ResponseAI Helps Health Insurance Company Identify its Strengths & Weaknesses
One of the country’s largest health insurance companies wanted to focus management’s attention on the organization’s top strengths and weaknesses. To do that, they needed to measure their comparative user experience and satisfaction rate against those of their competitors.
To that end, they partnered with ResponseAI to survey their own policyholders and those of their top competitors. ResponseAI interviewed 300 health insurance customers using their award-winning multimode methodology on the following topics: the company’s overall net promoter score; the provider network; the claims process and clarity of the explanation of benefits; the company’s website and app; and ancillary benefits.
The research provided invaluable insight into the organizations’ strengths and weaknesses. It identified one competitor with a superior app, focused attention on developing competitive features, revealed the states where this brand is better perceived than competitors, and provided a benchmark for ongoing tracking.
By entrusting ResponseAI with the research, the company got the information they needed. ResponseAI is now an ongoing partner of the organization.
“RAI was fast and accurate,” said a company representative, “their turnaround time was much better than our previous supplier and the deliverables were just as high-quality.”
Rethinking Retirement Infographic from Fidelity
The Impact on Retirement Timing Due to COVID-19
We know all too well that the pandemic has drastically changed our current lifestyle. How will it affect our future? While don't know what the future holds, we do make plans for the future - retirement being one of the things most Americans plan for often well in advance.
Wanting to understand how American’s attitudes about retirement had changed due to COVID-19, in December 2020, Greenwald Research conducted the Rethinking Retirement Survey powered by respsonse:AI.
The Rethinking Retirement Survey helped to provide insight into how Americans now look at their retirement years. What did they envision for retirement prior to the pandemic and how has the pandemic changed their vision of the future?
The study focused on three key areas:
Target retirement age and whether/why there’s been change
Fidelity Investments, the research sponsor for this study, has released and infographic illustrating key results from the study. Access and download the infographic here.
The Decision Co. Acquires a Stake in response:AI
response:AI is pleased to announce that The Decision Co. has acquired a majority stake in our company. response:AI will continue to provide a world-class market research technology solution to marketing research agencies, advertising strategy directors and corporate insights managers, through our DIY platform. Our full-service market research services will be serviced through The Decision Co.
The Decision Co. is a survey research and data science business that goes beyond numbers to provide intelligence for action. The Decision Co. combines survey research, predictive analytics, communication strategy, and strategic business consulting into a customized service offering that empowers businesses to make better decisions.
"The Decision Company has been delivering Intelligence for Action for our Corporate, Non-Profit & State Agency clients since 2016. We had the opportunity to partner with Dr. Frederick Barber and his team at response:AI on several projects over the last 12 months and were very impressed with their knowledge and the platform itself,” says Tom Broughton, President at The Decision Co. “It is not enough to just provide good data ... you must also help the client understand what to do with it and walk alongside them throughout the implementation. Our companies have the same "client first" and "outcomes based" approach, which led to the partnership we are excited to announce today. We look forward to accomplishing great things together!"
“The response:AI platform provides a technical solution for The Decision Company to deliver rapid and cost-effective market research insights to corporate marketers. Combining survey scripting with programmatic access to respondents and a AI-powered data analysis and reporting engine, response:AI delivers survey methodologies and presentation-ready results at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods,” says Fred Barber, CEO at response:AI.
Through our partnership with the team at The Decision Co., we will continue to improve the functionality of the response:AI platform, offering a powerful and cost effective solution to the market research industry.
Advertising in an Environment of Fear, Anxiety & Anger (response:AI webinar)
We want to thank everyone who expressed interest in, signed up for, and attended our webinar August 13th. As webinars like this become to new normal, we appreciate your patience and support while we navigate our setup. We are aware that some of those who signed up never received the link to join the conference, but fear not! The video below has all the information you might have missed, and thanks to some movie magic, all video clips have been edited so you can watch free of the dreaded buffering, and that's one less thing to be fearful, anxious, or angry about!
HOGO partners with market research platform Response:AI to bring
comprehensive digital market research to Macau, Asia
Thursday, 16 July 2020 (Macau SAR) HOGO (Hogo Digital Macau Limited) has signed a partnership agreement with Response:AI, an automated and AI-based market research platform with representatives in Europe, the United States, and Japan. The partnership sees HOGO working with the Response:AI team to consult and conduct quantitative market research projects and in-depth analysis for clients in Macau and throughout Asia. It is part of a broader strategy by HOGO to offer services that clients can use to grow and protect their brands and investments by making intelligent, data-driven decisions in the time of COVID19. The Response:AI platform will allow HOGO’s clients to conduct market research studies in areas such as product and service testing, usage & attitudes studies, long-term tracking studies, pricing model, and testing marketing and advertising campaigns, and more. The power comes from the high level of available segmentation and geo-targeting options, including China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam as well as its ability to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure quality responses from highly segmented audiences. The platform also allows clients to use their data (such as those from loyalty programs) safely and securely on their own server.
Chris Wieners, Managing Partner of HOGO, stated: “We are thrilled to be able to offer a comprehensive market research product to our clients here in Macau as well as the other locations in Asia that we serve. We know the need to conduct timely and cost-effective research, especially for those in the tourism, hospitality, and entertainment industries is paramount during the current situation.
While we see much interest from a variety of markets to re-start marketing campaigns, being able to make quality data-driven decisions is key to ensuring success when so much is uncertain. We are looking forward to helping provide our clients as much data as possible when making these critical decisions.”
Dr. Frederick Barber, CEO of Response:AI, stated: “Since being spun out of a traditional market research firm in 2016, we have built a robust platform and worked with leading global brands, agencies, and consulting firms, such as Google, Mastercard and McCann Worldwide. We have also worked on tourism projects in the United States and Europe, and thanks to Andrew Edsall, our local director in APAC, we are excited to work with HOGO.”
HOGO is a marketing strategy and corporate communications company that focuses on the tourism, hospitality, gaming, and entertainment industries. Based in Macau, the agency has offices in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan. Focused on creative marketing and strategic vision, HOGO works with clients to further develop and build their brands throughout Asia Pacific.
20 Market Research Tools for a Comprehensive 2020 Insight Strategy
Back in April, I wrote an overview article detailing 15 modern market research methods that are prominent today. I stand by what I said then, that there is no one right tool, application, or process for every research experience and so to build the best research experience, we need to take a combination of tools and build a market research stack to delivery a truly effective research experience.
With the path market research is heading down right now, it has been predicted by key insight professionals that our industry will need to provide more integrated solutions, supply agile research demand (in both the fast and flexible senses of the word), and create the customisable research experiences that are looking to be key in 2020. In the following article, I will expand upon this premise and detail some of the tools that we can use in conjunction with each other in 2020 (in no particular order), for a comprehensive insight program.
While a platform isn’t a tool so to speak in and of itself, it’s still a useful tool to for researchers to use in order to utilise lots of other research tools. Fuel Cycle is an online platform that allows the user access to a myriad of the best tools in the research industry. Their FCX Marketplace lets researchers pick and choose the best tools to use in conjunction with each other, creating a custom insight platform built from other brand’s tools.
This is another platform I would like to mention that automates the data collection and visualisation processes of market research projects. Through the use of external research providers tools enables researchers to create surveys, choose their samples, choose the reporting method, and the rest shall be done, ready in the chosen timeframe.
This platform is very different from the first two I’ve talked about in that, it analyses text sources and picks out they key emotions involved in the creation of that response. These emotional insights are crucial to understanding the decision-making process behind a participant’s answer, which can then inform key businesses decisions creating a more human experience.
The next platform I would like to mention is Userzoom’s UX platform, which is complimented by their own range of tools. This platform is great for usability testing, with elements such as simultaneous audio and screen recording for live commentary on websites and online services, online surveys, and true intent testing.
The integrated UX platform, Lookback, are on a mission to seamlessly capture user experience insights in real-time. Through the use of screen-sharing video technology, researchers can communicate with users directly and record how their experiences of a website, brand, or online service unfold. These recordings are stored in the platform’s dashboard for future further analysis.
Discuss.io have created a video conferencing platform where researchers can conduct focus groups and one-to-one interviews with research participants; this real-time feedback and interaction with consumers is critical to the current understanding of their decision-making processes and the underlying reasons why they chose that path at this point in time. This platform also offers services such as transcriptions, archiving, and clip-making to help the user better store, share, and analyse the data.
This tool is a brilliant example of how far the research industry have come to developing world-leading technology, and how we can use it to enhance the enjoyment and interactivity of data collection processes. In terms of consumer insights, this eye tracking tool helps businesses gain valuable insights into real-time human behaviour in both online and physical scenarios.
Another video tool, Plotto are the only business to combine video capture, online survey software, cognitive analysis, and showreel generation in one platform. Participants can use this tool on any digital device, so it’s easy for researchers to gain insight into the tasks they perform (think video diary tasks and the like) as well as answer surveys without having to think about writing the answers.
But if written answers is your thing, then SurveyMonkey could be the tool you want to go with either as a standalone survey tool, or a companion tool to the video insights you gain from Plotto. This free service allows anyone to create engaging surveys and export the results. Once the survey is complete, SurveyMonkey will automatically analyse the results and display them into charts and summaries to get the researcher started.
Surveys can be very time consuming to create and analyse. So, if you’re short on time, then response:AI surveys might just be the tool to use in this case. They specialise in automating the survey process from design to visualisation, with the automated surveys created in accordance to the different research studies researchers might need to conduct (i.e. ad development, product, testing, brand analysis, etc.).
However useful surveys have been to market research (one of the most prominent research methods alongside focus groups), Streetbees have created a tool to help generate more indepth, in-the-moment insights through AI and geolocation software. Their Conversational Research method allows users to share their thoughts through tasks in a WhatsApp-like app, creating conversational insights on a range of topics without the formality.
Engagement in market research processes is becoming harder and harder, but with the incorporation of new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, we can take out processes to a whole new level. Touchstone research have brilliant VR and gamification research tools which can be used for a variety of studies such as UX and product testing, surveys and deep dives to really get the most out of research participants.
But participants generate so much data already in their daily lives, that we could simply use that to create a foundation for future research. Awario is a social media monitoring business, that monitors more than just social media. From news sites, to blogs, to social media, this platform enables businesses to be fully aware of what people are saying about them, the discussions they’re involved in, and can allow them to reach out across these platforms to engage and respond in kind.
Of course, once the data is collected, the task then is to analyse the data in order to make sense of it and generate actionable insights for business use. The most common but complex tools used are based on the R and Python coding languages. R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation and calculation; it is well-developed and well-equipped with a large collection of tools that can handle even the most complex of analyses.
As an alternative to learning R and python code, there are a few analytics platforms that you could use instead. One of these is Tableau, an interactive analytics platform that lets the user see and understand the data they’ve generated, turning it into actionable insights so they can tackle business problems with certainty.
Qualtrics has another analytics platform that I would like to mention as an alternative to R, Python, and Tableau. Qualtrics claims that their Stats iQ platform is the world’s most powerful analytics tool, enabling those with no knowledge of statistics to easily understand the data through visualisation and translation. While Qualtrics also have their own data collection tools that pair with this system well, it also handles data from other external sources just as well.
However, if you’re more of a traditionalist who likes to analyse the data themselves, KnowledgeHound’s data visualisation and organisation software could just be the ticket. This platform lets you upload research data from any research provider, and lets you create professional charts, graphs, and tables that you can share to everyone else within the business.
While data visualisation and analysis is alright for quantitative data, some qualitative data needs a little extra step before we can put it into the analysis platforms. Transcription programmes such as Trint are necessary to capture, analyse, and share valuable qualitative data, turning it easily into a source from which to generate valuable insights. Trint has additional capabilities such as transcript annotation and collaborative editing to quickly share and analyse qual data.
Now that the data collection, transcription, visualisation, and analysis is done, reporting is the final stage of a research experience. Traditionally done in programmes like PowerPoint, research reports can be very time consuming and fiddly to put together. Fine Report is a reporting software that streamlines the report creation process, with innovative design patterns, data integration and visualisation applications.
This last one is a one to look out for in the future. With the rise in voice assistant ownership, this is fast becoming a serious channel for B2C communication. This could offer a lot of potential for future market research delivery methods. SurveyLine are one of a very few companies working commercially with Google, Amazon, and Apple technology to deliver voice surveys that generate better responses. But the technology has the potential to go a lot further than just simple surveys.
It would be remiss if we didn’t mention our own tools and platform within this blog, as we believe that our tools are great contenders for the best tools to use in 2020. With our InsightHub platform and wide range of quant and qual research tools, we can offer uniquely tailored research experiences, taking into account each different client requirement, and providing a service based on that alone. Our tools can be integrated together on the platform, work alongside each other on a number of different projects all at the same time, thus cutting out the time it takes to set up another research project per task.
A new market research benchmark for advertising appropriately during, and after, the Covid-19 crisis.
The image above is satirical, but it reflects the knee-jerk reaction that some brands appear to be taking as they reposition their message in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In the current environment, advertising needs to do two things simultaneously: position the brand appropriately, and motivate people to purchase.
The cost of being insensitive, flippant, or otherwise out-of-touch with the current environment will be exponentially higher for brands - and will be that much more difficult to recover from.
That’s why we developed the Covid Ad Index. This unique and powerful methodology combines traditional ad effectiveness metrics with a series of measurements that get at the appropriateness of the ad content in today’s rapidly-changing environment.
Our benchmark survey asked a nationally-representative sample of Americans to view and evaluate 12 national ads -- six that did not address the brand’s actions in response to the pandemic, and six that do. These ads were drawn from an array of brands and industries, including Hyundai, Ford, Tide, Allstate, Budweiser, JP Morgan, Little Caesars, Home Depot, Taco Bell, Macy’s and T-Mobile.
Here’s an example from the benchmark report:
As you can see, Budweiser and Clorox ads made the most favorable impressions, and T-Mobile’s “We’re Here for You” also scored well. But in subsequent questions, it was clear that while the Budweiser ad is seen as highly appropriate, it lacks motivational potential. It doesn't make you want to buy the beer. At the opposite extreme, ads like Allstate's "Safe Drivers Save 40%," which may have been highly effective just a few weeks ago, may now be seen as inappropriate, if not downright offensive, in an environment where people aren't driving very much. The T-Mobile ad, in contrast, did a better job of meeting both brand building and appropriateness scores.
Scenes of crowded streets or stores, displays of consumption, and even iconic images such as KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Good,” just won’t work. At the same time, some brands have focused their messages entirely on the pandemic environment, which may build brand image, but is unlikely to motivate purchase.
The response:AI Covid Ad Index provides the benchmark for the kind of content that performs best in the new, rapidly-changing ad market. Our tool lets any advertiser upload their own ad (finished production or animatic), run a nationally-representative survey, and see how it scores in relation to our benchmark study.
The idea is pretty simple - we provide a fast (24-hour turn-around!), easy, cost-effective means for national advertisers to test new ad concepts and ensure that the ad is properly-positioned, appropriate, and effective. And pricing starts as low as $1,495 for a nationally representative sample.
We have a long-established methodology to measure the effectiveness of an ad -- a Communications Efficiency Score that summarizes how well the ad does in being original, believable and motivating brand consideration and purchase. But, that assumes a normal economic environment. With the Covid Ad Index, you get both measures -- assessing a new ad on both it's effectiveness in communicating your brand value, and it's appropriateness in this new context.
If you have any questions, want to try it out, or have other market research needs, don’t hesitate to contact me directly at email@example.com, or visit www.response-ai.com and click on the Covid Ad Index button on the home page.
15 Predictions for Insights in 2020
Mike Stevensat Insight Platformshas just published his 15 Predictions for Insights in 2020. He starts off with the challenge of squeezed budgets and the need to move research in-house to more automated tools, saving cost and time vs. traditional research firms.
We agree with most of what Mike has written, with the possible exception of No. 15, that Leeds United will make it to the Premier League. We can't really comment on that, but we'll counter with our own prediction -- the #BuffaloBills will defeat the #NewEnglandPatriots to win the AFC East!
response:AI Brings AI and Automation to Market Research
Leading market research firm set to disrupt industry, focus on cutting labor, human analysis, and prices for greater efficiencies and accuracy
(Dallas, Texas-- June 7, 2018) Response:Now, a market research technology firm, today announced it has rebranded as response:AI. As automation and AI technology continue to change the entire market research process for the better, response:AI is leveraging its leading market research technology to be at the forefront of this transformation.
“Automation provides clear competitive advantages for both consumers and producers of market research,” says Dr. Frederick Barber, CEO of response:AI. “Studies can now be conducted quickly and far less-expensively than those using traditional methodologies, and response:AI is perfectly-positioned to bring this new wave of technology to market.”
response:AI provides its technology platform to large brands with internal market research skills and capacity, and to other market research agencies and professionals to deliver more efficient and accurate results. More than just a tech platform, response:AI also provides full service market research projects directly to clients.
Global firms like MasterCard, Google, VML, and McCann have already utilized response:AI’s innovative methods to solve their market research needs, and the results speak for themselves. response:AI’s approach delivered comprehensive, agency-quality results in a fraction of the time and at much lower cost.
“Our AI-based approach to market research is not just for enterprise clients,” adds Dr. Barber. “Because we’re able to cut 80-90% of the data gathering and analysis process, response:AI makes it possible for firms of all shapes and sizes to utilize the full range of benefits market research brings quickly, accurately and with great cost efficiencies.”
On June 12, Dr. Barber will be presenting at the Insight Information Exchange (IIeX) conference in Atlanta, GA, on the use of technology-enabled market research by startups and technology incubators. The session will focus on how automation and AI technology can help startups (and the firms who fund them) that do not have in-house market research capabilities to conduct high-quality research studies. That means better products, better marketing, and better decision-making processes.
With offices and team in Dallas, New York, and Prague, response:AI provides AI-powered market research for organizations of all sizes. For more on exactly what we do and how we do it, visit https://response-ai.com/.
Dr. Frederick Barber Appointed CEO of Market Research Firm RESPONSE:AI
Market research veteran takes over to drive RESPONSE:AI’s expansion in the US
(Prague, CZ -- April 17, 2018) -- RESPONSE:AI, a leader in providing AI-driven automated market research, has named Dr. Frederick Barber as its new CEO.
After fewer than six months as RESPONSE:AI’s Managing Director of North America, Dr. Barber will take over as chief executive of the Dallas- and Prague-based organization, responsible for global strategy, market development, and client success.
“I am excited to take the helm for a company that has developed an amazing piece of technology that will fundamentally change the dynamics of the market research industry,” said Dr. Barber. “Expanding to the US from Europe in such a short time is no small feat, and our expertise in market research, software development, and AI, positions us to be a leader in this space for years to come.”
Beyond his focus on bolstering RESPONSE:AI’s client support presence in the US, he will oversee the company’s three-pronged strategy of providing full service market research, self-service products which require minimum client-side input, and full AI platform access for market research professionals, agencies, and enterprise corporations.
In addition, Dr. Barber will focus on investor relations, while also becoming a RESPONSE:AI investor himself.
Ex-CEO and RESPONSE:AI co-founder, Rene Henc, will remain with the company as Chairman of the Board of Directors, and will stay on as a key part of the company’s leadership team. His focus will shift to strategic technology and product advancements, the development of market research as a service, and enterprise partnerships. Rene will lead the team in Prague and will oversee operations in Europe with current and future RESPONSE:AI clients.
More on Dr Frederick Barber
Prior to joining RESPONSE:AI in October 2017, Dr. Barber served as Chief Analytics Officer for MXM, a leading content marketing agency. He’s worked with leading brands in the automotive, CPG, retail, financial services, and a host of other industries, served on Client Advisory Boards for SPSS and Experian, and is a recognized expert in market segmentation and enterprise predictive analytics. He holds a BA magna cum laude from Cornell, an MA in Demography from Georgetown, and a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University.
With offices in Dallas, San Francisco, and Prague, RESPONSE:AI provides AI-powered market research for organizations of all sizes. For more on exactly what we do and how we do it, check out response-ai.com.
Automation, AI, & the Future of Market Research
Focus on what’s important, leave the rest to the machines.
Automation has been changing major industries for decades (centuries, if you want to get technical). There are countless examples of this in practice - just think of the automotive industry where robots now do the work of dozens (or more) of assembly line workers.
Market research is no different, and it’s ripe for disruption. So, that’s what we’re doing. It’s called r:n Platform, and it’s built for researchers who want to focus their time on analysis and less on mundane data-collection tasks and more on getting answers.
We’ve been using automation and AI to make complex market research easier, faster, and more affordable for a while. Now, we’re pulling back the curtain a bit. Our team has been working with our r:n Platform technology as we worked on it, and now we’re turning it into its own, stand-alone service.
We developed r:n Platform with one goal in mind - to maximize research output. Our automation replaces as much as 90% of human research input, including survey composition, data processing, and analysis. With more than 100 predefined constructs (and more to come), you can create any type of survey and then apply your own methodologies and expertise. r:n Platform does the heavy lifting.
r:n Platform will help research professionals deliver more research for clients while freeing up teams will work on projects that matter and, at the same time, reducing overhead costs. We’re making it easier than ever to run market analyses, brand strength studies, packaging tests, and really any other quantitative research project. In addition, it can also be used as an analysis tool for already-existing datasets to analyze larger datasets
Our central goal with r:n Platform is to make complex research easier, faster, and exponentially more affordable. The RESPONSE:AI team has been working in the research field for decades and we’re all-too-familiar with the barriers that had been built into it for so long. r:n Platform is our contribution to the democratization of market research.
Read Dr. Frederick Barber in MarTechSeries on how a little market research can go a long ways for startups.
You’ve no doubt been reading the trend pieces about what’s big, what’s old, and what’s coming for the year ahead, so here’s a number: 81% of enterprise businesses use customer analysis to better understand their consumers.
For startups and smaller businesses without enterprise budgets, such insights can seem out of reach. First, they are not (more on that here). Second, and most importantly, investing in a bit of market research early can pay outsized dividends later.
That’s what I discusses in my latest for MarTechSeries. From the piece:
To present yourself in the best light to both potential investors and your target market, you first need to understand your future ecosystem. This means taking a deep dive into your customers: what they use, wish for, what they appreciate and criticize, issues they may face using existing products, etc. Then go to the competition: what they offer, how they price it, how they communicate, etc. when you have all of this info, defining your new product or service may not be easy, but it does become more focused.
RESPONSE:AI Launches in the US!
Market research veteran, Dr. Fred Barber, appointed MD of North America.
Here at RESPONSE:AI, we provide AI-powered market research — now available to US clients. We’ve been successfully operating in the European market since early 2017, and so far boast a 100% customer satisfaction for clients such as Google, Mastercard, Raiffeisen Bank, Marks & Spencer, and more.
Our value proposition is pretty straightforward — any business or marketing agency thatdesires the same quality and depth of insight from a traditional market research report can get it from us in dramatically less time and far less cost. In many cases, we’re able to provide research at 3x the speed and 3x less the cost of current market research and DIY offerings.
Recently Ruck.us, who provide political candidates with an online platform to create campaign websites retained us to learn what past and present users like and dislike about the service, and their willingness to recommend. “With market research from RESPONSE:AI, we were able to focus on the things we needed to improve about our service,” says Ruck.us CEO Nathan Daschle. “Now, we have the data to make some subtle changes to get our clients out there evangelizing about Ruck.us, and we couldn’t be happier.”
For more on exactly what we do and how we do it, go here.
To lead our efforts, we’ve appointed veteran market research executive Dr. Frederick Barber as Managing Director of North America. He is responsible for strategy, market development and client success in the U.S. and Canada. “With RESPONSE:AI we have an innovative company that is applying the latest in app-based technology, process automation and artificial intelligence to a critical business need,” says Barber. “Market research is now far more timely and cost effective for anyone with a need for quality insights without the resource drain related to traditional research firms. I look forward to bringing my experience in both market research and marketing automation to bear in RESPONSE:AI’s North American expansion.”
Prior to joining RESPONSE:AI, Dr. Barber served as Chief Analytics Officer for MXM, a leading content marketing agency. He has managed analytic services for such clients as Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen, KraftHeinz, Nestle, Toshiba, Nationwide Insurance, Allergan, Home Depot and TGI Fridays. Fred has served on Client Advisory Boards for SPSS and Experian. He is a recognized expert in market segmentation and enterprise predictive analytics. He holds a BA magna cum laude from Cornell, an MA in Demography from Georgetown and a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University.
“At RESPONSE:AI our success comes from understanding how to execute automated market research and add the critical human touch,” says Rene Henc, CEO and founder of RESPONSE:AI. “We ensure our clients receive the very best data with over 20 years of market research experience in the final analysis.”
3 Steps to Validate Your Startup Idea
Market research methods to help you get your startup funded, save your time, and save your investors’ money.
I’ve been a market research consultant for over 20 years, and I’m a co-founder here at RESPONSE:AI. I want to offer some tips on the various methods — some free and some more expensive — you can use to improve your chances at attracting and securing investment. I will also give you some idea of what questions you need to get answers to before you begin your initial market research.
Getting professional investor money behind your idea isn’t easy. I’ve been there. You don’t want to find yourself in front of potential investors without clear answers. If you’re serious about success, then spending a little time at the earliest stages to get a more accurate insight into the needs and wants of the market is well worth it. Especially when you find yourself in the Dragon’s den.
My Three Steps:
In order to present yourself in the best light to both potential investors and your target market, you first need to understand your future “ecosystem”. This mainly means customers — what they use, wish for, what they appreciate and criticize, issues they may face using existing products, etc. Then go to the competition — what they offer, how they price it, how they communicate, etc. when you have all of this info, defining your new product or service becomes maybe not easier, but it does become more focused.
Next, you need to be able to describe your product or service so that you can ask the key questions of your potential market. You may try to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) or simple demo so that you can get advanced feedback, but that is quite expensive and takes some time. In many situations it’s beneficial to describe what you want to offer and list the key elements of your future value proposition. Try to make the proposition concise and differentiated so that you can clearly articulate why and how this product or service is different from other existing ones.
Finally, you will be ready to ask your potential market and customers about your idea, your competitors, pricing, naming, etc. While some “market research”is undoubtedly useful and key for any startup to verify and potentially adjust initial assumptions or even seeking investors and cofounders, there are a variety of methods available for this purpose. Some are free and some more expensive but all are worthwhile at least during this initial phase.
The “Starbucks method” (a.k.a. “Ask a Random Stranger)
You walk into a coffee shop and ask someone what they think of your idea. It’s great for getting personalized feedback, but it’s time consuming, fairly subjective, and anecdotal.
Posting on reddit and in Online forums
You have the chance to get far more respondents than from the Starbucks method. Having said that, online forums and places like reddit, where the respondents are anonymous, means you can be subjected to some brutal comments. As always — beware of the trolls.
In-depth, face-to-face interviews
This is similar to the Starbucks method in that what you are gaining in personalized and fairly specific feedback, you are losing in both time and any sort of quantitative objectivity.
DIY survey tools
Companies like Survey Monkey are great for delivering broad, plentiful data. The speed and low cost are also wonderful, but, because there is no expert backing you up, and no control on the method of data collection, it can actually hurt your potential target market in the same way spam can.
Market research agencies
Without a doubt this is the most tried and true method, but costs can be high due to the sheer amount of time it takes to customize the research, run the data collection, analyse it, and produce a full report. Luckily, thanks to advances in automation, there are some companies that have managed to automate a large part of this process and reduce the time it takes by roughly a third… i suppose you can guess who. ;)
All of these are worthwhile, but remember no potential investor will be interested in anecdotal evidence when evaluating the potential success of your business. So the more people you ask, the more quantitative research you do, the more you will be able to talk about patterns.
Professional Market Research vs. DIY Tools
1. Experience matters — You need to have experience doing market research — otherwise you may define the scope or target group incorrectly and more. Market research agencies will make sure the expertise is there, will use proven methodologies, and will know from experience how to define the study, how to define the target group, and also how many people you should ask to get answers and required granularity.
2. Speed — You may do it fast and 80/20, or use an agency. Traditional agencies used to take weeks, but today, thanks to automation and technology, some agencies deliver within a few days asking hundreds of respondents and providing statistically significant outcomes.
3. Cost — As usual, quality goes with significance — you can do a high-level test for free, or use a sample. But, rather than using only your own expertise to define a simple survey, you may prefer to take a professional approach and it might be worth the investment — automation drives the cost lower for basic studies. For example, with sample size at 200 people from your target audience, it could be as low as $1250, which is a reasonable cost to get some date behind your ideas and assumptions.
Approaching potential investors with a professional market research report, complete with analysis and insight based on hard data, will help establish both your credibility, as well as the market value proposition of your idea.
A Note About Success
Entrepreneurs, investors, and industry analysts always talk about passion and motivation. Sorry to insert a proverbial Steve Jobs here, but he talked about it all the time.
Unsurprisingly, it is often the first thing investors mention as their prime reason for investing. As an entrepreneur you probably already believe what your are doing is going to work, but there are no doubt going to be tough times that will test this. Being able to backup your beliefs with the hard data can make a huge difference in both your own motivation and that of your investors.
Successful people believe in what they are doing…
…this belief can only be strengthened when the numbers back that up.
To sum up, startups that rely on market research to test their ideas, can not only present the data to validate or improve their initial idea, but also to lend credibility when approaching potential investors. Once you get off the ground market research can help you monitor and increased consumer satisfaction, customer retention, brand loyalty and ultimately profit!
Know Your Customer & Unlock Your Market’s Potential
When done right, Consumer and Market Analysis can tell you a lot about…almost everything.
Let’s talk Consumer and Market Analysis. Specifically, the various issues it addresses and some of the tools available to get it right. First, we need to split the two.
The central aim of Consumer Analysis is to illuminate — and ultimately lead to an understanding of — the interactions between products and consumers. It focuses on purchase decision-making process, motivations, shopping patterns, and consumption habits.
Market analysis is concerned with market attractiveness and dynamics. It looks into the size of market in terms of volume, value, competition, and/or consumer segments.
Despite the fact that Consumer Analysis and Market Analysis can be considered as two independent studies, they are commonly used in combination. The information obtained is used in a range of business scenarios like the planning around a new product launch. Consumer and Market Analysis sheds lights on the gaps between the market offer and consumer needs, consumer segmentation, brand awareness, and more.
C & M studies are typically used by companies to mitigate market uncertainty and business risk. Whether it’s entering a new market or developing a new product, these are the high investment, high priority, high risk items on top of any strategy list.
C & M studies will help determine market size and potential, including answers about market expansion possibilities, consumer purchasing habits, motivations, and product selection criteria. It’s a lot easier to sell your product when you know how buyers behave and what drives their decisions.
When you drill down, C & M Analysis can provide detailed insights:
Current market size in volume and revenue
Market potential — its anticipated or achievable future size
The purchase decision-making process: whether consumers budget and plan ahead or buy on impulse, how their decisions are made, and who is involved in those decision
Purchasing motivations — what needs, values, or desires most motivate consumers. What product benefits and features are most likely to make them buy
Shopping patterns — where, when, how often, on what occasions, and in what quantities consumers buy
Consumer habits — where, when, how often, on what occasions, and in what quantities consumers use certain products and service
It’s important to note that all of the benefits I listed above are potential results from Consumer and Market Analysis. They are potential because, as with any poll or survey, this analysis must be done correctly — from respondents to the language of the questions, to the sample size. There’s more to come on that soon.
Measure Brand Equity the Right Way
What is it? Why do it? How does it impact your bottom line?
Brand Equity is the value — attributed by a consumer or potential consumer — of your product or service. Higher brand equity translates into consumer goodwill and their propensity to buy your particular brand of product or service. Its measurement, complemented by a traditional financial performance measurement, helps companies make strategic decisions affecting the factors that drive it.
What follows is a quick overview of some of the evidence for the correlation between brand equity measurement and operational factors like profit and success of a particular product or service, including examples of how brand perception impacted sales both positively and negatively.
A look at the impact of brand equity on the operational performance of businesses in the CPG industry indicates that there is correlation between brand equity and the operational performance of businesses. Mohan and Sequeira (2012) provided conceptual support for the relationship between brand equity dimensions and brand market performance. Tolba and Hassan (2009) concluded that brand equity constructs are correlated with brand market performance. The practical implications of these findings are that brand equity has to be effectively measured and managed in order to improve operational performance of business.
It’s clear from all the studies that in the U.S. retail market, brand equity drives where consumers fill their baskets. So as retailers strive to increase their share of their shoppers’ dollars, and ultimately grow sales, they should focus heavily on increasing their brand equity.
The brands that consumers say have a strong brand proposition and excellent advertising always grow in perceived value. So, with an increase in brand marketing follows an increase in sales, and vice-versa.
When brand equity takes a hit, there is a corresponding drop in sales. In 1999, Nike’s sales were at $9 billion, but sales fell later that year by nearly 8% and then it got worse. Increasing awareness about wages and conditions in Nike factories in places like Indonesia coincided with a huge hit in sales.
Reports surfaced that factory workers were on less than a dollar a day, working from 7am to 9pm, six days a week. Nike’s brand took a big hit, much to the joy of its rival shoemaker Reebok, who saw its own share price rise from $8 to $30 in the same year as Nike’s stock fell by 15%.
All the evidence points to the fact that measuring brand equity is key to helping you making strategic decisions that affect your bottom line. Its measurement has posed a big challenge to companies in the CPG industry that rely on it for making speedy decisions to keep their customers coming back for the right reasons. Recent advances in automation means larger databases can be used in combination with expert analysis in order to stay a step ahead.
Luckily, this automation has seen not only a boost in the ease of analyzing the data but also a reduction in the time and cost necessary to carry it out this operationally crucial research. In 2011, there were just 150 on this adtech/martech list, now there are over 5,000 providers in the space and counting: ours is not even listed here… yet.
They Said High-Quality Market Research Can’t Be Cheap!
They were wrong. We have successfully launched a quantitative market research service that is significantly cheaper than the same product offered by traditional international market research agencies. Here’s what we’ve learned (so far) along the way and how you can benefit from it.
Marketers in businesses of all sizes now have access to detailed market insights starting at just $2,750. Our platform helps measure brand strength, track campaigns, and test ads faster and more frequently than ever.
However, over half of the people we talk to react to our pricing like this:
“You don’t buy a Porsche at the cost of a KIA. It’s impossible to offer the same quality as large international market research agencies at a such lower price.”
Automation Conquers All
The explanation is simple. Everything we do is related to automation and our innovative approach to market research processes, which, until now have remained untouched for decades.
We are not the only firm in the world providing market research, but we are one of the few companies that has turned wishful thinking about automation into a functional product. The market research revolution is here and has made professional services accessible to any and every marketer and business strategist in nearly any industry.
The Magic of Human Touch
When we talk about automation, it doesn’t mean we’ve traded accuracy for speed. Far from it. We run every stage of market research as carefully and at the same quality assurance standards as traditional research agencies. In short, we’ve trained algorithms to perform the many processes that are repeated throughout.
In addition to automation, our human market research experts guarantee the quality of survey input and output, and deliver the insights that will drive strategic decisions.
Coming up with this product was a complex process on which our team spent several years. Now, the implementation of a research project does not require days of “manual” work, but only several hours of work by senior research professionals who control and correct what our system produces.
Automation Under the Magnifying Glass
What exactly have we automated?
You send the brief, as usual, and we set up the rest.
The basis of your questionnaire is created automatically according to pre-defined rules. We guarantee that, no matter your requirements, each one will be unique and fit your business case. You also get the opportunity to comment and approve it.
Data Processing & Evaluation
This is all about statistics. It was only necessary to streamline the whole process and make sure the data flows seamlessly. So, that’s exactly what we did!
Final Report Preparation
No one makes charts and tables manually these days, right? In addition to charts, we automatically-generate textual that serve as a bedrock for the final analysis.
Automation enables us to maintain consistent quality for projects of all sizes and fitting all budgets. Our team has spent decades in market research, and quality is our primary concern. We understand the craft and the science, and we’ve created a way to shorten the process considerably. It’s a win-win.
Have a look at some examples of the core RESPONSE:AI products we offer to know more about what you are going to get.
starting at $2,750 (average cost of projects for our clients is about $3,650)
Any questions? Get in touch with us! If you have any doubts, try our services and we’re sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Automated Online Surveys Are Revolutionizing Packaging
Automation has led to new ways of consumer testing and refining adjustments to product packaging concepts. “… of course, packaging design is a key driver in the sales process,” says René Henc, CEO and co-founder of RESPONSE:AI.
It used to be that Marketing Directors or owners would have to either take a gamble and just roll the dice to choose between the best of 3 concepts or if they wanted a more accurate consumer-centric approach, it would to cost a ton and take ages to get surveys done, compile data and analyse it all. Those days are done.
Our automated research tools produce in-depth insights into originality and customer appeal, including things like their propensity to buy or remember a product based on individual graphic features, colors, logos and text elements.
The respondents are all real customers, so their suggested changes or improvements are tied directly to buyer motivation.
Our algorithms and advanced automation mean that, although the research itself is done in the same manner as any of the large traditional market research companies, the analysis and detailed reports can be produced far faster and cheaper. (Packaging research starts from as little as $2,750.)
Depending on research complexity and the amount of data collection required, we deliver a packaging test report within only four days from receiving the assignment. The data processing that follows is literally done in a matter of hours. We interpret the results so that clients unaccustomed to interpreting raw research data can understand it thoroughly.
The real automation revolution is taking the risk out of packaging improvements, modifications and product launches: Getting customer feedback first, eliminates the gambling aspect. The numbers are there, but the dice are best used for paper weights.