Archive for the ‘Marc Brokenbrow’ Category
Marc Brokenbrow’s latest Business Surgery takes a look the possible reasons behind the recent demise of high street retailer Game.
I would never describe shopping as a hobby of mine or something that I particularly enjoy. I don’t like dealing with the crowds, making decisions on what to buy, or the difficulty of knowing whether I am getting value for money. In spite of all this, I still have to shop and one thing that has certainly made my life a lot easier (and more enjoyable) is internet shopping.
Now I am not writing this blog to tell you how wondrous internet shopping is (I’m a little late for that), but how important it is to engage with your customers and to facilitate their needs – and the importance of doing this continuously. You can’t just sit back and enjoy the good years because troubles can be lurking around the corner.
One prominent and present example of this is the demise of the well known UK high street giant Game. They were dominating the video games market and only 5 years ago made the acquisition of Gamestation, their greatest rival at the time. Although this was a very successful period for Game, they were slow to compete against rival internet companies such as play.com and eBay, who were taking a share of their sales in the online market. This definitely had a detrimental effect to Game and alongside a number of other reasons has lead to them going into administration.
In my opinion, I think the fundamental flaw for Game was not keeping up with its customers in terms of their needs and shopping habits. If they had been more customer-focused they may have chosen to concentrate their efforts on online sales channels, or even considered an acquisition of a web-based rival instead.
So was market research the solution for Game?
I think the answer is yes and the key to Game remaining customer-focused could well have been achieved by carrying out a customer needs based assessment. This would have allowed Game to keep in touch with their customers and to find out what they currently wanted and what they required in the future. An Online Reportal facility would have also been a very useful tool for Game and is something that our clients are increasingly requesting. It offers real-time results from a study and can aid the client by targeting customers who are deterred by the current service they are getting. The Online Reportal could have been crucial to Game’s survival. It would have shown them how people’s shopping habits were changing and, more importantly, it would have shown them at that precise moment, giving them time to implement change.
If you would like to know more about what we can do for you when it comes to a customer needs based assessment or would like more information on the Online Reportal facility available during a project, please feel free to contact us here at B2B International.
Marc Brokenbrow this week sets out his thoughts on the usefulness of social media for market research.
Being relatively new to the field of market research, I thought it was only right that my first blog should look at a hot topic in the industry. Just how useful is social media research?
We are looking at this at a time when social media amasses a large amount of time in our daily lives. People can’t go a day without using their favourite social networking sites, whether it be Facebook, Twitter or a blog that they frequently comment on. There’s an awful lot of data available from these sources, but should they be used for research purposes?
As an aid for this blog, I recently attended a debate with a number of different industry professionals hosted by The Research Mafia, who aim to support industry learning and improve networking capabilities north of London. The debate discussed what it saw as the ‘The Future of Market Research’ with a key focus being social media. Research areas covered included mobile research, online innovations and the use of social media websites. More information can be found on their website – The Research Mafia – and I believe the debate will soon be online for all; it is certainly worth a watch.
I can understand why a lot of the experts were expressing their desire to use social media research; it certainly has its advantages. It’s relatively cheap to undertake and can be as simple as analysing the information that people place on the particular networking site. It also has up-to-date information readily available and is being obtained from a new media source, not only increasing the pool of people available to contact, but reaching out to a new set of respondents. It can certainly be seen as a progressive step in the industry but I still have my reservations.
The big problem I have with social media research is quality control and consistency – can you really trust the information you are getting and treat it as data for research findings? I do believe it can have its uses but this must be under the correct caution. I also don’t like the idea of using techniques such as discourse analysis which are currently used in social media research, especially when data is often poorly sourced, not moderated and incorrectly used for research purposes.
When exploring this topic further I stumbled upon an article by Tom Ewing in Research Magazine, who, while commenting on the social media sessions at the ESOMAR 3D conference in Miami, questioned the online data:
I think he summarises social media research quite well by using the words of the chair of the session, Niels Schillewaert, who talks about:
What I’m trying to say is, yes, use social media research for the scoping of a project and to get ideas but I don’t think you can ultimately base decisions from it. I believe that quality is vital in research and, from my point of view, social media research is not there yet. There needs to be better screening and moderation and, until I see proof of this changing, I wouldn’t be advocating the use of it. We continue to look into new market research concepts at B2B International and I’m sure this will be explored further in the near future.