Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Considerations for Google and Microsoft

Andrew Keen of Telegraph.co.uk writes today that if giants Google and Microsoft want to succeed in social media, they must take a few things into consideration. For instance, Keen would like the giants to read Trust Agents. "The companies that will win in the social media economy are those who figure out how to both create and profit from trust," Keen says. Also, its important to remember that we are still in the "early stages" for social media; however, Keen contends that "we have yet to see the great social media company that will radically transform the world. And I suspect that this company’s secret-sauce will be based upon the agency of trust."

So what do you think? What can Google and Microsoft learn from Facebook and Twitter as they attempt to enter the social media sphere?

Social media's success formula

A look at TMRE: More for Less: Leveraging Research Communities to Maximize Your Budget

Christi Walters, Gongos Research and Kristin Lozon, Domino’s Pizza recently took time to sit down and discuss the importance of online communities in research, along with the valuable contributions they can make to both researchers and the organization. You can read the transcript here.


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They will be presenting “More for Less: Leveraging Research Communities to Maximize Your Budget,” during the Web 2.0 & Community Research Conference Symposium at The Market Research Event on Monday, October 19.

Christi Walters is the Principal of Consumer Products at Gongos Research. As a principal and owner of Gongos Research, Christi has been integral to the growth and diversification strategy of the company since it opened its doors in 1991. Kristin Lozon is the Manager of Consumer Insights and Strategy at Domino’s Pizza. Kristin currently oversees all consumer and market research related initiatives for the company.

And with that said, I would like to welcome Christi and Kristin.

Kristin, first can you tell us how did Domino’s first decide that communities were an area in which they wanted to focus research initiatives?

Kristin Lozon: Sure, we’re always looking for I’d say new innovative methods to help us conduct our research we are a very small department at Domino's, so we’re always looking for new innovative ways to reduce time and costs yet still yield actionable insights and information that we can use to develop new products, services. We are aiming to get quality event from our consumers. So I was at a Market Research Event about six years ago, and there was some talk of web communities and their value and specifically I remember one conversation that I was having with the gentleman from General Motors and talking about the cost savings, quick turn around time and the value that web communities were to his organization and so I start to look into it. I found that here were some companies who had just starting using or offering web communities as more of a platform. They had the software platform offered to utilize to get in touch with your constituent, but there were other companies like Gongos that were taking it a bit further, not just offering up the platform, but also offering the tools and the insight from a research perspective, and that’s how we ended up partnering up with Gongos. I actually needed someone to help me from an innovative and research method, as well as gathering insights and helping to communicate them back to me versus just a host.

What have you learned from your experiences with community research to date?

Christi Walters:
Oh gosh, you know it’s really surprising how much more you can really do with a research community. To give you a couple of examples, research communities allow you to have really quick turn around of information. So rather than spending weeks and weeks developing a plans and executing and ad hoc research, you can do research within a matter of hours and even days instead of the weeks that are sometimes involved. It also allows for the research company and Domino's and some of their marketers to have 24/7 access to their consumer target. Since this is the internet, people can do it on their own time, at their own speed, in their own environment which often allows consumers to be more expressive and open with their own opinions. Sometimes they tell us stuff that sometimes were really not sure we want to know. You can also research hot topics as soon as they come up. For example, you know those ad hoc things that you’re in a meeting and someone says “Gosh it would be great to know this.” [When you have an online community you] have convenient sample allows you to just run back, make a phone call, and within 24 hours you can have that topic posted and ready to go. You can also, in that same vain, you can also have some provide some critical information to support some decisions that might otherwise be made without the benefit of having research to back up the decisions. The consumer insights can be invaluable. We try to be as in touch with the consumers as possible, there are often times when a bad decision is made. A community can really help you to make really informed and good decisions.

And then finally, I think communities, especially research communities really help you build a great amount of excitement. And in an essence, communities help build loyalty around brands. So with the Domino's community, we started on an unbranded perspective, and we asked all the questions we need to ask from and unbranded, clean slate perspective, but then at some point during the running of the community, we expose that it’s Domino's. Then our folks in the community we get super excited about Domino's and become those brand advocates that at the end of the community, know they’ll become.

In your opinion is community research as cost effective as people think?
Kristin Lozon: I would say it’s probably even more cost effective than people think. I mean you can put together the dollars and cents and I can talk to that in a minute, but I would say it goes beyond just the dollars and cents. And in terms of value, it’s more than just the money, it comes down to the time savings, and also the connection you have with you consumer base. And this is one way you can actually feel like you’re getting real insight from them from various different methods of approaching them. You not only can get information back like you would form a survey, but you have dialogues and online chats. You really hear what they have to say and what they’re thinking in their own words.

We also have a part of the community called the “Coffee House” where they can talk to each other. And it’s amazing how much you can learn by seeing what they have to say to each other. So you’re really getting the real side of the consumer and getting to know them. And that’s I think is the most valuable, and that was something that we really wanted to do. (We wanted to really know and understand them from) where they live, and how they speak versus how they speak versus just answering our survey questions. And so it’s really hard to put a dollar amount on that, but I would say, since people are really interested, in terms of dollars and cents if I look at our research budget, I probably wouldn’t have been able to gain half the insights that we typically were able to gain through the community. If we put together some of the qualitative dialogues and quantitative surveys that we’ve done over a year, and add that up to about 90 different topics through both qualitative and quantitative. The cost to research those same topics on an ad hoc basis, we’ve probably saved over half a million dollars in one year.

How have you been successful in measuring the effectiveness of your research initiatives in communities?

Kristin Lozon:
I would say from a Domino's perspective, the continuous involvement and interest from our executive team, as well as my peer group from various departments, we get question that people ask us to pose to our community members, from product development to brand managers to our operations team, so we’re getting question from various departments continuously. They are very interested in and excited to receive the reports. We’re adding more and more people to our distribution lists for our summary reports, and you know they’re reading them because they come back with additional questions. This is just awesome, we love to have this happen. So I think from that perspective, we know that the internal constituents are very happy and interested in it, so that says to me that it’s been very effective. Gongos actually helped us promote the community through the organization by providing us with little Post-It notes that had the name of the community on it. So what we did was after presenting insights from the community, we passed the post-it note to the, a deck, to each person in the room. There were 50 or so people in the room at a time. We gave them each a stack of post it notes. And we said “Hey, whenever you have a question that you need to ask, or that you want to know the answer from the consumer, just write it on the Post-it note and drop it by my desk.” It was amazing how many people came back for more Post-It notes, how many Post-It notes were at my desk. So you know that people are utilizing it and that they’re getting valuable information from it.

Christi Walters: And I would say from a Gongos Research perspective, one of the ways we’ve been able to measure the effectiveness of the communities, and oftentimes, we’ll engage with a client for a six month period. Where they’re not sure if its’ going to be going for a year, so we say, OK Let’s try it for six months. And I say a hallmark for success is the majority of the time, our clients will up it for a year period. The other hallmark of success for research communities is the creativity that we’re able to do. We’re able to not only do the basic dialogues or surveys, but we have really spanned the gamut of what we’ve been able to do in terms of product placement, executive chats, some booster sells in key cities where we can go and do in-person research. We’ve done countless other very creative elements of research and really added to the essence of what a research community can give you. So that’s kind of how we measure success. We’ve been so blessed with clients like Kristin, who have allowed us to stretch the parameters of what a typical research community can do. And every time we stretch, we learn a little bit more. And as we learn a little bit more I believe our communities become more effective.

Kristin Lozon: One other thing I’d like to add, I think I kind of glossed over it, it’s very important. I know that the community is successful and that people believe in the information they’re getting because we’ve used it to make some really critical decisions in the organization. I think that’s very important to note. We have actually tested some scripts or early stage advertising and we’ve made go/no go decisions based on the results from that. We’ve tested some new product and promotional ideas and again, made some changes to what we were going to originally produce or launch or scrapped it all together or when there’s different direction based on the information we’ve learned from the from community.

Do you think community research is here to stay?

Christi Walters: You know I’d say absolutely. We’ve been doing research communities now for five years. We’ve learned a ton over the five years. And now we’re just beginning to understand more of the breadth of the research applications that you can do via community. We’re really careful to say that this isn’t a one-size fits all. It’s not a solution for every kind of research. There’s still a place for the traditional marketing research approaches that we use. We are using research communities as a platform for understanding consumer needs, understanding how products fit into their daily lives, having respondents interact with products, using them to co-create with clients like Domino's, and spurring new and innovative ideas, we use them to evaluate concepts and advertising. We’re able to bring into media feeds, and allow people to react to what may be going on in the outside media. And as the years go on, we’re finding that even more and more creative applications to use the community for. In fact, I think as we think into the future, our research, innovation and technologies team are thinking ahead and we’re adding on to the platform. We just launched the 2.0 application of the platform. With many many enhanced applications such as social networking and easier ways to manipulate the data from a user perspective. As we look further into the future, there may be applications where you can use your telephone devices, and enhanced ways to put on visuals either still photos or digital video interfaces, so there are many many applications as we move into the future.

Kristin Lozon: From a corporate perspective, I would as, as timelines are constantly shortened, we need to continually innovate. It’s very helpful to tap into the voice of the consumer and have them help us better understand their needs. It really shortens our development process considerably; I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Consumers know more and want more and expect more from companies. And for us to be able to truly engage with them at a level that we really can’t do for other methods, and for us, certainly, and for the decisions we’ve been able to make with it, web communities are here to stay.

NACCM 2009 Speaker Profile: Ed Boswell, Forum Corporation

Ed Boswell
President and CEO,
FORUM CORPORATION

Dr. Edwin Boswell is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Forum Corporation. In addition to his duties as CEO, Ed advises senior executive teams involved in major organizational transformation initiatives. His clients include DuPont, Department of Homeland Security, Merck, Ciba-Giegy, Mellon Financial, Campbell Soup, CIGNA, and Tyco Electronics. Prior to joining Forum, Ed led sales and service teams for IBM and served as an organizational consultant for Human Systems. Ed earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, he earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Psychology, as well as The Wharton School Certificate in Business Administration, all from the University of Pennsylvania. Ed's accomplishments have been recognized by a President's Award from DuPont Mexico and a Forum Chairman's Award. A recognized leader in the field of performance improvement, Ed is often quoted in the press on issues relating to leadership and organizational performance.

Ed's biography courtesy of Forum.com
Join us for Ed's concluding keynote, "Don't Miss the Finale on How to Make Your Ideas Happen...Make Customer Strategy a Reality: Moving from Vision to Execution" at NACCM 2009!



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There is still a fear of social media marketing

This post on eMarketer highlights how most businesses and organizations have already adopted many forms of social media, the most popular being Facebook fan pages followed by twitter and then customer reviews. Yet, many retailers are still worried about losing control of their brand over social media platforms.

The goal of most online retailers is to boost customer engagement, and many believe that customer reviews were the best tool in driving engagement. One thing for sure is that businesses will have to learn to favor social media and not step away from it because there are no signs of it going away anytime soon. Here's a chart below from eMarketer that depicts the most popular online social tools used by retailers. Enjoy!

Sponsor Spotlight: HiveLive


Today, we'll continue looking at the companies who are participating in The Market Research Event. HiveLive is today's featured sponsor.

HiveLive offers a unique building block approach to creating online customer communities custom-fit to a company's unique social thumbprint. Web 2.0 building blocks called Hives combine people, information, and permissions to create flexible information resources. Configure a Hive into a familiar social media app - blog, wiki, forum – or create something unique by clicking, not coding. HiveLive solutions help CMOs:

• Improve market intelligence -- Engage members for product reviews and feedback.
• Improve customer loyalty— Allow customers to "share and tell" through social media apps.
• Improve lead generation— Fuel viral membership growth.
• Improve customer support— Enable peer-to-peer support through customer forums and member-generated FAQs.

Hear more from HiveLive and other leaders in market research at The Market Research Event this October 18-21 in Las Vegas!

Monday, September 28, 2009

California taps celebrities and natives for travel California site

California Fives, a new online community for potential travelers to California, taps locals and celebrities to help potential visitors what are the five best of any part of their state to visit. This adds to the current arsenal of Visit California, which also includes Twitter, Facebook, and specific areas that cator to the different regions in California. Read more about the new initiative at PR Week.

Many states are jumping on the social network bandwagon. Do you think the additional of social media will help potential travelers? Hearing first hand from natives about what they enjoy in their state could shed exposure on local gems, as well as reaveal the real culture of some cities to interested travelers. Have you used a website like this to plan a vacation of yours?

Customers 1st 2009 Podcasts: A Conversation with Ken Powaga, GfK Custom Research North America

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 KenPowaga, Senior Vice President at GfK Custom Research North America. He will be presenting his keynote speech, “Profiting from Customer Churn” at this year's conference. Download the NACCM:Customers 1st Brochure to find out more about the program this year.


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Ken Powaga is the Senior Vice President at GfK Custom Research North America. He joined GfK in 1982 and established a practice to meet the special needs of business-to-business clients. Ken currently is in charge of product development for GfK’s customer loyalty practice. He has broad sales and account management experience establishing long running customer satisfaction programs for clients in the high tech, retail and financial services industries.

At NACCM Customers 1st, you’re talking about customer churn, can you elaborate on what that is and how your topic will impact our attendees businesses if applied.
Ken: We look at customer churn as the opposite of customer loyalty. When you have loyal customers, you’re continuing to sell to the same customers over and over again and building strong relationships. Churn on the other hand, you’re getting new customers that are replacing a lot of old customers who leave. Today the common belief is that customer churn is a necessary fact of life in the tough business climate that we’re in today. And it seems that most businesses treat customer churn only as a numbers game and believe that if you have more new customers coming in than are leaving, all will be fine. However, it’s not the quantity of the churn you should be concerned with, but the quality. Loss of a single good customer that’s highly profitable may not be compensated by acquiring ten marginally profitable new customers. On the opposite side, not all churn is bad churn. If you lose a lot of marginally profitable customers, and replace them with some strong, high value customers, things will be better.

What are some of the most common reasons companies lose customers?
Ken: Well, customers come and go for a variety of reasons. Some are controllable and some are not. You may gain customers by luring away them from competition who are satisfied with your competitors. But you may also lose satisfied customers who are lured away by your competitors promises. You may also lose customers from dissatisfaction and your failure to provide them what they expect. But then again, you can gain customers who are dissatisfied with your competitors performance. Another reason that customers leave is because they may not need the products or services in your category. But then again, you may gain some customers because of technology who are totally new to your product and service category.

What is the best way to measure customer churn?
Ken: With churn, you need to measure both lost and new customers. And it needs to be both objective and quantifiable measures that can be both managed and controlled profitably. The easy way to do it is not necessarily the best. And that is just simply asking some open ended questions of customers who left, and to ask them the reasons why they left. We found that this doesn’t get to the detail required to manage the churn because you receive expected, politically correct answers instead of a clear understanding of the things that cause change. So what you need to do is you need to have clear, objective measurements of customers who are coming and customers who are leaving. You need to measure their profitability and value to you. You need to measure their experiences and attitudes.

Then what you need to do is to segment both the new and lost customers into complimentary groups based on the reasons for switching, leaving or adopting your products. These segments would include lost customers who are driven away due to dissatisfaction versus new customers who are gained because competitors drove them away by not meeting their needs. It would also include lost customer lured away by competitors due to price cutting or other perceived product services or advantages. The third category would be those who churn based on industry dynamics. Either customer new to the category or those who left the category for a variety of reasons would be in this category.

After you quantify this how can companies use this info to make their business better?
Ken: They need to prioritize and fund customer retention and acquisition strategies based on the results. The first strategy is to fix any product or service problems that are driving the most valuable customers away. This will put a finger in the dyke to stop losing valuable customers. The second thing will be to develop win back strategies for valuable customers who were lured away by competition. This may include coming up with new products or figuring out what are the service aspects that customers are leaving to competitors for. Then the third thing you can do is to promote the products and services advantages to the customers who were driven away by your competition. And finally, you need to strengthen and expand programs that you have been successful in luring profitable customers away from your competitors.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The key to a successful online community: Listening

Eric Ries recently wrote a great article for Vator News discussing the importance of listening to your online community. Although we see many articles today that discuss the importance of listening to your online community, it's still a much tougher job to commit to. Many times, listening to the customers can be a defeating, trying process. They also need to understand that you're taking the time to listen to their opinions.

Read about their experience here.

Listening to the community is much like dealing with customer service. While you have great contributors who constantly interact and provide great information, many others will complain and criticize about your product you've worked hard to launch. How do you make sure that your community realizes you're listening to what they have to say?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Speakers of TMRE 2009: Phil Roos, Managing Director, Arbor Strategy Group – GfK Strategic Innovation

In the weeks leading up to The Market Research Event 2009, we're going to be hearing from the speakers of The Market Research Event. This week we have Phil Roos, Managing Director, Arbor Strategy GroupGfK Strategic Innovation, who will be presenting "See the Future: Deciphering Innovation Patterns to Find Tomorrow’s Opportunity Space," in the Insight Driven Innovation Track on Wednesday, October 21, 2009. To learn more about The Market Research Event, download the brochure here!

1. Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of? Phil: I am really proud of some work we have been doing for a client (sorry, I have to disguise it) in the health and beauty space, where we have been able to predict and model what type of truly disruptive innovation will emerge and be successful over the next 10 years, and in different parts of the world. There is some really game-changing stuff on the horizon!

2. Think ahead 5 years, what major changes for MR/Consumer Insights do you see? Phil: I believe that the industry will take on a very different shape than it has today. There will be an integration of techniques that go well beyond the traditional, using web technology to reach out to a much broader set of consumers and explore their needs and where they are headed in a much more in-depth and real time manner. There are exciting implications for being able to define tomorrow’s innovation, versus just measuring what people think today. With so much new information out there, the winners will be those who can best synthesize the inputs into something coherent and actionable. It will be an exciting time!

3. What inspired you to get in the field? What keeps you motivated?
Phil: I like solving difficult problems and, though it sounds corny, I like helping people – and this field is as close as you get to a truly “helping profession” within the world of business.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Deadline Extended! Call for Submissions: Achieving Customer Relevance, the destination those looking to understand how to reach targeted life styles a

Achieving Customer Relevance
Strategies for Connecting Lifestyles within Life Stages
May 10-12, 2010
Chicago, IL

The Institute for International Research is excited to announce that production of the Achieving Customer Relevance conference is underway. We will be reviewing presentation submissions until September 21st – space is limited so please submit your ideas TODAY! This three-day event is the destination those looking to understand how to reach targeted life styles and stages. From the segmentation to the marketing, explore best practices for pinpointing innovative ways to deeply connect with profitable segments, growing segments and new segments to maximize lifetime value and achieve sustainable growth.

Your Opportunity
We are currently recruiting corporate practitioners to share unique ideas, perspectives and case studies related to future trends. Got a good story to tell? Have a provocative perspective that needs to be shared? I’m interested in hearing from you.

Session topics include but are not limited to:
• Transition in Life Stage: How Your Customer Evolves
• Breaking into New Life Stages without Alienating Your Consumer Base
• Products Across Life Stages- Which Ones Succeed and Why?
• Common Threads and Differences in Specific Segments
• Creating an Authentic Message to Build Loyalty for Life
• The Spread of Technology through Life Stages
• Keeping Your Product Relevant as Your Consumer Ages
• Trends in Social Media and Technology

Submission Guidelines & Deadline
For consideration, please e-mail Amy Kritzer at akritzer@iirusa.com with the following information by FRIDAY, September 25th:
• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
• Title of presentation
• Brief overview of the presentation (1 paragraph plus 3 – 5 key audience “takeaways): Please write this with the knowledge that if your proposal is selected, this description will be printed in the brochure
• Previous conference presentations and/or brief speaker biography

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 Achieving Customer Relevance!

All the best,

Amy Kritzer
Senior Conference Producer
Marketing and Business Strategy Division
Institute for International Research
akritzer@iirusa.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sponsor Spotlight: Maritz Research Inc.

Today, we'll continue looking at the companies who are participating in The Market Research Event. Maritz Research Inc. is today's featured sponsor.

Maritz Research Inc. provides actionable intelligence to achieve business success by identifying and understanding gaps between brand promise and brand performance. As today's customers compare value propositions at lightning speed, companies must live up to their brand promises again and again. Maritz Research helps you understand and explain customer behavior in this supercharged environment by examining three critical, integrated dynamics: Choice: Why customers select your products or services, Experience: What happens at key "moments of truth" with your customers, & Loyalty: Why customers return, defect, or buy more. The company specializes in the automotive, financial services, hospitality, telecommunications, retail and technology sectors and also offers a custom research group. Maritz is a world leader in customer satisfaction research, helping businesses define, measure, and track satisfaction for more than 30 years. Utilizing research, customer focused training, reward systems, and communications programs, Maritz supports and drives actionable improvement strategies.

Hear more from Maritz Research, Inc and other leaders in market research at The Market Research Event this October 18-21 in Las Vegas!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Google vs. Bing: What's Your Choice?

Jennifer Van Grove recently posted on Mashable 5 reasons why one should switch over from Google to Bing. Bing is the fastest growing search engine which currently holds 10.7% of the search market compared to Google's 65% dominance. Here's a recap of 5 Bing features that separate it from the rest of search engines.

1. Travel Insight - Bing's farecast technology shows you when you search if airfare prices are expected to stay the same, get cheaper, or rise in price depending on market trends,
2. Cashback - The benefit here for consumers is that if they start their product search on Bing, they are able to save and cash in on rewards when they buy.
3. Visual Search - This alternative user interface allows you to search when you can't recall the name of something and it's a more powerful way to uncover valuable information.
4. BingTweets - Trending topics on twitter are shown side-by-side with Bing search results.
5. Enhanced Search - The enhanced view is a simple addition that gives more information on your result ensuring that the URL isn't relevant your search result.

T-Mobile Reigns Supreme Again in Customer Service

This post on techGEER.com highlights how even though T-Mobile's indoor reception and network might not be 100%, its customer service is something to brag about. According to J.D. Power and Associates 2nd volume of 2009 Wireless Sales Satisfaction Study, T-Mobile USA has ranked on top of the list as the nations most satisfying wireless carrier.

The survey was conducted from January 2009 to June 2009 and it involved more than 8,000 wireless subscribers. It will be interesting to see how the other big companies like Verizon and AT&T will respond and react to these survey results.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Post-purchase customer service impacts customer loyalty

In a great article at Industry Week, they look at why it is so important to have great customer service throughout a product's lifecycle for the customers. They found out that so typically the better customers service a customer receives after purchasing a product, the more likely they are to stay loyal to that company. Read the full article here.

Columbus synagogue serves the world

On the verge of the high Jewish holidays, The Columbus Dispatch looks at how one synagogue began to build and online Jewish community to serve the younger generation of online Jews, but soon found that they were serving many new commmunities they hadn't intended on: those who never felt comfortable in a synagogue, the elderly, shut-ins and those who grew up with synagogue. The rabbis also communicate with these online community members through Facebook and Twitter.

When you begin your online community, you typically have a target and focus of customers you'd like to find. As with this synagogue, they found that they could serve more than they'd originally planned. Have you found a new target you hadn't originally planned on by starting your online community? Have you found an effective way to communicate with this audience, whether it's through Twitter or another medium?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Southwest Stabilizes Leadership in Air Carriers by Implementing New Customer Services

The Chicago Tribune reports that Southwest Airlines, the leading legacy American air carrier has recently EarlyBird Check-In service. For $10, a customer can be among the first boarding group with Rapid Rewards and Business Select members.

On the first day, 20,000 customers bought the service, providing $200,000 to the company's bottom line," Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly said.

"While [Southwest] has made it clear that they don't want to 'nickel and dime' their customers, they are beginning to tiptoe into ancillary revenue waters that other airlines have jumped into headfirst," wrote Michael Derchin, a research analyst at FTN Equity Capital Markets Corp.

Analysts expect Southwest to begin offering in-flight Wi-Fi service for a fee next year and possibly add a fee for a second checked bag. Some analysts anticipate that Southwest also will look at selling food on its flights, as most domestic carriers do.

What other customer-centric policies can Southwest Airlines implement to keep their bottom line holding strong?


Southwest Airlines weathers downturn with focus on customer service, spirited attitude

Study Says Stay-at-Home Moms Dominate Social Media

The Denver Business Journal reports today that The Retail Advertising and Marketing Association study released Wednesday showed that more than 60 percent of stay-at-home moms are more likely to use Facebook, more than 42 percent are more likely to use MySpace and nearly 17 percent are more likely to use Twitter. That's compared to average adults – 50 percent of which use Facebook, 34 percent that use MySpace and 15 percent that use Twitter. The article says that, the findings show retailers what advertising and marketing opportunities can be found on the Internet and within social media sites.

We've seen the introduction of "Mommy Blogs" and frugal homemaking blogs, but do stay-at-home moms really dominate the social media sphere? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Study: Stay-at-home moms dominate social media

Speakers of TMRE 2009: Tony Cardinale, NBC Universal

In the weeks leading up to The Market Research Event 2009, we're going to be hearing from the speakers of The Market Research Event. This week we have Tony Cardinale, Bravo, Oxygen, & Women at NBCU, NBC Universal, who will be presenting "Segmentation reveals new ways to Connect Optimally with Consumers in an Economic Downturn," in the Segmentation Track on Monday, October 19, 2009. To learn more about The Market Research Event, download the brochure here!

1. Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of?
Cardinale: Very proud of the New Economics Planning Tool that we created in partnership with Simmons. The tool is a customized version of the syndicated Simmons National Consumer Study which is used at many media companies and media agencies. It allows a user to create segments of consumers based on their reaction to the economic downturn of the past year-plus. Some consumers are more resilient brand spenders and big-ticket spenders, either because their personal financial outlook remains positive or because they just highly value brands, or prioritize their plans to buy a home or take a vacation. Other consumers are looking to spend less overall, or spend less in specific categories. The tool is designed to isolate the consumers who are in each of these groups, category by category, allowing a marketer to add that layer of intel to their targeting process. It's the only tool of its kind that we know of.

2. Think ahead 5 years, what major changes for MR/Consumer Insights do you see?
Cardinale: I'd love to see traditional age/sex targeting replaced or augmented by a real marketing industry focus on behavioral and/or attitudinal targets.

3. What inspired you to get in the field? What keeps you motivated?
Cardinale: I love tooling around with numbers to see what stories pop out of them. It's my hobby. Knowing that there's always something new and innovative to try just around the corner keeps me motivated.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good Riddance to Twitter Spammers, Impersonators, and Serial Abusers!

Jennifer Van Grove from Mashable recently posted a great article on a list of 10 people that we will no longer see on Twitter anymore. This comes after Twitter recently announced changes to its terms of service, in an effort to crackdown on bad behavior on the site. Here's a list of the 10 people we will no longer see, as detailed by Jennifer on Mashable.

1. The Impersonator
2. The Bot
3. The Naked Chick
4. The Serial Abuser
5. The Squatter
6. The Slimy Salesman
7. The Hashtag Spammer
8. The Plagiarizer
9. The Uber Oversharer or Bully
10. The Faker

Which are you most excited about never seeing again?

Customers 1st Speaker Profile: Emily Yellin, Author, Your Call Is(Not That) Important To Us

Emily Yellin
Author
Your Call Is(Not That) Important To Us

Emily Yellin is the author of Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us (Free Press 2009) and Our Mothers’ War (Free Press 2004), and was a longtime contributor to The New York Times. She has also written for Time, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications.

Born in White Plains, New York, Emily grew up in Memphis. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a degree in English literature, and received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. She has lived in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and London, but currently lives in Memphis.

Emily decided to write Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us while waiting on hold one day in her freezing cold house, only to argue on the phone for hours with customer service at a home warranty company before convincing someone to come fix her broken furnace.

Bio courtesy of Red Room.

AdAge: The Era of Rewarding Research

AdAge reports that Edward G. Martin of Hershey Co. and The CMO Council are introducing Pause to Support a Cause, a new campaign that will donate to causes for people who participate in research programs.

AdAge writes, Pause to Support a Cause is a milestone campaign from the Chief Marketing Officer Council that will unite global corporations and public sector partners in a new initiative to survey the socially beneficial way by donating on behalf of those participating in funded market research programs around the world. This corporate social responsibility campaign will use a portion of the $18.9 billion spent on market research worldwide to create a global community of nonprofit champions, boosters, supporters and members willing to take part in online surveys as a way to channel funds to their designated causes, charities, foundations and nonprofit organizations of choice.

Martin says that the goal of Pause to Support a Cause is to bring a larger and broader group of people into the research process while also including those groups that have been historically under-represented in market research, such as the African-American, Asian and Hispanic communities.

Will this promotion has a positive and large following after its introduction? We'd like to hear if you could utilize this in your research.

The Era of Rewarding Research

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sponsor Spotlight: GfK Custom Research North America

Today, we'll continue looking at the companies who are participating in The Market Research Event. GfK Custom Research North America is today's featured sponsor.

Headquartered in New York, GfK Custom Research North America is part of the GfK Group, the world's fifth-largest market research company. It combines the global resources of the GfK Group with the local knowledge of North America's leading research and consulting companies delivered by more than 700 employees in the US and Canada. Beyond our sector-specific experts, specialty practice areas and research centers of excellence, we deliver unmatched knowledge designed to help your business grow. With several of the world's largest databases, and comprehensive ad hoc research services, we offer state-of-the-art solutions developed from a 360-degree view of your market.

Hear more from GfK Custom Research North America and other leaders in market research at The Market Research Event this October 18-21 in Las Vegas!

10 Twitter Tools for Serious Twitterers

I came across this list of top 10 twitter tools for all you twitterers out there from this post on Quick Online Tips. I'm pretty sure you might be familiar with most of these but there might be a couple that you haven't used so far so take a couple of moments to check them out below. Enjoy!

1. Twitterfeed – This automatically publishes updates from any RSS feed to your Twitter account.

2. Tweetdeck - Great twitter desktop clients that allows you to manage several twitter accounts.

3. Twitpic – TwitPic lets you share photos on Twitter.

4. Tweetmeme Button – A button that allows your content to get retweeted.

5. Twitter Counter - A statistics tools which allows you to show off your Twitter followers count on your blog.

6. Wickett Twitter Widget – Displays tweets from a Twitter account in the sidebar of your blog.

7. Twitter Search Widget - Official Twitter widget which provides a cool custom interface to display your own profile search results in your sidebar.

8. Twibbon – Lets you add a logo of your website or a cause you support to your twitter profile avatar. This also enables your supporters to add the same logo to their profiles and show support for your blog or cause and is great to develop a community of supporters and get lots of publicity.

9. Twitterberry – A popular Twitter client for Blackberry mobile phones.

10. Twitbin - A firefox extension that allows you to keep up with all of your Twitter conversations right from your browser sidebar.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Call for Submissions: Achieving Customer Relevance, the destination those looking to understand how to reach targeted life styles and stages.

Achieving Customer Relevance
Strategies for Connecting Lifestyles within Life Stages
May 10-12, 2010
Chicago, IL

The Institute for International Research is excited to announce that production of the Achieving Customer Relevance conference is underway. We will be reviewing presentation submissions until September 21st – space is limited so please submit your ideas TODAY! This three-day event is the destination those looking to understand how to reach targeted life styles and stages. From the segmentation to the marketing, explore best practices for pinpointing innovative ways to deeply connect with profitable segments, growing segments and new segments to maximize lifetime value and achieve sustainable growth.

Your Opportunity
We are currently recruiting corporate practitioners to share unique ideas, perspectives and case studies related to future trends. Got a good story to tell? Have a provocative perspective that needs to be shared? I’m interested in hearing from you.

Session topics include but are not limited to:
• Transition in Life Stage: How Your Customer Evolves
• Breaking into New Life Stages without Alienating Your Consumer Base
• Products Across Life Stages- Which Ones Succeed and Why?
• Common Threads and Differences in Specific Segments
• Creating an Authentic Message to Build Loyalty for Life
• The Spread of Technology through Life Stages
• Keeping Your Product Relevant as Your Consumer Ages
• Trends in Social Media and Technology

Submission Guidelines & Deadline
For consideration, please e-mail Amy Kritzer at akritzer@iirusa.com with the following information by Monday, September 21st:
• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
• Title of presentation
• Brief overview of the presentation (1 paragraph plus 3 – 5 key audience “takeaways): Please write this with the knowledge that if your proposal is selected, this description will be printed in the brochure
• Previous conference presentations and/or brief speaker biography

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 Achieving Customer Relevance!

All the best,

Amy Kritzer
Senior Conference Producer
Marketing and Business Strategy Division
Institute for International Research
akritzer@iirusa.com

Call for Submissions: Achieving Customer Relevance, the destination those looking to understand how to reach targeted life styles and stages.

Achieving Customer Relevance
Strategies for Connecting Lifestyles within Life Stages
May 10-12, 2010
Chicago, IL

The Institute for International Research is excited to announce that production of the Achieving Customer Relevance conference is underway. We will be reviewing presentation submissions until September 21st – space is limited so please submit your ideas TODAY! This three-day event is the destination those looking to understand how to reach targeted life styles and stages. From the segmentation to the marketing, explore best practices for pinpointing innovative ways to deeply connect with profitable segments, growing segments and new segments to maximize lifetime value and achieve sustainable growth.

Your Opportunity
We are currently recruiting corporate practitioners to share unique ideas, perspectives and case studies related to future trends. Got a good story to tell? Have a provocative perspective that needs to be shared? I’m interested in hearing from you.

Session topics include but are not limited to:
• Transition in Life Stage: How Your Customer Evolves
• Breaking into New Life Stages without Alienating Your Consumer Base
• Products Across Life Stages- Which Ones Succeed and Why?
• Common Threads and Differences in Specific Segments
• Creating an Authentic Message to Build Loyalty for Life
• The Spread of Technology through Life Stages
• Keeping Your Product Relevant as Your Consumer Ages
• Trends in Social Media and Technology

Submission Guidelines & Deadline
For consideration, please e-mail Amy Kritzer at akritzer@iirusa.com with the following information by Monday, September 21st:
• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
• Title of presentation
• Brief overview of the presentation (1 paragraph plus 3 – 5 key audience “takeaways): Please write this with the knowledge that if your proposal is selected, this description will be printed in the brochure
• Previous conference presentations and/or brief speaker biography

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 Achieving Customer Relevance!

All the best,

Amy Kritzer
Senior Conference Producer
Marketing and Business Strategy Division
Institute for International Research
akritzer@iirusa.com

Create Infinity: First Look


As a social media professional, we wanted to give you a first look at our new online community -- Create Infinity. Join other futurists, trend hunters, free thinkers and idea generators explore all things possible and transition 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.

Will the community ask for an innovative look at the future of marketing or will the community seek a community based entirely around the future of social media?

As we continue our growth, we'll keep you updated!

We'd love to have you join us! Create Infinity

Friday, September 11, 2009

Customers 1st LinkedIn Update: September 10

Yesterday, the latest edition of the Customers 1st LinkedIn update was set out to the LinkedIn group.

You can find it here:
http://bit.ly/UewEx

If you'd like to receive these updates on a regular basis, please join us on LinkedIn!

The Market Research Event LinkedIn Newsletter: Septebmer

Yesterday, The Market Research Event's September LinkedIn Newsletter came out.

You can read it here:
http://bit.ly/EwcnO

If you're not a member of The Market Research Event's LinkedIn group, please join us here to get the latest news in market research!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good experiences must last from beginning to end

Laurie Brown at the Examiner recently wrote an article about a recent expreince she had as a traveller. She and her husband had hired a tour guide to show them around a city, and had a wonderful experience until the very end of the trip. The abrupt end to their tour as well as unkind parting with the tour guide left them with a negative feeling about the experience.

Are you making sure your customers receive quality customer service from the beginning to the end of the interaction with your company? I think it is especially important in these tight economic times that the customer receives a great experience, from beginning to end, as they can easily find alternatives to your service. What steps are you taking to ensure that this takes place?

Online community shares local police reports

The Medford Transcript of Massachusetts sheds light on a new community that shares local information from the police department on crimes taking place in specific neighborhoods. CrimeReports.com takes call logs from local police departments and provides the crime data online. Individuals can sign up to receive daily, weekly or monthly updates about the crimes that have taken place in their neighborhoods.

This kind of community intrigues me. It combines both online and offline communities for the benefit of the people involved. What do you think about online communities like this?

Speakers of TMRE 2009: RiCardo Crespo, Mattel Inc.

In the weeks leading up to The Market Research Event 2009, we're going to be hearing from the speakers of The Market Research Event. This week we have RiCardo Crespo, Group Creative Director, Mattel Inc., who will be presenting "Realizing a Sustained Collaborative Culture to Support Packaging Innovation," in the PROOF: What’s New & Next In Packaging Research Track on Monday, October 19, 2009. To learn more about The Market Research Event, download the brochure here!

1. Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of?
Ricardo: I recently worked on the strategy and creative direction development plan for a marquee brand. The strategy was instrumental in aligning all cross-functional teams to end up in a single voice for the brand while fostering separate, yet collaborative development across all teams. All teams had a clear vision of the end result while having tangible and attainable development milestones, which were objectively reviewed with agreed metrics beforehand.

2. Think ahead 5 years, what major changes for MR/Consumer Insights do you see?
Ricardo: Same as was forecasted 5, even 10 years ago...that at the end of the day, brands are experiences and that those experiences need to be a direct result of what consumers want, not what we think, or hope the brands will be. Speak to consumers in engaging ways and when you tell compelling, persuasive brand stories, you are not selling, you are fostering dialogue back to your brand through their repeated and personal decisions to experience your brand. this dialogue leads to loyalty and relationships that are the DNA of successful brands.

3. What inspired you to get in the field? What keeps you motivated?
Ricardo: My inspiration?...that someone wanted to pay me for the passion and creativity that was innate to solve communication challenges, and tell stories because of brands. Creative direction and strategic design is incredibly fulfilling...because no two challenges are the same; that diversity elevates our ability to progress and ultimately, our creativity. What keeps me motivated? Repeat my first sentence.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How Charities Harness Social Media for a Social Impact

Jina Moore of The Christian Science Monitor writes that as the Internet comes of age, social media has changed the way nonprofits do business. They’ve advanced beyond getting the word out on Facebook and raising money with Twitter to find a unique overlap between the mission of nonprofits and the methods of new media.

For example, the best blend of Web 2.0 and social activism may come from innovators who set out to exploit the collaborative potential of media tools. It’s just that potential that Ory Okolloh wanted to tap last year, during the election crisis and communal violence in Kenya.

A Harvard University law graduate and a well-known Kenyan blogger, Ms. Okolloh asked readers to use her blog to report on the violence in real time, subverting a government ban on live reporting. “I got overwhelmed by the amount of information coming in,” she remembers. So with the help of some tech-savvy readers who volunteered their time, she set up Ushahidi, an open-source mapping software.

Ushahidi changed the reporting on Kenyan violence. Ordinary Kenyans sent text messages about attacks, which were then mapped online. A Harvard study found that Ushahidi reported on a significant number of incidents the mainstream media missed. Okolloh and her team have been refining the code since then, and the tool has been adapted to crowd-source reports of violence in Congo, medical supply shortages in five East African countries, and election monitoring for national votes this year in Afghanistan and India.

For more examples of how charitable organizations are harnessing the power of social media, we encourage you to check out Moore's original piece here.

How charities harness social media for a social impact
Networkers shift from sharing info to linking up to effect change.

Customers 1st Speaker Profile: Dan Hill, Author, Emotionomics





Dan Hill
Saving Customer Ryan:
The Power of Emotional Brand Equity
Author, EMOTIONOMICS & President, SENSORY LOGIC, INC

Dan Hill is the President of Sensory Logic, Inc., founded in 1998 as a scientific consumer insights firm that specializes in gauging both verbal and nonverbal, subconscious reactions to advertising, store environments, and product design, packaging and presentation. He has also provides executive coaching for sales force training relating to interpersonal communication skills.
Prior to launching Sensory Logic, Dan held positions in business and state government. In business, Dan was the director of Executive Communications for the Newark, New Jersey based utility company PSE&G. There he co-chaired a branding task force, organized the annual employee meetings, and was responsible for creating one of the top 11 annual reports in Financial World’s 55th Annual Report Competition. While serving as a regulator at the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Dan was honored by the state senate for negotiating one of America’s first car leasing laws and spearheaded the creation of a 29-state task force on car repair reform for the National Association of Attorneys General. In academia, Dan earned a Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University and a Masters in Creative Writing from Brown University after undergraduate studies at Oxford University and St. Olaf College.
His award-winning creative writings have been published in The New York Times and noted with distinction in the 1994, 1991 and 1989 editions of The Best American Essays. Since the release of his business book, Body of Truth: Leveraging What Consumers Can’t or Won’t Say, published by John Wiley & Sons, he has been featured in Business 2.0[1], on NPR’s Marketplace, and quoted in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Dan’s second book, Emotionomics: Winning Hearts and Minds, published by Beaver’s Pond Press, will be released September 18, 2007.

Dan's biography courtesy of Wikipedia.org.



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Publish Your Facebook Content Over the Web

Mashable recently posted how Facebook released several widgets including Fan Box, Photo Badge, Page Badge, and Live Stream Box that allows its users to embed Facebook featured on 3rd party websites. Users are able to show off their photo albums, logos, statuses, number of fans, and general info from a Facebook fan page.

It was took a while for Facebook to catch on with these widgets since Flickr, Twitter, and others have released similar applications but it looks like they are finally there.

European Online Shoppers are Frustrated by Poor Customer Service

This post on bizreport.com discusses how recent research conducted by ATG shows us that many Europeans are not satisfied with their online shopping experiences. In countries like Germany, Spain, and England consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with poor customer service, checkout problems, and unsuccessful login attempts.

Frank Lord, VP for ATG in Europe, the Middle East and Africa mentions:

It's clear the e-tail market in Europe is still finding its feet. Web shops that consider customer service first by integrating the tools that meet local needs, such as shorter check out sequences in the UK and Germany, and live help in France and Spain, stand to benefit."

It is crystal clear that European retailers still have a lot of work ahead of them in terms of online customer service.

Sponsor Spotlight: Corporate Research International

Today, we'll continue looking at the companies who are participating in The Market Research Event. Corporate Research International is today's featured sponsor.

Corporate Research International is a global leader in customer loyalty research through Mystery Shopping, Customer Surveys and Employee Surveys. Through our research programs, we can link data to store sales and performance to help improve business performance. Every program is customized with the exact goals of the client in mind.

Hear more from Corporate Research International and other leaders in market research at The Market Research Event this October 18-21 in Las Vegas!

Friday, September 4, 2009

How are you reaching out to your customers?

The Economist wrote an article recently about segmentation and how it's spread beyond it's origins at the consumer level. Everyone is segmenting the people they are targeting, including employers. The article focuses on the importance of hitting your audience in the right places and through the right channels.

Are you having a hard time reaching one of your targets? Are you finding them through the appropriate channels?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

European Online Advertising Spending Growth Down in 2009 but Expected to Grow

According to this article in eMarketer the spending growth of online advertising in Europe has fallen in 2009. This information comes from research conducted by IAB Europe, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Screen Digest. Even though there was a slight setback in 2009, online ad expenditure is expected to grow in 2010 rising nearly 6.5% year over year, which is still a little sluggish when you compare it to the 21.3% hike in 2008. It is extremely evident that the economic downturn has affected online advertising spending growth. Here's a chart below that details the change in 2009.

Never Blame the Customer, Even If It’s Their Fault

Written by Lori Jo Vest, www.whosyourgladys.com

During my day job managing a television production studio, every week presents abundant examples of customer service – both good and bad. A few weeks ago, we encountered one of the worst customer service examples I’ve ever experienced.

One of our customers was doing a project that involved creating a marketing video to demonstrate the benefits of an alternative energy system. It was targeted to the government, specifically the military. While they had images of their own equipment and we were creating a 3D animated model of their system, they needed stock video footage showing members of the U.S. Army to fill out the program.

One of our staff members investigated all of the options for military footage, including several commercial stock footage library services. Basically, you pay for the rights to use the footage in your program for a specific purpose. The owner of the stock footage provides the images and assures you that it can be legally used.

Use of stock footage is a common practice in the video business and the processes are standard. You go online and pick the scenes you want to purchase, submit your credit card information, and you either download the footage or the company lays it off onto a videotape or disc and sends it to you.

In this case, we ordered the disc and the company sent it to us. The only problem was that the disc was completely blank when it arrived. Oh, well, mistakes happen, so we called the company. The project manager explained to the man who answered the telephone that we would need a new disc. ”Hmmmmm,” he said. “It sure looked like it was copying onto the DVD when I did it.” No apology and no explanation. We also found it rather interesting that he owned up to the fact that he hadn’t checked the disc before he shipped it. Weird.

A few days later, the program was finished and life went on. Or so we thought. Actually, when the bill arrived, we found two shipping charges on our invoice for $50 each. One was for the blank disc and the other was for the disc that had the footage on it. Of course, we didn’t want to pay for the first shipping charge, so our project manager called the company back.

“That’s petty,” the man who had originally handled our project told her. “It wouldn’t have been blank if you hadn’t been in such a hurry to get the footage. I would have had time to check it, if it hadn’t been a rush.”

We were floored! It was our fault that this man had made a mistake? We should eat a $50 shipping charge that wasn’t in our client’s budget because of his sloppy work habits? It was appalling, though he finally agreed to take the charge off of the bill. And the icing on the cake? He emailed our employee that had first made contact with him to tell him that our company was “petty” to ask for a refund of the $50 shipping cost for the blank disc and that he “won’t change (his) standard turn-around time to meet (our) company’s rush needs again.”

The whole occurrence was outrageous, actually, as this vendor always had the option of turning down our original request if he wasn’t able to provide the necessary quality control. Plus, it takes about three minutes to check a disc to make sure that the footage you believe you copied onto it is, in fact, on the disc.

This company has no need to worry about changing its “standard turn-around time” for us, as we definitely won’t be calling him again for any stock footage. There are so many competing companies in his area of the business that it shouldn’t be a problem to find one that doesn’t blame their customers for their mistakes.

This was a great example of what not to do when you make a mistake. What should you do instead? Own it! Tell your customer what happened, then immediately set about making it right. Re-do the job, re-deliver the product – do whatever it takes. In fact, do more than it takes. If you handle mistakes with integrity and a strong commitment to giving your customer what they need, they’ll come back. And that’s what it’s all about anyway, right?

What do you think? Can you think of a time that you or your company made a mistake? Did your actions strengthen the customer relationship or hurt it? What could you have done better? What can you do so it won’t happen again?

Lori Jo Vest is a co-author of “Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan,” recently released by AMACOM Books/New York. She manages a Michigan-based television production studio, Communicore Visual Communications, when she’s not consulting with small business owners to help them enhance their customer experience. To learn more about “Who’s Your Gladys,” check out the book’s trailer at www.youtube.com/whosyourgladys.

The Speakers of TMRE 2009: Stuart Bedford, Sherwin-Williams

In the weeks leading up to The Market Research Event 2009, we're going to be hearing from the speakers of The Market Research Event. This week we have Stuart F. Bedford, Director of New Business Development/Research, Sherwin-Williams, who will be presenting "Overcoming the Challenges of Packing Innovation in Traditional Industries," in the PROOF: What’s New & Next In Packaging Research Track on Monday, October 19, 2009. To learn more about The Market Research Event, download the brochure here!

1. Tell us about a project you are working on or recently completed that you are proud of?
Stuart: I recently completed the development of "Refresh", a product line launched under the Dutch Boy brand that is a premium interior paint that "absorbs odors". There is no other product in the market that has this attribute. Initial placement exceeded expectations in sales. We received the 2009 Sherwin-Williams corporate marketing award for innovation for this product line.

2. Think ahead 5 years, what major changes for MR/Consumer Insights do you see?
Stuart: Validation of consumers who participate in "on-line" research. This has been an area of concern for companies who execute research on the inter-net. Validation for product purchase claims could include purchase records such as a store receipt record for product quantity and price paid. Validations of this type are currently at a price that is unrealistic for a high level of completed
surveys.

3. What inspired you to get in the field? What keeps you motivated?
Stuart: Inspiration and motivation is the continuing discovery process and finding "nuggets" that provide the basis for new strategies that stimulate successful market innovation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is there a need for more privacy online?

The USA Today has a news story discussing the current push by consumer and privacy advocacy groups asking Congress to begin to protect consumers rights online. Currently, online sources have free reign to collect data on habits to predict one's internet search. The Interactive Advertising Bureau is strongly opposed to regulating privacy on the internet, and this is the first time advocate groups have spoken out against the advertising policies online.

While tracking internet habits is critical for a business, do sites like Google need to be freely monitoring all internet surfing habits? Should Congress listen to consumer groups and take steps to protect internet surfers privacy?

Customers 1st Speaker Profile: Michael Tchong, Ubercool

Michael Tchong will be presenting the keynote speech "I Want to Tweet You Up: What Emerging Customer Trends Mean for Your Business," Wednesday, November 4 at the NACCM: Customers 1st conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Find out more about the conference here and download the conference brochure here.

Michael Tchong has spent more than 20 years living at the bleeding edge of consumer technology trends. His uncanny knack for being ahead of the curve has earned him a reputation as one of the savviest thinkers of the information age.

A serial entrepreneur, Michael developed a host of successful media and technology companies to help consumers and businesses harness the potential of new technologies. His successes include founding MacWEEK, Atelier Systems (personal communications), CyberAtlas (Internet market research), ICONOCAST (online marketing) and Ubercool, a media and entertainment company targeting trendwatchers and trendsetters.

Michael surfs the scene with relentless energy, translating trends to help businesses identify emerging opportunities. He maintains eight blogs, including China Trends and My Lappy, and is currently working on his sixth start-up, which will reinvent the marketing and media worlds. Michael’s a global citizen who sees the big picture from his perch in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill district.

A sought-after speaker, Michael has been quoted by, or appeared on, such leading media as Access Hollywood, BBC News, Bloomberg TV, Business Week, CNET, Fast Company, Fox News, UK’s Independent, PBS, The New York Times, Variety, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and Wired.

Biography coutersey of iMedia Connection.

Brought to you by:


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sponsor Spotlight: Consumer Insights Group

Today, we'll continue looking at the companies who are participating in The Market Research Event. Consumer Insights Group is today's featured sponsor.

Consumer Insights Group is a full-service market research firm excelling in innovative, custom methods to provide immediately actionable results. We have helped clients in a wide range of industries optimize their products, understand their current and potential consumers, and innovate intelligently. With our unrivaled consumer research experience and cutting edge methods and tools, we can develop a qualitative, quantitative, or hybrid methodology to meet all of your business needs. From web analytics to usability to surveys, brand research, focus groups, and more, we can put it all together to answer the big picture questions that your business needs answered.

Hear more from Consumer Insights Group and other leaders in market research at The Market Research Event this October 18-21 in Las Vegas!

Adobe Apologies for Poor Customer Service

While revamping its customer service experience, the software company admits that it has had a few missteps during the transition. Neoseeker reports that (Adobe) recently upgraded its customer service experience, bringing in over 800 new agents in its transition to a new global provider (outsourcing possibly), and with it came a real nosedive in quality on that end.

Click here for a copy of their open letter to customers

By admitting their mistakes, will Adobe ensure its customer loyalty throughout this transition? The venerable software company has cornered the market on design and motion graphic software, so it would be easy for Adobe to simply let their customer service slip.


NFL Says Social media OK Before, After Games

Players in the NFL are now permitted to Tweet, blog and chat before and after they toss the pigskin. The Associated Press reports that, "the NFL said Monday it will allow players to use social media networks this season, but not during games. Players, coaches and football operations personnel can use Twitter, Facebook and other social media up to 90 minutes before kickoff, and after the game following traditional media interviews.

During games, no updates will be permitted by the individual himself or anyone representing him on his personal Twitter, Facebook or any other social media account, the league said."

This comes after San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie was fined $2,500 by the team for criticizing the food service at training camp on Twitter.

Will other sports now have restrictions on the use of social media?