Monthly Archives: July 2012

Full Context Consumer

By Stephanie Milam

A large part of our job is being good at talking to consumers. We spend time with them to understand the full context of their lives with a specific focus on a product, brand, shopping habit, household routine, etc. The beautiful thing about immersing ourselves in this way is the uniqueness of the knowledge we gain because we can fully grasp the who, what, when, where, and whys of their experiences. Not to mention we really enjoy it!

Why talking to people matters:

‒        Executives can become distanced from their consumers. Each person lives a little differently, and sometimes very differently from those making decisions on the products they buy and the stores they shop. Despite our contrasts from one another, when you sit down and talk to someone about their lives, you can always relate to them on some level.  And being able to relate offers you the opportunity to truly connect.

‒        Social media doesn’t account for those who don’t use it much. While not always the target market, boomers and older generations are still buying clothes, groceries, gifts, and more.  They love to talk and are a demographic we always enjoy because of their sincerity.

‒        Online surveys only go so far. Their results can give an inaccurate representation, can be interpreted in many ways, and are often dishonest because participants will say what they think a company wants to hear. Qualitative information is a key research component because talking candidly with consumers and showing you care about what they say will cause them  to be open and honest about their lives.

‒        Knowing their voice is being heard increases brand loyalty. Proving to consumers that their feedback is taken seriously increases their loyalty because they feel appreciated.

As we move into an increasing digital age, it is our goal to continue to prove the necessity of including the full context of consumers’ lives in market research. It is only with this context, we believe, that you can truly understand your consumer.

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A Modern World Means Smarter Women

By Samantha WImagehite

We recently discovered this article discussing the change in IQ testing trends and found it very interesting. Apparently, for the first time since IQ test records began, women are scoring higher than men.

The IQ testing expert who made the discovery has a few theories he thinks might explain the change in scores between genders. These include women’s dual responsibilities with home life and a career, or the idea that women have always had the capacity to score higher and are just now achieving it.

Do you have any theories of your own on the subject? We would love to hear from you! Have a great weekend!

Product Innovation: Finding the niche in consumers’ lives

By Jeanne Corrigan and Stephanie Milam

When we go out into the field to talk to consumers, we’re typically learning about a specific aspect of their lives and why they do things a certain way. We help our clients make things easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable for their consumers, but sometimes this means trying to alter their behavior.

We regularly hear from people about how they want to try something new but don’t. Some will even purchase specific products (such as a new sauce for meals) but don’t change their regular process enough to use the products properly (they don’t make a dish the sauce would be used with). So, how do we break through the natural inertia and get people to try new products? Does there have to be a level of engagement in that area of their lives or just a gentle push to get them over the hesitation?

Overall consumers find what works for them and stick to it. In the absence of an obvious problem or easy-to-identify frustration, most consumers don’t recognize a potential new product niche in their lives. That’s why it’s such a benefit to observe the consumers in their process to see what might be smoother, easier, or could enhance their experience.  Many times clients want their customers to articulate their unmet needs or identify new products or solutions, which is not always realistic because it’s not obvious. Consumers didn’t request post-it notes or ipods, but the consumer need and benefit was there and unearthed by those who really understand consumer behavior, needs and wants.

And that’s what our job is. We use our own understanding of both our clients’ objectives and the consumers’ experience, and align them to determine a point of innovation and development.