• Abigail Sullivan

What can we learn from market research innovation in Latin America?

Karla Chavez Hernandez is a Research Manager and Analyst at Protobrand's Boston office who specializes in System 1 research applications ranging from employee engagement studies to brand tracking and beyond.

Written by Karla Chavez Hernandez.

You have probably heard buzzwords such as “innovation”, “emerging techniques”, and “behavioral science” used as a push to foster a change in the way that market research is conducted. The reason? The need is for more actionable and compelling insights that can inform brand, category, and product understandings in a better way. Latin America is not insulated from a need to change, and given it’s still considered a growth region for many Global brands, the need is magnified.

We often hear from our clients: “What can we learn that would allow us to do things differently?” Recognizing the resource drain that organizations go through in studies that do not provide such actionable insights or leave them craving for more is the first step. In particular, in a region in which marketing spending and budgets are already much lower than in North America, ensuring they are getting “good value” for the research they conduct is vital to their success.

While LATAM is critical for global organizations’ growth, these three learnings can apply to any growing/emerging market in terms of understanding consumer behavior and building a solid foundation of insights for market entry success.


We have come a long in how we collect data for research. From going door to door to phone interviews, to online panel partners that allow us to access people with the touch of a button, this evolution showcases the growing importance of automated processes. The same applies to data analysis and reporting that is now performed at a much faster rate than we could ever think possible. Being able to cater to speed in a research study from beginning to end is not only desired but now required as clients in the region want results in a matter of a few weeks.

Another word that comes to mind is flexibility. Not all innovative vendors can cater to that, in particular, those in which the process is completely automated without allowing space for any input or adjustments. This is also key in the region that acknowledges that business objectives change and that vendors need to keep up with that.

Another aspect related to speed is the length of surveys itself. When people are fatigued and less engaged, you need to start wondering about the data quality you are getting. What is most surprising is that in the industry, brand health trackers are still heavily reliant on a string of long attribute lists that go on and on, contributing to fatigue and low respondent engagement.

What we have found is that Latin American clients have started embracing shorter surveys. In fact, according to our trusted sample fielding partner of the region, the average online length of interview (LOI) for the region is 15 minutes. Our partner also recognizes that the higher the LOI, the higher drop-out rates they register and hence their push to recommend surveys that are no longer than 10-15 minutes.


Let’s circle back to the idea of “good value”, what can be considered a good value that would justify marketing spend? What ROI measure can we apply to proxy “good” value or “actionable”? Protobrand’s philosophy as far as obtaining actionable findings relies on hearing from consumers themselves and humanizing the interaction and the type of questions interactions respondents experience. Giving consumers the power of such direction, and making it effortless and organic for them to provide it is vital.

Behavioral science makes it pretty clear that we all think a lot less than we think we do. System 1 techniques are a way to accomplish this by allowing for a better way to connect and communicate the right type of question and thereby getting a more precise, and thoughtful answer. By tapping into the System 1, or non-conscious part of the brain responsible for decision-making, we can provide actionable recommendations to inform what drives human behavior.


Another key aspect that the region is embracing is fostering collaboration. What years ago was a competitive environment, organizations are now encouraging partnering together to deliver on corporate researchers needs and fulfilling business objectives. At Protobrand, we understand and embrace collaboration with partners that can complement the findings by using innovative techniques. Collaboration yields positive benefits for the client, who is seeking not to incite competition, instead, looking to receive the most actionable insights in the fastest time possible.

Latin American clients often ask us what our new capabilities are and express their eagerness and open-mindedness to try those. The fast, actionable and collaborative needs in market research that they desire are a useful model for other regions to mirror, as the need for change is getting global exposure and becoming more apparent Latin America is proven to be on the right path to success.

Karla Chavez Hernandez is a Research Manager and Analyst at Protobrand's Boston office who specializes in System 1 research applications ranging from employee engagement studies to brand tracking and beyond. For more information, please reach out to info@protobrand.com to learn how you can apply Meta4 Insight, our proprietary research software to your next employee engagement study."

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