I was at a meeting once, with a principally B2B client whose products were also sold in DIY sheds. I remember mentioning that we’d conducted some simple and highly unscientific research by calling in to our local B&Q and speaking to people who were hovering around the appropriate shelves, about their buying motivation, what they thought of our clients’ vs competitors’ packaging, etc. The client was amazed. And apparently deeply impressed with our ‘maverick’ market research.
And I was amazed that they were amazed. And that they hadn’t actually got out there and carried out this simple exercise themselves.
But my experience since this occasion leads me to believe that this isn’t unusual. As marketers jump enthusiastically onto the content marketing bandwagon, seeking ever more complicated methods of measuring their online reputations and gauging return on their ‘consumer engagement’ policies, let’s not forget that some 70% of purchasing decisions are made in-store. Which of course is one of the problems with some of the more so-called ‘scientific’ types of research – focus groups for instance – where respondents face a fundamentally unnatural scenario, and certainly not a situation resembling that in which they usually make their buying decisions.
So, as ‘unscientific’ as it may be, if your product is sold via traditional retail, don’t underestimate the usefulness of getting out there and actually speaking to people at the point of purchase. There is no substitute for this. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.