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Last Call for Social Media Sceptics

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Social media sceptics have all but scurried back into the woodwork. The game is up and the die cast: social media is here to stay. Each week the ‘fad’ seems to blow open a new way of doing things in a different industry; democratizing our flow of ideas even further. The scope of opportunity for science, art, and business here – seems infinite. But what role can leadership play to facilitate those opportunities and create value for their organizations?

Idea #062
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Satisfied customer

Failed CRM Initiatives and How to Avoid Them

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Customer relationship marketing (CRM) has become a big focus for companies in recent years, witnessing heavy investment in call centres, sophisticated database systems, online support services, etc. But despite these large-scale CRM investments, 55–75% of companies have failed to meet the expected returns. Why is this the case and, moving forward, how can managers ensure better results from their CRM initiatives?

Idea #099
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Ximending District, 2013, Taipei, Taiwan

Consumers/Brand Relationships and Fair Treatment

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Marketing

Different brands have different relationships with their customers, just as social relationships differ among people (casual friendships, committed relationships, etc.) Some relationships are strictly transactional; in the case of brands, customers expect value for money, and little else. Other relationships are more of a partnership; customers expect the brand to ‘care,’ just as caring is a component of certain social relationships. New research from the Rotman School of Management and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business advances the concept that brand relationships mirror social

Idea #129
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Business woman draws modern business concept

New Priorities for Marketing Leaders

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

The priorities of marketing leaders are rapidly changing. According to a report from Cranfield School of Management, improving marketing’s ability to work cross-functionally and building influence at Board level are currently two of the lowest priorities for marketing leaders. Could this pose a problem when it comes to long-term strategies?

Idea #130
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I am half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott', William Waterhouse, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Homeworking Beats Outsourcing: a 6 Step Model

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

The use of homeworkers as call centre operatives can benefit both businesses and homeworkers. For companies, common advantages include cost savings, increased flexibility, reduced absenteeism and improved customer satisfaction. But there are also potential problems to overcome. By adopting a six-step model, business leaders can plan homeworking projects effectively, identifying the key areas they need to address.

Idea #142
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People with children stand in queue to oceanarium at shopping mall RIO at Moscow Dmitrovsky highway

How Checkout Lines Affect Consumer Purchases

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

While retailers know that lines or queues are inevitable, new research shows just how much impact a long line can have on purchase behavior. The research, conducted by a team from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School, also demonstrates that, contrary to the accepted wisdom, short lines each served by one checkout clerk is better than one line served by several clerks.

Idea #169
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Children showing a Koh-Kae can (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Healthy Bottom Lines – Food Marketing and Obesity Prevention

Idea posted: August 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
Institutions: Cornell University, INSEAD

Food marketing has a profound — and complex — influence on consumers and is often blamed for the (increasingly global) obesity epidemic. Food companies are not in business to make people fat, however. They’re in business to make money. Research into the effects of the ‘4 Ps’ of marketing — ‘price’, ‘promotion’, ‘product’ and ‘place’ — on food consumption suggests there are profitable changes they could make to help people eat more healthily.

Idea #188
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Marmite pop-up, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Building Brand Equity through Event Marketing

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing

Brand event marketing will increase brand equity through brand experience, especially if the event involves a direct and intense customer experience with the brand. But brand attitude increases brand equity only for certain types of events (namely, trade and street events, but not pop-up shops and sponsored events). Pop-up shops exemplify the best type of brand experience-driven event marketing.

Idea #251
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The Effect of Pruning Sales Channels

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing

A firm that eliminates a search or purchase channel, such as a catalogue, will lose customers who prefer that channel. The decision to eliminate a channel can still be profitable in the long run, as long as the savings from the elimination is greater than the lost revenues. Managers can help the math by taking proactive steps to reduce the level of lost revenues.

Idea #252
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Park Avenue foyer of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, on Christmas Day, 1987 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Frequency Reward Vs Customer Loyalty Programs

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing

Customer loyalty programs can be based on frequency rewards or customer tier benefits (e.g. special benefits when you reach a certain elite customer status). As companies try to decide which type of program is better, or if loyalty programs are even worth the trouble, new research shows a combination of both programs offer direct financial benefits, as well as better customer information for strategic decision-making.

Idea #265
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At the market, Tajikistan, photo by Kate Dixon, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

RET: Market Research in Real Time

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

As market researchers cannot follow customers around 24 hours a day, how else can they understand what sways them to buy certain brands? This Idea discusses a new research tool — real-time experience tracking (RET) — which seeks to capture how people respond to experiences and interactions with a given brand, all in real-time.

Idea #282
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Genius Bar at the Apple Store, Prince Street, SoHo, Manhattan, New York City, 2003 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Servitization: Implications for Sales and Marketing

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Marketing

In a business world where competition is higher than ever before, it has become increasingly difficult for firms to differentiate solely on products. That is why many firms have begun focusing on services too. This Idea looks at this trend, referred to here as ‘servitization’ and considers how you can ensure the shift to such sales is a successful one for your organization.

Idea #293
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Search Engine Ranking: Consumer Behaviour and Revenue

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Marketing

New research shows that developing product search engine rankings based on best value factors — the logarithm for a hotel site search engine would be calculated not just on price but also on proximity to beach and/or proximity to shopping areas, for example — generates greater revenue than rankings based on one criteria, such as price. The research also explores a number of other issues related to product search rankings, such as how rankings impact click through rates for various classes of products or how consumers react to personalised rankings.

Idea #298
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How Price, Time and Functionality Affect Customers' Choices

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

New research shows that when purchases are time-sensitive — buying a camera the day before leaving for vacation, for example — consumers tend to look for convenient, easier-to-use products. But in the long term, consumers are more interested in desirable product features. According to the research, reminding consumers of a product’s price will help them focus, even in the short term, on what they truly value: functionality over convenience.

Idea #338
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The big queue at an ATM in Masalli, Azerbaijan, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Customer Loyalty: Easy Does It

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Marketing
Institutions: Henley Business School

A number of companies have begun to measure ‘customer effort’ (CE) – how easy (or difficult) it is for their customers to interact with them. The experience of these firms is that CE is worthwhile, offering a good indicator of customer loyalty. Whilst it should not replace other key measures, such as customer satisfaction and ‘net promoter score’ (NPS), it should be considered alongside them.

Idea #345
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The Distribution of Bread in the Village, Frans van Leemputten, 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Do CSR Initiatives Enhance Customer Loyalty?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Are customers more loyal to retailers who engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities? In general, CSR is going to earn customer loyalty, although a closer look reveals that the type of CSR makes a difference. CSR related to the customer experience — involving employees and products — inspires the most loyalty, followed by community support activities. Environmental projects generate less enthusiasm from customers, and with some customers actually have a negative effect.

Idea #346
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Online Customers Reviews: Loyalty and Deception

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

While it might seem easy for competitors to hurt a rival’s sales by posting negative reviews, research reveals that many of the most negative product reviews are written by loyal customers trying to influence company strategy. 

Idea #356
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‘Dans le Souk aux Cuivres’, Nicola Forcella, an Italian painter born before 1868 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Customer Participation Builds Loyalty

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

Companies focus on encouraging customer word-of-mouth while ignoring the benefit of customer participation — encouraging customer feedback and suggestions to the company. Yet, research shows that participation can increase customer loyalty even more than word-of-mouth. 

Idea #364
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The Unexpected Impact of Click and Collect Retail Programs

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

When retailers started offering the ‘buy-online, pickup-in-store’ option, also known as BOPS, the assumption would be that online sales would increase. New research shows, however, that BOPS actually reduces online sales while increasing offline sales — a surprising but positive result.

Idea #527
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Replica of Rushworh's music store in Liverpool, where the Beatles bought their first Gibson guitars (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

When Showrooms Help Online Companies

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Nearly every bricks-and-mortar company will have an online presence today. But a few intrepid companies are going in the opposite direction: online companies are starting to open offline showrooms — and research shows the result is a boost in sales… and happy customers.

Idea #434
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Gedränge vor dem Geschäft Thomas Prewein, by Josef Engelhart, 1941 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Surprising Benefit of Long Queues for Customers and Business

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

The accepted wisdom is that long lines are bad for business. In fact, they can be very good for business, as long as they are not too long. Research shows that long lines help customers learn what’s worth waiting for, and help businesses attract uninformed customers.

Idea #446
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The Tribuna of the Uffizi (detail), Johann Zoffany, circa 1772-1778, The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

What to Get Right when Crowdsourcing

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Social media channels have enabled organizations such as Dell, Starbucks, and NASA to successfully reach out to external contributors to collect suggestions, which have in turn stimulated innovation. This research, however, shows that most initiatives to source external contributions fail and that organizations seeking external ideas need to proceed with care and establish proactive processes to avoid potential pitfalls.

Idea #455
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Social Media Grabbing a Major Share of the Marketing Budget

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Marketing

Companies will be steadily increasing their spending on social media marketing in the next few years, even though most marketing executives cannot measure the financial impact of such spending. The shift in consumer buying patterns to online makes a shift to social media marketing a logical step, despite the current inability to demonstrate ROI. The pressing issue now is for companies to integrate social media activities into their general marketing campaigns. 

Idea #456
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Harness Big Data Using Visualisation Software Tools

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
Institutions: NUS Business School

The phrase “big data” puts the emphasis on quantity — and it’s true that the data available in the world continues to grow exponentially every year. But for businesses wanting to make the most of big data, it’s not quantity that counts, but what you do with the data. Companies are losing millions of dollars because they are not fully exploiting the data they are already gathering. Given the complexity of big data, visualisation software tools are required to help companies avoid this mistake.

Idea #474
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Work with Customers to Understand and Shape their Future Needs

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Understanding future customer needs is a key success factor for competitive advantage. However, an equally important success factor, and one that is often overlooked, is the ability of companies to influence customers on their future needs. Companies that can both understand and shape future customer needs have the greatest chances of future success.

Idea #494
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Alexander Graham Bell at the opening of the long-distance line from New York to Chicago, 1892 (Courtesy: Library of Congress)

Incentivizing Older Consumers to Adopt New Technologies

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Marketing

Companies traditionally ignore older consumers when marketing new technologies and innovations. While the non-monetary adoption costs to older consumers are high as previous research suggests, a new mathematical model — that looks at consumers over their entire lifecycle — reveals that monetary costs to older consumers actually decrease with age. 

Idea #502
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Adapt Your Choice of Product-Related Services to the Industry Life Cycle

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Different types of services — from ‘complementary smoothing’ services such as maintenance support to ‘substituting’ services such as leasing arrangements — can be more or less effective depending on the current phase (early ferment, middle transition, or late mature) in the life cycle of the product’s industry.

Idea #531
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Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, Giacomo Balla, 1912 (Courtesy: Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, New York)

Tracking Customers Who Leave Without Saying Goodbye

Idea posted: August 2015
  • Marketing

Customers don’t always inform a business that they are no longer customers. A new model, developed by researchers from Columbia Business School and London Business School and based on customer behaviour, allows companies to disentangle customers who are still active customers from customers who have ‘silently left’. The model also identifies customers who are in danger of leaving. 

Idea #538
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Wayuu bags, hand made by women from the Wayuu tribe in Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Reusable Grocery Bags: How Green Customers Help the Environment — and Your Business

Idea posted: September 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Shoppers bringing their own bags help reduce the adverse environmental impact of plastic bags. New research shows, however, that the environment is not the only winner. Environmentally conscious shoppers are inspired to buy more expensive organic products, and reward themselves with unplanned indulgent purchases — a boon to grocery stores.

Idea #542
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What Companies Learn from Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Marketing

Are customer satisfaction surveys worth the trouble? Addressing and correcting for some of the core issues with customer satisfaction surveys — specifically, that they are based on perceived and not actual performance, and that there is a potential bias in the results based on who fills out the surveys — a new study confirms that they provide vital information for businesses, including the link between performance and customer behaviour.

Idea #543
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