NEXT 2019 Podcast Series

NEXT 2019 Conference Series – Thomas Fandrich & Mike DeGagne – quantilope

Welcome to the 2019 NEXT Conference Series. Recorded live in Chicago, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Thomas Fandrich, managing director US and co-founder of quantilope; and Mike Degagne, head of sales at quantilope.

Find Thomas Online:



Find Mike Online:




You’re listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast; I’m Jamin.  And we have today some special guests. We are live at the NEXT Conference here in what is turning out to be a spectacular day outside although we are quarantined, I guess, in Chicago.  I’ve got Thomas and Mike with Quantilope. Guys, welcome.  

[00:22] – Tom     

Hi, Jamin.  Thanks for having us here.  Great to meet you.


It’s great to have you.  For just voice recognition, that is Tom.  


Hey, this is Mike from Quantilope.  


Yeah, you’re going to have to let him in.  

[00:43] – Tom   

We also have a lot of laughing.  So, now we can go to the serious part.  


I’m glad I called you here today.  Tell me what do you guys think about the show so far.

[00:50] – Tom      

Oh, we really like it since there are a lot of specialists here that have very serious knowledge about the industry and about market research.  It was great to get their perspective on a solution like ours, which is pretty much positioned on speed and substance, substance in terms of quantitative methods that go beyond simple service stuff.


Favorite session?  Have you guys been able to attend any sessions?  Mike, we’ll go with you on this one.

[01:20] – Mike

I have not; so, you should not go with me. 


Tom, have you attended any?

[01:26] – Tom

Me neither, so ah…


It’s hard when you’re exhibiting to go to the sessions ‘cause you feel like that’s the moment the big customer…  You know Coke is going to walk by your booth as soon as I go here. The head of insights for CES. It’s this whole like FOMO, fear of missing out thing that happens.  I’m suffering from it from it too, which is killing me, because I really wanted to hear the storytelling session, but anyway… That didn’t happen, and I also didn’t get Coke.  So, waah. Anyway.   

All right, so, tell me exactly what you guys do.

[01:59] – Tom 

All right, so Quantilope is an Agile Insights platform, right, that automizes all the single steps in a market research project, which is kind of finding the right tool to tackle your research question, program the questionnaire, and infuse it with high-end methodologies like System 1 Conjoint, MaxDiff, then field it to get the data in real time and get it visualized and analyzed in real time through our analyze module, and build beautiful dashboards of all that stuff to share it internally and externally.  So it covers the entire process very seamless and automized.  


Mike, you gave me a demo, didn’t you?  

[02:37] – Mike

I did not, but one of my guys did.  


One of your guys did.  Yeah, right, exactly. So, one of things that I thought was super interesting about the fundamentals of the platform is that I can execute in MaxDiff really, really easily.  So, I have my survey that is built out; that’s straightforward. Not really a big USB. But now, all of a sudden, I just add my attributes and it makes a recommendation on what types of statistical approaches I may want to use, incorporate into my survey design in order to answer my questions.  And then I also really like the reporting side of it (not that I’m trying to sell for you guys). But I personally was really impressed ‘cause it was all streamlined and easy to use. Tell me about some of the more popular applications.

[03:33] – Mike

So, ah, I actually started out in market research 15 years ago, and the way that I was doing studies back then (Conjoint, MaxDiff, Key Driver) was building the survey, taking the data out, cleaning it in SPSS, using Syntax.  And then I took it, put it into a stats package to get the Conjoint. And then I had to take that data out, cross-tab it. I had to use ETABS at the time to auto-populate the 140-slide tracker study for Microsoft, and that would take two months.  And then I would present it, and then they would want to change the segment. And I would cry…on the inside.


Yeah, yeah.  I bet you were happy cashing that check.

[04:10] – Mike   

Well, I was working for somebody else.


I know, I know.  Somebody else was happy they’re cashing the check.

[04:16] – Mike  

Yes, and I was just happy to have a job post-recession.  But with our tool, what’s really powerful is that it can do a MaxDiff for something like this, Conjoint, Van Westendorp in 1 to 3 days and it’s because it was thoughtfully put together.  It’s not a usage and attitude survey platform that we duct-taped or staple-gunned these advanced methods on. And so, the most common usage is going in, using our really advanced library of techniques and then things like MaxDiff, Conjoint, Kano, and then fielding it within minutes, and then having the data back in 1 to 3 days with beautiful visualization.  Did I answer your question?   


Yeah, perfectly.  So, it sounds like when you guys are looking at the customer utilization, what is the No. 1…  Are they using MaxDiff? Is that No. 1 or is it…?   

[05:04] – Tom

I mean this No. 1 thing…  It’s really the portfolio of methodologies that people appreciate, that they have the freedom to do MaxDiff today, System 1 emphasis approach tomorrow, and the Key Driver analysis yesterday.  They love the broadness and the flexibility our software platform gives them.  

I would add that this flexibility is when you have a business problem.  There’s a lot of people that get caught up in research where they only do MaxDiffs.  When you’re introducing a new product… We’re getting a lot questions about CBD oil in like food products.  So, what does the category mean? When people think of CBD oil, what does that mean for the category? And how does that actually relate to the product itself, the brand itself?  Then from there, you can go through a whole different litany of research approaches to actually get the product idea, the product price point, the product packaging, the product claim.  And so, that’s what we find, that our clients are working with us from ideation all the way to bringing the product to market.    


So, do you guys do services or are you just providing the platform?  

[06:09] – Mike

Yes, this is actually another unique identifier for us is that we have…  Tom runs a team. And I know Bea is listening right now; she has a PhD in neuroscience.  Vanessa has an advanced degree in analytics. So, we have this team that we call the genius bar where you can come to them and ask questions.  And so, if you’re a brand manager and you don’t have experience working with MaxDiff or Conjoint, you come with a problem and we show how you do it.     


So you’re supporting in the way of training on the tools and make recommendations to methodologies but not necessarily executing a project from A to Z.     

[06:41] – Mike 

We can.  The example that I give is it’s like getting into a Tesla for the first time.  You’re too afraid to turn on the autopilot yourself; so, someone else will sit with you and do it.  After a couple times you feel comfortable… 


Have you done the autopilot with a Tesla?  


I have, yeah.


So, the first time I did it, I was by myself on the freeway.  I’m not exaggerating: I thought there might be a 30% chance I’m going to run off the freeway.  I mean it’s that terrifying.


So you were white-knuckling it the whole time.


Literally.  I’m not going to let you control my life, Tesla.  Double tap and now I can’t stop. I’m completely attached.

[07:12] – Mike

Yep, exactly, but overcoming that fear, especially if it’s an advanced method that you don’t know a lot about, like Conjoint…  If you don’t understand the different product features, the price per pound or ounce, you really can create a Conjoint that doesn’t mean anything that someone with an advanced degree in analytics would be able to shoot holes in.  And so, we find that for the first 90 days, it’s a lot of training and hand-holding. And then soon we see these people that have upscaled their career by being able to learn how to do these things on their own.


So, thinking about that, you wouldn’t normally do a ever full factorial, right?  I’m thinking about like Conjoint. You know what I’m talking about? So you do a partial factorial.  So, are you able to then control how many cards respondents are ultimately answering for, which is kind of the trade-off of “Do I want partial data and then stitch it together?” or “Do I want a full…?  Everybody to see every iteration of the product feature set.”

[08:08] – Tom   

So, we are a ROCBC approach.  We are showing all attributes on the card.  But you don’t have to care about the efficiency of the design, the meaningfulness of the design.  This is just a click on a button. So we are optimizing the designs for you due to the efficiency criteria.


Got it, OK.  So you’re taking that into account already in an automated fashion.  

[08:30] – Tom

Yep, absolutely.


Got it.  Yeah, perfect.  Good. Who’s your ideal customer?  

[08:33] – Tom     

Our ideal customer has a lot of research needs and is very innovation-driven and tries to create new things, new products, new services, new advertisements; wants to explore new categories and all that stuff; so, is very active in terms of research; and is open to work with a platform like ours, right, which is super innovative as well and gives you the freedom to do a lot of the stuff maybe you have outsourced before to keep it under your own roof, to have full control and full transparency of all the steps in the process and all the data you are getting there.    


Mike, what is your favorite project?  

[09:20] – Mike

We did a Conjoint study.  There was a big CPG brand that got a call from a big box retailer, the big box retailer, that they were losing a losing a series of SKUs, and they were going to a generic in-house product and they had four days before they had to meet with the buyer at Walmart.  And they knew that they needed a more substantial approach to be able to make their point that this will hurt their consumers. And we were able to do it in that short turnaround time. That is an example of Agile Insights. So, the word “agile insights” is thrown around way too much today.  Agile insight is speed; there’s tons of free or nearly free speedy tools. But it’s speed and substance, and the substance is what creates agility in our opinion.  


So, talk to me about price point.  What does it look like? What’s the terms of trade when you do work with Quantilope?

[10:15] – Mike    

You know we are a SaaS company.  We’re a flat monthly-fee business, and it ranges from a few thousand dollars a month to tens of thousands of dollars a month, depending on are you running thousands of studies, are they all Conjoint. 


So, it’s like a price per study as opposed to per respondent or…?

[10:32] – Mike      

No, it’s actually access to the platform:  so, logins, trainings, genius bar, the types of studies.


Like basic something else pro or whatever.

[10:42] – Mike 

Yeah, and we’re flexible, right?  So, we understand what I think of as the SaaSification of market research.  The industry has worked on an ad hoc basis forever.


It’s hard to turn that corner, but it is actually…  It’s funny ‘cause it’s becoming more and more normalized.  You’re seeing an increase in acceptance of SaaS model.


Yeah, absolutely.  To start, we also understand that there are so many vendors out there that have burned partners, promising the world.


Totally.  That happens a lot.

[11:07] – Mike 

So we think crawl-walk-run is a good strategy.  So if you want to start out in a different way, we’re very, very flexible.  We’ll explain to you until I’m blue in the face why the SaaS model is the right model, but again we understand that there’s procurement teams; there’s way of doing business.  


If somebody wants to get in contact with you guys, how would they do that?

[11:27] – Tom   

Either shoot us a mail to or visit us on our website; there is a contact formula there.


Perfect.  And, of course, we’ll include that information in the show notes.  Tom, Mike, thank you both, oh, yep…

[11:40] – Mike   

We’ve got one more thing.  


One more thing.  Well, bring in on.

[11:42] – Mike

One more thing…


Everybody likes value; so, if you have two more things, that’s OK too.


You only get one.  We’re going to leave you one more, right? 


They got to call.  They can get the second one.


Yeah.  So, I’ll give you half a sentence.  No, I’m just kidding. So, for the people listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast, if you reach out to us and you reference this, we’ll give you a free trial of the platform, and for the best customers out there, we would actually do a free pilot project for them.  




Yep, but you have to mention Happy Market Research.


Oh, I love this.  High five right now.


There you go.


That is bad ass.  Thank you so much for bringing that value.  I tell you what: you know, Insights Nation, this is one of the big misses (and I don’t mean any disrespect from any other guest that I’ve ever had) but you actually have an audience that listens to this.  I’ve had FedEx reach out to me; I’ve had two dozen-ish brands that have, unsolicited, said, “Hey, thanks so much. I actually use this to help me with procurement, which is so funny because I never had that as a framework for why someone would tune into the show and actually don’t think that’s one of the core reasons why but I do think it’s an interesting by-product.  And so, it’s a great opportunity to be able to leverage like the audience and, if you have something valuable that you can pass on to them, to be able to do that. So thank you guys very much. I think that’s very generous of you. I actually do have one other question: Quantilope – I want to eat it ‘cause it sounds like cantaloupe and I like cantaloupe. How did you guys come up with the name?      

[13:14] – Mike

You’re going to have to reach out to us to get the ….


Oh, no!  I’ll not letting you go.

[13:21] – Tom

It’s a long story, but a nice story.


Is it, really?  Maybe some other time.


There’s a really nice story behind this.


All right, you guys.  Thank you so much for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast

[13:27] – Tom

Thank you for your time, Jamin.  I really enjoyed it.

[13:28] – Mike

Thank you!


Everybody else, if you found value in this show, please take the time to either rate it on the platform of your choice.  This particular episode, I would really appreciate it if you just took three seconds right now, screenshot it, share it on social media.  It’ll take maybe 120 seconds. This probably represents about an hour to two hours of production time. I would greatly appreciate it. Have a wonderful rest of your day.