Guillaume Guerrin, Ipsos: The Market Research Turnover in Romania is close to 70-millions-Euros, in 2017
Interview with GUILLAUME GUERRIN, Head of Online & Mobile Research for Europe, CIS, Africa – Ipsos
In today’s world, the relationship between customers and companies is, almost, if not completely, digital. The Romanian consumer, regardless of the product/service uses, changes at the same pace with the society. How careful is the Romanian business environment to the changes that occur in the consumers’ mentality? How often are the businesses doing market research to find the changes in the consumers’ behavior?
GUILLAUME: If we look at the market research turnover in Romania, it is close to 70-millions-euros, in 2017. In comparison with other smaller countries from CEE, this value is small (Hungary has more than 80-millions-euro turnover in market research, Czech Republic more than 90-millions-euro, Bulgaria has the same value as Romania). Looking at the countries with the fastest growing progress in terms of research spend, Romania is on the second position with 17.9% growth after Russia with 21.2% growth.
The companies that are doing market research in Romania are still the big multinational companies (international and a few Romanian ones) that pay to have their ideas validated and tested on the market and, of course, this is followed by good results when the products or advertising campaigns are launched. It would be ideal for small Romanian companies to start using some new, efficient methods (quick and affordable online solutions) to test their strategies, before going on the market with the final products.
Online vs. face to face surveys (by phone or direct contact with respondents)? Are there market studies that determine the behavioral differences of the respondents? To what extent can online respondents be more honest in the absence of human interaction, when filling in the questionnaire? What is the evolution of the online surveys in Romania compared with neighboring countries, but also with Europe?
GUILLAUME: 50% of the global market research turnover is now represented by the Online Market Research, considering that the traditional methods include not only the so called Offline Research (CATI, Face to Face etc.) but as well the clinical research (which represents a big part of the Research budget spent and can be done only offline). The evolution of online market research started around 20 years ago.
Online or Offline – which one is better? It depends for what – some of the research types will never go online (clinical research or research among the people that do not have access to internet). From the perspective of the data quality it has been proven that online people are freer to express their feelings and opinions compared to offline. Online/mobile research can collect easier the” in the moment” data, meaning to ask the person at the moment or after an event happens, what are/were the triggers for their decision. Example: buying from a supermarket – thanks to the mobile phone the respondent can be asked at the moment of buying what are the triggers for their decision.
At the same time, research on research studies prove that there aren’t major differences between online and offline, or the ones that appear are not significant.
As a conclusion: the differences between online and offline research, especially for quantitative research, are negligible. If we go on the pragmatic side, the costs and fieldwork periods in online are generally more than 40% lower, and the companies everywhere are looking for this advantage.
In the online environment the customer can, without effort, migrate to competition, and is constantly bombarded with promotional messages. To what extent can we talk about retention and what weighs more – attracting new customers or retention/loyalty? The balance of Romanian companies (the reality of the market) leans towards?
GUILLAUME: According to a desk research conducted by Invespcro at global level, it is 5 times costlier to attract a new client than to keep an existing one, while 44% of the companies have a greater focus on acquiring new clients and only 30% have an equal focus on both on retention and new clients focus. The above figures are in the context of 89% of companies who see a good customer experience as the main factor for loyalty and retention.
In Romania, the situation is not too much different compared to the above situation, but our perception is that there are some big multinational companies that are trying to have the customer retention and experience at the highest levels, while a big proportion of the medium and small businesses care less about the client satisfaction and more about having the job done and receiving the money. For the companies that are not valuing so much the customer experience, it would be a help to have trainings and consultancy programs that would aid them develop this area. Increasing 5% the customer retention, according to the same study, will bring 25-95% increase in profit.
Technology always helped gaining and maintaining the Customer retention and satisfaction and we are happy to see that IMWorld is doing a very special conference event, supporting the acknowledgement of the importance of digitalization in Romania and thus helping companies to be more aware of the need to keep up the pace with new technologies.
How much do marketing campaigns of companies focus on research on their own clients? And who do companies choose to address first: the client they have or the client they want?
GUILLAUME: In general, the consumers studies are testing to so called category of products (which includes as well the competitors). Of course, the clients would like to understand their consumer in order to learn what they need and like, so they are prepared to offer at least the same type of service. On the other hand, studying the whole category will provide them insights on where the competition is better, what they should do to be better than the competition and attract the client from competitors. From this perspective, an approach at category level helps more.
Ipsos Interactive Services is the international hub and the Center of Excellence in Online Data Collection for the entire Ipsos group. Of the 1,700 employees globally, over 1000 are in Romania. Why are Romanians ideal/preferred employees in this area? What distinguishes them from the other 89 countries in which Ipsos operates?
GUILLAUME: Our story started 17 years ago from the ambition of a young Romanian-Swedish entrepreneur who decided to build, with only 8 programmers, a start-up company focused on providing software solutions for the market research field. The company developed fast becoming today an international HUB with an immense success which made us understand that the qualities of the Romanian work force was the key for developing the company in a new domain like Online Market Research. One of the most important aspects that makes Romania an ideal destination for multinational companies is the very good mix of people that have competencies for real sciences, human and social sciences. Romanian students have a great tradition in performing at the highest levels in international tests. On top of this, the level of competency in terms of English and French made the companies integrate easily the Romanian workforce in their global network of talents.