Naked Truth Meets Market Research

Naked Truth Meets Market Research - Naked Truth Meets...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Naked Truth Meets Market Research Perfecting a New Shower Head? Try Watching People Shower. By Dina ElBoghdady Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, February 24, 2002; Page H01 Suds dripping down his face, the government worker mumbles in the shower, his eyes shut, his lips in motion. The people in his living room can't hear him. But they see his video image flickering on their black-and- white screen and make a mental note: Who is he talking to? God, it turns out. "I am in my own little world when I shower," the government worker, 52, later reveals. "I meditate. I pray." The social worker keeps turning the taps in her shower. Back and forth, back and forth. Two or three people watch and scribble into notepads: Why is she doing that? "I try to run [the water] on the sore spot," the social worker, 32, later tells her viewers. "I make it as hot as I can and then as cold as I can. I want the heat to get to it." Absorbing every little quirk in the shower was a cluster of researchers from QualiData Research Inc. in New York. The voyeuristic exercise was not unusual. A growing number of companies regularly watch us use the most prosaic of products: diapers, computers, disposable cameras and, in this case, shower heads. The observations should spark ideas for new or improved merchandise, clever advertising campaigns, better services or all the above. Or so the companies hope. That's why Moen Inc., part of Fortune Brands Inc. (formerly American Brands), embarked on a deep dig into the consumer psyche as it developed a new massaging shower head, the Revolution, which has been in stores since August. "In the '50s it was the sunken living room," said Hy Mariampolski, QualiData's founder. "In the '70s it was the party deck. Now it seems to be the shower that's on the frontier of lifestyle extravagance." Mariampolski, a sociologist by training, is not your traditional market researcher. Neither was the legendary Al Moen. He invented the first single-handle faucet, but he stumbled on the idea by chance. While in college, Moen worked at a repair garage in Seattle to earn tuition money. As he cleaned up one day, a sudden burst of hot water from the old-fashioned two-handle faucet scalded his hands. Eureka! A flash of genius, a product is born. That was back in 1937, though it was a decade before a company bought his technology and brought it to market. Al Moen had no research to go on, just his own intuition and life experience. But these days, companies eager to leapfrog ahead of the competition spend big bucks in search of the life experience that will lead them to the next big thing. Many do it through "observational research." "It's a technique that gives irrevocable cues beyond what people say they want and need into what they really want and need," said Ralph Oliva, a marketing professor at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State. "It can be very telling in certain situations." This is what it told Jack Suvak, Moen's marketing research director: Showering is not just about lather and rinse.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
"Sometimes the obvious is not always apparent," Suvak said. "The obvious things don't bubble to the
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 01/22/2011 for the course MSOM 303 taught by Professor Philpot during the Winter '10 term at George Mason.

Page1 / 6

Naked Truth Meets Market Research - Naked Truth Meets...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online