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RecSys 2017 conference on algorithmic recommendation has started
Aug27

RecSys 2017 conference on algorithmic recommendation has started

I’m on my way to the RecSys 2017 conference, a conference opened to academic researchers and practitioners working on algorithmic recommendations. Such algorithms are widely used on websites to help users find they way and get a better user experience. Search engines are actually very complex recommendation engines that help you find the right content depending on where you are located, what you have liked before. We have...

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Airlines loyalty programs : different countries, different benefits
Jun28

Airlines loyalty programs : different countries, different benefits

Loyalty cards have been an important innovation when it comes to increase customer loyalty. It ll started with American Airlines and the least we can say is that the airline industry is the one which has probably pushed the concept the farest. The concept of “miles” has become synonym of loyalty. Collecting miles was once limited to airlines tickets but has in the meantime extended to other purchases too. For instance,...

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Facebook doesn’t tell you really why you get targeted advertising
Jun19

Facebook doesn’t tell you really why you get targeted advertising

In the data world, the topics of transparency, privacy and ethics are more and more discussed. As we predicted a year ago, this may well be the next revolution in data science. We ran an experiment to understand the level of information Facebook users get on targeted advertising. Data literacy is essential Educating people on the role of data in their lives is essential. We see too many companies which revamp their terms and...

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Ugly vegetables look more natural and give stores a better image
Jun12

Ugly vegetables look more natural and give stores a better image

Consumers perceive “ugly”, misshappen vegetables, as more natural. Moreover communication campaigns promoting these “abnormal” products benefit also the stores , such campaign convey indeed a positive image in the minds of the customers. Those are the results of a study by Mia Birau and Corine Faure (University of Grenoble) which was presented at the latest EMAC 2017 conference in Groningen (The Netherlands)....

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Back from EMAC 2017 conference : what’s hot in marketing research ?
Jun02

Back from EMAC 2017 conference : what’s hot in marketing research ?

Like every year I’ve attened the EMAC conference (this year in Groningen, The Netherlands) and can confirm it’s the right place to be if you want to keep up with the latest research in the marketing field (although this year the AMS conference took place at the same time and all marketing researchers had thus to make a choice between going to The Netherlands and going to California). The EMAC confernce is also the right...

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Complaint handling: shorter response times expected on social media
May04

Complaint handling: shorter response times expected on social media

Consumers are increasingly harnessing the power of social media and using this new channel to communicate with brands. Communicating complaints is no exception to this trend and voicing dissatisfaction seems to shift from traditional channels (phone, email, face-to-face) to social media channels. Few studies exist on those online complaining behaviors and in particular on consumers’ expectations as far as reaction time on...

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Recommendation algorithms : the myth of filter bubbles at stake
Mar24

Recommendation algorithms : the myth of filter bubbles at stake

We’ve already discussed filter bubbles on this blog, a rather technical term that describes the negative effet of algorithms on our digital life. For more information read this thorough article. Whether or not filter bubbles really exist is still debated and I wanted to compile all scientific results on the subject. There are actually very few of them/ Although Pariser (2011) has claimed the obvious existence of filter bubbles,...

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Artificial intelligence: are algorithms biased by nature ?
Mar20

Artificial intelligence: are algorithms biased by nature ?

I attended a workshop at the Maastricht European Centre on Privacy and Cybersecurity where I met Prof. Alessandro Mantelero of Polytecnico di Torino. Prof. Mantelero is well known as a specialist in the protection of personal data, which has become a very important topic with GDPR. In his talk he was discussing among other things the biases of algorithms and highlighted the need to avoid them. Using examples from the insurance sector...

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Retail : the role of packaging on in-store purchase decisions
Mar06

Retail : the role of packaging on in-store purchase decisions

How to drive more in-store purchases ? This is the $1m question every retailer relentlessly tries to answer. Recent scientific advances in the field of consumer behavior give us some insights on this, especially on the role of packaging. How do consumers take purchase decisions in stores ? Drivers of attention and evaluation are myriad in stores (for a review see Chandon et al. 2009). When they visit a store the least we can say is...

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Don’t smile too much if you want to be perceived as competent
Mar01

Don’t smile too much if you want to be perceived as competent

How you picture yourself to customers and prospects, and in particular how you smile, has important consequences that you may have overlooked until now. Fortunately a scientific study clarifies the impact of a smile on a potential buyer in different settings, online and offline. This has important consequences if you want to improve your service quality level and your customers’ satisfaction. How smiling affects our...

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Emotions detection in advertising: consumers still reluctant to give their data
Feb13

Emotions detection in advertising: consumers still reluctant to give their data

Advertisers have always been among the most creative professionals; not only on the content part but also in their use of the newest technologies to make their advertising messages more efficient. The use of eye-tracking dates back to decades, whereas billboards on streets can nowadays be equipped with technologies (sensors) to interact with pedestrians. M&C Saatchi partnered with Clear Channel and Posterscope to launch an...

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Market research : Norwegians don’t want personnalized insurance
Feb08

Market research : Norwegians don’t want personnalized insurance

Insurance companies are getting increasingly personal and thanks to digitization they are proposing new tailor-made products. Two main applications can be found : Personalized health insurance Personalized car insurance We have explored in recent articles the different aspects of such insurances (see for instance our article on black boxes in cars, or this article on the dangers of personalized health insurances) but hadn’t...

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More debt leads to lower customer satisfaction
Feb06

More debt leads to lower customer satisfaction

It is well known that firms in the US use mainly external financing (debt) to finance growth. It actually is believed to account for 80% of financing. Yet, this external financing puts pressure on the firms and studies have revealed the adverse consequences it represents : less investment in advertising and R&D less full-time employees, lower wages, more part-time employees inferior product and service quality With so many...

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Can Big Data become a technique to promote transparency and equity
Feb01

Can Big Data become a technique to promote transparency and equity

On this blog I often took a pessimistic look at Big Data, asking for a revolution in how firms build and use their algorithms. I called for instance for opening up the models behind recommendation algorithms and wondered whether our freedom was at stake. Today’s article will be definitely more optimistic because I met last week at the CPDP 2017 conference two speakers that delivered brilliant presentations on how Big Data can...

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Market research : should you always ask your customers ?
Jan25

Market research : should you always ask your customers ?

A few years ago one word was very trendy : co-creation, a new technique complementing market research efforts. Companies all over the world suddenly discovered the benefits of involving customers in the development of new products. The co-creation process was everything but new. Eric Von Hippel, now Professor at MIT, already involved professional users in his lead users method back in the 1980’s-1990’s to develop new...

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How data vulnerability affects firms’ performance and how to remedy it
Jan23

How data vulnerability affects firms’ performance and how to remedy it

Everyone talks about privacy. But what is it really ? A recent article in French economical journal “La Tribune” built upon two recent BCG reports (here and there) on data protection and privacy to question firms’ practices around data privacy 62% of French people surveyed by BCG said companies don’t respect the private character of their data. Yet, what is privacy ? Most people will claim they know but once...

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Academic research debunks the myth of filter bubbles
Jan18

Academic research debunks the myth of filter bubbles

The interest for the “Filter Bubble” phenomenon reached an all-time high after 2016 US presidential elections (see our article). The existence of filter bubble was hypothesized by Eli Pariser in 2011, yet it remains at the center of debate on his actual existence. According to Pariser the algorithms implemented to make our digital lives easier are an impediment to serendipity. According to opponents the Internet offers a...

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How US elections shed light on the filter bubble phenomenon
Jan16

How US elections shed light on the filter bubble phenomenon

Just do a Google search on “Filter bubble” and you’ll be surprized of the many results returned. The recent US presidential elections have shed light on this phenomenon first hypothetized by Eli Pariser in 2011, and subject to much debate (see also our upcoming article on 18 Jan 2017). Yet the facts are there. Right after the elections of 08 November 2016, the interest for “filter bubble” increased...

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Market research : how news consumption is evolving
Jan11

Market research : how news consumption is evolving

You know we love market research and in this article we’d like to discuss and comment the latest results published by Reuters in their worldwide market research on news consumption and mix them with some EBU media intelligence reports to understand where medias are heading to. Market research conclusions Let’s start for once with the global conclusions : by and large TV remains the main source for news. Online sources have...

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Customer experience better than customer satisfaction to predict loyalty
Jan09

Customer experience better than customer satisfaction to predict loyalty

We discussed recently the links between customer satisfaction, loyalty and customer experience. One of the conclusions was that, as of today, no reliable scale exists to measure customer experience. This doesn’t mean however that nothing has been done on this topic. In today’s article we’d like to briefly guide you through one of the latest instrument developped to experiment the measure of customer experience (Klaus...

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What are the latest conclusions of academics on customer satisfaction and customer experience ?
Dec21

What are the latest conclusions of academics on customer satisfaction and customer experience ?

In the Journal of Marketing special issue ” Mapping the Boundaries of Marketing: What Needs to Be Known”, Lemon & Verhoef (2016) deliver 5 very useful conclusions on the state of customer experience and satisfaction research. These 5 conclusions, taken from the very latest top research in the field of marketing, are useful for practitioners and lead us to formulate 5 sets of recommendations. Start with service quality...

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The role of Big Data on society : EBU conference
Dec19

The role of Big Data on society : EBU conference

With fellow colleagues of EBU, I organized last week a conference entitled “Big Data and Society“at RTBF, the French-speaking public broadcasting organization of Belgium. As I wrote on EBU website, this event aimed at gathering together professionals from the broadcasting industry to reflect on the impact of Big Data, recommendation algorithms and filter bubbles on society in general, and on users’ behaviors in...

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How novelty and serendipity improve customer satisfaction
Dec05

How novelty and serendipity improve customer satisfaction

Product recommendations have enabled E-commerce websites to become a place where mass marketing converges with niche marketing. Recommendations are pivotal in enabling less popular products to be discovered by people who are the most likely to like them : this is a long-tail strategy. There is however a dilemma to be adressed : how much of novel and unexpected products should be recommended to online visitors to enhance their...

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Facebook : how do people perceive NewsFeed curation algorithm
Sep19

Facebook : how do people perceive NewsFeed curation algorithm

Curation algorithms aren’t fundamentally different from recommendation engines (see the article we just published on the latter here). They select what you ought to see, for instance on your Facebook Newsfeeds. Two studies have addressed customers’ perception of automated curation : Rader and Gray (2015) and Eslami et al. (2015). Here are how users perceive Facebook NewsFeed’s algorithm. Are people aware of the existence of NewsFeed...

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Pokemon Go: what does this game reveal about ourselves?
Aug24

Pokemon Go: what does this game reveal about ourselves?

Newspapers and magazines have been quick to celebrate the amazing popularity of Pokemon Go. The stock market followed quickly and Nintendo share sky rocketed as a result of an excess of enthusiasm, before investors that Nintendo was not at the origin of the Pokemon Go phenomenon. Besides the marketing and financial success we should reflect on what Pokemon Go tells us about ourselves and our Society. This may actually be the biggest...

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Liberals share less serious content on Facebook than conservatives
Aug17

Liberals share less serious content on Facebook than conservatives

In my quest to understand how algorithms limit our freedom, my attention was caught by a piece of research published in June 2015 in Science. This research was funded by Facebook (which is an important piece of information) and aims at understanding whether Facebook’s News Feed selection algorithm limits the diversity of the information we consume on Facebook. The authors conclude that Facebook’s algorithm(s) actually expose us to...

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A history of (Big) Data and modelling
Jun23

A history of (Big) Data and modelling

At the latest EMAC 2016 conference, Michel Wedel gave a brilliant demonstration of how data collection methods have evolved over the last 100 years and how modelling changed. His graphical representation of (Big) Data history was actually so brilliant that I thought worthwhile to reproduce it here. It all started with simple surveys and regression methods. Over a 100-year period, volumes kept increasing and modelling methods have...

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EMAC 2016: gap between academics and practitioners gets bigger
Jun03

EMAC 2016: gap between academics and practitioners gets bigger

I’m back from the EMAC 2016 conference that took place in Oslo (see my other reports on EMAC 2014, EMAC 2011, EMAC 2010). This year the theme of the conference was “Marketing in the age of data”. Needless to say, Big Data was one very hot topic with very interesting sessions on privacy and recommendation engines, and remarkable keynotes. In two keynote speeches on 26 May, Prof. Michel Wedel (University of Maryland, USA) and Prof. Koen...

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From 7 to 3 degrees of separation
Feb17

From 7 to 3 degrees of separation

In 1969 Jeffrey Travers and Stanley Milgam conducted an experiment on degrees of separation between people. You all have heard about the results: human beings are separated by 6 degrees of acquaintances. Some forty years later Leskovec and Horvitz (2007), both from the Microsoft Research center, concluded that human beings were separated by 7 degrees of acquaintances. 6 or 7 links between Human beings ? The difference comes from a...

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5 trends that threaten old broadcasters
May13

5 trends that threaten old broadcasters

Old-fashion medias have never been more threatened than today by new consumers’ behaviors. Television channels are certainly in the middle of the storm and must quickly adapt to consumers aged under 30. Read further to discover 5 trends that will re-shape the business models in the coming years. Trend 1: television is not King anymore Recent studies show that younger watchers between 14 and 25 prefer watching TV on a computer...

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Reach the next level: embark on a PhD
Apr13

Reach the next level: embark on a PhD

My journey to the PhD level is slowly coming to an end. My private PhD defense is scheduled on June 30th. I thought it would be a good idea to use my blog to reflect on the last 6 years of work. I was inspired by Laurence Dessart’s blog, another PhD candidate I met at the Edinburgh University. Laurence holds also a blog where she uses to post advices and thoughts about her own PhD work. Years of wandering When I look back at the 6...

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Data mining : visualize your data for better results
Mar30

Data mining : visualize your data for better results

Doing data mining can become a quickly exhausting exercise if you don’t know where you are heading to. People can easily get lost and draw erroneous conclusions. Read further and discover a tool that will change the way you manipulate and represent data. Exploratory factor analysis The exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (EFA and CFA) provide numeric ways to explore the data and to build tentative models. In the end,...

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12 years dedicated to protecting consumers … voluntarily
Dec19

12 years dedicated to protecting consumers … voluntarily

I had the pleasure to meet two weeks ago another customer satisfaction hero, the destiny of whom was tightly linked to that of Frédéric Klotz (read his interview). The man I met is Joël Guillon, someone I’ve indirectly known for years through the complaint resolution forum he launched in 2002 : LesArnaques.com Joël is one of those knights who fights against bad companies’ practices and who shares his knowledge and his time to help...

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Serving unfair customers: here’s what you should do
Dec08

Serving unfair customers: here’s what you should do

When a customer is unsatisfied, he/she sometimes engages in an interaction with the company to obtain redress. At that point frustration may combine to dissatisfaction and result in aggressiveness and outrageous behavior on the part of the customer. Marketing specialists are unanimous to say a firm should apologize and accept the responsibility. But doing so has also consequences for the employees. How would you feel, as a service...

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What are the mechanisms leading a consumer to be satisfied (or not)
Dec03

What are the mechanisms leading a consumer to be satisfied (or not)

Customer satisfaction is one of the main construct of modern marketing and an important pillar of firms’ strategies. Yet few business people actually understand how satisfaction works in the heads of their customers. Although it is still being debated experts agree on the process of expectancy disconfirmation to explain of customers become satisfied or unsatisfied.   What is the role of expectations in the customer satisfaction...

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Politeness matters: iOS 8 helps you to be polite
Dec03

Politeness matters: iOS 8 helps you to be polite

First of all my thanks to our client Florence for bringing this to our attention. A while ago I wrote with my colleague Laurence Rosier an article entitled “Politeness strategies in firms’ answers to customer complaints“. We made an argument that politeness strategies developed by firms help increase customer satisfaction and analyzed which leviers to activate to effectively make your unsatisfied customer more …...

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