At FreshNetworks, we work very much in Research 2.0. Our sister company, FreshMinds, has been market research agency of the year here in the UK for the last couple of years and some of our communities are specifically designed for research. It was interesting, therefore, to listen to a great presentation from Guillaume Weill at CRM Metrix on his take on what Research 2.0 is.
For Guillaume, Research 2.0 is letting brands finally converse with their customers. They talk to them (advertising) and listem (market research) but don’t actually engage with them. In fact Guillaume would say that brands talk 50 times more than they listen as global advertising spend is about 50 times the spend on market research.
To start to converse, Guillaume things that market research companies need to shift from a vertical view of the world to a horizontal one. He defines these as follows:
Quant vs Qual
Quant and Qual
Art and Science
To acheive this, Guillaume recommends that brands and market research agencies:
use the potential of online conversations to listen to their customers
analyse these conversations in a new way – allowing customers to comment on and refine others’ contributions
converse more often with their consumers, ideally leaving the conversation on all the time
This all makes sense and is similar to what we have been saying for a while and wrote in our white paper earlier this year (see post here).
So what does this all add up to? Guillaume thinks that Research 2.0 allows you to get the same quality of results but more quickly. This is where we disagree. We think that the quality and depth of insight you can get from a well managed conversation with your customers can be qualitatively different to traditional research techniques. Taking qualitative methods online can revolutionise the depth of insight you get and the ability to bring your customers inside your business.
If you want to find out how we’d do this then feel free to get in touch of course!
I love going abroad. You get to spend time learning about new things and also to get a different perspective or new examples for things you already know. This happened to me this week in Paris.
There is lots of talk about Dell’s Ideastorm and MyStarbucksIdea as examples of using communities as customer service vehicles. They are, infact, all based on a SalesForce platform and are all essentially front ends of CRM systems. In France, however, I came across an example that has much more elements of an online community.
SNCF, the French Railways, launched their site, Opinions et débats, initally for a six-week period. They were running a project where executives in the firm would answer questions from the public. The exercise was so successful that it is still running.
The Dell and Starbucks sites are simple. You can suggest an idea, comment on other ideas or vote for ideas. SNCF adds another layer which takes their site from a simple transactional process to a more community feel. The homepage of their site includes a list of employees (including their first name and a picture) and when you pose your question you need to decide if it should be posed, for example, to Clément (a station manager) or to Domonique who runs the TGV high-speed train network.
This is a simple difference, but it makes the site fundamentally different. Rather than posing a question into the ether, you choose an employee and get them to answer it for you. Traditional customer service will take a question into a general department who will then choose who should answer it. With SNCF you choose, and others can add to, expand or criticse and responses.
A great site and one I know I’ll be using as an example of a customer service community in the future.
Emmanuel Vivier gave a really detailed and great view of word of mouth marketing. For him we have entered the Consumer 2.0 era – for marketeers the time when you could control people is over. They have become immune to advertising spam and are facing death by choice. You have to be cleverer about how you target people and how you use word of mouth. So Emmanuel’s eight best practice ideas are:
1. Create products that are so good that people want to talk about them
As Martin Oetting from trnd had said earlier this can either be because the product itself requires word of mouth (no point having a fax machine or using Skype if nobody you know does), or because the product is striking and makes people want to talk about it
2. If your product is not cool, offer great and attractive content for free
Why has Kinder always given out toys with it’s eggs? Because the chocolate itself isn’t great but people buy it for the additional gift.
In France Bonux, a dishwasher powder, used to give out free toys for a similar reason – to encourage sales by pester-power. It now gives a free mp3 download with every purchase from it’s site tulaseuou.com.
3. Don’t sponsor the entertainment, be the entertainment
Lots of great examples here and a real trend at the moment. A good one is Burger King, who made and sold (admittedly rather good) computer games that you could buy for $3.99 with any meal in store. They sold over three million copies. Advertising that the consumer pays you to see!
4. Let consumers participate in making your marketing
As well as cocreation tools, a real opportunity here is to leverage user-generated content (UGC). As Emmanuel admits, most UGC is not very good. But volumes are high and some is.
The French radio station Skyrock launched a blogging platform a few years ago and took a significant share of the market. They saw this fitting with their role as a media organisation who helped people to stay up to date. Blogging now contributes 50% of their revenue and also provides the content for their web presence.
5. Provide a service to the community
This is what Nike have done with iPod. Creating a joint campaign which includes an ability for you to use your iPod, nike trainers and a website (here) to track and record how much exercise you do and to keep up with your training schedule.
6. Make it easy for people to forward your message
Make it something they want to forward and then let them do it easily.
7. Surprise your audience
People notice things that are different, especially in the world where we are drowning in advertising. BBC World did this with a series of billboards which allowed people to text to vote in a question – with the results updating on the billboard immediately. Questions included things like were the US troops in Iraq liberators or occupiers. Challenging stuff (see here).
8. Turn bloggers into brand champions
As previous people at the conference had said – if people are writing about your brand, and they’re well read, then you really should be engaging them. Provide special content for them and they’ll spread it for you.
Another interesting issue raised by Wolfgang Lünenbürger-Reidenbach of Edelman PR was his view that word of mouth is an outcome and not a strategy. He cites the example of viral videos and the fact that usually viewers can remember the video and the concept but not the brand. Unfortunately for Wolfgang, he spoke after a presentation showing a couple of really memorable branded viral spots, but the point still stands.
For me this is perhaps a wider issue with the way we think about word of mouth. Too many people focus on it as a push mechanism. Measurements often focus on the number of people who the campaign pushes out to and not the number of people to whom they then spread word of mouth. We concentrate more on the givers of word of mouth than the receivers. Perhaps something we should build on here – it might reveal some interesting observations.
Olivier Creiche from Six Apart thinks there are four specific opportunities for buzz and social media; four ways that firms can make the most out of giving power to people through blogs, forums and communities.
e-commerce. Olivier feels that people don’t talk about this enough, and about how you can use social networks as an e-commerce mechanism. The best known example of this is Amazon who, reportedly, make about 25% of their sales from such distributed e-commerce. Their model is simple – applications on peoples’ networks allow them to say what books they like, they’ve read and they want to read. Amazon provides the thumbnail pictures of the books and when you click on one it takes you to the Amazon site to buy online. If you’ve not seen this application then my bookshelf is below:
Join the conversation using the same means. If you want to engage people online you need to use the same means that they do. This could mean blogging. It’s important to note that companies don’t blog, individuals do. So if you have a corporate blog it’s important that it’s clear who is writing it and that their individual voice shines through.
Advertising. In an environment where we know who people are and can gather lots of information about them, advertising can be more targeted, and charged to a brand at a premium.
Community interaction. There is a huge benefit to watching a community grow, to working with it and letting it do some of your leg work for you.
In order to make the most of these four areas, Olivier suggests a set of guidelines for a brand or marketing agency to adopt:
Influence the influencers
Be ready to lose some content
It’s not about you; it’s about them
Provide value to users
Maintain the dialogue
The last of these is critical – if you start engaging with people online you need a plan for what you will do with them in the future. You can’t (and shouldn’t) just abandon them.
FreshNetworks is a social media agency. We help global brands, including Telefonica, Jimmy Choo and American Express, use social media to achieve their key business goals. Latest news and press information