By Molly Strawn, Senior Marketing Strategist, InnovateMR

“Ma’am, can I have a moment of your time to ask if you have any food allergies and how often you eat out at restaurants?”

That was me, adorned in my signature clipboard and DIY polo at the Thousand Oaks mall, getting ignored by the fifteenth person in a row. I was attempting to gather customer validation for my newest corporate venture: Simple Lyfe. But as it turned out, a company working to certify restaurants in allergy-safe food services was not drumming up the hoopla I had anticipated.

No matter our passion, drive or gift for strategic planning, we simply cannot sell a product or service that no one wants. 

As I discovered with Simple Lyfe, target customers “in the wild” may not share that same deep passion previously seen in research and development forecasts, marketing decks or enthusiastic sales huddles. Of course, I would not have learned this if I had not stepped outside the business (literally) and just got to work in a bubble. Without gathering sentiment about your passionate dream from the outside world, wasted time and missed revenue is inevitable. 

Collecting key insights from target audiences – market sentiment, concept validation or purchase habits – is the most crucial step in the entrepreneurial journey but remains the hardest to achieve. Solopreneurs have limited access to the actionable insights they need and even less access to a large-scale research project. Unless teams prioritize research spend and efforts upfront to answer these questions (typically, with a generous investor to foot the bill), they may go for months, if not years, with their blind spots unchecked.

But there is a foundational shift occurring. You no longer need to be fluent in research jargon (adopting phrases like “survey link appends,” “redirects,” “LOI,” “EPC,” etc.) to find the answers to important questions. The future of research will be built on agile, adaptive technology – solutions that give everyone, professional researcher or not, access to the insights they need to help push their businesses forward.

We are feeling this shift in the market research industry but it is not an isolated incident; large corporations, as well as entrepreneurs, do not have the time or resources to devote to manage multi-step studies. However, the need for insights has only grown stronger. Today, attention spans are dwindling, customers demand a corporate conscience behind their favorite brands and one disparaging review can rip through social media like wildfire. New entrepreneurs need to find new ways to prepare. They are smart, sophisticated and hungry for intuitive solutions presented with simplicity to help them prepare for business longevity. 

InnovateMR has created the technology these decision makers need: the Vision Suite™. I have created many surveys on various platforms in my startup journey but never one that streamlines the entire research process into one easy-to-use workflow. It goes beyond intuitive survey creation to tie in profiling/targeting to ask the right person the right thing, instantly. Quick-pulse insights like this could be the difference in what product gets developed and which blueprints are not worth the investment.

But just as the data needs to be fast, it also needs to be right. Participant answers cannot inform actionable insights unless they are reliable. InnovateMR is continually on the forefront of market research data quality with customizable and adaptive quality tools. A part of the Vision Suite™, Text Analyzer™ is a revolutionary new way to verify open-end text responses at scale using AI technology, wading through hundreds or even thousands of replies to extract meaningful and genuine feedback automatically. It will flag gibberish, profanity, copy/paste action, bot scripting, spelling errors, type timing, duplication and identifiable information. It will even look for contextual answers to ensure the text is directly addressing the question. 

The new age of customer validation 

When every unique voice has access to tools that comprehend, contextualize and anticipate the future of business, it will pad our economy with solutions custom-fitted to the direct needs of the world. My days at the mall with a clipboard may be over but the new age of customer validation is just getting started.