Aug
6

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5 Ways You Know You Are an Awesome Market Researcher

  1. You use multiple research methodologies. You are familiar with multiple research methods, and can match a project’s goals to the best available method. You don’t assume every project is either a survey or a focus group.
  2. You think carefully about sample source. You know when to use panels, communities, social media, and fresh recruiting. You know that all sample sources have limitations, and you don’t just default to the easiest option.
  3. You have an uncanny ability to challenge your own assumptions. Even when your research points you to what seems like an obvious story, you have the discipline to test other ideas before reaching your conclusion.
  4. You can write and speak concisely. You know how to make a point with few words. You know bigger words and longer paragraphs don’t impress your audience, they put it to sleep.
  5. You help people understand how to apply the research. Rather than just delivering research findings and moving on, the awesome researcher gives the client specific examples of how to apply the data. Better still, the awesome researcher checks in with the client after the research is delivered to remind them how the data can be used, because sometimes clients need an extra nudge.

Are there other attributes of an awesome researcher? Of course. But these five are the core. Make sure you have these nailed, and your clients will quickly begin to appreciate your awesomeness.

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Aug
0

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Article Synopsis: Listening In on Social Media: A Joint Model of Sentiment and Venue Format Choice

By David A. Schweidel and Wendy W. Moe

Journal of Marketing Research

Published online June 19, 2014

Does brand sentiment vary by social media platform? According to research by David Scweidel and Wendy Moe, the answer appears to be yes. The authors discuss the results of their 2014 study, in which they modeled previous data collected from different social media venues (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), in an effort to determine if consumer brand sentiment varies by venue type.

In this article, Scwheidel and Moe uncover the risks of using social media metrics without accounting for differences across venues. Previous studies had already suggested that what people say in a post is related to where they post. In this study, the authors set out to examine this further and to find out why blogs have the most positive posts, forums the second most positive posts, and microblogs the least. The result? The article points to two factors: 1) Consumers often choose to participate in online communities whose member share their interests and opinions; and 2) The limitation on numbers of characters allowed has impact on the opinion expressed. Forums and blogs, (Facebook) because they are lengthier, allow for more expression. Additionally these sites actually expose posters to more varying amounts of social dynamics, including peer pressure, etc. On micro blogs, (Twitter) where text is limited, consumers tend to post more extreme opinions so that they can convey their perspective succinctly.

The results from the authors’ modeling shows that the inferences marketing researchers obtain from monitoring social media are dependent on where they “listen.” For example, Facebook tends to be more positive, and Twitter more negative in the opinions expressed, based on the dynamics stated in the above paragraph. Common approaches that either focus on a single social media venue or ignore differences across venues in aggregated data, can lead to misleading brand sentiment metrics. The authors conclude “… the current research demonstrates the potential for social media monitoring to supplement “market” research programs, but further investigation using both social media and survey data from a range of categories is essential before market researchers can rely exclusively on social media for customer insights.”

1Muniz, Albert M., Jr., and Thomas C. O’Guinn (2001), “Brand Community,” Journal of Consumer Research, 27 (4), 412–32.

 

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. 

 

[Want to learn more about social media monitoring, social sample sources, and more? Get a practical perspective on how you can use social media in your market research projects in our 90-minute, live, online Social Media Meets Market Research class. MRA approved for 1.5 hours of PRC credit.]

 

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Jul
0

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Article Synopsis: The High Price of Customer Satisfaction

MIT Sloan Management Review

March 18, 2014   Magazine: Spring 2014

Timothy Keiningham, Sunil Gupta, Lerzan Aksoy and Alexander Buoye

Highly satisfied customers = revenue dollars. Or do they?  Some data has shown that the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer spending behavior is surprisingly weak. 1 In this article, the authors share their analysis of the relationship between satisfaction and business outcomes, gathering data from more than 100,000 consumers covering more than 300 brands.   This data came from two sources, the American Satisfaction Index data (2000-2009) which are measures of stock returns, appended with market shares of these companies, and consumer satisfaction ratings and customer spending levels across 315 brands.2

This analysis revealed three critical issues that have an impact on correlating customer satisfaction to positive business outcomes.  1) There is a downside to continually devoting resources to raise customer satisfaction levels; 2) High satisfaction is a strong negative predictor of future market share; 3) Knowing a customer’s satisfaction level tells you almost nothing about how customer spending will be divided among the different brands used.

The authors share strategies to align customer satisfaction and profitability that companies should understand and implement as follows:

“Value to the Company vs. Value to the Customer—research and analyze your customers’ satisfaction levels with your product to the product’s profitability.”

“Market Share vs. Customer Satisfaction—begin with an analysis of customers’ satisfaction levels with not only your company but also with your competitors, as well as your and your competitors’ market shares.”

“Satisfaction and Customer Advantage—what really matters is whether or not your customer satisfaction rating is higher for your brand than for competing brands that a customer also uses.”

The authors conclude that increasing satisfaction levels can be a component of a company’s strategy, but perspective is needed.  In fact, a company may need to accept lower satisfaction scores from a smaller group of customers, in order to increase market share within a larger less homogenous group.  For researchers conducting customer satisfaction research, this context provides some fresh inspiration about how to weave conventional satisfaction research with additional data sources.

References

1 J. Hofmeyr, V. Goodall, M. Bongers and P. Holtzman, “A New Measure of Brand Attitudinal Equity Based on the Zipf Distribution,” International Journal of Market Research 50, no. 2 (2008): 181-202; and A.W. Mägi, “Share of Wallet in Retailing: The Effects of Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty Cards and Shopper Characteristics,” Journal of Retailing 79, no. 2 (2003): 97-106.

2 Some examples cited include: L. Aksoy, A. Buoye, P. Aksoy, B. Larivière and T. L. Keiningham, “A Cross-National Investigation of the Satisfaction and Loyalty Linkage for Mobile Telecommunications Services Across Eight Countries,” Journal of Interactive Marketing 27, no. 1 (February 2013): 74-82; Aksoy et al., “Long-Term Stock Market Valuation”; and others.

 

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. 

 

[Are you planning your organization’s first customer satisfaction research? Or looking to refresh an existing program? Learn about goal setting, monitoring strategies, and common challenges in our 90-minute, live online Improving Customer Satisfaction class. MRA approved for 1.5 hours of PRC credit.]

 

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Jul
0

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Article Synopsis: Still Full of Beanz (Effective Data Management)

How does a 150-year-old company stay relevant?

Originally published in Research Magazine July 9, 2014

By Lucy Fisher

Writer Lucy Fisher asks Colin Haddley, director of strategy, insight and capability at Heinz, “How does Heinz, a 150 year old company, stay relevant with consumers in a competitive market?”, the answer is research.  Innovation doesn’t just happen, “Generating great ideas is essential in marketing, but to generate these ideas you need to be disciplined in your approach,” Haddley points out. Managing market research data efficiently is the key.

Using a philosophy of test and learn, Heinz looks to multiple information sources for research, including electronic-point-of-sale, Nielsen data, panel data, and social media and brand monitoring.  One such panel, Heinz 57, is an online community of 300 consumers that the company uses as a source of customer feedback.

How then does Heinz manage all this data and turn it into successful marketing strategies? With customer insight teams of marketers trained in innovative thinking.  However, a big challenge is integrating the sources of data, and not focusing on any one source of insight. “Penetrating, meaningful insights are derived, felt and observed through a variety of sources of information. It is like building a jigsaw… it all starts with effective data management,” Haddley says.

By piecing all the research together, from the different sources, relevant pieces of customer insight emerge: what consumers like, do not like, want more of, or think is a flaw. “But it all starts with effective data management,” Haddley cautions. While the article didn’t specifically address how different types of market research data are integrated (perhaps that’s a recipe too dear to share), it’s still a great real-world glimpse into the value of leveraging multiple information sources.

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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Jul
0

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Article Synopsis: Seasonal marketing in a social age.

How consumer feedback can change what you know about seasonal buying patterns

Originally published in Quirk’s Marketing Research Review

July 2014 • Vol. XXVIII No. 7

By Amy Hayes, Vice President of Global Brand at Bazaarvoice, Austin, Texas.

“Seasonality” is a powerful word in the retail universe. In this article, Amy Hayes shares key points revealed from the latest results of Bazaarvoice’s semi-annual research of online customer conversations. Specifically, Amy discusses patterns revealed in mobile shopping behaviors.

Analysis of actual shopping behavior conducted from mobile devices suggests that conventional definitions of seasonal shopping behaviors are being disrupted by mobile shopping.  Beyond the powerful implications for marketers in general, this also has implications for market researchers who may be timing research on purchase plans and branding around seasonal shopping assumptions.

November and December have historically been the busiest shopping period for retailers, but new research reveals that product site traffic from mobile users continues to trend upwardly for the remainder of the year.  This suggests that mobile shoppers may actually form new mobile shopping habits during the holiday season. Many people try mobile shopping for the first time during the holiday season, and then become loyal mobile shoppers.

Another key shopping period is the back-to-school crowd, second only to the holiday season. Although school may start in the fall season, research uncovers that mobile shoppers actually begin back-to-school research/shopping in mid-June and peak in July.  Retailers and researchers heeding this research would benefit by considering this “pre” season period.

Based on Hayes’  review of the data,  researching actual mobile shopping behaviors (as opposed to say, sending surveys to mobile phones) shows strong value to market researchers as well as retailers focused on seasonal marketing, as it challenges conventional thinking about when seasons actually start.

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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