February 3, 2023
2022 ended with rising prices still on everyone’s mind, and with a glimmer of hope that although inflation might be easing, there was no clear end in sight. Inflation has been rising around the world at the fastest pace in decades in many countries. In addition to the effect that inflation has on the budgets of the average consumer, it also erodes the spending power of our dollars over time, meaning that a single dollar buys less and less over time, ultimately having a damaging effect on the economy and how consumers feel about the economy.
How Inflation is Measured
Inflation is calculated by using what is known as a ‘basket’ of goods that includes the prices of everyday items that we all buy and monitors how those prices are evolving from month to month and year to year. Statistics experts from around the world collate the prices of these things, like gas, food, streaming service fees, and visits to the dentist– then use them to calculate a rate. Different countries have different items in these baskets, and the prices of these items are then used to create a ‘consumer price index’. The change in the price level of these items is the rate of inflation. Inflation in the U.S. was more than 8% in September 2022 and 10.1% in the UK during the same period. That compares with the roughly 2% that most policymakers accept as a stable rate.
What Effect Does Inflation Have on Consumers?
At the moment, as it was in 2022, the prices of goods in many countries are rising quickly, with rates in most developed nations reaching multi-year highs. In the U.S., prices for most goods are higher than they have been in 40 years, with most Americans stating that they are noticing the price hikes more acutely at the grocery store and at the gas pump.
Inflation is largely driven by supply and demand. When consumers’ demand for goods outpaces the rate at which they can be produced, the prices for everything up and down the chain increase, including production and shipping costs. Compounding the effect of inflation on consumers is the fact that although wages are on the rise, the income of the average American has not been able to keep up with the cost of living.
Not surprisingly, inflation also has a direct effect on how consumers feel about the economy in general. When inflation skyrockets, consumer confidence in the economy goes in the opposite direction. A recent Country Financial survey revealed that 88% of U.S. consumers are “highly concerned” about the economy. That number is even higher for people who are still financially recovering from the pandemic. And when consumers are worried about the economy, a shift in shopping habits is not far behind. As a reaction to this persistent inflation, American consumers have gotten accustomed to changing their spending habits, such as dining out less, buying necessities in bulk, switching to lower-priced brands, and shopping at retailers that they perceive as doing a better job at managing prices.
Can Inflation Be Controlled?
Discussions about inflation often use the word ‘monetary policy’. Monetary policy is a term used to describe the various tools that central banks use to try to keep inflation low and stable. Interest rates are a key tool employed to achieve this goal, with the idea that higher rates set by banks will make it more expensive for banks, businesses, and consumers to borrow money. This means that they will spend less, and decrease demand. Lower demand makes it harder for companies to raise prices, which in turn, lowers inflation.
Government policy can also influence inflation, especially by implementing policies to affect the efficiency of the economy. This is intended to result in bringing down long-term costs, and control wages, in order to decrease the risks of a wage-price spiral effect.
One of the more difficult things to predict is how outside events can have an influence on prices around the world. The Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted and halted the supply of Russian gas to Europe, which pushed UK gas prices up 96% by the end of 2022. That was an event that the UK government would not have been able to control with any sort of policy.
When it comes to inflation, there are some things that government officials can do to mitigate the effects on consumers, and there are many things that can happen that are out of their control. But what is clear is that higher prices are persisting for longer than expected, and consumers will have to continue to figure out how to adjust and manage their household budgets.
Read more about the economy and consumers on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.
February 2, 2023
Like everything else across digital platforms, digital marketing has evolved quickly over the years. What caught fire just a few years ago might not yield the same return today. And as is the case with any marketing strategy, success in digital marketing will most likely be determined by how well marketing teams pay attention to detail. Marketers have to infuse their strategies with current trends and track the results of their effort to know what is working and what isn’t. Below are 10 do’s and don’ts of digital marketing in 2023.
Know Your Audience
In order to become and stay competitive, companies need to know who their customer is. Companies can use data derived from market research to create personas for their customers. The buyer’s personas help marketers understand who exactly they are selling to and what those customers need. It is only then that effective marketing strategies can be crafted.
Choose a Marketing Strategy That Serves Multiple Goals
Speaking of marketing strategies, it is a good idea to decide on a few attainable goals that can be reached within one marketing strategy. With this in mind, companies can grow their business on multiple fronts with the energy focused on one initiative. Marketing teams can work backward from their objectives in order to reach their ultimate goal.
Have Stellar Original Content
All the shiny, distracting objects in the world will not matter if the content a company produces doesn’t do its brand justice. Fresh, well-edited content will not only be an effective way for a company to tell its story, but it also provides another avenue for audience reach if it is shared for other potential customers to engage with.
Focus On Tactics That Will Work
The scope of marketing approaches and tactics can be overwhelming. What works for one company could be a complete failure for another. When deciding on which direction to take, marketers should take time to understand what options are available and think carefully before deciding what to include as part of their strategies. Make a list of all of the available options– content marketing, or paid advertising, for example– consider the stated goals, and then eliminate the options that are not feasible.
Understand the Power of SEO
More than just keywords, SEO has evolved into a complex, multilayered process that has become a valuable tool for digital marketing. Executed properly, SEO elevates brand awareness, builds relationships with prospects, and positions companies as trustworthy authorities in their industries. A higher-profile website with increased traffic means that there are more opportunities for marketers to convert prospects into customers.
Stop Fueling Digital Fatigue
Audiences do a lot of mindless scrolling. At this point in the game, marketers need to be more mindful of the content that they are creating in order to stand out from the competition. As mentioned earlier, what worked even just a couple of years ago, might not connect with consumers now. Marketers need to use data in order to create ever-more personalized campaigns that genuinely engage their audiences, who have by now learned to tune out what doesn’t stand out. Taking advantage of social media platforms that make it easy to have more personalized, real-time dialogue with consumers is key to clear messaging that is interactive with audiences.
Don’t Ignore Your Website
The experiences that consumers expect when they are online are ever-evolving. They want to engage with websites that are of-the-moment design-wise, and they want a journey that is seamless and easy to navigate. An outdated website is glitchy, slow, and an all-around unpleasant experience that will reflect poorly on your business. Exploring features like online event and meeting scheduling or built-in video conferencing as part of website updates can elevate communication with customers and help edge out the competition.
Don’t Fear AI and Chatbot Technology
Marketers have started to invest more resources in AI and chatbot technology to create personalized experiences for their customers. For companies that are creative in how they employ these technologies, the return can mean a loyal customer base who knows that they can expect a curated experience. A good example of how this can be achieved is a chatbot that was recently created by a digital marketing agency to help customers find their perfect pair of jeans. The chatbot asked customers what they like and dislike about other pairs of jeans they own, as well as their personal style preferences. The chatbot then sends the customer a curated list of options based on those answers.
Read more about marketing on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.
January 23, 2023
The retail industry has been in flux for quite some time, with variables like e-commerce, social media, and the fallout of the pandemic continuing to shape how consumers want to shop. Taking notice of trends that are affecting the market can help brands stay ahead of the curve and know when to pivot or embrace new technologies. Trends also help companies know what their customers will come to expect from them, as well as identify opportunities for growth and edge out the competition. Here are 8 trends that will influence the retail landscape in 2023.
The Rise of Retail Media
Retail media will continue to be a channel for digital advertising in 2023. Major retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart, are leveraging retail media networks to grow their revenue, reach new audiences, and diversify their revenue streams. Additionally, retail media can provide valuable insights into the performance of brick-and-mortar stores regarding in-store visits and their future potential for growth. Going forward, it’s likely that retailers will embrace other formats for advertising, like streaming TV.
Offering a blend of physical and digital experiences, hybrid shopping channels will most likely become bigger in 2023. 75% of US consumers engage in omnichannel activities, doing their research and making purchases both online and offline channels. Furthermore, consumers are still doing their research online prior to purchasing a product, which is why it has become important for retailers to offer seamless hybrid experiences to their customers.
The TikTok Effect on Social Commerce
In addition to inspiring countless viral cultural trends, TikTok has contributed significantly to the rise of social commerce, with Gen Z users being a major driver behind this growth. It is estimated there will that U.S. retail social commerce sales will reach $79.26 billion by 2025.
Make it Personal
Personalization is a feature that has become an expectation for consumers when they are shopping. Besides being a convenience for shoppers, personalization enables brands to provide thoughtful and unique experiences for their customers. When brands leverage personalization, they can influence their audience’s purchasing decisions, increase engagement, cultivate customer loyalty, and increase sales. To prepare for an even deeper dive into personalization bands need to have a good strategy in place that utilizes technology to gather data for ever-smarter personalization.
24/7 Customer Support
Yes, shoppers want stellar customer service, but the quality of the service is only part of the equation. Consumers want to be able to get in touch with a business anytime, anywhere. Brands that provide 24/7 support will be able to offer higher-quality experiences to their customers. Issues can be immediately addressed, preventing an unpleasant situation from escalating. Again, this is where technology can be tapped, using AI and chatbots to provide superior customer support.
Flexible Store Design and Features
As more retailers have ventured into experimental retailing, they have adjusted the sizes of their stores. Larger retailers, like Walmart and Target, have been testing smaller format spaces, like Target Campus and the Walmart Neighborhood Markets. Many retailers are continuing to expand on other features to enhance customer experiences, like curbside pickup, fulfillment from store, and pickup in-store.
More Thoughtful Consumerism
Consumers are starting to take the ‘buy less, buy better’ mantra to heart, and they are making an effort to better understand the product life cycle. Shoppers are reusing, recycling, and repairing their purchases, and as a result, will simply be buying less stuff. Observant retailers have taken note and have started adding pre-owned items to their product offerings. REI has pre-loved outdoor gear available to their members and lululemon has established its Like New program. Companies like Patagonia and Everlane have made their transparency around the supply chain process part of their overall brand story for years, while resale platforms like ThreadUp, Depop, and Poshmark continue to make their mark with more environmentally-minded Gen Z consumer. It’s the brands that put sustainability out front that will win out with younger audiences.
Consumers want their stuff shipped fast and they don’t want to have to pay to get it shipped to them. But just as important is complete transparency regarding the shipping process. It helps cultivate customer loyalty and is just good business. Consumers want to know about shipping timelines and delays. In fact, according to a FedEx report, 70% of consumers surveyed stated that they are less likely to continue doing business with a brand that fails to notify them of shipping delays.
Read more about the retail industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.
January 18, 2023
User-generated content is nothing new. Letters to the editor qualify as user-generated content, as does fan fiction and even the Oxford English Dictionary, which was initially compiled from slips of paper. The bottom line is that we have always loved to put our two cents in on our favorite platforms. YouTube, blogs, and social media are all vehicles that allow people to create their own content.
User-generated content can be a valuable tool for brands that use it wisely. According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising. Content is indeed king, and brands often cite insufficient production resources as their greatest content marketing challenge. Here are 5 other ways brands benefit from integrating user-generated content into their marketing strategies.
Boost Social Media Reach and Growth
It’s no secret that user-generated content is tailor-made for social media. Consumers have become accustomed to seeing everyday, relatable people on social media platforms, and there is a specific authenticity in that content that is hard to replicate in intentionally branded content. Executing a user-generated content campaign on social is an excellent strategy to strengthen a brand and build customer relationships.
There are a few things brands can do to encourage user-generated content on social media like create a branded hashtag, launch a photo or video contest on visually-focused platforms like Instagram, or ask a question on Facebook or Twitter, where potential customers can engage with brands, as well as each other. Pulling all of the levers of engagement is the entire objective of social media and brands can see their reach grow exponentially by utilizing the tools of the platforms to produce user-generated content.
Gather Audience Insights
User-generated content can yield a gold mine of data for brands, a secondary benefit that is often overlooked. When a brand analyzes the content that its audience is sharing, it can gather some key insights about what type of content its audience enjoys and what they find engaging. And when these brands center data in their marketing strategies, these insights help generate leads and increase sales.
A good first step is to conduct a simple audit of the content that is being posted. What is the audience saying about it in comments or reviews? If there are things that the audience has been complaining about, how can they be improved?
User-generated content does not mean that audiences should be allowed to run away with a brand’s messaging– content should always be aligned with the story of a brand, regardless of opinions on a gallery of photos in a post or a recently uploaded video.
Creation of Unique Content
A brand’s audience is going to create different content than what would be produced internally by a marketing team. The blog posts, videos, photos, and even reviews from the audience offer a fresh point of view that keeps things interesting. User-generated content also invites new audiences to participate and create their own content, and it keeps loyal users engaged.
Personalized content is another key advantage of user-generated content. Brands have to understand what resonates with their audience in order to get them to notice and engage with their content. Research shows that 71% of consumers prefer personalized ads. Brands should
use data to learn what type of content their audience enjoys and use those insights to inform their marketing strategies. It will help companies develop an online community that strengthens the customer/brand relationship.
Elevate SEO Rankings
Employing more user-generated content also has perks for SEO. According to Kissmetrics, 25% of the search results for the world’s top 25 brands are links to user-generated content. Positive reviews from a brand’s audience can also elevate its SEO ranking. And if users publish their content on their own websites, the backlinks to the brand’s website will raise its SEO ranking, as well.
When leveraged properly, user-generated content encourages engagement and helps grow your audience. It improves SEO, boosts your lead generation efforts, and most importantly, it’s cost-effective.
Read more about branding and marketing on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.
January 6, 2023
Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion, (DE&I) is one of the top priorities for companies today. DE&I initiatives focus on policies, practices, and cultures that promote equal opportunities for employees regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and other factors. Many job seekers have begun inquiring about a company’s DE&I efforts as part of their job search process. A recent survey found that 76% of respondents reported that a genuinely diverse workforce is critical when evaluating companies and job offers. Research shows that companies with a diverse workforce are more productive and profitable. With the help of market research, your company can craft the right DE&I program. Here’s how.
How Market Research Can Help Create a Diverse Workforce
When cultivated properly, diversity can become a company’s superpower. When a company has a team of people from different backgrounds working together, they bring different perspectives and ideas to the table. This helps spark creativity and innovation in your business. Market research plays an important role in supporting enterprises’ DE&I initiatives by identifying and prioritizing opportunities for improvement in the area of diversity and equality, the same way that market research can help companies gain insights into what their customers need and want.
Why Company Surveys Are Important
Employee surveys are critical for any business looking to create a diverse and inclusive culture. Surveys help companies understand what their employees want from their jobs and how they feel about their company’s values. Establishing a practice of regular check-in surveys is a great way for companies to receive real-time feedback from employees. It also serves to show employees that they are being listened to and that their company is genuinely working towards a culture of diversity and inclusion.
Diversity studies like employee engagement surveys can help companies better understand how their current DE&I initiatives are working. Employees can tell companies what barriers still exist and may be getting in the way of achieving their DE&I goal, and what benefits diversity and inclusion might have within specific departments, or in general. These surveys allow employees to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on topics that are important to them as it relates to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Companies can also use survey results to identify issues within their organization, allowing them to be addressed through training or some other program. This is especially important when dealing with microaggressions or unconscious bias on their teams.
Get Insights Straight From Your Team With Internal Focus Groups
The best way to get feedback from your teams is to ask them directly. Establishing an employee focus group can provide an opportunity for employees to share their insights, explain their answers on a survey, identify trends in your data and help brainstorm solutions. Focus groups are more commonly used in advertising and market research, but they are increasingly becoming more common for companies looking to fortify their DE&I programs.
Focus groups are small groups of individuals who meet with a facilitator to discuss a particular topic or issue. The facilitator guides the discussion using questions designed to provoke candid responses from participants on various aspects of their work experiences. Focus groups can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the nature of the discussion topic and how much information is needed from participants.
With focus groups, companies can explore issues like barriers to success for diverse groups of people in the workplace, any problematic behaviors or attitudes among team members, customers or suppliers, and how companies can best communicate their DE&I agenda to stakeholders.
Build an Inclusive Company Culture With Employee Online Communities
Online communities can be a powerful tool for companies trying to build a strong diverse culture. They can provide a safe place for employees to share their experiences, both in and outside of the workplace. When employees genuinely feel as if they belong, they will feel comfortable expressing their feelings and ideas.
Online communities also provide a space for team members with similar interests and backgrounds to find each other and connect in ways that might not be possible during the standard work day. Individuals who might still be in the process of finding their fitting at the workplace, may feel more comfortable connecting with someone who has similar interests in an online community. They could also feel more at ease developing a relationship outside of the workplace, as well.
Another important result of establishing employee online communities is the opportunity for collaboration between team members and departments within an organization. If a company can have everyone from the sales team to the marketing professionals come together on an online platform, it will promote collaboration between teams, and allow everyone to work towards a common goal.
Market research can help companies with their DE&I initiatives in several ways and be an effective tool in identifying areas for improvement. Even the most robust DE&I progam will benefit from periodic evaluations and enhancements. Market research will help companies specify the right focus areas relating to company culture, employee satisfaction and customer needs.
Talent and ability are not the domain of a select group of people. We believe that everyone has the potential to do something great and that everyone should be given an opportunity to shine. We believe in having genuine diversity of thought and background at the table. Eyes4Research has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from your enterprise employees to boost your DE&I program. Learn more about our specialty panels here.
December 20, 2022
Research practitioners have a lot on their hands when it comes to designing an effective survey instrument and ensuring quality is not affected during data collection. Another important point researchers have to consider is avoiding respondent bias. Biased responses lead to inaccurate data and can incorrectly prompt companies to make changes that they didn’t need to make while leaving the need for other course corrections unrecognized. Fortunately, there are ways that researchers can recognize and avoid response bias in their surveys.
What is Respondent Bias?
Respondent bias lies more with the questions in a survey, and not so much with the willingness (or not) on the part of the respondents to answer the questions. Respondents can give inaccurate answers to questions due to conscious and subconscious factors, so it’s important that questions are worded carefully in order to get the most accurate responses. Respondents might not even realize that they are giving untruthful or inaccurate answers, but it affects the outcome of the data collection just the same.
Never Lead the Witness
So how can researchers avoid respondent bias and get the highest quality survey answers? One crucial thing that researchers can do is ensure that their survey questions are not framed in a way that leads the respondent to answer a question in a certain way. For example, if a survey had a question that read “How awful are plant-based burgers?”, it could lead the respondent to think, “Yes plant-based burgers are awful.” A better, non-leading question would be “What do you think of plant-based burgers?”
Leading questions can also happen with scaled questions. For example, a question on a survey could ask a respondent if they were extremely dissatisfied, dissatisfied, or satisfied. Offering more options for dissatisfied answers is biased and leads survey respondents in that direction. It is also important to always offer the respondent the option not to answer a question. Providing a ‘Prefer not to answer” option in a survey, or even offering a way for survey respondents to opt out of participating is important to avoid bias. Researchers should also craft survey questions in a way that is dynamic– make sure to use language that is clear and transparent and that avoids negative terms, such as the word ‘not’.
Learn to Trade Places
Finally, an easy way for researchers to avoid respondent bias in surveys is to imagine themselves in the place of the survey participants. If they were taking the survey, what would constitute bias in the eyes of the respondent? It’s important for researchers to take a 360-degree view of their surveys in order to ensure the best possible outcome for quality data collection.
Eyes4Research has an intuitive and easy-to-use survey platform with over 22 million double opt-in panelists, making it easy for companies to find just the right audience for their surveys. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.