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In Her Own Words: Elissa Moses brings AI, machine learning to focus groups

artificial intelligence and focus groups

Ellen Sherberg, Bizwomen Contributor
Aug 30, 2021, 10:17am EDT

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As our communities reopen, women reflect on what the pandemic has meant to their families, colleagues, customers and communities. Technology innovation pioneer, branding expert and business road warrior Elissa Moses responded reflexively by pivoting her product development and communications focus to enable “business as unusual” in a changed new world.

“’All my bags were packed and I was ready to go’ or so the old John Denver song goes. Covid hit just as I was about to embark on my International Spring speech circuit. I had a new public appearance wardrobe ready with a Lafayette 148 suit, Ferragamo shoes, a Hermes scarf and a new Louis Vuitton bag. I was ready for Spain, France, Chicago, New York, San Diego and wherever else speeches and business meetings took me. But all that came to a screeching halt, replaced by unsatisfying Zoom conferences.

Also abruptly halted was my No. 1 business priority co-launching HARK Connect with business partner and inventor Duane Varan, a new AI-driven tech marketing service for streaming qual research. Our company had invented the ultimate better mousetrap for conducting and watching focus groups in facilities and with WOW features unlike anyone had seen before such as translations, real time transcripts and video editing, automatic tagging, a private virtual back room, etc. All we thought we had to do was build awareness. But almost overnight, focus group facilities closed all over the world. And we were “all dressed up with no place to go.”

Yet, I thrive with adversity. It was just another puzzling challenge to strategically work our way out of. I did research with our professional target of marketers and researchers and met with the development team of programmers and coders every day for the next few months. By fall of 2020, we were ready to introduce our new far superior online HARK Connect platform which has now changed the way people do qualitative market research internationally.

Automated tagging through artificial intelligence

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning we were able to create automated tagging that identifies each time a key word or topic is mentioned to make the analyst’s job infinitely easier afterward searching through the automated transcripts. Moreover AI/ML enables multiple language translations and closed captions so that a U.S. marketing director can watch the focus groups from China at home, the moderator receives a transcript in Mandarin and the colleagues in Europe can watch live in French, Spanish, German and Italian respectively (60+ languages in total.)

The lockdown of Covid-19 gave many of us time to innovate and for us at HARK Connect, we kept pushing until we had created the client experience that was second to none.

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