In the market research of the non-durable consumer products, where do we
find TRUTH? I believe there are two locations where TRUTH may be found:
that is, in the store and in the consumers' homes. I have written
a number of Views
on the topic of In-Store Research. I
do not remember writing much about the merits of In-Home Research except
in the context of In-Home Group Discussions.
Home visits are very strong tools for gaining consumer insights. These
visits offer the opportunity to study the consumer in their personal environment,
to learn what real consumer problems and current needs are and to experience
how the consumers solve problems and see what products they use and how
they use them. Home visits allow for intimate interactions with consumers
on their turf where purchase decisions and repurchase decisions are evaluated.
They allow a unique opportunity to tap into the consumer's experiences
and thought processes.
Home visits often provide insights that may be elusive in other situations
or environments. In focus groups, one-on-ones, CLTs and telephone
interviews, consumers have to rely on memory to describe situations, problems,
feelings and habits. The researcher must listen carefully to visualize
what and how something is being described. When you are in the home,
you can witness firsthand exactly what is actually being done. You
can then ask why something is done that the consumer may be doing subconsciously
and, therefore, would never even articulate in an interview.
As best as I can remember, there were only two formal consumer research
techniques in P&G that utilized the In-Home environment, In-Home Group
Discussions and The Expert Director Test. For more information on these
two techniques, see the website "popsg.org/views." Use the search engine
provided to locate Views
related to the topics. In-Home
visits were frequently utilized, however, for exploratory research. Some
visits were aimed at resolving specific concerns while others were very open-ended
in regards to purpose, being truly exploratory.
There are a few comments that really should not be needed but I will make
them anyway. Remember that you are a guest, courtesy is of the utmost
importance. Ask questions in a conversational style. Keep in mind
that there are no right or wrong answers. Visits should be made by
two or more people at all times.
Frequently we think that there is one way and only one way in which a product
is used or a task is performed. It has been my experience that there
are just about as many ways of performing a task as there are people. The
single biggest awareness that employees coming out of the "Consumer Awareness
Program" observed was the fact that almost everyone has a different way of
doing a task. It is the awareness of these variations that leads to
Treat yourself to a day of learning. Visit a consumer in
their "Den of Truth."
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