Decoding Human Psychology and Why Product Research Matters
In our fast paced internet world, the sheer volume of information overload makes it difficult for consumers to find reliable sources before they pick a product. Trying to find even the basic features of a new cell phone, for example, can take hours of sifting through various sales pitches and blog posts.
It is often believed that one of the best ways to get reliable information about a product is by looking at customer reviews on third-party vendor websites. However, what you often wind up with is a mix of contradictory opinions. And it can be difficult to tell which opinions you should rely upon.
Let's address the complex problems with human psychology, the breadth of useless information on the internet, and why product research matters below.
Marketing researchers have determined that the decision of whether or not someone purchases a product is often irrational. For example, researchers have found that women are more likely to purchase products when the commercial presents it being used in a family setting with cute puppies, children, and flowers. It is believed that such commercials stimulate a maternal instinct and break down the barriers standing between consumers and their wallets.
Subaru, for example, has strong appeal to women and modern-day metrosexuals because it sells itself using the soft-theme of "Share the Love" in its commercials. While brawny men, by contrast, may be more interested in a commercial that appeals to their testosterone-fueled desires for adventure. This is why truck commercials often show off the strength and durability of their vehicles and the unlimited fun one can have on an off-road trek.
You will also find that most cars and SUVs have very unisex styling to appeal to both men and women equally. To get a masculine styling, men often have to pay extra for muscle cars and sports trucks.
Women typically aren't as interested in performance. Therefore, they tend to look at what features may make their daily routines easier, such as expansive seating and televisions in the backs of headrests to keep the kids entertained. Accessories are sold for women to feminize their vehicles with eyelashes on the headlights and cozy lambskin interiors.
These trends help us understand the differences between masculine and feminine psychology and how to tap into the irrationality behind many purchasing decisions.
Another trick used by salesmen is mirroring. The salesperson is trained to mirror the passions and prejudices of the prospective client. By completely agreeing on everything from politics to favorite foods, salesmen can instantly present themselves as like able. Some salesmen will even mirror the physical posturing and subtle actions of the prospective client to strengthen the link.
The FBI was even reprimanded by the U.S. Supreme Court for using these techniques to entrap people into committing crimes. By pretending to share the interests and emotions of others, it is easy to gain their trust and manipulate them into doing whatever you desire. Then it is simply a matter of blurring the line between what they want and what you want until the difference appears negligible.
How Product Research Teams Help Sales
Investors and merchants typically are not interested in pinpointing the actual mechanism driving sales. They know that it is often irrational or a complex balance of factors. And they will simply fuel the fire by financial infusions and large orders if the manufacturer can produce a worthy sales record and growth plan. Like hit books and viral videos, it is a lot of throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks with consumers.
Therefore, product research begins with exposing the service or product to consumers to determine their opinions. Investing everything one owns into a sinking ship is a common occurrence when people skip product research and go straight to launching their product. Product research teams typically follow these steps:
1: Determine the Problem to Be Solved and Market Conditions
The best inventions solve problems and fill a particular niche in the market that won't be eroded by competitors as the sales develop steam. This is why investors will typically ask the inventor what proprietary value the item has and how firmly it is being protected with patents and trademarks.
A proprietary product that solves an important problem that people regularly deal with is practically guaranteed success if marketed properly. In many situations, even a patent isn't strong enough to protect an invention because the law only requires competitors to change the nature of the invention or improve upon it. See https://www.patenttrademarkblog.com/how-to-avoid-patent-infringement/
If an inventor takes your idea and then engineers it to improve its functionality, you may find yourself on the losing end of a patent infringement claim. For example, suppose you invented the shoelace. Then someone else comes along and adds widgets to it for smooth lacing. Finally, another inventor decides that people want elastic shoelaces that allow them to slip their shoes on and off with ease.
These small innovations in shoelaces won't allow you to monopolize on your invention forever. However, adaptive changes to many inventions don't take generations and can happen overnight. Market research can help inventors determine whether people will really pay extra for expandable shoelaces and can save them from making an unwise investment.
2: Real-World Testing and Feedback
Engineering is only a 50/50 science. Many items will function fine in lab-like conditions and look good on paper. However, once those materials are exposed to real-world conditions, they can fall apart. This is why it is very important for start-up companies to test the waters before diving in head first.
Conducting surveys and asking prospective customers what they think about packaging materials, advertisements, and the functionality of a product help to develop confidence in a sales plan and can compel venture capitalists to fund your venture. In many cases, it is the fine-tuned elements of a new invention or item that can make or break it.
Suppose you are selling a food item that is prone to spoilage. If you do not match your competitors by providing a transparent plastic window to show off the goods, consumers may be reluctant to pick up a box. Even if they can return the item later and claim that it is moldy, most shoppers don't want to deal with the hassle and stress involved.
Having a well-rounded discussion among beta-testers and considering a high volume of opinions can help launch the new item with success by considering all the pitfalls in advance.
3: Initiating a Soft Launch
The next step in a successful sales plan is committing to a soft launch. This is like handing customers a final draft of your latest novel. This is where you can see how strong the consumer mechanism and draw of your item may be.
This type of product research lets you add the finishing touches. For example, suppose you are selling cake pops. When the beat meets the street, you find out that those lollipop sticks you were using don't hold up to the real market conditions. By noticing the problem in advance, you can switch to plastic sticks and eliminate the problem.
4: The After-Party (Post-Launch)
Don't go celebrating your success just yet. Many new inventions fail because they don't hold up to the rigorous demands of consumers. You may have failed to consider that certain parts of your new invention may become a choking or fire hazard after they hit the customer's living room.
Constant monitoring and feedback are necessary to ensure that your invention is being used properly and that even the strangest applications were considered.
For example, those silica gel packets that come in many food packages to maintain freshness didn't always say, "Do Not Eat," even though any one would suspect it to be a common-sense issue. For sake of liability, companies have to consider the laws and how they are strictly liable for harm to consumers.
What Does High-Quality Product Research Look Like?
When consumers are shopping for new items and come across a consumer report, they want to ask themselves, "Is the source credible?" If not, they will likely pass and look for a safer investment. A reliable source of product research is developed by finding the right cross-section of the community that is already buying your goods to improve their experience.
Surveying niches that are responding to your advertising and already generating sales can help you look deeper into the psychology driving those sales. For example, if your ketchup is chiefly being bought in whole foods stores, you may want to consider whether consumers at regular grocery stores are alarmed by words prominent on the label, such as "Organic" or "Preservative-Free," and anticipate a high price for the features.
In this case, it may be practical to minimize the features that appeal to shoppers at a whole foods market in a rebranded version fit for ordinary grocery stores. A utilitarian bottle design and focus on economy may help you fill your bottom line with sales in the same manner as Gucci. Gucci had exclusively focused on designer markets until they realized that they could tap into the average consumer with many of the same designs by creating economy lines.
You may remember the Pepsi versus Coca-Cola challenges that were being conducted not so many decades ago to gauge the popularity of the two drinks. Conducting taste-testing between your item and a competitor's offers a lot of advantages. And don't forget how Coca-Cola wound up losing a large volume of sales when they changed their original formula by sacrificing quality for profit margins.
In the end, Coca-Cola was able to prove that it is more popular by sales. Today, Pepsi Cola has merged with Frito Lay and have diminished their focus on competing with Coca-Cola to refocus on their snack brands. And this is where PepsiCo is seeing long-term growth.
Sometimes, you may find that your competitor offers something that you simply can't match. In this case, it may be best to diminish investments in that item to expand your sales in other departments.
Assessing the Trends
A good research company will have the statistical analyses of how the market is behaving. If the trend is against boxed wine and bottled wine has regained its original market share, it makes sense to bottle your new vino before launching it. Although the competitive edge may seem minor on paper, it can eat away at your profit margins and sales over time.
Making Your Improvements Pay-Off
When you are applying market research analysis to your business, you need to make the improvements suggested if you want to increase sales. While the market and needs of customers are constantly changing, the best businesses conduct continual research to quickly adapt and maintain their competitive edge.
The COVID-era was a resilience test for many businesses who had to adapt their business models to offer their services in a restrictive environment. Only the best companies were able to stay afloat by conducting research and brainstorming methods of maintaining their business despite the pandemic.
How Do Consumers Conduct Their Research?
Understanding how informed consumers make their purchasing decisions is valuable to any company launching a new item. These informed consumers can act as influencers and drum up sales by word of mouth. Word-of-mouth advertising is by far the most valuable because the consumer learns about the quality of the item through a beloved and trusted source.
When informed consumers do their research, it is important for companies to maintain an easy-to-navigate website that will answer all their questions with clarity. A company that gives mushy, overly technical answers that lack objectivity and real-world comparisons tend to confuse consumers.
By providing a centralized website and allowing consumers to post their own reviews, the business can take control of how its perceived by the public and make any necessary changes promptly. Don't let the sprawl of the internet flood prospective customers with a slew of unreliable opinions and information. This will surely frustrate them and turn them off from your goods.
We hope this information helps you to understand the complex process of launching a new invention on the market and why market research is critical to your success. Please contact us if you have any questions, and we can help streamline your launch by providing the ideal package for your needs.
An experience management platform that allows you to take control of your customer and employee feedback, giving you the power to learn from every conversation. Qwary enables companies to have an unbiased conversation with its customers/employees and make data-driven decisions with simple, friendly & engaging surveys over the web, via text messages, Alexa survey skill, or Facebook messenger. Dive deep into the data and understand otherwise hidden trends with Qwary's advanced analytics.Try Qwary Free