Tag Archives: Qualitative Research

Case Study – how market research supports the new product development process

Market research is the process by which businesses find out about customers’ needs, wants and desires. It makes possible the successful development of new products.

This study shows how an international company, Beiersdorf, combines market research with new product development on its NIVEA Deodorant brand to provide exciting new products that better meet consumer requirements.

Beiersdorf has a clear goal – to be as close as possible to consumers, regardless of which country they live in. Developing superior consumer insights is fundamental to the continued future success of Beiersdorf and its international brands like NIVEA, Eucerin and Atrixo. These are the result of more than 120 years of experience in research and development.

Beiersdorf has launched many new brands and products into a variety of countries and categories. Being an innovation leader has allowed Beiersdorf actively to shape its markets and set new trends. These product launches have led to long-term global growth.

THE KEY STAGES OF MARKET RESEARCH AND NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Market research involves the systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of data about customers, competitors and the market. This links marketers to consumers by supplying essential information to solve marketing challenges and help with marketing decisions.

Market research helps a company create and develop an up-to-date and relevant portfolio of products.

Creating new products

Beiersdorf’s international Market Research team is based at company headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. The team’s objective is to be the voice of the consumers within the organisation. High-quality market research has helped secure the long-term future of the business. Analysing and understanding the data gathered on consumers’ behaviours, needs, attitudes and opinions minimises the risks involved in making marketing decisions.

Market research in a global organisation needs the help and support of the company’s overseas affiliate companies. Most affiliate companies (in the UK for example) have dedicated Market Research Managers. how the npd prosses worksThey help the central research team in gathering and interpreting consumer views. These views provide information or insights that ultimately result in the development of new products suitable for a global market.

This case study follows the development of a new NIVEA Deodorant called Pearl and Beauty aimed at young women. This case study will give you a clear picture of how market research has helped New Product Development (NPD).

IDENTIFYING CONSUMER VIEWS AND PRODUCT NEEDS – WHERE TO START?

Market research should start with the consumer and serves two purposes:

1) To inform companies about consumer needs and desires. What are the trends in the market? What do consumers want?

2) To give consumers the opportunity to talk to the providers of products and services so that their views are taken into account.

questions that need answering

Businesses exist in a fast-moving world with increased consumer choice. It is essential that a company knows its market and its consumers before developing any new product. Lots of questions need answering.

Consumer insights drive New Product Development. This information takes into account their behaviours, attitudes and beliefs. It is an expression of their wishes and desires. Businesses use consumer insights to create opportunities for their brands. It is the starting point that enables brands to fit meaningfully into consumers’ lives.

Across countries, consumers are different in terms of culture and lifestyle. NIVEA’s challenge was to find similar insights from consumers across different countries. This was used to optimize product development.

Secondary research

In the deodorant category, NIVEA used many secondary research sources to discover consumers’ views and their need for deodorants. These related to different markets and were supplied by local country market researchers. These included:

i. A consumer Usage and Attitude study. This had been conducted a few years earlier across various markets (UK, France and USA).

ii. An external study by Fragrance Houses. This covered the importance of scent and fragrance to people’s well-being and mood.

Primary research

The research team felt therefore there was not enough recent knowledge about the consumer in the secondary research. They commissioned some primary qualitative research in key markets (Germany, France, UK and USA). This was aided by the local Market Research Manager. The aim was to understand the motivations for using deodorant amongst the female consumer.

Primary research is used when there is no existing data available to answer your questions.

The research involved small discussion groups of females. This helped researchers understand the beliefs and motivations of this group. There were several main findings:

  • There is steady growth in females shaving. They wanted to look after their underarms throughout all seasons (not just in summer).
  • Women cared increasingly about the condition of their underarms.
  • Women desired attractive, neat underarms. This symbolised sensuality and femininity.
  • The deodorant segment remained focused on functional rather than beautifying products.

Results of the research

The market research revealed an unexplored market potential for NIVEA Deodorant. The brand did not have a specific product that addressed ‘underarm beauty’ for the female consumer. No direct competitor was offering a product to meet these needs. So there was a clear opportunity to develop a new product. This would fit across different markets and with the current NIVEA Deodorant range.

TURNING CUSTOMERS INSIGHTS INTO PRODUCT CONCEPTS

Consumers showed a need for a ‘beautifying, caring deodorant’. The team generated ideas on how to address the consumer need.

From these ideas the marketing team created ‘product concepts’. These describe the product benefits and how they will meet the consumer needs. Several concepts were written in different ways. These explained and expressed unique product attributes.

The company needed to know which concept was preferred by prospective consumers. It carried out market research to test whether the concepts would work. The research was conducted amongst the desired target market. For Pearl and Beauty, the desired target market was 18-35 year-old women who were beauty-orientated, followed fashion and looked for products with extra benefits.

Quantitative research on the concept was carried out in two test markets (France and Germany). An international company like Beiersdorf must test products in more than one market to assess properly the global appeal.

The concepts were tested monadically. Monadic testing means that the respondent of the test is only shown one concept. This stops the respondent being biased by seeing many variations of the same product concept.

A number of criteria were used to test the concepts:

1) Deodorant category performance measures. These included wetness, dryness, and fragrance. The new concept must deliver generic core benefits.

2) Product attributes specific to the new product and NIVEA core values. The new Pearl and Beauty product has additional benefits to a ‘regular’ deodorant. For example, it leaves your skin feeling silky and gives you beautiful underarms. Consumers needed to understand and see these benefits.

3) The product needed to be relevant and motivate a consumer to purchase it.

The team chose the ‘winning’ concept. This best conveyed beauty while remaining relevant to the deodorant category and NIVEA brand.

Next the research team tested various name ideas for the product and developed different designs for the packaging. Packaging design plays a very important role in helping to communicate the image of the product. Pearl and Beauty needed to communicate femininity and sophistication. Pink was a natural colour choice for the packaging. They also used a soft pearlescent container to emphasise the ‘pearl extracts’ in the product.

Various design ideas were tested using quantitative market research. In addition, this helped to predict the volume of the new products that would be sold, the optimal selling price and the level of switching from existing NIVEA Deodorant and competitor products.

TESTING THE PRODUCT, BRAND POSITION AND ADVERTISING

Testing

The stages described so far produced a product concept that consumers felt was relevant and which they were willing to buy. The next stage was to test the product on actual customers. Many product launches fail, despite great advertising. A big reason is because the product fails to live up to the promises made.

The Market Research Team conducted a product usage test. A de-branded sample of the proposed new product was given to the target consumer of females in several countries. De-branded means the deodorant was in a blank container so that the consumers did not know who made the product or what type it was. Very often consumers form opinions about products and services from advertising and packaging. This can sometimes be very strong and creates a bias in what they think of a product before trying it.

The consumers were asked to use the new deodorant for a week. They kept a diary of when they used it and scored the performance of the deodorant against a list of criteria. These included:

  • Did it keep you dry all day?
  • Did you have to reapply it?
  • Did you like the fragrance?
  • Did it last all day?
  • Was the deodorant reliable?

Consumers applied the ‘de-branded’ deodorant under their right armpit and continued to use their current deodorant under their left armpit. This helped the users gauge if it was as good as or better than the brand they normally used. This gave a measure of how likely the consumer would be to swap brands.

The results of the test were very positive. Most consumers loved the fragrance and the feel of the product on their skin. They felt it performed as well as their current deodorant. Most said they would swap their brands after trying the product.

Brand positioning

Now the marketing team had a new product idea that consumers liked. It had a name and packaging design that were well received. They now needed to check how this fitted with the rest of the NIVEA Deodorant brand positioning and range.

The brand position is the specific niche in the market that the brand defines itself as occupying.

The NIVEA Deodorant Pearl and Beauty adds a touch of feminine sophistication and elegance to the NIVEA Deodorant brand’s personality. This built on the core deodorant positioning. It made NIVEA Deodorant more appealing, modern and unique to trendy, young female consumers.

Using qualitative research to inform advertising

The next stage was to brief an advertising agency to develop communication to support the launch of the new product. Through market research the team could check whether the advertisements positively supported and communicated the new product.

The company conducted qualitative research on some advertising ideas amongst various groups of the target consumers. It presented ideas in the form of ‘storyboards’ of what a TV advert could look like. The objective was to evaluate which were the best ideas in terms of:

  • Did they stand out as exciting or different?
  • Were they relevant to the consumer?
  • Did they communicate the right things about the new product?
  • Did they persuade the consumer to want to purchase the product?

Evaluating success

Once the product is launched and the consumer can actually purchase it, the research process does not stop.

Continuous consumer tracking can be carried out to find out consumers’ views of the new product. This involves interviewing people every day to find out whether they are using the product, what they think of it and why they would purchase it.

Beiersdorf uses other, secondary data sources such as consumer panel data and EPOS (electronic point of sale) data. These monitor the sales effectiveness of the product throughout the launch phase and through the product life cycle.

CONCLUSION

New product development should start with an insight based on consumer needs.

Throughout the NPD process, market research is a valuable tool for Beiersdorf to check viability and minimise the risk of the product launches.

Being an international company, it is essential that Beiersdorf develops new products using the insights of consumers across markets and cultures. This ensures the products are relevant to a large number of global consumers and will deliver the maximum return when launched.

This maximises return on investment for the company and results in happy, satisfied and loyal consumers


Source: thetimes100.co.uk

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Discovering Customer Needs through Research

INTRODUCTION:

Barclays is a global bank. It provides a range of financial services in 56 countries. Barclays provides retail banking services to customers, whether they are individuals or businesses. It offers a broad range of financial products and services including current accounts, savings accounts and general insurance.

Within the UK, Barclays communications are designed to help customers “Take One Small Step” to managing their money better every day. Different kinds of customers represent distinct markets for Barclays. The market for personal banking services is very competitive. Personal customers have a choice of banks on the high street or on the web to assist them in managing their finances. For example, they can have their salaries paid into accounts, pay bills through the bank or save money to gain interest on their savings. There is also a competitive market for business banking services. Businesses require different services such as credit management, payments for suppliers or loans and overdrafts to help them to survive and grow. For example, an expanding business may need a mortgage to buy a new building.

Market segments

Each market is capable of being further sub-divided into segments. A market segment is a part of a whole customer group that shares particular characteristics. These include such factors as age, life stages, geography or occupation. Within the market of personal banking, the segments could include categories such as students, graduates, “new to work”, mature, and families. By identifying different market segments, organisations can ensure they are providing products or services to meet the needs of these customers.

In addition to this, appropriate promotional techniques can be used to reach the people in the separate segments. Through segmentation, Barclays has been able to devise appropriate banking offers for customers in different segments. This approach is helping Barclays to improve its market share of the student accounts market.  Barclays believes students constitute a very important market segment for the business. Students may be choosing a bank for the first time and Barclays hopes to retain these customers. By focusing on the specific needs of this segment, Barclays hopes to attract more student customers and keep them in the long term. Using market research has enabled Barclays to identify the right product offer that will meet their needs.

The case study shows how market research enabled Barclays to improve its student account offer.

PURPOSE OF MARKET RESEARCH

The purpose of market research is to gather data on customers and potential customers. The collected data aids business decision making. This therefore reduces the risks involved in making these decisions. In order to create a product proposition that would attract new student accounts, Barclays needed to understand fully the needs of this target market. Before engaging on external market research, Barclays began by asking itself a series of key questions. It did this to ensure the business was fully aware of all the relevant issues and did not make incorrect assumptions.

In asking itself these key questions at the start and reviewing internal customer data, Barclays was able to clarify its rationale for acquiring students. Firstly, students provide an opportunity for developing a long-term relationship. As the student market segment increases each year in September/October as the university term starts, Barclays has an annual opportunity to target new student customers who need an account and who might not yet have chosen a bank.

Secondly, the use of this data highlighted that in the years after opening their accounts, Barclays was able to establish a valuable long term relationship with students. This meant that students could now be seen as an extremely important market segment, and attracting new student customers became a significant opportunity.

This internal understanding was vital. With this background, Barclays designed a programme of market research. The purpose of this was to establish what students really needed from a bank. In this way it could offer appropriate products and services which would add value to students.

TYPES OF MARKET RESEARCH

Barclays began a process that involved both primary and secondary research.

Primary research

Primary research involves finding out new information. It finds the answers to specific questions for a particular purpose. These enquiries may take the form of direct questioning. For example, it may include face-to-face surveys, postal or online questionnaires, telephone interviews or focus groups. This type of direct contact with people is valuable as it gives specific feedback to the questions asked. However, it is important that the questions are clear and that the researcher is trained. This will ensure that the results are not influenced. Although primary research can be expensive and time-consuming, the up-to-date and relevant data collected can give organisations a competitive advantage. This is because their rivals will not have had access to it.

Barclays” primary research process began internally with two key questions:

  • Who should our key customers be?
  • What are their needs?

The insights from these questions provided a factual basis to work from.

Qualitative and quantitative research

After this an external agency was employed to carry out an opinion panel. This took the form of an online questionnaire. The results of this delivered data about the market itself, as well as Barclays” market share among this target audience.

Quantitative research presents information in a numeric way, such as graphs, tables or charts that can be used to analyse the information.

For example, Barclays found from the questionnaire that 81% of students surveyed held a savings account and 32% an investment savings account (ISA).  The opinion panel also provided qualitative feedback on what was of interest to students and what they wanted from an account.

Qualitative research provides information on consumer perceptions, such as:

  • how they feel about products and services
  • what they like or do not like
  • what they would want from a new product.

The panel produced valuable insights which Barclays used to help re-evaluate its existing student account. It then used the information to develop new features and benefits to meet the established needs.

Testing

The enhanced student account proposition was then tested directly with 100 existing and new Barclays Student Additions account holders. This was carried out through bank branches and an online questionnaire. The sample group provided more qualitative feedback about what motivated students to choose a particular bank. Although small, the sample allowed Barclays to get a feeling for how students would respond to the proposition. For Barclays, it was important to know what motivated a student to choose a bank. Using existing students meant the bank was able to assess if the new offer would meet their needs. The expectation was that new and future students would also find it attractive.

Secondary research

Secondary research focuses on existing information. It uses published data that previous research has already discovered. This covers a wide range of materials, such as:

  • market research reports
  • sales figures
  • competitor marketing literature
  • government publications, e.g. national statistics.

Secondary research may be quicker to carry out but may give less specific outcomes for the topic in question. This part of Barclays research revealed that student accounts in 2009 amounted to 0.4 million out of a total market of 5.4 million new accounts.

RESEARCH FINDINGS

Numeric data gives a factual basis for planning – a snapshot of a situation. On the other hand, qualitative information can find out the things that really matter to consumers. For example, 80 out of 100 consumers questioned might say they preferred one brand of coffee over another. However, more valuable information comes from understanding what it is they prefer. Is it the smell, the taste, the packaging or the price?

To meet student needs for a valuable, helpful financial service, Barclays needed to understand what students really wanted.

By using student focus panels and staff working in branches with a high proportion of student customers, Barclays was able to discover students” concerns, priorities and strength of feeling.

Research outcomes

The outcomes of the opinion panel and the sample of student customers showed that:

  • students relied heavily on different forms of credit. These included an easily manageable bank overdraft to finance their time at university
  • students wanted and often needed to own high-tech gadgets and electrical goods, such as laptops
  • students wanted to have separate accounts to manage their student borrowing and spending
  • any incentives offered would not alone motivate students to choose that product. They were expected as part of any deal.

This insight was a real help to Barclays when considering the most attractive proposition for students. Its objectives were to attract new student accounts. It also wanted to retain students as customers for life in a profitable relationship that met their financial needs.

Barclays could now start to put together an offer that would embrace the main concerns of the target market. These concerns were financial security, credit availability, flexible banking and the right sort of incentives.

IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION

In 2009, Barclays set up a working group to oversee the setting up of the new student proposition. It used the insight from the research to establish the key features and benefits of the student account. These features are valid for the life of students” studies:

  • no monthly fee to keep costs down for students
  • an interest-free overdraft facility of up to £2,000 from starting the account. Previously this started at £500 in the first year and increased through the years of study. This extension helps students manage their finances.
  • mobile banking and a network of local branches for ease of access to accounts.

Incentives

Of several incentives tested with students, Barclays found that an incentive based on a mobile or telecoms offer would have most appeal. This idea was tested further with students on university campus. The students expressed a clear preference for an incentive offering mobile broadband:

“The broadband offer looks good…I”d definitely go in to find out more.” “It”s good if the broadband offer is for the life of the account´you may be in halls for the first year but not after that.”

To establish this incentive, Barclays researched broadband providers. It then entered into partnership with Orange – the UK”s number 1 broadband provider.

Orange”s strengths were a good business fit for Barclays and ensured that the offer had credibility and perceived value. Students who signed up for a Barclays student account were able to obtain a 25% discount on the monthly cost of whichever Orange mobile broadband scheme they chose.

Communicating the proposition

Having developed a student banking proposition that Barclays felt confident would appeal, it began to communicate the message and promote the new student offer. An innovative marketing plan was launched which involved:

  • a word-of-mouth campaign through “100 voices” which encouraged students to share their experiences of managing money whilst at college or university
  • promotional literature available in branches nationwide. This proved useful information for Barclays colleagues as well as for students and their parents to take away
  • online advertising through barclays.co.uk
  • direct mail to prospective students through the summer before going to university.
CONCLUSION

The Barclays student account proposition shows how it is crucial for a business to listen to its market. To do this effectively means targeting specific market segments to discover their needs.

Barclays” new student account proposition was an “insight-led” approach.

Using carefully constructed and phased market research, the bank was able to gain an overall insight into the thinking of students. In the early stages of the research, it was discovered that the student segment provided an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship. It was found that students were not necessarily “here today, gone tomorrow”. If the bank made a valuable and relevant offer, students were likely to remain lifelong customers.

Barclays” initial target was to increase the overall number of student accounts by 25%. This target was exceeded with an increase of 34%. As a result, Barclays increased its market share of the student market, moving from third to second among the top four market leaders.

The process of meeting customer needs is an ongoing one. Barclays has a continuing plan for re-evaluating its student proposition to ensure it remains relevant to the target audience.

Source: thetimes100.co.uk

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Insights on Social Media Monitoring for Luxury Brands: Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and Forums.

Major B2C companies should increase their marketing investments in On-Line activities in 2010 according to a recent survey completed by Forrester Research. Social Media should be the Big Winner.

Marketing Investments 2010 - Forrester Research
(*) Forrester Research – Global Marketing Leadership Online Survey (multiple answers)

However, the main question remains the optimal allocation of resources in Social Media Marketing: recruitment of a Community Manager, selection of specialized agencies, production of specific content?
One way to look at it could be to monitor actual behaviors of Social Media users in order to define priorities.

I have recently performed an in-depth analysis amongst 28 brands in the Luxury, Jewelery and Watchmaking industry based on Customer Centric MatrixTM methodology (using the monitoring tool Radian 6).

Social Media and Luxury industry: Blogs and Forums are still ahead.

  • “Traditional” Social Media Channels (Blogs and Forums) represent almost 80% of the content published on Luxury and Watchmaking brands
  • The second largest Social Media Channel (Twitter 19%) is the one where brands are the less present and active
  • 34% of brand related content is not supported by a Luxury Brand environment (Twitter and Forums)

Social Media Monitoring - Luxury Brands - Split by Media Type

3 major profiles of Social Media usage amongst the 28 Luxury brands analyzed

  • Active engagement (7 brands)
    Social Media content related to these brands reflects a very active involvement of brands and their communities of “Fans”. A regular and frequent follow-up of brands takes place mainly via Blogs and Twitter. Brands are usually present with an active presence through their Official Facebook page.
    Louis Vuitton communities  are a good example of this profile.
  • Passionate and Sharing (4 brands)
    Committed communities of passionate clients and fans are interacting regularly with their brand(s ). Moreover, they use all Social Media channels to discuss and share points of views.
    Breitling Fans illustrate well this profile.
  • Personal Involvement (17 brands)
    Posts related to these brands are mainly channeled by Blogs. It corresponds usually to individuals sharing their interest via Blogs dedicated to a sector (e.g. watchmaking) or a brand.
    Jaeger Lecoultre can illustrate this profile.
Social Media Monitoring - Luxury Brands - Split by User Groups

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The main conclusions of this analysis indicate some practical tips“Story Telling”Frequent publishingSpecific content initiated by the brand,synergies between Social Media channels are some of the critical success factors.

28 brands were monitored and analyzed in March/April 2010
The research sample includes the following sectors: leather goods, watchmaking, jewelery and accessories. The scope covers International leading brands, challengers and niche brands.

Methodology:

– Customer Centric Matrix combining quantitative and qualitative measurements
– Social Media Monitoring based on total number of posts (all languages and all regions) supported by Radian 6
– Social Media channels based on Radian 6 definition

Source: weblog.customercentric.org

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Using Footprints For Accurate, Efficient and Better Link Building

I’ve been into seo for a long while now. My specialty includes link building and the one very important factor which ‘most’ of the link builders don’t make use of is Google’s Advanced search alongwith ‘footprints’. Now there are two terms i need to explain here.

  1. Google’s Advanced/Customized Search
  2. Footprints

Google’s Advanced/Customized Search

This may not be the right word to indicate what i’m saying but its close to being accurate. You may have heard of ‘Google Codes’ that can be used within a search query. To mention some we have

  • intitle
  • inurl
  • inanchor
  • intext
  • site

Basically ‘inanchor’, ‘intitle’ are used while doing competition analysis.

’site’ which is used as site:http://techfrog.org/ will show all the indexed pages from within the particular website, in other words it will show all pages that precede with http://techfrog.org/.

‘intitle’ is used in the following manner, i.e. intitle:"dog food". What this basically does is that it will gather all the results that contain the words ‘dog food’ in their title.

‘inurl’ when used as inurl:"dogs and cats" will return results that contain ‘dogs-and-cats’ in the url(web address) of the page. Remember that the hyphen(’-‘) is the primary space separator for urls.

‘intext’ when used as intext:"dogs and cats" will get you all the pages that contain the terms ‘dogs and cats’ within the text of the page.

Footprints

Footprints are the unique identity of an entity that are existent anywhere at anytime. We as humans have fingerprints that are unique and stay the same wherever we may go unless ofcource if they have been manipulated manually. Similarly all the major website platforms like WordPress, Drupal & Joomla have their own unique footprints that can be identified on various websites that make use of these platforms.

These footprints can be used to search pages on the web which belong to only a particular platform. E.g. WordPress’ footprints can be used to search websites that are build only on wordpress. We can put this to use because WordPress and Drupal as platforms give the users the freedom to comment on various posts and articles. We can include our links within these comments so as to build backlinks for our website.

WordPress

Wordpress CommentsWordPress Comments 

WordPress is the largest blogging platform on the web and has millions of webpages to its credit. The best thing about wordpress for us linkbuilders is that comments are enabled by default and are present on every post. The ‘Website’ field also lets us place our website URL which ultimately helps in linkbuilding. The standard comment system format is as in the image aside.

The following footprints can be used to find wordpress pages where comments are open.

  • ‘Leave a Reply’ ‘Name (required)’ ‘Mail (will not be published) (required)’ ‘Website’
  • “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” “Mail (will not be published)”
  • “Leave a Comment” “Name” “Website”
  • “powered by wordpress”

The last footprint is more of a generalized one which will not necessarily give you refined results as it will also include the homepage and other pages of a wordpress blog on which there is no comment facility.

We can use these footprints with our customized Google search to get our desired pages. Now consider you have a primary keyword “quality dog food”. Let us search for pages on wordpress that can be commented upon that have the text ‘quality dog food’ either within the url, title or text. We enter the following query into google that gives us 3420, 121 results respectively

‘Leave a Reply’ ‘Name (required)’ ‘Mail (will not be published) (required)’ ‘Website’ intext:”quality dog food”

‘Leave a Reply’ ‘Name (required)’ ‘Mail (will not be published) (required)’ ‘Website’ intitle:”quality dog food”

‘Leave a Reply’ ‘Name (required)’ ‘Mail (will not be published) (required)’ ‘Website’ inurl:”quality dog food”

If we do the math, we have got 3421+121+107-(approx 50 common pages)=3599 targeted, keyword specific commentable pages based on wordpress in no time. If you happen to have the Ultimate WordPress Comment Spammer, you can do the job of posting on autopilot.

Drupal

Drupal CommentsDrupal Comments 

Drupal is a content management system which is also used widely. It also supports comments which are present in almost every page by default. Many Educational miniblogs on the .edu domain use Drupal, as an example you can consider psu.edu which has tons of dofollow High PR & commentable backlinks. Drupal has two major footprints that can help us find its pages anywhere on the web. It is as shown below :

  • “Login or register to comment”
  • “Login or register to post comments”

As you’ve learn’t in the wordpress section, you can use these footprints in the same way to find some keyword relevant pages for you to comment on. You may have heard that backlinks from .edu and .gov sites hold more weightage/importance. How true this is, we don’t know. Anyways, we can use the following query to find pages on Drupal on a .edu or .gov site specific to a given keyword.

site:.edu “Login or register to post comments” inurl:”my keyword”

site:.gov “Login or register to comment” inurl:”my keyword”

Note : Make sure you don’t copy-paste the search query’s above but type them yourselves as the text-formatting/encoding here is different from what your keyboard will produce on Google’s saerch bar.

I personally prefer Drupal for linkbuilding as it has an ace over wordpress. Here are some basic differences between WordPress and Drupal which you should know.

WordPress

  • Comment Links Are Nofollow By Default
  • Can Comment as a Guest
  • Link Can be placed Within Comment text or in the ‘Website’ field with the anchor text in the ‘name’ field.
  • Better Anti-spam Protection

Drupal

  • Comment Links are Dofollow by default
  • Need To Register To comment
  • Links need to be placed Within the Comment body in HTML
  • Comparatively Poorer Anti-spam protection

You can research and find your own footprints. These alongwith Google’s customized search is a Link Builder’s Best Tool.

 

Source: Techfrog.org

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Spring / Summer 2011 Fashionable Themes

Interfiliere: Spring / Summer 2011 trend motifs

Interfiliere, a fashion industry body dedicated to lingerie and beachwear correctly peg Spring 2011’s fashion trends as an evolution of several recent fashion trends; key amongst them is the continued reinterpretation of classic styles along all heavily influenced by the ‘lingerie as outerwear’ trend that Fashionising.com has been touting for some time now.

Key look: loungerie

For the latter, they’ve coined a new term: loungerie. With the elements of lingerie, be it girly or overtly sexual, so prominent in street fashion, Interfiliere see Spring 2011’s key street wear trends as a mixture between lingerie, swimwear and streetwear (which they group as loungewear), and lingerie. Hence the portmanteau.

In their own words:

The new Loungerie takes a leaf out of, and gets the best of, lingerie for an alternative, parallel wardrobe; [one that is] light, intimate, and impossible to “classify.”

loungerie

Over-all themes

Lingerie as street wear aside, there are four themes that Interfiliere believe will be key to Spring / Summer 2011 fashion trends:

Tendresse (fondness)

spring 2011 fondness

An atmosphere heavily loaded with, memories but reinvented by using, technical innovations. To maintain the feeling of softness and a nostalgia of charm, there are sophisticated constructions, digital prints, placed jacquards, audacious accents, and subtle featherweight effects, silks, fine cottons, blends.

Then there are the refined, luxury lines of coordinates made to last: it’s the triumphant return of the camisole, bodices, teddies: all expressions of an eternal seduction.

spring 2011 fondness

Antidote

spring 2011 antidote

Happiness lies in non conformity. It’s not a question of being good or reasonable, but the passion colours evoke, the explosions of prints, geometrical accents, Indian flowers, folk music kitsch, cartoon influences and the naive primitives that all mix create a wild patchwork of fashion.

A liberated celebration of all that everyday life is about. Amusing creativity, beachwear influences, mixes of ethnic and otherworld, ardour and femininity, the whole trend being based on strong lines.

spring 2011 antidote

Oasis

spring 2011 oasis

Pleasure gorged on the sun and freshness you’ll want from Spring / Summer 2011.

On the one hand, the exotic: exuberant nature inspired by Gauguin, luxuriant foliage and cat-like beachwear motifs. On the other hand, the desert: a landscape of sand, primitive embroideries, Berber stripes, beautiful laces patinated by the years, ikats and metal accents.

For ample shapes such as caftans or djellabahs, dry knits, charming linens and cottons for the loungerie trend.

spring 2011 oasis

Sublime

spring 2011 sublime

The essence of a new luxury, ostentatious and astonishing with a hint of theatrical and urban roughness.

Haute couture meets high-tech. The scene is ostentatious, emphatically astonishing, and unique. In the corridors of this new theatricality surface effects, contrasts of opaque and transparency. Think transfer prints, graphics and bondageaccents.

This is the essence of the new luxury, exceptional beauty ready to conquer the land of modernity.

spring 2011 sublime

Source: Fashionising.com by Daniel P Dykes

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Google Boutiques.com, a World of Fashion

Google unveils a new shopping portal, Boutiques.com. It showcases the power of search in the world of fashion. You can shop and choose from a variety of styles, designs and collections of famous designers and stylists. Shoppers can easily catch up with the trend because it allows users to save likes or dislikes in the site.

Shopping is the watchword today. Almost everyone around the globe is on a Shopping spree. Google understands this and thus, has launched a new shopping portal entitled Boutiques.com to add on to its almost full kitty of world class products and services. The portal, as they say, combines the goodness of both social and search. It allows for finding and discovering styles and fashions collections that have been put together by renowned celebrities, designers, stylists and fashion experts, to name a few.

Through this site, Google will be able to analyze the tastes of consumers by ways of a number of clicks, Google Trend data, computer vision and machine learning technology and ultimately, letting them know the entire world of fashion. As is the case with Youtube,  whenever a user logs into his/her account, the site would know the user’s taste for fashion and recommend those results that suit the taste.

Google got the technology from its acquisition of Like.com, along with which came the technology team behind it. They were already working hard on that and had also launched a site of their own called WhatToWear.com. The team at Google now consists of PhDs in Computer Science and Fashion Designers and Stylists. In fact, it is an amalgamation of computer nerds and fashion nerds. Altogether, the team is working on creating a new route to browse, find and buy world class fashion under one roof.

Source: Marketingconversation.com by ROBIN PANGILINAN

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How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research

A variety of techniques from online chats to video logs can reveal how people feel about your product or service and how you can improve it to make more money.

Everett Collection

As seen in Mad Men, fifty years ago, research was collected by having a one-way mirror installed and adverting guys would be on the receiving end. The homemaker would host the meeting with a group of women who would talk about soap or some other consumer product.

Visualize. Just as you head off to work you get a text message asking if you’ve had a cup of coffee. You reply “no.” About 20 minutes later you receive another text asking “did you have your coffee yet?” You reply “yes” this time. Now you receive a series of texts about when and where did you buy the coffee—a corner store Starbucks or company cafeteria. What brand or flavor did you choose—regular or Hazelnut? Why did you choose it? How do you feel now that you’ve had that first cup? Will you have had a second or third cup come lunchtime? Later in the week when you’re at the local grocer, you take out your cell phone to take a picture of the one pound of ground French Roast coffee you just purchased so you can post it online.

Welcome to the brave new world of qualitative research where companies can catch or capture their customers’ behaviors in the moment using modern technology. It could be a single person doing online journaling or a video log about a product or issue, a moderator directing conversations in an online chat room, or webcam gathering of people in Hollywood Squares game show-like fashion.

It’s a different spin on the traditional focus group. Social media is playing a bigger role. “We are even monitoring whole online communities; we have a targeted representative find out what selected individuals are saying in their social networks,” says Peg Moulton-Abbott, a certified professional research consultant and principal of Newfound Insights, a Virginia Beach-based market research firm. Such tech-oriented research is generally skewed towards a younger twenty-something demographic. But more importantly it speaks to how market researchers are sprouting new methods of qualitative study as an outgrowth of old techniques.

Comparatively speaking, fifty years ago qualitative research was done in a big city likeNew York or Washington, DC with focus groups conducted inside women’s homes, notes Moulton-Abbott. A one-way mirror was installed and adverting guys would be on the receiving end, she explains. The homemaker would host the meeting with a group of women who would talk about soap or some other consumer product.

According to the Qualitative Research Consultants Association, qualitative research can help business owners identify customer needs, clarify marketing messages, generate ideas for improvements of a product, extend a line or brand, and/or gain perspective on how a product fits into a customer’s lifestyle.

Any size and type of business can benefit from qualitative market research, says Moulton-Abbott. However, “my job is not to make a sales pitch for your product; my job is to find out how people feel about your product and what you can do to improve it so that you wind up making more money selling it,” she adds.

Qualitative research can help entrepreneurs to understand their customers’ or clients’ feelings, values, and perceptions of a particular product or service. Once you know the reason “why” people react a certain way or make certain decisions, you can use that feedback to help build your sales and marketing plan, says Moulton-Abbott.

The design and implementation of qualitative research will depend on your particular situation, says Robert E. Stake, PhD, author of Qualitative Research: Studying How Things Work and director for the center of instructional research as the University of Illinois. “The means are different in different situations. It’s what you are interested in that defines qualitative research,” he adds. “It isn’t the style of data gathering, it is whether or not you are interested in the experiences of your customers or clients.”

Business owners won’t have to wrack their brains over how to conduct the nitty-gritty aspects of market research if a professional is hired. But here are some general guidelines and what to expect on how qualitative research is handled.

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Determine What You Want to Study

Do you want to investigate a current or potential product, service or brand positioning? Do your want to identify strengths and weaknesses in products? Understand purchasing decisions? Study reactions to advertising or marketing campaigns? Assess the usability of a website or other interactive services? Understand perceptions about the company, brand and product? Explore reactions to packaging and design?

Qualitative (qual) research is usually contrasted against Quantitative (quant) research. Quant asks closed-ended questions that can be answered finitely by either “yes” or “no,” true or false or multiple choice with an option for “other.” It is used to collect numerical data, employing such techniques as surveys. Whereas, qual asks open-ended questions that are phrased in such a way that invite people to tell their stories in their own words. Methods used to collect data include field observations, personal interviews and group discussions.

The job of a qual researcher is to design and deliver data that drives results.

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Understand What Methodology will be Used

Typically qual researchers don’t use experimental methods such as field trials or test markets, Stake maintains. “Not many use really highly-developed psychometric (e.g., personality or psychological tests) or econometric (e.g., economic statistics) indicators.” Qual researchers generally rely on methodologies rooted in ethnography (e.g. field or participant observation) and phenomenology (e.g., understanding life experiences using written or recorded narratives). Market researchers partner with professional recruiters to identify and screen qualifying customers or consumers who in turn receive an honorarium for their participation in the study.

You should rely on a market research firm to choose the best fit for you based on: what is it that you need to learn and who is your target audience demographically, where they are geographically, and what are their lifestyle behaviors or time constraints, says Kristin Schwitzer, president of Beacon Research, a qual firm that specializes in innovative online methods, based in AnnapolisMaryland.

Conducting qualitative research is about asking the right people the right questions in the right format, says Hannah Baker Hitzhusen, vice president of qualitative research at CMI, a market research firm in Atlanta. What qual researchers do is very much on the front end, it is discovery or exploratory work. “For a qual study, we generally do a discussion guide to make sure we cover certain topics or issues,” says Hitzhusen. Qual is generally used for small sample groups, because, “you want to spend a lot of time with the participants, maybe 90 to 120 minutes. Quant usually uses a larger sample size of people and a smaller amount of time, 15 to 30 minutes (for someone to fill out a questionnaire),” she explains.

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Explore Various Means to Collect Data

•    Observation – Direct observation can involve a researcher watching subjects and taking notes in the background which could be from behind a one-way mirror or video camera recording the happenings. With participant observation, the researcher is actually part of the situation being studied as with a moderated focus group or one-on-one interviews.

•    Focus Groups – This technique is good if you need a range of opinions, says Hitzhusen. In general, you want to get reactions from eight to 10 people. But you don’t have to have the traditional group of people closed in a room. You can do a webcam or online bulletin board focus group, in which consumers participate in an asynchronous group discussion over the duration of three to four days. Participants answer questions from the moderator and respond to images or video on their computer screen.

•    Subject Interviews – There are times when you want to talk with subjects or participants either over the telephone or face- to-face, says Moulton-Abbott. Such as if you want them to sample a product or if it is an emotional or sensitive issue, such as taking care of elderly parents with dementia or using personal hygiene products.

•    Hybrid Studies – This is a blend of qual and quant market research. So, you get some important metrics as well as the why’s behind the numbers through narrative, photo collection, and other exercises, says Schwitzer.

Moulton-Abbott says for example, you may have a couple hundred people come into a big meeting hall. Using a handheld dialer participants respond to a survey that is projected on a screen. Afterwards, you host a town hall session to debrief the group and to find out what they think. From there, you separate the respondents into smaller focus groups based on demographics, their responses and other parameters. At the end of day you can say we spoke to 700 people today and this is what they said they like or don’t like and this is how they feel about your product or service.

•    Online tools – The online piece is an outgrowth of in-person observation. “We can use tools such as their cell phones, iphone video cameras, digital cameras, and we can have them in the moment record what is happening in their world,” says Schwitzer. Whether it is how they use a product or interact from a service standpoint.”

For example, Schwitzer conducted a study on how teenage boys were spending their money over a course of a week. They took pictures of everything that they bought and texted it in. They then created an online blog to be probed as the second phase of the study. “Online tools allow us to get even deeper into the subjects’ lives and to see what is happening to them from an experiential level. We can be with them at crazy hours of the day now or during more private moments.”

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Analyze the Collected Data

A qualitative study may take one day or three weeks for the data collection and up to six weeks in total for the final report generation and turnaround solutions. Researchers will look at the collected data to come up with theories and answers to your questions or concerns. Generally, researchers will use coding to identify themes, patterns and ideas. They may also incorporate some statistics that describe what the data is showing along with narrative analysis that focuses on grammar, word usage, and underlying messages.

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: Review Report and Recommendations

Finally, a researcher will generate a report featuring actionable recommendations. It doesn’t have to be just a written document; it may be a video report or slideshow. As the saying goes a picture paints a thousand words; visual reports are more effective than simply words on a paper. Of course, you need to be aware upfront what the cash outlay will be for such extensive feedback.

How to Conduct Qualitative Market Research: A Heads Up

Don’t expect to pay under $10,000 for basic qualitative research, cautions experts. There are cost associate with the recruiters, facilities, moderators and reporting. It you have a small or tight budget consider working with a university such as Chicago‘s Northwestern, Atlanta’s Emory Goizueta, or the University of Maryland, suggests Moulton-Abbott. Many of the top business schools have marketing research programs.

To find a reputable market research firm, check out trade associations, including directories from The Marketing Research Association, which publishes the Blue Book, and the New York American Marketing Association, which puts out the Green Book. Also, the QRCA has a search tool for locating market research firms geographically.
Choose a firm that is knowledgeable about your industry and be sure to get a couple of proposals and competitive price offers.

Source: Inc.com By Carolyn M. Brown

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