Market Research – Part 4


This is fourth in the series of market research related posts and I would like to go over the analysis part here. This is one of the most important, often overlooked part or something on which the least amount of time gets spent. Data collection, verification and compilation takes away the bulk of the time mostly and while putting it together it is easy to lose sight of what was it exactly that you wanted to do. This is where the initial thesis and output slide deck templates help to keep your sanity. Let us take a quick look at the various aspects involved:

1. Data interpretation, presentation and insights

This is the first stage of any market research activity, where you are attempting to pull all the data together into a nice looking presentation and while in the process, stare at the data trying to come up with conclusions. This is NOT ANALYSIS. True analysis happens when you are able to get out of data collection mode, move into a parallel mode of data comparison against thesis and try to convert it into usable, insights and information. Now, this does not mean you might not have to do any more data collection but if done in brief spurts of analysis + data collection proves to be an effective and useful way to do market research.

2. Customer-centric thinking

This is again a part of the analysis thesis which says, there is no wrong way of looking at a presentation, just wrong ways of showing the information. Or in short, your audience is never wrong, knowing them and hence, presenting it in the form that will be interesting and useful to them is more important than any cool animation or sophisticated analysis you can do. Knowing what are the most important problems they need to address, knowing their limitations, knowing what their top concerns are, will help make a better presentation that will help your customer, in turn.

3. Anthropomorphing

I learnt about this aspect from a speaker from IDEO who spoke at ISB, the year I was there. He said, most problems and sample sets can be analyzed from the point of view of certain attributes of living things and making that analogy is a conscious decision and helps in amplification of the required parts of the information necessary for problem solving and discarding of the trivial parts. I use this sometimes and it is useful, for example while describing company cultures, while describing user experiences etc.

4. Quick prototyping and customer experience feedback

This is an under utilized technique outside of the “internet” space, though most user experience design firms seem to use it a lot. Part of the reason is the underlying cost of getting a prototype done and the other part is the belief, in the traditional product marketing folklore, that the customer does not know what he wants unless you give it to him. However, this is the acid test for the decision to wrap up market research or to continue working on it (although in true terms this aspect should never cease completely, just take a back seat & continue to operate in the background). If your prototype meets your market research findings or is way off, you have your final word on what to do next. Now, the prototype does not necessarily have to be a complete version, just incorporation of basic features is sufficient and reach to a random sample set of target customers should be enough. There could be more aspects about data presentation right from should I chose a line graph vs. a bar graph to display my information and I have found good resources on the internet around these, so I have attempted to cover things that I have uncovered from my personal experience and have not necessarily found online/in any classroom. In the next part, I shall attempt to cover different tools used in market research ranging from personal interviews to conjoint analysis.


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