Market Research is about understanding your customers better. Knowing how customers think, their wants and needs, leads to a better understanding of their buying preferences and ultimately more sales for you.
One of Penguin's products, Market Sonar, invites the customers to respond to questions from our callers. The questions are from a script prepared in co-operation with the clients, but one common issue is what questions to ask.
Because Market Sonar is a Voice of the Customer technique, we ask "open ended questions." These are questions that cannot be answered simply by yes or no. We strive to distinguish Market Sonar from the kinds of online surveys that use multiple choice or true-false questions.
The problem with those surveys is that the questions asked end up pre-ordaining the answers. They reflect the view of the questioner when what we wish to learn is the view of the customer. This may be quite different from what the questioner thinks it is.
Many clients think that customers are very familiar with their products, competing products, and industry jargon. That is seldom the case.
The way we go about selecting questions at Penguin is to ask the client to think about the problem that their invention solves for the customer.
One of our first strategies, therefore, is to ask customers how they are solving that problem today.
Imagine you were Edison trying to determine the market for an electric Light. At that time, most people had no idea what an electric light was, or what it could do for them.
So asking them questions like how bright do they want their electric light, would not be very useful. Much better would have been to ask them how they lit their home now. Most people used gas, candles or kerosene lamps. Those methods of lighting all had issues ranging from safety to dimness to ease of operation.
Knowing answers to questions about their current lighting choices would have helped Edison to make his invention clearly superior to what the customers were then using.This could not have been found out by asking true-false or multiple choice questions about brightness, or whether the prospect had electrical service.
So if you would like to conduct some Voice of the Customer Surveys and need some help doing it, contact us.
Thanks to Richard Blazey, Business Metamorphosis. This posting is adapted from his December, 2016 newsletter.