Category Archives: segmentation

Mind The Gap

“At Gap brand, our customers have always come first. We’ve been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week. We heard them say over and over again they are passionate about our blue box logo, and they want it back. So we’ve made the decision to do just that – we will bring it back across all channels.” This is from a recent press release from Gap Inc. regarding a change in its corporate logo. The full text can be found here: link.

So the socialmedialists feel that they won the day. The people (crowd) has spoken. While some have speculated that this was a PR stunt, The Gap Inc. nonetheless appears have capitulated and reverted to its original logo. Amen.

My speculation is that this event was symptomatic of something else: a brand that is indeed struggling amidst a retail industry vertical that is recovering fairly well since the 2008 economic downturn. The stock price peaked near $26 around April 23, 2010 and has fallen 30% to around $18 today. Historically, the stock hasn’t done much in the past 5 years, remaining under $20.

From a marketing perspective, the outcome of the social media/crowdsourced and subsequent response by Gap Inc. suggests a brand that has lost control. There is little sense that the outcry actually came from Gap customers or whether the research that GAP conducted was segmented with respect to brand loyalists, frequent shoppers, Gap customers at large versus non-customers and people who generally make a habit of railing against brands for sport. To take this further, there was little evidence that Gap distinguished between social media in the broadest context or WOM – Word of Mouth otherwise known as earned media, a key metric of contextual online brand conversation. I would also surmise that the Gap’s logo wasn’t top of mind with its various customer segments as opposed to merchandise selection & availability, customer service and the on-line shopping experience.

At the end of the day, whether or not a company chooses to change its logo,  the value proposition has to be clear, strong and reflective of customer wants and needs. If the value is not there, perceived or otherwise and if the product/service delivery does not meet or exceed expectations and create conditions for repeat purchasing, logo changing will do nothing to affect corporate performance. This goes for any company in a fiercely competitive market.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Advertisements

Advertising in The Cloud: The Known Unknowns

Anti-Ageing Cream Might Work Better Here

The company advertising here markets some form of youth hormone treatment. Google rotates a series of unrelated ads through this post. I doubt that anyone has a clue on the advertiser’s end where the ad ended up. I could be wrong but placing this message alongside some dried out million-year old pin-headed skull overstates the case a bit.  

This could have been your brand and it may be on some websites unbeknown to you. Key question is – do you know where your brand is out in the cloud and who is paying attention to it? This also begs the question regarding accoutability in advertising in the cloud and what you, your company and your agency have put in place to know how your adspend is playing out.  

Oh, for the days of the Tupperware party.  

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM  

The URL: Getting To Know You

The URL. Uniform Resource Locator. A web address that typically includes the type of file, location of web server, path of the file and file name.

It’s easy to take the URL for granted and forget just how important a role the URL plays. Such is the case when monitoring consumer-generated word-of-mouth (WOM) and providing analytics that can be applied to solving complex business problems.  I’m not just referring to locating meaningful content but identifying sources that consumers consistently go to as part of their shopping process. 
  

In an earlier post, I alluded to the importance of the URL in identifying specific online forums, notably those that consumers went to for automotive reviews.   For example www.truckforums.com is a review site for truck enthusiasts. Other sites are specific to certain brands, product categories or applications.

At the analytic level, links can be classified this way: Segment/Mid-Size, Brand/Ford, Nameplate/Taurus, Competition/Toyota Camry, Attribute/Reliability. The key is to know which URLs generate most of the rich content. In effect, what is your “Top Ten” URL inventory? If you are using a monitoring service, have them provide a comprehensive URL list, in descending order of magnitude of brand conversations as classification data.

Some of the analytical applications might include knowing which brands or product categories are discussed the most on line and where; segmentation analysis of consumers who visit certain types of sites e.g. technical vs. lifestyle; comparing sentiment across sites to understand positive or negative drivers of brand perception. On the managerial side, knowing where brands are discussed most often on the web will provide insight into where consumers are exerting material influence.

This high level view just scratches the surface. Like being at the theatre, while we are focused on the stage, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM
                                                                                                                                                               

Social Media Monitoring: Skyped!

 Just Signal is a company that has developed an application bringing social media monitoring to business that is cost effective. They’re not alone. Trendr is another such company that gets you started on $0 per month. Their pricing options include Gold, Platinum and Elite services, where at a maximum entry point of $999/month, provide unlimited reports and analytics on as many trending topics or brands as your heart desires. This pricing schema compares favourably with providers such as Radian6 and Sysomos, firms widely associated with a SaaS model.

Let’s be clear – I’m not passing judgement on the quality of the deliverables, their implied go-to-market approach or pricing model. Instead, this is about how the market has changed so much in the past year with the dramatic increase in providers of some form of WOM (word-of-mouth) monitoring application. Back in 2006, there were roughly a dozen or so as tracked by Forrester Research, today they number well over a hundred.

New supply, even in a growing market for services, has an affect on pricing. Like the long distance market of old, established carriers, for a number of very complex reasons, have seen 2 things happen over the last tens years: customers are constantly switching providers and they are shopping on price. After all, most long-distance carriers deliver very similar perceived value. Now there’s Skype. Free. With over 500 million registered users, Skype would be the world’s largest carrier company, according to Morgan Stanley.

Is the Social Media Monitoring industry moving to a similar situation, at or close to free? Will the “Skype” provider emerge as a viable alternative to paid monitoring services. Maybe. Maybe not.

What’s next? Segmentation for one. Monitoring companies will, in my estimate, evolve into 3 streams: Software, Business Intelligence/CRM and Business Insights. They will be priced accordingly and align functionally with the call centre, public relations, marketing & branding  and strategy & innovation. Think in terms of an overlay to  service response, campaign execution and business planning respectively.

Did I mention Google?

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia