Using the Qualtrics enterprise level survey software tool, Jeremy Murrell and Jeremy Neff have been doing interesting research collecting marketing data for Brown-Forman (makers of Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia vodka and other fine wine and spirits). We have selected them as the Qualtrics co-researchers of the month. The following interview goes over some ways they’ve been using Qualtrics in their marketing research efforts to help Brown-Foreman become faster, stronger and smarter at understanding consumers.

Tell us about yourselves. We would love to hear about your hobbies, education, and family.

Jeremy Murrell: I was born and raised in Louisville, KY. I have a lovely wife and we are expecting twins in July. I’m an avid runner and will be participating in my third half-marathon this spring. I’m also a big fan of research, Indiana Hoosiers basketball, and bourbon (not necessarily in that order.)

Jeremy Neff: I’m also from the Louisville area. I enjoy anything outdoors: fishing and hunting, swimming, boating in the summer and running through the winter. When I’m inside I’m with friends playing board games, watching UofL play, or catching up on a stack of books.

What company/organization do you work for, and how long have you been in the research community?

JM: I’ve been at Brown-Forman, makers of Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia vodka and other fine wine and spirits for the last seven years. I’ve been a member of the Consumer Planning Group where I’ve primarily worked with our brand teams, but have spent the last year heading up our Center of Research Excellence (CORE). I also have 7 years experience on the client side where I’ve done everything from data collection to heading up client services.

JN: I’ve been with Brown-Forman close to two years now. I’ve been in CORE long enough to help socialize Qualtrics and move a few other projects along. My research credentials are still being developed: I’m part of the new wave of researchers that grew up filling out online surveys, and have always had excel based cross-tabs.

What has been the focus of your research in 2011? What is your favorite/most interesting project you have done with Qualtrics?

JM: CORE’s mission is to help our company become faster, stronger and smarter at understanding consumers. My team is working on processes in the areas of standardized survey tools and analysis, knowledge management, consumer targeting and new research methods.

My favorite project that we’re currently working on using Qualtrics is inviting consumers who purchase one of our new products to take part in a survey via the hang tag. We’re looking to measure specific KPIs that help inform how the brand is performing in the marketplace.

JN: My focus over the past year has been primarily in continuing to investigate existing research. However, the limits of previous projects are what make us turn to Qualtrics to understand the consumer and our role.

One particular survey I was working with team members on that was interesting involved two waves. The first was to our own panel and the second involved Qualtrics panels. Both waves involved a very complex screening process that worked flawlessly, it has set the bar on advanced screening within our team.

What conclusions have you been able to draw from your research, and what impact has that had?

JM: We’re still in the intro phase with this project, but my hope is that this approach will help capture consumer information that is harder to come by, especially for those product introductions where it’s more difficult to identify consumers who have purchased or tried the product.

JN: In my role I don’t often carry the results all of the way to the action plan, but I can say the research Qualtrics has helped us carry out has impacted the price, the placement and the promotions of our products.

How has Qualtrics software assisted you in this research?

JM: Qualtrics has been a great asset for our team as we continue to look for opportunities to streamline the research process. We are using Qualtrics for those projects that don’t require a high level of analytics or for brands that are looking for consumer feedback but don’t have big research budgets.

JN: As Jeremy said some of our teams are looking for a few quick things that would be difficult to go out and collect, but they are very possible with Qualtrics. In the previous project I mentioned, with an interesting screener, we were able to understand our current consumers and potential targets.

Qualtrics has been a great asset for our team as we continue to look for opportunities to streamline the research process.

What mistakes have you made that you wish you hadn’t?

JM: That I didn’t discover Qualtrics sooner.

JN: To sidestep the word mistake, my biggest difficulty has been in not getting involved in every project I see go through Qualtrics. To jump into the questionnaire only takes two seconds, or to help generate a report is only a few clicks away.

What are the most valuable research related ‘epiphanies’ you have had in the past year that you wish you would have been aware of before?

JM: Maybe it’s not an epiphany, but I’ve spent more time looking for ways to compile different pieces of research to tell a story. We’re experimenting with new ways to get research out of the PowerPoint deck and get our colleagues excited about insights.

Do you have a favorite experience using Qualtrics tools?

JM: My favorite experience with the Qualtrics tool is seeing the reaction from my colleagues when they understand how easy it is to program a survey.

JN: Although I agree with Jeremy it’s been great how fast everyone can jump into the tool, that’s just a bonus. My favorite reactions come from the public reporting. When most projects are kicked off we’ll spend just a few minutes to create the chart’s we know we are going to look at for sure, once we’ve got this setup as responses are collected we can see how the data is developing.