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.