Friday, July 31, 2009

Is Google’s dominance in lndia History? reports that a joint search offering from Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. could challenge Google Inc.’s supremacy in the Indian market, say analysts. According to an August report by market research firm comScore Inc., Google is the market leader in the Indian search market.

“Unlike in Korea, Japan and China, there are no strong local challengers to these global players. So essentially the market will be divided between the new Microsoft plus Yahoo combine on one hand and Google on the other,” said Ravi Shekar Pandey, manager (syndicated research) at research firm Springboard Research.

“They (Yahoo and Microsoft) can emerge as a potent threat to Google, which in India enjoys a higher market share than it does in the US,” he added.

What will this mean for the rest of the globe? How much of the market share does Google have outside the United States?

Google’s dominance in the local market may face challenge

Using Virtual Worlds to Reach Consumers

I came across this interesting article in ReadWriteWeb that discusses how the enterprise has not yet quite dived head first into virtual worlds, even though it has been around since 1995. Virtual worlds are different because it recreates social interaction found in real-life in a digital space. Steven Walling mentions three key functions that can benefit virtual teams in an enterprise which are social networking, real-time collaboration between teams, and interactive training. While these functions are great, what are some functions of virtual worlds that are beneficial in reaching consumers?

Using Virtual Worlds for Customer Service

I came across this interesting article in ReadWriteWeb that discusses how the enterprise has not yet quite dived head first into virtual worlds, even though it has been around since 1995. Virtual worlds are different because it recreates social interaction found in real-life in a digital space. While the benefits of using it within teams are clear (social networking, real-time collaboration, & interactive training) what are some ways that we can use virtual worlds to aid customers? Will this be something more and more companies will take a look at in the future?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Could Coca-Cola be collecting new ideas for flavors?

In a recent article at the Neuromarketing blog, they look at a new soda machine Coca Cola is currently testing this in fast food markets throughout Atlanta and California. Each machine can make upto 100 different soda flavors with the machines. The author of the article suggests that this could be a way not only to personalize the sodas, but also collect data on what flavors are particularly stronger in certain areas. It also points to the fact that this data could result to distinct regional flavors specifically for regions. Cherry grape Coca-Cola, anyone?

Defending the Loyalty Function: Lessons from Chief Customer Officers

If you didn't have a chance to join us for the NACCM: Customers 1st web seminar, "Defending the Loyalty Function: Lessons from Chief Customer Officers," on Tuesday, you can now watch it on demand!

NACCM: Customers 1st speaker Curtis N. Bingham, President, Predictive Consulting Group, and Founder, Chief Customer Officer Council, was joined by Barbara Stinnett, President and CEO of SumTotal Systems.

Watch the web seminar here:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Customers say hotel service improves despite cost cuts

Gary Stoller of USA Today reports that although hotels across the US are cutting costs, they are improving their customer service.

J.D. Power and Associates' latest survey of guests, out Tuesday, shows their satisfaction with four of six types of hotels increased in the last year: upscale, midscale full service, midscale limited service and economy/budget.

Microtel Inns & Suites ranked as the top economy/budget hotel for guest satisfaction in the J.D. Power survey for an eighth-consecutive year.

For more information about other hotel's ranking with the survey, please visit the original article referenced.

Customers say hotel service improves despite cost cuts

What can other hospitality industries learn from hotels during this economic climate?

Who Updates the President's Twitter?

For most of the White House, Twitter access is blocked because of security risks; but who is inside, tweeting for the President?

According to the Wall Street Journal, White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton told Mediaite’s Rachel Sklar that the president’s new media team, including director of new media Macon Phillips and online programs director Jesse Lee, update the White House Twitter feed.

HootSuite is enabled on White House computers for the new media team, he explained, but it is blocked on the remainder of White House computers for security purposes–though they’re working on getting those restrictions relaxed.

Individuals who work at the White House are not restricted from having private Twitter accounts.

Follow the President here,@BARACKOBAMA

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Redefining the Secret Shopper

This post on Content Marketing Today highlights how Five Guys Burgers and Fries have taken the concept of the "secret shopper" into new heights. Generally when we think of secret shopper programs we think of a shopper coming in and taking notes on everything that is going wrong with the employee's customer service skills. Five Guys Burgers takes a different approach.

What the burger joint does is make a note of when optimal behavior is performed and then employees are compensated through bonuses and raises for quality of customer service. Employees are encouraged to give great customer service, and it proves that happy employees means happy customers.

Engaging with Gen Y Through Social Networks

Dan Schawbel of Mashable recently listed the top 10 social networks for Generation Y in this post here, but Tim Wright of the Examiner picks out the top 5 from Dan's list that managers should take a look at in order to know as much about Gen Y as they can. This includes their values, their interests, their styles, their clothes, and the way they think. Here are some sites that the Tim recommends taking a look at in this post. Enjoy!

TMRE 2009 Keynote Martin Lindstrom Interviews Seth Godin

The Market Research Event 2009 keynote speaker Martin Lindstrom interviews Seth Godin in a video interview as seen on AdAge.

Video Link

About Seth Godin:

Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world and changed the way people think about marketing, change and work. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his ebooks are among the most popular ever published. He is responsible for many words in the marketer's vocabulary, including permission marketing, ideaviruses, purple cows, the dip and sneezers. His irrepressible speaking style and no-holds-barred blog have helped him create a large following around the world.

Seth's latest book, Tribes, is a nationwide bestseller, appearing on the Amazon, New York Times, BusinessWeek and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. It's about the most powerful form of marketing--leadership--and how anyone can now become a leader, creating movements that matter. The Miami Herald listed it among the best business books of 2008.

Bio courtesy of

Seth's Blog

Monday, July 27, 2009

Do online social newtworks actually exist?

In the Mansfield Journal, Holly Harman Fackler pondered over whether the word "online community" was an oxymoron. In the online space, civility, accountability and consideration don't follow the same rules as real world relationships. It's a group of faceless people congregating in one spot. She also points out that many neighborhoods in our country are the same way.

But an online community can:
-Facilitate a place for people to come together and generate ideas
-Challenge ones thinking and lead to greater self awareness
-Lead to communication
-Lead to understanding

So an online community can be a great place to do all of these things, but a truly successful online community culminates when there is off-line participation in meetings and gatherings. A community goal should always result in both virtual and actual meetings.

So what do you think? Is "online community" an oxymoron?

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Kathleen Peterson: Part 4

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we're going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with chair Kathleen Peterson to talk about the event, both today and what has changed since she first chaired it back in 2003. This podcast will have five parts, so check in next week for the final installment from Kathleen Peterson.

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Question: This year’s NACCM is all about what companies must focus on now, so that when the dust settles, they will emerge on better, stronger, more relevant than ever. It’s about short term actions now for long-term sustainability. Why do you think this focus is on point with what business leaders need now?

Kathleen Peterson: I think really we’re about what we already know, what do we need to know, what are we learning more about, what are we going to do, how did it work and what actions are we taking.

The bottom line comes down to if we don’t do it now, it could be never for some organizations. Because there is no [time], the delay, the analysis, a lot of those things were luxuries that we’re going not necessarily abandon but we’re certainly going to have to look at what has the past five years taught us. In terms of the approach we take to business and to learning. I think one of the number one takeaways from this is what have we learned? Every single day, people should be asking themselves what do I know today that I didn’t know yesterday? What is that, where is that relevant in terms of our short terms action, and how will this impact us over the long term. What do we need to change?

I think the whole concept of bringing people, management and staff members, everyone into the corral so that the energy is being built around what do we all do, how do we all contribute, how do we make all of our jobs easier in some ways. Because I think what we’re learning here, people used to say that their businesses were so complex. And now they’ve realized they’re complicated. We not complex, we’ve just complicated it. As we start to take apart processes, and we learn more about the learning of technology will become infinitely important for anybody in a position looking at marketing or customer centricity, customer service or customer care. We have to be in the process improvement business. If we’re going to be in the pursuit of process improvement, and we’re going to be committed to the a quality experience for our customers while simultaneously doing more with less, then we really need to be partnering with our IT folks about what technologies makes sense for our business. There are enormous promises that will save you money, make you more productive, improve your customer experience I think people need to make sure in this market, a good thing in some ways because we’re not too loose with the pocketbook, we’ve got to really make a case and say an investment here in a particular kind of technology that will enhance process to allow us to better service at a higher level of quality is going to be an investment that will have a significant return to us but I think it takes multiple parties. The days of the learners of the customer contact continuum, everyone has to get their needs clear, and their technology questions answers so they partner with their technical experts within their enterprise to make that work.

When we talk about training in Powerhouse, we talk about learning. Training is an event, but learning is the experience we want people to leave with. So the approaches and techniques and technologies associated with the ability to keep people current, up to date, and consistent in the relationships cross functionally is going to be critical. Because it is so often knowledge errors or communication errors that cause failures within the customer experience that needs to be ironed out. And I think sometimes people look at those, it may be something simple at first, but you realize over the longer term, errors have been reduced, customers need to call has been reduced, subsequently cost has been reduced and contact with customers has a much higher value. Contact with customers because of problem loses value every time they have to call you on that.

Business leaders now are going to have to come to a conference like this to learn what the other are doing, what works, what doesn’t work, how do we improve process, people and communication. And especially how do we improve operations. For years, this has not been sexy. But now, I think it’s going to become a very worthy investment. It’s not the big bang things that people do to make a difference. Now, it’s turning the dials. Making sure that all the dials are turned up, and everyone is marching in the same direction and singing from the same song sheet.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How to reach your niche market online

At the Free Biz Blog, they have a few suggestions on how to find your niche market online to do more research. Find the keywords, and search for their communities online. Also look for forums where your niche market is already talking. Join the community and begin participating in the conversation. Often times, that will lead to more in-depth insight.

Verizon to tackle customer service issues

Long Island Business News reports that Verizon has owned up to their poor customer service issues and according to their blog, have released a set of new procedures that the company will follow to enhance its relationship with customers.

Here is the copy of their revamped online customer support:

Online Customer Support

First, need help right now? To chat with or e-mail a customer service representative click here. It might just be the easiest and fastest way to get help, ask a question or wrestle a problem to the ground.

Another great way to ask questions and find help is right here on the Verizon Community Forums, where users help users get answers. We established the Forums last summer, and they’ve become an increasingly popular place for customers as The New York Times recently noted.

We have also a streamlined way for customers to get the help they need online. Our consumer support site,, provides customers with self-help procedures for an array of topics concerning broadband, television, telephone and wireless products and services. The Web site has earned praise from the Association of Support Professionals, and customers are using it to answer technical and product questions on their own.

What do you think of the procedures that Verizon has outlined with its customer support? What other changes can Verizon do?

Help Create a User-Generated Conference

You are invited to create the very first user generated destination where futurists, trend hunters, free thinkers and idea generators explore all things possible and transition the group Future Trends to the believers of “Infinity”. Where the intersection of personal and professional issues come together – spanning disciplines, generations, industries and mindsets – first in a virtual sense – later in a physical one.

Get Inspired: Check out our Sources of Inspiration tab for great resources to inspire you
Start Creating: Develop with us the first user-generated conference
Invite Others: Get your colleagues, business partners and contacts involved!

Join today!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A revenue model for social media

Media Life Magazine recently sat down with Havas Digital’s Micah Nyatsambo, director of social media, and Rob Griffin, director of data, search and analytics, to talk about the revenue opportunities for social media, and where they're going to come from in the future. Griffin believes that the true opportunities lie in word of mouth advertising, and many companies are just starting to figure this out. They also believe that it's a great place for companies just to listen to their customers. They also look at the strengths of the different social media tools. Read the great conversation here.

Great customer service an exception in the hotel industry

At Elliot, they recently looked at the great customer service someone received from the Courtyard Orlando Lake in Buena Vista, Florida. The hotel staff took time to listen to their customers complaints, and took extra steps to make sure that the customer was comfortable in their situation. They even took the time to go above and beyond the customers expectations: Not only did they honor my request, but they upgraded us to a much nicer room, and also granted our request for a late check-out the next day (2 p.m. instead of noon). With much of the travel industry hurting, it's important that they keep up their service.

What are some of the experiences you've had lately when traveling? Has cut budgets affected the services you've received while you've been on vacation?

Market Research Shows Apple has 91% Share of $1,000 computer market

The Business Insider reports that Apple has a 91% share of the $1,000-plus computer market, Betanews reports, citing market research firm NPD. Mac sales, measured by revenue, are shrinking, but Apple's market share of $1,000-plus computer sales is up from 88% in May 2009 and 66% in Q1 '08.The average selling price of all PCs in the U.S was $701 in June 2009. For Windows PCs it was $515. The average selling price of a Mac was $1,400.

So how is Apple doing so well, as a luxury brand, within this economic climate?

As market research professionals, we'd like to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Twelpforce: Best Buy's new customer service

In an article at the Examiner, they look at Best Buy's new effort to reach a tech-savvy crowd with customer service. They've launched a new Twitter, Twelpforce, to combine both online customer service and online marketing and sales. Customers ask questions either @Twelpforce or add the hashtag #twelpforce to their entry, and someone within Best Buy will respond to your question. Employees from throughout the company will be chipping in to answer questions from customers. This launched on July 19, and has since accumulated 2,531 customers.

Personal branding versus content

Dawn Foster recently looked at the interesting topic of focusing too much personal online branding. She states that while online branding is important, don't overlook the importance of the content provided on the website. She uses several sources such as blogs and Twitter, and has never had personal branding as a focus. She suggests that a strong base of content can change views on the importance of personal branding. What do you think? What have you focused on when you've begun to build your brand online?

Market Research Reports that Fro-Yo is Hot

The frozen dessert industry has grown by 16% since 2003, according to, to become a $12.1 billion business -- and much of that growth has been from frozen yogurt. Katrina Brown Hunt of reports that the "The frozen-yogurt business has been in the midst of a makeover since 2005, when Pinkberry opened its first sleek shop in Los Angeles, offering a distinctly tart-tasting (and many would say more authentic) version of frozen yogurt with a wide variety of toppings. South Korea-based Red Mango followed into the U.S. market, also offering tart fro-yos with similar toppings.The companies that supply these stores are doing a rollicking business. YoCream International, for instance, a major supplier of custom-made and pre-made frozen yogurts, saw its 2008 sales go up by 52 percent. The first half of fiscal year 2009 has seen a 70-percent boost compared to last year, with a big surge in sales to single-unit stores."

As a market research professional, is the latest fro-yo just a blip or something bigger to come?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why is market research important?

I found a great list of why companies should do market research. And even through budgets are tight with the current state of the economy, market research can provide benefits from a variety of places. The article lists these:
- Find things that satisfy the customer
- Give crucial information about various factors that affect the business
- Help companies formulate plans
- Identify potential in a specific area
- Minimize the chance of loss
- Help keep tabs on what your competitor is doing

What are other benefits that you can identify from keeping up your market research?

What Exactly Does a Customer Want From Customer Service?

I came across this article in MSN in which Barbara Findlay Schenck lists a couple of straight answers of what customers expect from customer service. Here's the list below.

1. To be greeted promptly — whether in person, on the phone or via a quick-loading Web site.
2. To have concerns addressed with sensitivity and efficiency — with eye contact if the exchange is person-to-person.
3. Clear communication from people who know what they’re talking about.
4. Individualized solutions rather than cookie-cutter responses that apply to one and all regardless of unique needs or circumstances.

Seems like a simple guideline to follow, customers need to feel appreciated and valued. What are some other aspects of customer service that customers expect to get each and every time?

Web Seminar: "Is LEADER spelled with an I?" Searching for Innovation in the World of Talent Development

Here's a web seminar that is being put on by one of our sister events that I thought our readers might be interested in. It takes place tomorrow Wednesday July 22nd from 2:00-3:00pm EDT.

About the webinar:
The success of leadership development, leadership transitions and leadership integration vary widely across industries, organizations and individuals. Why? In a recent research review, most executives expressed doubt that new leaders can step into new roles and deliver positive results. With all of the investments being made in talent management today, there are expectations that greater outcomes will be achieved. Please join Dr. David Yudis and explore some paths of possibility.

Featured Speaker
Dr. David Yudis, Director, Global Learning and Development, Disney

Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Find out more and register here:
Use Priority Code: G1M118W1BLOG

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to Find a Job Using Social Media

AnnaLaura Brown of shares a few tips on how to use social media to find the job of your dreams. In this tight economy, job-seekers are going to new lengths to look for steady employment; but what about using the plethora of social media resources that you may already use?

Here is AnnaLaura's list of ways to use social media to your advantage. Any more items that you'd like to add?

1. Use Twitter. Send out tweets letting people know what kind of job you are looking for. You can also indicate in your profile keywords and that you are job hunting. In addition there are many job websites as well as large corporations and employers who are using Twitter to send out information about available job openings. Do a search on Twitter and follow any of these accounts which are relevant to the kind of job you are seeking.

2. Use Facebook. Put on your profile specifics about the kind of job you are looking for. Every once and a while when you update your status indicate a bit of information about the kind of job you want. Write a Facebook note describing your ideal job and then tag anyone who you think may be able to help you.

3. Use Linkedin. There are a lot of recruiters on this social networking site who are looking to hire people and make sure that your profile is well written, that you get recommended and that you make it look like a professional resume. Request contacts on a regular basis and be active with groups and answers. Linkedin of all the social networking sites is the one which offers the best possibility of being hired.

4. Use Squidoo. Create a lens describing your ideal job and include information about how anyone who is interested in hiring you can contact you.

5. Write a blog post about your ideal job and tell your readers how they can hire you.

Have you found a job using social media? Let us know!

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Kathleen Peterson: Part 3

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we're going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with chair Kathleen Peterson to talk about the event, both today and what has changed since she first chaired it back in 2003. This podcast will have six part, so check in next week for part four.

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Question: On the bright side of a downturn, there’s always been innovation, new ideas and growth from strong companies. What do you think will be some of the lessons learned from this downturn?

Kathleen Peterson: I think it’s interesting because it relates to the question we just talked about, when you think about what are some of the lessons that are going to be learned when we come out of this downturn. Some are going to be harsher than others. Some people are going to have to look back and think this is what I could have done. But I think when we talk about looking at strong companies and looking at growth and that survivor instinct, we’re really looking at a situation where less is more has become a reality. When you look at innovation or new ideas, those are very often going to be very much part of the look at how we do things not just what do we do. But how do we do them. How can we do them better? How can we blow them up and change what we’ve done all together? I think innovation really speaks not to how we do things, but how can we do them differently. And that I think is something this conference is giving people an opportunity to look at how other have made improvements or changes so that you maximize your investments in people so that they’re not wasting their time pushing papers or having elements within a processes that don’t add to the quality or experience, they only the cost. So I really think that what we’re looking is becoming more involved, more knowledgeable, and move to a much more collaborative kind of infrastructure in the enterprise. The gap needs to close between strategy and execution, and lot of this is going to happen on an operational basis. I think what we have a chance to do here, I think that one of the realities about this conference that I’ve always experienced that these are senior people. These people who attend have a tolerance for risk. They’re not reckless but they have innovated and launched new ideas successfully so the opportunity to listen to someone the folks and have the balance, against what are the people side of these innovations and opportunities, and that sort of all combines into one experience here and I think it’s an brilliant time for people who need an outlet. They need other people at their level and their experience level, with the same growth issues and maintenance issues. It’s a great opportunity to test the waters and understand what else is going on to help look at how do I make sure that the business part of the operation is in the eyeball of the executive level as a strategic asset instead of a back office overhead cost that’s required to be maintained. Those are the elements on the balance sheet that can be cut, and they can be costing us. Cost can be a noun or a verb. And if your operation is costing more money than it’s delivering in value, then that’s where the ax starts to fall first. I think the ability to innovate, get new ideas, positivity contribute to growth and keep narrowing the gap from strategy to execution. There’s a lot to learn about at this conference from a lot of folks in this capacity.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Official Call for Presenters: Community 2.0 2010

Official Call for Presenters: Community 2.0 2010
From: Kelly Potanka
Re: Community 2.0 2010
Deadline: Friday, August 14th, 2009
Event Date: May 2010

Production has begun for Community 2.0 2010 - THE destination for harnessing the power of communities to propel business growth.

For 2010 the event will focus on real-time examples from corporations that illustrate action-focused deliverables that produced business results. We are looking for case studies from corporate practitioners as to how they used community to drive results for:
• Innovation, NPD, R&D
• Market Research, Customer Insights
• Conversational Marketing, Brand Building & Loyalty, PR, Engagement, Community
• Business & Competitive Intelligence
• Customer Support

If you are a corporate practitioner, we invite you to submit a speaking proposal directly to Kelly Potanka, Conference Producer, on or before Friday, August 14th, 2009. Send to or call 646-895-7330. Please note: abstracts are reviewed and selected on a rolling basis, so please submit early. For consideration, please include:
• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
• Talk title
• Summary of the presentation (3-5 sentences)
• What the audience will gain from your presentation (please list 3-5 key “take-aways”)

Added Bonus: Each speaker will receive free admission to the conference (a $2000+ value) including admission to all conference sessions, workshops, networking breaks, lunches, exhibit halls, etc.

Who will attend this premier cross-industry conference on online communities and social media?
C-level executives, VPs, Directors, Analysts, Community Managers, Research Directors, Product Managers, Creative Directors, Interactive Designers, Market Researchers, Trends Experts, Customer Service Executives, Innovation Directors, and Consultants.

Potential Topics for 2010 Include:

• Community metrics/ROI
• Who owns community?
• Lessons learned from non-profit communities
• Making your community sustainable
• Preventing community burn-out/fatigue
• Best practices and trends in external and internal enterprise micro blogging
• Measuring success for internal communities
• Insights into vendor consolidation
• Attracting users, engaging existing users, user incentives
• Legal/policy issues
• Tying your community into corporate strategy
• Processes for finding, thanking, and engaging lead users
• Community management-roles and responsibilities
• Considerations for global communities
• Moving from online to in-person communities
**Please feel free to submit additional topics of your choice

Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will be notified shortly after the deadline.

Thank you for your interest in Community 2.0. Check for updates and discussion related to the event at

Customer service should begin online

At, they recently posted a free white paper that looks at the importance of customer being able to find some service tips online. Customer service is important, but many customers prefer these routes before the call customer service. The article also points out that many buying decisions start online, where many customers go first to find information. Read the white paper here.

Research can lead to better segmentation

I recently found a great article that looks at the benefits of research techniques in segmenting markets. They use the example of fast food burger chains to examine how to use marketing dollars when after you've researched a market. Read the full article here.

Return on investment for social media

ZD Net recently looked at the return on investment when it comes to social media. They believe that social media will return your investment if you put the proper amount of time into it. They also point out that if you have the proper amount of social media, you can avoid social media disasters. ZD Net cites the most recent social media disaster for United Airlines, United Breaks Guitars.

Do you believe it's worth investing in social media? As we've seen with many companies, United not the first, many PR disasters come about due to social media. Should companies have measures in place to control these events?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How does your company share information through social media?

I came across this article in Mashable in which the list 10 ways that universities sharing information using social media. Here's a quick recap..

1. Gathering and Sharing Information
2. Showcasing Student and Faculty Work
3. Providing a Platform to Broadcast Events
4. Emergency Notification
5. Connecting People
6. Producing, Not Just Promoting
7. Creating a Dialogue and Communicating to Students
8. Facebook Office Hours
9. Coaching for the Spotlight
10. Getting Wired Via Mobile

Read the full article here.

What are some other ways your company shares information through social media that is not listed here?

Web Seminar: "Is LEADER spelled with an I?" Searching for Innovation in the World of Talent Development

Here's a web seminar that is being put on by one of our sister events Innovation Immersion, that I thought our readers might be interested in.

About the webinar:
The success of leadership development, leadership transitions and leadership integration vary widely across industries, organizations and individuals. Why? In a recent research review, most executives expressed doubt that new leaders can step into new roles and deliver positive results. With all of the investments being made in talent management today, there are expectations that greater outcomes will be achieved. Please join Dr. David Yudis and explore some paths of possibility.

Featured Speaker
Dr. David Yudis, Director, Global Learning and Development, Disney

Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Find out more and register here:
Use Priority Code: G1M118W1BLOG

Online data collection methods

According to Search Marketing Standard, there are two ways you can collect data online about the users who are visiting your webpage: page tagging and log file analysis.

Page tagging collects data in a visitor's page browser.
Log file analysis collects data as requested from a website's server

Read the full description of what each tool does here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't underestimate your market

At the Speak Without Interruption blog, Jack B. Rochester discusses a concert he chose to go to over a Red Sox/Yankees game. He points this out because he was going to see the band The Decemberists, and he is a 64 year old. He also noticed many other older fans sprinkled throughout the crowd in addition to the clean-cut younger generations that made up the majority of the audience. He concluded two things from this very diverse crowd:

1) As marketers, we should never assume - presume? - we understand the who and what of our market.
2) Don’t let your mindset too closely define your the segmentation or differentiation product or service - otherwise, you might not “get it.”

Read his full post here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reaching niche markets with social media

AdWeek recently looked at the new niche-market products that are now on the market due to the access that social media provides to these communities. Traditional marketing models put products out there with mass market appeal, but now that social media allows companies to identify and communicate with small markets, new products are rising in popularity. The article uses the line of Gluton Free products which they have marketed almost exclusivly digitally:

"We felt that this was a product that was going to be marketed almost entirely digitally," said Kelli Ask, interactive-marketing manager at General Mills. "We knew this was a group of very passionate consumers, always talking to each other and looking for solutions."

Read the full article here.

Win Over Customers by Responding to Online Reviews

Today, we have a guest post from Customers 1st LinkedIn Group member Marilyn Suttle. Marilyn Suttle is the coauthor of Who’s Your Gladys?: How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer Into Your Biggest Fan. She is a work/life success coach working with Fortune 500 companies, associations, and educational institutions across the country to improve relationships with customers, colleagues and even your children! Visit her at or purchase her book on any online bookseller site.

Today’s customers research their buying decisions on the internet, comparing prices and educating themselves about the products and services they use. They don’t see things from the antiquated “you’re the expert,” and “I am the grateful client” point-of-view. Instead, they are more likely to say, “Here’s how I want my service performed.” The internet has also brought online review websites like, who give computer-savvy customers a way to spread the word about their experiences at your business.

Preston Wynne Spa is one of ten companies featured in my upcoming book, “Who’s Your Gladys, How to Turn Even Your Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan,” which is slated for release in September 2009. Spa owner Peggy Wynne Borgman knows that with a quick internet search, anyone looking for a spa in a particular city can click onto a review site and see comments and a rating system. Reviewers use pseudonyms to protect their identities, so they feel free to reveal their strongest opinions.

Preston Wynne receives many glowing customer reviews, but they have had their share of unfavorable comments. The downside of the internet review sites is that some unhappy customers are quick to complain with an online review, while leaving the business owner in the dark. Some people even do it recreationally. Peggy believes that, in general, younger consumers know their power. They know that the companies want their business and they wield their power through online reviews – almost like consumer vigilantism.

Peggy appreciates all her reviewers, even the ones who complain. “If someone has taken the time to write a review, even if it isn’t good, they are more emotionally engaged with your company than someone who just walks away and never comes back,” she explained. “There is an emotional investment that the complainer has, so I always respond where I can.” gives business owners a way to respond to reviewers while allowing them to remain anonymous. Peggy sends an online thank you to all her positive reviewers, though she gets in touch with the complainers, too. Peggy has never asked a “Yelper” to change a review, no matter how nasty. “I simply contact them and say, ‘I wish I’d known about this and now that I do, I would like to make it right for you. Come back in and have the experience you deserved to have in the first place.’” The vast majority of the online complainers appreciate her gesture and give the spa another chance. In every instance where she connected with the Yelper and got them to return to the spa, the reviewer modified or amended their online review on their own accord, expressing appreciation for management’s commitment to customer service.

Peggy sometimes asks her online critics if they would be willing to complete a detailed secret-shopper evaluation form. The people who review on Yelp tend to see themselves as opinion leaders so when they’re asked to evaluate the spa, they are usually thrilled. They also love getting a complimentary spa treatment for doing the evaluation.

“It helps us develop a really good relationship,” Peggy explained. “Another really good side effect is when you put an evaluation in someone’s hands, they see everything that you’ve done right.”

What do you think?
Do your customers write reviews about your business using sites like How could you improve your customer relationships by responding skillfully to both the positive and negative reviews?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Community Friends and Strangers

I came across an interesting article on Seth Godin's blog in which he describes marketing to friends and strangers. Seth goes on to describe the difference between our real friends, and "friendlies", which are people to we share a digital link with but are not real friends. How has this concept affected the way we use social media to reach our friends? Is there a difference in the way we market to these two groups?

Being an ethnographer

In a recent post at Innovation Playground, they look at what a true ethnographer should focus on while they're collecting information. The art is in people watching, however without a strict order or discipline. The key is truly watch, listen and question until the person understands whats going on. Read the full article here.

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Kathleen Peterson: Part 2

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we're going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with chair Kathleen Peterson to talk about the event, both today and what has changed since she first chaired it back in 2003. This podcast will have six part, so check in next week for part three.

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Tell us why you feel this is THE year companies must focus on both their customer AND their people?
Kathleen: Well I think when you look at what’s going on from a strategic perspective, strategies at the senior level have become very customer centric. The strategic perspectives include both top and bottom line growth. The customer is obviously a central part to top line growth: increasing the number of customer we serve, increasing retention and increasing the share of wallet and they are all consideration in growing the top line. But the bottom line is in gaining efficiencies. So how do we contribute to revenue generating opportunities and the only way that has been proven is that we know people have execute strategies. We know in a lot of organizations, there are fewer people than there once were. So when we look at why it is important to both, you can’t focus on one and not the other. Because if you focus on efforts toward attracting and retaining your customers and you don’t allow for the requirements that your people have to execute that you know your efforts are for not. In some ways we were in sort of a “pretty” period, everyone was dancing in the woods and everything was wonderful. But now the excess is gone. And people come to work with brains. Everyone is really capable, I believe, of doing a good job and making a contribution. Our leaders in this business have to become really experts not only on the customer side but what do I need to do to inspire and motivate every single member of the team from top to bottom from cross functionally, cross departments, cross sites and enterprise how ever it’s going to work. From suppliers to customers to billing, everyone has to be on board and everyone has to understand it. Not that we can’t tolerate excesses but we can’t afford them anymore. We are going to look at the people processes in terms of how that supports the customer experiences that we’re committed to strategically.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Seven Types of Employees You Meet at Best Buy: Best Buy's Response

Gizmodo thought they'd have a bit of fun with satire by teaming up with illustrator Dan Meth in creating The Seven Types of Employees You Meet at Best Buy. For any customer service team, this may seem like a nightmare. If this is the actual depcition of the individuals that customers come in contact with at our store, what can this mean for sales and for overall customer satisfaction?

CMO of Best Buy, Barry Judge decided to respond to the allegations by the team at Gizmodo by playing along. Judge posted an illustration of the Gizmodo blogger on his corporate blog in the same fashion. We encourage you to check out the exchange, to see another way that a big company is choosing to react to an intended smear on their image.

What do you think of Barry Judge's reaction to the Gizmodo piece? What would you have done differently?

Does Social Networking Breed Social Division?

Riva Richmond of the NYTimes asks, "Is the social media revolution bringing us together? Or is it perpetuating divisions by race and class?"

The graph above is part of a study done by Eszter Hargittai, an associate professor of communication studies at Northwestern University, who surveyed both 2007 and 2009 first-year college students, ages 18 and 19, at the diverse campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Hargittai is interested, among other things, in the socioeconomic differences between Facebook and Myspace. In Hargaittai's research has "found that Hispanics were much less likely to use Facebook than anyone else and much more likely to use MySpace. Whites, African-Americans and Asian-Americans were all big users of Facebook, with 80 percent or more of each group using it sometimes or often."

So why the difference? Riva Richmond writes, "Students from less educated families were still more likely to use MySpace, while those from more educated families were more likely to use Facebook. So is this white flight? Yes, but it’s not quite so simple, she (Hargittai) says. Everyone is fleeing MySpace, and whites and Asians are fleeing in larger numbers."

We encourage you to read Riva Richmond's piece in its entirety here:

Does Social Networking Breed Social Division?

Eszter Hargittai's blog

The Market Research Event $500 Early Bird Discount Expires Today!

The Market Research Event is the industry’s leading conference – bringing you the world's best keynotes, most influential speakers, the latest case studies, the most client-side Market Researchers, and the most diverse selection of topics… with over 120 sessions and more than 125 speakers it is the ONLY event you need to attend in 2009.

Visit for details on the “World’s Top MR Event”

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Customers 1st LinkedIn July Newsletter

The latest edition of the LinkedIn Customers 1st newsletter came out today. If you didn't have a chance to read it, check it out here:

If you'd like to network with over 1,000 other customer service professionals and receive these email newsletters monthly, please join our Customers 1st LinkedIn Group!

Generator Research predicts iPhone will overtake Nokia in 2012

Jason Hiner of ZDNet posts that, Generator Research, a small firm focused on digital media and the Internet, has released a new report predicting that the Apple iPhone’s current growth trajectory will enable it to catch and surpass Nokia for the top spot in the global smartphone market within three years.

The report sees iPhone growth accelerating due to a combination of the rapid multiplication of apps and the price drop of $99 for the lowest-priced iPhone. Meanwhile, Generator Research also predicts that Nokia will stumble and see its market share cut in half from 40% in 2008 to just 20% in 2013.

For more information about this market research, please visit Hiner's post here:

Generator Research predicts iPhone will overtake Nokia in 2012

Creating online branded communities

In a recent article at Fast Company, they look at how China and Japan have excelled at creating integrated online brand opportunities. These communities, in coordination with great ideas and offline elements, can lead to great marketing campaigns. When focusing on branded communities, there are two ways to reach an audience: to find their current communities on the web and reach out to them, or to create an online community compelling enough to bring your target audience to you. Read about a few of the communities that Fast Company was impressed with here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brand Ambassador Marketing

I came across this great video from Robin Good in which Josh Bernoff shares his view on the role of the brand ambassador and how to behave when you are compensated to write sponsored posts on your blog. Definitely some worthwhile information.

Update from Shopper Insights in Action!

Hi Everyone:

Hard to believe that July is already here and the 9th annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference is taking place next week, July 14-17, 2009 at the Hilton Chicago. We’re excited to announce that the show is going to be a hit, with hundreds of best-in-class brands, retailers and industry thought-leaders attending.

The event producers are busy adding new speakers and sessions as well as developing new onsite elements that add value to your experience. It is our goal to ensure everyone who attends leaves with a plethora of contacts, insights and ideas.

We’re excited to announce 12 new speakers and 7 new sessions have been added to the program totaling over 50 educational sessions with 75+ speakers.

• Candace Adams, former Senior Director, In-Store Experience, WalMart joined the retail panel on Thursday afternoon. She will join fellow panelists Chris Borek, Manager, In-Store Digital Marketing for Target, Mark Heckman, Vice President of Marketing for Marsh Supermarkets and Ryan Mathews, Consultant for FedEx Kinko’s. As seasoned retailers, they will discuss their perspectives on how the in-store shopping environment will evolve in the next 5, 10 and 20 years to meet shopper needs. Candace recently left WalMart and has joined shopper-centric research consultancy, SmartRevenue.

• Candace Adams will also participate in a breakout session on Thursday afternoon featuring brand executives from Unilever, Sara Lee and Kimberly Clark. This session will feature how WalMart worked with their brand partners using virtual reality technology to improve the shopping experience of their SuperCenter stores.

• Stephen Day, Global Consumer Insights for Electronic Arts along with Brand Cruz, VP of Retail and eCommerce Practice Leader for Chadwick Martin Bailey will discuss “The Evolution of the “Gamer” Market and How Segmentation Helped EA Develop a Groundbreaking Strategy”

For a complete list of new speakers and updates, click here

To download the full event agenda, visit .

Plus, Shopper Insights producers have added 3 NEW RESOURCES AVAILABLE to Attendees Only
• Everyone who attends will have access to the POST-CONFERENCE REPORT, written by Socratic Technologies. This report will synthesize key findings from the event.

• Attendees will also get access to a USER-GENERATED POST-CONFERENCE REPORT, a collection of key takeaways by various participants at the event. This report will be made available to all attendees 2 weeks following the event.

• Everyone who walks in will be given an ROA, Return on Attendance Toolkit to ensure they get the valuable information needed to prove their return on attendance.

If you haven’t already registered, don’t worry, it’s not too late! And because of how important you are to us, our LinkedIn group members receive a 20% discount to attend. Use my personal code AMANDASHOP09 when you register. To register visit

I hope to see you there!

All the best,

Amanda Powers
Shopper Insights in Action Conference Director

Impressions from Customer UNinterrupted

Here are what some of the speakers of this year's Customer UNinterrupted Event have been saying about this customer-inspiring event. By the way if you’re planning on attending the conference mention XM2199BLOG for a 20% discount of the standard rate.

"Customer UNinterrupted is a cost effective way to get new ideas, access to other company's best practices (and some of their research) as well as their results and proven business cases of what works for project implementation."

- Lynn Holmgren, Vice President and General Manager, Customer Care, Whirlpool Corporation

"You're fired! That's what your customers are going to tell you if you ignore them in this economy. When the consumer dollar has to go further, the last thing consumers want to hear is 'sorry we can't help you with that'. Learning what others are doing right, and applying new ideas to improve your own business never ends for service professionals. Get busy sharing. Get busy learning. And get busy succeeding at Customer UNinterrupted!"

- Boyd Beasley, Senior Director, Customer Support, Electronic Arts

"With companies cutting costs it has an impact on the customer support and service you provide. How can you differentiate yourself in the market place unless you provide superior service? Join us at Customer UNinterrupted to learn how to improve Customer Service and Customer Treatment while controlling your costs."

- Dave Spedden, Director, CRM Services & Technology, United Parcel Service

"Times are tough and now more than ever you need to attend this conference. There will be practical tips of how you can improve customer service and your bottom line. Look forward to seeing you there."

- Tim Cook, Vice President of North American Operations, Hilton Reservations and Customer Care

"As economic factors weigh more heavily in consideration and managers are firmly scrutinizing budgets, engaging in customer centric discussions at a time customers are being more selective about where they spend their money is a clear choice. Customer experience and best practices in delivering service is time well spent that has an inherent ROI not just by driving satisfaction and loyalty, but by expanding potential on the efficiency front."

- Percy Hoffman, Director, Call Center Operations, Cricket Communications

"Your customers are having conversations across the social web right now deciding if brand loyalty matters, if your company isn't participating, you're not growing."

- Scott McIntyre, Director, Multi-Channel Development, Best Buy

"Unless you are USAA or Amazon, you still have a lot to learn. Why do some key names always appear on the top of independent evaluations of service experience? If you don't know, as Zappos who is giving these big boys a run for their money. Why does EA have an award winning CS team? Because we beg, borrow and steal ideas from those that are doing it right - then we iterate, innovate and make them our own! We dare you to keep up!"

- Boyd Beasley, Senior Director, Customer Support, Electronic Arts

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

China joins Iran in Blocking Social Media During Protest Crackdowns

Digital East Asia reports that with the death toll and number of injured mounting, China is trying to both stop the demonstrators and squash their message through control of social media. This crackdown, seems to be attempting to limit the access of those involved in protests to the tools to spread and organize their message.

The New York Times reports, "In an attempt to contain China’s worst ethnic violence in decades, the authorities had imposed curfews, cut off cellphone and Internet services and sent armed police officers into neighborhoods after the first riot, but protesters massed across the city as rumors spread of fresh violence being committed by both sides."

New Protests in Western China After Deadly Clashes

Happening Now: China joins Iran in Blocking Social Media During Protest Crackdowns

Wal-Mart's Asda To Let Customers Help Choose What Stores Sell

In a program is believed to be one of the first of its type in the world for a retailer; Wal-Mart's Asda unit in the U.K. will start e-mailing customers images and details of products from the store's buyers in the Far East, asking whether they want to see them in stores.

The Wall Street Journal reports, "We're very keen on using the digital channel to enhance what we do and allow our customers into the business," said Asda corporate communications chief Dominic Burch. "This will give us more insight into what their current thinking is about what they want to see."

There are no current plans to launch the program in the U.S., but Wal-Mart is known for taking successful initiatives and greatly expanding them throughout its organization.

Asda will e-mail the pictures to its U.K. "Pulse of the Nation" group of roughly 18,000 customers, which it regularly queries on a variety of matters. Respondents will have the option of giving thumbs up or down, and Asda's decisions on whether to stock the items will be significantly influenced by what the shoppers are saying, Burch said. "

By having customer and community involvement with store items, will this present both the shopper and the retailer with a mutually beneficial retail environment?

Wal-Mart's Asda To Let Customers Help Choose What Stores Sell

To Discount or Not to Discount?

Too discount or not to discount? That is the question on many minds representing the luxury brands. Luxury brands are in a tough position right now. Thin is in, and I’m not talking about weight here, I’m talking about your wallet.

Market studies show that over indulgent consuming is out, and frugal is in. According to a recent study by the New York-based Luxury Institute, 62% of wealthy consumers report that economic conditions have altered their views on luxury purchases. People, even the wealthy, feel bad flaunting their money with people around them losing their left and right. Now is not the time to show off that $5,000 Louis Vuitton bag. According to a recent article, customers that do purchase luxury brand products are being more discreet about their spending, requesting their purchases to be sent to their hotels or for plain bags, instead of the usually coveted designer shopping bag.

On the flip side, market studies consistently reveal that discounting the price of luxury items discounts the value of the brand in the eyes of the consumer. Part of the appeal of luxury brands is that it's exclusive...something that not everyone can buy. Luxury brands work hard for the label "designer" and to build an image of exclusivity and privilege. If they discount, that exclusivity could nose dive.

The luxury brands have got some major brainstorming and research to do to figure out how to survive this recession. Because bottom line, they can’t deny the research that reveals showing off the bling-bling is not the cool thing to do in this economy, but what do they do about it?

April Bell

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Kathleen Peterson

As we get gear up for the 2009 NACCM: Customers 1st Event this year, we're going to be interviewing and getting to know the speakers and sponsors who will bring their perspectives on customer service to you. We recently sat down with chair Kathleen Peterson to talk about the event, both today and what has changed since she first chaired it back in 2003. This podcast will have six part, so check in next week for part two.

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When you chaired NACCM last, NACCM has really grown up and evolved with the industry. Now it’s all about the attendee, creating a customizable, interactive experience. Tell us why you’re excited to return as chair this year and why you think this event is a MUST attend for all customer-centric leaders, particularly this year.

Kathleen Peterson:
I’ve always felt that this conference was the most focused experience for customer management leaders. It’s always been about the customer experience across the board and I think that when we look at what this current state that we’re in, it’s become more important than ever for professionals to come together to experience not only the experts but the networking and the one another and the bouncing ideas off of each other. This is really the opportunity for leaders to develop themselves more. A lot of the training and the leadership that these folks provide is often not returned within the enterprise which forces them to seek that kind of learning and overall learning experience externally. And of any conference that anyone could ever go to if the mission is to learn not only what theories are out there, but what realities and what practices have yielded good solid results, this is the only conference to do it at in my experience, and I have seen plenty of them.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Where to focus your market research?

Recently at bNet, Stacey Blackman looked at three of the best places to to focus your market research on a limited budget.

1. Core customers and core brands
2. Developing markets
3. DIY solutions

What are some other places you're putting your limited market research budget?

For better customer service, be a better customer

In a recent article at Wise Bread, they look at how being a good customer can lead to better customer service. They point out that there are so many customer service articles today about being great at customer service, but it is a two way street. They give advice to you as the customer to get the best possible customer service. They advise the customers to document everything, learn to file effective bug reports, and when you're treated right, be vocally appreciative.

At the end of the article, they look at what a supercustomer is and how to become one:
I use "supercustomer" to describe those — the best! — who go beyond the call of customer duty (intriguing way of looking at it, hmm?) and don't just routinely consume, they actively participate in improving the people & products of the businesses they enjoy.

Playful rivalries appearing on Urban Dictionary

The Boston Globe recently took a look at the Urban Dictionary and how popular it has become online as a place where cities have began to take their rivalries. Many of the different entries, which come from users who submit new dictionary terms, still have to do with the amount of money the certain cities possess. The article looks at a few of the towns around Boston and their definitions. Read the full article here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

FreshDirect Focuses on Customer Service

BusinessWeek reports that, "During the current downturn, FreshDirect, the online grocer, based in Long Island City, N.Y., is defying the odds. CEO Richard Braddock (formerly the CEO of Priceline) says that while previous Web grocers used capital to expand, he is focusing on the customer experience. "We are going to make mistakes," he says, "but we will make you feel special, and our job is to offset the inevitable mistakes with some great solutions and great service."

Check out the BusinessWeek's video with CEO Richard Braddock

What other companies are defying the odds in this economic climate by succeeding because of great customer service?

Using Facebook to Screen Candidates? The Info You Get May be Illegal

Many managers are using Facebook and other social media outlets to understand more about a particular person's candidacy for a position at their company. Much has been written to warn potential candidates of what information they provide on social networks, i.e, excessive drinking or being pictured in less-than-professional situations. But because of the tight restrictions of what can be asked of a job candidate (marital status, religion and age), managers who find out this information on social networks may prove to be inadvertently illegal. What if, for example, the interviewer uses the knowledge they garnered from a candidates Facebook to make a determination of an individual's candidacy based on their marital status, religion or age?

Whereas Facebook may allow managers to protect themselves from hiring undesirable candidates, is it really the best tool to use from a legal perspective?

Social media brings new corporate rules

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Flickr and Twitter: A Match Made in Heaven

According to this article in TechCrunch Twitter and Flickr have finally integrated! Users can now link their Flickr accounts to their respective Twitter accounts. The official feature is called Flickr2Tiwtter.

Flickr allows you to directly Tweet out any photos directly from their site. We should expect a huge emergence of Flickr photos showing up in Twitter soon.

TMRE July Newsletter

The July edition of the TMRE LinkedIn Newsletter came out today! You can read it here:

If you haven't had a chance to join our LinkedIn group yet, do so now! Engage with over 1,600 market research professionals daily!