Creating experiences useful to people interested in understanding their customers | Top 100 CX thought leader | Top 5% Global Podcaster | Livestreamer | "Going Live: Livestream your podcast to reach more people" author |
Fifty-one percent of travelers say they choose their airline by price, 17 want a direct route, 14 percent make comfort a priority, 9 percent of consumers choose airlines based on the schedule. Eight percent mentioned loyalty programs.
The automatic theme explorer and Word Cloud gave me an idea of some of the most mentioned topics.
At times, I also use the Theme Builder and my knowledge of the subject to build and group themes for topics that I consider related.
Then I skim through the automatic transcripts and each response.
For some consumers, the decision also didn’t come down to one or the other. Price was important, but so was the routing, for some as they considered choosing an airline.
For many, it’s a hierarchy. For example, a convenient schedule was important but once that was in place, consumers were looking for a fair price.
Some consumers mentioned customer service in their spoken responses as being important. Others mentioned the need to be on time.
“I don’t want delays. I don’t want airlines that cancel their flights all the time,” said Jennifer, 48, of Kansas City.
Sometimes the choice depends on which airline hub a consumer lives nearby.
“So the schedule is a big one for me,” said Joe, 38. “I like to have as few layovers as possible, and a lot of airlines they only make the trip I want to take every couple of days. I’m in Salt Lake, which is a hub for Delta. So I often end up on Delta, but price is always a big one.”
And it’s not only about the time onboard but the whole travel experience.
“When picking an airline, my main factors would be price, schedule, comfort,” said Megan, 31 of Gastonia. “And I guess on comfort, not just on the plane but also at the airport.”
Results ✅ How to share customer feedback with employees❓
How to share customer feedback with employees is certainly a question worth addressing to get the most out of our consumer research. Grabbing employees’ attention, of course, is one thing, but then the message has to stick. There are dangers to not sharing customer feedback well internally.
In this article, I share the top ways to share customer feedback company-wide so your research can have an impact.
Why it can be challenging to share customer feedback with employees
Everyone is busy. So are employees.
And just because they “see” a message come through doesn’t mean it made a lasting impression. That’s where a multi-channel approach and repetition come in.
If your employees go to an office, consider looping videos of customer feedback in a physical space. Depending on the area, consider the right volume level to have a positive but not distracting impact. Include captions in the video as well.
Company conferences and events
Consider kicking it off with a powerful soundbite of customer feedback when you hold a company conference or event. Think of it like the cold opening they do on Saturday Night Live. The sketch just starts. The same strategy can be used here.
Using a motivating, fun, or even eye-opening quote can be a great way to get people’s attention and get the meeting started.
There might also be other places where it makes more sense to run a customer soundbite during the conference or event.
When was the last time customers came to a board or executive meeting? Doesn’t happen much – if at all. But it can with video soundbites from customers. So again, you could run a one-minute highlight video of customer feedback to kick off the meeting or show it at another point during specific discussions.
Project or team meetings
Certainly, we should share customer feedback in the right project meetings. And that’s not just confined to new customer feedback but consider what feedback you already have and what topic is being discussed in a specific meeting. Then, bring the customer feedback soundbites and analysis that makes the most sense.
New employees have a lot to learn when they join a company. But don’t forget to share with them the impact their job can have on customers. An easy way to do that is to share several customer feedback clips to give them an idea.
In addition, positive customer feedback clips can get them even more excited about starting their new job.
With all this powerful research being conducted, it can also be helpful to create one place where it’s all housed. People can then use this place to search for specific answers and see if customers have already offered feedback on that topic.
Customer feedback is way more powerful when it can impact the company. And that impact can be achieved when it’s socialized across many levels of the company. But for that to happen, we have to ensure that the customer feedback is shared in a way that works for employees.
Sometimes also called conversational research, this type of consumer feedback is about the nuance and context of the spoken word. What are consumers saying, what does it mean in the context of the answer, and how does it apply to your business?
Relatable presentations of the results through video highlight reels and soundbites
Why do we need conversational insights?
Certainly, there’s a place for quantitative research: On a scale of one to five, how much did you enjoy the meal? That can be helpful to understand the overall “what is going on and how are people self-reporting their feeling?”
And then, with the right conversational research technique, companies can understand why consumers feel a certain way and also see their body language and facial expression. That can give even more clues about their feelings, decisions, and opinions.
For example, a consumer might say, “yes, that sounds like a good idea,” but their body language and facial expressions might not align with that statement. The researcher can then ask a follow-up question in an online focus group to verify or dig deeper. In an asynchronous video survey, they can still read the body language and compare their hunch to the automatic sentiment analysis.
Choosing the correct type of conversational insight strategy
The conversational research strategy depends on the goal, who we need to participate in the research, and the subject matter.
Some topics might need an in-depth one-on-one interview. Others would benefit more from a few dozen respondents answering a question through videos. And others yet might get the most out of a focus group where respondents can interact with each other.
But it also doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. At times, it can be a mix of strategies.
How much of your feedback was positive, negative, or neutral? Understanding consumer sentiment based on what they say is especially powerful.
Conversational research can help us identify themes that consumers discuss. In the Voxpopme platform, I use theme explorer and builder to accomplish that task. The themes are generated based on what people say, and I can then review the most common themes based on what was said.
Storytelling with conversational research
Conversational insights can help us bring the customer – or fan in the case of sports – to the table to ensure their opinions are heard and considered when decisions are made.
We have videos from our conversational research that can be powerful when we share certain soundbites from customers and consumers with decision-makers. They can see what’s being said, feel the emotion behind the response, and catch the subtle messages the consumer is sending. That helps your coworkers feel like they’re in the customer conversation too.
Conversational insights can be a real game-changer for companies when done well. Many consumers want to talk, share their experiences and participate in a conversation. Why not make good use of it in your market research strategy?
Creativity can undoubtedly help us stand out in a busy marketplace. Creativity in research also fits here. And, after all, don’t we all want our research to make an impact and be relevant? That’s where creativity in research can help, but what does it mean to be creative, and how can teams strive for more creativity?
Creativity is about finding a way of doing something differently. Sometimes that’s more subtle. Other times it’s more distinct. Either way, being creative can engage people – internal teams, stakeholders, and consumers.
Creativity means that we are finding a new and engaging way to stand out, and in the age of survey fatigue that’s more important than ever.
“I like creativity because, after years of working in market research and seeing the same things repeatedly, I like keeping things a little bit different,” said Daniel.
Creativity helps keep teams engaged in the process. In turn, those teams then have a chance to carry that momentum through and engage customers who participate in the research and other stakeholders who review the report about the study.
Daniel said there is value in doing different things from the competition.
“Our business is all about the sizzle and the steak,” Daniel said. “There’s the actual learning new things, but there is also the engagement.”
To see if creative changes or steps work in a project, ask these questions:
How is this action benefiting the project and business?
Consider the cost and the return.
Does this add value?
Would you tell somebody about this? Are people excited enough to tell somebody about the project when it’s appropriate?
Being creative in research has to happen throughout the entire process. It’s not just “turning on creativity” for a short period and then moving on. So that includes being creative in the strategy portion when we conduct the research and report the results to stakeholders.
Market research results can do the most good when used to drive business action. That might include presenting the results to other stakeholders in the company, and doing that creatively can increase our chances of making those results memorable.
Daniel said that one creative way might be to create an internal podcast episode highlighting the results that busy executives can listen to on their way to work. That episode can also include soundbites from real consumers if you recorded them or conducted video research.
“That’s a very effective way to present new information,” he said.
To be creative in research, we sometimes have to move away from how “it’s always been done.” That means we must look at ways to evolve our experience for the team creating the surveys, the consumers participating in the research, and the teams using the results to make business decisions.
“But there’s a lot of ‘this is the right way of doing something,'” said Jenn Mancusi, host of “Reel Talk” and Voxpopme’s CRO. “And there are some right ways to do certain things, and then there are things where you can have some flexibility and freedom to be creative.”
Please don’t make it unnecessarily complex but build a strategic process, value creativity, and look for ways to make your research more successful and impactful.
The automatic theme explorer and Word Cloud gave me an idea of some of the most mentioned topics.
At times, I also use the Theme Builder and my knowledge of the subject to build and group themes for topics that I consider related.
I like to review the Theme Explorer first to get an idea of what trends the study found. The Word Cloud is my next step. Then I want to skim through the automatic transcripts and each response.
Overall, 116 different brands were mentioned.
Brands that were mentioned as being favorite brands in our study are:
Bath and Body Works
Ben and Jerry’s
Dawn Dish Soap
Golf le Fleur
High Five Threads
Leelanau Coffee Co.
Time and Tru
Tom’s of Maine
Many consumers mentioned they appreciate their favorite brands for high-quality products. Bradley, 20, of Clearfield, lists his three brands – Adidas, American Eagle, and Hanes for that reason.
“Those three brands fit me comfortably in each area of the materials, he said. “They are normally very, very good. So I only got to go shopping once a year, sometimes twice.”
Reviewing the consumer responses, there was very little negative or constructive feedback regarding what consumers said about what their favorite brands should change. Price was often mentioned, though.
Paula, 43, of Hamburg, did say that Nike and Apple – two of her favorite brands could lower their prices.
“They are good quality, but come on now with some of them; they’re really expensive,” she said.
Where to next?
Our study included all and any brands that were top of mind for consumers.
As a next step, you might consider a similar study in just your industry. Potential questions could dive into who is the favorite brand in your specific industry and how consumers differentiate between your brand and your competitors.
Video surveys – also called video questionnaires or video research at times – are an easy way to communicate with customers at scale. After all, people share their likes, dislikes, and opinions daily. So, it’s a natural extension to ask them how and why questions to get to the bottom of their thinking and decision-making.
Video surveys allow you to gather actionable insights from your customers, consumers, users – anyone! Brands can ask questions directly to the people they care about most, and respondents leave their thoughts and feedback via video.
Video surveys are easy for brands as they hear directly from people. You can even combine quantitative questions with qualitative ones – as we do in our weekly consumer studies. From there, the software analyzes:
Consumers do video surveys asynchronously, meaning they answer your brand’s questions on their own time, and the brand can see the results as they come in.
There’s no need to have a moderator on the other side, which helps get consistent questions to the respondents and eliminates biases.
The video makes it easier for respondents to express themselves. It’s also much more personal, adding more of a human aspect to communication. They can portray emotion through body language and facial expressions. It’s an experience that’s simple and easy to use. It delivers spontaneous and honest answers.
Why video questionnaires scale customer feedback
It’s easy to get answers to open-ended questions through video surveys. Most of us now have smartphones in our pockets or our hands nonstop. So why not use video surveys to get feedback from your customers in a way that is easy for them and meaningful to you?
“Instead of answering checkbox questions, respondents can answer on their phone or desktop and really tell their stories,” said Jenn Mancusi, chief revenue officer at Voxpopme. “They can add additional context to their stories.”
Video surveys can also uncover product preferences that a text-based survey may not do as well. Take this example from Annie Pettit, chief research officer at E2E Research. In a nutshell, why ask consumers to recall what household products they bought, she said? Just ask them to show you on camera.
The speed of video surveys
Video survey projects can be completed in hours. For example, we run a weekly consumer study and launch the questions late on Fridays. By Saturday morning, 100 answers are usually done, ready for us to review on Monday when we return to work.
Video surveys can be used through a platform like Voxpopme. They can also be added by inserting a code block to whatever platform you use for surveys.
For quantitative researchers, they can be integrated directly into survey platforms such as:
Video surveys can also be added to communities like FuelCycle.
So whether you want to utilize video in a new or existing study or collect your videos alongside or after a survey, in just a few clicks, it’s possible. That means you can capture, analyze and share compelling customer stories across various quant and qual studies to boost your results’ impact without changing your existing program.
“I’m an evangelist for video,” said Kristin Luck, a serial marketing measurement entrepreneur. “The closer we can get to customers and potential buyers, the better. And I think there’s no more powerful way than hearing it from them in their own words. I think it just resonates more deeply.”
Priscilla McKinney of Little Bird Marketing said video surveys connect consumers intimately to companies.
“Oh, I get to tell the company what I feel and think?” she said. “That specialness that they are being valued is really at the core of the kind of relationships we want.”
Jenn said she’s even seen feedback videos from consumers where they open with:
“I’ve been waiting to talk to you for thirty years.”
Added Jenn: “The consumer feels like she’s talking directly to a brand that she feels really close to anyways, and that was the opportunity to talk directly to that brand.”
Augmented reality and video surveys
Video surveys also can be used in conjunction with augmented reality, something The Olinger Group has done with the Voxpopme platform. Jude Olinger shared on “Reel Talk” how his team allowed consumers to view a new type of leaf blower with AR and then share their feedback via video surveys.
Understanding the market in real-time
Video surveys can also be used to understand customer feelings about a current campaign. For example, for a Super Bowl, we set out to find out which brands won and lost in the battle of the commercials. We asked 150 North American consumers which ad was the most memorable.
They shared their most memorable Super Bowl ad during each quarter of the game in real-time self-recorded responses to a single open-ended video question. The study tested the unaided recall of the commercials, and scores were calculated based on the number of mentions for each ad across all video responses in less than 4 hours, thanks to automated video analytics.
Examples of brands that use video surveys
Video surveys can be used in all kinds of industries and verticals, Jenn said. That includes large brands to smaller businesses.
“The real power comes in where it works alongside traditional methods,” Jenn said. “Adding a video layer to the quantitative data can help you understand your customers better.”
Here are some examples of how companies use video surveys to understand their customers better.
“Our partnership with Voxpopme was instrumental in keeping our ears to the ground to see what our consumers were dealing with and how they were navigating this new world,” said Megan Kehr, analytics insights associate manager at PepsiCo.
In PepsiCo’s “Humanize” initiative, the company tried getting marketers closer to customers and understanding them better. That was accomplished by using video surveys to allow consumers to answer questions on their own time, no matter where they were.
Deeper customer understanding
Understanding the customer goes beyond “what flavor they pick up at the store and why,” Megan said on an episode of “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.” “But there’s also so much more behind the people who are drinking our products and what’s going on in their lives. And then figure out how our brands can help them ease the tensions they are dealing with. How we can fit better into their lives and what they are facing on a day-to-day basis.”
With Voxpopme’s video surveys, “they could do it on their mobile phones, pick it up whenever they feel like it. So they are not put on the spot or speaking to somebody they don’t know.”
Megan said she got “more authentic responses because we met them where they were.”
Subway used video surveys to get quick feedback from a Super Bowl campaign.
“Literally, we had like a 12-hour turnaround,” said Wendy Semrau of Subway. “It was just amazing how many responses we were able to generate in that short amount of time. We went through the results right away on Friday and shared them right away with the team. There’s no other tool that we can do that with. A lifesaver for us.”
Global Old Spice campaign in the London Underground
Global used video surveys to understand brand recall and sentiment for Old Spice.
A new Old Spice campaign in the London Underground put the Old Spice scent into the posters in the subway system, said Emma Brett of Global.
“That was something new. Something we didn’t know would work,” she said. “We didn’t know if the posters would smell, what people would think. We used Voxpopme to get a few opinions about the posters. If the scent was strong enough, etc. It was really good feedback for the client. It proved that the campaign was a success.”
Maher Beltaifa shared how Faurecia wanted to find out how people want to communicate in the future in their cars. Do they want to move beyond touching screens and buttons? What does that look like?
“We were looking at the future of communications,” said Maher, who is now an insights manager at Coca-Cola. “Maybe not tomorrow, but maybe the day after tomorrow.”
They wanted to discover the future of voice, and “maybe there will be something different even,” Maher said. That could be gestures to communicate with the devices in our cars.
He discusses how the team decided to use qual and video surveys in this clip.
“We’ve had so much success inside the walls of RB,” said Elisabeth Trawinski, director of insights and analytics at Reckitt. “It’s about bringing that external lens inside the company.”
Reckitt used video surveys to understand how customer behaviors and rituals change.
Ashley Shelley, previously senior manager, consumer insights at DISH Network, said on an episode of “Reel Talk” that DISH uses video surveys in various ways – from a few questions to ad testing to asking customers about new concepts.
Creating highlight reels from the video responses is “pure gold and so much better than pasting open ends into a deck,” she said.
DISH moved to video surveys at first with a project where they needed respondents to pronounce the topic. Answers would be most beneficial when researchers could hear and see what the respondents give them.
“They had to be answered with somebody actually giving us the response,” Ashley said. “We couldn’t do it in a quant survey.”
Video surveys also help DISH reach harder-to-reach consumers, such as:
in rural areas
“Voxpopme has a great panel of older consumers as well,” Ashley said. “A lot of times, somebody will come to me with a research question, and I can say, ‘I can get you some video feedback on that, and it’s your target consumer.'”
And the process is quick. You can decide on a question in the morning, launch it that day, and get answers by the following day.
“I thought I would have to sacrifice the integrity or the depth of the research,” Ashley said about the perception when something can be done quickly. “How could it be so quick? For me, Voxpopme changed my mind about that. I feel like with video surveys; we aren’t sacrificing anything.”
The speed helps with influencing decisions, Ashley said.
Which roles can use video surveys?
Video questionnaires can be used by several teams to understand their customers. Let’s look at some examples.
Teams can use video questionnaires, especially as part of the design-thinking process. Even if a product is revamped post-launch and turned into something customers would love, a bad launch can tarnish a product’s reputation. Video feedback can help product managers tackle any issues before the official launch.
Research and analytics play a significant role in effective marketing. Direct video feedback from your audience can differentiate marketing success and failure.
Use video feedback before running a campaign to understand how it might perform at scale. The feedback will allow you to get nuanced feedback on why an audience segment likes or dislikes a particular idea.
Video feedback can also be useful after the fact, giving marketers a chance to understand what people like and don’t like about their brand’s current messaging.
Marketers can send video feedback requests to people on their company email list, prompt website visitors with a pop-up, or request feedback within an app. This allows audiences to discuss what they like and don’t like about current ads, marketing efforts, or messaging.
Open-ended questions have been a major part of market research and, more specifically, surveys for many years. They are essential to unearthing truths that closed-ended questions could otherwise miss.
Video questionnaire open-ended questions are just like text-based open-ends. But instead of writing down responses, respondents record a video. As a result, videos are often more authentic than edited written copy.
Consumers love it because they can express their opinions
Researchers love it because it delivers rich insights
Decision-makers love it as they get to identify actual customer stories
What are video open-ends?
As the name suggests, video open-ends are just like text-based open-ends but require the respondent to record a video response instead of typing out their answer.
Examples of types of open-ends to ask
At Voxpopme, we’ve tried and tested thousands of open video questions while collecting over 5 million consumer-recorded video responses. So, we wanted to share our knowledge by offering some starter questions that have proven to deliver valuable, visual insights. We’ve put together a collection of simple but effective open-ended questions you can use when crafting your next video research project. These short-format templates will need adapting, combining, or expanding to suit your specific needs but are here to get those creative juices flowing again.
We’ve segmented the question examples based on the various areas of a business to make them relevant to your particular research goals.
What would you change/improve about product X?
Why do you choose product X over Y?
What do you think of the taste/look/feel of new product X?
Any other products compare to this and how do they compare?
How does or doesn’t this product solve problem X for you?
What did you like most about product X?
Imagine and explain life without product X? (ethnography study)
Show us how you use product X? (ethnography study)
What are your expectations/requirements of service X?
Any changes you would most improve to the service of brand X?
How likely are you to recommend service X and why?
Where did you come across this service?
What was your primary reason for using/purchasing this service?
Any steps you took in your decision to use service X?
What did you think of advertisement X?
Your favorite part of ad X?
What emotions did the ad elicit?
Which ad was your favorite and why?
Are the claims made in the ad believable?
How does this ad fit with what you know about brand X?
How unique is this ad compared to others you have seen for similar products?
In what ways does the ad you just watched impact your purchase consideration for brand X (if at all)?
What makes a great ad?
What are your initial thoughts when you hear brand X?
In your opinion, what do you think brand X represents?
Is your perception of brand X positive or negative and why?
What traits are you looking for from a brand in category X?
How and where do you come into contact with brand X most?
What are the positive attributes of brand X?
Any negative attributes of brand X and what are they?
How was your last experience when visiting store X?
What did you think of the customer support in store X?
Why did you choose to shop in store X over its competitors?
Do you have an alternative to brand/store X and why?
Show us your favorite section/display in store X and tell us why it is?
When did you last go to buy a product/service but didn’t buy your intended item and why?
Please explain if you would return to this store and the reasons for your answer.
How was your experience shopping with brand X online?
Was it easy/difficult to navigate the site and find what you were looking for?
Did you experience any difficulties when trying to buy a product from mysite.com?
Explain your opinion of our website checkout experience?
How did online support work?
What don’t you like about your current service provider/product?
How does your online experience of ‘brand X’ differ across different digital devices?
What promotions come to mind when you think of season/event X?
Any seasonal promotions would you like to see product/service X offer?
What time of year do you begin looking for product or service X?
Any promotions stand out most for you in store X?
Please show us prominent category X promotions in store Y.
How do you prefer to discover promotions for product/service X?
What are your thoughts of our loyalty program?
How does loyalty program X compare to the loyalty program of competitor Y?
Would you say brand X provides value for your money?
What are your thoughts on product X’s quality for the price paid?
Does cost play a role when purchasing product/service X in category Y?
The cost of product/service give you a particular perception of brand X?
Wider brand exploration & personification
If Brand X was a celebrity who would they be and why?
Which make of car is brand X most similar to?
Brands are a party – what type of party guest would brand X be?
How has brand X changed over time?
Who do you think to be the leader in category X and why?
If brand X came to life as a person, what would they be like?
Where does brand X rank amongst its competitors and why?
Draw what you think X means and explain why.
What do consumers like about video surveys?
Consumers love video because it allows them to easily portray their emotions, which researchers value highly for content richness and ability to drive action in the boardroom. After all, nothing is more powerful than seeing your customers face to face (digitally via video) and sharing insight into their thoughts about your product, service, or brand.
Many established companies face the threat of emerging brands or challenger brands along the way to staying relevant today. In this article, I discuss how established companies can use consumer insights strategies to understand and continue winning over emerging brands.
An emerging brand is a newer company or even product trying to break into an established market. This could be a brand that is just a few years old, solves a consumer problem differently than established brands, and even uses different marketing strategies, like social media influencer campaigns.
Sometimes emerging brands are called challenger brands because they are vying for a spot in a market that another brand currently occupies. In essence, they a
How to compete with emerging brands?
To get started, remember about your existing community of consumers, sellers, and advocates.
“We have an army of Avon representatives – there is about 5 million around the world – which is basically our sales force,” said Jo Munton, former global insights senior manager at Avon. “They are our No. 1 core target.”
Those millions of reps are also very similar to the consumers they are selling to and use Avon products themselves.
From there, Avon makes sure those representatives understand the product and know how to sell it. In other words, build on what is working already.
“Understanding what they want is absolutely vital,” Jo said. “They are our biggest and bravest ambassadors.”
Then the trick is to involve those already-existing ambassadors in the process of new product development to get their feedback. If they are excited about a new product, they will likely pass on that excitement to others in their networks.
Keep testing new products
Even as the incumbent in a marketplace, it is important to innovate as a business. Ideate new products, test them and see if consumers want them.
“We have a fantastic product-development center based in the U.S. that continually strives to get the best innovation for our customers,” Jo said, adding that one example is a new product that offers seven skin-care benefits in seven days.
Build on the nostalgia
An established brand – like Avon – has a certain level of nostalgia attached to it. There are consumers who have used it their entire life.
“I know people – like 80-year-old family members who say, ‘I swear by Avon and have been using it my whole life,” said Jenn Vogel, host of “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show” and vice president of marketing at Voxpopme. “That’s a thing you can’t create with these new brands that are emerging. You really can’t compete with the nostalgia piece.”
Finding new ways to sell
How consumers buy certainly has changed as well and is also an area Avon has embraced by seeing more reps use new social selling tactics.
“It’s just a really nice way of how Avon has evolved,” Jo said. “It’s not necessarily door-to-door selling anymore. It is in some markets because that still resonates really well but it also might be a representative selling online or even our website.”
At the end of the day, Jo said, it’s about bringing all the channels together. Social selling, network selling, face-to-face all have roles to play.
She said that some consumers want to experience a new product in-store, so that experience also can’t be neglected.
“Plus, having a representative who can top of that experience as well is really valuable,” Jo said. “That’s why we provide samples. If you haven’t bought a certain skincare product and haven’t tried it, there’s a certain amount of risk. So we try to provide samples and tools that help them make that product choice easier.”
Connecting with consumers directly
Being close to consumers and truly understanding them, their situation, and current needs and wants matters – for any brand really.
Jo said she likes using video surveys because you can hear directly from consumers and are part of what’s currently going on in their lives.
“Looking at her makeup, through her makeup bag, what she’s up to and how she applies her makeup,” said Jo. “Just to understand what kind of products we should develop. We use Voxpopme, which is a very valuable tool for us.”
Connecting with consumers through video also gives brands an opportunity to explain what certain products do. Those conversations can lead us to understand that the benefit might not be as clear.
The need to hear from consumers
“Getting it direct from the consumer is really helpful,” Jo said. “The way Avon predominantly operates is through the representative or brochures. With a brochure, we only have a certain amount of time to pull them in. We need to ensure that what we are writing in that brochure is easy to understand.”
The brochures need to say what the product does and how it will help them and testing that content with consumers through video is a huge benefit, she said.
“Doing those consumer videos, we actually learn what language they understand and what they don’t understand as well,” Jo said.
“Sometimes we have to explain an idea internally why it’s worth it and having that consumer on video saying ‘here’s my problem’ is worth its weight in gold,” she said.
“There’s such a difference of somebody saying it in their own words than showing a graph or chart,” added Jenn. “There are people behind all these numbers and it’s not just out of thin air.”
Embrace the speed
Established brands are sometimes not known for speed while emerging brands pride themselves on moving fast. But using the right technology can help older brands move fast as well, Jo said.
“The biggest advantage that goes across everything is time,” Jo said. “A lot of the newer technological research techniques that we use are just quicker. I could launch a video survey today, and by the time I get home from work it is completed. Consumers already have logged on and submitted their responses. ”
The speed is key. So is agility, which can include asking additional questions based on what was already learned.
Use advantageous budget
Established brands often also have larger budgets that can be used for bigger marketing campaigns and more insights activities. Take advantage.
“When you work with a larger brand with a larger budget, there’s more funding that can be allocated to research,” said Marnie Steffe, insights and innovation director at Elida Beauty and a member of the Voxpopme Advisory Board, on an episode of the market research podcast “Reel Talk.” “There’s also a higher risk in a sense, so you need to make sure all the ts are crossed and is are dotted. It really needs to be buttoned up.”
Understand what new brands have to go through
When a new product comes to market, there certainly can be challenges from marketing, consumer acceptance, and need to testing the right things at the right times.
“It’s more like you are in the dating pool, and you are trying to find a date and get them interested,” said Sherwette Mansour, author of “Why no one is buying your product.” “And keep going with the conversation and see if it works.”
On the flip side, an existing product is more like a marriage.
“The key thing between the two is to listen to the customers and give them what they need,” she said.
Certainly, established brands can learn something by keeping an eye on what emerging brands are doing and which ones consumers seem to like.
Embrace the change in consumer behavior
Keep in mind and embrace how consumer behavior changes. Today, people shopping on their phones isn’t that unusual. Ten years ago, it wasn’t really a thing.
Technology has changed for consumers and it is also changing in how we can research and understand our shoppers.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what research looks like in 10-15 years,” Jo said.
Loyal shoppers still exist, but we also see consumers looking around more.
When consumers start shopping around
Loyal shoppers and consumers, in general, may start exploring other brands for several reasons. And that can happen more quickly and commonly with emerging brands entering the market, disrupting events like the pandemic and other trends influencing industries.
Customers’ pain points, their Jobs to be Done, and it’s necessary to understand what impacts their buying decisions, Sherwette explained.
Look at the trigger that would encourage people to buy. For example, Sherwette mentioned the goal of relaxing. Well, there are a ton of products of different types that can help with that.
A larger volume of products than in the past can make the buying decision harder and contribute to the loyal shopper’s demise.
“In order to get anyone to do anything, it all comes down to two things,” Sherwette said.
Those two things are:
How motivated are people to do a specific task? Are they motivated at all to make their buying decision in your company’s favor?
“You either want to avoid pain or seek pleasure,” Sherwette said. “Or you want to melt in with others from a social perspective.”
And not all problems carry the same priority, said Jenn Mancusi, host of “Reel Talk” and chief revenue officer at Voxpopme.
“You might be trying to solve ten different problems at any given time,” she said.
Ease to take action
The second part of moving forward with a buying decision is how easy it is to take action. For example, let’s say you want to take a medication class but have to fight through traffic for an hour. That’s not an easy purchase.
Consumer behaviors change, and we sometimes need research, so people believe the change is imminent or already happening. Even Google conducted research in 2011 to prove that people used search engines to make shopping decisions. That research was then released in the Zero Moment of Truth publication.
“This was around the idea that people have a path to purchase and where does search come in in that path?” Rebecca said on “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.” “And what we saw was that there was no path. Everybody took very different steps in very different orders. It was a much more complex story than marketers were hoping for.”
While Rebecca and her team were looking at that path, they also noticed an increase in consumers willing to try different products.
“There were a lot of reasons for this,” she said, breaking it down into these areas:
Many markets and companies have stepped up innovation over recent years. Consumers assume that the next time they buy a new item – say a toaster oven – it will be better than the version they bought 10 years ago.
“Consumers will assume that there have been significant updates in toaster oven technology,” Rebecca said. “So people go out and see what’s new rather than going out and buying the same brand from before.”
And the concept of innovation has spread across many product verticals – from toaster ovens to foods to most everything people can buy.
“How consumers come across brands in their shopping process is quite different,” Rebecca said, adding it’s not always consistent even for a specific person.
Some shop on social media for some products but shop elsewhere for other products, for example.
The need to be informed
Rebecca said her research found that three-fourths of consumers want to be as informed as possible before making a decision. That means they research, check out brands and see what others say about the product.
“What all this chaos has done is create an anxiety-ridden shopper who wants to make sure they are making the best choice,” Rebecca said. “In the past, you’d go to Sears and get a Black + Decker because that was the best product on the market. That was the one everyone went to. But now there are so many challengers and so many options that I might wonder, ‘is that the right one?'”
The difference in loyalty by generation
Rebecca said there’s a big difference between the generations born pre-online shopping and post-online shopping.
“For those growing up post-online shopping – the Gen Zs – their brand loyalty is incredibly low in comparison to Boomers and Gen Xers,” Rebecca said. “Millennials have adapted to this new way of shopping but are still carrying some old traditions and patterns.”
The way generations after Gen Z will think about brand loyalty is going to look very different from older generations, Rebecca said.
How can brands connect with that loyal shopper?
It certainly does start with understanding the market, the target consumer, and how the company’s product can stand out in the vertical.
“Brands have to do very specific research to their category and their consumer to understand how they are thinking,” Rebecca said.
Rebecca calls the phenomenon shopper promiscuity – the act of being open to using other brands and following through with that purchase. But the more brands can truly understand their target consumers, the more likely they are to build that ongoing relationship with loyal shoppers.
Also, understand how loyalty looks in your specific vertical. For example, soda drinkers as a whole are very loyal to specific brands. But certain other verticals have a loyalty rate of under 20 percent. Understanding the industry average can help us understand what is or isn’t a good goal.
“And then where does your brand sit – are people over-indexing or under-indexing when it comes to promiscuity?” Rebecca said.
Build a community around a product consumers love
Jason Alleger, consumer insights and strategy at Traeger, said on “Reel Talk” that the company has been successful by building an authentic community around a product that he says the average owner uses 50 times a year.
“Traeger is a lifestyle brand,” he said. “I get to meet people who named their baby after Traeger; get sent pictures of people’s Traeger tattoos; I get sent obituaries where their Traeger is mentioned; get sent wedding invitations, and people say ‘we couldn’t imagine spending the day without you guys.'”
“I’m leading insights for this brand that is such a part of people’s lives that people are naming their children after us,” Jason said.
Jason said the brand had earned that place in people’s lives through product innovation, integration into people’s lives, and fostering community.
“People are sharing recipes and are trying to become better cooks,” he said. “By us fostering that community, it drives that brand.”
Understand why people purchase
Consider research including the people who have recently purchased or even returned for another purchase. Ask them about their need, she said, as opposed to questions focused on the brand.
Certainly, it can be harder to keep shoppers loyal to our products than in the past, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try understanding them and working on building that ongoing relationship.
You’ve probably heard this Henry Ford quote regarding new product innovation in business: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Many have used this as an example of why not to talk to consumers to decide how to be innovative in business. People don’t know what they want, is the argument. So we might as well not talk to them. But what if that’s the wrong argument?
“They would say horses because they didn’t know cars existed,” said Nick Graham, global head of insights and analytics at Mondelez International, on “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show.”. “But they could tell you they wanted to go faster. They could tell you some of the things they were comfortable with or not comfortable with. And you could have built the idea of a car from that.”
The quote is not a reason not to talk to consumers. The insight is absolutely there, Nick said. And that’s what we need to be innovative: Find insights based on what consumers do and say and then evolve our products and services from there.
“You are not asking consumers to tell you what to make,” said Jenn Vogel, CRO at Voxpopme. “You are asking them what problems they have. What are they trying to solve? Or you are watching them and see something is a problem, and they don’t even know it’s a problem.”
In this article, we discuss what you can do to be innovative in business by asking consumers the right questions and moving toward an iterative process to determine how to evolve products and services over time. Specifically, we discuss:
Being innovative means creating experiences and products for consumers that help them, that are useful, and that they look forward to buying. Take Apple products for me. The products have made my life easier and, in many instances more enjoyable. I can watch NFL games on my iPad Pro at a youth softball tournament. My AirPod Pros make it even easy to listen. My iPhone has made travel and other things – like livestreaming – much easier. I genuinely look forward to seeing updates to the products.
Can companies be innovative without change? Probably not. Products evolve. How we communicate evolves. And even successful products need to ride that wave in one form or another.
The journey to understand changing behaviors, possibilities, and consumer interests, in reality, is never-ending.
Sherwette Mansour, author of “Why no one is buying your product,” said that sometimes product innovation could just be a little tweak to the product that makes it different from others and can make a big difference.
“Just always be on the looking at what’s happening and what customers are saying,” she said on “Reel Talk.”
As author Rebecca Brooks has said, consumers expect product innovation. But what is product innovation, and how do we know whatever it is that we are creating is innovative?
Product innovation happens when a change to a product has an impact on consumers. Jason Alleger, formerly consumer insights and strategy at Traeger, said that doesn’t always mean it has to be a huge change or an expensive one.
“There’s what we normally think of as innovation, and then there’s step-change innovation that can unlock something,” he said.
Karen told the story of a cake that used to have frosting now being sold without frosting, and it was a hit and built a multi-million dollar business.
“It’s an underutilized muscle,” Karen said. “What could you do with less or with what you have?”
The line between successful product innovations and product flops can be narrow. Something might take off, or the timing was wrong, or perhaps the message about the update wasn’t clear to consumers.
Product innovations can even come in just a different type of packaging. Take Go-Gurts.
“It’s not a new product, but it’s a new delivery system,” Jason said. “That’s been a massive innovation.”
And sometimes, the product makes it to market but not in its expected form. Take the Segway. Jason said the product was supposed to revolutionize how people in cities get to work. You can certainly see Segways around cities, but it’s not like most commuters have moved to segwaying their way to work.
“It can really only be successful if we rebuild cities,” Jason said.
“You should be re-inventing yourself,” said Jason. “Netflix has re-invented itself three times. DVDs, streaming, and now media production. And they stayed relevant.”
What’s the role of insights in product innovation?
“My role with innovation is really helping the team to understand how can we bring things to consumers from brands that have been around for so long but in a way they haven’t heard us in the past,” said Marnie Steffe, insights and innovation director at Elida Beauty and a member of the Voxpopme Advisory Board. “In some cases, that may be a new product; in some ways, that may be a new way of talking to people.”
the history of product innovation successes and failures.
what’s the best messaging.
“With trends, we want to look at generally what’s going on in the category but also some niche areas that haven’t exploded yet,” Marnie said. “What are some things people are doing in a more macro space?”
Product innovation process
The product innovation process includes several steps and areas that are worth considering. Let’s discuss them here.
Internal and external balance
Insights professionals need to balance the internal and external views to actually make innovation happen, said Mondelez’s Nick Graham.
“There’s obviously a large part of the insights team to bring the outside perspective – outside our mental silos – in,” he said. “Having said that, remember that you work for a business. It has constraints. It has internal goals and parameters. The most successful use of insights is finding that balance.”
To find that balance and move closer to product innovation, it’s important to understand the problem the business or brand faces.
“What are we really trying to do here, and what are the constraints we need to work within?” Nick said.
It’s important to understand what can be executed, what profitability looks like, and other business metrics. For example, a consumer might say they really want a specific packaging, but there’s no way to create that experience and be profitable, it likely shouldn’t be implemented. On the flip side, you also don’t want to create something that people want internally but that consumers have no appetite for.
“That’s where insights can be used to create that competitive advantage,” Nick said. “If you can honor both pieces of that that’s the critical part there.”
It’s okay and necessary to understand that this is an iterative process, Nick said.
“That push and pull between the inside and outside is normal,” he said.
Marnie said it’s also good to remember the audience size for specific innovations. Some are for more niche audiences, and some are for wider audiences.
Product innovation in new spaces
Finding that balance also carries through into entering new spaces. Sometimes, internal teams would ask:
If we were to enter that space, what would that look like?
Turn that into:
“What is the consumer or shopper problem to solve?” Nick said.
It’s very tempting, he said, to launch in a new area, but ask: “What actually is the consumer missing? What role could this brand fulfill and then, of course, find the balance between those two.”
Understand the best ways to reach consumers
“The other key in all of this is is how you use the blend of different sources and approaches,” Nick said. “Gone are the days of ‘let’s just go and do qualitative research’ or ‘let’s go and do quantitative research.’ We have such an array of data at our disposal.
They said “yes,” but it wasn’t that believable or was an “I really need this drink.”
“They were like ‘yea, yea, it’s a great idea,'” he said. “But I just didn’t believe it. And it wasn’t like they were lying. It felt like something they should like, but there was no real enthusiasm.”
Nick and the team could only gather these insights because they saw the reactions – something that they wouldn’t have been able to do in this case with a quant survey.
“Of course, don’t make decisions based on meeting just one consumer,” Nick added.
When to observe and when to ask questions
Sometimes, it can be better to observe customer behavior, ask them about it, and make product updates. For example, Jason Alleger said they saw consumers use their phone’s light as a flashlight while grilling. So Traeger added light into the grill, he said.
“People are not that great at abstract thinking,” she said. “So when we say ‘this customer has that problem we want to solve,’ that’s actually really hard to think about in the abstract. We want to jump to the solution.”
Marnie said that it’s also important to look at adjacent areas for inspiration.
“Not just what’s happening in your immediate world, but zoom out a layer or two,” she said on the market research podcast “Reel Talk.” “If I don’t know what’s happening in some of those adjacent areas, I might miss the chance for an easy innovation.”
“It brings the best of big and small together, and it truly is a partnership,” Nick said. “Yes, Mondelez is helping these 12 startups, but we are also learning from them.”
“If you can take some of that and apply it at scale that’s a really powerful opportunity,” Nick said. “But it’s a mindset shift. It’s not how big CPG companies have traditionally operated.”
Product innovation process needs focus
Distractions are everywhere. I couldn’t even finish this sentence without a Slack message trying to get my attention. But we have to focus our time on the things that matter, or else they’ll never get done.
Turn notifications off, add a Slack message saying you are knee-deep in research, and check in later that day. Focus your energy on the task at hand.
In this clip, Nick shares how the team developed a new cereal flavor and moved quickly in just two weeks.
“In two weeks, what you can accomplish, just because you are focusing on it,” he said. “And you learn as you go.”
Focus can also mean building insights and innovation in the day-to-day. Nick breaks that down into figuring out what to focus on.
Figure out what to focus on
Having good insights can help companies focus their resources and time on where they should actually focus. What are consumers doing today, what’s changing and what’s happening in adjacent categories?
“What do consumers need today, and what do they possibly need in the future,” he said.
At times, successful product innovations are subtle. A new color, or an updated design, for example, can at times go a long way.
“Finding those subtle changes that can have a really big impact,” Jenn said.
But what if it didn’t work?
I won’t bore you with the typical “fail fast” tip here. But understanding why something didn’t work is also part of innovation.
“Some great innovative ideas didn’t work, and people throw them in the trash and go, ‘well, that was a dumb idea,'” Nick said. “But sometimes the best ideas just didn’t quite nail it the first time around. It’s quite important that we learn from that so we can reapply those learnings to that innovation or another innovation.”
Of course, there’s always a certain level of uncertainty with the future.
“What you can get to is good probabilities, hypotheses, and good scenarios that you can play out,” Nick said, adding that he sees foresight being the future. “What is possible, what are we seeing that’s trending, and what do we think is going to stick?”
Marnie said that it’s also useful to understand the level of risk tolerance of an organization.
“Some companies are more risk-averse and want to do a lot of knowledge gathering along the way,” she said. “It also depends on the resources, budget, risk profile, and risk tolerance that a company has.”
ChatGPT is a new platform that uses artificial intelligence to answer people’s questions or complete written tasks for them. For example, you can use it to write a podcast script or advertising copy, or students can – but shouldn’t – ask it to write a paper.
We asked consumers in the United States what their thoughts are on the platform.
We completed the entire study of 100 respondents through Voxpopme’s community of on-demand consumers in five hours.
We combined quantitative and qualitative questions in the study in the platform, and the platform neatly packaged the results in one dashboard.
The automatic sentiment analysis showed that 57 percent of all statements were positive, with 27 percent being neutral and 16 percent being negative.
Unlike the quant questions – which are self-reported answers – this sentiment analysis pulls from what respondents said in their video responses.
The automatic theme explorer and Word Cloud gave me an idea of some of the most mentioned topics.
At times, I also use the Theme Builder and my knowledge of the subject to build and group themes for topics that I consider related.
I like to review the theme explorer first to get an idea of what trends I’m seeing. The Word Cloud is my next step. Then I want to skim through the automatic transcripts and each response.
Reviewing the consumer responses, there was certainly a positive vibe toward what ChatGPT can do.
Consumers in general are excited about the ability to ask questions and mentioned the possibilities for the future.
“As far as the technology I feel like it will contribute to society,” said Paris, 32, of Orange Park. “For me, I would use it to just ask the questions that I don’t know.”
Brandi, 27, of Sarasota, said she believes the technology can help with people’s English and to have good conversations.
Where to next?
As a next step, you might try using ChatGPT or another artificial content creation platform for your messaging and other consumer-facing content. Once that’s out in the market, consider asking consumers about what impact it had on them through a virtual focus group, video research or other tactic.