Wednesday, December 7, 2011

India doesn't want foreign retailers, but the Far East does

The New York Times reports today that India has withdrawn its measure to allow foreign retailers to partner with Indian companies and open new stores.

It's true that India should be an attractive market whose population is projected to outgrow China's by 2050, but it can be a difficult one. Businesses who want to enter the Indian market need to pay attention to a variety of issues including marketing, demographics, and workforce issues. India Business is a book that outlines many of the opportunities and pitfalls of doing business there.

If India does not welcome foreign retailers, other regions of the world do, including the Far East.  Laurent Sausset's new book, Shopping Behavior in Asia,  What Retailers Need to Know for Success in the Far East, is based on surveys of consumers  from all the countries in the region and details what steps specific categories of retailers can take to assure their success.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Experiences will be the winners for this holiday

Pam Danziger, author of Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury and president of Unity Marketing, is predicting that the affluent and aspirational will be reluctant to indulge in showy luxury items this holiday season. In part, she says, it is a response to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has made it unpopular to indulge in conspicuous consumption.

Danziger predicts a continued emphasis on practical gifts such as technology and on experiences.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A book that makes you think

In a review in a recent issue of Journal of Product and Brand Management (Vol. 20, Issue 6) , David Bishop, Department of Marketing at the University of Otago in New Zealand says reading Andrea Syverson's book, BrandAbout. A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants is like "sitting next to and talking to a fellow passenger who is knowledgeable and easy to listen to."

Bishop calls one of the most important questions asked in the book, "When did we lose sight that first and foremost our customers are complicated human beings just like us?" Syverson "encourages readers to maybe dump things that no longer add value to a brand and "dream" what might be possible. "

After reviewing the book chapter by chapter, Bishop concludes. "This book is worth reading. It takes about as long to read as a flight from coast to coast in the USA. It will not give you answers, but it will encourage you to think about what might be possible. It might even encourage  you not to rush from where you are to where you want to be but to stop off in places, take time out to think about things that you may only otherwise see for a few fleeting seconds from far up too high."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Book Brings Civil War Letters to Light

Although PMP is known for its books on market research and market segments, once in a while we go off topic for a book that excites us. No, it's not about the New York City marathon, but it was written by one of the elite women runners in this year's event.

Katherine M. Aldridge (Katie) brought us a book that includes more than 100 letters from a Union soldier to his wife, written between June 1861 and January 1865.  Katie found these letters, which she painstakingly transcribed and lightly edited over a period of about 3 years, in the carriage house on a historic farm that she had purchased in upstate New York. Imagine, letters that were thrown in a cardboard box and not seen for 150 years.

Keith Poulter, Publisher of North and  South Magazine got an early look at the letters and told us, "These letters are a major find. There are, of course, thousands of letters that have found their way into print. But these are some of the best I have seen. "

No Freedom Shrieker is particularly important because the soldier, Charles Freeman Biddlecom, was the product of a Quaker environment in the communities of Macedon and Farmington, New York, where the abolitionist movement had many leaders and a strong following.

The book is now available here.  Even if you aren't a Civil War buff you probably know someone who is and this is the perfect gift. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Asian middle class should be your next target market

President Obama is determined to open Asian markets to American exports, but he needs your help. The best thing American companies can do to facilitate exports into Asian markets is to better understand the wants, needs, and behaviors of Asian consumers.

Fortunately, PMP author, Laurent Sausset can help. His new book, Shopping Behavior in Asia What Retailers Need to Know for Success in the Far East, includes a plethora of tips for retailers and manufacturers of all kinds of products. Besides assessing current behaviors, Sausset offers some important tips for the future as discretionary spending increases for many customers.

He suggests:
Retail brands do not have to be perfect in every way, but they should have something new that shows movement and impetus because that is what Asian shoppers will continue to want.

Retail brands must invest in training their sales associates, specifically in product knowledge and friendliness, two qualities that are often lacking.  Asian customers will appreciate services that make shopping easier, avoid wasting time,  offer assurance about product safety, and provide a harmonious atmosphere in the store.

These concepts have become ingrained among many retail brands in the United States, but they should not be taken for granted in the Far East.  U.S. retail brands and manufacturers need to be prepared to monitor every aspect of their brand's entrance into the region and make sure that standards are set that will assure success.

Chapter 9 of Sausset's book outlines specific steps that retailers can take to create loyal customers in Asia for supermarkets, hypermarkets, department stores, category killers, leisure products, and soft lines like perfumes and cosmetics.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why you need to win the Hispanic market

PMP bestseller, M. Isabel Valdes, has been busy editing a new book that includes the expertise of about 20 strategists, researchers, and marketers involved with the Hispanic market. Although the book started out with the title, Hispanic Metrics for Success, Isabel soon learned that the title threw potential readers off--they thought they would be reading yet another book about statistics.

But Isabel's mission in assembling this group of expert collaborators is far beyond statistics. Rather, its purpose is to persuade Boards of Directors, CEOs, CMOs, and CFOs that the Hispanic market presents the most sustainable and viable growth market in the United States for the foreseeable future. 
That's why we retitled the book, WIN the Hispanic Market! Strategies for Business Growth.

The reason for the message is that domestic population growth for the next 40 years will be mainly among minority groups (who will become the majority) and Hispanics are the largest of those groups. Since most business growth in the U.S. depends on consumers, it only stands to  reason that Hispanics need to be a significant part of most companies'  growth opportunities.

You can learn more about the collaborators on the book here as well as review the table of contents. A hint: A pre-publication sale is going on now at Paramount. The book will be out in January, but if you order now, you'll not only get the discount, but also you'll be one of the first to have this critical information for the next decades. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Qualitative researchers face many challenges

Our publisher, Jim Madden, recently attended the annual meeting of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) where he met many of our customers. Qualitative researchers are a dynamic and wonderful group, sharing ideas with each other and working hard to understand how the new social platforms are impacting their business. Bestselling titles at the QRCA event were two Paramount titles, Laurie Tema-Lyn's Stir It Up and Moderating to the Max by Jean Bystedt, Siri Lynn, and Deborah Potts, and Martha Guidry's new book, Marketing Concepts for Success.

Qualitative researchers are probably the most entrepreneurial people among the self-employed. In order to make a living, they first have to be marketers, finding clients who will pay them to moderate focus groups, do in-depth interviews, and write reports with recommendations based on their findings. In order to be successful, they have to immerse themselves in a variety of industries.

They have to be highly organized and tolerate a great deal of travel, often going from city to city in a few days. They have to maintain a group of "associates" who help them recruit respondents, provide facilities, and help them out when there is simply too much work for one person. And they have to be creative, because one size never fits all.

But it's getting even harder to make a living as any type of independent researcher, in part because new technologies are leading companies to believe that they no longer need in-depth research.

Robert Kahle, author of Dominators, Cynics, and Wallflowers, shared his thoughts on the challenges for qualitative researchers and indeed, many types of independent researchers.

Corporate research budgets get cut and executives think they can survive on the results of on-line surveys, monitoring chat rooms, and doing internet searches for free information.

When budgets are cut, managers expect qualitative and other independent researchers to cut their rates to accommodate, forgetting that they are paying their own health benefits, their own social security at the full rate, buying their own equipment, etc. as well as trying to support a family.

At the same time that corporations have technology departments and webmasters to support their employees who are trying to cope with new technology, independent researchers have to be their own webmasters and technology departments and there is a lot to keep up with these days.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Do great ideas sell themselves?

Author Dave Siegel  will speak  about the innovation myth "Great Ideas Sell Themselves," at the upcoming PDMA/AMA conference on innovation in Cincinnati on Nov. 17th.  His book, Innovation Myths and Mythstakes, is a bestseller for PMP.

Dave says. "One of the biggest reasons behind great ideas ultimately failing to achieve success lies in communication.  All too often, what could be a great idea is misunderstood within the company itself.   Too often great ideas never hit the marketplace because a key member of the decision team never truly understood how it benefited them.  CFO's want profits, CEO's want growth and ROI and company fit. Sales teams need to know how the idea fits with the rest of the line they sell, etc. etc. etc.  The innovator?  Well he just has the "idea!"

"Then, there is the huge challenge of communicating the idea to the consumer.  Oftentimes the idea is researched with full blown, well-stated, highly illustrated concept statements.  Yet, when it is time to actually introduce the idea to the marketplace, the only communication consumers  see is a small burst on a package or a 2 inch internet banner ad or at best, a 15-second commercial.  It's a shame, all that work by R&D, Marketing, Sales and Research and then the consumer gets a tiny message and goes 'Huh?'"

You can learn much more about myths included in Dave's book by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

For Asian shoppers, seeing is believing

The Far East will be the next middle-class market for retailers and manufacturers in all categories. Name brands are sought, especially when they are sold in department stores where  customers can be assured they are not fakes. Retailers such as Carrefour, Walmart, and Tesco are already well established in many Asian countries, but there is plenty of room for modern retailers as consumers gain more discretionary income.

Author Laurent Sausset has been conducting surveys of shoppers in Asia for many years and his new book (released Oct. 3, 2011) details the unique characteristics of shoppers in this rapidly emerging middle class market.

Shopping Behavior in Asia: What Retailers Need to Know for Success in the Far East discusses the importance of observation among Asian shoppers.  For example, Sausset writes that Asian shoppers will rarely ask for help in a store because the staff members look so busy and shoppers are unwilling to interrupt their work.  A woman in Bangkok relates that she was not respected in a store because she was just wearing sandals, not leather shoes, and she lost face in the eyes of the sales associate. If shoppers see a line forming to take advantage of a special deal, they will probably join the line even if they aren't sure what is on sale.

Moving from the general to the specific, Sausset discusses the nuances of location, traffic patterns, product assortment, pricing, parking, store design, signage, loyalty programs, promotions, employee training, and even shopping carts. County-by-country, he details the relationship of retailers to shoppers in categories such as apparel, furniture, do-it-yourself, and packaged goods.

Seeing is believing in the minds of most Asian consumers and Sausset helps you "see" how to succeed in Asia.

How Chicago is Developing Latino Leaders

Cristina Benitez writes, "In the span of a quick week, Chicago witnessed more steps, más pasos, of developing young Latino leaders and further Latinization of the US. Instituto Health and Science Academy for high school kids and New Futuro for potential college students launched and Latino Media and Communication at DePaul University celebrated the beginning of year two. 

This is positive news that supports the recent report from the Pew Hispanic Center touting a 24 percent increase in college enrollments among Latinos. The Pew report is good news to be sure, but the trick is keeping these kids in school. This is how we are building Latino leaders in the windy city."

Here is the contact information to find out more about these programs in Chicago.

In 2008, leadership from Instituto del Progreso Latino (Instituto) began exploring the idea of creating a new high school that could help serve Chicago’s pressing need for high quality education within urban communities.  Last week Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (IHSCA) opened a new charter high school in Chicago that serves 600 youth, grades 9 to 12 from Chicago communities, and paves the way for the next generation of doctors, nurses, information professionals, and bio-technicians.

New Futuro provides Latino families with tools to get their students into college. Parents and students gain access to free, bilingual information and tools to create a step-by-step plan. Using a user friendly “10-step roadmap” the program created a simple formula to a college plan with the goal of enrolling 10,000 new college students.  New Futuro enhances the probability of success by connecting members with non-profit organizations and educational institutions via New Futuro’s website, magazines, and neighborhood outreach efforts. 

In partnership with Allstate, New Futuro has created “Road to College Workshops” a series of college workshops every week in the Chicagoland area, giving a $1,000 scholarship weekly.  These smaller workshops will culminate with a major education summit at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., on Nov. 12.

Today’s communications scholars recognize that Latinos are shaping communication and contributing to the Latinization of U.S. culture. DePaul’s program in Latino Media and Communication offers high caliber courses based on an awareness and appreciation of Latino cultures in the U.S., grounded in history, communication, culture, performance, and sociology.  These Latino focused courses are in Public Relations & Advertising, Intercultural Communication, Journalism, and Media & Cinema Studies.
LM&C is open to undergraduate and graduate students within the College of Communication and other Colleges and offers a minor or a concentration, taught by outstanding faculty and develops culturally sophisticated and savvy global citizens

This is the action we need to support the success of Pew’s promising news.  This is Latinization and development of Latino leaders. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Latina mothers drive child-centered consumption

Many corporations are finally realizing that if they want to sell household and baby products, they have to talk with Latina moms. That's because 73% of all Latinas aged 18 to 44 are mothers. Indeed, almost half of all mothers in the United States are women of color. And, because these moms are increasingly online, an online strategy is critical. 

At the  M2Moms conference in Chicago, Oct. 19 and 20th, PMP author Miriam  Muléy will moderate  a panel  entitled "Powering Up with Latina Moms at Your Side." The conference is an annual event and is usually standing room only, so early registration is a must.

Miriam says, "Powering Up with Latina Moms at Your Side” will explore the impact of this exploding demographic on brand sales and learn what other companies are doing to increase market share and brand loyalty to this segment of buyers. From social media, to traditional advertising, to product innovation and more, Moms of Color—and Latina Moms in particular—are essential to powering up sales and market growth for years to come.

Miriam is the author of The 85% Niche, The Power of Women of All Colors--Latina, Black. and Asian.

Latino Link, by another PMP author, Joe Kutchera, discusses why manufacturers that create a website in Spanish have a leg up on reaching these important Mom consumers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Frye Leather Stakes Its Claim to Luxury

Pam Danziger writes in her latest blog:
Get Inspired>>
The Frye Company is a case study in how to build a luxury brand in the new economy
I love my Frye boots.  I’ve owned a number of pairs over the years and just got a new pair from Zappos.  Priced at $295 and made with rugged Fyre quality leather and all tricked out with straps and buckles, I will enjoy wearing these boots for years to come.  That’s why I was thrilled to learn that Frye had just opened its first branded boutique in SoHo.  Coincident with that boutique opening, Frye also relaunched its website with enhanced search capability and a new look.

Frye is stepping out to create a new luxury brand based upon its ‘cowboy/girl’ western chic, one that perfectly matches the ‘zeigeist’ for authentic quality and value in the new economy where even the affluent are watching their pennies.  Frye has leading-edge design covered too, as low-heeled riding boots are the look this fall.

As a brand, Frye doesn’t have to resort to marketing gimmicks like red soles to earn their luxury label.  Frye delivers boots of unique and distinctive design that expressively communicate the wearer’s attitude.  And that also assures that the brand has exclusivity.  Frye boots are clearly not for everyone, so a person  makes a statement when he or she chooses to wear Frye’s.

Frye is no upstart, with a 150- year heritage of creating leather goods in the U.S.A.  Frye’s boot designs reference the past but also have an edge that propels the brand into the future.
Frye stands behind its ‘made in America’ quality products by offering a two-year warranty.  Frye also has an in-house refurbishing center for boots that fall outside of the warranty, but need a little TLC.
The key to Frye’s success is affordable luxury.  Frye boots hit the ‘premium’ sweet spot; higher price points than that found at mass, like Nine West, yet lower than that of exclusive designer brands.  But even though Frye’s are priced under designer brands, they are super-high quality which you can wear day-in, day-out with complete confidence and very little upkeep.

Take Action>>
New luxury brands, like Frye, need to deliver 10 key values — Use every consumer point of contact to deliver those values 
Ultimately your brand is the vehicle by which you deliver a luxury experience to your customer.  The brand communicates the value and values that your company and its products stand for. The Frye Company clearly understands and delivers their unique value proposition succinctly.   My new book, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury:  How New Consumer Values Are Redefining the Way We Market Luxury, defines ten key attributes that luxury brands must convey.  These attributes include superior performance, craftsmanship, innovation, sense of place and time, heritage, creative expression, exclusivity and responsibility.

For example, Frye’s products express responsibility through leather sourced from local farms and tanneries, while the Frye SoHo boutique conveys responsibility by using reclaimed wood paneling, recycled fixtures and antique tools.  These architectural elements also encompass the attributes of heritage and place and time that are also essential for a luxury brand.  Marketers must use all touch points with the consumer, from advertising, product design and materials, packaging, website and retail environment to communicate the brand’s core values, as Frye has done.

Resources to help you think in new ways about the values of your luxury brand
For those looking to delve more deeply into luxury branding, besides my book ‘Luxe,’ I also recommend BrandAbout by Andrea Syverson.  Of all the many books on brands, Andrea takes a totally new and unique approach.  BrandAbout gives you a practical approach to branding that includes ten practical lessons in branding with more than 40 creative homework exercises.  She makes branding fun, rather than drudgery.

These two books together, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury and BrandAbout, will give you the tools you need to build a new luxury brand, like The Frye Company is doing, or reinvigorate an existing brand.   Paramount Market Publishing is offering a discount to these two practical books for smart professionals.  Click this link to access that offer.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

High-end fashion brands should embrace social media

What kind of fashion brand customer is influenced by social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare?  If you guessed that only students and young adults with minimal budgets to spend on fashion frequent these sites, you might be surprised.  And if you are a luxury fashion brand making this assumption, you may be damaging your brand, according to new research on the high-end fashion customers from  Unity Marketing.

 The study, entitled The Fashionable Affluent,  gives insights into how affluent consumers shop for fashion, including how social media influences their fashion choices.

While the data does show that young consumers are more likely to use social media, it also gives a very different income and overall demographic profile than one might expect.  The research study was headed up by Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the new book, Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury:  How New Consumer Values Are Redefining the Way We Market Luxury.

"Without a doubt the population using social media skews young, but luxury fashion brands need to be aware that these media are powerful influencers of shoppers with a great deal of discretionary income and high-net-worth.  The study found that nearly half of the ultra-affluents (incomes $250,000 and above) and HNW ($1 million or more in investible assets) fashion customers surveyed were spurred by information gathered via social media to visit web sites, shop in retail stores, and to make a decision about which luxury fashion brand to purchase,"  Danziger explains.

"Ultra-affluents and HNW fashion shoppers were far more likely to be influenced by social media than were HENRYs (High Earners Not Rich Yet, $100k-$249.9k) and low-net-worth shoppers (less than $1 million investible assets)."

"Fashion marketers need to make strategic use of social media to build powerful relationships between their brand and these high-value customers.  That will translate a shopper's 'like' of a brand or becoming the 'mayor' of a retail location into added revenues and profits," Danziger says.

The data gathered by Danziger gives insight into affluent consumers' preferences and buying behaviors when it comes to fashion, including the demographic profile of the best customer for each fashion category.

In the survey, affluent shoppers were asked about purchases of clothing and apparel, shoes, handbags, and other fashion accessories, including the role of the designer in their purchases.  Key data collected includes:

What fashion items they buy
How much they spent in total on high-end apparel, shoes, handbags and other fashion accessories
What influences them in their fashion choices
Where they like to shop
Role of social media in influencing their purchases

To learn more about special report offers from Danziger, click here.  To purchase a copy of Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury, click here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Not just market research

Although Paramount Market Publishing is noted for its books about market research, branding, advertising and multicultural market segments, we  do publish a few "outliers."

One of them that continues to be popular is Peaceful Journey, A Chaplain's Guide to End-of-Life Care, written by Matthew Binkewicz, a Russian Orthodox priest, who serves as a hospice chaplain.

We ask all of our authors to share their "wisdom and insight" with us and Matthew does just that in helping terminally ill patients and their loved ones cope with end of life and respond to their spiritual needs.

Another of our "outlier" books is Dive In, Springboard into the Profitability, Productivity,  and Potential of the Special Needs Workforce by Nadine O. Vogel. As John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc. said at the time of the book's publication, "Dive In provides the information and tools to better understand how to remove barriers to employing this large, loyal segment of the population." Nadine shares wisdom and insight on this topic and makes it clear the valuable contributions the special needs workforce can make in any corporate or organizational setting.

We have just undertaken a new series by William E. Miller on performance leadership. The first in the series, a highly practical book on interviewing that can help everyone in  your organization get on the same page and avoid costly hiring disasters is titled, The Art of Strategic Interviewing.

We have just signed an author who has discovered,, compiled, and edited a cache of letters from a common Union soldier in the NYS 147th regiment. We'll be bringing that book out in time for the holidays, so stay tuned if  you are a Civil War aficionado or know someone who is.  

If you have an interesting book idea that would appeal to a niche audience, consider letting Paramount Market Publishing have a look at the project. Even if we aren't the right folks to publish  your book, we may be able to help you think through your strategy for publication. You can reach us through our website,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Want focus group success? Ask questions, listen, observe, read between the lines

 Although our authors represent many different companies and opinions, they are also in accord on somethings. Author Robert Morais (Refocusing Focus Groups), responded to a comment on this blog by Judith Langer (author of The Mirrored Window) about the advocates of neuromarketing who believe that focus groups are out of date.

Here's what Bob Morais has to say:

"I agree with Judy Langer’s comments on the Fast Company Neuromarketing story.  As much as critics deride focus groups, marketers still spend about $1B a year to field them.  Some of that money is wasted because there are countless wrong ways to conduct focus groups.  But some of the investment in focus groups is surely well spent, producing knowledge and insight that neuroscience cannot generate.  The key to better focus groups is asking the right questions, using smart techniques, listening and  observing closely, and reading between the lines."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Is Twining's Making a Mythstake to change Earl Grey?

Consumers of Twining's Earl Grey tea are up in arms because the company has added more citrus flavor to the tea. A company spokesperson said the company would not respond to consumer calls to return to the old flavor because it had done market research and the tea had to "evolve."

Innovation Myths and Mythstakes (Mistakes) by Tom Coffey, Dave Siegel, and Mark Smith includes 7 myths, several of which deal with following consumer research, no matter what. In Myth # 12, "There's No Such Thing As A Bad Idea," the authors caution against using such research to change a product without asking some vital questions such as:
Does the consumer intend to buy your new item?
What is the most compelling reason consumers give for their interest?
Is there reason besides "needing to evolve" (such a steep decline in sales) to think that innovation is needed?

We have to wait and see whether Twinings is about to have a "Classic Coke" moment as many "tweeters" are predicting and be forced to back down from the new recipe. But before  you decide you need to innovate, just to say you are doing so, step back and consider the 27 myths.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Whatever happened to American Demographics?

That was such a great magazine!

Often, when our customers learn that Paramount Market Publishing was founded by former staff members of American Demographics,  Jim Madden and Doris Walsh, they will ask, Whatever happened to the magazine? Although it is no longer published as a separate magazine, some content and the name was incorporated into Advertising Age. The two covers you see in this blog were drawn by Tom Parker (and you see the self-portrait), who illustrated the covers for many years.

Last week, Cheryl Russell, the former editor-in-chief of American Demographics magazine was quoted extensively in a USA Today update on what we have learned from the 2010 Census. The article begins with the following summary:

"The USA is bigger, older, more Hispanic and Asian and less wedded to marriage and traditional families than it was in 1990. It also is less enamored of kids, more embracing of several generations living under one roof, more inclusive of same-sex couples, more cognizant of multiracial identities, more suburban, less rural and leaning more to the South and West."

"It was always predicted that we would be diverse, but it's happened faster than anyone predicted," says Cheryl Russell, former editor in chief of American Demographics magazine, now editorial director of New Strategist Publications, publisher of reference tools. "Diversity and the rapid growth in diversity is one of the reasons we have a black president today. That's one thing that would never have been predicted."

Read more here about How America Changed

 And you really can't talk about American Demographics without mentioning Peter Francese,  Founder and President of American Demographics, Inc. Peter now lives and works in New Hampshire and continues to be a widely recognized demographics and consumer markets expert. He speaks and writes frequently on demographic and consumer trends. Earlier this year, Peter helped PMP author Pamela Danziger flesh out a demographic profile of luxury market consumers for her new book Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury.

"It is necessary for anyone who is marketing consumer products in America to figure out what are the faster-growing segments; what are the wealthier segments; what are the segments that buy more of my product than average; where are these people and what are they like?'s easy to get mired down in the technicalities and forget about the fact that real people have to go out and spend real money to buy what you are selling. And if you expect them to do more of that in future years, you've go to learn who they are. It's nothing more complicated than that." 

Read more about the book: Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are focus groups old fashioned? No way.

 Judy Langer, one of the founders of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) and a highly respected qualitative researcher responded to an article in Fast Company touting "new" research methods (neuroscience) and criticizing traditional types of focus group research.  Here is the original Fast Company article. Her response which appeared on her Facebook page follows:

" Sigh. Just about everyone who touts a "new"
(sometimes not really new) qualitative method uses "traditional" focus
groups as a straw man.  "We get insights through our wonderful method
that we would never have gotten any other way, just believe us," the
argument goes.  It used to be that the quants attacked qual but now the
attacks come from other qualies as a way to promote their services.
Besides the fact that so-called traditional focus groups have often been
valuable, this ignores the trend to deeper focus group methods.  Too

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Luxury Brands Like Prada Struggle with Mixing A-List Reputations and D-List Countries of Manufacture

By Pam Danziger, author of Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury

Get Inspired>>
Prada is going to China not just to sell, but to make — Is this where your brand should go too?
Prada – it’s a name synonymous with luxurious Italian fashion and design. That’s why the Wall Street Journal story on Prada manufacturing in China gave me a jolt. Click here to see the story.
Prada is gambling a great deal on the notion that its customers won’t care about where their clothes and handbags are made as long as that logo is there.  Miuccia Prada, the brand’s designer, says, “Sooner or later, it will happen to everyone because [Chinese manufacturing] is so good.” Many luxury consumers would beg to differ, as would I.

For a brand like Prada, being made in Italy is one of the foundational pillars of the brand. Without it, all that’s left is a hollow shell of the classic luxury brand. A recent Unity Marketing survey among 1,321 affluent luxury consumers with an average income of $287.2k reveals the danger in Prada’s made in China strategy. Over 80 percent of the luxury customers agreed with this statement:
“Many luxury goods brands have a heritage associated with a particular country, such as Chanel with France, Gucci with Italy or Mercedes Benz in Germany. These country associations are important to maintain and integral to the perception of the luxury brand.”

Brands like Prada, which displays ‘Milano’ proudly in its logo, are closely aligned with a specific country or place and have the most to lose if changes are made to where it traditionally has manufactured products. These companies need to understand that the mystique of their brands is a complex amalgamation of reputation of the company, experience in the store or online, and knowledge of the craftsmanship in manufacture of the goods.  If a luxury good is made in a country with a questionable reputation, this decision can damage the brand far more than it saves in overall costs.
In that survey, China led the ‘D-list” of countries for place of manufacture. Some 56 percent of the luxury consumers surveyed said that they associate China with poorer quality goods.
Even Chinese luxury consumers are suspicious of made in China goods, as consultant Armano Branchini says in the WSJ article, “Chinese consumers are ready to pay higher prices for luxury brands, but they want products not to be manufactured in China.”

Take Action>>
Think verycarefully about brand integrity and consumer confidence if you chose to ignore the halo that traditional place of manufacture bestows 
In this time of economic uncertainty, the pressure is on for brands to move to China or other low-cost countries in order to bolster operating margins and keep prices in line. Further, production capacity in many traditional European countries is limited, as we were reminded not long ago when Louis Vuitton had to close some of its stores early in the day because stock was running low.

Before making any such drastic move, companies need to conduct market research to talk to loyal customers who will be affected by such a move. Marketers need to learn through one-on-one interviews or focus groups about their customer’s prejudices and fears should products be manufactured in new places. By understanding the specific areas of concern to the customers, marketers can develop marketing messages that address these concerns directly.

Such research will reveal to luxury marketers the importance of place of origin in the buying equation for their brand. Through this understanding, they can use country of manufacture to their advantage when they can; and if not, take steps proactively to counter negative perceptions about a country as a place to manufacture.

Brands may find it is better to accept the increase in price and limited availability of product in order to play up the prestige that comes from association with an ‘A-list’ country of manufacture, rather than switching to production on the cheap in a country that might damage the brand.

For companies that already source their goods in ‘D-list’ countries or decide the time is right to make the move, they need to educate the consumer. Luxury marketers in these cases must convey to the consumer that they hold high standards of quality, regardless of the country that produces the product.  For example, they might take their customers behind the scenes into the factories through videos or pictures on the company website to demonstrate quality standards are in place.

Luxury marketers must work to overcome the negative association with the “Made in China” stamp
While it is tempting to ignore the country of manufacture in one’s marketing efforts, especially if it is a ‘D-list’ country, luxury marketers do so at their own peril. They must address head-on the country of origin of their products, because they can be sure their customers are flipping the item over to take a look at that country stamp before they buy.

For example, Coach is a USA heritage brand which has moved much production overseas to China. They have been able to seamlessly integrate their global sourcing thanks to the company’s iron-clad lifetime guarantee, which reads, “Coach products are made to ensure satisfaction and service for the natural life of the product. If, during its lifetime, your item should require repair, we offer a repair service for many of our products.” Such a guarantee gives reassurance that quality standards are not compromised no matter where the item is made.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hispanic language wars

David Morse, author of Multicultural Intelligence: Eight Make or Break Rules for Marketing to Race, Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation,  blogs about the new Census findings and the two sides of the argument for and against using Spanish language in advertising.  You can read the entire post here.

More about David's book can be found here.

Do you struggle for perfection?

In his latest thought piece, author Tom Asacker asks the question, "Is perfection the enemy of the good?" and answers, "It depends on your point of view."  Tom says, "Our world is advanced by those who dare to struggle for perfection, the rebels and provocateurs who, like our Founding Fathers, help change our
lives from what it is to what they believe it should be." You can download a pdf of Tom's latest here.

Tom's books which are extended thoughts on branding, advertising, and finding opportunities in the current marketplace include A Clear Eye for Branding, A Little Less Conversation, and Opportunity Screams.

You can find more of his provocative thoughts and a video at his website.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Trying to please everyone (NOT)

Chris Wirthwein, CEO of advertising agency 5MetaCom works primarily with producers of technical and scientific  products. In his book, Brand Busters: 7 Common Mistakes Marketers Make, he gives  advice on how marketers of these products can use well-accepted consumer marketing principles to reach their target audience effectively.

Here are 5 insights from Chris about Mistake # 4, Trying to please everyone.
1. In trying to appeal to everyone, marketers weaken their message to the point that they end up appealing to no one.

2. In marketing, it's about finding out the strengths of your brand that really resonate with your customers and making the most of them.

 3. Studies show if you make a lot of claims in your advertising, you're inviting greater skepticism than if you make just one strong claim.  Narrow your focus.

4. Most marketers use mass media to get customers to make a decision about their products. Mass media are idea for creating  awareness and consideration. One study showed people exposed to product ads were nearly twice as likely to buy those products as people not exposed to the ads.

5. Your product doesn't have to be excellent in all areas for it to be successful. Claiming excellence is all areas only makes  your marketing weak, unfocused, and difficult to believe.

The concept of small luxuries

The small luxury concept...
In a recent story in The Arizona Republic, PMP author Pam Danziger commented on the success of a boutique wine and cheese retailer and an important new trend in luxury marketing.

"Retail isn't a product business anymore," said Danziger, whose Unity Marketing is based in Pennsylvania. "Retail is about experiences. People have come to realize they don't have to spend $1,000 on a handbag to feel pampered. They can buy gourmet food, chocolate or spirits with pocket money and still have an experience that makes them feel special."

Read the article: Couple brings unique concept to Ahwatukee with cheese, wine shop

Danziger's new book identifies FIVE luxury market segments and explains how consumers are redefining the way luxury will be marketed for the foreseeable future.

More about this book: Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury    

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Set an agenda for an interview

Here's an agenda that William E. Miller, author of The Art of Strategic Interviewing, suggests using whenever you are interviewing job candidates:
1. Break the ice and defuse the situation.
2. Ask a few personal questions. Tell me about yourself.  How do you spend your leisure time?
3. Review education history.
4. Review career history.
5. Ask questions to assess compliance with hiring standards.
6. Allow questions from the candidate.
7. Sell the company and job. (optional)

From The Art of Strategic Interviewing by William E. Miller

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Learn from our authors

Most Paramount Market Publishing (PMP) book authors are researchers and independent consultants. Many of them share their insights with their own clients, but we want to make those insights available to a larger audience, including PMP bookbuyers, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter followers. Our authors will be contributing to this blog on a regular basis and we'll provide additional information to help you link to their books, conference appearances, and special research offers.