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Smart Insights: Automotive

The global automotive industry is facing change on two fronts: a shifting industry landscape of emerging markets and increasing environmental regulations, and evolving consumer behavior and expectations.

To remain competitive, automotive manufacturers and retailers need industry insights that provide clear direction on today’s markets and the consumer demands of tomorrow.  

Our automotive market research experts deliver smart insights across all areas: From optimizing new concepts and product design (for example through car clinics), identifying precise actions to improve car brand perception or experiences, to tracking automotive aftersales.

Success Stories
  • Social media: Separating customer sentiment from the noise

    Social media: Separating customer sentiment from the noise

    14.09.2015

    The GfK Social Media Intelligence solution helped our client to understand customer sentiment about a new car model, allowing it to sharpen its marketing approach.

    Our client is a major car manufacturer with a strong presence in India.

    Situation

    The Internet – including social media – plays a major role in influencing car purchase decisions among India’s 120 million-plus Internet users. This Indian automotive manufacturer wanted to monitor and measure social media sentiment about a new car model so that it could improve its marketing effectiveness.

    Approach

    We used our Social Media Intelligence (SMI) solution over five months to monitor and analyze social media conversations about the new car. Our approach combined automated tools with human insight to ensure accurate interpretation of social media content.
    “Human coding” – using skilled people to clean and categorize social data – enabled us to derive real insight from the data and posts we collected.

    Outcome

    The data we gathered and the analysis we conducted allowed us to map trends and sentiment about the new car into a clear understanding of the model’s online reputation. We cut through the noise of the social web to provide our client with actionable insights. From these insights we provided various recommendations, which included a focus on using the right channels to communicate to different audiences (users and influencers, for example) with appropriate messaging.

    Click here to download the success story.

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    Crowdsourcing versus Mystery Shopping – sometimes the quick answer suffices

    Whether you’re a retailer trying to push through a new service initiative or a manufacturer launching a new product, all your hard work and investment can quickly unravel if your in-store activation misses the mark. Gleaning fast early-launch feedback of what is happening at the point of sale is critical, so that key elements can be tweaked, re-communicated or corrected to ensure a successful launch. With this ever-present challenge, it’s no surprise that most major brands employ some form of in-store mystery shopping activity, to gain that quantitative and qualitative read of performance. Although mystery shopping may go in and out of fashion, it is still arguably the single best methodology for understanding exactly what is happening on the shop floor and identifying problems. However, there is also increasing demand for fast turnaround data on retail performance – and this has triggered increasing use of ‘crowdsourced audits’ alongside traditional mystery shopping against a smaller number of metrics and across less defined samples.

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    On-trade product launches are typically prime candidates for the use of quick-fire checks (crowdsourced audits), rather than statistically representative studies (mystery shopping). A product manager who wants to understand how one bar chain is promoting and serving his new product versus another bar chain requires the statistical certainty of a mystery shopping program. But, in early stage launches, sometimes the overriding need can be as simple as quickly assessing whether your product is actually present. In our mystery shopping programs, we regularly uncover distribution issues, or stock still sitting in backrooms and out of date POS/promotions bearing no link whatsoever to a scheduled launch. In this instance, a fast random coverage of the market is what is needed, rather than an all-singing, all-dancing robust sample exercise. This is where crowdsourced audits come into their own as a measurement methodology.  In essence, these are a variant of mystery shopping, based on wide-coverage, untrained panels of everyday consumers who can ‘pick up’ assignments based on their proximity to locations and conduct quick turnaround simple ‘checks’. For example, checking specific promotions and activations, product availability, pricing or a simple recommendation across a non-fixed sample of stores is ideal territory for crowdsourced audits. They are essentially fast turnaround checks without the robustness of a representative sample. The ability to feedback quickly with both objective responses and photos means client teams can get that all-important early read and work out if there are any launch issues to be addressed.

    Conclusion

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    When consumers shop, search, communicate, gather information and engage with companies or brands online, they behave differently depending on which device or screen they are using. They expect a consistent experience regardless of the channel or device they are using.

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    Brands are under pressure to develop emotional connections and relationships with consumers and business decision makers.  Brands need to respond in-the-moment, to enrich the customer experience – and develop strategies that influence ”moments of truth” throughout individual brand journeys.  

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