Since we have come down so hard on marketing research, a lot of people has asked so what should we do if we cant rely on research?
The answer might be as simple as “watching”.
While observational research is not a new kid in the block, its importance has increased in recent years. Why, one might ask.
Well, for one reason if you ask a chubby girl whats her favorite food, what are the chances of her saying its low fat yoghurt, when it really is pizza? When you ask the most popular guy in college whats his favorite music band, what are the chances of him saying its Linkin Park, when it really is Madonna?
Pretty high i would say, because people are basically insecure, unsure of what they really want and really really image conscious.
So a better way to get a real close insight about him might be simple observing him, his likings, his musings, his heartaches. That can tell us a whole lot more than a traditional questionnaire.
P&G is a successful exploiter of observational research. They take permission from families and simply observe them to pick trends. They observe how they interact, they go through their garbages, they learn what they watch and dont watch. By doing so, they find out what are the problems that customers deal with. It is through such a process that they found out that its very difficult to open a chips packet which often creates a mess and breaks the chips inside in the process. To solve that problem, they created the canister size packet for Pringles with the chips neatly stacked one above the other.
Thus by simply observing, great innovation and trends can be picked up.