It’s Time to get Social

This weekend we attended the annual PMCQ gala. This year’s committee put on a fantastic party in Montreal. But one comment by one of our hosts stuck with us. He said something about back in the day, when the party was an order of magnitude bigger than today. It’s a symptom that is affecting holiday fêtes in all sorts of industries, and it’s a shame. The gala (once called the Bal de Neige) was designed as a way for Pharma industry employees and suppliers to come together and celebrate, while doing good. Often the designated charity was the local children’s hospital, Ste-Justine. The idea of coming together to show goodwill to others seems to be fading.

In today’s world of social networking, it seems that many people have forgotten how to be social the old-fashioned way, face-to-face. It occurs to us that while there may be more efficient ways to raise money and to do good, something’s been lost. Just writing a cheque or sending a credit card payment takes away the personal connection of filling a food basket, or buying a toy, or giving some new clothes to a Mom who is making her first tentative steps out of an abusive relationship, and into a safe, productive, and confident future.

So by all means, give. We can all find ways to do a little more. But this year we urge you to consider rolling up your sleeves and taking a concrete action to help someone else. We predict you’ll be glad you did.

Greetings of the season,

Megann and Steve

Thanks All ‘Round!

These days, we spend most of our time searching for answers and handing out advice. But since it’s Thanksgiving here in Panoptika’s world, we think a little gratitude is in order.

We’re thankful for a great collection of clients, both large and small. We appreciate the trust you’ve put in us, to be the ones to spend time with your precious customers, getting to know their wants, needs, and ideas. We’re grateful for all the interesting projects we’ve had the pleasure of completing over the past year. And we’re thrilled to have had the chance to travel, meeting new people and experiencing different places along the way.

Much obliged,

Megann and Steve

What If what you’re selling isn’t what your customers are buying?

Strategy + Business had an article recently on Spend Shifting. They talked about how Americans are evolving a new (old) spending model, whereby they invest in companies with relationships, values, quality, kindness, and things that last. They’re also moving away from product attributes that are about winning, aggression, and power. It made us think about what to do, when your customer changes. Not what to do when a different sort of customer comes through your door, but when a customer who has been with you a long time, seems to be doing an attitudinal about-face.

Do you go with them? The first thing to do is to find out whether it’s really them who has changed, or you. Are they like that high-school friend who never grew or evolved, and just doesn’t fit into your life anymore? Or are you the one who has been standing still? By doing a values audit, you can get back in touch with what your product or service is all about, on an attitudinal, emotional level. Look at your people, products, and processes, and make a list of their core values. Then compare that to your customer’s ideals and outlook. Ask yourself if you will be, feel, and look better if you can be where they are. If you can, then reset your compass and start shifting.

Taking a kinder view,

Megann and Steve

What If You Drove Potential Customers to a Market Where they Couldn’t Get Your Product?

Many advertising and sales techniques are designed to drive the end-user to ask for a product. Whether it’s targeting cooking aficionados and showing them the latest kitchen invention, or showing individuals with an active, athletic lifestyle what’s new in clothes or equipment, or even if it’s direct-to-consumer advertising about a pharmaceutical product, one factor frequently creates a problem. If, when the person goes to the distribution source to try and access the product, be it an avocado cuber, ultra-wicking running togs, or the newest treatment for blog prep avoidance syndrome, the distributor isn’t sufficiently familiar with the product, what seemed like a promising sales opportunity may come to a grinding halt.

The person selling or controlling distribution of the product has to know enough, and be familiar enough, to give it a personal endorsement. Otherwise, if Suzy, or Joe, or Jeff gets to the point of asking the cuisine-ista, or the running consultant, or their family doctor, and that advisor, seller, or prescriber is still unsure about his or her own opinion, the trail may well go cold. And there may not be another opportunity.

So while going directly to the end user is often a great strategy to move your product off the shelves, before you do that, ask yourself:

  1. Have I primed the distributor?
  2. Are they ready to receive questions about my product?
  3. Do they have sufficient familiarity to make a confident response?
  4. Is the product readily available at their location?

Anytime you’re relying on someone else to close the sale of your brand, you need to make sure that person has sufficient tools to do so.  If you’ve taken that step, then (and only then) are you ready to lead a customer to their door.

Keeping an eye out for bumps in the road,

Megann and Steve

Panoptika Introduces New “Next Gen Market Research” Qualitative Tool

April 1, 2011 (Note the date…we hope you enjoy the fun that NGMR Bloggers had today)

One of the issues which has troubled Qualitative Researchers is how to dive deeply into the facets which motivate consumers to make buying decisions.  Various “laddering” techniques have been used to get below the rational to the emotional drivers.  Panoptika has been one of the leading practitioners of these techniques, but some Respondents remain resistant.

Building on the popularity of techniques such as EEG, Eye-tracking and other monitoring devices, Panoptika today announces the introduction of the Milgrim Respondent Instigator (MRI) device.

Based on the famous Milgrim Experiment, Respondents are connected to the Moderator by a series of electrodes.  When the Moderator senses that the Respondent is not forthcoming with their emotional drivers, the Moderator gives the Respondent an electric shock, “encouraging” the Respondent to dig deeper into their motivations.  The Moderator is able to “ladder” the voltage to a high enough level to uncover the true motivation driving the Respondent behaviour.

Steve Willson, one of the Partners in Panoptika, notes “It doesn’t take too many shocks before the Respondent spills their guts.  Clients like it, because it really shortens the Qualitative process.  You can condense a 50 minute interviews to 15 minutes with just a few sharp shocks.”

If you’d like additional information on Panoptika’s MRI tool, please contact us at our MRI Hotline: 277-453-6657.

Around Panoptika’s Table is an NMGR Top Blog.

Put your “Buts” Behind You

Have you ever heard yourself say, “I hear what my customer is saying, but…”?

This is a crucial point in customer listening. As facilitators, we know that “but” in a conversation often means…

  1. I’m not really listening – I’m trying too hard to think of the next thing I want to say.
  2. I can’t figure out how to incorporate their advice, so I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear it.
  3. What they’re telling me means I will have to fundamentally change something about my offering or my way of operating, and I can’t afford to risk that.

To be able to fully engage your customer and find out how to create brands or relationships that will bring them back to you again and again, you need to practice deep, conscious listening. When you hear something challenging, confusing, or difficult, you need to remember that being special is what will make you successful. Finally, if you’re not willing to risk change, you have to remember that you can’t ask more than that of your customer.

We hope you’ll join us in leaving your buts behind you, for a better, stronger customer relationship.

Really listening (really!),

Megann and Steve