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When & why should I use qualitative field research?

~ When I'm consumer-centric & open to what I unearth 

Along a Customer's Journey, there are many opportunities for brands to have an impactful engagement.  Qualitative field research offers a myriad of tools to tackle every customer touch-point on that journey.     

E-Commerce Case Study - A Customer Journey Map


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+ What attracts our customers? 
+ Who are our customers?
+ How do we get on their radar & be considered?
+ Who are our competitors?


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+ What motivates my customers to engage? 
+ Who or what influences them?

+ What are their underlying motivations?



+ What do our customers like least / most? 
+ Who do our customers share this experience with?

+ Are we delivering beyond expectations or just meeting them?


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+ How to engage them further in our
franchise offerings? 
+ What other ways can they share their positive experience that influences others?

+ Are there other rewards we have not considered?


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+ Why did they leave? 
+ How can they be won back?

+ What offerings haven't we considered?

Usability Testing | User Experience Example

Product Teams, Designers and Researchers Leverage Human-Centered Design and Customer Journey Maps to Innovate & Stay Ahead

When taking a product or service to a market, it's essential to put yourself in the seat of the consumer and follow them completely on their customer journey.  Technological innovations allows us to see exactly what the consumer is browsing and clicking on their smart devices while seeing their facial expressions.  Picture-in-picture live streaming technology brings these experiences directly to product teams across the world in real-time.  Quick prototypes can be rotated in and out as feedback from customers are being live-streamed to product teams around the globe.

We leverage a myriad of technology to capture screenshots and facial expressions for picture-in-picture projections.  We also custom-build technology for usability where there are limitations on existing usability tools.   This can be done in a lab or in a home - the goal is to allow as much natural and organic use of the product as possible.  Back-to-back in-depth usability testing can be done in modern facilities across the globe.

Focus groups can also be leveraged to allow clients to see a larger group of consumers discussing features and trade-offs, generating discussion that gives insight to trends.  These can be done with consumers or influencers - the key is getting a highly skilled, but well-matched moderator to ensure high engagement and focus.

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We also use online Yammer groups to reach more consumers across a broader range of demographics.  These social media platforms are excellent for research - allowing consumers to open web links, review videos or paste in links or images in any response.  Read more about it here


Online retailers find it especially powerful to tap their consumers from anywhere in the world and in over 100+ languages.  Consumers have shown to be more engaged and forthcoming on this medium than they are in any other venue.  Research respondents and stakeholders can participate or observe from their mobile devices using the Yammer app from almost anywhere in the world.

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Cultural Immersions in Emerging or Complex Markets

The more you step outside of your comfort zone, the more you really start to understand the cultural, social and economic ethos of your target audience.  Imagine a brand trying to enter a new, foreign market.  The landscape in this foreign market is rife with competitors, big and small.  The brand knows it wants to go global and though it has not officially launched in this foreign market, its products are already there through 3rd party resellers and the black market.  The strategy, marketing and product teams have done their background research on the country, but they need to understand more deeply the barriers and accelerants.  They also need to know who their consumers are - the low hanging fruit, the early adopters versus later stage adopters. 

The teams need to go in-country for cultural immersion.  Cultural safaris and in-home ethnographies are an incredible way to see the day-in-the life of your consumer e.g. what their home environment is like, who their friends are (invite some over), where they hang out, etc.  Though you maybe going for a mix of consumers, target more heavily your early adopters and influencers - who will be pushing your product and services out to the late adopters.  Safaris could include where your product is marketed and retailed, but also how people are building awareness about the brands and how it is talked about by sellers and buyers.

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It's also important to talk to influencers - those who blog or post about your product or services, or those who use them and have a heavy set of followers on social media, tv, print media, etc.  These can be done in swanky lounges - wherever these influencers enjoy sharing thoughts and ideas.  These can also be industry experts or retailers.  This is a great opportunity for internal teams to talk directly with early adopters and influencers.  The influencers will help uncover strategic partnerships that haven't been considered.

In subsequent visits you may have more specific product goals, but for the first stage, leverage ethnography and cultural safaris.  Try to have conversations where your target consumers live, work and play.  Hire a videographer to put together short clips to share more widely with your teams that can't make the journey.  Make the investment to send your teams in-country and into the homes of your consumers.  Use the transportation your consumers use - take the metro, hitch a ride with a motorbike driver, or call your own ride-sharing service.  Be safe, but go the local route.  Hang out in popular local cafes or restaurants.  Take classes at the Apple Store or the Salsa Club - wherever your consumers go for inspiration or for joy.  See how successful global brands like Apple build awareness, experiences and loyalty.  Immersion should be multi-faceted, studying not only the lives of daily consumers and your industry brands - but other brands outside of your industry as well.

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