Quirk's Blog

TV Everywhere options increase customer loyalty

Editor’s note: Stuart Schneiderman is the senior vice president of consumer insights and measurement for Viacom Media networks. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Viacom research finds TV Everywhere ‘additive’ to TV viewing experience.”

While still nascent in terms of awareness and usage, TV Everywhere (TVE) presents a significant opportunity for brands to grow and strengthen their relationships with fans. The TVE experience is defined as watching full-length TV programs on sites and apps by “authenticating” – using one’s pay TV log-in information. Viacom’s “TV here, there, (not quite) everywhere” study* explores consumers’ perceptions, expectations and experiences around TVE apps and sites. The findings reveal an increase in overall TV viewing among TVE users, as well as greater customer loyalty toward pay TV providers that offer TVE services.

Key findings

The majority agrees: TVE is additive to the TV viewing experience.

  • Since they began using TVE apps and sites, 64 percent of users report watching more TV overall. This finding is even stronger among Millennials, with 72 percent watching more TV.
  • For those using TVE, the television is still the go-to source for TV shows and watching live.
  • After live TV, TVE apps and sites are a strong alternative, rivaling VOD, DVR and other sites that don’t require authentication with a pay TV provider, such as subscription streaming services or other free sites.

 

TVE increases the value of pay TV subscriptions and strengthens loyalty toward pay TV providers and networks.

  • A full 98 percent of users say TVE adds value to their pay TV subscription, with 67 percent saying it adds “a lot” of value; and
  • ninety-three percent are more likely to stay with their provider due to TVE and 68 percent have a more favorable impression of networks that offer TVE experiences.

 

I want my TVE: main drivers of usage

Content is king. Whether to re-watch or catch up, content is one of the biggest drivers of the use of TVE. Thirty-one percent report re-watching episodes and 22 percent report starting a show from the first season. Over two-thirds report using TVE more often than other third-party/free sites because they can find: more shows overall (42 percent); the shows/series they want to watch (38 percent); and exclusives (23 percent).

True flexibility – TVE allows viewers to watch shows when, where and how they want:

  • Nearly one-third of users use TVE because they weren’t able to watch the show live;
  • twenty-eight percent use TVE because they are away from home; and
  • twenty-two percent use TVE because all TVs were in use, and the same percentage cite being able to move around the house.

 

Staying savvy – TVE users consider themselves early adopters:

  • One-fifth says they started using TVE because they like to be the first to try new things.
  • TVE users are also much more likely to own and access TV shows on a range of different devices, including tablets, set-top-boxes and Smart TVs.

 

Barriers to adoption

  • The main barriers to adoption are a lack of perceived need, concerns about hidden costs, lack of awareness and screen size.
  • There is no go-to source of discovery: 17 percent of users heard about TVE from an ad on TV; 16 percent were made aware by a spouse or partner; and 54 percent of kids learned about it from their parents.
  • While 19 percent of users say they have no problems with their TVE experiences, the top issues tend to be tech-related, including loading/buffering (24 percent) and crashing/freezing (23 percent). Content-related issues are far less common.

 

The ideal TVE experience

  • Flexibility of a “digital DVR”: Viewers want to be able to pause a show and pick it up at another time, even on another device. Most popular “wants” are: the abilities to start/stop (66 percent); to watch on any device (64 percent); and to use outside of their home Wi-Fi (60 percent).
  • Deep content libraries: Viewers want instant gratification and complete and deep content libraries, including immediate access to recent episodes (65 percent), old seasons of shows (62 percent), content that never expires (62 percent) and live TV (56 percent).
  • Smart search: Intuitive search functionalities are crucial. Consumers want clear search boxes to search for specific shows (68 percent), organized content (59 percent) and the ability to make queues or lists of favorites for later viewing (55 percent).
  • Custom logins: Particularly in multi-person households or for those with kids in the home, the ability to customize (52 percent) and have accounts for multiple users (48 percent) is important.

 

Implications:

While viewers find TVE additive, there is a general lack of awareness around these services, suggesting that TVE apps and services would benefit from increased consumer marketing. In addition, insights on what users want out of TVE– flexibility, extensive content, smart search and custom logins – can guide content and product teams in creating the ideal TVE experiences for viewers.

*Methodology: For the purposes of this study, the TV Everywhere experience is defined as watching full-length TV programs on sites and apps by “authenticating,” or using pay TV log-in information. The methodology involved digital online journals, focus groups and ethnographies in New York and Chicago. Online surveys were conducted with more than 1,300 Viacom viewers ages 13 to 49 and more than 600 kids ages two to 12. Participants included both users of TV Everywhere and non-users.

 

Posted in Behavioral Research, Business and Product Development, Consumer Research, Customer Satisfaction, Lifecycle/Lifestyle Research, Market Research Findings, Millennials, Television Research | Comment

Using key driver analysis to uncover meaningful results

Editor’s note: Lynnette Leathers is the CEO of Mindspot Research, Orlando, Fla. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Mindspot research survey doctor: key driver analysis.”

Sometimes you need more than a simple survey. Key drivers are factors which influence or “drive” the outcome for a business or organization. Often there is an opportunity to conduct a Key Driver Analysis when conducting customer satisfaction and loyalty surveys or marketing research. At Mindspot Research we often refer to this process as a “key business driver analysis.”

In addition to examining typical measures of customer satisfaction and loyalty, understanding which attributes are actually driving customer satisfaction and loyalty is the way to make the research actionable. This analysis can provide insights for improving performance and retaining customers. Although there is a notable amount of up-front work and consideration required when conducting a key driver analysis, it will pay off when analyzing the data and uncovering meaningful results.

One of the first steps in a key business driver analysis is to identify what attributes or key performance indicators (KPIs) are most important to your business. Many businesses already have a defined set of Key performance indicators KPIs which can be included in the key business driver research. Based on our experience, there are typically between 15 and 25 KPIs which are considered potentially critical to most businesses.

As an example, Mindspot Research’s tagline is: We think fast. One of the KPIs we would include in our attribute battery (the series of attributes or business drivers you choose to measure) is, “delivers results in time to meet my expectations.”

A potential way to identify business critical KPIs is to walk through the process of providing a product or service to a customer or client and write all of the steps down. Take note of all areas that are a critical path for delivering your product or service and any customer facing interactions.

Next, consider what your business goals and objectives are and if these are applicable, go ahead and include these attributes. For example, if you believe a key strength of your business – in comparison to your competitors – is that you provide the most innovative products, then you may want to include “provides the innovative products we require” as an attribute.

Once an entire list is generated, cull it down based on common sense and business logic. One of the key questions you can ask is, “Are the attributes or key drivers actionable?” If it’s not something that can be changed then don’t include the attribute. If it’s not really deemed important to your goals or process leave it out.

Generally an importance question for each attribute is included in your attribute battery. However, due to most attributes being important to most customers, there are better ways to plan and conduct the data collection and analysis. Out of respect for your customer’s time, be sure to have your customers only answer relevant questions. In situations where there are multiple important attributes to examine, you may consider including a choice format which forces the ranking of the attributes, including performance metrics in your reporting and/or conducting specific statistical analysis (there are many statistical methodologies) to determine which attributes in fact are considered key drivers. There are a number of ways to conduct a key business driver analysis once you have enough data for the analysis to be relevant.

Once the data is analyzed you will be able to identify the relative importance of each KPI and performance. In particular, you will also be able to clearly parse out the key business drivers which operate as business strengths, as well as identify the key drivers which offer opportunities to improve. Depending on the amount of performance variation for each key driver, a potential Six Sigma project may be highlighted, giving the business an additional opportunity for performance improvement directed specifically at driving cost savings.

 

Posted in Brand and Image Research, Business and Product Development, Customer Satisfaction, The Business of Research | Comment

Why the retail banking industry should turn to word-of-mouth marketing

Editor’s note: Brent Robinson is a social media strategist at Bazaarvoice, Texas. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Why banks need user-generated content in their marketing.”

When did celebrities become the default spokesperson for the banking industry? Every credit card or mutual fund commercial I see features a person from television or film. There is even a Buzz Feed-style article ranking the top 10 biggest celebrity bank promotions. As much as I like Alec Baldwin and Tommy Lee Jones, I do not want to base a major financial decision on something they are pitching me during The Today Show. I want to know what real people think of a product or service. That is why word-of-mouth marketing is effective; it addresses an inherent desire within us all to know what others think.

In my first blog on the retail banking industry, I examined different social media tactics retail banks can use to drive customer engagement and create demand. Now I would like to discuss different strategies banks can use to implement authentic user-generated content in their marketing operations. Celebrity spokespeople are a great way to build brand awareness. However when it comes to making real choices, feedback from actual people may be the best options for banks.

Use customer feedback to engage

Online banking has altered the traditional feedback system between banks and customers, creating a communication problem. People no longer feel like banks are looking out for their best interests. According to Bain & Company, only 13 percent of consumers are confident that their bank cares about its customers.

So how can banks re-establish trust? Ratings and reviews are a tried and true method to show that a brand engages with their community. Displaying user feedback shows current customers that the bank cares about their experience and it actively wants to keep their business. Our research has found that reading a real customers’ firsthand experience creates trust among shoppers of the brand.

Deciding between financial service products like a Roth IRA or a SEP IRA can be complicated decision for everyday consumers. Financial products are complex and often cause shoppers to choose the wrong product for their needs. People want to receive this type of complex financial information from a real person and hear about real experiences with a product. Customer satisfaction can actually lag without the traditional in-person exchange with a financial service representative. Using customer content in marketing materials can help to address that lag.

Use customer feedback for innovation

Banks are an extremely competitive market, this forces the industry to constantly innovate and deliver on the needs of shoppers. This forces banks to spend millions of dollars hiring celebrity spokespeople for their advertisements. Customer feedback is a direct line into what shoppers want from their financial service provider.  Leveraging consumer-generated content is a great way to keep a competitive edge. Our research has found that customer input can drive innovation in real time and change as quickly as customers can demand it. Innovation opportunities for financial institutions are everywhere – the challenge is for banks to recognize it and have a mechanism to capture it that operates within existing legal guidelines.

The elephant in the room: regulations

Financial services is a highly regulated industry. Unfortunately this regulation created an atmosphere of hesitance around using user-generated content in marketing. This has even slowed the entry of many banks onto social media. Based on our conversations with industry experts the consensus is that the evident risks for brands not participating outweigh the potential risks of joining in. Banks are opening up to the importance of social and using user-generated content in marketing. This has led to a trend toward transparency and dialogue with consumers on social, which can be major causes of concern for banks when it some to acting within governing regulations. No matter how excited banks may get about the power of social media and communities, they must follow the regulations to sustain any program.

Posted in Brand and Image Research, Consumer Research, Customer Satisfaction, Financial Services Research, Social Media and Marketing Research | Comment

Millennial researcher’s tips for engaging the Millennial market

Editor’s note: Katy Mallios is an insights and intelligence consultant at SPYCH Market Analytic, New Orleans. This is an edited version of an article originally published under the title, “A Millennial researcher’s tips for researching Millennials” the October 2014 issue of the American Marketing Association’s Marketing Insights e-newsletter.

Understanding how to properly reach and successfully engage Millennials is an elusive but important target market for most companies – and rightfully so, given this generation’s estimated $200 billion in collective buying power. And as a consumer insights professional, regardless of which industry you work in or consult, you’ve probably been tasked with at least one project that involves Millennials. And if you haven’t, it’s coming.

Just as the nuances of this generation have implications for marketers, so too do the nuances of this generation have implications for customer insights professionals. As you begin to research and engage with Millennials in hopes of digging deep into their generation’s lifestyle, behaviors, consumption patterns and shopping habits, here are a few tips to ensure your project is set up to yield the best insights.

  1. Establish rapport. While nobody likes an imposter, Millennials have a special aversion, if not abhorrence, to inauthenticity. If you are a non-Millennial researcher moderating a group of Millennial respondents, avoid establishing rapport by trying to fit in or act like a member of a younger generation. Slipping in a cliché pop culture reference or incorrectly/obnoxiously using terms found on Urban Dictionary are sure ways to put off the entire group and hinder rapport. To ensure authentic participation, especially among Millennial respondents, simply be your true and authentic self.
  1. Drive mobile optimization. We all know the statistics about how attached Millennials are to mobile phones. When conducting research online (via bulletin boards, online communities and even surveys) the platforms through which you are conducting your research must be optimized for mobile. Not just mobile-friendly, mobile-accessible or mobile-compatible but mobile-optimized. This can make a huge difference as to just how engaged respondents are, whether they fully complete the study and quite frankly the quality of the respondents themselves.
  1. Fit within a Millennial’s inclination toward digital expression. I’m honestly still surprised that bulletin boards and micro communities are not more frequently suggested as an option when doing qualitative research projects with Millennials. I know there are many pushbacks to this methodology, but assuming from a data-collection standpoint that in-person focus groups and asynchronous online discussion are both on the table, please remember your audience and the way in which they flourish in the online space.

I am not saying in-person qualitative methodologies do not work for this demographic; I’m saying that a conversation that relies on text, image and video for self-expression is not only accepted but feels natural to the majority of Millennials. With that in mind, think about how conducive your online research project could be to Millennials’ on-the-go lifestyle. For example, if they have five to 10  minutes to spare four times a day – while in-between classes, waiting to meet someone, during their commute from work or school – it is second nature for them to pick up their smartphone and see what’s going on in their social/digital world. When conducted on a mobile-optimized platform, your research conversation has the potential to seamlessly fit into their lives during these moments, making for a more back-and-forth type discussion filled with in-the-moment data as well.

  1. Understand that the individual is not representative of the demographic. To understand the collective Millennial demographic and add value to the internal research team, macro demographic trends are certainly vital to know. However, when actually designing and conducting the research, go easy on the stereotypes. Don’t go into a room (virtual or physical) assuming that the Millennial with whom you are speaking is a tech-loving, selfie-addicted individual who watches TV shows only via Netflix and values work place attributes such as “dog-friendly environment” over higher pay (unless, of course, those were your recruitment specs). Remember that older Millennials can be very different from younger Millennials in many aspects, so be attuned to those differences as well. (Again, not just during fielding but also as you design the study or draft the discussion guide.) You may even discover an eye-opening difference between Millennials who engage with your client’s brand or product category versus the general Millennial population.

Compared to generations past, Millennials represent a highly engaged and vocal consumer base, which makes them a lot of fun from a research perspective. As a consumer insights professional, I look forward to our industry continuing to evolve its practices so we can make the most out of our Millennial research.

 

Posted in Market Research Best Practices, Millennials, Online Surveys and Research | Comment

What’s behind the negativity in market research?

Isaiah Adams is the manager of social media development at marketing research and analytics firm Optimization Group, Mich. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Dissecting the negative culture in market research.”

I’m still relatively new to market research compared to my colleagues and most of the industry folks I interact with. As a result, I often have a different perspective. Part of my job is to stay tapped into the pulse of market research. This involves reading a lot of blogs and industry news and reports. One thing that I’ve struggled to understand is the negativity surrounding the industry. I swear every other post I read is negative. Here are a few of my most recent favorites (all I had to do was scroll though some of the most popular LinkedIn groups to find these):

  • “Surveys are dead!”
  • “Focus groups are dead!”
  • “Why market research is failing at innovation”
  • “Corporate procurement is killing market research”
  • “Market research needs to adapt or die!!!”

 

OK I made that last one up but you get the point. I figured the best way to understand this issue was to directly ask people. Surprisingly people I asked jumped at the opportunity to weigh in on this topic. It felt like they were releasing weight off their shoulders.

To protect the people who gave me their honest opinion on this potentially controversial topic, I will not mention anyone’s name. However, I will say that I talked with some of the most influential people in the industry.

The following is not a collection of my own opinions on this topic but rather my best categorization of the opinions from some of our industry’s most esteemed voices. So what’s the reason behind all this negativity in market research?

Change

People struggle to deal with change in a rational way.

Our society and our industry are in a technology revolution akin to the industrial revolution of the 1870s. Everything is changing. Everyone knows that but they do not know how fast or revolutionary that change is. Some changes happen fast and throw people for a loop. Most change does not happen quite that fast but they assume that it does. So they say, “Surveys are dead!!!” when what they really mean is, “Surveys are evolving away and I can envision the day when we get our data in other ways.”

Newer companies are finding ways to do it in a way from the ground up that works in a unique way with their personal data.

Perceived effects of change

When change comes people naturally feel threatened. It’s interesting if you look at the history of MR. There has always been a certain negativity attached to change. Door-to-door interviewing was threatened by mall interviewing and focus groups. Then there were telephone interviewing and fax machines, Internet and now mobile. Data analysis went from hand tabulation to punch cards to mainframes, to desktop to cloud-based – but it is still there. The industry continues to grow!

Perceived effects of the industry’s lack of change

The commonly seen “per-project” based approach of market research is not progressive.

So as you can see, the idea of change (whether it’s happening or not) comes with a fragrance of negativity. If change is happening, we hear cries like, “The old ways are dead. Embrace the new ways or become extinct!” If an industry seems to be at a stand-still (where no major change is occurring), we hear cries like, “Market research is not progressive! We need to change or become extinct!”

Industry changes, particular those enabling technology (like DIY survey platforms or Webcam interviewing software) drive this friction. Having more “arrows in the quiver” means that any one arrow will be chosen less often. That said some traditional firms in our industry – including research agencies and focus group facility operators – are having outstanding years … go figure!

Crowded room

Over the last decade we’ve seen many significant mergers. Research companies are teaming up. This consolidation has brought a “crowded room” effect. There are more researchers in a “room” than needed. If you’ve ever been in an over-crowded elevator, you understand how irritable people can become in this situation. If you turn to someone in this crowded elevator and ask them to write about what they’re experiencing, I’m pretty sure you’ll see a glimmer of negativity in what they write.

Click bait

Fact – negative posts get more clicks than positive posts. Social media is all about clicks and retweets, and negatives always get more. Hands down. People adore train wrecks. When was the last time they led with “good news” on CNN? Anyone watching their blog stats sees this and tries to replicate it.

You CAN write rosy blog posts but usually innovation and disruption means you have to piss people off or they won’t change what they’re doing.

Generational

It’s been documented how the age demographics of the research community strongly tilt to an “older” generation. It’s almost like there’s two main age groups:

  • the older generation (people who’ve been in research for 30+ years and have experienced great, long-term success with the “tried and true” methods); and
  • the younger generation (people who have more of a tech background and are swiftly introducing new research tools to the playground)

 

There is a friction between these two groups. The younger crowd is shouting, “Adapt and get with the new program,” while the older crowd is sitting back in a chair with a smirk on their face saying, “Go ahead … ride your bicycle into the dark … see what happens.”

Alternative motives

There are people in the industry who are promoting the negativity because they have something to gain from it. Some of the new technology firms think their product will revolutionize insights and you will no longer need MR. Social media gives these folks a microphone! Also, there are certain people in the industry who claim to be media but are actually consultants. They use social media, blogs, events, etc. to proclaim all this new technology is going to end MR as we know it. In fact some of these folks are sitting on advisory panels or boards and take money from these companies. They have something to gain if people think MR is dead.

Budget cuts/economy

When the economy kicked the bucket, one of the first things cut from the budget was research. We’re starting to see this trend back positively for the research community in recent years but we still have a long way to go.

Backlash from misguided efforts

If clients are bringing a negative voice to the conversation it may be due to us thinking too broad. Perhaps we’re spending too much time studying the market rather than research within.

Underfunded

According to Quirk’s Corporate Research Report, folks work more hours and have less money to spend – this makes folks cranky.

Our self-diagnosis

In the end, I think it comes down to change … and change is hard. Look at our industry – not exactly full of young people. And change is even harder for the old-timers. Traditional researchers have had it so good for so long that they never felt the need to change – to keep up – to evolve. Then they wake up one morning and they’re now WAY behind the curve. Worse, they’re not sure how to catch up.

The next time you hear, “The sky is falling” in market research, consider the reason/motivation behind what you’re reading.

Posted in Market Research Findings, Market Research in the News, Marketing Research Jobs, Marketing Research Resources, Research Industry Trends, Social Media and Marketing Research, State of the Research Industry, The Business of Research | Comment

Mobile devices: Kids know what they want but are parents buying?

Editor’s note: Jeri Smith is president and CEO of Communicus Inc., a Tucson, Ariz., research firm.

Despite questions about the potentially negative aspects of electronics usage among children and adolescents, mobile devices are only growing in popularity. Recent research on parents and children reveals the extent of tablet and smartphone usage in the young, and the attitudes of both kids and parents toward mobile devices and the brands who produce them.

Two-thirds of pre-kindergarten age children use tablets, and one-in-three pre-K kids have a tablet that is exclusively theirs to use. The study also found that, compared to children who don’t have a device at all, kids who already have one are just as likely – or, depending on age group, even more likely – to ask for a new one. But tablets seem to have limited relevance to a specific episode in youth, with demand waning from the tween years onward. Meanwhile, kids’ demand for smartphones only grows as they age.

It probably won’t surprise many that Apple is the must-have brand for youth – more of them ask for an iPhone or iPad than all other brands combined. While kids ask for iPhones four times more than they ask for the Samsung Galaxy, Apple only has a 16 percent lead over Samsung among parents. ​Among parents who are considering purchasing the Samsung Galaxy, only a quarter of their kids actually want one – and nearly half want an iPhone.

What’s Apple’s secret? The sheer power of incumbency shouldn’t be underestimated. Kids say that the iPhone is the brand their friends have and is for “people like me.” That’s the kind of brand affinity that contributes significantly to loyalty building and devotion – even among consumers who don’t yet own the product. Many might assume that Apple is doing something special with their marketing to resonate so strongly with young people. But the iPhone has always been the popular device, and they’ve retained that designation by default – helped by the crucial fact that their product actually delivers on the “cool promise.”

With Sprint offering WeGo for kids as young as five, marketers from Apple and other device manufacturers have to tread a fine line of appropriateness with both kids and parents. But the research is clear: Kids want these devices and parents are in the market to acquire them on their behalf. While their attitudes to different brands and use purposes may vary, and while some observers may voice concerns over their usage, the place for mobile devices in the lives of children has been cemented.

Posted in Advertising Research, Business and Product Development, Consumer Research, Retailing, Shopper Insights | 1 Comment

What makes an effective loyalty program?

Editor’s note: Terry Vavra and Doug Pruden are partners at research firm Customer Experience Partners. Vavra is based in Allendale, N.J. Pruden is based in Darien, Conn. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on the Customer Experience Partners’ blog under the title “Loyalty programs: Lots of hidden challenges.”

When thinking about ways to increase your customers’ loyalty it’s not surprising to consider adopting some form of a rewards program. Many have. The fact is, effective or not loyalty programs are being offered by just about everyone. From your corner dry cleaner to American Airlines, marketers everywhere seem convinced that a loyalty program is a “must have.” With such universal acceptance we didn’t find the results of the 2013 Loyalty Census from Colloquy very surprising. According to the investigation:

  • The average U.S. household is enrolled in 22 loyalty programs (that’s a 17 percent increase over 2010′s 18 programs);.
  • However, each U.S. household is active in only nine programs!
  • And, the proportion of programs in which a household is active appears to have peaked (2010′s 46 percent exceeding 2012′s 44 percent).

We all know that averages are deceiving. The Hannifin Loyalty blog reports that in one specialized segment of consumers – business travelers – the average number of loyalty program memberships is as high as 40 programs per traveler!

Are we asking the wrong question?

Membership numbers, active or not, can be a fickle indicator of effectiveness. As opposed to mere belonging, a better question to ask might be how many programs are top of mind for customers. That is, how many programs are truly engaging members of the program?  More importantly, from the sponsor’s side, how many loyalty programs are actually influencing members’ behavior – increasing spending?
We use a value equation as our model in considering how customers make decisions about repurchasing brands, products and services. If effective, the loyalty programs in which a customer is enrolled should become components in each customer’s value equation calculation for a brand. The more effective the program, the more weight the program component should exert in urging repurchase. This being said, here are several actions loyalty program owners should be considering:

  1. Is your loyalty program stimulating active engagement or does your structure condone passivity – merely setting membership hurdles but failing to involve members in your brand?
  2. Have you truly identified the behavior you want your program to influence? While it sounds trivial, many loyalty programs suffer from weak or non-existent goals. Be specific. Do you want: to retain customers, to broaden the range of products they buy from you or to increase the frequency of their purchases? The way you structure your program can help accomplish very specific behaviors.
  3. Do you recognize that your loyalty program is part of the total experience you provide your customers, not an isolated adjunct? Whatever your loyalty program offers, however it’s conducted, all of the program’s components contribute to the total experience you offer your customers.
  4. Are your program’s rewards significant, relevant and desired such that they actually possess motivating power? Are your customers sufficiently familiar with your rewards so that they strengthen their emotional bonding to your brand?
  5. Does your program offer specialized rewards consistent with your typical customer’s needs and interests as determined by his/her status in their life cycle with your brand.
  6. Do your program members spend more and behave more positively toward your brand than they did prior to becoming members?  Is that increased spending more or less than the total cost of planning and executing the loyalty program?
  7. Are you certain your loyalty program is more than just a mileage program? A mileage program will only perpetuate current purchasing. A true loyalty program should impact many different aspects of your customers’ interactions with you.

All said and done, creating a loyalty program may be your easiest task; keeping it engaging and motivating is the real chore. And there’s also the frequently overlooked implicit obligation of justifying your program by tracking its ROI.

 

Posted in Brand and Image Research, Business and Product Development, Consumer Research, Shopper Insights | Comment

Q&A: How mobile surveys transcend traditional barriers

Editor’s note: The World Food Programme (WFP) regularly conducts surveys throughout the world to assess the food security of different areas. WFP uses two measures to access food security: the Food Consumption Score (FCS) and Reduced Coping Strategies Index (rCSI). Traditionally surveys have been conducted through face-to-face interviews.

Quirk’s recently had the chance to interview Matthieu Sauvage-Mar, the director of client services at GeoPoll, to learn more about how their team worked with the WFP to adapt the FCS and rCSI to work on mobile phones, using SMS surveys. This is an edited version of the interview.

Q: How has the use of mobile research in emerging markets changed in the past few years?

A: The world of mobile research is still very new in emerging markets. While developed nations have moved quickly past basic mobile phones to embrace smartphones reliant on Internet, emerging markets have not. However, the sheer number of mobile phones available in developing nations is awe-inspiring. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, mobile subscribers have increased 18 percent per year for each of the past five years.

This widespread connectivity makes research done directly via mobile increasingly representative of the general population, which is crucial to gaining an accurate understanding of any population.

Why did the WFP look to mobile surveys when searching for data on food security in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

TheWFP was unable to send in-person survey enumerators to the North Kivu region due to the conflict that was taking place there. With the growing prevalence of mobile phones in the area, we thought there was the option of testing mobile surveys and seeing if results from mobile surveys were comparable to those found in face-to-face surveys. WFP found that not only were mobile surveys able to identify areas of food insecurity but also that the time and cost of mobile surveys were significantly lower than face-to-face surveys.

How was the mobile sampling process different from past WFP studies?

For face-to-face surveys, WFP used two-stage cluster sampling to obtain a sample that was representative of a wide portion of the population and enumerators went door-to-door to collect responses. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, GeoPoll has a database of over 7.9 million mobile phone subscribers, with 200,000 in North Kivu. The GeoPoll sample was obtained by a simple random sample of the North Kivu database. After respondents were randomly selected, they were sent an opt-in message which informed respondents that surveys would be free to respond to, lowering the economic barrier to participation.

What were some survey highlights?

For the rCSI, which consists of five questions designed to flag “extreme” behaviors such as reducing adult food consumption, we found that there was no significant difference in results from face-to-face and mobile surveys. In addition, mobile surveys did show certain expected results, such as a significant difference in scores for displaced and non-displaced populations. This was an exciting result for us, as it showed that mobile surveys were able to quickly and accurately identify areas in need.

Furthermore, the speed at which we were able to gather survey results demonstrated that mobile surveys are a valuable tool in evaluating crises.

What are the top challenges when conducting research in an emerging market?

There are many unknowns when working in emerging markets and each one presents its own unique set of challenges. Which days of the week are best for polling? Which times of day? How much do phone penetration and literacy matter? How about multiple languages? How much does offering an incentive help? Who is best partner as we scale?

All these questions need to be answered to build a successful infrastructure for collecting accurate, reliable data. One of the biggest challenges is making that first step and establishing relationships with the local telecom providers who can connect us to consumers. We also work carefully with the data we do collect, weighting and extrapolating to ensure that our sample is representative of the population we are trying to measure.

What’s next for mobile data collection?

With the spread of mobile phones throughout the developing world, we see a future where we can reach any population on the planet and learn about their wants, needs and concerns. This won’t be easy and a big priority in mobile data research is thinking about how best to use all of the methods available to mobile, whether it is through text messaging, voice messaging or the Internet.

Posted in Consumer Research, International Research, Mobile Interviewing, Online Surveys and Research, Survey Development | 1 Comment

The increasing value of shopper technologies

Editor’s note: Erik Olson is the vice president and senior qualitative research consultant at Market Strategies International, Conn. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title “Shopper technologies come of age.”

Intercepting or tagging along with consumers as they chase through the store on a shopping trip has been the go-to methodology for us “in-the-moment” researchers for decades. For the most part, it’s still a good way to build insight about shopping behaviors through observation, inference and discussion.

But in this age of “retail activation,” also known as generating immediate sales transactions, casual interpretations aren’t good enough. We need better ways of getting closer to shoppers’ decision making at the point-of-sale, seeing shelves through their eyes, knowing which visual features have the greatest impact and understanding what triggers their moments of truth. Here is a breakdown of two of the more promising innovations: instant micro surveys and eye-tracking glasses.

Instant micro surveys

A year ago, Apple introduced iBeacon technology to help iBeaconthe retail industry simplify payments or enable on-site offers. One or more low-cost beacons (Bluetooth® Low Energy or BLE transmitters) are placed in a retail environment and transmit a unique signal. When a shopper who has opted-in with an iBeacon-equipped smartphone (Apple or Android) passes within a few meters of the signal, it enables the device to perform an action, such as present a recipe, offer a promotional coupon or share a link to a mobile research opportunity (you may not be shocked to learn that we think the latter application is the most important).

For the first time, this allows shoppers to:

  • instantly share an opinion,
  • rate a shopping experience,
  • take a picture of the offer or pack design that is catching their eye or
  • record a snap video about that particular moment of truth for our research team to analyze.

Respondents need not wait for an interview following the shopping trip nor try to reconstruct the experience in a focus group or online bulletin board. They capture their attitude and action immediately while they are standing directly in front of the shelf we’re most interested in discussing.

Importantly, shoppers opt in to the research for a small incentive, like a free gallon of milk. The devices don’t track users and they don’t push content to annoy shoppers. Shoppers collaborate because we create a benefit-reinforced incentive rather than offering a 10 cent coupon which presents little relevance and virtually no value (like so many mobile surveys offered today).

We are currently working with vendors that have deployed a network of iBeacons in retail locations across several metro areas, and the deployment is growing each day. We’re also testing individual iBeacon placements in single stores to supplement other micro-qualitative and quantitative research activities in the market. The methodology is delivering insights fresh, fast and hot!

Eye-tracking glassesSMI Technology

We have known for many years that shoppers don’t have insight into what they do or don’t want, and they don’t know what motivates them to buy. Even with sophisticated shoppers, relying on qualitative data from “shop arounds” and post-shop interviews can be misleading.

Early eye-tracking glasses were clunky and obstructed respondents’ peripheral vision. But the latest versions of the glasses are lightweight, less obtrusive and allow researchers to “watch” shopper interactions from the front of the store. They let us literally get inside shoppers’ heads and peer through their eyes as they shop. We no longer have to rely on rationalizations about what they did – we can see respondents’ fast-thinking behaviors in action.

eye-tracking

Eye-tracking glasses use miniature video cameras to fixate on a shopper’s pupil then superimpose a target over streaming video precisely where the shopper’s eyes look. The optical alignment is so fine that the researcher can distinguish whether the shopper is looking at the brand name, sub-brand or ingredients on a chewing gum label or whether they are searching for a familiar brand name or a great price as they approach the shelf.

Typically researchers interview shoppers prior to the study about their immediate goals and expectations. The researcher fits and calibrates the glasses and then the respondent shops as they normally would. The research team watches streaming video of the shopper’s gaze as she moves through the aisles and makes purchase choices. A debrief afterward gives the team preliminary information, but the analysis of the eye movements of all the shoppers in the study delivers detailed metrics on viewing, holding and reading activities in the shopping process.

The true value of eye tracking is the data gathered that can support the real decision-making brand marketers must do. Too often, old qualitative eye tracking studies only went halfway and provided cookie-cutter analytics and heat maps like the ones shown below which simply show what the majority of shoppers looked at on this sample display (red is the greatest area of focus).

tracking study

Consider some of the following metrics we now generate using advanced analytics such as clustering and factor analysis enabled with proper data collection:

  • How products in the consideration set funnel to purchase or, more importantly, how to disrupt a product in the consideration set to get your brand in the shopping cart;
  • exactly what shoppers notice, evaluate, select and buy – and why;

insights table

  • which element of the message, placement, design or marketing mix influenced the purchase decision;
  • how stimuli placed in the shopping environment drive shopper attitudes toward their favorite brand (see example below of quantifying the impact of shelf placement);

shelf placement impact table

  • what competitive brands have done to steal your share and which of their brands may be vulnerable to your attack; and
  • which features of displays, signs, POS, packages, shelves or price tags actually drive performance.

Posted in Behavioral Economics, Brand and Image Research, Consumer Research, Product Research, Qualitative Research, Retailing, Shopper Insights | Comment

When reviews matter: Netflix goes social

Editor’s note: Rachael Genson is the North American public relations manager at Bazaarvoice, Texas. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Netflix goes social with movie recommendations.” recommendation

Earlier this month, Netflix announced a social update allowing users to privately recommend video content to Facebook friends. After watching a movie or TV show, the site will ask users whether they want to suggest the content to a friend, giving them the ability to provide viewing suggestions without broadcasting that recommendation to their entire Facebook friend list.

With the number of social posts bombarding our news feeds numbering in the hundreds of thousands each day, this kind of selective recommendation service seems sensible. But for those of us in the reviews industry, the update begs the question: Are friend-to-friend reviews the right approach for social recommendations?

This entire system is driven by the assumption that friends know their friends well enough to recommend movies and TV shows that align with their viewing preferences. But how well does that assumption actually hold up? Bazaarvoice found that, at least in regards to products, over half of Millennials (consumers aged 18 to 34) trust the opinions of strangers online over those of friends and family.

Recommendation limitations

Consumers don’t always agree with people they know. The beauty of online reviews is that they give consumers access to the opinions of like-minded individuals – those people whose recommendations on a product, service or movie may ring truer than a friend who assumes that your preferences perfectly align with theirs.

Whether by Netflix or any other brand, limiting recommendations only to select friends eliminates the opportunity for users to discover useful information while scrolling through their Facebook news feed. But it’s more than just the audience alone; the recommendation itself warrants further consideration. Rather than simply asking consumers to suggest a friend who would like the content, brands (Netflix included) should dig deeper to get to “the what” and “the why,” as that is the information that makes a recommendation truly useful – why is this movie/product/service worth recommending and what specifically makes it something your friend(s) would be interested in?

And just as making a recommendation to only one or two Facebook friends limits its visibility, so does restricting content only to a user’s Facebook audience. It’s important to allow user recommendations to span as wide an audience as possible, so brands and retailers should give consumers the option to broadcast to their larger Facebook network and post their recommendation directly to the company Web site. Increasing the recommendation’s visibility increases the chances that it will be shown to the right people – the friends, family or strangers that will find true benefit from your words. Plus, research from our Conversation Index, Vol. 3 shows product opinions contributed on a Web site and shared to Facebook generate a 5 percent higher rating compared to those that are not shared.

This is not to say there is no place for private friend-to-friend recommendations or that Netflix’s update is misdirected – in fact, there are advantages to allowing friends to recommend things to friends. But in the larger scope of ratings and reviews, it seems ineffective to decrease the value a good, thoughtful recommendation can provide by limiting its reach to only a select group who may or may not appreciate its content.

Posted in Brand and Image Research, Consumer Research, Public Opinion/Social Research | Comment