The case discusses the consumer research techniques employed by the world’s leading consumer packaged goods company, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). P&G used both qualitative and quantitative market research techniques. The qualitative research techniques it used were focus group discussions, in-home visits, in-context visits, and in-store interviews. P&G used focus group discussions to explore new product ideas and gauge customers’ response to products. In-home visits helped P&G understand the actual conditions under which products were used and the problems encountered by consumers during use. In-context visits were used by P&G to understand the difficulties that consumers faced while using a product and to seek suggestions about any modifications. P&G conducted in-store interviews to identify the factors that influenced the purchase decisions of consumers at places where the products were sold.
The case also describes how virtual reality centers were employed by P&G to conduct focus group discussions and make the suggested alterations in real time, thus significantly reducing the product development cycle time. P&G employed quantitative research techniques such as blind tests, concept aided usage test/concept & use test, the habits and practices method, and quality monitoring. Blind tests were used by P&G to promote new products and dispel consumers’ doubts about its products. P&G used concept aided usage tests/concepts & use tests to educate consumers about a product or brand concept and garner preliminary opinions about the product or brand concept.
The case also describes how the Internet was increasingly being employed by P&G to conduct marketing research, including concept tests. P&G also used the Internet to involve consumers in product design. The case discusses the use of agile market research by P&G and how it was using big data analytics to gather and analyze consumer data.
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The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
Understand the qualitative and quantitative research techniques used by P&G.
Understand the consumer-focused product development approach of P&G.
Understand the relevance of the Internet in conducting consumer research.
Understand the issues and challenges in conducting agile research and employing big data analytics for consumer research.