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Laura Manning, of Lucid, on making market research easier, timelier, and more accurate for brands

Laura Manning is VP of Research at Lucid, a Louisiana-based research technology platform that delivers programmatic access to first-party survey data. This data can be used to build business strategies, measure the impact of advertising, publish research, and more. In January of 2022, Lucid was acquired by Cint, based in Stockholm.

I wanted to catch up with Laura to query her on what her company does, especially with regard to making market research easier for brands. As Laura notes, one of the biggest misconceptions that people have with regard to research is that it will be difficult to carry out. The advent of research technology platforms such as Lucid should put many of these concerns to rest.

I also wanted to get Laura’s input with regard to the kinds of benefits that marketers enjoy because of the more rapid turnaround of survey data provided by modern survey methods. “I think it’s helped a lot of our clients to test new things,” said Laura, “so if you’re testing an attention partner or if you’re testing a new type of media or you’re testing high-impact ads — anything you’re doing outside the norm, it allows you to compare that to your baseline really quickly. And outside of that, it’s really beneficial if your client says ‘oh, we have an extra five hundred grand to spend before the end of the year. Where should we put it?'”

Laura and I discuss how brands should holistically manage branding vs. direct response KPIs, especially if a recession hits next year. As Laura notes, “We actually did some research on this in the pandemic, and some of the brands that paused all of their branding campaigns saw losses in baseline awareness months later. So I think it’s something to consider, just in terms of what your end goals are. Are you being reactive to the market or is this something that you actually need to do because your budgets are being cut and that sort of thing. It definitely does have an impact on down-funnel sales. People who aren’t aware of your brand and aren’t thinking of your brand top-of-mind — it’s going to be hard to get them to buy. So I think that’s something we’re keeping a close eye on. I wouldn’t say that we’ve seen much of an impact so far — we’re still seeing tons of big branding campaigns for 2023, but it’s definitely top of mind for us and I’m sure my boss is thinking about it very often.”

In the remainder of our interview, Laura and I discuss the role played by publishers and app owners in the way that the Lucid platform works, the degree to which certain demographic groups are becoming harder for advertisers to reach, including non-English speakers, and how Lucid is adapting to cookie deprecation and the blurring lines between online and offline media.

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