Monthly Archives: July 2013

Using Technology for Virtual Shop-Alongs

I am honored to have co-authored an article with Jessica Ritzo of Insights in Marketing that appears in the July issue of Quirk’s Marketing Research magazine.  I’m not sure how I was listed first as author as Jessica did most of the heavy lifting.  The article is titled, “Be There Now.  Leveraging mobile and online qualitative to get inside shopper’s heads.”

Quirks

Here is a quick abstract of the article and a link where you can read it in full.

Consumers’ use of technology and researchers’ understanding of how to use that technology have opened new frontiers for all types of research, including shopper research.  When planned and executed carefully, the technology boom can eliminate the need for a researcher to be physically present with the shopper for some shopper research while gathering rich, in-the-moment data.  The article outlined a three-phase methodology that includes a text-based online discussion platform  combined with a mobile in-store phase and ends with an online discussion follow-up.

  1. Phase 1 — Pre-Shopping Discussion.  Questions help the researcher understand pre-shopping opinions, expectations and ideas.  Respondents answer questions individually or as a group at the researcher’s discretion.  This format also gives the researcher and opportunity to set the stage and expectations for Phase 2.
  2. Phase 2 — In-Store Mobile Methodology — Researchers give shoppers a streamlined list of tasks to accomplish while shopping.  Shoppers often take pictures and add commentary related to their preferences, observations and reactions.  Data can be rich with visuals accompanied by shopper insights.
  3. Phase 3 — Post-Shopping Engagement — Using a discussion platform, the researcher has the opportunity to probe issues related to the shopping data collected during Phase 2.  As with Phase 1, these discussions can be private, one-on-one discussions, or be a discussion among groups of shoppers.  Because the respondent provides thoughtful, post-shopping feedback on actual shopping behavior, the learning from this phase can be richly insightful.

The article concluded with a case study from the beverage industry to highlight the methods and a use case.  To access the entire article click here.

This entire project can be conducted on the20|20 QualBoard(R) Discussion Platform utilizing its online discussion and mobile capabilities.

“How Brands Grow” Challenges Conventional Marketing

I just read a very thought-provoking marketing book and needed to share.  It calls into question many of the accepted notions of marketing and, therefore, marketing research.  Here are a few highlights from my notes.  If you find these interesting, I highly recommend you read the book.

Kotler is wrong!  

So says Byron Sharp and the researchers at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute who pull no punches in taking on the established marketing thinkers of today.  In their book How Brands Grow: what marketers don’t know, they boldly call out the common method of product differentiation and target marketing.  They use market studies to support their claim that growing brands are the brands that focus on reaching all the buyers in a particular category, not just a segment as many brand managers are trained to do.

These researchers maintain that it is the light users, not the heavy users that drive most growth in a brand simply because there are so many of them.  For example, if 60% of a brand’s users are light users and each one used just one more time, total brand purchase rises dramatically.   Therefore, the authors maintain that loyalty programs are misplaced and millions, even billions, of dollars have been wasted on them because loyalty programs target those who are already buying.

Sharp and his colleagues maintain that it is a brand’s distinctives that make a brand easy to recognize and easy to buy that truly driver brand growth.  Since consumers use branding as mental shortcuts for making purchasing decisions, the brand that has the most memorable distinctives (logo, colors, etc.) that get it noticed and remembered are the brands that win.

The book is thought-provoking and insightful.  Its a good read simply because the authors are not afraid to call out Kotler and others who they believe are simply wrong (and have been wrong for decades).  Their book also provides marketers with practical “recipes” for successful marketing and advertising programs.  If you are serious about marketing and willing to have an open mind that challenges traditional thinking, this book is for you.

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