Woman hand using smartphone in a supermarket.

In the Moment Mobile

By Melody Matthews, Vice President – Client Relationships

It happens to all of us… you get ready to leave the house and can’t find your keys. Or you walk into a room and forget why you came in…

Yet somehow we expect survey respondents to remember exactly which brands of yogurt they considered before making a purchase a month ago. Or how long they spent comparing brands of toothpaste two months ago – and which factor was the deciding factor.

In the not too distant past, marketing researchers had to make trade-offs between reliability and immediacy of information because in person ethnography or tedious paper diary studies were just about the only way to get immediate feedback from consumers.

With the explosion of mobile devices, the ability to receive immediate feedback on most consumer interactions is literally at our fingertips. We just need to tweak our perspective as to how we conduct research.

Most everyone has heard about the rise in completion rates via mobile among consumer panelists. Hence research vendors are moving toward dynamic platforms that optimize the survey experience for those accessing it via mobile. Some movement has already been made toward adopting unique features of the mobile experience for more robust results, such as geo-fencing to check specific store location or asking respondents to record videos.

We at MMR believe that the ability to obtain immediate feedback is one of the most compelling and one of the most underutilized features of mobile research. Instead of asking people which brands of yogurt they were considering one month ago, we can ask them which brand they are considering while they are in the store actively considering the brands.

As always, there are trade-offs to be made. With mobile, ask fewer questions overall and ask them in formats that are easy to answer via mobile. MaxDiff exercises work well on mobile devices, while a full discrete choice may not be the best approach if you have more than a few features. However, instead of that toothpaste discrete choice, ask respondents to take a picture of the shelf set they are considering and a picture of the one they ultimately chose. Top it off with a video open end of why they chose that product, and the result is real life, immediate feedback. Most importantly, this feedback is in the moment when consumers care most about the decision and will be most thoughtful about their answers.

Some examples of where we’ve considered mobile for the IN THE MOMENT advantage include:
–  Evaluating in-store merchandising
–  Assessing in-store environmental updates
–  Comparing Pre-Post reaction to display changes
–  Discussing the decision journey while shopping
–  Conducting pantry checks in home
–  Assuring clarity of instructions for at-home preparation
–  Evaluating packaged foods: ease of opening, preparation, small, taste, etc.
–  Diary studies allowing consumers to enter multiple interactions per day easily on their phones

The next time you need consumer feedback, consider whether getting that feedback IN THE MOMENT is more critical than getting 10 to 15 minutes of a consumer’s time after the fact. There are many instances where obtaining a consumer’s immediate feedback regarding a store or product is extremely valuable, and mobile allows easier and less costly access to this timely information.

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