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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The real truth about market research? 

Here it is, in this dismissal of the validity of market research, from Denis Forman, British TV innovator who won an Emmy as executive producer of “The Jewel in the Crown”:  “It doesn’t tell you what people are going to like.  It tells you what they already like.”  Or perhaps not--market researchers may beg to differ. 

Can't market research be designed to accurately predict the future?  What about election polls?

-- Jeff Bogart 

11:15 am est          Comments

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How Well Do Companies Understand Tomorrow's Consumer?

A recent iBlog--ClipArt/One_size_does_not_fit_all--emergingmarkets--2--MC900439939.JPGssue of McKinsey Quarterly has an excellent article aboutBlog--ClipArt/One_size_does_not_fit_all--emergingmarkets--3--MC900365690.JPG the rewards that "emerging-market cities" hold for companies willing to understand the needs of consumers in those locales and how to market to them.  (See "
Unlocking the potential of emerging-market cities," Sept. 2012).  It reminds me of another McKinsey Quarterly article over a year ago that envisioned the possibility of a reduced role for equities in emerging markets because investors in emerging markets currently favor other asset classes.  "How the role of equities may shrink" (12/10/11).  In reacting to the earlier article, I blogged as follows:   

"Although there would seem to be no single, monolithic 'emerging market household,' it will be interesting to see whether and how observers come up with overarching similarities and then differentiate among various national economies and social groups when it comes to spending and psychographic categories."

I also noted: 

"Marketers and other social scientists may soon be spending as much time analyzing the habits of a new group of consumers as they did America's baby boomers.  The new group is the consumers of emerging nations--huge in size, huge in its potential expenditures on goods and services, and huge in its potential influence on societal values.  This group will take on increasing importance as the American baby boomers decline in numbers, the subsequent generations decline in wealth, and the American economy matures and wanes in relative importance."  

The current McKinsey article, by highlighting the desirability of understanding consumers in emerging-market cities, suggests that such focused analysis is now occurring--a burgeoning new market for market research.  See This ‘n That archives or click on http://www.bogart.cc/2011.12.01_arch.html . 

-- Jeff Bogart 

10:02 pm est          Comments

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Understanding Modern Media

One of the nicest overviews of how today’s media are structured is to be found at the bottom of the Institutional Investor website.  It distinguishes between content channels (aka “topics”) and media formats (aka “modes”).  It features them equally with publications/events (grouped together) and with advertising.  Of course, its publications/events are really brands or product categories; otherwise they would logically be placed under the Media Format category.  Events are joined with publications, because these days every publication or brand worth its salt is linked with a conference or other events, not only to provide visibility in support of marketing but also to generate additional revenue.  That’s because today’s Media Masters understand that media is about creating “community” among various audiences.   

All of the below categories and subcategories suggest touch points for public relations professionals (and reporters and journalists) seeking to engage (or in yesterday’s jargon “liaise” or “interact” or “intermediate” or “report”) .  That’s because today’s publisher (used here in the broadest sense to encompass every form of expression employing words, graphics, audiovisual, performance, and the rest of the senses) is much more than just a creator and distributor of print.  And of course as that implies, today’s media is much more than just news media.  And much more than the mass media (aka “traditional” or “mainstream media”) that is struggling to hold onto its audience and revenue stream). 
 Below are the main categories and some subcategories in the Institutional Investor setup.  Go to Institutional Investor for the rest.

-- Jeff Bogart 

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4:48 pm est          Comments

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crisis Communications Lesson From Hurricane SandyCommuter Rail Train

Crisis communications and social media executives may be interested in a recent New York Times story that contrasts how two government organizations used social media during a disaster to communicate with their publics.  One boosted its communications; the other apparently minimized or failed to engage in them actively enough, suggests the story "Social Media Strategy Was Crucial as Transit Agencies Coped With Hurricane."

The disaster was Hurricane Sandy, and the two entities were the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority's Long Island Rail Road (L.I.R.R.) and--aLIRR_map_svg.jpgcross the Hudson River from Manhattan--New Jersey Transit.  The former runs commuter trains connecting communities throughout Long Island, including Brooklyn and Queens, with Manhattan.  The latter runs commuter, light rail and bus systems, with operations in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York State.  The former upped its communications; the latter, apparently, did not.

See below to find which of the two agencies scored better with the public.

Keeping the public informed-and frequently-during a crisis is applicable not just to large, government authorities but to smaller, private organizations as well.  A tennis club with hundreds of members in the New York sTPlayeruburbs, badly damaged by Sandy, serves as a second case in point.  After the storm caused the facility to depressurize its tennis bubbles and flooded its clubhouse, its customers--including those who had booked seasonal court time and others who had prepaid for tennis lessons-fretted about whether they would get back the money they had paid many months in advance. They also wondered whether or not the facility had the financial resources to re-open and whether they now needed to find a new club at which to play. 

It took almost three weeks after the disaster before the facility's management  emailed members to assure them that they would receive rTPlayer__2efunds for missed time and, in subsequent emails, to set a specific target date for re-opening.  These emails also described the damage and the steps management had needed to take to assess the damage, plus the steps management would have to take before the club house and courts would be restored.  The description helped give the members some understanding of the extent of the problem and most likely built some sympathy for management.  However, after this flurry of emails, management again fell silent, leaving members again to wonder what was happening and whether management's timetable was being met.  Then as if to rub salt in sore wounds, members began receiving emails from another club suggesting that they should consider playing there and offering free court time the first time they played. 

"If there is one lesson transit officials have learned from Hurricane Sandy," says The Times' report, "it is that in the Internet era, keCommunicator_at_Deskeping riders up to date is just as important as tracks and rolling stock."

That same lesson applies to private organizations, as well.  Disaster opens the door to the competition.  Lack of communication during the crisis and its aftermath opens it even wider. 

PS-It was the L.I.R.R. that did the better job, according to the article inThe Times.

-- Jeff Bogart 


3:26 pm est          Comments


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