Market Research and Visualisation

2 Sep

An alternative or complimentary approach to traditional methods of market research (focus groups, questionnaires for example) is the study of consumer reasoning. Whilst questionnaires and focus groups can tell you what choice a consumer would make, they don’t tell you the reasoning behind that choice or what, for example, a particular product will be used for.

A great illustration is Klein’s (2013) account of a market research project he and his team carried out with a major blue chip company. The company supplied premium detergent but were losing market share. Following focus groups and questionnaires the blue chip company had made the decision to launch a basic brand of detergent. Klein has brought in as a verifier of the market research results; what Klein thought he could add was an investigation of consumer reasoning.

Klein carried this out by mocking up a supermarket in the form of photo cut outs and asked consumers (one at time) to talk aloud as they made decisions about which detergent to purchase; the consumer was required to ask the research team for price and other related information. To cut it short, the results revealed that consumers were not interested in a discounted version of the detergent (which the focus groups and questionnaires suggested). Instead, they made their decision by choosing the cheapest luxury item. All that was required was to offer discounts and offers on the existing brand. The money saved and made by the blue chip was many millions ($).

Some of the latest visualisation kit, some of it full size, allows you to take this type of research to the next level. We’re currently putting together projects to identify and fix decision errors using visualisation. An example is high street planning, we know what consumers say they want, but what do consumers actually use high streets for? What reasoning strategies drive these decisions? The answers can have very different outcomes to those based solely on traditional methods.

Klein, G (2013) Seeing What Others Don’t; The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, Notable Books

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