We believe that mobile-first is people-first. By engaging audience of today with a mobile-first approach, we can unleash brands from desktop-only research to deliver more representative audiences and new data for insights.
The UBMobile Story
Craig Stevens and Dyna Boen have been market research pioneers for most of their careers. Each has held executive roles and led the growth of some of the most successful companies in our industry.
Throughout the past 20 years, both have been deeply involved in leading the industry migration from offline to online methodologies, and they’re doing it again as we move from online-primary to mobile-first approaches. In both instances, consumer technologies play a big role.
Prior to co-founding UBMobile, Craig and Dyna’s respective roles in their previous companies had them at the center of online panels, data collection, and data quality. With the benefit of knowledge gained, coupled with consumers’ swift adoption of mobile devices, they knew the research industry needed to move faster to stay aligned with audiences of today.
“Craig and I had like-minded conversations about our industry on multiple occasions. There was always a mutual respect. Once we were both ready to launch our own business, we decided to co-found UBMobile and build toward our shared vision.” –Dyna Boen
To some it may seem an unlikely pair… the somewhat conservative Dallas businessman and the non-conventional San Francisco businesswomen. What binds them as partners is a shared vision, a similar “Type-A” work ethic, a strong focus on client service, and an aggressive play-to-win attitude. “We have many similarities that have created a great partnership, and friendship. Where we do have differences in experiences and style, those things create a more complete and balanced leadership platform for our employees and clients.” commented Craig.
At the heart of it all, the UBMobile team is committed to its core values, pulling from past experience in business and in life. “We take the positive learning from past endeavors and pull it forward into technology development, marketing, sales, and team management. We have a global team and everyone on that team knows we’re competing to win.” commented Dyna.
Craig added “To compete to win, we’ve committed ourselves to develop the best products and services for our clients, create a sustainable growth journey for our team, and deliver meaningful value for our shareholders. We strive to be resourceful, efficient, and productive every day. Because we’re a global team that stretches beyond Dallas and San Francisco to Minneapolis, Salt Lake, India, Peru, and Costa Rica, collaboration is important. We start every day at 7AM with the technology team and wrap every day with the sales team at 5PM. We’ve found short but frequent communication removes daily obstacles and keeps everyone tied together despite our global footprint.”
UBMobile believes in the notion of conscious capitalism, meaning that it can create a successful business and also be net positive on social and environmental sustainability. With their consumer brand LifeTap, the drops of water represent content flowing into a user’s stream, along with the flow of data and insights it provides to its clients. But it also represents a universally mobile element. Water flows throughout our world and clean water is important to all of our lives. From the beginning, it’s been UBMobile’s intent to support clean water globally. They already have plans to develop this more fully in the coming months as they expand their business.
In their lives and in their careers, Craig and Dyna express they’ve had the fortune of being surrounded by wise mentors, talented colleagues, and amazingly supportive family members. Dyna shared “Those of you who are entrepreneurs get it, because when you start your own company, it takes a village and everyone’s in on it.” While the UBMobile team continues to grow, Craig and Dyna are extremely appreciative of those who believed in their vision from the beginning.
The UBMobile Opportunity
According to Wikipedia, “Market research is a way of getting an overview of consumers’ wants, needs and beliefs. It can also involve discovering how they act. The research can be used to determine how a product could be marketed.” Among other fundamental elements, ensuring that the research is conducting among a representative target audience is key. At its most basic level, getting a representative audience to participate in research means meeting them on their terms. Increasingly, it means reaching them via their “always-on, ever-present” mobile device. It also means providing them with an experience that they are willing to complete and come back to participate again in the future. At present, the significant decline in peoples’ willingness to participate in research studies is one of our industry’s most urgent challenges. As an industry, we’ve created the problem. We must now create the solution.
In general, there is a disconnect between the brands and their research agency partners. Increasingly brands express concern about their current methodologies excluding people using mobile devices, and therefore not reaching a significant portion of their target audience. Agencies, on the other hand, have expressed concern about not yet understanding the impact on benchmark data by allowing people to complete surveys on mobile devices. As evidence of this stalemate, industry research- on-research and business information sharing from large data collection companies indicate there is still a large percentage of surveys being fielded that are not appropriately designed for mobile devices.
Brands know their consumer audiences are mobile-savvy. They use their devices to capture images for Pinterest, post videos on Instagram, and locate their Uber driver just a few blocks away. In order to deliver business value to internal and external clients, market researchers have to get better aligned with the audiences under study. Being aligned means being savvy about using these same tools. It also means designing an experience that large portions of the population will be willing to complete – not just the “professional respondents”. The current respondent challenge facing the industry is as much about the experience as it is about how we connect with people. Done well, the mobile device can be a researcher’s best access to multiple types of consumer data. As one executive researcher from a large CPG put it, “the mobile device is the most complete tool ever invented for the market researcher. It allows for quantitative, qualitative, and passive data collection in one ecosystem. And that ecosystem is ever-present and always-on.”
UBMobile is a marketing services technology company. Our platform enables marketers to engage audiences of today with media-rich content, facilitates information sharing, and captures new streams of stated, behavioral, and passive data. We believe reaching audiences of today requires a mobile-first and people-first approach. It’s about aligning the research process with how and where consumers spend their time. Mobile devices are always on and ever-present. Further, a mobile- first approach creates a better desktop experience for respondents, yielding higher engagement and completion rates.
“Mobile-first is people-first”
Today, an increasingly large portion of the population seldom uses a desktop computer or answers email. Even those who do find themselves spending more time on their mobile devices. While not everyone is using desktops and email, the large majority is using a mobile device for communication, information, and entertainment. A mobile-first approach is the best way to reach the most representative target audience, or hard-to-reach consumers.
UBMobile is partnering with large consumer brands to redefine how they engage customers and design methodologies for a mobile-first world. Brands are eager to experiment with new research approaches that allow them to more deeply connect with their target audience. This includes not only how we reach audiences of today, but the nature of the experience once we connect.
To be clear, UBMobile believes in mobile-first, but it’s not mobile exclusive. Online data collection should still play a role in the overall research landscape. It’s part of the multiple touchpoints of consumers. The difference is that today mobile should play the leading role in design, methodology, and engagement with the desktop in a supporting role. Research-on-research conducted by UBMobile, with various brands, supports this notion. When surveys are designed for a mobile-first experience, they yield higher completion rates among both mobile and desktop respondents.
UBMobile has created a modern research experience to reach audiences of today, whether “on the go” or at home. LifeTap™, UBMobile’s proprietary engagement platform, uses specialty content to attract anyone from Millennials and Fashionistas to Affluent Boomers and Moms with Babies.
With over 300 specialty content channels in English and Spanish, LifeTap delivers fresh content daily to engage audiences of broad demographics and interests.
LifeTap members include a combination of mobile and online respondents carefully recruited to maximize quality, feasibility, and representativeness. Audiences are targeted for participation based on their stated profiles and behavioral content consumption, including what they watch, read, and share.
UBMobile refers to LifeTap as a user engagement platform because its approach is more holistic than a purely transactional survey app. Users access a continuous flow of fresh content including videos to watch and articles to read. They can customize their content consumption experience for both user-curated content, as well as feeds from large media publishers. Users are then invited to participate in the LifeTap Rewards program within the platform. This allows them to earn rewards with real-time redemptions for branded gift-cards, and coming soon the loyalty currency of major brands.
However, before anyone even engages with the app, UBMobile understands they’re competing with advertisers and marketers to generate interest and drive downloads. “While it’s not typical for researchers to focus on design it’s an important aspect to our approach,” says Craig. “We’re not just trying to design a new mobile app, we’re reinventing the way people engage with research, which is why design is so important to us.” In LifeTap, they’ve combined two themes, the richness of extensive color photography with a contemporary flat design underscored by bright colors and rotating gold coins.
The simplicity of our app design is meant to achieve three things:
- Make the app simple and approachable with big buttons and bright colors
- Compliment the media rich images and videos featured in the app
- Design a good user experience, an on- going process, that requires a designer to user the data collected in the app to continuously improve the flow.
These guiding principles will persist as they look to add a long list of new features and further enhance the variety of specialty content for their members to watch, read, and listen.
What’s also interesting about the LifeTap engagement platform is the easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS). It enables any brand manager or researcher to create their own community, use UBMobile’s proprietary data collection tools, customize rewards, and capture new data.
UBMobile’s sampling methods leverage decades of online sampling expertise, coupled with the sophisticated technology of Android and iOS mobile operating systems and devices. We reach your target audience by collecting deep analytics about participants based on their stated and behavioral profiles. For example, we target baking buffs by placing surveys on the bread baking, cupcake making, or cookie channels. People who watch videos on cookie baking like to bake, so they are more engaged when they complete surveys about baking products. Dyna says, “It’s like native advertising on the web, but we call it “native research”.
LifeTap members include a combination of mobile and online respondents. Their sampling approach enables them to achieve maximum feasibility, while also delivering a more representative sample for gen pop studies. “Our panel will grow globally, as we expand our rewards program to include new geographies” said Craig.