Written by: Fenna Bullen
May 20, 2022

How Thompson Marketing Consulting managed to have dogs as online qual participants

Imagine dogs being the main participants in an online taste test? For Angela Thompson, founder and principal of Thompson Marketing Consulting anything is possible. When one of her clients approached her to lead a dog food test, she accepted the challenge with open arms. By using CMNTY Platform for her unique research project she was able to make both the dogs and her client jump up and down from excitement. 

Thompson Marketing Consulting is a Certified Women's Business Enterprise and Women Owned Business. Angela Thompson, Melissa Olson and Nichol Butsky serve clients across all marketing functions. With a couple of decades of experience with consumers and consumer needs, the agency works with clients that are anywhere in size from direct-to-consumer, digitally native, non-storefront all the way through to global brands and every size in between. Thompson Marketing Consulting’s signature touch is to customize every project to the client’s personal needs. “We start at the end goal and then we work backwards, customizing the strategy with that end goal in mind, bringing along all of that experience in retail and consumer product goods"

The Challenge: an online dog food taste test

The client, a dog food company, approached Thompson Marketing because they wanted to do a taste test for a new dog food concept. Bearing in mind that the most important participants were actual pets, that wasn’t even the biggest test. The main difficulties of the research were the need for detailed, personalized instructions throughout the project as well as the rather long duration of this ambitious taste experiment. Talk about a challenge! 

For Thompson Marketing Consulting it was clear from the start that quantitative research wouldn’t be versatile enough. They were looking for a solution to facilitate both quantitative and qualitative research to get the best results possible out of the taste test. For this client in particular, the aspect of mixing both qual and quant in just one single platform was extremely attractive to Thompson Marketing. 

It was critically important that the dog owners received detailed, personalized information throughout the project and that they were able to share feedback or ask questions whenever they desired. This research required a tool for one-on-one communication during the entire project in addition to the general conversation that they would have with all research participants.

A dogs’ behavior speaks louder than words!

Limiting themselves to quantitative research, Thompson Marketing would have only been able to track behaviors, attitudes and usage during a two week time period. The objective of the study, however, was the owner 's perceived enjoyment of the new food. Having unlimited interaction and engagement with the owners was vital. 

Angela Thompson on using the CMNTY Platform and mixing quant and qual:

“The ability to have qualitative opportunities such as video uploading or even a comment section to explain and visualize changes in behavior, attitude and usage made the quantitative information much more robust. It added color and brought that relationship to life. The videos of the dogs jumping up and down and running around getting all excited for the food really brought the study to life. You can't live without having that qualitative element. Using CMNTY Platform was completely invaluable to this client because with all these reaction videos they had marketing to work with. They did not only receive valuable feedback, but they had color and imagery to really launch their product.”

One-on-One vs. One-to-Many

Thompson Marketing Consulting recruited a range of individuals who were very familiar with the brand. They were sent a new kind of dog food along with very detailed and personalized instructions. All participating dogs were fed over a two week period and owners were asked to share everything from opening the bag up through filming their four-legged friends eating the food. 

The detailed and personal approach of this study asked for the possibility to communicate one-on-one. Thompson Marketing was able to divide the participants based on dog size, breed, diet…and could engage with just those groups in particular.

Melissa:

“I think at one point we wanted impromptu feedback from a specific breed and CMNTY Platform allowed me to group those participants. Most of the participants didn't even see that something was going on, but the owners we needed feedback from, were able to receive all the alerts.”

Smooth, customizable and user-friendly

CMNTY Platform is built to organize your online research as smoothly as possible. It is easy to set up, user-friendly and with the right support, you’re one step closer to ‘running with the big dogs’. 

Melissa:

“I really liked how customizable the platform was for our client. We were able to make CMNTY Platform look like an extension of the client’s own website. The research participants were existing customers so it was so nice that the platform looked familiar to them. The client was very appreciative of that. Our CMNTY Customer Success Manager, Robert Belpasso was also very generous with his time and got me up to speed in no time. Once I understood which tools I needed for this project and which ones I could delete, the platform was so easy to work with.”

Having a user-friendly platform was crucial in this type of research. Thompson Marketing had to keep all participants (humans and dogs alike) fully engaged the entire time. They needed to keep as many participants with them from day one up until day fourteen in order to get the most thorough results out of the taste test. 

Angela:

“I think it speaks to how intuitive CMNTY is to the user that they stuck with us for two weeks to engage in those quantitative studies and to upload those videos. If the platform was not user-friendly, we would have lost folks along the way and we didn't. We ended up with around 120 participants of varying ages and less than a handful of people needed more attention. It was extremely easy for them to film, to upload and to respond.”

Dogs as marketing superstars

One of the main research tasks for the dog owners was to upload videos of their pets testing the food so Thompson could add additional context around the quantitative. The intention was not however to use them as a marketing tool. But with dogs being the adorable animals they are, that plan took a surprising turn.

Angela:

“Once you see these dogs, their excitement and their enthusiasm, a lightbulb went off and the client immediately said: we should share this! It was an unintended byproduct of working with CMNTY Platform.”

Angela:

“One of the great parts of the tool is that we could reach back through the CMNTY Platform to share that we loved the videos of their dogs and that the client would like to use them in their marketing strategy. Having that connection with the community was invaluable.”

The perks of building strong communities

It’s needless to say how incredibly helpful these kinds of consumer insights are prior to launching your product, service or brand. Building a strong online community enables you to listen to your target audience in a way you have never done before. 

Angela:

“While we're talking about dog food here, this could apply to any trial. Having the ability to send consumers products to try and being able to give their feedback online over a certain period of time is incredibly valuable to businesses before they have a big launch.” 

Getting excited to build a strong online community? Ready to engage with your (potential) consumers? CMNTY Platform is just what you need! Get a free demo here or contact us via sales@cmnty.com

Contact Thompson Marketing Consulting here: angela@thompsonmarketingconsulting.com

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