We are living in a time where brands have unprecedented access to massive amounts of data; so much, in fact, that it takes AI and machine learning to analyze it all. Yet, while brands complain about drowning in data, they are starving for insights. Big data is powerful, yet notorious for revealing observed consumer behavior without detecting the emotional motivations behind that behavior. Unless brands can engage in immersive one-on-one conversations with consumers that reveal the nuanced details of their lives and surroundings, brands risk losing the “whys” behind the “whats.”
Enabling on demand conversations, globally, in an easy-to-use platform that doesn’t require integration into existing (often siloed) data platforms is a tall challenge. Discuss.io’s platform has features and functions built into it that mirror the best practices of traditional qualitative research methodologies, but leverage technology to provide make the process of gathering consumer insights easier and quicker. We enable seamless global recruitment of participants, rapid transcription and translation, keyword searchable archives and the ability to easily “clip” and assemble video reels that showcase the highlights of consumer insights in their own words.
Discuss.io enables brands to generate the insights necessary to make better business decisions by engaging directly with consumers through real-time conversations. Using live video, brands are able to connect face-to-face, online, in order to achieve a rapid and deep-seated understanding of consumer perspectives and behaviors. This “agile empathy” empowers brands to make better real-time decisions, leading to reduced time-to-market, more successful products, and more effective marketing. The Discuss.io proprietary platform erases geographic barriers, expanding brands’ global reach and equipping them with a cultural and contextual understanding of the consumer populations that they target. Today, Discuss.io is powering insight generation through consumer connection and empathy programs at many of the world’s leading brands.
Proactive Personality of Discuss.io
Zach Simmons, Founder of Discuss.io, is a huge proponent of making data-supported decisions and listening to users and consumers when deciding on strategy and product development.
Prior to starting Discuss.io, Zach worked at Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a Product Manager. At AWS, they had access to every big data tool on the market; despite having an incredible amount of data at their fingertips, it was still very challenging for them to gain the perspectives of their consumers.
The impetus for founding Discuss.io came from Zach’s observation that too many developers created software and technology products and services that nobody actually wanted. He watched these products fail and came to the simple conclusion that nobody had actually talked to a consumer about their unmet needs. Why? There wasn’t an easy, scalable, cost effective platform that would enable all stakeholders within a company to have a conversation with a consumer whenever and whenever they needed to. Insights were too often gated behind the walls of the market research department; their traditional tools for qualitative consumer engagement or gathering “voice of the customer” data were focus groups and one on one interviews, which were too expensive, took too long and not available to everyone in the enterprise, especially when they need a quick validation coming straight from a consumer.
Discuss.io’s mission is simple: to make it fast, easy and cost effective for brands to speak with consumers on demand, around the world without leaving their offices. When brands speak directly with consumers, they develop understanding and empathy for the consumer, which then translates into insights that fuel successful strategy, marketing, and product development. Discuss.io believes that empathy and understanding of consumer needs is best built through firsthand human connection and conversation, wherever consumers live, in their own environments. Further, they believe that a live video platform is the best way to enable global insights generation at scale, through conversations with consumers whenever and wherever brands need to engage.
Discuss.io is helping clients reimagine who can have access to the voice of the consumer. Traditionally, Insights departments have been the only teams to hold this privilege. Other stakeholders only gain access to insights after they’ve been passed through layers of filtration. The impact of the initial human connection gets lost. When stakeholders engage with and understand consumers directly, they can be more consumer-centric in their decision making. They become better partners with their Insights teams to collectively interpret the meaning and implications of what consumers have to say. Stakeholders can include anyone from Insights, Brand Managers, Marketing, R&D, Strategy – anyone who would benefit from access to the voice of the consumer.
Consumer engagement should not be challenging to integrate into normal business processes; it should be an everyday practice. Discuss.io makes it incredibly easy, fast and cost effective for brands to find and speak with consumers around the world, on-demand, early and often, in real-time, over live video.
Moments of Recognition
Discuss.io has been named a GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative Research Suppliers of 2017, part of Marketing Week’s 100 Disruptive Brands 2017, and a Gartner Cool Vendor. They were recently named one of Women in Research (WIRe)’s Top 10 Diversity Champions.
“Discuss.io has fundamentally disrupted the way Unilever approaches connecting with consumers and global focus groups.” – Marie Wolfe, Consumer & Market Insights Director of Research Innovation, Unilever
Democratized Consumer Engagement for Business Impact
Discuss.io helps multinational brands develop better insights through consumer engagement. Currently, access to the voice of the consumer is siloed, largely being in the domain of Insights teams. The whole process of engaging the voice of the consumer is transactional, time consuming and difficult; Marketing asks for research, Insights conducts it; Marketing makes a decision (or not) based on that research independently from Insights. Rarely do stakeholders in Marketing (or other cross-functional teams) have the opportunity to actually speak with consumers. While Marketing is the one who benefits the most from the insights derived from consumer conversations, they interact directly with consumers the least.
By making the process of speaking with consumers around the world incredibly easy and on-demand, they are helping their clients to tackle this engagement challenge within their teams. When stakeholders talk to consumers early and often, they are able to identify the insights that build empathy. Empathy, particularly at the initial stages of an innovation funnel or the development of communication, helps brands understand consumers and their perspectives. Without listening to consumers, marketers run the risk of creating products that consumers don’t want and campaigns that don’t resonate. By having conversations with consumers in early stages, brands are acting on authentic consumer insights that will lead to better Marketing and business decisions.
Challenges for Adoption
Nothing is harder than breaking a habit, and for decades, companies have depended on and invested in old methods for engaging consumers in order to develop insights that drive their business. Despite the statistics that most new products fail and most advertising campaigns don’t deliver ROI, brands are reluctant to embrace “bright shiny objects” touted as disruptive innovations. The stakes are higher and higher; “tried” may not be true, but embedding a platform and approach to generating insights takes confidence.
Additionally the siloed nature of marketing and insights has led to Insights teams being wary of letting go of control. As more and more marketers and their research team understand the value of accelerating and democratizing voice of the consumer, adoption has increased.
Consumer Engagement in the Modern Day
Discuss.io’s offering comes at a timely moment. Today, consumers are already embracing mainstream live video technologies, like FaceTime and Skype, as an effective means of communication with friends and family. Even previously non “tech savvy” audiences, like seniors and children, are now comfortable with live video and use it in their daily lives. So by harnessing a familiar technology, Discuss.io enables conversations between brands and consumers (in their own environments) that is easy, natural, and authentic.
Discuss.io’s offering is also proving to be fast, and highly cost effective, so that brands can engage in this crucial act of obtaining insights without the cost and time commitment of the old methodologies. Clients are finding that using Discuss.io can help quantify KPIs, like faster time to market and more effective product launches.
Future Lane of Discuss.io
Discuss.io strives to make consumer engagement incredibly easy, fast and scalable across the enterprise. Their plans for the future revolve around the continued effort of making their solutions integral and seamless to their clients’ business processes.
A lot of global service providers attempt to provide support by placing their Customer Support teams in one office, in a region with availability of low-cost, skilled workers, and have them rotate through three shifts throughout the day.
Discuss.io has built their Customer Success team differently. Rather than following the standard model, their team is distributed globally, across different local time zones, in order to provide support for projects being conducted in the very regions in which they live. When a client has a project in the field, their team provides regional support during working hours, conversant in the local languages, and knowledgeable of regional nuances for doing business. By having a regionally diverse team, they are able to provide around-the-clock support on all conversations that take place over their platform.
New Inventions to Rolled out Soon by Discuss.io
Features and functions enhancements are rolled out continually. As they continue to make the consumer engagement process easy and accessible, you can expect to find Discuss.io’s process increasingly simple. Currently, the company is working on refining the user experience of their platform, making it super simple and on-demand for their clients to set up projects and making the recruitment process even more streamlined and automated.