Pre-MRMW North America 12 Interview: Pala Kuppusamy

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

As part of the pre-MRMW North America 12 series, I got to talk with Pala Kuppusamy of Research Now Mobile (formerly iPinion).  Pala drives home the benefit of being in-the-moment with mobile.  Here’s our conversation.
RM: What are you most excited to share about with us at MRMW and why?  What difference could it make for your audience if they were to implement what you’ll be talking about?
PK: Its all about harnessing the power of mobile for smarter research and insights. Location awareness, for instance, is extremely valuable information that can be used for high quality research and insights. I believe we have a high level of maturity in capturing and using this information elegantly for research purposes in variety of ways. The audience from Retail, Consumer Goods, Automobile, Healthcare, MR firms can implement this for triggering location based surveys in real-time, target people based on past movements and patterns, trigger surveys at specific venues, and more. The location awareness, combined with rich media upload capabilities and barcode/qr code scanning makes it a perfect tool for shopper insights, ethnography and diary studies.

RM: What do you think that the current market research world is afraid of when it comes to innovating on research in the mobile world?  What enabled you to get over the fears and innovate?  What motivated you?

PK: One major hesitation we observed from the Market Research world in adopting mobile research was the immediate comparison to online surveys and the worry about missing some sophistication that they were used to, in online (PC) world. There used to be some reservations about representativeness, response rates but as more and more data points are being published in favor of mobile, these questions have subdued. At times, the operational issues (additional work involved) with adding mobile research as a channel had also deterred some research firms in adopting mobile research.

What really got us over these challenges was our firm belief that things are changing rapidly with the smartphone revolution. Although some businesses were hesitant to change or embrace mobile, we saw consumers embracing mobile with hands wide open. This is the only technology in the history to see such a rapid adoption. It’s revolutionary. We knew that the businesses HAVE to change / adopt their approach sooner than later as all consumers are going in this direction. You should go fishing where the fish are, not where you are comfortable. 

The real big motivating factor for us was the traction and adoption we saw from the enterprise clients. They were our early adopters. We saw large consumer goods companies, healthcare, retail firms using mobile research tools at infancy. Soon, many of the large MR firms were quick to adopt mobile for research purposes. The interest from these large MR firms as early adopters was another big motivator for us. We know that they would be the ones who will drive volume.

RM: This is definitely my favorite quote: “You should go fishing where the fish are, not where you are comfortable.”  It’s true, mobile gets us so much closer to the fish.  Thanks for your time, Pala.


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