Oct
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Article Synopsis: How to Link Customer Loyalty to Profits

Quirks July 2014
How to Link Customer Loyalty to Profits
By Michaela Mora

“Can’t get no (customer loyalty insights) satisfaction?”  Don’t just listen to the Rolling Stones; take the advice of Michaela Mora. In this article she discusses how two key elements in customer research, customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend, must be analyzed along with data on customers’ actions in order to link these two elements to loyalty.  All too often, Mora observes, clients look for indicators that directly contribute to company profits, therefore rushing to conclusions.

The author cautions that customer satisfaction does not lead directly to motivation to purchase. Often, “…first-time purchases are filled with expectations and the product’s ability to meet them will have an impact on satisfaction but not always on repeat purchases.”  Additionally, dissatisfied customers may continue to still buy a product for a variety of reasons, including contractual obligations (subscriptions); lack of available alternatives; lack of drive to research other products; or price. Alternatively, satisfied customers may discontinue purchasing products for a variety of factors.  Thus, we know that satisfaction is not the only predictor of future purchasing.

Another hot topic in customer research is NPS (Net Promoter Score), based on self-reported likelihood to recommend as a measure of loyalty. However, as the author points out, respondents may give high recommendation scores at the same time they give low satisfaction scores, as satisfaction and recommendations are often driven by different factors. And haven’t we all seen cases where we may be satisfied with a product but not willing to recommend it—perhaps because it is from a category that is too personal, or because we don’t want to share an “inside” tip? As Mora says, NPS scores alone may be an oversimplification in some cases.

Further, Mora points out that it is easy to make erroneous connections between customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and profitability: “To make loyalty an actionable concept and link it to profits, companies should take into account the value contributed by customers… Repeat customers driven by deals and discounts are unlikely to be profitable and are far from being loyal.”

 

This synopsis was written by Lynn Croft, independent marketing and market research consultant. With 15 years of experience at companies such as Genzyme, Bayer Corporation, Shire, and Eli Lilly, Lynn has expertise in market research, market analysis regarding product launches, pricing and lifecycle management. 

 

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Oct
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Article Synopsis: Quantitative or Qualitative Research Methods, Let’s Go Back to the Basics

Quirk’s October 2014
“Quant or qual, let’s go back to the basics”
By Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray’s article is chock full of tips, reminding market researchers to pay as much attention to “how they think” as they do to what research methods they use. He offers his thoughts on what he calls “research thinking.”

Gray breaks research thinking into specific parts: verifying data, defining relationships, understanding and avoiding data interpretation traps, and probabilities versus categories.  In verifying data, not only must researchers be sure to uncover flaws in the raw data, but also be aware of inferring cause and effect relationships. Additionally, when investigating relationships within data, different statistical methods and models can give different readings.  Gray states, “Causation requires correlation of some kind but correlation and causation are not the same.”

When looking at probabilities and categories, Gray cautions the researcher to, “Avoid confusing the possible with the plausible and the plausible with fact. It’s also not difficult, though, to miss something of genuine practical significance that lies hidden beneath the surface of our data.”

Additional tips from the author:

  • Do your homework. Many phenomena have more than one cause.
  • When designing research, first consider who will be using the results, how the results will be used and when they will be used, and then work backward into the methodology. Don’t let the tools be the boss. 
    • This point really resonates; in today’s world, researchers can get distracted by technology that may or may not have merit.  So it is easy to select the shiny new tool even if it is not the right fit.

Two more great tips:

  • Develop hypotheses, even rough ones, to help clarify your thinking when designing research.
    • This  may sound obvious but it is often overlooked. As a result, we have all seen cases of muddy thinking resulting in weak research.
  • Take care not to over-interpret data.
    • Or, as some researchers say, “don’t beat your data to death.”

Gray’s tips are a good reminder to market researchers to be aware of their “research thinking.”

This synopsis was written by Lynn Croft, independent marketing and market research consultant. With 15 years of experience at companies such as Genzyme, Bayer Corporation, Shire, and Eli Lilly, Lynn has expertise in market research and market analysis regarding product launches, pricing and lifecycle management. 

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Sep
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12 Actionable Tips from the 2014 MRA Corporate Researcher’s Conference

By Kathryn Korostoff

CRCThe MRA’s Corporate Researcher’s Conference (CRC) was full of great sessions and first-class attendees. And I came home with a pile of business cards that are covered with scribbled down notes for follow-up. If you didn’t make it to CRC this year, here is a sampling of my notes from this 2.5 day event.

  1. Sally Hogshead: High performers tend to specialize & tend to over-deliver in one area. I find this to be true, though she said it more articulately than I ever have.
  2. Sally Hogshead: Successful brands know how they are different and what they do best. They avoid the “all things to all people” trap.
  3. Adam Cook, Pilot Media: Watch Moneyball—it has lots of lessons for market researchers who want clients to take bold action with research results
  4. Adam Cook: metaphors and analogies (especially from pop culture) resonate with an audience, helps them see why your results are relevant.
  5. Stephen Paton, AGL (Australia): people experience a dopamine effect when they find out they are right. So research reports that confirm what they know will always feel better.
  6. Stephen Paton: the importance of social norms to change behavior. As a utility, AGL added data on electricity usage so people could see how their usage compares to neighbors’ usage. Goal: get them to reduce usage.
  7. Stephen Paton: 3 steps to applying Behavioral Economics:
    1. What is the behavioral challenge?
    2. Which BE concepts might be involved?
    3. Select appropriate response.
  8. Roddy Knowles, Research Now: Current data on survey completion rates by client type:
    1. Desktops: 76%
    2. Tablets: 70%
    3. Smartphones: 59%
  9. Research Now on mobile surveys: avoid questions that offer multi-response. Participants unlikely to select more than 1 item on mobile devices.
  10. Darcey Merriam, Adobe Systems: to engage clients, use language they like. For example, for a while she used the language of “lean” because the company culture was focusing on the lean start-up concept.
  11. Adobe presenter on how to do great research with a small department
    1. Do projects where there are specific hypotheses to test
    2. Data collection using “crowdsourced” panels (uses Mechanical Turks to recruit panelists!!)
    3. New tools. Example: UserTesting.com
    4. Let internal colleagues do qual research, involve them in the process. And gives them tools to determine if they should go “DIY” or work with the MR department.
  12. Michael Carlon of Hall & Partners & Joe Indusi of Research2Video: Videotaping in-depth interviews (IDIs)? Three great tips:
    1. When the participant gives an amazing sound bite, wait 3 seconds before asking the next question. This gives the video editor room to work with.
    2. If doing in-home research, be sure to take some outside shots. Gives nice context. Example: a study on couponing, some of the homes were clearly expensive—yet the residents are passionate about couponing—revealing a great insight.
    3. Screen out dog owners. Dogs bark. Perhaps especially when strangers are in the house.

For more CRC Session summaries also see:

  • Paul Long’s great article on DISH Network’s shift to a market research-friendly culture.
  • Annie Pettit’s live blogging on the Roddy Knowles’ presentation caught even more mobile research tips here.   And for laughs, check out the selfie Annie took of us, where I look like I had had waaaay too much coffee.

 

[Free Training Sweepstakes ending soon!! Enter today to win a year’s worth of FREE Market Research Training!!]

 

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Sep
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Your Chance to Win a Year of Free Market Research Training: Deadline for Entry 9/26/14

Ever wish you had a bigger market research training budget? Then enter our sweepstakes for a chance to win a year of free training.Giveaway200x250

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Sep
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Getting Your Training Requests Approved: All in the Timing

New Year's Market Research Training BudgetIn the training business, I often hear from professionals who want to expand their skills but have little or no access to training budget. They submit requests and hear there is no budget, or they get pushed off to some unspecified time in the future.

So how can you maximize the chance of getting training budget?

I often find that timing is key. Ad hoc training requests may be met with resistance because they can’t be squeezed into a current budget. If your organization runs on a calendar year fiscal year (starting in January), now is the time to get your budget request in.

Here are three tips to keep in mind when submitting your training budget request:

  1. Add context. When submitting your training request, put it in context. Rather than simply say, “I want to take a class on writing qualitative research reports,” show why. For example, “I want to learn new ways to analyze qualitative research so that I can really get the most value from our research investments.”
  2. Show your manager what’s in it for them. If your direct manager is over-worked, let them know how your training will help them. Try something like, “I am confident that if I take this SPSS class, you will be able to delegate more work to me.”
  3. Tie it to your annual performance review. If you organization has a formal performance review process, this is an excellent opportunity to make your case for training budget. Do you have an end-of-year review coming up? If so, tie a specific goal to training. For example, if your goal is to help your team develop new, innovative methods for discovering customer needs, tie it to a relevant class.

When I talk to Research Rockstar students who have had training budget challenges, I often find that timing is an important factor. After all, most managers know that training reduces employee turnover and boosts performance. Need a proof point? Research from The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) shows that companies investing in training actually have higher revenue per employee than those that do not. So it isn’t that your manager is necessarily opposed to training; they just may need your help to get it into the budget at the right time and with the right context.

 

[Still not convinced your company will pay for market research training? Then enter Research Rockstar’s Training Giveaway, open now for entries until September 29th, 2014.]

 

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