DISH Network’s Research Culture Shift by Patti Fries, DISH Network#CRC2014 #MRX


CRC_brochure2013Live blogging from the Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

DISH Network’s Research Culture Shift by Patti Fries, DISH Network

  • dish network actually has more revenue than Starbucks. but the brand value of Starbucks is twice as much
  • ask consumers – If dish was a car, what kind of car would it be – grey car with four wheels – perception is everything
  • describe yourself in five words – Charlie Ergen founder of dish was adventurous, competitive, risk taker, tenacious, optimistic – he put 100 million dollars to put a satellite into space, 40% success rate on rocket launches in china in 1995 [please don’t blow up, please don’t blow up, please don’t blow up]
  • First rocket in 1995
  • Consumer research and insights launched in 2012
  • why spend one more penny on research than you had to, they couldn’t keep up with sales
  • now, need to focus efforts on where going long term because its turning into a commodity
  • speakers five words: energetic, passionate, ambitious, trusting, optimistic
  • Research history – it had spartan beginnings, they did do roundtables, talk to people at the DMV, it wasn’t structured, they did DIY surveys, people weren’t sharing their research results, no one knew what else was happening in the company
  • department stores generate NPS of 62. Cable services generate NPS of 14.
  • where would you rather work? a place that gives you opportunity to improve perceptions of a brand.
  • “Our culture works hard to prevent change” ~Seth Godin
  • How do  you bring research in when nobody cared about it?
  • Culture shift: beginning, who, data, education, brand, future
  • Beginning – do what it takes, she did 72 projects by herself in the first 7 months, she coded open-end data herself, did the tabulation, analyses, reports, presented. She had to build awareness and get people to want what she was selling. she wanted a 1000% budget increase. Biggest increase they’ve ever given. Got permission to build a small and mighty team. Develop vision and mission – objective, simple, strategic, inspiring
  • Who – the target was 18+ with a pulse. we target everyone and we target them all the exact same way. Did a household level segmentation with financial information. Lower income doesn’t mean lower interest in TV. Needed to do needs based segmentation too. How do you marry lower income with their services. Worked on predictive models to make a better experience.
  • Data – Less is more. Reports are not based on $$ value per page. would rather two pages of actionable data than 400 pages of numbers we can’t understand. focus on things that will have the greatest impact. need to find a way to move fast. have 14 million subscribers, most have 2 set-top boxes, and they can monitor every click but don’t worry because they are doing zip all with it! zillions of data points not being used. But when you use this data, you need to get it down to one single page of actionable results. 35 suppliers bug her everyday to work with her but she only works with 6.  [how exhausting is that]
  • Education – have you ever been to a focus group? they had to teach people how to do it. they put hundreds of their marketers through focus groups in two days. these people had never heard the voice of the consumer. told consumers they could write a letter to the CEO but then they brought the CEO to the focus groups to talk to them. he talked to them for an hour. there was difficulty getting traction. people weren’t necessarily interested in learning more. chose to empower others by teaching them qualitative tools. had them go in the homes of consumers to see they could do some of their own work. Make it fun, interactive sessions.
  • Brand – make brave recommendations. price focus has made them a commodity. consumers were seeing message madness – 25 completely different commercials. Brand awkwardness – weird commercials that don’t make sense like the cowboy hat commercial. Brand wasn’t building while competitors were growing. Worked to build partners with apple, southwest – that’s better than a grey car. Now you can talk about value. Moved their NPS score up to 38 and the hopper NPS to to 43. Won lots of awards but consumers don’t care about features than won awards.
  • Future – ended up winning the hearts and minds of consumers. awareness is fine but brand advocacy takes your business to the next level. Create a brand feel and make it different than a grey car with four wheels. Build on consumer motivations. It’s more than price and features.  Elevate collaboration. Met with the C-suite to push their thinking, got everyone in the same room so that everyone would be on board. Came up with 972 ideas to change the trajectory of the company and only 4 had anything to do with price.
  • If you’re going to take a side, take the side of the consumer. an exciting category shouldn’t feel horrific to consumers.

2 responses

  1. […] In a previous blog post, Dish’s research director Patti Fries discussed the satellite provider’s cultural and behavioral shifts related to market intelligence. Fries also discussed how she influenced this change. Annie Pettit, who lived blogged the presentation, provides the money list: […]

  2. […] Recently, Dish’s research director Patti Fries discussed the satellite provider’s cultural and behavioral shifts related to market intelligence. Annie Pettit, who lived blogged the presentation, provides the money list: […]

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