The Unexpected Digital Consumer You Can’t Afford to Miss

While it’s easy to assume that tech savvy 20 something’s are the leaders of the social & digital frontier, it’s another demographic that’s sweeping their way across the digital world, and it might surprise you. Moms. Today’s moms aren’t just using the digital sphere to pin their favorite home décor pieces on Pinterest or upload cute pictures of their kids on facebook. Moms have become serious digital consumers across all channels, including social media, e-commerce and mobile.

According to a recent article by TechCrunch,“One third own a connected device. They spend 6.1 hours per day on average on their smartphones – that’s more than magazines, TV or radio, to put it in perspective.” Not only are moms spending ample time on digital devices, they’re using tablets and smartphones to make frequent purchases. Recently the mobile ad network Mojiva surveyed 1,500 tablet-owning moms and discovered that a staggering 97% of moms made a purchase using their tablet in the last month.

So what does this mean for marketers? It’s time to adapt to the digital world and embrace the power of these new mediums available to consumers. From tablet-ready websites and smartphone apps, marketers need to expand their vision through a digital lens. With a deep understanding of your digital consumer, the opportunities for innovation and product acceleration are limitless. One thing we can know for sure is that the digital world is here to stay and moms are ready to shop. Are you ready to get on board?


Monthly Musings with Marilyn: The Power of Presence

If you own a dog or just love animals, then you’re probably familiar with the name Cesar Milan, aka  “The Dog Whisperer.” As host of the popular TV show, The Dog Whisperer on Nat Geo WILD, Cesar helps frustrated dog owners understand and tame their unpredictable and sometimes dangerous pets. But what fascinates viewers is not just his ability rehabilitate ferocious canines, but how he is able to communicate and understand dogs through subtle, non-verbal communication. In an instant he can snap a growling, snarling pit-bull into a calm submissive state with a subtle look and the touch of his hand. It’s simply mind-boggling to observe.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article for The New Yorker about Cesar and his unique ability to tame the untamable. Gladwell attributed Cesar’s success to one simple word, presence.

“If you are going to teach a classroom full of headstrong ten-year-olds, or run a company, or command an army, or walk into a trailer home in Mission Hills where a beagle named Sugar is terrorizing its owners, you have to have presence or you’re lost,” said Gladwell.

With no formal training, Cesar developed his presence and learned how to communicate with dogs like no one else could. “He watched and studied dogs until he felt that he could finally put himself inside the mind of a dog,” said Gladwell.

Essentially, this is exactly what we do in qualitative research, except we put ourselves in the mind of the consumer. Through keen observation and that indefinable thing called presence, we are able to relate with consumers and pick up on those subtle, non-verbal cues that help us become better listeners. And while we may not be able to understand the inner-workings of your nervous/aggressive pet, we can help you uncover key consumer insights with relevant business implications.

Cesar believes that all dogs, no matter how aggressive, can be rehabilitated through intense training, observation and understanding. But if the owners are not willing to re-train themselves and become conscious of their own movements, all efforts are wasted. Just like qualitative research, we will provide the answers and insights you need to move in the right direction, but it’s up to you to put those valuable insights into action.

~ Marilyn Weiss

President & Founding Partner



A Millennial Mind Shift

Consumer behavior is constantly fluctuating and evolving. With advances in technology, changing market trends and an unstable economy, it’s more important than ever to understand your consumer. According to a recent article from NPR, the grocery business is just one of many industries feeling the pangs of all this change. In a new survey of more than 2,000 adult grocery shoppers, results revealed that Millennials prefer to shop around when it come to purchasing their groceries. And now traditional grocery stores are being forced to address the question, “What do Millennial consumers really want?” Instead of buying the same foods from the same stores like their baby boomer parents or grandparents, Millennials find far more value in things like convenience and freshness over brand or store loyalty. Now it’s up to the grocery store companies to take the next step by utilizing research to better understand their Millennial shoppers and address their needs. Click the link below to see how research is helping the grocery industry navigate this Millennial Mind Shift:

Link to Article:

Monthly Musings with Marilyn: Letting Go of the Driver’s Seat

We make decisions all the time. We decide what to eat, where to shop, how we want to live our lives and how we want to run our businesses. But is it always better to be in charge when we’re making decisions? Or are we better off giving someone else the wheel?

In a recent video from, Baba Shiv, a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business discusses why it can benefit us to take the passengers seat and let the experts make the calls. Whether it means trusting a financial advisor with your retirement planning or relying on a doctor for the very best treatment, you want a positive outcome. The same idea applies to research. You want the best results and the most valuable insights for your company. So instead of relying on your own knowledge, give yourself some peace of mind and let the experts take the wheel. With years of experience, proven techniques and methodologies, you will rest assured that the experts in the driver’s seat will provide a positive and beneficial outcome.

Watch the full video below and ask yourself the question: Is it time for you to let go of the wheel?

~ Marilyn Weiss

President & Founding Partner


Monthly Musings with Marilyn: Tamable Problems

Recently I stumbled upon a thought-provoking piece in The New Yorker that really got me thinking about the different types of problems we face in the world. The excerpt below is a portion from the article that piqued my interest and forced me to ask the question, “what kinds of problems does qualitative research solve?”

Excerpt: “In 1973, two social scientists, Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, defined a class of problems they called “wicked problems.” Wicked problems are messy, ill-defined, more complex than we fully grasp, and open to multiple interpretations based on one’s point of view. They are problems such as poverty, obesity, where to put a new highway—or how to make sure that people have adequate health care.They are the opposite of “tame problems,” which can be crisply defined, completely understood, and fixed through technical solutions. Tame problems are not necessarily simple—they include putting a man on the moon or devising a cure for diabetes. They are, however, solvable. Solutions to tame problems either work or they don’t.”

At Sivo Insights it isn’t our goal to solve the “wicked” problems like world peace or hunger. It is our job however to help solve the “tame” problems through keen observation and creative techniques. So what does a “tame” problem look like? Perhaps it’s uncovering how shoppers navigate a store shelf? Or maybe it’s evaluating packaging design, identifying the target consumer for a product, or determining the how users navigate your website? The one thing that all of these issues have in common is that they are 100% solvable, tamable problems. It simply works or it doesn’t. Our job as qualitative researchers is to find the solution that does work. From Communication Checks, In-Store Research, Shop-Alongs to Product Concept Testing, we provide real solutions to some of the most complex “tame” problems. As long as you can define the problem we will find the answers.

~Marilyn Weiss

President & Founding Partner

Click here to read the full article:



Research, Rhythm & Revealing the Truth

We live in a world where technology is constantly changing and evolving. And while this means better products, sleeker designs and more innovative devices, it also means a highly fluctuating and challenging landscape for marketers.  Take a look at the music business for example; in the last 25 years we’ve gone from cassette tapes to CD’s to MP3’s, not to mention the birth of music piracy and services like iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. So how do music marketers keep up with all of these changes while maintaining their consumers interest in purchasing their music? It turns out qualitative research may hold the answers.

A recent article from titled, “Sounds of Success,” explains why research may play a critical role in the future of the music business.  This means starting from the user’s perspective/the consumer, instead of beginning from the viewpoint of a company’s strategy or product. Click the link below to read the full article and learn how in-depth research and the power of positioning is helping the music business discover the truth about consumers and develop new possibilities for the future:

Full Article:




How To Turn Consumer Insights Into Profitable Action

While many companies have a “general” understanding of their consumer, many feel they are lacking a deeper, more precise look at who they are and what they want. This is where qualitative research comes into play, opening the door for those breakthrough insights that heighten brand awareness and accelerate product innovation. The next step is putting those insights into action.

Recently we stumbled across a great blog post at by McKinsey & Company’s John Forsyth and John Copeland that discusses the necessary steps involved to turn those consumer insights into profitable action. Click the link below to read the full blog post and discover what 3 essential elements are needed to turn your insights into real business opportunity.



Monthly Musings with Marilyn: For the Sake of a Single Insight

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of insight. It’s one of those words that we see and hear all the time, but there’s so much more to it than simply uncovering helpful facts or data. At the core it’s really more about relating with and understanding the consumer on a deeper level to comprehend accurate and intuitive information. With flexible interaction methods, we engage the consumer and discover the unexpected. So how do you reach this level of understanding and develop the ability to unveil such valuable insights? One of my favorite pieces by Rainer Maria Rilke, “For the Sake of a Single Verse,” helps put this in perspective.

In the piece Rilke details what it takes to create a great verse, explaining that poems are not merely an expression of emotions but rather the accumulation of life experiences.

“For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning.”

Just as Rilke describes the need for a variety of life experiences and understanding for the sake of a single verse, at Sivo Insights we need that same experience and understanding for the sake of a single insight. As a former ICU nurse I have been exposed to all kinds of people and situations, from the sweetest moments to the darkest sorrows. But it’s because of those kinds of experiences that we are able to connect and understand people in a relatable light.

At Sivo Insights we are not fearful of asking the difficult questions for the sake of a single insight. Through a combination of our experiences, careful thought and creativity, we are able to uncover and bring those valuable insights to you. Just as one powerful line of a poem can change the way you view the world, we believe that even one groundbreaking insight can open the window to a world of limitless possibility.

~Marilyn Weiss

President & Founding Partner



Lululemon Listens Up

With more than $712 million in sales last year alone, you have to wonder what makes Lululemon Athletica, a high-end yoga clothing company, so successful in the midst of a teetering economy? In a recent Wall Street Journal article Lululemon’s Chief Executive Christine Day shares the qualitative in-store research methods that set the company apart.

From listening to shopper concerns to placing strategic chalkboards in dressing rooms for customers to voice their opinions, Lululemon has gone back to the basics and is listening to what customers really want. Ms. Day spends hours each week in Lululemon stores observing how customers shop, listening to their complaints, and then using the feedback to tweak product and stores. To learn more about Lululemon’s qualitative “secret sauce,” click here to read the full article.


Monthly Musings with Marilyn: Conscious Listening Creates Understanding

At Sivo Insights we listen for a living. It is through the art of listening that we are able to better understand your brand and what consumers really want in a world filled with noise.

From writing, audio, video and online media, the premium on careful and accurate listening has simply disappeared. Now more than ever it’s becoming harder to pay attention to the quiet, subtle and understated. That is why it is imperative that we learn how to slow down and become conscious listeners.

Recently I came across a great video titled “5 ways to listen better,” by Julian Treasure. Julian explains listening filters, listening positions and the meaning of conscious listening.

He also shares a simple acronym called RASA. The word rasa means filled with essence in Sanskrit. The acronym breaks down 4 easy steps to help you become a more conscious listener:





Listening is what we do best, but there is always room for improvement. Check out the video below and hear if you find something that inspires you too.

~Marilyn Weiss

President & Founding Partner




At SIVO Insights, we are passionate about what we do and eager to put our collective skills to work for you.

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