Software is answering focus group questions for you
Marketing software is finally getting practical. I’m talking about what the Echo Nest and other marketing software companies have done: using social media data to build personas for your audience. It’s not marketing automation software, which aims at serving you ads automatically.
The traditional kind of market research has been done for decades through consulting agreements. Focus groups, surveys, and panels. Lots and lots of time and very hard work.
Big Data attacks Market Research’s Achilles heel: Time
Sure Big Data is a cliche. Big data’s been around longer than the “cloud”. It’s just that little companies like Mattr and the Echo Nest can now afford to process it with intelligence.
Anyway, people will pay anything to get what they need in a timely way. Software is doing its job; adding convenience by reducing the time it takes to get your information.
Could the answers be better than Focus Groups?
The quantitative answers (like the Motorola-Miley Cyrus connection) are certainly better, or at least faster. It’s the qualitative ones that are sticky, like Miley.
The hard question is, “Why do Motorola fans like Miley?”
This is this promise of the new marketing software, which we’ve put up against traditional surveys with very large brands. We’ve tested our personality algorithms against surveys and the results were good — north of 80% correlation. But I’m not sure how valid the tests were for one big, fat reason: Survey Bias. Survey Bias is my term which encompasses all the biases you could get when you ask people questions.
Here are a few of the better-known biases:
- Self-selection bias
- Non-response bias
- Interviewer bias
- Mode effect
- Acquiescence bias
- Social desirability bias
In the past, nay-sayers would trumpet that using social data had a large sample bias flaw, in that a large part of the potential sample group is left out. But with hundreds of millions of people using social media, this argument is drying up rapidly.
It all adds up to this: it’s cheap and fast and you can trend and measure results. Remember when you brought Google Docs into the office? It worked better than good enough, was more convenient than Office, and it was cheap. Who’s not going to try it?
Segment your audience in hours — not weeks or months — all without asking questions. Craft campaigns and products that appeal to their personalities and unique interests.
Does the fact that Jobs could tell the story so well reflect why they built things we love?
How Apple tells the story gives us some insight into how they think – and we can learn more than just how to tell our story. Because Mattr is focused on giving you the ammo to craft a great story I looked at the original iPhone and Blackberry Z product launches.
The differences were startling.
The 3 ingredients of a Steve Jobs story
His outline was the one that has worked since..forever: Life was bad, then we came along, then it was super. Repeat.
Except that he does it feature-by-feature, a roller coaster that’s a blast to ride – if you’re not a competitor. If you’re Blackberry, watching a launch must have made their stomachs heave.
1. He talked to his market
Jobs addressed everyone who could use a smartphone. Thorsten Heins addressed Blackberry’s employees. For Blackberry, customers came after employees, developers, carriers, and retailers.
Jobs also talked to you like he’s in your kitchen sharing a bottle of wine:
Jobs: “Styluses? Yuck! You don’t know where to put them, they get lost…”
As opposed to Thorsten Heins, who must have read from the Powerpoint slide in his head:
Heins: “This device aggregates information for me intuitively.”
2. He reminded us of Apple’s enormous success
Jobs took you back to the Macintosh, the iPod, even the first laptop. Then he reminded you how many they sold. You see they were very successful. Blackberry, even at the time of this launch in January, was still being used by a huge percentage of some segments. They basically invented the first commercial smartphone. Blackberry has cred, but didn’t remind us.
3. He skipped the features and focused on the benefits
Rather than listing out the processing capability of the device, or the screen size, or specs of the touchscreen technology, Jobs took the shortcut to benefits. Compare:
See what I mean? Jobs’ features aren’t really features; they’re the benefits. They also happen to be the things we had been complaining about smartphones.
To Sum it up
Zeroing in on your market is pretty easy but takes discipline. Reminding your listeners or readers of your success can be a bit harder, but focus on the part where you shine. And to shortcut to the benefits takes some practice but you can do it.
When you’re composing in your head as you speak, or on paper, keep asking yourself this question from the point of view of your customer:
Your customer: “But what can I do with this feature?”
Segment your audience in hours – not weeks or months – all without asking questions. Craft campaigns and products that appeal to their personalities and unique interests.
Like a lot of things, the formula is easier than the execution.
Coke’s latest idea: a Pop Up Park! Cover up that Grey/Gris/Grigio urban concrete, roll out some real grass and…make people feel good.
Cynics will call it insipid and obvious and contrived but Coke is telling a very simple story using the time-proven formula:
1. In the beginning, life was bad
2. Then we came
3. And it was good
It seems too simple, doesn’t it? This classic shows Coke has always told the same story, with a different cast.
You can tell your Brand’s story just as effectively as Coke does – just keep it simple.