Listen. Learn. Lead. MRA NYC-Philadelphia Joint Chapter Conference

The New York and Philadelphia chapters of the Marketing Research Association joined forces in Atlantic City, New Jersey to discuss industry trends – most specifically in adapting to buyer behavior – and also had some fun along the way.

borgata exterior

Linda McAleer’s presentation was particularly interesting about the voice of the invisible customer. When businesses or customers purchase online, they lose the “human touch” associated with sales. Focusing on the financial industry, she discussed different ways of changing marketing tactics to reach those invisible customers. For example, how about having a 24/7 call center for customer service? What about having an online chat option on your website? It is important not to forget the opinions and values of the invisible customer.

Another interesting presentation was made by Melissa Elliott of ING Direct. Melissa discussed her company’s use of eye tracking to test the efficiency and usability of their website. This was an excellent suite to Linda’s presentation, as ING Direct is primarily an online bank. Customers may never have interaction with a real person, so an effective and welcoming website is essential. Melissa presented a fascinating case study about one critical page of her website: the online enrollment  page. While customers were clicking the wrong thing left and right, the eye tracking tool measured and marked the customer’s confusion to provide meaningful data to Melissa and her team. After changing the website based on the data from the eye tracking study, ING direct benefited from an increase in enrollment and a decrease in call center traffic.

eye tracking

While emphasis was given to adapting to buyer behavior, one presentation that had everyone going was Mike Iorio  from Dale Carnegie Training. Everyone needs a wake-up call every now and again, and Mike certainly delivered on that.  He talked about how to win friends: a few networking tips about small talk and engagement. While some researchers hid and screamed at the thought of public speaking, others pushed people out of the way to try it. Mike offered some great tips for building confidence (body, tone, words!) and helped us move out of our comfort zone. He also gave us the simplest advice of all: smile!

As the conference continued I saw lots of smiles – and hope to see many more when we reconvene in San Diego for the MRA Annual Conference! Don’t forget to visit CETRA at booth 25.