Recently, Matt Dusig and Lisa Wilding-Brown sat down to discuss the things market research professionals want to know about the next generation sampling platform.
Listen to the conversation or read below.
The burning question I have for you is, why do you think the industry needs yet another sampling platform?
That is a great question. I think part of it is selfish in that our team has been developing platforms for almost two decades now, and we just wanted to build something that we felt was better than all the rest, that taking all of the experience of the past and putting that forward into something that was faster, easier to use, and allowed our clients, which are mostly research agencies and some corporate research departments, to get faster access to respondent data.
And I think we’ve done that. So, while there are many platforms that exist today, I think there aren’t many that come with the pedigree that we have developed over all these decades to build a better mouse trap.
Why do you think market research professionals are going to care?
I think the key is faster answers. Everybody wants faster answers. Whatever those answers mean, whether it’s just an answer to a poll or an answer to a survey or they want faster insights that are derived from the data, that’s the key.
I think the solutions that exist in general on the Internet to do almost anything, whether it’s banking, shopping or any other types of service, people like just logging on and doing it. We don’t email our bank to say, “Hey, can you transfer money from this account to another account?” We just want to log on and do it.
And so, sampling is complex. There’s a lot of nuance. It’s not as simple as “Transfer $100 from account A to account B.” The requirements for delivering a good set of sample to a survey can be complex.
I think the ability to do it well is what we’re striving for. Research professionals should care because we are focused on what makes them look good and allows them to do it at anytime of the day or night.
What other sample procurement problems do you think we’re solving for or improving upon?
Well, it’s funny, in the early days of sampling, most of our clients would say to us, “We only want you to sample from your proprietary panel and just give us those respondents and that’s that.” And the idea of multi-sourcing or blending sample from many sources was pretty much frowned upon for the first decade of online research.
But I’d say for the last five years and maybe more, researchers that we work with have come to realize that in order to find those hard to reach audiences, you have to source from a wide array of places online and databases. And now typically, clients are asking us to fill the quota, get the job done, and even if you have to source from many places, make sure that there’s quality.
And quality is a personal term. Each client has a specific definition for what quality means, but typically what they mean is dedupe and make sure that people aren’t speeding, and that they’re authentic and real and providing thoughtful answers.
One of the issues that we’re solving is the ability to have access from multiple sources. Of course, you can sample from our proprietary panel, which is called Point Club, and that is the key reason that people should be interested in using Pegasus. But the other is that you can bring your own sources, or you can utilize other sources that you’re familiar with and drive all of your sample traffic through one central platform to screen for quality, to screen across quota management, general demographic and geographic targeting. I think that’s one of the key problems we’ve been solving - speed, access to many sources of sample.
Pegasus is not a survey authoring platform like SurveyMonkey or many of the other solutions. It’s a automated Do-It-Yourself sampling platform. With that in mind, we allow clients to use any survey authoring platform that they desire, whether it’s SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, Qualtrics, Confirmit, or many of the others. Pegasus will work with all of those different platforms. And then the ability to layer in all those different sources that we mentioned, the ability to add multiple sources of sample traffic and have them all screened through Pegasus is a really great value add.
Can you explain why you have put so much focus on the user experience as you’ve developed this platform?
Yes, I’m definitely obsessed with user experience, and not just on our own site. When I go to other websites, whether it’s a shopping site or some kind of administrative site, I’m always frustrated with how things work or how they could work better.
We run an internal sampling system that we call Edge, and Edge is the foundation for where Pegasus spawned from. If our employees can be super-efficient, if our employees can use a solution that’s super-intuitive, then it makes our entire business more operationally sound. And we’re hiring new project managers all the time, and some of them are new to the industry and some are more experienced. But in either case, our tools are likely new to them, and so the tools have to be super-easy to use so that they make less mistakes, and our clients on our managed service side of the business have a great experience. When it came to Pegasus, it was the same philosophy.
It’s “How do we create a solution for people that generally have not bought sample themselves, or they’ve tried to do it themselves on other platforms, but found that it was too complex, or it took too many clicks, or it wasn’t intuitive how to get from point A to point B in the platform”? And we’re really obsessed with that; we think about that all day long.
And of course, the goal for our company is to reach the long tail of potential buyers of sample, people that maybe only buy a few times a year. And so, we have to have a solution that makes it easy for them to do that, and the next time they log in, there's not as much heavy-lifting to figure out how to do it again.
What other features or aspects of the tool do you think are better than the last platform that we built?
I think every time you build something or design something, you tend to mess it up, especially if you’re doing it from scratch. And then, when you do it again, or you do a similar project again, you’ve learned from your mistakes and you tend to continue to enhance and improve and do things better. So, overall this is a better platform than our last platform.
One thing that makes it better is the ability to build complex, nested quotas in the platform and to be able to monitor sample flow across all those quotas, and the flexibility to shut down specific quotas or shut down different audience groups within a project, making the platform very, very flexible. Any of the information or the numbers of sample that you’re requesting can be modified at any point in time during the fielding process.
One day you’re looking for 50 completes, the next day you can update that to 100. Or at one point you’re looking for 50-50 gender split, and then the next day you could change it to 60-40. It’s super flexible, and I think that’s really what makes it better than the last platform.
What can the industry expect in future iterations? What’s coming in the future?
We recently launched a program called Pegasus Perks, which is a program that rewards customers for continual usage of the platform. We know there are a lot of platforms out there that they can choose from, and of course, we’d prefer that they start their sampling job or come back to Pegasus more often than not.
So, Pegasus Perks is a new innovation that hasn’t been seen in our industry before in any of the DIY platforms that exist. I think we’ve really built a program that revolves around what our clients want and need. Also, once you’ve automated sampling, and once you’ve created this foundation of all the technology required to deliver audiences on time, targeted with some level and layer of quality, then you’ve really poured the foundation for the future of an insights business, and for us that might mean the next step is to create some kind of light programming solution.
We have no interest in competing with programming solutions that exist on the market today, but we do see a need for the ability to get faster answers. So, or course, I think the next evolution would be to allow clients to collect some data and do some very light analytics on top of Pegasus. Of course, there are many other ideas we have for 2019 and even into 2020, but we’ll probably talk about that in our next conversation.