As a long-time market researcher, both quantitative and qualitative, I am always on the hunt for good research books. Hoping to find new ways to perform my job, I love learning from other professionals. Global brand consultant Martin Lindstrom wrote an interesting book to help market researchers and brand managers better understand customers through qualitative research. Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends is a collection of Lindstrom’s travels and his techniques for what he refers to as a “sped-up version of ethnography” (he calls it Subtext Research).
One of the most important skills for product managers, brand managers, and anyone involved in marketing is market research (MR). To wow customers and out-maneuver competitors it is critical to understand what your customers need, how they use your products, why they don’t buy competitor products, etc. In addition, you need to understand the same information about your competitor customers. To uncover these insights, you need to conduct both qualitative and quantitative MR.
Product managers need many different skills to succeed. However, five key skills all product managers need to excel at are writing, market research, creative thinking, storytelling, and critical thinking. This blog discusses these five skills and provides some great resources to help build your skills. When you become a lifelong learner, you will have a great time changing yourself, your organization and community.
Like with most skills, it is helpful to study and attend training classes to accelerate their learning. MR includes multiple specialties and requires a variety of skills (e.g., designing questionnaires, interviewing, creating reports, moderating focus groups). The more you can improve your MR skills, the greater insights you will uncover to make better decisions. Also, a team that can conduct high-level MR will gain increased market understanding compared to that obtained through a third-party vendor that is not familiar with your products or industry.
When conducting market research (MR), two key areas to be aware of are biases and ethics. Bias is defined as prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group; typically in an unfair way. Ethics are the moral principles that govern your behavior or how you conduct an activity. In this age of fake news, it is critical to ensure your research minimizes bias (yours and respondents) and you conduct ethical research. Conducting your research with minimal bias and with an ethical behavior is critical as a provider of market information to drive decision making, solve problems, or identify new opportunities.
Like most skills, it is helpful to study and attend training classes to accelerate learning. Market Research (MR) includes multiple specialties and requires a variety of skills (e.g., designing questionnaires, interviewing, creating reports, moderating focus groups). The more you can improve your MR skills, the greater insights you will uncover which will help you make better decisions.
Most marketers on the “coasts” do not truly understand the mid-west consumer. If you are marketing products or services towards the mid-western consumer, you need to get out of the office and spend some time with this massive demographic. Put aside your assumptions and learn first-hand what makes this massive segment tick and how you can better align with their needs.
Paul Jankowski wrote an excellent book titled, Speak American Too: Your Guide to Building Powerful Brands in the New Heartland. For marketers targeting the “Heartland” or rural America, this should be a required reading. It is a great read that presents a real and actionable overview of a target segment that most brands stereotype incorrectly or just avoid.