11 Tips for Uninterrupted Connections with Mobile Black Friday Shoppers

Posted by MFour on Sep 18, 2018 7:00:00 AM

Black Friday 12Sept18

Steely Dan has spun many a memorable tune in a pop music career that earned it a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and one of them is right on target for every marketing and consumer insights pro who's gearing up for the big Thanksgiving shopping weekend: “When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna stake my claim.”

Steely Dan released its song, “Black Friday,” in 1975, when the title evoked disaster, not the biggest shopping day of the year. When Black Friday comes, brands and retailers need to claim as much market share as they can, and that means high stakes for the researchers whose data and analysis feeds product and marketing strategies.

A new report from Salesforce underscores why it’s especially important to make your research fast and flexible to obtain data day-by day-during the holiday shopping season. The key takeaway is that consumers will be using their smartphones moment-by-moment to shop and buy, just as they use them moment-by-moment for nearly everything else related to accessing, creating, and exchanging the information that drives most aspects of most mobile citizens’ economic and personal lives. Among the findings:

  • 71% of consumers will use mobile devices while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store this holiday season, according to Salesforce.
  • That’s a significant increase over the 62% who used phones in-store in 2017.
  • In-store smartphone use will rise to 83% for consumers in the key 18- to 44-year-old age demographic.

Those uses will vary – from buying on mobile for future delivery, rather than plucking a product from a shelf or rack and taking it to the checkout stand, to researching products, to calling mom for advice on whether striped or solid is the way to go for dad’s new shirt.

To keep up with today’s fast and flexible mobile consumers, consumer insights pros need to be fast and flexible themselves.

Think of shopping as a process that used to run on a monorail from physical store to physical store, but now runs on two train tracks, mobile shopping and brick-and-mortar stores, that continually overlap. To maximize success on Black Friday through Christmas Eve, retailers and brands need to keep close watch on consumers’ movements along both tracks. And to fill that need, MFour created Path-2-Purchase® Platform.

For the first time, clients are observing mobile consumers’ physical journeys through 12.5 million U.S. locations, including all stores of the top 1,000 retailers and restaurant chains. At the same time, they’re aligning seamlessly with the new reality of smartphones as consumers’ most important shopping tool at every step along the path to purchase, whether in-store or lying on the living room couch.

  • With Path-2-Purchase® you’ll target the consumers you need to understand, you’ll track their movements from store to store, and you’ll survey them at critical moments during or after a shopping visit. You also can reconnect with validated natural purchasers for in-home product use-tests. 
  • You’ll also gain unique context by appending extensive historical data that reveals your targeted consumers’ location journeys stretching back in time.
  • Besides knowing exactly where they’ve gone, you’ll get a head start on knowing who they are, thanks to extensive profiling surveys that the 2 million-plus consumers who have downloaded the Surveys On The Go® mobile consumer research app have answered. You’ll see who fits the consumer profiles you need to understand, and target your research accordingly.
  • For example, to prepare for Black Friday, you could start by identifying validated, first-party consumers who are observed regular visitors to your stores. No need to ask them whether and when they have visited relevant locations, because with Path-2-Purchase® you’ll have seen where they’ve been and know who they are.
  • When consumers in your chosen audience enter or exit any of your relevant research locations, they’ll be identified through mobile GeoValidation® and you’ll push them a survey notification on the spot.
  • If you need speedy data, you can expect a 25% response rate in one hour and 50% within 24 hours. Or you can stagger fielding if that’s the way to go, assured that the completes will arrive on schedule.
  • Ask about the shopping experience your consumers are having right now, or just had. Ask about their plans for Black Friday shopping. Ask whether they plan to shop for a shirt for dad, or any other product or category that’s relevant to your research.
  • Are your respondents already making a list and devising a strategy for holiday gift shopping? Who’s discount-oriented and planning to batter down doors or tap and scroll starting at 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday? Who hates fighting crowds and would rather shop when it’s less hectic, even if it costs more? If price isn’t their foremost motivator, then what is?
  • Now field a location-based survey asking the same kinds of questions – except this time targeting your competitors’ observed shoppers. Knowing them gives you your best chance of prying them away from the competition.
  • Once the holiday shopping season begins, you can keep a finger on consumers’ pulses by using quick-turnaround research options that will help you spot trends or address shopper-satisfaction issues in time for your stakeholders and decision-makers to press an advantage or correct a problem on the fly.
  • You can visualize and identify audiences for your study with Path-2-Purchase®, then execute a quick-turnaround project with MFourDIY®, the only all-mobile do-it-yourself research platform (and the only one where “DIY” is a bit of a misnomer, because you can count on prompt, live support when you need it, from an MFour staff specialist).

For more ideas on fast-turnaround research that connects you to validated, first-party mobile consumers in the mobile and physical spaces they inhabit, and in time to make a real difference in sales, you can take a look at a holiday-specific case study by clicking here.

And for a productive talk about how Path-2-Purchase® Platform and other mobile-app research tools can power your specific projects, just click here.

When Black Friday comes, you’ll stake your claim to the advanced, fast-reflex mobile research approaches you need to understand consumers whose mobile and physical worlds haven’t just collided, but melded into one.

Topics: mobile research, black friday, path-2-purchase, Path-2-Purchase™ Platform, consumer insights, holiday retail

How To Visualize the Past, Present & Future of Consumer Journeys

Posted by MFour on Jul 11, 2018 7:00:00 AM

Time Machine Blog 6July18 

There’s an intriguing suggestion for consumer insights professionals in the July issue of Quirk’s Marketing Research Review: “Consider measuring the future to inform the present."

Research data that can accomplish this feat, we're told, can help brands “proactively change [consumers'] present behavior” in ways beneficial to future bottom lines.

Is this a suggestion that market research take cues from time-travel film scripts such as “Twelve Monkeys” and “The Time Machine?” Nope. It’s a piece of intriguing, out-of-the-box thinking from the Quirk’s article,“Going Beyond Self-Report,” by Jason Martuscello of BEESY, a marketing intelligence company grounded in behavioral science.

After getting our attention with his future-leaning vision of market research, the author makes it clear he’s talking about brands finding a way to influence today's consumers by asking about their expectations for tomorrow and beyond: “how they expect to feel” and where they “want to go.” Martuscello contrasts this eyes-forward approach with how “most research uses the past and present to passively predict future behavior.”

The article evenhandedly summarizes biases and limitations of self-report survey research, as well as biases and limitations of biometrics and other “new implicit [data] methodologies” that aim to supersede traditional surveys by probing for presumably more reliable non-conscious indicators of consumer sentiment.

But Martuscello also defends the value of self-reported consumer feedback – with the caveat that the surveys eliciting those responses must be well-designed.

“With concepts like cognitive biases and human irrationality taking center stage recently, it’s worth noting that people are real and can provide accurate answers to well-designed and structured surveys," he writes. "Tremendous business value can be exacted….People who claim self-reports are unreliable sources of information typically are misusing them,” or have partisan reasons for dismissing surveys as simply passé. 

The most trustworthy self-reported data about consumer sentiment and intentions, Martuscello adds, is that which demonstrates what he calls “stability,” “persistence” and “durability.”

“When intentions are stable (e.g., same over time) they are resistant to change and are better predictors of behavior.”

MFour's own method for overcoming recall bias and predicting consumer behavior emphasizes observing the actual buying journeys of real respondents from a first-party consumer panel, and using those observed journeys as a springboard to better-targeted and better-designed surveys that allow consumer insights professionals to  understand the “why” behind the "who, what and where." 

These consumer journeys, as visualized on the new Path 2 Purchase™ Platform, can be thought of as bringing together the past, present and future of real, validated consumers. Researchers get to follow  doubly opted-in members of the largest first-party, all-mobile panel of U.S. consumers as they move through time and space. The result is a way to influence future behaviors with data that helps decision-makers draw reliable conclusions about how and why current actions and attitudes came to be. 

The Path 2 Purchase™ process begins with targeting carefully profiled consumers who have been tracked and geolocated at a relevant retail location in real time. They then can be surveyed in-store or shortly after their visit. But instead of capturing an isolated event that is already receding into the past, Path 2 Purchase™ makes it possible to turn the survey encounter into a point on a continuum.

  • Researchers can look backward at the journeys that preceded the survey, illuminating the answers given at that specific moment.
  • Then they can carry on their studies into the future by watching the same consumers' ongoing journeys. If they stated an intention or a preference in the survey, did they follow through on it?
  • For example, you can interview a consumer at an auto dealership at an early stage in his or her car-shopping journey, and then see how many other dealerships, and of what makes, the same shopper subsequently visited.

This is why we say that Path 2 Purchase™ encompasses the future, as well as the present and the past. The result is a holistic view of validated consumer behavior along an ongoing continuum, rather than just a glimpse of a snapshot from a single point in time. 

And, thanks to the unique multimedia capabilities of smartphones and the advanced mobile-app surveys that take full advantage of their data-producing potential, you can literally see consumers as they are making their journeys. For example, by asking them to submit open-ended  “video selfie” responses that bring emotions and motivations fully to life. A further advantage of video responses: ironclad protection against data fraud, as you watch and listen as real people who are truly engaged with your questions give you their honest feedback.

To repeat a key passage from Jason Martuscello in his Quirk’s essay:

"It’s worth noting that people are real and can provide accurate answers to well-designed and structured surveys. Tremendous business value can be exacted….People who claim self-reports are unreliable sources of information typically are misusing them….”

For a productive demo and discussion of how you can get reliable location and survey data that helps you rise to the challenge of looking ahead and not just behind, just click here.

Topics: mobile market research, market research, path-2-purchase, consumer insights, surveys

What’s Wrong with this Survey?

Posted by MFour on Apr 11, 2018 9:55:28 AM

Pictured: Path-2-Purchase™ Platform dashboardP2P_Dashboard_widescreen_update_Final

Below is a hypothetical customer satisfaction survey for a casual dining restaurant chain. It looks like a lot of standard surveys that are regularly fielded, but in fact the design is woefully outdated. We’ll tell you why, and what you can do about it.

First, take a look and ask yourself which questions you wish you could replace or eliminate, because you know the data will be compromised by recall bias and other issues that beset stated response questionnaires.

Q1: Have you been to [restaurant chain name] in the past 14 days?

Q2: Please give the location of the restaurant, by city and, if possible, the district or street.

Q3: How often do you eat at a [chain name] restaurant?

Q4: Did you eat at any of these other restaurants during the past 14 days? [showing a list of four competing chains]

Q5: How often do you eat at [the competitors’ restaurants]?

Q6 – Q13: [a series of customer satisfaction and net promoter score questions about the respondent’s most recent visit to the client’s restaurant.]

Q14-Q21: [Identical customer satisfaction questions about the most recent visit to a competitor’s restaurant.]

It’s the first five questions that are problematic. The inadequacy of Q1 to Q5 compromises the reliability of the remainder of the survey, because stated answers about visitation over time just aren’t very trustworthy. Do you remember which restaurants you visited over the past two weeks? Do you still have a strong impression and an accurate, specific recall of the experience, including what you ordered and how friendly and efficient your server was? How satisfied or dissatisfied you were – and why?

So how do you avoid compromising your data about consumer experience and consumer satisfaction? Instead of asking problematic questions about who, where, when and how often, businesses can leverage the groundbreaking Path-2-Purchase™ Platform and see at a glance where real, validated consumers have gone, hour by hour, day by day, across 12.5 million U.S. locations, including all locations of the top 1,000 retailers. Here’s some of what Path-2-Purchase™ delivers:

  • Archived, comprehensive location and visitation data that lets you identify brand loyalists and brand rejectors before you’ve even started.
  • Survey targeting based on locations, visits and detailed, validated profiles of the industry’s largest proprietary, all-mobile consumer panel.
  • The ability to field in-store or after-visit surveys that all but eliminate recall bias.
  • “Why” answers you can trust because you’ve asked them at the Point-of-Emotion® where decisions and experiences are vividly in your respondents’ minds.
  • Validation by photo capture of purchase receipts or other identifying images.
  • Vivid, in-their-own words insights from “video selfies” you can ask respondents to make about a dining or shopping or product-use experience, while it’s happening or just after the event.

In short, Path-2-Purchase™ gives you a big head start without even having to ask “who,” “when,” “where” and “how often.” You can focus confidently on the crucial “why,” knowing you’ll get data from the right respondents, with recall bias neutralized. It’s accurate, efficient, and simply better, because it’s categorically different from stated-answer surveys taken by poorly validated, multi-sourced panelists.

To set up a one-on-one demo about how Path-2-Purchase™ Platform delivers validated consumer insights for everyone, just click here.

Topics: mobile surveys, path-2-purchase, Path-2-Purchase™ Platform

Understand Consumer Journeys on Path-2-Purchase™ Platform

Posted by MFour on Apr 3, 2018 10:09:53 AM

 Dashboard Blog 3Apr18

It's a breakthrough moment for consumer insights: for the first time, there's a one stop shop where you'll obtain observed behavioral data in combination with active, first-party survey data from real, validated consumers.

It's called Path-2-Purchase™, a first-party data platform that combines the power of location analytics with market research. This technology enables brands to see exactly where real consumers are now and where they’ve gone in the past. Instead of settling for inferences drawn from consumers' observed movements along the path to purchase, researchers now can field real-time, location-based surveys to capture motivations and emotions at any point in the purchase cycle.

Think of Path-2-Purchase™ as the marriage of Big Data's quantitative, observational "what" to the qualitative, emotion- and attitude-driven "why" that's crucial to really knowing who consumers are, and the motivations for their actions and desires. Path-2-Purchase™ answers a need to replace algorithmic inferences about consumers with real, validated knowledge and understanding. It harnesses first-party Big Data to accomplish what Big Data does best: let you see what consumers do. And it harnesses a first-party panel of the industry's most thoroughly validated and engaged consumers to tell you about themselves directly, with no need to infer.

It's simply a matter of bringing needed clarity to our understanding of consumer journeys, said Chris St. Hilaire, MFour's co-founder and CEO. “Everybody knows `path to purchase’ is important, but there’s no agreement on what it means," St. Claire observed. "We created our Path-2-Purchase™ Platform not only to provide clients with visibility into consumer journeys in the real world, but to finally give a clear definition of the term itself.

Another aim is to give all stakeholders in business decisions a clear, demystified understanding of the data on which they're basing business decisions. “Our goal is to democratize market research with validated consumer insights for everyone, so that it is accessible to all decision-makers within an organization, starting with the C-suite," St. Hilaire said. "Market research tools should be as intuitive to use as Amazon.com, and Path-2-Purchase™ Platform is our beachhead offering to make that happen.”

The observational data component of the Path-2-Purchase™ Purchase Platform is obtained by

Specific capabilities of Path-2-Purchase™ include:

  • Tracking the journeys of 2 million validated and profiled U.S. consumers across more than 12.5 million locations. They comprise an engaged, fully representative, first-party, proprietary panel united by membership in Surveys On The Go®, the highest-rated consumer research app.
  • Detailed real-time and historic customer-journey location data. Research clients can append visit histories for a nuanced, granular understanding of which consumers visit which locations; how frequently they visit and for how long; the days and times of their visits; and the sequential routes real consumers take as they move from location to location along their paths-to-purchase.
  • Uses of Path-2-Purchase™ consumer journey data include identifying and then surveying brand loyalists, brand agnostics, and brand resisters. This opens an unprecedented window for targeting and understanding competitors’ consumers.
  • Always-on location tracking of consumer journeys enables researchers to identify, define, and communicate with important consumer segments who previously were off-the-radar.
  • Behavioral data and survey data is collected and stored in a unique enterprise data warehouse that MFour has named the Consumer Knowledge Center. Users derive business insights from historic data in the Knowledge Center, including qualitative, behavioral, location, and demographic variables. Places, frequencies and dwell times of visits are complemented by all responses to Point-of-Emotion® mobile surveys.
  • Clients can access off-the-shelf segmentation data from the Consumer Knowledge Center in packages tailored to their specific insights needs.

The foundation for Path-2-Purchase™ was laid by MFour’s previous innovations in mobile-app survey technology and panel validation dating back to the launch of Surveys On The Go® in 2011. Clients benefit from fast, fully representative access to otherwise hard-to-reach groups, including mobile-centric Millennials, Hispanics, African Americans, young parents and the upcoming Gen Z.

To learn all about Path-2-Purchase™ Purchase Platform in a personal, one-on-one demo, just get in touch by clicking here.

Have a question or a point of view you'd like to add to the conversation? Feel free to comment below!


Topics: mobile market research, path to purchase, path-2-purchase

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