CCC’13 – Purposeful mobile from Confirmit

Following on from Amy’s post, I spent Thursday at the Confirmit Community Conference 2013 at the Park Plaza, and thought a “case of beer” study was too good to miss.  This was Confirmit’s Dave King’s fascinating delivery of a case study for a Heineken.  African beer consumption currently stands at 9 litres per person per annum, contrasted with 68 litres in Europe and 73 litres in the USA. However, beer consumption is on the decline in the West, but showing strong growth in the developing nations, so the opportunity is plain to see.

The challenge was to conduct a full census of beer vendors, starting in Nigeria, rolling out to Ethiopia and the rest of the African sub-continent using the GPS, Photo capture, and Bar code scanning features of the offline mobile survey software, and condense this information into a digestible format.  A key output came in the form of a colour coded map which showed all vendors, those stocking the client brands, and those not. This map was then used as a basis of the design and planning of locations for Breweries and the entire supply chain
structure on the continent.

As Data Processing Director here at Marketing Sciences I’ve been heavily involved in the implementation and roll-out of our fleet of 350 Android tablets which are used for data collection among our F2F fieldforce (if you missed it, we hit one million interviews on tablet this year!) .  Dave gave some interesting insights and tips to conference audience, as well as opening our eyes to the enormous possibilities of “Purposeful Mobile”, fuelling my excitement for how we can use this resource to gather insights previously impossible with other technologies.

The study covered over 1 million outlets and integrated existing data into the primary data collected by tablet.  Different countries required different mobile o/s platforms , from Blackberry through Nokia Symbian to Android.  One stat, less research related, but quite a reflection on a nation’s psychological predisposition, was that when the interviewers were initially supplied with devices, over 40% were reported “stolen” in the first two weeks of fieldwork.  This model was rapidly changed to include the mobile device as part of the payment to the fieldforce, and the following audit period that rate had dropped below 5%

The study illustrated perfectly how new technologies such as SODA (which we are using), applied correctly, can enable us to achieve things we wouldn’t have though possible using conventional tools.

Footnote…. The UK’s beer consumption is stands at nearer 120 litres per person, so don’t fret, we’re still ahead of the yanks!


Another interesting talk was “Holistic View of the Customer” by Corrine Sandler from Fresh Intelligence

In this she spoke of the explosion of Big Data, its economic value and its potential in the world of Insight – “Data as the new oil”.  Unlike oil, our data stocks are increasing exponentially, in fact 90% of all the data that exists in the world today was created in the past 2 years!  The availability of consumer and behavioural data gives us the opportunity to answer questions previously beyond our reach.  The key steps to a successful research program are “educate, explore, engage and execute”.  Customer experience is pivotal to a business’s success – with 87% of customers claiming never to return after a negative experience.

The data is there, it’s just a case of understanding how to use it!

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Mike Sharpe
01962 842211
Article date - 27/06/2013
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