Entertainment Partners Uses Marvin for user research in Hollywood

Entertainment Partners Finds Rich Research Insights with Marvin

Find out how the product research team at Entertainment Partners distilled user insights from terabytes of data.

6 mins read

As you binge-watch a new Netflix series, have you ever stopped to think… How do movie or TV cast and crews get paid? (HINT: It’s not a briefcase full of cash.)

Entertainment Partners (EP) handles payroll, production finance and management for the entertainment industry. Based in Los Angeles, EP is now a production accounting software company. It provides digital and cloud-based solutions for every stage of the production process.

Beth Seaman heads their research practice. She oversees a team of eight researchers and two contract workers.

In a company with over 2,500 employees, it’s easy for research to get lost in the crowd. Beth needed a tool to amplify the voice of research. 

Research Work at EP

EP caters to various stakeholders in the entertainment industry. From background actors and independent filmmakers to large studios and production houses. For the research team, this means they deal with multiple user personas. 

All stakeholders’ interests are not the same. With their financial might, production houses and studios command the most attention. These personas matter more within the entertainment ecosystem. Therefore, Beth and team focus more on elevating studio feedback than anyone else.

Dealing with so many stakeholders does mean one thing:

The organization generates and amasses terabytes of data.

Every. Single. Day.

So how do the research team sift through this data to craft well rounded personas?

Through a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research.  

EP already used a quantitative analytics platform called Qlik. The application is deeply embedded in their business. It helps internal teams track agreements and monitor team efficiency.

The research practice regularly uses NPS surveys to gather qualitative user feedback. Beth spends a lot of time carving out insights from surveys. Open-ended questions provide a gold mine of insights that traditionally require a lot of manual analysis to find.

How EP Found Marvin

Handling multitudes of data becomes unmanageable very quickly. To extract meaning from it in a time-sensitive manner, Beth and team needed the right tool to help expedite the data assimilation process. 

Qlik only represents the quantitative half of the picture. Beth pointed to a lack of tools tailored to qualitative research:

“As a developer, you get tools to develop. As a user experience designer, you get tools to design. As a user researcher, what do you get? Microsoft Word? Sorry,” she said.

Beth wasn’t having it.

She was on the lookout for a specialized research tool. One that could handle large amounts, but also the nuances of qualitative data. Beth consulted a friend and fellow UX researcher who gave her a shortlist of tools to look at.

Once Beth discovered Marvin, her search was over. We’ll stop short of saying it was ‘love at first sight’.

In the dark ages (a time before Marvin), Beth had to sift through each individual survey manually. She’d try and parse feedback out into different groups and figure out how to act on this information. 

“I don’t think I ever knew how bad it was until I figured out what Marvin can do for me,” she said. 

“It has changed my existence.” 

User Research Software Marvin is a Game-Changer

Showcasing the Value of Research with EP Stakeholders

When Beth joined EP five years ago, she had to deal with some resistance to the research function.

Company leaders were skeptical of the value of research. Many felt it consumed too much time and resources and that doing research could delay project launches. They didn’t see a tangible return on investment from the research practice. 

While implementing Marvin, Beth had a lot on her plate. Convincing her team wasn’t the problem — they wholly embraced Marvin. Researchers were only too happy to use a new tool that helps them expedite their research work.

Beth had to deal with push back from management and other stakeholders. These colleagues weren’t convinced of its usefulness. 

“To the wider organization, it’s been a battle,” she said.

How did Beth tackle this problem?

She looked for areas where her team could add value. Nothing illustrates this better than demonstrating research’s usefulness in decision-making

“What HeyMarvin does for me is it allows me to very quickly see patterns in large amounts of data and then communicate those out,” she said. 

With time, the importance of research has disseminated throughout the company. Beth’s colleagues at EP have started taking research insights seriously. The research practice has gained supporters in the process. 

How does Beth encourage her colleagues to use Marvin’s robust capabilities?

She doesn’t talk up its features. Instead, she shows them

“It can record meetings, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Do you want it to be able to be able to provide insights from a deluge of data? Let me show you,” Beth says.

How Entertainment Partners Uses Marvin

Processing copious amounts of data has made Beth a Marvin power user. Here are some of the uses she’s found for Marvin in her research workflow:

Analyze Survey Responses

Beth uses Marvin’s survey product extensively. She uses this function to analyze thousands of open-ended qualitative responses. 

Beth highlighted a recent project where she showcased Marvin’s powerful ability to visualize NPS scores across a time period. She worked with an organization and collected qualitative responses for two years running. 

“I was presenting data from a group from one NPS survey, and then the same survey exactly a year later. It was so stark what happened with the results. So showing that was phenomenal,” she said. 

To her surprise, results changed dramatically between the years. When she went back to management, they had explanations as to why this change occurred. For Beth, that wasn’t enough. 

A deep dive into the data revealed the actual reasons that caused the shift in NPS scores and feedback. “Now, there was some visualization behind it. There was a meaningful result behind customers coming in and giving us NPS feedback,” she said. 

Marvin’s survey analysis engine helps Beth access data and elevate trends she wants to analyze in the data.

Ask AI Scans the Entire Research Repository

We’ve been talking up how to use AI in the user research workflow for a while now. AI can summarize lengthy interviews, identify data patterns and provide key highlights. It brings greater efficiency to the research process and allows for deeper analysis. 

Marvin’s Ask AI feature is a ChatGPT-like search bar that lets researchers interrogate and ask questions of their data. It helps researchers by identifying trends in the data and provides insights across projects. 

“I use Ask AI more than any other part of the application other than recording the sessions,” Beth said. 

This greatly increases the efficiency of Beth’s research team. Cross analyzing their entire research repository facilitates more analysis with less resources

While Beth uses Ask AI frequently, she’s wary of overusing any AI features. Researchers must understand that AI trained on a limited dataset can exhibit bias. Results can be erratic and humans must verify their reliability and validity. Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of AI in UX research

Beth is cautious when using Ask AI to summarize key findings. When something looks anomalous or fishy, she doesn’t ignore it. She goes back to the source data to corroborate the story to see if the data is materially different. 

That’s just good practice to follow.

Trace Insights Back to Source Data

“You can’t argue with the data,” Beth said. 

Company leadership wants Beth to be more metric-driven. She accomplishes this by:

  1. Effectively capturing customer sentiment. Marvin allows her to pull thousands of responses from NPS surveys and dissect trends to see where the company is falling short.
  2. Make a claim or initiative. “Marvin helps me create an initiative and say ‘this is why we should do this’,” she said. 
  3. Use underlying data to lend credibility to claims. “Want to see this mountain of qualitative feedback that speaks to why we need to do what I’m proposing?” she asks her colleagues.
  4. Highlight the value of research. With inarguable evidence to support her, Beth is confident in her ability to communicate research’s value. A user researcher on her team maximizes Marvin’s features to create shareable and impactful research decks, creating a rich experience within research results more quickly.

Sharing is part of our company ethos. We believe that everyone benefits from hearing the user’s voice. Leaning on source data is priceless for a user researcher. The fact that Beth’s findings are traceable to this source data is pivotal. It helps communicate to each internal stakeholder what people are saying, with no frills.

“That’s very powerful,” Beth said.

Marvin Makes Research Better

Marvin has become an essential part of Beth’s research toolkit. It’s her tool of choice for user research consolidation.

“If I take a new job, I will not take the job unless they buy Marvin. That’s going to be part of my hiring package,” she joked. 

Apart from time and money, surely there isn’t anything else that Marvn helps save?

“Sanity. It also saves sanity,” said Beth.

We’ll take her word for it.

Unclutter your mind space with Marvin. Sign up for a free demo today.

Marvin is a G2 leader in user research

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

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