Archive for the ‘Consumer Research’ Category
Deep See is a new consumer market research and intelligence company – from the stable of business-to-business specialist, B2B International
There are lots of consumer market research companies out there, so why choose Deep See? As the name suggests, Deep See promises to go to great depths to get to the bottom of what customers really think.
London-based Deep See is due to launch early April, and is headed up by Matt Powell. Powell is confident there is room in the marketplace for Deep See and relishes working on projects which will test products, seek opinions, probe customer satisfaction, assess markets and develop pricing strategies.
B2B International, as a leading specialist business-to-business market research consultancy, has launched Deep See to establish a foothold in the wider consumer arena and to meet increasing client demand to research the whole b2b2c value chain. By using B2B International’s established global network of offices, plus researchers and fieldworkers who converse in every language imaginable, Deep See sets out to reach anyone anywhere.
It is this international scope combined with the ability and knowledge to conduct research with all aspects of a company (from internal stake holders, through to distributors, through to consumers) that Deep See believes will differentiate it from other research agencies.
Some of the services that Deep See will offer include customer journey mapping, social media research, web site benchmarking, and customer segmentation. The former identifies each interaction that the customer encounters along each stage of the journey from cradle to grave; whilst Deep See’s social media monitoring tool keeps a detailed track on what is being said and written about a brand or campaign. Deep See believes these tools are most effective when applied together as part of a wide research campaign.
Powell joined B2B International in 2004 and has worked with high profile companies such as Autoglym, BAA, Balfour Beatty, BOC, Co-operative Bank, Gillette, Intel, Molson Coors, Microsoft and Travis Perkins. He says: “through Deep See’s international research and intelligent insight capabilities, we offer an added dimension. Thanks to the backing and resources of the world’s leading b2b market research consultancy, we already have a deep understanding of the whole supply chain and the issues that affect every area of a company, allowing us to analyse things in a way that other research agencies wouldn’t think of doing and offering a fresh perspective to a client’s business.”
B2B International director and founder, Nick Hague, says: “Deep See is another example of the diversification of B2B International, following 2011’s launch of our specialist creative marketing communications and brand agency B2B Marcomms.”
It is true that the buzzword in industry is analytics. This seems surprising to us in the market research industry. Data and analytics has been our baby for the last 50 years. When you drive your car, of course you need to look out of the window, but you would be a fool to set off without checking your fuel gauge or occasionally looking at your speedometer. A map may come in useful or, more likely today, a Sat Nav (GPS). Our industry has long provided much of the good data on the company dashboard and the Sat Nav to guide your journey.
The problem is that data is fast becoming a commodity. There is so much data handed out for nothing. It is in front of you in the newspaper. It hits you from the television. It sits under your nose in your company and, of course, it abounds on the net. In fact, most of us are paralysed by too much data.
However, there is some data that is almost invaluable. Just think of the things you would like to know about your market. Which customers are likely to be buying the products or services you sell in the next few months or weeks? And when they do buy, what will drive their decision? Where do you sit in their consideration set? What are the unmet needs in your market and how could you satisfy them? What will your market look like in five years’ time? Who will be the competitors to wrestle with then? The list could go on and on.
What do you think? Will data be the new plastics?
By Stefan Stern
Last week a very wise man – OK, it was my chief executive – said a smart thing. “Data is the new plastics,” he declared. This was a sly reference to a famous scene in the film The Graduate. What he meant, I think, was that the unlikely subject of data has suddenly become fashionable. It is now the sort of discipline you might encourage your son or daughter to pursue.
Clever people talk knowingly about “analytics” – managing better with the use of data – as if they have discovered the secret of business success. Perhaps they have. Software companies are certainly pushing the concept hard.
Last month the consultants Accenture announced a partnership with the IT company SAS. They are forming an analytics group which will offer what they call “predictive solutions”. This means getting hold of useful data fast and interpreting them intelligently, to try to anticipate sudden changes in your market, or to spot gaps others have not yet seen. IBM is touting its analytics capabilities aggressively, while SAP is also talking a good analytics game.
I was recently given a briefing by Vivek Ranadivé, the chief executive of Tibco, a Nasdaq-listed software company, on the emerging possibilities of our data-rich world. Mr Ranadivé is something of a visionary in this field. His first book, The Power of Now, was published 11 years ago. This was followed in 2006 by The Power to Predict. His latest book, The Two Second Advantage, will be out this year.
Mr Ranadivé is dismissive of what he considers outdated approaches to the handling of data. “We have 20th-century infrastructure trying to solve 21st-century problems,” he says.
During the past two decades, companies have become good at storing large amounts of data. Databases contain historical information about transactions that have been carried out. But what about all those near-misses, when customers visit your website, stay a while but leave without buying anything? A passive database will not record any of that activity. It will not even know that such things have happened.
Mr Ranadivé says we should think of business in terms of events, not transactions. Near-misses are customer events, too. The latest approach to data tries to spot these events in real time, so businesses can make use of that information quickly. In the jargon, this is called “in-memory analytics”, so called because memory has become a cheap and almost infinite commodity, and all that customer activity can be monitored live, as it happens.
Faster transmission of information makes a lot of things possible: marketing campaigns that react quickly to what customers want, smoother-functioning supply chains, even the introduction of the “smart grid”, which can spot possible power outages much sooner.
Last month Thomas Davenport, professor at Babson College, and Jeanne Harris, director of research at Accenture’s high performance institute, published Analytics at Work, a primer for managers who want to introduce a more rigorous approach to the use of data. It is a challenging read, in part because it makes plain how much work has to be done to capture and use data effectively.
But even academic experts agree that, however sophisticated your approach to data, you still need judgment to make good decisions. When Prof Davenport met a pilot at a party and started discussing analytics, he received this reply: “Oh yes, we’ve got lots of that in modern airliners – avionics, lots of computers, ‘fly by wire’, and all that. But I still occasionally find it useful to look out the window.”
Others are even more sceptical. Paco Underhill, a retail guru and chief executive of the consultancy Envirosell, says that today it is almost too easy to accumulate data. Instead of going to witness things first-hand, managers do a lot of their thinking sitting down, staring at spreadsheets. He is a great advocate of rubber-soled shoes. Get away from your desk, he says, and go and see for yourself. Wear rubber soles at your Envirosell interview if you want to get hired, Mr Underhill advises.
Not everyone will be fired up by the idea of plunging deep into a world of data. In the 1960s, bright young graduates, like the Dustin Hoffman character in the movie, did not all choose to pursue a career in plastics. But one young chap at General Electric did. Welch, I think his name was. Things seemed to work out pretty well for him.
Much has been written on the subject of brands – not least by B2B International! As we know, a brand is made up of many things – name, logo and values to name but a few. But can there be any doubt about the importance of a brand name? In a Thursday Night Insight article last year, Chrissie Douglas gave us some hints on selecting a brand name:
So, what happens if you get it wrong?
According to research by YouGov/G2, Cillit Bang has been voted the UK’s most disliked brand name. Of the 2,000 British consumers surveyed, a quarter of women, a fifth of men and 27% of over-55s did not like the brand name. Yet, the cleaning brand, which was launched in 2005 by Reckitt Benckiser, is actually considered by its owner to be a “power brand” and its sales show it to be an extremely successful product. So, clearly, brand name is not everything.
Yet, of the top 10 most disliked brand names (shown below), four are new names for previously known brands, including 3 in the top 5:
Cif used to be known in the UK as Jif, Snickers was for many years called Marathon, and Veet previously went by the name Immac. This perhaps underlines the importance of getting the brand name right in the first place. Once people have started to associate certain values and attributes with a brand, any changes can lead to confusion or mistrust. Unless you recognise the importance of brands and adopt a well thought-out marketing and communications rebranding strategy, you could find yourself with a lot of brand rebuilding work to be done.
To find out more about branding, please refer to several of our white papers, including:
On the customer satisfaction page of our website, we state the following:
“Most companies lose 45% to 50% of their customers every five years, and winning new customers can be up to 20 times more expensive than retaining existing customers. Just a 5% reduction in the customer defection rate can increase profits by 25% to 85%, depending on the industry.”
There can be very little doubt that retaining your existing customers – especially those most profitable ones – is vital under any economic conditions; never more so than when times are tough.
Indeed, as reported in CCF Online, customer service author Colin Shaw, who spoke at the recent Call Centre Expo, is adamant that a recession is the ideal opportunity to galvanise customers and create strong customer loyalty.
While competitors may allow customer service to take a back seat when times are tough, now is the opportunity for you to focus on improving the experience of your customers.
According to Shaw, some of the key questions we as companies should be asking are:
Some telling stats reveal that many companies only have themselves to blame when it comes to customer churn. On average, of the customers that leave, it is because:
This would indicate that four out of every five customers leave because of the actions – or inactions – of the company.
Ironically it can be small things – which are more often than not easy to action – that go a long way towards making a customer feel valued, keeping a customer happy and, more importantly, encouraging their loyalty.
Don’t overlook the importance of keeping your customers satisfied. Why not read more about this subject in the following white papers:
Better still, call or e-mail us to see how our tailored customer satisfaction programmes can help you maintain customers for life.
Most of you reading B2B International’s blog will be marketers of b2b products and services. But how often do you think about those end consumers? They may not be able to buy your products in stores, but there is a school of thought which says that if you do market your business-to-business product or service to consumers, you could create new demand from potential business partners.
So says ‘B-to-B-to-C’, an interesting article in September 30 issue of Marketing News.
The article reminds us that behind the face of many consumer products and services, there’s a business-to-business brand that distinguishes the product from the competition. These b2b ‘ingredient’ brands all help to create the product that the end consumer is ultimately looking for. Some b2b brand managers therefore market to consumers, hoping that if end-users care about their brands, business partners will embrace them and promote them.
If this is a route you wish to go down – and there can be little doubt that this is a bold strategy to adopt – there are no hard and fast rules as to how much of your marketing budget should be allocated to the different business and consumer marketing efforts. Indeed, if not done correctly, marketing your b2b brand directly to consumers can be a very easy way to spend a lot of money with very little return.
A good starting point is – as always – thorough research. Research can demonstrate to you whether your brand possesses a distinct value and whether it could impact positively on a consumer brand’s profile and price point. If this is the case, consumer marketing may be an option for your b2b brand.
Try to convince your b2b client to promote your brand on their product: this will make your b2b ‘ingredient’ matter to consumers. Just make sure that your ingredient brand’s stand-out attribute is clearly explained to the end consumers so you can ultimately encourage them to demand products that possess your brand. To do this, its distinctiveness needs to resonate with end users, so make sure your research shows that consumers see the value of your brand. A segmentation study may, for example, determine which types of consumers would be attracted to your brand offering.
The article finishes with some words of advice for anyone doing B-to-B-to-C marketing: You need to help the consumer products brandishing your ingredient to succeed. Put simply, if they win, you win.