Category: Business

A framework for data-driven strategic marketing

In case you missed the announcement, we’d like to mention again that here at Corona we’ve recently re-designed our website to be aligned with our customer groups by sector (business, nonprofit, and government). It was a decision inspired by our desire to acknowledge our customers’ unique needs across each of these areas.

Honing in more specifically on our business sector customers and fans, our new Insights for Strategic Marketing page is a clear and concise representation of how we use data-driven insights via market research and consulting to inform all stages of strategic and tactical marketing. Our collective experience and background has fueled our thinking in this area and tells us that “an ounce of strategy is worth a pound of execution.” It’s sort like the old adage, “Measure twice, cut once.” Make sure you’re doing things right in the beginning, and you won’t end up wasting your resources.

We know from our experiences working with hundreds of clients that it’s critical for them to fully understand current and/or potential target markets along with consumer or business needs for a particular product offering(s)…before spending the big bucks on marketing campaigns.

So, check out our framework, and start thinking about how to take first things first. We’re talking about big decisions you’ll be able to make, enlightened with information, like determining marketing goals based on a thorough assessment of internal and external environments; identifying market segmentations and selecting target markets based on criteria that is directly related to those marketing goals; and establishing a positioning platform and value proposition that will resonate with the selected target markets and differentiate from competitor offerings.

It doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Armed with information, you’ll have the “ready-aim” part down. All that remains after that is to fire away with your marketing execution.

Corona in action

What better way to learn about the quality work Corona does than through the experiences of our various customers? Check out our updated Case Studies to see Corona in action. Over the years, Corona has helped a wide array of customers through market research and strategic consulting answer the questions most important to them, and then guide them from insights to successful outcomes.

You may have noticed some other recent changes to Corona’s website. We apply proven research methods and strategic insights to all of our customers, across sectors and industries. Keep checking back to find out how we can help your nonprofit, business, government agency or higher education institution.

Market research is dead. Long live market research.

Traditional market research is dead.  I’ve heard this multiple times in the past and I’m betting you have too.  To be fair, traditional market research (often simplified as surveys and focus groups) isn’t without its challenges, but to say it is dead is carving its headstone a little prematurely.

So why have so many people signed its death certificate?  Well, some have had a bad experience with market research (it didn’t provide the answers, provided the wrong answers, etc.), while others have a stake in its death (think life insurance).

How can you sell the next greatest thing in marketing research if there is nothing wrong with traditional market research?

In the past few years I’ve read about how data mining, online video, social media, and neuroscience are all driving the nails in the coffin of more traditional methods, but do they solve all of our problems as often claimed?

  • We just need to mine our existing data because the answers are already there…But what if they’re not?
  • Video gives us more depth than surveys can…But is it quantifiable? Projectable?
  • Social media is telling us things we never thought to ask…But is it telling us the things we are asking? And from the right people?
  • Neuroscience is the key to unlocking what we really think…But what are people really reacting to?

I don’t (generally) fault the companies for taking the stance they do – they have a product to sell, and often times it’s even a good product.  However, the truth is that these new tools are just that – tools.  And saying one tool can solve all problems is just inaccurate.

Think about this way – it would be like saying all I need to build a new house is a hammer (good luck when you need to cut a board or do wiring).  A hammer is a great tool to build a house, but it is made better by all of the other tools in the toolbox.

What do you think? Is traditional market research at death’s doorstep or just going through an awkward stage at puberty?

Porsche’s research shows they need to change perceptions

We don’t just like good research – we like seeing good research leading to real change in organizations.

Take Porsche for example.  Through a “raft of market research” they learned that potential buyers are viewing Porsche vehicles as unfit for everyday driving and use.

Porsche’s new campaign therefore is focusing on showing their vehicles in everyday situations, as opposed to quick jaunts through twisty mountain roads (though Porsche isn’t totally abandoning their message of driving experience and passion – just that you can have both).

Listening to your market

Consumer spending habits can change rather quickly, and what worked in the past for businesses might not necessarily work today.  To stay ahead of the game, savvy companies evolve to make the most of consumer trends by listening to their target markets (not just their current customers) to truly understand what people want.

A company very familiar with spending habits, American Express, recently reported the emerging trends (pdf) that businesses are becoming more and more mindful of.  These stood out to me because they really show the value of listening to the consumer voice:

  1. “Rurbanism” – Meaning urban consumers are shifting more toward wanting local, rural products.  Several nationwide retail stores like Macy’s are already seeing success by adding local niche goods to their stores, and national grocery-chains like Whole Foods are taking advantage of this trend by buying local produce.
  2. “Commsumption” – That is, “community consumption” such as Groupon.  The recession has sparked a huge interest in group purchasing, and WalMart has even launched an initiative called CrowdSaver – its own group-discount page through Facebook.
  3. “Give-a-nomics” – Meaning consumers want their purchase to also have a secondary purpose, such as helping the community or preserving the environment.  As an example, Target advertises that it allocates 5% of its annual income to its Target Foundation to support families and communities.
  4. CiCo (Check in to Check out) – Consumers have a desire to stay connected with peers, so many stores are partnering with CiCo applications like Foursquare to let consumers “check in” to the store via their mobile phone to receive discounts and let others know where they are.
  5. COBs (Co-Created Own Brands) – Consumers now more than ever want control over what they buy.  Nike originally led the way with its NIKEiD, but now companies like Keds are giving customers not only more customization options, but also the ability to wholesale their designs through the website.

Consumer trends will continue to change with new technology and a shifting economy, and proactive companies will continue to listen to their markets.  What trends are you seeing in your organization?