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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'Marketing'

6 November 2014

Rethinking segmentation for the new digital consumer

Rethinking-Segmentation

Apple’s launch this week of Apple Pay, its m-commerce product, could help finally move millions of mainstream consumers toward the promise of mobile payments, according to media reports. Given that Apple Pay will expose user preferences for payments and sharing data, this is a good time for companies to re-think how they segment their digital consumers, writes Mobiquity president Scott Snyder in this opinion piece.

“At their core, digital users are individuals who bring a unique digital profile and set of behaviors to every situation. This new digital world of “Bring Your Own Persona” (BYOP) requires a fundamentally different way of thinking about customers. It used to be assumed that people exhibited predictable behaviors in their public and private lives based on their socio-demographics, allowing firms to use classic segmentation for targeted interactions. Those models are no longer sufficient. Almost all demographics have access to mobile, social and wearables. What distinguishes different digital user segments is their savvy in knowing how to use these tools and their comfort levels with the data they are willing to share in various scenarios.

New digital personas can be characterized along two important dimensions: digital capability and trust. […]”

Using trust and capability as the core drivers of digital behavior, we have mapped out six digital user segments (shown below) to capture the new interaction models we expect to see and estimated the distribution across the general consumer population. “

31 August 2014

Converting your home to LED lights is still a challenging user experience

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Switching to LED bulbs in your home is still a bit expensive, but makes a lot of economic sense – as you quickly earn your money back through a MUCH lowered electricity bill. Yet it is quite a challenge for most people.

I just successfully replaced 40 halogen and incandescent bulbs of the most varied fittings, sizes, lighting strengths and shapes. The new bulbs all fit and have the luminosity and color warmth that we want in our house. But I can only conclude that industry and retailers need to do a much better job at explaining the challenges and helping customers understand why to buy LED bulbs and what types to buy.

The first impression most people have of LED lights are usually the display racks in retail stores. The fact that LED lights sometimes come in the most bizarre form factors are off-putting if anything, while key information is largely provided in jargon (kelvin, lumen, fitting mount codes, etc.).

The next thing you might then do is go online and search for more relevant information, only to get lost in myriads of blog posts, tech jargon filled pieces, or product tech sheets. The best backgrounders I found – with some effort – are this one from The Guardian and one from the European Commission (in 22 languages!). Nothing much from industry, where websites focus immediately on individual products.

Then you have to figure out what you need in your house (or office). Besides the fitting mounts, the bulb sizes and the wattages, there are four key things to take into account:

  • Colour temperature: In short, the lower “K” or “Kelvin”, the better. For home use stay on or below 2700K for a warm white.
  • Luminosity or light strength: Commonly described in watt, but the most accurate value is actually “lumen”, or even better “lux”.
  • Dimmability: Some LED bulbs can be dimmed but it is usually never clear if you need a special dimmer for that or can do so with your regular dimmer – so trying out is the only option consumers have. Good luck.
  • Avoiding false savings: As The Guardian writes, “halogen bulbs use so much electricity for the light they produce – just feel their heat – that it’s a false economy to wait until they blow to replace them”.

Finally there is purchasing itself. Most DIY stores and electricity supply retailers limit themselves to the most common bulb choices. Special sizes and fittings are not that easy to find. You may want to buy online (which is what I ended up doing).

It is generally recommended to buy only products from reliable brands (Philips, Samsung, etc.), as there is quite some unreliable junk on the market. But these “reliable” brands may not have the exact fitting mounts, wattage or colour temperature you are looking for. It is also hard to find out what quality control the various retailers have in place, and what guarantees consumers have if a product is not up to par.

In all, this is not a trivial matter. If all homes and offices in a city would switch to LED, much less power would be needed in that city, and this would mean a significant impact on carbon emissions. Governments and media are starting to do their part in helping people navigate this.

Industry is lagging behind. Making the products is only part of the challenge. Guidance in consumer education and behavioural change is hardly addressed. It is a job for service designers and good writers/storytellers.

The industry or retailer that ends up doing that job well will gain quite a competitive edge in a rapidly growing market.

31 May 2014

The future of modern marketing is human-centered

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Before the turn of the 20th century into the 21st century, a movement began. This movement called for a more user-centered approach, or also commonly referred to as human-centered, to designing products, software, digital interactions, and design concepts. It is rooted in the belief, which is by understanding human goals and behaviors; we can design concepts empathetic to the user – or humans. More than a decade later, these concepts are becoming increasingly important to marketing, writes Tony Zambito in B2C.

Modern marketing, as it responds to the overwhelming tentacles of the exploding digital economy, now requires the important element of design thinking. With the rapid growth of content marketing, modern marketing CMO’s now have to think about creating as well as designing the digital interaction experiences surrounding content.

30 May 2014

How to use ethnography for in-depth consumer insight

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Spending a weekend sitting in someone else’s house reporting when, why and how much they ate, drank, bathed, watched TV or used their mobile phone isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but for a marketer it is one of the best ways to gain deeper customer insight, according to a feature article in Marketing Week.

The process, often referred to as ethnography, can result in breakthroughs for brands, offering an insight into what people are really like, rather than what they want researchers to think they are like.

12 April 2014

Maybe the Voice of the Customer isn’t

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Criticizing Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs is like speaking out against motherhood and apple pie, writes marketing consultant Ron Shevlin. Yet, he says, there are (at least) two problems with the “voice of the customer” that many marketers don’t take into consideration:

1. It’s not really the customer’s voice.
The prompts included in survey questions may or may not reflect what respondents really think or what they’ve done. They often select a prompt because it most closely matches the answer they want to give. Given the opportunity, they might describe it differently.
If that wasn’t bad enough, market researchers take the linguistic limitations they create, then go and misinterpret the responses.

2. Customers don’t always have a voice to contribute.
Market researchers routinely ask consumers “what influenced you to buy this product?”
Often, consumers don’t really know what influences their decisions. Even when we think we know, we often lie to ourselves–as well as to researchers–about those reasons because we don’t want to appear (even to ourselves) to make decisions for the wrong reasons.

In conclusion, What we really need to focus on is understanding the gap between voice and behavior. That is: Why do consumers say one thing, yet do another?

19 January 2014

Why the resurgence of user-centred design matters for marketers

Facebook mobile

Marc Landsberg, CEO of socialdeviant, believes that marketing departments will increasingly invest in social platforms that are committed to users’ needs and interests

In his article, Landsberg considers three immutable human truths, and how they connect to what’s happening in the marketplace:

1) People want to be heard
The explosion of Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr reflects this. Everyone has a story to tell, in both words and pictures.

2) They want you to know what they want
The social web is a tremendous environment for personalisation, delivering content and experiences tailored to an individual’s interests.

3) Everyone is on the go
Native searches and content origination are now predominantly mobile-based. People are on the go, fluidly moving in and out of their social spaces via their mobile devices. Platforms are therefore investing heavily in mobile enablement.

1 September 2013

Abraham Maslow and the pyramid that beguiled business

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The psychologist Abraham Maslow’s theory of human motivation is 70 years old but continues to have a strong influence on the world of business. What is it, and is it right?

Maslow’s friend, management guru Warren Bennis, believes the quality underlying all Maslow’s thinking was his striking optimism about human nature and society.

“Abe Maslow, a Jewish kid who really grew up poor, represented the American dream,” he says. “All of his psychology really had to do with possibility, not restraints. His metaphysics were all about the possibilities of change, the possibilities of the human being to really fit into the democratic mode.”

28 August 2013

Ethnographic stories for market learning

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The July 2013 issue of the Journal of Marketing (a publication of AMA, the American Marketing Association) describes the results of a comprehensive study (pdf) by Julian Cayla and Eric J. Arnould on the way various organizations use ethnography to better represent the customer’s lived experience to managers.

The authors’ findings highlight how in many leading firms, ethnographic stories play a creatively disruptive role in: 1) challenging firms’ received wisdom about consumer behavior; 2) helping managers walk in the customer’s shoes; and 3) developing new business ideas.

In these three areas (market understanding; consumer empathy; market innovation), ethnographic storytelling has been a driving force in improving the tracking of market evolution, changing the way organizations connect with consumers, and stimulating innovative thinking.

“Although ethnography has become a popular research approach in many organizations, major gaps exist in the field’s understanding of the way it operates in the corporate world, particularly in how ethnography facilitates market learning. Drawing from extensive fieldwork in the world of commercial ethnography, the authors describe how ethnographic stories give executives a unique means of understanding market realities. By working through the rich details of ethnographic stories infused with the tensions, contradictions, and emotions of people’s everyday lives, executives are better able to grasp the complexity of consumer cultures. Overall, this research should help managers leverage the catalytic effects of ethnographic storytelling in their efforts to learn about and understand market contexts.”

Julien Cayla is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Nanyang Business School; Research Fellow at the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight; and Visiting Professor, Euromed Management. Eric J. Arnould is Professor of Marketing, University of Bath, and Visiting Adjunct Professor, Southern Denmark University.

19 June 2013

New Ericsson report on needs of today’s smartphone and mobile internet users

unlockingconsumervalue

A new Ericsson ConsumerLab report, Unlocking Consumer Value, identifies the needs of today’s smartphone and mobile internet users.

“The rapid uptake of smartphones and other connected devices has transformed the mobile broadband landscape – shaping and broadening the way users work, play and communicate. When the uptake of smartphones begins to accelerate in a particular market, it is vital to differentiate between consumers based on what they prioritize in an offering, whether that’s unwavering performance or cost control and data usage.

This report outlines Ericsson ConsumerLab’s findings and details six different mobile internet target groups: the Performance Seekers, the Cost Cutters, the Curious Novices, the Control Seekers, the VIPs and the Devicers.

As an example, for Performance Seekers the interaction with the operator is less important and price is of medium importance while the device and the performance are of high importance. Cost Cutters, on the other hand, only prioritize the price.

The report can be used to help operators and developers better understand what is important to their users. This information can enhance overall consumer experience and loyalty by creating more value through relevant services and offerings.”

12 June 2013

A successful 21st century brand has to help create meaningful lives

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An enormous study of how consumers around the world interact with brands finds that only the companies that make life better for consumers create impactful connections.

For its second annual Meaningful Brands Index, Havas Media talked with more than 134,000 people in 23 countries about their impressions of more than 400 brands, from Apple to Goldman Sachs to Petrobras. They’ve found a rousing affirmation of last year’s findings: Brands that make life better are thriving. Brands that don’t are–slowly–being punished.

The Index features Google in first place, followed by Samsung, Microsoft, Nestle and Sony.

18 May 2013

Customers remember experiences, not content

Felix Baumgartner for Red Bull Stratos

To solve the issue with content marketing, we need to start looking at content as part of a broader ecosystem, argues Ben Barone-Nugent, a senior digital writer & content strategist at TBWA, in a Digital Marketing special in The Guardian.

“If we define experience as the beginning-to-end engagement with a brand, then content is simply part of the spectrum. […]

Digital content needs to be supported by great user experience (UX), solid digital strategy, attentive channel management and smart technology. To reiterate – it must be part of a system.”

11 January 2013

How research misses the human behind the demographic

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Deutsch’s Douglas Van Praet discusses how focus-group feedback, and the whole notion of the consumer, are misguided and how research should focus on understanding the unconscious and improving human lives.

“How [market] research studies are done is at sharp odds with what science now knows. The elephant in the room is that the vast majority of our decisions are made unconsciously. What is a no-brainer for any cognitive scientist remains mind-boggling to marketers. The conscious mind is simply not running the show, but we’ve created an entire industry pretending that it does.

Advertisers are doubling down on this myth, investing in exhaustive investigations of self-reported preferences, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. These deceptions become guideposts for product and campaign development. For $150 and a ham sandwich, panelists are drilled for hours in formal focus groups before two-way mirrors and cleverly concealed microphones that elicit groupthink and inauthenticity. The best become “professional respondents” glibly dominating groups on the topic du jour–from potato chip to microchip.

The problem is we’re profoundly social beings having spent 99% of our evolution relying on vital resources from tribal affiliates whose opinions mattered. Group rejection likely meant a death sentence. So it’s no surprise we still only put our best face forward while artfully maneuvering ourselves competitively in the pecking order.

The brain is designed to hide most of our intentions and promote self-confidence, an adaptive function that improves lives and prevents information overload. So we invent stories and believe our lies and confabulations. Social science experiments reveal that we are inherently self-righteous and consistently overrate our knowledge, autonomy, and abilities. We say advertising doesn’t influence us even though sales say otherwise. And we maintain these self-serving delusions when wired to a lie detector, which means we are lying to ourselves and not intentionally to the experimenters.

Douglas Van Praet is the author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing. He is also Executive Vice President at agency Deutsch L.A., where his responsibilities include Group Planning Director for the Volkswagen account. Van Praet’s approach to advertising and marketing draws from unconscious behaviorism and applies neurobiology, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral economics to business problems.

10 October 2012

Top 10 things still to fix in experience design

 

Here’s the view of Ray McCune, managing partner at Flow, on some of the peaks we still have to climb if experience design is to become a mainstream business discipline.

It’s quite excellent.

1. Targets and incentives within businesses must be aligned with long-term value
As long as business managers are incentivised only to deliver against short-term goals in narrow areas of business performance, companies will struggle to make significant improvements in their relationships with customers.

2. We need to stop designing experiences based on company structure
We’re already seeing a rush by individual business units within large organisations to launch their own individual mobile offerings, often with little thought for the overall experience.

3. The User Experience community needs to get out more
We are talking to ourselves more than anyone else. […] We need to seek out opportunities to speak with politicians, business owners, executives and managers on their own ground and use a vocabulary that resonates with them: tying UX to social benefit, improved business performance and new marketing opportunities.

4. Improve the user experience of boxed products
All too often the out-of-the-box experience offered by third-party products simply isn’t flexible enough to create a valuable, differentiated experience for customers.

5. Most digital agencies are charlatans
Ten years ago, few digital agencies had any user experience offering, so it should seem like progress that today the majority of agencies make the vocabulary of UX central to their pitch and their proposition. Or perhaps not.

6. Pitches are a uniquely bad way of finding a good design agency…
…but they remain a very good way of finding a bad design agency. The traditional pitch process is flawed because it requires agencies to begin the process of making decisions about creative ideas and complex interactions in the absence of insight and understanding.

7. NPS is a blunt tool
While Net Promotor Score (NPS) is good at telling a company what is happening, it’s less good at telling a company why. What influences advocacy is subtle, and NPS lacks the subtlety to help inform experimentation and optimisation of customer experience.

8. The cult of data
Even if data is infallible, the high priests interpreting the data are not. In almost every company we know, data analysts find patterns in the numbers and then guess at their meaning. That guesswork is passed up the line, sometimes to board level, but it masquerades as fact because its source is ‘the numbers’.

9. Still not enough investment in solving basic usability issues
While companies have increasingly employed usability testing to improve their sales and service processes there is still a clear tendency to act only on the issues which are easiest to fix.

10. Too much disrespect for customers
Henry Ford still gets quoted by people who want to marginalise the opinion of customers. There’s a lazy acceptance by many in business that user research is futile.

(via InfoDesign)

2 October 2012

Anthropological study by Google on our magic relationship with mobile devices

mobilemeaning

What is the emotional relationship people truly have with the mobile space and how they make meaning there? To answer this, Google conducted an anthropological study to gain a better understanding of how people feel about, relate to and find meaning in the mobile space, and how brands can engage their consumers in more emotionally resonant and impactful ways.

“We hired an anthropologist to interview dozens of ordinary mobile device owners and observe them as they interacted with their smartphones. The first thing we found is that the phone’s pocket size is anything but a flaw — in fact, it’s the key to understanding what it really means.

Anthropology teaches us that in every culture, miniatures possess the power to unlock imaginations. Whether it’s a dollhouse, toy truck, or some other tiny talisman, miniatures look and feel real, but their size gives us the permission to suspend disbelief, daydream, and play. Remember The Nutcracker? In between pirouettes, a toy nutcracker comes to life, defeats an evil mouse, and whisks the heroine away to a magical kingdom. That, in a nutshell, is the story we implicitly tell ourselves about our miniature computers — one of youth, freedom, and possessing the key to a much larger world.

“Because it’s in my pocket I somehow squeeze this time in for various things — and only because I think it just sits in my pocket,” one of our subjects told us.

The screens may be small, but they serve as gateways to the gigantic. We see this power manifest in insights gleaned from the anthropologist’s observations. Our mobile devices help us fully actualize our best self, or what we call the Quicksilver Self; they engage us to create a shared culture, the New Tribalism; and they help us to make sense of the physical world around us, an act we describe as Placemaking. Understanding the deeper levels at which individuals, customers, are finding meaning in mobile will enable marketers to put this powerful medium to its best use.”

Report by Think With Google

1 October 2012

Mass persuasion, one user at a time

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Nir Eyal writes how marketers are increasingly personalizing their products and services to meet their customers’ changing needs, and how customization used in conjunction with powerful persuasion techniques provides new weaponry to boost customer engagement and drive profits.

“Mass customization, of the kind used by Amazon to predict which products to offer based on past behaviors, is increasingly supplemented with “personalized persuasion,” whereby the psychological technique used to appeal to the customers is tailored to increase the intended action. Companies not only customize their experiences to give customers what they want, but they also keep tabs on users to present their messages exactly how the user wants it.”

Read article

Nir Eyal blogs about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business at NirAndFar.com. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Hooked: How to Drive Engagement by Creating User Habits.”

16 September 2012

Luxury brands need luxury retail experiences, even in the online space

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Jonathan Ross, business development director at FACT-Finder, discusses the steps luxury brands can take to ensure a more rewarding online retail experience for consumers.

“A recent study by McKinsey and Altagamma, the Italian association of luxury brands, appears to finally dispel the idea that online shopping is the preserve of discounted brands and shoppers looking to pick up a bargain. As far as the luxury category was concerned, there was a nagging suspicion that shoppers needed to experience a tactile relationship with their potential purchases in a way that could never be achieved online.

The McKinsey study surveyed more than 300 luxury brands, 700 websites and more than 2.5m online comments, including those on social media platforms. Digital sales are expected to reach about €15bn in the luxury market by 2016, but the survey also found that use of the internet by consumers for research and price comparison meant that about 15% of total sales in the luxury goods industry are directly generated by digital media. As much as a fifth of store sales (a market worth in the region of €34bn) is said to be directly influenced by the online experience.”

> Financial Times article about the Digital Luxury Experience report

5 August 2012

What marketing executives should know about user experience

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What marketing executives should know about user experience” is the title of a short and introductory piece, mainly aimed at marketing people, by Nick Myers, managing director of visual design & branding at Cooper (a design and strategy firm in San Francisco that I had the pleasure of visiting two weeks ago).

His central question is how marketers can connect customers and brands in the digital era, and direct their organizations to guide products that inspire lasting engagement.

The language and approach in this short article can provide guidance to all of us in the UX community on the kind of arguments we can use with the marketing executives whom we often face as (prospective) clients.

9 July 2012

Perspectives in experience design

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Milan Guenther, founding partner of enterprise design associates, explores the word “user” in “user experience”, and compares it to customer experience, employee experience and brand experience.

“For me, the word Experience in the context of Design work refers to the way people experience the world, and making everything we produce fit into their lives. The word preceding Experience is about the perspective you use when talking about someone’s experience, the roles and the scope you want to focus on. For an enterprise, this translates to the ways it chooses to appear in people’s lives.”

Read article

(via InfoDesign)

10 June 2012

Marty Kaplan: From Attention to Engagement (video)

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Barcelona Media, an interdisciplinary center of research and innovation, hosted Lear Center director Marty Kaplan to speak at its 10th anniversary celebration on March 6, 2012.

His talk was titled “From Attention to Engagement: The Transformation of the Content Industry.”

Digital technology has increased competition for audience attention, increased audience control of media, and fragmented the mass audience. But the same technology that threatens traditional business models is also providing new data streams and new ways to define, measure, and monetize audience attention. The media/entertainment sector, which traditionally has derived value from distribution, is finding new currencies to price advertising and discovering data mining as a profit center.

Kaplan, founding director of the Norman Lear Center for research on entertainment, media and society, explored the impact on the attention economy of new metrics for the audience.

Watch video
Download slides

Marty Kaplan was also a recent guest on the acclaimed Moyers & Company television interview programme, hosted by veteran journalist Bill Moyers. Kaplan talked about how big money and big media have coupled to create a ‘Disney World’ of democracy.

18 April 2012

Nest Thermostat: User-centered design is the best marketing

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I enjoyed the final paragraph of the Fast.CoDesign article on the second generation Nest Thermostat:

“Here’s a sense in which the Nest seems almost over-designed–all of this care for a one-time experience of screwing it in might seem excessive. But the fact is that user-focused design is also a form of good will–and a better sort of marketing than any ad could ever be. What happens if Nest starts creating all kinds of other products, for keeping track of your home or, hell, even managing your entertainment and utility bills? Consumers won’t forget the experience they had. And it will sell them on the next new thing.”