Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How technology has raised the insight game

By Erica Kurowski, MD, OnePulse

As brands embark on the essential task of gathering feedback and data to make smart business decisions, their research methods should always put the consumer at the centre of the action. Thankfully, businesses these days have the benefit of technology to help them easily collect real-time, highly customised customer insights.

In these turbulent times – a pandemic, combined with social and political upheavals –people are increasingly looking for sincere interactions. In order for brands to thrive in 2021 and beyond, they need to ensure they put their customers at the centre of all they do.

But how can a brand become truly human-centric, rather than just pay lip service by using the latest buzzword? How do you get to the heart of what matters to different groups of people? If you want to speak directly to the passions, thoughts and consensus of people, you must design your research from the customer’s perspective. However, this hasn’t always been done well.

The early days of primary research relied on in-person interviews, which quickly moved onto telephone interviews and physical surveys. But as technology has evolved and the way we research has changed, there has been a decline in response rates. The internet opened a world of innovation – panels of people were recruited to take part in surveys across the web. Unrushed and less intrusive, this research considered a consumer’s busy life and schedule, boosting survey access and response rates. However, over time it became clear this approach did not nurture a connection between people and brands. And unfortunately, this often resulted in low-quality feedback.

The respondents’ experience is key to ensuring data quality. Long, poorly formatted surveys targeted at people uninterested in the subject will achieve poor feedback at best. And at worst, an irritated respondent put off by the brand and unwilling to take part again. Generic and impersonal surveys are an immediate turn-off. People want to share their personal opinions, but will hesitate if the experience is poor. 

But today, achieving instant global insight with rich data, while simultaneously building a rapport with your consumer, is now feasible for any company. Here are four steps to achieving this:

  1. Don’t interrupt. Disruptions are irritating and are likely to get the wrong reception. You want authentic data, which means the people taking part in your survey need to feel wanted and valued. This increases their likelihood and willingness to help. Look for technology that can format your surveys in a welcoming way.
  2. Be mindful of your tone. Respondents want to feel like they are talking to a real person, not a programmed robot. Your questions need to be fluid and conversational with a candid, intrigued tone. At OnePulse, we encourage our clients to adopt a sincere approach when putting together surveys; it creates a more real and enjoyable experience. This in turn opens the platform up to better responses. 
  3. Respondent experience comes first. Understand who you’re speaking to. Why should someone take part in your survey? What incentives are you giving? When creating your survey, always start with the respondent in mind and consider how that survey will be received. Get creative and to the point, and consider using shorter surveys where it fits. The goal is to let people know their opinions matter and are heard, so you will need to remind them why they’re taking part.
  4. Familiarise your whole business with the data. All teams within your business should be getting to know the customer. Therefore, the more they understand the feedback, the better. The whole business can benefit from honest consumer insights. 

In 2021, people are increasingly wanting to share their thoughts and opinions. At OnePulse, we’ve seen proof: organic growth of our mobile app community spike by 50% over the past 6 months alone. But marketing teams need to continue to strive to allow customers to feel their voices are heard, and not just another piece of collected data. By humanising the research approach, brands can build customer relationships, gain valuable feedback and actively reform and change their business for the better.