Can we return to in-person research?

This is a recent question we have been hearing from many of our clients. The answer – right at this moment – is YES! Consumers are indicating they are ready to return to face-to-face interviews. In our recent survey, 74% of US consumers willing to participate in market research state they are comfortable participating in an in-person interview.  

However, I would have to caveat that resounding ‘yes’ with the caution to ‘be prepared for changes.’ Of the small percentage of consumers uncomfortable with an in-person interview, more than half (57%) state concerns with COVID as their main reason. 

“The delta variant / Covid-19 spreads too easily. I am hesitant to be around individuals outside of my social group.” 

At SIVO, we are excited to be talking with consumers face-to-face once again, whether it is in-store intercepts or at-home ethnographies. We have learned that in order to protect research initiatives for our clients it is critical to have a contingency plan. Here are a few tips and tricks we use when fielding in-person research in the current Covid environment.

  1. Continually assess local / state mandates on gatherings and travel restrictions.
  2. Reconfirm participation close to the fielding date. A participant or a member of their household may have been diagnosed with COVID, or due to increasing delta variant rates they may no longer be comfortable with participating.
  3. Over-recruits are critical, and need to be planned in higher numbers as compared to pre-COVID.
  4. Offer higher incentives. It takes a ‘little more’ for consumers to want to speak with you during their shopping trips. We have also seen more recruits who are working from home and need a higher incentive to keep their calendar available for agreed upon interview times.
  5. Be prepared to flex virtually. This may mean responding to a concerned participant with a change to webcam, or adjusting an entire approach to mobile missions.

The good news is brands and products are looking to consumer insights for leadership in this time of change. Be prepared with a flexible plan to hear the consumer voice..

Perspective: Redefining What it Means to be a ‘Working Mom’ During a Pandemic

When you read the news these days, regarding women leaving the work force, the outlook and reality seem bleak.

“Due to challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, more than 1-in-4 women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely.”

The Wall Street Journal

“There are now 3.7 million fewer women working than there were in February 2020, in large part because of the pandemic, eroding more than 30 years of progress in women’s labor force participation.”

White House Fact Sheet, April 21, 2021

Not only are these the facts, but this has been my reality. I have spent the last decade and a half building a business career in a traditional corporate setting, across Consumer-Packaged Goods companies that span from cereal to mascara. I’ve built a rich network of connections, and grown my skillset to span across sales, marketing, research, and innovation. I’ve invested in my career, but COVID-19 made me re-evaluate where my investment was most needed.

When the lockdown hit in March of 2020, I added an entire workstream to my day job: manage childcare and distance learning for my two young children. I also lost my part-time nanny, my relief and respite, due to the pandemic. I did not know how I would stay afloat, deliver against my job’s requirements, while also ensuring that my kids got what they needed.

COVID realities created both unreliable childcare and unreliable school days. One exposure could turn any sense of schedule or order upside down. Some of those months went by in a blur. I recognized something had to give. I had to give. I had to make a change for myself and my family. I chose to leave my corporate job to explore something more sustainable for my life.

Fast forward to early spring 2021 and some of the facts and realities haven’t changed all that much. While the nation is becoming hopeful with relaxing Covid restrictions and rise in vaccinations, women have not as readily returned to the workforce. This year, I shifted to the gig economy and started a new career as a Research Strategy Consultant with SIVO Insights, a local firm that really understands what it looks like to do the work you love while also being present for your family.

For me SIVO has been a beacon, offering me a way to continue investing in my career without compromising my family, especially during a pandemic. SIVO is a woman owned and operated business founded on the belief that the world needs more people doing what they love. SIVO recognized 12 years ago there was an overflow of great talent that wanted to work but NEEDED flexibility, especially parents juggling family and childcare demands.

I’ve learned that part of making it ‘work’ as a working mom is to find the type of work that meets your needs. Workplace norms have pivoted to meet marketplace realities. My advice to women is to consider something that fits YOUR lifestyle priorities instead of the other way around.

I love being a part of an organization like SIVO Insights, a company committed to redefining what work looks like. SIVO is helping companies work differently through their On Demand Talent (ODT) practice, which helps fill in resource gaps for short or longer-term engagements. Sometimes a company just needs an extra perspective on a special project, or someone to fill in during a parental leave.

SIVO Insights ODT can provide the right talent – at the right time – so that companies can keep moving forward without disrupting workflows or putting additional strain on existing staff. I am currently on an ODT assignment and am loving the opportunity to work on unique business problems while, not only continuing to nurture my professional career, but also be the kind of mom I want to be for my family.

Are you curious what working differently looks like? – just ask. SIVO Insights can help you figure out the best path forward for you or your company to get the resources – and talent – you need.

Cans to Bottles in 15 Days

Innovation requires seamless collaboration, agility, and the ability to pivot wisely and effectively. Timelines are tight and the right talent is critical to successfully manage the Insights process. SIVO INSIGHTS On-Demand Talent™  recently provided a Consumer Insights Innovation Lead for Betsy Frost, Chief Revenue Officer at DRY Soda Company.

First Moment of Truth

Right Talent for Right Impact

DRY Soda needed a Consumer Insights expert to manage the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) consumer learning for a new product launch, DRY Botanical Bitters & Soda, a ready-to-drink non-alcoholic cocktail with zero sugar.

Our seasoned Consumer Insights expert:

  • Developed an agile learning plan aligned to objectives
  • Pivoted effectively as marketplace dynamics shifted
  • Coordinated hands-on research logistics and findings
  • Served as key resource for the SIVO Insights moderator
  • Communicated seamlessly with cross-functional team

“…it felt like SIVO was a member of our team.”

From the get-go, the SIVO Insights talent creatively leveraged DRY Soda’s internal assets and owned social media to recruit the right consumers for quick-turnaround learning. Timelines and budgets were priorities, with no room for missteps. When supply chain complexities forced an immediate change in launch plans, the team worked smartly and effectively to pivot from cans to bottles in a record 15 days. Navigating a plethora of moving parts, including new package design, messaging, team alignment, and consumer feedback demanded an experienced team to pull it off successfully!

During Consumer Research, Frost was thrilled to listen, participate and ultimately make the right real-time decisions from an outside vantage point rather than having to lead and facilitate herself.

Frost said, “You made it super easy and streamlined for me…it felt like SIVO was a member of our team.”

To learn more about the DRY Soda story and line of products available, visit drinkdry. Check out this new product: DRY Botanical Bitters & Soda!

You can Shop Now or click the ‘Find Dry’ link to leverage the unique geo-locator. It allows you to buy online or from the store front retailer of your choice. This shoppable platform is powered by Pear Commerce technology. To learn more about Pear Commerce, see this 90-second video link.

SIVO Insights On-Demand Talent provides the right talent for your business needs; it is NOT a one size fits all model. What talent do you need to immediately impact YOUR business? Email Brent Budke to successfully match the right talent.

Using Market Dynamics to Drive Sales Strategy

The aftershocks of the global pandemic and ensuing market changes continue to reverberate across all industries. From CPG and retail to manufacturing and medical devices, everyone has questions about what the best strategy is to deal with the impact.

SIVO Insights recently had the opportunity to work with a medical device company to explore the implications of the pandemic on business practices for psychiatric physicians. Our client was experiencing shifts in attrition rates on their device and wanted to better understand the marketplace drivers and how they could use those learnings to influence sales strategy.

The objectives of the research centered around a few key questions that may be similar to your own questions about the impact of the pandemic on your business:

  • How are practices treating patients during the pandemic?
  • What trends are practices seeing as a result of the pandemic?
  • What is the current perception of this device and what changes are expected in the future?
  • What barriers exist for increasing the usage / adoption in the new marketplace?

These objectives led to a two-pronged approach by SIVO Insights, starting with qualitative research that engaged Doctors of Psychiatry. These initial deep dive conversations informed the focus for a quantitative survey across a broader audience of Psychiatric Professionals that would develop a complete picture of the current dynamics.

The resulting insights from the combined research led to key takeaways in 6 areas that all have unique influences on sales strategy:

Using a combination of intimate discussions and broader, quantitative assessment led to rich insights that bring the market dynamics to life in a way that can impact changes in the sales approach.

Please contact to discuss the key questions you’re facing and learn how we can customize a research approach to meet your needs to make an immediate impact on your business.

SIVO INSIGHTS On-Demand Talent™

Adding Contract Talent to Achieve Business Objectives

Are you facing these challenges?

  • More workload and pipeline projects than your team can execute
  • Questioning how to keep saying “Yes” to internal stakeholders
  • Not enough time or resources to meet multiple requests for actionable insights from leadership, product development, marketing, or strategy

How can we help?

SIVO Insights On-Demand Talent™ is a solution for Insights talent needs for teams just like yours. We leverage our extensive pool of Insights professionals, with years of experience and expertise, to help you achieve your business objectives.

We recommend three key steps for evaluating and making the case internally for hiring contract Insights talent.

3 Steps to Needs Evaluation for Talent Selection

As workforce talent continues to evolve, there is no shortage of options, including interns, short or long-term contractors, contract-to-hire, or direct hire. Below, we highlight the advantages of Contract Talent vs. Full Time Hire:

The pros and cons of contract talent versus full-time employees.

We have started engagements in as quickly as one week. To discuss your needs and how we can match the talent with the best expertise for quick solutions in your organization, visit SIVO Insights On-Demand Talent or email

Leverage Insights to Become a Best-in-Class Inclusive Employer

“The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability.” –  McKinsey & Company

SIVO Insights recently conducted a national, quantitative study to better understand the current environment with employee diversity and inclusion.  The findings reveal a staggering gap between organizational intent and employee perceptions. 

Gap #1: Employees are unaware of D&I initiatives.

Multiple sources report U.S. companies spending $7-8 billion per year on D&I training, with the average employer spending about $1 million.  Yet we found ONLY ~30% of employees think their employer has a diversity & inclusion initiative / program.  

Gap #2: Despite feeling equipped to work in a diverse environment, most employees DO NOT attribute that to organizational D&I efforts and training.

The vast amount of resources being spent on D&I initiatives are not having their intended effect.   Employees do not feel equipped to manage and improve D&I as a result of organizational efforts. 

So, how can your organization work toward best in-class inclusivity?

Step #1:  Identify problems, issues and gaps within your organization to ensure that you are working on the right solutions.  Understand what matters to your employees so D&I efforts resonate and are meaningful.

What makes employees feel equipped to work with diverse co-workers in the absence of formal training?  Is there a blind spot with your employees and leadership that needs to be explored?  Are you confident your employees are representing your company’s D&I values?


Step #2: Align your D&I initiatives and communication plans to meet your organization’s unique culture and needs. 

Training and learning can take place in a variety of formats.  One of our research participants reflected on the meaning of diversity & inclusion as, “different characteristics and traits of my colleagues…including and learning about one another to form a community at work.” – Female, Age 45-60


Step #3: Enhance employee engagement in the D&I process so that it takes hold within your organization.

Consistent communication from leadership and integration into company values and expectations is integral to the success of D&I initiatives, including training.  Employees will be engaged in the training and initiatives if they are aligned with your unique organizational culture (Step #2).

For additional survey details, visit Best In-Class Employer Infographic or to get detailed research study results.   Your organizational success is directly related to how effective and successful your D&I initiatives are.   SIVO Insights can customize an approach to support you in your D&I efforts.

Becoming a Best In-Class Inclusive Retailer

Not surprisingly, our shifting social contexts and cultures are impacting shopper behavior. Investing in understanding consumer, customer and employee needs and how they perceive their experiences has become even more important to retaining shoppers and growing your business. 

Last month, SIVO Insights launched a national, quantitative study to better understand the current environment for BIPOC Shoppers (Black, Indigenous and People of Color).  This study illustrated a wide gap between overall satisfaction vs. Best In-Class inclusiveness.

These responses showcased the importance of not just asking the surface question – “how was your recent shopping experience” – but getting at the heart of shoppers’ thoughts, feelings and beliefs that determine where they shop and where they choose to spend their dollars.

Below are two areas of focus for Best In-Class inclusiveness:

Employee Treatment of Shoppers

“The retailer does not determine the shopper’s experience…it’s the workers!”  – Male, Age 45-60

The treatment of BIPOC shoppers drove more than HALF to quit shopping a store, either because of how they themselves were treated (58%) or how another BIPOC shopper was treated (54%).  How employees treat shoppers is a critical component to becoming a Best-in-Class retailer, yet less than one-third (28%) of employees believe their employer has a Diversity & Inclusion initiative within their organization.

Brand, Product and Community Needs

“Having a diverse range of products and giving back to communities of color” – Male, Age 18-29

More than 60% of BIPOC shoppers have gone out of their way to purchase a brand or product from a retailer or company they consider to be supporting BIPOC shoppers.  Understanding the brand, product and community needs of BIPOC shoppers is another important component to becoming Best-in-Class. 

There are signs of progress, with 45% of BIPOC shoppers saying the retailer they most recently shopped was working to be more inclusive. 

This study only starts the conversation.  It illustrates the importance of understanding your own BIPOC shoppers and digging below the surface to get to the critical components to build loyalty with BIPOC shoppers.

For additional survey details, visit Best In Class Infographic or to get detailed study results.   We’d be happy to discuss how we can customize an approach to support you on your path to Best In-Class inclusiveness. 

Get Immediate Impact with the Right Fractional Talent

An innovative, rapidly growing, plant-based food company recently sought SIVO INSIGHTS On-Demand TalentTM to supplement their employee resources in three insights and analytic roles.  They needed immediate expertise in the positions of a Behavioral Data Analytics, Data Analysis and a Senior Manager of Insights.  After understanding the key business needs and focus areas, SIVO INSIGHTS On-Demand TalentTM was able to place fractional talent in all three roles. 

This success story dives deeper into the impact of the Behavioral Data Analytics Expert.

What was the Business Need?

Given the rapid growth within this company, there was an opportunity for a Behavioral Data Analytics expert who understood how to analyze syndicated data and other sources and had industry experience to provide context around the results and insights. 

What Unique Skills did the SIVO Insights Talent Bring to the Role?

The SIVO INSIGHTS On-Demand TalentTM  resource had deep experience in analyzing syndicated data, with fluency in databases and access tools, so was able to jump in immediately without additional training.  This expert also had years of industry experience and could not only provide context around results, but also recommendations on which type of analyses would be beneficial to drive a deeper understanding of the business.

What Impact did this Insights Professional have on the Business?

Within three months, this SIVO INSIGHTS On-Demand TalentTM resource was able to evaluate a number of “test & learn” experiments with minimal guidance, which had previously not been completed due to lack of bandwidth.  This professional also helped build a first-ever Category Growth Story, building out the analysis based on experience and knowledge from working in other categories and companies.

The advantage of SIVO INSIGHTS On-Demand TalentTM is that our professionals have the experience to not only provide the analysis or facts from the data, but also answer  broader questions, like “how can we do this better?”  In this case, that ranged from the type of analytic approach to employ (e.g., segmentation, evaluating panel data companies) to marketing tactic efficacy within certain contexts (e.g., radio, social media ads).  They bring a respected point of view to the table and push beyond the obvious for deeper insights and solutions.

For more information, visit SIVO Insights On-Demand Talent, or email Brent Budke.  We’d love to talk to you about your needs and how we can match the right talent to quickly make an impact in your business.


Achieve Your 2021 Goals with the Right Talent

It is a new year, with new goals!  Do you need to round out your team to accomplish those goals?

Large and small companies all around us are reducing headcount with changes in the economy and marketplace.  As business needs continue to change, it is critical to have the right talent, while also staying agile and resilient.  Other functions like HR and Finance have already been using staffing models to flex with changing needs, why not Consumer Insights?

We started with a 3-month pilot, providing one of our experienced strategy and insight professionals to a client with an open Consumer Insights role.  The success of this pilot led to a long-term resource for our client and highlighted the larger need for flexible Insights talent in the marketplace. 

Taking a proactive approach to these shifts, we developed and launched SIVO Insights On-Demand Talent. This platform enables us to leverage our extensive pool of Insights professionals with years of experience and expertise to meet and evolve around the changing needs of our clients.  Whether you need an Insights resource to fill an open position or lead and manage a strategic project, we can match the right talent to your unique needs.

We’re so excited about our On-Demand TalentTM offering and the solution it provides. Need help to achieve those 2021 goals?  For more information, visit SIVO Insights On-Demand Talent or email  We’d love to talk to you about your needs and how we can match the right talent to quickly make an impact.

Need Talent to Accomplish Your 2021 Objectives? SIVO INSIGHTS On Demand Talent Is Right for You

By: Julie Rose, Vice President, Client Experience

You have a need for fractional talent.  It may be short-term or long-term, but you need a resource now. We launched SIVO Insights On-Demand Talent as a solution to meet customized needs like yours.

When you hire SIVO On Demand Talent, you not only get an experienced talent add to your team, you gain access to the entire SIVO Insights network of experts and thought leaders.  Our team has deep experience across CPG, Retail, Foodservice, Healthcare, Finance, Apparel, Agency, and more. We leverage each other to serve you better.

With a deep bench of empowered and experienced insights professionals, our talent can make an immediate impact in your business.  Our customized On-Demand Talent solutions can come to life in a variety of different ways:

  • Innovation sprint project support and leadership
  • Consumer Insights manager/director open role coverage
  • Advanced data analytics and strategic analysis
  • Research leveraging your internal assets and the SIVO research team

On your own, it can take months to find and hire the talent you need.  Or, you may actually need to leverage a breadth of talent vs. one individual.  We can help you move forward quickly and right-size your talent.  Our first step would be to meet with you to understand your business, key needs, and focus areas.  From there, SIVO Insights On-Demand Talent will create a personalized approach for your business with the optimal talent to quickly meet your needs.

For more information, you can visit our website, SIVOInsightsOnDemandTalent.Com or contact me at  We’d love to talk to you about your needs and how we can match the right talent to quickly make an impact in your business.


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

To get the right solutions for your research needs, give us a call or send us an email. Or, just fill out the form on your right and we’ll get back to you shortly.

We can't wait to hear from you!
SIVO Insights, Inc.
3185 Fernbrook Lane N
Plymouth, MN 55447

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