“Keep the Customer at the center”

Customer immersion at P&G: “Living it” and “Working it”

“We have figured out how to keep the consumer at the center of all our decisions,” Lafley writes. “As a result we don’t go far wrong.”

Before, P&G would rely heavily on consumer focus groups to gauge reaction to products that its researchers thought up. Now researchers go so far as to live with shoppers for several days at a time—an immersion process P&G calls “Living It”—to come up with product ideas based directly on consumer needs. Such experience with a lower-middle-class family in Mexico City produced Downy Single Rinse, a fabric softener that removed a step from the less-mechanized laundry process there. P&Gers also hang out in stores for similar insights, a process they call “Working It.”

Note that in order to better understand the customer better, P&G abandoned the focus groups and went to 1:1 interactions.This is fully consistent with the “Voice of the Customer” (Griffin and Hauser 1993): forgo group research for 1:1 interviews and ethnography.

 In an earlier post, “Should you hire an anthropologist?” (4/9) I expressed my reservations about suggestions on ideation from the “stage-gate(R) duo.” It was interesting that ethnography was the most powerful ideation tool in their survey. However the rest of their study was undermined by claiming they were focusing on VOC methods, while highlighting focus groups and not even including 1:1 interviews.

Listen to P&G: abandon the groups and go see your customers in action!

See the original article on P&G:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_15/b4079073614638.htm

This entry was posted in Customer Research Methods, Ideation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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