11
Dec

The IoT Frontier: As Seen In Trade Shows

By Lucas Lowden, Research Director

As professionals, we often hear about expanding our horizons. How frequently do we actually do so? In reality, not very often. We get comfortable, and, we are experts at what we do anyway, right?

Commercial Vehicles. Fleets. Construction Equipment. I’ve done plenty of research projects with these professionals.

Big Data. Internet of Things. I’ve heard plenty about these concepts, and do work with a lot of data.

Now put all those ingredients into a pot and distill them into something useful for professionals in those industries?  That’s a different kind of problem. It requires new tools. New skills. A new way of thinking. A new understanding.

Truthfully, everyone’s reality is different and being made uncomfortable is not easy for most.

The last two years of my career have been a whirlwind of discomfort for me. And I’ve loved every minute of it. Learning, growing, helping – each in parallel with teammates and partners alike. In establishing a data-driven mindset we’ve embraced a new way of thinking to get to a new understanding. It’s been incredible!

It’s now late into 2017, and I recently attended the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, NTEA Executive Leadership Summit, and EquipmentWatch’s Traction 2017 show.

Interacting with fleet and equipment professionals at the trade shows forced me to personally broaden my horizons, and embrace the pain points that may make those professionals uncomfortable. I quickly realized that my reality as a Market Research professional differs greatly from that of a Fleet Manager or an Equipment Manager.

Which brings me to the first theme that became apparent to me.

Theme 1: Big Data Is A Big Deal, Getting Bigger With IoT

Let’s start with something that most industries in existence are familiar with – Data. Data. Data.

Data has long been available from an enterprise perspective – financial data, employee data, customer data, and transaction data, among others. Most have utilized each source of data independently for their own practical, everyday needs. Some have integrated the data for a broader application.

Operational data is becoming much more prevalent today – passive data coming in from sensors integrated with all types of equipment and applications used to conduct our everyday business and in our personal lives.

With the IoT I expect the growth curve of data to be an exponential factor the likes of which we may have never seen before. I’ve heard the term 4th Industrial Revolution thrown about. I’m not totally sold on that scope just yet, but it seems more possible than not from my perspective.

Getting the data is often not terribly difficult. Making sense of it is slightly more difficult. Harnessing the power held in these disparate data sources? Broad success stories are far and few between.

So how do we get past this hurdle?

Theme 2: Integration Is Key

Everyone has data. Few have truly harnessed the power of integrating their data to the extent it could be today.

To use an example from a long haul transportation perspective, integrating truck telematics data can give you the amount of fuel burned while a tractor is idling. Layer contextual feedback from a driver survey to understand the idle situation to deem an idle event necessary or unnecessary from a business perspective. Lastly layering that with fuel spend, and you can see how much money lost due to unnecessary idling.

There are lots of high quality solutions in the burgeoning market that provide services around the IOT ecosystem – telematics hardware, internal/external CRM, database architecture, reporting dashboards. As of yet, not many have fully embraced data integration.

That doesn’t even get into what I feel like is the next technology wave of data integration– blockchain. That’s a whole topic in its own right, so will save this for a later post.

For small to midsize organizations this highlights a challenge – they often don’t have the time available or skill set needed to integrate their own data across platforms.

Ultimately, baby steps are critical to integration efforts. Partner. Discuss. Get smarter. Get better. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Integration of data and systems is a natural progression to the final theme.

Theme 3: Any IoT Solution Has To Be Easy To Use

The integration of data at the business level leads to a “what’s next?” question of sorts.

Sometimes, a reporting dashboard can be a solution. For others, it’s an app delivering their data and insights.

Any solution in this space needs to be data-driven and actionable to be most useful and effective for industry executives.

It also needs to be simple and easy to use. Time is money.  Difficult to use and hard to understand solutions cost a company more time and more money.

Currently I’m contributing to a data-driven solution that delivers descriptive dashboards and actionable light-prescriptive reports that, with ongoing interaction, can develop into full predictive and prescriptive systems.

From my perspective, full prescriptive and predictive analytics come with nothing more than time and data pumped into the appropriate systems. Those claiming the ability to do so already are quite far ahead of the curve.

Recap & Conclusion

To work through these steps requires some keen self-awareness and the desire to embrace a data-driven decision making approach around business and competitive intelligence.

In each case, we get there one way – by data.

New technologies are allowing data to be brought in, analyzed, and presented to stakeholders in ways never before imagined.

Doing so represents a whole new batch of challenges at the same time.

Do we have the time? Do we have the people? Do we have the money?

Yes. Yes. Yes. You have to.

If you answer “yes” to all the above then you’re golden. If you don’t answer “yes, I do internally” to all the above that’s ok too. One way to shorten your timeline is to say “yes, I do by partnerships”.

The risk of not saying “yes” and taking action in this new frontier is potentially greater than taking action and failing, but still learning along the way.

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14
Nov

How to Market Products Using China’s City Tiers

By Jenny Zhang, Research Analyst

Companies looking to market in China will hear about the country’s city tiers and wonder what it’s all about. It’s no question that the world’s most populated country would have the highest consumer demand. Their consumer expendable income is also on the rise, and with a flashy, name-brand-recognizing culture, marketing is more important than ever. The question is, can we market products to these so-called “tier cities” and how can we do so? I’ll start with a little explanation and let’s work on answering that question.

I’d like to reference South China Morning Post’s (SCMP) interactive definition of tiers. Here, they divide 613 cities into 4 tiers, but another popular approach is 6 tiers. As you can see, there is no standard way of defining tiers from the government, but the highest tiers, 1 and 2, are generally agreed upon by economists, politicians and the public.

Name a city in China: Beijing? Shanghai? These are Tier 1. The combination of GDP, Politics and Population classifies cities into the four tiers, however, some cities rank differently in the three areas so the average is taken to identify the tier, says SCMP. You can start to see how companies would want to understand tiers so they can target certain people. Consumers in Tier 1 cities tend to be more affluent and highly educated. Tier 4 cities are in the rural parts of Western China. Population is scarce and so are resources. They include provinces such as Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Are you starting to get ideas?

Advertising needs to appeal to the demographics. Same with promotions or deals. We will start asking what kind of media to advertise on based on what the consumers have access to. So the answer to the question we had in the beginning is “yes”, we can market products to different tiers and the way to do so depends on your product. The next time a client asks you about marketing in China, suggest looking at tiers and see where your research takes you.

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8
Nov

Tactics For Humanizing Data From Connected Devices and IoT To Drive Business Outcomes

By Lucas Lowden, Research Director

Connected devices. Automation. Machine learning. Artificial intelligence.

Just a few short years ago, we would’ve thought we were watching a science fiction movie.

There is much discussion around these technologies – and for good reason! Each are critical components of scalable Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Today, it is the reality of our day jobs. With the support of various functions across the organization, we are actively establishing Morpace’s thought leadership and positioning for what we believe will be the future of the market research industry.

In support of these technologies, the importance of the human element should not be discounted.

There are numerous human interactions that provide crucial inputs to enable successful automation of machine processes. Doing so allows for a broader understanding and application of big data to produce actionable insights for business outcomes.

With several years growing in this space, we have developed a passion about leveraging big data and IoT systems. We have also realized the importance of Big Context – the intersection of man and machine that layers contextual understanding and lends business meaning to these massive data systems.

Are you leveraging Big Context in your business? Are you finding the humanity within your organization’s data?

Join the Strategists on Morpace’s Growth & Innovation Team – Jason Mantel (Sr. VP), Dania Rich-Spencer (VP), and myself, Lucas Lowden (Research Director) – for our webinar from Qualtrics’ Experience Week, Big Context: Humanizing Big Data From Connected Devices” and learn about tactics for driving positive business outcomes. To sign up and view our webinar, click here.

In the webinar, we explore the tenants of Big Context and how we have proven the importance of the human element and answering the question “Why?” for an automotive manufacturer and a transportation & logistics fleet.

We encourage you to reach out to us directly for any questions or further discussion around humanizing your organizations’ data at information@morpace.com.

 

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2
Mar

The Challenge of Selling Electric Vehicles

By Bryan Krulikowski, Senior Vice President

While automotive manufacturers continue to push forward with electrified plug-in vehicles in the United States, an important question begs to be answered: Who is going to buy them?

According to Morpace’s 2016 Powertrain Acceptance and Consumer EngagementTM (PACETM) study, more than one-third of current gasoline-powered vehicle owners plan to purchase an alternative fuel vehicle. While this shows high upside potential for EVs and Plug-In EVs, further analysis shows that consumers may not be completely comfortable making this leap from gasoline quite yet. In some sense, electrified vehicles are outside of most consumers’ comfort zone.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Looking at data from the PACE study and leveraging our powertrain experience, we see that consumers prefer technologies that follow the GEMO principle—Good Enough, Move On—and prefer the least change to their lifestyles as possible. Technologies that offer both of these attributes include Hybrid EVs, turbocharged gasoline-powered vehicles, and the conventional internal-combustion engine. Automotive manufacturers have made significant strides in improving the fuel economy of gasoline-powered vehicles and, for a significant number of consumers, the fuel-savings realized by these technologies—and the lower incremental price charged for them over electrified powertrains—provides a “good enough” level of performance and efficiency. Further, neither of these technologies requires consumers to install re-charging equipment at their home, be at the mercy of infrastructure limitations when looking to re-charge away from home, or worry about other issues related to range anxiety. If you run low on gasoline, one can almost always find a refueling station nearby; for electrified vehicles, ease of finding re-charging stations is still the exception not the rule.

Not Motivated to Change

Further, the lack of a major market event is curtailing interest in electrified vehicles among mainstream vehicle buyers. Specifically, fuel prices in the U.S. are not driving consumers to consider electrified vehicles at an accelerated rate. In fact, the lower prices we have enjoyed in the U.S. have resulted in the opposite effect.

According to the PACE study, today’s national gasoline prices are below the price consumers have indicated is low enough for them to consider a less fuel-efficient, larger vehicle. This is one explanation for the market shift we are seeing away from sedans to SUV/CUVs and Trucks. In fact, gasoline prices would have to reach $5.20/gallon for the average consumer to consider a more fuel-efficient vehicle than what they have now—nearly $3.00/gallon more than today’s average.

But… There is Hope!

While the above commentary suggests a less-than-pretty future for electrified technologies, this certainly does not have to be the case. Perhaps the most important finding from the PACE study is that virtually all current owners of PHEVs or EVs will remain an electrified vehicle owner in the future. Once consumers move away from gasoline-powered vehicles, they are extremely unlikely to go back to them. However, a daunting challenge is ahead of automotive manufacturers as they need to not only offer electrified vehicles in the right package and at the right price, but they also need to rely on a dependable and comprehensive infrastructure to support these vehicles on a mass-market level.

It will certainly be exciting to see how electrification strategies play-out in the coming years.

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14
Oct

Revealing Modern Truths About Fantasy Football

Fantasy-Football

By Greg Deinzer, Research Director

(With input from Chris Winkler)

I love watching football, but haven’t been involved in a fantasy league for 25 years. Back then, there was no online assistance to research or draft players, or to keep track of everyone’s weekly stats.

After all, that was the job of your league’s ‘commissioner’ who conscientiously entered data into a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet and then kept all the important information to himself. That’s why he always won the $100 money pool year after year.

Nowadays, it seems everyone and their mother is in a fantasy football league. So, being the good market researcher that I am, I was curious to find out more about why fantasy football is still so popular. Findings from Morpace’s September 2015 Omnibus survey of 1,001 U.S. respondents help reveal some interesting truths about fantasy football leagues.

It turns out that only 13% of all respondents are involved in one or more season-long NFL Fantasy Football leagues this year. Of those currently participating, one-half are playing in one league, over one-fourth in two leagues, and 1-in-5 is in three or more leagues.

One-in-seven people who are currently in a league are participating for the first time. (Welcome…to the jungle!) And, about one-fourth have been involved for seven or more years. (Watch it bring you to your knnn knne knees, knees.) (Guns N’ Roses ca. 1987).

More women are joining season-long fantasy football leagues than when I participated. According to our Omnibus, over one-third (36%) of those currently playing in a league are female, and one-half of them are in their first or second year.

Surprising to me is that the top reason for joining a fantasy football league isn’t to win the prize pool. Three-out-of-five play because they like the competition and one-fifth want to do something together with their spouse/partner (which defeats the whole purpose in my opinion. Maybe that’s why I’m divorced).

There are fewer musty basements to meet in anymore. All of the fantasy football leagues are now hosted online, and well more than one-half of the participants draft their team online from various locations. Bars and restaurants even advertise each summer the reasons why your fantasy football draft should be held at their establishment.

Fantasy football leagues are also not as costly as I remember. The median total spent, according to our Omnibus, is $50 including entry fees, reference books, magazines, advice, parties, etc. However, close to one-third of fantasy managers subscribe to DirecTV’s NFL ticket, and if you’re like me and also subscribe, you know that this package can sometimes require a second mortgage. That may be why the mean total spent is $196 and $347 for first and second year participants.

In total, players admit to spending an average of 5.5 hours per week managing their team(s). Combine this with the two-thirds of fantasy managers who watch 3 or more games per week (at least one-half’s worth of the game) and we have a lot of time spent (or wasted) per week.

Three-fourths of those employed admit to checking on their fantasy football team at work, averaging 3.5 hours per week ‘managing’ their teams. I think we can double that average and add a few more hours and still not be close to reality.

Like me, 7% are not currently in any fantasy leagues, but have been in the past. Unlike me, about one-half of those people ‘Have other things to do’. Five percent even admitted that they quit because it interfered with their job. Hey, whatever happened to multi-tasking?

With the barrage of commercials for “one week” fantasy games and the amount of money you can win, the 5% of all respondents and one-third of current season-long participants who report playing the weekly contests seems low. But, because of illegal use of insider information, weekly games are probably only fun and profitable for the people who work at the websites who host them.

Oh, and if you are wondering who is going to win Super Bowl 50, 12% of all respondents predict the New England Patriots will repeat as champs. Seven percent pick the Green Bay Packers. Another 7% feel that the Seahawks will come through, barring a last second interception. And a whopping 47% chose a team that I’ve never heard of – ‘Don’t know/Don’t care’.

This likely isn’t information that you will use to help your company become more profitable, but the data from this Morpace Omnibus may help you to sound smarter than your fellow fantasy football league owner. And if anything, it tells us that America’s love for football is not going anywhere (that is, if you disregard the one-half who ‘Don’t know/Don’t care’).

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2
Apr

Power Brands: Forecasting Consumer Reception of The Apple Car

By David Myhrer Senior Vice President and Eric Roach, Research Director

Strong brands are valuable because they create an emotional connection with consumers and often command a price premium.

This statement should not come as a surprise to anyone. However there is a recent example that Morpace experienced on how powerful a brand really can be.

Strong brands build trust through their core competency.  This makes them more readily extendable, allowing them entry into new products and markets not previously exploited by the brand.

You may have heard that Apple, yes the provider of the iPhone, iWatch, iPad, iPod, iPay, and iTunes, is planning to manufacture and sell an electric vehicle by 2020.

We thought it would be interesting to ask the Morpace MyDrivingPowerTM community some questions about this strategy. This panel includes more than 250 consumers around the U.S. who own electric and/or hybrid powertrain vehicles. Given that this panel is the exact target market that Apple would be targeting with such a vehicle, we thought the results would be representative of the strength of the Apple brand.

Among the more notable highlights of the survey:

  • 33% of consumers would be “extremely” or “very” likely to purchase a new Apple car
  • 64% of consumers would be willing to pay between $30,000 and $50,000 for an Apple electric vehicle in 2020; another 22 percent would be willing to pay more than $50,001
  • The vast majority of consumers expected the design of an Apple electric car to “be better” than other electric vehicles (79%)

Additional data gleaned from the survey further indicated that there was a high level of trust in the Apple name. Think about it. These consumers have a very positive view of an electric vehicle manufactured by a company that has never been competitive in the automotive market!

Trust is emotional but it is not irrational. Consumers trust Apple because of its sustained excellence in designing devices and offering services which are attractive and intuitively delivered based on the consumer experience. This trust is the reason consumers grant Apple “license” to continue to venture its brand into new markets.

In this case, Apple, no doubt, benefits from Google’s continued development of a driverless vehicle, paving the way for technology companies in the vehicle space.

In the automotive market, the exterior and interior design of the vehicle is extremely important.  Apple’s ability to consistently deliver sleek and attractive designs leaves consumers with little doubt about the brand’s ability to deliver an attractive vehicle design.

Furthermore, given that vehicle infotainment systems are more and more important to consumers, Apple’s brand likely offers some intrinsic value to consumers here as well. Many of the systems developed by traditional auto manufacturers remain plagued by perceived usability challenges which hurt them in the eyes of consumers and vehicle buyers. So is it any wonder that consumers are bullish on Apple’s potential in this marketplace?

The lesson here is that your brand should be nurtured and actively managed. You need to make sure that your brand is being viewed favorably by your target market. Because a brand that is not trusted could be a sign of troubling times ahead – think of the many brands that were once iconic to American consumers that have disappeared.

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