A joint study of researchers at the Karlstad and Linköping University has proven that market research studies making use of proactive methods are more successful when compared to traditional, reactive studies. The Swedish research team analysed the financial and innovative performance of traditional market research techniques in comparison to techniques that are designed to capture customers’ value-in-use. The statistical analysis of 195 market research studies of European companies in various business areas demonstrate that proactive methods lead to more and more original ideas with a higher level of margin.

In a follow-up experiment, proactive techniques in which consumers took the initiative for developing an innovative product showed a greater impact on the profits of new products and services than techniques in which customers react to information. Business performance was based on the company’s overall profit margin over a two-year period, rather than on profits resulting from the individual product or service. The researchers argue “that value-in-use can only be created with and determined by the customer during the ‘consumption’ process” (Witell, Kristensson, Gustafson & Löfgren, 2011). The results of the experiment show that proactive methods lead to more, more original and more valuable ideas for new products and services. Thus, companies aiming to create offerings with high value-in-use should conduct market research during the process in which value is realised.

How does COLIBRI Research take these challenging results into consideration? We believe that the best suited proactive method should be carefully considered for each individual project and phase of the innovation process. That’s why we offer our clients a toolbox encompassing a number of proactive techniques:

  • If our clients aim to address a new product category or new target group we recommend proactive methods that allow access to the world, mindset, habits and needs of relevant consumer segments. Online methods such as innovation-oriented homework assignments, Bulletin Boards and creative diaries allow consumers to document and share their ideas for new products and services anytime and anywhere. However, ethnographic interviews in the homes or at the workplace of consumers allow the direct observation of consumer behaviour which helps to reveal gaps between current consumption and usage habits and consumers’ needs they might not even be aware of. 
  • When looking for the further development of initial ideas co-creation workshops and Concept Clinics support the process of integrating the internal perspective of the marketing or research and development team and the perspective of consumers. Consumers’ spontaneous ideas can efficiently be evaluated by the client team which allows to focus on new, promising and doable ideas in the ongoing research process.
  • We usually invite „normal“ consumers to participate at our studies after they have been individually selected based on consumption criteria as well as their ability to immerse in an idea generation process and articulate their ideas. We are hesitant to work only with consumers with a “creative personality” or profession as they often do not represent the target group the new product and services are to be made for.

Get in touch with us if you would like to learn more about our toolbox of proactive methods or if you are interested in a proposal for your research initiative.