Nov
0

Article Synopsis: A Unique Value Proposition “Designed with You in Mind”

Quirk’s November 2014

“Designed with you in mind”

By Scott Garrison and Jet Kruithof

Swiffer® had a problem. Although its cleaning tools were well loved in America, the brand’s Italian market was doing poorly. What was the problem? After a bit of digging, Swiffer’s researchers found that the unique value proposition (UVP) of fast and easy cleaning which made the brand so popular in the States was rejected in Italy. There, when it comes to cleaning, easy means lazy. Only when Swiffer advertising focused on the ability to clean deeply, did Italians start buying.

In their article, authors Scott Garrison and Jet Kruithof discuss the global truth that product success depends on a compelling UVP. Yet, as we saw above, a UVP that succeeds in America may fail in another culture. So can we craft marketing messages which resonate with all sectors of our global market? Or must they always be localized?

In the end, the authors suggest that certain components of a unique value proposition may hold true around the world, but may still need local adjustment. Based on a meta-analysis by research firm SKIM, here are the authors’ four principal cross-cultural factors for an effective UVP:

  1. Tie value propositions to regionally specific needs. The promise of value is the key to any successful marketing message across the globe. However, like Swiffer discovered, this may need different messaging in different markets.
  2. Emphasize key benefits first. In this age of micro attention spans, marketers must begin messages with the top benefit their product can offer. This seems to hold true across the world.
  3. Be very precise. “2X faster” is more compelling than “faster.” Messages should incorporate words, numbers and descriptive adjectives (but not too many!) for maximum effect.
  4. Create differentiation. Not surprisingly, differentiation is key, but the best method of doing so varies by region. In the US, Europe and Latin America, consumers tend to prefer comparative marketing messages (e.g. “…compared to Tide, Cheer detergent is…”). Conversely, in Asia, using a competitor’s product as a benchmark is seen as rude.

What about the tone of marketing messages: does this vary from culture to culture? The researchers found that positive message framing (e.g. keeps clothes shining bright) was preferred in the USA as opposed to Latin America and Asia, where avoidance of negative situations (e.g. cleans 99% of dirt and stains) was more persuasive.

Inclusion of reasons to believe into marketing messages also differs among cultures. Use of technical terms is more appreciated by Asian consumers, whereas it tends to be viewed as jargon by Americans. In Latin America & Asia, expert opinions are respected—if they are affiliated with pertinent organizations.

While the importance of regional and cultural factors when crafting marketing messages is a well-known consideration, the authors do a persuasive job of showing that marketers can mitigate risks by using the structured guidance of their four factors. As for market researchers, these four factors can also be used to test variations of messaging options in different geographic markets.

This article was written by Research Rockstar intern Sarah Stites. Sarah is a student at Grove City College, and is a member of the Research Rockstar Scholarship program for college students.

 

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Oct
2

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. 

Sep
3

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!!]

 

Aug
9

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.

[Interested in more great Market Research Project Management tips? You’re in luck! We’ve got another session of this live, online Power Program starting soon! Click here to learn more.]

 

Jul
0

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. 

 

[Is your quantitative market research data collected & ready for analysis? Now what? Check out Research Rockstar’s real-time, online training program “Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis” for help getting started. MRA PRC approved for 6 hours.]