The Customer Is Not Always Right

The Customer Is Not Always Right

Use Them Selectively in B2B Concept Creation Creating breakthrough product and service ideas in the business-to-business (B2B) domain poses some unique challenges. In many cases, the development of new ideas requires technical expertise that customers (or end-users) may lack. We rely heavily on customers to tell us their needs and points of pain, and they generally do a great job of this. During that process...

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Avoid Asking Why

Avoid Asking Why

In many respects, we are in the business of understanding why customers do the things they do. Asking someone a “why” question suggests that you want them to describe a behavior or the rationale behind a behavior. Customers are generally poor at self-reflection; stated behavior (and rationale) is often at odds with reality. I’m still baffled at the number of times qualitative research is used to understand behaviors. It’s not designed for...

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Shiny Needles in a Haystack

Shiny Needles in a Haystack

Getting the Right B2B Participants for Concept Development When involving B2B end-users for new product development research, the quality of the participant far outweighs the quantity. In concept development, focus groups are a common method to get feedback.  Somewhere along the way, someone in our industry issued a commandment that stated “thou must always recruit 10 to seat 6-8” for your next session. That demigod obviously came from consumer packaged goods...

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Scrapbooking with Farmers

Scrapbooking with Farmers

Engaging B2B Study Participants I’ll be the first to admit that business-to-business research is hard. Finding and scheduling study participants is always a challenge. Engaging them is even tougher. Building a dialogue around brand perceptions and unmet needs is always challenging, but it is particularly acute in professional markets. Business-to-business participants are prone to only focus on product features. Good research requires a deeper dive. We recently completed...

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How High is Your Trampoline Jump?

How High is Your Trampoline Jump?

In some organizations, the mere suggestion of a brainstorming session is enough to cause managers to roll their eyes or throw their hands up in protest. As I look back on my own experiences, I can remember brainstorming meetings that ran the gamut from painful to completely inspiring. For those that were inspiring, I remember being energized by the process and felt as though I was a valued contributor. The key to any successful...

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