Price comparison sites, product demos, coupons - which promotions appeal most to which age group? See for yourself with our infographic!
Tech companies are constantly releasing their latest product “innovations” as they attempt to find the growth that the sector craves. From new versions of tablets and smartphones to kitchen appliances, these aren’t the game-changing innovations that will halt market stagnation and prevent decline. Where is the growth in the tech sector going to come from?
Innovation, in the true sense of the word, means finding new and different ways to solve customers’ problems. Genuine growth in the technology sector can only be achieved this way. If the prevailing approach of evolution rather than revolution persists, many of the companies that are around today will no longer exist in the next ten years. It’s not just me who thinks this. John Chambers, former CEO of CISCO, agrees: “If you don’t reinvent yourself; change your organization structure; if you don’t talk about speed of innovation, you’re going to get disrupted. And it’ll be a brutal disruption – the majority of companies will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 to 15 years from now.”
Technology is a competitive and disruptive industry. We’ve seen startups with the backing and funds threaten established players with ground-breaking innovations that change consumers’ lives for the better. They are meeting a need. Today’s Connected Consumers and B2B customers are more demanding, better educated and less forgiving than ever before. They’re hungry for genuinely new technology. And they are increasingly adept at identifying – and ignoring – slightly updated versions of technology they already have. This approach simply can’t generate the kind of sustainable growth that technology companies all over the world are trying to achieve. Put simply, product innovation is getting harder in this sector.
So how exactly do you go about being innovative? The most important requirement arguably is to let go of the obsession with the product. For the longer you focus on the technology, the less likely you are to invent something that is genuinely innovative. The real route to innovation lies with the end customer. It is only by focusing on your target audience – whether domestic or business – that you will be able to create technology that is genuinely new, necessary, relevant and desirable.
We’re not just considering product innovation in this discussion. It’s worth remembering that innovation comes in many forms. You can innovate the experience, position or re-position a brand, optimize existing portfolios and invent new brand strategies, identify and target new markets, business models, channels and customers.
I believe there are three key elements to successful innovation:
Whether it’s for consumers or businesses, how you communicate your innovation is crucial. You must anticipate the different factors that enable adoption. An emotional connection with your innovation is every bit as important as the product itself, perhaps even more so. Get this right and you’ll have the “eureka” moment you’ve been waiting for. Get it wrong and your latest innovation won’t make it further than the early adopters and a review in the specialist press.
If there’s one thing that I would like the technology industry to remember it is this: customers, customers, customers. Whether you target the B2C or B2B market, if we’re more passionate about the technology than we are about the end users who will – or won’t – use it, then John Chambers’ doom-laden prediction may come true. I am more optimistic. I believe that together we can create the radical departures needed to reinvigorate the global technology sector. We can find genuine innovation that will lead to the growth we yearn for. But only if we can put the end customer – not the technology – at the heart of the creative process.
Karl Pfister-Kraxner is the Global Head of Technology at GfK. For more information or to share your thoughts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shoppers love bargains. From coupons to product samples, which promotions work best with women and which with men? Our infographic reveals the answer.
With the election season now behind us, Americans can now set their sights onto a new season (with perhaps the same level of uncertainty – for marketers, brands and companies at least): holiday shopping. This year the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to reach $630.5 billion. Additionally, online sales are expected to increase to as much as $105 billion. While we all wait for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the shopping season to arrive, here are a few prominent trends – both old and new – that companies need to keep top of mind.
One of the first things that might come to mind for holiday shoppers is deals and sales. With good measure too – GfK Consumer Life data shows that about eight in ten Americans get “really satisfied, even excited, when they get a really good deal”. And the timeframes for these deals are only getting longer to help companies stay close to the consumer – Amazon already launched holiday deals on November 1 as part of its Black Friday Deals Store. We as consumers cannot get away from the ‘value’ we get out of a product based on the price we pay for it. Whether it’s through coupons or just plain visually seeing a ‘price-slash’, sales and deals will certainly have to be a mainstay to draw holiday shoppers in.
Innovative shopping experiences continue to emerge as consumers want the ‘best of both worlds’ from both online and in-store. Nearly eight in ten Americans agree the worst part of shopping in stores is “having to deal with crowds and long lines” (hello, Black Friday…). Yet nearly an equal number agree that “it’s fun to browse in stores to see what’s new”. Along the same lines, three in four believe they can find “a variety of items online that are hard to find in stores”. But most consumers also feel that they “don’t like shopping online because they can’t see, touch, or try on things before buying”.
Where are the opportunities then? It seems as though consumers really can’t decide which channel they prefer – so a hybrid of both is an emerging solution that will continue to penetrate. Successful companies and marketers will combine positive facets from both channels to play into consumer tendencies. For example, Boston-based retailer Wayfair is implementing virtual reality headsets as a new way for consumers to browse and buy products virtually in the comfort of their own home; it also allows users to drop a virtual product into any room to see how it fits.
While consumers will continue to go to standard e-tailers for their online shopping, look for them to further streamline. More than seven in ten (72%) Americans are “always looking for ways to simplify my life”. Since online shopping itself incorporates streamlining more so than in-store shopping (as noted above under ‘convergence’), how can companies further simplify for the consumer? More and more, it really is turning into a speed & efficiency game. Take Instagram’s newest rollout, for example – aligning product links between social apps and retailer sites can be far more efficient than finding a product of interest on a standalone site, only to have to “re-find” it again on a separate site.
While ‘more of the same’ still exists with holiday shopping (see: sales & deals), innovations in both the online and in-store shopping areas are continuously emerging. The smart company and marketer will still leverage deal-based promotions to target the basic inclinations of the holiday shopper, while balancing the ‘good’ from both online & in-store outlets. New and innovative ways that appeal to their needs around simplification & efficiency of the shopping process will also generate success this season and beyond.
Mihir Bhatt is a Senior Consultant on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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How to discover the attitudes and behaviors of today’s connected consumer? Knowing their values, their motivations and learning why they act the way they do, is the path for your brand to engage and connect with customers all around the world. GfK Consumer Life provides you with a rich source of global consumer insights and trends. The main benefits? An exclusive client portal, offering on-demand access to all the insights that are essential to make the right decisions for your business - from launching a product to building sales or establishing a brand identity.
Home improvement is now a big trend. Find out what people in 22 countries answered when we asked them what home improvements they would most like to carry out.
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Which of my marketing activities delivers the maximum return on investment? The solution lies in combining your point-of-sales data with competitive intelligence on your activities in-store, online or via print advertising.
Retail marketing activities have a huge influence on shopping decisions. When we asked shoppers what influences their buying decisions, retail promotions ranked as a key factor.
Have a look at our new infographic for more!
Don't miss this opportunity to enable your brand to get closer to Connected Consumers!
Media consumption behavior has become increasingly fragmented across channels and devices, moreover marketers need to respect local characteristics of their markets. As stated in our last blog entry in June we investigated the crossmedia landscape of four markets. The result was four markets, four different stories. While in Indonesia mobile has become default, 80% of page impressions in Brazil happen on desktop screens.
To forge effective marketing activities, we need to step back and take a closer look on the core element of communications: the target audience. Industry and research alike spend significant efforts to segment and survey consumers effectively. Psychographics, lifestyles and other attribution factors such as attitudes, purchases or online behavior need to be considered in order to assure that messages reach the right audience. But let’s take one step back for the moment and focus on the core data layer of each target audience: sociodemographics.
Sociodemographics splits have received quite a bit of bad press recently. While much of the critique holds true that marketers need to think further than gender, age and household income, we should not be tempted to disregard those as of less value. Media consumption is still heavily depending on sociodemographic parameters – Let’s take a closer look at age cohorts as an example.
Much has been discussed around the role of digital in the life of Millennials – Those individuals who have spent their childhood or teen years in the nineties. Within this time of their lives they have witnessed the rise of online, e-commerce and mobile and therefore are the age cohort more accustomed to digital media than their parent generation. But how do they compare to those who have been exposed to digital technology from their early childhood on, so those aged 14 to 24 years today? Are they really the proclaimed digital natives?
Social networking has become part of everyday life. But are there any differences on how Gen Z uses social media compared to Millennials? A closer look at the German market reveals similarities at first glimpse – the top three social media services are the very same among both age groups: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter rule the scene.
While Facebook has a slightly higher reach among Millennials, the reach of Instagram and Twitter more than doubles among those aged 14 to 24 today. Around 50% of young individuals among the online population use Instagram and Twitter. But reach is only one indicator for the popularity of certain online services. Even more revealing are the figures for duration, the average time a unique user engages with each service in one month’s time. Compared to the millennial generation, the younger cohort spends almost triple the time on Instagram and Twitter. Together with their time they spend on Facebook, this adds up to over 14 hours of social media consumption per month on average.
A further drill down into these figures reveals in addition: while Facebook is used almost evenly among females and males, Twitter has a higher share of male users (69%) compared to females in the Gen Z age cohorts. The same trend is, while less striking, also to be observed among Instagram users – 55% are male.
But how about youths in other markets – maybe the high involvement of Gen Z on social media is purely a phenomenon among mature online markets such as Germany. Let’s put the spotlight on two exemplary markets, Brazil and Turkey. Both markets have a similar degree of online maturity; on the other hand they are culturally worlds apart. When it comes to social media usage among youths however, both markets show a similar pattern to Germany – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter dominate the scene.
While in Brazil Facebook is nearly ubiquitous, it’s again Instagram and Twitter with the higher reach among the younger cohort compared to Millennials. The photo sharing service app also reaches nearly ¾ of Gen Z in Turkey, while the presence of Facebook and Twitter are similar among ages.
As we have clearly seen from the above example on social media usage, it would be neglectful to disregard sociodemographics, in this case age and gender. Especially among the younger age groups, online behavior tends to vary profoundly from other age cohorts – even compared to the generally digital savvy Millennials. Just look at the massive success of Pokémon Go among youths this summer – 42% of Gen Z was using the game app while only 25% of Millennials were out in the streets catching Pikachu.
As programmatic advertising is becoming the normative element in online marketing, advertisers and inventory owners alike need to put emphasis on clean and robust data for efficient targeting. The same holds true for successful campaign effectiveness measurement, ROI calculations and CRM database enrichment.
Deep drills into sociodemographics are just the starting point of getting familiar with your audiences towards crossmedia and crossdevice usage. The above case study on social media usage among Gen Z vs. Millennials is fully based on data provided by the GfK Crossmedia Visualizer. This cutting edge tool offers up to date, clear and deep insights to all relevant indicators of online usage across and by devices (PC, smartphone, tablet). Moreover the internet usage data is linked to unique users’ consumer profiles, including all relevant sociodemographic data and further profiling attributes such as media usage, TV consumption and lifestyles.
To share your thoughts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the world of the experience economy where experience triumphs over rationality. How consumers think and feel about your product or service is driven by the sum total of all their experiences with your brand. The user experience you provide equates to the delivery of your brand promise. To put it more starkly, how you make your customers feel will dictate how they perceive your brand now and in the future.
Getting the user experience (UX) right is therefore no doubt top of your wish list. We know from our extensive work with brands around the world that small changes in UX can deliver significant and meaningful gains in terms of long-term brand equity. In a recent study, we found that a 0.1 change in the mean UX Score (a validated measurement of usability, usefulness, and aesthetics calculated on a six-point scale) resulted in an increase of 1.3% in brand equity. The message is clear – get your UX right in the short and medium term, and growth will follow. There can’t be a better incentive for getting it right every time.
The reality is that consumers are fickle creatures, overwhelmed with a plethora of choice. All too often brands only get one chance to engage with them. Once upon a time, the way to engage with these consumers was through paid media. The prevailing wisdom was that with enough investment in the right channels, customers would, in time, take notice. But this is no longer the case. The balance of power has now tipped in favor of today’s Connected Consumers. This means that brands are more reliant on earned media than ever before to reach consumers. This is why UX matters so much: what consumers think about your brand is influenced entirely by their experience with your brand.
We know that customer experience impacts brand perception and earned media. For this reason, we see a strong argument for investing in your UX rather than paid and owned media. This offers you the opportunity to generate a better customer experience and more positive brand exposure. The resulting earned media should then deliver greater returns. It’s a strategy that benefits both the brand and the consumer, and one that’s primed for success.
Brands that make the necessary investment in UX will achieve bold, sustainable and effective growth. As a first step, you must be able to quantify the user experience in order to understand its impact on brand equity and relationship to market share. With a tool like the UX Score, you can quickly and cost effectively identify improvements that will delight customers. You can prosper in today’s experience economy and grow your bottom line.
How do you tackle the challenge of earned media?
To share your thoughts, please email email@example.com.
The emerging relationship between brand and the user experience
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