“We get data and insights collected from panelists through measurement sensors in connected homes,” said Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard during the presentation. It’s part of a series of first-party consumer data P&G gets — with the consumer’s consent — from its websites, apps, packaging and media, he said. “We aggregate these data assets into P&G’s proprietary consumer database, which we call Consumer 360, and we develop predictive analytics and algorithms to build digital solutions for brands.”
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While QualSights is technically qualitative — falling into the same broad research bucket as focus groups — the hardware and system are priced to enable brands to assemble groups of households that also provide meaningful quantitative data, Advani said. The price was not disclosed.
“We don’t have a technical limit on the range,” he said, “but 100 to 500 is the range we typically see now.”
Today, QualSights is a custom product, but it plans to build out a syndicated service “with tens of thousands of consumers,” Advani said.
Recent additions to the QualSights board, with their years of syndicated research experience, can certainly help there. QualSight’s backers and board members include IRI founder and former Comscore CEO Gian Fulgoni, former Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns and former Publicis Groupe Strategy and Growth Officer and current senior advisor Rishad Tobaccowala.
The business is built on the notion that a big reason for the high failure rate of new products—estimated at 85% by previous NielsenIQ studies—is that marketers don’t get much data on how much their products are used once they’re in use. bought, Advani said. Concept and usage testing by companies such as NielsenIQ’s Bases tests people’s intent to buy and obtains diary information about their use of products. But the diaries are often filled in well after the products have been used, Advani said.
“One thing you realize is that a lot of concept testing doesn’t include enough usability testing,” he said.
Marketers using QualSight’s coasters can find out how and when products are used and follow up with consumers to find out why and how they rate the products they used. They can form actual or virtual focus groups of users, based on the data, he said. And with panels of up to 500, they can also test different post-sale ad approaches that can lead to products being used more often and repurchased more quickly, he said.
The coasters also make it possible to do closed virtual test markets, sell a limited number of products online and then monitor how buyers use them at home.
“It kind of reminds me of what we did at IRI with BehaviorScan,” Fulgoni said, referring to test markets IRI once operated in various cities. QualSights allows the research to be done much faster with more insight into how a product is actually consumed rather than just repeating purchase data, he said.
“Then you can figure out ways to stimulate that consumption with an experiment or two,” Fulgoni said. “My expectation is that marketers will find a whole bunch of realities about pockets of consumers that can be enormously useful to them in their marketing.”
Barns hearkens back to days earlier in his career working in research at P&G, having consumers fill out paper research diaries to record their use of Crisco.
“We had to train consumers who were members of that panel and create all kinds of reminders and mechanisms so they would be good at filling out the diaries,” but there was always doubt about how accurately they actually recorded data, Barns said.
Digital technology and passive collection of data using the connected coasters can make the process a little easier, and can lead to more comprehensive data.