Market intelligence is more important – and complex – today than ever. And for those looking to tap into the growing Brazilian market, its value cannot be underestimated. Last year, a new player came onto the local scene to help companies big and small gather market knowledge in an innovative, technology-based way. The startup? MeSeems.
Renato Chu, Lucas Melo, Thomas Vilhena and Nicholas Mizoguchi started the project to help businesses and individuals gather market knowledge and information by way of a smartphone app for consumers and users. The MeSeems platform proposes a win-win scenario for companies and users, providing its clients market insights and data in a simple, cost-effective manner, and encouraging users to interact by way of gamification tactics and prizes.
“Basically, we are shortening the gap between companies and consumers with an innovative approach to market research, which is extremely valuable for companies, especially in a time when consumer opinions are highly fragmented and continuously changing,” explained Renato Chu, co-founder of MeSeems.
He discussed the solution in detail with PulsoSocial as well as the challenges of getting both companies and users on board.
Emily Stewart: Can you explain a bit about how the solution works?
Renato Chu: MeSeems is an integrated digital platform that allows its clients to send customizable questionnaires and other type of interactions to a specific profile of users registered in the MeSeems mobile app.
First, the client registers on the website and prepares the type of interaction that he is interested in submitting to our mobile users, usually a questionnaire. Then he chooses the type of profile that he wants to answer that specific questionnaire, selecting basic filters such as gender, age, region of residence and social economic class. Last, the client submits the interaction for approval, so we can verify the content.
We then send the interactions to the users of the app that match the profile selected by the client. As they start answering the questionnaire, the client can monitor the flow of answers in real time in the platform, and after it reaches the number of answers needed, he can export all data or even use the online filters in the platform to get a better visualization of the answers.
Basically, we are shortening the gap between companies and consumers with an innovative approach to market research, which is extremely valuable for companies, especially in a time when consumer opinions are highly fragmented and continuously changing. We offer a higher level of engagement from our mobile app users through gamification and through simple and fast questionnaires, turning market research much more attractive for users.
ES: You’re working to get two very different entities on board with this – businesses and consumers/users. How do you strike a balance in your approach?
RC: Since the inception of the business model, we knew that we were going to face a controversial situation, offering on one hand a fun and playful mobile app for users and on the other hand a serious and reliable platform for clients. Nevertheless, we have decided to take the challenge and incorporate both sides within MeSeems.
Everything within MeSeems that is related to our clients has to be extremely professional, since we know that our clients, most of which are corporate clients with research expertise, will demand a knowledgeable team to support them, high security standards for their databases and research results, and a reliable base of users. That is why we constantly perform sanity checks in our users base, compare profiles with secondary data, measure response time, among other internal processes.
On the other side of the coin, the interaction with the app for users must be fun. We want them to feel that they are contributing to the development of better products and businesses, and we want them to do so having fun. That is why we implemented several gamification design aspects in the app, such as a point system, badges, rankings and hierarchy.
In addition to the platform and operational aspects, we also have a team of mentors and market research specialists with over 25 years of experience, entrepreneurs, lawyers, bankers and even college professors specialized in user engagement and marketing. They all contribute to create a balanced MeSeems for both users and clients.
ES: How do you get users on board with this?
RC: We offer to the users that join MeSeems the guarantee that if they stay enough time, they will get a reward. It is basically a loyalty program, and it depends of the engagement of the user. If the user is active, i.e. he invites friends, gives us feedback and keeps his profile updated, there is a high chance he will reach enough points to go to the movies in a couple of days.
Aside from tangible return to the users, we offer a light and playful platform, different from most of the research platforms you find nowadays.
ES: What sorts of clients and businesses is this best for?
MC: The platform works for every kind of business, and even for individuals. There is no limit of what you can ask the user base, provided that your intention is to better understand them.
Whether you are an entrepreneur that intends to assess the market potential of a new business, a marketer that wants to check the brand retention of your company, a journalist that wants to verify the public opinion towards stem cell research, or the head of product development in a multinational company that wants to decide the best name or package for a new product, MeSeems will work as a channel to the wisdom of the crowds.
ES: For what kinds of companies doesn’t this work?
RC: We don’t see any type of company that would not benefit from using what we offer, provided that the research is well intended.
ES: What are your plans for 2014? Will you go beyond Brazil?
RC: We intend to strengthen our operations in Brazil during 2014, increasing the number and quality of our user base. There is a lot of room for expansion of digital market research in Brazil, and we intend to seize it. Going beyond Brazil is an interesting plan, but it’s not in our short-term to-do list.