MicroPanel – Points are now configurable

We’ve added in some more configuration options in MicroPanel to give administrators more power to configure their communities :

Rewards & Points Configurable:

This requirement is especially valid in cases where public policy and gov. folks are running panels for research. Typically most regulatory environments like state and federal government rules prevent agencies from “compensating” respondents for their opinions. Of course this is subject to interpretation, but none-the-less this poses a challenge in some cases when you don’t want to issue points for surveys. With MicroPanel, we added in an option to disable (or enable) points for your panel:

A Crowdsourcing InfoGraphic

We’ve been talking about crowd sourcing here for quite a while — and if you’re not using IdeaScale, Survey Analytics crowd sourcing tool, then seeing this infographic may just inspire you.

This conversation has been going on for a while – here are just a few articles that we’ve written in the past:

Crowdsourcing isn’t just for market research, it’s good PR

Use These Market Research Tools and Tips to Build Loyalty and Love With Customers

In a recent article, one of my favorite marketing minds, Drew McLellan talks about having a Love Relationship with your customer.  This philosophy goes along with Tim Sanders‘ classic Love is the Killer App and a myriad other articles extolling the virtues of loving your customer.

Quite frankly, it’s easy to talk about loving your customer — I’ve done it myself on numerous occasions.  What isn’t quite as easy is setting up a system to make them feel loved and to build that loyal profitable relationship.  Loving people in your personal life is one thing and creating a systemic way to generate a loving relationship with hundreds or even thousands of customers requires a little something more.

As anyone who has ever been in a love relationship that has lasted more than thirty days can tell you — it takes some dedication and work to make love happen.  Long lasting and fulfilling love (whether it’s with your soul mate or thousands of customers) doesn’t just drop in your lap, it takes —

Being a good listener.  Listening to the person you care about means that you are 100% focused on what they are talking about, what it means and then actually having a conversation around that topic.  Listening implies a two-way conversation where both parties feel heard and acknowledged.

If crowd sourcing isn’t a part of your market research mix, you need to make it a significant part.  Crowd sourcing tools like IdeaScale are an ideal step in engaging your customers inside your product or service conversation.  Start with a single community — it’s FREE.  Then drive your customers there.  It will take concerted time and effort to teach them that this is a place where they can engage with you and your team to discuss new ideas.

Doing those nice little things.  Nothing says you care so much as when you surprise your loved one with something that says “I heard you” .  If you’ve had a significant conversation and your customer has told you something – when you implement it and provide feedback to them that says that they’ve been heard and listened to, their loyalty to you will increase.  The IdeaScale app gives you the power to TELL your community what you are doing with their ideas and how you will implement them.  If you won’t be implementing the idea as is, but are using some component of the idea, then share that as well.  While this isn’t a gift per se — it’s the gift of being heard that counts.

Having conversations.  Conversations with people we love don’t take place face-to-face as frequently as they used to.  In fact, many of us probably keep in touch with our friends and family be exchanging texts and pictures via mobile device or Facebook.

Conversations with your customers are much the same way.  With half the planet on Facebook, you can choose to have conversations with your customers via Facebook fan page.  If your customers aren’t on Facebook because your product is more industrial or technical, then consider creating a customer community via MicroPoll, Survey Analytics panel management application.

When you create a customer community or panel, you’ll find that the quality of your conversations will improve exponentially.  You’ll be able to ask questions via mobile device using the SurveySwipe App and tour customer will give you answers.  These answers won’t just be anecdotal, they will come to you as data – yeah charts, graphs, etc.  Your customers’ voices will be heard in a clearer more quantitative way.  This gives you the freedom to improve your conversation and get more specific or dig deeper inside issues that your customers care about when it comes to choosing your product or service.

Keeping it all together.  It’s important to keep your customer data together as much as possible.  As a DIY Marketer, I understand the appeal of low-cost applications and am willing to sacrifice in convenience to save money.  But when it comes to customer communications — you want to make sure that these conversations are integrated, otherwise,  if you ask your customer one thing via survey, and then communicate something else via email, it’s almost like cheating.
Create a customer relationship strategy that is cohesive and works easily together.  Try to keep your strategy under one application umbrella such as Survey Analytics.  Integrating your customer feedback strategy will ease your mind and build efficiencies into your feedback process.

Food for Thought: This Week’s Hot Market Research Discussions and Trends

To get your week humming and excite the coffee break conversation, here are some of the hottest trends and topics being discussed in market research.

Panel are HOT.  Panel management is becoming increasingly important AND a lot easier to do.  Join the Survey Analytics team and learn how to set up a research panel in 30 minutes or less.  REGISTER HERE

Data and privacy.  Look for more conversations about data and privacy in the months to come.  To whet your appetite, Brian Terran from Research gets the ball rolling with a terrific intro and summary to data privacy conversations that will be held Monday, August 22, 2011.  Head over to the Greenbook Blog to register.

Zuberance, the new software that allows companies to manage their customer advocates.   introduces Zuberance as a way for companies to enhance their customer satisfaction and customer engagement.  If you or your organization have been looking for ways to light a fire under those customers who are your biggest fants, this is an article worth checking out.

Gamification.  You’re going to see this word more and more.  It isn’t a fad, it’s the future of market research and customer engagement.  Betty Amadou from Game Access does a fantastic job of introducing you to a new word in this new territory — gamotion.  It’s the combination of games and promotions and she’s reviewing several apps that will introduce you to this latest trend.

The bond between research and technology.  It seems that there is an interesting relationship between people on the research side of the table and the people on the technology side of the table.  As a marketing strategist, I’m not as involved in that conversation, but I understand it can get rather HAIRY.  For some guidelines on how research and technology can get along, check out this interesting article by Greg Heist from Go Innovate called “Why Can’t We Be Friends” where he outlines what each group can learn from the other.

Blogs you should be reading.  New Market Research has a list out of the top Market Research Blogs — and Research Access and QuestionPro blog are listed.  If you want to know what you should be reading – follow this list.

5 Steps to Making Market Research Part of Your Product Offering

I recently ran into a terrific article by Christine Brown from Branding Marketing about Marketing your Market Research.  Her main observation is that companies cut market research budgets because they see it as a luxury.  But if they were able to use that research in a variety of ways —  call it recycling or re-purposing — they might be able to justify those projects.

She goes on to give several examples that inlcude:

 Other Ways to Use Market Research as Part of Your Offering
Christine’s article got me thinking that many businesses see market research as an expense rather than a revenue generator,  There is an opportunity to “spin” your research projects or design them in such a way that they provide industry insights and information that your customers may want to gain access to.
If you participate in industrial markets that include highly engineered technical products or instruments, you will find profound gaps in information about what customers value.
  1. Create a separate brand and URL for the information and research service that you will provide — literally treat it as a separate product line.
  2. Start a subscription section of your web site.  You can use WordPress  and their Wishlist membership plugin to create a subscription function that allows you to take payments and distribute information based on membership or subscription level.
  3. Run YOUR research and use some of your data for your own decision making and the other data for re-sale to the industry.
  4. Offer to run surveys for customers or competitors in your industry. This might freak out your management, but it’s simply called “contract manufacturing”  it happens in manufacturing all the time — companies who have tools and capabilities built into their infrastructure will make another company’s product just to keep the equipment running — it’s selling unused time and space.
  5. Run regular tracking surveys and sell the reports and data.  Simply include general market and industry question in your surveys and run them regularly and then sell the results.  One area of research that is always difficult to get for specific industrial segments is market share information.  By simply asking a few questions, you can generate this valuable data and sell it.
Don’t let budget cuts eat away at the information that your company and industry need.  Try these ways of engaging your management team in the research and creating products and services around research to get it to pay for itself.

How the iPad Helps Market Researchers’ Efficiency and the Environment

Being someone who loves taking advantage of technology and also caring about the environment, I was pleased when Apple released the iPad Environmental Report. I always wonder what the environmental impact of my gadgets have. Are they better or worse on the environment? Can we recycle more parts of electronics or is it better to use pen, pencils, paper, …? To summarize what iPad’s carbon emissions is in comparison to paper books, the equation breaks down to:

  • 1 iPad = 17.4 physical paper books
  • 1 iPad = infinite paper, pens, pencils, …

In market research, by using an iPad to administer surveys, there is an obvious reduction of resources. An important purpose the majority of companies share, is to show the necessity of environmental protection. We’re seeing many companies making use of mobile device applications and saving the resources that were once used by these companies.

The iPad is free of BFRs, BFR, arsenic, and mercury, which basically means brominated flame retardants -> *“have known toxic properties, are highly resistant to degradation in the environment and are able to bioaccumulate (build up in animals and humans).” In addition, the iPad is *“highly recyclable,” and has a PVC-free system, and this just means it’s free of polyvinyl chloride, a chlorinated plastic that *“presents environmental problems and human health concerns throughout its lifecycle,”.

Hopefully, this will help you appreciate that Apple has done its part  to make the iPad environmentally friendly.