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Josh Mendelsohn

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Guest Blog: Why Parenting a Toddler is Particularly Hard for the Modern Marketer

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Mon, Feb 10, 2014

Many of us aren't just researchers or marketers, we're parents too, which is why this blog from CMB Alum, Josh Mendelsohn really struck a chord. You can check out more of Josh's musings in his blog: Marketing in Real Life.

modern marketerAs a parent of a toddler boy, I've often found myself getting so frustrated, to a place I don't like, that I started doing some real self hard thinking about the causes (it’s the research background!). One of the major realizations I've had is that the frustration is in part because "working" with a toddler goes completely against how I spend most of my day as a marketer. And I know I'm not alone. In fact, I've seen lots of friends and colleagues who work with data struggle with toddler thinking.Don't get me wrong, parenting is obviously hard for everyone, but I wonder if it feels even harder for the modern marketer (or researcher) because of the way we are trained. We take pride in using data to identify what works and modifying what doesn’t.

Unfortunately, my little dude seems to fall outside the realm of data integrity.

Below are four things that are particularly confounding in our dual roles as parent and professional.

1) It's the journey, not the destination. At work we are taught that the outcome is what matters most. We look at the data and decide if something has worked or not, rarely taking joy in the process itself. Unfortunately, toddlers don't give a crap about the quality of the end result.  

Their goal isn't to make the best dinner, it's to make something together, spill ingredients all over the table, and potentially eat something completely different for their meal. And frankly, their version of quality is suspect at best. I mean, when I look at a drawing and say "that looks great buddy," I'm just thinking "I'm not sure that looks like a house with a dog and a monster. People will never get what you're trying to say!"

2) Total disregard for longitudinal data.  As marketers we love longitudinal data.  After all, history generally repeats itself and seasonality is essential to effective planning, right?  Sadly, toddlers can't even put together two weeks of data that makes sense. The journey from "I only want chicken nuggets for lunch" to "I don't want to ever eat chicken nuggets again" is extremely short lived.  When people ask me "what is he into to?" I just chuckle.  This week it's Yo Gabba Gabba, next week could be anything.  Not sure I have chartable trend line there!

3) Rules?  What rules.  Our boy loves playing board games. He just doesn't like playing them the way they were intended. He doesn't see chutes in Chutes and Ladders.  He doesn't believe in only flipping two cards in memory. And he certainly doesn't understand that you take turns in Connect Four.  

While I appreciate that he is figuring out how the world works, his inability to listen to the rules has me taking notes for his next performance review (when do we get to have those?).

4) Efficiency is frowned upon. As modern professionals (or at least hard-driving ones) we all want to get through as many tasks as well as possible every single day. High output = high value.  Dealing with a toddler is the complete opposite. I'd pay good money for an activity that lasted longer than 20 minutes so we're only doing three things on a Saturday instead of 23.   

So what am I doing about it? Other than going even more bald than before, I've been trying really really hard to slow down and leave my work brain at the office. I've found that there's really no fire to run to or from most of the time and that taking a few extra minutes here and there actually makes the day run smoother. (Note: Trying!!)

I was inspired by this blog post - and even attempting to live this way has dropped my stress level considerably. 

I'm not one to give unwelcome parenting advice to people outside of out family, but as they say on my boy's very temporary favorite show "try it, you might like it."

Josh is the VP of Marketing at DreamFund, Inc. You can find more of his commentary on the "world of marketing, market research, small business strategies, and social media based on real life experiences, not stuff you'd get in an MBA class" at his blog Marketing in Real Life.

 

Feb20webinar14Join CMB's Amy Modini on February 20th, at 12:30 pm ET, to learn how we use discrete choice to better position your brand in a complex changing market. Register here.

 

Topics: consumer insights

Selling to Small Businesses "The Educate First Challenge:" Guest Blog Post from Constant Contact

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Mon, Jun 20, 2011

There are 11 million small businesses with 20 or fewer employees in the US.constant contact chadwick martin bailey 

And while every small business owner has always had to be hyperaware of their expenditures, the instability of the economy over the past few years has made spending the right amount in the right way a constant struggle for those who want to compete and succeed.

The truth is that the drivers of small business success haven’t changed – great customer service, personal connections,  and high quality products and services that lead to positive word of mouth. Social Media Marketing has changed the landscape.

Some small businesses have been quick to adopt, while others are struggling to find the time and information they need to get started.  And for those companies selling social media and other online marketing tools to small businesses the questions have become not just “why should I buy it?” and “why should I buy from you?” but also, “what the heck are you guys even talking about?”

So while those of us at larger organizations are lucky enough to learn best practices from industry leaders at conferences, it has also become our responsibility to educate our potential customers about what social media marketing can do for small businesses.  We need to help them get started.  We need to help them be successful.  Then we need to help them do it better.

The truth is that even large businesses with dedicated teams and agencies face challenges and make mistakes. So for the little guys the challenges are even greater.

Selling to small businesses has never been easy, and with the help of some of Chadwick Martin Bailey's research, we’re taking on the “educate first” challenge.  Join us for a short webinar on June 29th at 12:00 EST to hear about some of what we’ve learned and how CMB has helped us get smart so we can get our customers and prospects smarter.

describe the imageJoin us for a webinar with Constant Contact to learn more:
Wednesday June 29th
12:00 to 12:30

Learn how Chadwick Martin Bailey helped Constant Contact understand what small businesses need when it comes to social media marketing. Register today

 

Guest post by Josh Mendelsohn at Constant Contact. Josh is a Senior Product Marketing Manager, Social Media Marketing at Constant Contact.  He loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.


Topics: marketing strategy, webinar

Wrapping up 2010: What People Love About CMB [Video]

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Wed, Dec 22, 2010


cmb holiday wishesAs we come to the end of a great year here at CMB and move ahead into 2011, we recognize that we are very lucky to have such great clients, great partners, and most importantly great employees who make this company a dynamic environment that produces excellent work.    We know that our people are the biggest asset we have to offer to each other and to the people who hire us. 

So, thanks to everyone who has made this year a success and we are looking forward to a great 2011.  Happy holidays from everyone here at CMB!

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, our people

Market Research in 2011: Don't throw out the baby with the bath water

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Fri, Dec 17, 2010

As a new parent, I can’t imagine how the expression “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water” ever really came into existence.  But as with parenting, this idea is essential in business and critical right now for market research as an industry.  

It is easy (and justifiable) to get excited about many of the new tools and techniques that continue to enter the market research world.  Many of these technology driven, shiny new toys have huge potential to change the way we work and conduct measurement.  But used improperly, these new tools and techniques can do more damage than good and lead to inaccurate data and poor business decisions. 

So, how do you make sure this doesn’t happen?  Remind yourself and your team of the basic fundamentals.Three places to start:

1)      Defining research objectives:  A well thought out research project is often the difference between one deemed a success and a failure.  By answering a few questions up front, you’ll ensure success regardless of what tools you use.  Who is using the findings?  How will they be used to make decisions?  Are there trade-offs we need to make on our methodology?  How will we communicate the findings once we have them? Do we need a mix of qualitative and quantitative?

2)      Choosing the right methodology:  It has always been important to think about your audience of customers and potential customers and the topic of the project when designing a research project, but with the continued growth of sampling and data collection options, it is now more important than ever to design a project for the people you are engaging.  Are they members of online panels?  Do they need interactive questions?  Will they understand the types of questions we are asking?  Can the directly evaluate a product/concept or should you use  a trade-off design?  It is no longer as simple as picking phone v. mail. v. online.

3)      Designing questionnaires:  While many non-researchers may not believe it, there is a reason that questions are worded in specific ways and placed in a certain order within a questionnaire.  Make sure those using DIY tools or driving research initiatives understand the impact of questionnaire design on the data and the respondent experience, and offer guidance to ensure mistakes are not made.

To sum up, there are lots of great new ways to conduct market research as we enter 2011, but you can’t forget to apply the same diligence as you did with traditional techniques.

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

Topics: methodology, research design

Four Easy Steps to Improve Your Company's Social Strategy

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Mon, Dec 06, 2010

putting the social pieces togetherIn some ways, this is one of the easiest posts I have ever written.  It takes simple marketing tenets and applies them to the world of social media.  This should be obvious, but for some reason the social media world gained momentum and adoption without fitting itself into the same processes that have been driving marketing for decades.  So, as you work through your marketing and social media plans for 2011, here are four things to keep in mind that should make your social strategy more effective.

  • Understand your customers and their use of social media:  Developing any strategy without knowing how your customers and prospects want to interact with you and what they are interested in is nearly impossible.    Whether you choose to conduct a full blown study of your target audience or just some simple research to understand why people fan or follow you, these insights are essential to developing a successful strategy.
  • Set realistic goals:  It is easy to look at brands with humongous followings and set your eyes on achieving the same levels of “success.”  But success for your social strategy should be defined by meaningful and measurable outcomes that can actually impact your business.  Setting goals related to engaging “the right people” in “the right way” and setting up a system for follow up will more directly impact your business.
  • Invest against your goals: Just because most social media tools do not require large financial investments does not mean that they don’t require dedicated resources.  Make sure your plan includes staffing and specific expectations so that your social activities are consistent, ongoing, and impactful.
  • Measure progress and be prepared to adapt: Like any marketing channel, not every social media initiative is going to breed instant success.   By building check points against your defined goals at certain timeframes, you can see how well your social strategy is doing and adapt as necessary.

Want to learn more about social media and the new purchase process?  Check out our MRA Webinar on Wednesday December 8th with South Street Strategy’s Mark Carr.

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

Download our latest Consumer Pulse Report on Social Sharing:

social sharing report 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: marketing strategy, social media, Consumer Pulse

Three More Take-aways From The Market Research Event: Innovation and Evangelization

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Mon, Nov 15, 2010

Last  week I posted three initial take-aways from the 2010 Market Research Event.   Now, I have three more that could easily be summed up by the notion that people like shiny objects, and quantitative research isn’t shiny.  But I’ll expound…

1.       The innovation conversation is focused on qualitative and distribution:  Judging by session attendance and the nominations for the EXPLOR and NGMR Disruptive Innovator awards, the vast majority of innovation is coming in the form of qualitative research methodologies and information distribution.  This is being driven by the continuing emergence of technology first companies into the market research space, as opposed to new entries using traditional ideas and techniques.  This new life in the industry is a good thing for sure, but getting from cool technology to useful insights is easier said than done and those who don’t understand the end goal of what researchers are trying to accomplish will likely fail.

2.       Quantitative topics aren’t sexy:  There was not much talk of advancements in quantitative research, and most quantitative topics focused on the simplification of surveys and necessary analytical trade-offs associated with them.   Particularly jarring for any quant. researchers in attendance was a keynote session that centered around the fact that stated importance is no longer a good metric and that MaxDiff was a better choice.  This was jarring simply because many firms have long since adopted this methodology and, at least here at CMB, moved on to things like Anchored MaxDiff and Adaptive Discrete Choice to increase the reliability of results.

3.       Selling insights internally and empowering employees is key to success:  There was a lot of interesting talk of broader use of technology to share insights within and beyond the corporate office.  Smart companies are using insights to enable a wide array of decisions at the corporate level and empower employees at all levels.  Our client from Avis Budget Group, Becky Alseth, showed how they are using the Voice of the Customer program to empower local managers to make improvements and Bill Hoffman from Best Buy showed how they gather insights from employees on the front lines and drive better one to one service at retail.

All in all, The Market Research Event was a hit and it is clear that an evolution is happening in our industry.  And as clients and providers get younger and more nimble (and less reliant on traditional methods) we are sure to see more changes by this time next year and into the future.  

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

Topics: qualitative research, quantitative research, conference recap

Three Quick Takeaways from Day One at The Market Research Event

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Tue, Nov 09, 2010

the market research eventWe’re spending this week at The Market Research Event in San Diego, and this is generally my favorite conference of the year.   Conferences tend to be a mixed bag when it comes to sharing “new ideas” but TMRE at a minimum puts the focus on the business implications of market research studies, which makes the content far more interesting.     I was, however, very excited that yesterday’s sessions brought a lot of “new” to the table.  The three biggest takeaways for me:

1)      Facebook is changing the game, and they aren’t even the ones doing lots of the changing. The Facebook platform allows companies to interact with their customer and prospects in different ways and smart companies are figuring out the best way to leverage it for insights and engagement.  For example,  Linda Ashbrook from Taco Bell shared how they have been creating private pages to essentially build temporary research panels that last 2-3 months and focus on a particular part of their target market. This allows them to run what I would call an online bulletin board on steroids that provides daily insight and when they are done with the topic, close it down instead of keeping an MROC alive indefinitely.  And as long as the experience is good, Facebook is all for it.  Smart, innovative, cost effective.  I love it.

2)      Media measurement is evolving beyond Nielsen.  Jim Multari from Sprout, PBS’ network focused on providing great content via multiple platforms for kids ages 2-4, shared how they used a variety of methods to prove their value to advertisers prior to signing on as Nielsen tracked entity.  Combing Omniture, set-top box data, TiVo data, their own community, and more allowed them to paint a picture that focused on the extent to which they were engaging kids and parents and sell based on value not volume as they grew.  Even now, as a Nielsen tracked company, they rely on this mix of data sources to sell against competitors with broader reach in the market.  Again, very smart way prove value beyond the traditional industry currency.   

3)      Engaging the internal organization is still the key to research success.  Our client, Bob Biancamano from Ameriprise Financial, focused his strategic segmentation story on the internal challenges he faced and how to attack them in a way that builds buy in, not dismissal.  From embracing past segmentations to making the results obviously valuable to different areas of the organization, Bob showed how they overcame key challenges with some thoughtful planning to provide both a practical and holistic view  that enabled Ameriprise to change their focus from their agents to their customers.  Not revolutionary, but effective.  Even with all of the evolutionary approaches, it is more important than ever to understand and engage the users of market research insights.

For more on the topic visit the conference’s blog or follow along on twitter with the #tmre hashtag.  Ready for day two!

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

Topics: conference recap

Three things you should know about your Facebook Fans

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Wed, Nov 03, 2010

facebook logo resized 600Over the past few months I (like most marketers) have been reading a lot about social media and its role in marketing plans going forward. We have put out our own reports on what people are doing online and eMarketer and Mashable (among others) put out tons of great content every day. 

Through all of my reading and in conversations with clients and prospects I continue to be surprised how little many companies know about the people they are engaging with via social media.  Thinking about Facebook specifically, as an admin of a Fan page you get access to limited data, but nothing particularly useful for developing and improving content and engagement strategies.   So, as we launch a new research approach to understanding Facebook Fans it seems that there are three things at a minimum that brands should know about their Fans (or “Likers”) to develop a meaningful strategy and get results from their efforts:

1) What are they looking for from you on Facebook?  To keep your Fans engaged you need to understand why they have become Fans and what content they are hoping to see from you.  Also, how they expect content to differ (or not) from what they might get from you on your corporate website, blog,etc.

2) How well are you meeting Fans’ expectations?  Facebook as an engagement or marketing channel doesn’t give you much for mass feedback.  You can (and should) read what is posted to your brand's (or brands’) wall and keep an eye on the number of new and departing Fans, but how much do you really know about how you are doing?  Asking a few simple questions of your Fans on a periodic basis can give you tremendous insight into where you can improve and what the people who don’t post comments on your wall might be thinking.  And because you can’t really segment your audience, you need to understand if you are not giving most of the people what they want before they begin to tune you out.

3) How can you increase engagement and enhance the Fan experience?  Once you know if you are hitting the mark with your current content, it is important to know what your Fans think of other potential Facebook initiatives before you invest too heavily.  Are they interested in new applications?  Contests?  Videos?  Tools that connect to your brand and products?  Testing the waters before you spend valuable development resources can improve your social media ROI.

Facebook offers brands a tremendous opportunity to engage with customers and prospects, but much of it is under leveraged and under-utilized. To really capitalize on the opportunity, you need to tap into your Fans and listen to what they have to say, don’t assume you already know.

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

Topics: marketing strategy, social media

True Customer Loyalty: Part Disposition, Part Behavior

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Thu, Oct 07, 2010

Companies have always sought “customer loyalty” as a goal, and this goal has taken on even more significance in the current economic climate.  From a measurement perspective, much has been written about the best way to measure true “loyalty.”  Whether it is through the use of NPS (likelihood to recommend) or by more concrete actions like re-purchase like cross-sales and re-purchase, everyone has a philosophy on the best metrics for demonstrating loyalty. 

Unfortunately, most companies choose to rely on either behavioral outcomes OR emotional measures when quantifying customer loyalty.  In reality, true loyalty is a combination of internal disposition AND behaviors.  And  is NOT something that can be purchased, it’s earned.

For example, I am blindly loyal to JetBlue.   I love the experience.  I love having tv as an option.  I love the snacks.  I love the extra space.  By most metrics, I am an average or below average customer.  I probably fly JetBlue once or twice a year and am not involved in their “community” and have never redeemed my TrueBlue points.  But what they probably don’t know is that I routinely talk about how much I love JetBlue and always look first at their options when booking a flight and only choose another carrier if the timing just won’t work for me.

 

customer loyalty resized 600

On the other hand, by all behavioral metrics I am loyal to my cable company.  I have been a customer for years.  I recently upgraded to the sports package.  I have numerous cable boxes in my house. I have a voice/internet/cable bundle.  And I already get Showtime and HBO (I watch too much TV.)  Yet every football season I consider switching to DirectTV for the Sunday Ticket package and the earlier showing of Friday Night Lights.  I am considering getting rid of my home telephone line.  And I am indifferent about my internet service.   Clearly, I am not truly loyal to the brand… and they have no idea.

The takeaway is that when thinking about measuring and managing customer loyalty, it is essential to serve both the emotional and behavioral side of people’s loyalty to get a clear picture.  Relying on either alone can lead to inaccurate measures of customer loyalty and decisions that don’t make a ton of sense.  So, take the time to understand what your customers are thinking AND doing and act accordingly.

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

Download our latest Consumer Pulse Reports:

social sharing report    Health reform report

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey

What does full service market research really mean?

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn

Fri, Oct 01, 2010

full service custom market research

With the continued rise of do-it-yourself tools and specialized agencies, much has been written and said about the demise of the full-service market research firm.  But as business continues to become more and more complex (more buying channels, more products, more competition, more media, more interactions)  there will always be a need for strategic, highly skilled partners who go beyond standard approaches and find ways to give their clients the competitive edge. 

Certainly DIY tools and specialized agencies can provide good insights, but full service firms are able to start with the end goal in mind and choose from a wide array of tools and techniques to make sure a project is truly useful.

  • Quantitative, Qualitative or Both?  Every researcher has a preference for qualitative or quantitative research (whether they admit it or not), but full service firms are able to let the business situation dictate which is the best approach.  In many cases it is a matter of building your story using a mix of both inputs or letting one phase feed into another.   And in some cases it is understanding whether the actual users of the findings are going to be engaged more with one type of information than another. Either way, full service firms are able to look at the entire set of online and offline methods and pick the ones that will be most effective in achieving a project’s goals.

  • Offline or Online?  Sure, many of us live in an online world and conduct most of our research there. But there are times when in-person research is a must.  Whether it is the need for a group dynamic, a really deep dive into a specific topic, or the need to physically touch a product.. . a full service firm is able to execute in multiple ways and connect the findings together.

  • Social media anyone?  More and more, researchers are getting questions about social media and how to measure it.  Sometimes the answer is setting up a monitoring program.  Others it is embedding questions in a brand or customer experience tracker.  And in some cases, it is just a matter of making sense of existing SM tracking data and using it as an input to tell the total story.

  • Partners, great partners:  Full service firms can execute on a wide array of research methodologies, but the good ones know when it is important to bring in an expert partner so that clients get the best results possible.  Whether they are specialized qualitative experts in a field or technique, implementation specialists, cultural experts, management consultants, or online reporting technology companies, one service that full service market research providers provide is bringing the best people to the table from among a trusted network.

Posted by Josh Mendelsohn. Josh is our VP of Marketing and loves live music, tv, great food, market research, New Orleans, marketing, his family, Boston and sports. You can follow him on Twitter @mendelj2.

Download our latest Consumer Pulse Reports:

social sharing report    Health reform report

Topics: methodology, social media