04 June 2019
How to get quick and high quality consumer feedback for your new product

Nadia Morozova looks at some key research methods that provide fast and economical consumer feedback to help shape your new product or service.

Quite often, start-ups abandon the idea of conducting any marketing research, saying that it is “too complicated, too time consuming and too expensive”.

At the same time, there are many dramatic stories in the start-up community on how a lack of research has led to big start-up failures. One comes from my experience with a start-up that decided to spend all of its resources on the operational work and neglected undertaking a simple ethnographic investigation. Eventually, the start-up had managed to achieve operational excellence, but there were no customers to appreciate it.

Therefore, I have decided to share some actionable advice which I hope will show that research is not always a complex, expensive and long-lasting affair.

However, agile consumer & market research still needs to maintain standards and remain unbiased. No research is better than bad research.

Give secondary data the power of primary research

Often, to be able to generate in-depth insights, it becomes critical to combine various data sources.

In the majority of cases you as a start-up already have an amount of very valuable internal data that can be blended with different sources of the secondary data. And then ad-hoc research will shed a light on the questions that need further investigation.

Speed and low (or absence of) a research budget forces big corporations as well as start-ups to focus more and more on the secondary data sources that have the power of primary research.

In the era of ZMOT, Digital communications and e-commerce, such data sources as Google Consumer Barometer and Facebook IQ can bring incredible value. This data can enable your understanding of the target consumers and their behavior in the digital environment. Afterwards, the same data sources can fuel development of communication campaigns.

Use an ethnogrpahic approach to understand consumer needs

Despite the high importance of big data and analytics these days, an ethnographic approach still plays a vital role in understanding consumers and their needs. Big corporations as well as start-ups benefit from various types of the ethnographic investigations, especially for product development and creation of the key brand(s).

Modern technologies allow companies to develop ethnographic studies in a more agile way. For instance, a solution that I developed few years ago to empower consumer empathy within a multinational organisation is also useful for the needs of start-ups (more details can be found in the blog post: “Transform your Consumer Empathy with the Use of Mobile“).

Use concept testing to define the winning proposition

After your value proposition is determined, it’s critical to test several concepts of the product or service offering.

Consumer claims in the research environment continue to be the big challenge for marketers and research professionals. Therefore, concept studies require a holistic preparation and their results should be evaluated critically. Also, there exists an alternative research solution with auctions where consumers vote with their money that makes research results much more reliable (see the blog post for more details: “Getting consumer insights as real as possible“).

Use rapid product prototyping to get constant consumer feedback 

Product prototyping is a strong enabler of new product development that works best in combination with constant consumer feedback on the product and its features.

Rapid product prototyping and subsequent experiments (e.g. A/B testing) can allow you to understand how consumers use the product and their immediate opinion about it. As a result, you will be able to make some vital product improvements before the final launch.

Nadia Morozova is an Analytics & Insights Expert and has worked at Procter & Gamble, The Boston Consulting Group and Nestlé Group. You can read her blog here.

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