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Live Your Consumer’s Life – a Follow-Up to the Steve Jobs Theory of Research

2017 January 20 by

Taste Test Experts

Taste Test Experts

Although we researchers excitedly confess more mid-sized companies are not only accepting our motto of “do your homework” – they are also setting aside budget dollars to conduct what we in the market research industry know to be the foundation of any product or service, marketing communication or message – CONSUMER RESEARCH. However, we still too frequently encounter potential clients who do not understand the value of conducting market research. “What’s the ROI?” we are frequently asked. The under-informed should actually be asking what the consequences might be if research IS NOT conducted prior to:

  • Launching a new product or service
  • Modifying an existing product or service
  • Identifying your market
  • Expanding into new markets
  • Identifying competition
  • Developing your message and touchpoints

Bob Gilbreath, co-founder and CEO at Ahalogy, an internet marketing and content performance analyst firm based in Cincinnati, recently penned an article on Linked-In outing former Apple founder, Steve Jobs for negating the profound impact market research has had on millions of product and service success stories. Job’s professed,

“Some people say, ‘Give customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, “A faster horse!”‘ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”

Gilbreath goes on to explain, “I wholeheartedly agree with these quotes. One should never conduct a research study that asks people what they want–yet it is a mistake that big and small companies make every day. I learned about the right way to research within the first few months of my time working in the new products team at Procter & Gamble, a company legendary for creating billion-dollar categories ranging from disposable diapers to Swiffer and Febreze. Broadly speaking, there are two types of research that work–and they are completely consistent with Jobs’ words and success.”

“First, you must spend time understanding and gaining insights into customers’ existing habits, beliefs, routines and unmet needs. We would never ask people, ‘What should we develop to make your life easier?’ Instead, we spent time with people in their homes and watched them at the store, then we dug through data about what they are buying and using. Your job, at the early stage of innovation, is to get into the shoes of your customer, understand her life, and look for insights that give you ideas on products that you could create that would surprise and delight her.”

“The second role of market research comes in evaluating the ideas that come out of customer understanding and insights. At Procter & Gamble, we wrote up descriptions of our ideas and shared them with people in one-one-one conversations and in national quantitative surveys in order to gauge their interest and willingness to buy. In big and small companies alike, it is invaluable to get direct customer feedback. While it’s tough to get customers to tell you what they want, they do a great job of reacting to ideas that you share with them. After all, reacting to new ideas is something they do every day when they turn on the TV, chat with friends or browse through a store. Customer feedback on ideas helps you refine your product, model the business potential, and sometimes prevent you from a costly failure.”

Here at FieldGoals.US, this is our passion. Bring us your products and services, your hopes and dreams, and we will quantify and qualify your market to guarantee your success. In this exciting new era of entrepreneurial enlightenment, let us guide the way.

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