Understanding the Impact of a Global Pandemic on Buying Behavior

Problem When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a major manufacturer of a consumer hygiene product noticed their sales were shifting. With the onset of the pandemic the entire way consumers look for and purchased products was turned upside down. Without the ability to go to shops and see or touch products, consumers were forced to find […]

Customer Website Feedback Improves Users’ Satisfaction

Problem While a national consumer products company was in the process of “updating” their website, they wanted to find out what customers liked about their website and what they needed to change to make it more user friendly. Since a company’s website is almost always the first place existing customers or potential customers go for […]

Customized Product Design Research Reduces Guess Work

Problem A national plumbing manufacturer was looking for a third-party research company to assist them with getting feedback from the market on various products designs that would not only meet the market’s needs, but would provide the company with the most business opportunity. The client requested the research include a balance of response from architects, […]

Third-Party Research Provides Association With Objective Results

Problem A major association conducted interviews with 35 of their members. Afterward, they asked: Were they too close to the situation to render objective conclusions? Did their involvement with members shape their conclusions? The association decided they wanted a third-party, trusted advisor’s opinion, and turned to Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM). The association provided AIM […]

What is a Brand?

There’s a lot of talk about a company and its “brand” these days, and lots of money being spent trying to do what people call “branding.” One recent article pointed out that all marketing, especially advertising, works to enhance or modify brand image. But, what is “brand” in the case of a manufacturer? Is the […]

What End Users Want (from Architects and Engineers,That Is)

Architectural and engineering firms, like other businesses, operate in a climate of increasing flux. Relationships that existed between these firms and their clients have undergone profound changes due to the economy and technology, with construction being particularly devastated. Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM), a business-to-business research company, wanted to find out specifics about the relationship […]

What Building Products Manufacturers Need to Know About Smart Buildings

By Maria Lester, LEED AP The building construction industry touches every part of our lives – from our homes, schools and workplaces, to our community spaces and general infrastructure. Beyond doubt, connecting the technology infrastructure to the physical spaces and buildings where we work and live can deliver significant benefits – managing the use of […]

Exploring Difficult-to-Research Technical Markets: The Delphi Investigative Paradigm

Marketing research is the primary tool for both bridging the communication gap with customers and enabling managers to stay in touch with their markets. It involves the specification, gathering, analyzing, and interpretation of information to help management understand the environment, identify problems and opportunities, and develop and evaluate alternative courses of marketing action. The information […]

Manufacturing Helps the Construction Industry Face Its Biggest Challenges

By: Prathmesh Limaye, Senior Research Analyst – Chemicals, Materials, Food, Frost & Sullivan The construction industry is grappling with issues pertaining to productivity and meeting project deadlines that have been intensified following the economic recession of 2008-2009. About 2 million construction workers were let go in the United States alone between 2007 and 2011, and […]

New Type of Safari Involves Appointment Setting

Our sister company, Interline Creative Group, Inc., worked on a new type of program that got great coverage last week as a case history on their website. Even before the recession reduced the number of new project bids at the client, executives at the worldwide fire protection and security consulting firm client wondered how to […]

Tapping Into the Power Tool Market

Developing marketing priorities in any market is always a challenge, and the power tool market is no different. Any company looking to maintain their position, gain market share, or enter such a market has to do their due diligence or risk certain failure. It’s more complex today because of the way information flows. For example, […]

How to Get Building Automation Systems in Specifications

Building Automation involves bringing mechanical and electrical systems and equipment together with microprocessors in order to communicate with each other and other equipment within a building or campus of buildings. With the advent of IoT, however, their value to building owners and operators is becoming enormous – and thus, specifications will be subject to changes. […]

How to Keep Association Members Up to Speed with Confidential Information

Problem The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) is a non-profit organization that represent companies who manufacture kitchen, bath, or other residential cabinets, establishes and promotes standards for the kitchen cabinet industry; defends and advocates in support of the industry; and arms members with valuable tools necessary to promote and grow  their businesses. As part of […]

A Tip for Entrepreneurs

A word to the wise. Winning business by exaggerating your capabilities doesn’t do anyone any favors. It is far more fruitful to find customers who will genuinely benefit from what you actually have to offer. Over-promising only leads to unhappy customers, stressed customer service reps, overworked developers trying to save the day, and wasted time for […]

Who Calls the Shots in Specifications?

More and more manufacturers today are concentrating their sales and marketing efforts on becoming and being the “basis of design.” There is a belief that if your product is “tagged” as the “basis of design,” the company has more of a chance of getting their product purchased and installed. While for some products and in […]

What are the Product Attributes Your Customers are Buying?

Nielsen is a smart company. They study a lot of things. Then they use their studies to draw conclusions. In a recent article – “WHEN IT COMES TO SEARCHING FOR FMCG GROWTH, PRODUCT ATTRIBUTES SHOW THE WAY” – they point out that “Knowing which lever to pull to attract, engage and maintain customers has never […]

Entering a New Market? Let Research Be Your “Compass”

Breaking into a new market with different rules and competitors can be extremely profitable, or a complete disaster, if the company entering the market is not informed and prepared.  Chris Myers of Forbes sums it up well: “When teams try to apply their existing model to a new market, more often than not it ends […]

Is Your Fake News Meter Working?

Journalism, ‘Fake News’ & Disinformation: A Handbook for Journalism Education and Training is an awesome 128 page publication. Published in 2018 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it seeks to serve as an” internationally-relevant model curriculum, open to adoption or adaptation, which responds to the emerging global problem of disinformation that confronts […]

How to Identify Exactly What Customers Want

“How can a business survive if it doesn’t fully understand its customers and their preferences?” The answer is that a business can survive without a thorough understanding of what its customers want – but usually not for very long, and not without missing valuable opportunities. One of AIM’s previous clients, a commercial catalog distribution company, […]

Cold Calling Gets Hot

On average @gordontredgold says it takes 17 cold calls before you connect to a live person and have a conversion. What’s your average? He goes on to say that only six percent of calls lead to a conversation. So, perseverance and persistence are keys of being successful. He says that he made 3025 calls, that […]

How AIM Helped Its Client Discover Critical Pricing Data

Price often has a significant impact on the decision to purchase a product, but it is not the only factor that is important. Complex products and markets require a thorough analysis of available data before making snap decisions to raise or lower prices. One of AIM’s clients wanted to discover the price sensitivity of one […]

How AIM Helped Put a Client’s Negative Publicity Into Perspective

There are many things that can go wrong for a business when marketing and selling its products, and negative publicity is near the top of the list. Criticism tends to be more memorable than praise. When factoring in the ability to receive nearly unlimited information from the internet and improved capability to share information through […]

Taking the Guesswork Out of Product Development

One of AIM’s clients was interested in new product ideas to help protect commercial hospitality property owners and operators from the problems of food-borne illnesses. AIM was asked to explore the various product and service options that might limit the liability and operations issues associated with food contamination. AIM’s client wanted to better understand the […]

What AIM Did When Communications Broke Down

Many organizations publish press releases to announce noteworthy events surrounding the company, its events, and its products. When information from a press release is featured in a print or online article, the company knows that its communications have reached someone, and that its public relations strategy is on the right track. However, depending on the […]

How AIM Helped Measure Employee Satisfaction

It’s hard to argue that employee satisfaction is the cornerstone of any successful business. No business wants its employees to become disengaged. Businesses should take steps to ensure that they are providing employees with the opportunities they need to reach their goals and contribute their best work. However, measuring employee satisfaction accurately is often easier […]

What Does Fashion Have to Do with a B2B Business?

One of the problems B2B marketers face is being pigeon holed. This is when we sit at our desks and make beautiful spreadsheets into neat categories – categories that often fail to reflect actual complexities in business transactions that involve two- and often three-step distribution. One of the ways around this is to step outside […]

Are We Screwed?

“I fear that if trends continue, we will lose control over our markets and our customers. We’ll have done it to ourselves.” Bob Mader, a veteran of the media outlets and seasoned editor, argues that manufacturers can protect the integrity of their brands, distributors can offer benefits like training, financing, inventory management and delivery and contractors have unique quality products to sell. But homeowners have no idea what any of this means.

What Are Advertisers Buying? Part 2: Who Are The Readers, and How Can You Tell?

  Here is part 2 of our ongoing series of white papers examining an overall lack of accountability on both the publisher and advertiser sides of B2B. Every magazine sales rep will claim that their print publication is still their premier asset — which is not surprising given the higher revenues that print vehicles generate […]

What Are Advertisers Buying? Part 1

    Disappearing audits and reader service cards, questionable e-circulation counts, and an overall lack of accountability on both the publisher and advertiser sides are keeping the B2B market in the dark in terms of what is being bought and sold. Publishers do not have a consistent selling proposition or differentiation, and surprisingly, they don’t […]

Brand Familiarity and Preference – The Ongoing Struggle

  You can’t really open up a business magazine these days without coming across something about brand. Books are written about it, websites are created around it, the reading list is endless because the study of a brand seems to be what marketing is all about: creating it, enhancing it, using it to generate revenue. […]

Moving to Perpetual Change

Tony Dellamaria, the Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer for Stamats Business Media, writes about how challenging it is today to explain to friends and family what he does. “The thing that has changed the most is that products we sell [magazines, online advertising, newsletters, email marketing, content marketing, webinars, research, trade shows, video, hosted buyer events, and educational conferences to name just a few] are perpetually changing.

The Response Card in Magazines: To Keep It or Not to Keep It? Is that the real question?

The response card as a vehicle to communicate has been debated for many years, especially with the advent of the Internet, which accommodates inquiries to websites directly. Many publishers dispense with the card. Others keep it, and continue the debate. Some, like I&S, re-institute it as a test or in conjunction with an advertiser investment. […]

Direct Mail as a Tactic

Direct mail is the soul of AIM. We subscribe to the Bob Stone principle of Response, “People won’t switch brands, try a new product or service, unless they have a reason. And there are only two reasons why people buy anything: to gain something, or protect what they already have. Keep that in mind, and […]

Publicity as a Tactic

A product or company message is leveraged through media outlets, which have a vested interest in publicizing newsworthy items to the trade. AIM practices a public relations technique called “marketing public relations.” Unlike traditional PR, marketing PR has only one goal: response. One of our clients had a recall to a series of products. AIM […]

Internet as a Tactic

Quite simply, nothing should be done without an Internet component. The Internet, like the invention of the printing press, is revolutionizing our information sharing behaviors. Regardless of the tactic, a company should always figure an Internet component to supplement the marketing tactic. For example, a loyalty program run by AIM involved 2,000 distributors. In addition […]

Advertising as a Tactic

He who has a thing to sell and goes and whispers in a well is not so apt to get the dollars as he who climbs a tree and hollers. Sage advice, found on a sugar packet! Advertising is the “big gun” in the marketing arsenal. Even in this age of ignoring advertising, what is […]

Positioning as a Tactic

As the Internet becomes the preferred venue for many marketers, a dilemma arises: Do you push your message to customers and businesses using traditional tactics like advertising and direct mail, or do you follow the “new” mantra – create inbound marketing strategies and methods that will pull in customers searching for what they want? Customers […]

Media Planning as a Tactic

Many agencies that do media planning utilize complex equations using costs per inquiry, costs per exposure, and so on to develop projections. For example, most agencies deal strictly with the “price” of the media, which is the last factor that AIM considers. In fact, price is the least important factor in the equation. In one […]

A tactic has little value if you don’t know how to USE it.

AIM’s objectivity is a huge advantage when it comes to evaluating and recommending proper tactics. A company marketing a flexible piping system in fire protection called us in for consultation. His competitor was running full-page ads in major trade publications. After product evaluation and competitive study, AIM recommended direct mail. Initially skeptical, we assured the […]

Tracking with Data Management

One of our clients turns over their file for a customer mailing that they pull from their million-dollar Enterprise system. After each mailing we sent all undeliverable returns to the client, pleading with them to delete them from these records. But, their Enterprise system couldn’t delete the records! Eventually, AIM’s maintenance of the database became […]

Tracking with Readership Analysis

In 1990, AIM published its evolutionary “Behind the Numbers” in Market Research Magazine. The article recognized the relationship between seers and readers of advertising as determined from the raw research studies available and included the “AIM Ratio.” While a simple ratio, the AIM Ratio revealed the relationship of readers to inquiries. That is, unlike seeing […]

Tracking with Profiling

Profiling is gathering characteristics and then using those characteristics to find others of the same ilk, whether people or products. A profile of the perfect customer leads to the perfect offer. While running a loyalty program, AIM was able to track purchases of a specific product for a client. The profile that emerged was that […]

TRACKING is an important – sometimes CRITICAL skill.

Tracking has implications throughout the marketing process, from monitoring movement of customers to the dissemination of literature. One client called on AIM to evaluate their fulfillment system. The client had everything in place: collecting leads, sending out the literature, sending the leads to the rep sales force. Only one thing was missing: collecting them in […]

Retention

As your current markets experience the economy’s effects, your competitors are looking for fresh hunting grounds. Holding onto customers has never been tougher or more critical to success. The problem of retention, however, begins with understanding your own customer base. Recency, Frequency and Monetary (RFM) analysis can give you important insights into what keeps your […]

Measuring Message Appeal

One client asked us to hone their message to a target audience of engineers; specifically, how manufacturers relate to engineers. AIM market research produced four concepts that their targets were interested in: A company that will be there for them for the long term, a company that would be responsive to problems when they arose, […]

Measuring Customer Response

Response contains another principle often overlooked in the marketing mix: conversion to response. In many cases, marketers drive for response and neglect the conversion-to-response ratios. One client wanted to create a package for recruiting students to its technology school. It had a control package that while it did well, needed refreshing. AIM studied the problem […]

Measuring Market Share

AIM conducted one study on a client’s distributor customer base. Knowing this client, we also surveyed the distributor’s customers, the contractors. We painted a more accurate picture of the true size of the market. We presented privately to the National Sales Manager. “Where did you get these numbers?” he asked. “From your customers,” we told […]

If you can MEASURE it, you can control it.

Whether you are talking about readership of advertisements, response to direct mail, or response to a promotional program, to measure your ROI you will need to control WHAT you do, and HOW you do it. For example, we once placed 26 different 800- phone numbers (pre-Internet days) to measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign […]

What Are Advertisers Buying?

Disappearing audits and reader service cards, questionable e-circulation counts, and an overall lack of accountability on both the media outlet and advertiser sides are keeping the B2B market in the dark in terms of what is being bought and sold. It is time for advertisers to take responsibility and demand accountability for what they are […]

Inquiry Behavior In Buildings Magazine

The purpose of this white paper is to explore lead generation in BUILDINGS magazine. The paper will discuss advertising response behavior within that publication through various channels and, therefore, demonstrate the Internet’s impact on lead generation. Besides focusing on BUILDINGS, the report draws on Accountability Information Management, Inc.’s (AIM) studies of thousands of magazines over […]

Findings from the Comprehensive Interviews of Attendees at the 2011 KBIS* Show

Introduction Interline Creative Group, Inc., a full-service marketing organization, exhibited at the 2011 KBIS show for the second year. Our intention was to gather information useful to our clients – and to us. We commissioned Accountability Information Management, Inc. (AIM) once again and conducted over 100 interviews with designers, architects, showroom consultants and others. We […]

Identifying Frequency

Frequency is the preferred strategy, but sometimes, you can use frequency AND size in innovative ways. For example, one client had a very small budget compared to two major competitors who were running spreads in every issue of the two major architectural publications. The innovative AIM media strategy was to select just one of the […]

Identifying Reach

Reach can be defined in many ways. One of those ways is making sure you cover the “entire” marketplace. In examining one of our client’s customer files – a major distributor of products in one state – we asked ourselves: how is the coverage by magazines in that state compared to this customer’s file? We […]

IDENTIFYING the problem is the key to real understanding.

Identifying the target is often the most important part of the marketing process. Many times, a company overlooks obvious information within their own database. For example, a software client marketing software to architects hired AIM to purchase media. In reviewing his records (by size of company in terms of employees and annual sales), we were […]

Inquiry Behavior In Trade Publications

The subject of inquiries to advertising is a topic that is always interesting. With the advent of the Internet, the topic has gained another emphasis and subsequent debate over their quantity and value “in the electronic age.” This is especially true in trade publications in the business-to-business environment. This is because of the “value” that […]

Social Media as a Weapon in the Information War

Let’s face it: we’re in an information war. The prize? Time. Consumption of information has never been higher. But what if social media were used as a tool for this information war? What if social media were used to spread messages – including propaganda – to not only fight within this war, but win battles? As more and more people enter the war, persuasion remains a decisive factor in fighting it, and social media is the battleground. And that’s just what is happening all around us.

Turning Data Into Insights for Competitive Advantages

According to the authors, data and analytics allow companies to tap feedback and offer tactics to improve their customer engagement and, therefore, satisfaction. The good news is that B2B companies are gaining the most benefits from this shift because they share data with customers in a way that directly strengthens their relationship. In other words, it is better to give than receive. This MIT 23 report tells you all about it.

Packaging and Your Place on the Shelf: Or, What Is Really a Shelf Anyway?

People are social animals, and social animals need other animals if they are going to be social. And while we aren’t arguing with the convenience of online shopping (thanks to Amazon who continues to lose money despite its valuations), you can’t really touch a product on a computer – yet. And until you can, people will want to “get out of the house.” Sure, meals may be going up, but shopping isn’t going away anytime soon.

Findings from the Comprehensive Interviews of Attendees at the 2010 KBIS* Show

Introduction Interline Creative Group, Inc., a full-service marketing organization, exhibited at the 2010 K/BIS show. Their intention was to gather information useful to their clients. For this purpose, Interline retained Accountability Information Management, Inc. to conduct research in their booth. The offer was simple: $5 for 5 Minutes. Over the three days of the show, […]

How to Understand the Future of Customer Service

Download Deloitte’s third survey of global contact centers representing more than 450 contact centers here. Among other things, the report says that chat and messaging is expected to grow from 6 to 16 percent, and that voice is expected to remain the most prominent channel for customer interaction, but will likely fall. I think we […]

How We Study Advertising

  The study of advertising has been going on since advertising began. At its most rudimentary form, measurements of advertising are comprised of responses to the messages. At its most sophisticated form, research attempts to study the hidden influences of the messages, which can take place psychologically well after that message was received by the […]

How Often do You Check Your Phone?

Tick tock, tick tock. Many millennials haven’t gone more than five hours without checking social media according to eMarketer who cites a new study from Qualtrics, a research company that offers Qualtrics Experience Management products and Accel, a venture capital firm. They also found that 42% of millennial respondents said they hadn’t lasted five hours […]

What Are Advertisers Buying? Part 3: Why Circulation Matters

  Here is part 3 of our ongoing series of white papers covering the disappearance of audits and reader service cards. Our meetings with magazines and AIM’s own internal media analysis show that the percentage of circulation at B2B publications that is one-year qualified vanished (perhaps one of the reasons rep knowledge about circulation disappeared). […]

People-Based Marketing Report

This 37-pager based on people-based marketing is from bounceX. It discusses the future of shopping, and how interpreting and reacting to the digital body language of website visitors is going to be central to success. In theory, they are trying to bring intimacy of a brick and mortar store experience to every aspect of a […]

Magic Carpet Ride

Alibaba does not allow third parties to track its sales conversion information. In fact, tracking data on Alibaba is only accessible to companies that sign up to use its Alimama tech stack.  eMarketer says Alibaba will account for 31.9 percent of digital ad revenues in China this year. Alibaba expects revenues to grow between 45% […]

What Are Advertisers Buying? Part 5: Tracking Reader Inquiries

  So you think you know response? Part 5 of our series tells you the impact of disappearing reader service cards — and what you can do about it. Up until recently, most B2B publications bound a reader service card, or “bingo” card, in each issue. Each ad would have an inquiry number printed at […]

Crystal Ball and the Customer

“Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer” is a 24 pager from Forrester that you can download here. Among the insights are: A prediction that one-third of companies in the B2C space will begin changing their business structure this year. Trust has now become the currency of business. And outline […]

What Are Advertisers Buying? Part 4: Audit versus Publisher Statements

  Here is Part 4 of our series of white papers covering the disappearance of audits and reader service cards. From the publishers’ perspective, perhaps it’s largely a matter of cost why BPA or ABC isn’t pursued at the level it used to be: Paying for a full audit to be conducted by BPA or […]