Gerald Ang: we make market research accessible to everyone

Heaptalk Team, expert talk . 20 Oct 2021
Gerald Ang: we make market research accessible to everyone

Forget the days when, in order to obtain accurate data, one had to call on each of their respondents one by one, which took a long time. Let’s move on to the smartest one, where accurate insights into certain topics related to customer trends and behavior can be obtained on a single platform.

Heaptalk, Jakarta — There is an experience in which when filling out a survey, it’s then rewarded with points that can be exchanged for various prizes up to the fund’s balance. By downloading the Milieu Survey app,  from the AppStore and PlayStore, people can select surveys ranging from lifestyle to some serious topics and be given a set number of points for each as appreciation.

On the one hand, this platform provides benefits to a wide range of business sectors through its other service, Milieu Canvas. There are plenty of supportive insights related to market research needs from various fields that can be obtained, in order to help businesses in developing strategies for market penetration, marketing campaign, and growth hacking. The platform performs assisting organizations in making more informed decisions as they navigate a rapidly changing consumer landscape.

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The two services are proofs of Milieu Insights’ efforts to create a dynamic real-time consumer profiling tool that enables users to gain a comprehensive understanding of their target audience. The users can use portraits to create their own audience segment and gain access to a thousand topics covering their traits, media consumption habits, and even how they interact and purchase products and services. This enables them to gain access to a wealth of insights for a wide range of use cases without the need to launch a single survey.

Studies are designed to be simple and easy to use for clients to launch a survey campaign in minutes. They can use its pre-designed questions or create their own custom study from scratch and get results in hours or days. The study’s results are immediately available after completion, focusing on speed and actionability. Milieu Insight provides people with a comprehensive suite of marketing solutions on one dashboard.

The story behind Milieu product development

This epiphany comes from Gerald Ang‘s vision, Co-founder and CEO of Milieu Insight, who has long wanted to make an impact on the world rather than just profit. Then he used to leverage his extensive corporate expertise, along with the time he had to go through the side business in eCommerce, specifically selling products on eBay, to make a new discovery connected to a person’s proclivity in consuming things that could not be depicted at that time.

Furthermore, having worked and lived in several Southeast Asian nations for the past six years, Ang recognizes the importance of understanding cultures, particularly in Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and, of course, Singapore, where he was born.

“After years of honing my skills through running small businesses, living in other countries, and working in leadership roles in large corporations, I decided that I was ready to start the business that I have always wanted to build.” said Ang.

After holding positions ranging from Head of Telecom Sector to Commercial Director at GFK, a global giant that provides data and analytics to the consumer goods industry and YouGov,  Ang decided to focus on developing Milieu in 2017.

“I left my 10-year corporate career and embarked on a journey with my co-founders to build the platform from scratch. It was a challenging experience initially, having to learn coding and design and build the product myself,” said Ang.

Working together with Juda Kanaprach,  as co-founder and MD Thailand, Stephen Tracy as COO and Kelvin Li as CFO, Ang was finally able to get through a year of blood, sweat, and tears, and they were able to launch the first version of the product. Nonetheless, its initial launch was a huge success, proving that Ang and Tracy’s efforts were solving a real industry problem.

Fast forward 5 years, the company now have 60 employees across six offices in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia. According to Ang, they work with more than 100 clients, helping them engage with millions of consumers across Southeast Asia, improving the way organizations run market research. Now looking back, the past 5 years have been the most fulfilling experience of my life.

“As we go through a period of rapid growth, it is important to ensure we keep to our vision of why we started the company, which is to make market research accessible to everyone-  consumers and businesses alike. We believe that opinions should play a big part in public debate, and everyone’s voice should be heard,” said Ang.

Ang is not willing only to become the market research leader, but he is also eager to empower businesses so they can make better decisions for their customers. Even, looking back in time, the traditional market research industry has not kept up with the changing needs of research buyers. Market research has traditionally been slow, tedious, and expensive, while research buyers require agile solutions to make faster and better decisions.

And now, everything can be presented quickly, including clients’ ability to choose the survey model they want to use to gain a more in-depth understanding of the surveyor’s profile. This is what drives Ang to continue developing his platform so that he can reach a global market. He hopes that the platform will be able to provide a wide range of values and solutions to as many people as possible.

The survey process

Surveys have been used to collect and interpret opinions since the late nineteenth century. Since then, surveys have been used for everything from censuses to brand perceptions. Face-to-face surveys have significant expenses and long turnaround times. So, how exactly does Milieu implement the survey mechanism?

According to Ang, this is a problem in the sector since consumer-facing organizations increasingly want fast data to make day-to-day choices. Over the last few years, the growth of internet access and smartphone ownership has unleashed more imaginative and efficient ways to engage with people. While technology has changed the way we gather ideas, it is also crucial to include the human factor. Aside from asking the proper questions, it is also critical to ask them correctly.

“We run a mobile-based survey platform at Milieu Insight and reach out to consumers by giving them questionnaires via our mobile app. We take great care to ensure that our users get the greatest survey-taking experience possible. As a result, clients can interact with a broad and diverse survey community at any time and receive findings within hours or days,” said Ang.

Milieu emphasizes the excitement side of surveying, which is followed by rewarding survey designers and administrators who come up with innovative ways to design and administer surveys that not only provide the best experience for its survey community, but also provide actionable information that actually helps the clients.

“We always assess our success by the amount of influence we have on our clients and users, and it is this that keeps us going every day,” explain Ang.

Developing a platform that is truly novel in the business presents numerous hurdles. Ang and his compatriots sometimes experienced facing fail.  However, they endeavor to offer solutions that the market has never seen before, learn from the failures, and try again.

Defining the audience in a survey

While the target audiences are always defined based on the study objectives. For example, if Milieu were to launch a study to understand car purchase behavior, they will need to define the audience as people who have purchased a car, or intend to purchase a car in the near future.

It is also important to ensure the composition of survey respondents is representative of the target audience by age, gender and other key demographic variables. Defining the target audience of a study is a very important part of the research process, and clients can only be confident of the results of a study if the target audience is defined in a robust manner.

“We work very closely with our clients to recommend the best approach that will meet their research objectives,” said Ang.

In the case of their previous study about happiness at the workplace, they defined the target audience as working adults 16 years and above and ensured that the composition of respondents is representative of working professionals in each market by key demographics such as age and gender.