The Silent Killer Of Corporate Profits: Ad Waste

The latest from Prosper on Forbes.com

All of the items below are from recent headlines or research reports and they depict the turmoil and turbulence in today’s advertising world caused when advertisers attempt to deal with a new technology-driven media environment.

Apparently marketers aren’t winning this new war as the headlines indicate. Each year, hundreds of millions, maybe even billions, of ad dollars may be wasted due to outdated communication models. Continue reading…

3 Reasons Why Consumers’ Gas Price ‘Savings’ Aren’t A Sure Bet For Solid Retail Sales

From Forbes on May 4, 2015:

When gas prices began to decline late last year, consumers immediately felt the relief during the heavy spending holiday season, and confidence in the economy reached levels not seen since before the Great Recession. As 2015 dawned pump prices remained low, economic sentiment continued at elevated levels, yet consumers didn’t follow through with a “spend, spend, spend” mantra for the New Year.

Conventional thinking would tell us that the positive outlook for the economy combined with the relief from one of consumers’ bigger burdens would equal robust spending, perhaps even leading the U.S. to that “recovery” we’ve been hearing so much about. And while March retail sales didn’t disappoint, this could be attributed to the early Easter this year and perhaps not so much to the extra savings at the pump.

Conventional wisdom may have applied back in 2006; however, post-recession consumers are more of an enigma. Today, shoppers’ new normal is characterized by cautious, planned spending; focus on personal financial stability; and skepticism regarding the macro issues that might upset their personal microcosms. One month of solid retail sales does not a trend make, and one must keep a near constant eye on shoppers in order to gauge which direction they may be headed next. Continue reading

Apple Watch Launch Courts Nearly 10 Million Shoppers

From Forbes on April 23, 2015:

When the Apple Watch officially releases this week, can we expect consumers to bite?

According to Prosper’s latest insights from more than 6,000 U.S. adults surveyed during the first week of April, 4.0% are considering purchasing the Apple Watch in the next three months; an additional 3.0% are thinking about buying after the initial frenzy wears down, in the next three to six months. While those single-digit figures may seem small (especially for an Apple product launch), that’s nearly 10 million shoppers eyeing the Apple Watch in the immediate term (within the next three months) and 7.3 million in the market three to six months out. All told, Apple has the potential to adorn 17 million (7.1%) wrists in the next six months – a figure that could finally energize the smartwatch “trend” we’ve been hearing about for the past few years. Continue reading

Prosper Continues to Support Predictive Analytics Education

The Prosper Foundation Continues to Support Predictive Analytics Education and Workforce Development

2015 Grant Recipients Include Leading U.S. Universities and First European University

Worthington, OH – 4/30/15

As companies continue to decipher big data, the ability of users to identify meaningful findings from relevant data for better informed business decisions will be the new “must have.” The Prosper Foundation grants universities access to these types of relevant data and analytics tools that help prepare students for careers in a data-driven world. The foundation’s mission is to facilitate transdisciplinary collaboration between corporate and academic worlds using consumer insights as the common language.  Continue reading

Millennials Say Amazon.com Provides Best Customer Service, Boomers Disagree

From Forbes.com:

While consumers overall recently voted L.L.Bean the best in customer service, if you ask a Millennial, he or she will likely disagree. New analysis from Prosper’s Customer Service Champions ranking reveals a vast disparity between two of the most divergent generations, Millennials (born 1983-1997) and Boomers (born 1946-1964), when it comes to the retailers they elevate to customer service excellence.

First, let’s take a look at Millennials’ choices. This generation crowned online giant Amazon.com as their Customer Service Champion, followed by Victoria’s Secret, Best Buy, Nordstrom, and Macy’s. As an online leader and de facto search engine for many, Amazon’s top position among that this tech-savvy generation should come as no surprise. Add to that the Amazon Prime membership program, which is most heavily concentrated in young customers – nearly two out of five members are under the age of 35 – and Amazon’s got a recipe for loyalty among the Millennial generation that few retailers have been able to successfully copy. Continue reading

L.L.Bean Boots Amazon.com From Customer Service Champion Pedestal

From Forbes.com:

Amazon.com, retail disruptor extraordinaire, has just been given the boot. The Bean Boot.

Crowning 2013’s inaugural list of Customer Service Champions, Amazon slipped to second position in 2014, behind L.L.Bean (the former #2). Prosper Insights & Analytics’ 2014 Customer Service Champions were developed from a write-in vote from more than 6,000 U.S. consumers (18+) during the third quarter of 2014 and weighted by each retailers’ relative size in annual revenues as well as its fan base, as defined by a retailer’s promoters (per the Net Promoter Score.*)

This year’s results provide interesting insight into the mindset of consumers. In the last decade, Amazon quickly rose to top of mind among consumers with deep discounts, a wide array of products and services, and free shipping incentives, providing the catalyst for changing the traditional definition of customer service in the digital age. In contrast, century-old L.L.Bean has relied less on the heavy promotions that have marred retailers’ profit margins during the recession and in the years since, instead upholding customer satisfaction through quality products – Guaranteed to Last™ – as well as the no-threshold free shipping incentive that consumers love. With consumers slowly easing back into spending, and retailers searching for solutions to pull back from deep discounting while still remaining competitive, L.L.Bean certainly provides a model for differentiating via satisfaction and quality which resonates with today’s consumers.

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Prosper Integrates Science of Influence Metrics into Learning Evolution’s Online Training Programs for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Companies and Retailers

Worthington, OH – 4/2/2015

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies recognize their vital role in coordinating category management and shopper insights to help retailers keep up with the ever-changing consumer. To meet this need, Learning Evolution and Prosper Technologies have expanded their relationship to integrate Prosper’s Science of Influence metrics into Learning Evolution’s certified online category management and shopper marketing training programs for CPG and Retail firms.  Continue reading

Among Top QSR Chains, Starbucks, Subway, Chick-fil-A Boast Healthiest Patrons

When QSR magazine released its list of top 50 quick service and fast casual chains last year, industry behemoth McDonald’s unsurprisingly sat atop that list. Having served billions and billions of consumers worldwide, McDonald’s 2013 sales in the U.S. were more than double that of second place competitor Subway, intimating that consumers still have an appetite for the Golden Arches. However, consumer tastes and lifestyles are changing, with words like “natural,” “organic,” and “fresh” landing onto competitor’s menus – and onto consumers’ plates. While the movement toward healthier and more responsible living has been a boon to some quick service chains, sales at McDonald’s are consistently suffering.

With this trend in mind, I shuffled the positions of QSR’s top 10 restaurants, re-ranking these establishments not by overall sales, but by the lifestyle choices their patrons make, courtesy of the syndicated insights Prosper collects. Continue reading