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Archive for September, 2010

Toshiba L645D wins Piplzchoice Award

As of this date Piplzchoice Award bulletin is read by 12,044 people. In this issue we analyzed Netbook and Laptop Computers. We are currently tracking 418 products in these categories and analyzed 37,971 reviews written by their customers. However some of these products have not accumulated enough reviews to produce statistically representative and accurate metrics, so we filtered them out of the competition. The second round disqualified any product that failed to meet Customer Expectations with its Functionality, Reliability or Support.

Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4036 is a newcomer that quickly captured the top spot for it’s Functionality reputation and Customer Satisfaction.

Toshiba Satellite L645D LED TruBrite 14-Inch Laptop
2010 Piplzchoice Award winner
34% above average Customer Satisfaction in its Category
The winners are chosen by their customers

This Laptop’ Reliability score is 14% higher than the category average.

For full list of products in this category and Customer Reviews used for this research, select “Computers & Accessories > Netbooks” and “Computers & Accessories > Laptops” in Product Reputation Market Intelligence Reporter on this site.

Here is a chart for best and worst Customer Satisfaction products reputation in these categories

What marketers can learn from offshore ocean racing

I have been involved in sailboat races, what wealthy people call yacht regattas, for quite a few years. Aside from learning fine skills of navigation, sail trimming, race tactics and such, the sport offers very interesting insights into a nature of competition.

A few years ago I signed up to compete in the 2,200 nautical mile Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Oahu, Hawaii and spent almost a year to prepare physically and mentally by practicing with selected crew sailing the boat in the Bay and short offshore competitions. We had a good crew, excellent skipper, sound boat and plenty of experience – we were ready to compete.

I was dreaming about this endeavor for years, even re-located to San Francisco to do it, and finally starting day has come, gun sounded, boats jostled for positions to cross the line and the race was on. During the next few hours the competing yachts were fighting for every inch and every puff of the wind, but the ocean is very large and soon we lost sight of other boats as each was following their own navigation plans to reach the destination at the shortest time. We were committed to sail the boat as fast as humanly possible, but without seeing another boat to catch or to leave behind, we were distracted with a beauty around us or mundane tasks of keeping systems running, and stopped focusing on our speed. Every morning we had a radio roll call with race boats reporting their positions that our navigator would plot on the chart and it would give a competitive jolt to start performing again to the best of our abilities…for next hour or two, and then we would slowly start acting again like we were on a pleasure cruise.

I discussed this experience with other sailors after we made it to Kaneokhe Yacht Club, and they all described similar experiences. Apparently it is very difficult to compete without knowing exactly what your competition is doing all the time. The insight into their position and weather conditions made dramatic difference in influencing our own actions and behavior.

Many marketing pros I spoke to are keenly aware of their competition. Moreover, most are staunch believers in measuring satisfaction of their customers with their products or services. However much smaller number of marketers are interested in satisfaction and experiences of their competitor’s customers because such information is usually difficult, i.e. expensive to obtain and it is rarely actionable. I never spoke with anybody who has done such a “roll call” more often than twice a year and only on a very aggregate level that could not possibly generate any tactical action.

This is not an appeal for larger Market Research budgets, businesses and governments already spend tens of billions worldwide. I wonder how this spending helped you to increase your margins. The real question is how can you win long distance marketing races without detailed knowledge of the course conditions?

Exploration of the WOM influence

At the foundation of our products is Opinion Miner software © that uses self-training algorithms to discern, amplify and measure raw data to produce structured information and metrics – signals out of noise. We began by using customer reviews about consumer electronics products because we had so much “ore” to work with. No other category of products (I don’t view books and movies as products) seem to be blessed with such an active customer following.  We also wanted to concentrate on generating actionable signals, that I imagine excludes mining opinions about brands – as a brand reputation is aggregation of what customers experience with products that are associated with the brand.  Here is one example of results we managed to produce so far

WOM (Word of Mouth) Analysis of HP Photo Smart Printer

I believe such information can really help marketing dollars work much smarter by

  • focusing promotional resources on the products that win customer advocacy because it grows your business;
  • learn why consumers chose your competitor’s product over yours and make changes;
  • sync marketing message with what your customers value the most – not what your product managers think is cool.

So now, after sharpening Opinion Miner’s © “teeth” on plentiful customer reviews of CE and Computer products we would like to start experimenting on different type of WOM, like restaurant reviews or reputation of specific services.  Any ideas or suggestions from you, private or public would be greatly appreciated.

Weed Eater WEB160 7.5 Amp 160 MPH Electric Blower

This time we analyzed electric blowers in Power Tools and Home Improvements category. As of this date we are tracking 304 products and analyzed 18,906 reviews written by their customers. However some of these products have not accumulated enough reviews to produce statistically representative and accurate metrics, so we filtered them out of the competition. The second round disqualified any product that failed to meet Customer Expectations with its Functionality, Reliability or Support.

Weed Eater WEB160 7.5 amp 160 mph Electric Blower


2010 Piplzchoice Award winner
24.1% above average Customer Satisfaction in its Category

The winners are chosen by their customers

Please see below a list of runner ups