Business behavior can be very telling. InsideHeads identified these 5 business trends to watch that will affect market research.
If it’s not clear yet, social media is here to stay. The human desire to socialize and engage with others online gives savvy businesses the chance to collect feedback that is immediate, trusted, and free. Lengthy questionnaires have given way to quick polls, as attention spans of respondents wither down to seconds. Gone with consumer attention is the long term strategic planning that traditionally accompanies good marketing research. With the immediate feedback mechanism of today’s social media, businesses can (and do) post questions and problems to receive rich, real-time results. Smart brands looking towards the future are designing their virtual space with an eye on conducting more marketing research via social media.
Choice is everywhere these days and showing no signs of going away. Each of us uses a device (or multiple devices) that best meets our needs. As the lines between personal and business hours blur, businesses are realizing the advantages, and challenges (e.g., security), of implementing BYOD in the workplace. Present obstacles aside, solutions are on the horizon. Because BYOD is not a trend, today it’s a right. Successful businesses will accommodate choice and offer customized solutions across all of their marketing. Lenovo’s recent decision to issue logo options for multimedia marketing is just one example of a business bending their approach to fit the mobile world. We expect to see a lot more accommodating.
Access ubiquity refers to having global, high-speed broadband available to all. Just a few years ago this would have felt like a pipe dream (pun intended), but today it’s not only feasible, it’s happening. As smartphone usage continues to rise around the globe, access ubiquity is the best thing to happen to market researchers since the pencil. Researchers who are keen to know what online research tools are available and when to use them will be well poised for future success.
Marketers today are finding the ROI of existing customers is far less than acquiring new ones. Loyalty rewards build organic (read: cheap) word-of-mouth, as customers eagerly share their joy with others online. The strategies of Walgreens and JCPenney seem right on target for future success, as we anticipate the demand for assessing the effectiveness and user experience (UX) of reward programs to rise.
Big companies like JP Morgan Chase and Coke have taken voicemail out of their communication mix. While businesses may be driving this boat, it is in direct response to a changing culture. We may not fully understand all our aversions to leaving a voice message, it’s clear text messaging and email are tangible, trackable, and preferred. If your stock portfolio happens to be heavy in automated telemarketing, you may want to give those investments a second thought. Do not leave a message at the beep.
Today’s consumer is choosing to travel light and keep their access devices within arms reach at all times. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 2/3 of US adults use their mobile phones to access the internet and one in three (34%) go online mostly using their cell phones. This statistic is even higher among Millennial, Hispanic and African American population segments. Mobile internet access is on the move.
While businesses may be hanging on to their computer infrastructure, consumers have clearly settled into their communication comfort zone. At quitting time, even business folks who are wired to their walls at work are grabbing their mobile devices and heading out the door.
Unless (until?) a better option comes along, people are opting to travel light and keep their devices close at hand. For a growing many, mobile-ready with full featured apps are eliminating the need for a desktop computer. It’s no wonder tablets, phablets, and smartphones are in such high demand.
As businesses big and small plod through a slow economy, there’s a tacit sense of urgency to survive. “We must increase sales! Where can we find new customers?!” This natural, albeit knee-jerk, reaction to tough times seems sensible. If sales are slowing down, clearly customers are not holding up their end of the agreement. Rejection hurts!
There’s the inevitable mourning period, but hopefully survival instincts kick-in and businesses get out of bed, into shape, and back out there in search of better customers.
That’s one way to handle it. There’s also begging for forgiveness.
Whichever approach you choose, breaking up with customers is hard to do. Walgreens recently presented their new strategy at the Loyalty Expo a few weeks ago in Orlando and highlighted two main reasons they’re opting to coddle current customers before marketing for more:
Acceptance is the first step to recovery.
Rather than run away in search of greener pastures, Walgreens accepted their inability to keep patrons happy and worked to identify and repair the “leaky bucket”. From learning from their past mistakes, Walgreens is able to mature into a better brand.
Reconciliation is cheaper than divorce.
Before seeking separation, Walgreens’ accountants crunched the digits and determined current customers held more value once all the efforts and expenses were factored in. Ultimately, marketing to current customer provides greater ROI – a language everyone speaks.
As Walgreens moves to ramp-up loyal customer rewards, they’re not leaving prospects at the door. How much “strategy seep” Walgreens will reap remains to be seen, but my money is on Walgreens for making happy customers who will surely spread and share the good news about Walgreens.
The battle between the Glassed and the Glassless officially began in April 2013, when the Google goggles first landed in the hands of eager early adopters. Throughout the launch, Google had their marketing and PR departments in overdrive, coddling these new Glass “Explorers”.
As non-users began encountering Explorers in real life, they began asking questions. Lots and lots of questions. A privacy debate like no other began to rage and Google even published an embarrassing list of Do’s and Don’ts for Glass wearers. The Google guide dumbs it down to playtime rules at the park, actually espousing that Explorers not “be creepy or rude”.
When Google announced the end of the Glass Explorer program earlier this year, it was a supposed regrouping to improve “appearance, price, and functionality.” Dare I say, I am Glassless for none of those reasons, but I digress.
Google’s spin on the shutdown? Glass has “graduated” from experimental to operational, and will now have its own department at the company.
Even at this early stage, I have to wonder if Google’s tireless marketing efforts to promote Glass as mainstream these past few years moved the needle of acceptance even a little. Google’s clever product placement on athletes, television, fashion shows, sporting events, and magazine covers – did it work?
Unfortunately, Jerry Seinfeld sporting Glass on the cover of Wired doesn’t change the fact that Google provides Glassholes a tacit method for covertly peering and recording a non-consenting audience.
Perhaps Google filed that problem under “functionality.”