Procter & Gamble Readies Online Market-Research Push

Consumer-goods company puts money on MarketTools' web-based technology platform

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

October 13, 2001

2 Min Read

To save money and expedite market-research surveys, consumer packaged-goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble Co. is conducting more of its research online. Those efforts will receive a boost, company officials say, with the release last week of a Web-based technology platform.

P&G will use zTelligence 2.0 from MarketTools Inc. for its online research. The company also participated in a $20 million round of financing in March, bringing MarketTools' total venture funding to $50 million.

P&G spends roughly $150 million annually to conduct 6,000 surveys worldwide, half of them in the United States. It plans to increase its online market research because surveys are completed 75% faster over the Web-and at half the cost of conventional methods, says Barb Lindsey, director for consumer research services and P&G's new technology group. "People spend their whole lives developing products and concepts; they want to learn as fast as they can" how consumers react, she says. This year, P&G will conduct half of its U.S. consumer surveys online, up from 40% a year ago and 15% in 1999.

MarketTools offers its software on a hosted basis. Using a browser, companies can receive returned surveys via E-mail in real time. They also can build and manage detailed proprietary panels of consumers, who register for future surveys at a Web site in return for a coupon, check, or other incentive. Panel profiles are dynamically updated with data collected from surveys. Clients can update, view, and deploy surveys to the panels. Most important, reports can be customized according to specific demographic data such as age, salary, area of residence, and number of children.

Pricing for zTelligence 2.0 ranges from $5,000 to $100,000 a month, depending on the number of people in a customer panel. It also varies according to the complexity of a survey.

P&G still handles the majority of its customer surveys with conventional research firms, such as Custom Research, Market Facts, and NPD Group, all of which reach consumers through the mail, phone, and Web.

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