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In recent years, research professionals have come under increasing pressure to produce insights needed to make decisions faster. Traditionally, the quest to deliver faster results has been addressed by becoming “lean” or “scrappy” – streamlining research designs and removing non-essentials. For many of the professionals who seek this kind of agility, such streamlining has often implied an accepted tradeoff between speed and accuracy. Now that technology has developed to a point that research speed is a given, however, the researcher’s goal has turned from shortening timelines to finding still-agile research solutions that deliver the same depth and impact as any traditional research.

The Consumer Insights department for a major financial services client was tasked with finding -a quick-turn early stage communications testing tool. On the must-have list: the testing model had to be customized to their advertising objectives, it had to be demonstrably predictive of advertising in-market performance…and of course, it had to deliver reliable, repeatable results in days, not weeks. Not a simple ask. 

Working hand-in-hand with our client, C+R was able to develop a truly customized and agile ad testing system that met all these challenging objectives we named Rapid Response. Then, after making it as quick as we had ever hoped, we employed improved scientific and technological improvements that not only made Rapid Response a better predictor, but also provided more intuitive delivery to guide our clients to confident decisions.
 

Problem

In 2012 (even before “agile” became a buzzword in the consumer research space), our client asked C+R to develop a quick and efficient ad testing tool customized for them. The client’s current testing system provided results that they felt were “cookie-cutter” in nature and not fully aligned to their key performance indicators. Further, the old system was built on an industry-standard timeline that was much longer than they preferred. Working closely with the client to understand the brand and communication objectives, we created a questionnaire and designed a reliable monadic exposure testing approach that delivered invaluable focused information. This new product, C+R’s Rapid Response, allowed clients to choose creative material with the best chance of success, all in half the timeline of previous testing.

Result

True to the vision, our client’s ability today to open the portal during a meeting with stakeholders and make more confident, more specific decisions about which concepts to pursue advertising decisions on the fly is the definition of “agile.” Better insights in an even more agile timeframe!

The continued evolution of the already invaluable Rapid Response tool is a testament to the idea that agile research does not require us to sacrifice on data quality standards, customization, or insightful analysis. By anticipating the needs of our clients, thinking creatively about how to push barriers, and having the buy-in and full collaboration of our client partners, we were able to develop solutions that turned out to be both faster and more impactful. 
 

Solution

Working closely with the client to understand the brand and communication objectives, we developed a questionnaire and designed a reliable monadic exposure testing approach that delivered invaluable focused information. This new product, C+R’s Rapid Response, allowed clients to choose creative material with the best chance of success, all in half the timeline of previous testing.

Over time, C+R was able to find increasing efficiencies to shave even more time off the delivery calendar.  After running hundreds of ad tests over the next several years, Rapid Response had proven its ability to provide solid insight in choosing among ad concepts, providing reliable results in less than 48 hours. 

With our timeframe efficiency goals accomplished, we were tasked with thinking about agile research improvements in other ways. Namely, what more could we do to improve on Rapid Response’s ability to predict how a finished ad would perform once it hit the airwaves? Beyond that, how can we take even more time off the calendar to deliver team-ready reports directly to our client end users?

C+R was able to address these problems by partnering closely with the client. Our advanced analytics team worked together with the client’s statisticians, business owners and senior management to correlate the scores of historical Rapid Response ad concepts to the tracking performance of on-air ads and compare them in ways that made meaningful business sense. This thorough analytic process led to a new configuration of the same measures and a +30% increase in the model’s ability to predict in-market performance of ad concepts, all without having to make changes to the core questionnaire.

The new and improved Rapid Response model also provided a concise and insightful ad scoring system that lends itself well to easy-to-digest graphics. Leveraging this new data view, we partnered with our client and developed for them a custom portal accessible to the entire client organization. The portal is straight-forward and intuitive, with the functionality of easy-to-read insights, full drill-down into diagnostic measures, and seamless access to the full library of more than 500 of their own past ad test results as benchmarks. 
 

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