When an international manufacturer sought a complete portrait of their customers—their entry points, profiles, purchasing habits, and overall journey—they knew what information they needed but did not necessarily know how to uncover it. Not understanding which research solutions would answer their questions, they additionally lacked the infrastructure and experience to unleash multiple national research programs.
Admitting to themselves that this market research initiative was somewhat out of their realm of expertise —word to the wise: the first step is admitting that you need help—they sought to partner with an established market research and consulting agency, TrendSource Trusted Insight. After extensive and intensive consultations, TrendSource’s Insights team led a collaborative effort to develop and execute an intricate research solution to address the manufacturer’s specific questions.
One Goal, Many Methodologies
In order to capture a 3-dimensional, 365-degree representation of their customers and the customer journey, the Insights team, in partnership with the client, deployed three simultaneous methodologies integrating both qualitative and quantitative analyses: Customer Intercepts, Panel Surveys, and Retail Audits. Each research solution addressed specific questions and, when combined, gave a nuanced, detailed, and at times surprising set of valuable insights to the client.
Customer Intercepts: Real Perspective from Real Customers
TrendSource Trusted Insight sent waves of Field Agents to retail locations across the country, targeting customers attending one of the manufacturer’s many promotional events. Equipped with tablets to record the information in real time, these customer intercepts sought to uncover how consumers responded to promotions and to construct a composite of the typical event-going consumer. From these intercepts, the team began to understand how people felt about the brand, as well as their pain points and preferences when engaging with it in a retail environment.
Panel Surveys: Getting to the Heart of the Matter
The Insight team also developed and surveyed panels of shoppers, selected based on specific criteria such as geography and demography, purchasing habits, and relationship with the brand. This targeted approach allowed TrendSource’s Analytics department to construct a profile of the brand’s most avid customers, with a particular emphasis on these customers’ entry points. That’s the beauty of panel surveys—they are highly flexible and allow researchers to set the criteria for participation and set the survey agenda.
Retail Audits: Customers Can’t Buy What They Can’t Find
Since even the most impassioned customers can’t buy a product they can’t find, TrendSource’s Insights team knew that retail audits would be a singularly important quantitative arrow in their research quiver. That’s why they dispatched a veritable army of Field Agents to retail locations across the country. There, agents noted and photographed the location and size of the brand’s display. This directly addressed several initial research questions, alerting the client if their retail partners were presenting the brand as expected and executing their promotional displays as promised, as well as how the brand’s presentation compared to that of their competitors.
A Cohesive and Comprehensive Report
When it came time to deliver recommendations, the results challenged several of the client’s fundamental assumptions about their customers and their retail partners, while also confirming others with the data to back them up. Such surprising insight could only be possible by integrating multiple research methodologies into a single agenda.