Tag Archives: customer satisfaction

Are Microsoft and Minecraft a Good Fit?

17 Sep

Mojang, the maker of the highly popular Minecraft video game, has reached an agreement to be acquired by Microsoft. The purchase price is $2.5 billion. The deal is important to both Mojang and Microsoft, the maker of Xbox.

As Mojang posted at its Web site:

“Yes, we’re being bought by Microsoft. Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft. It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that. We can only share so much information right now, but we’ve decided that being as honest as possible is the best approach. We’re still working a lot of this stuff out. Mega-deals are serious business.”

And in this YouTube video, head of Xbox Phil Spencer discusses Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft and Microsoft’s respect and admiration for the Minecraft community.
 

 
But, when the acquisition  is completed, the hard part starts — blending the Mojang culture with that of Microsoft. As Evelyn M. Rusli and Shira Ovide write for the Wall Street Journal: 

News that Microsoft is acquir[ing] Swedish company Mojang AB up a clash of cultures between the corporate giant and Minecraft loyalists — spanning from middle-school children to video-game diehards. To many of its fans, Mojang’s antiestablishment swagger has always been part of Minecraft’s mystique. Mojang, which has only about 40 employees, is run by programmer Markus Persson, who has gained a cult following by publicly blasting big tech companies, including Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Facebook.  Microsoft, pushing 40 and worth about $387 billion, is seen as the software industry’s Goliath.”

“Already, there are signs that a Minecraft game under Microsoft will be different. According to people with knowledge of the matter, Mr. Persson is expected to leave Mojang if Microsoft completes a deal. The company’s game-development office in Stockholm isn’t expected to move or close, a person familiar with the deal negotiations said. On online forums such as Reddit and Twitter, many players questioned whether a sale would destroy the game’s indie spirits. ‘Why pay $2.5 billion for something just to alienate all the fans?’ wrote a Reddit user who goes by the handle Joebovi.”

 
 What do YOU think?
 

In What Country Are People the Happiest? (Hint: It’s Not the U.S.)

7 Sep

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) currently comprises 34 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

The OECD regularly conducts surveys in its member countries to determine the Life Satisfaction there:

“Life satisfaction measures how people evaluate their life as a whole rather than their current feelings. It captures a reflective assessment of which life circumstances and conditions are important for subjective well-being. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, people across the OECD gave it a 6.6 grade. Life satisfaction is not evenly shared across the OECD, however. Some countries – Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and Turkey – have a relatively low level of overall life satisfaction, with average scores of less than 5.5. At the other end of the scale, scores were higher than 7.5 in Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland. There is little difference in life satisfaction levels between men (6.6) and women (6.7) across OECD countries. Education levels do, however, strongly influence subjective well-being. Whereas people who have only completed primary education across OECD countries have a life satisfaction level of 6.2, this score reaches 7.2 for people with tertiary education.”

According to the OECD’s most recent survey, the United States rates 17th in Life Satisfaction among the 34 countries: “In general, Americans are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 75% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc.) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.). This figure is lower than the OECD average of 76%. The top five countries in Life Satisfaction are Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and Iceland.

Click this link, then click the “Countries” tab, and choose a country to learn more about “How’s Life” in each of the 34 countries in the OECD survey.

And for a fun interactive Web site on the “Better Life Index,” click the chart below, look at the responses in the individual countries, and enter your own answers. [Note: Click "Create your index"]

 
Better Life Index
 

Sensory Marketing – Strengthening Brand Perception by Appealing to All the Five Senses

5 Sep

This guest post was written by Ram Kumarasubramanian. After working for several years,  Ram graduated from Hofstra University’s Zarb School in 2012 with an MBA in Marketing and membership in the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. He is currently a Master of Science in Information student at the University of Michigan School of Information specializing in Human Computer Interaction. You can connect with him via Twitter or LinkedIn.

Ram
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Sensory marketing or sensory branding refers to the attempts made to indulge and appeal to the senses of the customers while promoting a product, by adopting a multi-sensory brand experience approach.

While brands have always placed an emphasis on providing cues that are geared towards creating the intended perception in the consumers’ minds, multi-sensory marketing aims to step up the experience by engaging all of the five senses or at least a majority of them. Sensory marketing (SM) has come into focus in recent times because of the increased competition for consumer attention. It is yet another weapon that brand strategists are looking to add to their arsenal to keep their products on top on the consumers’ consideration set.

Sensory Marketing is particularly relevant in segments such as luxury goods, retail, and food to name a few.

Take the example of Abercrombie and Fitch that uses a strong masculine scent in its stores, a particular type of lighting that is not too bright, store associates who look like model,s and loud music to resonate with its target market of young consumers.

Australian supermarket Coles uses multi-sensory marketing to induce customers to shop more. Here is a video explaining the techniques adopted by the supermarket to engage all the senses. These include an open layout for the store, access to watch the bakers and butchers in work, allowing customers to handle products without any barriers, and,use of specific scents as well as free product sampling.
 

 
Heinz Beans Flavor (launched in 2013) espouses sound, taste, and smell, touch and sight in unique ways. Food architects Sam Bompas and Harry Parr walk us through the creation of the product that leverages the idea of multi-sensory marketing in this video.
 

 
Applications of sensory marketing can be found in the most unexpected of products. Take the case of tennis balls. Holland-based Vennootschap onder Firma Senta Aromatic Marketing is one of the pioneers in this area and registered the “smell of cut grass” for tennis balls.

A Harvard Business Review study notes that retailers such as Apple have designed stores that allow customers to touch products to enable them to experience a feeling of ownership. The study also notes that the tactile sensation provided by something as trivial as the hardness of the chairs in which shoppers are seated alters the tendency and extent to which the consumers negotiate.

Examples of multi-sensory marketing in food industry are fairly common. Oxford University professor Charles Spence worked with British Chef Heston Blumenthal to create a dish called the “the sounds of the sea.” The dish served at British restaurant ‘The Fat Duck’ is best enjoyed when accompanied by the sounds of ocean waves. Professor Spence also recently noted that global FMCG companies are looking to leverage mobile applications to improve taste perception of their products in addition to changing the color, shape and size of the products without altering the actual formulations.

Although the notion of appealing to the senses to sell products is not new, it is evident that the future belongs to companies that create more than just products or services. It lies within the grasp of brands that are willing to innovate and create buying experiences that take advantage and charm for all of the five senses – touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound.

 

How Healthy Are We? Perceptions Vs. Reality

2 Sep

In this era of consumer self-awareness, marketers are interested in health-related questions such as these: Do you think YOU are healthy? If yes or no, what criteria are you using? Are you being truthful or rationalizing? How would you describe your eating patterns and level of physical activity?

Recently, Nielsen conducted in-depth research on this subject. Here are some meaningful conclusions:

“Despite the recent explosion of the health-and-wellness industry, one-third of American adults remain clinically obese. According to findings in the Nielsen/NMI Health and Wellness in America report, we literally want to have our cake and carrot juice — and eat them, too. For example, while 75 percent of us say we feel we can manage health issues through proper nutrition, a whole 91 percent of us admit to snacking all day on candy, ice cream, and chips. So, why is there a disconnect between our what we know is healthy and what we actually do? What are the perceptions around ‘health foods’ that prevent us from making better choices? And how can retailers help bridge the gap?”

Click the image to access the Nielsen health-and-wellness report.
 

 

Amazon Versus Hachette, Amazon Versus Disney, Etc.

18 Aug

As the world’s largest book seller and online retailer, Amazon is never afraid to flex its muscles with regard to suppliers. So, these questions come into play: Is Amazon acting as an advocate for lower consumer prices (as the retailer claims)? OR is Amazon an unrestrained bully trying to increase its margins at the expense of its content providers (as critics claim)? WHAT IS YOUR CONCLUSION?

For several months, Amazon has been  battling with publisher Hachette. Consider this observation in Catey Hill’s report for MarketWatch:

“Amazon and book behemoth Hachette — along with some publishers’ groups and writers — are at one another’s throats, in a fight that’s escalated just within the past week. Amazon, which accounts for about 60% of the digital-book market, wants to use its market power to get Hachette to lower E-book prices, while Hachette says that this is ‘punitive,’ hurts authors and bookstores, and doesn’t take into account the costs — like royalties, marketing and expenses — that go into creating books. Hachette also notes that 80% of its books are already selling online for $9.99 or less, which is the price at which Amazon hopes to sell many of its E-books. For its part, Amazon has used its leverage against Hachette by delaying shipping and stopping pre-orders on some Hachette books.”

Now, Amazon has also decided to do battle with the Walt Disney Co., another behemoth content provider. Consider this observation in Greg Bensinger’s report for the Wall Street Journal:

“When Amazon.com Inc. wants to fight, it turns to a familiar playbook. The latest to feel the Seattle retailer’s sting is Walt Disney Co. Amazon isn’t accepting pre-orders of forthcoming Disney DVD and Blu-ray titles including Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Maleficent. As Amazon continues its well-publicized battle with Hachette over E-book costs, it has now engaged in a battle with Disney. It is the same tactic Amazon has employed in a bitter four-month spat with Hachette Book Group over E-book pricing. To press its point, Amazon suspended pre-orders for physical copies of many Hachette titles and lengthened shipping times or pared discounts for others. The tactics underscore Amazon’s unusual sway in E-commerce, where it is by far the dominant player, particularly for books and media.”

Click the image to see a Wall Street Journal video on this battle.

Photo by Associated Press

 

What Binge Viewers Want

14 Aug

In recent years, due to the widespread availability of DVRs and on-demand programs, more people have been engaging in “binge” viewing — whereby they watch multiple episodes of a program (typically, a series) at one time.

Marketers need to understand this new segment of binge viewer and respond to the desires of this segment.

Consider these observations from eMarketer:

“Ever sat down to watch an episode of a TV show and gotten sucked in for hours on end? That’s called binge-viewing, and a May 2014 study by Annalect — which defined binge-viewing as watching three or more episodes of the same television show in one setting — found that 63% of U.S. TV watchers ages 18 and older fell into this category (though just 30% actually said so).”

“Those who did binge-view voiced a strong aversion to advertisements during their TV time, with 58% saying they liked binge-viewing because they didn’t have to watch ads. A close 57% said ads prevented them from fully enjoying their TV shows, and 53% didn’t think that commercials even had a place in the binge-viewing world.”

 

Click the chart to read more.

 

 

The Changing Constants of Marketing (No, This Is Not an Oxymoron)

18 Jul

We’ve written a lot about the rapidly changing world of marketing — with the advances in social media, technology, big data, etc. So, sometimes, we need to pause and reflect on things that are the constants in marketing.

In 1966, McKinsey published an article by John D. Louth on “The Changing Face of Marketing”: “This article from the McKinsey Quarterly archive analyzes six major changes that promised to transform future marketing efforts. These forces have largely proved to be as influential as predicted and continue to shape today’s challenges.”

The six major changes — which are really marketing constants — are as relevant today as they were nearly 50 years ago:

  1. The dominance of the customer — “It is nearly a truism that the needs and wants of the consumer are the critical issues today in creating new products and services, and developing the accompanying plans to merchandise them at a profit.”
  2. The spread of marketing research — “The second trend is the increased use of marketing research — in terms of both quantity and scope. To an important degree, of course, this trend is a response to the first. If knowledge about future customers is essential, and if the quality of the marketing output is materially affected by the caliber of the informational input, then marketing research is bound to increase in use and contribution as the interest in more scientific marketing grows.”
  3. The rise of the computer — “The third major trend marketing must consider is the emergence of electronic data-processing equipment as a major tool of scientific marketing not only for reporting data but also, more importantly, for planning and control by management.”
  4. Expanded use of test marketing — “A fourth important trend, in my opinion, will be toward more controlled experimentation to narrow the odds of an error in making marketing changes. Two major influences emphasize the need for further expansion of test marketing. The first is the rising cost of marketing changes: the costs, for example, of introducing new products and packaging, of developing new advertising and promotional programs, and of retraining salespeople. The second influence is the mounting investment in product research and development. About half of all corporate research-and-development activity in the United States today is concerned with the creation of new commercial products.”
  5. Metamorphosis of field selling — “The fifth trend I foresee is a shift in the nature of the field-selling job toward a more integrated, profit-oriented marketing effort. Key-account selling is becoming an increasingly crucial feature of the field-sales job—a trend with important implications. In many companies, a key-account selling program may entail special analysis of present and potential customers, and the establishment of related control reports to measure profit results with particular accounts.”
  6. Global market planning — “An ever-broadening application of the marketing concept to worldwide markets is the last of the six broad trends that I believe will change the face of marketing in the next few years. Over the past decade, the marketing concept has become widely accepted in the United States—perhaps, in some situations, too enthusiastically accepted and too indiscriminately applied. Nevertheless, I believe the concept of a completely integrated marketing effort is valid and will be increasingly adopted. In many companies operating worldwide, it will stimulate the development of global market planning.”

Click the image to read the full classic article.
 

 

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