john atherton, field work, anthropology and marketing

5 Things Anthropologists Can Teach You About Being a Better Marketer

anthropology and marketing, ethnography, digital ethnography, marketing

What’s the best way to get through hundreds of pages of dense theoretical readings you have very little background in? By relating it to the knowledge you already have. In my case, I’m working on a Master’s in social anthropology and I’ve found that the discipline has taught me a lot about being a better content marketer and social media guru.

Here are 5 concepts you can use to become a better marketer: Continue reading

7 Tips for a Productive Marketing Innovation Process

Brainstorming SessionI’ve been involved in both the upfront and the testing phases of innovation and have seen and heard from clients what works and what doesn’t. The first step in marketing innovation is to gather your best ideas in one place. Before brainstorming, it helps to understand the needs and wants of your market. What’s the best way to do this? Ask them.

Here are 7 tips for getting a productive start on the innovation process:

1. Start with the voice of the consumer.

While it’s true that consumers don’t always have your next great idea (see Quirky’s bankruptcy notice for an example of this in action), they do know what they like. Send them on a shopping expedition and follow along, or talk to a group of them about their visit to your competition.

Listen for the need states underneath their preferences and for themes that emerge across Continue reading

9 Ways to Boost Response Rates for Online Surveys

Race car with back wheels off turning cornerLet’s face it: online surveys aren’t always the most exciting part of marketing research. Nevertheless, they are important in gathering data and getting answers to the questions you have been asking.

While there is no ‘standard response rate’ for online surveys, the fact of the matter is that more is better. High response rates means you can be more confident that the sample reflects the population you’re trying to study. So, how do we boost response rates for online surveys?

First, we should touch on the psychology of survey responders.

What motivates people to take online surveys?

Salience. If the person is interested in the topic, they are more likely to complete the survey.

Commitment or investment. Respondents complete surveys when they are personally connected to the success and improvement of the brand, its products and services. Continue reading

How to Start to Segment Your Buyers

Gas pump grades close upI once saw a MAD Magazine cartoon that showed three gas pumps with different levels of octane and different prices. But the artist also showed the cutaway of the single below ground tank that provided the same exact same gas to each pump.

Funny, of course. But there’s some truth to the idea. Different people want different experiences, products and price points while meeting the same need. So in a product, like gas, that most people buy, sometimes the key to success is to sell slightly different products to different people.

In the 1970s, Howard Moskowitz was asked by Pepsi to determine what the perfect level of sweetness was for Diet Pepsi. The brand wanted to appeal to the largest audience. From the Continue reading

15 Traits of a Great Market Research Consultant

Urban Modern DeskIn 2010, a study by Intuit predicted that 40% of the US workforce would be contingent workers – that is, freelancers and consultants – by 2020. Today, we’re halfway to that year and it appears that we have already hit 34% of the workforce engaged as independent contractors, freelancers, and moonlighters.

It’s a significant shift in the mindset we have about work and employment – some are even blaming our slow economic recovery on this change. Whether you’re a researcher looking to go out on your own or a client that wants to hire a market research consultant, recognizing these traits will help you get the most out of your choice.

1.    Client-focused

A good marketing research consultant is more interested in meeting the needs of the clients than furthering their own agenda. It doesn’t mean bending to a clients’ every whim, just understanding what they want from a project and guiding them towards the best way to get it.

2.    Good listener

You need to be a good listener – what clients say they want isn’t always what they need. Continue reading

Strong Employer Branding Drives Consumer Brands

Office worker walking out of the door after quitting.In the depth of the Great Recession, many people took pay cuts, yet considered themselves lucky to still have a job. With few options to change jobs, the niceties surrounding choice of employer took a backseat to the realities of survival. Unfortunately, in this “jobless recovery”, this is often still the case.

But one little-noted side effect of Obamacare, as both skeptics and supporters now call it, is that insurance has become decoupled from employment. Uninsured workers can buy their own coverage. And those lucky enough to have employer sponsored healthcare can’t be turned down for new coverage due to preexisting conditions. This means salaried workers can entertain self-employment or working for a smaller employer without the golden handcuffs of corporate insurance keeping them in place. Knowing your employees have more freedom, you may, like many companies, be returning to the idea of Employer Branding.

It Exists in the Minds of Current and Prospective Employees

An employer brand means the idea of your company in the minds of current and potential employees. It is based on everything they see, hear or experience, before and after considering working for the company. A strong employment brand translates to excited prospective employees, ease of filling positions and your choice of the strongest applicants. Continue reading

4 Ways to Build Customer Relationships for More Brand Loyalty

Transparency, Market Research, Creative Rewards Key.

Worn, muddy hiking bootsBusiness growth is often associated with bringing in new customers; however, loyal customers actually account for more purchase volume and a lower cost. In short, it costs less to retain customers than to acquire new ones and they have higher long-term value. While it is important to develop new products and connect with prospective buyers, building brand loyalty is a vehicle to a profitable business.

Loyal customers are easy to reach (lowering sales & marketing costs), offer qualified referrals, and in the best case become brand ambassadors. Once the sale is complete, the next task becomes creating an enduring brand relationship with your satisfied customer. Here are some tips to help you build customer relationships to increase brand loyalty.

1.  Foster a community

Give your customers a place to gather together, ask and answer questions, and engage with the brand and its other buyers. This allows customers to have constant access to relevant and Continue reading

Press Release: Generation Z Future Marketer Receives Marketing Research Scholarship Award!

BuyerSynthesis 2015 Marketing Research Scholarship, “Help, I Need Marketing Research!” has awarded its first annual scholarship to support a future marketing star’s college education.

DENVER, CO, June 11, 2015 – What is a good example of a company in need of marketing research? That question was posed to college-bound students looking to compete in BuyerSynthesis’ first annual $1000 marketing research scholarship. Entries were judged on creativity and humor, originality and intellectual content.

Bank of America’s Tanked Reputation

3993310255_a1a0475402_mThe judges carefully considered the three top entries. One focused on Bank of America, which purchased Countrywide Mortgage in 2008. At the time, Countrywide financed approximately 20% of all U.S. mortgages, so this purchase placed B of A front and center for the mortgage crisis. The combined entity wrongly foreclosed on many homes, and in 2012 it was considered to have one of the worst reputations in America. This all led one of our entering students to Continue reading

7 Signs It’s Time to Conduct Qualitative Marketing Research

Frederik Magle conducting symphony orchestra, live in Koncerthuset.We know all the famous quotes:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

I would argue that they’re wrong. In our fast-paced world we do get different results: buyers have short attention spans so campaigns have less traction; costs, competitors, and disruptors are increasing so we’re getting less return on investment.

Simply put: by continuing with what you’ve always done, things won’t stay the same, they’ll get worse. So, are you stuck in a rut? Is it time to rethink your strategy? Here are 7 signs it’s time to conduct marketing research:

1.    Your competitors are cooler than you.

There are just some brands that seem to be effortlessly awesome. You don’t have to worry if that’s not you, but you want to look and sound like you’re at least on the same level as your competitors. Qualitative marketing research can help you understand what your buyers are looking for so you don’t look out of touch with current trends. Continue reading

How to Tell if Too Much Brand Loyalty is Holding You Back

When to look past your brand fanatics and develop wider brand loyalty.

Girl gets national flag colors painted on her cheek for soccer match.Brand fans love you, passionately, and tell everyone they can. They know your founding story, use social media to tell others, and feel deeply hurt if you disappoint them. MBA class case studies love to tell stories of intense brand loyalty. Think Harley Davidson.

But sometimes Brand Fanatics keep a brand stuck and on the defensive. While few will admit it, there are times when you may need to look beyond those most glued to your brand. Here are some clues:

1. Your marketing team thinks that all of your buyers are Brand Fanatics.

I’ve worked with some brands over the years that were astonished to learn that not all of their buyers met the description of those loyalists they had encountered in pre-research days. It was a big change of mindset to learn that many of their buyers didn’t really think about their brand all that often. Continue reading