SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Gerald Ang, CEO at Milieu Insight

Gerald Ang, CEO at Milieu Insight talks about the various ways in which better market research and analysis can benefit and empower sales and marketing teams:

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Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Gerald, we’d love to hear more about Milieu Insight’s platform, Canvas and your newly revamped mobile app Milieu Surveys? How do they serve end user needs? 

Thanks for the warm welcome! I appreciate the opportunity to share more about Milieu. At the heart of what we do at Milieu, is an end-to-end consumer insights technology platform that seeks to automate the entire value chain of consumer engagement to help our clients make better and faster business decisions through the wisdom of the masses. 

There are two core pillars to our technology platform, Milieu Surveys, our award winning mobile app-based survey platform that allows us to engage with millions of consumers across South East Asia, and Canvas, our real-time customer dashboard that empowers our clients with the ability to access a broad range of consumer insights instantly, launch studies within minutes, and get actionable insights within hours or days. 

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Our platform serves the needs of consumers and businesses alike. With Milieu Surveys, we provide consumers from all walks of life with an effortless way to contribute their opinions. In doing so, we allow consumers to have a say in a plethora of topics, from social issues, to products and services. By focusing on the user experience and gamifying the survey taking experience, we make the survey experience fun. This allows us to build broader and higher quality survey communities that enable our clients to make more accurate decisions. 

With Canvas, we aim to revolutionize the way organizations use market research. Considering how fast organizations need to make decisions these days, our solutions are designed to be agile and actionable. Our focus on user experience also extends to Canvas, which we have carefully designed to be intuitive and flexible. We make market research accessible to a broader range of end-users. Even those with no prior experience in running market research studies find using Milieu a breeze. 

Both parts of our platform interact with each other seamlessly through our proprietary technology, allowing us to provide industry leading turnaround times that have changed the way consumer companies use insights for business decisions. As our product matures, we want to eventually become an industry infrastructure, empowering businesses big and small to build communities and engage with them daily. 

How are you seeing the demand for improved customer data and analytics transform in today’s marketplace and in your view why is this change becoming critical to sales and customer facing teams? 

The world we are living in today is vastly different from the world we were living in a couple of years ago. The pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways and in turn, changed the way consumers make decisions. As such, the demand for more agile and innovative consumer data solutions is higher than ever before. More so since, organizations are seeking ways to win in a highly competitive marketplace with ever-changing demands. The increase in demand has also come with different demand dynamics, as organizations move towards online engagement of stakeholders given social interactions are limited. As such, they are relying more on digital ways to run research studies, as traditional methodologies such as face-to-face become less viable and the need for timely insights increase. The proliferation of affordable smartphones in emerging markets has also made this shift easier than ever before. 

These changes are far reaching and impact more than just the sales and customer facing teams. From agency creatives to government policy makers, the need for insights on how people behave and make decisions is more important than ever before. Given how fast consumers are evolving, it is critical to get access to up-to-date data in a timely fashion. The unstable market landscape brought about by the pandemic presents opportunities for organizations to make material progress in their share of the market by making the right decisions at the right time. Agile and timely data solutions empower them to do so. 

What are some of the research aspects that today’s sales and marketing teams seem to be struggling more with and in your view what kind of tools/platforms and best practices can help (besides Milieu Insight of course!)? 

The status quo for market research is still highly tedious and costly. Sales and marketing teams already have enough on their plate with their day job. Market research should make their lives easier, and not more cumbersome. Traditional research is not easy to manage and takes the time of sales and marketing teams away from the core of what they do. Beyond that, sales and marketing teams also struggle with the timeliness of insights – receiving insights weeks and months after you need it is too late, and the market landscape may have changed further by then, rendering these insights irrelevant. 

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I would say that tools and platforms that have a strong focus on user experience and agile solutions will help. Across customer data and customer relationship platforms, we have seen many advances in software-based solutions that make it easy for organizations to quickly acquire and build strong infrastructure that support specific parts of their business. In the area of research, we are moving in the right direction, with more tools out there that allow businesses to run research effortlessly. However, each of these tools focus on specific parts of the value chain while Milieu focuses on the entire value chain of research to provide clients with a seamless, end-to-end experience. 

In terms of best practices, the playbook is still being written as the world is still going through big changes daily. I would say the best practice now, is to be as adaptable as possible and respond to changes as fast as you can.

What does it take for today’s sales and marketing teams to improve their understanding of the customer insight? 

Today, online quantitative research is the fastest growing sector within the US$70+ billion global market research industry. And yet, little has changed in the past decade in terms of how online research providers recruit, engage and manage their audiences. 

The sales and marketing teams must understand that user experience issues in online market research are critical, as ignoring UX can result in poor data quality due to the respondents’ randomizing or speeding through surveys. 

There is also the issue of professional panelists – a very serious one, that I often equate to that of ad fraud in the online advertising industry. It is not spoken of much. Professional panelists are respondents who sign up to multiple survey-taking communities and power through as many surveys as they can without paying attention to the responses they provide. At worst, some professional panelists even create automations to game survey platforms at scale. It is important to weed them out to ensure the insights are the most genuine. Sales and marketing teams need to be highly cognizant of the need for high quality insights. At Milieu, we take data quality very seriously, and ensure that all our users are genuine and provide their honest opinions through a myriad of automated quality control measures. 

Insight providers also need to focus more on the user experience of their tools and platforms. Customer insight should be accessible to as many people as possible without the need for prior research experience. 

A few thoughts on how you feel the B2B technology segment will move in 2022? 

As digital transformation continues to gain pace due to the pandemic and natural progression of emerging countries, the B2B technology segment continues to look bullish, with an increased demand from companies big to small for solutions that can help them be more operationally efficient, and agile in making business decisions. We have seen how communication software such as Google Hangouts, Zoom or Microsoft Teams rapidly gained broader usage across businesses and government organizations alike. This shift to digital solutions will extend to other parts of a business, from human resource management to market research. Milieu has a range of exciting solutions in our development pipeline that will continue to change how people can leverage research via technology, and I can’t wait to share them with you once they are ready.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital sales/customer communication tips and best practices before we wrap up! 

The future is very exciting! Amidst the pandemic, I am still very optimistic about the relentless advance of human innovation. With emerging concepts such as NFTs and the metaverse, there are many opportunities for businesses to change the way they communicate with their customers. I would say understanding the zeitgeist is the most important thing to keep in mind in these times. It is easy to lose sight of the world out there with social interactions being limited and work from home being the status quo. Whoever understands how the world has changed the best and fastest, will win and emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. At Milieu, we are expanding our suite of solutions to cover even more use cases, allowing our clients to have more ways to engage with their consumers and access actionable insights.

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Milieu Insight is a consumer research and analytics company that helps businesses thrive in a data-driven world of rapid change, where the need for reliable, quick information to make strategic decisions has never been greater.

Gerald Ang is the CEO at Milieu Insight

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