Market Research


Ripping Off the Band-Aid®

Ripping Off the Band-Aid®

Recently, I was invited to facilitate a session with a prospective client about how to better utilize market research and voice-of-consumer in its innovation process. Apparently, it was a hot topic: the room was filled with people from R&D, product development, marketing, sales, and even finance. I expected to spend four hours going over the basics like determining consumer needs and building product concepts. Within...

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Down with Discussion Guides!

Down with Discussion Guides!

In many cases the time we spend on developing overly detailed discussion guides for qualitative research is what I call “client window dressing.”  In order to appease large project teams, clients feel compelled to make sure everyone’s “burning question” is reflected.  Qualitative research is not an interrogation.  A skilled moderator knows when to go “off script” and what to ask to satisfy the team’s appetite....

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Ethnography – In The Trenches, Not in the Clouds

Ethnography – In The Trenches, Not in the Clouds

  For ethnography, immerse yourself in the trenches, and get your head “out of the clouds.”  Effective ethnography requires a great deal of self-awareness and sensitivity.  Some people are much better at this than others. By definition, ethnography is a combination of observations, interviews, and collection of artifacts.  Interviews are kept to a minimum and warranted when the ethnographer observes a behavior and wants to...

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Be a Housekeeper for a Day

Be a Housekeeper for a Day

Numerous studies tout the effectiveness of ethnography as a way to understand customer needs and as a springboard for new product (or service) ideas.  The advantage of ethnography is that you can observe customer behavior in context.  Oftentimes, there is a disconnect between what people say vs. what people do.  Supplementing attitudinal research (focus groups, interviewing) with a behavioral component is a superior approach. The...

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We’re on a NEED to Know Basis

We’re on a NEED to Know Basis

Many firms rely on quantitative testing to prioritize which new product (or service) concepts advance in the development pipeline.  Without question, survey results can be used to align innovation teams around which projects to resource.  Concept testing is a common way to pick the winners and losers. A dirty secret is that many concepts pass testing with flying colors only to eventually fail (or not...

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