4 Questions You Must Answer About Your Brand

Jeff Bezos Chief Executive Officer of Amazon

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.”
Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon

Do you know what your customers are saying about you behind your back? Understanding your brand from the client’s perspective is essential to effective brand management.

Many businesses believe that, because they create and deliver brand communications, that must be what your customers feel. In reality, what you’re saying about your brand is only part of it. You must think of your brand as a three-legged stool, made up of:

  • What you say and do in the marketplace,
  • What your competitors say and do in the marketplace, and
  • Your customer’s evolving business environment.

It can be very easy to believe that you know what your customers think, but if you haven’t heard from an objective, third party source, you could be very surprised. Here are four questions you must answer about your brand:

  1. What are they saying behind your back? We would all like to believe that our customers are honest with us and that they will let us know when we’re running aground. There are two issues with that thinking. First, your customers are human beings, and, in general, people tend to avoid giving bad news. Second, it’s your brand, and it is not your client’s responsibility to manage it for you. You must take responsibility for managing your brand.
  2. How do you compare to your competition? Trust us; the answer is not always about price! How are you better and different from your competition and where do your competitors have the advantage? You don’t have to excel at everything – the point is to be distinctly better than your competitors at something that is important in your customers’ purchase decisions.
  3. What are your customers facing that might impact your brand? We all know that things change – frequently and quickly! How can your brand evolve and continue to meet the changing needs of people that purchase your product or service? Being able to innovate and adapt is a hallmark of great brands. After all, 88% of the companies on the Fortune 500 in 1955 are no longer there, and a good portion them because they missed critical opportunities to change with the times.
  4. Is your relationship sustainable? Especially for B2B companies, it is essential to expanding your brand relationships throughout your clients’ organizations. It is great to have long-term relationships with a customer, but where will you be when they move on or retire? What do other people in the organization think about your brand? How willing will they be to continue that brand relationship?

Can you answer those questions? More importantly, how do you think your customers might respond to these issues about your brand? If you don’t know, you need to conduct brand image research to get an honest and unbiased evaluation. Your brand can be a critical, strategic asset, but manage it, nurture it, and evolve it to stay relevant and compelling. And get the answers to these questions to make sure.

Beyond Touchpoints: Integrating CX Throughout the Organization

Beyond Touchpoints: Integrating CX Throughout the Organization

Beyond Touchpoints: Integrating CX Throughout the Organization

Managing the key touchpoints for your customers is undeniably linked to improved business performance. In fact, Gartner reports that companies will redirect 50% of product investment projects to customer experience improvements in 2017. And The Service Council reports that 60% of companies believe that customer experience will be the top source of competitive differentiation in the next three years.

Businesses have long understood the need to provide a high-quality, differentiating customer experience or customer journey. We map our touchpoints, decide which are important and measure and improve customer satisfaction with those touchpoints. And many businesses measure customer satisfaction overall and with specific transactions (e.g., sales, service calls, field service visits, etc.)

However, it is important to remember that customer experience goes beyond in-person or phone encounters with sales and service. To completely understand the customer experience with your company, you need to evaluate all points where the customer has contact with your company. To name just a few: what about invoicing and collections? Are invoices easy-to-understand? Is it easy for customers to get their billing questions answered? What about product instructions? How easy is your company to work with when the customer needs something customized? How easy is it to navigate your website? How are your POP displays in retail?

Great customer experiences require a more holistic or cross-functional perspective. Simply “bolting on” customer satisfaction measurements to your existing processes may not be enough to ensure a great customer experience. As Pete Kinser writes in UX Magazine, “Bringing customer-centered thinking into an organization is about more than just proclaiming that you’re focused on customer experience. It’s about changing your process, sure, but it goes even deeper: It’s about changing attitudes. It’s about making your customers a central organizational value that guides behaviors and decision making.”

Additionally, a process-oriented, holistic approach to improving the customer satisfaction will bear fruit in more sustainable customer relationships. After all, organizations that have an uneven customer orientation between different business functions deliver an uneven customer experience. Employees may be confused about roles and responsibilities or may become disengaged. And if the resulting customer experience is different between functions, the organization loses credibility with customers, and customer loyalty suffers.

As Alex Rawson, Ewan Duncan, and Conor Jones wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “Optimizing a single customer journey is tactical; shifting organizational processes, culture, and mind-sets to a journey orientation is strategic and transformational. Journey-based transformations are not easy, and they may take years to perfect. But the reward is higher customer and employee satisfaction, increased revenue, and lower costs. Delivering successful journeys brings about an operational and cultural shift that engages the organization across functions and from top to bottom, generating excitement, innovation, and a focus on continuous improvement. It creates a culture that’s hard to build otherwise, and a true competitive advantage goes to companies that get it right.”

Call Clear Seas Research to talk about enhancing your Customer Experience.

One Size Does Not Fit All! Choosing the Best Satisfaction Metric for Your Business

Choosing the Best Satisfaction Metric for Your Business

Choosing the Best Satisfaction Metric for Your Business

When Net Promoter Score (NPS) burst onto the business management scene in 2003, Harvard Business Review author Fred Reichheld touted it as “The One Number You Need to Grow.” Businesses large and small, consumer and B2B, jumped on the NPS bandwagon, perhaps seduced by the apparent simplicity of the approach. After all, what CEO wouldn’t want to have to only look at one metric to get and keep their business running on the right track?

While NPS is an important metric for some businesses, it is not the ONLY metric needed to manage growth in any business. Indeed, for many businesses, it may not be important at all.

What makes a good business metric? Ben Yoskovitz, the co-author of Lean Analytics, gives these characteristics of a good business metric:

  • Tracking. A good metric can be compared (over time, among subgroups, against competition) to show the direction of movement. The statement “Revenue is up 10% over last quarter” is a better metric than “Revenue is $20 million.” Corollary: good metrics are often ratios or rates, which are intrinsically comparisons.
  • Succinct. A good metric is instantly and easily understandable and directly relates to your business goals. If you must explain it and why it is important, it is not a good metric.
  • Behavior-changing. The metric should immediately communicate how behavior must change to drive results.

The ability to drive behavior change is by far the most important characteristic of a good metric because it tells you what to focus on, and what actions to take to drive results. And most businesses are complex organisms: you will need more than one metric to drive change across different functions.

While NPS may be one of the metrics you choose to use in your scorecard, here are several others you should consider:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score. Frequently referred to as C-SAT or O-SAT (for Overall Satisfaction), the satisfaction score has been around a long time in the annals of business metrics. Common sense tells us that if customers are not satisfied, they will defect, and our business will not grow. There are many ways to measure customer satisfaction, including immediately after a transaction vs. a more long-term, relationship approach. Think about your market structure, competition, and corporate strategy to determine which type of C-SAT metric is right for your business. While it has long been recognized that satisfaction alone is not sufficient to understand your customers, it remains important as one of the key metrics for many businesses.
  • Loyalty. Another important aspect of customer satisfaction is loyalty, which may translate into intent to renew, or repurchase, depending on your business. Think about what’s most important: getting a customer to purchase again, to increase the size or frequency of their order, or to purchase other products and services from your business. That will help you structure the appropriate loyalty metric.
  • Exceeding Expectations. The foundation of customer satisfaction is meeting their expectations. But true customer advocacy, you must go beyond meeting their expectations – you must exceed (or “delight”) them. This metric may also be a good choice for your business, depending on your industry and market dynamic.
  • Comparison to Competitors. If you are in a very competitive market with little-perceived differentiation between players, you might consider a metric that evaluates how you rank against your competitive set. Are you better, much better, about the same? If so, you may have a competitive advantage you want to exploit. And clearly, if you are worse or much worse, you have some work to do!

There are two additional metrics that are coming into business use that you might want to consider:

  • Customer Effort Score. The Customer Effort Score is a relative newcomer to the business metric scene but is very relevant for certain industries. If your product is a big-ticket, long-term process (for example, manufacturing airliners), the customer will expend much effort in the purchasing process. On the other hand, if your company should be easy to work with, and customers believe it takes a lot of effort to purchase from you, you have your marching orders!
  • The Net Value Score. Like the customer effort score, some companies are beginning to use a Net Value Score to determine whether the cost and effort of being a customer are less than or greater than the benefit delivered by your company.

These metrics are all big-picture, “overall” indicators and, while they might signal corrective action should be taken, they will not tell you what action is required. So, in addition to whatever overall metrics you choose, you should also evaluate how you are doing on specific important business factors, such as customer service, delivery, product quality, etc.

If you are an NPS fan, we are not suggesting that you stop using it. Any metric is driving customer experience enhancing behavior is a good metric for you. However, most customer satisfaction programs no longer rely on a single metric. Developing a program of the right metrics for your customers and your business may take a little trial and error, but will deliver improved customer satisfaction for the long-term.  To learn more about our approaches to customer experience and customer satisfaction, register with us today.

Strategic Market Research Planning for 2017: Get Ahead of the Game

Strategic Market Research Planning for 2017

Strategic Market Research Planning for 2017

Hopefully, you took our advice and did some long-range planning a few months back Finish Strong: 5 Things You MUST DO Before the End of 2016. Whether you did or did not, now is the time to plan for the research that will support your longer-term strategic planning efforts next year.

One of the most important – and most often overlooked – uses of marketing research is to provide information for long-term planning efforts. Especially in B2B companies that may not have a tradition of researching every question that pops up, there may be questions that have persisted for several years – or even forever – that we tend to live with until it comes time for our strategic planning sessions. “What do our customers like about our competitors’ brands and how can we compete with them?” “What is the role of our customers’ purchasing department and how can we influence it?” “How many of our customers are planning to make major capital investments in the next three years?”

Then, we want those questions answered fast and, usually, there is no longer time or budget to get the research done properly to produce the answers we need. Research takes time to do correctly, especially in B2B companies. B2B samples are smaller, and respondents are very busy and time-constrained. It often takes weeks to collect responses to a B2B survey, unlike consumer research that can now be completed in a matter of days.

As a result, we make our “best guesstimate” about those unanswered questions and muddle through. And then we forget about them until Strategic Planning time rolls around again the following year.

This year, plan ahead to get those questions answered for your executives:

  • Determine the Questions. If you are not part of the planning process, interview executives who are and ask them what information was needed and not available? Do it now while memories are still fresh! This will also give you an opportunity to demonstrate how marketing research can be an important resource for all types of business questions.
  • Plan for the Budget. Figure out how you will get the answers to those questions, and what that will cost. Keep in mind there may be secondary research that can help you get this information cost effectively (link to Clear Market Trends).
  • Get Approvals. Communicate with those involved in Strategic Planning and let them know you’ll get them the information they need. Take this opportunity to confirm the information that is needed, and ask them for their support though the budget process.
  • Plan the Work. Keep in touch with the Strategic Planners so that you ensure you have the research results well in advance of the planning process start dates. Often, getting these questions answered before the planning process can influence how planning proceeds, so make sure you deliver in a timely fashion. And that is usually well before the fourth quarter!

This is the perfect application of marketing research in a B2B setting. By leading your company in providing information needed to answer key strategic questions, you showcase your organization’s ability to assist in other business decisions, both large and small.

Learn more today at reports.clearseasresearch.com

Clear Seas Research Expands Access to Hotel Food & Beverage Purchasing Decision-Makers

Clear Seas Research adds exceptional access to hotel food & beverage purchasing decision-makers

Clear Seas Research adds exceptional access to hotel food & beverage purchasing decision-makers

Clear Seas Research is pleased to announce the expansion of its myCLEARopinion panel and market research resources by adding panelists from the BNP Media acquisition of Hotel F&B (Gaming and Hospitality Group).  You can read about the acquisition here.

This newest member of BNP Media’s customer-centric Gaming and Hospitality Group is the print and online voice of the $36.7 billion North American hotel foodservice industry.  This new relationship will help the Hotel Food & Beverage audience of buyers reach existing and new customers through customized, verifiable, multi-platform campaigns.

Industry leader.

As a trusted resource to this business sector, Hotel F&B addresses the management, operational, and executional strategies for profitable food and beverage service at hotel properties, management companies, and corporate headquarters locations throughout North America.

In doing so, Hotel F&B reaches nearly 60,000 hoteliers and more than 17,000 hotels, resorts, casinos, conference centers, luxury inns, cruise lines, spas, purchasing companies, management companies, and corporate headquarters locations.

Clear Seas Research advantages.

In particular, this acquisition provides Clear Seas Research clients with exceptional access to purchasing decision-makers for an important operations and profit center of the hospitality industry.  These decision-makers include hotel general managers, corporate and property-level F&B directors, and purchasing and operations directors, as well as chefs, banquet and catering management, sommeliers and mixologists at individual properties.

As a leading global provider of B-to-B brand experience and new product development research, Clear Seas Research will work closely with the Hotel Food & Beverage audience of buyers to produce real-world custom research, syndicated “off-the-shelf” research, and research panel access to companies looking to get an edge in this lucrative market.

Clear Seas Research reports will also leverage the entire audience base for surveys and focus groups, while having more than 50 F&B leaders from the industry’s leading hotel chains and management companies serve as primary sources for our authoritative, on-trend, and research based content.

By working with Clear Seas Research, B-to-B brands that have long trusted research at the decision table can now elevate their awareness; study new product launches without tipping off competitors; and make more informed decisions in this exciting growth industry.

For more information and to subscribe to Clear Seas Research reports, please visit reports.clearseasresearch.com.


7 Tips for International B2B Marketing Research

7 Tips for International B2B Marketing Research

7 Tips for International B2B Marketing Research

Globalization allows companies to compete in markets that they would have never contemplated. For B2B companies globalization has created countless opportunities. So, it is no wonder that B2B companies are looking to conduct marketing research around these international opportunities. And if B2B marketing research was challenging, international B2B marketing research brings an entirely new level of complexity.

Accurate translation is important, but there are other equally important aspects that can make or break your international B2B marketing research. You must take cultural context, technological access, local customs, and even data and privacy laws into account.

Here are seven tips to help you successfully conduct international B2B marketing research.

  1. Match Your Methodology to the Culture. The methodology that you choose for the project must fit the local business culture and environment. It may surprise you to learn that many seemingly developed countries have very weak technological infrastructures. So, no online surveys in Brazil! In other countries, individuals are comfortable giving one-on-one feedback, but not in group settings. No focus groups here!
  2. Lost in Translation. While it might be possible – and tempting – to conduct your research in English, that can also introduce a bias in the results. Research has shown that non-native speakers tend to use middle-of-the-scale ratings when being interviewed or surveyed in English, while they are much more likely to give higher or lower ratings in their native language. And ironically, labeled scales (excellent, good, fair, poor) tend to be more accurate than numeric scales.
  3. Question Design Matters. In any research, unbiased and easily understood questions are key. They are even more important in B2B research, where highly technical topics may be introduced. International B2B research then ratchets the importance even higher, because the questions will be translated. Clear and unambiguous the questions leave less room for translator interpretation error.
  4. Write Once, Translate Twice. Anyone who has ever read anything in translation will tell you that translation is an imprecise art. It is critical that the nuance of the question be the same for all languages used. You must translate the survey, then have native speakers translate the survey back into English. It may be even better if your translators have familiarity with any technical terms you might be using in your survey. And finally, survey questionnaires must be proof-read by native speakers as well.
  5. Follow the rules. In the U.S., marketing research is covered by many laws and regulations, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (regulating online surveys with children), the Telephone Caller Protection Act (rules about calling cell phones for surveys), and many others. It’s no different in other countries. Be aware of and comply with the laws and regulations for that country.
  6. Context is Key. People around the globe answer survey questions differently. Some countries are known as “hard markers.” Others are known for more lenient responses. The key is to understand the relative position you hold in each country. Make comparisons between countries with the greatest caution.
  7. It’s Who You Know. When conducting B2B marketing research globally, local experts are essential to your success. They have the knowledge and resources to help you design the survey, effectively reach the target audience, collect the data, and interpret the resulting information. Make sure you are working with the people who know the right people.

While entering new international markets is challenging, it becomes easier when you have the right information. Marketing researchers with global project experience can bring the resources you will need to complete your research – and achieve the information you need for global success. Register today to learn more about Clear Seas Research’s international reach!

Enhance Your Customer Journey with Marketing Research


Enhance Your Customer's B-to-B Journey

Enhance Your Customer’s B-to-B Journey

The environment of business is changing to make the customer experience more important. According to Tom Knighton, EVP at Conversant, “Customers are getting smarter. And because customers have so much choice, they’re starting to distinguish the companies that they will do business with, not just based on service, but based on the entire experience. Customer experience is the next competitive battleground. It’s where business is going to be won or lost.”

And this applies not just to B2C markets. B2B marketers also agree that building a strong overall customer experience is a strategic priority for business success.

Delivering a strong customer experience requires accurate information and insight into your customers. That is what builds the foundation of knowledge that lets you view your business from a customer-centric perspective. Here are five ways marketing research can inform your customer experience management:

  1. Map the customer journey. The B2B customer journey is much more convoluted and complex than most B2C journeys. You have your hypotheses about how your customers come to the buying decision, but that is not enough. You need to know what their journey looks like, and what information they require to move to the next step. Qualitative marketing research (in-depth, one-on-one interviews) with customers can help you test your hypotheses, and identify what information will help your customers make the buying decision.
  2. Understand customer engagement. How engaged are your customers in general and at various points in the customer journey? Are you keeping them engaged once you have made the sale? Engaged customers are more likely to become repeat customers, so use marketing research to make sure your customer engagement levels are high – and stay there.
  3. Understand the desired experience. What do customers want and need from you? Are you delivering on those requirements? How do your competitors compare? What would put you “over the top”? You may think you’re doing everything you need to be doing, but you need marketing research to make sure your customers agree.
  4. Deliver the desired experience. Use marketing research to evaluate customer satisfaction across all of the various important touchpoints in the customer journey. One of the key drivers of superior customer experience is consistency. Marketing research about sales, about marketing, customer support, invoicing can make sure that all of your touchpoints are aligned to deliver a consistent brand experience.
  5. Understand vulnerable and lost accounts. No one wants to lose an account, and marketing research can help prevent this. As Microsoft’s Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Surveying customers at key decision points (including just after service delivery, prior to renewal, and after they have left) can deliver important information that allows you to course-correct before losing the customer, as well as to implement tactics and initiatives to prevent lost customers.

Understanding your customers will help you design and deliver a customer experience that creates loyalty and builds sales. Using marketing research strategically to inform the process and unify your team will help you in designing the right customer experience, as well as in continually improving it to delight your customers. Your strong customer experience will be a competitive advantage – just one more way your company will benefit.

Register with us today to learn more about our Customer Experience Research solutions.


Clear Seas Adds Beverage Distributors, Retailers and Brand Owners

Clear Seas Adds Beverage Distributors, Retailers and Brand Owners

Clear Seas Adds Beverage Distributors, Retailers and Brand Owners

Clear Seas is excited to announce the addition of over 20,000 additional B-to-B decision makers in the beverage industry due to our recent acquisition of Beverage World. This unprecedented access allows both custom and panel customers alike to now bring the voice-of-the-B2B Customer straight to your team.

Our long term commitment to the beverage industry now reaches new heights due on large part to our larger access, but also for the on boarding of additional vertical knowledge and insight that we can leverage for our long time customers in helping them grow their brands and their innovative product line ups.

B-to-B market research in general, and specifically within the beverage industry, helps our customers cut through the clutter of behavioral analysis to get to the attitudinal responses that drive new ideas, innovations, and breakthrough product ideas.  The importance of market research now equals the importance of data analysis for many of our customers (here you can see the various of types of research in our data driven, digital world).  Put simply, nothing compares with to the value of a well written, unbiased survey to get to the heart of branding and new product opportunities in the B-to-B beverage world.  There is no “app for that” and no “big data” solution that can compare to a genuine and unbiased survey conversation.

Reaching the right professionals to conduct market research increases the value of your data, reduces the amount of consumer noise, and helps you make better decisions as you position your brand and product for B-to-B purchasers.  “Don’t be shy, ask your customers what they want over and over”, if you want to truly exceed your earnings goals, and if you want your company to embrace high equity branding value and innovative product launches, you must become customer obsessed.  Talk with your customers, have your sales people talk with customers, survey your customers, and especially make sure you survey your customers using a third party.  Nothing can compare to the unbiased feedback of your customers (and non-customers), and not only must you have an ongoing conversation with them, it must be replicated and tracked over time to truly bring the heart and soul of your customer into your organization’s DNA.

This is yet another exciting step for B-to-B market research, and an incredibly exciting step forward for Clear Seas in the B-to-B beverage world and industry. We look forward to starting our conversation with you today if you are looking to make better decisions on your branding or new product launches.

5 Things Market Research Professionals Must Do

Finish Strong: 5 Things You MUST DO To Prepare For 2017

Finish Strong: 5 Things You MUST DO To Prepare For 2017

Hard to believe, but the end of 2016 is a little more than three months away. Take time off for Thanksgiving and the Winter holidays, and you’d better be working on your end of year goals NOW, or it will be too late.

But in addition to just meeting this year’s goals, you need to be thinking ahead and preparing yourself and your team for the future. Yes, preparing for next year, but also for the next three or even five years. What you do now will pay dividends in the future.

Here are 5 things you MUST DO before the end of 2016 to finish strong:

  1. Skip the trees, Check out the forest. In the day-to-day operations of any company, it’s easy to be consumed by shorter-term goals and accomplishments that drive business. So it’s important now to step back and take a long view. Over the past three years, how have you been doing? Are your rates of increase slowing down? Have you gotten new competitors? Qualitative research, such as in-depth interviews, could help you understand how your clients are changing how they purchase and use your products. Syndicated research can help you evaluate how you’re doing against your industry. Taking a longer perspective will help you take corrective action in advance of a downturn.
  2. Stop re-inventing the wheel. How efficient is your operation? Are you taking advantage of all the latest and greatest advances in management thinking? Again, it’s easy to get complacent about processes that work “just okay.” Or to live with those small inefficiencies that take time and resources, but just never enough to demand attention. Now is the time to look for processes that work better.
  3. Answer those nagging questions. Every business seems to have them. Those questions that always come up during planning and budgeting that no one has an answer to (but everyone has an opinion about!). Stop guessing. Answer those questions. Do the research, get the facts, and put those questions to bed, once and for all. If you need to do some survey research to get information to answer those questions, now is a perfect time. You have plenty of time to conduct the research properly and use the results in your planning for next year.
  4. Look ahead. Just as you looked into the past, now you need to look into your future. And, no, you don’t need a crystal ball. Industry analysts and futurists often predict industry changes long before you see them. What do they see for your company and industry? Are your customers’ needs changing? Are there emerging competitors getting ready to steal your customers? You can also use syndicated research to help you see into the future. Thinking about what might happen is just as important as understanding what has
  5. Learn from your mistakes. As long as you’re taking a good hard look at your business past and present, this is also the time to admit that maybe – just maybe – things didn’t always go the way you wanted. Now is a great opportunity to look at those under-performances and to figure out what went wrong and why they happened. And most importantly, what you’re going to do to prevent them from happening again. You don’t have to spend a fortune on consultants – sometimes just talking to your team and your customers will help.

By conducting a thorough business review now, you can easily address any potential weaknesses that might keep you from meeting your goals this year. And, as a bonus, you’ll be well positioned to create exceptional plans for 2017. Stop fighting fires for a few days and give yourself the luxury of perspective. Your business results will benefit!

Register today with Clear Seas Research to learn more about our B-to-B market research reports and solutions.

How Mobile Market Research Affects B-to-B

Quick! Where's Your Cell Phone?

Quick! Where’s Your Cell Phone?

Did you know where your phone was? If you didn’t, did that question leave you feeling just a bit anxious? Cell phone dependency – while a subject of some controversy – has created a terrific opportunity for marketing research.

Consider this:

  • Over 90% of American adults have a cell phone; 68% have a smartphone.
  • Americans spend between 4 and 5 hours per day on their phones, checking them an average of 46 times per day – nearly three times each waking hour.
  • Cell phone penetration has led to a new social phenomenon: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
  • And recent research reports that nearly 60% of cell phone users believe they are “addicted” to their phones.

And while cell phone dependence has not yet become a medical or psychiatric diagnosis, it is undeniable that consumers view their phones as an extension of themselves. We are completely comfortable with this technology, integrating it fully into our daily lives. And because respondents have their phones with them any time of day, in their homes, in their cars, in stores, or at work, we can achieve higher participation rates and greater respondent engagement. And that comfort level is the source of opportunity for marketing research.

Conducting mobile research – either quantitatively or qualitatively – gives marketing researchers many benefits over traditional methodologies:

  • We can observe and record consumer behavior in a real-world context, when and where behaviors occur. No more waiting for the consumer to get back to their phone or computer to recall what happened. We’re getting information as it happens.
  • Sometimes, the presence or an interviewer or moderator causes respondents to modify their behavior or responses to make them more acceptable. Remove the moderator and replace them with in-the-moment data recording and observation, and you are much more likely to get “real” insight into your customer.
  • Mobile research eliminates geographic constraints (especially for qualitative research): mobile respondents can be reached anywhere in the world, whether that means multiple countries, multiple cities, or multiple stores in one city. In fact, it is now possible to contact your customer by text as they are entering your store or restaurant to recruit them to participate in a research project.
  • Mobile phones (plus mobile-optimized marketing research software) make it easy for participants to take and upload photos and videos as part of your research. Videos of the how a task is tackled by consumers or business people and photos of which products are being used for what purposes can be easily uploaded, analyzed, and then added to illustrate your report for additional richness, variety and insights.

We can adapt most traditional marketing research methodologies to mobile research. In fact, it is now considered best practice to include cell-phone sample in telephone interview projects as well as to optimize online surveys for completion on mobile devices. (Nearly 40% of all online surveys are completed on mobile devices.) Ethnographies, focus groups, in-depth interviews can all be completed by mobile devices, or you can enhance traditional methodologies by adding a mobile element or phase. For example, before coming to a focus group, ask respondents to create a video journey of their grocery shopping or to visit a certain restaurant. Or start with a telephone interview to create rapport with respondents, followed by text messages reminding them to record their in-the-moment behavior, and then follow-up interviews or focus groups to get additional detail, brainstorm solutions to identified challenges, or to react to potential messaging.

Mobile research is especially effective in business-to-business research. Have you ever tried to reach contractors, purchasing agents, ingredient buyers for marketing research? These people are not sitting in offices, in front of a computer or a landline telephone. They are out on the job site, in the warehouse, at the distribution center. But you can be sure they have their mobile phones with them! We have to design shorter surveys to get their participation, but that is better than trying to reach them in their offices.

Mobile research adds an exciting element to marketing research that overcomes many of the challenges we have struggled with in traditional methodologies. The additional flexibility, respondent engagement, and accessibility give us a new freedom for creativity in designing the optimal research approach. While mobile dependency may not be all upside for us as a society, as marketing researchers we have to hope there is no cure!

Register today to learn more about our B-to-B Custom & Syndicated Research solutions.  Also, myCLEAROpinion Panel has the B-to-B respondents you need for mobile research, check it out here!