Kimberly-Clark’s 4 criteria for evaluating consumer insights technology vendors

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Posted Apr 08, 2021
Tiffany Mullin

There’s no shortage of insights platforms on the market and practically all of them claim to empower brands to do agile research. But truth be told, all survey tools aren’t created equal. 

Some are incredibly basic, lacking the ability to conduct advanced research like MaxDiff and Conjoint studies. Others are almost too robust, requiring users to invest countless hours into learning how to use the platform. 

But Goldilocks will be the first to tell you, few are just right. 

If you’re looking for a consumer insights supplier and aren’t sure how to evaluate vendors in a sea of emerging choices, steal Kimberly-Clark statistician, Andrew Basehoar’s simple criteria for evaluating survey platforms. 

Andy recently sat down with us at Insights That Work, revealing that when he looks for vendors, he considers four basic things: Cost, speed, capabilities and customer support. Let’s dive deeper into each one. 

1. Capabilities

One of the areas Andy is passionate about is choice-based experiments. “I feel like we learn a lot from consumers when we can present scenarios where they have to make decisions, and then learn about what's important to them by how they make their decisions,” Andy explained. 

“So when I found out that aytm could offer fairly simple choice experiments like Maxdiff designs, or more complicated tests like discrete choice Conjoint-based designs, I was really excited.” 

“As I dove in further, I realized that aytm’s survey platform is not only easy to use and program, but it's also very powerful. You can do things like provide somebody with a choice-based experiment, but at the end, ask for feedback on the option that they found most interesting, or most persuasive, or the one they would be most likely to purchase. So you can have the platform spit that back out and get qualitative feedback about why they chose that or didn't. I haven't seen that capability with other vendors.”

Take a good look at your research requirements and determine what capabilities you need from a vendor. Perhaps you just need to do quick turn surveys and want something super simple. Or, if like Kimberly-Clark, you need to do more advanced research, you should look for a more robust solution. 

aytm is unique in that it’s both easy and powerful.

2. Cost

For most insights teams, 2020 saw budgets dwindle practically overnight. Dragging your feet on adopting an agile approach to market research was no longer an option. 

“We have a finite budget. And if we have to choose tools that are more costly, maybe then we can't afford to have a big sample size to get those segments of interest. But because of the cost structure of aytm, we've been able to get additional segment breakouts by just increasing the sample size or going over quotas for particular targets,” said Andy. 

“I've been surprised by the actionable differences between different segments of consumers that we probably would have missed had we run that with a typical n=30 breakout size. The cost advantages can manifest itself in multiple ways. And one way is doing more expansive surveys that allow us to really see specific segments.”

“The ability to conduct a discrete choice study or a Maxdiff survey with a traditional vendor would cost upwards of $30,000. We're able to run that on aytm for a fraction of that cost. So, it’s all about speed and cost savings, but without sacrificing quality.”

3. Speed

“When I first started with the industry 15 years ago, we expected consumer research to take at least six to eight weeks. That was standard even for research that didn't involve product testing. But now we have much tighter cycles, and when we need results more quickly.”

The ability to have iterative discussions and pop in and out of meetings with data in hand has changed the way innovation lifecycles work today. Your stakeholders simply aren’t willing to wait two months to get answers to their business questions. 

Therefore, you need a technology partner that can deliver fresh insights fast. Period.

4. Support

With aytm, you get an agile platform that empowers your team with quicker access to insights. But what really gets our clients coming back, again and again, is the partnership we offer. You get a team of people that act as an extension of your own research team. 

“The support has been excellent. Whether you want to be more turnkey and have aytm run the research for you, or you need more hand-holding and want to do something very custom, the level of support is solid.” 

When evaluating vendors, don’t discount the importance of their customer support. Even if you’re fully DIY, there may be times when you’re low on resources and need a helping hand to get a study programmed and launched right away. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have a partner you can pass the baton to and trust to guide you across the finish line. 

There you have it, four simple things to think about as you embark on your journey toward adopting an agile, iterative approach to market research. Finding a supplier that will save you time and money, while offering you robust capabilities with an intuitive user interface and excellent customer support may sound like finding a needle in a haystack. 

But by keeping a keen eye on what’s really important, you’ll find that what you’re looking for is closer than you think. 

Need an agile research partner that’s both easy and powerful? Contact aytm.

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