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1st2c CGM case-study: Nintendo Wii and The Emergence of Social Commerce

Online commercial platforms such as ebay.com and amazon.com were popular commerce channels for holiday shoppers this Christmas. While the majority of consumers used these online commercial websites a new channel of online consumer commerce began to gain traction.

CGM and Consumer-to-Consumer Commerce

Online forums/message boards were used by consumers to buy and sale items during this Christmas holiday. This new form of commerce resembled in structure to peer-to-peer networks. Peer-to-peer networks in which have gained popularity for downloading music and movie files has influenced a new trend in consumer commerce.

Consumers from across the United States communicated via online forums/message boards in order to buy and sell goods and have created a new form of online consumer commerce, consumer-to-consumer networks. Similar to the p2p networks, each consumer either buying or selling represented a node in which together formed a social network of online consumer commerce.

The Wii Catalyst in Consumer-to-Consumer Commerce

The demand for the Nintendo Wii game console soared this holiday season. Retailers both online and off line were not able to match the consumer demand for this hot holiday item. We at 1st2c discovered that the consumer-to-consumer online network empowered consumers by offering them a additional platform to purchase the Wii gaming console. Via online forums/message boards people bought and sold Wii consoles without the assistance of traditional online commerce platforms such as ebay.com, walmart.com, and amazon.com.

In addition, consumer-to-consumer online commerce were in some instances the only channel for consumers to obtain a Wii console for this Christmas holiday due to the lack of availability of main stream online commerce platforms .

CGM Discussions of Wii Social Commerce Transactions

Using 1st2c‘s deep web monitoring technology we saw that consumer discussions of this secondary market was substantial and grew as the Christmas holiday approached.

wii-graph-2.png

Effects of Consumer-to-Consumer Commerce

This social commerce channel that developed increased the availability of the Wii to consumers during the holiday season. In addition, it increased the growth of secondary gaming console markets. Consumers that had the Wii game console previous to this holiday rush had the opportunity to sale via the consumer-to-consumer commerce channel and use the revenue to purchase another gaming console or software.

An example of this phenomena was observed by our research team in the consumer cell phone market. Consumers used the consumer-to-consumer channel through CGM platforms (ie forums/message boards) to sell their cell phone in order to purchase a new model via traditional retail channels. This form of commerce reduced the duration and financial barriers that consumers faced when deciding if to upgrade to a new cell phone.

The Future of Consume-to-Consumer Commerce
The emergence of consumer-to-consumer commerce via social channels (ie forums/message boards) poses some important questions regarding retail markets and marketing of consumer goods.

1. What can be learned from social commerce and adapted to retail commerce?

2. What consumer insights can be learned from social commerce?

3. How can marketing techniques adapt to the evolving social consumer generated media platforms such forums/message boards, blogs, videos and social networks?

We will continue to follow this CGM trend as it evolves in order to provide our clients with tools to maximize their marketing impact and ROI.

1st2c in a nutshell

1st2c (www.1st2c.com) is the home of online Online Strategizing Research© – the most comprehensive data-to-strategy methodology available for the networked market. Strategizing Research©’s insight and opportunity driven orientation creates a vivid picture of mindsets and behaviors of the networked marketplace and adds new dimensions to both online and offline strategies.

1st2c works with Fortune 500 companies on adding new dimensions to overall marketing strategy and on monitoring and engaging the networked market.

Ofer Friedman

Chief Research & Client Officer

1st2c

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eBay’s Social Media-Hijacking

1st2c CGM Case Study

Ebay’s seller boycott of February 2008 calls attention to the scenario of users turning your own platform against you.

Late January 2008 eBay, the iconic online auction powerhouse, announced changes in fees and policy with primarily effect on selling.

This policy change probably made good business sense for eBay that probably anticipated some seller disgruntlement.

But the Internet-empowered marketplace offers more options than just sharing of protests or mobilizing peers in purely Social Media platforms. Very quickly eBay found T-shirts with slogans like “Boycott FeeBay” or “Don’t buy eBay” put out for sale on eBay’s own platform…

Regardless of the eventual culmination of the eBay incident, it calls attention to the not-improbable scenario of users “overtaking” open networking or commerce platforms and turning them against their own operator interests. We label this situation: “Social Media-Hijacking“.

This case study looks at the dynamics of this incident of Social Media-Hijacking and addresses the key strategies for managing such situations.

Anatomy of a failed user mutiny
Late January 2008 eBay announced it would charge sellers 25%-50% less to list their items on the site but take a larger slice of fees on actual sell of items. At the same time eBay terminated the ability for sellers to submit negative feedback on their customers and impose 21-day holds on transactions in certain circumstances.

These policy changes drove a semi-organized group of “power sellers” who felt shortchanged over the recent changes to mobilize a popular boycott on eBay.

The “backlash” of sellers (mostly Power Sellers) looked like potential crisis in unprecedented dimensions:

  • Extensive media coverage for a call for a week of boycott (February 18-25)
  • Thousands of discussions in blogs, forums and other Social Media platforms
  • More than 60(!) different videos on YouTube with 100,000s of viewings
  • And the “hijacking” of eBay’s own trading platform to offer eBay boycott T-shirts and even a Kleenex box…

 

Examples of Boycott eBay items put on sale on eBay

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But something seems to have gone wrong for the mutineers.

The results of the protest were unclear and much disputed. Online auction trackers such as PowerSellersUnite and Medved reported that eBay’s total auction listings may have dropped as much as 13 per cent over the week. But in effect listings returned to normal levels (eBay ran a one-day discount listing promotion the week before).

 

A deep dive into Social Media surfaces additional insights that shed light on the dynamics of the eBay boycott.

ebay-graph.jpg

 

Two key observations that draw attention in Table 1:

 

  • Bloggers (typically playing a critical role in agenda setting) take only minor weight in driving of public involvement
  • Public attention nose-dives only two days after official boycott start date

 

In retrospective, Social Media seemed to have provided an efficient “early reading” of public engagement and of the reasons for the failure of this potential crisis to gain momentum.

Analysis of online consumer dialog provides further understanding of the non-materializing of the eBay crisis:

  • Boycotters announced the move ample time before it actually took place, thereby overshooting the peak of public interest and killing the element of spontaneity
  • Many sellers saw the boycott as a window of opportunity to improve their listings and sales when key competitors “left their watch”
  • Many sellers talked about “absorbing the costs” rather than transferring them to buyers, thereby denying the latter the motivation join the protest

 

Attention: Social Media-Hijacking scenario

The eBay boycott failed to snowball to a crisis situation for eBay.

However, surfacing of the reasons for that failure does improve our understanding of the determinants of grassroots mobilization in the digital marketplace.

After all, the understanding what doesn’t work provide clues to the understanding of what does work.

But the eBay boycott also draws attention to the diversity of interfaces available to users and consumers in open commerce properties like eBay, Amazon, Overstock, etc.

This incident demonstrates the fact that activist users and consumers are well aware and ready to take advantage of interaction and content generation platforms OTHER than those designated for peer-to-peer networking.

Ebay does have a very busy discussion board platform, but “enterprising” protestors attempted to “hijack” its commerce platform – a critical interface with buyer audiences.

Regardless of how successful this particular attempt was it may warrant extra attention from all social platform operators, reputation management and crisis management experts.

What will be the most effective strategy alternative to manage such situations?

1. Mine-sweeping strategy?

(Immediate removal of adverse content and blocking/banning of offenders)

2. iscrediting strategy?

(Denouncement of the unfairness and abusiveness of Social Media-Hijacking)

3. Rationalizing strategy?

(Publicizing information and possibly initiating Social Media outreach work about the reasons and benefits of the move that triggered Social “Media Hijacking”)

4. ontainment strategy?

(Tolerating such initiatives by allowing them for a limited time period)

 

5.  Ignoring strategy?

(Unlimited tolerating such initiatives)

The answer may well be a combination of strategies or even a changing combination of strategies depending on the particular situation and the dynamic of market response.

In view of the increasingly informed, involved, active and socially empowered nature of consumers in the networked marketplace, decision makers and specialists may benefit from readiness to Social Media-Hijacking situations by mapping of scenarios and evaluating potential actions.


1st2c in a nutshell

1st2c (www.1st2c.com) is the home of Online Strategizing Research© – the most comprehensive data-to-strategy approach in the networked market.

Online Strategizing Research© creates a vivid picture of the marketplace and its dynamics and identifies actionable insights and opportunities.

1st2c works with marketers and agencies to empower competitiveness and facilitate growth by monitoring and engaging the networked market and adding new dimensions to overall marketing strategy.

 

Ofer Friedman
Chief Research & Client Officer, 1st2c

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1st2c CGM Report: Wii Triggers Social Commerce

 

Social Media sees the development of digital consumer-to-consumer trade

Social Media is already challenging the hegemony of commercial media, but has it already begun to incubate a challenge (or an opportunity) for commercial trade?

This holiday season saw the age old phenomenon of Social Trade being energized and re-shaped by Social Media has been spotted in the game console market. The lively consumer-to-consumer trading of Nintendo Wii consoles was a vivid example for how Social Networks develop as an alternative (or a parallel) to online commercial trade channels.

The Nintendo Wii case suggests the (re)-emergence of Social-Trade-over-Social-Media as a market force to be reckoned with and managed.

 

Wii redefines consumer “must have” behavior

Nintendo Wii has already been widely celebrated as one of the mega-hits of the 2007 holiday season.

Fueled by media publications about supply shortage, thousands of desperate consumers reportedly skimmed store shelves and turned to online commercial outlets like Amazon and eBay, willing to pay even a premium price of $600 per Wii console.

(http://techland.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2007/11/30/even-at-600-the-wii-is-a-must-have-gift-this-season/)

 

No wonder that below market surface determined consumers turned to Social Media networks not only to find the prized console but also to buy and sell one.

1st2c tracking system picked up a significant increase in volume of posts in social networks during the holiday season, offering Nintendo Wii for sale.

 

Table 1: Volume trend of posts referring to Wii for sale

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Overall number of posts on Wii (21,140) is impressive in itself. Additional terminologies used for with the same intention increase the post count even further.

The surge in offers for selling Nintendo Wii consoles started mid-November and stayed at above normal levels throughout the holiday season, with fluctuations triggered occasionally by both online and offline media publications.

The vast majority of the posts seem authentic, though it is not unreasonable to assume that some were placed by traders masquerading as consumers.

Regardless of who placed the offerings, the most important insight is about the emerging use of social networks as social trading platforms.

Nintendo Wii is just one example for the developing phenomena of Social Media platforms becoming Social Trading platforms.

 

 

Social Media also active as secondary market

 

The case on Nintendo Wii refers to new products traded via social platforms, but what about used (second hand) products?

Recent projects we have done in the mobile communication market identified a very active scene in Social Trading of used handsets.

Typically, first and second tier mobile users are offering their old handset for sale on commercial online trading platforms like Ebay. But the Social Networking platforms are already featuring the same function driven by consumers themselves.

What Social Media offers to these grass-roots traders is a highly segmented shared-interest audience and a highly trusted environment.

On the macro level, Social Media offers a very efficient market driver:

For some types of consumers it lowers the barriers of migration to next generation handsets by offsetting the costs against the resale value of their old handsets.

For other consumers it allows entry to mobile communication.

 

The threat and opportunity in Social Commerce

 

Social Commerce grows and is likely to continue to develop.

For many marketers, Social Commerce poses a threat since it bypasses commercial trading platforms with established trading and promotion infrastructure.

The more consumers shift to social commerce the less control marketers have on what is being offered, how it is being offered and the entire marketer-consumer relationship that follows.

On the other hand, Social Networks can potentially act as market catalysts. They may eliminate availability barriers (a consumer in Timbuktu can make a product available to a consumer in New York). They may accelerate purchase cycles – especially with more costly products (now it’s easier for early adopters to migrate to next generation products but selling the older product they have). They may provide more people more access to a broad variety of products. They facilitate the power of buzz.

Can and should marketers try to manage Social Commerce?

They may have to.

As Social Networks acquire an increasingly critical role in the driving market behavior it becomes a question not of If but of HOW.

Isn’t it another dimension to Social Marketing, guerilla micro-marketing online buzz agents?

The right models will need to account for the new rules of engagement in the networked market (see our pervious case studies).

Interestingly (and perhaps expectedly) we have found Social Trading to sprouting with premium positioned brands. Aspirational brands in diverse markets such as apparel, cars and consumer electronics are already developing Social Commerce.

From both marketing and reputation management considerations, marketers of such brands may benefit from tracking and perhaps also from creating a model for managing online Social Commerce.

 

1st2c in a nutshell

1st2c (www.1st2c.com) is the home of online Online Strategizing Research©. It is the most comprehensive data-to-strategy methodology in the networked market.

Online Strategizing Research© creates a vivid picture of live market mindsets and behaviors and identifies actionable insights and opportunities.

1st2c works with Fortune 500 companies on adding new dimensions to overall marketing strategy and on monitoring and engaging the networked market.

 

Ofer Friedman

Chief Research & Client Officer, 1st2c 

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1st2c CGM Report: The Whole Foods Case-Study

The following case study was conducted in September 2007.

There’s nothing wrong in a CEO doing his best to promote his brand. It is perfectly logical for a CEO to communicate with his networked market online. It is quite smart to do so in those places where your brand and business are discussed.

The unwritten rules of consumer-marketer interaction on Internet’s social media have recently been fire-tested and there’s something to be learn out of this experience for every marketer.

For 8 years, John Mackey the visionary entrepreneur who led the Austin, Texas based natural-foods chain Whole Foods chain to meteoric success was active in Yahoo’s stock community. Using the pseudonym “rahodeb” (his wife Deborah’s name spelled backwards), Mr Mackey has been posting messages on various issues regarding his business.

This phenomena known as “Sock Puppeting” exploded early June following an FTC anti-trust lawsuit alleging that Mr Mackey has been posting controversial company information, trashing competition and touting management.

Social media fails to show “CGM autopilot” effect

Such sensation-charged story, with an official “seal of seriousness”, was sure material for a major online consumer backlash and potential consumer antagonism crisis for the Whole Foods brand.

This was an exemplary case study for 1st2c, the forerunner of Online Strategizing Research©, to examine the DNA of an online consumer-driven crisis situation.

A day-by-day monitoring of online consumer resonance indicates that the stereotypical perception of social media as facilitating and encouraging consumer to mobilize against “misbehaving” marketers is too simplistic.

wholefoods-pic.jpg

Story breaking on July 12, 2007 did trigger a huge surge in consumer talk about both John Mackey and Whole Foods. However, as 1st2c tracking report shows, not only did consumer talk return to previous levels from the very next day but also talk on Mackey behaved differently than talk on Whole Foods. That following surge in talk correlated with media coverage to the issue and to Mackey’s apology posted (this time) on Whole Food’s corporate blog on July 17.

Interestingly, blogs were more aggressive and attempting to mobilize mass action than social mind-sharing platforms (like forums and message boards).

Case study takeaways

Analyzing the nature of consumer response 1st2c analysts highlighted these insights:

1. CEO controversiality does not necessarily rub off on the brand If consumers do not perceive the CEO’s “misbehavior” as compromising their health or interests in an immediate and critical way they are likely to judge his or her practices with limited collateral implications on the brand.

2. John Mackey “behaves” as a brand in terms of consumer attention Many of the surges in talk about Mackey correlate with surges of talk about Whole Foods, sometimes in similar volumes. We have noticed such phenomena looking at consumer brands (mostly consumer goods) and see it as indicative of the significant impact these CEOs do or can have on brand equity, both on the negative and positive side.

3. Blogs represent a different audience and play a different role than social networks Blogs are not the mirror of the market! In many cases they are less so than social networks (Forums, message boards, etc.). The active (vs one shot) blogs tend to represent a more maven, activist and influence-oriented audience while social networks tend to represent the “involved masses”.

1st2c will continue to monitor the market and provide consumers and decision makers with better understanding on the dynamics and the rules and tools of engagement in the networked market©.

Engaging the networked market

1st2c was established in late 2004 as a full service Consumer Media research and strategy powerhouse by internet and brand strategy veterans with extensive international experience. 1st2c is a forerunner of the Online Strategizing Research©. This strategic planning driven research provides vivid market pictures, in-depth understanding of market dynamics and seamless transfer of insights and opportunities to actionables. 1st2c employs well-tested and proprietary technologies and covers both one-to-many and many-to-many platforms.

 

Ofer Friedman
Chief Research and Client Officer
1st2c

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1st2c CGM Report: Northern Rock – Social Media Becomes People’s Crisis Management Mechanism

No doubt September 13, 2007 will earn itself a moniker. Perhaps it’ll be remembered as the ‘terrifying Thursday’ that saw hundreds of consumers queuing at Northern Rock branches, desperate to withdraw their savings, as Britain’s 5th largest mortgage lender found itself in a liquidity crises. Those six days, in which people queued for hours to get at their savings, have already been likened to the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the collapse of the Weimar Republic, the following summer in 1930’s. Behind the headlines, however, 1st2c (www.1st2c.com) analysts observed an emerging social phenomenon, facilitated by the networked market reality, that might change the way market crises are handled in the future.

Using its unique Online Strategy Research© tools, 1st2c identified a change in the way social media is now being used by consumers in crisis situations; A change from deference to reference, from reaction to pro-action, from coping to management.

Chronicle of a crisis foretold

1st2c analysts monitored online resonance on the Northern Rock crisis throughout the first 10 days of its unfolding.

When news of Northern Rock’s temporary cash-flow problem broke, thousands of Britons went online.

As indicated by online mind-sharing behavior (see graph) consumers were highly reactive to media coverage – especially about short-term implications and measures taken by the government and BoE (Bank of England).

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As the event unfolded one could observe a shift in attention from the immediate issue of mortgages to the more macro scope of savings and the economy as a whole.

However, while using the internet for seeking and sharing of information is not new, the Northern Rock affair generated new levels of depth and sophistication of online peer to peer support.

Perhaps like never before in this type of crises, social media was used by consumers as a collective crises management mechanism.

Social media emerges as the people’s crisis management mechanism

While mass media voiced crisis social media voiced alongside concern also reassurance, proportions and practical advice.

Not only were concerns and questions answered by calculated reasoning, counter factual possibilities, framing of possible scenarios and suggested solutions. Many individuals across the nation and beyond were informing, reassuring and convincing each other that ideas about withdrawing savings from Northern Rock accounts were irrational and short sighted. It was not uncommon to find criticism of “the media” as over-reacting and “sensation-alizing” the situation for commercial reasons while the real picture is much more balanced.

Perhaps even more interesting were the numerous online entries suggesting that the Northern Rock ‘crisis’ might actually present a wise long-term investment opportunity. This is because the bank’s shares are so low and its sound base and the government’s decisive support will eventually put it back on track to recovery and growth.

These insights suggest the emergence of fundamental change in the balance of powers that shape consumer perceptions, attitudes and behavior. While the traditional models of public opinion forming were largely dominated by corporate media, government media and mass media, the networked market gives rise to a challenger to that dominance — the people’s media.

The Northern Rock crisis is a vivid reality check to decision makers. It demonstrates how the networked marketplace shifts from reactive to proactive. Consumers take the media with a grain of salt and don’t wait for or trust corporations and institutions in defining their world view.

In the face of a shake in confidence in financial markets and the development of adverse economic scenarios it may be advisable for decision makers to consider new strategies for managing online social media.

Perhaps the cornerstone for these strategies is the acknowledgment of the increasing engagement power of peer-to-peer communication.

Precisely for this reason, the understanding of the mechanics and dynamics of online consumer-driven influence is a key aspect of 1st2c’s Strategy Research© methodology.

An IMPORTANT message from the public to crisis managers

BoE’s rapid intervention with decisive measures and the clear presentation of these measures to the public through the media invoked reactions reflecting a sense of control and confidence among the general public.

At the same time, online resonance reflected the existence of a strong unmet need in the crisis management equation!

Numerous discussions conveyed the feeling that while the bank side of the equation was very effectively addressed, the public side of it was less so. Many felt that the government and BoE managed the situation “over their heads”, leaving them with only vague authoritative picture of the implications of this event for their personal finances management.

These feelings were further aggravated by the media’s intensive preoccupation with apocalyptic spin-off scenarios such as a downturn in the real-estate market, interest-rate hype, developing recession, etc.

Concerned Britons expressed a need for authoritative guidance on what they should do to secure their assets in the short term, and how they can protect their assets or adjust their financial plans in face of the talked about adverse economic scenarios.

The expectation for support and guidance was only partially met by peer advice as the expressed need was addressed to authoritative bodies such as the government and BoE.

As difficult as it is to provide long-term advice in a dynamic situation it is noteworthy that the need expressed was psychological as much as it was practical. Online discussions conveyed a strong need for attention and a demonstration of care by authorities for the public first, and only then expectations for guidelines in an apparently still developing situation.

It may well be that the networked market reality that enables immediate support and advice from peers, also changes the expectations from crisis managers in institutions and corporations…

1st2c in a nutshell

1st2c (www.1st2c.com) is the home of Online Strategizing Research© – the most comprehensive data-to-strategy methodology available for the networked market. Strategizing Research©’s insight and opportunity driven orientation creates a vivid picture of mindsets and behaviors of the networked marketplace and adds new dimensions to both online and offline strategies.

1st2c works with Fortune 500 companies on adding new dimensions to overall marketing strategy and on monitoring and engaging the networked market.

 

Ofer Friedman
Chief Research and Client Officer
1st2c

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Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD Case Study: Online mind sharing tell the consumer side of “the stalemate” story

1st2c-blu-ray-vs-hd-dvd-case-study-graph-11.jpg

Consumer generated media (CGM) is providing marketing professionals tools to better understand consumer mindset and behavior. I have attached below a case study conducted by our senior research officer Ofer Friedman and myself, in which CGM analysis is used to understand consumer behavior and mindset in regards to the high definition format war between blu-ray and hd-dvd.

Martin Fuchs

1st2c market analyst/planner

It happens once in decades. A new digital storage format is introduced, taking consumer entertainment to a whole new level of audio-visual experience. A new format ends up changing how information and entertainment are produced, played and stored, and that is a big odds game with huge business implications.

When new generations of computer micro-processors are introduced it would typically be two competing products launched almost simultaneously by Intel and AMD. In the micro-processor case consumer choice is relatively easy because both play all programs with little performance differences. By contrast, consumers have always needed to decide between alternative digital storage formats since developers typically secured exclusivity for their format with hardware (player) makers and content producers. In the early 80s it was JVC’s VHS vs Sony’s Betamax. If you had a VHS player you couldn’t play videos that were available in Betamax format and vice versa. This meant that consumers “voted with their wallet” in favor of one of the formats (thus encouraging content producers to channel product variety to that format). Investing in a new player meant risking choice of a player with inferior content variety. That is why new format generations trigger a “format war” as developing companies make every effort to drive decisive consumer patronage of their format.

This time, at the age of high-definition, it’s Sony’s Blu-Ray vs Toshiba’s HD-DVD optical disk format. The “war of high-definition formats” has been waging for almost two years now. Both Sony and Toshiba invested heavily in marketing, sales promotions, and strategic alliances with content providers (such as with movie studios). But as the 2007 holiday season is nearing, the “war of formats” is at what has already been labeled as “the stalemate“.

1st2c has looked into the consumer side of “the stalemate” and discovered that online mind-sharing provides a surprisingly accurate diagnostics of the dynamics of the “war of formats”. 1st2c Online Strategizing Research© discovered a much more cluttered consumer worldview and saw an underlying uncertainty about the future of digital storage as a whole. Emerging market dynamics suggests a need for new models for positioning and marketing of high definition players.
More than “another” war of formats

How consumers react to the two formats? What drives their attention? Why marketing initiatives delivered only short term impact? These questions are being answered by hundreds of thousands of involved consumers engaged in online mind-sharing.

1st2c’s deep web monitor provides visceral understanding of the dynamics of the unfolding “war of formats”.

Table 1: Trendline of Online Resonance on DVD vs “HD-DVD” and “Blu-Ray”

(Last 12 months)

1st2c-blu-ray-vs-hd-dvd-case-study-graph-11.jpg

Perhaps the immediate striking insight is embedded in the evident continuous decline in attention to the DVD format as a whole, while at the same time attention to the new Blu-Ray and HD-DVD format is increasing only mildly and inconsistently. In other words, consumer engagement with the whole issue of optical disk format is eroding!

Deep diving into the networked market suggests that consumer choice mindset is not necessarily limited to Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. Active consumer mindset is far broader in encompassing additional types of solutions to the same core (content consumption and ownership) needs!

From our analysis, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are actually in competition not only with each other (for example, IP-based solutions are gaining popularity also among less techy consumers) and this increases consumers’ perceived risk in choosing either.

 

Focusing on the “war of formats” between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, the state of shoulder to shoulder competition is evident. The striking similarity in trendlines of resonance between the two focal formats is typical to an undecided market. In such situations consumers tend to discuss the respective merits of alternative offerings against any relevant market development.

Old marketing models may need rethinking

There is a deeper layer of insights embedded in online consumer resonance.

Table 2: Critical events Influencing Online Resonance on “HD-DVD” and “Blu-Ray”

(Last 12 months)

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Throughout the last period content-based initiatives drove surges in attention but didn’t create decisive attention superiority to the respective format. This is visible for instance with Blockbuster’s alignment with Blu-Ray (June 18), Paramount and DreamWorks alignment with HD-DVD (August 21), and the release of the Transformers movie on HD-DVD (October 16-24).

But something happened to the long standing “stalemate” in November. Online mind-sharing tells the story of a shake up in consumer mindset caused by big retailer competition. In late October Walmart, Circuit City and Amazon lowered the price tag for Toshiba’s HD-A2 HD-DVD player to $198 triggering surges in consumer talk, with notable advantage to HD-DVD.

Immediately thereafter, on November 1st, Walmart and Best Buy announced special sales promotion initiatives that dropped the price to $99. This time consumer resonance on HD-DVD rocketed leaving Blu-Ray far behind. For the first time in (at least) a year “the stalemate” was broken.

Is it the beginning of a momentum or just a short term achievement for HD-DVD? A lot has to do with how marketers play their cards in the holiday season. But chattering consumers did provide a significant insight: So far, price-based leverages delivered better competitive differentiation than content-based leverages, at least in terms of consumer engagement.
The takeaways are clear and powerful.

Significant price cuts drive consumer action. There’s no surprise about that. But when a net active audience is concerned, especially an intensively networking audience, online resonance is both a critical market undercurrents gauge and a powerful influence channel.

What this deep dive into the networked marketplace suggests is examining the merits of “foot in the door” marketing strategies that motivate shift from “shopping” to “impulse” purchase behavior and leveraging them to drive a stalemate breaking mental shift.
1st2c in a nutshell

1st2c is the home of Online Strategizing Research© – the most comprehensive end-to-end methodology available for the networked market. Strategizing Research©‘s is strongly insight and opportunity orientated that creates a vivid picture of mindsets and behaviors of the networked marketplace and adds new dimensions to both online and offline strategies.

1st2c works with Fortune 500 companies on adding new dimensions to overall marketing strategy and on monitoring and engaging the networked market.

Ofer Friedman

Chief Research and Client Officer, 1st2c

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