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242: Agile Research with Rob Holland CEO at Feedback Loop

Rob Holland, CEO of Feedback Loop

On this 242nd episode of “Marketing Today,” host Alan Hart speaks with Rob Holland, the CEO at Feedback Loop, a technology growth company that provides rapid consumer feedback through its agile research platform.

We begin the interview with Holland’s upbringing in Staten Island and eventually to the West Coast, but wherever he went, it never seemed to be permanent. Holland believes “being comfortable with mobility has been a real game-changer,” allowing him to adapt quickly to new environments. We then move to Holland’s financial background and how it helped him when making the transition to managerial positions. Though he started in finance and eventually found his way to the marketing side, Holland has “always been connected to the consumer in some way.”

Holland then dives into Feedback Loop, defining agile research as a tool that “provides directional guidance early and often to guide decisions that might otherwise be made by opinion or rank, rather than data.” Holland has seen first-hand that “the whole idea of getting rapid consumer feedback to solve rapidly changing needs in very dynamic markets has never been greater,” and it’s not going to go away anytime in the foreseeable future. Lastly, we end our conversation on the current polarizing state of the world and how “it’s forcing marketers and brands to take sides in places that they really have no need to get into.” Marketing teams need to tread lightly!

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Rob grew up in Staten Island before heading to the West Coast after high school, though he has remained a Mets fan. 1:20
  • Both sides of Alan’s wife’s family are your typical Italian family from Staten Island. 1:49
  • Throughout his career, Rob has stayed connected to the end-consumers the entire way. 2:38
  • Starting in finance, Rob moved into market analytics, where he began to climb the management ladder. 3:16
  • Rob’s operational finance background gave him an advantage when he made the transition to the management side. 4:11
  • Find someone who knows the finance side of the company, as it will always be an advantage. 5:50
  • Feedback Loop provides an agile research platform that serves teams that want to do their own research. 6:06
  • The Founder of Feedback Loop recognized the lack of ability to get rapid consumer feedback. 7:16
  • Over time, Alpha’s platform (prior name) evolved and grew with its customers and product development teams. 8:10
  • After so much growth, Alpha stopped describing the platform accurately, so the company changed its name to Feedback Loop. 8:56
  • Rob has seen the impact of the constantly evolving market on Feedback Loop and the marketing research industry as a whole. 10:48
  • Research teams are having a hard time trying to keep up with the shifting market, and that’s where Feedback Loop hopes to help. 11:36
  • Agile research provides small chunks of information quickly to inform incremental decisions. 12:45
  • The rapid feedback provided by Agile Research is most comparable to using windshield wipers during a storm, allowing you to keep moving forward. 13:55
  • Product teams and research teams need buffers, and Agile Research provides those controlled parameters. 15:05
  • Feedback Loop works with consumer-faced businesses of various sizes across a variety of industries. 17:25
  • Farmers Insurance, a client of Feedback Loop, created Toggle, a direct-to-consumer product that allows them to connect to younger generations. 17:48
  • Due to COVID, the behaviors and expectations of consumers are changing rapidly. 20:50
  • Feedback Loop is working with brands that are being forced to re-evaluate because of the massive shift that the world is going through. 22:17
  • Industries that had pre-understood truths have to re-evaluate what those truths are and show consumers that they are adapting. 23:40
  • Moving around often while growing up gave Rob the flexibility to adapt to new environments very quickly. 25:25
  • Looking back, Rob would have taken more calculated risks by moving faster through his career. 27:06
  • Apple and Amazon are brands that Rob likes to stalk and watch grow by continuously surrounding their consumers. 30:22
  • Digital transformation has shown maturity by blending things that you can’t touch and feel with real physical products. 33:48
  • Differing political and socio-economic views are sucking companies into black holes right now. 35:00

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