NEW YORK, February 14, 2013 — We all watch those clever Super Bowl spots, the advertisements that make us laugh. Most are not aware of the work that goes into identifying the right way to approach a customer base, the research that is critical to the vision of a company. This is where Andrew Reid comes in as Founder, President and Chief Product Officer of Vision Critical.
Research and analytics are constantly evolving. Reid’s family background in research is intriguing. But what Vision Critical is doing to make brands more informed in real-time is why this Q&A is particularly interesting.
What events or previous experience led to you starting Vision Critical?
I grew up with my father in Canada. He was a pollster. He sold to a French firm. You usually try and do what your parents do or get as far away as possible. I went to film school and worked with interactive companies. Then I rediscovered market research and realized the research area was behind in 1999. That’s when I decided to start Vision Critical in 2000.
In the field of strategic research what makes Vision Critical unique?
Market research has been a dirty word lately. Behavioral data has exploded. Social media allows you to voyeur in on what people say about you. We sit in the middle uniquely, alowing clients like NASCAR, Discovery, Banana Republic and more to talk to a representative group of their customers at any time. This two-way dialogue with customers leads to actions based on feedback. Discovery launched a new channel based on this. We understand customer opinion in a unique way, facilitating dialogue to make game-changing decisions.
What role does social media play in your approach?
They allow the enterprise to peer on what is going on with their customers, conduct sentiment analysis. We think it’s fantastic. It’s leading to more questions that need to get answered. We can validate and dig deeper with that core customer base.
What’s next for Vision Critical? Where do you see growth in the industry?
We’re reaching out globally. Brazil, Northern Europe, Asia. Everywhere there is a desire to understand customer opinion. I think a lot of customers don’t have the tool but they know the questions. We give them the tool. We’re going to see this industry tip because it’s a fundamental thing all companies need to have.
Why is it becoming increasingly difficult to listen to the voice of the customer and how is VC helping?
The customer is more in charge than they ever been. Brands can’t afford to miss. They have to be able to validate, have to have decision making competence. Online engagement matters so much because we need to go a step further. Wells Fargo said roughly 40% of customers will be engaging through social channels with brands. It delivers the business a tool set that they can track and how to make very large decisions. That’s pretty big.
We’re pioneering the insight community phase by acquiring DiscoverText and enhancing analytics. We can now quickly tag and process huge volumes of unstructured data.
There will be no questionnaires if we can really understand unstructured data. You get the best responses when it’s natural and not a forced series of questions.
What makes you proud about where you are to date?
We’ll hit 9 figures in top line revenue. Most tech companies are concerned with usage over revenue. We have done it the old fashion way while flying under the radar - working with 650 global brands and 1/4 of the Fortune 500.
Jeff Barrett is a recognized leader in public relations, experiential marketing and social media. CEO of Status Creative, 2012 PRNewswire Award Winner for “Best Use of Video In Social Media” and once stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.
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