“Like it or not, the digital world has changed at a wicked pace, and more and more interactions between companies and their customers now happen via an interface. Software serves us everywhere, and the user experience now shapes these interactions every day. At the center of all this change sits the brand. TV and print advertising now regularly feature digital experiences from the likes of Apple, Google, Toyota, GE, and Amazon. The visual interface has become the new face of your brand. [...]
The question has become: How can marketers connect customers and brands in the digital era, and direct their organizations to guide products that inspire lasting engagement?”
Posts in category 'Marketing'
This month we… browsed a virtual supermarket
Robert Bain explores a simulated supermarket used to research products and store designs.
Behind the sofa
Simon Lidington thinks researchers have forgotten the art of conversation. Turns out all you need is a sofa, a video camera and some cool interactive transcript technology to get people talking.
Slow down! You move too fast
Attempts to curb speeding on the roads usually involve a mix of scary messages and the threat of fines or driving bans. But behavioural economics is starting to be applied to this social issue in creative ways, says Crawford Hollingworth.
Mobile research: No time like the present
Jay Pluhar of research software and services provider MarketTools says that when it comes to adopting mobile research techniques, fortune will favour the brave.
Crafting the UX of REI’s retail experience
by Samantha Starmer
Video interview (with text transcript) on the strategy, techniques and thinking behind translating REI‘s warm, hand-crafted in-store experiences into the digital space.
Customer Experience Nirvana: How UX and marketing are set to increasingly collaborate
by David Moskovic
Article examines how UX and marketing can collaborate to manage digital touchpoints and to build the next generation of customer engagement.
These agencies, he says, do not come at user experience from an honest place. “Ad agencies, in particular, are soulless holes, the precepts of whose business runs wholly contrary to good user experience practice.”
Read article (and make sure to also read the more than 70 comments so far)
“We see that content strategy goes beyond just the preserve of the digital specialist. We need to call on the insight into consumer behaviour brought by the ‘traditional’ planner; the detailed understanding of connection and effect, through data; the appreciation of consumer mental models and demands through search; and the subtleties of the social specialist to build a framework for interaction.”
Openness or how do you design for the loss of control?
Openness is the mega-trend for innovation in the 21st century, and it remains the topic du jour for businesses of all kinds. However, as several new books elaborate upon the concept from different perspectives, and a growing number of organizations have recently launched ambitious initiatives to expand the paradigm to other areas of business, Tim Leberecht thought it might be a good time to reframe “Open” from a design point of view.
100,000 Twitter followers and why it matters
@frogdesign passed the 100K Twitter mark recently. [...] Sometimes, [Sam Martin and his] marketing team are asked both inside and outside the company, “How are you doing this?” [They] even still get the question, “Why are you doing this?” They are necessary questions, and, of course, it’s not possible to point to one thing or effort or measurement when talking about either. Based on [their] experience over the past year, here are a few thoughts on the matter.
The following quote could also be the motto of this Putting People First blog: “Twitter is a reminder of the responsibility we have to be thoughtful curators of relevant news, trends, and debates, even when those debates involve our competitors.”
Great work, froggers!
“The practices that consumers have adopted in response to the economic crisis ultimately could — as a raft of new research suggests — make them happier. New studies of consumption and happiness show, for instance, that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects, when they relish what they plan to buy long before they buy it, and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses.
If consumers end up sticking with their newfound spending habits, some tactics that retailers and marketers began deploying during the recession could become lasting business strategies. Among those strategies are proffering merchandise that makes being at home more entertaining and trying to make consumers feel special by giving them access to exclusive events and more personal customer service.”
Dan is also professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University Fuqua School of Business and visiting professor MIT The Media Laboratory.
“If the decision environment plays a big role in what people end up choosing, it’s important to model or represent the decision environment. To the extent that conjoint analysis correctly represents decision environments that people use when making particular decisions (when people consider different computers they look at the whole profile: resolution, memory, hard drive space) then it’s a good method. But to the extent that it uses different decision-making processes then it’s not accurate and can actually be misleading.”
“The focus on brand and control of the user experience is an attempt to avoid the above commoditization and irrelevance of artifact, and it references a dated model of dominance – one where a company produces something for a person to consume. This is the McDonalds approach to production, where an authoritative voice prescribes something and then gains efficiencies by producing it exactly as prescribed, in mass. The supposed new model is to design something for a person to experience, yet the allusion to experience is only an empty gesture. An experience cannot be built for someone. Fundamentally, one has an experience, and that is experience is always unique.
Interaction design is the design of behavior, positioned as dialogue between a person and an artifact. A person commonly doesn’t talk to an object; they use it, touch it, manipulate it, and control it. Usage, touching, manipulation and control are all dialogical acts, unspoken but conversational.”
Jon Kolko is an Associate Creative Director at frog design. He has worked extensively in the professional world of interaction design solving the problems of Fortune 500 clients. Prior to working at frog, Kolko was a Professor of Interaction and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, sits on the Board of Directors for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), and is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of interactions magazine, published by the ACM. Kolko is the author of Thoughts on Interaction Design, published by Morgan Kaufmann, and the forthcoming text tentatively entitled Exposing the Magic of Design: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis, to be published by Oxford University Press.
“The Times interactive team has been creating path-breaking experiments in infographics and interaction design. All of which are now collected in its terrific new Innovation Portfolio.
The pieces called out on the site–each of which is represented by a bubble–range from infographics of public sentiment (“What on word describes your mood”) to ultra-polished interactive features, which elegantly summarize massive feature stories.”
And apparently, the site was designed to inspire conversations about how to apply immersive storytelling techniques to… the advertising process.
“The online SIM-only offer called giffgaff will aim to capitalise on the trend towards online content creation. The company says the more a customer gets involved, the more they will be rewarded with cheaper calls and texts.
For instance, members will be rewarded for referring the service to a friend or relative, creating user-generated marketing, or voting on business decisions.”
“Anybody who is honest about consumer behavior knows that often what we buy is not simply some thing but some idea that is embodied by that thing. “Conceptual consumption” is the name given to this practice in a recent paper with that title by Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University (and author of the book “Predictably Irrational”), and Michael Norton, an assistant professor of marketing at the Harvard Business School, in The Annual Review of Psychology. Their notion has various subsets, one of which is the consumption of goals.”
by Dan Ariely (Duke University) and Michael I. Norton (Harvard Business School)
Annual Review of Psychology 2009. 60:475–99
As technology has simpliﬁed meeting basic needs, humans have cultivated increasingly psychological avenues for occupying their consumption energies, moving from consuming food to consuming concepts; we propose that consideration of such “conceptual consumption” is essential for understanding human consumption. We ﬁrst review how four classes of conceptual consumption—consuming expectancies, goals, ﬂuency, and regulatory ﬁt—impact physical consumption. Next, we benchmark the power of conceptual consumption against physical consumption, reviewing research in which people forgo positive physical consumption—and even choose negative physical consumption–in order to engage in conceptual consumption. Finally, we outline how conceptual consumption informs research examining both preference formation and virtual consumption, and how it may be used to augment efforts to enhance consumer welfare.”
A shorter article on the same theme and by the same authors can be found on the Harvard Business Review.
The Jan-Feb issue contained a very strong piece by Lance A. Bettencourt on giving customers the proper role in the innovation process by forming correct beliefs about their needs.
“Vague, solution-tainted requirement statements have led practitioners and academics alike to believe several myths about the nature of customer needs. Based on our experiences with companies across a variety of industries, my colleagues and I have identified five myths that have a particularly pernicious effect. Like all myths, they have a basis in reality, but their unquestioned acceptance as truth is leading many companies astray—leading to wasted resources, disjointed innovation executions, missed growth opportunities, and product concepts that miss the mark with customers. It’s time to expose each myth and reestablish a proper valuation of customer needs in the strategy and innovation process.”
Read full story (pdf)
(via Ralf Beuker)
Context-Based Research Group, an ethnographic research firm with a global network of consumer anthropologists, and Carton Donofrio Partners, a marketing firm in the Mid-Atlantic, today unveiled key findings from their research report, entitled, “Grounding the American Dream: A Cultural Study on the Future of Consumerism in a Changing Economy.” The study portrays a society weathering the early stages of a traumatic event, maps the changing consumer landscape, and provides insight into the transition while detailing business implications.
Based on ethnographic research conducted in October and November in New York City; Baltimore; Miami; San Antonio, Texas; and Lexington, Kentucky, the team identified a five-stage process consumers are undergoing as they struggle through a major cultural transformation. The process explains how they’re coping and rebuilding their lives amidst the faltering “American Dream.” The team then developed a business brief offering suggestions for companies in various industries working to navigate this new terrain.
Yet these concepts are not at all the same, and share only superficial similarities.
Case in point is this article from Marketing Daily. Some excerpts:
Combining [qualitative and ethnographic] research, data analytics and sales engagement is a proven approach to building actionable personae that informs hyper-targeting and hyper-messaging for optimal campaign results. [...]
The best marketers listen to what audiences think and feel about the brand’s products and services. Smart brands collect and use this learning to build brand promises that are both different from competitors and optimally relevant to the customers they want to attract. [...]
A radically customer-centric approach helps identify the likely highest yielding channels through better understanding how customers collect information about competitive products and services. [...]
The best technology marketers understand that radical customer-centricity results in more efficient, effective, revenue-generating marketing campaigns.
It is a distressing article that doesn’t contain a word about the value of the products and services themselves.
Frankly I am appalled that this old and dated premise – first you develop a product, then you market it – is still so much alive.
User-centred design is just about the opposite: first you understand the “market”, then you develop the product or service based on this understanding. If you do it that way, the actual “marketing” becomes a piece of cake, as products and services are conceived from end-user needs to begin with.
UPDATE: Apparently, I started a controversy.
by C. Russell Brumfield
Quimby Press, Hardcover, June 2008
Secretly, scores of Fortune 500 companies, like Proctor & Gamble, Disney, Bloomingdales, Lexus, Reebok, Sony, Samsung, and Starwood Hotels, have been using aroma to bypass their competition.
These cutting edge companies are using scent research to trigger and enhance customers’ emotions, perceptions, and brand loyalty, resulting in increased sales and satisfied customers.
Whiff! conveniently pulls back the veil for the rest of the $3.9 trillion U.S retail marketing trade, so that innovative small and mid-sized businesses can share the advantage of the big boys.
Yet this is only the beginning stage of the scent revolution. This global wave is changing how branding and marketing experts communicate with their customers at every level across every industry.
Whiff! reveals how exciting new scent discoveries are being applied to safety, security, healthcare, navigation, diagnostics, product design, and even on the battlefield. With a comprehensive overview of this global phenomenon, Brumfield and his team offer up a breath-taking whiff of the future.
“Consumers have always used — or misused — products however they see fit. And they’ve always shared their discoveries (that Hellmann’s mayonnaise, say, works as a hair conditioner), albeit in limited ways. But when it comes to products these days, the ubiquity of blogs and online inquiries means people are increasingly going public with alternative uses.” [...]
“The question for marketers, then, is whether or not to promote these uses — and if you do promote them, how not to undermine the products’ established strengths.”
(via Fallon Planning)
The article’s premise intrigued me but it was a disappointing read. Gourvennec just presents the typical and tired argument that user-friendliness is subjective and personal [really?], so you can’t really measure it [no?], and therefore you can’t study its impact on sales and revenues.
Anyway, he says, there are many examples of difficult to use products which have become big commercial successes.
For a site that deals with “visionary marketing”, some more vision would be helpful.
The book, which has the tentative title “Future High Tide of High End” and will be published by Wharton School Publishing, provides a socio-cultural and people-centred understanding of the concept of luxury — more specifically prestige products for the masses (which they call “High End”) — with the aim of delivering insights and guidance for future business development in this sector.
Made possible by about seventy conversations, contributions and interviews with industry experts, thought leaders and opinion makers, the book is quite unique in its approach, and bound to become a must-read for anyone conceiving, developing and marketing higher-end consumer products and services.
A focus on the intersection of social trends, designer visions, and deep people understanding, allows the authors to propose a series of original insights, including a new, experience-based concept for the future of the industry, as well as a toolbox from which to create and understand new “High End” product and service offerings.
To understand what the soul of the High End is going to be in the near future, the authors also introduce an experimental method, the Rule Developing Experimentation (RDE) — with people having to evaluate pairs of future scenarios, with those data then statistically analysed to find out which underlying ideas are the real drivers. They then present the results of an original experimental study based on this method, that was conducted in four countries (US, UK, China and Italy) with more than 500 end-users, all from somewhat higher income brackets.
The book, which is currently in advanced editing (partly on the basis of our feedback), is bound to be published before the end of the year. The authors told us they will soon publish some more material on their website (such as an abstract, a table of contents, a sample chapter, etc.), so that also our readers can contribute their own insights and suggestions.
A small endnote is one of pride: this is the first public piece on the upcoming book. Marco said he would be happy if it came from his hometown (Torino, Italy) and so are we.