What are some innovative marketing research methodologies? Originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Marketing tends to rely on its own tool kit.
There are valuable concepts from product and Service Design that can be used to enhance traditional methodologies. In particular I’m thinking of some techniques described in Creativity in Product Innovation.
Like all business books there is some filler that you can do without. The section on advertising is especially tiresome. But the first principles under which the author operates are insightful:
- They put forward that in some cases a truly brilliant, novel product concept can’t be culled from market information. Consumer need (market information) diffuses through societies just like innovations and ideas do; think of it like a diffusion of awareness.
- Therefore, competitors with similar market capabilities will draw upon the same pool of market information, driving them to build competitive advantage elsewhere (e.g, development team, time to market, cost leadership).
- Put another way, it’s statistically unlikely to get “ahead of the curve” in product development because the incidence of consumers with a truly novel unmet need is exceedingly low, at least until awareness of this need diffuses into the larger market.
- Building upon this, the author’s provide evidence that there is a common taxonomy of innovative products that can be used as a template for creative product development; the configuration of the product itself is used as a source of market information since innovative products (e.g, iTunes, ATM, Railroad) can be seen as a snapshot of the market information from a given point in time.
In effect, they provide an argument—and subsequently a set of tools—that we may deal with the product itself, through analyzing its attributes and environment, as a source market information that can be used to develop new, unsought products. The product is treated as a sort of media that communicates market need.
As a market researcher this points to ways to apply qualitative and quantitative research techniques to identify the product attributes most relevant to the market, and then use various methods (morphological analysis, service delivery mapping) to find new ways to configure a product.
Other fun service design concepts (all qualitative—cause that’s my jam):
- Having respondents suggest ways to make a product or service channel worse (identifies strong points)
- Projective and role playing to explore service delivery. This can include developing narratives of an idealized service design, or storyboarding a service channel with consumers and drawing in “what if” points where the service could pivot.
- Wikis and other crowd sourcing tools