Mobile News Mix

MFour Hires a VP of Product and Two Senior Engineers

Posted by MFour on May 20, 2019 10:16:48 AM

Elaina,Mehdi,Paul Blog(L-R Paul, Mehdi, Elaina)

MFour has hired Elaina O’ Mahoney as Vice President of Product, a new position, as well as Senior Engineers Mehdi Eskandari and Paul (Thuy) Nguyen.

O’Mahoney brings more than a decade of experience leading product teams in the tech sector, including serving as Vice President of Product Management for CareerBuilder's Software Suite of human resources recruitment technologies. At MFour she will focus on creating easy-to-use data products that power smart business decisions by leveraging the special capabilities made possible by  Surveys On The Go®, MFour’s advanced mobile-app research app, and the validated, first-party U.S. consumer panel that uses the app to participate in surveys and opted-in behavioral tracking. O’Mahoney holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Colorado State University and is working on a Master's in Business Administration at Maryville University. Apart from work, Elaina loves to travel and spend at-home time with family. 

Eskandari joins MFour as a Senior Software Engineer. His credentials over the past ten years include Senior Web Developer for finance company American Advisors Group and Software Developer for Dealer Solutions Group. Achievements included helping to create apps and APIs to improve user experiences. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Hardware Engineering from Azad University of Tehran. Eskandari’s tech activities also including publishing his own mobile apps, one of which was among the ten most-downloaded apps in Iran for 2014.

Nguyen, a Senior DevOps Engineer,  has more then 20 years’ experience as a System Administrator and a Senior System Engineer, including positions at Alfa Systems and Sony Network Entertainment. He earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from California State University, Long Beach, and also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine. Thuy is an accomplished landscape photographer who also enjoys ping pong, spectator sports and playing drums and guitar in a soft-rock and oldies band.

Welcome aboard to our three new hires. 

Topics: mobile research, mobile consumer panel, consumer data, MFour hiring news

MFour Wins Gold for Innovation of the Year

Posted by MFour on May 17, 2019 4:52:55 PM

MFour Mobile Research, the recognized leader in GPS survey technology, mobile market research and consumer data, was awarded the American Business Awards highest honor, their Gold Stevie Award, for Innovation Of The Year for their Path-2-Purchase® Platform.MFour’s groundbreaking technology tracks the physical journey of consumers, with their consent, so brands and retailers can better understand their consumers’ journey.  And since the Path-2-Purchase® Platform is built on top of MFour’s Surveys On The Go® mobile app, these same consumers can be contacted automatically based on their behavior like entering or exiting a retail location.  This combination of observed behavioral data and survey data has been widely touted as the future of market research.

“It’s extremely satisfying to see all the effort and innovation that went into the development of our Path-2-Purchase® Platform be recognized,” said Chris St. Hilaire, MFour’s co-founder and CEO. St. Hilaire noted that their Path-2-Purchase® Platform enables clients to harvest first party opt-in location and survey data from more than 2 million pre-profiled mobile consumers whose buying journeys are tracked across 12.5 million U.S. locations, including all of the top 1,000 retailers.

MFour placed ahead of Comcast Business’s ActiveCore SDN platform and Pacific Life’s Claims Concierge and Beneficiary Services platform in their category.  Both Comcast Business and Pacific Life were awarded Bronze Stevie Awards in the same category.

The judges for the Stevie Awards had universal praise for MFour’s Path-2-Purchase® Platform.  “The more data companies know about their target consumer the better. Tracking more buyer behavior on smartphones is a great innovation,” said one of the awarding judges.  The universal praise by the American Business Awards’ judges has been equaled by the commercial adoption of MFour’s technology by corporations eager to understand their customer’s buying decision cycle.

Topics: Path-2-Purchase™ Platform, behavioral data, first-party mobile consumer panel, first-party data

Here's How a First-Party Mobile Research Panel Cures Survey Sample-Recruitment Woes

Posted by MFour on May 6, 2019 12:31:53 PM

Trying and failing to engage a market research panel that will consistently give you the data you need, when you need it, calls to mind the refrain of a Number One pop hit from 1963: “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.”

It’s not uncommon for researchers to turn to MFour after they’ve experienced sampling shortfalls and busted deadlines due to unfilled quotas. There may not be any actual tears involved, but they're definitely unhappy. The problem often lies in their having used multi-sourced, third-party consumer panels when a single-source, first-party option is the surest, fastest, most efficient way to get projects underway and bring them off, tearless and trouble-free.

MFour’s answer to market research panel recruitment in the Smartphone Era is its signature mobile research app, Surveys On The Go® (SOTG). This advanced research technology is the focal point for our large, diverse panel, all of the U.S. consumers who have downloaded the app. While there’s much to say about SOTG and the users who engage with it, a few numbers tell the story.

  • A 4.5-star rating out of 5, across more than 100,000 individual ratings in the Apple App Store and on Google Play, attests to app-users’ satisfaction with their research experiences.
  • Because SOTG users enjoy their research experiences and jump on survey opportunities quickly, clients can expect 25% response rates in the first hour, 50% within the first 24 hours.
  • Engagement doesn’t diminish for longer surveys: expect a 95% completion rate even with LOI of 20 minutes or more.

Activating special smartphone capabilities such as location-based in-store and after-visit surveys, and open-ended “video selfie” responses, opens up a data goldmine for the researcher and provides a fun, rewarding use of the phone for the respondent. That’s why SOTG users are eager to participate whenever they receive a survey invitation.

Here are some other data points to consider when choosing between mobile and online panels

The younger the consumer, the less likely that person is to even own a personal computer. According to Pew Research Center, 28% of U.S. consumers ages 18 to 29 rely solely on smartphones to get online.

Among consumers ages 30 to 39, 24% are reachable by smartphone only.

It’s even worse if you need to survey Hispanics, 35% of whom are smartphone-only.

Among African-Americans, 24% of consumers are smartphone-only. 

When you decide to go with mobile research, don't make the mistake of treating it as a commodity. Mobile methodologies and technologies are not all the same, and it's essential to choose one that's focused on delivering research experiences that smartphone users will enjoy.

As this article by Jason Spero, Google’s Vice President of Global Performance Solutions, attests, today’s smartphone-centric consumers don’t merely expect to have great experiences on their phones. A a strong majority will be completely unforgiving if their mobile experiences fail to meet their expectations.

“When people have a negative brand experience on mobile, they are over 60% less likely to purchase from that brand in the future,” Spero observed. Conversely, “nearly 9 in 10 smartphone owners who describe a mobile brand experience as helpful or relevant would purchase from the brand again.”

For “brand experience,” substitute “consumer research experience,” and you’ll understand why consumers are often put off and lost as research subjects when their experiences fall short. 

Activating special smartphone capabilities is a mutually-beneficial way to give consumers the kinds of experiences they want.

  • Location-based in-store and after-visit surveys let you stop  asking about experiences and behaviors that have taken course over weeks or months. Nobody wants to face questions they can't really answer because they don't have a firm recall.
  • Asking for open-ended “video selfie” responses is an invitation to consumers to do what comes naturally on their phones: create media and share it.
  • Video answers also are a goldmine of qualitative, experiential data for researchers. Working them into your presentations adds a vivid human touch to the consumer stories you're trying to tell. 

Just think of all these options as party favors you'll get when you make your survey research projects first-party.  

2 Simple Steps To Understand Complex Consumers: Observe Closely, Then Survey Effectively

Posted by MFour on Apr 30, 2019 11:49:36 AM

 

The constant proliferation of new research products, technologies and methodologies for market research is making life increasingly complex for research-users.

But it doesn't have to be. To remove clutter and gain clarity on the available data-collection options, the simple rule to remember is “observe, then survey.” 

MFour handles data-collection simplification like this:

Observe who? Members of the large, representative first-party consumer panel that’s gathered around Surveys On The Go® (SOTG), the original, most-advanced mobile market research app.

Observe when? Observe endlessly. Always-on GPS location tracking of consenting SOTG users makes it possible. They allow the app to access their phones' location features so they can receive location-triggered surveys.

Observe where? Across all locations of the top 1,000 U.S. retailers, and millions of other places of commercial interest.

Survey who? Whichever segment you need, based on observed location visits combined with detailed demographic pre-profiling. See who's making the observed visits without having to ask.  

Survey when? At the Point Of Emotion®, the window in which the consumer experiences and attitudes you need to understand remain vivid and recall is at its highest.

Survey where?

  • Inside a store if you want to understand what the consumer is thinking and experiencing right now (example: which package stands out on a shelf full of similar products?).
  • Or just after observed visitors have left the store, so you can ask about the entire experience, including what they purchased, and why.  

Consumer journeys are more complex than ever, but that doesn't mean the tools for understanding them have to be burdened with complex moving parts such as multi-sourced consumer panels, third-party data and algorithmic analysis that makes inferences instead of seeking out actual consumer feedback.

If you observe closely, then survey intelligently, you can trust that your data captures reality. You'll play a key role in guiding your business to the right decisions, and you'll be able to explain clearly to yourself and understandably to anybody else in your organization how you collected your data and interpreted it to confront the business problems you all need to address.

 

Topics: point of emotion, surveys on the go, consumer panel, mobile geolocation, mobile market research panel, location-triggered surveys, event-triggered surveys

ExperienceCheck™  Identifies Shoppers' In-Store Pain Points, Guiding Restaurants and Retailers to Customer Satisfaction

Posted by MFour on Apr 17, 2019 9:42:45 AM

MFour Mobile Research announces ExperienceCheck™, a new market research product built expressly to help retail and restaurant brands quickly identify and eliminate shoppers’ in-store pain points, clearing the way to greater customer satisfaction and growing revenue and market share.

ExperienceCheck™ captures the in-store shopping experiences of actual consumers to give brand executives and marketers a fast read on what needs to be improved or optimized, from product placement to staff performance, store ambiance and checkout experience.  

Using GPS-enabled, location-triggered surveys, ExperienceCheck™ obtains feedback from opted-in, first-party consumers, just after they have exited a store or restaurant. The combination of observed natural location journeys and event-triggered surveys takes researchers to the Point-Of-Emotion® – the brief window in which validated shoppers’ responses are vivid, immediate, and least vulnerable to recall bias.

“ExperienceCheck™ gives customer experience teams and brand marketers the data they need to understand complex in-store realities quickly, and make persuasive, effective recommendations for fixing problems and maximizing advantages,” said Chris St. Hilaire, MFour’s CEO and co-founder.

With ExperienceCheck™, retail and restaurant clients gain insights into the entire customer experience:

  • Determine whether interactions with store or restaurant staff are meeting expectations for service, information, courtesy and a human touch. 
  • Gain an understanding of how product placement is impacting sales and whether problems are surfacing that cause customers to feel frustrated.
  • Learn whether the checkout experience is smooth and giving customers a final touchpoint that leaves them with a positive impression of their visit.

ExperienceCheck™ surveys are powered by the large, demographically representative, first-party consumer panel that uses MFour’s advanced mobile research app, Surveys On The Go®. Retail and restaurant researchers quickly achieve key demographic quotas to represent a diverse public, including Millennials, Gen Z, Hispanics and African-Americans.

ExperienceCheck™ is available in Full-Service and Self-Service options. Both include readymade, templated questionnaires designed for either General Retail or Restaurant research. All users get fast insights into the reasons behind consumers’ validated visits, their shopping experiences and purchasing motivations, and whether they intend to visit again.


 

Topics: retail research, location-triggered surveys, ExperienceCheck, restaurant research

Don't Let Young Adults Go Under-represented in Your Consumer Surveys

Posted by MFour on Apr 2, 2019 6:00:00 AM

All market research consumer panels are not created equal. Only those that reliably represent the segments most relevant to a brand’s success are worth using. 

Less understood is the decisive role research technology and survey methodology play in determining whether a given study will include enough of the right respondents to reflect consumer reality.

Here’s a brief summary of recently published results from an online market research study that illustrates how online methodology is falling short when it comes to demographic representation of key Millennial and Gen Z consumers.

Project: A trade association that represents producers of a food that’s a staple of grocery stores’ fresh-produce departments sought data on U.S. consumers' attitudes, purchase frequency and purchase-drivers for the fresh-food item.

Methodology: A quantitative, nationwide survey that collected about 2,000 completes over the course of about two weeks, obtained from an online panel. Qualifiers were consumers who stated that they play a role in shopping for their household’s groceries.

Segmentation: Using screening questions, the study identified respondents by a variety of demographic categories, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, household income and education.

Shortfall: Only 2% of respondents in the produce-shopping study were ages 18-24. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 9.4% of Americans are ages 18 to 24 – nearly five times as many as were represented in the survey.

Meanwhile, 40% of the study's respondents were 55 and older, when they actually make up 29% of the U.S. adult population. 

The numbers don't align with reality because online research approach is increasingly incapable of fully including the key younger age groups. Pew Research Center reports that 94% of Americans ages 18 to 29 own smartphones, and 28% in that group are “smartphone dependent,” the term for consumers who rely solely on their phones to access the internet. That means more than a quarter of younger Millennials and Gen Z consumers in their late teens and early 20s are off the radar for online studies.

In-app mobile research is much more efficient and capable of representing younger consumers. Here's why:

  • Mobile-app surveys are  congruent with their lifestyles: smartphones and mobile apps are Millennials' and Gen Z's preferred portals for receiving information and expressing ideas and opinions.
  • They are naturally more inclined to take surveys on their phones, as long as the experience is technologically smooth and problem-free.
  • Mobile-app methodology also is a gateway to GPS location-tracking of consumers who give informed consent to have their movements observed from store to store.
  • These known, first-party consumers can then be surveyed inside the store or just after they've left. The researcher gets firm validation that they are actually shopping for groceries, and the ultimate payoff is the rich, reliable data captured at the Point Of Emotion® where buying decisions are made and recall is most reliable.

The key advantage of advanced, in-app mobile research is its ability to combine always-on observational data with survey data to give researchers a rich understanding of validated, first-party consumers. It's the only way to reach them in their natural, mobile-app environment for peak engagement and top-quality survey data.

For an example of in-app mobile's ability to reach younger adults, read about MFour’s 2016 Millennials project, which documented that generation’s opinions about entertainment, money and technology. It demonstrates  the ease and speed with which in-app mobile research can access representative numbers of adults in their mid-thirties and younger.

Another project, on validated shoppers’ experiences on Black Friday, 2018, illustrates the benefits of mobile GeoLocation studies. In that case, consumers were located inside one of five top retailers on Black Friday, then received a survey via their Surveys On The Go® app as soon as they were observed leaving the store. Click here for an infographic on the Black Friday findings.

To sum up: researchers seeking insights from grocery shoppers or consumers who are shopping in-store for any other product category can now use mobile location-journey data to find validated, first-party research participants who meet their demographic criteria, with young adults well within reach. There's no need to settle for a non-representative fraction of the young consumers whose preferences are already shaping the product and retail landscape and will continue to dominate for decades to come.

Topics: in-app Mobile surveys, mobile consumer panel, always-on data, observational data, retail research, mobile geolocation

Nearly 30% of Americans Ages 21-64 Say They've Filled in NCAA Basketball Tournament Brackets, and One in Seven Has Placed a Bet

Posted by MFour on Mar 27, 2019 11:08:35 AM

Nearly 30% of 21- to 64-year-olds who responded to a survey by MFour Mobile Research said they have filled in a tournament bracket for the NCAA men’s basketball championships, and 14% are betting on the annual March sports ritual.

The study surveyed 4,200 U.S. residents nationwide, including 1,800 NCAA basketball tournament fans and 2,400 non-fans. Fans were defined as those who said they’re planning to watch the tournament.

Betting Behavior

  • Among those watching the tournament, 32% said they’re also betting.
  • Among those who said they’re betting, 26% reported using online betting services.
  • 14% of bettors said they’ll place wagers in person at a casino sports books.
  • 56% of those making bets said they were informal wagers with family or friends.
  • 68% of people watching the games said they had filled out a tournament bracket.
  • But 53% of bracket-players said it was just for fun, no money involved.

 Amounts Wagered

  • 18% of bettors surveyed expected to wager $100 or more.
  • 21% said they would bet $50 to $99.
  • 25% planned to wager $20 to $49.
  • 37% said they would wager less than $20.

Viewing characteristics:

  • 17% of tournament-watchers said they’d be watching at work.
  • 67% of at-work watchers said it’s OK with their supervisors.
  • 33% said it’s against the rules, but they’ll watch at work anyway and try not to get caught.
  • Of those with permission to watch in the workplace, 56% will do it on a shared office TV screen.

Methodology:

The eight-question survey was fielded March 21-24 to U.S. consumers ages 21 to 64. All respondents use Surveys On The Go®, MFour’s mobile market research app, to take surveys on their smartphones or tablets. MFour received initial responses from 4,214 consumers who were representative by region. To indicate interest in the tournament, they were initially asked whether they planned to watch tournament games. The 1,810 respondents who indicated they were watching the tournament went on to complete the survey, providing answers about their plans for wagering and viewing.

mfour-2019-ncaa-basketball-survey-on-betting-infographic

 

Topics: market research, surveys, market research panel, sports betting, NCAA basketball tournament

MFour Announces ProductCheck™ for Validated, Colorful In-Store Insights into Product Placement, Packaging and Preferences

Posted by MFour on Mar 20, 2019 5:39:00 PM

MFour Mobile Research introduces ProductCheck™, a new offering that captures mobile market research panel members' opinions and feelings about products and displays at the exact moment they are standing in store aisles looking at them.

By locating and then surveying validated, first-party mobile consumers, brands and researchers get immediate, trustworthy data on product placement and visibility, whether packaging stands out and attracts, and whether the product’s in-the-moment shelf appeal is sufficient to influence intent to purchase. Clients also gain in-depth intelligence on how shoppers perceive competing products and brands. Researchers come away with a confident understanding of how well the product stands out when surrounded by other products in the same category.

“ProductCheck™ helps brands position themselves for greater market share by combining observed location data with event-triggered surveys that measure products’ on-shelf visibility and appeal,” said Chris St. Hilaire, MFour’s CEO and co-founder. “Now researchers can color store-visitation data with survey opinions, and validate survey opinions with mobile visitation data.”

Until now, in-store product evaluations have been subject to inherent bias because standard “mission” and “mystery shopper” methods call for recruiting consumers who in the real world might not even shop for the product that’s being studied, nor shop at the stores they’re sent to.

ProductCheck™ focuses on natural shoppers, not recruits. It connects you with validated, first-party consumers who’ve gone to the store naturally, without prompting. In-store surveys fielded through MFour’s Surveys On The Go® mobile research app screen for natural category intenders, who are then prompted to go to that category’s aisle and continue answering the in-store survey.

Researchers collect data at the Point-of-Emotion® – the precise moment when respondents are encountering and evaluating the product, so that their answers are colored by the immediacy of the experience. You can also ask respondents to take photos and videos of products on-shelf to give you the clearest visualization and understanding of in-store reality. These images and videos are captured in our survey app and are perfect for adding color and story-telling impact to reports, presentations and business recommendations.

A full-service version of ProductCheck™ lists at $18,000 and includes expert, in-house survey design and programming consultation and analysis. Self-Service ProductCheck™ via MFourDIY® lists at $9,000 and includes a templated suggested questionnaire.

 

Topics: mobile market research, purchase path, always-on data, retail research, ProductCheck™

MFour Announces New Team Members in Research Consulting and Client Services

Posted by Mike Boehm, MFour on Mar 19, 2019 10:16:46 AM

Shebani and Tiffany blog (L-R Tiffany Martinez, Shebani Patel)

Two new MFour team members will help the company keep up with clients’ growing demand for research analysis and ensure that their projects run smoothly from conception through execution.

Tiffany Martinez arrives as a Senior Research Consultant, bringing more than nine years of consumer insights and market research analytics experience. Most recently she was with Live Nation Entertainment for four years, conducting fan intelligence research.Tiffany holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She likes Disneyland and is a music fan who enjoys concerts and festivals.

Shebani Patel joins the Client Services team as a Project Manager. Her previous career stops include the National Research Group, where she was a Fieldwork Specialist, and the Walt Disney Studios, as a member of its International Marketing team. Shebani earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations with an emphasis in Global Marketing from the University of Southern California and continues to be an avid fan of the USC football team. Her interests also include snowboarding, scrapbooking and sewing. 

Topics: hiring news, mobile app research, connected consumers

Major Retailers Will Shutter 3,500 Stores in 2019. Here's How Retail Research Can Understand What Comes Next.

Posted by MFour on Mar 19, 2019 6:00:00 AM

“Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” was a hit ballad for Whitney Houston. “Where do disenfranchised shoppers go?” is an increasingly important question for retail-sector market research as store closures continue to disrupt consumers’ familiar purchase paths. Each round of closures is an inflection point that puts displaced shoppers’ spending and brand loyalty up for grabs.

To win the battle to retain or pry away disenfranchised shoppers after a location closes, brands need fast, reliable data and insights into exactly who has been displaced, where they’re going now, and why they’ve taken that path. The stakes are high, with 3,500 store closings expected this year, according to RetailTouchPoints.

To find, connect with and understand these displaced customers, your best way forward is to combine observational mobile location-visitation data and mobile survey data.

Start with a validated, first-party market research panel that’s large and diverse enough to represent relevant populations of the disenfranchised. Once you’ve taken that crucial step, here are tips on how to proceed.

First challenge: Identify the displaced consumers.

  • Solution: Always-on mobile location tracking records and archives 500,000 daily visits by opted-in consumers to the top 1,000 U.S. retailers, plus an additional 250,000 daily visits to other commercially-significant locations such as entertainment venues and transportation hubs.
  • Result: Researchers quickly identify consumers who have made past visits to now-closed stores and can continue to observe their movements for changes in path-to-purchase patterns. 

Second challenge: Understand where displaced consumers are landing.

  • Solution: Continue always-on tracking of validated disenfranchised shoppers in the weeks or months after a store closure, closely observing for any changes in their brick-and-mortar store-visitation patterns.
  • Result: Obtain location insights into what they do next. 
  • Insights Opportunities:
    • Who remains loyal by switching to another store in the same retail chain?
    • See who’s in play by comparing pre-closure and post-closure visitation patterns. Those who are shopping around are important targets for further inquiry into how they can be influenced.
    • Identify shoppers who have switched loyalties as a result of a store closure and are now shopping mainly or exclusively at a competing store that’s a short distance from the one that closed.
    • See which displaced shoppers have stopped visiting any store in the category. Are they shopping online instead? And at whose eCommerce site?
Third challenge: What’s the “why” behind affected consumers’ observed post-closure visitation patterns? 
  • Solution: Mobile surveys targeted specifically to validated consumers in each behavioral segment - new store, same retailer/switched to a competitor's store after closure/trying different stores/stopped shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in the category. 
  • Result: Useful consumer understanding that helps drive actions and decisions on a number of fronts.
  • Insights Opportunities:
    • The data and insights could inform a variety of marketing efforts, including advertising, discount offers, upgrades of retailers’ apps and online-stores’ attractiveness and functionality to capture dropouts from brick-and-mortar stores.
    • Retailers also can inquire and gain insights into which products and product categories are most important to disenfranchised shoppers as they decide where to go now.

Many other retail problems and opportunities that require fast, trustworthy data will benefit from advanced mobile research solutions. The key inputs that power all these research situations are a large, top-quality, first-party consumer panel that’s engaged and willingly opted in for behavioral tracking as well as surveys.

By coloring observed location data with surveys, and validating the surveys with location data, researchers can gain insights they need to help their brands and clients succeed amid the disruptive changes impacting the retail industry.

Topics: mobile tracking, mobile data, survey data, market research panel, purchase path, always-on data, observational data, retail research

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