Getting Below the Surface to Discover Consumer Needs: Article Revisited


Share on LinkedIn

There was a strong response from customerthink readers to my article Get Below the Surface to Understand Consumer Needs

While I’m pleased so many read the article and took the time to comment, the message here is timely.

In this perfect storm of consumer discontent it is more important than ever for companies to understand consumer needs and wants. High gas prices, high commodity prices, the credit crunch, a stock market with perpetual jitters and a dysfunction White House have all lead to the lowest consumer sentiment index in decades.

I recently interviewed a research executive whose company has its pulse on the restaurant industry. His studies indicate consumers are eating out less often and when they do spending less and staying closer to home. He envisions no let up in this pessimistic trend.

When asked what restaurants can do anything to at least keep their heads above water, he opined that better service and more specials seem the order of the day. I was left feeling a sad case of déjà vu.

This is not a time for business as usual. Dragging out time worn strategies just won’t resonate with bedraggled consumers. What will work are fresh approaches that only come with an in-depth understanding of what the consumer is going through today, now, in this instant, at the moment.

So, where are you and your company in understanding today’s consumer? My guess is many are cutting back on their research expenditures because business is slow and research is regarded as an extraneous expenditure. Some may be researching consumers in the same superficial manner as they have in the past and concluding that yesterday’s tactics such better service and more specials are their best salvation.

Well, both approaches are short-sited. Smart companies view turmoil as a time of opportunity. As THE time to get a head start by embracing fresh thinking and creative approaches.

This I say is the best time for getting below the surface. To tap into the many new research approaches for better understanding consumer motivations. And to have the foresight to spend on research when such an expenditure may be the lowest priority.

Bob Kaden
The Kaden Co.
Bob Kaden is the author of Guerrilla Marketing Research and president of The Kaden Company, a marketing research consultancy that works with clients in planning and applying research to make more money. He is a frequent lecturer and trainer in the areas of creativity and marketing research processes.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here