On the other side of the two-way mirror, the men enjoy the show as the girls apply different shades and answer questions. But the men gawk and joke at how the girls don’t know why they buy what they buy, and that research is a complete waste of time.
What’s surprising today is how many companies still use the same approach as advertising agencies from the 1960’s. Burning time and money on research designed for a different era.
If the Internet and social media have transformed the way that consumers shop, and technology is blurring the lines between online and offline commerce, isn’t it inevitable that our customer research techniques should change too?
From my observation traditional research is stuck in the past and companies need to adopt new methods. Here's why:
- Focus groups, surveys and structured interviews
- Tries to uncover explicit customer needs
- Uses market segmentation based on demographics
- Takes place in controlled settings with expensive rooms, equipment and moderators
- Analyzes objective data
- Good for improving existing things
- Static and slow – one city or survey at a time
New research techniques
- Focused on individuals
- Uses observation and empathy
- Happens in natural contexts and through attentively viewing people’s behavior in their own environment
- Uses feelings, thoughts, attitudes, imagination and emotion to uncover latent needs
- Promotes dynamic conversations to generate interpretations and deeper meanings
- Fast, rapid, responsive, and low cost
- Inspires new ideas and opportunities
Madison Ave in the 60’s is a far cry from the world we live in today. Nowadays understanding individual users through observation and empathy is critical to unlock new product ideas or to create effective marketing programs.