that the number of mobile subscribers with a 3G-enabled device in the US has dramatically increased from 35.7 million users in June 2007 to 64.2 million users in June 2008, an 80% increase! Take a look at this chart below to see the percentage changes across the globe.

With mobile internet browsing becoming very similar to viewing web pages from home, there is no doubt that we will continue to see growth in consumers using their mobile phones for social networking.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hospital provides customer service training at the request of employees

Recently in the Wichita Eagle, they reported on the efforts of the staff of Wesley Medical Center to improve their customer service. Human Resources Director Lisa Becker said that an employee engagement survey showed an overwhelming number of employees requesting training in the area. The hospital is now offering a one hour refresher course on customer service basics, and managers attended the course first. The employees could attend the session voluntarily, and 40% of the employees at the hospital already have done so. The course covers basics such as how they view customer service in other areas, attitudes in uncontrollable situations, and teamwork.

Are your employees asking for training? What have you done to educate them on customer service in your field?

Supply chain management gets new social network

Inovis Social Network is a new online community specifically for those in supply chain management. This new software is a way for those in the supply chain to have direct access to those individuals involved in the supply chain, which could prevent delays. Big Lots is one of the first major corporations to use this secure social network.

Katy Keane, the vice president of transportation services, had this to say about the network:
"The Inovis Social Network proved valuable in the development and monitoring of our vendor compliance initiatives. As a retailer with over 1,300 stores, accurate and timely inventory flow is critical to our business and our vendor compliance program is one of the key tools we use to help us achieve our goals. We've benefited from the speed and visibility the online community provides, and it has helped us improve how we collaborate with partners and quickly resolve issues."

Source: MarketWatch

Cutbacks result in less market research report purchases

In a study done by MarketResearchCareers, they report that buyers of market research have cut their budget for market research services by an average of 9.5%. This is in an effort to cut back on non-revenue generating expenses. Those industries cutting back the most are education; transportation and travel; and banking and financial services. Find out more about the report here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Free Webinar: Unlock Survey Secrets: Turn Text Responses into Insight

SPSS will host a complimentary web seminar presented by Jane Hendricks, Product Marketer, SPSS Inc and Frank Maduri, Sales Engineer, SPSS Inc. This web seminar will take place on Wednesday February 25th from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST. Reserve your webinar seat by registering now. Mention priority code MWS0021BLOG.

Here’s a brief recap of the webinar:

Open-ended survey questions allow people to express themselves in their own words; and give researchers rich new insights into attitudes and preferences regarding service, purchase decisions, product design, employment, operations, whatever the issue under study.
If you’ve limited your surveys to close-ended questions due to the time and expense of reading and manually coding text responses, this session can be your organization’s first step toward maximizing the value of your survey data.

Created specifically for open-ended survey responses, SPSS Text Analysis for Surveys uses proven technologies in computational linguistics to make it far more powerful than typical text-coding procedures. It allows you to categorize hundreds, even thousands of responses in a fraction of the time it would take to do so manually. Then easily export results for further analysis and graphing.

What you will learn by attending:
  • How to turn text into quantitative data
  • How to save even more time by automating the creation of categories and the coding of responses
  • How to uncover category relationships using visualizations such as bar charts and tables
  • How to export results to Excel, SPSS or other software for analysis
  • And more!
Don’t miss your chance to view this free webinar. Click on the link below to register.

Bob Dylan and Social Media

What is in common with Bob Dylan and the New Age Conversation Marketing Paradigm? Lots apparently. Dylan is a change poet. He has thrived on poetic escapades about pop culture and the changing society. If you listen carefully, he might have some profound thoughts on your business.
I created a construct from his songs- about the New Age Marketing.

Just a light hearted way of putting the point across- and Dylan Fans (Who isn't?) will love it.

A sneek Peek here:

Here is a dialogue construct between a audience, a traditional thinking marketer (TMM) and a new age engagement Marketer (NAM)- if they had to talk only through the lyrics of Bob Dylan songs (song links indicated- so you can enjoy the songs too!)

TTM: (What advertising says to the audience):

Baby let me follow you down, baby let me follow you down
Well I’ll do anything in this godalmighty world
If you just let me follow you down.
Can I come home with you, baby can I come home with you ?

Audience: Not again. Been seduced enough. Something’s not right. Not again.

Not one more night, not one more kiss,
Not this time baby, no more of this,
Takes too much skill, takes too much will,
It’s revealing.

NAM to TTM: Look brother- She won’t just listen just because you are talking. Engage her.

TTM to NAM: Hello? What the hell is that? Where’s the control? Where’s the quantifying of reach and frequency? How about GRPs of conversation? And how do you measure any of this?

NAM: Sigh!
How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?

Read on for more on ChasingTheStorm

Actually come to think of it- we could do this more often- Can we take a musician and a topic and build a conversation using the musician’s songs and the situation?

Examples: Economic crisis and Mark Knopfler; Retrenchments and Rihanna (!), Environmentalism and Creed, etc (Bad examples- but I know you can be more creative than that)



Monday, February 9, 2009

Free Webinar: Unlock Survey Secrets: Turn Text Responses into Insight

SPSS in conjunction with The Market Research Event will host a complimentary web seminar presented by Jane Hendricks, Product Marketer, SPSS Inc and Frank Maduri, Sales Engineer, SPSS Inc. This web seminar will take place on Wednesday February 25th from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST. Reserve your webinar seat by registering now. Mention priority code MWS0021BLOG.

Here’s a brief recap of the webinar:

Open-ended survey questions allow people to express themselves in their own words; and give researchers rich new insights into attitudes and preferences regarding service, purchase decisions, product design, employment, operations, whatever the issue under study.
If you’ve limited your surveys to close-ended questions due to the time and expense of reading and manually coding text responses, this session can be your organization’s first step toward maximizing the value of your survey data.

Created specifically for open-ended survey responses, SPSS Text Analysis for Surveys uses proven technologies in computational linguistics to make it far more powerful than typical text-coding procedures. It allows you to categorize hundreds, even thousands of responses in a fraction of the time it would take to do so manually. Then easily export results for further analysis and graphing.

What you will learn by attending:
  • How to turn text into quantitative data
  • How to save even more time by automating the creation of categories and the coding of responses
  • How to uncover category relationships using visualizations such as bar charts and tables
  • How to export results to Excel, SPSS or other software for analysis
  • And more!
Don’t miss your chance to view this free webinar. Click on the link below to register.

Facebook Isn’t So Safe Anymore

Facebook compared to MySpace has a pretty squeaky clean reputation, but when Facebook has over 150 million users to date, then security becomes a much bigger concern. This latest post on TechCrunch details a few things that allowed Facebook to get to this point, and what it needs to do to change it.

When Facebook initially launched, users needed an .edu address in order to login, but now highschool students can create Facebook accounts and even the general public. Each group still belongs to a certain network, but it is still possible to overcome these challenges. MySpace has a pair of human eyes viewing every single picture that is uploaded to the site, to make sure that nothing inappropriate gets put up. Facebook relies on its users to flag inappropriate content. This is one thing that Facebook will have to improve as the number of registered users increase by the day.

Even with rules and regulations put into place, is it possible to stop every single threat? What have businesses done to ensure that their content does not get into the wrong hands?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rethinking customer loyalty

In a recent post at CustomerThink, Robert Howard looks at the way that customer loyalty works. In today's world, customer loyalty programs have become the norm, and everyone is using them. Sometimes, they find ways to drive away the customers with the fine text included in the sign-up forms. He wonders if customer loyalty should be turned upside down, and a company should measure how loyal they are to their individual customers. How are you treating your customers that are loyal to you? Are you recognizing them as loyal patrons of your business?

Confirmit launches new market research software

Confirmit, a software vendor specializing in market research software, has released a new software-as-a-service for market research.

The software will provide market research organizations with software to deliver multi-mode research using the web, telephone interviewing, paper questionnaires, face-to-face interviewing, and offline data collection methods.

The chief strategy officer, Pat Molloy, had this to say about the new software:
"The arrival of this platform has created widespread interest across the market research industry. It is the first solution of its kind to combine the many benefits of true, multi-mode research with the cost reductions and efficiencies offered by on demand delivery."

Source: CRB Online

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Superbowl Battle of Brands Continues

Days after the Steelers took their big win at Super Bowl XLIII, market research experts are now parsing data to determine who won the Super Bowl XLIII battle of the brands. According to, the contest runs the gamut from the 30-second commercials that cost an average of $3 million to stadium signage and product placement during the game broadcast on NBC.
Only time will tell whether commercials -- such as Denny's well-received promise to serve up free Grand Slam breakfasts -- spur consumers to spend during what's shaping up to be a rough recession. (Denny's said it spent about $5 million on Super Bowl advertising and the cost of 2 million free breakfasts.)

Who do you think won the battle?

Verizon creates one number for customer service

In an effort to better serve their customers, Verizon has created one number for customer service, 800-verizon. This idea isn't too new has large U.S. cities have been using 311 has an all inclusive information hotline from noisy neighbors, civic programs to homeless outreach. The idea makes it very easy for customers or citizens to get the help they need. Do you think more companies will follow Verizon's lead?

Social networkers want TV airtime

According to CNET, social networkers (a whopping 36%) would like to see their social networking access on their televisions. The survey of more than 1,000 households found that younger consumers are most interested in chatting and messaging with friends while watching TV. Middle-aged adults want a more passive experience, such as the ability to check on status updates via their TV sets. And those over 50 are most interested in knowing what their friends are watching. Now it seems that people not only want status updates on the minute details of their friends lives, they want to know what they're watching on tv. Do you think this will catch on?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Maximizing the ROI of Market Research

Browsing through the B2B International Marketing Blog I came across their new white paper Maximizing the ROI of Market Research. The white paper goes over how to maximize ROI of market research, by demonstrating:

the role of market research in business decision-making
how to measure the ROI of market research
which types of research will generate the greatest ROI

This is an informative piece; take a couple of minutes to read here.

Connecting Employees with Customers

Becky Carroll recently posted on the Customers Rock! blog that taking the time out to listen to what customers are saying is an important part of the customer experience. The old age saying is that a happy customer tells a friend and an unhappy customer tells 10 people. Becky goes on to explain that social media is important because it gives customers a platform to leave feedback and opinions, and if you can somehow meet and solve problems live online, well that’s even better!

How good of a job is your company doing in interacting with your customers through social media?

Gaining Readership by Joining Niche Social Networking Sites

I came across this post on ProBlogger that highlights a few simple ways to increase your blog circulation and readership by joining niche social networks. Here’s a summary of the recommendations posted on the blog.
  1. Interact with members of community sites for about 10-15 minutes a day, people will stumble upon and discover your blog.
  2. Share your knowledge with smaller more niche social networks and you can be considered a guru quickly.
  3. Make sure to fill out your profile in the social networks, and include your blog links there! You will be surprised by steady traffic it can bring to your blog site.
  4. Join social news voting sites and forums like Digg and Redditt, research shows that for these sites conversion from visitor to subscriber is high.
These are just a few recommendations to helping improve your blog’s readership. What are some other tips that can help boost traffic?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The basics of market research

The Baltimore Examiner recently took a look back at the basics of market research. For best business practices, market research should be done at the beginning of the business, and a method to continue to grow the business. It should be done to look at three primary things: your customers, your competition, and your business environment. For more, read this article at the Examiner.

What does an online community manager do?

Dawn Foster, a Community 2.0 guest blogger, has a great presentation on what community managers are and what they do. Take a second to look at the presentation. There's also a great analysis of it at the Web Worker Daily blog.

In N Out -- Fast Food Service Champions

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

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

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

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

(Photo: Seattle Weekly)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Do customers really want to engage with the brands?

The year began on a not so high note for the economy. But the digital media folks are bullish-as-usual.

I had a brainstorm featured on ChasingTheStorm. We were discussing Digital Media trends in 2009- specifically for Asia-Pacific. What came up were some really cool observations, some strong views and some star gazing.
Though the entire brainstorm could be viewed here - here is the sneak preview:
  • We need to recognise that commerce in APAC is conservative, and that in the words of Deng Xiaoping we’re “crossing the river by feeling the stones”
  • We could see a doubling of digital’s share of the marketing spend to 4% in APAC
  • Rise in spending on 'Social media' marketing
  • Figures say that in China alone, the share of marketing spending on Social Media is about 20% of all digital marketing spending.
And some comments that the community here in particular could respond to-
  • Other than SMEs running PPC campaigns on Facebook, social networking sites seem to be normally no more than bit players on display advertising schedules
  • I haven’t seen evidence that corporate profiles receive much traffic, and I’m not sure that modern media-savvy audiences really want to engage in conversations with their brands, they have better things to do
  • The landscape is unnecessarily blurred by social concepts such as twitter
  • Twitter’s like a social event where everyone’s talking and no-one’s listening. I simply don’t think that sufficient numbers will read it. Since this is a marketing cornerstone, it’s a non starter.
What are your thoughts on the above? Let us contribute to the discussion.

Facebook set to become a bona fide market research service?

According to, Facebook is going to try its hand at market research. According to The Telegraph, Facebook executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos have been demonstrating a market research product that "will soon allow multinational companies to selectively target its members in order to research the appeal of new products." Talk about bang for their buck, every company would salivate at the opportunity to target specific individuals based on age, sex, etc. But will Facebook lose members with their devotion to marketers?

Singapore launches S$100m plan to improve customer service

According to, Singapore is one of the top ten customer-oriented countries in the world. It successfully climbed up the World Economic Forum's service ranking from 26th in 2006 to 10th place last year. But with the current economic downturn, there is a worry that service standards will suffer as companies may cut down service capabilities, thereby worsening the overall economy.

Lim Swee Say, Minister, Prime Minister's Office and Secretary-General, NTUC, said: "It is very important that we step up our efforts rather than scale back the effort because if you look at the service sector on the whole, customers will be more careful with every dollar that they spend. They will be more selective in terms of where they spend the money and what they spend it on.

Subway Launches Text Message Ordering In NYC

Now you can "Text Fresh" thanks to the Subway's unveiling of text message ordering in NYC. Hungry cube dwellers need not waste precious time away from the office waiting in line--they need to simply text and enjoy. According to The Consumerist, it sounds convenient once you've jumped through the registration hoops, although the clear downside is you're storing credit card info on a third-party site, which is the sort of thing that always seems to come back up as a bad idea when a company's database is breached. If you're comfortable with that risk, however, have at it.

Do you see more companies doing this in the future? What about using social media networks to order food? Let us know your thoughts here or on Twitter.