LogoTechnology Management Associates, Inc., Serving Business Needs in the Global Marketplace

TECHMANAGE
June 1999, Volume 3, Issue 3

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A free periodic e-mail newsletter
Joanne F. Gucwa MM CMC, Editor, jogucwa@techmanage.com
Technology Management Associates, Inc.,
http://techmanage.com

Global cooperation and friendship

As we're only a few weeks away from the summer solstice, I hope all of you are taking the time to enjoy the extra daylight hours. (Take heart, Aussies and other friends in the southern hemisphere; you'll get your "day in the sun" when we're shivering in the dark of December!)

HAPPENINGS


You can now read the three articles I wrote for three monthly articles for the Marketing Research Association (MRA), reprinted with permission, at our Web site. They were published in the March, April and May issues of MRA's publication "Alert!" and are based on my talk "Three Indisputable Truths about Business Intelligence and the Internet" given at their annual meeting last November. The addresses of the articles are:

http://www.techmanage.com/articles/3truths_1.htm

http://www.techmanage.com/articles/3truths_2.htm

http://www.techmanage.com/articles/3truths_3.htm


MRA's Web site is:

http://mra-net.org

My article "The 'Guerilla App' For B to B Market Research" has been accepted for publication in the July issue of Quirk's Marketing Research Review. The issue's primary topic is Internet Research and Technology. Quirk's Web address is:

http://www.quirks.com

LOCAL NEWS:

The Chicagoland Chamber's annual Business Expo is taking place this year on June 15 and 16 at one of Chicago's most attractive locations, Navy Pier. Contact me for more information by e-mail at:
jogucwa@techmanage.com

or visit the Chamber's Web site:

http://www.chicagolandchamber.org

REGIONAL NEWS:

Thanks to the recent deregulation trend in Japan, opportunities to sell electronic products in the Japanese market are changing. A special seminar:

Selling Electronic Products to Japan: A Detailed Overview

is taking place on Wednesday, June 30, 1999 at the Arlington Park Hilton Conference Center, Woodfield Room #2 (3400 W. Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, IL)

Registration & Continental Breakfast: 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Seminar: 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

The Japan Quality Assurance Organization (JQA) and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL)in cooperation with JETRO Chicago (Japan External Trade Organization) and the American Electronics Association Midwest (AEA) is presenting the program. The speakers are all experts in their fields, and are making their resources available to those interested in exporting to the huge Japanese electronics market.

Respond to Kelly Hisel at JETRO by Monday, June 28:

hiselk@chicago.jetro.org
Phone: 312-832-600 ext. 122; Fax: 312-832-6066

INTERNATIONAL NEWS:

Osaka; THE place to be Oct. 18-23, 1999

  • G-BOC 99 (Global Business Opportunities Convention)
  • GVF 99 (Global Venture Forum)
  • WTCA 30th General Assembly; (World Trade Centers Association)
  • New Earth '99



 

Oct. 18---Oct. 19---Oct. 20---Oct. 21---Oct. 22---Oct. 23

<--------G-BOC 99--------->

<Global Excellent Products>

<----WTCA General Assembly----------->

<------GVF 99----->

<------------New Earth '99---------->




  • G-BOC 99 - Oct. 18-20:

    The Global Business Opportunities Convention is an annual business event under the major sponsorship of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, presented every October since 1990. More than 700 overseas participants from 29 countries showcased their products and services to representatives from about 2,500 Japanese companies.

    More than just a trade show, G-BOC features informative seminars and pre-arranged "Individual Business Talks," which greatly improves the process for locating potential business partners.

    New to G-BOC this year is the "Global Excellent Products Fair." This addition brings together products (including components and parts) of superior quality and technology from small and medium enterprises all over the world.

    http://www.osaka.cci.or.jp/gboc/

  • GVF 99 - Oct. 21-22:

    If you're involved in high-tech and knowledge-based industries in the fields of (1) Information and Communications Technologies; (2) Biotechnology, Medical and Health Care; (3) Environment and Energy; and (4) Advanced Materials and are looking to: enter the Japanese market; license or cross-license technology and know-how; establish corporations or joint ventures in Japan; obtain help financing R&D, commercialization or marketing...

    ...then, GVF 99 may be your most effective strategy for matching your business with the right partner. GVF's main programs include: individual business talks (both pre-arranged and at your booth); business plan presentations; and a debriefing session.

    http://www.osaka.cci.or.jp/gvf

  • WTCA 30th General Assembly - Oct. 18-21:

    The 30th World Trade Centers Association's 1999 General Assembly event features seminars, workshops and business matchmaking. A Trade Mission program is being organized to promote international trade opportunities. WTC Osaka is organizing the matchmaking and coordinating appointments between overseas and local (Osaka region) companies.

    http://www.wtco.osakawtc.or.jp/

    Please contact Mr. Watanabe at:

    watanabe@wtco.osakawtc.or.jp

    or Ms. Wada at:

    Wadaa@chicago.jetro.org

    immediately to apply or for additional program details.

  • New Earth '99 - Oct. 20-23:

    This Global Environment Technology Show focuses a broad scope of environmental concerns, from global warming and new energy resources to the latest technologies applied to practical areas such as waste treatment and recycling.

    http://www.jetro.org/losangeles/event/enviro99.html

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!IMPORTANT NOTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All of the above Osaka programs have deadlines coming up within the NEXT TWO WEEKS. This advanced application time is to allow for careful search, contact and arrangement of up to a dozen prospective strategic partners for you, so please check out the Web sites above and start the application process if you're interested in...

I am planning on being in Osaka throughout these programs. If a sufficient number of you are interested in forming a delegation to any/all of these events, sharing booth space with your peers at G-BOC, or need market assessment or other assistance with your high-tech business plan, please contact me at:

jogucwa@techmanage.com



Last issue continued our series of lead articles on customer loyalty. We explored some tech-based ways to get your customers and prospects talking to you as a way to begin building a knowledge base to manage your customer loyalty program.

This time we'll be looking at interpreting what you THINK you hear your customers telling you.

In this issue:

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DERIVING CUSTOMER VALUE INDIRECTLY

by Joanne F. Gucwa

Building customer loyalty means delivering what customer value. But what typically happens when you ask your customers what's most important to them in such areas as price, quality, product features or timely delivery?

Hint: do you think anyone will tell you that they really don't care how much you charge, or whether you deliver on your promises...as long as you deliver?

Certainly, you can force a ranking by asking your customers to assign only one number per value. But you are more likely to cause frustration than serious consideration on the part of your respondents.

Why is this? In the real world, there ARE things that we value more-or-less equally. Insisting that yours is not the real world invites near-arbitrary ranking, which will tell you about as much as if you got back every attribute you listed as "1" in priority.

Some guidelines:

  1. Compare what people DO with what they SAY to get a better picture of their values - and then place most of your trust in the "doing".

    Here's an example.

    Let's say you offer a broad range of accessories for business travelers. You've surveyed current customers, asking them to number the three most important attributes out of a list of 10. Customer A and customer B both rated "price" as the most important consideration in purchasing your products.

    Both customers SAID price was most important, but don't be fooled. These customers can be quite different from each other. Take a look at their purchasing history. Customer A made a single purchase from you last year, a leather toiletry kit marked down to $30. Customer B returned six times in the past year, her orders ranging from $25 to $485.

    Yes, both customers consider price to be important, but there's something going on with customer B that keeps her coming back. Better find out what she's REALLY enthusiastic about so you can deepen your understanding of her needs and communicate the right messages which will strengthen her demonstrated loyalty.

  2. You can derive the level of value your customers place on different attributes by comparing the "importance" levels your customers gave them against how "satisfied" they are with them. The result is called derived importance.

    How it works. For each of the attributes you want to measure, ask a question relating to the customer's perception of value, i.e. the level of importance they believe it has to them. As noted above, it's risky to create strategy based on these values alone.

    Improve the value of these customer ratings by asking your customers to rate HOW SATISFIED they are with your list of attributes later on in your survey. Now you've got something to work with.

    Obviously, if someone rates an attribute of little or no importance and yet expresses great dissatisfaction with it, you can be pretty certain that the attribute is more important to them than their importance rating indicates. On the other hand, something rated of great importance that gets great dissatisfaction is a distinct red flag.

    See the January, 1999 issue for another derived importance technique at:

    http://www.techmanage.com/newsletter/v03is01.htm

  3. Ask customers where else they go, or who else besides you comes to mind, when they want to purchase products and services similar to yours. If you're serious about keeping an eye on competitive activity - they may be addressing customer needs and desires you didn't know about - ask the magic "WHY?".

    [SIDE COMMENT: This little 3-letter word is like the mustard seed...tiny, but packed with potential. Many quantitative surveys don't ask "why" because the answer is not a number (which can be analyzed automatically). It takes a sincere commitment to improving your customer loyalty to ask "why."

    Why?

    1. Because you have to look beyond the core needs and values that YOU identified in the survey to those your CUSTOMERS identify.

    2. Because you have to translate your customers' words into actionable innovations and improved processes.

    How?

    Read through open-ended the responses. You will usually find patterns; you will be able to identify perhaps a half-dozen categories, such as product features and specifications, pricing issues, delivery - the usual suspects. Next, assign a key word or phrase for related suggestions. You might want to also assign a prefix to indicate which category (features, price, etc.) the comment belongs to. You're now able to sort, slice and dice away. You can read a more-detailed explanation of this process in an article appearing in our July 1998 newsletter.]

    http://www.techmanage.com/articles/7keys.htm



Next time in our coverage of customer loyalty we'll discuss reducing loyalty, e.g. firing some customers...you know, the ones who cause you grief, the ones you'd like to send to your competitors.

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THE NUMBERS GAME - HOW MANY DO YOU REALLY NEED TO SURVEY?

By Joanne F. Gucwa

Question: what is the smallest number you can survey to achieve a reasonable level of confidence in the results?

Would you believe...one?

Seriously.

Intuitively, it seems obvious that more is better in terms of increased confidence level. But think about it. Let's say you're designing a new case for DVD movies with a special latching mechanism and you need to know the proper dimensions. How many different (knowledgeable) people would you need to survey?

At the other end of the spectrum, what is the sample size beyond which the law of diminishing returns takes over, costing you more in time and effort than the increase in confidence level?

About 380, even for the largest population sizes...and provided you don't have a large range of variables or population characteristics. You may recall that we talked about segments and over-segmentation in our July, 1998 newsletter:

http://www.techmanage.com/articles/7keys.htm

If your population is diverse, such as the case described in the "7 Keys" article linked above, the minimum number of subjects per segment should be between 10 and 30. This sample size will not yield statistically significant data, but it will be sufficient for testing purposes.

"What sample size is 'Enough' in Internet Survey Research"? is one of the most readable articles I've read on the subject of sampling:

http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/%7Eipct-j/1998/n3-4/hill.html


Forrester Research reported in July, 1997 that "The total value of goods and services traded between companies over the Internet will reach $8 billion this year and $327 billion in the year 2002."

Contrast this with their "Resizing On-Line Business Trade" in November, 1998: "U.S. business trade on the Internet will explode from $43 billion in 1998 to $1.3 trillion in 2003 -- rising to 9.4% of business sales."

Whatever consultant-speak buzz-phrase you choose to apply to this "explosive" phenomenon (e.g. sea change, paradigm shift, hopping aboard the northbound train), on-line business commerce is not a passing fad. But the 9.4% of all business-to-business sales means there is still a massive amount of off-line commerce going on as well. Commerce will continue to operate in a mixed-media world...except that now the mix is getting more complex.

We've specialized in business-to-business intelligence, both monitoring and actively participating in mixed- and new media, since 1973. If you'd like to discover how readily you can tap into this base of experience, just drop us a note.

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Book Review: My Say

Author: Edwin E. Bobrow
EdBobrow@compuserve.com
http://edbobrow.mcni.com/

Ed Bobrow, a fellow Certified Management Consultant, is one of those special people who have the knack for making the profound and complex sound easy...in the manner of Isaac Asimov's interpretations of science for the non-technical masses.

What Ed writes of here, life planning, is profound - so profound that I suspect most of the masses don't do it. His words flow unpretentiously, making it all simple to grasp. Not simple in the doing, mind you, but well within the mental grasp of just about everyone.

My Say is also a very personal book. Ed looks back on his 70 years, obviously pleased because he has accumulated the wealth he set out for (and more), and accomplished his various life missions. This is a book filled with humility, though. Alongside all its gentle acknowledgments of what he has achieved, Ed tells of infirmity and constant physical pain, how he moved from self-pity to self-actualization. He tells his tale as a good mentor would to those who wish to learn from someone who has been there and done that.

When you reach pages 237-244, you'll get to read a section on gathering and analyzing information by an author whose name might be familiar to you (ahem).

Actually, my favorite section is Ed's "Eleven Good Networking Skills." Every one of the eleven skills is based on "looking out for number one."

No, not yourself, the OTHER number one: your contacts.

You may order this book at discount from Amazon.com by clicking on the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1886284369/ technologymanageA/

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Quiz: On-line Activities

Each newsletter has a new quiz which offers an incredibly- valuable prize. ;-)

[Usually a list of incredibly-valuable management-focused Web addresses; this time is no different]

Here's how to play: copy and paste the question below into a new message; type in your answer with your name, title, company name and type of company (or work you do if independent) and send it to me at:

jogucwa@techmanage.com

Question: How do you suppose people are spending their time on-line? Forrester Research Inc. surveyed 100,000 households in North America; they had to have been online at least three times in the previous three months.

We'll tell you in our next issue. Meanwhile, it might be fun to see how you, our esteemed readers, compare to the "average" North American.

The following 25 options, taken from a report on the study in the Wall Street Journal, are listed alphabetically. Please type in {f, s or n} in the box next to each activity, where

f = frequently (several times a week)

s = sometimes (once a week or less)

n = never (or very rarely)

[ ] Do finance transactions

[ ] Do research about product purchases

[ ] Go to the World Wide Web

[ ] Look up movie information

[ ] Look up weather information

[ ] Make purchases

[ ] Participate in online chat

[ ] Play online games

[ ] Publish my own Web pages

[ ] Read daily newspapers and magazines

[ ] Read reviews about products or entertainment options

[ ] Receive financial advice

[ ] Request service help; with products you own

[ ] Send e-mail

[ ] Use free Web-based e-mail

[ ] Use search-engine sites

[ ] View stock quotes

[ ] Visit adult entertainment sites

[ ] Visit company or product sites

[ ] Visit entertainment sites

[ ] Visit family sites

[ ] Visit financial sites

[ ] Visit reference sites

[ ] Visit sites maintained by TV networks

[ ] Visit sports sites

I would have created a different mix of activities, but let's use these so we can compare apples to apples. Feel free, however, to add other activities at the end of the list if you wish.

We'll send everyone who responds our list of links to statistics-oriented sites.

Last issue's quiz, we asked: General Electric's customer complaint database: Since 1982, General Electric has been collecting customer complaints into a database. Approximately how many potential problems and solutions has the company programmed into its call center?

According to an article on Knowledge Management by Karl Sveiby, it's 1.5 million potential problems. I'm assuming these are unique problems, some of which may have been experienced by just a single person.

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I hope you found something of value here that you can put to use directly or that might have stimulated some new ideas. We'd be delighted to hear from you...anytime.

Technology Management Associates, Inc.
(312) 984-5050jogucwa@techmanage.com

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