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  • Jutta Suchanek and Benjamin Jones join GfK’s Executive Leadership Team
    • 08/21/17
    • Careers
    • Press
    • Global
    • English

    Jutta Suchanek and Benjamin Jones join GfK’s Executive Leadership Team

    GfK appoints Jutta Suchanek and Benjamin Jones as members of the Executive Leadership Team in where both will take on newly created roles.

    • 08/16/17
    • Health
    • Consumer Panels
    • Global
    • English

    Curating an answer to deeper consumer understanding through data

    This post was co-authored by Natasha Stevens and Michelle Morgan

    At a time when surveys seem to be under a kind of siege – viewed by some as backward and outdated – let me go out on a limb: Surveys have never been more important or relevant.

    Yes, behavioral data can tell us exactly what people do – no guessing or memory jogging required. But there are also restrictions; we may only know, for example, what people are doing within a single environment – online or in store. And while behavioral information can provide extremely rich consumer insight, it often cannot tell us why people do things: what they were hoping for, whether they were disappointed, and their feelings about the brands in their lives.

    The challenge for researchers

    Surveys can help us fill in all of these gaps; and yet we also know that consumers’ patience with long questionnaires – especially on smartphones – is shrinking. The challenge for smart researchers, then, is: How can we use surveys only when they will provide unique and indispensable information, but quit before our returns start to diminish?

    The answer is doubling down on a skill unfamiliar (and perhaps unsettling) to many researchers — data curation. Here we use different data sets, often from very diverse sources, to create the complete picture we need of consumers’ preferences and behavior. By linking two or more data sets through carefully developed criteria, we can focus our survey takers on giving us only the information we can obtain nowhere else.

    Data curation in action

    One recent example of data curation in action was inspired by the looming changes in US healthcare and insurance. Survey data capturing public opinion on US healthcare reform is abundant – much of it focused on the specifics of the policy itself, with respondents generally profiled according to their political affiliation. We wanted to develop a profile of survey respondents that went beyond party politics and looked more deeply at motivations and personal characteristics around health.

    Using KnowledgePanel®, the largest probability-based online panel in the US, supplemented with key health psychographic variables from MRI’s gold-standard Survey of the American Consumer®, we were able to develop a more nuanced picture of our survey takers. The MRI-KnowledgePanel® fusion allowed us to integrate health-related profile data for KnowledgePanel® members – such as body mass index (BMI), information about chronic physical and mental health conditions, and health insurance status – with 25 health psychographic variables from MRI.

    We found that those who disapprove of the Affordable Care Act are less likely to believe that generic drugs are as good as brand-name drugs.

    In addition, they are more likely to be the first to try advanced medication and more likely to agree that medication has improved their quality of life.

    Using the integrated databases, we were able to add a number of high-value characteristics to the mix without additional questions or fees; these included presence of chronic health conditions, medication compliance, body-mass index, and body image.

    Deeper insights from fused data

    By mastering data integration and curation, we can deepen our insights from any one source. In our healthcare example, the fused data allowed us to develop a richer and more robust profile of survey respondents than we could achieve with KnowledgePanel® data alone. With the right data resources and expertise, this new approach creates almost infinite possibilities for expanded insights.

    Natasha Stevens is Executive Vice President of Digital Experiences at GfK. Michelle Morgan is the Research Director of Data and Insights Integration. To share your thoughts please email natasha.stevens@gfk.com or michelle.morgan@gfk.com. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 08/14/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    4 things your brand is missing out on without an online store finder

    According to a 2017 study on ecommerce trends, 61% of shoppers are more likely to research brands before making a purchase. So while shoppers are on your site, it’s important to keep them there and give them more of a reason to buy your products. One strategic way of doing this is to capitalize on using a store finder or ‘where to buy’ application on your website. Besides what may seem obvious with this function (giving customers information into where they can buy your products), there are some other key benefits your brand may be missing out on if not installed.

    Lost sales due to comparison shopping

    Many brands lose business to competitors through comparison shopping. In a 2017 survey, 71% of shoppers believe they will get a better deal online than in stores, so it’s likely that they are going to shop around for the best one. Having a store finder that displays pricing and stock information for other retailers can help sales tremendously as it keeps potential buyers from starting a product search on a marketplace where they can compare and find competitive products.

    Tip: Make sure your store finder technology is able to list pricing and stocking info in real-time so that you are giving our customers the most accurate and up-to-date info.

    Value-Added convenience

    Today’s digitally connected and multi-channel shopping consumers always seem to be on the go either by surfing the web or physically out shopping. By having a store finder application on your website you are providing your shoppers with all the right ways to buy your products – your website, in store, or through other online channels. And by displaying all pricing, inventory and location information this is a major convenience that helps save your customer’s time and you are helping your customers find retailers who they may already be loyal to.

    Tip: For further convenience, it is essential that your store finder is responsive for those mobile shoppers and can be geo-targeted to their location so that location results are showing near-buy retailers.

    Channel support

    Although not customer facing, by having a store finder that lists the location, pricing and stocking info of your key retailers, you’re offering more support to your channel partners. And if you are a brand that doesn’t have a shopping cart on your website to support resellers, a store finder is even more valuable to your business and your channel relationships. Eliminate cart abandonment due to comparison shopping and keep them coming back with a positive shopping experience.

    A better online shopping experience

    Enhancing your product detail pages with quality product content and images all make for a good online shopping experience, which can lead to sales. With the added convenience and functionality of a store finder, your product detail pages are set up for an even greater experience that can help keep customers coming back to your site, no matter the stage of their buying journey.

    Tip: Ensure you are able to use your store finder technology to its full potential by tracking performance metrics.

    When set-up with all the right information such as, real-time pricing and inventory, geo-targeting, and a responsive design, a store finder just may be the ultimate product closing tool.

    Interested in adding a store finder or looking for other options? As a product content company, GfK Etilize has all of the data to easily crawl and match products with different identifiers on popular retail sites, to always show accurate products and inventory. We also automate the addition of new products as launches happen, to maximize sales on newer, best-selling SKUs.

    • 08/11/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    How is the smartphone transforming brick and mortar retail?

    When we think about how smartphones have changed the retail landscape, it often revolves around how e-commerce is banishing traditional brick-and-mortar establishments to obsolescence. At least, that’s what you would gather from sensational news reports about the current mall crisis in the US and the shutdown of several local stores in Singapore such as furniture store, iwannagohome and fashion brand, Raoul.

    Here’s a story that’s less newsworthy, but equally true.

    Rather than being the harbinger of doom and gloom of physical retailers, the smartphone also has enormous potential to transform physical retail for the better. The smartphone has made shopping a breeze with apps for fashion, groceries, electronics and food, with the likes of Zalora, Lazada, Redmart and Honestbee.

    If implemented effectively as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy, smartphones could somewhat ironically be the key to survival for physical retail outlets.

    For the uninitiated, the idea of omnichannel marketing is simple. Brands need to provide customers with a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. Whether it’s in-store, online, via social media or through a smartphone app, the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.

    A one-size fits all approach does not work though, as shoppers behave differently by country. That’s why it’s essential for retailers to have market research intelligence on shopper needs and behavior, to tailor retail strategies for the local market.

    Smartphones have enhanced our lives

    In our 2016 Connected Consumers Report, we referred to the smartphone as the ‘hub of the consumer’s life’ – a nexus where their offline lives meet their digital ones.

    Smartphones are the top choice for online shopping (it used to be the desktop) as they give shoppers numerous benefits and convenience. Our research shows that 45% of all shopping is influenced by mobile, and without having to enter the physical stores, shoppers can avoid queues, order ahead and enjoy customized offers.

    Smartphones are also beneficial for e-commerce sites that want to move offline, for example Amazon – which has recently been making headlines for opening bookstores and grocery stores. Amazon has been using mobile technology to track customer preferences and sales, and enabling shoppers to grab groceries and walk out of the store as the order gets posted to the shopper’s Amazon account later. Closer to Singapore, we’ve seen homegrown brands like Naiise, HipVan and Love Bonito extend their online presence offline in shopping malls. Naiise for example, offers self-collection services at its physical stores for online orders.

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    The role of smartphones in consumer retail

    In our global survey on consumers’ activities with mobile phones in stores, we found that globally, 40 percent of shoppers use their smartphones while in a physical store to compare prices and contact a friend for advice, while 23 percent and 22 percent buy products through an app or through a website respectively, proving that once customers step through the door, even more can be done to seal the deal.

    Beauty retailer Sephora for example, has successfully used augmented reality and lip-mapping technology in it’s app – Sephora Virtual Artist, to instantly and effortlessly help users figure out which of 3,000 lipsticks shades suits them most – a typically time consuming task.

    Singapore shopping malls such as 313@Somerset and Parkway Parade have been experimenting with proximity marketing and mobile location analytics to reach out to shoppers who are surfing nearby, in a more targeted manner while showcasing offerings effectively. Through proximity alerts, patrons are able to enjoy exclusive deals, purchase and redeem their items immediately.

    Winning consumers with customized mobile services

    One of the most valuable resources of a smartphone is that it can provide retailers with information, which is key to capturing brand loyalty – a trait that today’s spoiled-for-choice Connected Consumers are lacking.

    Brands can leverage customer data and point-of-sales (POS) analytics to offer more personalized services such as customized offers. In turn, this presents an opportunity to generate long-term relationships.

    AsiaMalls for example, which owns six heartland malls, has seen success with AMperkz, its card-less loyalty program that enables personalized and location-based rewards and exclusive member offers.

    Starbucks too, has seen massive success in the past six years by taking its popular loyalty program to the mobile platform, resulting in higher sales, customer loyalty and foot traffic. Last year, 25 percent of the chain’s transactions in the United States were from a smartphone.

    Mobile Order & Pay, the company’s mobile order-ahead service has been lauded for providing convenience, but the code behind it – the data-driven algorithm to predict, personalize and recommend individual offerings at checkout shouldn’t be understated either as it’s a data-driven Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm based on consumers’ preferences and behavior; and behaviors that Starbucks is trying to drive.

    In the age of the Connected Consumer, omnichannel shopping is becoming the new normal. Therefore, understanding the shopper’s purchase journey is crucial – and this is one of the toughest challenges faced by retailers today. However, armed with research insights on the route shoppers take when making a purchase, ways in which different online and offline touchpoints influence their purchase decision, and the type of media they are exposed to; retailers can optimize their omnichannel strategy.

    Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Map of the month: Sales area productivity, Europe 2016
    • 08/10/17
    • Retail
    • Geomarketing
    • RegioGraph
    • Geodata
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the month: Sales area productivity, Europe 2016

    Growth in sales area productivity (gross retail turnover per m2) is an important gauge of market health for retailers looking to expand to new regions. In 2016, sales area productivity grew by 0.9% in the EU-27 (this excludes the UK due to the exchange rate disparity). Luxembourg, Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden top the rankings, but retailers can also prosper in countries with lower values, but less market saturation. Various factors influence sales area productivity, including retail format, brand strength, location quality, competitor presence, and the available purchasing power of the population.

    • 08/09/17
    • Retail
    • Automotive
    • Mystery Shopping
    • Global
    • English

    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.

    When to use crowdsourced audits and when to use mystery shopping

    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

    The critical factor is that the agency you choose must have the experience to know when the ‘crowdsourced audit’ route is appropriate, and when a more comprehensive mystery shop approach is needed. The tipping point can be quite small, but will have big implications on the resultant data and level of insight.

    We employ both methodologies and increasingly are providing clients with a blended approach in order to best deliver the whole story in the most cost effective way.

    Both techniques can be fast turnarounds and both can provide photo capture with GPS stamping but, in its simplest terms, the differentiation revolves around the complexity of the task and the type of sample needing to be covered.

    As such it’s no great surprise that mystery shopping is the primary solution in sectors such as Banking and Automotive, where we measure high involvement and detailed purchases, but when it comes to high street retail and simple product recommendation checks, the blended solution becomes very relevant.

    Whether it’s a quick answer or more comprehensive measure, marketers and product managers have a far greater range of solutions to call upon and it’s the job of the agencies to properly assess the need and find the best fit.

    Oli Bailey is the Development Director of Mystery Shopping at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email oli.bailey@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 08/07/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Global
    • English

    Retail Trend Monitor 2017: Technology will make the difference in retail

    Changes in the retail landscape, driven in part by the mobile revolution and resulting changes in consumer shopping preferences, have revealed new opportunities for retailers. However, with many of the arising opportunities requiring significant investment in technology, the challenge for retailers is knowing which of these to invest in to secure future success.

    A phased approach to retail technology investment

    Those technologies that will help retailers to meet current and future consumer trends and expectations can be classified according to two distinct groups, reflecting a phased approach to retail technology investment:

    One: Those technological developments with a high relevance today and which will remain the focus of investment in the future. These include big data analytics (relating to both consumers and the supply chain) and mobile capabilities like shopping apps.

    Two: Those technological innovations that have lower relevance today, but which are predicted to become the focus of future investment. It is by anticipating the most influential technologies of tomorrow that retailers can stay one step ahead of the competition. Examples of such technologies include check-out less stores, and virtual and augmented reality.

    These were the findings of our Retail Trend Monitor 2017, a 51-country online survey of 346 retailers and industry experts. The study examines the technologies in which retailers should invest in the context of exploring those key retail trends that are having the most impact now and those that will have the greatest influence in the future.

    Retail trends having the most impact today and tomorrow

    According to the retailers who participated in our study, the convenience of the shopping experience (89%) is the leading driver of current retail developments but personalized marketing and the seamlessness of the cross-channel experience will gain in relevance.

    While they anticipate mobile communication to be the top driver in the future owing to the growing popularity of shopping anytime and anywhere, they also expect convenience to remain a dominant force. Convenience underpins many of the other drivers of change and innovations in the retail space. Closely related to anything that makes consumers’ lives easier, the concept of convenience is however constantly evolving. Today, of course, it is closely associated with mobile retail. However, according to the retail experts who participated in our study, the future of convenience will be about retailers themselves providing greater transparency of information (e.g. price comparison/review websites and social media). What’s more, it will be about them offering a seamless shopping experience across channels, and personalized marketing information and offers.

    Future success is founded on having the right retail insights

    Convenience and personalization will play a major role in shaping the future of retail. Achieving a more convenient and personalized shopping experience, one that meets consumers’ expectations, is dependent on choosing the right retail format and investing in the right technology. With the right intelligence, retailers have the opportunity to not only address but also exceed consumers’ expectations, thereby surprising and delighting them. Those retailers that achieve this will be the success stories of today and tomorrow.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • White paper: The key drivers of retail change – now and next
    • 08/07/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Global
    • English

    White paper: The key drivers of retail change – now and next

    Read our latest whitepaper to learn how to succeed in this space. Inside you’ll find analysis from our experts and insights from our 51-country online survey of 346 retails and industry players.

  • Retail Trend Monitor 2017: Technology will make the difference in retail
    • 08/07/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Tracking
    • Global
    • English

    Retail Trend Monitor 2017: Technology will make the difference in retail

    Our Retail Trend Monitor 2017, a 51-country online survey of 346 retailers and industry experts, examines the key drivers of retail change. The study explores the retail trends and technologies that are having the most impact now and those that will have the greatest influence in the future.

    • 08/04/17
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Global
    • English

    3 things to stop doing if you want to grow your brand

    Brands are wild and unpredictable, like animals.  If you want to study them, you need to let the zoo gates open, leave them to run free and let the spy cams do the rest.

    This may sound like an unnerving statement for an analytics industry dominated by control and quantification of brand KPIs.  However, if you really love something, you need to set it free – and this couldn’t be more true for brands.

    The way we study brands today is sometimes akin to determining the hunting pattern of Killer Whales by watching them catch fish out of a bucket.  It is set up all wrong from the start.

    Our understanding of brands has come a long way, as have the tools we use.  My three pieces of advice on what to do differently to grow your brand are these:

    1. Stop simply measuring your brand, start understanding it.

    Brands are almost as complex as people, which is why we relate to them like we do with our social circle: we need to get to know our friends before we trust them with our money.  We need to have common interests.  We need them to make us feel special.  However, rating all our friends using the same measuring stick is impossible, right, because each different type of friend needs to be measured against different criteria.

    For brands, customer funnels and sales figures can give a good measure of the financial “fundamentals” of the brand – but they do not tell us what has worked well to get to that point and, therefore, what to do more of.  Research programs focused on brand identity, used in parallel with trackers, are an investment into the future of your brand, not just for the next 6 months, but the next few decades.

    2. Stop comparing your brand to others. Embrace it for what it is.

    We send our kids to school hoping they will all excel in math equally, but we soon find out that each child is so unique that they have to be judged on their own merits.  Although the child’s standard performance report card is indicative, it by no means reflects the full potential and true talents of a pupil.

    For brands, developing this potential requires really understanding the product, the target customer, and the vision of the brand: “what it wants to be when it grows up” – in other words, its “soul”.  Brands, like pupils, tend to thrive when asked to perform in the subjects where they excel and differentiate.  Finding these strengths enables a company to focus its energy on those aspects of its brand that are more profitable in the long run, rather than right here, right now.

    3. Stop controlling everything. Let your customers shape your brand.

    It sounds counter-intuitive, but it is really about grassroots.  Whether you have worked on it consciously or not, you already have a brand out there.  The first step to improving that brand is understanding the two or three things consumers remember about your brand.

    Whether you like these perceptions or not, they are already out there and you need to work with that reality, rather than try to become someone else.  Build on the best parts of your image and minimize the negatives.  This sounds obvious, but most brands today still lack a program that lets them truly listen to their customers.

    For a brand manager trying to sort through a clutter of often conflicting data, what this means is taking a simple, yet bold approach to brand: focusing on the stripped-down, core premise of what the brand was founded upon and re-evaluating whether it still delivers, while being open to facing some harsh truths about whether the proposition really resonates with the current market/customer.

    Conclusion

    There is plenty of scope for brands nowadays to benefit from tools that are breaking down the customer/brand barrier. These monitor customer behavior unobtrusively through implicit methods such as passive measurement, and enable the collection of large sets full of customer insight that can be analyzed via advanced Artificial Intelligence and text analytics.  This can provide a moving picture of brand identity, which can guide decisions at both tactical and strategic levels.

    George Tsakraklides is a Research Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email george.tsakraklides@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 08/03/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Advertising budget: How should you invest yours?

    With many ways to get your brand’s message to consumers, a common question for businesses these days is how to invest your advertising budget. Of course, you aren’t alone in facing this challenge. Every marketer wants to know which media channels – digital and/or non-digital – they should invest in. One way in which many determine this is by looking at the overall return on investment (ROI) of their media activities. This might tell you, for example, that a digital campaign carries sales. But does this then mean that you should shift more of your budget to digital?

    Looking at overall ROI, which is calculated by dividing total revenue by your total media spend, provides insight into the success of combined activities or entire campaigns. What it doesn’t tell you is which media channels you should spend more on to generate incremental sales. This makes optimizing your media spend based on this intelligence alone tricky at best.

    There is an answer, though. Using point of sales data and marketing mix modeling (MMM), the marginal ROI of individual components of your campaign can be calculated. Marginal ROI only considers the growth in sales that are predicted to result from any increase in your spend. Consequently, it enables you to see which media channels will deliver more of a return the more you invest in them.

    To invest, or not to invest, more in the media you know to deliver great ROI?

    Perhaps counter-intuitively, just because a particular media channel delivers a great overall ROI doesn’t mean you should allocate more of your budget to it. There is a point, namely the saturation point, at which investing more money in a channel won’t help to deliver more sales.

    The MMM studies we are carrying out across various countries and categories show that the majority of campaigns using traditional media display signs of saturation, as do those that use video and social. On the other hand, both display and search campaigns offer room for further investment.

    For 70% of traditional campaigns, saturation point has been overtaken vs. 39% of digital campaigns

     

    Our case studies also highlight that traditional media such as radio are at times overlooked as ROI drivers. In contrast, while digital media channels drive sales, they can quickly reach saturation point, resulting in lower marginal ROI.

    In order to determine which media channel will deliver an increased ROI and incremental sales, what you need to know is where each of those you are investing in is positioned on the saturation curve.

    Response curves help explain how much more can be invested by media

    Example

    In this example, our client devised an ad specifically for an e-commerce platform to appeal to influential consumers. However, the ROI of using this platform wasn’t as high as that achieved by using either online video or print channels. By identifying where these media channels sat on the saturation curve, we found that the e-commerce platform was the only one which had not yet reached saturation point. With its marginal ROI being higher than its average ROI, it would deliver better for each dollar of investment than any of the other channels (online video, print or TV). Consequently, our client could continue to invest in this channel, safe in the knowledge that their money was being wisely spent.

    ROI of different media channels

     

    Simulating your media budget allocation to optimize your investment

    Using MMM and sales data, we can also simulate the outcomes of a redistribution of media spend. In this way, you can see how to optimize your media campaigns and planning. You can determine where to invest more of your media budget to achieve a higher positive return. However, perhaps even more critically, you can establish whether it’s possible to achieve the same increment in sales for less investment, or more, with the same budget.

    Conclusion

    Knowing where to spend your media or ad budget isn’t straightforward. In fact, it’s one of the biggest challenges for all our clients. What you need to know is where non-digital and digital media ad value, and how they work together. You also need to know which media channels deliver the greatest return and whether they’ll deliver more sales in line with any investment increase. The good news is that looking at both your overall ROI and using the more advanced metric of marginal ROI, you can discover the optimum way to spend your advertising budget.

    Are you interested in more information?

    Take your media planning to a whole new level. Download your copy of our white paper: Maximize your media effectiveness and drive sales with our five-step program.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 08/02/17
    • Technology
    • Global
    • English

    Discovering the era of Hyper-Connected Consumers in India

    The lifestyles of people are changing enormously due to digitalization, and businesses are communicating with customers in a special and unique manner. They are dealing with a new-age world of hyper-connected consumers who are digitally connected to almost everything in their daily chores. A few years back no business would have ever imagined the fast-changing  expectations and choices that consumers have. But, technology has changed the world, and this is now the reality.

    Embracing a digitally enhanced future with Digital India

    Digital India, a brilliant project, is a testimony to the fact that India is embracing this massive technological paradigm shift, going full throttle towards a digitally enhanced future. Be it retail, banking, education, food, travel or manufacturing, the Digital India initiative proves that we are moving in the right direction! The Indian consumer, who previously was simply connected (a mobile device meant a mechanism to call others and search the internet) has become hyper-connected and this remarkable initiative by the government is catering tremendously to the growth levels of hyper-consumerism.

    The outburst of smartphones, social media platforms and high speed internet is the major driver behind the dramatic change caused by consumers’ expectations when it comes to brand engagement. The average consumer in India spends most of their time on smart phones; nearly 150 billion hours were invested between 2014 and 2016, according to new research. This year was predicted to see more than 350 million mobile internet users – a clear example of Digital India galvanizing a movement in the nation. Now imagine the growth spurt in the coming years!

    Smartphones driving innovation

    Another aspect to this massive surge in the digital world is the social messaging behavior of the hyper-connected consumer which is creating great stories on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The “desktop-first” era is a bygone era; all we can see now is the smartphone, which has become a key platform and is driving the latest trends in innovation. Thus, it clearly reflects that smartphones are going to be greatest driver of the Digital India initiative, whose escalating penetration will only grow in the future, hence transforming India into one of the largest smartphone economies in the world.

    Apart from the effect that technology has had on our lives and daily chores, it has created a number of terrific opportunities for businesses to grow and become stalwarts in their respective realms. However, it also entails a lot of challenges, and the businesses that can come out with new and better ways to engage with the emerging segments of hyper-connected consumers are the ones that will thrive. In this era of ‘discovery’:

       

    • Companies are realizing the increasing importance of engaging consumers through the various channels available. Sometimes companies need to meet consumers personally and get to know their demands and personal choices. With consumers displaying love towards visual content, it is significant to offer them something extraordinary which they can share on digital platforms.
    • There is a dire need to fuel platforms with video content. Digital technologies provide consumers a new lens on brands and new ways to engage every day. There’s the opportunity for brand relationships with customers to evolve because of technology.
    • With everything turning digital, companies need to personalize the customer’s experience with a personal touch, yet, their privacy should not be in jeopardy at all.
    • Transparency is another major aspect companies must consider; by making everything visible to their customers, the company can escalate their level of reliability and create a trusted brand.
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    The key takeaway here is that people will pay where they see value and that value is no longer simply wrapped up in the product. Brands need to continually strive to understand their customer engagement and relationships, and how it will evolve with digital technologies so they can innovate and provide better value for their customers and more margin growth for themselves.

    With the nation’s thrust behind Digital India, we believe that a new era of “Hyper-Connected” consumers have emerged. We will be sharing insights on this unique consumer segment based on a custom featured study and exchanging perspectives with a panel of industry leaders. Join us and be part of the conversation to Discover, Disrupt and Delight in the era of the Hyper-Connected Consumers in India on September 7, 2017 in Mumbai at Hotel Sofitel.

    Nikhil Mathur is the Managing Director of GfK, South Asia. To share your thoughts, please email Nikhil.mathur@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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