Top 5 Insights from ESOMAR Research Rally in London

Today I would like to share with you my key ideas & insights from the ESOMAR Research Rally that recently took place in London.

Overall, it was a magnificent event that give Marketing Researchers a fantastic chance to collaborate closely on very inspirational business ideas across various industries.

Combined with my experience in collaboration with different start-up companies in Switzerland, France and the UK, I’ve decided to share my vision on where start-ups need the most support from the side of the Consumer & Market Insights experts and what can be the best way to approach these business need.

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Start-ups love their idea and work a lot on it! Some efforts fail, new ideas come up and quite soon many start-ups face the situation that they go in very different directions. Even more, they have lots of directions!

Consumer & Market Insights experts are always able to stay behind and identify this problem that requires a holistic analysis of the markets and their potential. It should allow to identify the Size of The Price for each business idea and decide which of them can have the biggest long term potential.

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Being a start-up you are forced to think about your financials 24 hours a day! But quite often it makes you too much focused on your margins that can lead to a very big challenge for the company.

Consumer & Market Insights experts are to support companies with the most effective and efficient pricing model, keeping the end consumer in mind. Important watch out, traditional pricing research is too much claimed. One of the most attractive solutions here was discussed in the previous post: https://bestinsightsphere.com/2017/02/27/getting-consumer-insights-as-real-as-possible/

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We all love numbers! That’s why start-ups are so much eager to jump into quantitative studies. Seriously, “Are you a researcher? I need a questionnaire!”. And this can bring a big threat in terms of where numbers will lead business decisions.

Consumer & Market Insights experts should always keep the final business objective in mind. Start-ups are about the initial stage of the development both of the business and product offering. This means that explorative research could be much more beneficial for them. And explorative doesn’t mean very expensive – observations, quick charts with shoppers, asking questions on forums & blogs, looking at social media, all these can be done almost for free.

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Despite very disruptive business ideas start-up companies usually don’t look broadly enough on the potential communication channels. Yes, Digital is important, but it’s still not only one!

Consumer & Market Insights experts can provide a broad understanding of the different communication tools and touch points with which consumers are engaged.

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Start-ups come with brilliant product/service ideas, but they often miss a lot the initial consumers feedback.

Consumer & Market Insights experts can facilitate the process of the product/service development via co-creation workshops, which can allow to achieve a stronger product offering.

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Transform your Consumer Empathy with the Use of Mobile

Today I would like to share with you highlights of my presentation which I did in the frames of the last conference “Market Research in the Mobile World: Europe 2016” in London.

I came to the idea to share my experience on the topic of building consumer empathy within the organization as I believe that currently mobile research technologies provide a lot of opportunities for companies. Even for those who don’t have a direct access to mobile data!

During my presentation I’ve shared a case where in close collaboration with one of the European mobile crowdsourcing companies I managed to create a solution with which employees of a company collected different types of pictures about their products & categories and answered a set of fast&easy questions on their mobile phones.

As a result it brought not only several successful business projects but also substantially increased an overall company’s engagement in listening to its consumers.

Even despite a high resistance that I’ve heard initially in the company towards getting more engaged in understanding consumers as we see below:

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I received an overall felling that consumer empathy is already here:

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Building on what was already available in the company, I defined what I would like to achieve at the end:

  • Consumer Empathy is a set of mind
  • For the whole Multifunctional and Leadership Team
  • That is institutionalized within the organization
  • And represents the best research ROI.

So, my solution to this case was:

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However, there are several challenges which I had to overcome to achieve my initial objectives:

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While overcoming these challenges I built my list of hits & tips that allowed me to achieve development of the projects with strong business results and significantly improve overall company’s involvement in listening and understanding its consumers.

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Qual 360 Conference Highlights: Part I – ‘fast and easy’ research

Two weeks ago I’ve participated as a presenter in the European Qualitative 360 Conference in Berlin. The topic of my presentation was related with the neuromarketing research where I primary shared my experience with eye-tracking studies and provided some insights on how to make them really actionable.

The Conference in general was a big inspiration for me and I was happy to discuss many important and challenging questions related with consumer research. As the content of the conference was very deep and diverse, I would share my Conference highlights in three parts. Here I would focus on online research methods and ‘fast and easy’ research approaches.

Digitalization of consumer research is already quite an old trend, but it’s still interesting how exactly this trend continues to develop. So, the most discussed topics in this area were:

  • online diaries, both moderated and partly structured;
  • webcam interviews;
  • real time data gathering;
  • communities, both organized by a research company and own brand communities;
  • social listening.

Digitalization of consumer research allows to step change the overall approach to consumer studies and make them very  fast and easy. The first type of ‘fast and easy’ research includes use of smartphone. The reason for it is very clear, we should use the same communication tools that our consumers do. Thus, according to Yahoo research that was presented in the Conference, 67% of consumers think that they will be smartphone dominant in 5 years. It means that consumers will use smartphone more than other Internet connected devices.

Few more important facts, that can be used for understanding of the potential of smartphone research. The Yahoo study also shows that 89% of 12-19 y.o. people in Germany own a smartphone and they consider smartphone more entertaining than a TV. So, consumer research with the use of smartphone should be really entertaining and interesting for respondents, it’s no longer about boring and long questionnaires.

Another fact from Yahoo research, 66% of 12-19 y.o. respondents in Germany watch online videos on a daily basis, that means that we can differently approach commercials testing and use smartphones for instance to ask for screen shorts with interesting or annoying advertising.

A big trend in smartphone based research now is mobile crowdsourcing research platforms that can be used for very diverse business questions. It can be in a form of store checks, shop alongs and even in-home visits. For in-homes we can ask for a 30 sec video that will show a product in use. In addition, smartphone based studies can include some group discussions, e.g. via WhatsApp.

Some important watch outs on videos that respondents share with us: lower quality, privacy and authenticity (some materials might be very strange).

Other types of ‘fast and easy’ research include webcam interviews/focus groups and communities. The main idea here is to connect directly business stakeholders with consumers.

Such communities might have very diverse functionality that will allow to gather as much holistic insights as possible. Communities might include quantitative surveys, regular polls, continuous contact diaries, life charts, bulletin board groups, smartboards, scrapbooks, word polls, brainstorming, journals, forum discussions, blogs and pop ups. Their analysis can be done both life and retrospective.

The biggest question that discussed in regards to this topic was definitely related with the role of Consumer Insights team in this process.

The core conclusion is that Consumer Insights should be involved in:

  • defining a target;
  • providing a holistic training on how to do consumer interviews/ discussions;
  • technical set up like video conferencing;
  • frequency of interviews/focus groups;
  • business stakeholders to be involved;
  • how findings are to be shared widely within the organization.

During the Conference companies from very different industries shared very positive experience on how they empowered their standard research approaches with this agile ‘fast and easy’ studies. Thus, the team from Unilever managed to engage 60% of a category team including Marketing and R&D.

One important watch out for Consumer Insights Managers, such approaches should have very strong involvement and commitment of business partners.

Digitalization of research rises some questions related with the research quality. Respondents from on-line panels are very experienced in the survey taking. One of the possibility how to address it might be use of some extra unusual activities to understand more in-depth their real consumption behavior, e.g. via interviews.

Smartphone research might also have some professional respondents. Here more creative types of tasks and diverse questions might enhance the quality of insights.