Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why Market Research has been dominating Global trade talks

Consider the agenda of any International Trade talk and one of the key agendas of discussion is “feasibility study”, which is basically a fancy word for Market Research!

Yes, market research, the concept your business may have dabbled with for months, perhaps years and chose to procrastinate out of “monetary feasibility”, is actually used to understand and study the feasibility of a business venture itself! Procrastinating or ignoring a feasibility study out of lack of feasibility is a paradox – You cannot venture or understand your business’s full capacity to sell without the right market research study.

At a time when the World is already going through several uncertainties – Brexit, a new election is the US, unpredictable oil prices and the possibility of another Global economic slowdown – Trade leaders understand that the only way to know for sure is to be unsure first and study!
Consumer research, market insights through data analysis, and customer behavioural shifts being some of the primary focal points.

Often businesses, especially local, tend to feel that they are insulated from factors happening elsewhere and possibly so. However, during the 2008 economic meltdown, the businesses that suffered the most were small and medium in size and revenue and during India’s demonetization drive of 2016, which drew the World's attention almost overnight, then too it was the same group of businesses that suffered the most.


The lessons of the past teach us how to be prepared for the future. So what will you do? Be blind folded and make business decisions based on speculation and guesses or start conducting your own study for free? 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The State of Market Research Analytics - 2017

Not to hype what is already a hype but let's be honest - 2016 was an amazing year for market researc analytics! Atleast for Survey Analytics users.

We created a Tableau and Caspio integration, our offline data capture mobile app now displays realtime analytics in offline mode and our NPS focused customer insights dashboard saw several leaps and bounds in comparative and location based analytics including a robust heat map!

But the world outside Survey Analytics has also been converging on this trend. Business across all spectrum are moving from data collection to rapid data analytics.

Here are 3 trends that will primarily define and structure the state of market research analytics in 2017 :

1. Moving from customer centric to customer experience centric

Every business in a sense is customer centric. Only a doomed business does not value its own customers and not focus on making product/service purchases more convenient. But in a highly competitive and dense market as today's, businesses are realizing, often the hard way, that post-purchase customer experience is far more valuable than just a customer centric approach that makes the purchasing process easier. Businesses are now ready to boost their engines and investments in the direction of customer experience analytics that provide them deep insights into brand recommendation , organic promotions and customer retention.

2. Offline technology will become more popular

As businesses venture into developing markets with limited internet coverage, they will be investing more in mobile apps and systems that can project analysis reports even in offline mode, much like our very own Survey Pocket app! Moreover, even in developed nations, power outages in small towns and cities can prove to be costly when internet reliability for data capture and analysis is centre stage.

3. Real-time will continue to be the real key

When it comes to business, no one likes to wait! Especially for analytics and reporting. One of the key reasons for the success of Survey Analytics and its wide usage across the Globe has always been the early implementation of real-time survey analysis and reporting. This trend will continue and grow as more and more businesses re-affirm to themselves that time is indeed money!  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Market Research Failure - What goes wrong and Why

They say - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. They also say - Wrong insights are worse than no insights!

Let me first explain the context of the first popular proverb - Coca Cola once famously spent millions developing a product that was meant to be "better than the original Coke". Then they spent even million more marketing and trying to sell that product only to realise just how unaccepting the market really was. What people wondered more is not why people did not accept it, which ofcourse later became apparent indeed that the brand's loyal consumers had an emotional connection with the old taste, but rather why it failed despite significant investment in market and consumer research?

One of the most common and widely accepted answers is that Coca Cola framed the questions wrong - they did not ask the consumer if they would "accept this new drink as an alternative to the old Coke", rather the survey revolved around "whether the drink tasted nice or not". Comparative market research is often the key to several consumer studies - the VS question!

One of the most common mistakes that lead to market research, and eventually business, failures is the lack of context for the question. Moreover, often researchers conduct studies very scientifically but they forget a critical aspect of consumer preference - the emotional connection!

In which case a wrong insight can lead to disastrous sales consequences. 

Another critical aspect to keep in mind while researching is "external decision makers and influencers".

The best example for this would a Calvin Klein marketing push where models in extremely exposing undergarments were shown across the United States. The market research was conducted on teenagers and girls and guys in early 20s. This ofcourse resulted in an insight that was screwed from the beginning because they forgot to ask the parent!

Yes, parental guidance "stripped" Calvin Klein of millions of Dollars in investments because they did not ask them what they thought about their kids dressing up in exposing cloths or advertising under garments with near-nudity. The fall out was indeed catastrophic.

In other words, while asking is great for business, asking the right audience and asking the right question is what takes the day!

Friday, March 31, 2017

What do your consumers "believe"?

Ever made an incredible social media post that struggled to get likes and shares? Was your post not good enough? May be, and that's subjective, but most likely no. Its simply that your "audience" - your friends, family and a lot of people you don't even remember meeting, did not believe in what you posted. It is not a matter of quality or quantity here, it is a matter of reaching out to the right audience with the right ideas.

A wrong Facebook post will not cost you money, but a good product marketed to the wrong audience sure will!

But consider the contrary, you have a product that is decent enough, but the messaging of the product is such that it just "clicks" with your audience, it captures their attention and they "believe" what your brand stands for. Want proof? Apple Inc. 

Apple does the exact same thing, perhaps even less, that what several hundred of its competitors do. But do you know why Apple consumers are just so strikingly loyal? Because they believe in the brand. Apple won not when they created the iPod or the iPhone or so many of their product verticals, they won when they captured consumer attention with the right message. They made the consumers "believe" because they already understood their existing need and "belief".

So how do you know what your consumers believe? It's rather simple - Ask them! No really, it is "that" simple.

Sometimes the greatest of puzzles are solved with a piece that has been lying right in front of you while you go in circles. When it comes to consumers, most companies that fail or become dormant are the ones who "guess" and not "ask" what their consumers actually believe. Hence, their messaging, their outreach, no matter how sophisticated a process they have, they all fail to get the most important thing done - get customers on-board!

When you survey a consumer base with the right set of questions and analyse responses, that is your Eureka moment. That is when you know for sure if your product/service messaging is in line with what your consumers believe, whether it is "sales-enabled".

Want to know what your consumers believe in? Start asking your questions and get in-depth, real-time and insightful analytics in minutes! 

 




Why Customer Experience Management needs to start with a Question!

Customer experience management often involves a critical combination of a company's leadership involvement, mapping and tracking customer journey and taking a strategic approach towards delivering the best product or service experience to the customer.

However, "managing" customer experience should not be a substitute for "asking" the right questions to the right customer base at the right time! Customer experience management needs to begin with the customer, where you ask them the most customer-centric question ever raised - "How was your experience with us?".

That one question has the power to shift an entire dialogue and outreach with a customer. It adds that "human" element to your efforts to reach out to your customers with a sense of urgency where you want to make sure they know that you care about their experience with your brand.

When we talk about "managing" anything, it usually involves a lot of study, analysis and planned execution. To a customer this is invisible. Your only effort that is visible to customer is how often you ensure a feedback is taken from them and how well you execute the feedback such that their next experience is exponentially better!

In other words - Raising a simple question of empathy and care alone goes a long way in ensuring that your "customer experience" can be "managed" in the best possible way. That your customer knows that you and your team are working on delivering something better the next time. Even if you do get an extremely positive response, it is a confirmation that your customer experience management is moving up in the right direction.

However, there is a catch here!

Take this for instance, you are heading a chain of stores, say 10 of them. Now what would a Head of Customer Experience typically do? Perhaps get a survey filled out by customers and tally them each to find the weakest and strongest link amongst those stores? How long would that take? Not quite less, that's for sure!

This is where Survey Analytics can help do the same job in a matter of minutes!

Survey Analytics allows you to create, send and analyse online surveys, automatically and in a fully DIY (Do It Yourself) environment. In this instance, if you have multiple store locations, invariant of their geographical location, you will be able to view customer satisfaction and brand shareability scores (Net Promoter Score) across each of those stores. Now you can instantly tell which store is living upto the mark of your customer experience management plan and which require special focus for improvement.

These efforts don't just sound good in theory, they are responsible for growing tangible profits. Customer Experience surveys done through Survey Analytics play a key role in ensuring your customers don't "detract" away from your brand to a competitor, and instead, they act as your brand "promoters" to their friends and colleagues that can organically increase your consumer outreach and increase revenues!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mobile-powered surveys: The only way forward!

Perhaps one of the biggest regrets in Bill Gates's career came after he had already left - the realization that they underestimated the power of smartphones. Several companies have died like dinosaurs, not because they did something wrong in their existing products and services, but because they stayed still for too long. They failed to see the robust revolution that smartphones could bring.

Survey Analytics was one of the pioneering survey software companies to introduce a fully packed mobile app that even works offline - Survey Pocket!

Why offline?

More and more companies are investing heavily into emerging markets like India, China, South Africa, Brazil and so on. While these nations are together powering the Global GDP growth, they lack internet coverage to every corner of their countries. Infact, in most developing countries, more than 60% of their population reside in rural areas with less or no stable internet connection.

Even developed nations still face challenges in connecting extremely remote areas within their national boundaries with the internet.

But for enterprise researcher, internet connectivity cannot be a hurdle, atleast not when they have Survey Pocket.

Over the last 7 years, Survey Pocket has powered organizations in conducting deep-sea geological surveys, volcanic state surveys, rural water conservation surveys, environmental heath studies, logistics research into deep areas in developing nations to uncover latent business potential with no geographical limits!

Survey Pocket allows users to collect survey data offline. Its stores the information within the device and even allows you to view real-time analysis while still remaining offline. Once your mobile device is online, it will automatically sync the information online. 

Even better, with synchronous data transfer technology, there is zero data redundancy even if a data upload fails due to shaky internet connection.

5 Big Data trends that will impact how you conduct Market Research

Market research and big data have always had an intertwined destiny. The MR industry has benefited greatly from the rise of big data trends and big data has evolved to big data "analytics" with several enterprise survey platforms like Survey Analytics.

So if you are a company that is invested in market research, like most enterprises invariant of their industry segment, then here are 5 big data trends you need to watch out for :

1. Parallel growth in big data volume

To conduct valuable market research, you need valuable samples that come from big data. Once you complete your research study, you add more details to that information and hence grow it. This is parallel growth where more information is added about the current data.

2. Mobile-powered vertical big data growth

With the growth in mobile devices and single-click login authentication using Gmail, Facebook and other platforms, big data will continue its momentum. More and more users, especially in the developing World are being introduced to smartphones which require basic profiles to use, such as Google account for Android and Apple accounts for iPhones. This contact sharing for authentication and login to various online services will continue to vertically add to more basic consumer information in the form of big data.

3. Big Data Analytics will continue to improve

Since the beginning of this decade, companies like Survey Analytics have made monumental strides in analysing big data and deriving more meaningful insights in real-time. Analytics will be the single biggest investment of the decade when it comes to big data.

4. Cross-platform Analytics sharing will increase  

Much like Survey Analytics which allows users to integrate their survey data with platforms like Tableau and Salesforce for better analysis, several analytics platform will become less and less protective about cross-platform data sharing and integrations. This greatly benefits enterprises as now they can pick the choose the best form of analytics for specific purposes.

5. Artificial Intelligence will be the new rising star


As big data and its corresponding analytics grow, they will combine into a single machine learning intelligence as a natural evolution, in other words, artificial intelligence. AI will allow much more seamless understanding of consumer data and provide effortless analysis on demand.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Think beyond Big Data - Let's talk Big Data with Survey Analytics

In the last decade, companies have heavily invested in consumer data collection mostly in the form of contact information. This became the greater game of Big Data where companies were, and still are, racing for the top seat where customer information is critical for business growth. This equation was mostly formulated as Bigger Database = More Marketing Opportunity = More Sales!

However, as organisations are recently figuring it out the hard way, that big data alone does not equate to more sales. It is about what you do with this data that matters and we don't mean just marketing initiatives. 

Ask First, Sell Later

One of the biggest blunders committed by companies trying to flex their Big Data muscle is marketing and sales outreach before fully understanding the customer's needs. Often leading to disasters.

Remember the Target Corporation incident when the company ended up outing a girl as being pregnant to her father? They used Big Data analysis to uncover her secret and delivered post-pregnancy product vouchers to her home. The media loved the crisis, but both the girl, her father and Target were in shambles. 

So what could have been an alternative? Perhaps when she left the store the last time a simple survey might have saved the day from the impending disaster? A simple survey question on "what products currently interest you" would have gone a long way rather than definitively sending her proactive vouchers down the mail to their home address.

Prioritising Consumer Feedback and Engagement over Sales Pitch

Like most organisations, if you are planning a sales pitch to your consumer database, first you need to engage them in a feedback-oriented conversation. Asking them a survey question which engages them and gets you a feedback on your brand's products/services hits 2 targets at once :

1. You are able to send a clear message that your company is one that "listens" to its consumers.

2. You get critical feedback on Net Promoter Score, brand perception and opinions from the people who might purchase or have already purchased from your brand. 

Survey Analytics is beyond just survey data. It is about getting the most insights from your survey data using cutting-edge analytics tools and dashboards. 

Sounds interesting? Start your Free Trial now and start communicating with your consumers that ultimately gets you more consumer conversations, more growth-oriented feedback and more Sales!






Monday, February 13, 2017

Why every Customer Experience Survey is a Self-Reflecting Mirror

“How was your experience with our product?” “Could you tell us more as to why you decided not to choose our service?” “Based on your overall experience, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend, or colleague?”

These are some burning questions in the minds of business owners and sales managers when they shoot out their regular cycle of customer experience surveys, and the same level of curiosity is reflected in their survey questions as well.

But what exactly does a customer experience survey mean to decision makers and their organisation?

“Your most unhappy customers are your best source of learning” – said Bill Gates after he retired as CEO and started sharing his wealth of knowledge from 3 decades of working closely with some of this most demanding customers of Microsoft.

In other words, they are your true mirrors to self-reflect, improve and grow!

Sales over Self-improvement – The Killer of Companies

Create product – Launch – Look at growth figure of competitors – Panic – Push for sales over self-improvement – Lose customers who are unhappy with your existing product line – Panic – Push for more sales – Panic - Company Dies.

Still wondering why 90% of the new so called “startups” perish within the first 3 years?

One of the key killers of startups and even established businesses is the “quantitative approach”. Rather than focusing on improving what they already have and building on it, organisations in their effort to showcase expansion and get more ROI, ignore what makes successful businesses what they are – investing in customer delight!

A regular cycle of customer experience and feedback surveys keeps you grounded, tells you where you lack, gives you a clear perception of improvements and helps you create a platform where customers are delighted to be with you.

Customers are the best bug finders

While an IT product company can instantly relate to the above statement – it stands true no matter which industry you are from. Why? Because your customers pay for what they get! You can hire an army of product/service testers but give the same to a customer who pays for it and they can tell you 10 ways you can provide a more delightful experience.

Surveys allow you to ask the most pressing questions and get actionable insights and analytics on responses from people who matter most – your customers!

Customers keep you on your toes

This is particularly more important in a market that is already riffled with competition. Who else to keep you on your toes and keep you inspired for self-improvement that your own consumers? Ignore their viewpoint and soon a new player might knock you off the game by giving your customers what they have been asking from you!

Innovation - Customer tells you “what”, you figure out “how”

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – said Henry Ford after investing the first motor car.

But take another cue from what he said – “faster horses”. If surveys existed back then, this would have been the “what” from consumers. His response to that need was through motor cars which was “how” he did it. In this case his response was an innovative product because of course you cannot create faster horses by stuffing a stronger engine inside! 

The purpose of a customer experience survey is never to figure out how you are going to solve a problem – that’s your job. But what you do find out is "what" are the areas of improvement. Sometimes customers are not even unhappy with your product/service, but there might be a longing for “something more”. And that is your cue for ideation and innovation!

Are you ready to face the mirror and grow your business? Then let’s get Started!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Making Surveys Scientific and Enterprise – An evolution worth a decade into making

Survey – research scholars often found this word to be the most troubling, time taking and perhaps down-right boring. After all, leaving your comfort zone and walking into the crowd of wilderness to ask for a survey fill with a pen on a paper was not the most interesting aspect of collecting information, no matter how valuable they might end up being.

And that was merely a rather small part of the problem.

The real issue was once the information was collected because then began the seemingly unending job of entering the information in the computer, running some Excel functions to make sense of the random data, running semantics and manual analytics on the information collected and even then there was a significant margin of error in the final conclusion of the study.

No wonder a research project back in the 1990s – a field research to be specific, was what inspired QuestionPro’s founder and CEO Vivek Bhaskaran to first conceptualize the development of a cloud-based survey software. The purpose of it was simple - to make surveys scientific such that researchers can gain maximum insights through real and “realtime” analytics! And that is still the moto of every cycle of development in Survey Analytics.

Today Survey Analytics has truly changed the way surveys are created, distributed and analysed. However, making them scientific was just a part of the bigger picture. The real goal has always been to make them more Enterprise! After all, a vast majority of research studies are conducted by enterprise level organizations from around the Globe.

Survey Analytics today provides customised survey software solutions to business from over 40 countries ranging from Human Resource and Government surveys to Retail and Logistics industry surveys. Moreover, with filtered and role and location based dashboard access, enterprises can easily control which employee from where gets to view how much of the data.
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