Amazon Is At It Again: Disrupting Healthcare and Pharma

Amazon Is at It Again: Disrupting Healthcare and PharmaAmazon already has a deep hook in the book, retail, delivery service, music, video, restaurant and even grocery space. It looks like healthcare is its next big target. Healthcare is a broad arena tangled in complexities. Most consumers struggle with understanding the lingo, getting quality care, managing payments and getting the prescriptions they need without breaking the bank. There are many controversial parts to how our healthcare system works, and Amazon has just tossed its hat into the ring with its announcement of its purchase of online pharmacy PillPack. What does this mean for the pharmacy space and will it impact the larger healthcare system?

The Amazon Threat Boils Down to Trust

Our team at Market Strategies has been anticipating the announcement of Amazon entering the healthcare market, so we conducted a self-funded a study to find out if consumers are open to purchasing healthcare services and prescriptions through nontraditional healthcare companies. We know that consumers have a high level of trust in Amazon, but will this level of trust extend to its healthcare services?
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Death of Net Neutrality Is Not Necessarily a Good Thing for ISPs

New Market Strategies study reveals consumer attitudes on “fast” and “slow” lanes   

Many industries are closely watching the future of net neutrality. Just last month, the Senate voted to preserve net neutrality, blocking a Federal Communications Commission plan to undo rules set during the Obama era. But short of any eleventh-hour political victories, net neutrality is set to end on June 11.

Industries such as telecommunications, technology and media have a stake in this issue. One of the more contentious aspects of net neutrality is what experts call “fast lanes” and “slow lanes.” Without net neutrality regulations, internet service providers (ISPs) could give certain content and streaming services faster connections, while slowing down other sites. It’s so controversial that even our own in-house telecom experts couldn’t agree on the issue.

While the future of net neutrality still hangs in the balance, it’s important for telecoms to understand consumer attitudes and preferences regarding this issue now. To that end, the telecom research division of Market Strategies International conducted a study to explore the potential consequences for both ISPs and streaming services. Our findings provide guidance on next steps for ISPs as politicians and consumers debate the future of net neutrality.

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Brand Evolution Is Hard—But It Doesn’t Have to Be Unnecessarily Risky

Brand Evolution Is Hard—But It Doesn’t Have to Be Unnecessarily Risky For many global companies, brand evolution is a natural part of running the business. As consumer attitudes and lifestyles change, so must brands if they want to continue to deliver value to their customers.

But in an effort to remain relevant, companies too often hinge their brand identities on current events and passing trends rather than thoughtfully forging a path forward. In this pursuit, many companies forget to first examine their place in the hearts and minds of customers. That’s a mistake because the stakes are high if you don’t get brand evolution right. This is a lesson Tropicana learned the hard way when, in 2009, it decided to drastically change the design of its packaging—a move that resulted in swift consumer backlash and a 20% sales drop.

Packaging is just one small part of your brand identity, but Tropicana’s misstep is a cautionary tale on the potentially risky consequences of making drastic changes to your brand without engaging with your customers first. In changing markets, it’s important to be nimble, but it’s even more crucial to step lightly and purposefully to maintain a healthy brand and avoid alienating existing customers.

We get it—evolving a well-recognized global brand is hard. Staying true to your brand while keeping up with the evolving habits and preferences of consumers is a tricky balance. But why do some companies pull off this transformation successfully while others confuse their customers and lose sales in the process? Examining three brands that are currently in transition can help answer this question.
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The Unique Value of Utility Marketplaces

The Unique Value of Utility MarketplacesIt is not a secret that energy utilities need to focus on strengthening customer relationships through brand and product efforts as brands like Tesla, Apple and Google are increasingly building consumer mindshare in the energy space. The good news is that utilities can reap dividends almost immediately by tapping into consumer demand for new energy technologies via a utility marketplace. Our energy industry research shows that utility marketplaces are the number one way utilities can improve their reputation and brand. In addition, marketplaces allow utilities to support demand-side management programs, improve customer experience and develop new revenue streams.
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Xfinity Mobile’s Surprising Impact on the Cable Industry

Consumers now see Comcast as a major Quad Play provider, new data shows  

Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a three-part blog series based on a new, independent research study called “The Xfinity Mobile Effect.” As Comcast marks the one-year anniversary of its Xfinity Mobile launch, this series explores the success and competitive threat of cable companies offering wireless service. This research was featured on Fierce Wireless.

Since the arrival of the so-called “cord cutters,” many experts have been predicting the decline of the cable industry. But rather than back down, many cable MSOs have fought back not just through technological innovation, but also by expanding their businesses. Today, the cable companies experiencing the biggest growth are those that have some sort of bundling offerings, providing a slew of complementary services to customers.

Indeed, cable companies are in a race to establish themselves in the Quad Play business. The ability to provide TV, wireless, broadband and phone services has become a competitive advantage in a world where consumers are increasingly seeking out better deals and the convenience of doing business with just one company.

The latest company to enter Quad Play is Comcast, and the plan appears to be working so far. A new study conducted by the technology and telecom market research division of Market Strategies International shows compelling evidence that with the launch of Xfinity Mobile, Comcast has set itself as a viable Quad Play competitor.

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The Quad Play Imperative

Success of Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile has potentially big repercussions in telecom, new research shows  

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a three-part blog series based on a new, independent research study called “The Xfinity Mobile Effect.” As Comcast marks the one-year anniversary of its Xfinity Mobile launch, this series explores the success and competitive threat of cable companies offering wireless service. This research was featured on Fierce Wireless.

Quad Play is becoming a real competitive advantage in the telecom market. With consumers wanting a more seamless experience and a better deal from their TV, wireless, broadband and phone providers, more people are choosing to do business with just one provider. There is a big incentive for telecoms to offer Quad Play options: it increases “stickiness” as customers who subscribe to various services are less likely to churn.

But a viable Quad Play strategy is not easy to pull off. It requires major investments in technology, partnerships and marketing. In fact, very few telecoms have become real Quad Play competitors so far. For a few years now, AT&T and Verizon have been unchallenged in the Quad Play space.

That is, until now.

New, independent research from the technology and telecom market research division of Market Strategies International shows that Comcast is now a viable Quad Play business. The report, which we published this week, shows that with the launch of Xfinity Mobile, Comcast is successfully gaining ground in the Quad Play space.

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Xfinity’s X-Factor

New research from Market Strategies shows Xfinity Mobile’s impressive traction   

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of the three-part blog series based on a new, independent research study called “The Xfinity Mobile Effect.” As Comcast marks the one-year anniversary of its Xfinity Mobile launch, this series explores the success and competitive threat of cable companies offering wireless service. This research was featured on Fierce Wireless.

When Comcast first introduced the Xfinity brand in 2010, many experts and industry observers questioned the move. Blogs like Gizmodo and the Consumerist and even Time Magazine made fun of the rebrand. One branding expert went as far as calling the initiative “a complete and total waste of time and resources.”

Fast forward to 2018, and these experts couldn’t be any more off. The Xfinity brand is alive and well, with Comcast launching a wireless service under this brand in May 2017. Called Xfinity Mobile, the service uses Comcast’s extensive network of Wi-Fi hotspots and Verizon’s cell network.

In a recent independent study, the technology and telecom market research divisions of Market Strategies International sought to understand how Xfinity Mobile is performing both as a wireless service within a highly competitive market, but also as a tool that enhances Comcast’s core Xfinity Internet and TV businesses. The comprehensive research, which we released this week, reveals the impact Xfinity Mobile is making and provides compelling insight on what’s ahead for wireless providers and multi-system operators (MSOs).

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Standalone streaming services versus aggregators: Which model will win?

Standalone streaming services versus aggregators: Which model will win?In October 2017, CBS shared that its standalone streaming service, CBS All Access, has seen a record number of new subscribers in a single week. And according to the company, Trekkies are responsible for the bump: the new series “Star Trek Discovery” was a hit among fans, with exclusive access to Discovery for subscribers driving a record-breaking number of signups.

“Consumer response to the launch of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ has been tremendous,” Marc DeBevoise, president of CBS Interactive, revealed. “The buildup to the show’s premiere led us to a record-setting month, week and ultimately day of sign-ups.”

The show, which was already renewed for a second season, is the latest win for CBS All Access, which has become an unlikely success in the competitive streaming service market. Since its launch in late 2014, the subscription streaming service has expanded to a userbase of more than one million users. The company is now planning on taking CBS All Access global.

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Dear Energy Santa: Make Sure You’re Connected

Dear Energy Santa: Make Sure You’re Connected

The Internet of Things (IoT) is catapulting the energy industry into a new era of products and services, and the demands and expectations of utilities are rapidly changing. According to the IDC, energy utilities are currently the third largest investor in IoT ($66 billion) and this will alter how these companies interact with their customers. As an 80’s kid, I am reminded of a memorable song by Stereo MCs entitled Connected. The song’s chorus goes:

If you make sure you’re connected,
The writing’s on the wall,
But if your mind’s neglected,
Stumble you might fall…

More than ever, our connections with people, places and things drive and define who we are and what we do. These connections are directly impacted by the IoT explosion across our society. Back in 2008, more “things” were already connected to the internet than there were people in the world, and the momentum of this trend has multiplied over the past 10 years.
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An Alternative Solution to Market Research Panels and Online Communities

An Alternative Solution to Market Research Panels and Online CommunitiesWe live in a world where consumer data are growing rapidly. Nearly every behavior on the internet is tracked, wireless devices constantly share our location and activities, and smart appliances disseminate troves of data into the ether. And, by some accounts, global data are expected to double every two years for at least a decade.

While this is not a new phenomenon, the impact is still hard to understand. Thanks to this explosion of data, many energy utilities have access to exponentially more customer information than just a few years ago, and this information is often used ineffectively, and in some cases, not used at all. From detailed demographic and profiling data, program participation histories, and rich behavioral data, the opportunities for market research insights are immense.

It’s no wonder that many utilities are looking to leverage these data to build custom online panels and Market Research Online Communities (MROCs) to support their research needs. Both offer a means of gaining quick and valuable insights without having to negotiate some of the more challenging aspects of market research, namely, sample preparation and respondent recruitment. Continue reading