Irresistible data: digital qual insights so valuable, you keep coming back for more

woman with lip balmWhile cheaper and faster is one path to insight value, another is to leverage rich existing data more fully, to fuel multiple initiatives. This is especially true in the case of in-the-moment consumer insights gathered via mobile and digital qualitative research. Core learnings around behaviors, aspirations, experiences and emotions can transcend the boundaries of a single study and serve as foundational knowledge to drive multiple initiatives. This piece will explain how Pfizer did exactly that.

The story begins (and ends) with the ChapStick consumer. Pfizer wanted to build knowledge of consumers’ relationships with lip balm so that they could develop foundational knowledge to fuel new products, extensions and messaging. They wanted to understand the behaviors that surround lip balm, consumers’ ideal experiences, their moments of need, routines and habits, and their feelings towards the product.

Taking a mobile qualitative approach gave Pfizer access to behaviors as they happened, before they were rationalized or filtered by memory; delivering unobtrusive insight into their consumers’ lives. It also allowed them to ask questions, and encourage interaction between participants.

Pfizer had identified three segments of lip balm consumers via quantitative research. Twelve participants per segment were recruited, and began with introductory metaphor exercises asking them to choose a picture which describes their ideal lip balm experience (think ice creams and cherries), and one which described how they feel before they use lip balms (think deserts and bales of straw). This was a great way to begin the study because using images as vehicles for metaphors is a powerful way to help people access their emotions.

In total, the study was seven days long. Every day, participants filled out a multimedia diary, so Pfizer could understand how they interact with lip balm. The mobile app allowed participants to contribute their experience with lip balm in-the-moment so the data capture is around the moment of use — the what, when, where, why and specifics of applying lip balm. The blue stars on the image below shows when one participant used lip balm – you can see that it is used on waking up, after meals, before leaving the house, upon arriving home from work, and before going to bed. The participant had one lip balm beside her bed, another in her purse, another in her kitchen and another in her car for this reason.
IIeX Irresistable data image

On day three, participants were asked to go on a retail adventure with their mobiles. They snapped the moment that they were choosing their lip balm, and explained why they chose what they chose. This provided the whole narrative so that Pfizer could understand behaviors in-store and out.

Participants were then asked to go a day without lip balm, throughout which they kept a diary, in order to provide insight for both participant and Pfizer. It encouraged realisation of the importance of lip balm, and therefore emotion surrounding it, which was channelled into a letter writing activity the following day. Having participants write a letter to a product is one of the simplest and most powerful activities to use in understanding how people truly feel about it. It takes them into the realm of describing a relationship, where emotions surface more easily. Here’s an example of one participant’s letter:

“Dear lip balm,
Over the last week I have come to realize a lot about our relationship. Previously I knew I used you a lot, however, I didn’t realize how lost I would be without you in my life for an entire day. Lip balm, I now realize that I use you for comfort when I am feeling anxious and frustrated in addition to when I feel my lips are dry. You provide me a minute to think while I’m carefully digging you out of my bag and applying you to my lips. You also allow me kissable moments with my husband who I allow to use you every time he requests or I request it… I can always count on you to sooth me inside and out when I use you…Love, Erin”

The rich data collected by the Revelation | Next platform, provided functional, emotional and aspirational learnings for Pfizer, which they went on to use for several different initiatives. After analysing and utilising the learnings from this study, they came back 3 months later to drive a workshop using the same data. Then a year later, they went back to the data and looked at a particular segment more in depth. Because of the richness of the information from the original mobile study, it served multiple initiatives, and Pfizer saw a far greater return on their initial investment than the value of the original study.