An Interview about Consumer Insights and Strategy

As you know, I am one of the official blogger of Market Research Mobile World.  This year, MRMW Asia will take place in Kuala Lumpur. You can view details about the conference page here.

MRMW blogger Denyse interviewed with  Jit Papneja, Senior Manager, Consumer Insights & Strategy, Asia Pacific for Mondelez (Ex-Kraft Foods global snacking & food businesses). He will be speaking on the first morning at this month’s MRMW Asia conference. His presentation is titled “Energising insight through mobile: how Mondelez leverages mobile research to gain actionable insights”. Having worked in the Food & Beverages Industry myself, as well as heading up several Global Insight functions, I was interested to hear more about Jitendra’s experience in Mondelez.

Denyse: Jit, I can imagine how exciting, but also how challenging, it must have been for a global organisation such as Mondelez to decide to use mobile for gaining consumer insights. Tell me about those early days. What were the biggest hurdles?

Jit: By far the biggest challenge was responding to the request for a representative sample. Way back in 2008, I did my very first Mobile research in China. We were launching Oreo strawberry there and we wanted to get a “real-time” evaluation of our IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications). Since the campaign was a true 360 campaign (TVC, In-store, Outdoor, Print etc.), mobile was selected as the device to get 360 feedback in real-time. Obviously, many of us were skeptical about achieving the target sample due to the low penetration of mobile phones in China at that time, as well as how this would skew our sample.

However, we resolved this concern of a representative sample by recruiting consumers in a usual door-to-door recruitment. This ensured that we got the desired quotas as per the target group definition. The success of this study helped us change the perception among stakeholder about the utility of mobile research. In fact, thanks to this mobile research, we arrived at a few revealing insights that we don’t normally get in regular paper interviews. The most surprising insights were the importance of “in-store display” and “word of mouth” in driving the awareness, preference and therefore purchase of this new product. In a regular paper interview, normally TV adverts come as the most important driver of purchase!

Denyse: So since then you have been using mobile to measure consumer product preferences; is this the only area in which you have done this?

Jit: Not really. In Asia Pacific, we have done mobile research to get answers to several information needs. For example:

1. Recording real-time feedback on marketing campaigns, such as the Oreo Strawberry launch example, I mentioned earlier.

2. Decoding the snacking space by using mobile phones to shadow snack purchases. Using the mobile phone, respondents sent the picture of products they bought as well as the promotions they noticed in-store. They also mentioned the pack size, number of packs bought and price paid. Then a telephone interview was conducted to explore the reasons to go to a store, the categories they planned to buy, reasons for store selection and finally reasons for purchase of products / brands. This way, we could get a comprehensive understanding of snacking purchase behaviour.

3. Getting insights on snacking consumption and purchasing behaviour by using a mobile snacking diary. In this case, we transformed the mobile phone into an ‘always on’ research tool that could  be accessed at any time and from any location, by installing an application on respondents’ mobile phones.

Respondents found this interactive tool quite interesting and we received a much better response rate. Overall findings of the snacking category were in line with what we know from other researches that were based on traditional research methodologies. The research delivered greater accuracy through instant feedback on their consumption / shopping habits and top-of-mind motivations. We were also able to understand the snacking and purchasing behaviours by different time periods across the day.

Denyse: Do the insights gained via mobile differ in any way from other methodologies?

Jit: Thanks for asking Denyse; yes they do actually. Mobile offers a better ability to bring insights to life, through the real-time data capture, as well as the photos and verbatim that the respondents can add. It also provides greater accuracy through instant feedback on the consumption / purchase behaviour and top-of-mind motivations of these. However, at the same time, I have to mention that there are also a few limitations. For example the use of mobile limits the amount of information that can be collected during a project and of course you can only gather responses from those who have mobile phones.

Denyse: Jit, having worked for one of the largest and most successful CPG companies in the world for the past five years, you must have witnessed many new marketing and research ideas being tested. Was the use of mobile the most impactful change or have you seen others.

Jit: Yes, I can definitely say that mobile research is one of them. Other innovative tools that have been very impactful are Eye Tracking and Brain wave mapping.

Denyse: WOW, Mondelez is really at the cutting-edge of new methodologies, Jit. What has been your experience of these? Are you planning to incorporate any of them with mobile?

Our pilots on both Neuroscience (brain wave mapping) and Eye Tracking have been very encouraging. Neuroscience helped us assess the true response (that of subconscious mind) to marketing stimuli (packs, advertisements) and Eye Tracking helped us understand the parts of pack and advertisements that matter most to the consumers.

We would love to incorporate these with mobile but at this moment, it seems a little difficult since both eye tracking and brain wave mapping need customized tools and infrastructure. However I am sure, as technology evolves, there will be a mobile interface as well.

Denyse: Thanks for that Jit. It must be great to work in such a dynamic and forward-looking environment. Speaking of which, my final question for you today is what do you see as the biggest opportunities and challenges for the industry in the coming years, as we all become more mobile?

Jit: I would summarise them in 3 areas:

1. Real-Time: We will need to significantly reduce the turnaround time and deliver insights in near real-time to make a business impact. Mobile can play a very important role in this.

2. Innovation: Keep innovating and bringing in new and better tools to get the pulse of the consumer, shopper and customer in this digital era.

3. Social Media: In a mobile world, Word of Mouth (WOM) or consumer reviews will play a more important role. Today, many consumers first search for reviews before deciding to buy a product / brand. The challenge for marketers is to listen to social media continuously and decode their contents to arrive at meaningful, actionable insights.

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