Thoughts and insights from the Peekator Team


Why don’t you use market research?

“We test it internally.”

You are in charge of product rebranding and you’re in the process of choosing the packaging. You have determined how you want to position the product, sent a brief to several marketing agencies, and received suggestions. You need to choose the best packaging.

It might seem like your team is big enough – there is no need to burden the already tight budget for this endeavor when you have professionals at your disposal.

But rebranding is a serious process. Your team spent a lot of time and effort to decide on your desired positioning, and even if you think the offers are good and the appeal to your target group is obvious in all of them, there’s a big chance that’s because you know what you are looking for.

And let’s be realistic, you certainly have preferred choices among creative agencies that sent offers. Maybe it’s because you have good experience with them, or maybe it’s about the money – but there is always that one that you personally prefer.

In the end, your internal testing is not exactly testing. You need a fresh pair of eyes to look at your project. Not just any pair of fresh eyes, but the eyes of your target group.

“I’ll ask my friends and family.”

Yes, you can ask your friends and family members – that way you won’t just ask internally at the company, but still – you have to keep in mind that your friends and family are not your target group.

If your brand of chips is targeting primarily young people that like to party, students, high school students, and other fun-loving people, but your respondent is your fellow manager who does CrossFit 4 times a week, someone who last time ate chips 7 years ago and their hobby is climbing a mountain on a Sunday morning, how relevant is their answer? When you give it some more thought, it’s clear that they’d be a good respondent only if your brand made apple chips with no added sugar.

Another thing to pay attention to is the way the question is asked, or to put it simply, did you stay impartial when you asked the question? Or was it more like: “Darling, could you look at this for a second, isn’t it the best?”, only for them to nod and continue watching their game while they snack on their peanuts. And really, when was the last time you saw them eat chips?

“I’ll ask my Facebook and LinkedIn friends.”

Okay, you’ll approach this a little more seriously and ask your LinkedIn friends! You have quite a number of connections and you are sure at least some of them eat chips! And you will ask the question impartially, present all the suggestions and ask them to choose the one they like the best.

But wait a minute, can you do that at all? Go public with new packaging before any of it becomes a part of your brand’s visual identity? What would creative agencies say to that?

And really, even if we put this aside, we still have at least two additional problems.

Firstly, who’ll answer your query at all? Probably the same few people who always engage with your posts. That friend who climbs a mountain every Sunday is probably among them. 😉 People who comment on your posts already have some bias toward you. They are not your target group. Your target group is people who stand in front of shelves full of chips and make decisions, and it’s their attention you need to attract.

Secondly, people won’t leave comments without reading previous ones. You know that one: “Everyone wants to cheer for the winning team.” It’s likely that the first couple of comments inspired the rest, so you didn’t test anything except who’s got the fastest fingers.

Even if LinkedIn isn’t the best place for design testing, your LinkedIn friends might have some ideas on which flavors you should release next.

But even then, the LinkedIn community probably wants chips with truffles or gorgonzola, while you decided to position yourself as youthful and adventurous, so it’s questionable how well would your target group receive those ideas.

“When we already set aside money for research, then we want it to be large and comprehensive, and that costs.”

You do the research, but once a year. You ask respondents absolutely everything you need to know about them, including things you don’t need right now, but in 7 months when you’ll be preparing a new marketing campaign. Even if that campaign might be delayed or canceled; it’s too early to know.

You have to keep in mind that doing research once a year is not enough, because nowadays, data from half a year ago is considered outdated. Especially now that the COVID-19 situation has shown us how quickly things can change.

If nothing else, we can divide the year into two seasons – winter and summer. There is almost no food and drink that doesn’t “suffer” from some seasonality. For some products, you’ll be doing a Christmas special edition, and for others a summer one. Or an even better example – you will position and advertise the same product differently in the summer and during the holidays – and when did you do the research? In April? Doesn’t sound like the ideal time.

If you do smaller, more focused research, you’ll entirely focus on one thing and get useful insights, instead of lightly touching five different topics only to get insufficient results.

“We do not have a budget for research.”

If you have a say in the decision-making regarding the product and development budget, but you don’t have any part of that budget saved for market research, you should be asking yourself:

Do you develop new product flavors without asking your consumers if they are interested in them?

Are you developing new products without researching current trends in the market?

What are the initial costs of developing a new product and launching a new line? What if it turns out to fail and doesn’t sell at all?

Arguably, the cost of this is much higher than the cost of research that could have shown the lack of interest beforehand, or at least, you would get the information on how to improve the product so it’s a better fit for your target group!

The real question is if you have a marketing budget – why isn’t research part of it as well? Isn’t the cost of bad publicity, bad visuals, bad slogan, and unconvincing or missed messages that a marketing campaign communicates much higher than the cost of research?

“It’s expensive.”

Consumer research should not be defined as a cost, but as an investment, just like everything else you do in terms of business – the cost of production, workers, additional employee training, development, and marketing costs.

Just as it’s actually more expensive to take a less qualified employee to just pay him less (because the lack of his knowledge ends up costing you a lot of time and money), it is expensive to make the wrong decision based on an assumption, instead of investing in research and testing the assumption first.

In addition, at Peekator, we automated all research processes that could be automated, which reduced costs, so we do research from £3,57 per respondent!

“It’s slow.”

You have a lot of work to do and you’ve been looking for product design suggestions for a little too long. To make the meters worse, you need to make a decision on which design you are going with next week. When you order a survey, data collection takes time, and waiting for a report takes even more… Research is slow.

Not necessarily – with Peekator you can get results in 3 days. If you confirm it immediately, it will take us one day to create the questionnaire. We will upload it to the platform within a couple of hours, start collecting data and have the dataset with answers within 48 hours, probably less. As soon as we collect them, they will be available for you on the platform! And since the platform is interactive, you will be able to see the results for different demographic groups, in case you want to check whether the primary consumers of your brand match the overall results. Every variable can be used in order to create your own custom reports, maximizing the value of the report.

The PDF with the main results with our insights comes to you within 3 days of completing the data collection.

“I don’t believe in surveys.”

But why? Or even better – compared to what? Your own assessment? Team assessment? The decision of the director? The idea of a creative agency?

Let’s take a step back. Of course, consumer research is not a magic wand that will show how to be a leader in your industry.

You, your marketing, sales teams, directors, and creative agencies, your decisions are needed and research can’t replace you or make a decision for you.

What research can do is give you information and insights straight from your target groups. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between different solutions or approaches, data from your consumers will help you make the decision that fits best with your consumer’s interests.

For example, a Brand Manager and his team will determine the brand development strategy and what they want the brand to communicate.

They will write a brief for creative agencies. Creative agencies will present a creative solution for a marketing campaign. But how do you choose which one is best? How will you know that consumers, those who need to receive that particular message, have actually received the message you want to convey? Neither you nor the management nor the director can make a decision on that. This is what you need to ask consumers and they are the only ones who can answer that question.

“Who answers the surveys at all? I’ve never answered any.”

Research has moved online. Just as more people learn, buy and work online, the field of consumer research is increasingly shifting to online participation.

But, how to reach out to the right people? The answer is an online panel – a pool of people who respond to online surveys. At Peekator we collaborate with several online panels through which we have access to more than 100 million consumers in more than 100 markets.

Online panels are joined by people who are willing to answer surveys for a certain fee – the type and the kind depend on the panel itself. If you’ve never answered any surveys, you probably haven’t joined any online panels. And that’s fine, but fortunately for us and our clients, 100 million people of different profiles – different ages, genders, education, occupations, and interests have.

The target groups are determined by qualification questions, where people that don’t fit into the target group get screened out. So, if we are interested in people who eat chips, only they will respond to the survey. The characteristics of the overall target group will be different than if we needed a target group interested in the spa.

“We already have customer demographics.”

Great, because you definitely need it! But is it enough?

Except for demographics, important characteristics of your customers are lifestyles, interests, values, shopping habits, preferences, media habits, etc. It’s great if you have it all!

However, the characteristics of your customers will not answer your specific research questions:

Which new flavor to include in our offer?

Does it make sense to release a product in a new, non-standard package size?

Does the marketing campaign communicate the message you want to convey?

Which packaging design to choose?

In order to make a decision on each of these questions, it is advisable to ask consumers that have precisely these demographic characteristics what they think about it. So having a customer demographic is a great first step because we know exactly who our target group is in research.

Related articles