Friday, April 30, 2010

A look back at TMRE 2009: Lessons from the White House from Joel Benenson

The Market Research Event 2010 is taking place this November 8-10, 2010 in San Diego, California. Every Friday leading up to the event, we'll be recapping one session from The Market Research Event 2009.

Lessons from the White House: Stories From Obama’s Lead Pollster & Strategist
Joel Benenson, Lead Pollster & Senior Strategist, The Obama Administration

What does a politics pollster know about market research’s issues? While looking at the agenda, he saw a session doing with inspired performance, and it’s contending with a session on online communities, as well as building a teen brand, and finally one about leveraging knowledge to prepare for and outwit the competitors. For nearly a century that campaign teams have understood political marketing and how it combines with brand marketing.

In a world of politics, they’re driving by a world that corporate don’t embrace, and they have one measure of success that’s determined on one day. They win or lose. And they’re driving by competition, and they face competitors.

YouTube didn’t exist when Bill Clinton left office, and now consumers can post a video about whoever they want whenever the want. George Allen’s senate race campaign was crippled by a handheld camera taken by an intern in his party. 27million people watch a speech by Obama in February of 2007. This technology creates turbulence that’s new.

-Risk takers
-Challenge convention thinking
-Embracing heated debates to get to the right strategy

If you’re a pollster and want to have an impact in the debates, you must be there to tell them where the numbers are coming from and why. What are their underlying attitudes that make them determine why voters are voting for a certain politician.

There would not have been a campaign if Obama wasn’t willing to challenge the conventional thinking of the time. In politics you’re never as smart as you look when you win, and you’re never as dumb as you look when you lose. You have to be willing to take the loses, and continue to be daring to keep winning.

Beninson realized that any democrat would be change from Bush. They had to make it so that the only way there was change would be if Barack Obama was the change. They set out to define Clinton’s experience as irrelevant.

What they wanted to do to define change with Obama as the answer . They could gain more quickly and convince voters that they represented change, than trying to convince with democrats that they could compete with Hillary on experience. This set up a template. They defined a change that they could believe in. People were hungry in America, and they wanted to end partisan conflicts, and they wanted a president that they could believe in. A speech in November 2007 in Iowa set up a situation where the candidates had to give a speech. There were no teleprompters, they made an ad of this speech, this message shared the campaign where Obama wanted to create a unified America. Next in South Carolina, and they were holding back.

They took this ad and put it in front of focus groups for African Americans in South America, then it lead to the backing of Obama by African Americans in South Carolina. Campaigns are all about the delegates. The delegate gain is very complex. They have to go down to the congressional districts. Strategy for the Obama campaign was to build up a delegate lead for Obama. On February 5, 2009, the critical day in California, they’d be targeting specific congressional districts. On February 18, 2009, there was a caucus in Idaho. In the last week, they had to decide where to send Obama? They took the risk and sent Obama to Idaho on February 1. There were 14,000 people lined up to see Obama speak at the Boise State arena. They focused their efforts in Idaho. Clinton got a predictive win in California, and she did win, but by marginally less. They neutralized Clinton’s gains in California with Obama’s huge gain in Idaho.

From this, Beninson stated that it’s not about knowing who your customers are, you must understand who your valuable consumers are. You should spend your dollars on them so that profitability is high when they spend their dollars.

The public wanted someone who was strong and steady in the crisis, so when John McCain wanted to cancel the debate the week the stock market crashed, Obama wanted to continue on with the debate because the commander and chief must be able to multitask.

So today, where are we? Obama won by 50% in the popular vote, which hadn’t been done in a long time. Today, Obama’s approval ratings are high, as well as confidence, which is important. He’s also dealing with education, health care and energy.

Parallels between polling and market research client on marketing side: if you’re a researcher on a client side, how can you be more strategic player. Maybe you’re asking yourself the wrong questions.

Clients with strategic research partners should wonder why they aren’t hiring them. How does your organization react when someone comes up with an out of the box solution. What kind of constraints are you placing on thoughts and ideas? You have to breakthrough unfamiliarity. Take a leap, do something different. How many risks have you taken with the data you have in front of you.

Have you let science restrict your creativity? Vendors sell things to people, strategic partners bring something to the table that no one else can. Do you need to reevaluate what you’re addressing your services as?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Call for Presenters: Future Trends 2010

The Institute for International Research (IIR) presents:

From: Jennifer Finer
Re: Future Trends 2010
Event Date: October 18-20, 2010
Location: Eden Roc, Miami, FL

Feed your mind. Build the future
Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than Friday, May 7, 2010 to Jennifer Finer, Event Director at or call 1-646-895-7335.

This is your opportunity to join the most forward-thinking minds in the world.
Future Trends is the annual gathering of futurists, content experts, corporate visionaries, trendsetters, market researchers, product developers, innovation practitioners, insights professionals and revolutionaries to discover and uncover the trends that matter most to you, your business and society.

This event is a catalyst for attendees to embrace trends and incorporate them into business plans, track the top trends that will affect us most, measure the impact of trends, and make trends actionable- from strategy to design to product development.

Speakers receive FREE admission to the conference as well as any pre-conference activity such as workshops or symposium.

To find out more about the topics at the event, view the full Call for Papers here:

Two Auburn students harness the power of social media

This past week, Taylor Swift made a visit to the Auburn campus. She was stopping by to give Ryan Leander and Matthew Mahaffey a hug. In January, they set out with a goal to get a hug from Taylor Swift. By harnessing the power of Facebook, Twitter, a webpage, YouTube and a little bit of word of mouth marketing, they won fans over, and reached Taylor herself. She then issued them three challenges through YouTube. Each challenge was accepted and Leander and Mahaffey created a video with their responses integrated with their fans videos.

Through these videos, they engaged their audience, inspired collaboration and built buzz to achieve their goal. What can you take from their social media marketing campaign and use it to engage your audience? Visit their webpage for the full story.

Here is the video inspired from their second challenge:

Source: Washington Post

Smaller banks provide better customer service

According to the Buffalo News, a recent survey by J.D. Power & Associates found that small Pennsylvania banks offer the best customer service. Northwest Savings Bank of Warren, PA came in #1 on the survey. They article credits smaller banks for receiving the best customer service due to their in-service attention to customers and ability to attract new customers due to this.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Market research in the publishing industry

The publishing industry, a major industry on its own, looks at market research differently than many other industries. The decisions of this industry can't be changed or altered once a final product of theirs is done. They produce many more items a year than many other industries, and often on much smaller margins. Rachelle Gardener recently took a look at this on her blog.

Instead, their market research is done for them. Publishers looking to do market research in their field simply have to look at pop culture and trends, and note what is most desired by their readers.

She concludes the article with a quote from Mark Cubin:
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

Are you monitoring trends in addition to market research to develop your new products? How important is it to develop something that reaches far beyond what your consumers are asking for in market research?

UPDATED: Hey Boston! Join us for a Tweet-Up!

Social Innovators Tweet-up! Join us and other attendees from around the world, leaders in innovation and social media, as we converge on Boston for 3 major industry conferences. Mix and mingle with the best and the brightest market researchers and innovators on May 3rd at Lucky’s Lounge.

Monday, May 3

Lucky's Lounge
355 Congress St.
Boston, 02110

Click here to RSVP

Monday, April 26, 2010

Delivering superior customer service

In an article at the Miami Herald today, they look at the disconnect many companies have between customers service expectations they have for themselves and the expectations their consumers have.

A. Parasuraman points out these three simple requirements:
Delivering superior customer service requires
(a) understanding customers and their expectations, especially when things go wrong;
(b) ensuring that companies' communications and service strategies are aligned with those expectations
(c) excelling on service basics before investing resources on enhancements.

Do you disagree with any of the things above about how to deliver superior customer service?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How can eBay help your research?

In a recent article at, they look at eBay as a valuable tool for market research. The website looks at the current trending topics on eBay. This can be benficial to sellers who are looking to appeal to consumers tastes. Since eBay is a market place that is open 24 hours a day, it's appeal to the market and ability to show current desires is huge.

What do you think? Do you see eBay Pulse as a valuable tool?

The interactivity on your webpage

Shane Richmond adds his views to a current debate currently happening in the UK: How much commenting and interaction should take place with the community when it comes to online newspapers? The article points out that the majority of those who contribute are a small segment of angry readers. There also needs to be a way for users to interact beyond the small comment box typically found at the bottom of the article.

What do you think of these points? Is this part of the reason your company is having trouble diving into social media? While one or two boisterous readers may dominate your comments, how can you join them in the conversation? Is there a way to promote interaction from your other readers who may be content to just read your articles? How can we learn from this debate that is taking place and apply it to our own online communities?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spirit Airlines looking at profits over customers

I came across a recent article that looked at how Spirit Airlines has begun charging for carry on luggage in addition to checked luggage. While they charge for checked bags, this new rule allows for individuals to carry anything on that will fit under the seat, but charge for anything that must go in an overhead bin.

While customers were clearly not in mind when this decision was made, who much will it affect those already flying Spirit Airlines? This is a budget airline, so fliers do fly it in order to save their money. So will they be willing to spend a few extra dollars to bring a bag on board? Or will this new fee result in customers looking to other airlines? They may be able to spend the same amount of money on another airline and carry their luggage on.

What do you think a decision like this does for the customer?

Read the full reaction article from Brent Batten here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Free Web Seminar - The Analytical Revolution: are you ready?

Date/Time: Thu, May 6, 2010 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Mention priority code MWS0032BLOG

What if you could change the game and become and insight partner to your end clients? You can with IBM SPSS solutions. Today’s market research firms are uniquely equipped to provide their business clients with what they need – an in-depth, well-rounded understanding of their customers. By using predictive analytics, market research firms are not only able to conduct research, but also revolutionize their relationship with clients by taking insight to the next level

During this presentation we will examine:

• Integrating research with wider data sources to give a wider view to empower business decisions
• How you can let the data do the talking and provide valuable nuggets of insight
• How Predictive Analytics can be applied across the entire research lifecycle to provide further speed and accuracy in responses and results.

Featured Speaker
Heena Jethwa, Product Marketing Manager
SPSS Inc., an IBM Company


Women showing more enthusiasm in online networks

A new study at USC shows that many males are showing social networking fatigue. A study recently showed that 67% of women under 40 stated that their online interactions were just as important as their offline. Only 38% of men felt the same. In 2007, the opposite was found as 69% of men found their online interactions more important compared to 35% of women.

In addition, the article also looks at how men are often the early adapters, and eventually lose interest. But it's the women, who are slower to adopt, who end up being more loyal to certain products and communities.

Read the full article here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Customer service can make a trip

Mary Bergin recently wrote about her experiences in customer service while on a recent trip to Chicago in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune. While on her trip, she received horrible customer service from the Public Transit of Chicago. However, she was pleasantly surprised when she received superb customer service from a local restaurant. Have you had any experiences like this? While Bergin alludes to the poor customer service from the public transit service, she identifies possible causes such as the reduction in personnel or the salary freezes.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A look back at TMRE 2009:Innovation & Growth: Cultivating the Game Changers

The Market Research Event 2010 is taking place this November 8-10, 2010 in San Diego, California. Every Friday leading up to the event, we'll be recapping one session from The Market Research Event 2009.

Presenter: Ram Charam, Author of Leadership in Times of Economic Uncertainty & Co-Author The Game Changers

Here are a few takeaways from his informative presentation.

Ram Charam begins his keynote session by asking the question “Why do 90% of accountants not turn into CFOs? Most accountants can’t make the linkage to the outside business and do not see the connections. There are many CFOs who do not have an accounting degree, but they are able to see the bigger picture.
Innovation is different from invention. Invention is the generation of an idea. Innovation, though, is conversion of an idea into money making. That is the viewpoint of a CEO.

Innovators must follow business acumen
1. Will this idea engage more revenues or acceleration of revenues
2. Will it accelerate profit margin and growth margin
3. Will it enhance the brand

How do you convert insights into revenue into margins? Ram Charam takes a look at the iPod which has no new technology in it. Brands also need people to view and see their social responsibility.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Number of Registered Twitter Users Surpass 100 Million

According to this post from Adam Ostrow of Mashable, twitter finally revealed their big number at the Chirp Conference. 105 million! Can you say shocking? Twitter continues to grow adding about 300,000 new users everyday. It is still behind Facebook with numbers boasting 400 million, but the gap is becoming smaller by the day. What does mean for communities?

Friday, April 9, 2010

A look back at TMRE 2009: Why quality doesn't matter A report on the terminal illness of Survey Research

The Market Research Event 2010 is taking place this November 8-10, 2010 in San Diego, California. Every Friday leading up to the event, we'll be recapping one session from The Market Research Event 2009.

TMRE General Session: Why quality doesn't matter A report on the terminal illness of Survey Research

Why quality doesn't matter A report on the terminal illness of Survey Research
Stan Sthanunathan, Vice President , Marketing Strategy & Insights, The Coca-Cola Company

Stan is presented us with two vital slides. As different people have different styles, and he doesn’t want to offend anyone.

Vital slide #1: Why quality doesn’t matter. You must think about the future. If you don’t have quality, don’t come to the party. This is the reason why quality should matter, but it shouldn’t be the only thing.

Vital Slide #2: It’s beyond quality. What’s the next frontier? This slide could be considered less offensive than the first.

85% of research leaders indicated that they are either ”Neutral of dissatisfied with the impact of marketing research in their company. How can we take respondent engagement to the next level?

Is only debate getting us in the way we focusing on urgent versus important. We probably spend a disproportioninate amount of time on the urgent as opposed to the important. There is hope for the industry going forward, the question is is innovation happening at the pace its suppose to happen?

It’s about helping the company to change shape. Not following the change as quickly as possible. Leaders create change. Followers follow change. Our role as leaders and market researchers is to light the way, and show a beacon of hope for what can change in the future. End user expectations bring value to the table.

Expectations are changing quite dramatically. Going forward, we must put money behind research, innovation, and technology changes that accelerate change. We need to think about how we can bring dramatic changes to the world of our research? How can we use technology to do so?

What’s blocking our way for innovation?
We can’t agree on the definition of insight in the industry.
We don’t ‘know what we don’t know, and we don’t know how to know what we don’t know.

What will our final frontier look like?
The speaker can’t predict the future, but Facebook will become the insight provider for the world. There are 300 million individual users, each have given an extensive amount of personal detail. So we can get a great understanding of human conditions. It’s the best source in the world for information on the human behavior. What is your loyal fan base thinking about your product? What do they do, when do they enjoy coke; all can be found if used Facebook correctly. They’re consumers who love your brand.

Here’s what a company needs from clients and research agencies.
-creative problem solvers,
-Story tellers
-Disruptive thinker
-Act before the change comes to shape change
-Imagine the world where date becomes a commodity
-Agencies are rewarded for business results delivered.

Focus on: outcomes, inspiring change and creating the future

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Free Web Seminar - How SimplexGrinnell Increased Customer Advocacy by over 200%: Moving Beyond NPS Metrics

Often companies are focused entirely on satisfaction scores which are only the first step in truly understanding customer satisfaction. In order to respond to customer feedback, and increase satisfaction you must understand the meaning behind the score to be able to anticipate customer needs.

Join us to hear how SimplexGrinnell developed a process not only to measure the quality of customer relationships, but also to take action to exceed customer expectations.

Karl Sharicz, Manager of Customer Intelligence, SimplexGrinnell
Bill Herald PhD, Research Consultant, MarketTools

Register here
Mention priority code MWS0033BLOG

Official Call for Presenters Now Open: CUSTOMER WORLD 2010

the co-location of 3 unique customer-centric events:
8th Annual NACCM Customer's 1st Conference
2nd Annual Customer UNinterrupted Conference
14th Annual Linkage Strategies Conference

From: Kelly Potanka, Conference Director, IIR
Re: CUSTOMER WORLD Call for Presenters
Event Date: October 25-27, 2010
Location: Orlando, FL

We are looking for both customer-centric case studies, as well as interactive/experiential activities. Creativity in format involving audience participation/inspiration will receive preferred attention. Please send all submissions to Kelly Potanka (

About the Events:
CUSTOMER WORLD is where the VOICE OF YOUR INDUSTRY comes together to champion and celebrate CUSTOMERS 1st. Never before has there been such a comprehensive offering of customer-centric events focused on your customer service/experience, measurement/metrics and self-service/technology needs.

NACCM consistently helps customer service executives reignite the passionate leader within to confidently lead their teams and customers. Balancing actionable, practical content with unique and memorable experiences- Customers 1st delivers the motivation you need to keep the customer at the center of every business decision. We are currently seeking cross-industry corporate practitioners to share unique strategies and best practices for creating WOW experiences by driving customer-centric initiatives at their organization.

Customer service is an investment, not an expense. Understanding how the customer wants to be approached and through which contact channel can redefine your next-generation of profitable customer connections. Customer, UNinterrupted is designed for customer operations career professionals to develop and execute a strategy for delivering a consistent, seamless service experience across multiple channels. We are currently seeking expert case studies that focus on Self-Service Technologies and Call Center Excellence.

In times like these, waste is not an option. Ensure every dollar spent on your customers delivers optimal profitability. Linkage Strategies is the only conference that measures the impact of your customer strategy investments on the business' bottom line. If you have a case study on how to take the crucial step forward and show attendees how to manage, measure, link and act on customer data, submit your proposal now.

If you are a corporate practitioner ONLY, we invite you to submit a speaking proposal directly to Kelly Potanka on or before Friday, April 16, 2010 to Please note: Abstracts are reviewed and selected on a rolling basis, so please submit early. ONLY corporate practitioner submissions will be reviewed. If you are a consultant/vendor/solution provider, please see below. 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 receives free admission to the conference (a $2000+ value) including admission to all conference sessions, workshops, networking breaks, lunches, exhibit halls, etc.

Special Notice to Vendors, Consultants and Solution Providers:
Whether you are looking to build awareness, generate new business or strengthen existing relationships- a presence at Customer World can help you achieve your goals. A limited number of sessions are reserved on the program for this group to participate and sponsors are given priority. If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities, please contact Jon Saxe, Business Development Manager at or 646-895-7467.

Thank you for your interest in CUSTOMER WORLD. We look forward to receiving your proposal!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Conan O'Brien uses web tools to continue entertaining millions

With his final night of the Tonight Show taking place earlier this year, Conan O'Brien has continued his presence in the American public successfully using online community tools. Through a network of Twitter (@ConanObrien), blogs, and fan communities, Conan O'Brien has sold out the majority of his comedy tour that will be kicking off this week. Read the full article here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The importance of qualitative research

At eBusiness, they recently looked at the importance of qualitative research in international markets. While the survey method is most frequently used to collect data, in many situations, qualitative data may provide more insight and better aid decisions.

This article focuses on these specific techniques for qualitative data collection:
1. Observational and quasi-observational techniques
2. Projective techniques
3. In-depth interviews

Read the full article here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Farmers Become "Agvocates" with AgChat Foundation

Almost one year ago, AgChat was formed on Twitter to serve farmers interested in connecting and sharing their world with one another. The chat takes place every Tuesday night from 8-10EST. Because of AgChat's success, a whole crop (excuse the pun) of farmers have created their own social network, AgChat Foundation. The space provides farmers with a medium to advocate for their profession and for other farmers in the United States.

This farmer led group “is designed to empower more farmers to leverage social media as a tool to tell agriculture’s story. The Foundation will educate and equip farmers and ranchers with the skill set needed to effectively engage on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Linkedin and other social media services. It will give them knowledge to unlock new tools to effectively tell their story. Research shows that social media is a growing opportunity for farmers to have a stronger voice in educating people about the business of growing food, fuel, feed and fiber.”

For more information on AgChat Foundation, please visit their website.

Free Web Seminar - How SimplexGrinnell Increased Customer Advocacy by over 200%: Moving Beyond NPS Metrics

Often companies are focused entirely on satisfaction scores which are only the first step in truly understanding customer satisfaction. In order to respond to customer feedback, and increase satisfaction you must understand the meaning behind the score to be able to anticipate customer needs.

Join us to hear how SimplexGrinnell developed a process not only to measure the quality of customer relationships, but also to take action to exceed customer expectations.

Karl Sharicz, Manager of Customer Intelligence, SimplexGrinnell
Bill Herald PhD, Research Consultant, MarketTools

Register here
Mention priority code MWS0033BLOG

Cluster analysis for segmentation

Segmentation is key to successful marketing. Mineful looks at the importance of segmentation, and how it should put you in touch with your customers. After dividing up segments, each ones should be: measurable, relevant, accessible, distinguishable and feasible. When using cluster analysis is used, some of the parameters include:
  • Behavioral parameters
  • Attitudinal parameters
  • Psychographic variables
  • Demographic data
Read the full article here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A look back at TMRE 2009: Interview with Communispace CEO Diane Hessan

The Market Research Event 2010 is taking place this November 8-10, 2010 in San Diego, California. Every Friday leading up to the event, we'll be recapping one session from The Market Research Event 2009.

Interview with Communispace CEO Diane Hessan

We were able to catch Diane Hessan, CEO of Communispace, and ask her some questions about some of Communispace’s new research initiatives and what lies ahead for market researchers of tomorrow. Take a couple of minutes to view the video below. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New customer experience measurement system for USPS

According to, the USPS will be bringing in a new tool that will allow the system to see how the consumers service is at four key touchpoints: receiving mail, sending mail, visiting the post office and contacting the Postal Service.

Delores Kettle, USPS vice president and consumer advocate, stated this about the new data collection: “Through added insights and actionable data, customer experience measurement will help the Postal Service more precisely identify customer needs across all channels and find new ways to provide greater customer service. We will now be measuring and reporting on areas that really matter to our customers, and this information will help Postal Service managers take actions to improve service.”

Read the full article here.