Saturday, August 17, 2013

Are you keeping great data and insight a secret within your organization? I recently attended a terrific webinar presentation by CEA and Traqline outlining survey result data on shopping patterns and preferences of consumers. While the webinar was well attended, as often I found it not being watched or later reviewed by the people it would help most.The kind of information and even more the insights drawn need to be shared across the organization. Data should not be kept safe in the hands of analysts or other admin or clerical staff who all too often are assigned to gather it and distribute to staff. The problem often lies with who is assigned to get and look at the information. With apologies to hard working staff, in far too many of my clients and contacts this activity is assigned to rather lower level staff who have little influence and often no incentive to make the information actionable. While sales staff may ask for a slide presenting their market share or rank, this is a trivial use of the data. Meanwhile, Product Managers, Marketing Management and other leaders in the organization may not get the insights presented to them. These insights may take some looking for as one manipulates the data, and of course need to be put in context of the firm's specific market position and goals, but if decision makers are not looking at this, they are missing a lot. Let's quickly review just some of what we saw in the webinar noted at the top. While there has been a whole lot of press on "Showrooming" and the corrosive effect of Amazon on other retailers, it may come as a surprise to most that for Best Buy it appears that Walmart is the biggest competitor. This is not to say that Amazon is not a consideration, but on the other hand what implications does this somewhat surprising conclusion bring? Well, it will depend on your product or service, but just consider these things. 1. Are you properly distributed to leverage this fact? Meaning are you in Walmart? Or are you getting leverage by not distributing there? 2. Are you considering the sizes of audience? If you just focus on Best Buy in this case and Amazon while you may be looking at large tracts of consumers, are you missing core audience for your product? 3. Is you pricing stance correct? Are you addressing the right audience? 4. Are you marketing assets aimed right? The point is that looking at information such as Traqline is providing allows you to see who is actually buying your and your competitors products. This is not your imagination or guess, but actual panel data from real consumers. Again, all too often I find marketers doing fine work on the personas of their target shoppers only to see that the actual buyers are quite different. So, if you want to sell to women or teens or sports enthusiasts the question is; are you? Do you know? Starting with some facts is really a good way to go. I try to tell clients to pick their path. This is something only they can do. Define your target and you can set your course. However, you need to navigate the real world and this kind of information helps you. It is for sales managers and marketing staff. It is for senior management and product developers, not just something to sit in the back office or to be brought out for justification. Set the information free and get the entire value chain involved. Starting with some facts and reviewing against data allows informed decisions. Yes, you will still make mistakes, but this should prove less costly and more accurate. You can be sure your high performing competitors are doing this. If you are worried over Amazon you should realize they analyze in depth. We will continue to write about this topic to encourage marketers to dig deeper and make actionable insights. This is the job of the top team, not the staff alone. It is not free, but services like Traqline are very affordable and much less expensive than mistakes in the market. Take a look and we will keep on poking this box.