Editor’s Note: Today I am extremely pleased to interview Miguel Ramos, Mobile Practice Lead at Confirmit. Miguel will discuss at MRMW Berlin how we are capturing insights from “The Telegraph” tablet app through embedded surveys. Miguel will also cover different customer touch points in a multichannel experience and explore the value of insights captured from embedded surveys. In this interview Miguel provides in depth insights on various topics related to the market research industry – especially in the context of mobile research. I am sure that the readers of this blog will be enriched by his views.
Brief Background of Miguel Ramos: With more than 15 years’ experience in mobile technologies, quality assurance and technology strategy and implementation, Miguel leads Confirmit’s Mobile practice in the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, developing mobile solutions for both Voice of the Customer (VoC) and Market Research.
In this role, Miguel works with organisations to design, implement and deploy mobile feedback and research strategies that maximise response rates and generate ROI across a range of industries. He has extensive international experience in managing projects for the telecommunication and finance industries and has an excellent track record in delivering projects that drive results. Miguel holds an MBA from Durham University (UK).
Akshay Kanyal: Can you briefly describe your current responsibilities and how your professional background has helped in full filling them?
Miguel Ramos: I’m Mobile Practice Lead at Confirmit. I’m responsible for working with clients to understand the challenges, objectives and benefits of incorporating the mobile channel into a research project – whether it is from an MR agency perspective or from the business standpoint.
As a technologist and a consultant prior to joining Confirmit, I am able to bring a mixture of technology and business knowledge to any discussion about how the mobile channel can be applied to market research and Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes.
I help clients to clarify exactly what data is sought using the mobile channel and why, and to help organisations make sound business decisions based on the actionable data provided.
Akshay Kanyal: What were some of the critical challenges that you faced in your current role? How did you overcome them?
Miguel Ramos: The biggest challenge is helping clients develop a clear view about what they want to do with the data – to visualise the end goal from an IT, marketing or a customer experience point of view.
In order to do this I need to understand the many different cultures that already exist within an organisation so a lot of careful listening is required!
It’s also really useful to be able to speak the same language, or communicate effectively, with key people across the entire organisation – whether that is in IT, marketing, customer services and so on.
Data has a different meaning or value to different areas in an organisation so in order to understand the real challenge, I have to be able to see it from all sides.
Thankfully I come from an IT and business background so I can talk about a project at the technical level or from the business perspective.
Akshay Kanyal: What is the biggest challenge a brand faces in a world where too much information has to be processed at a lightning speed?
Miguel Ramos: I don’t think you can ever say that there is too much information. The challenge is to act upon the information that has been gathered. There is no point gathering data if you don’t use it effectively!
That said, every action needs to be measurable and aligned with business objectives. In this respect, the challenge is making clients aware that the project’s ultimate objective is to collect the information that is really needed and will help them to make better decisions.
There’s no point asking a 100 question survey if you are only going to act on 10 answers….
As for lightning speed – technology is continuing to evolve exponentially so faster processing capabilities are only every 18 months away thanks to Moors Law that has been true since 1965.
The real challenge is to bring together all channels and all sources of data in one place to that you can report on it more effectively in order to provide an even clearer picture.
Akshay Kanyal: In the coming decade do you feel that existing research methodologies will no longer serve the purpose? And if so then how can the research community embrace such changes?
Miguel Ramos: I don’t think that any existing research methodologies will be entirely disregarded but I do think that they will need to be extended through much improved Quality Assurance (QA) processes.
This is because clients increasingly need to be able to trust the quality of the data because they will use the data to make real business decisions. As we collect more and more data, so the quality of that data becomes more and more important.
As I said earlier, the challenge is not collecting enough data, it’s about collecting good quality data to support the decision making process.
MR agencies need to address any negative perceptions that they ‘only deliver data’, by becoming more agile, offering shorter development times and incorporating much more stringent QA processes.
There also has to be real acceptance of the increasing speed with which data can be provided via more and more channels and that automation is going to be key going forward as a result.
Akshay Kanyal: Many clients complain that the research agencies are just giving information and not ‘actionable’ insights. How can the research community best tackle this issue?
Miguel Ramos: The answer is that we need to move away from a Client-Supplier relationship to a Partner-Partner relationship.
Research agencies need to help their clients link data with the business so that they are not viewed simply as an outsource provider of data.
The more trust there is, the more likely it is that clients will provide access to additional data to add context to new research findings which in turn will help to deliver the actionable insight they are looking for.
At the same time, if a client is running multiple projects with multiple agencies, data should be shared across all MR agencies so that analysis and data cleaning can be carried out across all projects.
Akshay Kanyal: Are traditional market researchers still holding on to archaic methodologies in a world which is adapting change at an astronomical pace?
Miguel Ramos: There’s no doubt that MR needs to be more agile but not everyone is holding on to the past. Many organisations are evolving and have introduced more QA into their processes.
Indeed, the introduction of Confirmit’s own back checking capability has allowed organisations to create and automate the QA process for mobile collected data. We’re seeing more and more organisations using this capability, so things are moving on.
As a technology provider, we are constantly being challenged by MR to include new technology so we are not standing still. For example, Geo Fencing has been requested by our clients and whilst we don’t offer it yet, it’s on our roadmap and will no doubt become part of the evolutionary process for Confirmit Horizons.
No one is really holding on to archaic methodologies – if anything, they are waiting for new methodologies to be ready!
Akshay Kanyal: We are still not seeing seamless integration of technology with research methodologies. What will you suggest to make it happen?
Miguel Ramos: On the contrary, our recent launch of Confirmit SmartHub proves that integration is possible.
SmartHub was created to integrate all the data coming from different channels to provide seamless integration of data.
It was top of the list of things we were asked to address and our R&D team has made it happen.
Our clients can add as many different channels to SmartHub as required so that the data can be analysed automatically.
MR is moving towards greater integration – it’s not just a pipe dream.
Akshay Kanyal: In the coming 5 years how mobile devices are going to impact the way we conduct market research?
Miguel Ramos: I think it will be the same as when we moved from paper to online. Mobile will be at the centre of everything, not just ‘another’ channel. It won’t be a ‘nice to have’, it will be the ‘must have’ channel.
The facts about mobile speak for themselves.
The use of mobile data grew by 11.5% in 2013-2014 in developed nations (International Telecommunication Union, May 2014) and a staggering 43% in Africa.
More than 60% of US online adults access interactive content on their phones at least daily and this phenomenon is global (Forrester).
Mobile will become the ‘preferred’ channel to deploy and respond to survey requests and the MR industry will have to respond or be left behind.
Akshay Kanyal: Is mobile research an integral part of your strategy? And if so then what expectations you hold from it?
Miguel Ramos: Our strategy is to provide an end-to-end solution – from data capture via multiple channels, through to integration using Confirmit SmartHub and sophisticated reporting – to provide the information businesses need to make effective decisions and to take immediate action.
Confirmit Horizons adds real value to any research activity by automating the entire process which saves time and money.
The mobile channel is at the heart of our strategy going forward and this is expected to facilitate increased demand to harness the passive data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT).
Although mobile devices are regarded as personal devices, they have the capacity to collect and transmit data about every facet of our lives. As such, the data collected passively via mobiles as part of the IoT could contribute to mobile research projects that feature diary studies, for example.
Data collected from pedometers, blood pressure monitors or GPS systems could even be correlated to supplement behavioural studies. The possibilities are endless.
Akshay Kanyal: What key points you want to convey through your presentation at MRMW Berlin 2014?
Miguel Ramos: There are 2 key points that I’ll be raising.
Firstly, the importance of integrating mobile web surveys within existing mobile applications to reduce the limitations encountered as a result of anonymous response.
Secondly, that mobile is not just for the young – the 50+ age bracket is just as mobile friendly as 18-24 year olds. In fact 17.3% of 45-54 year olds in 2014 were shown to use tablets, compared to 12.2% of 18-24 year olds (eMarketer, October 2013).
Mobile devices are entirely viable as a means to target respondents in this age range (provided that care is taken to accommodate them when designing surveys by introducing bigger buttons for the answers, for example) which makes it just as easy to target ‘mums and dads’ as their so-called tech-friendly teenage children!
Akshay Kanyal: If we want to know more about your company what will be the best source of information?
Miguel Ramos: Check out www.confirmit.com and to head for the Community section where you can find case studies, our blog, thought leadership articles and much more.
Akshay Kanyal: What is the most important ingredient to become an awesome market researcher?
Miguel Ramos: I’d have to say to be a ‘detective’ – to be prepared to search for the real stories hidden within the data.
Akshay Kanyal writes survey research reviews on his popular blog Online MR. He’s an avid blogger, brand consultant and a content marketing expert, helping business owners to craft content that sells.
He provides content marketing advice to start-ups and innovation driven companies. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org