Tag Archives: customer research

New study: Media habits of top executives

Senior business executives in the U.S. are mainly concerned about the volatile economy, are heavy users of all types of media and turning more to new media including blogs, podcasts and streaming video as information sources, according to a recent study.

The “Business Elite 2008” study conducted by media research firm Ipsos Mendelsohn, examined the top concerns, media habits and technology usage of top U.S. business executives.

Some key findings of the study:

  • 63% said advertising plays a part in influencing what they buy.
  • 62% said keeping up with technology is important to them.
  • 34% said the Internet is their main source of information for business news, followed by cable TV (24%), national newspapers (21%) and business magazines (18%).
  • Regarding industry news, the top media vehicle was also the Internet (38%), followed by business magazines (30%) and national newspapers (10%).

The survey also explored senior business executives’ technology usage, finding:

  • 63% of the business elite use e-mail, conduct instant messaging or obtain news from a mobile device.
  • 54% receive daily e-mail newsletters or alerts.
  • 51% stream broadband videos on their computers, up from 49% last year.
  • 32% read blogs, up from 31% last year.
  • 54% had purchased a product after seeing an ad on the Internet, followed by TV (42%) and magazines (34%).
  • 50% of top executives had visited a company’s Web site after seeing an ad on the Internet, followed by TV (43%) and magazines (38%).

Business holiday cards build customer loyalty

Building customer loyalty is on the top of most businesses’ to-do lists at any given time of the year, but with the current economic slowdown and the approaching holiday season it’s more important than ever.

Connecting with business contacts, customers and clients during the holiday season can help strengthen bonds and forge lasting relationships during times of economic uncertainty.

At the end of the year, business holiday cards are the most popular form of communication between businesses and customers, and customers enjoy and appreciate the connection, according to recent national research by Hallmark Business Expressions, the business-to-business subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc..

The findings of its 2008 national consumer attitude survey about holiday greeting cards revealed 78% of respondents receive holiday cards from businesses. Half of those recipients are more likely to do future business with a company that sends holiday greeting cards.

Sending business holiday cards helps create a positive company image and improves customer loyalty. Of survey participants who receive greeting cards, the majority appreciate the gesture and feel it shows the company truly cares about them.

“Nurturing relationships with your existing, loyal customers is cost-effective for businesses because those customers have shown a propensity for your brand. When the customer is considering his next purchase, the business that sent holiday greeting cards will likely benefit,” said Marc Wagenheim, product marketing director for Hallmark Business Expressions.

Business holiday cards can send a smile and a little laughter this holiday season when times may not be as easy as they were in the past. Lighthearted and funny greeting cards may be one way to get a chuckle out of stressed-out customers.

If you’re worried that a humorous holiday card could be viewed as unsympathetic or disrespectful, try looking for cards that are lighthearted, but with a humorous twist. Send a card with some holiday cheer, it may be just what your business contacts need this year.

Harvest valuable business opinions on LinkedIn

According to a recent survey, the professional social network LinkedIn can provide market researchers with an “efficient and effective source of qualified business opinion” with access to key decision-makers.

Two-thirds (66%) of LinkedIn survey participants have decision-making power or influence over purchase decisions in their organization, according to a poll conducted by Anderson Analytics.

This new research may give a boost to LinkedIn’s new survey service. LinkedIn Surveys gives researchers the ability to contact and question the network’s 30 million professionals. Now, with reasearch revealing that two-thirds of those members have influence over purchase decisions, LinkedIn Surveys may prove itself to be a valuable resource for B2B marketers.

Should businesses care about LinkedIn? “Of course they should,” says Brian Wallace at Mashable.

Wallace explains in a recent article how to get the most out of LinkedIn, even with a limited understanding of social media. Any business can use the network to “spread their wings and get connected” using seven key tools. Read his article for the full list, but here are just a few:

  • Q&A – With the look and feel of Yahoo Answers, you can have a Q&A-style discussion with others in your industry.
  • Recommendations – Clients and coworkers can post recommendations about you and your business, allowing future contacts to rate your skill and trustworthiness.
  • Check up on the competition – Network updates gives you an overview of who your competition has friended, groups they’re a part of and people they recommend.

We’re on LinkedIn (check out our profile), are you? How are you using LinkedIn to improve your personal and business networks?

The art of persuasion

How do I persuade you? Seth Godin, recently asked this recent Green Eggs and Ham, Seuss-style post.

Do I show you a powerpoint filled with bullets?
Or give you a spirited sales pitch while looking you in the eye…

Perhaps I should send a very attractive salesperson.

Do I amplify my word of mouth and be sure you hear about my idea from three people you trust?
Do I minimize fear or maximize gain?

Are you best persuaded in a group, surrounded by your boss or your employees or your family or people you trust? Will it matter if those around you give me a standing ovation?

Can I persuade you over time, drip, drip, drip, or do you respond better if you feel an avalanche is coming?

Would you like them here or there? Would you like them in a house? With a mouse? On a box with a fox?

The list can go on and on, you can read it all here.

All storytelling aside, Godin does bring up a very good question. What is the best way to persuade our customers to buy?

What persuades one customer may fail on the next. He makes a point that “our personal outlook is a lousy indicator of what works for anyone else.”

So, what are we to do?


Analyze your customer in detail – When do they buy? How do they buy? What do they buy? How often? How much?

Who is your customer? Where are your customers coming from? How large are their companies?

Do your research and try to paint a picture of who your customer is. Tailor your marketing efforts to what will persuade them and test, test, test. Look at your results and keep doing what works.

And thank you, Dr. Seuss.