Tag Archives: Harris Interactive

Quit Yelling At The Kids

Any of us who are parents have felt the need to yell at the kids.  Maybe it’s during the terrible twos when every request is met with “no” or maybe it’s when they want to know “why” to any statement that passes your lips.  It’s hard not to use the words you swore you’d never utter: “because I said so.”  Hopefully, you resist the urge to yell as well, since the tone and volume become way more important than the actual words.

There is a business lesson in there, one that’s supported by some research from the folks at Lithium Technologies.  They asked the Harris Poll people to look into how effective ads were in social media news feeds.  As this report summarized it, the research:

…found that 74 percent of millennials (ages 20 through 39) and Gen-Z respondents (16 through 19) object to being targeted by brands on their social media feeds. Even more ominous for brands: 56 percent of the nearly 2,500 respondents to the study said they have reduced social media use or eliminated it altogether due to ads in their news feeds.

In other words, not only are you turning off your target to your stream by force-feeding them messages but you might just be enticing them to be less visible to you as they migrate to other, less cluttered environments.  We all need to remind ourselves that social media is about connecting with friends.  Shouting at them, especially if that about which you’re shouting is not about them but about your brand, is misguided.  It’s the person you invite into your home for a cocktail party that becomes the unwanted center of attention, singing loudly, dancing around, and otherwise embarrassing themselves.  Party over.

The report has a good reminder: we build trust by talking with, not at, our customers.  So quit yelling at the kids, won’t you?


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Death Or Chichi?

There is an old joke about three missionaries who are captured by a warrior tribe.  The chief gives the first two missionaries a choice – death or chichi.  Not wanting to die, each chooses chichi which involves all kinds of physical abuse.  The third missionary chooses death.  The chief smiles and says “DEATH!  But first, chichi!”

Harris Interactive

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought of this when I read a piece in the Marketing Daily about a recent Harris study:

According to a recent Harris poll of more than 2,000 adults, nearly two-thirds (63%) said they would prefer to sit next to a crying baby than a smelly adult.

“It’s not like either is preferable,” Regina Corso, senior vice president at Harris, tells Marketing Daily. “No one likes the crying baby, but you can understand it’s not the baby’s fault.”

Like the missionaries, neither choice is a particularly good one.  However, there is a lesson in the study and it’s really not about the fact that the baby isn’t at fault.  It’s about the consumer being in control.  The sound of a noisy baby is easy to deal with – noise-cancelling headphones and a little music can fix the issue pretty quickly. A smelly adult is out of your control and is not something you’re going to mask.  Spraying air-freshener on a plane isn’t really an option (assuming you carry air freshener) and is possibly just as disruptive to your neighbors as the stench is to you.

Let’s visit the thought again.  Consumers want to be in control almost more than any other demand they make of your business.   They already control the brand image via social and other media and are comfortable with less than optimal choices as long as they are the ones making the decision.  The days of imposing your will on consumers are long gone.  You with me?


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The Business And The Binge

The folks at Harris Interactive released some new information about TV consumption and it doesn’t bode well for the traditional business models – not even for the dual revenue model that empowered cable and which traditional broadcast is mimicking these days.  While I think any of us who pay attention to viewing research both via the boob tube and via other platforms are aware that things have changed, these numbers show that they’ve done so to a far greater extent than one might think.  Let’s see if you agree.

Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can read the data from Harris here but in brief what it shows is that younger people stream more stuff and set their own viewing times.  They also tend to “binge” view – they’ll watch all the episodes from a season of a show straight through over several hours.  If you’re over 55, there’s a 2 out of 3 chance you’re being your own program scheduler.  If you’re under 40, that becomes a 9 out of 10 chance.  Most of the way that on-demand viewing is done is NOT via a system controlled by the cable operators among younger demos.  While the older audience tends to use the services the operators make available via their set-top box or DVR, younger people have wandered well off the ranch.

As Harris points out:

Self-scheduled and binge television viewing trends suggest implications for the television industry at large, potentially impacting both advertisers and content producers.  For advertisers, the clearest impact is that some of these viewers will be taking in contact on platforms beyond their reach, such as Netflix and Amazon’s VOD services.

Content producers, meanwhile, have both positive and negative implications to explore. On the upside, the ability to quickly catch up on past seasons of existing shows, particularly ones with complex storylines, could give more viewers the opportunity to jump into new episodes without confusion. On the downside, viewers watching when they choose, not when it airs, can play havoc with ratings.

Taking that to next the step, when the traditional currency of TV – ratings – suffers through a huge deflation, the basic underpinning of the business will follow.  Yikes!

I don’t know that the above research is huge news – look at how your own media habits have changed.  What is surprising is the extent to which these changes are now a way of life.  Let’s see how the business follows the audience – nothing like “interesting” times!

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Can Major League Tech Overcome Apathetic Fans?

I noticed something yesterday that got me thinking about the role tech plays in rejuvenating “old” products.  In this case, the product is baseball.  If you’re over the age of 50, baseball was probably the first sport you came to love and follow because when my peers and I were kids it truly was the American past-time.  College football and the NFL were a distant second; the NBA was barely surviving, and soccer was something they did in Europe.

The Harris Interactive folks have been running a poll for many years which tracks which sport fans label as “their favorite.”  As you can see in this document, baseball has been falling for most of the almost 30 years they’ve been measuring this.  In 1985, baseball was about even with pro football when fans answered the question “If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your favorite?”  By 2011, those responding “pro football” were 2.5x greater than those responding “baseball.”   One might expect that baseball’s audience would be older – there’s plenty of research to support that – and this poll identified the 50-64 segment as the one with the most avidity for the game.

The modern MLB logo was first used in 1969.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s why, when I read this piece yesterday, I had a thought.  Another research company, Scarborough, found about the same percentage of “avid” baseball fans as did the Harris study.  However, it also found a lot of strength for the game among Gen Y fans.  Generation Y are the “echo boomers,” the children of boomers like me.  In fact:

54% of Gen Y MLB Fans more likely than all MLB Fans to have used a mobile device to read a newspaper in the past 30 days, 84% more likely to have listened to internet radio in the past 30 days and 22% more likely than all MLB Fans to typically watch reality TV. Gen Y MLB Fans are more than twice as likely as all MLB Fans to have visited Twitter in the past 30 days, 59% more likely to have read or contributed to a blog in the past 30 days and 68% more likely to have watched video clips online in the same time period. Gen Y MLB Fans are 131% more likely than all MLB Fans to have visited Hulu.com in the past 30 days and 65% more likely to have visited YouTube.com in the same time frame.

So this is my thought.  The game isn’t any faster nor has there been a breakthrough in game presentation that is stirring interest.  What is going on here in my mind has to do with the thing that MLB does better than any other sports league ( and I say that as someone who was once responsible for this at a major sports league):  digital media and technology.  Baseball’s tech arm, MLBAM, is widely recognized as the leader over the last decade.  Their commitment to make their games available on all devices was revolutionary at the time and their “At Bat” product is terrific.  I think this is what’s driving the reemergence of the sport among younger people.  It’s accessible, it’s presented in a manner they understand, and it’s everywhere they are.

Could it be that new technology is making our oldest professional sport new again?  What do you think?  How can it do the same for other “old” businesses?

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The Evil That Men Do

Today’s rant is based on the results of a Harris Interactive study concerning how the public feels about corporations.  Actually, it’s pretty specific when it comes to individual corporate reputations and I think the results are kind of grim.  Let’s see what you think.  You can read the summary document of the study here and I think it’s worth a few minutes of your time.  As with most research, what’s meaningful isn’t so much where the results indicate corporate reputation is at any particular point in time but what the trend lines indicate over time.  In this case, they indicate that the public is paying attention, and it reminds me of Mark Antony‘s speech in Julius Caesar:  “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” Continue reading

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Paperless Books

Today’s title might have been seen as an oxymoron just a few years ago.  I mean, the notion of a “book” without paper was as unrealistic as book publishers graciously declining to publish an author’s work and doing so promptly.

Then came e-readers which some said would hurt the book industry.  As with the music business, book publishers did whatever they could to prevent digital downloads of books by charging exorbitant prices (the same prices as if the book had to be printed on paper) and refusing to allow certain titles to go digital.  With the Kindle and other reading devices reaching scale (roughly 15% of American readers have one), the industry has come to recognize that porting content to another platform may be disruptive in the short-term but potentially a great thing over time.  Want more proof? Continue reading

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Rope-A-Dope Marketing Won’t Work

I’m sure there are more than a few of you out there who remember the “Rumble In The Jungle” in which Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman.  It was one of the great matches and there’s a fantastic documentary about it you should watch if you want to see The Greatest in his last great bout (and at the peak of his promotional abilities!).

It was in this fight that Ali introduced the Rope-a-Dope –  strategy in which you hang on the ropes and let the opponent punch himself out so you can fight back to decreased resistance.  Of course, there’s a good chance you’ll make a defensive mistake and get knocked out yourself before that happens, so it’s highly risky.  Naturally, this was the first thing that came to mind the other day when I saw the results of a new marketing research study. Continue reading


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