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Episode 27: Insightrix 2021 Holiday Wrap Up

Sharday Torgers…:          So good morning, Shonna. Thank you for joining us today. How are you doing today?

Shonna Caldwell:              I’m good. It’s nice to see you.

Sharday Torgers…:          Nice to see you. It’s been a while, but it hasn’t been a while. That’s for sure. We’re definitely both on site, maybe in different rooms. But it’s nice to be back on location, not in Citrix, that’s all I got to say.

Shonna Caldwell:              Yeah. And in our Christmas reds, so December, festive, here we go.

Sharday Torgers…:          We’re definitely in style for the wrap up. That’s all I got to say. But I mean, let’s not get too excited here. I think before we dive in, maybe we should introduce ourselves. So I am Sharday Torgerson, and I’m the creative and digital strategist here at Insightrix Research, and your podcast host for season three of the Stories of Market Research. And I would like to welcome today, our Insightrix chief revenue officer, Shonna Caldwell. Good morning, and thanks for joining us.

Shonna Caldwell:              No problem. Thanks for having me. Yeah, it’s really good to see you and I’m excited. This is going to be good. It’s nice to catch up and wrap up the year for sure.

Sharday Torgers…:          Yeah, I’m with you there. It’s been both a long and short year, that I can attest to. So I think we have a lot to unpack today. At the same time, I think we’re really excited to share a few things we’ve been learning, a few things we’ve been working on, and I really just wanted to gather us today to help maybe wrap up the new year and share with everyone what we’re actually doing at Insightrix.

                                                So before we get into the nitty gritty, maybe we’ll take care of a little bit of housekeeping. So I wanted to share with everyone today that Insightrix has actually been nominated for the 2021 annual market research podcast award again this year. So, whoo. Each year, it’s in partnership actually with GreenBook, so Little Bird Marketing and the awesome folks there, they actually partner and do an annual MR Podcast of the Year award. So it’s obviously to give all the guts and glory to the market research podcast, but also there’s a ton of really awesome nominations each and every year. So we’re fortunate again to have been nominated for a second year in a row, and I thought it’d be worth sharing. But voting is actually still open until January 31st, 2022. And it’ll be announced by GreenBook and in partnership with Little Bird Marketing at IIEX in person this year in Texas. So that’s pretty exciting.

Shonna Caldwell:              Yeah, that’s awesome. So please go vote. Please, please vote.

Sharday Torgers…:          And actually, this year is the first time they’ve extended the voting. So we get to benefit from a little bit of an extra time here. So yeah, we encourage everyone to kind of jump on to GreenBook and give us some votes. That would be grateful. In years past, not every single person out of Insightrix would’ve been able to attend such a cool award ceremony, but it was really fun to actually have everyone supporting us in the same room, if you will. Being able to maybe go to IIEX last year was quite neat, learning all those… From other people and stuff without really having to leave the comfort of home or our office was quite neat.

                                                But doing these webinars in the past year, Shonna, it’s actually allowed our staff to even engage amongst each other in many different types of learning environments. And I know even you and I have attended a couple of workshops and webinars together, and I wouldn’t mind actually diving into some of these recent learnings, because we’ve been fortunate enough to attend together and actually develop some of that co learnings. So yeah, so I thought I’d maybe jump in and maybe we can learn about some recent webinars that we actually attended with Insights Association. I know one of them was really, really informative called agile research. Again, something that we’re all experiencing in the market research industry is both a buzzword, but also I think something that we’re all trying to learn together. So I don’t know, what were your thoughts on the webinar?

Shonna Caldwell:              Yeah, I think what stands out the most is when we talk about it being a buzzword and what does agile mean? And it really just means different things to different people. And so, it’s about really creating that mindset of being able to put ourself in our client’s shoes, of being able to walk a day… Where we can really help them solve their problems. So in traditional sense of market research, we had those three weeks of data collection. We had that two weeks until the final report, and the interest of agile, that’s gone. We are now looking at faster, cheaper, we want this. And so I think the industry has really been forced, and not even forced, but just, we have to adapt in terms of how our clients’ businesses are changing and how even us as a company is changing.

                                                And so it’s never been more important to really progress over perfection, if that makes sense. And I think that’s really what it comes down to. And so things are changing, as I mentioned. And we need to be able to change and adapt, and that agile thing is using technology. So to get the data back into the hands of our clients as quickly as possible, even into our hands so that we can be that consultant to our clients and really help them make that decision for the time. So it’s no more of this big problems, big solutions. It’s all about, like I said, progress over perfection. And so I think that’s really what it comes down to is an agile mindset. So yeah, it was really interesting and I know a few of us attended and I think we even had a debrief on it afterwards. So yeah, it was great.

Sharday Torgers…:          Yeah, it was really exciting. Lots of ideas flowing. I think even validation among us, recognizing that, “Hey, we’re doing that. Hey, we’re doing that. That’s cool. I didn’t realize we were kind of forward-thinking that way. But we knew, we knew.” But yeah, I think it’s really important to paint a bit of a picture, and knowing that agile is but the buzzword, but in reality, what are we doing to address that as well? Things are changing. So I love that point. We also actually attended a recent one on social media recruitment. So I think that was also hosted by the Insights Association. Again, just a really invaluable topic. I know we’re all kind of learning how perhaps we want to recruit for different types of segmentations. Maybe it’s for online communities, maybe it’s for hard to reach segments for different type of projects, but we all know social media is a hot topic for recruitment. So why don’t you jump into that a little bit, Shonna, maybe your learnings on that and yeah, just why it’s super important to be thinking about for market research.

Shonna Caldwell:              Sure. I think in the interest of changing and being able to get that voice of the customer and really that holistic view, using multiple data sources and that’s kind of what this webinar really touched on. So it was like, in the ideal world, we know our target audience would all exist on a market research panel. Well, wouldn’t that be nice and easy. But it doesn’t really happen anymore. And I mean, as we think of ourselves even as consumers, we’re interacting on multiple different platforms and communicating with people, whether that’s social media, whether that’s through email, whether that’s phone. And so, really taking that concept and applying it to our research, knowing that we really… Using social media will get a really true view of how people want to be talked to, of how people really are communicating and expressing their, I guess, really inner thoughts in a way that’s most convenient to them.

                                                I think another thing that really stood out there was using even multiple panel sources. So whether that’s even telephone and online or even multiple online, to really make sure that we’re going above and beyond, so to really get that full data complete. We’re all people and we don’t just fit in a little box and so we really need to approach it that way, I think. And so making sure that we’re communicating on social media is important, the messaging important to reach that desired target audience. I mean, we tell a lot of our clients the same things, right? It’s the advertising, it’s the messaging, it’s who do you want to reach and when and how, and we need to apply that to our research. And so I think a certain demographic’s going to be sitting on Facebook maybe versus Twitter, maybe versus Snapchat. And so it’s really making sure that we understand who those customers are on each of those platforms and how we can bring that experience into our respondents, into our data. And again, going back to just providing better results for our clients. So yeah.

Sharday Torgers…:          I couldn’t agree more. You nailed it on the head actually. The whole multimodal used to be very traditional in telephone and online, but one would argue we are now skewing to several online sources. And that really is, I think, pushing the traditional multimodal out. Even ourselves, we’ve had experience both on the good end and the bad end of attempting to recruit on social media. And we’re always learning better ways to do it ourselves. But even just learning the successes behind trying to get hard to reach segments that are super, super niche, is social media is a great way to get in front of these people. But you are also correct in that content is really important, how it’s being messaged. And even in that webinar, I think that was a big takeaway as a marketer is that the creative team and the years of experience that they have to really drive that is really important. And they take a lot of pride in that too, which was really cool to see.

Shonna Caldwell:              Yeah, and I think another thing about using just that multiple data sources in the realm of social media is sometimes we like to think about it as us putting out the survey link on a social media platform, and that’s one avenue. But the other one is Reddit discussion boards or Twitter comments or just being able to kind of web scrape that data and include it as an additional voice of the customer or voice of the respondent into our primary data collection. And again, it just goes back to that whole holistic view, what are people saying and how are we really capturing them in the moment when it’s true for them? So rather than being invited to an online panel for an online survey, which works, but it’s also let’s get that holistic view. And I think social media and these platforms like Reddit or Twitter or discussion boards really help bring that to light.

Sharday Torgers…:          Mm-hmm (affirmative). Couldn’t agree more. That qualitative flare, right? Just finding different ways to actually let the respondent do the talking in their own words. Yeah, I think web scraping is a fine example of that. So thanks for sharing, for sure. You know, it’s also worth noting that Insights Association is always accepting new members. So obviously, these webinars, we were able to attend because we’re a company member ourselves. So we’re really fortunate on that end. But the Insights Association Canadian chapter is a pretty large community from coast to coast. They’re made up of market researchers, data analysts, Insights leaders are from across the country. So we actually encourage, and it’s beyond Canada too. There’s North American chapters from coast to coast as well as in the United States, right? So if you’re interested in learning more about the Insights Association, we encourage everyone to jump onto their website and even check out the various events they’re hosting, even in the future. There’s a couple that I know I’m going to attend here, come January and stuff. Couple may have to be put on hold because of what we’re dealing with. But again, it’s just nice to be able to attend these things when we can and learn some really cool new information about market research.

                                                So now, Shonna, we’re going to chat about moving into the new year. So we got all that housekeeping out of the way, but I know there’s actually many exciting initiatives happening at Insightrix. One of those initiatives actually includes an agriculture business panel. So we actually recently introduced this to our clients through various levels of communication. That is the Prairie Insights Research Community. I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind telling us a little bit more about the community itself, maybe why we started it up, perhaps the types of members we may see, and maybe the types of client requests we’re getting as a result of the panel.

Shonna Caldwell:              Sure. So I mean, it’s no surprise that residing in Saskatchewan, that agriculture is pretty much woven into our existence. So the idea and the concept of coming up with an agricultural panel, I think has been in the works or at least talked about for a while. And then it wasn’t until really the pandemic where we had some time to think, where we could really help some of our clients out. So we have some very distinct agricultural clients that were coming to us with requests. Like, we really want to focus on the type of crop producer or the size of farm that they own or expansion into crop marketing or things like that. So with that in mind, we have started, called the Prairie Insights Panel and it’s across the three Prairie provinces. So Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and it’ll exist of agricultural producers. So yeah, different farm sizes, different crops that they produce, different tenure within the business.

                                                And the idea is really to focus content for those participants on that panel that is of interest to them, right? Like they might also be members of a different panel. Like say in Alberta, they might be a member of an Ipsos panel or something like that. But what we really wanted to do was make sure that we had research that kept them engaged, that’s important to them, important into their livelihoods, and to their business. And by starting the Prairie Insights, we can kind of do that. We can share some of the results back with them. We can kind of ask them what types of things are they interested in. And then it really gives our clients an avenue, or I guess a platform if you will, to really get focused data. So yeah, it’s really exciting. That is, I believe, up and running and up into 2022, it will be even full force. So, super exciting. And I know our clients have already started calling us and sending in the requests.

Sharday Torgers…:          Yeah. And if any of you want to learn more, just feel free to give us a shout and we’re happy to discuss how the Prairie Insights Research Community may be a benefit to you. But yeah, it’s in Saskatchewan. You’re right. Agribusiness is such a huge part of our community. So it’s no doubt, I think that this panel will be a great product for clients and trust in growers, especially who live in Western Canada. So that’s really cool. There’s also another really cool initiative on the table that I wanted to talk about, I know something you’re really passionate about these few days here. We’re talking about realtime surveys. Can you share a little bit more about what we mean when we say realtime surveys?

Shonna Caldwell:              Sure. So this is actually an in-house kind of solution that we’ve built, which is even more exciting. And this kind of came from a few of our clients’ requests and even within the industry, some of the bigger players within real time. But our solution allows us to connect with our client base and especially in a cost-effective way. And what it means is that we’ve built a system where we can connect through API connectors to their CRM. We can initiate surveys, whether it’s on the client’s website, if it’s after someone made a purchase on a website, and just kind of ask their overall experience. So where we find this is really helpful is those clients, like I said, Telco, that might have purchase orders or purchase products, sorry, if you will, on their website. Credit unions, who people are going in to make banking inquiries, or just looking on their site for information. We can even just then, initiate a survey that says, did you find everything that you were looking for today?

                                                Yes, no. It’s a very simple kind of five question survey and it really helps give our clients, like I said, that voice of the customer in the moment. Because as soon as that experience has happened, we’re initiating a survey for that customer. They also have the choice whether to do it or not, but as soon as they do complete the survey, the data is then coming back to us. And even in some cases to our clients, through an online dashboard using kind of BI. And so they’re really able to slice and dice the data, see if someone came in and they had a horrible experience. Imagine being able to know five minutes after that experience happened, that it happened. And now, you can actually follow up with that customer or you can look into it and maybe there was something on the website that shouldn’t have been there, and you can react in an instant.

                                                And I think that’s what’s so exciting about this tool and the fact that we built it in house. I mean, we got some great people here and the fact that we kind of saw what was out in the industry and we really scaled it in terms of what works for our clients and what works for us. And so that, I know we have a few clients and we’ve been working well, but that’ll be a big push in 2022. And it’s never been more important to have in the moment, real-time data to know who our customers are. It goes back to the CX kind of thing. And so that’s, yeah… It’s really exciting and a great opportunity, I think for our clients to really get in the heads of their customers.

Sharday Torgers…:          Wow. That’s a fine, even example of agile research as well. Let’s be honest, that whole emphasis of kind of moving away from milestone research and getting the exact thing you need when you need it as well. That’s really intuitive, and I can only imagine how important that would be for clients who know that the touchpoint is no longer linear. So you got a company that’s really focused on B2C marketing and having a real time survey platform. We only can imagine the type of data sets that they can get back and respond to as a result. So really cool stuff. Nice to hear, Shonna, for sure. So, yeah. So I mean, again… Oh, sorry. Go ahead, sorry.

Shonna Caldwell:              Oh no, I was just going to say, and I think that, that to your point about being agile, and I think that really helps in terms of getting that data in the moment through that dashboard, even providing that to our clients as being that consultant again, right? Like really being able to dissect what does this data mean? And I mean, if you’re seeing multiple customers have the same reaction or same experience, then maybe there is something, maybe even it’s internal to your business, or if it’s internal to a product, or as I mentioned, just the experience, the customer journey that maybe you need to address on a bigger level. And so, as much as it’s micro in some instances, like a one-off experience you might be able to react on. Sometimes it can be very macro. And so the limits are… Like it’s endless. I think we can just really help our clients.

Sharday Torgers…:          Yeah, gotta love that research technology, right? And then again, us being an extension of your research team, being able to provide you the insights, coupled by the technology, I think, wow, what intuitive technology that we could provide. So I’m definitely interested to hear more as we roll it out. And again, we have a couple few things on the go in terms of innovation, and that’s just another fine example in house where folks are working together and coming up with really cool solutions, so fun to be a part of. One that actually, I was a part of recently, we did what was syndicated research on media usage in Saskatchewan. So we’re definitely, Insightrix research definitely is forerunners in terms of providing benchmarks for online data, online behavior, shopping, stuff like that in term… Let me restart that.

                                                So yeah, recently we did even some… Let me restart that. So recently, we even did some innovation that I had the opportunity to work on as well, which was exciting. Some syndicated research on media usage and online behaviors in Saskatchewan. We’ve been tracking Saskatchewan assessments of social media and their lives using independent research since 2016. We are firm believers that Saskatchewan is not a flyover province. And it’s one of was instances where we provide our clients with the type of information that they need. And the media usage, I think was one of those syndicated studies that we actually seen quite a decent response in terms of finding ways to answer their advertising questions. So now, as a marketer myself, I admit too, I feel like a kid in a candy shop every year that this report drops. I get to learn things about the top 10 social media platforms in terms of frequency in Saskatchewan. I get to base my marketing plans around a lot of this research, which is really awesome. So I wanted to take on the syndicated research in a way that other clients can find it valuable. And then we created a really awesome product that’s just highly visual, really digestible. And you got to appreciate syndicated research for that, I think. Off the shelf.

Shonna Caldwell:              It was a nice wrap up of everything we’ve kind of talked about today in terms of meeting your target audience, where they want to be met and how they want to be met. So communicating with them, the messaging. We talk about social media for our response rates, but I mean, advertising, marketing, products, customers, it’s all the same stuff, right? And so this is what that report helps you answer is like, where are people? How has that changed? Because I mean, I can only imagine our behaviors. I mean, my behaviors alone have changed in the past two years and my habits. And so that’s why I think this report is so crucial. And especially this year, it’s really focused on answering those advertising questions. And so we’ve had a lot of buzz about it from clients. I mean, and it’s a nice way to kind of wrap up the year as well and go… As people are planning, clients are planning, getting into Christmas and that kind of thing. And so, yeah, it’s really exciting. And I think there’s lots of great stuff in that report. So definitely check it out.

Sharday Torgers…:          Yeah, that shared knowledge is invaluable. I think again, being able to be kind of folks that provide that information to clients is really special to us. And then knowing too that, we can access this information and use it to our benefit as well. It’s just, again, it’s a marketers dream. But there’s so much information packed into this report. What’s even cooler is we’ve been trending it for the past five years as well. So past subscribers can actually take all five years of analysis and actually put it together and get a really cool data analysis out of it. So yeah, I definitely encourage everyone to check it out. It’s called the 2021 Saskatchewan Media Usage report. It’s a syndicated study as well. So it’s an independent study that is cost shared every year. So it’s definitely affordable to whomever would like to purchase it. And it’s also worth noting that we will also provide a discount code to not for profits if they’re interested.

                                                So yeah, I mean, there you have it. There’s a lot to unpack. I definitely assumed it would go a lot quicker than that, but we just have so much going on in Insightrix and we always are wanting to share as much as possible. So I think I can safely say, you’ll be seeing a lot more of us. We’re always looking ways to connect with you. Please perhaps give our podcast to follow if you’re interested, on any of your favorite podcast players. We’re also on YouTube as well. So this is the first year, season three that we’re actually on video. So it’s great to actually converse with you in person, Shonna, rather than just over the phone. And yeah, I think just to leave it off, I don’t know if there’s anything you want to share into 2022, in terms of sentiments and wrap-ups.

Shonna Caldwell:              I just think it’s been… I mean, it’s been a long haul. I will say that, in terms of where we were in 2019 in terms of, I don’t want to get onto the COVID train. But I mean, even the changes we have seen within the company, within our people, within the industry, and I mean, even society. So going into 2022, there’s a positive outlook. I think we’ve all proven how adaptable we are, how persistent we are, and how just ready to commit to our clients and ready to commit to ourselves and just, yeah, it’s really exciting. I’m really looking forward to 2022, and how we can carry a lot of this learning forward. Like you said, looking up webinars, training. I think we even foster a culture here of that ongoing learning. And so yeah, bringing that stuff forward and some of these great initiatives and how we can continue just to help our clients.

Sharday Torgers…:          Awesome. Thank you, Shonna.

Shonna Caldwell:              Perfect. Thanks.

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