Author Archives: Snap360 Support

Yes, Apple Does Research

There’s a myth out there that Apple does not do marketing research. This is nonsense, of course, but it seems to have tremendous staying power.

I saw something today that pretty much proves they conduct research – they might call it product development, or usability, or ergonomic, or whatever, but it’s research into what people want, what they like, what is comfortable for them.

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What products and services should we be working on today, to innovate for tomorrow?

A leading retail bank known for innovative products and marketing wanted to kick-start an innovation process. We began by identifying the target demographic: a middle income consumer that had seemingly average needs for transactional banking products.

To immerse the team in the customer experience, we started with a bus trip through a major city, visiting ethnically diverse shopping areas, and leading retailers from other industries.

Team members participated in advance “homework” exercises that ranged from household budgeting on a limited income to understanding the “freemium” model of pricing in other retail categories.

Initial idea generation sessions created far too many ideas to develop. So we created a Delphi process using online survey tools to help the team rank ideas.

Winning ideas were then taken into a concept development phase, before joining the innovation pipeline.

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Good to the Last Drop: 10 Ways to Save Money on Qualitative Research

When you have a constrained research budget – and a long wish list of projects – you probably spend a lot of valuable time wondering how you can wring a little more value from every dollar.

Clients often wonder why good research is so expensive, and qualitative is no exception. Unlike the cost of chip technology, which drops over time, the main components of good qualitative are not dropping, and are not likely to drop any time soon, because they are largely driven by people, not technology.

Here’s the good news – there are 10 good ways to make your dollars go farther.

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What would influence consumers to stop at one gas station convenience store over another?

snack candyA texting/e-mailing assignment preceded focus groups with consumers. The texts revealed a pattern in convenience store usage that was quite different than what consumers reported, with lottery tickets playing a starring role.

Food choices (healthy or fast?) and need state were all contextualized better by using the advance exercise.

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Looking for Innovation: Expand the Context

I was talking to an executive recruiter recently, who was describing the process of hiring people for middle management and executive level roles.

I learned that the hiring company’s on-boarding process – how good it is – makes a big impact on the likelihood that the newly hired executive will be a success. “Great opportunity to expand your services,” I suggested.”Help your clients manage the on-boarding to ensure it is successful.”

Many product and service categories present this opportunity, and you should always look for these methods or approaches.

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How can we create world-class service training for contact centre employees?

photographerWe were asked to conduct a series of focus groups to support the custom training being built by another consulting firm. Our proposal: instead of just talking to customers, why not bring in a video operator to capture real customer stories?

Net result: instead of using actors to portray typical service encounters, real customers told real stories that were used in the creation of training modules.

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Everyone Thinks They are Don Draper Now: The Wizard’s Curtain is Open and Nobody Minds

Recently in a focus group, a consumer respondent said something like this to me: “Your client needs to fire their current agency and hire some young marketers with fresh ideas that will re-energize their brand for launch in a new market. The stuff you are showing us is dated and will never give them the lift they need.”

This is certainly not the first time I have heard such sentiments expressed by people who are considered to be average consumers in some sense . (We try not to invite marketing professionals, advertising people, competitors, journalists, and actors as a matter of routine).

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Guerrilla Marketing Research: How to Find Information on a Budget

My regular workout buddy is an outsourced marketing consultant. As we sweat it out in the cardio area we yak it up about many things. A frequent topic is the desire of her small business and start-up clients to get some kind of marketing research insights on essentially no budget.

Recently, she was telling me about a start-up who wants to get 30 interviews done across North America with various types of business owners – and has a budget of $5,000 for the whole thing. As you can imagine, a range of expressions crossed my face when asked for advice on how to do this.

But it’s a common problem and I’m not unsympathetic.

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How can a specialty telecommunications company in a demanding B2B space develop better quality?

Multiple re-organizations had left this small division of specialty engineers, senior sales and service staff frustrated by the barriers they had to jump to meet customer needs every day.

A half-day window opened at the annual company-wide kickoff event. Careful design, and an advance knowledge harvest assignment for participants were key in this facilitation event.

By the time lunch rolled around, we had successfully identified the major barriers, prioritized the top five, and small teams were starting to plan solutions.

We created new tools specifically for this project, to ensure delivery of results within a very tight window.

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