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Using Mobile As Integral Part of Corporate Marketing Research in General Mills

BassettDuring the July 2013 MRMW event in Minneapolis, Jeanine Bassett, vice president of Global Consumer Insights at General Mills, talked about the importance of establishing a mobile strategy to reach out to survey respondents when doing corporate market research.

Bassett mentioned a finding that did not bode well for companies that sent their survey questions through email. In 2010, email usage declined by more than 20 percent. She then reiterated the need to look at other trends that were becoming more popular than email, including mobile as a viable medium of communication for most people.

She touched on mobile phones as millennials’ preferred mode of communication. She also pointed out that although consumers in emerging markets may not have access to computers, they may own mobile devices.

All in all, Bassett presented a compelling narrative of how a mobile research department was created in a large corporation such as General Mills. She described how the firm’s sizeable amount of data obtained from traditional market research methods was converted to a form that’s mobile and internet-ready and then recalibrated to account for appropriate benchmarks. Bassett, however, cautioned against treating the recalibrated and converted market research data as is–the data should be interpreted and handled in a contextual manner to account for the shift in the data-gathering medium.

The mobile polling of consumers effectively addresses the recall problem hounding market research initiatives, according to Bassett. For example, instead of asking the consumer why he chose a so-and-so cereal brand the last time he shopped, a mobile survey can simply pose a question “in-store, in aisle, in the moment” with no room for recall–which can skew the respondent’s answer.

Mobile market research offers a way to bridge the gap between real-time and simulated studies on consumer behavior. There is a huge amount of insight that can be gained outside of traditional laboratory-administered marketing surveys. For one, the element of surprise works beautifully in favor of market research firms catching respondents off-guard with well-formulated survey questions.

About The Author

Jasper Lim

Jasper Lim is the CEO of Merlien Institute. He frequently reviews the state-of-art of the marketing research industry. Apart from his daily work, Jasper serves as an Editorial Board Member for the International Journal of Work Innovation. He is also an accomplished qualitative researcher with several peer-reviewed academic publications to his name.

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