Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second
Beginning) E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Searching for Opportunities - Inexpensively
The search for new opportunities either brand improvements, line extensions
or new products should be an on-going process in every company, but many
people tell me they can't do this like they did in the past. When pressed,
I usually encounter the comment that they cannot afford the cost of the
research. While there are many good research tools that are expensive,
such as Habits and Practices Studies, there are some very effective, low-cost
methods as well. In some cases, the research can handle most of the
owrk while in others some outside assistance may be required but at a relatively
moderate cost. Consider the following methods:
Are you looking for ways to improve an existing brand?
Negative Brand Share (NBS) - This technique will probably require
the use of an outside contractor. But before contracting the work,
I propose that the researcher experiment with the technique on his/her own.
The technique requires in-store interviewing. You position yourself
in the store aisle. When a shopper picks up a competing brand, you
intercept the shopper and debrief the decision-making. I usually ask
about the brand being purchased, namely, why it was purchased rather than
any other brand, usage experience with the brand and other brands. After
understanding the basis of the purchase, I look to establish why my brand
was not purchased. To achieve this point, I ask the shopper to look
at all the other possibilities of purchase and then zero in on my brand to
determine why it was not purchased and what the manufacturer would have to
do to get the shopper to replace her brand with this brand in future purchases.
It is cheap and fast. The key to success is the environment.
The shopper has just made a purchase and your research is made in the
presence of all the shopper's alternatives.
Dissatisfaction Monitor - How often have we conducted a Satisfaction
Monitor only to walk away feeling that we have really learned very little?
It has been my experience that I find little differences in the level
of satisfaction between the best and poorest brands on the market. Maybe
it is the way my company did the research. To be a participant you
had to have used the brand within a specific amount of time, depending on
the product category. Now if they had used the brand, what is the chance
that a brand that they purchased will be unacceptable or low in satisfaction?
It is most likely a brand they had purchased in the past and found
acceptable. Rather than asking about brands they purchased recently,
why not ask about brands they will not purchase or brands that they have
purchased in the past but will not purchase again? Now here is where
you separate the winners from the losers. It is far easier finding
eligible respondents for this type of test as compared to the satisfaction
If you are looking for a new line extension or a new brand, try the
Category Dissatisfaction - Have you ever noticed that when conducting
research, there are times when the recruited respondents are sitting idle
waiting to participate? This is time that I feel can be put to good
use. I would always carry a deck of 3 x 5 inch cards. On these
cards was printed a sentence to be completed. I had cards printed
that included every product area in which the company was involved. The
sentence on the card would be something like, "I wish the makers of shampoo
would make a shampoo that would not . . . . " There are many ways to
word the statement, this is only one. Now, consider having cards where
the word "shampoo" was substituted with toothpaste, paper towels, laundry
detergent, bar soap, deodorant, peanut butter, shortening, toilet tissue,
dishwashing detergent, etc. You get the idea. It really works
and it is cheap, especially if you do your own tabbing and I do recommend
that you do.
*Something New -- check out "Sorensen Associates.com" and click
on "Controlled Store Testing" Their studies go well beyond the conventional
controlled store tests. I think you will find it interesting.
Sponsor: Sorensen Associates Inc
Portland, OR 800.542.4321
Minneapolis, MN 888.616.0123
The In-Store Research Company