October 19 , 2006
- by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am always amazed at the tools a real professional has in his/her tool box, regardless of their profession. They can be a carpenter, baker, plumber, cook, doctor, homemaker, mechanic, market researcher, etc. They seem to have a great variety of tools. Each tool is well maintained. Despite the obvious use, the tools are clean, sharp and ready for use. Compare the professional's tool box with that of the novice. In many cases, the novices will have much fewer tools at their dispoal. Even the ones they have are usually not well maintained, they just exist.
All their time is spent using the tool and not taking very good care of its condition. I find our profession of Market/Consumer Research to be a good example. There are companies that call themselves Consumer Researchers, but they only have one or two tools in their tool box. And regardless of the appropriateness of the tool for the job, they will use it in an attempt to solve almost any problem.
It is not just about having the tools. You must maintain them, keep them clean and sharp. You must also understand how and when to use each tool. You must know the strengths and weaknesses of each tool, what they can do and what they cannot do.
Look at the needs of a Consumer Researcher. Does he/she have capabilities in the following areas?
uncovering Consumer Needs
selecting the most promising of the needs
evaluation of the products on the market addressing the need
developing a concept for the solution to the need
evaluation of the concept
assessing the potential of the product designed to eliminate the need
determining how well the product lives up to the promises, perceptionally and technically
determine the appropriate mix of aesthetics
development of the container, copy, functionality, art, etc.
determine the appropriate price
evaluation of the name, concept, product fit
determination of market potential
The above are just a few of the tasks required of the Consumer Researcher. Each task requires its own tool. It is the researcher's responsibility to know how to use each tool.
Does your tool box contain a tool for each task? Or are you one of those people that will use a screwdriver as a wood chisel?