Vision Critical’s Consumer Goods Intelligence Suite, which launched May 13, is a platform where companies can have “personal and meaningful conversations with thousands of consumers across multiple segments” in real time in “private, exclusive online environments,” said David Sevitt, who runs Vision Critical’s Food and Beverage work.
Consumers who are recruited by companies to join their Insight Communities often agree to join “because they care about these companies,” and because they know the company will share with them business decisions made based on their feedback, “whether it is info on a new product … or a new marketing campaign,” Sevitt said.
The cloud-based platform comes with questionnaire templates that help companies guide conversations with consumers and collect the most pertinent data.
“These templates span different topic areas of interest to CPG companies, such as how shoppers learn and make decisions about what to buy, how to source and test new product ideas and how to assess the appeal of different brand touchpoints, including packaging, product names or marketing claims,” Sevitt said, adding: “We know the questions that matter most to CPG’s and so we’ve infused their intelligence into our software.”
Getting in consumers’ heads
The primary goal of the templates and platform is to help larger companies make better business decisions by getting “inside the heads of their consumers” similar to how small companies and startups that are innately closer to their consumers can, Sevitt said.
He explained that this is essential because the “CPG landscape is in turmoil” with large, established CPG companies losing market share to startups to the tune of two points or about $18 billion since 2009.
“These large brands need a way to truly understand how consumers are shopping, what they value, how they make decisions and what types of products they find attractive,” Sevitt said.
The Consumer Goods Intelligence Suite allows them to do that in a way that goes beyond traditional tools, such as surveys and social media analytics, he said, adding that these “old fashioned” tools are static and only reveal purchase history or other forms of transactional data.
“With Vision Critical, our customers can finally get at the emotional and intangible connections between brands and their customers, which can powerfully impact their bottom line,” Sevitt said.
Plus, it does it in real-time compared to other analytic data that can be weeks or months old by the time the company has it, he said.
The platform also is more cost effective than ad-hoc surveys or traditional market research, Sevitt said, noting, “many customers complete three times as many customer engagement activities for the same overall investment.”
The only drawback to the efficiency of the platform is “knowing how to leverage the power of ongoing, iterative learning,” which is a new concept for many marketers who still think in terms of marketing campaigns, Sevitt said.
“Adjusting to how customers today want to engage with brands as well as the unique motivations behind an individual’s purchasing and loyalty is difficult,” he said. “But, we’re seeing industry-wide progress every day.”