Broken Guitars and Broken Promises

How Customer Service is Being Transformed by the Growth of Mobile Messaging   

The world watched in astonishment a few weeks ago as a video surfaced of a United Airlines passenger being physically dragged from a plane after he refused to give up his seat on an over-booked flight. The airline’s initial response was almost as catastrophic a PR disaster as the actual event, going into detail on the policies and procedures, but showing none of the human compassion that all of us would expect from a brand that purports to care about its customers.

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Will your video product delight customers?

Will your video product delight customers?

This past week, Hulu officially released the beta version of its live TV streaming product. It’s real, and it’s competitive. It enters the fray of many live TV streaming products that have either launched or have been announced, including Sony Playstation Vue, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Dish’s Sling TV, Xfinity Instant TV, and YouTube TV. Each of these products offers compelling features at price points lower than traditional Pay TV (satellite, telcos such as Verizon, and cable companies such as Charter Spectrum)—with some like AT&T, Comcast and Dish even cannibalizing their own Pay TV revenues with live TV streaming products.

For these new forms of video offerings to successfully gain customer buy-in and subsequent profitability, they can’t offer everything at rock-bottom prices, at least not forever. Programming costs remain high, even when leveraged with long-standing agreements, and finding the right niche varies not only by platform, but by provider as well.

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What will the “winning” video streaming model look like?

Last month, YouTube TV rolled out its “streaming TV” service in five major US cities. Just before that, Comcast and Hulu announced their “streaming TV” services to join an increasingly crowded marketplace with industry heavyweights like AT&T (DirecTV Now), Dish (Sling TV) and Sony (PlayStation Vue). Despite the hype and the big brand names, success isn’t guaranteed for any of these services.

All of these new product offerings are essentially taking the traditional pay TV model that has been around for decades and making it available via the internet at a lower cost than their traditional TV counterparts. For the most part, reactions to these services have been mixed at best, which begs the question: Why aren’t these services knocking it out of the park?

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Chance the Rapper: A Case Study in Streaming Success

The transition from physical media and digital downloads to streaming music has not been without speedbumps. Artists have been reluctant to give up royalties from sales for the much less lucrative streaming royalties, but the fight seems to be nearing an end. Physical sales are nearly non-existent and the new benchmark of success is number of streams, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the industry is falling in line. Artists like Taylor Swift have been adamant about seeking fair streaming deals and Thom Yorke has pulled his solo albums from streaming altogether, but there is a new kid on the block who is rewriting the monetization playbook in this streaming-first era.

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Is Amazon Chime Poised to Disrupt the Workplace?

Key Takeaway: Given numerous entrants into the videoconferencing sector from established and emerging technology companies—including the recent introduction of Amazon Chime—the market leader position in this space is up for grabs. We at Market Strategies have a lot of questions about how the sector is growing and transforming. How prevalent is videoconferencing? Which platforms are being used? What do companies need to focus on to make their platform ubiquitous?  In this article, we will share our data and insights on the players in this space, including the number one thing a company must do to come out on top.

Videoconferencing technologies have been around for more than a decade, but we have seen them take off with our clients in the past year. We enjoy being able to visually interact with our clients and colleagues so we set out to conduct our own research study to learn more about the experience. While analyzing the results, we were surprised by the introduction of Amazon Chime, which promises “frustration-free online meetings with exceptional audio and video quality.” Why would Amazon enter this market now, with Skype and Hangouts being around for years? Is it insightful or redundant? Will a majority of users asking their colleagues to ‘Skype’ or ‘Hangout’ now ask them to ‘Chime?’

Our data suggests Amazon’s move is insightful. While Skype and Hangouts are certainly popular, there is plenty of room for additional competitors especially since no one seems to have worked out all of the technology bugs. And with a majority of users not wedded to any single platform, Amazon (or another disruptor) has plenty of opportunity to grab market share.

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The Fight for Today’s Video Consumer: How to thrive in a rapidly evolving industry

Today’s Video Consumer

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on understanding the streaming video consumer. Be sure to bookmark FreshMR so you don’t miss an issue!

It wasn’t long ago when consumers had three choices for video consumption: free TV (using antennas), paid cable TV, and, if going with cable, whether to add a movie channel like HBO. There was little competition, little innovation and very few choices. What a difference a few years makes!

Those simple days are almost unrecognizable in today’s chaotic, cluttered video world.  Sure, consumers can still view local broadcasts over-the-air, but the insatiable appetite for content has dramatically increased our options. Having so many options can be overwhelming to customers but also confusing to the telecommunications and entertainment companies that provide and deliver content.

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Beyond NPS: Multi-Measurement Approaches for Brand Health

Beyond NPS: Multi-Measurement Approaches for Brand Health

Market Strategies is often asked to recommend research approaches that guide decisions about marketing and product/brand management. A topic that’s been of keen interest lately is brand health. NPS has been the “go-to” measure for some time, but we were curious to compare it to other brand health measures so we used our quarterly consumer omnibus study as a research sandbox.

Specifically, we fielded various questions and used the results to test the efficacy of brand health approaches that would serve clients across industry sectors well. We surveyed more than 1,100 US consumers regarding brands in the social media space: Facebook, Flickr, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. We then used these data to run multiple brand health analyses, ultimately comparing NPS and several brand health measures and indices at how well they predict our dependent variables: frequent use of the brand and intention to increase use of the brand in the near future.

If your company uses NPS and nothing but NPS, you’ll want to download this free topline research report to see the results of our experiment. Here’s additional background for context, if you’re so inclined.

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All iWant: Putting iPhone 7 Rumors to the Test

Putting iPhone 7 Rumors to the Test

This summer has seen no shortage of analyst reports of what the soon-to-be-released iPhone 7 will look like and what features it will (and will not) possess. Continuing what has become an annual frenzy of leaks and predictions, rumors are flying about its multiple screen sizes, memory capacity, camera quality, headphone jack and water resistance. Most notably, some speculate that there may not be any dramatic changes at all as Apple waits for 2017 to release a world-changing 10th anniversary iPhone 8.

Market Strategies International decided to put all these rumors to the test to find out which ones really resonate with consumers and which do not. We asked more than 1,100 consumers about their current phones and preferences among the most frequently rumored iPhone 7 features, including:

Screen features
  • Larger screen
  • Smaller screen
  • Curved screen
  • Wraparound screen
  • Better screen quality/resolution
Memory/Storage features
  • More memory (the latest iPhones have 2GB RAM)
  • More storage space (the latest iPhones have a maximum of 128GB)
  • Expandable storage capacity
Internal features
  • Faster processors
  • Electronic SIM chip
  • Longer-lasting battery
  • Wireless charging
External features
  • Thinner
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof
  • Two speakers (the latest iPhones only have one)
  • Different color options
  • Higher quality camera
Other features
  • USB connector (Micro USB or USB Type-C)
  • Available stylus/pen
  • No headphone jack (the latest iPhones have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack)
  • Virtual reality headset

 Who Wants to Buy the iPhone 7?

Several of the findings are quite intriguing and have significant implications for telecom leaders. One thing is for sure: The difference in iPhone 7 needs and wants varies greatly based on customers’ current make and model, wireless carrier and brand loyalty. Understanding who these customers are and what differentiates their interests in upgrading to the iPhone 7 is of paramount importance when developing messaging campaigns, forecasts and product roadmaps. In our report, iPhone 7 Market Landscaper, we explore these differences and provide the data telecom leaders need to optimize their marketing plans. Download iPhone 7 Market Landscaper now or contact Greg Mishkin, vice president of Market Strategies’ Telecommunications division for more information.

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The Rise of Virtual Healthcare

The Rise of Virtual Healthcare

How we “talk” and interact has changed. Heads down. Headphones on. Thumbs moving. It’s ironic that the more we focus on our small, handheld smartphone, the more we have access to the larger world around us. When sitting on a park bench, we can call loved ones, shop at Amazon, watch Netflix, listen to Spotify and schedule appointments. Indeed, it’s not a stretch to think that most people (especially Millennials) could pretty much operate their whole world on a smartphone.

As part of our continued focus on consumerism in healthcare, Market Strategies monitors and tracks how consumers use technology. In this article, we explore telehealth with an emphasis on virtual healthcare—an attractive option to busy consumers who are now accustomed to getting what they need, the moment they need it. For healthcare consumers, this means convenient, high-quality, immediate access to care for themselves and family members that costs less than traditional office visits.

What we’re learning from our own research is helping healthcare providers, health systems and insurers offer the right tools at the right time to connect consumers with the care they expect.

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My Life of Fi

My Recent Experiences with Project Fi from Google

My Life of Fi

As your spring social calendar went from St. Patrick’s Day parties to the festivities of Cinco de Mayo, you might have overlooked another recent celebration in the telecommunications space. Project Fi (“Fi”), a very different wireless service from Google, recently celebrated its first birthday, and quietly went from being an invite-only beta to throwing open its doors to all US wireless subscribers.

Google launched Fi with minimal fanfare in the spring of 2015, positioning it as a new take on the traditional wireless model. Instead of relying on connectivity from cellular towers, smartphones on the Fi service will prioritize any available Wi-Fi connection for their voice and data traffic. Only on the occasions where Wi-Fi signals are weak or unavailable does the Fi service switch seamlessly over to the cellular networks of its partners—T-Mobile and Sprint—and then runs like a traditional mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

Google has long known that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours connected to Wi-Fi, and so is cleverly stringing together millions of hotspots as its “network” and only using cellular for a fraction of the average subscriber’s voice and data usage. In doing so, it is able to leverage existing free infrastructure and forego the massive network investments of traditional wireless providers, and subsequently can pass those savings on to its subscribers.


Project FiProject Fi: How it Works

At the heart of Project Fi is the concept of dynamic network selection—the service intelligently connects the subscriber to the best available network at their location, whether it’s Wi-Fi (the majority of the time) or one of either T-Mobile or Sprint’s 4G LTE networks.

Fi offers a single, no-contract plan. It’s $20 for the base service, which includes unlimited calls and text, and then $10 for each 1 GB of data. The novel part is that the subscriber only pays for the data that they actually use. So if you prepay for (say) 3 GB of data, but only end up using 2 GB, Fi refunds you $10 for the unused 1 GB. Similarly, if you have a 1 GB plan but end up using 3 GB after streaming that NBA playoff game, you’ll only get charged $20 for the extra 2 GB. No overage penalties or price escalations.

The plan also has an attractive international component. It includes free international texts, and for those who travel abroad and have been burnt by roaming charges in the past, there is comfort in knowing that the exact same data costs apply in over 120 countries.

The only catch is that Project Fi is currently limited to Google Nexus phones only. They currently sell the Nexus 6P (from Huawei) starting at $499 and the Nexus 5X (from LG) starting at $199.


In theory, it is a brilliant design, but how well does it work? Well, let’s find out.

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