How the power of the crowd will change agency research
by Herman Manson (@marklives) The advertising and brand world has an effective new way of crowdsourcing research feedback — on everything from UX on a newly built website to ad scripts — thanks to South African startup, Delvv.io. Launched by Trevor Wolfe, former MD and head of commercialisation for Springleap, and Remon Geyser, who comes from a research background at Springleap and Millward Brown, the aim is to redefine how professional feedback is used in the creative process.
The duo has identified agency and brand creative research as open to disruption; currently, it may cost up to a R250k and take 60-90 days to test TV ads in panel environments.
R2m in venture funding
Only four months old (it launched in March 2016), Delvv.io (pronounced Delvv dot io) has already successfully raised R2m in venture funding from Kevin Gaskell (a former leader at Porsche, BMW, Lamborghini), been nominated for the FNB Innovation Awards, and represented South Africa at the Endeavour Global programme in Spain. It expects to turn its first monthly profit in July.
Wolfe says he is engaging other possible investors, based upon their strategic contribution and value to Delvv.io, rather than any decision being purely based upon cash.
Delvv.io has launched four key products:
- The first is SenseCheck, which allows agencies and brands to get “a sense on how strong your TVC, concept, digital, website, app and instore assets are, and how to improve them, straight from the professionals.” Delvv.io makes use of a database of creative professionals, currently 25 00 strong and spread across South Africa (45%), Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria (25%) and Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda, Zambia and Ethiopia (15%) to find relevant respondents. Turnaround is as little as 3–4 days.
- TrendFocus tracks emerging consumer movements that shape brands, while
- PitchPerfect targets agencies by offering high-level category, competitor and market overviews to assist with winning their next client pitch.
- Finally, it offers custom research, ranging from competitor analysis in Nigeria or a category dipstick in Ghana to getting mood boards in Kenya gauging campaign relevance in Angola.
The name Delvv suggests investigation and exploration, while .io is a hot domain in the start-up space and, for Wolfe, represents input/output.
It’s less about disrupting research than about disrupting the research-feedback process, he explains. While SenseCheck looks outside an agency for professional feedback, the inhouse process is also about to be disrupted by Delvv.io.
A global brand wants to test its campaign in a local market, so it send its marketing collateral on to the local agency, he proffers. Feedback processes are generally not unbiased and, within agencies, they are also sometimes downright unstructured. No real analysis may be done of the conversation that takes place inside that local agency, and the extrovert usually gets the most say. Delvv.io is planning to roll out its technology into agencies so they can properly structure their internal feedback sessions to global or brand HQ, allowing for an efficient, constructive feedback mechanism.
While the business has been focusing upon building its SA client base (90% of its revenue is generated in the local market), he says global brands such as Unilever are already exposing the service to international offices.
Ultimately, he expects agencies to make up half of Delvv.io’s revenue stream, with brand clients making up the rest. In time, agencies will cost in Delvv.io’s service to brand clients, he says. Further growth will come from services such as reverse-engineering competitor strategies for brand clients and agencies being built into service offerings by consulting giants (eg KPMG).
Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of MarkLives.com. He was the inaugural Vodacom Social Media Journalist of the Year in 2011 and has, over his 20-year-plus career, contributed to numerous journals and websites in South Africa and abroad, including AdVantage magazine, Men’s Health, Computer World and African Communications.