Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Borderless Access Panels expands to South Africa

Borderless Access Panels Pvt. Ltd. today announced the market launch of its proprietary panel in South Africa. The emerging market research specialist expands its capabilities from Brazil, Russia, India, China and Mexico into South Africa, empowering global organizations to conduct research in high potential markets.

Dushyant Gupta, Senior Vice President of Borderless Access Panels on the occasion said, “South Africa the economic powerhouse of Africa is not only in itself an important emerging economy; it is also the gateway to other African markets. Acer, Barclays, BMW, GE, Alcatel all have a presence in South Africa and we see an increased presence of more international organizations setting up local offices. With global players there and a growing market, it then becomes imperative to feel the pulse of South Africa and that’s where Borderless Access comes into picture.”

Ruchika Gupta, President at Borderless Access adds, “Borderless Access is the undisputed leader for online panels in these hard-to-reach markets with a significant representation of its population in our growing panel. With global experience, industry experts who have crossed cultural boundaries and succeeded in building a robust panel, Borderless Access is your one-stop survey partner in the emerging markets.”

About Borderless Access:
Borderless Access is the Emerging Market online research specialist with extensive experience in building and maintaining panels across geographies and cultures. Having proprietary panels in Brazil, Russia, India, China (BRIC) and Mexico; and partnerships enables them to reach over 100 million consumers across 65 countries.

Borderless Access is the only online panel company within the emerging markets to be listed as preferred vendor for several Honomichl research companies. Borderless Access is the chosen sample provider for select CPG firms & Fortune Top 10 Technology giants.
Know more at:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Can celebrity endorsement help your brand?

The answer is yes, celebrities can help endorse your brand.  However, the trick is to identify the right celebrity to embrace your brand and share it with their followers.  Ipsos recently surveyed an online panel to reveal who were the most influential celebrities to help endorse a brand.  Who were they?  Betty White, Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks and Harrison Ford were the top ranking celebrities. According to the panel, who are the best celebrities to stay away from when looking for celebrity endorsement?  Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen.

This celebrity endorsement topic made me wonder about the newer advertising tool many celebrities and companies.  In this article from the USA Today, they cited that only 11% of US adults are on Twitter and follow their preferences.  So when a celebrity tweets, their audience is automatically self selecting.  Many of the celebrities mentioned were similar to those mentioned in the "Least Trusted".

Do you think your audience has respect for celebrity endorsement? Do you trust Twitter as a platform to communicate through celebrities about your products?

Identifying & Acquiring 500,000 Customers on Facebook: Complimentary Webinar

Join us two weeks from today for a complimentary webinar, "How to Identify & Acquire 500,000 Customers on Facebook in 120 Days While Tracking and Maximizing Your ROI"

This case study presentation will demonstrate a data-driven approach to identifying and acquiring your ideal customer on Facebook and effectively measuring ROI for your Facebook marketing initiatives. We will discuss:
• Why most brands are failing on Facebook

• Using deep data profiling to reach and expand your customer base on Facebook

• Understanding Noise and Connectivity and how they affect your brand's ability to communicate on Facebook

• Monitoring and Maximizing your brand's ROI for your Facebook marketing campaigns

Register here:
Sponsored by: LoudDoor

Register with code MWJ009-BLOG

Plus, there is still time to join us for "Tips for Building a Branded Social Game" on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 1:00 PM EST.

Beyond the visible popularity of online social games such as Zynga’s FarmVille and Mafia Wars, social gaming while users are engaged with Facebook continues to grow as a tremendous marketing opportunity with approximately 320 million users playing social games each month.

In Vitrue's webinar on Tips for Building a Branded Social Game, learn best practices on how to increase engagement, acquire more fans and more all through the integration of your brand into a social game.

We'll show live examples of games, discuss the technique that they implement, including leaderboards, challenge-a-friend, in-game charitable giving, sweepstakes, giveaways and coupon integration. We'll also cover how to Simplify and Beautify your branded games. Talk will also include the pros and cons of building your own game versus trying to integrate with an existing mega-popular social game.

Register for this free session with priority code MWJ0012-BLOG here:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Click It with Pete Winemiller

Definitions of Click: To be a great success; to function well together; to hit it off; to become clear; to interact with another or others; to communicate; to connect; to be on the same wavelength.

Well, I clicked with Pete Winemiller, Senior VP of Guest Relations for the Thunder OKC - franchise of the NBA. His message at the NACCM Conference on How Strong Leaders Facilitate Moments that Matter gave the audience of customer service managers and other consultants a powerful reminder that we are in the people business. I circled in red the statement that people do not remember days, they remember moments. Moments matter.

Pete asked the question - who is your most important customer? Many answers were given - the one in front of you at the moment, the one creating the greatest revenue, and the longest relationship. The answer - YOURSELF. You cannot provide consistent customer service unless you take care of the most important person. Business also need to recognize that employees will never treat their customers better than the employees are treated. The Harvard Business Review has a study called the Service-Profit-Chain that proves that when leadership invests in the frontline employees through recruiting, training and technology and other ways to keep team happy and empowered will influence employee behavior. The results is creation of loyal customers that result in profit.

Click is soon to be a book by Pete Winemiller and I know that I will definitely purchase this book for my customer service library. His values align with the practices and principles that I have held for over 30 years of working with teams and customers.

C Communicate Clearly
L Listen to Learn
I Initiate Immediately
C Create Connections
K Know your stuff

On each table was a CLICK badge to wear around our neck - with a blank space to write the way you could to something small in a better way. Pete says that is is not doing 1 thing 100% better that makes a difference, it is doing 100 things 1% better. During the rest of the day, attendees compared badges and what each would improve. I read many: believe in myself; no complaining; listen more; connect.

During lunch, I sat with Pete and asked him about the NBA lock-out. He stated that he had more time for speaking and training. If you have a need for an excellent presenter with amazing experience in serving his 18,000 guests at each NBA basketball game, give him a call. He will click with your team.

Guest Blogger, Customer Service & Sales Trainer & Speaker
Connie Brubaker

Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Improve Your Social Game - Complimentary Webinar

Join us two weeks from today for a detailed webinar covering reasons why brands should be using social gaming, tips, tricks, ROI measurement and best practices for building a branded social game. We'll show live examples of games, discuss the technique that they implement, including leaderboards, challenge-a-friend, in-game charitable giving, sweepstakes, giveaways and coupon integration.

We'll also cover how to Simplify and Beautify your branded games. Talk will include the pros and cons of building your own game versus trying to integrate with an existing mega-popular social game.

Tips for Building a Branded Social Game
Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT

• Adam Archer, General Manager, Vitrue Games

Register today & secure your spot:
Sponsored by: Vitrue
Register with priority code MWJ0012-BLOG

Monday, November 21, 2011

Introducing The Mobile Marketing Conference – Save $600

Did you know that mobile is expected to be most influential advertising medium over the next three to five years?

With consumers now spending more than 6 times as much time in an app versus a traditional website, the opportunities to build brand love in this medium have increased exponentially. Yet, many of today's leading marketers still struggle with exactly how much to take advantage of the new opportunities - not only when it comes to connecting but specifically how do you drive transactions?

The Mobile Marketing Conference - an event designed around action-ability - real world BRAND stories showcasing action and demonstrating value.

The Mobile Marketing Conference will show you how to leverage the mobile medium to build meaningful mobile experiences and convert mobile interactions to transactions. Designed for marketers, by marketers, it is the only event of its kind exclusively focused on marketing in this medium.

With case studies from leading brands like Google, JetBlue, L'Oreal, Turner Networks, Conde Nast, Capital One, Gilt Groupe, Taco Bell and more, The Mobile Marketing Conference promises a return on your investment.

• Chaired by Jeffrey Hayzlett, Celebrity CMO, Author of The Mirror Test and Founder of The Hayzlett Group
• Professor Scott Galloway, Clinical Profesor of Marketing, NYU Stern & Founder of The Red Envelope
• Allen Kupetz, Author, The Future of Less
• Catherine Roe, Head of CPG, Google
• Jason Tester, Futurist, Institute for the Future
See the full speaker list.

Key focus areas include:
• Integrating mobile into the greater marketing strategy
• Aligning mobile strategy with brand goals
• Allocating resources across the mobile channel
• Usage patterns and mobile behavior
• Mobile advertising
• Mobile gaming
• Optimizing social media efforts for mobile
• Designing seamless user experiences
• Website optimization
Download the brochure to see full session descriptions 

To stay competitive, your brand must have a short and long term mobile plan. The Mobile Marketing Conference will arm you with the insights, relationships and coverage you need to succeed in the mobile world: capture share of mind, drive transaction and prove ROI.
Save $600 when you register before Thanksgiving! Register now.

We hope to see you in Miami.
The Mobile Marketing Conference Event Team

Join Our Communities:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Leading Yahoo’s Search for Metrics that Matter

Flush with Data, Web Giant’s Insights Team Seeks Answers

By Marc Dresner, IIR

Yahoo VP Research and Strategic Insights Lauren Weinberg has a very happy problem: Her clients are data junkies and she’s got more than enough supply to meet demand. The challenge Weinberg and her colleagues face is how to make sense of it all.

Yahoo has an astonishing amount of data and information to be brought to bear for both its own advantage and that of its clients, and Weinberg manages a research function whose activities run the gamut from 30K-ft macro views to discrete, custom campaign analytics.

“The biggest thing we see is that everyone just wants more data,” Weinberg told The Research Insighter. “There are so many metrics available, so we do a lot of our own research just to try to figure out what the different metrics mean.”

In this episode of TMRE’s executive interview podcast series, The Research Insighter, Lauren Weinberg takes us inside Yahoo’s marketing and sales from a research perspective, shares her concerns about data overload and tackles the question of how to deliver insights in a flux media landscape.

Listen to the interview.

Read the transcript.

Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead with a background in trade journalism and marketing. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the market research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Disney World Delivers – Literally - All the Way to the Airport!

Discovering that my coin purse was missing on the final morning of the NACCM Conference was not a great way to start the day. A few dollars and credit cards were concerns, but my Texas Driver’s License was needed for identification to board the airplane that afternoon. I started retracing my steps to no avail. You know the scene, patting down your pockets, looking in your purse, checking under the bed, tearing the room apart and then starting all over again. I went to the front desk and Marva was extremely helpful as she offered to check lost-and-found and call me within the hour.

Long story short, nothing showed up but Southwest Airlines consoled me with the information that I could make the flight but to allow extra time to go through security. While waiting for the Magic Express to the airport, I checked the front desk one more time and Joey listened carefully to my plight. He began filling out a form and handed it to me – a complimentary taxi to the airport so I could arrive without any delays. This generous gesture and comfortable ride calmed down my flustered demeanor and first-hand showed me the exemplary customer service for which Disney is known.

Disney Institute facilitator, Jack Santiago, shared how symbols such as the Big Ears and the Magic Castle represent the heritage, culture and values of Disney. The quality excellence of their cast of stars is demonstrated in all the gift stores, restaurants, hotel front desks, grounds, and rides. The selection and training process really works. From the onset, Disney’s applicants are informed about the culture and the non-negotiable standards. Disney's intent on hiring for attitude and not aptitude is common advice that I give my clients. Disney also state that regardless of the level of schooling, Disney can train for 90% of the jobs but cannot train to have a good attitude.

By the time I made a smooth taxi trip to the airport, navigated through Southwest and security with little disruption, I knew that a little Disney Magic had worked. I applaud Disney because a fairy Godmother and Prince Charming are needed in everyone’s life during difficulties. Thank you, Marva Davis and Joey Lel.

Connie Brubaker

Integrity Training Solutions

Third Annual “State of Online Branded Communities” Study Released

Our SocialC20 friends at Comblu have released the third annual “State of Online Branded Communities” study. For your copy of the findings, click here.

It's no surprise that "An organization’s branded assets should offer a mix of content, conversation and community." and "Those brands that do community well present both the voice of the brand and the voice of the customer throughout their site experience."

However there were some new trends that surfaced, including:
Recommendation engines: With functionality that offers "If you enjoyed X you may also like Y" style recommendations, this service can be useful to communities across industries.
Advocates: the use of advocates is still low (20% adoption rate), but communities that adopt this practice have much higher engagement levels.
Mobile: 16% of the communities reviewed offer an app. Mobile experiences are growing.

One result of the study is that the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), ComBlu and The Community Roundtable are collaborating to bring a community management certificate program to market to help standardize the job as well as help organizations train people who are assuming community management duties.

To learn more about the study, including what brands performed best, download your copy of the findings here.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NACCM Live: Disney Institute in Photos

Yesterday NACCM joined ProjectWorld® & World Congress for Business Analysts® for a joint session from The Disney Institute on "The “Magic” Behind Great Teamwork: Disney’s Approach to People Management."

In this session we discussed some of the ways that Disney provides great service by starting with dedicated cast members who feel like part of a team. Walt Disney created the structure of "first name basis business" - everyone in the organization is important. With some collaborative activities we got a taste of the Disney hiring experience.

View the slide show below for some pictures from the session:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

But what do I do without my cell phone? Go outside and play?

We're through the second day of the 2011 NACCM conference and a major sticking point came during lunch through candid conversation. Now at our table, whilst picking over our salads, fellow attendees were discussing our "Generation Z", the people who will be handed the reigns, describing them as possibly apathetic (in so many words). When I say "apathetic" I may be too harsh in translating their words. But when they look at this generation they see young people with their noses, and 90% of their attention, stuck in their hand-held devices. The concern related to customer support is that they won't have that classic smile, hand shake, greeting, etc. that's been so intregal to the customer experience. What we see is customer experience changing forms.

Judy Ferrell from Verizon expressed at yesterday's loyalty summit the importance of making an online support presence highly available and easy to use. A vital aspect of her site is a forum, with a great deal of material and assistance that's provided by users themselves. Of course not all users are contributors to this type of resource. But to search a forum for help on issues, or Google a product for user-submitted reviews, is proof that our younger generation does care. They just show it differently. So should these technological dependencies bring about a need for us to worry about the future of support? Or should we embrace these transformations and harness what it offers? Or both?

Your friendly guest blogger,

Chris Black
Director, Customer Support and Rollout

Happiness Continues into the Afternoon

The sessions for the NACCM continue in the afternoon to inform, inspire and entertain. My notebook was full with insights, strategies, new stories and examples to share with my audiences and clients. Attendees will return to their offices and present a new approach to an old idea or remind all about the intrinsic value of company philosophy on culture, loyalty and the customer experience.

Judith Ferrell of Verizon gave a stellar presentation about the path her company utilizes to create customer advocates. She stated that customers can be Verizon's advocates and Verizon advocates for their customers. One interesting slide showed the 4 behavior approaches to getting online support. They are the Guidance Seeker, the Researcher, the Busy Multi-Tasker and the Problem Solver. I recognized myself quickly as the Multi-tasker - I don't care about the process - just solve my problem and do it quickly! Which are you? The goal of their online customer support is by not just improving but being innovating.

An authentic and experienced leader in the automobile industry, Mike Sachs of Volkswagon of America, shared about creating customer loyalty. A favorite moment of mine was as Mike read from The Last Lecture written by RandyPausch about the $ 100,000 salt and pepper shaker. One of my speeches is about the value of a lifetime customer and I will definitely include this story in future presentations. Mike shared that brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room and culture is what your employees say when you're not in the room. Vision of the leaders creates culture.

Melinda Parks from Sprint gave a presentation on Employee Engagement Through the Customer Experience. She also shared about how to drive loyalty with taking the time to experience what customers are experience and understanding what they value. Customers want to be known and greeted by name. They want to be protected and helped to save money. A personal thumbs up for me was to treat the customer better for staying loyal. Thank You Thursdays was an activity that grew at Sprint where employees take 90 minutes to write personal thank you notes to customers with a huge positive response by employees and the customers.

We wrapped up the day with an engaging and energetic keynote from Jasmine Y. Green, Chief Customer Advocate with Nationwide Insurance Company. A story-teller extraordinaire and a no-holds bar approach with her Board of Directors all the way down to front-line employees, Jasmine is all about the customer. She shared that the culture of her organization moved from be careful to be full of care with heart, mind and soul. One of the success methods contributed by Jasmine was a recognition program that includes peer-to-peer, boss selection and the CEO award. Recognition of employees created amazing and record-breaking Gallop Polls increases in employee engagement.

The first day of the NACCM Conference did not disappoint. I never left the hotel grounds to venture out to the park for adventures with Mickey Mouse and his crew. I had been totally entertained and amused all day.

Connie Brubaker
Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Monday, November 14, 2011

Got Happiness? NACCM Provides Solutions!

The North American Conference on Customer Management began with great speakers with informative and entertaining messages about Managing Customer Satisfaction. The attendees shared about their objective to return to their workplace with new ideas, renewed commitment, and inspiration to lead their teams. You could see heads nodding in the room as these managers agreed on principles, challenges, programs, dedication to the customer experience and most importantly a determination for new approaches to continue and improve processes to delight our customers.

We began the day with JoAnna Brandi, Customer Care Coach, that shared the science on how happiness can not only create endorphins and serotonin, along with a long list of other benefits, that improve our problem solving abilities, focus, creativity, and resilience to name a few. The formula for happy customers included the AAA Feedback - Acknowledge & Affirm, Amplify it, and Anchor it. Statistics was also a part of equation in understanding the 60% spread in performance when employees are praised, supported, and show strengths versus emphasizing weakness. An enthusiastic and well-documented presentation on the subject of positivity was enjoyed by all.

Kate Feather, People Metrics, gave a presentation on Brand Ambassadors and improving customer engagement. One of the most powerful measures for investment in customer service programs was that a 5 point increase in customer engagement could improve average stock price by as much as 26% while a 5 point decrease caused stock performance to be below the industry average. Julie Broderick of Signature Flight Support gave a case study of their Voice of the Customer Feedback Program. The program includes action alerts and accountability that maintains momentum.

The final morning speaker was Randall Brandt of Maritz. He shared about setting the bar for customer satisfaction by determining and evaluating the goal whether judgement, benchmarking, or linkage-based targets are used. The objective is to drive continuous improvement to realize desired results.

As a speaker, trainer, and writer, I feel validated, encouraged, and inspired by a room full of advocates that share my passion and unwavering commitment to outstanding customer service. I enjoyed my conversations with other attendees like David Fischer of John Deere, C.J. Muniz of Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Faith Williams, Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Yes, happiness rules here in Orlando and I haven't even enjoyed a lunch yet.

Connie Brubaker
Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Stretching Customer Feedback

We've made it through the first half of the Pre-Conference Loyalty Summit. All our speakers at least touched on the importance of customer feedback, and it got me wondering if I'm not utilizing what I have as well as I could be. Because my user base is more niche, we depend a lot more on having individual powerful advocates and their praise. To collect this information on a regular basis I previously developed a program for users to share their successes with our tools. When chatting with a happy customer this is usually easy to collect. What we've been doing with these stories is #1 capturing advocates for our brand and #2 using the kind words to justify ROI for new customers, or at renewal time.

JoAnna Brandi, Customer Care Coach, did a great presentation showing, with actual research and numbers, how happiness can effect others positively, not just with customers but in the workplace. Happy employees can add to the bottom line. At SalesQuest we have a team of analysts hard at work each day developing intelligence reports to be published and used by sales and marketing teams. Now when those users come back and tell me how helpful the report was, how much time it saved them, or how much progress they made with their job by using our reports, imagine how much satisfaction our analysts could get out of it. A designer sees their outfit on the red carpet and that is the drive that gets them to say, "I love my job." So for a (apologies team!) not-so-glamorous job, why can't our analysts get that same swell of pride that allows them the same benefit? That pride makes it easier to get up in the morning, and can bring you into to work wanting to accomplish more. This is just one way that I can take customer loyalty into a new realm, get others involved.

The possibilities seem expansive and bring to light that this resource can be stretched further than previously perceived. How else can we stretch customer feedback?

Your friendly guest blogger,

Chris Black
Director, Customer Support and Rollout

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hello, my name is...

Chris Black here, your friendly guest blogger giving you the inside scoop from NACCM 2011. As a newbie to NACCM, I’m hoping to not only give insight to the great content I’ll be viewing, but to also give future attendees a good idea of what they can expect in coming years.

A little about me – As a director of customer support and rollout at my company, I love my customers! Who reading this blog wouldn’t, right? In fact I’m so attached that my three days attending the conference will be one of the longest times I’ve spent away from work since being with my company, SalesQuest.

A little about what I do – I’m in what I consider to be a very lucky situation. Our company offers a subscription service that makes people’s lives easier. So, my job is to make people happy. Since our customer base is concentrated, and our tools are used in certain individuals’ jobs on a daily basis, it gives me room to develop relationships with my users.

Now let’s keep this short and save the good stuff for next week. Stay tuned!

Chris Black

Director, Customer Support and Rollout


Thursday, November 10, 2011

TMRE Day 3: Youth, Reimagining

The third and final day of The Market Research Event might have been my favorite of all. Folks dragged in for morning sessions, but the prior two days had brains pliable and social creativity was juiced.

A couple of thoughts that really stood out for me for the day:

  • -"We benchmark ourselves too much to our competitors." Jeremy Gutsche of Trendhunter kept us engaged and, hopefully, eager to go back and challenge the drivers behind the work we're all doing. It's a dangerous endeavor to simply confirm biases with research. Involving the fringe and trends as a part of every project should be standard rather than a rarity.
  • -Christine Stasiw-Lazarchuk of Ford shared that, following Ford's recasting of itself, the marketing had to reduce its headcount by 70% while budget was reduced 40%. Instead of "doing more with less," Her response? "Treat your suppliers as partners...have them feel the success. You won't be sorry." Ford elected to build unique relationships with their suppliers; letting them into the room and to be a part of the conversation rather than tossing insights over the fence and wishing for the best. Those are the kinds of partnerships in which clients and vendors both win and create incremental value for brands - let's all get there.
  • -The word cloud for day three shows us a couple of other key concepts: (a) Mobile (b) Gen Y. These concepts share young consumers and leading insights in common. You could say that youth and new-to-world methodologies were the real rock stars of The Market Research Event. Clients consistently share with us that youth are not only a significant target for today, but also harbingers of the future - a living future trend, so to speak. I challenge all of you to consider how a youth lens can reveal more about our efforts - whether we're in advanced planning in auto and consumer tech or media where young peoples' adoption rates can signal success or failure.

Considering all three days collectively I'm equal parts exhausted & thrilled as I know many of you are! And how do we know it was great? Our friends on Twitter had nothing else to say...

@johnmwilliamson: Great time at #TMRE in Orlando

@akpradeep: Terrific time at #TMRE in Orlando. Thanks to @IIRUSA for bringing together such a stellar group of marketing minds.

@ramiuscorp: Back from #TMRE. Had a gr8 time & met a lot of ppl.

@InsightsGal: Just back from #tmre and my just-getting-caffeinated mind is full of great learnings, new contacts, and fresh insights!

@statmaven: #TMRE...was a great conference. Great speakers, high octane contacts, Highly recommended, #mrx, #ngmr

@bakken17: #TMRE was awesome! Thanks for a great time full of learning.

It's safe to say that TMRE was valuable again this year. The weight, now, is on all of us to DO something with these great insights. Perhaps in 2012 will be YOUR year to present on your success applying your 2011 TMRE learnings?

All the best to a great year ahead for each and every one of you.

TMRE 2011: The Trend Report: Clusters of Innovation

This guest post was written by Jeffrey Henning.  He is the Chief Marketing Officer of Affinnova, an innovation software and services firm exhibiting at The Market Research Event.

Jeremy Gutsche, founder of and author of Exploiting Chaos, gave the second keynote Wednesday morning at The Market Research Event. His presentation answered some fundamental questions:
  • • How do we make market research more successful?
  • • How do we get our companies to win based on the work we do?
“Market research makes chaos such an interesting thing,” Jeremy said. “In times of chaos, what people buy becomes a challenge. Chaos creates opportunity, but market research makes success happen.” During times of chaos, some companies topple while “new giants are born”. Peter Drucker said, “It’s not the questions that change, it is the answers that do.”

Jeremy sees two trends in research: the supremacy of culture and the tragic return of gut instinct.

Market research used to be driven by product, but product research is now ubiquitous. “Now research is about experience.” What does Harley Davidson sell? If you ask their head of marketing, he’ll say, “What we sell is the ability for a 43 year old accountant to ride through small towns and have people be afraid of him!”

Jeremy showed a 1950s ad for Old Spice that focused on product, price and maker and contrasted it with their most recent ad campaign.

“Popular is not cool, so you are ultimately trying to find what other people can’t see. Cool is unique, cutting edge, the next big thing. Because of that, it generates word of mouth and viral attention. What happens when we hunt for cool?” While new ideas surround us, it is not tough to find a new idea. When researchers think about customers, competitors and strategy instead of innovation, they skip steps and rely on gut instinct for innovation. “People are less innovative and more focused on innovation – we lack the inspiration.”

This can be rectified by following a methodological approach to innovation:
  1. 1. Trend hunting
  2. 2. Adaptive innovation
  3. 3. Infectious marketing
  4. 4. Culture
As a negative case study, Jeremy highlighted Smith Corona. Smith Corona had done the market research and knew the trends but they didn’t reinvent themselves out of the typewriter industry. Smith Corona had 100 years of innovation, hitting $500 million in revenues in 1989 while continuing to grow. “Who needs computers?” they might have asked themselves, especially given the example of their competitor, Remington Rand Typewriters. Remington Rand had expanded into computers in 1975 but went bankrupt by 1981. In 1985, Smith Corona had a personal word processor (like a laptop with a built-in printer). “Many people believe that the typewriter and word-processor business is a buggy-whip industry, which is far from true,” their CEO, G. Lee Thompson, said in 1992. “There is still a strong market for our products in the United States and the world.” Smith Corona was focused on being the best typewriter company in the world rather than on serving a broader mission. They had a chance to acquire Acer but declined. Acer is one of the largest PC makers today. “If you don’t fail, you will become the best typewriter company in the world!” Unfortunately, Smith Corona declared bankruptcy in 1995. “Situational framing dictates the outcome,” Jeremy said. And he asked, again, “What are you trying to do?”

“Successful organizations innovate to ‘optimize’ position on their ‘hill’, but to find bigger ‘hills’, most fail.” Because you can become a little bit more successful, you do. Trying to become much more successful risks failure. When Smith Corona tried computers for the first time, it wasn’t successful in comparison to their established business.

How do you succeed in the long term? You have to become obsessed with what customers are about. Iron Eyes Cody (an Italian actor who starred in the America Is Beautiful litter campaign) made an emotional connection with viewers but had no impact on how frequently people litter. Does emotion alone matter? If we are thinking about how to get people to stop littering, what should we do? The continuum of impact is:

  1. 1. Function is a baseline. Old-school marketing was about function, telling people how something worked
  2. 2. Benefit comes next, motivating people; for instance, pointing out that littering has a fine.
  3. 3. Connect is third, making an emotional connection.
  4. 4. Culture is the ultimate in impact. You have to create a Cultural connection to empower people to act and change. That is why people tattoo corporate logos on themselves – like Harley Davidson. If you Google “I love ING” you will find many customer stories, because their customers see ING as being part of the same team. “You will set your team on a mission if you can make an authentic cultural connection.”

Back to reducing littering. Who litters? A Texas agency did the research. Young males (18-30 years old) who drive pickup trucks litter the most; they have a “King of My World” culture. So the Texas agency GSD&M came up with the campaign “Don’t Mess with Texas™”. One of their first commercials featured two Dallas Cowboys football players saying to a litterer, “Don’t mess with me. Don’t mess with Texas.” The campaign spoke to people and their culture. It resonated, and Texans actually now go to YouTube and upload their own commercials for the campaign.

“When you think you have done something memorable or remarkable, like that Iron Eye Cody commercial, you haven’t succeeded if it hasn't created impact,” Jeremy said. “Don’t Mess with Texas” had impact. The goal was to reduce litter by 5%. From 1986 to 1990, litter was reduced by 72%!

What lessons can we learn as market researchers? In all companies, observe customers, interact with them, watch them choose, observe usage – not ethnography per se, but spend time with customers so that you can internalize their attitudes and create a connection out of your research. Culture is key. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a sign outside Ford’s Strategy War Room. Ask yourself, “What are you trying to do?”

Live from TMRE: Day 3 Summary

Great sessions and discussions today at TMRE!

My first session today was with Oskar Korkman of Nokia who discussed his approach to assuring that the consumer is at the heart of product development and marketing.

Here are some main takeaways:
1. Focus on shared consumer context… not on the defined segments of consumers
2. It’s about empowerment… not about targeted and pre-defined value
3. What happens between people is more interesting than people themselves
4. It is about everyday life and social change… not about technologies and adoption of technologies

Social connectivity is for a purpose – people are looking for quality over quantity. Korkman describes the types of relationships that exist and they range from public to private:
• Self (private)
• Lifelong (intimate)
• Friendship
• Purposeful (common interests, not really interested in the person - yet)
• Incidental (public; when strangers meet each other)

And when segmenting, he suggests a more robust approach is to split behaviors into groups instead of people. The commonalities will exist despite of geography and will be much more robust!

Julia Oswald of Domino’s Pizza held a captivating session explaining the role of insights on the company’s recent turnaround of quality, transparency, brand equity measures, and (most importantly) sales. Specifically, Oswald explained her teams’ use of foundational research (using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods).

The foundational research includes:
• Market Mix modeling
• Occasion-based segmentation
• Consumer trends framework
• Industry growth
• Brand DNA and Equity

And the insights derived?
• A brand DNA
• A consumer trends framework that compares the brand experience attributes to macro consumer trends.

In combination with a reformulation of the chain’s pizza, research-driven advertising that showcased their once problem areas proved to be effective with increases in brand equity measures, and highly resonate ads with consumers. A true success story with market research at the core!

My final session for the day was with John Wright of Safeway. He brought us through his teams’ findings of the low-income grocery shopper. (Cue the bullet-points!)

IRI defined lower income shoppers as:
• Under 35 and over 65
• Families
• Hispanic and African Americans

Financial worries

• Twice as much financial anxiety as their high-income counterparts
• 77% say they generally live paycheck to paycheck
• 6 in 10 worry about having enough money to put food on the table

Impact of the recession

• Effects them today, but also their expectations for the future

Health & Wellness

• 2/3 satisfied with current health (slightly less than population)
• Less likely to engage in preventative care
• Over-indexes on stress, anxiety, depression, lack of energy, and memory (perhaps b/c of age)

Food trade-offs

• Low price tends to trump trade off decisions for the segment, frequently at the expense of nutritional content. Price, taste, nutrition.
• Heavy on center store, light on perimeter
• Mac Cheese, chips, soda, bottled water, hot dogs. Low cost, and other heavily promoted items
• Do not believe their diets are healthy
• Strong interest in fortified/functional foods

Grocery Shopping

• Spend less per trip, make more trips
• Bump in first week of the month (when government checks are dispersed)
• Big on circulars (they have an internal gauge of an acceptable price)
• Plan their meals using weekly circulars
• Create list to stay on budget
• Will shop multiple stores, use coupons, buy in bulk and the store brand on their lists
• Preparing meals – cook from scratch because it's cheaper
• They make plans for their leftovers
• Income is sporadic and uncertain
• Buy seasonal, local, and bulk to save money

While the information shared is specific to grocery, I found a deeper meaning in the session: We have to understand our shoppers’ struggles to understand their capabilities. When we can submerge ourselves in our shoppers lives, we can also better understand our data and provide much more meaningful, and actionable research recommendations.

Thank you all for reading! I look forwarding to see you at TMRE next year back here in Florida!

Garrett McGuire (@GJMcGuire) is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, "The Journal of a mAD Man," that explains the theories and methods of advertising.

Live from TMRE: Day 3 - what a day wth Intel, Disney, YouTube and Microsoft BING (and CIA)...

Could there be another TMRE day tomorrow? Should there be one? Hmm, I think we all have to go back to work and do interesting research stuff and thinking.

But I will bring a lot of interesting thoughts back with me to Germany. I saw a lot of interesting sessions and talked to a lot of interesting people (some which I only knew from Twitter). But before I’ll have to leave I would like to share my thoughts on this third day of TMRE.

I started the day with the two keynotes, “Why Bad Behaviour Is Good Politics by Bruce Bueno”
He started with some interesting sentences:
“Earthquakes are deadlier in Iran or China than Chile, Honduras or Italy”
“All of the world’s top universities are in democracies”
“Iraq exported baby formula and food in the 90s while over 500.000 of its children died needlessly from malnutrition and disease”

Then another quiz:
You want job security? Huge income? The need to do want you want? Everyone should praise you? Looking for perfect job privacy balance? Become a dictator! :-)
Bruce drilled it down to five rules, applicable for all organizations (families, charities, companies etc.)

1. To be a successful dictator rely only on as few people as possible, only use a small coalition of supporters
2. Get a small “coalition” of people and drawn them from a large pool of people, the larger the better. It is important that they know that they can be are easily replaced.
3. Tax max! Get out of customers as much as possible.
4. Pay your coalition just enough so they don’t think to switch to the other side. But don’t pay more than that.  If you pay them too much, they are able to gain wealth and spend the money and at the end fights you.
5. Don’t waste money on improving the lives of the people you rule. They aren’t important because you don’t benefit from them at all
Very charismatic speech, but I didn’t really get the connection to market research, promise to think harder :-)

The second one was Jeremy Gutsche, founder of, again a very engaging presentation. You could see that he is a “man for the stage”.

He was all about two different trends in recent times:
1. The supremacy of culture
2. The tragic return of gut instinct (which we don’t like that much ;-) )

He pointed out that market research used to be driven by product. But that isn’t hitting the nail anymore. It’s about experience. Most of the companies sell products, but consumers buy experiences (see Harley Davidson).

So, to his point of view, we are hunting for the cool stuff, because cool stuff is unique, cutting edge, viral, the next big thing… So you’ll have to create a culture!

Great case study about littering. See the answer from the research and the execution from ad agency and goolge for “Don’t mess with Texas”. Here is the link 
Most important notes for me: Create a connection to the research! Or connect the research to an experience!

 Then I went to some cool sessions. YouTube, Disney, BING, Intel…
Good stuff: 

Sundar Doraj-Raj from Google showed how to measure the impact of advertising. They have instream ads, overlays, banner / rich media and promoted videos (yes, they belong to google)
And YouTube is incredibly growing. 3 billion views a day, 48 hours of videos uploaded every day… Why is this important? It is, because they earn money with this. 2 billion monetized views every week.

So they did some experimental designs and found out that instream ads (those that are running prior to the video you choose) are most disturbing the users. Not surprising at all, because they stop you from doing what you want. This is getting slightly better when the instream ad is skippable, but this kind of advertising remains one of the most critical issues in terms of usage and visiting YouTube.  But be sure they will react on this.

I also heard some inspiring words about culture in a creative organization from Yoni Karpfen, Consumer Research Club Penguin (Disney). It was very impressive to see how children aged 6 to 12 deal with daily politics in a playful way (like 9/11, breast cancer day or Japan tragedy).
But this kind of product need perpetual creative development and the question is how to do this and what to develop next? Yoni led us through their research process which delivers a highly creative experience. They listen to the players, live and breathe the experience. And they have a huge community support team which is connected to the users anytime.

They are trying to make research free or cheap instead of expensive, fast instead of slow, friendly instead of controversial, trustworthy instead of questionable, tailored to the audience instead of complicated and cool & fun instead of boring. And of course they have to in order to fuel the creative network and their core business…

How? Inspiration meets information, creative has to be compatible to operational. Empathy is the key, and that itself refers to culture. 

Microsoft / Bing is measuring social network conversation and WoM to understand how Gen Y is talking about their brand to get more emotional connection insights of Generation Y. They better do, because 10.1% of Gen Y visits on a monthly basis. So MSN and Bing's target for 2011 has been Gen Y for all their media spend & targeting. It is a little bit confusing, because Lise Nicole Brende told us that the Bing research team mainly consists of Gen X researchers. So how can Gen X researchers deep dive into the habits and rituals of Gen Y (but this is another story…).
They moved their attention towards so called Connected Socialiszers (Facebook centric) which produce 47% of all BING searches. In former time they focused on Information Seekers (responsible for 20% of BING searches).

We heard a lot about Gen Y then, taken from the Cassandra Report, and how BING tries to adopt these findings. They constantly try to get in touch with this optimistic, control demanding, group oriented and sometimes overwhelmed and stressed Gen Y. One of the key assets BING has is Gen Y trend seeker panel, providing feedback to them, a very interesting and valuable source.

Last but not least I attended the session by Intel about Experience Driven Innovation. It was again very interesting and presented on a high level.  Tony Salvador was pointing out that Intel is looking for long term evolution trends to use for corporate development. He said that experience that is based on data is future. It delivers new ways of business, new way of making money, new ways of interacting. And he left us with 5 take aways:
- Exchange drives markets
- Many markets are comprised of people
- People have values and they seek value
- Organized complexity is right there
- Cultural values in Flux drive Expertise

I have to say good-bye for now. See you later! Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @olympiamilano :-)
Btw, for more check out the gorgeous twitter hashtag #TMRE

About the author: Christian Dössel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA\ and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye's new media and online research approaches.

Announcing: The Audience Measurement Event

How people consume media is changing as rapidly as technology enables them. The challenge is making sense of it all…

The Audience Measurement Event brings the real world to life. Created to be 100% practical, every session focuses on the business value of understanding your audience's total consumption habits. It's the place for brand researchers, marketers and media powerhouses to explore, share and debate measurement in the new frontier – mobile, social, digital and the new traditional. Featuring a comprehensive agenda of real-world case studies complimented with visionary perspectives, you'll uncover the latest practices for navigating the complex media landscape, optimizing your cross-media mix and adapting your content to reach the "connected" generation.  The Audience Measurement Even is taking place May 21-23, 2012 in Chicago.  For more information and to sign up for event updates, visit the webpage.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Upcoming Complimentary Web Seminars – Targeting, Social Gaming & Measuring ROI of Facebook

Targeting: How to Effectively Reach the Unidentified 90% of Your Audience
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011, 1:00 - 2:00 PM (EST)

• Mallika Chakravarti, Subject Matter Expert, Autonomy
• Jody Schiavo, Subject Matter Expert - WCM

Targeting works. There is no question that by aligning content to known segments, marketers can dramatically increase conversion rates and maximize revenue. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of your overall audience is known. So how do you effectively reach the other 90% and boost your marketing revenue exponentially?

Data offers a potential solution, but also adds a problem. More data doesn't mean more insight. In fact, it can lead to more confusion. However, by developing a conceptual understanding of your data, you can use your marketing initiatives to generate truly actionable insights and create smarter segments for greater success.

Find out how to:
• Discover high value segments and the best way to optimize against these segments over time to maximize response
• Efficiently leverage insights from all of your marketing channels to transform the effectiveness of your initiatives for the highest return on spend

Register today & secure your spot:
Sponsored by: Autonomy

Tips for Building a Branded Social Game
Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT

• Adam Archer, General Manager, Vitrue Games

Join us for a detailed webinar covering reasons why brands should be using social gaming, tips, tricks, ROI measurement and best practices for building a branded social game. We'll show live examples of games, discuss the technique that they implement, including leaderboards, challenge-a-friend, in-game charitable giving, sweepstakes, giveaways and coupon integration. We'll also cover how to Simplify and Beautify your branded games. Talk will also include the pros and cons of building your own game versus trying to integrate with an existing mega-popular social game.

Register today & secure your spot:
Sponsored by: Vitrue

Identifying & Acquiring 500,000 Customers on Facebook & Measure ROI in 120 Days (A Case Study)
Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 1:00PM - 2:00PM EDT

• Jeff French, Co-Founder & CEO, LoudDoor

This case study presentation will demonstrate a data driven approach to identifying and acquiring your ideal customer on Facebook and effectively measuring ROI for your Facebook marketing initiatives. In addition, the case study will cover cutting edge optimization techniques for Facebook's News Feed algorithm (EdgeRank).

• 70% of all posts are never seen that come from brands.
• A post that makes top stories is 20 times more likely to have action taken on it -
Are you reaching top stories?
• Less than 2% of people return to a page after liking it. Do you know why?
EdgeRank is everything for brands.

Register today & secure your spot:
Sponsored by: LoudDoor

TMRE Day 2: The Best Profession in the World

Day 2 of The Market Research Event begged us all to step up our games a bit and it's fair to say that everyone, from speakers to attendees, gave over a larger piece of their brains to the general discourse.

That our brains were better tapped in is prescient - the day was all about two key themes: (1) insights as breakthroughs and; (2) the depths of the mind and how we as researchers can better connect with the deepest of human emotions and connections.

Drs. Sheena Iyengar and Mimi Ito were both phenomenal keynotes yesterday. Iyengar pressed us to look at the depth achievable in simplicity - how simplicity is really the key to connecting with consumers; particularly in aisle.

Ito extended that thinking to a discrete cohort - teens; one that keeps me and my TRU colleagues busy 24/7. The comparative insights of Japanese vs. US youth were outstanding; bringing color and a respected voice to an argument we've been making for a couple of years: teens are the flashpoint for innovation and new tech/media adoption.

As we rolled into sessions, it's helpful to consider some of the more prominent terms in the word cloud above: thinking, insights, research, choice, people and society.

Leaders like Blizzard and the American Cancer Society showed us how to work together better by better harnessing our internal data assets to drive meaningful, communicable insights and building stronger, more flexible terms into client-vendor relationships.

J&J, Intel and others took us into the mind; asking us to balance concepts like the lizard-dog brain with our traditional research views and outlooks. Those two presentations, along with guidance from Kraft, were a fantastic lead into AK Pralad's presentation on NeuroFocus and the way EEG readings can help us truly tap into the mind's mysteries.

To sum up the value of yesterday's discussions would be impossible, but I was struck by a quote from one of the most popular sessions yesterday that had folks clamoring for an encore:

"Market research is the BEST profession in the world" - Stan Sthanunathan of Coke

Hear, hear!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Live from TMRE 2011: Learnings from Coca Cola, Henkel, Mars Pet Care and 3M

Yes of course, putting famous brands in the headline always is a good idea... But today I learned how to choose... ;-)

The second day of this year's The Market Research Event is nearly over and I have to say it was very inspiring as well as educational to a certain extent.

Everything started with the keynote sessions and a session I had really looked forward to: "The Art of Choosing" by the impressive Sheena Iyengar.
"Be choosy about choosing" was the summary of it all. But before coming to this final recommendation she was takling about one of the most relevant problem in everyday life consumption of any goods. How do people choose and how could choosing be simplified. If you are more familiar with  "the narrowing down problem" by Fidelity research or the "3 by 3 rule" by McKinsey, you know what Sheena was talking about. 

In her own words she was talking about the "jam problem". She showed some of her experiments and one was about jam. Draeger's Grocery Store for instance has a huge variety of options to choose between all kinds of products, besides others 348 different kinds of jams. The question is, is it useful to have that large variety of options? To test this in the experiment she tested two stands, one with 6 jams and one with 24 jams. At the booth wit 24 jams 60% stopped, at the both with 6 jams 40% stopped. But only 3% bought something at the 24 jam stand and 30% bought something at the 6 jam stand.  So it was more than 6 times more likely to buy jam if 6 jams were offered than 24 jams. The number of choices is attracting but the choice itself is much more difficult. 

In another experiment people were asked to choose chocolate, one group out of 6 pieces and another out of 30. At the end they could rather have money or chocolate for incentive. Chocolate choosen from the 30 piece deck was perceived as less delicious and people tend to take the money more often than the product.

This leads to three different negative consequences for brands and products:
1. Commitment - The number of choices weakens the commitment toward the choice anyway, even if it is important to consumers
2 Decision quality - The more choices they have, the lower the perceived quality of the decision
3 Satisfaction - The more choices they have, the less satisfied they are with their choice they made

But why is this?

We have cognitive limitations, the modern world is designed for experts who knows how to skip suboptimal options.
Options are more and more indistinguishable. Differences are to small but variety is often seen as a competitve advantage, no matter how small the differences are. 
And there is more pressure to choose anyway. Because we aspire to be unique (but not extraordinary). And our choices express our personality. We think: "If I choose this what does this say about who I am and what I want and how does the choice reflect on what I want and who I am..."

So it is all about offering a better choosing experience!
And there are three techniques to deliver this:
1. cut - retailer ALDI ist probably the best example to express what sheena means with "cut"
2. categorize - look at Best Sellers and they categorization of wine to get an idea what's behind this
3. condition - start easy with complex choices and slightly increase complexity within the process of choice

The next one was a good experience. I was sitting at the bloggers' desk and was glad to have a seat. 

The room was crowded, first time at TMRE in the session I attended. Diane Hessan and Stan Sthanunatahn were there to talk about Market Researchers in the 21st century. Amazing, they only showed one chart, and this was the title ;-)
So it was more an interview than a track session, but very interesting to hear a big company's perspective on the future needs of our industry. Want to read some quotes? Here you are:
"Market research is the best profession in the world, because it is at the heart of every important decision"
"But the best profession is also boring, because parts of the jobs are boring. Processes are designed to be boring"
"Challenge is inspiring people. Be a change agent."
"Surveys may not always be the truth, and why would you tell the truth to a complete stranger?"
"What makes Coke so successful? Not just the tv commercials, but the "strong community connections" 
"brand health can't be developed in a month, why measure it on a monthly base?"
"Synthesize your findings into an informed dream of the future"
"Take the familiar and make it unfamiliar. Convey facts in a different way to inspire"
Nothing to add at this point :-) 

Then I attended a session from the Marketing & Brand Insight track and one from the Activating Insights track. 

Ann Bearth was talking about 3M and the efforts they made by reactivating the brand. Quite interesting to see what barriers to overcome internally and how to roll out a real huge internal and external survey. One of the most interesting findings to my point of view was the fact that younger employees of 3M are more engaged in the brand, for customers the opposite is true.
And that brand activation can be ensured by sharing the stories of the companies and their brands, internally and externally.

Henkel also found a great internal experience to bring insights to life. They decided to have an internal live event in order to let the consumer speak and to show the employees their work in order to use their power and ideas to develop new ways of increasing usage of the prodcts the compay sells. All in all it was an intense experience for them.

But Heiko Schäfer also pointed out waht you have to keep in mind when doing this kind of internal event. Some very valuable pieces of advise:

- Identify important business topics
- Set and track the event against clear objectives and KPIs
- Plan ahead and don't underestimate the time and effort required
- New skills are required
- Make it big
- Engage your audience
- Make it fun

But don't stop at the end of a one-shot. Make it a process and show your skills.
Be out in front and lead. 

This indeed was an encouraged speech about the current and future role of market research in companies and for agencies.

Personally I have to say TMRE doesn't mean "too much really enough"

About the author: Christian Dössel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA\ and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye's new media and online research approaches.