The Guest – Rónán Dowling-Cullen, CTO at Bounce Insights
Rónán is the Chief Technology Officer of Bounce Insights. Bounce Insights enables companies to validate the assumptions behind their pivotal business decisions. The Bounce platform provides fast results, quality respondents, and an easy-to-use interface for the benefit of insights-driven businesses. Bounce currently provides customer data for a wide variety of customers, including Coca-Cola HBC, Diageo, and Specsavers.
How to Make Data-Driven Decisions
Today, making the right business decisions has become more important than ever as we operate in an ever-changing landscape with high failure rates. Therefore, it is vital to base in evidence the decisions we make in order to adapt and grow successfully. What if there is a way of gathering real-time data from your prospective customers and using their feedback to make the best decisions?
Some of the topics covered in this episode include:
- The challenges of growing a business in an ever-changing landscape.
- The opportunity of driving success through data-driven decision-making.
- The business benefits of gathering feedback from clients and users.
- The technologies and processes that enable quality and real-time data insights.
- Internationalizing a business and launching into new markets.
Transcript (abridged version):
Rónán I know you’re in the consumer market research space married with technology. Could you tell us a little bit more specifically what you do and how you do it?
Yeah, absolutely. So Bounce was founded in early 2019 by myself, and four friends from university. It came off the back of what most people would call – and I probably would call them as well – some failed startup ideas. The reason for the failure was really just a lack of validation. We hadn’t spoken to consumers of our products, there was no real proof that it would work in the market, we failed to receive investment, and we failed to get off the ground when we tried to launch. As a result of that, we looked into how we would actually carry out research and how we would validate our ideas before going to market to save the time and energy needed to build the products. […] So off the back of that, we had an idea. We decided we could get anybody in Ireland to answer a survey or answer a couple of questions about our products if we made the experience enjoyable enough and incentivized them properly.
We launched in mid-2019 and managed to get a couple of thousand users, and then we launched our consumer insights platform which is the dashboard where brands can validate the assumptions behind their decisions, and use the data to make those data-driven decisions that everybody’s talking about. I think our biggest success has been the fact that we’ve been able to make it easy and in real-time. So you’re sitting in a meeting and you think “I wish I knew if our customers would prefer a red bottle or a blue bottle, how can we figure that out and have it answered by the end of the day?” With our platform, you can throw a question to your target customers, get the answers back in real-time and make those data-driven decisions that you couldn’t before.
Do you find yourself engaging with your clients when it comes to ideas around new features, and on what you’re going to be delivering?
Absolutely, and I think, particularly for a small company, that’s the core responsibility of the CTO. Obviously, the CEO and the commercial side of the business will all be talking to customers but when you’re a small company, you can’t let that gap grow between the tech and the customers. So, we have a lot of processes in place to gather feedback from our customers. One of the biggest buttons on our dashboard is “send us feedback”, we want to know what you think. Myself, alongside our CCO Charlie, set up weekly customer discovery calls or customer meetings where we talk to prospective customers in new markets, or we talk to existing customers that we have, so I can hear the issues that they’re having with the products, along with the things that they like. Then for prospective customers, we like to know the problems that they have in their industry right now and the problems that they see with potential competitors of ours so that we can ensure that we’re customer-focused and customer-obsessed, really. That’s, I suppose, one thing that I didn’t necessarily achieve as much earlier in my career. I was more focused on building this “best feature” that I believed the customers would like. But now, I really think that the close relationship between the product and your customers is so key to building the best product. […]
Could you give us a real-life example of a client deriving data from your technology, making a decision, and getting a great business outcome?
Yeah, absolutely. So we ran a campaign for a chain of cafes, which had a branch in Dublin and they wanted to know how young people, particularly 18 to 24 year-olds felt about plastic water bottles. It was a hot topic at the time and there were a lot of issues with it. Even if you recycle water bottles, they can still significantly affect the environment. So they ran a piece of research, basically asking would people be willing to pay a little bit more for canned water as opposed to bottled water? And the answer was overwhelmingly, yes. So quickly, on a week’s turnaround, they stopped the supplier who was giving them water bottles and instead went to one that would give them cans of water. The sales of water increased over time as a result. It was a fantastic outcome for them, and a fantastic outcome for us as well as an early use case.
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