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Posts Tagged ‘customer insights’

Competitive Analysis: Stepping outside the industry and ahead of the competition

May 14th, 2013
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Far too often, marketers become so ingrained within their own industry they fail to look elsewhere for valuable insights. My goal for this post is to challenge you to broaden your horizons and escape the confines of your industry.

I’m willing to bet you’ll find something worthwhile.

 

First, a definition …

Cross-industry competitive analysis is a study of company behavior and performance, outside of one specific industry, comparing several significant competitors. Using appropriate tools and tactics, researchers use analytic data to determine paradigm shifts within similar industries, and make predictions about possible cross-industry trends.

(MECLABS has a series of free competitive analysis templates for you to download, in case you need a little help getting started.)

 

Where to begin?

Now, one of the most difficult aspects of cross-industry competitive analysis is trying to figure out where to begin. Are you supposed to arbitrarily select a different industry from which to begin pulling valuable insights? The answer is found in one key aspect of every company – from the brand-new startup, to corporate giants like Apple, every company has one thing in common that they cannot survive without …

The customer.

It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest product in the world – without an interested customer, it really has no more value than the old shoe on the side of the road. I cannot stress this enough: the key to finding valuable insights in other industries is putting yourself in the shoes of your customer.

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Social Media: Why Facebook’s new Graph Search will change social media marketing

May 10th, 2013
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When I was growing up, I remember a phrase my dad would use as a delay tactic on making big ticket purchase decisions that often frustrated my mother.

“I’ll ask the boys at work,“ he would reply.

My dad’s insistence on consulting people he perceived as experts before making a purchase is telling of human behavior – customers prefer to make decisions based on information, not persuasion.

I mention this because a shift to information over persuasion is coming to social media, driven by Facebook’s new Graph Search tool.

The way Graph Search works is simple … it filters our search results by what our friends and neighbors have previously liked and shared with us.

From a business intelligence perspective, the implications of this new function could be far reaching, given Graph Search allows users to formulate their perceptions of goods and services based on reviews from people they know and trust, potentially sidestepping most marketing efforts.

Here’s an example of Graph Search in action using the surroundings of our office here in Jacksonville Beach to put this into further perspective …

 

With Graph Search, relevance is king

Imagine you’ve just bought a beach cruiser and you’re searching Facebook to find the best spots for fun and entertainment in Jacksonville Beach.

Now, let’s say you search for “fun places to bike in Jacksonville Beach.”

Graph Search will present options your friends or other bicycle enthusiasts in a given geographical proximity have liked and shared.

From a customer’s perspective, this makes total sense.

Would you prefer to sift through a laundry list of options presented at random, or evaluate choices your friends and other biking enthusiasts are recommending?

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Infographic: Customer experience in the digital age

April 30th, 2013
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For today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, we have an infographic from Kentico, “Customer Experience in the Digital Age.”

The research behind the infographic was an eight-question survey of 200 Internet users via SurveyMonkey in February 2013, and the survey was open to both consumer and B2B brand interactions.

 

Here are few data points on the surveyed Internet users:

The gender breakdown was 54% male and 46% female, and the age breakdown included …

  • 18-24 – 10%
  • 25-34 – 20%
  • 35-44 – 24%
  • 45-54 – 19%
  • 55-64 – 15%
  • 65-74 – 10%
  • Over 74 – 2%

To help put this infographic – and the research that went into the content – into context, I had the chance to interview Thom Robbins, Chief Evangelist, Kentico Software.

 

 

MarketingSherpa: What were some of the key findings?

Thom Robbins: Company websites were second (25%) behind word of mouth (28%) in weighing most heavily on impacting brand affinity. In-store experiences factored [at] 18%.

Perhaps most surprising was the discovery that only 7% of respondents felt their brand experience was affected by social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, but I think this may be misleading. People may be influenced by social media a lot more than they think they are, through both direct and indirect interactions.

 

MS: Did any results come as a surprise?

TR: Other than the small role social media seemed to have, which I think merely shows us it’s a channel still on the rise, I was most surprised to see that 69% of those surveyed said they were willing to give up personal data in exchange for more customized service.

 

MS: Were there any results that might inform future research, or uncovered data points that deserve/require a deeper dive into customer insights?

TR: Well, I thought it was very telling that 97% were ready to forgive poor service as long as the company offers up a quick response or correction.

It’s important for businesses to know that while mistakes will be made, in the age of social media, every single customer experience counts. You can’t afford [to have] anyone to walk away unhappy, and there’s really no excuse given how forgiving customers are as long as you respond quickly to complaints.

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