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!
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