Front Runners and Dark Horses in the Cloud Computing Race

2014-04-cloudWho will own the future of cloud computing? This is a hot topic for those of us in the technology and communications groups at Market Strategies International. Cloud computing is an industry that has been expanding at a steady 18-20% for the past few years and is predicted to top $200 billion by 2016. The growth is impressive, but it is the highly dynamic nature of the market that has us really intrigued.

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Remove Red Tape to Improve NPS, Retention at Telecoms

Working in market research, it sometimes feels like the metrics I use on a regular basis are not aligned with how the real world perceives them. Certainly research provides interesting, important and insightful measurements to clients, but how many average citizens are familiar with survey design or data analysis?

Recently a good friend of mine, Nicholas, expressed some strong feelings about a measurement tool I’ve run into often but taken for granted—Net Promoter Score (NPS), designed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix to measure customer loyalty. NPS is based on a simple question: How likely are you to recommend the company/product/service to your friends and colleagues? A respondent rates this likelihood on a scale from 0 to 10 and, based on the rating, falls into one of three categories:

  • Promoters (score 9-10)
  • Passives (score 7-8)
  • Detractors (score 0-6)

To calculate a company’s NPS, one takes the percentage of customers who are promoters and subtracts the percentage who are detractors. NPS can be as low as −100 (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100 (everybody is a promoter). Nicholas cares about NPS not because he is particularly interested in market research or branding but because his employer uses it to measure employee performance. You see, Nicholas works in customer service for a multinational telecommunications company, and when customers run into trouble, he is one of many receiving inbound customer service calls.

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The Microsoft-Nokia Union

2013-09-CommWill The Whole Be Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts?

In March, we talked about evolving brand combinations in the telecommunications industry and how the combined Brand Love would impact consideration and preference. Since March, wireless communication news has been a jumble of carrier mergers, acquisitions, stock purchases and software-meets-hardware stories. In a repeat of the Google-Motorola Mobility marriage of 2012, Microsoft has just purchased Nokia’s mobile phone unit for $7.2 billion. In the same year that Softbank purchased Sprint and in the same week that Verizon bought Vodafone’s interest in Verizon Wireless, this level of strategic activity shows no signs of slowing. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse calls recent activity the tip of the M&A iceberg.

Of all the news and deals of late, I’m most fascinated by the Microsoft-Nokia purchase.

Hardware-Software Synergy

The hardware-software merger makes sense on a number of levels, not the least of which is that Apple—and before that BlackBerry—gained market dominance by providing consumers with the seamless customer experience that arises from hardware and operating systems that are tightly designed for each other. The Google-Motorola Mobility deal has shown that this is not necessarily as simple as it sounds (perhaps because the Android platform needs to remain open for its broad ecosystem of hardware partners), and Google’s margins have failed to improve in the last year.

So what are the prospects for Microsoft-Nokia?

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TV Everywhere, Well…Not Really

In today’s ‘on demand’ culture, consumers (especially younger consumers) expect to be able to watch content when and where they want without restriction.

When I think about my own family’s TV viewing habits, we are watching content on every device imaginable (HDTV, laptop, desktop, mobile device, gaming console and tablet). It’s just the norm in our house; my children, ages 14, 12 and 3, expect to be able to watch content anywhere, anytime. Not only are they watching content on one device, they also interact with social media on another device in tandem. Yes, my three year old can pull up cartoons by himself on our desktop computer, and he understands that he can watch SpongeBob SquarePants on my wife’s cell phone.

Despite the multi-tasking and multi-screening happening in our technology-friendly household, a truly seamless multi-screen experience has yet to come to fruition, and I suspect this is true for many others.

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Can Cable Consumers Afford What’s on the Horizon?

As cable prices continue to increase, due in part to content provider price hikes, retransmission fee disputes and traditional fee increases, the consumer will continue to be hit the hardest.

According to The NPD Group, pay TV monthly rates have grown an average of 6 percent per year, even as consumer household income has remained essentially flat. If nothing changes, NPD expects the average monthly pay TV bill to reach $123 by 2015 and $200 by 2020.

What does this mean to you as a consumer?  The majority of consumers enjoy the one-stop shop of the traditional pay TV model; however, this could change as prices reach $200 a month.  Understanding your needs and wants can save you a lot of money over time.   

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Smartphone Showdown

With the recent release of the iPhone 5, many consumers will wonder if now is the right time for a new phone. So, what are customers looking for in a smartphone, specifically when comparing phones that run the top two operating systems?

To find out, we conducted a study among consumers who purchased a new iPhone or Android phone in the past year. We used a web panel, surveying 100 buyers of each phone type. It should be noted we conducted this research prior to the official announcement and pre-ordering of the iPhone 5.

At first blush, OS consideration seems like a dead heat, with roughly half of each buyer group having considered the other phone platform during their purchase evaluation. However, there is an intriguing difference in previous ownership. Only 22% of recent Android purchasers have ever had an iPhone, but 40% of recent iPhone purchasers previously owned an Android. While this may be an effect of the broadening number of US iPhone carriers, it’s an interesting glimmer of weakness in the Android user base, particularly before the release of iPhone 5.

Why, exactly, are people choosing each type of phone?

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Remember Payphones? Communication Trends and Data Trails Will Transform Market Research

It certainly wouldn’t be a revelation for anyone if I was to point out that our society has been impacted heavily by communications and information exchange capabilities that are commonly referred to as “mobility.”

Our personal communications streams run constantly and in multiple threads. In addition to calls and texts from anywhere, we browse the web and interact with social sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  We also request specific information through QR codes or by clicking on emails.

Mobile devices have virtually halted the use of landline phones. Once upon a time, payphones were the way we communicated when we were traveling.  Think about how quaint that seems today. Only in our workplaces and for security purposes do landline phones still have any meaningful presence today.

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