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Market Research: Unleash New Insights

Posted On  October 5, 2014

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Albert Einstein

My dog is lazy; Chopper is an English Bulldog. He hates going for walks. He dreads them, in fact. He moves fastest when the leash appears, at which time he totters determinedly in the opposite direction and scrambles (with some difficulty) beneath the couch.

I’d had this problem for years. A 9-12 minute exit process developed: I’d get the leash out, hoping Chopper would be interested in a stroll (never mind that he hadn’t been the last 50 times). But inevitably, no – the leash appeared, and like clockwork, Chopper disappeared.

It was always the same, until one day, I tried something different: after hiding the leash in my pocket, I called Chopper to the front door for a belly rub. He fell for it! After a quick pat, I quietly slipped on the leash, and we were out the door within 2 minutes. Problem solved.

Easy—once I (finally) changed my approach.

so what?

The top request I received from Marketing when I worked as a client-side researcher for two major CPG companies was for fresh and groundbreaking insights. “Tell me something I don’t know about why consumers are not using our product,” they’d say.

In market research, many of us have probably been guilty at times of just “grabbing the leash” when looking for new insights, using the same familiar and comfortable approaches, but then invariably finding we (not to mention our clients) are frustrated with the sameness of the outcome.  Sound familiar?  To truly generate new and unique insights, we need to change our approach, particularly when dealing with brands/categories that have been researched for many decades.

The good news is that new means of data collection, technological advances and scientific insights are here to help. Here are a few ideas that might help when you are in need of a breakthrough:

  • Is there another way to think about the problem? Rather than once again asking non-users why they aren’t using the brand in question, maybe it makes more sense to focus on understanding usage drivers among very heavy users to identify which of these might be relevant to non-users.
  • Would a new way of collecting data make sense? For example, is social media monitoring appropriate? When was the last time you spent time in your consumers’ homes?
  • Can we go beyond the rational? Can methods that get at non-conscious and emotional associations about your brand or category be incorporated to illuminate new areas of thought?
  • Are our advanced analytics going deep enough? Would the latest market modeling techniques, such as Bayesian Network analysis, be appropriate to parse out how all of the variables work together to impact perception and behavior?

Old problems approached differently yield different results. Who knows, you might just reveal the insight that will have you out the front door and running in this ever-changing world.

Written by Chris Elsbury
Vice President at LRW
Chris is a Vice President at LRW, responsible for providing value added and consultative market research for clients across a range of industries. Chris specializes in incorporating new & emerging research approaches into highly impactful research designs. Most recently, he was a Research Director at The Coca-Cola Company, and through his nearly 20 year career has worked across a range of categories and industries through roles in Consumer Insights for both clients & agencies, including Colgate-Palmolive, Nielsen & Ipsos.


  1. Great article! They say we have 50-60,000 thoughts a day and roughly 95% of them are the same. I love the simple suggestions and questions you offer at the end to refocus. Thanks!

  2. Nice post, Chris. I agree, many times the biggest aha’s are hiding in plain site before us, if we can only rethink our approach to finding them. Now, go give Give Chopper a good belly rub for us, he’s earned it!


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