MarTech Interview with Rodolphe Barrere, Co-founder and CEO at Potloc

Rodolphe Barrere, CEO & Founder at Potloc discusses the various factors affecting consumer research models today and how social sampling is impacting this evolution:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Rodolphe, tell us more about Potloc and what inspired this journey?

I created Potloc with Louis Delaoustre as a response to a much-needed revamp to the way consumer research has been conducted up until now, as consumers changed behaviors during the past 2 decades due to globalization, the rise of mobile technologies, and interconnectivity, the opportunity to make these changes happen was unique. 

Potloc was born as a way to advance the methodology, using today’s technologies, and placing consumers at the heart of it all. Since we use social networks to deploy our surveys, we have access to insights of a new generation of consumers: Millennials, Gen Z, as well as other demographic and interest groups –including shoppers and non-shoppers.

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In today’s highly personalized marketing and advertising environment, how do you feel marketers can improve how they grab insights from their audience to improve their targeted campaigns?

Traditionally, marketers have relied on traditional methodologies to survey their customers for more than 30 years now. Panels, phone interviews, mall intercepts all have their merits and their place in understanding consumers. However, with the advent of social media, we are now more connected and present online than ever before. There are 4.3 billion social media users worldwide. That’s a little over half the world’s population. So I would say to marketers: If you are targeting people with your products and services online through paid ads on social and other media platforms, and trusting your revenue generation with what people are doing from their phones and computers, don’t you think you should be capturing what their thoughts and experiences are in the platforms they not only love and trust but also spend a large chunk of their time at? 

Getting insights from the very people you target with your campaigns, at the times when they are most open and willing to answer (usually while scrolling their social feeds), about the topics they care about, gets you fresh, honest responses that will inform not only your campaign strategy, but also your customer experience, R&D, and personalization tactics.

In what ways have some leading brands used channels and mediums like surveys to improve insights on audience behavior and to enhance their overall user experience?

Conducting research via social media is like tapping into the collective intelligence of your audience. We’ve seen our clients running research on what celebrity should be the next “muse” for their perfume, or measuring customer experience beyond the typical NPS score with long-tail commentary or verbatims that people on social media take the time to write, which in turn informs their SEO strategy and even sentiment towards their brand. The occasions of use are really endless, but one thing we do that most methodologies can’t is that we can target non-customers (via geolocation, interest targeting, etc). This allows businesses to survey their competitor’s customers, leaving customers, or people who want your product or service but have never heard of you. This type of insight is a treasure trove of data that can provide businesses with cannon fodder for their marketing strategies, product development, CX, UX, and so on.

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What are some of the top challenges you see marketing leaders struggle with despite access to rich marketing technologies and data today?

Access to data doesn’t guarantee success. There is an ocean of data out there and the quality of that data varies dramatically depending on the source. I think the main challenge is to ensure the data you are using is sound and really valuable. Especially when it comes to consumer research. Taking panels, for example, they recruit people who get paid to answer their surveys over and over, and although some of them have up to 60M people registered, you are getting insights from a professionalized pool of respondents. Getting fresh, non-incentivized respondents on target and relevant to your business becomes key in assuring better data quality and meaningful insights.

As the need for deeper intelligence and insights grows, in what ways do you feel marketers of the future will have to broaden their processes and technologies to be able to track more data with automation?

If marketers are willing to evolve along with consumer behavior, it won’t be about the amount of data, but more about the quality of those insights. Snapping out of traditional market research and exploring new technologies like social media sampling, or in-app surveys will go a long way in reaching consumers where they are spending their time, and where they are willing to have more meaningful conversations with the businesses that cater to them. Each research methodology has its place, but as consumers migrate towards interconnectivity, social networking, and their digital footprint keeps growing exponentially, marketers will need to adjust to being where their target audience is.

A few last thoughts and takeaways for marketing leaders and CEOs/CMOs to keep in mind through 2021?

Just as the pandemic triggered the need for remote work, it has also created a spike in social media adoption. Surveying people on these platforms not only makes complete sense, but it is also a must if today’s marketers want to stay relevant and drive meaningful change, driven by the collective intelligence of their audience. As the world keeps moving towards a larger online presence, marketers need to adapt to that new reality. We’ve all experienced it in the past 2 years: It’s swim or sink. And sinking is not an option. So what would it take to swim along and understand what people want? The evolution of the research industry is happening, and the ship is sailing fast. Are you onboard?

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Trusted by the world’s leading brands and consulting firms, Potloc provides hyper-targeted consumer insights that help businesses understand the habits of their target audiences. Founded in 2014, Potloc has established a new standard in consumer research. Using social networks, we make data accessible, allowing businesses to connect with their communities.

Rodolphe Barrere is the Co-founder and CEO at Potloc

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