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Will Super-Fast Consumer Data Be There When You Need It Most?

Posted by admin on Sep 13, 2018 10:02:28 AM

Blog dinosaur crisis data 5Sept18 

What killed off the dinosaurs, and what does that have to do with market research and your job as a consumer insights professional?

The question is prompted by a recent magazine cover story in The Atlantic. Headlined "The Nastiest Feud in Science,it’s a fascinating account of an ongoing battle between paleontologists who stick to the long-accepted theory that T-Rex and company were done in by the climate effects of a huge asteroid crashing into the ocean just off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and rivals who say that the catastrophe was brought on by repeated volcanic eruptions in India.

The connection with your job as a marketer or market researcher is that you need to be prepared to carry out high-speed crisis research, because there’s always a risk that some unforeseen, unfortunate happenstance will come crashing down on your brand. When it happens, corporate higher-ups will be looking to you for ultra-fast consumer data. Without knowing the actual and potential damage, hour by hour, the chances of suffering extinction, or at least a significant loss of market share, will continue to mount. Without fast, accurate data, there can be no timely, effective action plan to prevent or reverse a slide in consumers’ esteem for an embattled business. 

A public relations industry news source, Bulldog Reporter Daily, gives a brief rundown on what to do if that figurative asteroid hits and jeopardizes a business. The article, “5 tips for dealing with a crisis from a PR perspective,” emphasizes preparedness and the ability to reach out in an instant to understand what consumers think of your brand in light of a potentially harmful event.

One of the five tips is “Listen to feedback from others.” As writer Jeremy Sutter advises, “listen to what the public is telling you…you can tell what they are thinking if you literally just ask them what is on their mind.”

And that’s where advanced mobile market research capabilities come in. There’s no faster way to get a read on consumer opinion than to field a mobile survey to measure an eruption’s impact – not just on the general public, but on the most relevant segments whose reactions can help a suddenly challenged business navigate to safety. 

Our tip for researchers is to connect with Path-2-Purchase® Platform for regular, day-to-day fast data. It'll relieve deadline pressure that can seem like a daily crisis, even if it's part of your routine. And it will mean you're prepared in case bad stuff happens. Being connected to consumers through Path-2-Purchase® gives you the rapid deployment research capability you'll need to advise stakeholders during a crisis as they rush to prevent or minimize damage to your brand. Here, briefly, is how Path-2-Purchase® works:

  • Members of the largest all-mobile consumer panel have consented to have their daily buying journeys tracked, creating a detailed record of first-party consumer visits to 12.5 million U.S. locations, including the top 1,000 retailers and restaurant chains.
  • If a crisis hits, a quick look at the platform lets you identify your consumers in an instant – including loyalists who visit regularly, and brand-agnostics who, in a crisis, could be high risks to become your brand-rejectors and your competitors' brand loyalists.
  • If it’s a specific product that has come under fire, the brand can similarly locate consumers at major retailers where it’s sold, and send out a survey to consumers in the product’s category, and to those who have purchased the product in the past.
  • Survey notifications go out in an instant, reaching consumers while they’re still in a store, or just after they’ve left.
  • Additionally, you can cast a wider net with a general population survey, which would be extremely useful to understanding awareness and brand perceptions among the public at large. 
  • How fast is crisis-mode fast? You can expect response rates of 25% in an hour and 50% in a day for any advanced, in-app mobile study, compared to industry averages under 5% for online surveys. Path-2-Purchase® is built to give you the highest speed and data quality in any research situation, whether it's routine or a red alert.

A classic instance of a brand responding quickly and effectively to a crisis was Johnson & Johnson’s handling of a nightmarish episode in 1982, in which an unknown killer caused deaths by injecting poison into boxes of Tylenol capsules on store shelves. As this detailed account  from Fortune magazine shows, consumer opinion surveys played a key role in helping J&J executives understand the dimensions of the crisis and formulate strategies for resolving it and building the brand back up.

Today, Path-2-Purchase® Platform is the rapid-response data solution for any circumstance. Let’s have a productive conversation about how it can meet your current projects’ specific needs, while providing a security blanket that frees you from having to worry about how to respond to consumer data needs during a crisis. To schedule a close discussion of your needs and MFour's solutions, just click here.



Topics: mobile research, consumer insights, crisis management

Under Pressure? Here’s What To Do When Your Stakeholders Won’t Wait.

Posted by admin on Mar 22, 2018 1:12:31 PM


The growth of eCommerce isn’t abating: the U.S. Census Bureau reports that online purchases rose 16% in 2017, reaching $453.5 billion and topping the 15.1% gain seen in 2016. The need to obtain and act upon consumer data at breakneck speed isn’t abating, either.


For consumers, constant access to mobile information makes shopping and buying journeys easier and better-informed than ever. Meanwhile, brands and retailers benefit from constant streams of data from online purchases and site visits. That presents big opportunities to maximize sales and minimize problems, by making real-time adjustments to pricing, messaging, ad placement, and everything else that determines wins and losses in the struggle for market share. But it places huge pressure on researchers and marketers to access data in a flash, to inform smart, time-critical actions. The Census Bureau’s documentation of eCommerce’s rapid growth suggests that the pressure to get speedy consumer insights isn’t going away.


Quick-turnaround research that doesn’t compromise data quality is in reach, but it requires finding the right survey-design platform, connected to a first-party panel that’s big enough and responsive enough to give you the completes you need from the consumer segments you need, at the speed your stakeholders demand.


MFourDIY® has the easy, templated design features you need to work fast, the sophisticated targeting variables you need to work smart, and the world’s largest and most engaged all-mobile panel to make your work matter because the results are real. If you need hundreds of completes within a few hours, you can get them from a stable, proprietary panel of 2 million validated U.S. consumers who reliably come through with response rates of 25% within an hour and 50% inside a day. Tech-savvy brands can tap into their own first-party data from site visits and checkouts to see what their eCommerce customers are doing. MFourDIY® completes the insights equation by providing the real-time portal to understanding the “why” behind the “what.” And, of course, results and insights that come fast enough for eCommerce are ideal for research in the bricks-and-mortar retail realm, because time is of the essence in that world, too.


To summarize: taking days or weeks in field may be suitable for research projects undertaken to inform broader retail strategy, but today's consumer insights teams need to develop faster reflexes. That's especially true in eCommerce, where there’s unrelenting pressure to respond tactically to daily or even hourly developments. But speed is also of the essence in the bricks and mortar space that still accounts for more than 90% of U.S. retail revenue. To learn more about quick-turnaround mobile-app DIY research, get in touch now by clicking here.

Topics: MFour Blog

MFour Adds Two New Team Members in Research Operations

Posted by admin on Mar 8, 2018 10:42:16 AM

Pictured: Jin Hong (L) and Taylor Manning

MFour has added two new Operations team members who’ll ensure outstanding project execution and top data quality for clients, including adopters of the new Path-2-Purchase™ Platform and its unprecedented segmenting capabilities.


Jin Hong has joined as a Fielding Expert, tasked with the core functions of achieving quality data for clients and ensuring an excellent experience for MFour’s panelists. He previously was an account executive for shipping logistics company Kenny International. Jin holds a Bachelor’s degree in American History from the University of California, Riverside. In his spare time he can most likely be found at the movies or at the gym, indulging his passions for cinema and physical fitness.


Research Manager Taylor Manning will work closely with clients from the start to finish of their research projects to ensure their success. She arrives with a wide range of experience in marketing and market research, including positions at marketing publication BuildCentral and at brandsymbol, where she gathered data for major clients in pharmaceuticals. Taylor earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and was living in the Tarheel state when MFour beckoned. She is our resident expert on Iceland, having visited the Nordic isle three times and fallen in love with its culture and natural beauty. Taylor is a foodie and loves hiking with her dog, Beau.


Welcome aboard, Jin and Taylor!

Topics: MFour Blog

How To Play on the DIY Research Dream Team

Posted by admin on Feb 28, 2018 10:45:22 AM


Consumer insights pros have lots of DIY options, but MFourDIY® is the one that lets you show how much game you’ve really got. Here’s why:


You get the right equipment

A survey-building platform that’s intuitively easy, but sophisticated enough to let you target with more than 120 variables, and program with more than 120 question types.


In-app survey technology whose smooth functionality benefits researchers and respondents alike, driving speedy design, fielding and data delivery.


Smartphone capabilities such as multimedia questions and in-their-own words “video selfie” responses make this DIY sophisticated, not simplistic.


You get the players you need to win

2 million validated, carefully profiled and eager-to-engage U.S. consumers who make up the largest  all-mobile panel.


  Reach them at the right time and place using mobile GPS location surveys for in-store and after-visit data that’s location-validated and safe from recall bias. 


 Engagement drives unprecedented research speed: 25% response rate in first hour; 50% in first day. 


You get a bench full of teammates who’ve got your back

On the front end, an in-house, real-time help team ensures that what you’ve designed is feasible and will meet panelists’ expectations for an excellent experience that will yield excellent data.


On the back end, your completes will be validated by real humans.


And you’ll only be charged for clean completes.


Remember when Kevin Costner built a ballpark in a cornfield in “Field of Dreams” because he heard a voice telling him, “build it and he will come?” Building surveys with MFourDIY®  lets you realize your research dreams – fast fielding and quality data for cost effective projects that make you a quick-turnaround deadline hero. For full information about the kinds of data and insights you’ll get in the big leagues of DIY research, just get in touch by clicking here


Topics: MFour Blog

Which Businesses Are Bullish On Growth?

Posted by admin on Feb 20, 2018 9:12:22 AM


What’s the best price for a product? Which packaging will attract shoppers? What’s the best placement in a store aisle or shelf? Is a new menu item or special offer drawing customers into a restaurant? Questions like these demand fast data to drive quick insights that can help boost revenues ASAP. They’re the kinds of challenges consumer insights professionals are tackling every day.


But what’s happening on the ground week-to-week or quarter-to-quarter is also significantly influenced by decisions made with an eye on a much longer-range future: how much to invest in capital spending for new facilities and equipment.


The U.S. Census Bureau’s “Annual Capital Expenditures Survey” for 2016 is one  indicator of how bullish corporate decision-makers in different sectors feel about their companies’ or industries’ futures. As the Census Bureau explains: “Capital expenditures fuel future economic growth and productivity by permitting businesses to produce more output in the future. By definition, capital expenditures provide long term benefits…”


With that in mind, here are findings for some key industries in consumer sectors. We’ll leave the analysis to you.


Sectors with Expanding Capital Investment:

Amusement, gambling and recreation: $16 billion, +49.9% over the previous year.

Electronics and appliance stores: $1.8 billion, +23.6%

Non-store retailers: $9.5 billion, +20.3%

Motor vehicle and parts dealers: $7.8 billion, +12.9%

Food and beverage stores: $15.1 billion,  +11.1%

Clothing and accessories stores: $10.6 billion, +9.5%

Air transportation: $21.9 billion, +9.3%

Wireless telecommunications carriers: $31.3 billion,+3.8%

Wired communications infrastructure (including cable/internet): $53 billion, up +3.6%


Sectors with Declines in Capital Investment:

Legacy publishers (newspapers, magazines, books): $1.4 billion, -30.7% from the year before. 

Traveler accommodations: $12 billion, -14.9%

General merchandise stores: $15.7 billlion, -13.8%

Movies and sound recordings: $2.4 billion, -12.1%

Restaurants and bars: $17.8 billion, -5.7%


Economy-wide, the Census Bureau reports that capital spending was $1.58 trillion in 2016, down 4% from 2015.


To make these capital investments pay off, rising sales must follow, and that’s where consumer insights come in. A major new advance in mobile location-based research technology is transforming  the reach, depth, reliability and effectiveness of path to purchase insights by effectively harmonizing Big Data with mobile-app consumer surveys for the first time. It's called the Path-To-Purchase™ Platform. For a conversation about what it can mean to your specific projects, just get in touch by clicking here.


Topics: MFour Blog

It's Time To Redefine Path To Purchase Insights

Posted by admin on Feb 9, 2018 9:55:05 AM


Here's your Friday roundup of 3 items from the MFour blog to keep you up to speed on mobile. Just click and read!


Millennials Are Putting a Hold on Wedding Bells. What's it Mean?


Here's How To Track Valentine's Day Shoppers' Purchase Paths


Insights Blossom When Big Data and Survey Data Go Steady


And here's a Friday tune to inspire your search for weekend fun.

Topics: MFour Blog

How Path 2 Purchase™ Platform Insights Keep You in Touch with Lovebirds

Posted by admin on Feb 8, 2018 9:38:36 AM


What are the most radical changes in American consumers’ behaviors so far in the 21st century?

Smartphone adoption and online shopping have been huge, of course. But just as sweeping, perhaps, is a collective preference of young adults to put off marriage. When it comes to economic behavior and trends, demography is destiny. And Americans’ matrimonial destiny is changing:

  • The U.S. Census bureau estimates that the median age at first marriage in 2016 was 29.9 years for men, and 27.9 years for women.
  • That's up nearly three years from the 2005 median for men, and nearly 2½ years for women.
  • The median age for first marriages has gone up each year since 2005, when it had stood at 27 years for men and 25.5 years for women.
  • Interestingly, the age escalation for first marriages was most rapid from 2005 through 2008, before the Great Recession hit.   
  • So what does marrying later mean to brands that need to understand the Millennials and soon-to-be marriage-age older members of Gen Z? The best way to find out is to observe, then ask. The unique Path 2 Purchase™ Platform's location-tracking data and insights lets you do both. 

Track young adults (or any other relevant consumer segment) across 12.5 million U.S. locations, including all the outlets in the nation’s top 1,000 retail chains.

  • Observe movements between relevant locations in real time.
  • See data on times of day a panelist visits a location, and how long he or she stays.
  • Extract what you need from a historical warehouse of Big Data, organizing it according to your target audience’s most important characteristics, including age, sex, race, income and many more variables.
Long stops at jewelry stores and bridal shops, for example, could indicate a bride-to-be who has set her wedding date. Instead of sending out a survey targeted at all female panelists 34 and under, and asking for stated responses about wedding plans and intended purchases, you would narrow down the audience for highly-accurate targeting of the most likely qualifiers. And you’d have the firm validation of knowing you’re speaking to a woman who was just at a bridal shop.

Do love and marriage still go together like a horse and carriage, as Frank Sinatra sang in a 1960s hit? Path-2-Purchase™ location data and survey solutions will get you that answer, and more. You can set up a one-on-one demo introduction to the Path 2 Purchase™ Platform and its richly visualized data dashboard, just by clicking here.

Topics: MFour Blog

MFour Adds New Leaders in Technology and Marketing

Posted by admin on Feb 7, 2018 9:24:17 AM

David Constantine (L) and Wendell Hicken

MFour Mobile Research has tapped David Constantine and Wendell Hicken, two veteran, highly-credentialed leaders, to head its marketing and software engineering teams.


As Director of Marketing, David takes charge of planning and executing marketing strategies and initiatives to further accelerate MFour’s rapid growth. He arrives with more than 20 years of well-rounded experience, most recently heading up marketing in the United States for Teletrac Navman, a global leader in telematics. Prior positions include Director of Marketing for Software & Solutions at Kodak Alaris, and marketing director posts for business software creator K2, and for QuickStart, a provider of online training for information technologists. At QuickStart, he won a series of awards for marketing excellence from Microsoft. David holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Business Economics from California State University, Fullerton. He’s active as a Kiwanis club board member, and likes to spend leisure time with his wife and two teenaged daughters, including camping trips and visiting Calistoga in California’s Wine Country, where he grew up.


Wendell arrives with more than 30 years’ experience in which he has led software development for large national companies and tech startups alike, overseeing teams as small as two members and as large as 600. As MFour's Chief Technology Officer, he’ll spearhead ongoing innovation of its core technology, including the highest-rated mobile research app, Surveys on the Go®, to provide new and unique products and capabilities for the company’s clients. Prior to MFour, Wendell was Chief Technology Officer for marketing solutions company YP;  he also helped launch HopSkipDrive, a startup ride service for kids. At another startup, MusicIP,  he created a novel system for  leveraging acoustical attributes of different recordings to profile listeners' musical tastes. Wendell is an alumnus of California Institute of Technology, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Applied Science and created the popular video game Scorched Earth. He’s a science fiction buff, a hiker, and a board game enthusiast.


Welcome aboard, David and Wendell!

Topics: MFour Blog

Our Hearts Will Go On – with Valentine's Shopping

Posted by admin on Feb 6, 2018 9:31:34 AM


The Valentine's Day shopping rush is on, and department stores, jewelers, florists and specialty gift shops are all in hot competition for their share, as are gift-candy brands and greeting card companies, among others. All can benefit, now and year-round, from the new Path 2 Purchase™ Platform's behavioral data capabilities made possible by the latest advances in GPS-powered mobile location tracking.

 You can:


See where panelists have been in the past, and where they are now.


Leverage behavioral data together with panel members’ profile data for detailed segmentation, revealing relationships between places and persons.


Track the frequency of visits, their times of day, and the amount of time spent in any location.


Get insights into characteristics of brand loyalists, brand agnostics, or competitor’s customers.


 Target surveys to the exact consumer segments you need, saving time and costs with an IR of 100%. 


Here's what's at stake in the runup to Feb. 14, according to Valentine's Day spending estimates from the National Retail Federation (NRF).


Americans will spend $19.6 billion for gifts, romantic dinners and other celebrations, just 0.5% off the 2016 record.


The average shopper plans to spend $143.56 on tokens of Valentine’s Day affection, per the NRF.


That would mark an eye-opening 7.2% rebound from 2017 spending.


For a detailed discussion about the Path 2 Purchase™ Platform's consumer journey mapping and how it can meet your specific research needs, just get in touch by clicking here.

Topics: MFour Blog

Clients Were Thinking Young at Quirk's West

Posted by admin on Feb 5, 2018 10:46:36 AM


The Quirk’s Event West last week reminded us that cultivating the next generational wave of customers is always high on brands’ agendas. Many insights professionals who stopped by the MFour booth were concerned about weak representation of Millennials and Gen Z on online panels. They wanted to know what a mobile alternative could do to solve the problem. The right approach is a panel recruited around a mobile survey and behavior-tracking app, and here’s why.


 In Gen Z (roughly 18 and under), 75% use smartphones, per the National Retail Federation. Only 45% use laptops and 30% use desktops.


92% of adults’ time spent on mobile is spent inside a mobile app, according to Flurry Analytics.


More than 1 million active panelists under 35 use the Surveys on the Go® mobile research app.


Another theme we heard from our clients at Quirk's West was gratitude for MFour’s survey operations team. “They had nothing but praise and loved how we always delivered what was expected,” reports Solutions Executive Blake Skorich.


Thanks to all who came by to talk consumer insights with us. We’re glad you got to learn more about the unprecedented Path 2 Purchase™ Platform and the special capabilities of mobile-app technology and panel. That conversation’s always available to any insights professional who wants to set up a live demo, just by clicking here.


To learn more about what mobile-app research does and how it works, just browse our blog, using the search box at the upper right.

Topics: MFour Blog

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