Researching Hard-to-Reach Participants
Athlete Intelligence at The North Face

Busy, distracted, preoccupied.

Think your target participants are hard to research in context? Try reaching them on the side of a mountain.

From peaks to valleys, Senior Director of Insights at The North Face Vanessa Dillof collected hundreds of moments shared by elite athletes—providing deep insight into their product experiences and day-to-day lives.

Hear how researchers at The North Face conduct in-the-moment research, in extreme environments with busy participants, to drive company-wide innovation.

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Meet the speakers


Vanessa Dillof
Senior Director of Insights,
The North Face/VF Corporation

Vanessa heads up the insights practice for VF's Outdoor Coalition of brands, including The North Face, Smartwool, Jansport and Ice Breaker. She has spent her entire career trying to get out of the office as much as possible, taking clients hostage wherever she can, to get inspired by new people, environments and points of view.

ben-circle (1)

Ben Wiedmaier
Product Evangelist, dscout

Ben is the product evangelist at dscout, where he spreads the “good news” of contextual research, helps customers understand how to get the most from dscout, and impersonates everyone in the office. He has a doctorate in communication studies from Arizona State University, studying “nonverbal courtship signals”, a.k.a. flirting. No, he doesn’t have dating advice for you.

What's covered?

Vanessa and Ben share:
  • How The North Face designed its Athlete Intelligence program
  • What it’s like to align research with the lives of elite athletes (and challenging scouts)
  • Why it’s crucial to understand your audience’s lives “off the mountain"
  • How to streamline remote research design to maximize responses from busy participants

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