Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Usability Upgrades – Folder System Revamped

We've revamped our folder management system. Our current system of moving surveys between folders at best can be - "Wonky" - so we've spent some time to clean this up.

Important Changes:















Talking to Employees - A Radical Approach to the Employee Survey Process

I've just spent the last month or so running an employee survey.  Not every company is brave enough to run one.  At the same time, not every company is brave enough to process the results face-to-face either.

As I was crunching through the numbers; creating, formatting, cutting and pasting charts.  I stopped and took notice of the numbers.  It dawned on me that these average ratings were just numbers that were somehow disconnected from the open-ended responses that came after.

In fact, I found myself thinking that the numbers might actually be irrelevant beyond their most basic function of placing a hash-mark or a tag on the level of engagement or satisfaction so that we can measure change from year to year.  But the actual activities that will create change - won't come from the numbers; nor will they come from the reading and reviewing of the open ended responses.  The improvement will come from the leadership team's ability to share these results in a meaningful, non-threatening way with their employees and get their input and perspective on what needs to happen next -- in the form of a conversation and not a presentation of results.

The Gallup Organization has developed a Q12 survey that distills those critical attributes that measure employee engagement.  The closer your results mirror the 8 to 1 ratio of engaged employees in the Gallup results, the more profitable you will be.

But the numbers are really just the gateway toward the real goodies that lie within the conversations that you and your employees will have about the data itself and what it means in real life.

Don't let numbers and measurements substitute good judgement.  Share your goals and objectives with employees, talk to them about their ideas, measure engagement and listen to what they need to get more plugged in.  Then simply work together to put those items in place.

Engaged employees, create engaged and loyal customers.  This combination will yield profits for everyone.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Survey Analytics and Ziff Davis Enterprise Partner in the Feedback Management Space



Provides Leading B2B Technology Media Company with New Tools to Enhance Audience and Marketing Solutions

Seattle, WA –June 29th, 2010 – Survey Analytics today announced that it has partnered with Ziff Davis Enterprise, a leader in innovative enterprise IT media, engagement solutions and services, to provide survey and crowdsourcing solutions to better serve Ziff Davis Enterprise’s network of registered users and marketing clients.

Survey Analytics’ flagship product, QuestionPro, will provide a scalable solution for the thousands of online surveys and feedback forums that Ziff Davis Enterprise utilizes to gather valuable insights from the millions of users and vendors who rely on them for world-class enterprise IT content and marketing solutions and services. Survey Analytics offers a complete set of intuitive online tools for conducting market research, including standard survey templates, a platform for hosting data collection, automatic notifications and an advanced suite of analysis tools for analyzing customer satisfaction.
“The addition of Survey Analytics powerful community feedback solution to Ziff Davis Enterprise’s sterling suite of media options means further insight into the sought-after tech audience,” said Vivek Bhaskaran, President & CEO of Survey Analytics.

“Our audience is comprised of some of the most influential and discerning technology professionals and leaders in the industry. Their insights are at a premium right now,” said Steve Weitzner, CEO, Ziff Davis Enterprise “The Survey Analytics solution will help us not only listen to our customers, but help us continue to offer them superior service and relevant content.”

About Survey Analytics
Survey Analytics offers an enterprise grade research platform for collecting feedback to enable businesses, governments and consumers to participate and learn from each other. Through it’s core businesses of Surveys, Crowdsourcing, Panel Management and Polls – Survey Analytics listening systems enabled businesses and governments to touch their customers and constituents through all major channels – including Web, Email, Social Media and mobile. The self-service and cloud enabled platform empowers companies to execute and deliver on research at real-time and global scale.

The Survey Analytics Platform is used by companies like Motorola, McGraw Hill, CareerBuilder and Agencies of the US Federal government including the FCC, USPS and the GSA.

About Ziff Davis Enterprise
Ziff Davis Enterprise, Inc. is B2B technology’s trusted information resource. Millions of technology buyers rely on our brands – including eWEEK, Baseline, CIO Insight, Channel Insider, WebBuyersGuide.com, TechDirect, and the Developer Shed network – for relevant, objective content to identify the right solutions for their organizations. Over 300 technology companies, from industry giants to emerging start-ups, rely on our contextual content, marketing, and audience development expertise to compress sales cycles and lower their go-to-market costs. Ziff Davis Enterprise has proven marketing solutions for branding, engagement, and face-to-face events. Products include print and online advertising, eNewsletter sponsorships, content syndication, eSeminars, virtual tradeshows, events, and custom media services. Ziff Davis Enterprise has a global database of 5.5 million users representing an unparalleled community of business and technology professionals, developers, and the channel. www.ziffdavisenterprise.com
Enhanced by Zemanta

How to use Conjoint Analysis in the Innovation Process

Webinar Presentation
Thursday July 22nd, 2010
9:00am PST


Ever thought about using Conjoint Analysis as part of your research strategy?

Your customers are constantly making trade-offs when making purchase decisions between you and your competitors. Traditional research questions, such as ranking features and asking pricing sensitivity questions are valuable tools, but often leave you wondering which features are really important and how you should price vs. real competition. So how can you simulate a real-world purchase decision before you go to market?

Conjoint Analysis is a powerful and often under-utilized marketing research tool that can provide powerful insight into how your customers actually think. The resulting information can be used to prioritize features, develop pricing strategies, and estimate market share… all before you develop your product or spend valuable marketing dollars.

Join Survey Analytics and Planning Innovations for this one-hour webinar on how to effectively use Conjoint Analysis in the innovation process to prioritize needs, explore pricing options, and validate your product and service concepts.

We’ll answer:

1) What is Conjoint Analysis and how does it work to simulate real world trade-off decisions?

2) How can you develop Conjoint Studies that provide guidance in innovation planning?

3) How can Conjoint Studies help you predict potential market share for new product concepts?

This webinar will answer these questions and more as well as provide a forum to discuss specific challenges.

Click Here To Sign Up: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/447044739



About the Presenters:

Dorian Simpson founded Planning Innovations in 2002 to help technology-driven companies launch successful products and services through focused innovation management and planning. He has significant experience in both engineering and marketing to help build the bridge between these two critical innovation functions.

http://www.planninginnovations.com

Esther LaVielle is a Senior Account Manager at QuestionPro and Survey Analytics, which was started in 2002 in Seattle and is now one of the fastest growing private companies in the US. Prior to her adventure at QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group.

http://www.surveyanalytics.com

Additional Links:

Monday, June 28, 2010

CMOs and Social Media - Don't Wait Another Minute

Sometimes the best quotes come tripping off the tongue in a moment of frustration.  About three years ago I was a presenter at a management conference.  My topic was about social media and as I looked across the blank faces of my C-Suite audience, I could see a sort of mix between glazed confusion, doubt and fear.

"This week it's Twitter and next week it will be something else.  Why do we need to waste our time on this stuff" one audience member said.   I stopped, looked around the room and asked "Who wants to be in business 10 years from now?...15? 20?"  They all raised their hands.

"If you want to be in business in the next 20 years, you'd better know what the 20-year-olds already know and do what they do and communicate in ways where they will respond and relate to you."  And at that point, their faces turned to just plain fear.

Social media, like any new technology can be a scary thing.  But no more scary than the printing press, the telephone, the television, the fax machine and the myriad other devices that we've learned to use and depend on every day.

Tim O’Connor is CMO of PCDI/Ashworth, has written a terrific article in Research Access that addresses this very point.

Think of social media space like digital real estate.  Each person that's part of your community is a square foot (or meter) of potential value.  Each day you wait to build relationships with your community you are missing out on potential market share and revenue.

This doesn't mean that you should go blindly into the world of social media -- but you certainly must go there.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Evolution of Online Surveys - Take the Viral with Facebook

I have to admit, I hadn't really thought much about surveys going viral.  Because in MY world (and we all know that's the one that counts -- right?) I work with customer surveys and that means confidential information.  So the LAST thing on my mind was surveys going viral.

Then I got a call from Vivek (our fearless CEO) asking me to beta test his viral survey concept on DIYMarketers.  Of course I said "yes", but I just didn't really get it.  Again.  I was stuck in my own world and couldn't really see the benefit of surveys going viral.

As we talked Vivek slowly but surely lead me out of my head and into the realm of interesting possibilities;

  • What if you were able to actually collect data from populations that were previously unreachable to you.  For example, say my network or lists consisted mainly of marketing people, but I might want to get the perspective of engineers on this topic.  A viral survey picked up by an engineer and spread to his network would allow the engineer to collect data without creating a survey and allow ME to see how engineers thought differently from marketing people.

  • What if you were able to gather demographic information effortlessly and for FREE?  Connecting with Facebook and it's monster demographic databases is a researcher's dream come true.  Viral surveys interfacing with Facebook make that a reality.


So take a moment and learn MORE about how Facebook is changing the face of online surveys - check out this article on Research Access.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Field of Dreams or Field of Morons? Using Ghetto Testing to Avoid Loser Products.

In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner plays a farmer living in rural Iowa, who hears a voice while walking through his cornfield; “If you build it, he will come” (ofter misquoted “If you build it, they will come”) and sees a vision of a baseball field.  Kevin’s character Ray Kinsella plows under his corn and builds the field.  We all know the story.  In the end THEY come; the ghosts of ball players past, including Shoeless Joe Jackson.  And finally in the ending you see miles of car loads of everyday people coming to the field.

The car loads of people come because (if you follow the story line) Ray’s field offers real innovative tangible value, in this case peace.  As the character Terrance Mann says in the movie, “They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.”  Whoa; that is a marketers dream!

Read the rest of this article by Tim O’Connor, the CMO of PCDI/Ashworth.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Follow up from Webinar on Thursday June 17th, 2010



On Thursday June 17th, 2010 we teamed up with Dorian Simpson of Planning Innovations on the topic:

Effective Use of Online Surveys for the Innovation Process

The turn out for this topic was fantastic! It has been proven that customer-driven innovation requires a steady flow of real insight from real customers. However, to be successful, the right questions and techniques must be used for each stage of innovation. If used correctly, cost-effective online survey methods can become an essential tool to consistently deliver new, valuable products and services.

Dorian presented on VOC (voice of the customer) techniques that can be applicable to an online survey. Although there is no substitute for doing in-person interviews, the process of gathering and analyzing qualitative data via an online survey can increase efficiencies and deliver real-time data that will allow your firm to stay with or ahead of any industry trends.



The focus of our discussion looked at Customer Problems, Trends of Interest, Feature Priorities, Value Questions, Market Size, Pricing, and Take rate (boxed in red above). In order to clarify this fuzzy stage we must look at discovery and validation technique also known as divergence and convergence methods.



Most surveys are used for “convergence” or validation research

That’s OK… but…

–The set of options you may be testing are assumed to be accurate.

–They typically don’t solicit the problems customers will value

–The language or words used may not reflect how your customers talk about the product or problem

E.g. Home audio speakers – On a scale of 1 to 5:

“How important is it for your headphones to sustain a complex bass tone”???? Very Important!

Convergence surveys without understanding customer language, real problems, and options THEY desire lead to missed opportunities and can often misdirect innovation efforts.



Tips in using Voice of the Customer Techniques:

1.Seek attitudes, problems and needs (not product features and functions)

2.Use open-ended questions to solicit more detailed responses

3.Process results

1.Break down responses into bites

2.Look for trends, clusters, and themes

3.Seek clues that can be used to test further and create hypothesis for valuable opportunities

Use your surveys to solicit problems! Consumers have gotten accustomed to sharing thoughts in threads in short bursts. Texting, emailing, IM’ing, Facebooking, tweeting, etc.

Often the ‘open-ended’ results are the most interesting and enlightening part of survey responses.

Additional Tips to Implement during the Innovation Process:

1.Write your survey as if you were in a 1-on-1 interview

2.Results are “qualitative”, so set goals to receive 30-40 responses

3.Conduct multiple surveys to various target groups to test different questions to find those that gain real insight

4.You can ask more intimate questions of current customers than potential customers, but don’t let that stop you from trying!

5.Follow general good online survey techniques

-Test your survey

-Make it clear responses keep strictly confidential

-Keep survey results to 15-20 minutes

-Provide incentives

6.Conduct threaded surveys – Get responses, then send out follow up surveys to the same group to elaborate on response themes (not specific responses.. that’s creepy)

7. Use visuals of the task to ask questions such as adding a sketch of someone waking up to get users to think about the problem

8.Get creative and try to make it fun for your customers to give you thoughtful and honest responses

About the author: Dorian Simpson founded Planning Innovations in 2002 to help technology-driven companies launch successful products and services through focused innovation management and planning. He has significant experience in both engineering and marketing to help build the bridge between these two critical innovation functions.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Only 5 Questions We Really Care About Answering

The primary reason we do any survey project is so that we can make decisions; for example, should I stay open for 24 hours/7 days a week or will our customers pay more for this potential new feature?  These are all good and worthy decisions.  But when you take even a closer look, we're making these decisions because our main objective is to become the obvious choice for that ideal customer.  And for that to happen, we have to have clear answers to the following questions:

  1. Who is our ideal customer? These are typically demographic questions such as gender, education level, income level or location.  You can expand these questions to find out your customer's occupation or if your ideal customer is a parent, pet owner.   Don't skimp on demographics or psycho graphics.  If anything get really creative with them.  You might consider doing a survey with nothing but profiling questions that include where your customers shop, or where they prefer to eat.  It's critical to know as much as possible about your ideal customer so that you can begin focusing your marketing decisions around their preferences.

  2. What do they struggle with? Another root set of data that market researchers are searching for within their ideal customer is "what they struggle with."  What are the 5 to 7 frustrations that they are dealing with when it comes to interacting with our product or service?  If you are a golf accessories company and you ask your ideal what frustrates them about their golfing experience, you might get responses such as "expensive golf clubs getting wet during a rain storm."  If you get enough of those responses, you may think about developing a golf accessory that protects golf clubs in the rain.  In fact -- there is such a thing as an umbrella for your golf clubs -- the Drizzle Stick.

  3. What does your ideal customer really WANT? No matter how you phrase the question (and there are countless creative formats) all we really want to know is what our customer will actually purchase as a solution.  What is it that they WANT?  Of course they're NOT going to say that they want something that doesn't exist yet -- in the 1960's the average person would NOT have known that they wanted a microwave. They wanted hot food fast.  One good way to get at these wants is to give your respondents some examples of product offerings and combinations and see how they rate them.

  4. What sets you apart from the other guy. Competitive analysis or benchmarking is critical if you want to increase the profitability of your product and build your brand.  My favorite way to measure or identify differentiators or competitive advantage is to ask Importance/Satisfaction questions.  The key to asking these kinds of questions is getting the attributes just right.  For example "How important is it that your tires have a run-flat safety feature?"  instead of asking "How important is it that your car has tires."

  5. What benefits do your customers perceive? Because we all choose and purchase based on emotion -- it's important to understand specifically, what emotional benefits our customers receive from our products and services.  The more we connect with our customers on an emotional level and provide that benefit -- the more likely they are to choose us.  This is an ideal place to use matrix questions that rate the degree to which customers agree or disagree with a variety of "benefit" statements.  Here is an example "I can count on Service X to pull me out of a bind."


No matter why you are doing a survey, you'll find these 5 questions at the core of "WHY" you want to know.  Remember, your respondents will read or spend time with absolutely ANYTHING as long as they are at the center of it.  Be sure to keep these 5 questions in mind when creating your survey and everyone involved will save time, aggravation and money.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two Prongs: A new approach to integrating social media and marketresearch




Social media, as everyone is aware, is dramatically changing the way we conduct research. A recurring theme within the blogosphere is whether we can use social media listening for research, leaving clients from every sphere of the market research spectrum asking the same questions: When and how should we use social media data in our research? And more importantly, how much is too much?

I recommend using a two-pronged approach to data integration.
The first approach involves traditional online surveys with an important twist – a social media sample that is opt-in and conducted while members have discretionary online time and are engaged in the social media arena. Surveys embedded within social networks and applications enable interviewing actual users of the social media sites. This also ensures that surveys are presented only while the profiled and opted-in social media survey respondents are engaged in a social media site or application; no bothersome and potentially leading email invitations that may or may not be replied to in the near future. The key is to provide respondents with a survey only when they have indicated they want to offer their opinion.

The second part involves social media measurement and analysis. In order to build a great brand, you must listen – and by that, I mean listening through channels where your consumers are conversing. Look beyond social media monitoring in order to correctly gauge and understand what your brand consumers are talking about. Utilize a research analysis tool, as true market research data needs to be in-depth and offer something more than just a social media web crawler.

The future for social media, market research and data integration is evolving at tremendous speed. Therefore, traditional market research and social media listening must complement one another in order to make research better. Now is a critical time to make intelligent marketing recommendations that provide valuable insight to understand and act upon what is happening through social media.

About the Author: Rick Wilson is the Vice President of Strategic Accounts at Peanut Labs and has worked in the market research industry for over 20 years. Experienced in all phases of the market research process, he brings with him valuable insight and expertise in the industry.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Goverment 2.0 – Moving Beyond Participation and Engagement

Ever since Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, technology and internet for politics has changed from a medium to a platform. The 2008 campaign is often cited as a case study for its inordinate and efficient use of the internet, online-tools and services to engage and organize campaign workers, messaging, and everything in between. Here are some bits and pieces of information that I’ve overheard:

  • The campaign website was built on Drupal (Open Source)

  • The campaign allowed you to invite others to join the movement and create geographic communities

  • The campaign used SMS/Text messaging to announce the VP Pick – thereby communicating not only via email, but now through SMS/text also.


Get the whole story at Research Acccess
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

REGISTER TODAY: Effective Use of Online Survey Tools in the Innovation Process

Webinar Presentation
Thursday June 17th, 2010
9:00AM PST




Looking for ways to bring innovation to your company without going over budget?

It’s been proven that customer-driven innovation requires a steady flow of real insight from real customers. However, to be successful, the right questions and techniques must be used for each stage of innovation. If used correctly, cost-effective online survey methods can become an essential tool to consistently deliver new, valuable products and services.

Join Survey Analytics and Planning Innovations for this one-hour webinar on how cost-effective online tools can be used throughout the innovation process to identify needs, explore solutions, and validate concepts.

1)       How can online surveys be used in the discovery process to fuel innovation?

2)       How should your survey techniques change throughout the innovation process?

3)       What kind of questions can actually limit your ability to innovate?

This webinar will answer these questions and more as well as provide a forum to discuss specific challenges.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/513450435

About the Presenters:



Dorian Simpson founded Planning Innovations in 2002 to help technology-driven companies launch successful products and services through focused innovation management and planning. He has significant experience in both engineering and marketing to help build the bridge between these two critical innovation functions.

Esther LaVielle is a Senior Account Manager at QuestionPro and Survey Analytics, which was started in 2002 inSeattle and is now one of the fastest growing private companies in the US. Prior to her adventure at QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lovable Innovation Part 3: Five Essential Philosophies of Lovable Innovation

How can companies apply Lovable Innovation principles to consistently capture customers’ hearts? They must build the skills to uncover, validate, and make tough decisions on customer Love Elements as the core of a Lovable Innovation process. However, discovering and quantifying Love Elements is not obvious, since customers cannot always articulate what they’ll love.

Based on my personal experience with clients, and confirmed by hundreds of discussions with product leaders attempting to respond to innovation challenges, here are the five essential philosophies to building Lovable Innovation practices that lead to lovable products and customer devotion:



  1. Marry Your Customers. The first philosophy is to commit to your customers. A colleague of mine, Jean-Claude Balland of JCB and Associates challenges his clients to “marry” their customers. This is an important commitment to be with your customer through thick and thin. It means you’ve pledged to listen to them, learn their needs and desires and find solutions to their problems. This requires you to earn their trust and so they will be more open to sharing challenges and revealing the Love Elements that will win their hearts. Learning more quickly about big problems can give you the edge on discovering major opportunities like the SUV that require radical innovation, but also provides a vast array of insight into smaller Love Elements where you can apply incremental innovation. I hear many companies say something similar to, “We don’t have access to our customers!” Yes, sometimes it does take time, new thinking, and even some creativity to gain direct access to both current and potential customers to gain this insight. Smart companies are creating customer insight systems that create channels of feedback through customer panels, online tools, and customer visits. Quicken is fabled for beating the mighty Microsoft by following customers home to watch them install and use their accounting software to gain this insight.




  1. Become a Love Psychologist. The second philosophy is learning how to listen. The second thing I often hear is “Customers can’t tell us what they want!” Once you have your customer’s ear, listening is not enough. It takes unique skills to gain real customer insight and determine if you’ve uncovered the right Love Elements. Exploring customers’ minds successfully requires repeatable techniques such as in-depth customer interviews, observation, or other appropriate research methods. These activities shouldn’t always be outsourced to market research agencies as obtaining on-going, high quality insight requires that you build a relationship with your customers. As an exercise, find a customer, sit down with her for an hour and really try to listen versus talking to her about your plans. As you establish a trusting relationship, you will be able to get beyond her surface needs and obvious wishes. You may need to learn new methods to gain this insight, but with practice and dedication you will be able to get inside customers’ heads. These techniques are generally referred to as Voice of the Customer (VOC) and are used by top innovators such as P&G and Toyota to define Lovable Innovations. But you don’t need the resources of a Fortune 100 company to conduct good customer discussions.  One small health consultant in Oregon uses surveys to track customer desires and then follows up with those customers who want to talk about her products. This consistent feedback allows her to focus on new services that her customers want instead of what she, as an expert in her field, thinks they want (And it’s often surprisingly different!) The result? A thriving business because she is always on top of the latest products that her customers care about.




  1. Make Tough Love Decisions. The third philosophy is to make tough decisions that are guided by what customers really care about. Once you’ve uncovered Love Elements that will win customers’ hearts, it’s time to make difficult tradeoffs. Lovable Innovation decisions range from big strategic decisions such as “should we develop a plug-in car at all?” to detailed feature decisions, such as “how long should the cord be to plug it in?” Without having the tools and methods to rank, prioritize, and quantify your elements, it’s easy to want to solve every need and meet every want. But you won’t be able to. Successful products have a clear emphasis on the most important Love Elements that only you and your customers can decide. Develop clear methods that focus your innovation efforts on your customers’ top Love Elements, such as feature trade-off analysis and other quantitative research tools to make tough decisions. Nintendo was forced to make difficult trade-off decisions between performance, design, and applications when they chose to focus on a new video game experience targeted to families. In the process they had to abdicate the hard-core gamer market to Sony and Microsoft.  The decisions have paid off with Wii’s success.


hear

  1. Go Deep with Your Commitment. The fourth philosophy is to get the details right. Once you’ve made tough decisions to focus on the top Love Elements, it’s now time to get the whole product right. Think about the products we love - they all deliver a small set of Love Elements really well, such as enabling web services on the iPhone, and then making the experience lovable for customers. This commitment to the details allows your team to focus on making the experience of these critical product or service attributes even better… and more lovable. For example, the iPod delivers the top Love Elements and has gone deeper to get the details right on the overall music experience, from opening the box, to the feel of the device, to downloading music with ease (I think it also has a calendar… but who cares?).  Netflix has gone deep into creating an online movie ordering system complete with a range of recommendation tools and simple mailing procedures. Love Element details don’t stop at the product, but may also include better customer service, useful accessories, and set-up improvements. Lost a part to your LEGO Power Miner set? For a nominal fee, LEGO will send you just the missing part, thus avoiding your next toddler tantrum. It’s all in the details.




  1. Upset Your Development Team - They Will Love You for It. The last philosophy is following through on your commitment. If you have successfully married your customers and know what they will love (and buy), you may think you don’t have the resources, skills, and commitment to meet those needs. Do not let these challenges limit you. If it is important to your customers (including potential customers), take a stand and challenge your development team to find solutions.  Instead of hearing “We can’t do that,” find creative ways to answer, “How can we do that?” such as finding external experts, purchasing technology, or refocusing resources from less important projects. Solving really tough problems leads to radical innovation and big leaps in market advantage. Development teams thrive on tough problems and savor the recognition for solving them. The most common refrain I hear from Apple employees? “It’s the toughest job I’ve ever loved.” That cool touch screen with expanding web pages on the Apple iPhone didn’t come without engineering angst.


The results of adhering to these five essential philosophies? The ability to direct all innovation efforts, incremental, radical, and otherwise on products your customers will love.

The Bottom Line

Lovable Innovation requires a place as a standard business process in any company that wants the long term benefit of loyal customers and great brands. Companies must focus their innovation efforts on products and services that customers really want and then deliver the goods to earn their love. Global competition is only getting tougher and if your company cannot deliver lovable products, your competitors certainly will.

About the Author: Dorian Simpson founded Planning Innovations in 2002 to help technology-driven companies launch successful products and services through focused innovation management and planning. He has significant experience in both engineering and marketing to help build the bridge between these two critical innovation functions.

He can be reached at dsimpson@planninginnovations.com or through his website at www.planninginnovations.com.

Learn More about the innovation process!

Please join Survey Analytics and Planning Innovations Dorian Simpson for this one-hour webinar on how cost-effective online tools can be used throughout the innovation process to identify needs, explore solutions, and validate concepts.

June 17th, 2010 at 9 AM

Effective Use of Online Survey Tools in the Innovation Process

Click here to register now: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/513450435

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Survey Analytics - is Gov Approved - on Apps.gov

http://dev.questionpro.net/images/stockframe/sa-gov-approved-800x200.jpg

We are pleased to announce that Survey Analytics is now approved by the GSA on apps.gov. We have a special Federal Government License that can be obtained by your agency. So far the FCC has taken advantage of this offer. Currently this offer is limited to United States Federal Agencies only. We might expand this to other state and local agencies depending upon how things go.




Read more about the OpenGov License:

http://surveyanalytics.com/opengov

Lovable Innovation Part 2: Looking for Love Essential Philosophies to Deliver Lovable Products with Lessons from Apple to GM

The challenge for companies that desire to implement Lovable Innovation practices is that Love Elements for a given product or service may be different for each customer. It is up to companies to identify, aggregate, and quantify these Love Elements and then make tough decisions on which ones they should focus on to deliver lovable products to target customers.  And since the only people who can tell companies if they’ve gotten the Love Elements right are customers, it only makes sense to discover these Love Elements from customers before products are developed and delivered.

Unfortunately, many companies have not yet figured out how to consistently work with customers to discover and then deliver the Love Elements that make their products truly stand out in the marketplace. Many companies, such as Motorola, Kodak, Xerox, and Schwinn have been publicly chided for their inability to focus innovation efforts on products customers love. Many others are playing catch up and only time will determine their fate. Blackberry is responding to the iPhone. Blockbuster is way behind Netflix in electronic delivery of movies (and behind Redbox in kiosk DVD delivery). And MySpace is struggling to regain leadership in online communities.

All of these companies have a lot of work to do in order to deliver new products and services that regain customers’ admiration. One whole segment that has an immediate need to retool their innovation efforts is the American auto industry. While all three US automakers have struggled recently, one of them has had a spotlight on their innovation challenges.



Take GM. (Please.)

Not to pick on General Motors, since most of us want them to succeed, but their current woes provide a good casestudy on the innovation trials facing many companies today. We all know that GM largely ignored the quality movement in the 1970’s, opening wide the door for Japan and others, but they also made a wide range of product decisions that failed to earn customer adoration - the uninspiring “new” Chevy Malibu, the spurious Cadillac Cimarron, the poorly executed Pontiac Aztek, etc., etc.

Throughout their history, even during profitable periods, GM has struggled to deliver lovable products in their attempt to balance engineering, design, quality, and operations needs.

But isn’t GM Innovative Today?

In recent decades, GM has invested consistently in both radical and incremental innovation, but unfortunately they did not focus on the Love Elements that customers desired most, leading to mostly unlovable cars.  GM invented the On-Star system. Clever, but low on the list of what customers want.  They were proud to have invented the Norstar engine for the Cadillac. What is it?  Who cares? GM was also way ahead with the EV (the first Electric Vehicle), that did create enough passion in customers to inspire not only a full-length documentary, but conspiracy theories on why it was killed, only to abandon it with short-sighted financial decisions. Now we’re left waiting to see the results from their latest effort in plug-in electric cars as well as their massive investment in hydrogen cars.

Even GM’s tremendous quality improvement efforts have not enabled them to deliver lovable products since these efforts focused on low product defects. Unfortunately, a low defect rate may have been a significant Love Element in 1983, but in 2009 this doesn’t count as a Love Element because customers expect defect-free products. Time, technology, and competition are always raising the bar on the Love Elements that win customers’ affection.

A Family Car Purchasing Experience

Let me share my own experience. My growing family decided to buy a car last year (yes, an SUV). My wife and I discussed the major Love Elements we required in a product we would love: thoughtful roominess, ample seating, great performance, extreme safety, and whisper quiet. But we also both had many more Love Elements that were less obvious and unstated. She needed unfettered access to add and remove children. I wanted to look cool. She needed a way to perfectly nestle her venti latte and I wanted the stereo to be velvet to my ears.  In short, we wanted our new car company to understand us completely and to deliver to us a product we would love, at a price we could justify.

We started our search and test drove them all, American and foreign alike. The inquisition was fierce: “Why is this piece plastic?” “Did that one seem louder?” “Why did they put that there?” We had dozens of factors to weigh… good, bad, and neutral. We tried to focus on what we considered the most important Love Elements, but even the smaller Love Elements we didn’t think about at first, such as interior details and the sound of the doors closing, affected us. After weighing all of these Love Elements, it was a foreign-made vehicle that stole our “love” away from the American choices.

The Good News!

The good news is that many companies do practice Lovable Innovation at their core and consistently deliver worthy, lovable products. The Apple argument starts and ends with two words:  iPod and iPhone. There were six other major MP3 competitors on the market before Apple got the Love Elements right.  Amazon has been a .com survivor by continuing to build on their lovable online book service (and every other product service now). Many companies such as P&G, Google, Hallmark, LEGO and others have fully integrated Lovable Innovation practices into their processes and are being rewarded with great products, valuable brands, loyal customers, and growing profits.




The Bad News!

The bad news, at least for current market leaders, is that emerging foreign competitors in Asia and Eastern Europe are quickly applying these Lovable Innovation lessons. Just like Japan in the 1960’s, China is starting with a blank piece of paper and is willing to learn how to deliver truly remarkable products. I regularly conduct product innovation workshops in Shanghai and see aggressive Chinese companies building Lovable Innovation practices to deliver products Americans will love, just as we experienced with Japan. For example, US Car companies lost hybrid car dominance to the Toyota Prius because Toyota got the Love Elements right first. Don’t be surprised if a Chinese company wins your first electric vehicle purchase… and your heart.

About the Author: Dorian Simpson founded Planning Innovations in 2002 to help technology-driven companies launch successful products and services through focused innovation management and planning. He has significant experience in both engineering and marketing to help build the bridge between these two critical innovation functions.

He can be reached at dsimpson@planninginnovations.com or through his website at www.planninginnovations.com.

Learn More about the innovation process!

Please join Survey Analytics and Planning Innovations Dorian Simpson for this one-hour webinar on how cost-effective online tools can be used throughout the innovation process to identify needs, explore solutions, and validate concepts.

June 17th, 2010 at 9 AM

Effective Use of Online Survey Tools in the Innovation Process

Click here to register now: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/513450435

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Now You Can Send Your Survey With Just 2 Clicks!

You may have noticed over the past few weeks that we've been rolling out some changes to the survey sending interface.  This tab basically collects all the functionality around getting your survey in front of respondents.  What was more commonly a task for email has expanded in the recent years with Facebook, Twitter and other website intercept techniques.

As far as emailing goes, we've retained all of the flexibility that has always existed for creating emails and email lists.

Some notable changes:

  • Most importantly: Getting a simple email out the door to a list of respondents is now a quick and easy two step process….down from the 5+ steps we had before.

  • Multiple versions of a survey invitation for a single survey.

  • Sent Items screen that shows all of the batches of emails that went out the door chronologically newest to oldest.

  • Website Intercept is a new screen with a variety of Javascript code snippets to embed survey invitations into a website.

  • Consolidated a bunch of screens.  Hopefully things are much easier to find.


Again, all of the functionality that existed before is still there, along with all of the detailed statistics on response rates, bounces, unsubscribes, etc.

Clicking Send Survey brings you to a landing page with a link to the most important ways to get a survey out the door (at least, the ones that we can think of).  So far we have:

  • Link - Just a good 'old fashioned' link to the survey.  Put this any way you'd like.

  • Email - As mentioned above, this process has been streamlined.

  • Website Intercept - Javascript code snippets for embedding survey invitations.

  • Facebook - Post the survey to your Facebook profile.

  • Twitter - Tweet a survey invite.


Which should you use?…Use them all!

Let us know if you have ideas for others!  Just click on the "Feedback" tab" and you'll be directed over to our IdeaScale Account where you can post your ideas and recommendations, vote for ideas you like and comment on others ideas!

Lovable Innovation Part 1: Essential Philosophies to Deliver Lovable Products with Lessons from Apple to GM

In recent decades, management consultants who led the charge to “innovate or die!” have deluged industry with a wide range of innovation concepts to consider such as radical, disruptive, incremental, experience and more.  Some of these innovation concepts focus on enhancing current products and services, while others focus on creating game-changing technology, products, or business models.

Product companies have responded with a dizzying array of new product innovations, but many are left wondering why they are still dying.  I suspect that the root cause to these innovation mishaps is that through all the innovation jargon, they have forgotten the fact that innovation, whether it’s radical or incremental, can’t be just about new features, products, or technology. All innovation efforts must be directed towards products and solutions that customers desire.

We will address innovation challenges and offer a focused approach to innovation – Lovable Innovation - using General Motors, Apple, and others as examples. The three part article series will close by providing the five key essential philosophies of Lovable Innovation.

What is Lovable Innovation?

Lovable Innovation may seem like a flippant term for a business process as important as innovation, but companiesmust think about product innovation in the same way that customers talk and think about their products. Customers don’t say, “Have you seen the new Iphone? It has an accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate!” Instead, they say, “I love my new iPhone. Look at how I can turn it all ways and still watch a video. It’s amazing!” When a product or service is so good that it creates real emotion, customers often describe this relationship in emotive terms with the ultimate descriptor being “love.” I’ll even catch myself using “love” when describing the products that have earned my devotion. I’ve loved cars, printers, shoes, and calculators (yes, I did love my HP-11C), and there is no question that I’ve ultimately disliked many other products that have managed to destroy their relationship with me.

Lovable Innovation is the process of learning what customers really value and then using all the resources you have available to deliver complete, lovable products, services and experiences throughout the entire life cycle of the customer. This starts with a commitment to thoroughly understand your customers – their problems, needs, and desires - and not compromising until you’ve delivered the products and services that earn their love and respect. Lovable Innovation doesn’t end with the first purchase, but continues with every interaction with the company to the next purchase, and then the next purchase. Lovable Innovation leads to loyal, passionate customers who are inspired to tell friends about your products and your company. Lexus achieves this with cars. Apple achieves this with personal electronics. Nike achieves this with shoes.

While radical, incremental and other forms of innovation are important tools in product development, all innovation efforts must be driven by Lovable Innovation practices and directed toward the goal of lovable products and services. For example, smart-phone companies knew the web offered unlimited customer benefits and included web services on their devices for years.  However, it wasn’t until Apple decided to focus on making web services a lovable experience, and then relentlessly applied innovation to deliver this experience, that web services became the killer application that thrust the iPhone to the forefront of the industry and allowed them to capture a whole new set of customers that extol their love for Apple.



The Components of Lovable Products

The core of a Lovable Innovation process is the ability to gain a deep understanding of what customers really care about and value and then breaking this insight into manageable components. These components, of lovable products are something I refer to as Love Elements.  Love Elements include the complete range of product and service attributes that drive customer purchase decisions, long term product satisfaction and company devotion. Love Elements are certainly in the product features, functions and benefits, but they go beyond this; they may show up in the attitude shown by customer service agents, in the way the product manual is written, in the way the buttons feel, and in every other customer touch point with the product and the company.

Apple creates love throughout the entire i-experience starting with clean retail stores, clean industrial designs, thoughtful functionality, and integrated services such as the iPhone App Store.  Netflix creates love by allowing customers to keep a DVD forever without penalty and unlimited movies streamed directly to their TV. Nike creates love even after a customer retires their shoes by allowing customers to send them back to be recycled in children’s playgrounds as Nike Grind.

About the Author: Dorian Simpson founded Planning Innovations in 2002 to help technology-driven companies launch successful products and services through focused innovation management and planning. He has significant experience in both engineering and marketing to help build the bridge between these two critical innovation functions.

He can be reached at dsimpson@planninginnovations.com or through his website at www.planninginnovations.com.

Learn More about the innovation process!

Please join Survey Analytics and Planning Innovations Dorian Simpson for this one-hour webinar on how cost-effective online tools can be used throughout the innovation process to identify needs, explore solutions, and validate concepts.

June 17th, 2010 at 9 AM

Effective Use of Online Survey Tools in the Innovation Process

Click here to register now: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/513450435
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Adding a Feedback Tab to Your Site is a Better Way to Create Interaction With Your Visitors

You may have noticed a new section under Send Survey called Website Intercept.  In the past, this has been limited to a snippet of code for adding a popup survey to your website.  Popup surveys still have their place on the web, but we believe there are better ways to create a two way interaction with your visitors.  We've introduced a snippet of code that allows you to add a feedback tab to your site.

The concept of a tab is basically an image that displays on all pages on the right, left or bottom border of the browser window.  This allows you to embed any survey unobtrusively on your website.  It leaves the door open for visitors to leave feedback anytime without interrupting their experience with annoying popups.

The survey experience is seamless for the end user.  Clicking on the Feedback tab will bring the survey up in a Lightbox style Ajax window.  After completing the survey, the Lightbox closes and returns the visitor to focus on the same page where they left off…a simple seamless experience for collecting feedback.

You can easily embed the Feedback tab on your pages by cutting and pasting the code into your website header or footer pages.

For more information, login to your account, then click Send Survey -> Website Intercept.

WEBINAR: Effective Use of Online Survey Tools in the Innovation Process

Webinar Presentation
Thursday June 17th, 2010
9:00AM PST




Looking for ways to bring innovation to your company without going over budget?

It’s been proven that customer-driven innovation requires a steady flow of real insight from real customers. However, to be successful, the right questions and techniques must be used for each stage of innovation. If used correctly, cost-effective online survey methods can become an essential tool to consistently deliver new, valuable products and services.

Join Survey Analytics and Planning Innovations for this one-hour webinar on how cost-effective online tools can be used throughout the innovation process to identify needs, explore solutions, and validate concepts.

1)       How can online surveys be used in the discovery process to fuel innovation?

2)       How should your survey techniques change throughout the innovation process?

3)       What kind of questions can actually limit your ability to innovate?

This webinar will answer these questions and more as well as provide a forum to discuss specific challenges.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/513450435

About the Presenters:



Dorian Simpson founded Planning Innovations in 2002 to help technology-driven companies launch successful products and services through focused innovation management and planning. He has significant experience in both engineering and marketing to help build the bridge between these two critical innovation functions.

Esther LaVielle is a Senior Account Manager at QuestionPro and Survey Analytics, which was started in 2002 inSeattle and is now one of the fastest growing private companies in the US. Prior to her adventure at QuestionPro she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager at the Gilmore Research Group.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spam a Lot

Ever wonder where "Spam" came from?  Check out this informative article by Alex Gofman on Research Access.

In the funny Monty Python skit, a chorus of Vikings drowns out other sounds by singing “SPAM, SPAM, SPAM”, glorifying the omnipresent American canned meat icon. SPAM’s Internet namesake is not funny at all, as it literally drowns legitimate e-mails in an outpour of junk messages.

The pesky e-mail spam, which on the insistence of the trademark owner, should be written in small letters to distinguish it from SPAM®, is surprisingly older than public e-mail: the first piece of spam was sent on May 3, 1978, well before e-mail became commercially available (indeed, only a short time after the world’s first experimental e-mail message was sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson). The first spam was addressed to a list taken from a printed directory of ARPANET users – the first major wide-area computer network. At that time, it was comprised mostly of universities and select corporations, making the subject of the spam especially apt – a new computer system.

Read more...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

If You Haven't Been Following The Social Media Research Trend - StartNow

If you're still on the conversation of whether social media has any value -- you are way behind.



The conversation isn't whether it has value -- it's how to use all the value it has.  Using social media tools for research is not just a trend -- it's happening.

Read this article over at Research Access to learn more about how market research companies can stay relevant.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Survey Analytics Provides Online Survey and Crowdsourcing Solutions to UBM TechWeb

Today we are very excited to announce our partnership with UBM TechWeb. We've been clients of UBM TechWeb through our sponsorship of Gov 2.0 events (for our IdeaScale business) and participated in many of the events that they put together - Web 2.0 Expo, Web 2.0 Summit etc.

This partnership is unique and interesting in the sense that we have a lot of ideas that we know we can work together on to bring some changes to the market research industry and business as a whole. UBM TechWeb as you might be aware owns a lot of media properties including InformationWeek and Light Reading. One of our goals is to revolutionalize access to research by allowing our customers easy and one-click access to the audience profiles like InformationWeek and Light Reading.

Over the next few months, we will be rolling out a series of enhancements and services that will reflect this partnership and enable our clients to push the boundaries of traditional market research.

One such concrete example is a pilot project on an InformationWeek Pulse Panel. The IW-Pulse panel will be a representative sample of IT-Pros and we will be not only powering that technology, but we'll also provide other clients and market researchers access to the IW-Pulse panel. We plan on launching this in the next 2 months. If you'd like to get notified when this goes live, please subscribe to the blog - we'll update it when we go live. Review official press release below:

Survey Analytics Provides Online Survey and Crowdsourcing Solutions to UBM TechWeb

Partnership Provides Global Technology Media and Business Information Company with New Tools to Enhance Audience and Marketing Customer Solutions



Seattle, WA –June 1, 2010 – Survey Analytics today announced that it has partnered with UBM TechWeb, the global leader in technology media and professional information, to provide survey and crowdsourcing solutions to better serve UBM TechWeb’s global network of registered business and technology user and marketing clients.  For more information visit  www.surveyanalytics.com.


Survey Analytics’ flagship product, QuestionPro, will provide a scalable solution for the thousands of online surveys and feedback forums that UBM TechWeb utilizes for its online sites, live events, magazines, research and information services businesses.  Survey Analytics offers a complete set of intuitive online tools for conducting market research, including standard survey templates, a platform for hosting data collection, automatic notifications and an advanced suite of analysis tools for analyzing customer satisfaction.

“With UBM TechWeb’s impressive client roster that includes IBM, Microsoft, HP and Cisco, the addition of Survey Analytics powerful community feedback solution means a dramatic increase in time-to-market for UBM TechWeb and their customers,” said Vivek Bhaskaran, President & CEO of Survey Analytics.

“Our customers, technology professionals and marketers are leaders in their markets and their needs are constantly changing,” said David Michael, CIO & EVP Global Technology. “We’re confident that Survey Analytics solution will help us better understand and serve our customers by keeping a strong pulse on customer needs and market trends.”

About Survey Analytics

Survey Analytics offers an enterprise grade research platform for collecting feedback to enable businesses, governments and consumers to participate and learn from each other. Through its core businesses of Surveys, Crowdsourcing, Panel Management and Polls – Survey Analytics listening systems enabled businesses and governments to touch their customers and constituents through all major channels – including Web, Email, Social Media and mobile.  The self-service and cloud enabled platform empowers companies to execute and deliver on research at real-time and global scale.

The Survey Analytics Platform is used by companies like Motorola, McGraw Hill, CareerBuilder and Agencies of the US Federal government including the FCC, USPS and the GSA.



About UBM TechWeb
UBM TechWeb, the global leader in technology media and professional information, enables people and organizations to harness the transformative power of technology.  Through its three core businesses – media solutions, marketing services and paid content –UBM TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed brands and media applications in the technology market. More than 14 million business and technology professionals (CIOs and IT managers, Web & Digital professionals, Software Developers, Government decision makers, and Telecom providers) actively engage in UBM TechWeb’s communities and information resources monthly. UBM TechWeb brands include: global face-to-face events such as Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat and Enterprise Connect; award-winning online resources such as InformationWeek, Light Reading, and Network Computing; and market-leading InformationWeek, Wall Street & Technology, and Advanced Trading magazines.  UBM TechWeb is a UBM company, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
iframe {max-width:100%;} .embed{ width: 100%; }