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Posts from January 2011

The Recessionary Permafrost

Posted on  31 January 11  by 

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shopper marketingIs a spring thaw coming in consumer purchase behavior?

Not really, it turns out.  In MLC’s recent Consumer Purchase Behavior survey, we specifically tested for changes in buying behaviors to see if consumers are returning to pre-recession patterns. Spring thaw isn’t quite right—a better metaphor would be something like “dead cat bounce”.

For our global readership not familiar with this grim idiom, the gist is that dead animals don’t bounce very high when dropped. From pretty much any height.  I should state at this point that no animals, living or dead, were harmed in the production of this blog post. Read More »

B2B Marketers – Build Trust with Social Media

Posted on  28 January 11  by 

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social marketingB2B marketers’ takes on social media seem to run the gamut from “It’s a critical tool, we’re already leveraging it” to “Nobody in our industry uses it so we’re not paying attention,” with most falling somewhere in the middle (e.g. “We think it is probably important but we haven’t figured it out yet”).  Part of the confusion can probably be attributed to the misinterpretation of the term “social media” as a substitute for “Facebook.” Many B2B marketers have a hard time envisioning any serious buyer hinging a purchase on information culled from the Mark Zuckerberg creation.  And they are probably right (though we still maintain it can play a role in the larger B2B marketing strategy).

Facebook is only one of many ways for B2B marketers to leverage social media.  The other “traditional” social media tools (funny how quickly things change and we are already referring to aspects of the so-called “new media” as traditional) such as LinkedIn and Twitter also have potentially unique and important roles to play. Read More »

The Google Moves

Marketing InnovationMost of our readership at Wide Angle works for a large enterprise, so this should be a familiar scenario for just about everyone. Don’t click on the links until you’ve read through!

Imagine your company was under fire for what could be critical flaws in your core product, with competitors getting bigger in the rear-view mirror. Imagine that, outside of your core product, several consecutive product launches in an emerging line of business were largely judged to be flops, with competitors reinforcing their dominance in those spaces. Imagine that business commentators had begun to rumble about a brain drain and loss of innovative spark at your company, and that you’ve begun to offer big retention bonuses to stay competitive in the war for talent. Then, your CEO for the last decade vacates the position. Read More »

Helping Overwhelmed Consumers Decide

Posted on  26 January 11  by 

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consumer marketingWalk around the average supermarket and you’ll be faced with myriad choices, even for the smallest of purchases: 95 varieties of chips, 275 types of cereal, 360 kinds of shampoo/gel, and more than 30,000 items in total, according to Barry Schwartz in The Paradox of Choice.  Barry demonstrates how these choices overwhelm us, leading to angst, indecision, regret – and ultimately less satisfaction with both the purchase process and the products we purchase.

Here at the Council we’ve been teaching lessons from The Paradox of Choice since it came out. But we recently revisited its teachings, in light of new technologies that give consumers access to even more options. Read More »

Consumers and Convenience

Posted on  26 January 11  by 

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consumer researchAs consumers continue to grow accustomed to new economic realities, are their definitions of convenience changing as well?  Evidence cropping up across markets suggests “yes”.  In just about every category, marketers have witnessed consumer interest shifting from the convenience we buy to convenience we try to engineer into our lives.  For many consumers, a simpler, more practical, and even less expensive lifestyle is considered a badge of honor—at what other point in American history could the staycation be considered stylish?

While changing views of convenience are clearly rooted in economic retrenchment , it doesn’t mean that marketers who appropriately cater to changing needs and attitudes can’t profit from the new definition of convenience—Netflix has certainly done so, and redefined competition in their category along the way.  While the Netflix example is well into the mainstream, dozens of novel approaches are cropping up in unexpected places.  My new favorite: the Acme Party Box Company (I’m not kidding).  Everything that comes in the economically priced box can be reused around the house, composted in the garden, or seamlessly transitioned to the toy box. Simple, practical, and complete with Moroccan-themed favor bags, should they fit the bill.  What’s the point?  If products and services can really deliver convenience, consumers are still willing to open their wallets for practical, right-price simplicity.

(At right:  Acme’s Woodland Party Box. From that, to economic retrenchment to Netflix – we’ll cover it all in New York on February 25th.  You can’t make this stuff up.)

Iconoculture has pegged consumers’ changing views of convenience as one of our six Big Ideas for 2011.  Interested in hearing the other five? MLC members can join us in New York on February 25th for breakfast and we’ll walk through all six ideas, as well as what’s working for marketers who are in tune with the Big Ideas and one step ahead of the other guy.

Iconosphere 2011 – Join Us!

In April of this year, the 5th annual Iconosphere – Iconoculture’s consumer insights extravaganza – will burst into life at the Eden Roc Renaissance in Miami Beach. Just like in years past, the not-your-mama’s conference focuses solely on consumers, highlighting the shifts that are shaping our culture and most keenly affecting marketers.

Don’t expect the chart-induced eyestrain and soggy pasta that’s de rigueur at typical industry events, though. At Iconosphere, the pool shimmers. The cocktails are sloshier. Best of all, curious people – members, Iconoculture strategists, colleagues – connect over inspiring ideas and shared challenges.

Stripped bare, what the event offers – what’s core to its value for those who attend – is the chance for marketers and researchers to unselfconsciously immerse themselves in the brainier parts of their jobs for a few days. It’s the opportunity to eject from the office, shove off day-to-day bureaucracies, and carefully consider and discuss where the culture is going, what consumers are really thinking, and what to do about it

We can even sneakily peek at the content debuting in April. A sampling of this year’s sessions include: Media maven-led monitoring of consumers’ relationship with mobile marketing; a close examination of Americans’ post-recession pragmatism; and a tour by our Team India through the twists and turns of the Indian consumer’s retail experience.

The ex-’sphere-ience is not at all conference-as-usual (attendees have been known to crowdsurf). In fact, it actually feels a little more like hot yoga for your consumer insights brain. Except air conditioned. And with cocktail shakers. And no physical exertion. Don’t bring a mat.

9 B2B Marketing Trends for 2011

Posted on  25 January 11  by 

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B2B Marketing trendsAt MLC, we’ve just started our major research for B2Bs for 2011 and we’re having a series of research calls with our members.  (Want to participate?  Just let us know).  Through those conversations, we’ve seen a few early trends for 2011, which I offer below, with resources from MLC as appropriate.  And stay tuned – we’ll be providing a lot more information as we launch our customer survey and develop our major research initiative for the year.

Here are the 9 (plus one) trends for 2011: Read More »

Keep It Simple — Introducing “My Workspace”

The best ideas that you read or hear are often forgotten (or the details lost) by the time you are ready to incorporate them.  We’ve solved that problem.

The Marketing Leadership Council has launched a new online tool to help you incorporate the right insights and tools into your work when you need them. My Workspace allows you to easily store, organize, personalize and access your favorite CEB content so you can better leverage it in your projects.

With My Workspace you will:

  • Never Lose a Good Idea: Organize research and tools around your projects and priorities.
  • Capture Your Thoughts: Take notes on saved resources on how you want to use that best practice for yourself and your team.
  • Access from Anywhere: Access any materials saved to My Workspace at your desk or on the road.

Items saved to My Favorites have been transferred to My Workspace automatically.

View this video demo for more details and begin building your Workspace now.

Inside the Buying Brain

NeuromarketingNew research in neuroscience is shedding light on how and why consumers buy. Consider: our senses are taking in about 11 million bits of information every second but our conscious brain can only process 40 bits per second – a small fraction of all that information. So how do marketers get into that tiny bit of consciously considered information? Read More »

(Screen) Size Matters

Posted on  19 January 11  by 

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Look at this picture of jeans and tell me how much you think it’s worth. And here’s some basic info to help you along: “Low rise straight leg jean provides a simple, clean and slim silhouette, crafted in stretch denim designed to flatter your curves. Imported.”

The brand is on par with Levi’s. Read More »