May 25, 2017 Kelley Styring

Three Technology Assists that Enhance Consumer Learning

Illustration by Paul Noth from The New Yorker.


Paul Noth New Yorker Cartoon of a policeman in a futuristic police car who has pulled over another futuristic looking car

Illustration by Paul Noth from The New Yorker.

When it comes to the self-driving car, most people I know fall into one of two camps:

  1. those who cannot wait to legally text while being chauffeured around, and
  2. those who clutch their keys with dread.

Love them or hate them, all the recent news about self-driving cars has pretty much everyone thinking that they are right around the corner.

Apparently not.

According to a recent research article by McKinsey & Company, the advanced technology actually required to make human drivers obsolete may be as far as 10 years away. Turns out, the sheer number and complexity of variables and decisions involved in driving still require a fully alert and engaged human.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t employ technology to assist us. Emergency braking, self-parking, lane-departure warning systems and more assist drivers, making it easier and safer for all of us.

Kind of like technology and market research.

There is no technology or algorithm that tells us all the answers. But just because understanding consumers still requires fully alert and engaged humans doesn’t mean we can’t get a solid assist from technology.

At InsightFarm, we’ve been applying behavioral science methods to qualitative and quantitative research practices for years to uncover the “whys” behind consumer behavior. We’ve also been using technology to help us facilitate deeper, richer consumer insights that allow the brands we serve to make better and faster business decisions.

Three of my favorite technologies I like to blend with traditional methods for richer learning include:

1) Digital Ethnography:  Sending consumers on Digital Missions to record shopping or product experiences “in-the-moment” and unedited allows you to capture a First Moment of Truth and hear commentary in the consumer’s own words. We can use this to screen for respondents to meet in person or do more in-depth Digital Missions for us.  This enhanced, iterative learning is truly high-impact.

2) Facial Coding:  These systems have evolved from pure human coding to pretty sophisticated software that can be used in-the-moment of even post-hoc on existing video.  This adds a new level of reliability to the video we capture during Individual Interviews.

3) Online Qualitative:  Asynchronous research provides flexibility for consumers and this gives us access to consumers who might otherwise be difficult to engage.  Then, we can choose the real superstars to meet in person, tour their homes, watch them shop and really go deep on the insight.

Want to talk about deploying some proven technologies to help you get to know your consumers better?  Send me a text and let’s schedule a conversation: 503-554-5567.  Or email me:





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