Friday, October 17, 2008

Ease of Use: The Data, The Presentation, The Influence.

Presenting The Data


Sometimes you see a thing or remarkable simplicity and you have to share it. The New York Times has an application that enables you to input some basic data regarding house price and rent movements and then create a visual presentation of what this means in terms of value creation or destruction for you. The pretty picture above shows a market with 5% growth in house prices and a 3% growth in rental income. In this scenario it makes sense to invest in a house. But change that house price appreciation to anything less than 3.5% and have a look at what happens. With Credit Today showing a 30 year low in UK house sales, you have to think that renting is going to become relatively more attractive, doubly so when the Irish Times reports today that there is 10% more rental stock coming on the market because houses are so difficult to sell.

Yahoo have a nice site showing a Politics Dashboard with up to date information on how each candidate is doing. What I like about this, besides from the big bold percentage numbers, is that the dashboard also presents "prediction markets" assessments.


I think some smart little company is going to come out of the woodwork with a neat way of building and linking these kinds of dashboards.

Research Happenings

Randy Saunders over at The Perfect Customer Experience blog has a nice reference to a recent Forrester Report on the fact that customers still want to speak to a live agent, and that they have certain expectations as to how well this process will be handled.

McKinsey Quarterly have a piece on Multi-Channel Marketing with a spin on Social Media: worth a read, particularly on the "fallacy of the final click". All customers move through many stages in their buying decision making cycle and both online and offline media often intermingle in their effects. We don't buy "entirely online" or "entirely offline".


Finally ! Social Media is Going To Be Of Some Value To Credit and Collections Professionals

Yes, a catchy title, not ! But the same McKinsey Study mentioned above quotes a very interesting use of social network analysis (SNA).

McKinsey research on telephone users’ social networks suggests that even they can be measured to allocate marketing budgets more successfully. One telecom company, for example, has learned how to retain phone customers by assessing the strength of the relationships among them. The company used call patterns, changes in call volumes, types of payment (prepaid or contract), handset types, and other traits to identify customers likely to leave for another carrier. Meanwhile, it constructed a diagram of their social ties, derived from the people they called, the people those people called, and how often. In general, the more closely anyone was tied to someone who unsubscribed, the more likely that person was to unsubscribe in turn. In this way, the telecom company improved its churn prediction model by 50 percent. Moreover, by identifying the most influential potential churners and working to retain them with new services and price plans, the company not only retained a quarter of them but also reduced the churn rate within their social networks by almost 40 percent.

I think that if you were buying a house, or voting for a candidate you too are likely to be influenced by someone close to you, probably someone on your social network. By giving people easy to understand, easy to share data, you could probably "turn-on" your influential customers

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