Archive for the ‘Return On Investment’ Category
With the Wikileaks website hitting headlines around the world, Matthew Harrison this week ponders the true value of turning information into intelligence
Plumbing the murkiest depths of my mind in search of a topic that would put the ‘Insight’ into my Thursday Night, I decided to leaf through a couple of UK and US newspapers for inspiration. The modern news press offers a heady mix of current affairs, insightful analysis and entertainment, making it an invaluable last-chance saloon for the writer whose imagination has run dry.
My search for insight did not start promisingly, as I misguidedly began my search by clicking on the website of the Daily Mail, regarded as the crack cocaine of UK journalism for its Class A addictiveness and the ongoing despair of its readers. In an uncharacteristic display of optimism, the aforementioned rag misinformed me that the English Football Association would imminently ‘bring the World Cup Beck home’, before going on to declare – more accurately and no less intriguingly – that a Scottish dietician had been evicted from a jungle-based game show having refused to wrestle with a bear.
My strategic decision to head for the website of the Wall Street Journal was rather more successful, as the front page led with the ongoing outrage surrounding Wikileaks, without doubt the world’s most famous information provider at the time of writing. This website’s decision to release thousands of wires of classified information had provoked calls for its founder to be arrested and charged on terrorist offences. Intrigued by this, I clicked through to the Wikileaks website to see what all the fuss was about.
As a researcher and analyst of the views of businesses and industry experts, I was left agog at the quality of Wikileaks’ sources and the granularity of its information. Foreign diplomats and heads of state led the way on Wikileaks’ Who did we interview? list, making my pride at having once secured an interview with the regional manager of an industrial pump company seem no less than pitiful. And the (alleged) detail that followed this A-List of international diplomacy was something to behold – interview transcripts detailing Russian money laundering, American espionage plots and Asian nuclear secrets.
Quickly, however, my admiration turned to impatience. For every morsel of war-provoking intelligence there were another 100 paragraphs of inconsequential drivel, ranging from the blindingly obvious (Breitling-wearing, supermodel-marrying French president Nicolas Sarkozy is a little on the vain side) to the ridiculous (Prince Andrew once used a swear-word during a lunch in Kyrgyzstan).
We at B2B International recognise that obtaining good quality information is only the start of a long intelligence process. What distinguishes The Wall Street Journal from Wikileaks, and B2B International from many of its competitors, is the ability to sift through large amounts of information rapidly and thoroughly, before presenting and interpreting that data in a way that makes that information valuable to our clients.
In short, our focus is on delivering intelligence that enables our clients to deliver a strong return on investment by making more informed decisions. As the matrix below shows, this does make us more expensive than Wikileaks. But weigh that up against the benefits – improved decision making across the whole of your business. And, with the exception of this article, a guarantee that we will never regale you with anecdotes about Prince Andrew.
Estimated ROI Of Market Intelligence Projects
Reflecting on a month of non-stop football coverage, Alex Clements this week mulls over the effectiveness of high profile advertising and sponsorship.
The World Cup is now over and things are, once again, returning to normal. Wives get their husbands back, kids get the right to watch TV back and the men are in recovery for another four years until the next World Cup. I will confess, I’m not a huge fan of grown men kicking a ball around a pitch (I’d rather watch grown men beat the life out of each other in a cage!). I did, however, watch a few games of the World Cup, including the England vs. Germany game, which was an interesting one to watch with Vanessa, my fiancée who, just to make things more interesting, comes from Wuppertal in Germany!
Despite not really caring who won the World Cup, I found myself subconsciously supporting Spain in the final. The only reason I can think of for this is that I quite like visiting Spain on my holidays. The least I can do is support their football team in return for their hospitality.
I’m quite easily distracted at times and my mind can wander to a vast array of weird and wonderful things. The example I’m going to share with you on this occasion came to me during this football (or “soccer” for those of you in the US) match between Spain and the Netherlands. As I watched the ball go back and forth between opposing players – and on occasion directly from one goalie to the other – my mind wandered as I noticed the multitude of banners advertising different companies around the pitch. There were banners for Adidas, Sony, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser to name a few. I sat there and wondered to myself, “How effective are these adverts?”
I decided that some of these adverts must be more effective than others when using this platform to reach their target market. I praise the strategic placement by Adidas because it is a company that manufactures sports clothing, which is likely to be of interest to a considerable percentage of football fans who will be watching. Similarly, people watching the game on TV at home or in a public bar could see the banners for Budweiser or Coca-Cola and as a result think “I could really do with a Budweiser!” – just as I did! Unfortunately, however, I was sitting at home with no access to any Budweiser… Of course, this is the aim of the banner and I’m sure it works quite effectively.
In my mind, I compared the effectiveness of the ‘drinks’ banners to that of ‘electrical goods’ banners which have used the exact same method to reach their target market. Let’s first think about the platform for advertising here: The World Cup final. A quick search on the internet suggests there were over 18 million viewers in the UK watching the game on British television. Before the game took place, FIFA expected an audience of 700 million worldwide to watch the final. Even if viewers turned out to be significantly fewer than this prediction, it would undoubtedly still reach a considerable number of potential customers. As a means of embedding your brand in the minds of your target market, I say this is a very effective way to reach millions globally.
Maybe the decision to advertise in this way would be more straight-forward for companies such as Coca-Cola as they are presumably targeting anyone who drinks liquid – which I shouldn’t need tell you is a pretty high percentage of the world’s population! However, for companies that specialise in electrical goods – which are not necessities of life (don’t tell my fiancée I said that) – as high value and infrequent purchases, from a consumer point of view there is more at stake and a bigger purchase decision to be made. Such companies must assess who they are targeting and who they would reach by each method of advertising before deciding on a platform.
At first, I questioned whether electrical goods companies would see as much return on investment as drinks companies would. Will people see these banners and think, “I could really do with a new TV”? My guess would be that the need for a beer would come before the need for a new TV, but then again, I was watching the game in high-definition on a 40-inch screen! Despite this, this approach still does the job of raising awareness and embeds the brand in the minds of millions. Not bad for something as simple as a banner with your logo on, is it? Not that a pitch-side banner at the final of the World Cup will be within every company’s budget, mind!
I’ll leave you now with one final example, which truly shows how effective advertising and sponsorship can be. Domino’s Pizza sponsored television coverage of the World Cup and Britain’s Got Talent, and it has been reported that the company has seen sales rise to 237.1 million – an increase of 21% in the last half year leading up to June 27, making a £17.5m pre-tax profit. Even more impressive, sales were said to have been up 65% on the day of England’s only World Cup win, increasing by a whopping 333% during the hours the match was shown! To find out more about Domino’s recent successes, click here to read Domino’s Pizza Plc Half Yearly Report.
ESOMAR recently published the results of its eighth annual Global Prices Study 2010, which evaluates the pricing of different types of market research around the world.
One of the interesting points highlighted by the study – which was conducted among 100 countries – was the huge variety, not only of prices, but also of research methodologies favoured or employed in different geographies. For example, online research is not available in every market; similarly, face-to-face interviewing is not conducted everywhere.
However, one of the most notable findings from the perspective of B2B International, which researches markets worldwide from its offices in the UK, USA and China, was the fact that the USA topped the rankings as the most expensive market globally in which to conduct research.
Matthew Harrison, Director of our New York office, explains why the results of the survey did not come as a surprise to him:
Harrison, however, additionally points to a slightly more unusual contributor to the high prices associated with the US:
These facts aside, Harrison is keen to point out that while the actual price of research in the States may appear on the high side, the return on investment gained from good quality market research should never, ever be underestimated.
Return on investment – or ROI – has taken on increasing importance over the last few years. The recession, in particular, has forced marketing departments – among others – to monitor and measure the success of their marketing spend, sometimes relying on ROI to justify their outlay.
However, a new study by Omniture has found that more than half (55%) of marketers claim they cannot effectively measure their marketing ROI. The online survey, conducted between January and April this year, sought the views of more than 600 marketers.
The survey found that, while 69% are using social media for marketing purposes, 41% of those do not have a way to measure social media conversion. A further 43% of marketers said that online videos formed part of their strategy, but more than two-thirds (70%) were also unable to measure post-video conversion.
Why not read our white paper on Measuring and Maximising the Return on Investment of Market Research? – click here to read it.
It won’t come as a big shock that the UK market research sector, like the majority of other industry sectors, isn’t recession proof and has been hit, at least to some extent, by the current recession.
The key takeaways from a recent ‘State of the industry survey’ by RSM are as follows:
This particular piece of research got us talking internally and we came up with the following trends that we have seen within our world at B2B International:
1. There are less market research specialists in corporates than ever before
Gone are the days when every corporate had a market research manager. Increasingly we are being commissioned by non-market research specialists — marketing managers, product managers, marketing directors and the like. This means that the briefs we receive are sometimes woolly and impossible to achieve (especially in timescales and costs). Timings are a real bugbear within B2B International as we never want to compromise quality although our clients often seem to be being leaned on by their management in terms of timing leaving unrealistic timescales to collect and analyse the findings. However, the recession has resulted in companies becoming keener to understand the pressures their customers are facing – a greater recognition of the interdependence of theirs and their customers’ success.
2. Every job is put out to a long tender list
Gone are the days when we used to visit a client to take a brief and proposals were submitted from just three companies. Nowadays clients bash their briefs out to (sometimes) dozens of agencies. The competition has never been fiercer and prices as a result have been driven down with clients sometimes placing too much emphasis on cost rather than quality
3. We need to be increasingly imaginative about research methods
Gone are the days when we used to do surveys based on a simple research method. Increasingly we are given complex problems that have to be answered with a range of different research tools. It is not unusual for us nowadays to mix online surveys with telephone surveys and qualitative with quantitative.
4. We are required to be strategic consultant’s as well as data collectors
Gone are the days when market researchers simply researched a market. Today, in business to business markets we are expected to be familiar with all the business and marketing frameworks that traditionally were the ground of McKinsey and Bain.
5. We are increasingly required to use multidisciplinary teams
Gone are the days when a sole researcher could carry out a market research project from beginning to end on their own. B2B International has brought together a diverse team with specialist skills ranging from pure research backgrounds through to statisticians, computer programmers and consultants that can act in an advisory capacity upon completion of a project
As usual, during any recession, research providers who supply quality and value throughout the difficult times will emerge stronger and fitter. However, with organizations continually looking to measure ROI on every pound spent, is the competitive landscape for business to business research changed forever?