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Brilliance@Work: Laura Eddy Shares Her Insights Journey from Packaged Goods to Technology

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. During the next couple of months, we’ll feature market research experts.

Creating an effective customer story starts with empathy. Help your organization transform the value they create for customers, employees and other key stakeholders by understanding your audiences’ key emotional drivers, like they do at Zillow.

Laura Eddy is Senior Director, Consumer & Customer Insights at Zillow. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Laura Eddy

Laura Eddy

As a preview to her presentation, Laura shares her perspectives on “My Insights Journey from Packaged Goods to Technology.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in consumer insights shape your character and career?

Laura Eddy: Working in Consumer Insights over time makes you empathetic to the people around you. You begin to really internalize that everyone has a unique story and it is likely not just the story that they may present on the surface. That leads to listening more closely to what people tell you, and almost more importantly, what they don’t say.

I like to think this skill set has been applied to my job and career in a way where I can hear the deeper questions and needs that leaders have when facing critical decisions to drive business forward, even if they can’t always fully articulate them. This leads to stronger solutions that address the underlying issues and can significantly change the strategic direction of the organization.

PB: What role does technology play in the performance of a brand?

LE: Technology works on many different levels. First, we use technology to gain insight. It should be no secret that new technology is enabling us to understand our customers in new and interesting ways. For example, we listen to social chatter to learn about topics that we did not think to ask consumers about, and we leverage new tools like AI to determine consumer needs and wants without having to constantly ask. Second, we use technology to better access our customer and every bit as importantly, let them access and interact with us. We need to be where the customer is and as they get deeper into new technologies, we need to be there to deliver the very best context appropriate content. Third, we use technology to create better communication. New technology is allowing our marketing teams to create new and stimulating communication with improved media devices, enhanced graphics, and new voice technology.

Finally, we use technology to build better products and services to meet our customer’s ever-changing needs.

Zillow was built on the idea of data transparency and giving people the power of that data to make decisions for themselves in the real estate space. Keep in mind, as recently as 15 years ago, if you wanted to know what your house was worth, you were dependent on a real estate agent or your city’s tax department telling you that information. With technology, people now have that kind of information easily accessible. We continue to push the envelope in helping people stay informed.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?

LE: There have been a few projects over several employers that I have been very proud of:

In 2010, Walmart became one of the first major companies to leverage Facebook to make social and local connections with customers – while there is a lot of value to this from a brand building perspective, the question came up of whether this drove actual business revenue. My team developed one of the first analyses for determining the value of a Facebook fan, even before Facebook themselves did this kind of analysis. I remember presenting that work to Sheryl Sandberg in a converted warehouse office at Walmart. Once Facebook developed their protocols, we went back and checked the results – it turns out we were off on our estimates by less than 10% of actuals, which felt pretty awesome.

At Amazon, one of the really cool insights we produced was around the idea that Alexa was seen by customers as a beloved member of the family (in fact, at the time, one of the top questions asked was “Alexa, will you marry me?”), which drove a step-change in how Amazon marketed some devices. Rather than focus on the hardware or on the device and ancillary features directly, the Marketing team pivoted its attention to Alexa and the AI. This idea helped create the idea of a device ecosystem all connected via customer-favorite Alexa for Amazon to interact with consumers.

Zillow, though, has been the place where I think I have had the greatest impact on the brand and business. We have delivered foundational work that showed just how painful the home selling process is for consumers, which led to the creation of a new business called Zillow Offers – this business now accounts for over 40% of Zillow’s revenue and is growing by leaps and bounds. Some of our new projects include envisioning the future landscape of the real estate marketplace – we are combining a series of methodologies like customer journey mapping, futuring and war gaming to construct an ideal customer experience. We are incredibly fortunate that hunger and willingness to embrace the needs and wants of the customer are the guiding principle at Zillow.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?

LE: Insight, of course! Great insight is often generated by real emotion, and making a major career change from one industry that you are familiar/comfortable with, to an industry that is new, different and constantly changing can create many meaningful emotions. We want to shine a light on the process of transitioning from one industry to another, and share what you might expect and how to prepare for it.

We want to try and answer the questions that might be keeping you up at night about making this kind of move – the risks, the reward, the effort. It is no secret, companies are not as loyal to their employees as they once were, you must be prepared for an ever changing future.

If you have been wondering if you should make this type of move and just want to learn more, please join us.

Want to hear more from Laura? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.

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Brilliance@Work: Jordan Girman Creates Experience with Context

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work.  During the next couple of months, we’ll feature market research experts.

Looking at user experience from a holistic viewpoint is critical to help grow your organization and change the way you innovate for your customers. Once you understand your customers, you can design experiences they will strongly identify with.

jordan-girman

Jordan Girman

Jordan Girman is Senior Director, User Experience Research at Glassdoor. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a preview to his presentation, Jordan shares his perspectives on “Designing Connected Experience with the Context of the User in Mind.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in UX design shape your character and career?

Jordan Girman: When I started my career, there wasn’t really a field called UX. There were the beginnings of it, but most people were termed as information architects and the field was still getting defined. I think that what really drew me to it was that I could be a part of that definition, and I liked the “wild west” feel of developing process and seeing what worked and what didn’t. So, the first thing that UX taught me was to say “I can do that,” and then realizing I could actually figure out how to do it. It felt empowering and made me feel valuable.

The second thing I learned was how to separate myself from my work. When I first started to design, I would look at how I did something, then apply that to my design. Very much “I like the color blue, so everyone else must like this color too.” Changing my approach from “I think it should be this” to “What would the user do in this situation” radically changed not just how I design, but how I approach leadership and problem solving. Research and understanding context or the problem and people I work with are all major parts of why I have been successful.

Additionally, as I advanced in my career, I really learned how to step back from the item that I was working on and then view the project from a holistic perspective. Being able to see how what I am working on extends to a larger world, being able to zero in on small interaction and zoom out to a larger view of the experience translated into strategy and vision work.

PB: What role does UX play in the performance of a brand?

JG: Really any touchpoint plays into the user experience for someone interacting with your product. What that means is that someone who sees a YouTube video, listens to a radio advertisement, talks to a CSM or has an interaction with your website plays into that person’s perception of the company. Too often companies ship their org chart and think their users perceive their product the same way as the company does internally. But to a user, they are not interacting with ‘the mobile channel’ or ‘the brick and mortar,’ they are just interacting with the company, and it’s one thing to them.

Because of this, UX is tied to the brand, and the brand is tied to the UX. If the advertisements and overall design of the marketing assets are vastly different from the product design, then experience of transition from buying to using suffers. Same goes true if the user experience is poor on the product, then the perception of the brand suffers.

At Glassdoor, we are working on ways that brand design and product design collaborate to make a seamless experience throughout every touchpoint for the job seeker and employer. It’s not easy, but we will get there.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?

JG: In my early days, I was a big part of redesigning the Mercedes-Benz USA site (MBUSA.com) for an agency called Critical Mass. From there, I was part of starting a UX agency working with a variety of clients. Eventually, I transitioned to product design working on large scale video games for Electronic Arts. There I did redesigns for NHL and the first iteration of UFC, and eventually building design systems for the overall EA online marketing experience. Currently at Glassdoor, we are looking at how to radically change how people search for jobs in the future.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

JG: I hope to see people change their perspective of how their users interact with the internet and they can take the learning and apply it to their product. As we transition to mobile devices, user experience has so many more influences outside of the screen and every company needs to start thinking about how to accommodate those outside influences.

Want to hear more from Jordan? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Antony Barton Helps Bring Intel’s Technology to Life

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work.  During the next couple of months, we’ll feature market research experts.

Bringing technology to life includes having the creativity and imagination of an artist. It also requires having the insights and analytics to ensure sustainable success in the marketplace.

Jen Mahoney Photography

Antony Barton

Antony Barton is Director, Global Insights and Analytics at Intel. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a preview to his presentation, Antony shares his perspectives on “Leveraging Insights to Drive Intel’s Future Vision of the Laptop.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How is Intel’s Insights & Analytics team helping to shape the organization’s future success?

Antony Barton: Our insights function is focused on driving insights into product development (e.g. 12 to 36 months) and marketing strategy (e.g. 0 to 18 months). This includes helping our business unit (focused on the development of next generation PCs) to bring forth the best products as possible; and support our marketing strategy team to develop effective marketing campaigns that communicate the benefits of Intel’s new technologies. We deploy a number of different types of insights methodologies to drive our insights into decision making including ethnographic studies, more traditional qualitative techniques, quantitative approaches including feature prioritization and optimization, pricing studies, audience segmentation, and message testing.

PB: What role does Intel’s Insights & Analytics team play in helping to measure brand performance?

AB: Measuring the health of the Intel brand among our target audiences (both B2B and consumer) is a key part of our insights function. From time to time, we also deploy more in-depth methods to better understand what our brand means and stands for; including looking by different age groups. This is important as perceptions of technology brands are constantly changing as new products and services arise.

PB: How does Intel’s Insights & Analytics team help tell a compelling marketing story?

AB: Helping our marketing colleagues bring our technology to life in an easy to understand and compelling fashion that encourages our target audience to buy a new PC is a super important part of our job. We are also often working with our eco-system partners to ensure we are coordinated in our approach (e.g. Microsoft and Dell and HP), including sharing insights.

PB: What will people gain from your conference presentation?
AB: Today the ability to impact significant decision-making with insights is often dependent on how you can best bring together multiple streams of insights into a coherent story that executives can quickly understand and take action on. My talk will center on what I believe are best practices as its relates to leveraging multiple research methodologies (e.g. deep ethnographic, synthesizing secondary research, and traditional qualitative and quantitative) and the resulting insights that significantly impacted Intel’s most important mobile computing innovation decision in the past 10 years.

Want to hear more from Antony? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Jen Handley Shares How to Harness the Power of Fandom

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. This month, we’ll feature market research experts.

Jen Handley

Jen Handley

How does your brand make people feel? Successful brands make people feel good about themselves and about the world. Achieving and sustaining that level of success requires a healthy “fan base.”

Jen Handley leads technology and innovation initiatives at Fizziology. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to her presentation, “Harnessing the Power of Fandom,” Jen shares her insights on the importance of activating your fans for business success.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How can leveraging brand advocates or “fans” help shape an organization’s future success?

Jen Handley: Your fans are those who know and love your brand the most. They’ll voice their opinions, hopes and wishes, and they’ll also be the most critical of you. Brands who actively listen to their fans, understand who they are and what they want, can shape their products and market for future success.

PB: What are some examples of how you leverage brand advocacy for your various clients?

JH: MarketCast Group’s companies take a unique approach to understanding brands’ fandoms. For example, at Fizziology, we assign “evangelist” ratings to the fans who talk about a brand in social media. This allows us to consider fans on a spectrum of those who casually engage and those who strongly advocate for the brand. We then dive deep into their behaviors, their needs, values, personality traits, and what’s driving that advocacy.

PB: How does this approach help tell a compelling marketing story?

JH:  Consumers connect most with brands that are authentic. Our research has shown that brands need to deliver on three key areas to satisfy fans: innovation in product and marketing, providing ways for the consumer to enhance their identity and relevance through being at the forefront of culture. Brands can prove authenticity in each of these key areas by showing that they’re listening to their fans and to the greater trends happening in the world.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

JH:  Attendees will walk away with an understanding of what constitutes a true “fan” versus a consumer. We’ll use real-life examples from the worlds of Media & Entertainment and Lifestyle Brands to show how fandom can vary from brand to brand, what our best fans do for the brands they love, what drives fandom, and ideas for activating their own fan-base.

Want to hear more from Jen? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Rachel Lorraine Shares Pizza Hut’s Customer Success Strategy

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar marketing professionals and their best practices at work. In September and October, we’ll feature market research experts.

Rachel Lorraine

Rachel Lorraine

Satisfied customers are the heart of your business. Keeping them satisfied keeps them loyal customers. Pizza Hut capitalizes on this strategy through the right digital strategy, pricing and market research.

Rachel Lorraine is Director of Strategic Pricing at Pizza Hut. She’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on October 16-18 at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As a preview to her presentation, “Pizza Hut’s Secret Sauce – a Virtual Test and Learn Platform,” Rachel shares her insights on the importance of getting your digital strategy, pricing and UX testing right.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How does the right digital strategy help shape an organization’s future success?

Rachel Lorraine: For Pizza Hut, our digital strategy is critical. We live in a world where more than half of our transactions take place online – and that number is steadily growing – and even more consumers are using our website as a menu, virtual coupon drawer, etc. As our biggest storefront, the website carries a big responsibility – it must capture consumers’ attention, be easy to navigate and shop, ensure transparency throughout the process, communicate key brand messages… the list goes on and on.  For all these reasons, getting it right is paramount to our success.

PB: What role does pricing play in helping to enhance brand performance?

RL: Pricing is a mechanism that is essential to helping us achieve both short and long-term success. We want to make sure that we’re pricing items appropriately, based on what consumers are willing to pay and what the market will support. However, we must also always ensure that we’re delivering profitable transaction growth. It often feels like a tightrope, but when we get the balance right, the impact is significant.

PB: How does the “test and learn” platform data help tell a compelling marketing story?

RL: For us, it has been a great tool for helping us to prioritize strategies and workflow based on anticipated consumer behavior. We have a robust UX testing program, but often times this is solely focused on the online experience – what consumers see and think – as opposed to what they actually do in response to changes. A virtual test and learn platform has helped us take our analysis one step further, so that we’re making holistic decisions with an eye towards how it will affect the bottom line.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?

RL:  Hearing about a new research methodology is always interesting, but I personally love to see actual use cases to better understand and visualize how I might apply something. My hope is that the presentation will bring to life a unique research approach in a meaningful way. It also has some fun information on Pizza Hut overall and how we’re thinking about our business moving forward.

Want to hear more from Rachel? Join us at The Market Research Event (TMRE). Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.


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Brilliance@Work: Retail Design Expert Maria Gustafson

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”

Maria Gustafson

FUSE 2017 presenter Maria Gustafson is Senior Vice President of Global Creative at Kiehl’s, where she leads the creative vision of one of the world’s leading skin care companies.

Her expansive creative career bridging fashion, beauty and lifestyle began with Peter Arnell, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal, and Lloyd & Co, where she created campaigns for Burberry Blue Label, The Standard Hotels, Club Monaco, Cole Haan, Gucci, and Samsung.

Maria also developed creative at MAC Cosmetics, Gap, and the L’Oreal luxury brands Giorgio Armani and Shu Uemera.

As a preview to her presentation, Maria shares her insights on how good retail design can increase brand engagement:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in design shape your character and career?
Maria Gustafson:
I was that lucky kid who was raised by two super creative, imaginative parents who nurtured my artistic curiosities. Every weekend my parents, brother and I were building something together, whether it was a tree house, a skateboard or a piece of furniture. And then we’d sleep in the tree house or ride the skateboard. My dad and I even started a business repairing vintage wicker furniture. He was building the skeletons, and I was building the architecture around them. That business eventually paid my way through college.

Design is a way to communicate, tell stories, build an audience, and evoke a feeling about what it is to be human. It’s a spirit, an essence of who you are; it shouldn’t feel like work. For me, it started as a connection, developed into an expression, and then became a passion that gives me a sense of accomplishment and immediate gratification. It’s even grown into a bit of an obsession – always an extension of everything I do.

PB: What role does retail design play in the performance of a brand?
MG:
Good retail design creates a theater for your brand’s DNA – a place where customers can discover your brand story and have a positive, memorable experience that makes them want to stay. In that sense, it functions as a salesperson; even if the staff is busy, the shop itself has the ability to engage customers and sell. You experience this when you’re in a space that’s done really well. You just get it, you escape into the brand’s story, and you want more.

PB: What are some of your most notable design projects?
MG:
To this day, my favorite projects are still the ones I create with my parents. But professionally, I’m very proud of the projects Kiehl’s does that give back to our community. We create partnerships with high-end artists such as Jeff Koons, Kenny Scharf, Kaws, Faile, and Norman Rockwell’s Foundation. They design packaging, patterns and objects that are true to their styles and also complement our Kiehl’s DNA. These unique items fly off the shelves, and they generate money and awareness for the charities that Kiehl’s support.

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference presentation?
MG:
An interesting, purposeful discussion of how to create engagement through the retail experience and some great visuals. You might even be able to touch a texture or two.

Want to hear more from Maria? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.


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How to Survive and Thrive in the New Brand Reality

Happily Ever AfterPhoto: StockSnap

“The strength of brand loyalty begins with how your product makes people feel.” – Jay Samit, digital media innovator

How does your brand make people feel?

Successful brands make people feel good about themselves and about the world. Achieving and maintaining this level of success requires constant and equal amounts of care and innovation.

Be ready to meet and exceed these standards of the “new brand reality” by joining me April 4-6, 2017 in Miami, Florida for FUSE 2017, “at the intersection of design, brand and strategy.”

Here’s a peek at a few of the speakers and presentations on the agenda:

  • Featured Keynote: From Domestic Diva to Brand Icon, Martha Stewart, Founder, Emmy Award-Winning Television Show Host, Entrepreneur and Best-Selling Author, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
  • “Atomic Design: The Next Gen Digital and Brand Experiences,” Stephen Gates, Global Head of Design, Citi
  • “DO NOT OPEN: A Tale of Resiliency, Imagination and the Power of Curiosity,” Brian Robinson, Global Head of Creative, Design & Development, DreamWorks Animation
  • “Designing Calm Technology,” Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist and Author
  • “Pop Goes the Brand,” Christine Taylor, Licensing Creative Account Manager, Hallmark Cards Inc.

Register today for FUSE 2017 to learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

In the meantime, watch for my Fuse in Focus presenter profiles and conference posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Starry Blue Brilliance.

Looking forward to attending this event with you!


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Marketing Analytics & Data Science Insights from San Francisco

Golden Gate BridgeGolden Gate Bridge photo by Pixabay

As I reported last month and confirmed in person this month, learning opportunities are blooming in Marketing Analytics & Data Science.

Here’s a brilliant collection of marketing analytics and data science insights from the Marketing Analytics & Data Science Conference in San Francisco.

Please read and share these stories so we can all learn how to deploy marketing analytics and data science to drive our businesses and organizations forward.

All of these stories are featured on The Market Research Blog.

Thanks to Edmund Balogun, Conference Producer; his fabulous team; and Amanda Ciccatelli, Content Marketing & Social Media Strategist, for inviting me and for producing and promoting an outstanding conference!

Special thanks to Carl Bieniek @sqltigger, for helping to keep the #MADSCONF socialsphere active! 🙂


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Make the Human Connection with Your Brand

London EyePhoto: The London Eye, viewed from the rear. By Diliff. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

“The greatest technology in the world hasn’t replaced the ultimate relationship building tool between a customer and a business: the human touch.” – Shep Hyken, customer service expert, author and speaker

Here are two posts to help you build and maintain a human connection with your brand:

Learn more about more making meaningful connections with your customers. Join me Feb. 1-3 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the Institute for International Research’s Media Insights & Engagement Conference. Together we’ll learn about the future of media, new media disruptors and partnerships for success.

Dubbed “the Golden Globes of the media industry” by Tom Ziangas, SVP, Research, AMC Networks  Inc., this three-day event will set you on course to navigate the new media landscape of 2016.

Please share this information with your networks. The Twitter hashtag is #MediaInsights16.

In the meantime, watch for my conference posts on The Market Research Event Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Starry Blue Brilliance.

See you there next week!


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Immerse Yourself in Innovation

GLHWEN~1Photo: Stefan Krause, License: LAL

Innovation. Creating ideas is only part of the challenge. The bulk of it is in the execution.

Back End of Innovation (BEI) is an event for do-ers. If you want to learn how to successfully navigate the back end of the innovation process, create a more effective delivery team and build collaboration in ways that accelerate your desired innovation outcomes, then this event is for you.

BEI: 100% Focused on Execution, will be held Oct. 6-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here’s a look at what you’ll experience:

  • Immersive Innovation: Executives from local leading innovation firms deliver presentations at their company headquarters and give tours of their physical innovation spaces
  • Learning Labs: Put innovation to work in real-time and walk away with new strategies to use back at the office
  • Business Cases: Innovation experts deliver outlier cases, local knowledge cases and high-profile cases focusing on practicality

Find out how innovation really happens. Register for BEI, and check out the Front End of Innovation Blog for ideas on creating a culture of innovation at your organization.

Here are other ways to stay connected with this event:

  • twitter.com/BEI_Innovation  #BEI14
  • linkedin.com/Back End of Innovation
  • facebook.com/BackEndofInnovation

Is your organization an environment where innovation thrives?