Why Do Research? - You Are Not Your Consumer #1

Most of our clients are really into their products.  They are proud of them and take them home and use them and are happy to extol their virtues to anyone who will listen.  That’s great, it should be that way.  We should all take pride in what we do, especially if our jobs provide consumers with great products that delight with their performance. 

It is really important to remember though, that you are not your consumer.  You may be into your brand and your products, and some of your consumers might feel the same way you do.  But most probably don’t.  You know your brand and products inside out.  You also know your competitor’s offerings very well.  You know what products are offered in each channel of distribution and each major store and you know the pricing and promotional strategies of goods in your category.  Your consumer doesn’t.  Throw out the “rational man" thinking that you learned in college economics class.  The average consumer does not have the time to investigate every purchase decision to the degree that their knowledge of your products or your category will approach yours.  Basically you know too much and they know much less. 



Different consumers have different needs hierarchies and different satisfaction levels.  Obviously this will vary by category but it also varies by consumer.  That’s one of the most important reasons to conduct quantitative consumer research – to get a cross section of consumers demographically but also to get a cross section of consumers with different levels of involvement and caring about your category. 



Remember, within each market there are multiple consumer segments with varying needs/wants.   Sometimes, you need multiple products to meet different consumer needs.  Sometimes while the same product can fulfill multiple needs, the marketing messaging needs to vary by consumer segment.  Research helps you identify missed opportunities.  Research helps you understand consumer segments.  Research helps you refine not only your product line, but your marketing strategies.