How a Market Research Co. Tackled Fake Data Issue with Mobile App

Sophia ClarkeAugust 10, 2018

A Delaware-based market research company suddenly faced a challenge that they had never encountered before – a rise in fake data collection. They found a solution that mysteriously solved not just one problem, but tackled other challenges too – which ultimately led to an increase in greenbacks! Read this case study to find out interesting details

When the data is crucial today – making a decision without data is shooting in the dark, and hoping desperately to hit the target

_“In God we trust, all others must bring data.”_

Fake data is injurious to the health of the company – especially if the bread and butter of a company were dependent on that

Did you know that around 32 % B2B customers and 23 % of consumers provide fake information? (According to Global Marketing Alliance)

fake data issue tackled with mobile apps

No wonder you have names like Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, etc. in your databases with fake contact information

But what if your teams are making up and submitting fake data?

The problem of fake data is rampant with research and marketing firms, although every industry has been affected by this at some stage

One such market research firm, Eagle Market Research (EMR) based in Delaware – USA, faced a similar problem

With a team size of around 100 field executives, Eagle Market Research (EMR) uses paper forms (also referred to as questionnaires) to collect data on the field for all the projects

Teams are on the field to meet respondents – they ask questions and record the responses on the paper forms

The average length of the paper form is 12 pages. Sometimes when the surveys are very critical and deep, the questionnaire can get as long as 50 pages

Interestingly, the problem is not the length of pages – it’s about the authenticity of the responses

Here’s what Vince Esper, Head Operations at EMR, has got to say, “We usually get data collection projects with low turnaround time. Our field agents are always on their toes and are under pressure to complete their daily survey targets. And of late, we bagged more projects which have increased the pressure to complete projects faster.”

“However, as more projects came in, we encountered a strange problem of fake data being collected out on forms recently. We have got an in-house quality team whose responsibility is to verify the data being collected. The occurrence of fake data reported by the quality team has shot up ever since the targets of the field agents were revised, rather increased. We needed a strong solution to tackle this problem. And this is when we started looking for solutions.”

On further analysis, something unexpected came up:

One thing became very evident: since the daily survey targets grew for the field team, they started filling up the questionnaires on their own by manipulating the data

To put an end to this problem, EMR either could have fired employees, but hiring new ones and training them was out of scope. They didn’t have that kind of time

Had they lowered the daily targets of agents, it would have been at the cost of letting new projects go

The management didn’t want to grow costs by increasing the team size, especially when the similar flow of projects in the future was uncertain

Vince says, “We started thinking about digitizing our process but were quite sceptical about it. Plus, we weren’t confident if our teams would accept any new change. We started looking for options that were easy to deploy, and then we chanced upon Axonator. That was our blessing in disguise.”

EMR got introduced to Axonator mobile forms app for data collection. The trial period kicked in with Axonator for the first month – everything went down smooth. And six months down the line, they are still using it

What is Mobile Data Collection App & How It Can Help Your Business?

EMR converted paper forms into mobile forms through Axonator apps. When the field agents started using mobile devices instead of paper forms, they could capture data faster

This is primarily because long forms were divided into shorter subforms. Jumping from one form to another required just one click

Even further, survey forms on mobile were easy to fill – most of them required just clicks, irrelevant questions could be skipped, etc

But their problem was not productivity in the first place, it was fake data, so how did they tackle fake data issue?


For example, when EMR teams were on the field for a vehicle survey project, the mobile form required agents to click a photograph of the vehicle

So, if a field agent did 10 surveys a day through the mobile app, his forms would have 10 different vehicle photos

Audio/Video Capture

Earlier, the agents just wrote testimonials on paper forms. There was no way to establish that who wrote the feedback

But now, audio/video capture in the mobile forms can help establish it better – if the feedback is authentic or not


Earlier, there were instances when paper forms were filled by the agents from the same place but they mentioned different places

But this was taken care by mobile apps – if you visited 10 different places to collect data, there must be 10 different locations


Paper forms did have ‘time’ field. But it could be easily manipulated by the agent by filling out different time for every survey

With mobile forms, the agent has to tap the ‘timestamp’ option, which fetches the exact time when the survey is taking place

No Repeat of Mobile Number

The issue of duplicate mobile numbers was put to rest completely because the system did not accept the same number twice

No phone number could be used twice. In paper forms, there was no way to avoid the repetition of same mobile number

OTP Feature

What if different random numbers were entered just to dodge the above function?

EMR wanted something more which made sure that data submitted was authentic, right at the first time

When a field agent would enter a mobile number of the respondent while filling up the form, an OTP would be generated and sent to the respondent’s mobile number immediately

axonator otp data security

That OTP number would be required to fill the rest of the form – therefore, the agent couldn’t enter a fake mobile number or even leave the field blank

These robust features bundled together tackled the fake data problem completely on various fronts for EMR

The job of the quality team was made easier too. As soon the form was submitted on the mobile app, the quality team got a data report for each form

Other Benefits

Real-time Sharing

EMR field agents started submitting the data through clicks which were accessed by the managers almost instantaneously.

Being updated at all times helped the company to keep its clients informed – this closed the communication gap by a larger degree


Reports were generated automatically as soon as the forms were filled out. These reports are directed to managers and quality teams automatically

Advanced Analytics

EMR used Axonator dashboard to gain some actionable insights from the data collected.They began making decisions based on the insights obtained from the data

Data Entry Saved

The data submitted through mobile apps was stored automatically in the cloud – which could be accessed at any point in time.

The integration feature allows the data import/export to different platforms like excel sheets, CRM, drive, Salesforce, etc.

Reduced Costs on Paper & Print

EMR spent a huge budget on buying paper and printing the paper. Since paper forms were no longer required – office expenses dropped sharply.

On using Axonator, Vince Esper commented, “It’s been 6 months we are using Axonator – and we are glad about how productivity has shot up and importantly, the instances of fake data were reduced dramatically.”

He continued, “What we loved was how Axonator built some custom features just for us. In the beginning, they helped us in building the forms, but now we do that on our own – it’s easy

Our revenue has got a major lift – thanks to a simple mobile app that helped us find our Holy Grail. Our team’s love for Axonator is rock-solid.”

Quick Stats

Businesses can just drag and drop widgets to build mobile apps – these apps can be made functional in weeks’ time

Axonator mobile apps drive enterprise mobility for many businesses in the USA and around the world.

With these apps, these businesses have achieved productivity,  digital transformationworkflow automation, platform integration, etc

Who’s using Axonator apps? A variety of industries from Oil & Gas to facility management are using Axonator for different processes like inspection, audit, repair jobs, data collection, market research, etc

Interested in finding out  how a mobile app can help your business?

Get in touch with us on   [email protected]

We will show you how Axonator can be a right fit in your business – you don’t have to mend your processes. Axonator can be tailor-made to fit your needs

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