What Can Research Really Tell You?

Date: July 26, 2012 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on What Can Research Really Tell You?

Many people don’t believe that marketing research can accurately predict everything about everybody. That’s not only true, it’s very rational.

There’s no disputing the fact that research can’t determine every detail about each individual’s behavior. But, it’s also true that 80% of human behavior is very predictable (including the fact that humans aren’t always rational).

For example, it’s impossible to predict whether or not you’ll be run over a bus as you leave the coffee shop. But, the likelihood of you getting into your car instead of your bike (after you dodge that bus), turning right at the next intersection, and then exceeding the speed limit, is extremely predictable.

That’s because well-crafted research identifies how you (and people like you) think when you make decisions. And, this series of thought patterns reveal with great accuracy how you’ll respond to the various choices you confront in your daily life.

So, is it research or Sherlock Holmes-like deductive reasoning that provides insight into your individual behavior? And, should you be uncomfortable with the precision with which these predictions can be made?

The good news is that “big brother” does not have nefarious intentions for you, or any individual. You can remain happily anonymous as profiles are developed on the shopping patterns of people who purchase the same kinds of merchandise you do.

Marketing research enables retailers to compile data on the preferred shopping experiences of specific demographic groups, then send targeted mailers to those groups which include coupons on the items they desire.

These retailers aren’t interested in who you are — they’re interested in what you want. This data enables them to provide you and your fellow consumers with timely information on how the retailer’s offerings meet your group’s needs.

Granted, the more information they gather on the purchases you make, the more accurate your individual profile becomes (and the more accurate the “Holmesian deductions” about your preferences become).

But, the end result is that the experience you receive from these marketing savvy companies become increasingly reflective of experience you prefer. And, thus, your experience is optimized.

Research helps companies serve you better, and helps you become a more effective and efficient consumer.

It’s elementary, my dear Watson.

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Companies Need to Sell Pain Points, Not Cool Factors

Date: March 29, 2012 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on Companies Need to Sell Pain Points, Not Cool Factors

You know your product is awesome. You know if you just tapped into the right customer base that your sales would skyrocket, but how do you promote it to the marketplace? What do you focus on when doing market research, especially in terms of advertising and online presence?

When it comes to startup companies and market research, it really has to do with the emotional connection that prospective clients or consumers make with a company’s product or service, not necessarily its merits alone. That is, they don’t care how hard you worked, how long it took to make it, or even how cool you think it is. They only care about whether your product fills their own needs or not.

The problem is, a lot of startup companies put the cart before the horse — they sell people on their hard work, and the coolness factor — and don’t address whether the people actually need their product.

At IQS Research, we see a lot of companies that put the cart before the horse, creating or selling something they think is cool, but maybe their customers don’t. We’ve been able to help companies figure out what it is their customers want — define their pain points — and help them create a better product, and tailor their message to their customers’ needs.

Startup companies often take too narrow a view when determining the most effective ways to reach their potential customers. For example, let’s say you have a hamburger restaurant. People don’t eat your hamburgers because you’ve been in business for a long time, or that you worked 24/7 for months on end to find the perfect hamburger. Your experience is not the main factor when people determine where they want to eat. It’s about two things: Are they hungry? Will they like it?

In other words, can you solve their pain points, hunger and the need for something pleasurable.

Getting back to our startup companies, what is it about your product that will fill the needs and desires people have when thinking about whether they need your product? Does it make their life better? Does it make their life easier? Does it save them money? Will it fill an empty place in their souls that has been otherwise untouched by food, alcohol, and money? (And if you found the answer for that last question, can we invest in your company?)

There are myriad reasons people make buying decisions. The key to successful marketing is to find out those needs — their pain points — through market research. It’s important that you find out what your customers truly want, not just hazard a guess, or build something you think is cool, and then hope you find a market that will want it.

The road to success is littered with companies that thought coolness was the only thing necessary to sell products.

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2011 Idea Festival Program announced!

Date: June 8, 2011 | Shawn Herbig | News | Comments Off on 2011 Idea Festival Program announced!

To all those inspired and enthralled by the onslaught of inspiring and enthralling ideas, the Idea Festival may be right up your ally.  The annual festival, held in Louisville, KY in September, is a forum for new and exciting, not mention groundbreaking, knowledge that has everything to do with how we live, interact, and exchange information.  It challenges our concepts of normality by bringing fresh and innovating conversations to the table.  Furthermore, it offers something everyone can relate to.  The event lasts four days, and attracts intellectuals and innovators in all fields of academic, business, cultural, social, and even culinary speheres.

Its aim is to shape our future through the exchange of ideas – ideas that challenge the way we typically look at the world around us.  In essence, it is a celebration of these ideas, of innovation and imagination in an attempt to transform the things we only dream about into reality.  And why not?  The future is ours to be had, and much can be learned that you can take back to your workplace, your home, your sphere of social interaction and begin to reshape the future.  It sounds a little “kumbaya,” I know, but this is a great platform to expand your own knowledge and understanding of what innovative thinking can do.  We are speaking of this as researchers, not on behalf of the program itself, as the innovation and knowledge research can bring also applies to the fundamental premise of the Idea Festival.

The 2011 program has recently been posted, and kicks off Wednesday September 21 and ends Saturday September 24.  It is something we here at IQS are looking forward to, and we encourage you to check it out!  If you’ve been to the event in the past, share with us your thoughts about it, and what if you gained from it.

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