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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7
Feb

Patient Experience: When Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast


By Debra Fin
Vice President

This provocative statement is attributable to Peter Drucker, widely regarded as the father of modern management thinking. In healthcare, strategy can be devoured by culture’s hunger for maintaining the status quo especially with the relentless pace of change occurring in the industry.

Culture is the way of life for a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next. You know culture when you hear hospital employees state, “We don’t do it like that here” or management talks about “our way of thinking”. Culture is the soul and traditions of an organization and, most often, the obstacle to embracing change that focuses on the customer.

C-suite directives to improve customer centricity and focus on improvement of the patient’s experience can authorize CX leaders to gather patient data, hold focus groups and build touchpoint roadmaps. Armed with these insights and tools, operational changes are recommended, communications are built and new services are rolled-out all in an effort to meet the expectations of future patients, improve metrics and increase revenue. Everyone from Administration to Housekeeping waits to hear that patient experience has improved.

Only to find out that the culture on 3West devoured breakfast and is on its’ way through lunch!

Changing the structure, staffing and services of the organization will not suffice to improve patient experience based on patient insights alone. As our most recent Patient Experience case study demonstrates, the culture and values of the organization and its’ employee voices are vital to understanding how to meet the needs and expectations of patients. Equal time must be spent clarifying values, needs, and expectations at both the customer level and at the organization’s human capital level.

Engaging employees is as important as engaging the patient population. Doing both gives you a better eco-system view on how to achieve better service, meet expectations and empower employees to satisfy patients and families. Employees are the engine that delivers on your brand promise by meeting the expectations that define excellent patient experience.

Market research gathering employee insights and reactions to the ideas and expectations of patients can identify the barriers and best practices to delivering on a best in-class patient experience. Employees know how things really work and how to get things done; they can identify where the collaboration chain breaks down in bed scheduling and what families of inpatients really need. Best of all, collectively they have many solutions to improving their patient’s experience and want to be instrumental in creating both better health and better customer loyalty. All you need to do is ask them.

Armed with this 360° view, cultural mores and traditions can be addressed and both the patient and the hospital employee are equal partners in designing the patient experience solution.

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4
May

8 Ways to Think like a Market Research Anthropologist

 

8 Ways to Think like a Market Research AnthropologistBy: Erica Ruyle, Lead Anthropologist and Vice President, Qualitative Solutions

Much to my wife’s annoyance, my brain never shuts off. We will go to a movie and I will practically be bouncing in my seat as my brain works through all the cultural messages and implications of the experience.  (So we are all on the same page, I define culture as “the patterns of behavior, thought and feeling that are learned, shared and transmitted across generations.”)  Following the movie and dinner I inevitably babble on about the theories, connections and other positing on the film.  After all in the world of an anthropologist, everything has meaning, a hidden “other” so to speak.

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, my favorite few hours of the entire trip comprised of me sitting in the hotel’s casino, sipping dark, bitter coffee and watching people. Were they there on business or pleasure?  Where did they come from?  What was their link and connection to the people around them; what relationship did they have with those they were drinking, eating, and talking with?  I would draw up entire kinship maps and sketch stories of their life and then give meaning to it.  I would watch their interactions and movement throughout the hotel and casino floor, while my brain worked the patterns and behavior around me. As the old idiom goes, “this is both a gift and a curse.”

As you can see, being an anthropologist means having boundless curiosity. My mind is constantly shuffling information around regardless of which of the five senses it comes from.  Far too often we tend to focus on the words and miss other subtle cues around us such as body language or not so subtle cues that can easily be overlooked such as the material culture around us. As an anthropologist this works to my advantage as we are trying to find patterns of meaning in structures and systems.  Culture is an endless layered facet of the human condition and looking beyond we begin to understand the behavioral and symbolic meaning that drives people is what we do.

With years of training I have learned how to hone my skills to not only see what is around me but also how to talk in a meaningful way about what I have learned. My favorite aspect of ethnography is bringing to life what I experienced.  I’ve done my job when a reader can feel as if they were actually there during the research; they can feel what the research respondent felt and take a peek through the lenses of their eyes.  Of course, this does not always transfer well to market research deliverables but it is all part of the process.  My job is to bring the consumer and their world to life in an actionable way that makes sense.

Even if you are not an anthropologist or do not have anthropological training, you can still think like one. Anthropologists study people and their culture. Everything in market research is based on the thoughts, feelings, and actions of groups of people.

There are eight ways that you can think like an anthropologist for any research project, even if it is not ethnographic /anthropological in nature. Follow these and you are well on your way to thinking like an anthropologist!

  1. Stay on the move
  2. Keep your eyes open
  3. Always be curious
  4. Challenge your assumptions
  5. Ask a lot of questions (to your respondent and yourself)
  6. Dig deeper
  7. Engage multiple point of view
  8. Don’t believe everything people say

In a coming blog, I will delve more deeply into the slippery notion of culture. It is essential to grasp, even if not explicitly used in market research. I will outline what the benefits are to having this knowledge and how it can help you get more insightful, meaningful analytical results, further supporting your research efforts.

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