Pierre Dubosc on reimagining market research

Pierre Dubosc, Managing Director of Semantiweb North America, chatted with us on the podcast about how our most valuable insights for clients can come from keeping an open mind, not taking things for granted and being open to change and new possibilities. He loves his role as consumer insight specialist, bridging the gap between clients' industry expertise and the actual behaviors of consumers, offering a unique perspective and validating client intuitions with real-life examples and data.


He shares some background about how he realized early on in his career that “talking about brands is just a tiny portion of our consumers’ lives” and that capturing their daily conversations and sentiments can really help us understand who our consumers are - rather than relying on preconceived ideas. He says you “cannot reduce consumer behaviors to just a few questions about your category, your brands, your products, you have to have that big picture.” He reimagined his approach to market research, putting   consumers at the center of all decisions and actions. 

Pierre talks a bit about the work at SemantiWeb does to use data from spontaneous conversations that are on in mediums such as blogs, forums, social networks and online reviews. They collect this data, structure it and analyze it both qualitatively and quantitatively. He uses an example of a bride discussing hair color across these platforms, illustrating the importance of understanding diverse consumer perspectives. He also dives into some of the principles that are at the core of the company’s methodology today, such as:

  1. It is interesting to analyze online conversations. It is much more insightful to understand who the web-users behind them are. 

  2. Conversations about brands and products are crucial, but consumers have much more to say and they love to talk about their daily lives, passions and pain points.  

  3. Real-time monitoring is key to engage with web-users, but consumer behaviors also require taking a step back and analyze long-term evolutions and trends 

  4. AI, algorithms and machine learning are key when it comes to big data, but we are talking about human sciences; so we are convinced that we still need some human analysis to unveil these consumer insights that will actually make a difference.

He shares some examples of how this works and how they analyze a topic for the most accurate insights. “What we mostly analyze is long term trends…take a step back to put things into perspective and identify patterns within consumer behaviors because actually consumer behaviors do not change as often as trending topics.” Pierre dives into some examples that clearly illustrate how this works, beyond in the moment social listening, including some of the brand outcomes that came out of the insights. 

We conclude the conversation with advice for market researchers from Pierre, focusing on creating detailed briefs that cover specific goals, objectives, and existing knowledge in order to create a foundation for insights that deliver a competitive advantage. He also touches on new methodologies and technologies, seeing them as opportunities to provide more detailed findings and amplify diverse consumer voices.

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