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Social Media? Scandal's Got It Handled.

Posted by Kirsten Clark

Thu, May 14, 2015

describe the imageDo you have plans tonight?

If you’re like me, you’ll be snuggled up on your couch with a glass of red wine in one hand and Twitter pulled up on your phone in the other, ready and waiting for tonight’s Scandal finale. I’ll admit it: I love all Shonda Rhimes’ shows. I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy since season 3 and How to Get Away with Murder after it premiered last fall. But as much as I love these two shows, I know I can DVR them and avoid spoilers. There’s one of Shonda’s shows, however, that I will move mountains to watch live because I just know that if I don’t, I will be spoiled the minute I go online. That show, ladies and gentlemen, is Scandal.

Since its premiere in 2012, Scandal has positioned itself as “event television”—the kind of can’t-miss show that needs to be watched live to get the full experience— which, if you think about it, is a pretty amazing feat. Just a few years ago, event television was thought to be dead with few exceptions (award shows, sporting events, etc.), but Scandal has resurrected it. How? Through cliffhangers, top secret plots, and brilliant marketing campaigns. But none of these have contributed more to this positioning than the show’s masterful use of Twitter.

describe the image

The community the show has built on Twitter has been key to Scandal’s success, and this success story has a lesson that all brands should remember: loyalty and engagement are key. So, how has Scandal been able to do this? Through an immersive campaign that integrates organic fan-generated content with participation from cast and crew members. Each Thursday night, I am one of the #Gladiators scrolling through Twitter to read live tweets from fellow fans as well as cast members. The actors on the show are not the only people participating—fans can chat with Scandal’s writers (@ScandalWriters), prop master (@scandalprops), makeup department (@ScandalMakeup), and others.

In addition to live tweeting, Scandal has also brilliantly incorporated hashtags into its social media strategy. For instance, in 2012, the show was one of the first programs to advertise on Twitter and to feature a promoted hashtag (#WhoShotFitz) in advertising. The show uses a variety of hashtags for different purposes. For example, the show used #ScandalRecruitment during one month in season three to attract new viewers, and it often promotes #AskScandal, which viewers can use to ask a cast or crew member a question about the show.

All of this has culminated in a massive social media following. The show’s fans send out over 350,000 tweets per episode and, until recently, Scandal had the highest average tweets per episode during live airings of any broadcast drama this season. The show that beat Scandal? Newcomer Empire, which has based its social media strategy (live tweeting, promoted hashtags, etc.) off the success of Scandal’s strategy.

You’re probably asking yourself: why does this matter? First of all, after watching Olivia Pope shut someone down with a scene-stealing speech, is there anything more exciting than getting to directly interact with Kerry Washington about that exact scene? (The answer is no, people.) More importantly, Twitter released a study last May which found that after seeing TV-related tweets, 90% of people take “subsequent action such as watching a show they’ve never watched before, resuming a show that they’d previously stopped watching, and/or searching for more information about the show online.” Let this be a lesson to all brands (not just television shows): building a passionate fan base on Twitter generates loyalty and engagement, which in turn generates increased revenue.

So, fellow Gladiators, cancel your plans and settle in, because tonight promises to be another adventure—both on-screen and on your Twitter feed.

Kirsten Clark is a Marketing Associate at CMB who one day aspires to be like Olivia Pope. . .except without all torture, murders, and Presidential affairs.

Topics: marketing strategy, social media, television, customer experience and loyalty, digital media and entertainment research

Deflategate and the Dangers of Convenience Sampling

Posted by Athena Rodriguez

Wed, Jan 28, 2015

The Patriots have landed in Phoenix for yet another Super Bowl, but there are still those who can’t stop talking about “Deflategate.” Yes, that’s what some are calling the controversy surrounding those perfectly legal 12.5 PSI inflated footballs that lost air pressure due to changing atmospheric conditions and repeated Gronking* after touchdowns during the first half of the Pats-Colts showdown.

Here in Boston, we were shocked to turn on the TV and hear the terrible accusations. Were we watching and reading the same things as the accusers? Did those doubters not watch the press conferences (all three of them) where our completely ethical coach proclaimed his team’s innocence? Did they not understand that Belichick even conducted a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT? 

Or could it be simply that the doubters live outside of New England?

athena blog

The chart above makes it pretty obvious—from Bangor to Boston, we just might have been hearing the voices of a lot more Pats fans. This is, in fact, a really simple illustration of the dangers of convenience sampling—a very common type of non-probability sampling.

Sure it’s a silly example, but as companies try to conduct research faster and cheaper, convenience sampling poses serious threats. Can you get 500 completes in a day? Yes, but there’s a very good chance they won’t be representative of the population you’re looking for. Posting a link to your survey on Facebook or Twitter is fast and free, but whose voice will you hear and whose will you miss?

I’ve heard it said that some information is better than none, but I’m not sure I agree. If you sample people that aren’t in your target, they can lead you in the completely wrong direction. If you oversample in a certain population (ahem, New Englanders) you can also suffer from a biased, non-representative sample.

Representative sampling is one of the basic tenets of survey research, but just because it’s a simple concept doesn’t mean we can afford to ignore it. Want your results to win big? Carefully review your game plan before kicking-off data collection.

  • Sample Frame: Is the proposed sample frame representative of the target population?
    • Unless you are targeting a niche population. . .
      • online panel “click-throughs” should be census balanced
      • –customer lists must be reflective of the target customers (if the population is all customers, do not use email addresses unless addresses exist for all customers or the exceptions are randomly distributed)
      • –compare the final sample to the target population just to be sure
  • Selection: Does the selection process ensure that all potential respondents on the frame have an equal chance of being recruited throughout the data collection period?
    • To be sure, you should. . .
      • randomize all lists before recruiting
      • not fill quotas first
      • not focus on hard-to-reach respondents first
  • Data collection: Will the proposed data collection plan adversely affect sample quality?
    • –Ask yourself:
      • Are fielding dates unusual (e.g., holiday, tax returns, Super Bowl, etc.)?
      • Is the schedule long enough to cover weekdays and weekends? Will it give procrastinators sufficient time to respond?
  • Structure: Will important subgroups have sufficient sample sizes if left to fall out naturally?
    • –If not, set quotas. . .
      • –Quota groups must be weighted back to their natural distribution before analysis or treated as an oversample and excluded from any analysis at the total level.
  • Size: Is the proposed sample size sufficient?
    • –We must always balance costs against sample size, but, at the same time, we must recognize that we need minimum sample sizes for certain objectives.  

Are there times you might need some quick and dirty (un-Patriot like) results? Absolutely. But, when you’re playing for big insights, you need the right team.

*spiking the football after a touchdown.

Athena Rodriguez is a Project Consultant at CMB. She’s a native Floridian, who’s looking forward to the end of the Blizzard of 2015 and the start of Sunday’s game!

Topics: Boston, television, research design, digital media and entertainment research

NFL Popularity Rises as Fans Leave Stadiums

Posted by Lindsay Maroney

Thu, Sep 04, 2014

nfl, user experience, customer experience,

With the National Football League (NFL) projected to make over $9 billion this year, it is the most profitable and popular professional sports league in the US. Despite this, the NFL is struggling to fill its stadiums, with overall attendance experiencing recent declines. While attendance numbers reached a high of 17.4 million for the 2007 season, it fell to 16.6 million in 2011. Although it has rebounded, totaling 17.3 million in 2013, attendance remains a concern.One likely reason is that the “experience” of watching a game from home has begun to rival or even surpass that of attending one live. Advances in TV technology give fans a better view, and programs, such as NFL RedZone and DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket, make it possible to watch live action from multiple games at once. In addition, the cost of attending an NFL game has continued to rise. In 2013, the average price per ticket was $82, up 3% from 2012 and more than 50% from 2003. Parking, meanwhile, averaged $31 and beer, $7. Taking into account only these purchases, which does not include money spent on food, memorabilia, or tailgating, a pair of fans will spend over $200 to attend a single game. Watching at home will cost only a fraction of this amount.

As a result, NFL teams are overhauling their customer experience efforts, making an attempt to keep fans coming to their stadiums. For the 2014 season, all teams must meet minimum standards for Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, and some teams have already taken this a step further. The New England Patriots, for example, have a Gameday Live app, which allows fans access to game replays, live field cameras, statistics, league scores, restroom wait times, weather, traffic and more. The Atlanta Falcons have a similar app, Falcons Mobile, but theirs also includes exclusive opportunities for season ticket holders to stand in the tunnel as the players run out, hold the flag on the field during pregame, or receive an in-game visit from a Falcons cheerleader. In addition to these apps, many teams are planning to improve the view by installing new mega video boards, and the San Francisco 49ers newly constructed stadium includes a “fantasy football lounge” so fans can follow their fantasy team.

The franchise that takes the grand prize in these efforts, however, is the Jacksonville Jaguars. Investing $63 million in renovations this past off-season, the Jaguars revamped their video boards and installed an interactive fan area. Highlighting these installments are the two largest outdoor displays in the US, which measure at 362 feet wide and 60 feet tall, and a two-story Party Deck. The Party Deck includes cabana-style seating areas, video screens, bars, and two large spa-type wading pools and other water features.

While the continued profitability and popularity of the NFL is not in doubt, the primary viewing venue of fans is. The battle to reach consumers will continue, as more NFL teams strive to bring added comforts to the stadium. 

South Street Strategy GroupLindsay is an Associate Consultant at  South Street Strategy Group. South Street Strategy Group, an independent sister company of Chadwick Martin Bailey, integrates the best of strategy consulting and marketing science to develop better growth and value delivery strategies.  

Topics: South Street Strategy Group, strategy consulting, mobile, television, customer experience and loyalty, digital media and entertainment research

Super Bowl Squares: The Secrets to Winning Big

Posted by Jim Garrity

Tue, Jan 28, 2014

Super Bowl 2014 XLVIIAnother Super Bowl weekend is upon us and it’s another year that my team isn’t in it. Worse yet a dear friend (and client) of mine forced me into an early-season wager pitting my poor team against her juggernaut Denver Broncos, to see who would have a better season. Unfortunately, the Pats are out of the Super Bowl, and I am out one lobster dinner. 

Luckily, I’ve got a cunning plan to recoup that loss and I’m happy to share it: your office's Super Bowl Squares. I can hear you already “Jim, Super Bowl Squares have all the strategy of the card game War!" But I’m here to explain how you can get an edge in this classic living-room lottery. So if you are looking to get a leg up on your best friend, 86 year old aunt, or 13 year old nephew you’ve stumbled onto the right blog. 

At CMB we pride ourselves on turning data into actionable decisions. So with that backdrop in mind:

You already know that some combinations are preferred over others (specifically combinations containing zeros, threes, and sevens).  But do you know how much better one combination is than another? Well, assuming you are in one of the pools that pays out quarterly here’s what you need to know:

There are 28 combinations that have a positive expectation. That is, if you had one of these combinations every year, you’d expect to win more money than you lost (of course that assumes you are playing for money, which obviously none of us are!). Anyway, here are the 28 combinations that you should feel pretty good about:

7-0/0-7

0-0

3-0/0-3

7-7

7-4/4-7

7-3/3-7

4-0/0-4

4-1/1-4

3-3

4-3/3-4

7-1/1-7

6-0/0-6

4-4

6-3/3-6

1-0/0-1

7-6/6-7

But what if you don’t have one of those combinations?  Well, this is where the “turning data into actionable decisions” part comes in…There are 5 combinations worth paying a substantial premium for. Yes, that’s right if you aren’t lucky enough to get a good combination you might consider taking action and finding someone who isn’t good at math (or hasn’t read this blog) and buying their combination. Below are the five combinations that each have an expectation of at least 4x. So if you can separate Aunt Millie or little Bobby from one of these squares for anything less than 4 times the per square price, you’ll be doing ok.

7-0/0-7

0-0

3-0/0-3

However, maybe you’ve been lucky enough to land one of these top 5 combinations and you're watching the game with people who overvalue these combinations.  I’ve already told you that you should be willing to pay up to 4x for each, but what if you wanted to sell?  Since only 0-0 has an expectation greater than 7x, try to get someone to pay in excess of 7 times the buy-in for the others. For 0-0, get at least 9x.

Lastly, maybe you are one of those people who like to zig when others zag. Here are two combinations that have a close to even money expectation (actually around .8), but may seem to others to be far worse. Perhaps you could make someone an offer of 50 cents on the dollar for one of these:

3-1/1-3

4-6/6-4

Whatever you do, stay warm, enjoy the game, don’t eat too much, and NEVER drink and drive.  Good luck!

Jim is VP of CMB’s Financial Services practice, he'll be watching the big game on Sunday...and DVRing Downton Abbey.

Topics: television, digital media and entertainment research

TV Untethered: The Majority of Mobile TV Viewing is Happening at Home

Posted by Kristen Garvey

Wed, Jun 05, 2013

CRE Logo

This weekend, my 10 year old Jack sat on our comfy couch with a big screen TV just feet way, but he chose to curl up with the iPad to watch his episode of Star Wars.  In just a few clicks of the remote he could have watched it in HD on a beautiful big screen. I found myself wondering why. Was it a few clicks too many to reach On Demand?  Was it just more convenient to pick up the iPad and watch his show in a few taps? There’s no doubt consumer behavior is changing when it comes to how we watch TV and the big screen doesn’t always win.

This week the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) released a study they commissioned Chadwick Martin Bailey to run to understand the impact of mobile media devices on overall TV viewing behavior. Next week Chris Neal, leader of CMB’s Technology and Telecom practice will be joining Laura Cowan, research director at LIN Media and co-chair of the CRE’s Media Consumption and Engagement Committee at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) Audience Measurement 8.0 conference to present the results. The conference takes place June 10-11, 2013 in New York City.

This study indicates that Jack is not alone in choosing the iPad over the big screen. In fact the study found the majority of “mobile” TV viewing occasions happen at home—82%  of tablet TV viewing occasions happen in-home and even 64% of smartphone viewing occasions happen here.  One of the key drivers of that choice is simply convenience:  it’s easy, the television set might be in use by someone else, and/or some consumers don’t have the same online streaming capabilities to their TV that they have on mobile devices. Check out more results of the study here.

“Much of the TV being watched on mobile devices is currently being distributed by online subscription services (e.g., Netflix, Hulu),” according to Neal. “There are opportunities for networks, pay TV providers (e.g., cable, satellite, fiber) and content owners to boost their libraries available via mobile devices and make their mobile apps more compelling so they don’t lose audience share as consumer viewing habits change.”

New Age of TV

 

Interested in learning more? Check out the ARF Audience Measurement conference next week in New York and download CMB’s self-funded research on this New Age of Television

 

 

Kristen is CMB's VP of Marketing, a mom of two, and enjoys streaming content through Amazon Prime on the rare occasion she can get her iPad from Jack. Follow her on Twitter: @KristenGarvey

Topics: mobile, Consumer Pulse, television, digital media and entertainment research