Between my own work and working with outside resources, I've directed over 100 in-home interviews with consumers. I've found that observing consumers in their own environment is one of the best forms of qualitative research; much better than focus groups.
In addition, I've also worked with outside groups to drive:
- Product usage studies
- Consumer diaries
- Focus groups
- Online consumer journals
- Consumer brainstorming sessions
- Consumer segmentation studies
- Conjoint studies
- Packaging review studies
- Marketing sizing research.
My Digital Life is an example I designed of understanding a target consumer's lifestyle. In this case, if you're developing new consumer electronic products, you need to understand how your consumers interact with their current products in order to understand how your new products will fit into their lifestyle. Here, a hypothetical 200-page consumer research report is condensed into one poster-sized, visual design that is easily comprehended.
With a deep understanding of consumers, I continually use social media as both a marketing tool and a form of qualitative research to learn from lead users how they are using products. By leveraging the most vocal lead users that are discussing your products online, you can drive brand awareness and create raving fans for your products.
Don't get caught thinking that social media is only sites like Facebook and Twitter. From a brand perspective, social media is anywhere there is a conversation taking place about your brand or products.
Visual Thinking & Facilitation
Using visual tools and methods like mind mapping, visual brainstorming, competitive battlegrounds, process mapping and a whiteboard, I have over 10 years of experience facilitating cross-functional groups.
It starts with the insight. Through a process of gathering and analyzing all of the information available about your target consumer, I facilitate the process to narrow down to only one or two Key Insights that will be the focus of the marketing strategy.
Building from the Key Insight, I develop a Key Marketing Message that effectively communicates the brand/product competitive advantage. Only when you understand this message can you complete the process to develop specific initiatives to communicate that message to consumers.
The Caffeine Poster is a visualization that I developed to demonstrate clear product differentiation (caffeine content in this case). With a quick glance, it allows the viewer to understand how much caffeine they will consume based on the drink of their choice. Instead of making your consumers have to do research, read the nutrition facts or compare products while standing in a store aisle, you want to broadcast your product differentiation among competitors as clearly as possible.
Innovation, Brainstorming & Ideation
I have facilitated hundreds of brainstorming sessions on varied topics such as consumer understanding, product features, competitive weaknesses, marketing initiatives, production strategies, new product categories, internal processes and new uses of existing technology. Through a toolbox of techniques, I keep the sessions short, focused and fun for the participants.
Stage-Gate Product Development Process
As a student of Dr. Robert Cooper's Stage-Gate process for new product development, I have designed and implemented custom processes specific to multiple companies. I have a lot of experience with balancing the need for controlled processes with creativity and the demand for quick development timelines.
I have managed the process of submitting both design and utility patents, including developing protection strategy, original submissions, responses to the USPTO and international patents. I've also designed visual methods to simplify the process of tracking patent portfolios.
Sourcing in Asia
I have traveled to Shanghai and Hangzhou visiting and inspecting production facilities in China. About half of the products that I have been responsible for have been sourced out of different countries in Asia.
Pricing Strategy and Analytics
Pricing can be a very complicated puzzle, but to get it right you need to consider similar products, competitive products, promotional plans, future cost changes and economies of scale. I developed models that successfully track hundred of products and allow the user to quickly spot any pricing discrepancies.
Product Design and Prototyping
From developing hands-on prototypes to CAD models and 3D prototypes, I have driven products all the way through the process of idea to production. Prototyping is of the most important steps in development that allows you to figure out what really works for you consumer before you invest in tooling and inventory.