What I am going to talk to you about today is something that we are really bad at and has led to ongoing demise in our industry. Luckily we are faced with a solution, not an easy one, but one that if we embrace can turn us around.
Over the last decade or so, something almost incomprehensible has occurred. The mass of consumers suckling on the minority of producers has declined and now everyone has the opportunity to be a producer. Is this the ultimate democracy? Consumers love it.
Of course for the traditional powerhouse producers it is a pretty scary time. They have found through errors of their own or others that their brand is no more powerful that an individual consumer. Brands need to not only change the language and platform they talk to consumers with but have to change their entire business. Running a Social Media campaign is not embracing the new. It is denial that this is the way the world is changing. Brands have to dedicate themselves to this new consumer behaviour. There is no exit strategy and if you think that means not adopting social media, that amounts to high likelihood of your brand becoming extinct
So what has happened? Well social media means that rather than uni or bi-directional conversations occuring and being able to control and hide problems, social networking has exploded and nothing stays in the dark for long. Our traditional methods of research and marketing were not designed for this and so we have to change the way we work.
So how have we eveolved? Well we seem to follow suit of the more general marketing industry
Have traditionally treated them as respondents and not as participants and certainly not members.We have moved from an age of mass consumers, minimal producers to mass producers. The idea of the new relationship we need adopt might be new for Market Researchers, but not for the marketing industryBy taking an Adult-to-adult approach, MR can move to becoming central in decision making, not an after-thought to justify the decisions a few internal staff members made.Response rates can improve IF we make the required paradigm shift in how we think and start to cede control. If we don’t response rates will continue to drop and brands will suffer huge negative sentiment.From Chasm to Convergence: Technology Closes the Gap Between Manufacturers and Consumers - Part 1By JohnathanBonnell & Jason TheodorAny color you want–as long as it’s blackHenry Ford, the enigmatic father of mass production, once said, “[A] customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” This was the predominant sentiment among businesses in the early 1900s as assembly-line manufacturing emerged. Consumers accepted this one-size-fits-all mentality at first, because they could now afford things that had once been beyond their financial reach.As consumers grew accustomed to this new normal, they began to express their opinions and reactions to these new products. “The ride is too bumpy,” or “The black seats are too hot,” were common complaints. But companies were very limited by their own manufacturing processes and had difficulty responding. They also weren’t used to the mentality of being told what to do. Companies were very comfortable with a top down approach, where they dictated consumer needs, take it or leave it. But the next one-hundred years would turn that attitude on its head.If you don’t choose, you loseOver time, the voice of the consumer was strengthened by easier and faster methods of communication. Manufacturing was evolving at a similar rate, creating ever more efficient and flexible processes. Competition began to emerge in every market, and to differentiate themselves from similar products companies began to offer the consumer something that had never been offered before: choice. And once they got used to having choices, there was no going back to just ‘black’.Throughout the twentieth century, technology continued to close the gap between consumer feedback and product offerings. As communication methods improved, companies developed more advanced methods of soliciting, gathering and interpreting feedback. The one-size-fits-all attitude gave way to diversification and saw the rise of limited variety (like avocado stovetops). Companies were learning the basic demographics and honing their target markets. Competition drove innovation, which drove more consumer choice.This feedback loop continued to tighten. Manufacturing got cheaper and more efficient, communication got faster and more aggregated, and companies now began to take note of psychographics. This led to the age of the brand. Consumer targets became fragmented, and products were offered to every perceived niche. Now instead of just tennis shoes, there were shoes for every sport imaginable. Email sped up the process of giving and collecting feedback. It was so much easier and faster to click ‘send’ than to lick a stamp and walk to the mailbox.Complete control was still in the hands of the companies. The makers of these products chose who to listen to, and what to do about it. They made choices about how to present their brands and products, often based on more and more sophisticated consumer information.Top down meets bottom upAs the World Wide Web came on the scene, companies like Nike experimented with more advanced customization. “Tell us what you want, and we’ll give you more choices,” they said. Why would anyone continue to go to Footlocker for conventional shoes when they could customize the laces, color, tongue, pattern, sole, and bottoms on the website, have their own shoe name embroidered on the side, and then have them shipped to their door? Once customers had been given the wheel, they wanted to drive. The tipping point had been reached: customers began to think of brands as something they owned. The century-old top down approach of the manufacturer was being challenged from the bottom up, by an ever-empowered group of consumers.With convergence has come new opportunity: co-creationToday the empowered consumer now enjoys a fast growing ecosystem of digital channelsinfrastructure to tag, share, converse, signal, and read, and to do so with friends, family, people they hardly know and brands. At the same time, producers of products now have the flexibility to involve these consumers more deeply in the product ideation and creation process than ever before. The chasm between consumer feedback and product offerings has virtually been erased, and this convergence has created a new opportunity in co-creation: companies and consumers working together to co-create products, services, or improve upon an experience. We’ve found and believe that this co-creation can be consumer-led (where the consumer is deeply involved in almost the entire product creation process, a de-facto member of the product & marketing team) or brand-led (the direct involvement of the consumer ends with providing a new idea or suggesting an improvement).For producers and brands, the type of co-creation they pursue depends on the level of risk they want to take on. Consumer-led has more risk because you are directly involving consumers in ideation, prototyping, testing, and creating alongside your own team. But the potential rewards of developing a successful product are much higher. P&G’s Connect + Develop program and Lego’s Mindstorm project are examples of consumer led initiatives. Brand-led co-creation has less risk because consumers are not actually involved in the product creation beyond providing insights and ideas. But the potential rewards in developing a successful product are lower. Dell’s Idea Storm and My Starbucks Idea are examples of brand-led initiatives.Stay tuned for Part 2: “Why does co-creation matter?”
So let’s talk about one of the solutions to social media
ORC’s al different but may have common toolsDiffer from other Online Communities (marketing etc) as they are primarily a listening and learning mechanismORG may establish at least two other forms of communities:Marketing and salesCustomer supportMay also participate in other organic communities such as Facebook, Twitter etc
ORCs allow specific benefits over Research 1.0 with respect to the researcher ‐ respondent relationship. Compared to traditional research approaches, community members benefit through:
There is widespread interest in participating in online research communities. We found that 96% of people on a panel that participates in online survey research would also be willing to participate in an ORC. Obviously, we need to bear in mind that these people are already active within online market research however it is still encouraging that, even given the relatively greater time commitment required to participate in an ORC compared to an online survey, only 4% would not be willing to participate. ORC members frequently comment that they enjoy participating and enjoy learning from the comments of others. “I enjoy being involved in forums as u can learn so much from others all around the world. in this forum, I don’t know a lot about what we discussed but if I wanted to know further I believe I would have been confident enough to ask. Because I get a lot of knowledge and sometimes friendships out of forums I wouldn’t always expect prizes/giveaways/cash”. “I would participate again as I said I did enjoy it and it’s a diff way to learn things from a good selection of people”.
Adapted from helgetennor @congbo
Don’t expect to just write an entry and people will flock to it and respond. It takes works. E-mail people with updates of the community to drive them back into the site.
“Engaging with each other in the forum is a lot more fun, and can flesh out more ideas…”.
Move from the adult to adult relationship… make BBQ talk
Demonstrate that you are paying attention, are interested and care. Be sincere.
Up to 3% will be creators, providing original content. They can be advocates that promote products and services.Between 3% and 10% will be contributors who add to the conversation, but don’t initiate it. They can recommend products and services as customers move through a buying process, looking for purchasing advice.Between 10% and 20% will be opportunists, who can further contributions regarding purchasing decisions. Opportunists can add value to a conversation that’s taking place while walking through a considered purchase.Approximately 80% will be lurkers, essentially spectators, who reap the rewards of online community input but absorb only what is being communicated. They can still implicitly contribute and indirectly validate value from the rest of the community. All users start out as lurkers.
Not everyone is born equal. In a community you will find some people are far more active than others. It is your fans though that will encourage others to participate. But don’t forget that as with the News, it is negativity that sometimes sparks the best discussions that lead to insight.
An important part of the motivating process, and the honesty process, it is important to feed information back to community members. Both in terms of what you have learnt from the community and in terms of what the client is doing as a consequence.
Are people likely to sign up?
One of the key requirements to maintaining motivation is for the moderator to know who has done what, and who has not. Whenever a member posts, comments or uploads, the moderator needs to receive an alert to let them know something is happening, and the moderator also needs to be able to search the log of actions to be able to find specific cases.
How to Ensure Online Research Communities Succeed
Daniel Alexander-Head, <br />Colmar Brunton Social Research<br />RESEARCH 2.0It’s all the buzz but what drives member engagement?How to Ensure Online Research Communities Succeed<br />Presented by:<br />