Community panels will change the way research is done: Bruce Wells

13 Aug,2012

By A Correspondent


In a business environment that’s getting increasingly competitive by the day, one can find clients making a beeline for research so as to stay ahead of the curve. Over the years, one is aware of the role that research has helped in making clients understand their TG and get closer to addressing their every need.


From the traditional mode of questionnaire-filling & face-to-face surveys, market research today has evolved to include support from technological resources, including social media, which not only helps in lowering the costs and time but also gives customized information from the target audience. One such client that’s made an entry into India is Vision Critical – one of the largest global software developers for market research. Having achieved success worldwide, the company has entered India by associating with market research company, MRSS India.


Bruce Wells, Managing Director and President, Asia of Vision Critical was in India recently and spoke to MxM India about his plans for India, expansion plans in Asia and how research software can alter the market research scenario in India. Excerpts:


How would you describe your foray into the Indian market with a venture with MRSS?

The Indian market plays a very important part in the global market research landscape and Vision Critical is very excited to partner with MRSS in India. We know that with the digital media coming of age and the rapid increase in the adoption of mobile phones and internet access represents an exciting opportunity for Vision Critical, given our suite of technology. So yes, the going has been exciting this far.


Do you have a phase-wise activity plan that you’ve drawn up for the Indian market?

The platform that Vision Critical has works across many different consumer segments such as media companies, FMCG clients, financial services, telecom, travel, and so on. What we are doing in India is looking at segments that have high growth potential, especially in the digital domain. We’ve been talking to some large multinationals and also local companies that have increased number of customers moving into the digital age.


What is the investment push that you plan to pump into the Indian market?

The way our business model works in Asia is that we are tying up with local market research companies that have a similar view and strategy in terms of recognising the opportunities of using digital communication. So, we have tied up with our strategic partner MRSS and we are working very closely with them in terms of giving them best practice, giving access to our technology…it’s a partnership model where we are investing our knowledge, experience and skills in supporting Majestic MRSS.


Research activity in India is still looked upon as being a manual exercise with less inclination towards dependence on software. Going forward, do you see a shift taking place in the way research will be conducted in India?

What we have observed in other markets is that, for example, people using social media for communication and engaging with the outside world is on an upward swing. This trend is not going to reverse. As the consumers consume media and use social media differently as a communication platform, so must brands and research companies adapt – that’s exactly where Vision Critical sits. Just as social media has changed the way people communicate, we believe community panels will change the way research is done.


What has been the response from clients to software solutions being doled out by specialist firms like Vision Critical?

If we look at the clients who are gravitating towards the new way of doing research, these are mostly companies with a technological background. So clients from telecom, ISPs, travel, retail, finance and so on are high on our list. But where we see a greater adoption of digital consumption, those are going to be the areas that we will prioritise in. As I said, it’s amazing to see such an alarming growth of the digital medium…especially the number of new mobile phone subscriptions in the country that’s growing at a staggering rate. So it’s an exciting place to be in.


We’ve spoken to a host of clients and they have been pretty enthusiastic about the offering. The Indian research market industry is very smart – they produce some of the best research work ever seen. This validates our assumption that we are doing the right thing at the right time and the right place.


What are the challenges facing research software companies like Vision Critical?

The first challenge is to use our platform in the community panel space. The thing is that the consumer needs to be online so that will limit certain aspects of research that we will be able to touch on in the short term. The biggest challenge is moving from traditional methodology to something new. Also, the challenge is identifying companies that are ready to adopt new approach where we have seen great success with our technology in the West – from North America all the way through Europe, Australia and now Asia. So it is about finding clients who are eager to move to newer way of doing research.


Any upcoming or developing markets that you plan to expand to?

We are looking to expand into Mainland China, Singapore and Japan. These are our next markets to focus on. It will mainly be about focusing on countries that have high concentration on digital. As for the other markets, we expect to expand our footprint in Latin America, Africa and similar markets where we expect to see more people come online.


What is the growth you are anticipating for Vision Critical in a year’s time from now?

I would expect at least more than 20 clients to use our service within the next 6-8 months. I am a firm believer of the expression ‘success breeds success’. Once a few companies start using it and we get people aware of using community panel, then we will see what the scene is in other markets. The challenge right now is that most clients are not even aware that these types of technologies exist. But we hope to see people using community panels very quickly.


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One response to “Community panels will change the way research is done: Bruce Wells”

  1. Gr8 info!!!! About Marketing research & indian market

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