Social media marketers looking for an indication that their efforts are helping the bottom line will be encouraged by findings from Chadwick Martin Bailey
that social friends and followers feel more inclined to purchase from the brands they are fans of.
More than one-half of Facebook fans said they are more likely to make a purchase for at least a few brands, and 67% of Twitter followers reported the same.
The power of earned media gives a further boost to brands: 60% of respondents claimed their Facebook fandom increased the chance they would recommend a brand to a friend. Among Twitter followers, that proportion rose to nearly eight in 10.
The researchers also explored why social media users become brand fans. The top reason to friend a brand on Facebook was to receive discounts, followed by simply being a customer of the company and a desire to show others that they support the brand. On Twitter, discounts, up-to-the-minute information and exclusive content were the main draws; only 2% of respondents followed brands on Twitter to show their support.
The findings are largely in line with previous research about what social followers want, but the results changed when Chadwick Martin Bailey asked respondents about why they had first decided to follow brands, and allowed them to choose as many reasons as they liked.
Among Facebook fans, the top reasons were being a customer (49%) and to show support (42%), with discounts and promotions coming in third (40%). Another 34% simply said it was fun and entertaining to become a fan. On Twitter, being a customer won out (51%), with discounts (44%) and fun (42%) rounding out the top three.
People are more excited about the prospect of content delivery than they are about the devices the content may be delivered on.
According to a survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers by Chadwick Martin Bailey, people were significantly more excited about the prospects of renting movies over the Internet and surfing the web while watching television than they were about 3D televisions, the iPad and Google-powered Android phones.
Twenty-nine percent were "extremely excited" about the prospect of renting movies over the Internet, while 24% felt the same way about surfing the Web via an Internet-connected television. By contrast, only 15% and 16% felt the same way about the iPad and 3D television, respectively.
"After many years of media hype and false starts, we're finally starting to see the concept of accessing feature-length films and TV shows through the Internet cross the chasm into the mainstream," Chris Neal, vice president of the firm's technology practice, tells Marketing Daily. "We're starting to see more mainstream consumers come around to these things."
Neal attributed the increase to several factors, including greater access to faster Internet speeds, a greater comfort level with Internet video and better online content quality. He added that televisions are coming with their own Internet ports, which makes merging the screens easier in the mind of consumers.
"More and more TVs are coming with port connections to sling Internet content to your TV," he says. "It's becoming easier and the quality is getting better. The light bulb is starting to come on with consumers."
A few months ago, a favorite media game was to “name the decade” that had just passed. Some have called the years since the turn of the millennium “the awful aughts” or “the zeros,” but from the perspective of marketers and marketing researchers, I suggest we name the last ten years the “Decade of Insights.”
For at least that long, we have been exhorted to dig for insights, mine for insights, uncover insights and develop insights, by everyone from corporate CEOs to opportunistic entrepreneurs who claim to have found, and are more than willing to sell, the one sure method of uncovering every insight, every time.
Research consultants, especially those of us who specialize in qualitative research, are pressed to come up with ever-newer, ever-smarter, ever-more-insightful insights. When we do, we are heroes. When we don’t, we are dismissed as irrelevant and subjected to declarations that “respondents lie” or “the focus group is dead” because the projectwas less than revolutionary in its outcome.
Now, make no mistake — I believe insights are important. I really do. I teach a course called “Consumer Insights.” I wrote a book (Consumer Insights 2.0: How Smart Companies Apply Customer Knowledge to the Bottom Line). I try to dig, mine, uncover and develop insights from every project. But is that enough?
Decision-Makers Need Insight
Pressure for insight is growing because doing business is harder today than ever before. Consumers are more sophisticated about marketing. Few American consumers can remember life without television, and most have developed defenses against advertising strategies that built brands and grew companies in the golden age of “Mad Men” and mass marketing.
For more and more consumers, the internet has always been a toolfor information-gathering and shopping. On the internet, competition is worldwide, and every niche market is served. Potential buyers and sellers can find each other with a few mouse clicks. The result? Consumers expect to have what they want, when they want it and at the price they are willing to pay, and nothing less will do.
At the same time, marketers are more stressed than ever. The push for lower costs and greater productivity makes every marketing dollar more difficult to come by, and the explosion of information makes it harder for marketers to process the data bombarding them. Twentyfour- hour connectivity and worldwide corporate enterprises add pressure for instantaneous decision-making. On top of that, a global recession adds consequence to every decision, and poor choices can expose a brand to a tsunami of problems. Just ask Toyota.
Given these stresses, it is no wonder that companies want insight. Wise clients expect their research projects to lead to new and better understanding of their customers, brands and markets, and they pay research consultants well to design and execute the kinds of projects that will accomplish this goal.
By definition, though, research consultants are outsiders. They do not have the ultimate responsibility for making decisions. They provide their best advice, and no matter how solid the partnership, no matter how valued their recommendations, they eventually withdraw, and someone else decides. Clients do not outsource decision-making. So, is it wise, or even possible, for clients to outsource their quest for insights?
Insight Is a Way of Seeing
A few months ago, a lively discussion on LinkedIn responded to the question “What is an insight? Discuss.” Researchers, brand specialists and others worldwide provided a range of definitions, focusing on the idea of insight as a deeper understanding of the consumer or the brand that helps solve consumer problems or meets previously unmet needs, born in an “Aha!” moment of discovery or recognition.
In contrast, dictionaries define “insight” as the ability or capacity of intuitive understanding, of apprehending the true nature of things, of seeing into inner character or underlying truth. A secondary meaning relates to the act or outcome of this ability. In other words, being insightful leads us to having insight. It is a circular idea and not terribly helpful.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the original meaning of “insight” was “sight with the eyes of the mind” — mental vision or understanding. That’s getting closer.
These definitions lead me to the conclusion that “insight” is not a thing to be found, or dug up, or uncovered. Insight is a way of seeing a unique perspective on a problem, a creative spark that combines ideas or information in a new way that inspires innovation and invigorates decision-making.
That means genuine insight has to be experienced, not passed from one person to another. Insight is an intuitive recognition of an idea — a new way of seeing. Anything else, including someone else’s insight, is just another bit of information.
Dan Gersten of Boston research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, and an active participant in the LinkedIn discussion, agrees. “Insight is seeing things that others don’t,” he says. “Patterns in chaos. Connecting dots. Not just thinking outside of the box but outside of the room.”
This is the “aha” that can occur during a research project, when individual observations or findings come together to form a bigger, richer, more meaningful picture. It is an exciting moment of discovery, but having such an insight is not the end — it is only the beginning.
“Insight is something that may be hard to explain to others,” Gersten continues, “and so the challenge is for the more insightful people to get the less insightful to see what they do.”
Putting on the 3-D Glasses
Sharing insight should be the primary goal for both outside consultants and internal consumer-insights specialists, but effectively doing so means sharing the experience of having the insight, not merely transmitting the conclusion that springs from our own moment of discovery. We can present a picture for other team members to look at, but to share its meaning, we must bring that picture into the sharpest possible focus, so the insight becomes visible to all.
Greg Rathjen, founder of Atlantabased Marketecture and a longtime member of QRCA, states the problem. “As an outside consultant, you can generate all kinds of insights, but unless someone is listening, the insights don’t matter,” he says. “The best we can do is to provide the opportunity for the client to have the same insight that came to us, because until the decision-maker takes ownership of the insight, it will go nowhere.”
When I went to see the movie Avatar, the program began with Coca-Cola ads, coming attractions and the usual plea to turn off all cell phones. Then, a message flashed across the screen telling the audience, “Put on your 3-D glasses now.” We all did so, and as the film rolled, we saw Pandora come alive, experiencing all the depth and detail the movie’s creators wanted to convey.
When we, as researchers, try to share insight with the brand strategists, the innovation team, the customer service managers or any other “client” for a project, we must come prepared with figurative sets of 3-D glasses we can hand out to the audience.
We have to build our movie scene by scene, going from observation to finding to insight to actionable result. We must help audience members experience the 3-D picture by grounding them in the information that set the stage for our insight experience. We must tell a story and illustrate it with intriguing visuals, until the insight takes on all the depth and color of the forest of Pandora.
We also must help the team discover its own path through the forest, and we must not stop the quest to admire the first beautiful insight we come across. As Rathjen puts it, “Insight is not a one-shot deal; it’s a process. One idea creates a spark, and that leads to another idea, and another and another until in the end, you have a real breakthrough.”
For their part, brand team members have a responsibility to put on the glasses and sit through the movie. They must be willing to look, pay attention and then share their own reactions and insights. They have to open themselves to new ideas and practice bringing their life experiences into their analysis, while at the same time remembering that the target audience may have a very different perspective.
Most of all, the team must be willing to devote the time and effort it takes to get to the end of the story. That means turning off the Black- Berry when observing consumer interviews. Actively participating in post-research debriefs. Attending those long team meetings to collaborate on how the learning applies to the business problem at hand.
As for outcome, if we all do our part, we will see, even after we put the 3-D glasses away, that while information-gathering can be outsourced, real insight must be found within ourselves.
You might think that flat-screen 3D TVs, iPads, and Android-powered devices are causing all the hype, but a new study shows that consumers are more interested in online content than they are in the latest high-powered gadgets.
A June 9 study conducted by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey shows that consumers are most excited about being able to rent full-length movies from the internet.
"After many years of media hype and false starts, we're finally starting to see the concept of accessing feature-length films and TV shows through the internet cross the chasm into the mainstream," said Chris Neal, vice president of Chadwick Martin Bailey's technology practice.
"Industry developments like increasingly fast and ubiquitous broadband access, Netflix's shift to online movie rentals, TV networks making more shows available on their websites, online video services like Hulu, growth in iTunes video downloads and massive peer-to-peer video sharing through social networks are all helping to break down the mental divide between a TV screen and the internet."
Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed listed "Movie rentals via internet" as the hyped technology they were most interested in. Connecting to the internet via TV was also high on the list with 24 percent of people saying it was the technology they were most excited about.
The possibility of using an iPhone on a mobile carrier other than ATT was second with 26 percent. Twenty-three percent of respondents were excited about 4G wireless technology, and 22 percent of people were excited about unified fixed mobile voice plans.
Interestingly enough technology that has been much-hyped within the technology word was at the bottom of the list. Only 20 percent of people surveyed were excited about 3D TV, 16 percent about the iPad and 15 percent were excited about Android-based cell phones.
A second study released by eMarketer on June 9 suggests that the rate of online video viewing will continue to increase, with full-length TV and movies viewing rising in popularity as more consumers adopt connected TVs. eMarketer predicts that around 77 percent of US internet users will be watching online video content at least once a month in 2014.
Chadwick Martin Bailey's "Excitement about recently hyped technologies" study was based on the responses of more than 1,200 US consumers aged between 18 and 65.
The social networking audience in the US has reached critical mass. eMarketer estimates that 57.5% of all US Internet users, or 127 million people, will use a social network at least once a month in 2010. By 2014, nearly two-thirds of Internet users will be on board.
Marketers have been chasing this audience for several years, but the question remains: Do consumers notice, or care?
“Those who still think that social network users are too busy engaging with friends to notice marketers must change their viewpoint,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Brand Interactions on Social Networks.” “Brand interactions are real, valuable and growing. “
According to a February 2010 survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a market research firm, 33% of Facebook users have become fans of brands on the network.
Another survey, by Edison Research, found that 16% of social network users had friended brands there. And half (51%) had done so on Twitter.
Coupons remain a leading driver of brand interactions in social networks. Learning about sales and new products is also a strong motivator for people to interact with companies in social media. Beyond the tangibles, such as coupons, consumers do gain positive feelings about a brand as a result of their interactions.
Still, social networks are not seen as primary research sources when consumers are looking to buy. Although people are very inclined to take advice from friends and family about products they are interested in, they are not nearly as likely to seek out their social network friends when they are researching online.
According to a study by PowerReviews and the e-tailing group, only 3% of online buyers said they sought recommendations from social network friends first, compared with 57% who started with search engines.
“More than half of all Internet users now use social networks, and the percentage of social network users who talk about companies, either in organic conversations or on branded company pages, is growing,” said Ms. Williamson. “Consumers do pay attention and they do value positive interactions with companies.
“But while people trust their friends for advice and use social networks as part of their research process, social networks are long way from replacing search, if they ever will, as a source of information leading to a purchase.”
One of the most sought after answers in social media is whether engagement in social networks such as Twitter or Facebook correlates to customer acquisition, retention, and advocacy. However, before people are customers they are prospects, and prospects require information and confidence in order to make decisions.
These folks are not only searching for guidance, comparisons, and experiences via Google – they are also becoming increasingly social in every step of a decision-making process. If brands do not identify the various stages of choice and resolution and also the networks where they socialize and explore, they will miss opportunities.
From Fans and Followers to Customers
In order to connect with prospects online, we must go where they’re already active. In February 2010, market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey along with iModerate Research Technologies, surveyed over 1,500 individuals online as well as conducted one-on-one discussions to contextualize social media behavior.
The study found that an astounding 60 percent of individuals who “like” pages dedicated to brands on Facebook are more likely to recommend the brand than those unaware of the company’s presence within the network. Even more incredible is that 79 percent of consumers who follow the brand on Twitter have stated that they would refer peers to those companies they follow.
Since actions speak louder than words, the study sought to answer the question of whether engagement leads to purchases. The answer is yes. An impressive 51 percent of Facebook fans and 67 percent of Twitter followers indicated that they are more likely to buy since connecting online with the brands. With 450 million users on Facebook and over 100 million registered users on Twitter, the potential is great.
Engage or Die
Creating a presence in social networks is mandatory, but it’s also not enough. Actively and thoughtfully engaging consumers in social networks is quickly becoming an expectation. As part of the study, consumers voiced their opinions and sentiment, some of which serves as a wake-up call to businesses everywhere:
“It’s EXPECTED that a company have some digital face – whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter I don’t know – but they need a strong electronic presence or you doubt their relevance in today’s marketplace.” Female 50-54
“Either they are not interested in the demographic that frequents Facebook and Twitter or they are unaware of the opportunity to get more exposure in a more interactive method.” Male 35-39
"It shows they are not really with it or in tune with the new ways to communicate with customers.” Female 18-24
“If they’re not on Facebook or Twitter, then they aren’t in touch with the ‘electronic’ people.” Female 55-59
Brands that focus on prospects and customers through social engagement will open new doors that increase brand awareness and sales through word of mouth. And perhaps more importantly, businesses will also earn expanded relevance in the age of a new and powerful medium. Engagement, indeed, yields privileges in the new world of social marketing.