By Richie Heron, VP, Product Methodology at ITWP
DIY consumer insights solutions have grown up. New, integrated systems combining on-demand consumer insights platforms, including powerful analytics, instant access to global communities of consumers and access to scalable service and expertise, enable researchers and brand marketers to gain answers to even the most complex questions. They are also proving to be critical tools in high-level decision-making that has organization-wide implications.
Driving the Maturity of DIY
These next-generation DIY solutions are clearly a response to business demands for real-time answers to complex, multi-faceted questions, in order to remain competitive in an environment where disruption from a range of new competitors is the order of the day. Brand marketers now need to be fast and agile when facing even the most intricate problems. While in the past researchers could spend days – or even weeks – sorting out a multi-dimensional issue, they now need answers in minutes. Only always-available platform solutions can provide this kind of instantaneous response to even almost unimaginably complex questions.
For example, there can be literally hundreds of features and aspects to consider in determining exactly what form a product should take to gain maximum acceptance in the marketplace. And when all these factors – including such features as brand messaging, flavor, price and perceived benefits – combine, they can create thousands of different formulations.
Using advanced DIY technology, consumers can be presented with manageable sets of a few aspects grouped together. The system then quantifies preferences among a wide swath of customers and potential customers, giving brand marketers definitive answers about what combination of features is most appealing to consumers. Using advanced analytics, the system presents results that are clear and immediately actionable.
One good example of how this conjoint analysis works in practice is in the health care/pharmaceutical industry. A pharmaceutical company planning to introduce a new product wants to understand what features would prompt physicians to take out their prescription pads. So, as part of the new product development process, researchers could launch an automated study to gauge preferences for various combinations. This would obviously be an invaluable tool to help guide product development, launch and messaging.
In fact, researchers and marketers are now using automated platforms to inform decision-making across the whole product development spectrum, from gauging brand positioning to understanding customer loyalty, to determining which product configuration will have the most market appeal, and finally deciding how to most effectively engage with consumers and communicate product benefits.
It’s About a Deeper Understanding and Maximum Benefit
Use of DIY platforms – integrated with access to panels of consumers and scalable support offerings to solve the “big” problems brand marketers face – comes with bigger, often-organization-wide benefits. Think of it this way: When you start going to a gym, you do a few simple exercises and see minimal results. But as you intensify your workout – perhaps bringing in a personal trainer as a guide – you begin to see maximum positive results. In the same way, DIY consumer insights platforms applied to your complex brand-development issues can dramatically improve the health of your brand.