Tag Archives: Mobile Research

How Netflix Cracks Consumer Moments-of-Truth

Consumer Insights Director Talks
Research Innovation
By Marc Dresner, Senior Editor, IIR
It’s a testament to the fragility of success in changing
times that just 15 years ago Blockbuster Video declined an opportunity to buy
Netflix for $50 million.
(The former, of course, now rests in the business boneyard;
the latter is worth about $33 billion today.)
Without exploring Blockbuster’s missteps in detail, it’s
pretty clear that they missed a thing or two about the market and the consumer
that Netflix did not.
Indeed, the best defense against hubris in this era of flux may
be an organization’s appetite and aptitude for insights. Fortunately for
Netflix, neither seems to be a problem.
Dave Decelle
According to Consumer Insights Director Dave Decelle, Netflix
has more than tripled its consumer insights function to a team of 20 since he
was hired a few years ago.

As one of four centers of intelligence, Decelle says his
group’the only one that speaks directly with the consumer’has had to pretty
quickly carve out an identity for itself in the organization.
is very Big-Data-centric and A/B-testing-centric, so it’s been an interesting
challenge to understand where consumer insights fit into that.’
‘Netflix is very
Big-Data-centric and A/B-testing-centric, so it’s been an interesting challenge
to understand where consumer insights fit into that,’ Decelle told the Research
Not surprisingly, Decelle notes they’ve found a valuable
role in delivering the why behind all of the behavioral and other data Netflix
collects, but he adds ‘we’re really careful about not taking what consumers say at face value.’
‘We try to steer clear of just listening
superficially to what consumers tell us.’
‘We try to steer clear of just listening superficially to what consumers
tell us,’ Decelle said. ‘We try to identify and understand the true underlying
motivators that are driving that response.’
This has led Decelle and his colleagues to pursue some interesting
solutions, methodologically.
‘It’s not unusual for the consumer insights team to
be innovating on techniques.’
‘Netflix is a very innovative culture and so it’s not unusual for even
the consumer insights team to be innovating on techniques,’ Decelle noted.
In this interview for the Research Insighter
podcast series, Dave Decelle  takes us
inside consumer research at Netflix and shares some lessons learned, including:
‘ How to get at
the moment-of-truth via in-the-moment techniques
‘ Why recall is
‘ How to engage
internal clients through ‘opportunistic enthnos’ and offsite safaris’and much

Editor’s note: Dave Decelle will
be speaking at TMRE 2015The Market Research Event‘now in its 13th
year as the largest, most comprehensive research conference in the world taking
place November 2-4 in Orlando.
For information or to register, please visit TheMarketResearchEvent.com.

(Ps. SAVE $100 when you register with codeTMRE15BL!) 

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

Talking with 2.5 Million Teen/20-sums: DoSomething.org COO Has Tips

Old Crank Hijacks Blog to Carp About “Kids These Days”

By Marc Dresner
As I sat down to write this post I had two depressing thoughts
and I figured I might as well drag you down with me:

1. I am
officially ‘old.’ (And if you’re 26 years of age or over, sorry, but so are you.)

2. I am
out of touch. (And if you spend a lot of time talking about ‘youth culture,’ might
be you’re out of touch, too.)

That first fun fact came courtesy of
DoSomething.org under a section on its website dubbed ‘Old People’ that
unapologetically states: ‘If you’re 26+ we
consider you officially ‘old.’ This is an org for young people.’
Aria Finger
source: Crain’s New York

(Well I didn’t want to join your stupid org anyway! Pbbt’)

The second bit I deduced’but only after chasing some
teenagers off my lawn’from a comment made by DoSomething.org’s COO, Aria
Finger, who suggested that old people who talk about young people in sweeping
generalizations probably don’t understand them as well as they think.
‘You hear people generalizing a
lot. ‘Oh, young people like to share,’ and so on,’ said Finger. ‘We need to
remember that young people are diverse.’

people’ isn’t some homogenous panacea.’
”Young people’ isn’t some homogenous panacea,’ she added.

She’s right, of course. And we’re
all guilty of it.

Marketers and researchers, in
particular, love to label and wrap blanket statements around entire
generational cohorts.
It’s how we make sense of (and
market to) the world. Show me a statistician who doesn’t dehumanize people for
a living.
Now, no one is saying that
there isn’t any truth (or utility, for that matter) to statements like ‘Young
people like to share,’ etc.
But we probably make or accept them more often than
is advisable for the sake of expedience.

Teenagers are usually on the cutting edge of technology
We all know, for example, that Gen Z’ er, Post-Millennials?
Gen Next? ‘What are we calling these kids we’re generalizing about anyway?!?
Gen TBD?
Whatever they are, they’re ‘digital natives,’ right?
The teens are into all the cutting edge technology, right?
Wrong. Finger says that’s a big misconception.
Well, ok, but they sure seem tech-savvy. (Help me with my DVR, please!)
I mean, what about their smartphones? All the kids
have smartphones. We didn’t have smartphones when I went to high school…
And most middle-class teens in the U.S. today still
don’t, Finger noted, which is why SMS text remains such a powerful communication
And just where does she get her information, you ask?
Why from DoSomething.org’s 2.5 million members ages
25 and under, of course.

 ‘We can send a text to 1.6 million young
people and get up to 70,000 responses in minutes.’
‘We can send a text to 1.6 million young people and
get up to 70,000 responses in a matter of minutes,’ Finger told The Research Insighter.
any out-of-touch oldies, DoSomething is a pretty-big-deal-not-for-profit dedicated
to ‘making the world suck less’ by connecting teens and early 20-somethings to
social causes that matter to them.)
is also president of TMI, DoSomething’s agency subsidiary specializing in
research and consulting services around youth, technology and social change.
As a
result, Finger knows a thing or two about the kids and how to communicate with
And in this podcast with The Research Insighter
interview series, Finger shares some tips for talking with young people, including:

‘ Why ‘if you build it they will come’ isn’t a great
mobile strategy

‘ How to keep an authentic two-way text dialogue
going with thousands of young people

‘ Why brands shouldn’t necessarily just take the
kids’ word for it when it comes to preferences, and more’
Aria Finger will present ‘Using Mobile and Data Insights to Activate
Youth’ at The Future of Consumer Intelligence Conference taking place May 19th
through the 21st in Universal City, California.

SAVE 15% to attend The Future of Consumer Intelligence when you use code FOCI14BLOG today! 

more information or to register, please visit www.futureofconsumerintel.com

Old Crank

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

How is JetBlue connecting to their customers through Mobile Technology? Jonathan Steven, Jet Blue Head of Mobile answers

Recently, Jonathan Stephen, Head of Mobile, JetBlue Airways, sat down with the TMRE team to discuss the evolution of mobile research at his company. In his role, he looks at how consumers interact with devices through their interaction with JetBlue.

During the podcast, he gave advice to researchers on how to better serve their clients:

I think there is a lot of research out there, but I think that ultimately it’s good to understand that every industry is different. So, being in the travel vertical it’s good for us to not only understand what pertains to mobile, what types of devices are out there or what is the percentage of saturation by device, but it’s also good for us to understand how users are using their devices today and, ultimately, what they are looking for in the future. We feel that research plays a huge role in that for us. So, we see tons of value there and we will obviously continue to make sure that we keep that as part of our process moving forward.

Listen to the full interview.
Read the transcript.

Few things stand to have as much impact on how we connect with respondents than mobile technology. This year, TMRE debuts a full day summit on Mobile & Technology where we’ll discuss designing the mobile web survey experience, capturing SMS Text based customer feedback and mobile strategy. Best Buy, Coca Cola and InterContinental Hotels Group share how the mobile channel has brought them closer to their consumer and dramatically improve business results. For more information on this summit and the rest of the program, download the agenda.

At The Market Research Event 2012, we unite the world’s top clients and vendors in a collaborative setting and facilitates open, honest conversation about how we can work together more productively. This year, it will take place November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida. Register today and save 15% off the standard rate when you mention code TMRE12BLOG. If you have any questions about this year’s event, feel free to email Jennifer Pereira.

#TMRTE 2012: The Parasite Paradigm

Colony of Digital Organisms
from Michigan State University

Years ago I saw a demonstration by a professor who had developed a digital organism.  I’m not talking about those little robots you carry in your pocket and feed when they whine, but a totally digital life form.  He created a visualization of it for us but the digital life form was embedded in a hard drive so it didn’t really have a visual essence of its own.  To be ‘alive’ it conformed to the rules defining life ‘ it ate, slept, reproduced and ultimately died leaving offspring to carry on.  In fact, as the demonstration was ‘live’ we were able to see population growth in real time.

This came to mind as I watched today’s Mobile Research presentations at The Market Research Technology Event in Las Vegas.   Several presenters highlighted the fragmented nature of the mobile platform, the distracted nature of the mobile survey taker, and the general lack of engagement of people taking a survey while mobile.  I imagine myself trying to answer survey questions while walking in a crowded airport.  There is no way this would go well for me.

One speaker mentioned that a key challenge of mobile research is the number of mobile platforms and the challenge to the developers of survey tools and apps.  And he said we were waiting for it to ‘settle down.’   This was preceded by a presentation on engagement ‘ how consumers are not engaged in survey taking or most of what brands publish in social media.   In fact, it was noted that engagement levels erode over time.  For example, consumers were originally much more engaged in online surveys than they are now.  Attention spans tend to wane as familiarity with an experience wears on.

At this point my own attention span waned and I began to think about films.   It seems that we have a popular group of male actors, Ben Stiller for example, who appear in film after film.  But in each film they have a different girlfriend, a female actor we’ve never seen before.  And we never see her again in any other film.  Why is that?  Well, I’d suggest that the attention span for the female characters is short and as a film going public, we’re on to the next fresh face.

It’s the same with digital devices.  We replace them well before they wear out.  We upgrade for the next performance enhancement, screen size or cool interface.  It’s the next fresh face.  This probably explains the lack of enduring engagement in technology based research tools.  It’s cool and engaging for a while but then our interest wanes and engagement declines.  This pattern is predictable, so waiting for mobile platforms to ‘settle down’ so we can design widgets, programs or apps that will work on a finite set of devices seems unlikely to be effective.   And we must continuously raise the bar on engaging survey content as this is a moving target too.

What if we created research tools that acted more like organisms ‘ more specifically a parasites?  It would detect the type of host (digital device and consumer preferences) and adapt to attach accordingly.  It would read the individual and adapt to be the perfect interface for that person, altering visual dynamics, language, time of day approached, length of the survey, etc.    It could know how many surveys you’ve taken and what type so that it varies your content to engage.   I truly believe that adaptive design is the only way to keep up with unpredictable change.   That’s because things will never settle down, so riding with the waves of change is the only way to go.

TMRE Day 3: Youth, Reimagining

The third and final day of The Market Research Event might have been my favorite of all. Folks dragged in for morning sessions, but the prior two days had brains pliable and social creativity was juiced.

A couple of thoughts that really stood out for me for the day:

  • -”We benchmark ourselves too much to our competitors.” Jeremy Gutsche of Trendhunter kept us engaged and, hopefully, eager to go back and challenge the drivers behind the work we’re all doing. It’s a dangerous endeavor to simply confirm biases with research. Involving the fringe and trends as a part of every project should be standard rather than a rarity.
  • -Christine Stasiw-Lazarchuk of Ford shared that, following Ford’s recasting of itself, the marketing had to reduce its headcount by 70% while budget was reduced 40%. Instead of “doing more with less,” Her response? “Treat your suppliers as partners…have them feel the success. You won’t be sorry.” Ford elected to build unique relationships with their suppliers; letting them into the room and to be a part of the conversation rather than tossing insights over the fence and wishing for the best. Those are the kinds of partnerships in which clients and vendors both win and create incremental value for brands – let’s all get there.
  • -The word cloud for day three shows us a couple of other key concepts: (a) Mobile (b) Gen Y. These concepts share young consumers and leading insights in common. You could say that youth and new-to-world methodologies were the real rock stars of The Market Research Event. Clients consistently share with us that youth are not only a significant target for today, but also harbingers of the future – a living future trend, so to speak. I challenge all of you to consider how a youth lens can reveal more about our efforts – whether we’re in advanced planning in auto and consumer tech or media where young peoples’ adoption rates can signal success or failure.

Considering all three days collectively I’m equal parts exhausted & thrilled as I know many of you are! And how do we know it was great? Our friends on Twitter had nothing else to say…

@johnmwilliamson: Great time at #TMRE in Orlando

@akpradeep: Terrific time at #TMRE in Orlando. Thanks to @IIRUSA for bringing together such a stellar group of marketing minds.

@ramiuscorp: Back from #TMRE. Had a gr8 time & met a lot of ppl.

@InsightsGal: Just back from #tmre and my just-getting-caffeinated mind is full of great learnings, new contacts, and fresh insights!

@statmaven: #TMRE…was a great conference. Great speakers, high octane contacts, Highly recommended, #mrx, #ngmr

@bakken17: #TMRE was awesome! Thanks for a great time full of learning.

It’s safe to say that TMRE was valuable again this year. The weight, now, is on all of us to DO something with these great insights. Perhaps in 2012 will be YOUR year to present on your success applying your 2011 TMRE learnings?

All the best to a great year ahead for each and every one of you.

How Mobile Is Changing Research

Remember when cell phones were primarily used for emergencies? My first phone did have a color screen, but games were limited, texting was unheard of, and minutes were saved with a two-way walkie-talkie function. Oh, and I didn’t get one until I was old enough drive.

Today, for the most part, mobile phones are known as smartphones; they make information instantly accessible and where the Internet can’t help, I’m sure I have an app that can. These phones are not exclusive to particular age group, ethnic heritage, or social class and are with us when we wake up, go to bed, and most of the time between.
For researchers, mobile advances have provided a faster and more interesting way to reach desired respondents. Of course, the tricky part is identifying the appropriate use of mobile surveys.
It’s important to note that mobile can not replace traditional research methods, but it certainly can help increase response rates during times and events that people are not expected to be near their computers. Because the survey is likely being taken on a smartphone, photos of products, places, and people can be shared (photos really can be worth a thousand words) offering the ability of fewer words to be used and more ethnographic-type research to be completed.
Technology in general, including smartphones, is evolving market research methods and the respective businesses we serve. With immediate consumer perceptions, we can make more effective and efficient recommendations to business leaders.
As research methods evolve to include mobile and other technologies (like iPads and other tablets), we must understand the appropriate times for traditional and new data collection methods. More importantly, we must understand the data we can collect and how we can use it to make more informed decisions.
For more on this topic, join us at The Market Research Event this November in Orlando, Florida!

Garrett McGuire (@GJMcGuire) is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, “The Journal of a mAD Man,” that explains the theories and methods of advertising.

#TDMR Live: Mobile and Geo-Location Research

Live Coverage by Kristin Schwitzer, cross-posted from the New Qualitative Research blog.

Real-time coverage of the following session from IIR’s 2011 Technology Driven Market Research Event in Chicago: ‘Geo-location Research through Mobile Device’

Jim Schwab, SVP North America of OnePoint Surveys, a UK-based mobile provider that can handle any handset, any country and any language. What is LBR (Location-Based Research)? It’s two-way real-time communication between a researcher and a participant, enabled by mobile handsets that engage people when they’re going about their daily business. In the moment, in location. Short: 1-3 minutes max. Participant selects communication vehicle to maximize response rates (18-30%, with 1-2% drop-off per question). Thank-you rewards delivered right to the phone immediately upon completion. When to use LBR? Consider mobile market research when you can’t use other methods:

  • want to be in-the-moment / on location
  • when need fast turnaround
  • need to reach hard to reach respondents

See www.onepointsurveys.com for related white papers. Challenges? Very fragmented market: SMS (can reach all 5 million phones), MMS (picture, video), email (upload picture or video into survey), etc. 82 different mobile operators in India alone. Cannot send a text into Brazil for free, but can in Mexico. Varying screen sizes and handsets, etc. Channel options? SMS (maximum reach), WAP (a more visual experience with a few more questions), Mobile Web (Smartphones), Apps (includes GPS location and barcode / QR code technologies), Integrate to Apps (integrated in a brand’s existing app), and Choice of channel (WAP, Mobile Web or SMS). Four mobile market research case studies:

  1. Retail voice of the customer (their hottest application in US right now)’ shoppers text # with feedback to a keyword assigned per store’ in future, trying to link to retailer’s loyalty program to increase joining and use as a recruiting tool for other MR studies.
  2. Brainjuicer and MGM’s movie prelaunch ad awareness and media mix, used 5 cities (n=150 each) to text in key word upon exposure to any related media, without needing to download an app. Delivered comparable results in real time (participants texted feedback which downloaded a survey to their phone).
  3. App-based mystery shopping to test retail openings, staff courtesy & efficiently, displays and signage via a branded App. Benefits: (GPS validated location and process), secure account, each day selected shops based on participant’s location, and no picture/text link mess-ups.
  4. App-based UK location-based test with 200 shoppers. Whenever they would walk within GPS coordinates of any supermarket store in the country (all pre-loaded), they were pushed a survey that linked to that specific store, then in Phase II participated in more in-depth work via online surveys and chats.

Lead Up To The IIR TDMR: Interview With John Williamson of Qualvu

This blog is co-posted with The Green Book.

I have not had the pleasure of meeting John, but I’ve been following Qualvu since their launch and have always kept their platform as one of the weapons in my arsenal when working with clients. Qualvu is a company that has persevered, refined their model and technology continuously, and has now emerged as a leader in redefining how we think about qualitative research. As more researchers have embraced online and mobile methods, Qualvu has not rested on their laurels but instead has co0ntinued to pioneer new ways to change the game for all stakeholders in the research value chain. I am impressed with John, the company he has built, and the vision he has of the future: I think you will be too.

John Williamson

In a little over 2 weeks the Technology Driven Market Research Event will kick off in Chicago, and I am getting more and more excited. Over the last few months we’ve been presenting interviews with speakers at the the event, and I think you’ll agree that we have a stellar line-up of thought leaders, innovators, and visionaries within the market research industry participating. I am humbled beyond measure to be a part of this great group and I can’t wait to sit down and talk shop with everyone in Chicago!

Today’s interview is the last one I have completed. I am working on trying to get a few more wrapped up but in case that doesn’t happen we’ll end the series on a high note with a great conversation with John Williamson, CEO of Qualvu.

I have not had the pleasure of meeting John, but I’ve been following Qualvu since their launch and have always kept their platform as one of the weapons in my arsenal when working with clients. Qualvu is a company that has persevered, refined their model and technology continuously, and has now emerged as a leader in redefining how we think about qualitative research. As more researchers have embraced online and mobile methods, Qualvu has not rested on their laurels but instead has co0ntinued to pioneer new ways to change the game for all stakeholders in the research value chain. Oh, and they are also a ‘DIY’ solution, so the company is another example of how that model can be successfully applied within the market research industry.

I am impressed with John, the company he has built, and the vision he has of the future: I think you will be too.

Like the others, this interview was conducted via email over the course of a few weeks. Enjoy!

LM: Qualvu has been around for a while, but you finally seem to be making a big splash and generating a lot of interest within the market research space. Why do you think that is?

JW: I believe any disruptive and meaningful innovation takes some time to marinate in the marketplace before a critical mass of adoption. Qualvu is just hitting that tipping point and it’s exciting to see the buzz. It doesn’t hurt that we’ve quietly gained a lot of big and influential brands clients, which validates our promise to deliver qualitative research that is faster, cheaper, and simply more truthful than traditional methods. After hitting 700 projects and 100,000 video responses in 2010, people are starting to notice!

It’s fascinating to me that a very big industry ‘ qualitative research which is a $6 billion space ‘ went virtually unchanged for over 50 years. Focus groups were so entrenched that most brands didn’t realize there was a better way of doing things. We knew that to make those brands believers and get them to switch from focus groups, we had to deliver insights that were not just as good as the status quo ‘ they had to be better. We proved we could do that, but it still required that we relentlessly took our message to the industry ‘ and proved it time after time ‘ to generate the momentum we now have. We recently announced our DIY platform for clients to do their own research using Qualvu’s platform, as well as a Smartphone app for video data collection, and they’ve generated additional buzz.

LM: What do you think are the major drivers of change in the market research space right now and how is Qualvu planning to take advantage of those trends?

JW: There are several drivers right now. Certainly the economic conditions are prompting companies to seek innovations that deliver cost-efficiency, and that’s helped Qualvu. I don’t think it’s an accident that tough economies see a resurgence of breakthrough innovations ‘ it’s typically when more mature firms are re-trenching, and there are opportunities for scrappy start-ups to outflank old ways with innovations.

Also consumers have changed. Social media ‘ Facebook and Twitter being the largest ones of course ‘ allow people to share their thoughts, experiences, and even beliefs online. As a result all of us have entered a new age of web-based transparency, with virtual podiums for our unique voices. Qualvu taps this naturally. Plus we connect our clients with consumers through online video and smartphones ‘ which proves to be the most candid and truthful form of feedback because it is on their time, in their settings, and exactly during the consumer/brand interactions.

LM: That ‘sticktoitness’ is inspiring! I agree that we’re in a new era of innovation driven transformation for the market research industry, and a lot of the exciting new technologies seem to be centered around a DIY approach vs. the more traditional service provider model. What do you think is driving that shift and what impact do you see that having on the broader industry over the course of the next 3-5 years?

JW: That’s an interesting question. Online platforms naturally empower the buyer. Think about buying music ‘ intuitive interfaces that vertically integrate the music business means you no longer need to drive to Tower Records to buy the latest Justin Bieber album (sorry, I have an 11-year old daughter at home). Instead you log in to iTunes from your PC, tablet, or Smartphone, play a sample or two, and buy the tracks you want. That’s extremely empowering ‘ with lots of benefits for you by lowering cost and complexity, and giving you exactly what you want, when you want it.

Researchers and companies are no different ‘ they win in DIY environments that strip out cost and complexity, and deliver exactly what they are looking for. I believe that if we deliver an interface that is delightful to use and allows you to customize any consumer feedback project to your needs at lower cost ‘ I believe we can spark the same level of disruption in qualitative research that iTunes did in the music business. What this means is that the industry changes in fundamental ways ‘ it gets bigger and healthier. Because brand researchers are empowered, and because it’s more cost effective without compromising any quality, they can do more. Plus the cost benefits naturally invite companies that do little or no qualitative research to the experience. Online video insights are extremely important to decision making ‘ and now they are cheaper, faster and better than traditional methods. It’s what researchers want, and now they get them when and where they want them.

LM: Are there plans to integrate QualVu into MROCs or even broader based social networks like Facebook to provide a true social experience for participants? Also, will you be using the mobile app to build your own sample population?

JW: We are indeed exploring interesting ways to integrate our collection capability in a variety of environments, and already Qualvu utilizes Facebook to attract consumers who want to share their insights to shape the brands they care about most. The mobile app expands our reach significantly ‘ it instantly enables millions of consumer for video-based qualitative feedback using the Qualvu platform. We are adding sample every day at increasing speed as a result, and allowing our clients to access these smartphone-powered consumers via our self-serve and custom services.

We recently conducted a webinar about the implications of the smartphone and tablet becoming the central gateway for communication, sharing, and information. Qualvu’s vision is been that visual, candid feedback will be centralized within this medium over time as well. We’re laser focused on video, and turning that video into meaningful intelligence ‘ and intent on leading the way for an evolution from focus groups to web-based interaction. Certainly the mobile app factors strongly in that.

LM: I could not agree with you more regarding mobile devices quickly becoming the primary channel for all electronic interactions, and utilizing the evolving capabilities of these devices present some very interesting opportunities for insight professionals. If you are already integrating social elements into your video-based qualitative offering, any plans to add in more functionality such as bar code scanning, finger tracking, LBS functions, or even more quant-based components?

JW: You could get me talking for hours about our mobile strategies! The smartphone is front and center in our mid and long-term strategies for gathering ever more valuable consumer insights. The mobile phone is the central device of the future for how people access information, communicate both verbally and visually, conduct commerce, and share their thoughts. We have some remarkable advances in store ‘ from bar code scanning, geo-location, instant screening and more. One of our promises to our clients is that we realize the ante is better intelligence than any other method, period. From there we are developing increasingly more advanced capabilities to push the boundaries of what’s possible in brand-to-consumer interactions for qualitative insights.

LM: I’ve noticed a real change within the Qualitative supplier community recently around embracing new technologies and techniques; it seems that these more nimble firms, focused more on producing strategic insights vs. specific methodology-based products, are driving innovation in some very interesting ways. Have you noticed the same trend within the qualitative space? Also, given your focus on engaging with enterprise-level clients, have you gotten much traction from the supplier community?

JW: When Qualvu launched in late 2008, we faced quite a bit of skepticism from traditional qualitative suppliers ‘ that a web-based approach could deliver the depth of focus groups. We know now in most cases, it’s significantly richer, more candid and truthful because of how we leverage video. However that early skepticism forced us to take the message directly to enterprise, and it arrived at a crucial time when the economy was forcing them to look for innovative and cost-effective tools ‘ essentially to do more with less. Plus they saw their consumer bases changing before their eyes. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and other influences were changing how people were communicating, and sharing their thoughts about brands.

So the Qualvu value proposition sparked a powder keg of interest at the end user or buyer, and it had a remarkable positive impact on the vendors. Qualvu gained quick credibility, and once vendor-side researchers realized we had easy DIY tools that allowed them to conduct online video research and apply their unique expert analysis, it was a great fit. It’s allowed us to continue to take our message to every sector ‘ all businesses big and small, ad agencies, healthcare, education, and research vendors. In fact we are developing a webinar series starting in May specifically targeted to research vendors, to train them how to use Qualvu to innovate and grow their businesses. We have lots of vendor success stories to share.

LM: Can you give me some examples of how your clients are using the Qualvu platform? What’s been the most interesting project that you have seen?

JW: There are a lot of really interesting ones ‘ I think that once our clients realize there are virtually no limits to where they can go to learn from their consumers, it really drives home how inefficient focus group settings can be. So we get them right into the lives of real people, right during those ‘moments of truth.’ We have one large CPG client who tests new razor concepts among male and female consumers, who literally shave every morning on camera, right from their bathroom, while they talk about the shaving experience and reaction to the new prototypes. We’ve done lots of projects where moms talk about making dinner, or trying new paper towels, right in their kitchens during the bustle of family dinner. We have consumers showing us their clogged drains the moment they occur ‘ and show us in great detail what works and what doesn’t. We see students talking about search engines and social networking from their dorm rooms at college; the list just goes on and on.

The most interesting? Has to be a project recently we did for a retail client where consumers took us on shopping trips with cameras that were built into ballpoint pens! You wouldn’t believe the footage, and the client was just blown away at what they learned. You just can’t do that with traditional methods. Wrap all those in a price point that is a lot less and a lot faster than traditional methods, and we believe Qualvu will change the game in this industry.

LM: I think a lot of folks are still leery of online qual period, let alone video-based mobile qual. Here is your chance to convert them John: can you sum up the value proposition for your approach vs. other methods for our audience?

JW: I’d love to Leonard.

Properly deployed, Qualvu will deliver more truthful data than any other qualitative method. The platform gets researchers directly into the candid lives of consumers in new ways that only video-based mobile qual can deliver, and the Qualvu solution is faster, easier to deploy, and a lot less expensive than traditional methods. It’s not about just data however ‘ it’s about better, more engaged decision making. Give us a shot and we’ll prove it to you.

LM: Last question! It seems that a lot of innovation in this space is coming out of the Denver area; there is you, iModerate, GutCheck, Egg Strategy, etc.. Is it something about the mountain air that has unleashed all of this innovation? Why is Denver emerging as a kind of ‘new qual’ equivalent to Silicon Valley?

JW: That is a great question! The fact is, Colorado is a spectacular place and it’s attracting world-class people looking for a place to pursue both professional and personal passions. We’ve been able to get some of the most talented and innovative people ‘ from Seattle, Dallas, New York, and lots of other places ‘ to move to the Denver area in a heartbeat to join the Qualvu story. So I’m not surprised the start-ups to watch are incubating right here in Colorado. I’m betting Qualvu won’t be a local secret for long!
About the Author Leonard Murphy:

Lenny is a seasoned and respected industry leader with an entrepreneurial drive. He has been called a visionary and is renowned as an innovator. He has successfully established several companies in the MR space including Rockhopper Research, a leading full service global research firm and MDM Associates, a MR consulting firm, before founding his current companies: BrandScan 360 and his consulting practice LMC group (www.asklmcg.com).

Mr. Murphy is a key consultant and adviser to numerous market research agencies, and works across the industry to drive the development of innovative research practices by developing strategic alliances with multiple ‘best in class’ providers.

Lenny serves on the Board of The Market Research Global Alliance, the premier social network for the global MR profession. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Research Industry Trends Monitoring Group & Publisher of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends Study, the oldest study in the industry devoted to tracking changing trends in MR. He is on the Advisory Boards of the Festival of NewMR and The Merlien Institute. He is also the Chairman of the IIR Technology Driven Market Research conference.

Rounding out his busy professional life, he is the Editor in Chief of the GreenBook Blog.

Lenny can be reached at lmurphy@brandscan360.com.