Mobile Research Investments Are Shaping Global Business in New Ways
Organized under the auspices of the Merlien Institute, an events and publishing company, the conference — formally known as the Market Research in the Mobile World (MRMW) global conference.— brought together a quartet of top MR professionals: Merrill Dubrow, President and CEO at M/A/R/C Research, an Omnicom Group Inc. company; Heath Greenfield, an executive at Millward Brown, a WPP subsidiary; Philipp von Holtzendorff-Fehling, a former marketing executive at firms such as ServiceMaster and T-Mobile and founder of Mama Gaia, an organic-food restaurant startup; and Greg Ellis, Executive Vice President at Research Now, a Plano, Texas-based online survey company.
In a multi-themed discussion, panelists agreed that mobile research is responding to industry needs and client demands. “Clients are asking for it,” said Mr. Dubrow, whose company, M/A/R/C Research has since 2005 invested in mobile-compatible solutions.
“We recommend it when it makes sense. We tell clients to seek a solution that is scalable, state of the art, delivered through experienced partners, simple for consumers, and supported by competent staff.”
When the panel moderator, Mark Michelson, President/CEO at Threads Qualitative Research, enquired about growth trends in the industry, answers were diverse, ranging from outright organic growth to minority investments in startups and established third-party providers.
“We have many partnerships with startups, especially minority investments,” said Mr. Greenfield of Millward Brown. But such an investment generally depends on the “size of the business and local laws and customs,” added Mr. von Holtzendorff-Fehling, the organic-food restaurant founder.
The experts also agreed on the need to focus on data privacy and data gathering in mobile research, so that client and respondent information is safeguarded in a cost-effective and law-abiding way.
However, such approach does not always square with operational reality. “Mobile is both a challenge and opportunity in our business, “said Mr. Ellis of Research Now.
“It is a challenge because quantitative information and survey results must be mobile-ready — and an opportunity because we can capture people where they are. Our investment is all about how we better serve our clients by capturing data and integrating surveys with client data and third-party solutions to get really accurate behavioral data, augmented and complimented with the ‘why behind the buy.’”