Just Do It!

Whew, just back from four content-packed days at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) re:Think 2012conference. It was great to meet up with many of you there and connect through Twitter. If you missed my Twitter stream, click herefor a summary or check out the re:Think feed here.

So, what are the key takeaways for Market Insights Professionals from the conference? Simply, we need to:

  • Improve! On Day 1, we heard several passionate presentations on the need for market insights to evolve and deliver higher-value and more actionable insights. On the next day, Kantar’s CEO said the profession needed improved talent to meet the business’ needs and the ARF discussed the need for improved research and respondent quality.
  • Innovate! A number of presentations focused on the need for market insights to develop better predictive tools, identify white spaces more effectively, and package insights in more innovative ways. There were many calls for market insights to bring much more creativity to the table.
  • Integrate! Although not identified as a theme, I would say integration was the “glue” that connected most of the presentations. Whether the presentations were about connecting social to surveys, insights to ROI, or even biometric to behavioral data, it was clear that “integration” is the path to help market insights improve and innovate.
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Understanding The People Of Walmart — And Getting The Most Out Of Your Surveys

Last week, I ran into an infographic on Ad Age about The People of Walmart. It compares the demographics of Walmart, Kmart, Kohl’s, and Target shoppers: for example, age, sex, income, and region of the customers. It shows that more women than men shop at Walmart, and that their audience is quite equally spread across age as well as income. Recently, Forrester conducted a survey where we gained insights on customers of retailers like Walmart. We found that while it’s great to examine the demographics of shoppers, it’s much more powerful (and actionable) to look at other insights about these retailers’ customer base, like marketing preferences, spend levels, and brand consideration.

Below you'll find some of the results from this Forrester study. You'll see that the average US online adult who shops at Walmart spent about $848 on average in the past year, but that only about half are likely to recommend the retail giant to a friend or family member. When these results are compared to other retailers, and by demographic, you create real insights.

I’d love to hear from you: How do you target your customers? Are there any behavioral and attitudinal variables that have been very helpful in defining your target segments?

Of Mad Men And Market Insights Professionals

So, I’m off to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) re:Think 2012conference next week. This started me “rethinking” how advertising has changed over the decades, and what that means for market insights professionals.

Back when I was born, advertising was a no-brainer. TV. If you could afford it. Only 3 channels to choose from so the “marketing mix model” was not really complicated. Did you need a lot of research to optimize your advertising? Hmmm, with all eyeballs tuned to you, research-optimized content probably was not as important as it is today (for a trip down memory lane, click here).

Fast-forward a few decades and customer choices have exploded. Has TV been killed by the Facebook star? Should you invest more in Google Adworks than traditional media column inches? If you do venture into social media, in which of the 1,000s of sites do you find your customers? And are they your best customers, i.e. the ones you really want to attract? It’s like playing Find Waldo, except that Waldo is a fickle consumer who keeps moving around.

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Translate Customer Analytics Into Action

Companies adopt advanced analytics tools and techniques to convert data into intelligence and drive key customer-facing business decisions. We see that customer intelligence (CI) professionals involved in customer analytics broadly perform three activities:

  • Generate analytics: Create and produce analytical insights using analytical tools and technologies.
  • Apply analytics: Choose the appropriate analytical methodology for the business problem and apply it to the context of the customer lifecycle.
  • Activate analytics: Use analytical output and insights to optimize customer experiences and to drive customer growth, share of wallet, retention, and lifetime value.
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Marketers: Have You Defined Your Technology Roadmap?

In a recent report, my colleague Robert Brosnan correctly spotlights that marketers require ever more technology to capture, integrate, analyze, and apply customer data to marketing programs. Indeed, the technology portfolio that marketing leaders must understand and manage is exploding. Marketers typically have a portfolio of technology assets to support marketing planning, marketing asset management, campaign management, segmentation, and predicative modeling. And most marketers work with online marketing tools for email, mobile, social, and web analytics.

Rob recommends that marketers establish an enterprisewide marketing technology office (MTO) to ease and take advantage of technology development. The office, working through a chief marketing technology strategist, sets marketing technology strategy, makes the business case for embedding new technology within marketing programs, and manages technology-related partnerships. The marketing technology strategy should summarize the road map for how you plan to employ the technologies necessary to understand and engage more deeply with your target customers.

Forrester defines the marketing technology road map as:

A plan that matches short-term and long-term marketing goals with specific technology solutions to help meet those goals.

So how do you formulate the marketing technology strategy and road map?

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