Crowst 2.0. enables meaningful respondent targeting for consumer insights studies. Grow your own audiences, and nurture them as your key asset against competition.

Crowst 2.0. – The art of audiences

Jyrki Kallinen

In the end of December we announced our long-awaited holiday present; the brand new service version Crowst 2.0. A version we have worked hard for through the year 2018, also involving real market-testing projects with some of our client companies. We are thrilled that Crowst 2.0. is now available, seeing the strength it brings for intelligent study design, respondent targeting and activation. This article is about Audiences, a topic we touched in our previous article on Crowst 2.0. Due to diversifying market trends and fragmenting consumer behaviors, establishing and nurturing the right Audiences is crucial in gaining and maintaining the competitive edge over rivals.

Hygiene vs attributes that make the difference

Age, gender, domicile. These are perhaps the most commonly used respondent targeting attributes in consumer study creation. They could be considered as basic, functional building blocks that still serve the purpose, depending on the characteristics of the study in question and type of information sought. However, for many studies they are not enough as they ignore the more qualitative, behavioral dimension of the targeted respondents. People who do sports regularly tend to share certain preferences for food and diet. People who are right-leaning in their political views tend to feel passionate about certain topics and trends. Educational background has influence on how open the respondents are towards specific phenomena and changing public opinions.

On study creation and respondent targeting, the hygiene attributes such as age could be considered as a skeleton for the study mechanics. The “beef” around the skeleton are based on a more in-depth and qualitative attributes, including societal and behavioral background. These are the “markers” that are more closely linked to those things that make the respondent’s hearts and minds tick. And the knowledge on what are those things that make people tick are invaluable; both for companies that develop their consumer offerings, and also for consumers who enjoy of enhanced offerings based on consumer insights. This is where insights play a vital role, benefiting all parties involved.

Behavioral studies and concept testing

When designing a study structure for behavioral or concept & campaign testing studies, there typically is a match required with the respondent targeting and the product target segment. A good example of this is the visual renewal of the Brewer’s Special craft beer range, a collaboration we have had with Saimaa Brewing Co. On Crowst, the respondents matching with the young, urban craft beer drinker segment was defined and targeted for a study where they compared the current and new product packaging designs. The views of the most potential consumers of the product matter the most, and to enable the match the right attributes need to be available for the study execution.

There are a variety of respondent targeting attributes available on the Crowst 2.0, but that is only part of the story. In general, there is an unlimited scope of studies that could be run based on the needs at hand, meaning there is virtually an unlimited scope of target attribute combinations that could theoretically be deployed. A study targeting frequent international travelers living in Tampere serves different needs than a study targeting frequent international travelers living in Tampere, who have families. Thus there needs to be intelligent and flexible means to learn more about the respondents on ad-hoc basis, enabling more refined targeting for the study to be run.

Background mappers for better targeting

Sometimes careful targeting planning and preparation is needed to source meaningful insights that also serve concrete business needs. There could be very concrete and detailed targeting requirements, and there may be no existing attribute data that would serve the project at hand. On those occasions, we run a background mapper study at Crowst before launching the actual study dedicated to source the desired insights. The background mapper is designed to obtain the information that helps to screen the right sweet spot segment for the actual study. Sounds laborious and time-consuming? Well, it isn’t, thanks for the mobile-first driven service design.

The background mapper is used to obtain the information that helps to screen the right sweet spot segment for the actual study.

A good example is the recent collaboration we have had with Suunto (read more on our blog). Learning about people’s thoughts on smartwatches is one thing, and learning about who are considering buying a smartwatch is another. Couple this with the need to know about people’s expectations for point-of-sale materials and factors that help them to make the purchasing decision. In order to define the desired sweet spot segment, we ran a background mapper study that drilled down to people’s sports activity, attitudes and specific linkages to smartwatches. This enabled to define and “hit” the sweet spot, resulting in meaningful insights that can be deployed in operational marketing and retail execution.

Social media and studies serve different purposes

Companies often use their social media profiles and channels to “listen” to consumers and source insights. This is understandable, but it is also dangerous if this activity is considered synonymous with representative insights. Typically, the most extreme voices, lovers and haters, are most vocal on social media. Another factor to keep in mind is that the opinions voiced are heard in the owned channel of the company, meaning the person sends a deliberate message. The message is often provoked by a certain experience, which may be positive or negative. The golden “center” of structured feedback and justified argumentation is often missing, not to mention about valid background information on who is sending that message. It is always great to get positive feedback, but it is also important to keep in mind that the feedback quite often comes from a devoted fan or advocate of the company in question. There is nothing bad about it, but that just does not equal to what consumers commonly think, beyond the company’s own area of influence.

Learning and winning with audiences

With Crowst, companies can establish, nurture and enrich audiences that help to stay tuned with the most important customer segments, on a need basis. Crowst’s digital platform is designed for mobile, enabling to engage with the most important audiences when needed with direct notifications and messages sent to respondents’ phones. Using dedicated codes we are able to identify the audience, target specific studies at them, and also learn more about the audience by targeting background mapper studies at them. One of these codes could be yours; defined together, linking to your audience.

Consider your audience as your most important partner on your journey to grow your business: your audience equips you with strong insights that help you to serve their needs on the market.

Audiences are an asset, and the value of this asset grows over time. The more you learn about them, the more valuable are the insights, thanks to better targeting and more relevant data. Consider your audience as your most important partner on your journey to grow your business: your audience equips you with strong insights that help you to serve their needs on the market. The better you succeed in this insights-driven dialogue, the stronger is your position against competition.