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Market Research Critical To Optimization

I have been a marketing professional for more than 40 years. At the tactical level, the industry has evolved drastically over the past 20 years. The Internet, social media, mobile phones, streaming video, influencers and more have changed the media landscape and more. Meanwhile, marketing strategy is still largely the same. Most of the fundamentals are still rock solid. Market research, strategic planning, messaging and targeting are still the pillars of success. To help you blend some of the old-school strategy with new school tactics, I’m posting several highlights from my corporate blog as a touchstone.

Market Research: The best brands in the world have a firm pulse on their market and their top customers. The best brands understand the direction and momentum of each market segment. They know what their customers want and need. Successful brands position themselves in the minds of customers and prospective customers constantly based on market feedback. Most of these companies position themselves as leaders and problem-solvers in the market.

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Brands that are struggling are often disconnected from their customers and their prospective customers.

One of the best examples is a classic disaster. In the 1980s, Coca-Cola ruled the cola market, but Pepsi was gaining market share. The Pepsi Challenge urged consumers to compare the taste of Coke and Pepsi. As more people took the challenge, many people preferred Pepsi over Coke, which chipped away at the Coca-Cola brand. In response, Coca-Cola introduced New Coke in 1985 to deliver the sweeter taste that many consumers preferred about Pepsi. Coca-Cola failed to conduct market research to understand its customers and prospective customers. It also failed to test the new product adequately among its own customers. The new product and the marketing campaign was meant to take momentum away from Pepsi. Instead, the product change generated a backlash among Coke’s loyal customers. Within three months, Coca-Cola put the original Coke back on shelves under the name Coca-Cola Classic. The company continued to dilute its brand with New Coke until 2002. The damage was done. Read the full story about Coca-Cola’s marketing mistake of the century

Social Media: Many organizations rely on social media to help promote their brand, their candidate or their favorite cause. Although social media is an important part of brand management, it isn’t a silver bullet. It’s more like a double-edged sword that can work for you or against you.Social media is another form of earned media. In order to earn attention for your posts, you must build your audience. Some organizations are absolutely crushing it on social media platforms, while others are missing in action or shooting themselves in the foot.

Harnessing the power of social media requires strategic planning and opportunism.

It requires a team effort that includes the executive leadership team, not just an uninformed rookie who manages social media platforms with random posts. Corporations, nonprofits, government and advocates can all harness the power of social media. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and don’t be afraid of being human. Social media can be a powerful team-building tool among all stakeholders. Read the full story about best practices in social media.

Crisis Communications: Businesses and advocacy organizations around the world are facing a rapidly changing landscape. As the pandemic evolves, so does the threat of global warming, climate change and disruptions to supply chains. Lives, businesses and entire communities are being lost to fires, floods, droughts and the pandemic. The worst is yet to come.

As a result, crisis aversion and crisis management have taken on a new urgency in the world of brand management. The companies that navigate these challenges proactively and responsibly are more likely to survive, if not thrive, as these events unfold. While some short-sighted companies are trying to capitalize on these crises, others are wisely positioning themselves as responsible citizens. They are positioning themselves as leaders, the voice of reason and reliable problem solvers. They are building relationships, while leading stakeholders to higher ground. They do the right things at the right times without concern for the bottom line, but investor relations must be handled simultaneously with public safety concerns. Read the full story about crisis communications and brand management.

Videoconferencing: The pandemic accelerated many aspects of the digital age, including videoconferencing. Unfortunately, many companies have lost clients due to simple mistakes. Jobs have been lost in the process. In a survey of U.S. executives at large companies, 83 percent of respondents have seen employees disciplined for mistakes made during a teleconference call. Bad etiquette includes joining a call late, having a bad Internet connection, accidentally sharing sensitive information and not muting their microphone. According to the survey, 25 percent of companies have fired someone for a videoconferencing error.

Furthermore, executives only trust 66 percent of their staff to properly navigate the technology necessary to make remote work successful. And 32 percent of those executives have lost a client or business opportunity because of technology or connection issues, while another 41 percent have missed a project deadline. With these complications in mind, let’s review several details to consider before making a professional, productive conference call. Read the full story about video-conferencing and brand management.

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Gary Chandler is the CEO of Crossbow Communications. He is the author of 11 books about health and environmental issues from around the world. He also is the author of the Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia.

Avatar Gary Chandler

Author: Gary Chandler

Author, Consultant. CEO of Crossbow Communications. Colorado native. Arizona transplant.

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