Posts Tagged ‘market research’

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

May 8, 2020

THIS WEEK AT HOME – As many of us continue to shelter at home, here are a few more marketing tips and research thoughts. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

ARE YOU READY TO REOPEN?

What reopening challenges will you be facing? Will people feel secure in going into your business? Many of these questions can be answered by research. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is a great time to do online research. People are home, bored, online a lot, and have the time to share their opinions. We are exploring many of these issues right now with studies we are doing for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs). Contact me if you have interest in your own study.

HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW

Numerous research studies are showing a major change in consumer media habits due to the COVID-19 lockdown. There has been a major increase in viewing online news and local broadcast TV. Increased demands on streaming services have led YouTube and Netflix, among others, to reduce video quality in an effort to reduce bandwidth usage. Whether these habits are long-lasting or temporary remains to be seen. Do not assume these habits will remain once the world opens up. Old media habits are hard to break.

WILL YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS RETURN?

As someone that helped create the first frequent flyer program, I want to urge you to protect and reach out to your frequent user members if you have a program. With airline travel down 95% or more, many airlines and hotels are giving members an extra year to accumulate the points that result in free upgrades, breakfasts, club access and other perks. Delta, American, Southwest, United and Alaska Airlines have all announced status extensions into 2022.

Major hotel companies are also ensuring their most valuable customers keep their perks. Hilton Honors elite status is extended through March 2022; Marriott Bonvoy through February 2022; and World of Hyatt’s tier membership is extended through February 2022. The companies are also delaying the expiration of earned rewards — like suite upgrades, club access and free-night certificates — to the end of 2021.

So, if you have a program, what are you doing to make sure your most loyal customers still see value in your program and will return once it is safe? Definitely worth a discuss and a plan.

THANKS, BUT NO THANKS

One sign of Americans’ anxiety about the virus: Even in some states that have started to reopen, many people have said, in effect, no thanks. In Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina — all states that have removed some restrictions — there has been little increase in the number of small businesses that are open or the amount of time people spend at work, according to an analysis by economists. Consumer spending has risen, but not by much more than in states that remain shut down. Mental health will be far more difficult to rebuilt than physical health.

NO SURPRISE HERE

The sharing economy—sharing cars, homes, and anything else you can think of – is not faring well in the pandemic. Uber is planning $1 billion in cost cuts, including reducing marketing and cutting staff 14%. Lyft’s cost-cutting efforts will lower expenses $300 million this year. And home sharing services (VRBO, Air b&b, HomeAway, etc.) are all looking at months before they are acceptable to virus concerned travelers.

Stay Safe. Stay Health. Stay Positive.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

April 28, 2020

THIS WEEK AT HOME – As many of us continue to shelter at home, here are a few more marketing tips and research thoughts. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

GOOD TIME FOR RESEARCH?

It may seem counterintuitive, but this is a great time to do online research. People are home, bored, using the internet a lot, and have plenty of time to share their opinions. Here are three more reasons you should be doing research right now:

REMIND PEOPLE YOU ARE ALIVE AND WELL – Let your people know that even during this time of social distancing you are thinking of them… that you care about their safety and look forward to their return.

SHARE A POSITIVE MESSAGE WHEN PEOPLE NEED IT THE MOST – Reassure everyone that even during this period, you are preparing to welcome them back. A survey is a nice way to invite them to tell you more about how you can do a better job of meeting their needs in the future.

STRENGTHEN BRAND LOYALTY – People love to talk about themselves. That is why customer surveys increase engagement and loyalty. By telling people they have value by asking for their opinions is a great way to build your brand.

We are doing several studies right now. We are gaining some great insight into post COVID-19 behavior. Contact me if you would like to explore conducting research. It is cheaper than you think.

ZOOMING IN ON COMPETITION

Family and friends have made Zoom a household word. The video communications firm has seen their usage go from 10 million to 200 million. Yes, they have experienced a host of video quality and security issues (Zoombombing), but their stock price is up 142%. It is no wonder that the elephants in the room have made them a target. Last Friday, Facebook announced a new service called Rooms that would let their 1.6 billion daily users run video gatherings for up to 50 people. Google has added a new viewing option for its Meet service that mimics Zoom’s popular Gallery View (pictures of everyone in the group chat). And Microsoft is adding new video capabilities to its Teams platform. I predict that video connecting will decline a bit once we are open, but it will become a part of our new normal. So, ask your kids how to use it!

THE NATIVES ARE RESTLESS

Native ads are ads that look like stories. I recommend them often to clients. The internet’s two largest content-recommendation firms, Taboola and Outbrain, both generate “promoted stories” and “around the web” sections that appear next to articles and videos online, including sponsored content and native ads. They typically use click baiting headlines like “The Best Way to Stop a Barking Dog (It’s Genius)” and “She Had No Clue Why the Crowd Started Cheering.” The Justice Department is now examining whether a deal to merge the two will hurt competition in a product that generates significant revenue to publishers and ads that marketers use because they have a much higher click thru rate than banner ads. Stay tuned. The world of native ads is about to change dramatically.

NOT IN THE SAME BOAT

Its popular today for COVID-19 marketing to echo the message, “We all in the same boat.” Not true. Yes, we are in the same storm, but every boat is different. If you are a retiree, your boat is pretty much the same as it was before the lock down (assuming you have time for your portfolio to bounce back). If you are in the 1% boat, you are fine too. America’s billionaires have increased their wealth in less than a month by $282 billion. But if you are in the lower-income boat, PEW Research reports that roughly half in this boat report that they or someone in their household has lost a job or taken a pay cut, compared with 43% of all U.S. adults. And only 23% say they have emergency funds that would keep their lower-income boat afloat for three months. So be kind, there many be a lot of people that are in boats not has shipshape as yours.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK

October 31, 2019

THIS WEEK – Here are a few marketing tips and research thoughts. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

BIG SPLASH, LITTLE RIPPLES

As you heard, Twitter is banning political advertising, taking the opposite position of rival Facebook. The timing of Twitter’s announcement, minutes before Facebook posted its quarterly results, highlighted the two companies’ diverging positions. “Paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle,” stated Twitter’s Mr. Dorsey.

Now, it’s kind of easy to make a “big announcement” when it really doesn’t impact your business. Political ads represents a small portion of Twitter’s overall $2.11 billion annual Ad revenue. Marketing lesson: You can grab headlines by making statements that really don’t impact your business. On the other hand, I do believe that online political ads will be a giant issue in 2020.

LOVE BEER AND WINE, SKIP THE SMOKES

Just finishing up our Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Website Study #6. Since 2012 we have been working with various DMO’s to learn more about the people that go to travel websites. We added a question last year to find out how important Oregon’s wine, beer and cannabis industries are to visitors. Craft beer and wineries (in that order) are VERY IMPORTANT to visitors. Both are far more important than purchasing cannabis on vacation. The full study will be released in November. If you would like to participate in Study #7, contact me and I will share how you can be a part of this low-cost study. 

APPLE ENTERS THE BATTLE

Tomorrow (Nov 1st) Apple plans to launch the Apple TV+ video service, its contender in the battle for people’s streaming dollars. Apple TV+ is slated to start with nine programs. But that is just the beginning. With $100-billion cash hoard and fat profit margins Apple can afford the costs of developing and distributing new content. With 900 million iPhones and 500 million Apple gadgets in use, they have an enormous built-in base of potential TV+ customers. So, pop quiz, I am curious how many people are now paying for streaming and what service? Please leave me a comment.

LESS TARGETING COMING TO FACEBOOK

I used Facebook (sponsored posts) often for my clients because you can really target audiences by demographics and interests. But Facebook has now removed age, gender and ZIP code targeting for housing, employment and credit-related ads as part of a settlement with advocacy groups and other plaintiffs.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

When something is working, most firms double down on it. That is not always a good idea. The auto industry is a good example of this. The Wall St. Journal reported that the number of crossover and sport-utility models has steadily climbed from 70 (2014), to 96 (2018) and is expected to rise to 149 models by 2023. “This is a very significant trouble spot for the industry,” said John Murphy, an auto analyst with Bank of America. “The pendulum is swinging too far in the other direction.” If trends continue, he estimates the profit premiums auto makers have long enjoyed on these models will fall, eventually matching the lower margins now earned on sedans. Marketing lesson: What worked in the past does not always work in the future. What changes in your product or marketing are you planning for 2020?

Until next time, thanks for reading. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

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THIS WEEK AT POWERSHIFT MARKETING – NOTES

July 8, 2019

THIS WEEK (JULY 8-14) – Took a bit of a break to move and sell a home… but I am back. Here are a few marketing tips and research thoughts for this week. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

IS THE FAMILY VACATION DISAPPEARING?

As family vacation season hits its full stride, you need to be aware that research (including ours) reveals that the percent of people traveling with kids is declining. The number of young Americans who are single, now more than half (according to a study released recently) has reached its peak since at least the 1980s. It has drastically increased in just the past 15 years. That’s according to data from a General Social Survey that showed in 2018, 51% of Americans ages 18 to 34 said they didn’t currently have a “steady partner,” up from 33% in 2004. How much do you know about your current customer? Give us a call, we can help.

BUSINESSES NOW NEED TO MONITOR TEXT MESSAGES

Messaging apps aren’t just for friends and family anymore. People are using them to communicate with businesses too, doing everything from learning about a business to making a purchase. According to Google research, more than 66% of people who use text messaging say they have messaged a business in the past three months. Why?

  • Convenient. Messaging gives customers the flexibility to reach out and respond on their own time.
  • Simple. Messaging is a communication channel that is familiar to people and intuitive to use.
  • Personal. Messaging allows you to connect one on one with customers.

THE STATE OF DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Ad spending is increasing, and it should grow 19% this year. But only 8% of people remember seeing an ad that is relevant to them in a given moment. Even more significantly, 30% of internet users are expected to be using ad blockers by the end of this year. That is why we are running more and more native ads. If you are not using these online ads, we can help set up a program for you.

GENDER NEUTRAL AIRLINES TICKETS ARRIVE

I’m sorry, but this whole bathroom debate about who can go where, is just humorous to me. Let’s face it, most of us grew up in gender neutral bathrooms. Of course, my big sister and I never really liked sharing our Jack and Jill bathroom, but it was no big deal. Airlines have offered gender neutral bathrooms forever. But now, the airline industry has final come to its senses and are now offering gender-neutral tickets. You can identify yourself as M (male), F (female), U (undisclosed), or X (unspecified) as well as selecting ‘Mx’ as a title. Just one more thing you have to worry about when traveling, how are you going to identify yourself?

Until next time, thanks for reading. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

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POWERSHIFT MARKETING THIS WEEK #3

February 4, 2019

THIS WEEK (FEB 4 TO FEB 8) Here are a few marketing tips and research thoughts for this week. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

SUPER COMMERCIALS?

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. Kind of the Oscars for TV commercials. Although I personally thought the game was boring, I lost interest by half time, hard-core football fans probably loved it. Now comes the big questions. Did anyone remember the commercials? Is paying $5 million for a TV spot worth it? While I gathered up research of what ads scored the highest with consumers, what was your favorite? Please leave a comment on what commercials you liked.

ARE YOU PLANNING FOR THE RIGHT FUTURE?

I had an interesting discussion with the marketing head for a visitor attraction in Southern Oregon that saw their business drop 50% because of summer fires/smoke. Unfortunately, they were not alone. In fact, two straight summers of fires impacting visitor counts are forcing many to rethink their long-term business model. Why? Because it may not get better. Hot and dry summers with fires could be the new normal, according to Oregon State’s Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. They released their 2019 climate assessment report last week, and Philip Mote (co-author of the report) offered this pessimistic view of the region: “Southwest Oregon is sort of a ground zero for a lot of this with the many recent years with poor snowpack and fires and smoke.”

So, will you ever see the level of business that you had in the past? Tough question. But it is the kind of question you and your team need to be asking yourselves as we head into 2019. From the Oregon Shakespeare Festival looking at alternative venues for their outdoor theater, to local businesses looking to acquire businesses outside the area for growth, to realtors seeing fewer people willing to move into the area, this is the time for serious long-range planning. If you haven’t done a SWOT analysis, you should. If you need help in using this proven planning tool, conducting market research, or help in running a long-range planning session, give us a call. We can help. Time is running out.

WHAT GENERATION OWES $86 BILLION IN STUDENT DEBT?

Surprise, it’s people 60 years and older. Older Americans are being crushed by a mountain of student loans—their children’s and their own. Many of these seniors took out loans to help pay for their children’s college tuition and are still paying them off. Others took out student loans for themselves in the wake of the 2008 recession, as they went back to school to boost their own employment prospects.

On average, student loan borrowers in their 60s owed $33,800 in 2017, up 44% from 2010, according to data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by credit-reporting firm TransUnion. Total student loan debt rose 161% for people aged 60 and older from 2010 to 2017—the biggest increase for any age group, according to the latest data available from TransUnion.

GATHERING DATA IS ONLY THE FIRST STEP

As a marketer, one of your main priorities is getting to know your customers and building relationships with them. As reported by Thinking with Google, this may look easy. Customers in a digital world generate rivers of data. But making sense of the data isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. Sometimes there’s just too much of it. Filtering out the noise to find what matters can be a challenge. Other times, it’s hard to connect the dots. To discover the right insights, it takes quality data analysis. That is why clients turn to us. Using the analytic skills of our VP/Director of Research Dr. Nicholas Lougee, our team can help you review your data and find the marketing insights that you need for growth. Let’s talk.

PREDICTIONS ARE TOUGH

So much for one of my 2019 predictions that Facebook may see a decline in growth. Well, they ended 2018 full of controversy and unflattering stories, but they reported 9% more monthly active users worldwide than a year earlier and 1% more in the U.S. and Canada. So, there is no evidence of mass defections. But it does show that Facebook growth is now being powered by worldwide use. And if marketers were going to delete Facebook, they weren’t going to do it before consumers did. Revenue growth slowed in the 4th Quarter, but ad growth was still 30% higher.

NEW SERVICE

Just another pitch for my new proofing and editing service. Check it out here.

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POWERSHIFTING NOTES THIS WEEK – JAN 28-31

January 28, 2019

POWERSHIFT MARKETING – THIS WEEK – Here are few marketing tips and research thoughts for this week. As always, contact me if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover.

NEW SERVICE – Just another pitch for my new proofing and editing service. Check it out here.

DON’T ACCEPT DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS? It could be time to rethink this approach. The all cash society is definitely on the way out. Roughly 29% of U.S. adults say they make no purchases using cash during a typical week. People who say they make all or almost all of their weekly purchases using cash has decreased to 18%, according to Pew Research. Some businesses are now thinking of becoming cashless establishments. Is this something you should consider? We can help with research to learn if this is wise for your business.

ARE TAXIS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES? The share of Americans who use ride-hailing services has increased dramatically. Today, 36% of U.S. adults say they have used a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft, compared to 15% in late 2015.

MORE INSIGHTS INTO GEN Z – Last week, after I predicted that marketers will need to understand Generation Z (people born in 1996 or before), the Wall St. Journal did an excellent article on seven things that make Gen Z different. As WSJ author Christopher Mims points out, members of the most racially diverse American generation ever, share one thing in common: their world has been defined by connecting online via social media and mobile devices. Here’s a quick recap of the seven things Mims pointed out in his January 26th article (just in case you can’t access it).

1. Gen Z doesn’t distinguish between online and real life. Common wisdom today says that young people don’t hang out with their friends in real life anymore. Perhaps, but Gen Z believes interacting digitally is real life.

2. Privacy online? Gen Z expects that everything typed into a keyboard or captured on a camera will end up on the internet. So, the smart ones never let down their guard.

3. Facebook is out, Instagram is in. I’ve commented on this before but Gen Z says that using Facebook to connect with peers is somewhere between never and no way. As reported in the story, “Facebook for my generation solely exists so that other generations can see that I’m still alive.” Now, this might be good news if you want to reach older consumers, but not if you want to reach Gen Z.

4. Social media is how they stay informed. I’ve commented on this too. Gen Z’s find news almost entirely via social media. Many use Twitter and Instagram to get news. For those with iPhones, Apple News is popular because it means one less app.

5. Video is important, but it isn’t everything. YouTube is huge. For those who are into the culture of influencers, many who spend time on Instagram use YouTube too. Twitter’s ill-fated Vine changed the way this generation views content, leading to a market for subsequent short-form video and apps including TikTok.

6. Gen Z thinks concerns about screens are overblown. If you grew up online, you are not concerned about spending too much time online. Some members of Gen Z believe that the media is obsessed with the negative impacts of tech and doesn’t talk enough about how it empowers their generation.

7. But they’re still susceptible to tech addiction and burnout. Gen Z are acutely aware that their level of online engagement isn’t always sustainable. Some take breaks from social media, others wonder how it’s changing their brains. They also report having trouble knowing where the line between healthy and unhealthy use should be.

Until next week, thanks for reading.

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MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK DIGEST #34

November 12, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Here are some marketing and research thoughts for the week. Email me (Mark@dennettgroup.com) if you need more info on any subject.

THE YOU TUBE SOLUTION – I had to turn off the “Maintenance Required” light on my car. Did I look at the manual? No, I just went to You Tube. Apparently, I am not alone. A new Pew survey finds that roughly half of You Tube users say it is very important for helping them figure out how to do things. And around one-in-five You Tube users say it is very important for helping them understand events that are happening in the world. Bottom-line: You Tube is not just for entertainment, it is increasingly becoming a vital information source. Just another reasons YouTube must be part of your marketing effort. Contact us and we can work with you in harnessing the power of You Tube for your business.

THE DOWNSIDE OF OUTSOURCING – Many businesses save money by outsourcing. There is a trial going on right now that is testing the wisdom of 100% outsourcing. Pabst Brewing and MillerCoors are going to trial today because MillerCoors wants to end its agreement to brew Pabst’s beers. They basically brew, package and market all Pabst beers. They are willing to continue, but they want a 300% increase in fees. Why is this important to you? Because outsourcing production or marketing often leaves the success of your company in other hands, especially if the market is dramatically changing.

Because I live in Oregon, it is easy to believe that more and more people are enjoying beer. But U.S. beer sales are actually down from 213.1 million barrels in 2008 to 204.2 million in 2017, according to the Brewers Association. MillerCoors and Anheuser- Busch, the two biggest U.S. brewers, have been losing business to local craft brewers, imports, and wine and spirits in recent years, according to the Brewers Association.

“The beer market has shifted and beer lovers are increasingly demanding more variety, fuller-flavor, and local products from small and independent producers,” said Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist. Is your market changing? Do you know how to recognize and react to these changes? This will require some research and we can help.

YOUR GUT VS. DATA – The Wall St. Journal recently reported that Netflix’s executives had a challenge in trusting their data or being kind to Jane Fonda. Their algorithm revealed that U.S. subscribers were more likely to click on the image promoting the comedy “Grace and Frankie” if it only included an image of co-star Lily Tomlin. Netflix eventually decided to keep the picture of Fonda. Why? They decided to trust their got, not data. Interesting marketing lesson here. Most small businesses rely 100% on their gut, and totally ignore data or research. The best decisions are made when you work with both – your gut and data.

SOCIAL MEDIA’S DARK SIDE – We are currently working with a variety of companies in improving their social media marketing. But increasingly, social media has a dark side – a turn off too many people. Case in point: Tim Kendall, early architect of Facebook’s business model and past president of Pinterest, has deleted the Facebook app from his phone for reasons that are becoming increasingly common: a sense of anxiety and dissatisfaction after viewing other people’s filtered lives, frustration at the divisive political discourse and harassment from trolls. Mr. Kendall report to the Wall Street Journal that social media was producing unwanted negativity in his life. “I felt bad about myself. I felt inadequate,” he says. “I felt like most people had better lives than I did on every dimension.” Recently Kendall invested $7 million to fund Moment, an app that helps reduce the time people spend on their phones. His position isn’t that social media is bad, but that users understandably struggle at times to find the right balance for it in their lives.

THANKSGIVING WARNING – As we gather with family and friends, remember, talking politics can add a lot of stress and frustration to the celebration, especially if you have more liberal friends. A national survey by Pew, conducted Sept. 24 to Oct. 7, finds that Americans have become more likely to say it is “stressful and frustrating” to have political conversations with those they disagree with. The change in opinions has come largely among Democrats: 57%, up from 45% two years ago. By contrast, Republicans’ feelings have changed very little. About half (49%) continue to find it stressful and frustrating. Overall, 53% of Americans say talking about politics with people they disagree with is stressful; only 45% say such conversations are usually “interesting and informative.”

Until next week, enjoy a beautiful Fall week.