Get Connected to the Future of Research
Running a business sounds simple enough: All you have to do is create value for customers in a unique and meaningful way that generates profit.
To do that, you know you must first understand your customer. Entrepreneurs and small business owners who don’t consult with target customers to validate the demand for an idea, product, or service before launching one risk failure.
What you may not realize is that the same validation is needed when making critical decisions — even after your successful business is up and operating.
Each year, about 400,000 new businesses are created, but 470,000 shut down, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Businesses fail for many reasons, of course. But with 66 percent of customers switching to a new company because they were unhappy with a service and 82 percent saying the business could have done something to retain them, customer satisfaction is a major factor.
This is why you should regularly assess your customers’ satisfaction, opinions, and loyalty and use those factors to help navigate your decision-making process. Many tools exist for gathering customer feedback, but market research — done correctly — is one of the most effective.
Market research provides insight into your most valuable asset — your customer — allowing you to make precise and reliable decisions in several ways.
First, it helps you understand both your customer and your competition. It also identifies the level of interest in a product or service and what customers are willing to pay for it, effectively guiding the messaging needed to reach your target market.
Key steps in market research include:
· Choosing the questions that get the information you want.
· Figuring out what kind of data is needed.
· Determining how to collect information.
· Deciding how to analyze the information.
· Developing a plan for using that information.
Successful research and development, product management, branding, pricing, and marketing — all core business functions — depend on customer insight. And great entrepreneurial leaders in today’s ultracompetitive marketplace leverage this information to foster essential innovation.
Entrepreneurs begin with a vision. Market research can affirm the strength of that vision or identify needed tweaks; the success of an idea hinges on a firm understanding of customers’ buying behaviors — the functional, economic, and emotional reasons that customers make purchases. These insights shape product development, marketing, and the ways businesses reach target customers.
You need to know how and where a product fits within a market, what your customer expects, product and market strengths and weaknesses, and what kinds of similar products already exist. This information is impossible to intuit without performing market research.
Market research also helps you develop a cost plan (e.g., pricing models, investments, and resources) and create a marketing strategy (e.g., types of campaigns and channels, how to reach customers, and how to deal with competitors’ reactions).
A good example of business owners putting this into practice involves Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, founders of a locational iPhone app called Burbn. After spending a year developing Burbn and releasing it, the pair re-evaluated the market and identified some issues with their product — it had too many features and seemed cluttered, making it difficult to compete with market giant Foursquare.
Systrom and Krieger chose to remove many of the features, except for photos, commenting, and liking, and rebrand their app as Instagram. Only by examining the market, customers, and competitors did they find their way onto that new, incredibly successful path.
Many entrepreneurs incorrectly believe conducting market research is too time-consuming, too expensive, and too intimidating. However, today’s digital world provides several quick and affordable ways to gather information to help you make smart business decisions.
Here are four methods small business owners and entrepreneurs can use to gauge customer sentiment through market research.
Focus groups capture in-depth, qualitative feedback, but they come with a few challenges. Focus groups take time to organize, and they require an experienced moderator to avoid bias and keep the conversation focused.
Bias is a focus group caveat, which makes selecting a qualified moderator so important. Experienced moderators know how to ask questions to gather data while eliminating bias. Qualitative research depends on valid and reliable data. If bias exists in a focus group, the results will be skewed, potentially swaying your business decisions in the wrong direction.
If you choose to organize a focus group, asking 8-10 questions would be ideal, but definitely limit the number to a maximum of 12. And be sure to over invite to ensure an adequate number participate, as 10-20 percent of those invited will, on average, be no-shows.
One-on-one interviews can be conducted quickly and affordably to uncover great feedback about products and services, but limitations exist. Reach is often limited because it’s difficult to access a large group of people due to time and geographical constraints.
While interviews can be conducted via phone or face-to-face, many business owners report better results with phone interviews. People tend to be more open to sharing opinions over the phone because they’re in their own environments — and phone interviews are cheaper because no travel is required.
Online research allows entrepreneurs and business owners to connect with a large number of potential customers in a quick, affordable way. To successfully conduct online research, first decide whether the audience you want to reach consists of new or existing customers. Then, develop questions to ask and decide how to reach those people — through your email subscriber list or social media, for example.
Always reach out to people in the way that’s most convenient for them in order to create more potential for open, honest, and bias-free feedback. If you can, locate similar surveys your competitors may be conducting to make sure you don’t end up over surveying any one group. And pay close attention to the timing of your online survey — avoid sending them out around holidays or on weekends, for example.
Keep them short and simple. People often avoid surveys that take longer than 5 or 10 minutes to complete. If the survey must be longer, use page breaks, allow respondents to take the survey in stages, or split it into a few separate surveys.
Mobile surveys combine the principles of traditional market research with the scale, reach, and affordability of the smartphone-enabled economy. While customers enjoy interacting with brands online, only 17 percent of researchers use mobile surveys as part of their strategy.
This presents a huge opportunity for you to get ahead of the curve by using mobile to gather customer feedback. Many people prefer to use smartphones as their main tool of communication. Consequently, 60 percent of the world’s population should have internet access by 2020, thanks to the increasing ubiquity of smartphones.
What’s more, people are more likely to respond when they can do so quickly on a mobile device. Plus, mobile’s unique features, such as geolocation, allow for more accurate data collection.
Customer feedback is absolutely paramount to your business’s success throughout its lifetime, and market research is the best way to solicit their input. Using one or more of these four methods of market research, you can validate a new product, service, or business idea, guide your internal decision-making, ensure that your existing customers are happy, and create strategies for attracting new ones.
Image: The Customer Service Target Market Support Assistance Concept
This article first appears on Tweak Your Biz, and was co-authored with John Papadakis of Pollfish.
In today's cluttered digital world, understanding the customer isn't a nice-to-have -- it's a must-have. Unbeknown to most marketers, though, many online research companies recruit participants from paid panels. While paid-panelist research is expedient and generates high response rates, it may not deliver the high-quality data and insights necessary to make critical business decisions. Therefore, the information you gather may be off-target, and your market research may be killing your brand.
Beyond paid panels, countless other surveying methods are at the modern marketer's disposal, and in this age of smartphone ubiquity, mobile is one of the best survey mediums marketers can use. To receive the most useful feedback and generate actionable data, marketers should optimize their surveys' conditions, designs, and convenience for respondents and use these three methods to ensure survey responses are effective.
Many respondents expect to be compensated to make taking a survey worth the time spent. To strike a proper balance, make the reward enticing enough to tempt participants but not so appealing that it becomes their primary motivator. Consider thanking respondents by entering them into a drawing for a fun prize so that their end goal is to give genuine responses, rather than just to receive compensation.
Panelists are paid for each response (often poorly), so many of them speed through surveys. Consequently, paid panelists who take dozens of surveys at once might be disengaged, distracted, or fatigued, which compromises the quality of the responses.
Survey design is just as important as reducing survey bias. Ask only questions that are relevant and meaningful to the survey's goal, and be cognizant of the respondent's frame of mind, access device, and even the time of day. Engaging respondents on their terms provides the best opportunity to capture and understand their insights.
Surveying the wrong audience or collecting useless data could harm your brand if it leads you to make bad marketing decisions. Therefore, you need to understand both where your target customers typically consume content and how they prefer to interact with brands. Then, design your survey with a goal of touching on as many of those pleasure points as possible by making it convenient and easy for them to take. If your survey design doesn't appeal to your target audience, then you won't glean the valuable insights you need. Instead, you could receive opinions from people who might never even consider your brand, and decisions based on that faulty information could end up hurting your brand's image in the long run.
Go where your audience is most likely to be willing to provide candid answers. It's difficult to get useful data when the audience you need to reach doesn't respond well to the channels you use. People rarely answer telephone surveys, and in-person interviewing isn't practical or cost-effective when trying to obtain responses from a geographically diverse audience, so opting for randomized phone surveys could lead you down the wrong marketing avenues. And if the survey isn't mobile-optimized, it'll miss out on reactions from those who are smartphone-dependent.
Similarly, online surveys don't always see enough traffic to succeed, especially those tailored to desktop users. It is in your best interest to follow customers who are abandoning landlines and desktop applications for the convenience of smartphones. With 57 percent of Americans communicating primarily through their cellphones and 41 percent living without landlines at all, marketers can reach people across many different demographics using mobile technology without sacrificing the quality of the resulting data. Moreover, the popularity of smartphones also allows marketers to easily gather unadulterated customer information through apps, as nearly 9 out of 10 users spend their mobile time on them. Making it simple for respondents is the key to getting the information you seek, which is why mobile surveys are such a good option.
Focusing on mobile surveys is the easiest way to get the feedback you seek, but if you decide to pay panelists, make sure your surveys are worth their time and energy by compensating them appropriately. You'll find more engaged and informed respondents whose candid insights will help you make brand decisions on the basis of accurate feedback, instead of useless data. And, ultimately, you will move that much closer to seeing higher revenue and real customer success.
This originally-authored article first appeared on iMediaConnection.
Ray Beharry is an accomplished leader with a passion for providing and marketing technologies that engage, enrich, and empower others. Ray’s areas of expertise collide in his position as Head of marketing at Pollfish, a company whose online survey tool helps businesses make educated decisions by providing relevant, meaningful, and customizable consumer opinion data in real time. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor of Marketing at New York University and a mentor at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering’s Startup Incubator.
Know your offline consumers even better
Today online sales have been on the rise and e-commerce has led to better understanding of their consumer behavior that are buying and viewing their products through in-depth search analytics. The brick and mortar stores when they look back on their shelves would vision what if the offline of retail would have been able to know more about their consumer in their space.
That’s where BlueRadianz comes in the scene to help brands and stores to take imprints of their consumer and crafts real time location analytics for the offline world.
One of the local apparel chain stores in our city was keen to know more about their consumers and there in store popular sections. With all the due permissions from store level we did the area survey and then placed our sensors at desired locations ensuring uninterrupted power supply and internet connectivity. We collected the data for 100 days and defined the following metrics.
All of these metrics were studied on hourly, daily and weekly basis.
After creating various visual analytics we did comparative study with in store point of sales data. We formulated real-time dashboards for their management team reflecting various data interpretations. The following are some of the real time visual we delivered.
Blueradianz Real-Time Dashboards
BlueRadianz™ wireless infrastructure captures smart devices and smart phone signatures in Wi-Fi enabled zones for delivering these metrics.
Crowd Location analytics
Estimates the number of visitors, number of unique visitors, amount of time they spend, and the frequency of their visits within the space and its specific zones.
Graphs provide knowledge of movement patterns by these visitors while they are in store. Together, these analytics provide detailed insights into general behavior patterns of people moving and interacting within a venue or open space.
The data from the BlueRadianz™ platform formulates discrete time, location of devices detected within the coverage area of the BlueRadianz™ Crowd Monitor in the wireless network.
These advance dashboards gave finer details about unique and repeat visitors at the store, week wise performance and what was sales conversion ratio.
A custom dashboard was made where we were able to find the brands of phone coming in that retail space. The management has further worked on a unique logic on kind of smart phone visitors they are finding at their stores, deriving intelligence to under their consumers better.
Business Interpretation and Value from Blueradianz Solution
Blueradianz systems comply with telecom regulation and ensure no personal information about visitors is collected; rather, trends and patterns of collective behaviour are gathered based on the discrete time, locations, and device signatures. BlueRadianz is the new mantra for Brands and Retail Spaces where the opportunity of knowing your offline consumer behaviour are delivered with real-time metrics.
Ben Evans said it best, “Mobile is eating the world”.
In this latest podcast from Mobile Marketing Watch, we discuss why taking a mobile-first approach to market research is the way of the future, and why marketers need to tune in to where there customers are.
Some key points covered:
We also discuss:
This 20-minute podcast appears on the Mobile Marketing Watch site.
Hundreds of hours of video presentations on mobile research from MRMW conferences
Singapore-based mobile ad company InMobi has agreed to pay $950k and implement a rigorous internal privacy program to settle US Federal Trade Commission charges of large scale unauthorised location tracking, for ad targeting purposes.
The FTC alleged that InMobi tracked the locations of hundreds of millions of consumers, including children, without their knowledge or consent, misrepresenting its policy as opt-in only. The complaint said the firm actually tracked locations whether or not the apps using its software asked for consumers' permission, and even when they had specifically opted out of location tracking. In addition, specifically in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), such information was collected from apps clearly aimed at children, despite promising not to do so and without the consent of parents or guardians.
The settlement imposes a $4m civil penalty, suspended to $950,000 based on the company's 'financial condition'. InMobi must also delete all the data collected from children, all the location information collected without consent, and must bring in a comprehensive privacy program subject to an independent audit every two years for the next twenty years.
Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said of the case: 'InMobi tracked the locations of hundreds of millions of consumers, including children, without their consent, in many cases totally ignoring consumers' express privacy preferences. This settlement ensures that InMobi will honor consumers' privacy choices in the future, and will be held accountable for keeping their privacy promises'.
This originally-authored article first appeared on Convince and Convert.
Content marketers have been warned for years to get ready for mobile marketing. Mary Meeker’s 2008 pronouncement that mobile would “overtake fixed Internet access by 2014” came true; we crossed that threshold at full steam to navigate our way through “Mobilegeddon” and beyond.
Google’s 2015 changes to its mobile search algorithm caused collective palpitations over the potential damage it could (and did) do to small businesses. As the changes continue—and best practices regarding new tech adoption and media channel preferences evolve more and more rapidly—it’s high time to re-examine your content marketing strategies.
Are you still giving your target audiences what they want, served up just the way they like it?
Our company’s recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. mobile phone users—representing a bell curve of ages ranging from 14 to 54 and a male/female split of 38 percent to 62 percent—not only gave us valuable new insights, but they also reaffirmed common knowledge.
We asked respondents about their preferences for internet use. In other words, how, what, where, when, and why do they access it? While the results didn’t come as an enormous surprise, they certainly provided for some intriguing breakdowns across the different demographics.
We’ve culled and analyzed the data, and here are four key ways you can advance your content marketing initiatives using the findings from this survey.
Mary Meeker called it. Of 1,000 respondents, 658 reported that their primary method of accessing the Internet was via their mobile phones. That’s almost 70%!
Why? It comes down to convenience. The content they seek is literally in their back pockets. The top three reasons those surveyed would read an article or blog on mobile instead of a desktop were:
What does that mean for content marketers? It means mobile marketing is about more than just responsive design. Here’s what else smart mobile marketing entails:
Naturally, we can look to the consumer packaged goods sector for standout examples of mobile-first strategies. For instance, take Unilever, 2015’s Mobile Marketer of the Year. Already known for its emotional—and viral—“Real Beauty” campaigns for its Dove skin care line, the company took it to the next level last year by introducing emojis for women of all shapes and colors to use in their text messaging.
Unilever also used mobile ads to direct users to its YouTube tutorials on hair care for Tresemmé, another of its brands. And for its brand Magnum, Unilever launched a campaign in Ecuador that combined geo-targeting with consumers’ inherent urge to create and interact. Using mobile banners to alert nearby consumers of the unique opportunity to design their own ice cream bars, Unilever drove foot traffic to a local shop.
What would you guess is most important to your readers: headline, image, or video? These days, it seems like all of the social platforms are adding or improving their video-sharing and live-broadcasting capabilities. So if you guessed video, you wouldn’t be alone.
But you would be wrong, according to our survey.
Overwhelmingly, the headline is still most important to capturing clicks. Sixty-one percent of adults surveyed said it’s what makes them click. Images came second at 23.6 percent, and video came in last as a reason to click, with only 15.4 percent of adult respondents selecting it.
It is worth noting that the younger demographic, ages 14 to 17, is more egalitarian in their click preferences. Among this group, headline and video were almost evenly split at nearly 38 percent and nearly 36 percent, respectively, with image coming in around 28 percent.
No matter the medium, people want to get to the right content to find the information they need and consume it quickly. With this in mind, content marketers must craft compelling, concise information. Use a headline analyzer like the one at CoSchedule to determine if your headline is click-worthy. If not, the tool’s feedback can help you refine until it is.
Forget stats you might have heard concerning morning, evening, or commuting time as the most popular times for when people want to view content. Almost half of all respondents like to consume their favorite content whenever and wherever they can.
Mobile marketing is an on-the-go, 24/7 business, so you have to make your content accessible to customers and potential customers on social feeds and mobile apps at all times. The survey results state that the majority or respondents prefer content from social media feeds, which is inherently comprised of shorter content.
But mobile doesn’t mean light, so don’t short-shrift readers. It’s not about their attention spans so much as the screen size. Long-form content does work on smartphones, as long as it follows the principles of great user experience design and great content. Don’t shorten your content; write tighter, more captivating copy.
For example, Quartz, the news outlet for digital natives, has an app for that—an iPhone app to illustrate this concept, to be exact—that is “perfect for the train, elevator, grocery store line, or wherever you have a spare moment to catch up on the news.”
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The top three reasons people share content are because it’s humorous (19.92 percent), informational (17.77 percent), or valuable to someone they know (15.85 percent). These survey results remind us that great content must be personalized, meaningful, and relevant to the user. (highlight to tweet)
To be remarkable enough to share, your content has to fulfill people’s needs at an emotional level or provide value for someone they care about. To keep it real, make sure you:
When it comes to content marketing, nothing happens until you get a click—no new leads, no conversions, nor anything approaching demonstrable ROI. Clicks fill the funnel and get those gears going, the levers in motion.
Our survey results offer an up-to-date look at how users across your target audiences are finding, choosing, consuming, reacting to, and sharing content—and, ultimately, how they are converting. Use the perspectives they’ve shared to boost your mobile game with the kind of smart content your audience craves.
What other insights can you draw from these survey findings to inform your content marketing strategy and make your offerings more mobile-responsive?
Published on Jun 6, 2016
Today on RBDR: What marketers need to know about mobile so that they can begin making all sorts of changes that will enhance their marketing.
RBDR is sponsored by Nuance, a Decision Analyst Company, which offers multi-language verbatim coding services that enable clients to quantify the meaning of open-ended answers.
From Jasper Lim, CEO Merlien Institute
Mobile is the device of choice for consumers today - but content is King! Companies are paying increasing attention - and budgets - on content to engage, attract and retain customers. We have asked Footlocker, CNN and AOL to share their mobile research and engagement strategies at MRMW on July 18-19 in Fort Worth,Texas. See: http://na.mrmw.net
- Hear how Footlocker developed a multi-channel approach for customer engagement
- Get tips from AOL on producing content that captivates digital consumers
- Learn how CNN has embraced mobility as a critical component of its engagement processes
Many more research buyers are coming to MRMW this year to share their experiences, learn, network and explore new partnerships. They include:
Heineken, Pepsico, BMW, Walt Disney, Footlocker, CNN, AOL, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, InterContinental Hotels Group,Shell, IBM, Jet.com, Pinterest, American Cancer Society, Firmenich, Heinz, Alcon, Mama Gaia, Arcade City, Allure, Roy Rogers Restaurants, CSM, Acturus, Jiffy Lube, Marriott International, CMA, Slingshot, Kellogg's, Verizon, Azure Advisors, Electronic Arts, Pizza Hut, Bayer, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Dean Foods, Groupon, Kraft and many more!
Learn, network and explore new partnerships at MRMW!
Book your tickets now by clicking the link below. Use code MMRA20 to save 20% on registration. http://na.mrmw.net
This is from an article on Fortune.com from March 24, 2014
Interesting to note how fortunes have changed for some of the companies listed (GetFeedback was acquired by email marketer Campaign Monitor) and how mobile has become much more mainstream and valued by clients even more than the research companies.
People are moving to mobile devices in droves, but researchers haven’t followed. Online survey companies are trying to change that.
FORTUNE — The days of lengthy online surveys are numbered, and the startup GetFeedback and online survey leader SurveyMonkey are both poised to benefit.
Countless millions of dollars are spent validating the mobile revolution with adoption statistics and usage metrics. Ironically, the field of market research itself appears to have overlooked this shift, relying on outdated technology and techniques that are increasingly at odds with mobile attention spans.
According to Forrester Research, just 17% of researchers had taken their survey processes mobile as of December 2012. The most obvious side effect is falling response rates. But businesses also risk alienating existing or prospective customers by seeming out-of-step with their communications preferences. There’s a lot of money at stake: A staggering $18.9 billion on a global basis is spent annually on telephone polls, online surveys, questionnaires, and other market research, says the Council of American Survey Research Organizations. Roughly $2 billion is spent on online surveys in the United States alone, according to the market research firm IBISWorld.
“People have been using online surveys for a very long time, but now at least 50% of these emails are being opened on a mobile gadget of some sort,” says Scott Holden, a vice president of marketing for Salesforce CRM 0.01% , responsible for the company’s Salesforce1 platform. “If you’re not thinking mobile-first, you’re going to be left behind for sure.”
Forrester analyst Roxana Strohmenger is more blunt in her annual report, “The Mobile Market Research Landscape.” She writes: “Consumers have already decided for us: If you want to connect with them, mobile is the way … For every new research study you commence moving forward, think about how mobile can play a role. Let this mobile mindset shift your perspective on how you approach testing your research questions. For example, rather than asking consumers to write about their experience at a festival, you can ask them to record through video or photos the parts they like and don’t like and even have them write down their immediate thoughts and feelings.”
Technology startup GetFeedback.com, launched in December 2013 by two former Salesforce.com employees, hopes to get out front of this transition with a service designed to create surveys for smartphones, tablets, and mobile web browsers. The more than 1,000 early users of GetFeedback include high-tech powerhouses Salesforce, LinkedIn LNKD -0.53% , Facebook FB 1.30% , and Dropbox, and outdoor apparel company The North Face. Prices range from $20 per month for up to 100 responses to $125 per month for up to 10,000 responses.
“This was a personal pain point for me,” says Kraig Swensrud, co-founder of GetFeedback, who fielded numerous research studies in his previous role. “I asked myself, ‘What experiences are we delivering in the process of getting these questions answered?’ and ‘How are we representing our brand when we’re having this conversation?’ ”
One big consideration for mobile surveys is optimizing them for far smaller screen sizes, so that they can be scrolled and processed quickly — maybe during a two-minute cab ride or between meetings, Swensrud says. In markets where bandwidth is a concern or smartphone adoption is limited, some companies have also found success with SMS or text-based surveys. “This approach is also beneficial if one wants to reach a wide cross-section of a population: for example, both younger and older generations,” Forrester’s Strohmenger says.
Visual elements are critical: GetFeedback’s templates integrate video clips, photographs, or images that reinforce a company’s marketing. “You can use these surveys to create an emotional reaction to your company, product, and brand,” says Salesforce’s Holden. “You can make it fun and make it look like a representation of things you’re looking for feedback on.”
The GetFeedback software also integrates with Salesforce, so results can be shared and marketing teams can see how many different surveys are being fielded simultaneously (important for reducing respondent fatigue); additional integrations with leading marketing automation software platforms are forthcoming. This makes results far easier to interpret, Holden says.
Going mobile requires marketers to become far more disciplined about keeping surveys succinct and simple, says Dave Goldberg, CEO of online survey software company SurveyMonkey. His advice: Keep the entire process under 10 minutes. “People are going to resist long, complex surveys,” he says.
How can you shorten a survey? One future method would be to integrate them with a person’s identity on a social network, which could be used to collect basic demographic information. “That would be a shortcut, but it is also clearly a privacy concern,” Goldberg says.
As the de facto market leader with more than 15 million customers including the likes of Kraft Foods KRFT 0.00% , Sirius XM SIRI -0.13% and Facebook, SurveyMonkey says it has seen a 14-fold increase in mobile traffic over the past three years.
The company is adjusting its platform accordingly. In late February, it released a mobile app for Apple iOS devices that marketers can use to launch surveys, and monitor and analyze results in real time. In addition, SurveyMonkey is planning technology for late 2014 that software developers can use behind the scenes to track how users interact with their mobile applications: essentially another way to gather feedback, in the moment. “Right now, they can see what people are doing, but they can’t ask them why,” Goldberg says.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misquoted Holden on the percentage of online survey e-mails opened on mobile devices.
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