What you think? What the marketplace thinks about what you think?
Or purely by what the marketplace thinks?

Senior management at most of the companies we work for are challenging brand teams to “think like a customer.” This type of market orientation was captured way back in the early 80’s in the phrase “living in the shoes of the consumer.” In order to “think like a customer,” marketers have to gather customer insights based on “what the customer really feels and thinks without only being guided by what marketers think they think.” This type of insight is very difficult to gather with direct question formats or attitude studies that tell people how to feel and then ask them to agree or disagree. This difficulty exists regardless of the research vehicle, face to face interviews, telephone interviews or web based questionnaires. The reason “what the market really feels and thinks” is difficult to gather is because, when faced with a direct question, people respond through overly conscious rationalization. In the case of agree or disagree, and scale-type questions or attitudinal presentations, there is a lack of space for respondents to express their feelings and thoughts. Finally, in the case of presenting presupposed statements/ideas, while respondents can evaluate the presupposed statements they are rarely able to bring forward thoughts that may not be represented in the presupposed statements. Marketers should continue to bring their ideas and presuppositions to the marketplace, but gathering a “purer” marketplace insight is equally important and can change the face of any strategy and tactical plan.

Brain Surgery insights are gathered through context, but the right survey experience is equally important. The outcome is true feelings and thoughts from the customers’ perspective.

context-mattersBrain Surgery provides marketers with more optimal insights that will improve the outcome for marketers which, in our words, is “greater engagement to their products/services from better customer understanding.” We do this by using a survey experience guided by what we call contextual frames of reference delivered in first person declarative language versus a question, for example, “When I consider how my patients are affected by their chronic condition, I feel______.” Or “When I use brand x for_____, I feel______.” This method then requires respondents to record their emotions/feelings followed by why they feel those emotions/feelings under the contextual declarative.

This contextual approach accomplishes several things: It does not presuppose how the person feels one way or the other. It starts with feelings which ignites the brain sequence for decision making/choosing. It connects the feeling to a reason why delivering the hard wired “why” that explains the emotion/feeling, it zones in on a behavior (using, considering an effect, prescribing, speaking to my physician, speaking to my patient, shopping for X, etc.), and it is sequentially constructed throughout the survey experience to move from very broad context to narrow so respondents are not aided before they consider the broader issue. A contextual declarative can be constructed around almost any type of marketing question or business question because it is very flexible. Added to this contextual approach are the confluence of respondents being in control of the survey experience (self reported), no interviewer bias, respondents in their own setting who are guaranteed anonymity as they go through the survey experience sequentially (they can’t look forward or go back and change an answer).

This type of approach, survey experience and environment allows for marketers in organizations to have a win/win scenario. They can gather open ended pure insights around what customers feel and think about any given subject, and they can also (because of the sequential nature of the experience) test their hypothetical or presupposed ideas about what they think the market thinks. Using contextual declaratives throughout to guide respondents to reveal their emotion/feeling first followed by their reason/thought second yields a data set that can be compared across all of the contexts within the survey for both open ended/unaided context and presupposed ideas with context that is appropriate to each idea. While most marketing teams know maybe “10” insights or thoughts that the market may agree with (we acknowledge that it could be more than 10), this approach gets the additional “10” more insights that the marketplace has in their mind. This additional insight directly from the marketplace often proves to be the game changer when added to or combined with what the marketing team originally thought leading to strategic initiatives and tactical plans that perform in an optimal way when executed in the marketplace.

Brain Surgery specializes in developing insight on this Contextual and Emotional basis. Our focus is to provide our clients with insights that help them increase emotional engagement (using our emotional engagement mindset model®) to their brands and foster the right kind of choices, decisions and behavior within their respective marketplaces. We have worked on over 150 brands and currently are capable of working in 29 countries. Our tools have predictive validity and have been instrumental in creating optimal marketplace outcomes for new products and existing products. Our tools are also used to unlock marketplace problems that may not be product related. We are happy to discuss our outcomes, your problems and how our unique approach may be able to help you in gathering more pure insights and “thinking like your customers.”