Examples of Marketing Research Laboratories

Going Where CPGs Do Research (Shopper Marketing)

Focus Groups and Research LabsAt KnowThis.com, we are firm believers in the need for organizations to regularly undertake marketing research.  In fact, we go as far as to call marketing research the Foundation of Marketing.  As we observe in our Marketing Research tutorial, “Just as a well-built house requires a strong foundation to remain sturdy, marketing decisions need the support of research in order to be viewed favorably by customers and to stand up to competition and other external pressures.” The need to support marketing decisions with research can be seen in our recent post covering Gap’s decision to reinstate their old logo.

Just how valuable an organization views marketing research can often be determined by looking at the resources directed toward this important function.  However, for competitive reasons, most companies prefer to keep such details secret and do not often share their research techniques in a public way.  Though, occasionally information does leak out, mostly through articles in the trade press.

For example, this story explains methods used by several leading companies for measuring customers’ response to marketing decisions.  Most methods are employed within an internal research laboratory where qualitative research is collected.  These labs include mock-ups of retail store aisles, product demonstration and usage areas (including one company’s research facility that contains a house), and advanced focus groups facilities.

Hewlett-Packard’s lab is designed to mock the aisles of many major big box stores selling its products. The company tests many of its campaigns as it receives the first prototypes, approximately three to six months before launch. “It’s the ideal store for shoppers based on their insights and what they want,” Stermitz says.

What are the key advantages and disadvantages with operating an in-house marketing research laboratory?

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