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Ten reasons NOT to commission market research: Part II

If you commission or conduct market research, then you really should read this post, which concludes the Ten reasons not to commission market research.

Last week I shared with you the first five of my ten reasons not to run a market research project. You can read it here if you missed it. Here are the remaining five reasons.

#6. When findings would not be actionable

If the information will just be “nice to know” but will not be actioned, and I have seen enough of those in my career, then you shouldn’t be running any research. This can happen when the objectives are not well defined, or when action needs to be taken, but no one knows what to do, so they decide to conduct some research.

Running a research project will certainly get people into action, but not necessarily in a relevant way and will anyway delay the required situation analysis that is more important to be undertaken.

#7. When market research is politically motivated

This situation can arise when a researcher is relatively young in his or her career and doesn’t feel confident enough to refuse a project. It can also be linked to a half-hidden requirement from the management concerning the outcome as well. This puts the researcher in the difficult situation of working on a project that will be ignored if it doesn’t confirm the boss’s opinion.

In these situations it is vital to agree upfront what actions will be taken based on the otucome, before the research is undertaken. In fact this is a good idea for all projects; review possible outcomes before the project starts and evaluate the consequent actions that should be taken. They might not be firmly agreed, but at least everyone will have had the chance to review possible outcomes and to think about their consequences, before the results are presented. It will hopefully open peoples’ minds and if this is not the case, well the project should not be run.

#8. When what is to be measured changes only slowly – or too fast

Everyone today underst ands the importance of measuring br and image, to underst and what their customer perceptions are of their offer and how it differs from what was intended. In most industries, unless there is a significant change in the market such as a powerful new competitor or communications drive, the images of the br ands will change relatively slowly over time – certainly more slowly than marketers would like. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to measure it more than bi-annually, or annually at most.

The same would apply to usage and habits in a market where very little is happening and customers rarely switch br ands or segments. In most of these cases, market research run in the last few months can often be sufficient for most assessments of issues and opportunities.

However, there is also the case where habits are changing almost daily, such as in a heavily discounted or promoted category. In these cases, it is best to either run  a continuous measurement and present rolling averages, or measure at the same time each year, accepting that it will be just a “snap-shot” of the true market’s reality at the moment of the fieldwork and will have already changed by the time the results arrive in many situations. Following trends and changes then becomes more important than the actual level at the time of measurement.

#9. When the information provider / institute is not “OK”

Many agencies have been around a long time and have built up solid reputations for high class, accurate data and information gathering. Newer agencies can be faced with a hard struggle to gain market share and a few are tempted to “cut corners” to be able to offer cheaper prices or shorter timings, in order to get the business.

I remember once discovering that an agency had in fact only run half the agreed number of interviews for which we had paid, and had then “weighted” every answer in the database during its analysis to show a larger base size. Unfortunately for the agency, we asked for the weighted and unweighted base sizes – which is always recommended to ensure there are not skews in the sub-samples.  This is how we discovered the deception.

Especially when budgets are tight or timing is too short, neither MR agencies not departments should be tempted to meet the dem ands of management by resorting to such practices.

#10. When the information already exists

This is linked to #1 mentioned last week; all projects should start with a detailed situation analysis during which time all current knowledge, information and underst anding are reviewed. In some cases it can just be due to laziness that a new study is asked, rather than taking the time to review the results of all previous market research surveys and analyses.

This completes my list of the ten reasons NOT to run a market research project. If everyone checks that none of them are the reason why they want to run a project before commissioning the work, it will ensure that resources are used correctly and both client and agency will be happy with the outcome.

Have another point you think should be on the list? Then please share it below.

If you would like to know more about underst anding your customers, please check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/underst and/  Or why not contact us today to discuss how we can help you optimise your own market research processes? No obligation, just opportunity!

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Ten reasons NOT to commission market research: Part I

If you commission or conduct market research, then this post is for you. It shares some of the reasons I have learned over the years for NOT doing research, but which are unfortunately still prevalent today. Here are the first five of my ten; are you guilty of any of them?

#1. When the issue / opportunity is not clear and the objectives are not well defined

Most organisations will have a briefing of some sort, written or oral, for each piece of research required. It usually includes the background to and the objectives of the research, which should be specified in terms of the opportunity or issue identified, as well as the relevant information and data already gathered and analysed. If it doesn’t include these basics, it might mean that someone wanted to know or underst and something and just thought research could quickly provide them with the answers. Wrong! The best studies come from a thorough situation analysis which should include a complete review of all current knowledge and past research findings.

#2. When the cost would exceed the value of doing the research

Following on from the above point, when requesting a study, if the objectives are well defined, then the decisions and actions resulting from the findings should be clear and therefore also the expected benefit of the information too. Thinking about how you will use the data and information gathered is one of the best ways to estimate the true value of it before it is gathered. If the decisions and actions to be taken cannot be clearly expressed, then the research results will be just “nice to know” and not “need to know”.

#3. When the budget is too small to do an adequate job

Most agencies would agree that clients often want a top-class work, but at a lower price than it would cost. Some clients even make a point of negotiating all prices downwards on principle, but their reputation soon goes before them and agencies start adding an amount that they will then remove in answering the client’s request for a cost reduction.

A second example of this aspect of cost is when a client wants to do some research but doesn’t have an adequate budget to cover it, so requests something “quick and dirty”. My recommendation would always be to refuse to get involved in such a project. If it is worth doing it is worth doing well, and a good agency will always work with the client to accommodate their needs as best they can within the budget available.

#4. When time is an enemy

How many times have you been asked to run a research project, but in fact the requestor is actually in need of the results – now?! As already mentioned in #3 if a study is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Today there are luckily more opportunities to reduce the time needed to run a study, using panels, the web, or by reducing the sample size or number of groups / regions. Again the best projects are developed as a win/win, with client and agency working together to deliver the highest quality results within the available resources of both time and money.

#5. When conducting the study would “tip off” the competition

This is a difficult situation to be in, as this is often a worry of management, especially when running research on innovation projects. Whilst it is a very valid concern, and a lot can be done to limit the risk, it cannot really be totally eliminated.

There is also the view that in many industries, all major companies are often working on very similar developments within a similar time scale, so competition is not likely to be surprised if they learn about your own efforts. The most important thing to do to reduce to a maximum the risk of tipping off the competition, is to ensure that people who work or have friends or family members working in relevant professions and positions, are eliminated at the start of the research.

Next week I will complete the list with the remaining five reasons not to do market research, but I would already like to know if you have been guilty of any of these and if so, what you did to correct the situation.

If you would like to know more about underst anding your customers, please check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/underst and/  Or why not contact us today to discuss how we can help you optimise your own market research processes? No obligation, just opportunity!

Please share this post with all your colleagues who you would like to help underst and why not all market research requests are approved!

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New Marketing is Here – Are YOU Ready?

I was recently asked to speak to some MBA students about what has and will change in the life of a marketer and what additional skills they must have to be effective today. Here is what I told them, but I would love to hear your own thoughts on this important question.

Marketing used to be considered one of the most creative parts of a business. Marketers were seen to arrive late in the office after what was assumed to have been another dinner with one of their agencies in one of the best restaurants in town. As if that image was not bad enough, they were also accused of going to fancy conferences in exotic places around the world that most employees only dream of visting. Whilst I am sure a (lucky) few had this lifestyle, the majority of us worked hard and late, and usually also put in hours at weekend to ensure promotions and events were successful.

Today marketers are challenged with a new world, a world where the customer is in control; where marketing is no longer (only) creative, and they are required to have many more skills to be successful, the following three in my opinion, being the more important:

1. Actionable Insight development

When a marketer needs information, he usually asks the marketing research department to run a study to gather the data. The results are presented and marketing takes a decision based on them – or not!

In many organisations today, the market research department has exp anded and now gathers information on the customer, the shopper, the competitor, in fact all areas of the market in general.

In the last ten years we have seen the growth of insight development, where multiple studies and other sources of data and information are integrated with internal knowledge to develop insight. Suddenly marketers not only communicate with, but now actively search out the opinions of their colleagues in R&D, operations, sales, purchasing etc when making a decision about how best to satisfy their customers.

2. Customer connection

Media choice until recently was pretty limited: TV, print, radio and outdoor – what is now referred to as traditional media. In addition, companies connected with their customers through their care centres, promotions, events and sponsorship. With the growth of the internet and social media, connecting with the customer has exp anded in possibilities, which makes the need for consistency not only more difficult, but also more important.

Customers expect to be able to choose where, when and how a company connects and communicates with them. They decide when to watch their favourite programs, often without advertising breaks, at an hour that suits them rather than at the programmed time and often not even on a television any more, but on a computer, tablet or mobile screen.

Marketers are therefore challenged to be available 24/7 for their customers and any frustration when this doesn’t happen is very quickly shared with the world at large.

3. Information integration

With the expansion of media comes also an explosion in information. According to IBM, 90% of data today did not exist two years ago and it is estimated to be growing at a rate of between 40% and 60% annually. This means that by 2015, there will be ten times more data than there is today!

It is not only the quantity of data that a marketer has at his disposal that is changing, it is also the nature of the data and the way that the value of it is extracted.

Structured data, describing what has happened amongst a sample of customers will be replaced by real-time, unstructured, external, predictive information that is or can be personalised. We are moving away from data mining to signal identification, and computers working with advanced analytics and with machine learning capabilities.

The New Marketing

So what do these changes mean for the marketer of today? Well product and br and managers will give way to people experts, who are no longer satisfied by data and information alone, but will dem and underst anding and insight. They will need to be comfortable with multi-sourced information where the customer is in control and pulls to them what they want, rather than accepting what marketers want to push their way.

The marketers creative skills will remain important, but will no longer be sufficient. They will need to get comfortable with the world we live in, which dem ands cultural sensitivity and real-time information integration and analytics. This will require that they become global thinkers, more flexible, technically savvy and comfortable taking rapid decisions as the market evolves.

Are you ready?

What do you see changing in the world of marketing today? Please let me know if you agree or disagree with my own thoughts.

For more about these three topics please see our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/

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5 Ideas on How to Present for Action not Boredom

Many of you in market research, information & planning functions, can clearly see what needs to be done to make your organisations more customer centric, but are frustrated that nobody seems to want to listen to you or make the changes you propose.

Having been in the same position myself, I also know that you fight a constant battle to bring these much needed transformations to the attention of management, but usually get blocked by negative reactions or even worse disbelief. If so, I hope you find inspiration in this post.

Last week I came across an inspiring – if long – video made by Sony Music about their segmentation work. Anyone who has run a customer segmentation will surely underst and that although the project itself can be quite complex, even daunting at times, it is nothing in comparison to the challenges you must face to introduce it to the organisation and to get them to action it.

In the video they speak of a number of ideas that they came up with to get the company to buy into the study and to make the adjustments in their customer approach that were identified by the results. If you haven’t yet seen it I would definitely do so to get inspired.

This made me realise that however complicated an analytics project might be, it is only if its results lead to action that it can be termed a success. Therefore I came up with the following five points to help bring change and action from all data and underst anding, be it from market research projects, trawling the web for information, or any other form of knowledge gathering:

#1. Don’t tell me what you’ve done

I know we all want to be believed and we think that sharing all the work we have done, the hours of analysis, the thous ands of interviews carried out etc will impress the audience. This can’t be further from the truth. Either the listeners already know what was done, or at least can find more information in the report, that you will no doubt provide at the end of the interview.

Instead, why not tell them what they need to do? What are the actions they need to consider to take advantage of the opportunity you have uncovered? Let’s spend time talking about ideas rather than information.

#2. Dump the data

Almost any gathering of data and information provides more knowledge than anyone can swallow at one time. Instead of sharing everything you have found, why not share only the small proportion that led you to the decisions and actions you are proposing? If people want more they will certainly ask and in general most people ask for less rather than more data in a presentation. Use their time for dialogue rather than a monologue!

#3. Dramatize by Visualizing

A picture tells a thous and words, so why do you continue to torture people with text and tables? Show pictures instead, or simple graphs at the very least, so that people will listen to you rather than analysing what you are showing, or reading the words on your slides.

One great example of this is the rise in popularity of Infographics; why not make one yourself and give it away at the end of the meeting, rather than sending a report? You can find some inspiring examples here.

#4. Do tell a story

Nothing is worse than drowning in data tables and never-ending information. Make a change by telling a story rather than showing graphs of the results and findings. Everyone likes a good story and what’s more they remember it. How often do people remember tables of data?

Sevendots, a C3Centricity partner, prides itself on storytelling in presentations and their clients have been known to retell the story to their colleagues afterwards and also to use the visualisation elements they saw. It is so much easier to remember a story than an analysis.

#5. Don’t give results give actions

Analysts love to drown us all in data and information, when what we are looking for are insights and actions. So instead of presenting results, why not develop insights and propose actions or changes that would answer the issues or opportunities that have been identified? This way everyone goes away with concrete ideas of what needs to be done, rather than a sore head from all the data and information. If you have followed tip 4 then this will be a natural conclusion as every story has an ending.

These are five ideas that I came up with to help the world move away from boring presentations to the more inspiring world of storytelling. Do you have any other ideas on how to make information sharing fun for everyone? I would love to hear about your own best experiences; how did you inspire your audience?

For more on knowledge sharing and presentations, do check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/underst and/

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How Smart Marketers lower their Cost per Lead Dramatically!

Are you worrying if you should allocate more of your lead generation budget to social media or company blogs?

 

Stop worrying! Read this article to learn how relationship marketing will lower you cost per lead – to keep you in business!

# Be noticed in an over communicated market

To take the subject of this article by the horns – relationship marketing. Why should you care about relationship marketing? As more and more people enter the social web and spend a lot of time on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ or LinkedIn, it’s getting harder for every marketer or entrepreneur to connect with their target audience. Simply, as the amount of content grows each day, the amount of lost content grows equally. So, how does your business get noticed on an over communicated social web?

Push marketing is outNot with one shot marketing messages! The old days of mass marketing PUSH messages are gone! Pushing your messages on the social web is like shooting arrows in the water; they don’t stick! Not you, but your receiving audience decides if your content is worth their valuable time. And if they value it high enough, they will most likely share it with friends.

As HubSpot says:

“…outbound marketing (businesses that push their messages at consumers) has become less effective as buyers have behaviorally and technologically (e.g., DVR, spam filters, ‘do-not-call’ lists) tuned these interruptive campaigns out!”

 

# Value your customers – focus on relationship first

Value your customersOkay, suppose you agree to put more effort in inbound marketing to pull your customers to your central hubs (website, local store, restaurant, et…). So, how do you get your audience attention – given that there’s so much noise out there pulling them each day!

Well, here’s a simple solution: create a REMARKABLE message. A message that people make a remark about! However, remarkable messages might get your business some viral visibility on a short term, it’s not a solid strategy for the long term.

Luckily you have an alternative: invest time and effort in building relationships with your audience. Keep doing that for a long time without expecting anything in return. Make them laugh or cry – wow or inspire. Share content that makes them coming back for more. The kind of content that reliefs their everyday worries, helps solve their problems or fulfills their dreams. After a while, when the relationship gets stronger – you’ll notice they even want to do business with you. Congratulations! You finally figured out how to lower your cost per lead dramatically.

 

Here are 3 simple action steps to change the course of your business today:

  1. start a business blog and/or increase the frequency of your blog posts to more than once per week (59% of companies consider their business blog “important to critical” for their business; HubSpot – The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing);
  2. dedicate most resources to social channels that have proven to be most effective in your industry (blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, etc…);
  3. know ‘the words’ your audience uses in their desperate search to solve their problems or fulfill their desires: optimize your content to increase your organic generated web traffic (Search Engine Optimization | SEO);

[According to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, businesses that follow these 3 action steps and dedicate resources to inbound marketing, lower their cost per lead with 50 to 60 percent!]

 

# Stick to Pareto’s Principle: 80 – 20

So, how do you lower the cost per lead even more? Here’s a simple and straightforward answer:don’t push yourself to serve every customer! Stick to Pareto’s principle  and you’ll do great: generate 80% of your sales with 20% of your customers. In other words: focus – focus – focus!

Think Niche marketing. If you focus on customers who value your weirdness (uniqueness), you most certainly will build a solid relationship. Every solid relationship thrives on passion. So, follow your intuition in the relationship and use your rational mind to track the results over time with solid KPIs (key performance indicators). Focus on those ‘weird’ customers that generate the highest revenue for your business.

Take away: if you want to stay ahead of your competition transform your marketing efforts to focus on relationship marketing! You’ll need creativity, empathy, smartness and a lot of focus to craft your social marketing strategy that thrives on solid relationships for your long term business success.

Please leave your reaction or question in the comment box below. I value my relationship with you icon smile

For more ideas on connecting with your customers, please check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage/

This post was first published on Felix Relationship Marketing on February 28th 2012

5 Steps from Market Research to Insight

How often do you attend a market research presentation at which the agency conducting the fieldwork makes a number of recommendations, which are then discussed? Every time I hope; if not, then perhaps you need to consider changing your agency.

Quite often a number of possible actions are discussed and the agency then leaves considering their job to be done; and everyone else goes back to their “day jobs”.

Caught up in the problems and opportunities of the daily routine, new findings or ideas are quite often quickly forgotten until the next need for information arises. Many companies regularly promote employees doing a good job, and no group seems to get more changes, more often, than the marketing teams. The problem with this is that every new br and manager or category director starts by asking some usually very valid questions about the market, the target customer, or the competition. The answer to such questions is then to run a market research study; and although the MR team hopefully mentions that a similar project was done in the recent past, the new marketing person will often claim that their needs are different or that the market has changed since their predecessor ordered the study, so a new one needs to be run.

Now this might be very true, but unfortunately in most cases, it is not. The market and its customers generally change much more slowly than marketing would like to believe or hopes. They believe that any positive changes have come from their (very recent) actions and not from previous work carried out before they arrived. Particularly when it comes to br and image and equity, changes are in general slow despite the promotions and communications planned over the year.

How do you stop this vicious circle of information gathering followed by inaction? How about starting with the end “in sight”?

#1. Defining the what and why

The business has a question about what is happening in the market or why. Rather than immediately briefing the market research group for a new piece of research, how about inviting them to run a workshop? Ask them to invite a number of people from different areas of the problem or opportunity identified. These might be from production, supply chain, sales, distribution, finance, operations, packaging or product development, in addition to marketing and insight teams. The objective is to get a team of people together with very different perspectives to set the framework of the question.

#2. Underst anding the what and why

When this group first meet, they should come prepared to talk about what facts and ideas they have about the topic, which should have already been pre-defined and mentioned in the invite. Ideally they should also have all had the chance to meet and spend time with the target customers in an appropriate environment and situation, relevant to the problem or opportunity previously identified. This will provide all participants with the most up-to-date view of current customer behaviour and opinions, which will serve as a precious background to the discussions held during the first workshop.

#3. Completing the information

Once all participants have had the chance to discuss the different pieces of information and perspectives, the market research and insight team should identify whether or not there is a need for further information before they start insight development. If this is the case, they agree with marketing what is needed and then conduct the information gathering in the most appropriate way.

#4. Developing the insight

The results of the additional information gathering are shared during another workshop and then the insight development process can start in earnest. Again the same participants as in the first workshop should be present, to continue to bring together all elements that might impact the deep insight development process.

#5. Identifying the actions

The final phase, which can often be completed in the same workshop as the insight development process, is the identification of appropriate actions. Having all interested parties discussing possible actions and agreeing on the most appropriate ones, ensures not only that they actually take place, but also that they are performed in a timely manner.

This may sound like a long-winded process, but I have seen it done in less than a day when the information was readily available, and within a couple of weeks when new information was gathered over the web. These group meetings are much more likely to deliver insight and actions than most other processes, as there is an agreed team responsibility.

Do you have a question or challenge about developing insights from information and knowledge? I am sure I can help; just contact me here and I’ll respond personally.

For more on Insight development, check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/underst and/

How do you turn information into insight and then into appropriate actions in the shortest and most efficient way? I would love to hear about your own winning processes.

C³Centricity sources images from Dreamstime.com

Knowledge Sharing and How to WOW!

Do you work in one of the many organisations that conduct market surveys, or in a department that provides information services internally, only to see your findings dismissed or even worse ignored? If so then maybe I can help you end this frustration.

Over my years working with companies in such diverse people-facing industries as Finance, CPG / FMCG, Leisure, Transport, Pharmaceuticals, Technology and Retail, I have noticed that they were all struggling with the one same area; that of turning information and knowledge, into underst anding and insight, and then actioning their discoveries. There were many reasons for this, sometimes even multiple reasons, but in the end I was able to help them to overcome this and to start taking the necessary actions that resulted in business growth. Let me explain how.

Insight development is often likened to an “Aha moment”; if insight is the Aha, then action has to be the WOW! And I know which most companies would rather have. Therefore I thought I would share with you the five ways I have found to be the most useful in wowing business to take the right action following a period of information and knowledge gathering:

#1. Simplification

One of the most common criticisms I hear of market research and insight people is that they remain in their own little worlds, almost preferring not to leave their offices and the safe haven of their computers, for the real world of business. As if this wasn’t bad enough, when they do “come out” they seem to prefer to speak in a language of statistics and psychology, appearing almost to like the fact that the rest of us don’t really underst and what they are saying.

Solution: If you want to share your findings and get management to back your recommendations, then you need to help them underst and what you are saying. Keep the presentations short, the slides if you are using them, to a minimum, and the “so what” rather than the “what” at the forefront of the presentation or discussion.

#2. Visualisation

Whether it is the 200 tables from a quantitative study, or the 200-word slides from a focus group, market research presentations can be deathly boring! It is said that a picture is worth a thous and words, and sometimes a million numbers! Use graphs and visualisation wherever you can, instead of words. However, this doesn’t mean graphing every number found and showing every cross-tab from every question asked. Visualisation can also mean showing pictures of users, the product or a diagram of how it is being used.

Solution: Infographics have become extremely popular in recent years for one very obvious reason; they make information interesting and attractive again. If you can’t develop an Infographic on the topic, at least ensure that your graphs replace and don’t duplicate your results and words. Use colour-coded dashboards to highlight trends and pictures wherever possible.

#3. Storytelling

History has relied on storytelling down through the ages for the transfer of information from one generation to the next. It is the most natural way for humans to share knowledge and ideas and technology has not replaced this, only enhanced it. However storytelling takes different skills than does analysis since it requires that the findings be shared in an appealing and attractive way. I am sure you agree with me that there are many great market research agencies, but not all of them are good at telling stories, but the best most definitely are.

Solution:  Knowledge that is shared as a story enables everyone in the company to underst and in the same way, the complexities of the customer, across businesses, departments and cultures. It is also a more engaging and memorable way to do so, than simply sharing numbers and graphs alone. Some of the best publicly available examples that you can see are on TED, where speakers must present in under 20 minutes and in most cases, they get their message across in much less than this. How much time would we all save if we made this a rule for all presentations? If nothing else, keeping things short brings more focus and a greater need for a clear story in the time allowed.

#4. Analysis Paralysis

When I was first starting in my career, being precise and correct was what I strived for, and luckily for me, it came naturally since I was born in the astrological sign of Virgo. However, over the years, I have learned that even when I was precise I wasn’t always right, so why get hung up on it? Today, I am just as comfortable working with gut-feelings and imprecision, as I am with precision and statistics. However, what is more important than anything, is to clearly lay out what has come out of all the analysis, data and knowledge; what it all means to the business and what actions must be taken.

Solution: This doesn’t mean I recommend you invent results, but I am suggesting that you don’t ignore findings because they are “only” 94% or 89% validated by statistical testing. If the result is substantiated throughout the analysis, then there is a pretty good chance it is right. Storytelling doesn’t come across too well if every sentence is qualified by a confidence interval or a comment about sample size.

#5. Watching and Listening

You are certainly going to tell it as it is – with the one reserve I just mentioned above – aren’t you? Well sometimes it is not enough. Even if you followed every interview and read every transcript, your audience most certainly hasn’t, so forgive them if they doubt what you are saying, especially if it goes against what they were originally thinking internally.

Solution: There needs to be more than just one person telling the story. I don’t mean to present in pairs, or worse, as the whole team that worked on the project (which I have actually once seen when the agency knew their results were not going to be popular!) but share what you have learned in a more interactive way. Which do you think is going to hit the message home more succinctly; reading “your product is too liquid” or seeing a consumer with the product falling off their fork, or between their fingers when trying to use it?

When possible, add some audio and video clips to a presentation. Not only do they bring your message to life, but they also add the reality of consumers’ lives to the business world – a life many of your audience will not in fact be living themselves.

If you use these five ways to improve your knowledge sharing, I am sure that you will find improved interest in and appeal of your presentations and discussions and a greater willingness to action your recommendations.

Do you have a question or challenge about knowledge sharing or improving your presentations? I am sure I can help; just contact me here  and I’ll respond personally.

Do you have other ways for sharing your information and findings that get the reactions and actions you are looking for? I would love to hear about your own successes, just add them below.

Please share this post and retweet it to your colleagues who might find it useful or may have their own stories to share.

For more information on knowledge sharing, storytelling and presenting, please check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/underst and/

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Essentials of Segmentation and some Simple Alternatives

All br ands and services need to choose a group of customers that they are going to satisfy, since it is impossible to satisfy everyone most of the time. This means that you need to make a choice and agree to ignore some of the category users you could appeal to, in order to totally satisfy your target customer.

Although this may sound counter-intuitive, segmentation is the only way to ensure you have the best possible chance to satisfy the needs of your targeted customers. 

 

Where to start

When deciding who to target, most companies conduct some sort of analysis. This can be as simple as identifying your users by what you observe, such as young men, or large families, or as complex as looking to appeal to those who value freedom and are looking for br ands that can provide or suggest this dream, which would come from a values and motivational segmentation. As already discussed in an earlier post on the 3 Rules of Effective Targeting, the deeper the underst anding of your target customer is, the more likely it is to provide you with a competitive advantage.

 

The MIDAS touch

Whatever method you use for segmenting and choosing your target customers, the results of your exercise of customer grouping needs to meet the following five conditions, known collectively as the MIDAS touch:

  • Measurable: The individual groups need to be clearly defined and quantifiable using KPI’s such as size, market share, value share
  • Identifiable: Each segment must have a distinct profile and each customer must be attributed to only one segment
  • Definable: Every cluster must be easy to describe and share with others, so that you have mutual underst anding of each of them
  • Actionable: The groups must be easy to identify, in order to be able to target your actions and communications to them
  • Substantial: The chosen segment must be financially viable to target, which means that it should in general be stable or growing, and durable over the long term

All good segmentations or clusterings will fulfil these five key conditions, so it is easy for you to evaluate the segmentation you are currently using to see if it is valid and robust enough. If it does not meet these conditions, then you will struggle to activate it and target your actions to your chosen group of customers.

Since underst anding your target as completely as possible is vital to the success of the business, I would suggest you review your own segmentation and decide how it can be improved. This may mean simply completing the information you have on each group, or may mean having to run a whole new segmentation exercise. However, it is definitely worth getting your segmentation and target customer choice right, as this forms the foundation for your br ands’ customer centricity.

 

A solution if you don’t have the time or money to do this

If you do not have the time, money, or expertise to run a detailed segmentation study, you can still make an informed decision based on simple criteria, and using an analysis similar to the Boston Matrix, first developed in the 70’s by the Boston Consulting Group. At the time it was created to help corporations analyse their business units and was based on market growth and relative market share. Today this scatter plot is used with various elements combined to make up the two axes. Whilst the criteria you use for each axis can vary, this simple method has the advantage of being able to be completed over time, as you get more information. Examples of the criteria that can be used are:

  • Attractiveness: Segment size, segment growth, segment value, competitive environment, fit to the company or br and
  • Ability to win: Product attractiveness to your customer, your distribution channels, your media mix, your reputation

Once you have positioned the different segments or groups of customers on the axes, you can easily see what needs to be done for each:

  1. Maintain: these are your core users as they are both attractive to the business and easy for the company’s product or service to attract them, so they need to be protected from competitors’ attacks
  2. Convert: these users can be attracted to your product or service but your ability to win them is currently low; you probably need to consider improving one of the elements of the mix to attract them
  3. Grow: your product or service can easily win these groups but perhaps they are not as profitable as you would like; review them from time-to-time or develop a different strategy to attract them
  4. Ignore: many organisations struggle to make the decision NOT to go after a group of category users, but if you have neither the product / service nor the segment size that would be profitable to you, why spend time, money and energy going after them?

 

Choosing the right group of customers to attract with your product or service is essential for business success, as is doing everything you can to underst and them as deeply as possible. Truly customer centric organisations excel at doing this; do you?

Need help in segmenting and identifying your target customers? Let us help you catalyse your customer centricity; contact us hereor check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage/

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