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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The Irony Behind the Perception of Value

The Irony Behind the Perception of ValueEditor’s note: This is part of our Trust and Value blog series for the financial services industry. In the coming months, we’ll share our thoughts and insight into what is happening and what we are seeing in the data we are constantly updating. Subscribe to FreshMR now so you don’t miss any updates.

Value as well as the perception of value is becoming a bigger challenge for financial services firms in a way that directly relates to trust. These days, value is increasingly questioned rather than assumed. Technology is at the forefront of this challenge because clients often don’t have a “feel” for the value provided in their interactions with financial firms.

Despite the work it takes to develop, maintain and update the ability to transact with the swipe of a card or a touch of an app, seamless transactions do not convey value as one would expect. Continue reading

Aligning for Success: Innovating with Clear Eyes

Aligning for Success: Innovating with Clear EyesIt’s common for qualitative research practitioners to cast a wide net to ensure no insight is left unconsidered, and many apply the same logic to their innovation efforts, aiming for the big, blue sky with the hopes of capturing a new, game-changing idea. In practice, however, I’ve seen this approach to innovation not only produce incremental or non-actionable results, but also shelve some of the best ideas to collecting dust. To find success in innovation, it’s important to act deliberately and remain cognizant about where you want (and don’t want) to go. Continue reading

The Financial Sector Is Up. Building Trust Is Key to Keeping that Momentum

The Financial Sector Is Up. Building Trust Is Key to Keeping that MomentumEditor’s note: This is part of our Trust and Value blog series for the financial services industry. In the coming months, we’ll share our thoughts and insight into what is happening and what we are seeing in the data we are constantly updating. Subscribe to FreshMR now so you don’t miss any updates.

What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, the market was recovering after hitting the “Jamie Dimon bottom.” Financial services firms faced another year pressured by low yield, compressed margins, cost cuts and new regulations like the DOL Fiduciary rule.

As the first quarter of 2017 comes to a close, stocks have helped advance the market to record highs. Rates are normalizing, and with that, slowly but surely, providing higher yield. The prospect of regulatory relief, economic growth and even tax reform are buoying the sector.

While things are looking up for the financial services sector, much of the potential positives have yet to actually be realized and, further still, they require political action, which has the endless capacity to disappoint. In addition, a number of long-term factors remain critical for financial services firms to achieve their own potential. Continue reading

Going Beyond Traditional Advisor Segments to Increase Marketing ROI

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Asset managers are collecting more data on financial advisors than ever but often struggle to transform their CRM systems into relevant and meaningful opportunities for advisor outreach and engagement. Undoubtedly, the competition for the attention and assets controlled by financial advisors (FAs) is intensifying, prompting many asset managers to seek better ways to target and communicate with advisors.

Data analytics and distribution teams spend about half of their time on data acquisition and data management, with just 14% of their time on more advanced analytics that fuel advisor segmentation and sales-lead generation, according to Applying Data to Distribution, a report by Ignites Research.* Perhaps more astonishingly, the report reveals that only one-third (39%) of asset managers incorporate advisors’ content preferences into advisors’ CRM systems, and one-fifth (11%) categorize financial advisors by types or “personas” that help determine their sales and marketing approach.

The current methods for segmenting the FA population for sales and marketing tend to be broad in nature and fail to take into account important differences in the attitudes, mind-set and preferences of FAs. Often, the desire to send more-targeted, customized communication is there, but firms fall short in their efforts to implement effective strategies given the additional time and money required to create their own proprietary models. Continue reading

Studies Show Optimism Is an Economic Catalyst

Studies Show Optimism Is an Economic CatalystMarket Strategies conducts numerous thought leadership studies for our clients. These studies are often released under the client brand so you may not even know they were conducted by us when you read about them in the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, or hear about them on CNBC. While we can’t give away specific findings from our studies, we can tell you that the most recent studies have been impacted by a fascinating polling phenomenon—optimism. Continue reading

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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DC Advisors Don’t Feel Support in Wake of DOL Fiduciary Ruling

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The Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary ruling, despite not being fully enacted, as well as the recent calls for repeal and uncertainty regarding timing, has already altered the financial services industry substantially. Heightened fee scrutiny throughout the retirement industry is causing many DC plan providers to be on the defensive, focusing on ways to avoid the next potential pitfall. And although providers may be trying, half of DC advisors report they are not getting enough support from providers with regard to the new rules and regulations. This perceived lack of support in a time of great change will undoubtedly affect advisor perceptions of and loyalty to the providers they work with regardless of the future of the ruling. Continue reading

How Georgia Power Uses Research to Optimize Customer Experience

How Georgia Power Company Uses Research to Optimize Customer ExperienceI recently sat down Don Hodson, head of customer experience (CX) at Georgia Power (GPC), to discuss how GPC is maximizing the effectiveness of its CX program. For energy brands that are working hard to create a positive, seamless experience for its customers, Don’s insight might just spark an idea that can be applied to your company’s strategy. Enjoy!

Can you explain GPC’s customer experience goals and the specific issues you’re trying to solve with research insight?

Don Hodson, head of customer experience at Georgia PowerDon: Georgia Power has a strong reputation with our customers already so there is little value focusing on improving a customer sat score from 8.5 to 8.6. Rather, we look at all the interactions customers have with GPC—the channels they use, the issues they have—to identify where there are barriers to resolution or where we force them to make extra effort. Then we focus on how to mitigate those issues to reduce customer effort. Not only does this improve customer sat but, in many cases, it also identifies opportunities to decrease operational costs.

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Ranks of Fee-Based Advisors Expected to Swell

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Despite the uncertain fate of the Department of Labor fiduciary rule, we already see advisors changing their business practices. According to Cogent’s The Future of the Financial Advisor™ report, advisors earning at least three-quarters of their total compensation from asset-based fees could comprise half (49%) of all financial advisors by the end of 2017, up from 38% presently. This shift toward fee-based compensation is primarily being driven by advisors in the National, Regional and Independent channels. Continue reading