Wednesday, July 31, 2013

4 Steps to Become a Customer-Centric Financial Institution

These days, financial institutions must look past the cash and focus their customers. According to Standard Bank’s Sandeep Deobhakta, here are four key steps banks should take to achieve customer centricity.

1. Listen - The first step in the journey toward customer centricity is for business leaders to listen to what their customers are saying. This allows organizations to get an understanding of their customers' needs and these insights can be used to ensure that all communications are tailored to individual customers.

2. Steer Away From Product Centricity – Instead of focusing on the profitability of products. use insights gathered from Voice of Customer (VOC) endeavors to move away from being product-centric and put customers at the core of business. According Deobhakta, business leaders need to think in terms of what customers require to be successful in different facets of their lives. Banks that understand this principle are in a better position to ensure that their products fit well within the customer journey.

3. Address the Data Conundrum - Financial institutions are collecting large amounts of customer data both from transactions and interactions with staff. However, many organizations are still facing challenges in turning this data into actionable insights. A major hurtle lies in information silos that need to be bridged in order to give decision-makers a single view of the customer. One way to do this is to have a robust data platform that brings together data from different repositories, and is instrumental in helping banks identify customer needs and engage with them on a personalized basis, said Deobhakta.

4. Be Culture Sensitive - Organizations need to understand the varying nuances that make them tick. Understanding culture is an important part of Standard Bank's strategy and this reflects in the core banking platform that the bank has deployed across the African continent. The organization understands that while customers' foundational needs are similar, their actions are likely to be dictated by demographic influences, and the bank has adapted its system to reflect country specific regulations and social nuances.

Financial services organizations need to understand that being seen as a customer-centric organization is not solely a positive marketing strategy. This is a sound investment which affects products and services offerings, sales process and distribution, infrastructure, as well as ongoing customer treatment which will lead to more satisfied customers. Then they will be likely to remain loyal to the brand.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmanadCicc. 
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TMRE 2013: Big Data & Predictive Analytics and Disruptive Technologies & New Methodologies

You are being charged with being disruptive, doing things differently and igniting change through insights.  And as you know, nothing breakthrough comes from what's already been shared.

On that note, I wanted to make sure you are aware of the ONLY event that brings you what's new and next before anyone else: The Market Research Event.

Especially since you expressed interest in The Future Of Consumer Intelligence Event but could not attend this year, I wanted to remind you that TMRE, the world's #1 insights event, presents an unbiased platform for competing viewpoints, diversity of perspective and an invitation for all. 

Here are some sessions that may be of particular interest to you focused on Big Data & Predictive Analytics and Disruptive Technologies & New Methodologies:

Upping Your Seat at the Table - Transforming Market Research Into Business Insights Teams Through Big Data & Analytics
         Aaron Fetters, Director KNA Insights and Analytics Solutions, Kellogg's

Traditional Market Research & Big Data Integration: A Case Study in What Works and What Doesn't 
          Donald Hodson, Directory, Market Research and Consumer Insights, AT&T Mobility
          Gregory Mishkin, Vice President, Research & Consulting, Market Strategies International 
From Data Collector to Agent Provocateur 
         Greg Heist, Vice President, Research Innovation, Gongos Research
         Jason Raguso, Managing Director O2, Integrated (a gongos enterprise)

Segmentation in a Big Data World
         Shawn Utke, Vice President, Brand Insights & Research, Panera Bread

Google Consumer Surveys: Real-Time Research in a Connected World

         Paul McDonald, Project Manager, Google   

To see the full TMRE 2013 agenda including sessions organized across the following themes: Your NEW Hybrid Skillset, Transformational Leadership, Predictive Insights & Futuring, Strategic Planning, Disruptive Technology & New Methodologies, Customer Driven Innovation, Big Data, Analytics & Measurement, Brand Strategy & Engagement and many more,  click here:

October 21-23, 2013
Nashville, TN

Mention code TMRE13LINK & Save 15% off the standard rate. Register today:

To see The Market Research Event legends, leaders and game changers taking the stage, click here:

The TMRE Team

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hallmark’s Innovation Leaders Value Market Researchers for Customer Insights

At last year’s TMRE, Laurie Monsees, Vice President & Platform Leader, Hallmark, sat down with IIR’s Marc Dresner to discuss how market researchers help Hallmark reach its customers more effectively.

When it comes to Hallmark, it’s a best practice in the industry to have an innovation funnel and pipeline with stage gates in between so you have lots of ideation in the front of the pipe.  According to Monsees, there is a lot of iteration at the front and that is where Hallmark’s spends time working with research.

“I recently read Tina Fay’s book ‘Bossy Pants’ and it made me think about how collaboration has a lot to do with comedy, especially improvisation,” she explained. “In addition, you have to be very open to everyone else’s ideas and you can’t be set in your idea and wait for the person to stop talking so you can say your idea - you have to respond to what the other person says.”

To Monsees, it’s a dance within the room as there is a great deal of cross functionally at a table, but everyone is throwing ideas around as innovators.

“Collaboration is where the juice is for me,” she commented.  “As someone who has a background in creative design, writing and editorial, I welcome the ideas of our research partners because they are objective and have all this consumer insight floating around in their brains that they are able to pull out at the right moment so that we are not speaking to ourselves.”

According to Monsees, you must put yourself in the consumer’s mindset. She took one of Hallmark’s new concepts home to share with her family, but she soon realized the scale just wasn’t there.

She added, “You can’t get that insight without living it yourself. It keeps you in the real instead of the ideal.”

Check out the full interview below:

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmanadCicc. 

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Monday, July 29, 2013

How to get more ideas from your customers

Getting more ideas from your customers: “We need just one more idea to reach our goal”!

One way to get customers to contribute ideas to your challenge is to let them know you almost have the number of ideas you are shooting for.

A key part of a successful collaborative innovation strategy is to make certain you communicate the team’s successes.  It is a terrific way to let customers know their efforts are being rewarded.  Armed with this knowledge those customers who collaborate gain enthusiasm for continuing to provide contributions.

So although it may seem like a small thing...
...showing off or reporting the progress your customers are making (toward the number of ideas you’ve set as your goal) will spur additional ideas and participation.

You know that big poster of a thermometer on the village square that notes the progress of the fund raising project?  Well it seems that works. 

Customers are more likely to contribute when the goals are close to being reached.
This means I should give you two pieces of advice when launching your idea challenge to customers... 
          1.      Shoot for an attainable target number of ideas
          2.     Raise the goal as the challenge progresses

Celebrate Quick Wins
Celebrating victories, accomplishments and milestones with your customers in the Innovation process is an important step in demonstrating a senior level company endorsement of the notion “we’re interested in what you have to say, Mr./Mrs. Customers”. 
By stopping to celebrate progress, to recognize a given customer’s accomplishments and reflect on the work completed thus far, it is also possible to evaluate the overall Innovation effort and course correct, if necessary.

You can communicate the progress of the challenge; the number of ideas “achieved” so far by posting a progress chart on the customer feedback portal dashboard, by sending out a daily, weekly, or a monthly newsletter or by sending an email directly to the customer contributors noting the progress everyone has made to date. 

In conclusion
When you ask Customers for ideas, set a goal of an attainable number of ideas for the challenge.  Raise the goal number of ideas as the challenge progresses.  Communicate the progress of the challenge to the customer contributor community.

Cryder, C. et al., “Goal Gradient in Helping Behavior,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (forthcoming).

Ron Shulkin blogs, researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  You can learn more about Ron at his biography web You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.   

Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem. CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation. CogniStreamer has been rated as a “Leader” in Forrester’s recent Wave report on Innovation Management Tools. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here Ron also manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (JoinHere).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Treat Your Customer Like Your Date

Today, businesses spend a ton of resources attracting new customers without an understanding of what it takes to sustain a positive customer experience (CX). In fact, surveys reveal 80 percent of companies believe they deliver superior CX, yet only eight percent of their customers agree. If you take your significant other out on a date, do you dress like a slob and ignore them? Not if you want the relationship to continue – just as you do with your customer.

According to Daryl Travis, author, "How Does It Make You Feel?" and CEO, Brandtrust, in order to create a great CX it’s essential to have an understanding of experiences that trigger the emotions that drive your customer’s brand preference. Travis recently shared some tips with Retail Customer Experience on how business can use emotion to create a better CX.

How Your Customers Feel
According to psychologists, what people remember about a CX is determined by the intensity of emotions created in specific moments—not the overall experience. “This is true for most experiences throughout our lives. Our non-conscious mind categorizes and catalogues experiences according to the nature and intensity of emotions,” writes Travis.

When processing new stimuli, the non-conscious mind associates past memories and responds emotionally before rational thought occurs. When neurologists discovered that 95 percent of thought, emotion and learning occur this way, behavioral economists realized non-consious emotional responses shaped by past memories determine customer attitudes and behavior—not conscious, rational decisions.

Leverage Emotional Insights to Build Trust
Travis says that when considering CX, it’s important to be mindful that trust and faith are essential emotions. When customers perceive your company as trustworthy, they buy your products. Demonstrating trustworthiness can be done when a situation is negative as well.  Trustworthiness is demonstrated by being reliable and concerned for your customer’s needs. The company must demonstrate that it will always act in a caring way toward the customer, no matter the circumstances.

Build empathy
Even though budgets are limited, it’s important to invest in a deep understanding of your customer. With this clarity, teams are able to focus, certain that what they are doing matters to their customers. This is where empathy building can help. It’s also important for senior leadership to understand what customers experience throughout their daily lives. This often shifts how they look at their business, sparking fresh thinking in an empathetic understanding of customers.

Internalize the CX
For an initiative to succeed in improving the CX, senior leadership needs to “live” the brand. This involves articulating the brand promise internally so that people understand what is expected. Each aspect of delivering a positive CX needs to be “caught, not taught,” according to Travis. Leaders intent on changing employee behavior must do so by exemplifying the vision for how the brand is to be experienced. By sharing an understanding of the emotional drivers for a positive CX, it’s possible to refocus employees around what works. Applied social science research has demonstrated that emphasizing the positive rather than trying to eliminate the negative is effective in improving an organization’s capacity for change.

Implement a Plan
Finally, it’s necessary for a work plan to be undertaken to facilitate acceptance and adoption of the behaviors necessary to bring the vision and values of the new CX to life throughout the organization. This process will help to transcend ambiguities and inspire colleagues to internalize and live the new experience promise.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

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Want to Win a Free Pass to The 2013 Market Research Event? #TMRE13

You can enter to win an all-access pass to the 2013 Market Research Event on the website simply tweeting and helping us share the event with your colleagues and network. Just be sure to tag your posts with the hashtag #TMREWIN.

You can enter to win a free pass, a signed copy of Keynote Speaker Malcolm Gladwell's David & Goliath or a free TMRE Workshop with a legendary country music songwriter.

In 2013, TMRE explores the intersection of the art and science of consumer understanding where industry best practice meets executive development. TMRE is the industry's most trusted and supported event accelerating executive development through practical visionary learning which future proofs the industry.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

7 Principles of the Social Customer

The digital age and its explosion of social media has changed the customer’s buying cycle. With it came the rise of a new kind of customer—one that has been known to shake up even the most respected brands, known as the “Social Customer.” The Social Customer is every man, woman and child that is an active participant of social media – which is in about 1.4 billion people. The voice of the Social Customer has proved to be so powerful that it has created social media mayhem for companies from small to large.
According to Mobile Youth, here are the seven principles of the Social Customer, which provide new insights for customer experience and consumer behavior:
1) Social Motivations, Not Social Media
If we want to understand the Social Customer, we must first understand their motivation. Social motivation reveals why trends happen. It’s easy to look at social media as the answer but simply making media “social” doesn’t make it more social.

2) Social by Design
Our two most basic social needs are the need to belong and the need to be significant. When unable to feel belonging and significance, we experience negative emotions often resorting to what, appears to the observer, irrational behavior but in reality has a more logical underpinning in the Social Code –which is every interaction from communication to how and why we buy.

3) Offline Beats Online
Even in the digital age, face to face communication remains king. While this generation may be comfortable with modern communication technology, technology is a means not an end.

4) The Disconnected Generation Wants More Relationships
The Disconnected Generation care more about the inefficiencies of daily life because these inefficiencies are the meaning they seek. The basic interaction and social fabric of our lives afforded to previous generations is being lost and youth are leading the charge to reclaim these basic privileges through the products they buy.

5) 90% of Communication is Passive
Consumer psychology shows how much of our social meaning is communicated through mundane behaviors. Just because we don’t see it or it doesn’t appear obvious doesn’t mean that it’s meaningless. When parents walk into the back room and see their teen children “hanging out” with friends they are often perplexed by how unproductive this behavior is.

6) Everything is Social
Years of mobile industry research into how young people use smartphones highlights how everything is a Social Tool. People don’t buy stuff, they buy what stuff does for them. The mobile phone is a powerful social tool, but not the only one available.

7) The More You Track the Social Customer, the Less You Understand
If you want to better understand buying behavior, we can’t rely on more data. Insights come from an emotional connection that evades the transparent world of Big Data. Students send pictures of themselves making funny faces, sticking out their tongues or virtual doodles made from the back of classmate’s heads. And that means, Big Data misses out because it can’t track what’s not shared in the public domain.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 
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How to Design and Communicate Trends that Spark Change

At the Market Research Event (TMRE) Conference in 2012, Dipanjan Chatterjee, Senior Specialist, Trends, Target Corporation, sat down with IIR’s Marc Dresner to discuss, The Cure for the Common Trend 2.0: How to Design and Communicate Trends that Spark Change.

In his role, Chatterjee identifies trends, insights and opportunities in the financial services, retail, and emerging technologies. In addition, he is heavily immersed in strategic planning where he works with senior level leadership to identify 3-5 year visions around what his department wants to accomplish as a business unit within Target.

Every day, he looks around at what’s happening not only at Target, but across the enterprise, outside of Target, inside the retail industry, inside the financial services industry, and more.

Sign up for access to the full length video and discover his biggest challenges, accomplishments, and what exactly it takes to succeed in trend.  To learn more, click here!

 Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmanadCicc. 
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

TMRE Now Accepting Submissions for Annual EXPLOR & NGMR Disruptive Innovator Awards

Today’s technology landscape is more dynamic, fast-paced and entrepreneurial than ever before. For large and small companies everywhere, innovation is a continuum and successful companies innovate disruptively along the entire spectrum.

Are you a disruptive innovator?

This year, TMRE is proud to host two of the industry's most prestigious awards this year - the annual EXPLOR award and the NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award. The EXPLOR award recognizes breakthrough innovation in technology as applied to market research.

This year's winner will receive a complimentary pass to TMRE and the opportunity to present the winning case study during the event. All entries must be received by August 30.

In just a few months TMRE is putting its energy into protecting the science of understanding while translating insights into smart business decisions. As the market research industry faces the most dramatic change it has ever seen, TMRE will transform you into a hybrid researcher and strategic advisor.

Time and time again, TMRE unites more than a thousand consumer insights executives with more than 65 percent from client side companies. Featuring more than 140 sessions and 175 speakers, it will be your most comprehensive research learning and networking experience of the year.

In 2013, TMRE is focusing on elevating the researcher to a strategic, consultative leader. The 2013 conference will be combining best in class business cases with professional development sessions on building skills like data visualization, story-telling and strategic thinking and transforming researchers into game changers. 

To learn more about the EXPLOR award and the NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award, click here:  

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Big Data Lessons from the NSA

One of the biggest news stories lately has been the revelation that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been using big data from telecommunications companies to spy on people. The reaction to this story has been divided. While a portion of the American public has responded with shock, anger and fear, accusing the federal government of becoming Big Brother and ignoring citizens’ right to privacy, others have defended the surveillance as necessary to our homeland security and, ultimately, not a big deal.

The merits of whether the government should mine telecommunications data will likely be debated for many years to come, and it is probably best to have that debate in the press and at dinner tables across the nation. However, for market researchers who specialize in data sciences and big data methodology, there are important lessons to learn (or perhaps to be reminded of) from the NSA debacle.

There is Huge Value Locked Away in Your Company’s Big Data

The government is interested in understanding behavior patterns that look suspicious. They want to know who is communicating with whom, where these communications take place and how frequently they are occurring. From this, they can paint a picture of who might be a “bad guy” at risk of doing harm to the US.
Similarly, data generated from your customers’ transactions reveal a treasure trove of information. While your company might not be interested in identifying bad guys, it is likely interested in identifying brand advocates and detractors.

Utilizing big data analytics, we can learn much about how your customers use your products and services—information that could never be learned through a survey. Big data analytics also help discern behavior patterns that lead your customers to having a poor experience. Likewise, they can identify fraud, minimize waste and isolate endless opportunities for improving operational efficiency. Seemingly innocuous data that, when taken alone, would appear to be meaningless, becomes valuable and actionable when combined with other data—and data is right in front of you waiting to be harnessed.

Big Data Doesn’t Tell the Why Behind the What

If you listen carefully to how politicians and bureaucrats describe big data surveillance programs, it is clear that mining telecommunications data is just a starting point. While this data does a remarkably good job of telling the government what people are doing, it doesn’t adequately explain why people are doing it. For this, the NSA needs to go back to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to request a new court order to expand the surveillance to allow for eavesdropping, stakeouts and other “traditional” methods of police work.

The same is true with most corporate big data analysis. Big data reveals what happened but “traditional” qualitative and quantitative research reveals why it happened. The real magic happens by combining traditional and big data research in a framework that looks at the way customers interact with your company holistically. At Market Strategies, we have created such a framework. It is called the Continuous Improvement Cycle, and it systematically integrates qualitative, quantitative and big data analytics to paint a complete picture of your customers, what they are doing, and, most importantly, why they are doing it. Once you fully understand the what and the why, you will have the power to make changes that improve both your customers’ experience as well as your bottom line.

Never Forget “The Wall Street Journal Test”

The NSA and other government officials seemed surprised by the public’s outrage. Collectively, they said the program has been in place for seven years, and it is simply business as usual. The public is not convinced and, as a result, the NSA is on the defensive.

In business, as in politics, every action brings with it a certain amount of risk. In creating a surveillance program, the NSA failed to consider The Wall Street Journal test. Simply put, this means an organization should ask itself what would happen if the details of the proposed action were to become a page one headline in The Wall Street Journal. Would the fallout outweigh the benefit?

All companies should consider this test before undertaking any big data analytics project. Big data can be scary and intimidating to the public, and it is critical to consider the impact to your customers, investors, regulators and competitors. By taking The Wall Street Journal test in advance, companies can tweak their big data projects to minimize risks. Companies need an experienced partner who appreciates the inherent risks associated with big data analytics and is able to keep them safe while gaining the most value from the data. Sometimes less data is beneficial in the interest of minimizing corporate risk. For instance, a company might choose to change privacy policies, give customers the ability to opt-out or even decide to limit which data will be included in the analysis. The point is proactive measures can help avert a crisis or provide a defensible position in times of crisis.

Big Data is Here to Stay

There is no denying that big data analytics is here to stay. Data sciences allows you to learn things about your customers that were previously impossible to discern. Big data, however, does not exist in a bubble, and it does not answer all things. To succeed, you need to integrate big data analytics with the traditional methods that have served you well in the past. In combination with traditional research methods, big data analytics allows organizations to get past a sea of chaotic data to proactively isolate the few individuals that really require attention. This is just as true for the NSA trying to identify a would-be terrorist as it is for a major telecom provider trying to identify which customer is likely to churn or to spread negative word-of-mouth via social networking. The benefits to operational efficiency and the bottom line are enormous and if your organization is not harnessing this power, you can be sure your competition is.

Market Strategies is on the leading edge of market research’s big data revolution. We have created proprietary frameworks that integrate traditional research and big data analytics, and we know how to extract value from all of your data assets while proactively managing risk. Let us help you understand what is happening and why—then, and only then, can you unleash the power of your company’s big data.

Mishkin will be presenting at TMRE in Nashville October 21-23. Register for TMRE here: 

About the Author: Greg Mishkin is a vice president of research and consulting at Market Strategies International, working across all divisions and serving as the company’s primary subject matter expert for the wireless communications industry. His responsibilities include managing and growing key client relationships within the Communications division while maintaining a special focus on the integration of large-scale behavioral data with Market Strategies’ traditional market research solutions. Greg is known for turning extremely complex data into actionable insights and providing competitive advantages for his clients. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA; a master’s degree in clinical psychology from University of Hartford in Hartford, CT and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Union College in Schenectady, NY. Contact him at 404.601.9561, or follow him on Twitter @GregMishkin.

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