Ged Parton, CEO
Customer experience and research (CX) platforms have evolved over the last few decades, giving generations of companies new and innovative ways to engage with their customers. And although the technology continues to evolve, CIOs still face many challenges due to the lack of security, inter-compatibility, and flexibility in these offerings.
There are still some research platforms and customer experience technologies out there that don’t have the security credentials or integration capabilities to handle survey data and business information in one system. Instead, they merely pump results into a client’s data warehouse, where in-house research teams have limited analysis facilities and insights resources at their disposal. This makes it all the more difficult to accurately measure “emotions” to enhance the customer experience. Further, the growth of DIY technology platforms means marketing and insights team—especially those at multinational organizations—have a wealth of tools at their disposal. Still, they’re not always being utilized in the right manner leading to disparate data sitting in disparate platforms. The model is hugely inefficient as it makes it difficult for teams to optimize learning and processes and disrupts governance, making research more expensive.
Maru Group is all about breaking this mold.
By combining its technology platform with a team of in-house researchers and direct access to data, Maru Group offers the world’s first fully flexible service model that helps clients connect with their customers and make informed business decisions. “The current make-up of the market with full-service agencies or DIY technology offers little to no flexibility; either clients must sacrifice huge chunks of yearly budgets to agencies or go it alone with no insights or research support. We’re evolving our technology to meet the direct needs of research and marketing users and providing a more flexible insights service,” says Ged Parton, the CEO of Maru Group. The company’s in-depth knowledge of industry sectors, coupled with its proprietary, state-of-the-art technologies uniquely equips clients with targeted and applicable insights at speed, ultimately helping them define and execute winning corporate strategies.
Developed and designed hand-in-hand with researchers, Maru Group’s technology platform, Maru/HUB, includes an advanced survey authoring engine that captures both System 1 and System 2 customer thinking, providing a window into how respondents “feel, behave and think.” The same thinking is built into the platform’s range of packaged solutions and their team of researchers at Maru/Matchbox, the company’s insights advisory business, also works in conjunction with several clients to uncover emotional drivers of behaviour integrating these into existing programs. “This is next-level CX measurement, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of these breakthrough methodologies. We’ve already implemented a similar approach to concept testing with our Concept Connections solution earlier this year,” mentions Parton.
The Maru/HUB platform enables researchers to seamlessly integrate various methodologies in one survey, delivering a truly holistic understanding of customers and experiences.
We’re evolving our technology to meet the direct needs of research and marketing users and providing a more flexible insights service
Approaches such as Implicit Association Testing (IAT) help uncover elements that respondents can’t or won’t share through traditional questions by tapping into subconscious thought processes. This questioning adds a new depth to insights, traditional tracking, and CX, helping brands and businesses improve beyond their current performance and truly deliver against customer expectations. Further, Maru Group takes its role as data custodians seriously, adhering to the highest security practices. The platform is ISO 27001 certified, and they undertake rigorous security tests almost daily.
Maru/HUB processes thousands of data points every minute, handling incoming client data, such as customer information or operational data with survey responses in real-time. These capabilities enable Maru Group to capture very powerful, timely feedback. By surveying customers at exactly the right time or linking responses directly to purchase behavior to provide context to results, business leaders can make confident decisions resulting from better insights. “Our ecosystem powers everything we do; we’ve spent the last twenty years building and developing a leading platform that has been powering our researchers to deliver business-changing insights,” states Parton.
Maru Group’s analysis, reporting, and text analytics tools are some of the most sophisticated and powerful on the market, making it quicker and easier for teams to get the insights they need to spark more meaningful customer connections. The company has recently been working with BBC Global News, helping to shape editorial content in response to the Coronavirus pandemic by better understanding audiences’ emotional reactions to news coverage. The results have help to ensure BBC platforms remained relevant and a trusted source of information on the topics that matter the most.
With technology at its core, Maru Group’s launch of the new direct access portal to its Maru/HUB ecosystem in late 2019 has meant that now clients themselves can access the same great technology. “Users can create, launch and analyze projects and programs themselves with direct access to our entire range of capabilities, or they can commission our research teams to manage projects on their behalf using a full-service approach,” says Parton. “However, because the technology is our own, we can also offer clients an assisted-serve model where our team step-in to support designing a survey or with particular analysis. It’s totally flexible and can be tailored to suit a range of commercial and business needs.”
Its technology is backed up by fantastic security credentials, real-time data processing, and intelligent data integration capabilities that make it like no other. Maru Group truly believes there isn’t another technology platform out there that can effectively handle quick, agile surveys and complex global CX trackers like Maru/HUB.
Speaking about Maru Group’s future plans, Parton mentions that technology underpins everything they do—and they’ll continue to invest and develop in the ecosystem to deliver a future-proofed research platform. The company has invested heavily in digital System 1 research techniques over the past twelve months and will continue to grow and expand these capabilities such that its researchers and clients can better uncover and understand emotions and behaviour across a wider set of research applications. Maru Group is also working on developing white-labeled Maru/HUB environments for clients. “Not only will clients have the ability to access our technology directly in the way that our own researchers do, but they’ll also be able to opt for their own direct access portal environment where teams within organizations, or clients of other agencies, will be able to commission, launch or analyze projects themselves,” concludes Parton.