Insights 2021: Exploring the Shifting Role of the Insights Professional

Insights 2021: Exploring the Shifting Role of the Insights Professional

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- Hello everyone. Everyone's coming into the room, welcome. Say hello in the chat. We're gonna get started in just a minute or two.

Just wanna let everyone in. So glad you're here. The number continuing to go up. Welcome everyone. Be sure to say hello in the chat. You also wanna make sure you change that setting to panelists and attendees if you want to share with everybody in the room.

- We have someone from Italy here. - Just saw that. Wow.

- In Mexico city, wow! This is gone international, how exciting! - Argentina, Puerto Rico. Great international following today. All right, well, it's about one after. I wanna give all the time we can to our presenters today.

So go ahead Katy and get started and we'll get the show on the road. - Fantastic. Welcome everyone. I am thrilled to welcome you to Insights 2021, exploring the shifting role of the insights professional. I'm Katy Emerson, vice president of customer success of the real-time market research platform, Suzy. We partner with hundreds of the world's top brands in helping them identify more agile ways to tap consumers for both quantitative and qualitative insights that drive business decisions.

I'm so excited to welcome you to today's discussion, featuring two fantastic women from two fantastic companies. In just a moment, we'll talk to them about what they're doing to keep the growth momentum from last year, going even as customer sentiments are shifting. But first let's get to know each other a little bit better. Lauren, if you want, go ahead and kick us off.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself. - Yeah. Hi, everyone. And thank you to Suzy and Insights Association for having me participate in this panel.

I am a senior manager of consumer and product insights at Hims and Hers, and some people know the brand, some people don't. So I'll tell you a little bit about it. We're a tele-health platform that connects consumers to medical providers for care across a variety of different conditions, many of which are stigmatized. So things like ED and hair loss for men, mental health, birth control, skincare, many others. We also have direct to consumer over the counter grooming products and it's all delivered in a monthly subscription to your door. I joined the company a little less than two years ago to create the insights function, and I really cover everything across research from product marketing brand and user experience.

- Awesome. Thanks Lauren. And Jen, why don't you give a quick intro as well? - Sure. Hi, everybody. I'm Jen kiffer and I'm the executive director of marketplace strategy at the Infatuation and Zagat.

I'll give a little detail as well. A lot of people don't know the Infatuation either but we are a restaurant recommendation platform. And Zagat, most of you I'm sure have heard of the iconic restaurant review brand. Zagat is back. We just launched last month.

So happy to report that news. And basically I head up all consumer and partner research efforts at the two brands. I'm also our resident storyteller and like Lauren, I actually joined and created this whole insights function and department at the Infatuation. - Fantastic. Well, I'm so glad that both of you could join us today.

So let's just kick things off with kind of a general question. I would be interested to just understand from you guys what are some of the largest shifts that you've seen within your roles within the past year? And Jen, let's start with you. - Sure. First of all, I don't know who I think I'm kidding. I'm gonna put these on. (Katy laughs) There you are.

Okay. So yeah, the last year obviously has been a whirlwind and I think more than anything else, it just really, really catapulted data and insights to a whole new level. It was so critical to our business to be able to tap into consumers at every step of the way last year. I mean, we are, like I said, a restaurant recommendation platform.

So when the pandemic hit, we were pretty wiped out from the get-go as restaurants shut down. So insights became increasingly more important and critical to making our editorial strategy decisions and our events decisions, and every, they informed every business decision we made. - Yeah.

And Lauren, what have you seen as some of the largest shifts over the past year? - Yeah, I think prior to joining Hims and Hers, I was on the agency side. And every year it felt like my clients needed research faster in a more agile way. They wanted it to still have the same quality and it was hard to figure out how to keep up with that. And then moving into this year, I feel that pressure more than ever. It feels like I need to be delivering, faster than I ever have before.

I need to be super sure about where I am prioritizing my research and my budget and my scope. I need to be connecting what I'm delivering to business impact more than ever before. It feels like this last year, yes, we've had to have such a pulse on the customer and the consumer, but it has to be within this lens of, okay, well, how does that impact our business? What was the outcome of that research? And that nice to have research just as doable anymore. So this year for me has just been thinking about how do I get faster and better and progress insights even more than I have in the past.

- I think that's so interesting and something that I've heard quite a bit from some of our clients have that nice to have versus the need to have. So I would just be curious from you both, what are some of those absolute need to have table stakes at this point? - Yeah, I can start. For our business being a subscription business, being still a new business Hims and Hers has only been around for three years.

So we're still quite new in the space. And the need to have research is really around who is our customer today, what do they love about our brand and our offering and how can we find more customers like them? And so the need to have research is all about acquiring customers finding them, understanding them. And then I would say now shifting more into a lens of how do we retain them? How do we understand what they love about us and make it even bigger for them? So I would say that need to have research is hyper-focused on a early stage funnel and now kind of mid-stage funnel - Jen, would you agree or don't you guys look at that a little bit differently? - Yeah, no, I agree with that a 100%. On top of that, my role is kind of twofold.

So while I do consumer research for our brand, we also do a lot with our advertising partners. So I think the must haves are really all of that research that leads to ROI. We're a smaller brand, we're playing with bigger brands, we're talking to the same clients, we're buying for the same business.

We need to prove our worth. So I think that's really the Mustang in our space right now. - So I think this is something I've heard from a lot of our clients it's conversations that I've been having with clients for the past year is just that insights folks have been brought into a lot of new conversations. The role of insights has actually really been elevated within the past year. So I would just be curious to understand if that's been the case for either one of you and what are some of those new conversations that you're being brought into across your businesses? Jen, I don't know if you wanna kick us off and start.

- Yeah, it's interesting because like I kind of said before I am an insights role, but I'm also a brand storyteller and brand positioning. I think it's so essential to be in those bigger conversations to understand the big picture. And my role is not to churn out some numbers and deliver it. It's to really distill the information, find the story, see the bigger picture. So I think our roles have expanded and we need to expand our roles to remain relevant and to grow.

- Yes, definitely. And I think like within the restaurant industry, we've seen that industry in particular has had some of the most drastic impact and transformation. So I just would love to understand the impact in how you're approaching insights specific to restaurants. - Yeah. So yeah, as we all know, restaurants were among the hardest hit.

So like I said, the rug was kind of pulled out from under us pretty early on last year. And just to get a little background we needed to, I hate this word, but we needed to pivot our entire editorial strategy because again, we are a restaurant recommendation platform and the majority of the content we were producing were restaurant dives and reviews. That wasn't happening anymore. So how do we still give our community that useful service that woody point of view, that trusted advice that they come to us for when the world is turned upside down. Excuse me.

So kudos to our amazing editorial team, but we really had to rethink everything. And so again, for those not familiar with the Infatuation too much, our guides a year ago, they're situational at heart. So it would be something like 32 places to go eat in your gym clothes or where to go when your ex calls or, you want Italian and your mom's coming into town, where to take her. So it was things like that, which all went away and it quickly turned into being really useful at this time and the places in your neighborhood that were doing delivery and takeout, the restaurants that are selling groceries. We had our resident bartender Brian, one of our editors, he was a bartender at LA Bernadette in New York city.

So he had this great expertise and he quickly whipped up this Instagram series Cocktail Hour, where he taught her community how to make the perfect cocktails at home. It was all about elevating that at-home experience and helping them through all of this. On the other end of that, we have a really big experiential business. We do tons of events throughout the year and that all went away, same as restaurants.

And we had to figure out pretty quickly how to turn that into virtual events. So I think by the end of March of last year, we had created our first wine school virtual events series. And all of this, everything that I'm talking about, stems back to insights and the conversations that we were having with our community the entire time.

We knew they wanted to attend virtual events. We knew what kinds, we knew they were stressed, they were anxious, they were bored. They wanted to learn a new skill. So we crafted these programs for them because they were telling us. It was constant back and forth similarly when they were done with virtual events or it was kind of fading a little bit, we knew that too, because they told us.

So we really, really relied heavily on those insights. Like I said, every step of the way to inform every kind of decision we made. - Yeah, I love that.

And I can think of, as you're taking me through that story, I can actually think of all the different new experiences that we had at home here from restaurants in the past year. And just kind of that cycle that you talked about of when you started to see the fatigue creep in a little bit of, okay, we're virtual events, let's try and mix up again. So that's really interesting. Lauren, I think on your side of the business, with Hims and Hers, you guys probably saw a little bit of a different trajectory.

So I don't know if you wanna, maybe wanna talk about some of the insight function and how that was elevated and just some of what you've seen over the past year then too. - The telehealth experience is complete opposite to what Jen is talking about. COVID massively accelerated the adoption of businesses and platforms like Hims and Hers.

Many of our customers prior to COVID were tele-health or direct to consumer subscription service, early adopters. And as COVID happened, all of a sudden we started to see a shift in who our customer base was. We knew that consumers were afraid to going in person, but they still need healthcare, they still have questions that they need answered. And many of them found their way to us and express the relief and being able to access high quality care from the comfort of their home. So I think that on a basic level, we spent the last year really trying to understand changing perceptions of tele-health and digital healthcare and how consumers were shifting their mindset from potentially feeling at first, like, "I have to see a doctor in person, otherwise I'm not getting good care," to, "oh, okay. This is working for me.

I am getting care I need for non serious issues or for things that don't need to be in person." So the role of insights is it was elevated. I am grateful to have tripled my team in the past year because the amount of requests and projects and needs was just exploding. And I think a really good example that brings that to life is we were tapped into consumers. We were hearing from them that they were stressed out.

They were anxious, they were burned out, they were depressed and they were feeling really alone. And so we launched a mental health category I think in April of 2020. And one of the offerings within that mental health category specifically came from insight. So we created this product called anonymous support groups where consumers can join anonymously in a digital format.

They have a licensed therapist facilitating a conversation on topics that were very specific to what they were looking to get help with. So at the time it was things like how to manage being in a house with your significant other 24/7, or how to be a parent working from home, or being pregnant during the time of COVID. And these were all things that we sourced from consumers. And we were able to say, "Hey, we hear you here is an offering." We made it free at the time just because the need was so big. And ultimately this offering helped introduce consumers to paid mental health offerings down the line.

So yeah, I think that the shift has really cemented the need for insights. And then we've been able to really deliver on consumer need by staying super tapped in during the past year. - Yeah, no, I think those are both incredible examples from both of you. We did have a question come through in the chat and just a reminder to post questions over in the Q and A.

But Abel asks, what were some of the biggest tension points that you guys might now face between the insights function and the rest of the business? So, Lauren, I don't know if maybe you can think of any that you're facing. (indistinct) gross. - I think, and this relates to, I think the first thing I said, speed.

The biggest tension point is speed. And I think that we don't have months to make decisions about things anymore. We have weeks sometimes days. And so in order to really ensure that the consumer perspective and the consumer voice is integrated into that decision, we need to flex and find ways to do that.

And so time is my biggest tension point. And I think, I am very thankful to work in an organization where everybody is extremely open to consumer insight. They want more and more and more, it's really a matter of how do I make that happen? So that's my continued tension point within the larger business. - Yeah. Jen, anything you'd add there? - Yeah, totally agree with that.

Time 100%, also bandwidth, I am still a one person department. As I mentioned, when I joined the Infatuation, there was no insights person or team, so I'm still working on growing that. But I had mentioned to Katy and Lauren yesterday that I spent a good deal of my career at Conde Nast, which had seemingly endless resources in both human form and research tools. So coming to a smaller brand, it's a challenge both from, like I said, a timing perspective and just sheer bandwidth, and it just makes us really up our game and we have to be more creative and we have to be more nimble and we have to be the best partners to our clients that we can, and we have to be a little scrappy.

And I think that, you know, scrappy is not derogatory, I take pride in my scrappiness. I deliver the same quality of work that leads to those meaningful, actionable insights, but it is a challenge every day for sure. - For sure. Yes, and we we talk a lot here at Suzy about, agile and DIY and really kind of taking that... people used to say quick and dirty, and it's so much more than that.

And I think I love what you just said there, as far as scrappy is not a bad word. It's not a bad thing. It's about like really kind of pulling in your resources and making the most of them.

Wondering a time where there is a huge shift in consumer behavior and consumer really wanting to understand that sentiment. But also just in the roles and the experience that you both bring into your organizations coming from large insight functions and then building out those roles. So I know we've been talking a lot about like the past and also a little bit about what both of you have done to shift. But let's think about like where we are today. And so I think like one thing that is, I personally have been very encouraged by is how many co-workers or clients have needed to reschedule meetings because they are out getting their vaccine or it's the day after the vaccine.

So we definitely have seen this accelerated over the past couple of weeks months, especially. I'd just be curious to understand from both of you, how much has the vaccine rollout played a role in how you're thinking about insights and the consumer now. - I can take that one. Obviously for the restaurant industry, it's all good. The more vaccinations that get rolled out, the more people feel comfortable dining out again. And it's like for the first time, we're kind of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

So much so that we are actually bringing back after a short hiatus, our big EATS Con food festival this fall in New York city. So obviously we have been monitoring consumer sentiment around the idea of being in a big space like that. And so far everything is looking really positive.

We're gonna continue to monitor that, excuse me, monitor that in the next month. But it's really exciting and it's kind of like the first bit of good news that things are opening up again. Hopefully things will continue on this positive path, but for us, I mean, it's the only good things. - Great. And Lauren, what about you? In the business at Hims and Hers, how are you guys experiencing just the shift in what's happening right now? - Yeah.

I think that what's interesting is like, I don't think anybody has an answer to what telehealth becomes once we all go back to in-person living. I think that for us, it's about continuing to monitor sentiment understanding and acceptance of tele-health and digital healthcare. We feel really confident that people who have used tele-health are going to continue to use it regardless of being vaccinated or not. I think it's more about understanding how do we evolve? What is the role between an in-person doctor and a tele-health platform play? How do we continue to be there for consumers as they go back to in-person healthcare? So yeah, I don't know what the answer is yet. I think we have to wait and see, but we'll be hand in hand with consumers as we continue to see the rollout of the vaccine and how it impacts healthcare. - Yeah.

And Jen, I know one thing that we were talking about earlier this week too, is just how quickly do we expect consumers to kind of fall back into their comfort level? We talked about that first big step of going back into a restaurant and actually being in a large space. So I just would be curious to understand, have you guys experienced or taken a look at, I know you mentioned doing some research around that, but just be curious to see what you're hearing from consumers. - Yeah, I think everybody is getting really ready to get back on their (indistinct). Is scratching the surface.

I don't think it was time until now. So of course we asked these questions months ago, which is now irrelevant before all the vaccines. But we just recently started really tracking this now, but from what we're seeing so far, people are ready.

They're telling us they're ready to go out and eat and drink again and be social with their friends and family. There are slight discrepancies when you break it down by age, and people who haven't gotten the vaccine yet because they were an eligible and don't have the appointments. So it varies.

But the overall perspective is that people are ready to get back out there by fall. Not right now. - Definitely. Getting some of the questions in the chat here.

And this one, I think Jen is maybe for you in terms of storytelling. So we had someone ask, what are some of the quick wins or action insights people can do to make their storytelling have more of an impact? - Oh, that's interesting. Number one, believe in what you're saying and say it with confidence. It's like you are the owner of all of this data and you are closer to it than anybody else. So you have to be the authority and really sell through that point of view. I'm not saying don't listen to anybody else's perspective, but you really need to take ownership of it.

See the big picture. Like I said, I'm like... I hate to say this, but I'm kind of research light, meaning I'm not an analyst.

I don't claim to be an analyst. I am not doing huge deep dives. That's not my forte. My forte is being that kind of hybrid and being able to do the analytics, but also having the creative brain to make that information digestible. And I just actually I did some research for a big client of ours and it was a lot of data.

And more often than not the people that we're presenting to are not researchers and nobody wants to get in there like we do. They just wanna know the story. So I'm a big proponent of designing things and laying things out in a way that's very, very, very clear and very digestible. Nothing makes me angrier than getting a data dump or a report that I have to work really hard. And I know what I'm doing and I have to work really hard to understand what's happening on that slide.

So I think it's all about presentation, clarity, distilling the information, and really, like I said, just knowing the bigger picture and seeing the bigger picture. - Yeah. Lauren, anything that you would add there as far as how you think about storytelling and kind of distilling lots of data into something that, again, people across your business can really understand and relate and understand, okay, this is what we're our next step is going to be then? - Yeah.

I mean, I completely agree with everything that was just said. I mean, edit, edit is the big word. I think that relationships are everything. So really getting to know the stakeholders or the clients that you're working for, what matters to them, getting a very specific into what data, what pieces of this story did they need in order to make decisions and editing your story and your data to match that objective.

And that sounds really obvious, but for me at least, you have all this data, I'm always really excited about all of it because I can see so many ways that we can action on it. But for my stakeholders, like they don't have time for that. They can't go through all of it. And so often I'm taking a bigger story and chopping it up into pieces and tailoring it to the stakeholders that I'm delivering for. And then I think the other quick win for storytelling is I always have a goal. I don't always get to this goal, but I try to make my stakeholders feel something.

I want them to come out of whatever I've delivered to them and either laugh or cry or feel an emotion. And I think that like, we are so overwhelmed with data points at this point, like that qual, those quotes, that emotion, like that is what makes people feel. That's what makes them walk away, understanding the story and feeling like, wow, like that insights person got it.

They got me what I needed and I know what to do. So yeah, I always try to make it a goal to make them feel something. - Awesome. That's my goal for this webinar also. So very cool.

So let's maybe shift a little bit into some of the tools that both of you use. We have a question here in the Q and A from Larissa, and she's asking what are some of the tools that both of you have used to make up for some of the challenges that we've talked about in terms of shortage of time and resources? So Jen, I know we were kind of talking a bit about this in the prep for this. So I don't know why don't you start us off? - Yes. I had to ask permission if I was allowed to really talk about Suzy in such a positive way, because I believe it. I didn't want it to sound rehearse, but we were fortunate enough to sign on with Suzy right before, I believe it was right before or right at the time of the pandemic. So it couldn't have been time more perfectly.

And I have to say it was a game changer for us. It really, I mean, talk about agile and scrappy. I was in there every day doing something and getting some kind of insight and it provided what we needed to not only inform our internal business decisions, but we were able to lend those insights and our credibility and authority to our advertising partners. So at this time when everyone was scrambling, nobody knew anything, things were changing so quickly day to day.

I was out there scouring the internet for every kind of article I could read. I joined every webinar I possibly could. And I did my own research and kind of like what we were saying earlier of taking all the tons of information that's out there distilling it down I created a few trend reports for our advertisers, so they don't need to do that. So we were really good partners to them and we were able to help them inform their business decisions. So it was two-fold, it was super helpful.

I mean, I can't thank you enough, actually. It was a great platform. - Oh, that's awesome to hear. And it takes us back to that word scrappy, and it just, it's about really utilizing the resources that you have all around you and using the tools in that way to really add value at a time where people are needing it so much.

So that's awesome. And Lauren, we have a question for you that kind of on similar theme here. So the question comes from, I hope I'm pronouncing this correctly, Rajora, they wanna know speaking of the time constraints that you face to really push out insights quickly how much time would you say percentage wise, do you spend on gathering insights and analyzing the data and then crafting the story for good insights versus then when you're ultimately delivering to your stakeholders across the business. - Ooh, that's a good question. - You guys off guard here, sorry.

(laughing) - Yeah. I would say that, it's probably close to 50 50, honestly. I would say that because, well, when I came into an organization that was only two years old at the time and insights was... nobody knew what insights was. They didn't know that you'd have to pay for research. Like there is a lot going on that I had to kind of ground myself and think about like, okay, how do I start to prove the value of insights, educate around insights without spending too much money because I'm not getting it yet.

And so I just took a really scrappy approach and I think that has played into my approach now that insights is established and grown. And so I still do the majority of the insights work myself. So I would say probably 50% of my time is spent on crafting the brief, the methodology, fielding the work, programming the surveys, moderating, doing it all analyzing the data and then 50% of the time, crafting it into different stories and taking it to different stakeholders and presenting it in different ways.

And I just think like they're both equally important. And so you have to balance your time to be able to do both of those things. If I were spending 90% of the time on the research and only 10% of the time delivering the story, that's not enough. My insights aren't gonna go very far.

So I've definitely had to think a lot about how to get into the data quickly and get out so we can deliver to stakeholders as fast as possible. And also as far as possible throughout the organization. - I think that's a great point. That's actually exactly how I feel and what I need to do. And that's why these agile research tools are so important because you don't have the time to spend on that end of it. When the bulk of the time should be spent trying to find those stories and analyzing and pulling out all these great points.

You shouldn't be, I think I was mentioning this yesterday, but you shouldn't be using a tool that you need an engineering degree and 10 hours of training to use. And I know a lot of tools are marketed as DIY and they are in fact not. So it's really helpful, but this part of the process is super easy and super fast. So you can devote that time to what really matters on the backend. - Yeah. We had another question come through the chat here as well.

Just kind of wondering what are some of the trade-offs from previously working with more traditional tools to now having agile be a bigger part of your tool set? Any trade offs that either of you have experienced and kind of had to make peace with a little bit, as you're thinking through agile. - I can take that too. The trade-off is I get in there a lot more. When you're using a big vendor, you kind of have everything done for you. When you're using agile research tools while great, there's a lot more work to be done usually on the backend. So I do get into the nitty gritty more.

So I'd say that would be the biggest trade-off I think. - Lauren, anything different for you? - Yeah, I mean, I definitely agree. Like I'm all up in everything in using these agile tools and it's really necessary because of, again, not that time piece and needing to deliver.

So it's actually so much faster, even if I'm investing more time in the tool, in the data, I'm able to see things early on and start to pass them along. It's early reads. There's a lot more iteration that's possible, but it takes up more time.

So there are other things I can't do as a result of investing more time in those agile tools. I guess the other thing I would say is sometimes, more agile tools can be less complex in terms of like design or logic or all of these kinds of nitty gritty nuances to the actual tools. So I found that I have to create work around sometimes to get exactly what I need. But again, the trade-off being, I'm getting it much faster, so I'm willing to kind of take some of those trade-offs and use it to my advantage. - No, I think that's really interesting.

Just kind of, it's a total shift in mindset of like probably the tools that you all were trained up on and started in your career versus what's available today. I would also be just curious how much a percentage are you guys looking at new tools and new ways of running research and analyzing the data? How much of your time is spent in some of that exploration? - Yeah, I can take that. I'm always looking for new stuff. I feel really strongly about innovating within market research. I think that like we are at this really critical point in our industry where we need to rethink, and I think the last year has enabled a lot of that to happen and it's only going to continue to happen.

So I would say I'm always keeping an eye out on research vendors who are offering new ways of working that fit my needs of research today. I did a project that was a month along and that was too long. So again, it's all about innovating and getting things faster without losing the depth and quality. I'm also always looking for ways to connect consumer insights, survey quality data, to other data that exists, whether that's data out in the world, business data we have. I think that we're being pushed as insights professionals to look more holistically beyond just that one project.

And so that's still, a need that I don't think it's fully met. But ultimately I think it's probably less than 10% of my time, but it's something I just always have an eye out and I'm always kind of willing to talk through new solutions. - So interesting. Great. Well then I think like, kind of thinking about some of the future of insights certainly, we're having lots of these types of discussions where so much has changed in roles and responsibilities and tools and ways of working in the past 12, 14 months that we've been going this pandemic.

I know both of you are tasked with a crystal ball and needing to have a crystal ball in your day to day, but what do you think as far as where the insights professionals are going to be? What are you looking for three to five years from now? How do you think the roles will be different? - Three to five years seems like a lifetime. (laughing) I don't know how the roles will be different, but I think that there are gonna be increasingly more important, with the changing privacy laws and a cookie list feature. And all of that first party data is gonna be more important than ever not to mention navigating a new normal in a post pandemic world. I mean, so I think for us in this room, our roles are gonna be critical at least a year or two years from now, again, five years sounds like hovercrafts and at this point.

- Lauren, anything else that you would add there? - Yeah. I think again the three to five years, it feels far away for some reason even though it's not. I think that the insights profession totally agree it just becomes more and more important.

I think we have the ability to be seen as a much more critical part of the business as a strategist, as a consultant, as a team member or a vendor who can go beyond just the data that we're delivering for that project. Being seen as a thought leader, like there's just so much opportunity within insights. And I think that there's just more and more of a focus on it. I also think that when we think to the future of our profession there's so much opportunity to streamline the things, the little things automate them, make them easier.

So we can focus on the bigger, harder questions that we need to answer. I think we can all get wrapped up in managing the logistics and like it takes up so much time and it takes us away from the storytelling and having an impact. So I see the future of insights going in that direction. I think, like I mentioned before, seeing a more holistic view of the data outside of our surveys being kind of pushed by our businesses to look at that behavioral data, look at that business data, tell the bigger story.

And I think that will be pushed to humanized humans more. Like I said, I think we're all really overwhelmed with data points and I just see, I mean, I'm such a qual person and I love qual, and I just see that becoming even more important too. Being able to really bring to life the consumer I think becomes more important as our world gets more complicated and complex.

- I think that also speaks to your point before and what I totally agree with about emerging technologies and new platforms and new tools. I think that's gonna be really exciting in the next few years. I feel like we're already on course to see with great new products already available for us, but especially in the area of qual, I completely agree with you.

Getting more deep and meaningful insights and connecting with these respondents in a more authentic way so they don't feel like the traditional email survey that feels like you're taking a test that's twenty-five questions long and you're bored out of your mind. We still do it, don't get me wrong, but maybe that will evolve into a more organic way of getting this information. So I think there's really cool things on the horizon. And if any vendors are on this call, I will talk to anyone. So I'm super interested in new tools like Lauren said.

And I do think that's the future of this profession. - Yeah. And I think having been on the customer success side for my entire career, for the most part it is really cool to see the insights function elevated within organizations.

And that's always kind of my number one goal is elevating our clients as much as possible. And so I think, just understanding from our customers what we need to do in order to keep that seat at the table, keep that value and really drive that. I love what you said, Lauren, as far as being thought of more of a strategist as a consultant within the business is really exciting and something that I do hope we continue to see. So this, I'm gonna shift gears a little bit more here. So Jen, I know one of the things that Zagat went through in the pandemic, was it a complete rebranding? And so I would just be curious if you could talk a little bit about your experience in rebranding during a pandemic.

- Yeah, that's interesting. We were supposed to launch our new product right before everything happened. So backup put on hold, but the good news is our product team and our entire editorial team have really been working the last year to make this incredible new product that just launched, like I said last week in Miami. But what's really cool about it is that now the way things worked out, we will be the only user generated restaurant, restaurant research, how many times a day do I do that? A lot. The only user generated content for restaurant reviews that is using only post pandemic data. So all data is collected post pandemic, so it's super relevant, very cool.

And I think that... Oh, thank you at Jeff Morton. But I think it's super cool and it's just kind of paving the way for bigger and better things for the new Zagat. We also, at the beginning of the pandemic, I wanna say it was June, we launched our Zagat Future of Dining Study, and this was meant to help with restaurant advocacy when restaurants were struggling so, so much, and to bring awareness to the situation and get people to support and get government to support restaurants.

And we did this study to almost 7,000 diners across the country, weighing in on everything about their current habits when it comes to dining ordering in, when they'll feel comfortable going out again, why like we went really deep and we got tremendous, tremendous responses. And what was really overwhelming was the amount of support and the love that people have for restaurants. And I think that one of the good things to come out of this pandemic is exactly that. It's kind of like an awareness and a reminder of how much restaurants and the industry mean to us all. Especially in New York, you live your life in a restaurant, in a bar.

And like I said, the support that people were coming forth with is really amazing. And I hope as the industry continues to rebound and rebuild in the next year, plus I hope that consumer support really continues. - Yeah, for sure. And just, being a Chicago and myself, there has been tremendous support for so many of the restaurants here and it's been pretty cool to be able to say, you know, yes, I've dined in a New York, I've dined in a greenhouse, I've dinned in igloo this past year. So there's lots of cool experiences that have come out of this as well. And Lauren, same question for you, as you're just thinking about branding throughout a pandemic, anything that you would add to what Jen already shared? - Yeah, I think in terms of branding, I mean, we've definitely shifted a bit in how we think about our brand.

Like I said, we launched a mental health offering. We launched primary care services, we had COVID tasks that could be delivered to your home. There is so many product offerings that came out kind of as a result or accelerated because of COVID. And so thinking about our current customers, the customers we had prior to COVID and how we could offer them a more holistic health experience and how we could become a bigger partner to them. At the same time, thinking about bringing in new customers who were unfamiliar with us, or hadn't heard of us and really honing in on messaging and branding that helps them understand, we totally get you, we get where you're at, and here are different ways that we can provide you with really high quality care during this really difficult time. So yeah, I think a lot of our branding has just been focused around understanding where people are during this time and how that relates to their healthcare needs.

- Yeah. We had another question come in through the chat here. As far as what's the most exciting challenge that you're trying to crack as it relates to your consumer? And the question actually is for both of you, so I don't know who wants to start. - Hmm. That's a good question. - I can start.

I think that the most exciting challenge is a lot of what what I've been talking about is as we think about the future of healthcare, what does that mean for our offering and tele-health, and really becoming a partner to people in their healthcare. We know that traditional healthcare there's a lot of flaws to it. People hate waiting online at the pharmacy. They hate waiting in the doctor's office. They have questions outside of their appointment that they want answered.

And there's a lot of ways that our platform and our services at Hims and Hers can solve for those pain points. And I think that the challenge right now is how do you create something that doesn't totally exist yet. And how do you do that in partnership with customers? How do you create a long-term relationship with them through a telehealth offering and how does that compliment traditional in-person healthcare experiences? So, yeah, I think the exciting thing is there's not a clear map for what that looks like and what is going to work best for customers. But absolutely something that we're working on figuring out.

- Awesome. Thanks Lauren. Jen, anything you'd add to that? - Very different situation.

What we've spoken about before, what's exciting for us is at restaurants are coming back and the industry is coming back. But something that we've been doing over the past year is really expanding our content. So we started as a purely restaurant recommendation platform. And now over the past year and into the future, we're really kind of expanding the breadth of our coverage.

So we're doing more recommendations, more product recommendations. Of course in our area of expertise, food and restaurant and cocktails adjacent, we're not gonna be recommending cosmetics. But we will be doing things like the best gifts to get, your coffee drinker friend or the best glassware to make those perfect cocktail. So that's exciting. We're kind of expanding that editorial coverage. - Great.

You guys, the hour has absolutely flown by. We're almost at time here, so I wanna make sure that I get to a couple other questions in the chat here. And this one kind of helps to wrap us up a little bit.

We had the question come through from somebody of what is your best advice or even resources for a recent MBA graduate that has accepted a role in insights. - Hmm. - I don't know, Jen, I feel like you're noodling over that one. - [Jennifer] I am noodling. - I can take it.

So advice, I think... I don't even know if this is someone new to insights or just all of us, but something that I had to do in taking the role at Hims and Hers is be really honest with myself about what I'm good at and where I have room for improvement, or where my knowledge gaps are. The role required me to be very much so a generalist. I was doing all of the research and had to flex into areas that maybe I hadn't been trained in before, or I wasn't familiar with, one of those things being UX research prior to Hims and Hers, I didn't have experience on, and so coming into the role I had to invest in learning that skillset and figuring out how does this fit within my larger research tool box? And so I think just being really honest about where your strengths are and where you have opportunities and going out and learning at least the basics in a wide range of research. I think that the other piece of advice I would give would be relationships are everything. Like I mentioned before starting within a new insights role really spending the time to get to know all of the stakeholders that you are working with and asking them what's most important to them and what they need to see from insights.

What are their goals? What are they trying to achieve? We get lifted up when we lift others up within the organization. And so I think just really investing in taking that time to learn the ins and outs of the stakeholders that you're going to be working with. - I love that. I think that's great advice. Jen, any other advice that you would give? - I think that's fantastic advice. I'll leave it at that.

Lauren summed it up perfectly. - Awesome. Well, you both have been so fun to spend the last hour with so thank you so much. I think we got to a good amount of the questions in the chat here.

But I feel like Lauren, you kind of like left us on a great note there with some great advice. So Jen, I will hand it back over to you. Not Jen kiffer, but Jen Insights Association.

So thank you so much for spending the last hour. This has been great. - Thank you ladies. That was a great presentation. I know there were some questions that we were unable to get to. So Katy and I know we have another Katy in the back.

If she wants to put in an email address where anyone who wants to reach out directly, we will also share the recording with all the attendees. But I just wanna again, thank you to our panelists today, Lauren and Jen and Katy, and I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their day. So thank you all so much. - Thank you. - [Katy] Thank you very much everyone.

Take care.

2021-05-02 17:19

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